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Hello, beautiful people! I seldom post anymore, but I occasionally still lurk. Once in a while I just have to share something that I find meaningful. As some of you might know from my blog, I have spent a number of years studying the Book of Isaiah. Back about 2012 I was tired of not understanding 2 Nephi and skipping over it. Though I've read the Book of Mormon more times than I remember, I knew it was time to no longer take Isaiah for granted. After all, we read in 3 Nephi where Jesus Christ commands His people to study the words of Isaiah. Anyway, I have also begun to teach myself the Hebrew language and have bought a copy of the Book of Mormon in Hebrew. I love the poetry, parallelism, symbolism and other literary structures. As one who also speaks Spanish and German, I know that there are expressions that get lost in translation due to a lack of understanding cultures and thought. The more I study the Book of Mormon through a "Jewish" lens (once in a while, I interact with Jewish friends and acquaintances), the more interesting some symbols become. Nephi's books are particularly heavy in Jewish symbolism. One of the oldest symbols to the house of Israel is the "Etz Chaim" or the tree of life. Unlocking the symbolism as given to them and transmitted by them puts Lehi's vision in a new light to me. The tree of life is a physical representation of something that exists in the spirit realm. But to touch on just one aspect might encourage you to study it further if you are so inclined. 1 Nephi 8:19 And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood. 20. And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world. Traditionally, latter-day saints view the iron rod in terms of residential or commercial applications, like a hand rail. But in Jewish thought, the rod is an offshoot that extends from the tree of life that grows away and along the path beside the river of water to welcome and guide sojourners who seek eternal life. This "iron branch" sounds odd to our modern minds, but to Israelite minds, it's very apt. Consider Isaiah: Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots... Coming from the Jews, Nephi's use of the iron rod to represent the "word" of God is also used by the apostle John: John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Stated differently, Yeshua HaMaschiach (Jesus the Messiah) is the Word of God made flesh. He is the Word, or the Living Torah. We hold to HIM along the strait and narrow path in order to obtain eternal life. I love the notion of holding to Jesus Christ (not just words from prophets or scripture) as I make my way through life. I just wanted to share this little tidbit with you all. Hopefully this fresh perspective excites you as much as it does me. ♥️
If you are interested in studying the Book of Isaiah in great depth, you should check out this resource: Isaiah Explorer. The site offers a ton of excellent resources for studying every single verse of this major Old Testament prophet. It's created by KC Kern, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (KC also has an excellent Book of Mormon site, that is put together really well.) He's added a lot of features to the site, including facsimiles of the Isaiah scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the interest of full disclosure, I personally am not LDS, but I discovered KC's Book of Mormon site several years ago, as well as the link to his Isaiah site in its earlier form, and he and I have been Facebook friends for quite some time now. The Isaiah site is useful for members of the Church, as well as "mainline" Christians like myself. Blessings, Cory Howell Nashville, TN