Parallel Excerpt with Commentary Interspersed
Clearly, "house of Israel," is related to "children" and "brethren." "Persuade" is what we are hoping to accomplish here.
The "hand" of the Lord is a metaphor for the manifestation of "Christ's" power on earth. The implied antonym of "shortened" would be "stretched out," which ties strongly to the invitation to "believe."
Being "reconciled to God" is synonymous with being "redeemed."
The left-hand column poses a question, which the right-hand column answers. There is a play on the words, "no" and "know," which serves to answer the question "Have I no power?" with the definite answer....
Yes, "we know that" he has "power" to deliver. His redeeming power lies in the grace he offers.
"Saved" and "delivered" are clear synonyms. But there is more to be gleaned here by looking at the two contexts and considering their parallel connection one to another. Notice that the left-hand column addresses temporal salvation, talking about peoples and nations, and the right-hand column addresses spiritual salvation, one individual at a time The parallel brings these two together, emphasizing that God offers both spiritual and temporal deliverance, one relevant to his first coming, and one to his second advent.
This next comparison set features the phrase, "after all we can do," which is the statement that has been so misconstrued in the LDS world. Pay careful attention to what the Lord has to say through Isaiah about what he can do compared to "all we can do." Is there any comparison? Even our most sturdy structures, for example, representing man's greatest genius, are no match for God's cataclysmic destructions.
This comparison captures an essential feature of grace. Natural man is so prone to folly and sin and so inherently incapable of righteousness. By his own efforts, he can do nothing compared to what he can do with God. "All we can do," in this comparison, is so utterly meager compared to what God can do. In Christ, through the grace of God, we can overcome all things, do all things, and know all things. Our own "righteousness," stemming from a corrupt heart, is but hypocrisy and ungodliness; whereas righteousness in Christ, through a mighty change of heart is the essence of the gospel.
As for the temporal aspect, by ourselves we have created a first class mess of this world. Leaning on the arm of flesh has brought us into an awful situation. But when we finally turn our hearts fully to God in the affairs of governing, then there is no power on earth or hell that can prevail against us.
That is the meaning of "after all we can do," both spiritually and temporally, namely: utter folly. Hence a "rebuke" is very fitting "after all we can do."
Salvation or deliverance is a "gift" from God, "notwithstanding" all we can do.
The Messianic "me" in the left-hand column, is expanded to include "we," the servants in the right-hand column, broadening this application to all who have ears to hear and come under the umbrella of grace.
One correlation here is between "believing" and the idea of speaking in "tongues," or with the "tongue" of angels, whether it be in another language for those of that language to understand, or generally speaking the words of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. This is a primary sign which follow them that believe and are baptized by water and then by fire and of the Holy Ghost. It is so closely associated with the baptism of fire in the New Testament that the Pentecostals and Charismatics go so far as saying that the speaking in tongues is a necessary manifestation that one has received the Holy Ghost.
Thanks to the Book of Mormon, we know that this speaking in tongues is not exclusively limited to just a foreign tongue, but also includes shouting praises to the Holy One of Israel with the tongue of angels whether in one's own language or in another's for their edification.
As for "the learned" part, in the context of "believing," the Book of Mormon scripture comes to mind: "To be learned is good, if they hearken to the counsels of God." (II Nephi 9:29.)
Another inference here is that the Lord gives the servant of the Lord "the tongue of the learned" is so that he might be more able to bring those of an honest heart to "believe" in Christ.
One correlation here is immediately obvious, best expressed in the scripture: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3.)
Another application ties into the general context of grace and deliverance of which we have been speaking. This match witnesses that salvation is"in Christ," every step of the way, not "after all we can do" first. Parallels such as this set we have just considered, help us come to "know" that this is indeed true.
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Having such strong validation can help convince humble seekers of the truth. Such a strong witness is valuable since the mistaken interpretation has been so deeply ingrained in Mormon culture. This parallel lays out very clearly a confirmation of the correct meaning or intended emphasis in II Nephi 25:23 -- that the Lord intended to emphasize "grace," not "do."
by Sterling D. Allan; Manti, Utah; May 10, 1999
Back to "A Mighty Change: Perfected In Christ"
Document composed by Sterling
D. Allan, May 10, 1999
"Would God that ALL the Lord's People Were PROPHETS"