23 January 2013

The Bottom of the World and my 100th Post!

So.... Antarctica. It's huge.

Look at that glory.

It's SO HUGE!!! Although I think it's doing that squishy spread out thing for the flat map.

So.... the reason I bring this up is. Hey, I'm going to Antarctica, brb.

Yeah, for reals.

2 continents closer to my goal of seeing all the continents before I die :) :) (South America is the other one)

See you in March!!!


20 January 2013

The Isaiah Chapters

Okay, I hate to be such a sell-out to say that the words of Isaiah are hard to get through, but they are. I think that Isaiah is beautifully eloquent and enjoyable to read, but when I'm really deeply trying to get something out of my scripture study, I find myself reading a whole chapter, realizing I got nothing out of it, and starting over. [I'm reading the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi]

I can tell that there is something historically significant going on, or something fantastically symbolic, but all I can do is scratch my head and acknowledge that "I'm missing something."

Welllll that is until I found this awesome resource! May I present: this link. I'm thinking I'll download everything in case it ever gets deleted, but it has seriously made my study SO RICH. It's basically like using one of those 20 pound old testament manuals. Someone has gone through chapter by chapter and pulled from resources of all sorts that analyze the words of Isaiah. Each verse is covered in some way, deeper than any manual I've found.

I love connecting history with scripture. It's one of the most exciting experiences for me. To recognize the reality of what's happening in the scriptures, and also to think about how linked church and state were in those days. Anything significant that happened historically was very closely linked to spirituality and prophecy, and I find that fascinating. I just don't see the President of the United States listening if President Monson paid him a visit and warned him that Canada was about to invade (hey, it's unlikely, but possible). [if only Mitt had won! .... aaand, sidetracked].

Here's a cool example. Take this verse:

17:8  For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus, Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim beabroken that it be not a people.

I kind of thought this sounded intriguing, like, "oh this is probably talking about the scattering of Israel." But look how much more info is here:

Shall Ephraim Be Broken
 In this prophecy, Isaiah promises that the Syro-Israelite alliance will fail and that Israel will be scattered within sixty-five years.  The fulfillment came about in successive stages.  First, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) attacked Syria and Israel in 732 B.C. and took many Israelites captive to Assyria, especially those from the northern tribes.  Secondly, in 730-727, Pul annexed the Transjordan area and deported large numbers of the Israelite tribes from that area to the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire.  Third, in 726, Hoshea refused to pay Assyrian tribute, and Pul’s successor,
Shalmaneser, retaliated by attacking Israel and besieging Samaria, which fell in 722 B.C.  Thus, within a dozen years of Isaiah’s prophecy, the alliance had completely failed, and three major groups of Israelites had been deported.  Finally, large groups of the Israelites fled from Assyria to the remote areas northward and became the lost Ten Tribes of Israel.  Apparently, within about fifty years of their leaving Assyria, they were scattered so widely that many of them no longer existed as a cohesive group.  Thereby Isaiah’s prophecy to Ephraim was completely realized.
Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 141-142

So great. And then later I read this verse, and was like "...wha?"

In the same day shall the Lord shave with a arazor that is hired, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.

It sounded cool too... like I remember the story of Samson, and how he lost his strength when his hair was cut, or... I think it was Samuel the Nazirite who didn't cut his hair because he was dedicated to the Lord. So obviously there's something significant with hair, but I liked reading this:

The humiliation and slavery that will befall the people is represented in verse 20 by the razor cutting off their hair. The Assyrians cut off all the hair from their captives for three reasons: humiliation, sanitation (especially while traveling under crude conditions to Assyria), and separation (if any slaves escaped while being moved from their homeland, they could not blend in with other peoples since their baldness would give them away; thus they usually were quickly recaptured, punished, and returned to their captors). 
Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 145
The full, rounded beard was a sign of manhood and a source of pride to Hebrew men.  It was considered an ornament, and much care was given to its maintenance.  In fact, the wealthy and important made a ceremony of caring for their beards.  Custom did not allow the beard to be shaved, only trimmed (Lev. 19:27; 21:5), except in special circumstances…. 
 An attack on the beard is an attack on the person.  Because the beard was a symbol of manhood, it was a great insult to degrade someone’s beard.  Thus David’s men suffer grave humiliation when they return from a diplomatic mission with half of each man’s beard shaven by the Ammonites.  In fact, they did not return to Jerusalem until their beards had grown back (2 Sam. 10:4-5).  Similarly, Isaiah warns Israel that they will suffer a figurative emasculation at the hand of the king of Assyria (Isa. 7:20). 
Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, ed. Leland Ryken, James C

SO interesting. I didn't know all of that history and I love it! I also like beards :) Depending on the person. And it says right here they're a sign of manliness :)


Basically I hope I get called as a seminary teacher one day because it would be awesome. Now I need to get back to finishing my chapters because I spent over an hour analyzing this one short chapter in 2 Nephi and it was brilliant. 

I'm getting so much more out of Isaiah than ever before!

p.s. I'm haaaaappy :) :) :)
5 days til I'm happier

02 January 2013


“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

 “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

 “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:29-31