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When God speaks, we should hearken. To hearken means to both hear and obey.
When God repeats Himself, we should hasten to hearken!
2 Nephi 8:24-25 represents one of those moments where God has repeated himself. We should hasten to hearken. These two verses are also found in Isaiah 52:1-2. And again they are repeated by Jesus Himself in 3 Nephi 20:36-37 when He visits the Nephites after His resurrection.
“Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”
What is the Covenantal Significance for Zion to Put on Strength?
God is and desires to be in covenantal relationship with us. He is the bridegroom and we are His bride.
“Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.” (D&C 133:10)
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)
This word represents physical resurrection and spiritual renewal. When we are committed to God, we live His revealed plan and commandments of love for Him and our neighbor.
We are wrapped in the saving atonement from God when we awake from our slumber of forgetfulness. When we remember God’s covenantal goodness to us, when we covenant to be faithful to Him, we are strengthened through His grace.
This word refers to God’s covenant people: the children of Abraham, the House of Israel, or the House of Jacob. Those who have come to God’s Holy City for safety and peace will there life His law (or covenantal instruction).
The Covenantal Meaning for Jerusalem to Put on Beautiful Garments
When we make covenants with God, we often put on special clothing to symbolize the new relationship we are entering into. For example, when we are baptized, we often dress in white to represent the purity we receive from God as we enter into a covenantal commitment with Him. Similarly, covenants made in temples are often accompanied by beautiful garments of white to remind us of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which makes us pure and whole. Jesus’s atonement is freely offered to us. We experience the fullness of the blessings of the atonement when we accept God’s invitation to join Him in covenant.
JERUSALEM THE HOLY CITY
Jerusalem symbolizes the holy city where God resides with His covenant people.
THE UNCIRCUMCISED AND UNCLEAN ARE NOT ALLOWED IN
Only those who are in covenant with God are allowed into His holy city. In the days of Abraham and Moses circumcision was a sign of covenantal commitment. Today other actions demonstrate our loving loyalty to God: Baptism, regularly participation in sacramental renewal ceremonies, and keeping the word of God as revealed through His servants the prophets.
The Covenantal Purpose of Shaking Ourselves from the Dust
SHAKE THYSELF FROM THE DUST
As children of Adam, we are all fallen. In fact, Adam’s name in Hebrew is a wordplay on the fact that we are all built from the dust of the earth and we will return to the dust of the earth. In this context, the dust symbolizes spiritual death. God calls for us to come forth. His covenants are both invitation and salvation.
ARISE, SIT DOWN, O JERUSALEM
We are the people of God, represented by the holy city, Zion, Jerusalem. We arise through the salvation of God’s covenants. And we then sit down on thrones of righteousness to become kings and queens serving God.
LOOSE THYSELF CAPTIVE DAUGHTER OF ZION
Our unfaithfulness has led us into captivity and destruction. If we open our eyes to the power of God’s salvation offered through His Son Jesus Christ, we are loosed from the chains of death and hell. When we keep and make covenants we are His people and He is our God.
Why Does the Book of Mormon Preserve Isaiah 52:1-2 Multiple Times?
The entire purpose of the Gospel Plan is to save us. We cannot be saved unless we are in relationship with God. God’s covenants are the means by which His salvation is revealed and His expectations for our covenantal loyalty are documented. Isaiah’s words speak beautifully, clearly (though symbolically) and powerfully of our need to turn our hearts to God to be saved.
The power is within us to choose salvation. God will and can save all those who are willing to be among His covenantal people.
My latest Book of Mormon Central video with Tyler Griffin on 2 Nephi 6-10