12 For the day of the Lord of Hosts soon cometh upon all nations, yea, upon every one; yea, upon the proud and lofty, and upon every one who is lifted up, and he shall be brought low.
13 Yea, and the day of the Lord shall come upon all the cedars of Lebanon, for they are high and lifted up; and upon all the oaks of Bashan;
14 And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills, and upon all the nations which are lifted up, and upon every people;
16 And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. (2 Nephi 12:12-17)
In this block of scriptures, Nephi quotes Isaiah who uses imagery to describe the types of pride that will be humbled when the Lord comes. It takes some thought to recognize what Isaiah refers to, but knowledge of gospel symbolism is the key.
“upon all the cedars of Lebanon, for they are high and lifted up; and upon all the oaks of Bashan” (v13) – Trees are green, and green things often represent life, particularly spiritual life, so these trees could represent church members. We church members can become proud of our spiritual growth and our place in the kingdom of God. The Second Coming will be a shock to those of us who are self-righteous because we will realize how holy Christ really is and how much greater than us He is.
“upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills, and upon all the nations which are lifted up, and upon every people” (v14) – Mountains here represent continents and large nations. This shows us national pride will be humbled.
“upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall” (v15) – From our modern perspective, high towers and walls could represent pride of building construction and engineering pride. From the ancient perspective, high towers and fenced walls were representative of a city and its ability to withstand attack, so this could be how Isaiah shows that civic pride and military pride will be humbled by the Lord at His coming.
“And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish” (v16) – Ships represented both travel and trade, so Isaiah was showing that pride of travel would be humbled, along with business pride and economic pride.
We see from these verses that there are all different types of pride and the Lord finds none of it good. Verse 17 ends with this important thought—“the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” I suppose if we want to prepare, we should cultivate and practice our humility now, huh?