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KnoWhy #34 - Why Does Jacob Choose a “Monster” as a Symbol for Death and Hell? (2 Nephi 9:10)

TitleKnoWhy #34 - Why Does Jacob Choose a “Monster” as a Symbol for Death and Hell? (2 Nephi 9:10)
Publication TypeKnoWhy
Year of Publication2016
Corporate AuthorsBook of Mormon Central Staff
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
Place PublishedSpringville, UT
KeywordsDeath; Hell; Jacob (Son of Lehi); Monster; Symbolism

In 2 Nephi chapter 9, the prophet Jacob referred to death and hell as “this awful monster” (2 Nephi 9:10). The significance of this monster imagery that Jacob uses is that it is similar to imagery found in the Bible and in other ancient Near Eastern writings that speak of God defeating great monsters, such as Leviathan, the serpent (Isaiah 27:1), Rahab, the sea monster (Psalm 89:10), and calming the treacherous waves of the sea (Psalm 89:9; Psalm 18:4-6). Together, these all symbolized the powers of chaos, or those forces that endanger the lives of mortal beings, and are personifications or symbols of death and hell. This understanding of Jacob’s use of the imagery of the chaos monster adds credence to the doctrine and historicity of the Book of Mormon. Modern readers can well appreciate this powerful depiction of how Christ, our Redeemer and Savior, helps us conquer and overcome our greatest challenges and every obstacle to our eternal salvation.

Citation Key1298

Scripture Reference

2 Nephi 9:10