Book of Mormon Lesson 9
My Soul Delighteth in the Words of Isaiah
A. When reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, most of us have no trouble getting through 1st Nephi. It is in narrative form with a small cast of characters, with good guys and bad guys ext. But somewhere in the middle of 2nd Nephi many of us hit a wall and suddenly lose interest in reading the book straight through. That wall is the Isaiah chapters. And we are going to try to get through all of these chapters today.
B. Bruce R. McConkie said? "It just may be that my salvation (and yours also!) Does in fact depend upon our ability to understand the writings of Isaiah as fully and truly as Nephi understood them." If that is true, then I am in trouble.
C. Isaiah is probably quoted more in the scriptures than any other Old Testament prophet.
1. BoM quotes 433 verses of Isaiah - 32%. Another 3% are paraphrased.
2. New Testament quotes Isaiah 57 times
3. D&C quotes or paraphrases Isaiah about 100 times.
D. If we believe that the Isaiah quoted in the BoM were actually taken word for word from the Brass plates in 600 BC, then the BoM is the earliest (most accurate) reading of Isaiah we have. (Dead Sea Scrolls from about 200 BC).
1. Of the 433 vs quoted 199 are word for word from the King James Version of the Bible. How do we account for the striking similarities in nearly half of the verses and differences in the others?
2. Daniel Ludlow says: "There appears to be only one answer to explain the word-for-word similarities between the verses of Isaiah in the Bible and the same verses in the Book of Mormon. When Joseph Smith translated the Isaiah references from the small plates of Nephi, he evidently opened his King James Version of the Bible and compared the impressions he received in translating with the words of the King James scholars. If his translation was essentially the same as that of the King James Version, he apparently quoted the verse from the Bible; then his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, copied it down. However, if Joseph Smith’s translation did not agree precisely with that of the King James scholars, he would dictate his own translation to the scribe. This procedure in translation would account for both the 234 verses of Isaiah that were changed or modified by the Prophet Joseph and the 199 verses that were translated word-for-word the same. Although some critics might question this procedure of translation, scholars today frequently use this same procedure in translating the biblical manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls,"
3. When I was on my mission I actually read each verse of the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi and compared them to the corresponding chapters in the King James Bible. I remember I was impressed with how much clearer things were in the BoM. I also remember that there was one part of Isaiah that was a chiasmus but that the chiasmus was more perfect in the BoM. I wish I’d taken notes when I did this, because I can’t remember where this was or what specifically was clearer, and I’m sure I will never go through that exercise again.
II. Why did Nephi quote Isaiah?
A. Read 1 Nephi 19:23. That is a good reason for Nephi to quote Isaiah. It is also good advice for us regarding the scriptures in general.
B. Read 2 Nephi 2-5. What reasons does Nephi give here for writing Isaiah?
1. He once again says that he will "liken his words unto my people"
2. Because Isaiah testifies of Christ.
C. Do we delight in the words of Isaiah? Why not.
1. Can take conciliation in the fact that even the Nephites had trouble understanding the words of Isaiah. 2 Nephi 25:1 - For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews."
III. Isaiah prophesies of the Temple and "Zion".
A. Read 2 Nephi 12:2-3. What is Isaiah talking about here? The temple. Zion.
B. LeGrand Richards: "You just take this temple standing here on this block. Isaiah and Micah were both permitted to look down through the stream of time (3,000 years) to the latter days, and they named the latter days when the mountain of the Lord’s house would be established in the top of te mountains and all nations would flow unto it; and they would say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths....’ As far as I know there is no building in the history of this world that has gathered people from all nations like this temple, and many of you who are here today are no doubt descendants of some of those who have been gathered to this land."
C. Harold B Lee: "With the coming of the pioneers to establish the beginning of the Church in the tops of the mountains, our early leaders declared this to be the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Orson Pratt, one of the members of the Twelve, delivered an oration on that occasion, in which he declared that this was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy that out of Zion should go forth the law and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem.
(2 Nephi 14:1 - "And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by they name to take away our reproach." That always sounded appealing to me when I was single.)
IV. Call evil good and good evil
A. Read 2 Nephi 15:20-23 "Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
1. In what ways do people today call "evil good and good evil"?
a. Sexual morality as "intolerant" or "closed minded."
b. The traditional family as "backward."
c. Terrorism - suicide and murder for God.
2. Who are the "wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight"?
a. The anti-Mormon, anti-religion intellectuals and academics.
3. Who "Justifies the wicked for reward"?
V. Isaiah’s call to the ministry
A. Read 2 Nephi 16:1-8
1. Isaiah’s calling as a prophet. A vision.
2. What did Isaiah mean "I am a man of unclean lips?" What was the meaning of the angel laying a live coal on his mouth? His words were sanctified
VI. Isaiah speaks Messianically
A. Read 2 Nephi 17:14
B. Read 2 Nephi 19:6
C. Also 2 Nephi 19:4. If we believe that Isaiah is speaking Messianically, what does this verse mean.
D. Isaiah 21:1-4. What is the "rod out of the stem of Jesse"?
2. Read D&C 113:1-6
V. Exaltation of the Wicked.
A. 2 Nephi 24:12-16.
B. This is talking about Lucifer. In what ways did Lucifer literally try to exalt himself?
C. In what ways do we (the world) exalt Lucifer.
VI. Nephi then gives his momentary on Isaiah - it testifies of Christ.
A. Read 2 Nephi 25:20.
1. Why does Nephi remind the people of the bronzen serpent and the water coming out of the rock and then says "there is no other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby many can be saved."?
a. the serpent represents Jesus (on the cross). Looking to him with faith brings salvation.
b. The water out of the Rock represents Jesus as the Living Water.
B. Read 2 Nephi 25:23.
1. What is the reason Nephi is writing? What is the purpose of the Book of Mormon?
C. Read 2 Nephi 25:26. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."
1. I am happy to conclude with this verse. All the prophets from the beginning talked of Christ. That is really the only important message they give to us. I testify the Isaiah prophesied and taught of Christ. I testify that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ.
1. Bill Beardall - http://beardall2000.com/bm/bom09.html
2. Gordon Smith - http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=451