2 Nephi 11-16

2 Nephi 11:2-8
“My soul delighteth in…”
Isaiah saw the Savior.
Nephi and Jacob read about it. They wanted to see the Savior.
They saw the Savior.
Jacob then witnessed to us how we can do the same.
Chapter 11 connects the witnesses of Jacob, Nephi and Isaiah.
Isaiah is quoted more often in the New Testament, Book of
Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and contemporary
documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls than any other Old
World prophet” (Jeffrey R. Holland, Christ and the New
Covenant, 75-76).
If the Isaiah verses in the Book of Mormon were removed
from their present position and collected into one book, that
book would contain 592 verses --- more than are found in
twelve of the fifteen books in the Book of Mormon. It would
be the fourth largest book in the Book of Mormon.
Isaiah is by every standard the messianic prophet of the Old
Testament and as such is the most penetrating prophetic voice
in that record.
A useful footnote to 2 Nephi 12:2 in the current edition of the
LDS scriptures indicates that some 433 verses of Isaiah --roughly a third of the entire book ---are quoted in the Book of
One student of Isaiah documents that no less than 391 of those
verses refer to the attributes, appearance, majesty, and
mission of Jesus Christ. Another scholar has pointed out that
Isaiah provided at least sixty-one names and titles of the
Father and of the Son in his writings, most of those referring
to some aspect of the mission of Christ.
Isaiah sees the Savior and records it.
Nephi reads Isaiah’s record of seeing the
Savior. He desires the same witness and
then sees the Savior.
Nephi told us about his experience and
taught us that we can have the same
He himself delighted in his words
and proving truth (2 Nephi 11:2).
To prove the truthfulness of Christ
(2 Nephi 11:4, 6).
So the reader may lift up their
heart and rejoice.
Three Major time periods:
1. Isaiah’s day
2. The Savior’s day
3. The Latter-days
Sidney B. Sperry wrote:
The text of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon is not word for
word the same as that of the King James version. Of 433
verses of Isaiah in the Nephite record, Joseph Smith modified
about 233. Some of the changes made were slight, others
were radical. However 199 verses are word for word the
same as the old English version. We therefore freely admit
that Joseph Smith may have used the King James version
when he came to the text of Isaiah in the gold plates. As long
as the familiar version agreed substantially with the text on
the gold plates (taken from the brass plates), he let it pass;
when it differed too radically he translated the Nephite
version and dictated the necessary changes (92).
The version of Isaiah in the Nephite scripture
hews an independent course for itself, as
might be expected of a truly ancient and
authentic record. It makes no additions to the
present text in certain places, omits material in
others, transposes, makes grammatical
changes, finds support at times for its unusual
readings in the ancient Greek, Syriac, and
Latin versions, and at other times no support
at all. In general, it presents phenomena of
great interest to the student of Isaiah (97).
Because of space limitations in the Book of Mormon
footnotes, much of the footnote information
concerning Isaiah is only in the Bible footnotes and
was not repeated in the Book of Mormon footnotes.
Therefore, to study 2 Nephi 12-24 and help in your
understanding of Isaiah, use the LDS Bible footnotes
for Isaiah 2-14.
“You, too, may be tempted to stop there, but do not
do it! Do not stop reading! Move forward through
those difficult-to-understand chapters of Old
Testament prophecy, even if you understand very
little of it. Move on, if all you do is skim and merely
glean an impression here and there. Move on, if all
you do is look at the words” (C.R., Apr. 1986, 76).
2 Nephi 11:5
“Deliverance from Death”
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared:
“The fundamental principles of our religion
are the testimony of the Apostles and
Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He
died, was buried, and rose again the third day,
and ascended unto heaven; and all other
things which pertain to our religion are only
appendages to it” (Teachings, 121).
The Isaiah portions in the Book of Mormon
underscore four major themes:
1. The judgments of God and needed repentance.
2. The covenants of God and His promises to the
house of Israel.
3. Christ’s first and second coming.
4. Major events relating to the latter days.
The Bible Dictionary observes:
“Isaiah is the most quoted of all the prophets,
being more frequently quoted by Jesus, Paul,
Peter, and John (in his Revelation) than any
other [Old Testament] prophet. Likewise the
Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and
Covenants quote from Isaiah more than any
other prophet. The Lord told the Nephites
that ‘great are the words of Isaiah,’ and that all
things Isaiah spoke of the house of Israel and
of the gentiles would be fulfilled (3 Nephi
23:1-3) (Bible Dictionary, Isaiah, 707).
Isaiah wrote a little over 100 years before
Nephi’s time (740-700 B.C.). While the
writings seem quite distant form our
day, for Nephi and Jacob, they were
closer than the revelations and
prophecies of Joseph Smith are for
modern readers.
The reader today has no greater written
commentary and guide to understanding
Isaiah than the Book of Mormon and the
Doctrine and Covenants.
2 Nephi 12:2
“The Lord’s house shall be established in the
top of the mountains.”
It has specific reference to the Salt Lake
Temple and to the other temples built in the
top of the Rocky Mountains, and it has a
general reference to the temple yet to be built
in the New Jerusalem in Jackson County,
Missouri” (Bruce R. McConkie, New Witness
for the Articles of Faith, 539-40).
The word mountain is used in the scriptures
in different allegorical or figurative senses.
The word mountain refers to a high place of
God, a place of revelation, even the temple of
the Lord.
“This temple (Salt Lake Temple) on this
temple block is that house of God of Jacob that
our pioneer fathers started to build when they
were a thousand miles from transportation,
and it took them forty years to build it”
(LeGrand Richards, C.R., Oct. 1975, 77).
2 Nephi 12:3
“Out of Zion Shall Go Forth the Law, and the Word
of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
President Hinckley remarked: “As I contemplate this
marvelous structure adjacent to the temple [the
Conference Center], I believe that prophecy applies
to the historic and wonderful Salt Lake Temple. But
I believe also that it is related to this magnificent hall.
For it is from this pulpit that the law of God shall go
forth, together with the word and testimony of the
Lord” (C.R., Oct. 2000, 89).
2 Nephi 12:20
Why will the wicked cast their gold and silver “to the
moles and to the bats?”
“The imagery of verse twenty is striking: the people
will throw their gold and silver to moles and bats,
animals who are blind…The irony of this is that
people who understood the material value of the
precious metals, and should also have seen the
spiritual impotence of the idols, will throw these
precious items to animals who will not be able to see
them at all” (Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer,
and Poet, 92).
Success with Isaiah
2 Nephi 12-15
2 Nephi 12:2
Salt Lake Temple and the Conference Center.
2 Nephi 12:7
Military Power, but not the Lord’s.
2 Nephi 12:8
Idolatry, Men worshipping the work of their own
2 Nephi 12:9
The “mean man” (common) has nothing, the
“great man” no humility.
2 Nephi 12:11-22
Men and women will be humbled at the 2nd Coming.
2 Nephi 13:5
Loss of respect for the elderly.
2 Nephi 13:9-11
Wickedness shows in our faces. Sin of
homosexuality will be a problem and will lead
to many deaths.
Jeremiah wrote that the people had become so
sinful that they lost their ability to blush
(Jeremiah 6:15).
2 Nephi 13:12
Rebellious children, women who become like
2 Nephi 13:16
Women who become vain and immoral.
2 Nephi 13:18-23
Clothing and worldly things become the most
important to men and women.
2 Nephi 13:16-23
Who are the “daughters of Zion” described in these verses?
There are at least two interpretations for who the “daughters
of Zion” represent. First, these verses are a physical
description of members in the last days. “It is,…a sad
reflection on the ‘daughters of Zion’ when they dress
immodestly. Moreover, this remark pertains to the men as
well as to the women” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to
Gospel Questions, 5:174). Second, these “daughters of Zion”
could represent those members of the Church that have
accepted the baptismal covenant and later forsake their vows
and turn to the gods of men.
2 Nephi 13:24-26
How are these verses descriptive of the results of war?
“There shall be stink” (v. 24)
The stench of dead bodies will sicken the air.
“A rent” (v. 24)
Clothing ripped or torn, like rags.
“Baldness” (v. 24)
Shaving heads and beards was a symbol of captivity.
“Sackcloth” (v. 24)
A coarse, dark cloth made of goat or camel hair.
“Burning” (v. 24)
Branding, another symbol of captivity.
“Sit upon the ground” (v. 26)
A posture of mourning.
(Adapted from Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., Isaiah Plain & Simple, 3334)
2 Nephi 13:1-11
“Punished as a Result of Wickedness”
Isaiah foresaw that Judah and Jerusalem would be
punished by the Lord as a result of their wickedness.
In 587 B.C. the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, and
Judah was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar,
king of Babylon.
In A.D. 70, 657 years later, the Romans destroyed
Jerusalem and scattered the Jews to various portions
of the world. Surely they had, as Isaiah said,
“rewarded evil unto themselves” (2 Nephi 13:9).
2 Nephi 14:1
Seven women take hold of one man.
Without husband, children, or family.
No forever family.
2 Nephi 15:8
Tract housing, apartments, no space for
yards or gardens.
2 Nephi 15:9
War that causes cities to be desolate and without
2 Nephi 15:11
Alcoholism! One of the greatest plagues of our
2 Nephi 15:12
Music and wine more important than the work of the
2 Nephi 15:18
Tied to their sins like a beast to their cart.
2 Nephi 15:19
People will say, “Christ will not come again.”
2 Nephi 15:20
Call evil good and good evil.
2 Nephi 15:22
Beer commercials?
2 Nephi 15:26-28
Modern transportation?
2 Nephi 15:26
Missionaries to the four corners?
2 Nephi 15:18, 20-21 “Warnings against Sin”
President Harold B. Lee described how sin is like a
burden: “If I were to ask you what is the heaviest
burden one may have to bear in this life, what would
you answer? The heaviest burden that one has to
bear in this life is the burden of sin” (C.R., Apr. 1973,
President James E. Faust said, “The gap between
what is popular and what is righteous is widening.
Revelations from the prophets of God are not like
offerings at the cafeteria, some to be selected and
others disregarded” (C.R., Oct. 2003, 21).
2 Nephi 15:26-30
“In fixing the time of the great gathering, Isaiah
seemed to indicate that it would take place in the day
of the railroad and the airplane (Isaiah 5:26-29).
“Since there was neither trains nor airplanes in that
day, Isaiah could hardly have mentioned them by
name. However, he seems to have described them in
unmistakable words. How better could ‘their horses’
hoofs be counted like flint, and their wheels like a
whirlwind’ than in the modern train?
How better could ‘their roaring…be like a lion’ than
in the roar of the airplane? Trains and airplanes do
not stop for night. Therefore, was not Isaiah justified
saying: ‘none shall slumber nor sleep, neither shall
the girdle of their loins be loosed, not the latchet of
their shoes be broken?’ With this manner of
transportation the Lord can really ‘hiss unto them
from the end of the earth,’ that they shall come with
speed swiftly,’ Indicating that Isaiah must have
foreseen the airplane, he stated: ‘Who are these that
fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?’
(Isaiah 60:8) (LeGrand Richards, Israel! Do You
Know?, 182).
Remember, Isaiah is a poet!
Remember, Christ is the
Angels who reside in the presence of God
Power to move
“Covered his face and his feet”
temple clothing
“the whole earth is full of His glory
v. 4 “filled with smoke”
symbolic of the presence of God
v. 5 “I am undone”
without hope, unclean
v. 6 “Coal”
Atonement, purifying, cleansing
v. 8 “Here am I; send me
I am clean, now I can go and serve.
“Unclean Lips”
2 Nephi 16:13
Nephi used the prophecies of Isaiah to teach his
people of the need to rely upon the Lord and look to
him who would preserve them. Isaiah’s prophecies
of the coming of the Messiah in the lineage of Judah
were an assurance that their nation would not be
totally destroyed, though they would suffer because
of their sins. As the Lord would punish the nations
of Assyria and Babylon for opposing his people, he
would also overthrow all the wicked in the end and
would establish Zion.
The early prophets of the Book of Mormon
frequently quoted from the writings of Isaiah which
appeared on the Brass Plates of Laban (I Nephi 5:1113; 19:21-23).
Of the 433 verses of Isaiah quoted in the Book of
Mormon, 199 verses are word for word the same as
the corresponding verses in the King James Version
of the Old Testament. The so called Isaiah problem is
this: How do Latter-day Saints account for this
striking similarity in nearly half of the verses and the
differences in the remainder of the verses?
In order to attempt an explanation of
this problem, a person should
consider the following points.
Joseph Smith did not explain in great
detail the process used in translating
the Book of Mormon; he merely
stated, “through the medium of the
Urim and Thummim I translated the
record by the gift and power of God”
(Millennial Star Vol. 18, 118).
However, it is quite evident that the process of
translation was not automatic; Joseph Smith
not only had to exercise faith in the translation
procedure, but he also had to put forth mental
and spiritual effort. (If you desire additional
information on this point, see B.H. Roberts’
New Witness for God 11:130-146). Oliver
Cowdery’s unsuccessful attempt to translate
indicates clearly that the translation of the
Book of Mormon was more than a mechanical
process (D&C 8:1-3, 10, 11; 9:7-9).
Also, translation is frequently concerned with
general ideas rather than specific words; even the
best translators do not translate the same material
from one language into another word for word the
same. Thus 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 impression he had 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, Joseph Smith
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 both for the 234
verses of Isaiah which were changed or modified by the
Prophet Joseph Smith as well as the 199 verses which 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 (A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, 4344).

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