The Book of Mormon: Isaiah and Nephi Remind us of God's Love, Covenants, and Plans for Us

It's easy to make a superficial reading of the Book of Mormon and think that Joseph Smith made it all up. But please don't dismiss the power and authenticity of the Book of Mormon. It is far more intricate than most people imagine. For example, here's something interesting that shows why the witness of the biblical prophet Isaiah is so critical to the Book of Mormon.

When Joseph Smith dictated the translation of the Book of Mormon to Oliver Cowdery (or other scribes), he dictated chapter breaks that are vastly different from the ones that we have today.

In the 1870 edition of the Book of Mormon, those original chapter breaks were radically altered, including the creation of individual chapters 12-24 of the Book of 2nd Nephi that essentially correspond with chapters 2-14 of Isaiah in the Bible.

But here's where it gets interesting. When Nephi wrote the plates--and when Joseph Smith dictated the translation of those plates--the Isaiah material was composed of THREE chapters. (Similarly, 1st Nephi and the first 10 chapters of 2 Nephi were originally composed of Nephi's chapters 1 thru 7, even though they make up 32 chapters now.)

Chapter 8 (comprising Isaiah 2-5) discusses how the House of Israel had become a wayward and sinful.

Chapter 9 (Isaiah 6-12) points out that God had the power to compensate for Israel's waywardness, and, through the scattering of Israel throughout all nations, could bring to their remembrance the covenants that we had made with our Heavenly Parents in premortality.

Chapter 10 (Isaiah 13-14) shows how God's "arm" (his power) will be revealed through the covenants he has made with people out of all nations, how they can also become divine ("kings and queens") and how those few "enemies" who rebel against those covenants (and their divine potential) will not experience the same blessings and eternal progress.

One other important thing to point out here is that Nephi challenges each reader to "liken" the things that he or she reads to themselves (1 Nephi 19:23). Using this likening technique, these 3 chapters of Isaiah/Nephi can also teach each of us about our personal eternal progress:

Chapter 8 - Each of us has sins and other shortcomings.

Chapter 9
- Because of the atonement of Christ, God can compensate for those weaknesses through reminding us of our pre-mortal covenants (which are re-established on earth today in temples of God).

Chapter 10 - Because of those covenants, our Heavenly Parents have the power to teach us--and to enable us--to overcome all our weaknesses and to become like themselves.


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