3 Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them. I did show them suddenly.3 I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass.4 And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;4 Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;5 And I have even from the beginning declared to thee; before it came to pass I showed them thee; and I showed them for fear lest thou shouldst say—Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them.5 I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.6 Thou hast seen and heard all this; and will ye not declare them? And that I have showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.6 Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.7 They are created now, and not from the beginning, even before the day when thou heardest them not they were declaredunto thee, lest thou shouldst say—Behold I knew them.7 They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.8 Yea, and thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time thine ear was not opened; for I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. [1 Nephi 20:3–8]8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time thatthine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. [Isaiah 48:3–8]
Through his prophets the Lord foretold the apostasy of Judah. The prophets foretold the things that would happen, even from the beginning. Jeremiah was another prophet besides Isaiah to warn the Jews. He warned of the coming of Neb uchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.
11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. [Jeremiah 25:11–12]
Because the people of Judah had been warned many times, they were responsible for their obstinate and stubborn actions.
It is important to know why the Lord shows the future to his prophets. The principle of foreknowledge is difficult to understand, but several prophets who have been shown the future have affirmed its importance. Nephi was shown the future until the beginning of the last days. Then he was told that an apostle of the Lamb of God would write “many things which thou hast seen; and behold the remainder shalt thou see.” The apostle’s name was John. He was also told that others “hath (God) shown all things” (1 Nephi 14:24–27). The Lord had also “showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be” (Ether 3:25). “Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh” (Moses 7:47), and that he would come “in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years” (Moses 7:65). The Lord told Abraham and Isaiah that “he knew the end from the beginning” (Abraham 2:6; Isaiah 46:10). Although the text doesn’t say they saw all things, they were shown great and marvelous things, which may have included to the end of times.
The Lord shows the future so that false gods will not be worshipped or given credit for the Lord’s doings (v. 5). The people of Judah had been shown and told of future events, but they had rejected this knowledge. The Lord knew they would reject it. He told them anyway so they would be accountable for their sins. An understanding of foreknowledge and why it is shared with the prophets is a unique and an important contribution that comes from Isaiah’s writing.