12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called, for I am he; I am the first, and I am also the last.12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.13 Mine hand hath also laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens. I call unto them and they stand up together.13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; who among them hath declared these things unto them? The Lord hath loved him; yea, and he will fulfil his wordwhich he hath declared by them; and he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall comeupon the Chaldeans. [1 Nephi 20:12–14]14 All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them hath declared these things? The Lord hath loved him: he will do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be onthe Chaldeans. [Isaiah 48:12–14]
I am the first and the last (v. 12) identifies Jesus Christ. In the beginning of the New Testament book of Revelation he says “I am the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17), and in it’s ending (see Revelation 22:13). Thus he is the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Isaiah states further that he is the creator of the earth and the heavens (v. 13). Paul said “that by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth” (Colossians 1:16). Again the Old Testament and the New Testament bear the same testimony of him. The heavens and the earth obey him (v. 13); therefore, he has the power to bring about his purposes with Judah and Israel.
One of the challenges of understanding Isaiah is identifying the pronouns in the text. The following identities should help. “All ye (Judah) assemble (gather) yourselves, and hear (the word of God); who (the prophets) among [Judah] hath declared these things unto [Judah]? The Lord hath loved [Judah]; yea, and [the Lord] will fulfill his word which he hath declared by [the prophets]; and he will do his pleasure (desired outcome) on Babylon (who captured Judah), and [the Lord’s] arm (power) shall come upon the Chaldeans (the portion of Babylon in the south and east, the learned class) (v. 14). The interpretive brackets are based upon “the judgments of God, which came to pass among the Jews” that helped Nephi understand Isaiah (2 Nephi 25:6). Some bible scholars interpret the “him” to be Cyrus who allowed the Jews to return from Babylon, but in the author’s opinion the Book of Mormon text supports the broader interpretation.