“And Now I Nephi, Write More of the Words of Isaiah”

Monte S. Nyman

Here are given three reasons why Nephi recorded Isaiah’s testimony. The first one is that Isaiah was a witness of the Redeemer, complying with the law of witnesses, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15, see also Matthew 18:16). Isaiah serves as a third witness of Christ along with Nephi and Jacob. Nephi’s vision of Christ was apparently given while his father was camped in the valley of Lemuel, a few weeks after the family left Jerusalem. Nephi recorded that “I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me” (1 Nephi 2:16). However, it does not say that he saw him, although it does state “that the Lord spake unto me” (2 Nephi 2:19). Therefore, there may have been another occasion that Nephi did not record since the account of Jacob’s seeing him was not recorded either. Our knowledge of Jacob’s vision comes from Lehi stating to Jacob: “And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory” (2 Nephi 2:4). The vision of Isaiah seeing Christ is recorded in 2 Nephi 16 (Isaiah 6), discussed below.

A second reason for Nephi quoting Isaiah was to prove the coming of Christ which would fulfill the law of Moses. The birth of Immanuel, which means “God with us,” through a virgin was prophesied by Isaiah (7:14, 2 Nephi 17:14). He further foretold of his various roles and titles (Isaiah 9:6–7; 2 Nephi 19:6–7). The Isaiah chapters concerning Isaiah’s prophecies of Christ will be discussed in a subsequent chapter of this work.

Nephi’s third reason for quoting Isaiah was because of “the covenants of the Lord which he had made to our fathers” (v. 5). Jacob had quoted Isaiah 49:24–52:1, in the speeches Nephi had just recorded, as proof of the covenants of the Lord (see 2 Nephi 6:16–8:25 discussed in the previous chapter).

Nephi now quotes other chapters for proof of the covenants of the Lord. The chapters quoted by Nephi do not identify the covenants as clearly as the aforementioned prophecies of Christ tell of his coming. Nevertheless, they are there, the building of a temple in the top of the mountains (2 Nephi 12:2–3, Isaiah 2:2–3), the second gathering of Israel (2 Nephi 21:11, Isaiah 11:11), and the gathering to the lands of promises (2 Nephi 24:1–2). These will also be discussed in subsequent chapters.

Book of Mormon Commentary: I Nephi Wrote This Record