“A Marvelous Work and a Wonder”

Brant Gardner

“Wherefore” grammatically depends on the closing clause of verse 17—the “marvelous work and a wonder.” Nephi defines this wonder as Yahweh’s bringing forth his words to Israel in the future. These words are obviously in addition to Yahweh’s instruction, which Israel has had for centuries. The purpose of this new message will be to convince the Jews “of the true Messiah.” Thus, the candidate texts must be the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Because Nephi describes this event as coming near the end of time, he is referring to the Book of Mormon in general and to his own testimony in particular. Nephi understands that his personal witness will be a means of convincing Israel of the Messiah’s divinity at some point in the future.

Narrative: In this verse, one of the important aspects of the restoration is that Yahweh “shall bring forth his words unto them.” Yahweh’s “words” are the scriptures, and this part of the prophecy probably refers to the same section of the vision as found in 1 Nephi 14: 21–25 and 39–41 where that explanation discussed the Bible and later “other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb” (1 Ne. 14:39).

History: Nephi notes that there is only one “true” Messiah. His reason for being so specific must be his vision of the future in which other candidate “messiahs” would be proposed, although he does not say so. These proposed messiahs are not necessarily evil in intent nor is the deception of which Nephi speaks necessarily malicious. Great leaders have arisen among the Jews whom the people have proposed as the Messiah. That the leadership qualities of such men should inspire hope is understandable. That they are not the expected Messiah is certain.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2