“They Must Surely Come to Pass”

Brant Gardner

Textual: Even without a chapter break, Nephi is clearly identifying a change in his text. He is no longer addressing the vision of the future molded around Isaiah 29 (though he will return to themes in Isaiah 29). That text ends not only with the end of the text in Isaiah, but with the obvious statement “I have spoken unto you.” Nephi shifts verb tenses from the future and present tenses to the past tenses. He is finished with that part of his narrative.

The very final statement is I know that they must surely come to pass." Nephi is placing his prophetic seal on the text just finished. While the text ends at our current chapter break, this verse conceptual should be read as the final verse of Nephi’s Isaiah - based pesher. While Nephi will return to the themes in the next chapters, this ends the close following of the text.

In this context, we should discern a difference between Nephi’s pesher-like commentary and the pesher commentaries noted for Qumran. Where the Qumran commentaries are based on a limited text with an idiosyncratic reading (Eisenman, Robert. James the Brother of Jesus. 1997, p. 81), Nephi’s elaboration of the Isaiah text is much more complete. Nephi follows much of his previous habit with Isaiah, where he quotes whole sections rather than simply proof texts. Even in this elaboration, Nephi strengthens his interpretation by relating nearly an entire chapter to the prophetic situation. Nephi differs, then in the amount of text upon which his pesher is based, a distinction that does not necessarily fit precisely with the Qumran usage (which was centuries later) but is quite consistent with Nephi’s usage of brass plate text as support for his arguments and visions.

The verse which follows is the connector between the attested prophecy and a return to Nephi’s description of future events.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon