Isaiah played a profound role in the Book of Mormon. His inspired word accompanied Lehi and his family upon the plates of brass obtained from Laban. For Lehi and Nephi, looking back in time from the vantage point of 600 BC, the voice of Isaiah was still vibrant, for it had sounded the exalted Messianic themes only a century to a century and a half previously—not much different from the perspective of a modern Latter-day Saint looking back at the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith that occurred less than two centuries ago. The Savior’s commandment with reference to Isaiah still applies to all who read the Book of Mormon.
And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles.
And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake.
In his day, Nephi likewise extolled the universal importance of reading and pondering the words of Isaiah.
And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
Wherefore I spake unto them, saying: Hear ye the words of the prophet, ye who are a remnant of the house of Israel, a branch who have been broken off; hear ye the words of the prophet, which were written unto all the house of Israel, and liken them unto yourselves, that ye may have hope as well as your brethren from whom ye have been broken off; for after this manner has the prophet written.
To facilitate this process, Nephi and Jacob included numerous excerpts from the writings of Isaiah in the scriptural record: see 1 Nephi 20–21 ; 2 Nephi 12–24. Additional excerpts from Isaiah occur in Mosiah 14 , that Israel would suffer by persisting in her prideful and ungodly walk, and that good would eventually triumph in the last days.
At the core of Isaiah’s words stands a vision of the mission of the Redeemer and the atoning power of the Father’s plan of salvation. Various patterns emerge in Isaiah’s writings: (1) joy as Israel’s faithful are gathered again to the protecting care of Zion; (2) the unfolding of the earthly ministry of the Savior and His condescension in coming among the children of men; and (3) the covenant obligations of the faithful. If the Book of Mormon is a “another testament of Jesus Christ,” then Isaiah is the bridge that unites the voice of the Old Testament and the voice of the New Testament (in which Isaiah is quoted more than any other prophet) with the voice of prophets from the Promised Land.