Isaiah 29: Part I

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President Russell M. Nelson has asked that we especially study those portions of the Bible that testify of the Book of Mormon. In this series we will study Isaiah 29, one of the most glorious chapters in Holy Writ. It declares the coming forth of that book of books, as Elder Parley P. Pratt called the Book of Mormon.

The Lord, in His mercy, made provisions for the descendants of the Lamanites to hear the word in the last days (see Enos 1:12–13). The writings of the Nephite prophets—as well as the Jaredites—were to come forth as the Book of Mormon many centuries after these prophets lived upon the earth. This book, together with the Bible, bears the most solemn witness of the divinity of Christ.

In preparation to ponder Isaiah 29, we will first examine 2 Nephi 26:14–20, verses are intimately associated with our topic. You may also wish to study 2 Nephi 25–33. I have interposed some explicatory comments in brackets. I have also taken the liberty of stressing some key words in the text and they appear in blue.

As always, your comments and observations are welcome. I love to think of my writings as comments I may have made as a participant in a Sunday School class. You may have ideas to add, o may view the topic in a different way. This way we can all be edified and learn together.   

“14 But behold, I [Nephi] prophesy unto you concerning the last days [the time when the Church of Jesus Christ would once again be restored upon the earth]; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things [the Book of Mormon] forth unto the children of men.”

“15 After my seed [the Nephites] and the seed of my brethren [the Lamanites] shall have dwindled in unbelief [as both the Nephites and Lamanites would turn away from the Lord and the Church of Jesus Christ], and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles [after the European colonists conquer the American continent and subdue the Lamanites]; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them [the Nephite nation] round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not [the Nephite nation shall be extinguished], yet the words of the righteous shall be written [the Book of Mormon will contain the words of the righteous prophets], and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard [such as the prophet Enos and others], and all those who have dwindled in unbelief [the Lamanite nation] shall not be forgotten.”

“16 For those who shall be destroyed [the Nephites] shall speak unto them out of the ground [representing the Book of Mormon, that would be buried and brought forth out of the ground], and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit [all of these are various ways of representing the Holy Ghost, speaking forth and bearing witness of the truth spoken by the Nephite Prophets long buried as well as the words of the Plates of Brass or the Bible]; for the Lord God will give unto him power [to the Prophet Joseph Smith, in terms of being able to translate the words into English so they transmit the message with power], that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust [through the Book of Mormon that will be unburied and the testimonies of the prophets of the Book of Mormon].”

“17 For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book [the Book of Mormon, Not just the sealed portion of the plates is considered ‘sealed.’ Nephi also uses this word when describing the return of the Book of Mormon plates to the Lord after its translation: “For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed” (2 Nephi 30:3b)], and those who have dwindled in unbelief [the Nephite and Lamanite nations of old] shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.”

“18 Wherefore, as those who have been destroyed have been destroyed speedily [both those at time of crucifixion and final battles around Cumorah]; and the multitude of their terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away—yea, thus saith the Lord God: It shall be at an instant, suddenly—[both those at time of crucifixion and final battles around Cumorah]”

“19 And it shall come to pass, that those who have dwindled in unbelief [the remnant of the Lamanite nation at the time that the European settlers arrive in America] shall be smitten by the hand of the Gentiles [the European settlers].”

“20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes [the European settlers], and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block [pride and blindness so they could not recognize Christ], that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor [thus requiring that the Lord re-establish the Church of Jesus Christ once again, rather than reform any of the existing churches of the time].”

Beginning with the next article in the series, we will get into the meat of the verses within Isaiah 29 itself.

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Gregorio Billikopf belongs to the Llanquihue Branch, Puerto Montt Stake, in the south of Chile. He is the author of Isaiah Testifies of Christ and an emeritus academic of the University of California and professor of the University of Chile; author of Party-Directed Mediation: Facilitating Dialogue between Individuals and other books. Gregorio’s paternal grandparents are Lithuanian Jews and German Jews and on his mother’s side of the family he is Chilean. He found Christ through reading the Book of Mormon. You may contact him through bielikov2@yahoo.cl.

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