For scripture, I shall draw the text from the 1830 edition. Commentary shall come from several sources.
2 Nephi 11
AND now Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless, only these things have I caused to be written for the things which I have written, sufficeth me.
2 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah: for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people; and I will send them forth unto all my children for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him.
3 And my brother Jacob also hath seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children, to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses; and he proveth all his words.
4 Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ: for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him.
5 And also, my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord which he hath made to our fathers; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and his justice, and power, and mercy, in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death.
6 And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people, that save Christ should come, all men must perish.
7 For if there be no Christ, there be no God; and if there be no God, we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ; and he cometh in the fulness of his own time.
8 And now, I write some of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people which shall see these words, may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men. Now, these are the words; and ye may liken them unto you, and unto all men.
The Writings of Isaiah
Nephi provides two primary reasons as to why he loves the writings of Isaiah and he lays these out in verses 4-8.
- Proves the truth of the Coming of Christ.
- Teaches of the covenants given to the fathers regarding the Plan of Redemption that Christ offers us.
Isaiah’s writings give insight to us today and many of Isaiah’s statements mirror the writings of John the Revelator.
As we read through Isaiah, it is good to understand that the writings typically fall under one of these categories.
- Prophesies of the coming of Christ, both for his first coming and his second coming.
- Current events of Isaiah’s days which are often types and shadows of the last days.
- Prophesies of the last days.
- The covenants God has made to all of his children.
Verse Three: “Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses; and he proveth all his words.” Nephi in this case is referring to three witnesses establishing the word of God. In this case, the three are Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah. This same verse can also be a reference to the future 3 Witnesses to the Book of Mormon who were shown by an angel the Gold record written predominately by Mormon. The three witnesses were Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. Nephi also states that there will be additional witnesses as well. Many prophets in the old testament days testified of the coming of Jesus Christ. In the same manner, the Book of Mormon itself has had more than just the three witnesses testify that the record existed.
To See the Face of the Lord
Verses 1-3: I find it fascinating that Jacob, Nephi, and Isaiah have all seen the Lord their Redeemer. In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Oh, that all of us may live with such purity that we may see the face of the Lord.
Commentary from George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl taken from Commentary on the Book of Mormon published in 1955:
VERSE 2. My Soul Delighteth in his Words. This chapter may be considered an introduction by Nephi to the excerpts he is about to make from the records of the Prophet Isaiah. There are twelve chapters from this book, from 2 to 13, inclusive, besides the paragraphs quoted by Jacob. ( 2 Ne. 7 and 8 ) Nephi states the reason why he reads and quotes that portion of the Old Testament. His soul delighteth in it. The Prophet had seen the Redeemer and his testimony of that fact was a strong corroboration of the testimony of Nephi, who also said he had seen our divine Savior. In addition, Isaiah spoke of the gathering of Israel and Judah, and that must have been a gospel of infinite consolation to the exiles on the Islands of the Sea.
VERSE 3. Jacob, too, had seen the Savior. Three witnesses were fully competent to establish the fact itself of the existence of Jesus, even before his birth in the flesh.
VERSE 4. The Coming of Christ. Isaiah has been called “The Evangelical Prophet,” because of his abundant predictions concerning the Messiah, his birth, his character, ministry, passion, death, his final victory and the majesty and glory of his kingdom. Nephi, who lived long before the Advent, delighted in the study of these themes. And it was necessary to study them in order to prove their truth to others. The Law of Moses was given for the same purpose. To explain the Gospel of Christ. Refers especially to the ceremonial law. The dedication of the firstborn ( Ex. 12: 2 ); the distinction between clean and unclean food; the rules for purification; lawful and unlawful marriages; the laws regarding priestly orders, holy places, times of holding services; the Sabbath, the sabbatical year ( every 7th ); the year of jubilee; passover; the feast of weeks; of tabernacles of trumpets, and the day of atonement. All such precepts were given for the purpose of teaching the children of Israel the first principles of the Gospel.
VERSE 5. The Covenants of the Lord. See notes 2 Ne. 10:17. In his Grace, Justice, Power, and Mercy, in the plan of deliverance from death. Grace means the love of God, which is the source of all the benefits we receive from him. But it means also, in a secondary sense, the benefits themselves which we receive, among all of which the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest. When John, in his Gospel, says: “The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ ( John 1:17 ); he means to say that, as the Old Mosaic dispensation came through Moses, so the New Gospel dispensation has come through Jesus Christ. Paul uses the word, grace, in the same sense: “As sin has reigned unto death, even so, might grace” -the Gospel- “reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ, our Lord.” ( Rom. 5:21. ) Mercy. Justice does not exclude mercy. Sometimes what we call “justice” may be rank injustice, because we do never know for certain what mitigating circumstances, due to heredity or environment, are responsible in a case of transgression. Sometimes mercy is justice. In the Old dispensation the tables of law were covered by the “Mercy Seat,” a most wonderful type of the government of God, who has said: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” ( D. and C. 64:10. )
VERSE 6. Save Christ Should Come All Men Must Perish. Nephi says he delights in proving this truth. His argument here takes the form of a compound syllogism, known as “sorites,” of which we have had several examples in this book.