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How Can Nephi's Writings Amazingly Help All Readers Get through the Book of Isaiah?
As Latter-day Saints are completing their Come, Follow Me study of Isaiah this week, it can be helpful to step-back and look at the big picture of Isaiah’s collective message across his entire book. This can sometimes be hard to discern, since many of the individual prophecies and passages are dense and difficult to interpret, but the Book of Mormon can be a valuable aid to helping readers organize, make sense of, and recognize patterns across the entire book of Isaiah.
In particular, John W. Welch has identified in Nephi’s use of Isaiah a specific framework that he called the Nephite Prophetic Worldview. This worldview was developed in 1 Nephi 11–14 and includes four stages:
- Stage 1: Christ’s coming (1 Nephi 11);
- Stage 2: his rejection and the scattering of the Jews (1 Nephi 12);
- Stage 3: the day of the Gentiles (1 Nephi 13); and
- Stage 4: the restoration of Israel and the ultimate victory of good over evil (1 Nephi 14).
The was used by Nephi and multiple prophets after him to comment on and interpret Isaiah. As such, by using this worldview as a guide, modern readers will be better able to understand Isaiah’s profound prophecies regarding Jesus Christ.
To help modern readers better understand Isaiah through the lens of the Nephite Prophetic Worldview, a new reading plan has been uploaded to ScripturePlus. This reading plan, titled “Reading Isaiah through the Nephite Prophetic Worldview,” includes selected chapters from Isaiah with helpful commentary to better understand Isaiah’s writings within the four stages of this worldview.
The reading plan is divided into five sections, with an introduction and a section for each stage. The introduction offers helpful charts that will allow readers to better understand and visualize each of these four points, showing how various passages from Isaiah fit into each of these points constituting the Nephite Prophetic Worldview. For each stage, five to six chapters or passages of Isaiah from the Bible and Book of Mormon are offered, as well as quotations from Welch’s studies on this topic, and KnoWhys for diving further into how the Nephite Prophetic Worldview was employed for each of these points specifically.
By reading passages from the Book of Mormon as well as the Book of Isaiah, it is our hope that readers will be able to better see how Isaiah is rightly considered a witness to the coming of Jesus Christ. Throughout Isaiah’s prophecies, repeated references to the Messiah and His ministry are made. The Book of Mormon’s mastery of these messianic passages of Isaiah is staggeringly amazing. The ancient prophets who recorded this amazing book of scripture demonstrated their mastery of Isaiah, giving compelling interpretations of the passages they cited that both harmonized them with their four-stage prophetic worldview and made them immediately relevant to the circumstances of the Nephite people.
After Latter-day Saints have read much of Isaiah for Come, Follow Me, many are in a better position to comprehend and appreciate more fully how miraculous the Book of Mormon’s exposition and applications of Isaiah’s dense but rewarding passages truly are. This study guide will likewise help Latter-day Saints continue to search and heed the words of Isaiah, as the Savior commanded (3 Nephi 23:1), for indeed “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” (3 Nephi 23:2).
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