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TitleIsaiah 29
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1910
AuthorsJenson, Nephi
MagazineImprovement Era
Issue Number6
Date PublishedApril 1910
KeywordsBook of Mormon Translation; Isaiah (Book); Prophecy

Jenson testifies that the Book of Mormon fulfills the prophecy in Isaiah 29. It is a record of a fallen nation, it was a marvelous work and a wonder that the boy Joseph Smith translated the book, and it has caused the meek to increase their joy in the Lord.

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Isaiah 29

By Nephi Jenson

The prophecy recorded in the 29th chapter of Isaiah, and its remarkable fulfilment accomplished by the power of God, verifies in a most remarkable way the truth concerning divine interposition expressed in the lines:

Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never failing skill,

He treasures up his bright designs,

And works his sovereign will.

The thought most emphasized in the chapter is that a nation should "be brought down and speak out of the ground." The prophet seems to have been very deeply impressed with this thought, for he repeats it four times in the third verse of the chapter. Then, after describing graphically what should befall this nation which should be "brought down," the prophet declares:

11. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:

12. And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

That the book spoken of should contain a "vision" of the nation that should "speak out of the ground" is evident from the fact that just as the prophet finishes his description of that nation he declares, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book."

Then the prophet makes it plain that at the time of the coming forth of "the book" the power of God should be made manifest in a most remarkable way. In verse fourteen we have this bold declaration:

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among the people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Of the effect the book should have upon those who receive it,

18. In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

19. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord.

Is the Book of Mormon, the manner of its coming forth, its acceptance by those who have received it, a fulfilment of this most remarkable prophecy? Let us consider the different parts of the prophecy separately.

First, then, as to the character of the book spoken of. It should be the "voice" of a nation speaking "out of the ground," or a record of a nation that had been "brought down" or destroyed; and should contain something about the ministry of Christ, for it should make the "meek rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." The Book of Mormon possesses both of these characteristics. It is a history of a nation now extinct. It gives the origin of that nation, tells of its progress in government, religion and civilization. And it contains the gospel of Jesus Christ as he taught it to the ancient inhabitants of America, after he had completed his ministry in Palestine.

The most important incident associated with the fulfilment of the prophecy under consideration, should be an extraordinary manifestation of the power of God. The Lord, through the prophet, declares, "I will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder." And by way of indicating what effect this "marvelous work?" should have upon the world, it is declared that "the wisdom of their wise men shall perish." Is the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the gospel, and the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this "marvelous work?" To answer this question we only need to reason from cause to effect. The "marvelous work" spoken of by the prophet should cause "the wisdom of their wise men to perish, and the understanding of their prudent men to be hid;" or, in other words, this "marvelous work" to be accomplished by divine power would be so great and perfect that the theories and dogmas formulated by the "wisdom" of learned men, when compared with the work of God, would be found to be indefensible, and be rejected. Hundreds of young men of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, scarcely out of their teens, without any technical theological training, leave the plow in the furrow, the tools on the bench, and the books on the desk, and go out into the world to preach the gospel restored in the Book of Mormon and other modern revelations. After these young men have been in the missionary field for about a year they are able, without difficulty, to defend this restored gospel against the most skillful attacks of the most scholarly theologians. Indeed the untrained young men often witness the complete overthrow of the ingeniously devised doctrines of the theologians, when these doctrines clash with the eternal truth contained in "Mormonism." There is not a "Mormon" missionary who has not had the experience of seeing a learned divine, who has once measured his human creed against the truth revealed from heaven in the dispensation of the fulness of times, go out of his way to avoid a second meeting with a "Mormon" elder. How is it that these volunteer soldiers of the cross can so easily defend their religion against the attacks of the learned regulars of the ministry? It is because the young "Mormon" missionaries represent the "marvelous work" spoken of by the prophet; and they are armed with the great truths revealed in the Book of Mormon and other revelations given in the great last dispensation. When the cherished theories formulated in the councils of the wise strike the great truths found in the rock of revelation, "the wisdom of their wise men perish."

Of the effect the book should produce, it is declared that at the time the words of the book should be heard, "the meek should increase their joy in the Lord." Has the Book of Mormon caused "the meek to increase their joy in the Lord?" Let the devotion and fidelity of the Saints to the truth, and their suffering for the gospel, answer. Why did the Saints in the days of Missouri and Illinois endure vilification, the burning of their homes, the confiscation of their property, and expatriation, rather than deny their religion? It was because their faith and joy in the Lord had been "increased" by the witness of the Book of Mormon for the Lord, and by other strong assurance of the truth which had come to them.

The Book of Mormon corroborates the testimony of the Bible concerning the greatest truth of all history, that Jesus is the Christ. Those who receive the testimony of the Book of Mormon, as well as that of the Bible, have a double assurance of the divinity of the Son of God; and well might they, as they do, "rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."

The fulfilment of this remarkable prophecy accomplished by the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the manner in which the book has been received, and the effect it has produced, is no mere coincidence. It did not just happen so. The prophecy was uttered about three thousand years ago; we today witness its complete fulfilment. There is, in all this, evidence that the prophecy was inspired, and its fulfilment accomplished, by the Being who shapes the destiny of men and nations.

If it be said that a man like Joseph Smith could write the Book of Mormon, I answer that no man could write a book which, like the Book of Mormon, in three quarters of a century, would be accepted as a fulfilment of an ancient prophecy and a direct revelation from God, by a million people of all kinds of beliefs and different temperaments. Such a task is beyond the power of man. —Liahona, the Elders' Journal.

Forest Dale, Utah.

Scripture Reference

Isaiah 29:1-24