2 Nephi 27

 

A Covenant Plan of Salvation

      (2 Nephi--Enos)


 

 

2 Nephi 27 (Nephi's Prophetic Paraphrase of the Isaiah Text & Commentary):

 

     Chapter 27

     (Prophetic Paraphrase of Isaiah 29)

 

     The Last Days: A Time Darkness

 

 1 But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles (that is, when the times of the Gentiles are being fulfilled -- see Luke 21:24)--yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land (or the land of the Restoration -- the Americas) and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken (or out of control) with iniquity and all manner of abominations (that is, they will be hooked on wickedness)--

 2 And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire (the signs of the Last Days).

 3 And all the nations that fight against Zion (or that fight against the Lord's work and his people), and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision (or in other words, their domination over the house of Israel will be suddenly be gone); yea, it shall be unto them (or unto the wicked nations), even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth [in his dream] but he awaketh and his soul is empty (or he is still hungry); or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion (or in other words, although the persecutors of the Lord's work might feel motivated because they feel like their persecutions are going to pay off, they will come up empty, and their hunger and thirst will continually be unsatisfied).

 4 For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder (that is: Stop and Think!), for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken (or out of control) but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink (that is, you will stagger about in wickedness because you reject the prophets).

 5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep (or spiritual darkness -- see Alma 12:11). For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers (or righteous leaders), and the seers (or prophets) hath he (the Lord) covered (or taken away) because of your iniquity.

 

     The Book of Mormon Will Come Forth in the Last Days

 

 6 And it shall come to pass (in the last days) that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book (the Book of Mormon), and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered (or the words of people who have already passed away such as Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, Moroni, etc.).

 7 And behold the book shall be sealed (referring to the sealed portion of the plates -- see verses 10, 21; also Ether 5:1); and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.

 8 Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed (or the sealed portion of the plates) shall not be delivered (or translated, etc.) in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book (or the sealed portion) shall be kept from them.

 9 But the book (that is, the gold plates) shall be delivered unto a man (Joseph Smith), and he shall deliver [from darkness to light -- or translate] the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he (Joseph Smith) shall deliver these words unto another (referring prophetically to the incident in which Martin Harris gave a copy of characters taken from the plates to Professor Charles Anthon -- see JS-H 1:63-65);

 10 But the words which are sealed (or the sealed portion of the plates) he shall not deliver (or bring to light -- or translate), neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed (or the sealed portion) shall be kept in the book (that is, it will be kept with the plates) until the own due time of the Lord (verse 22), that they (or the contents of the sealed portion) may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.

 11 And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed (or the sealed portion -- see verses 8 and 10) shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things (see D&C 101:32-34) shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.

 

     Chosen Witnesses Will View the Book

 

 12 Wherefore, at that day when the book (that is, the gold plates) shall be delivered unto the man (Joseph Smith) of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses (that is, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris -- see D&C 17, heading and verse 1) shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.

 13 And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few (or the Eight Witness) according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead.

 14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses (missionaries, etc.) as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!

 

     The Learned Will Say He Cannot Read the Book

 

 15 But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him (Joseph Smith) to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another (that is, to Martin Harris), that he may show them unto the learned (or unto Professor Charles Anthon and Dr. Mitchell -- see JS-History 1:64-65), saying: Read this, I pray thee. And the learned (or Charles Anthon) shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.

 16 And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they (Anthon and Mitchell) say this, and not for the glory of God.

 17 And the man (Martin Harris) shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.

 18 Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.

 19 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him (Joseph Smith) that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned.

 20 Then shall the Lord God say unto him (Joseph Smith): The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee [with the help of the Urim and Thummim, etc.].

 

     The Restoration Will Be a Marvelous Work and a Wonder

 

 21 Touch not the things which are sealed (that is, don't even peek at the sealed portion), for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.

 22 Wherefore, when thou (Joseph Smith) hast read the words which I have commanded thee (that is, when you have finished the translation of the Book of Mormon), and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read (which is the sealed portion), until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.

 23 For behold, I am God; and I am a GOD OF MIRACLES; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever (or in essence, I have used the same gospel covenants to save people from the beginning; I am totally reliable and dependable); and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

 24 And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him (Joseph Smith -- see JS-H 1:19) that shall read (or translate) the words that shall be delivered him:

 25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me (or their concept of God) is taught by the precepts of men--

 26 Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous (or "astonishing") work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder (meaning The Restoration of the Gospel), for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid (or in other words, all the scholarly religious attitudes and beliefs will be inadequate when compared with the revealed truth).

 27 And wo unto them (or unto the wicked) that seek deep to hide their counsel (or their evil plots) from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down (or your perversion of truth) shall be esteemed as the potter's clay (or in other words, they will claim they can get along without God -- see Isaiah 45:9). But behold, I will show unto them (or unto the wicked), saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work (or the pot) say of him that made it (or of the potter), he made me not? Or shall the thing framed (a house, etc.) say of him that framed it (or of the carpenter), he had no understanding (or in essence, can any child of God say: God doesn't know me, and not only can I hide from God, but I have no accountability to God)?

 28 But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while (that is, it won't be long after the Book of Mormon comes forth) and Lebanon (or the Holy Land -- the homeland of the House of Israel) shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest (that is, Israel will blossom with truth, spiritual growth, etc., after the Restoration).

 29 And 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 (or in other words, the spiritually deaf and blind will be healed as a result of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, etc.).

 30 And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (that is, the righteous will know the Savior again).

 31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one (or the tyrant oppressing Israel) is brought to naught, and the scorner (or scoffer) is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity (or who are experts in calling white "black," and black "white," as in those who wrongfully criticize Church leaders and members -- see D&C 45:50) are cut off;

 32 And they that make a man an offender for a word (or take offense--sometimes purposely--at another's words, even though no offense may have been intended, and seek the help of other corrupt officials to enforce their ideas), and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate (or in other words, who find fault with the prophet or try to destroy the honest person attempting to straighten out corrupt governments, etc. Note* The "gate" was an alcove in Jerusalem's wall where officials and citizens met to discuss matters.), and turn aside the just for a thing of naught (that is, who destroy good people for unimportant matters).

 33 Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob (or the house of Israel): Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale (or in other words, Father Jacob will no longer have to be embarrassed about the behavior of his posterity).

 34 But when he seeth his children (or his faithful posterity), the work of my hands (or their righteousness), in the midst of him, they (the righteous house of Israel) shall sanctify my name (that is, they will keep their covenants), and sanctify THE HOLY ONE OF JACOB, and shall fear (or respect) the God of Israel (who is Christ).

 35 They also that erred in spirit (or that unintentionally made mistakes because they followed the philosophies of men) shall come to understanding, and they that murmured (or were hard-hearted--or slow to accept doctrinal truths and put them to use in their lives) shall learn doctrine (In other words, many will be brought to Christ through the truths of the Restoration).

[Alan C. Miner, Step by Step through the Book of Mormon: The Covenant Story, Vol. 2. Adapted from David J. Ridges, Isaiah Made Easier / The Book of Revelation Made Easier, 1994]

 

2 Nephi 27 Heading Compare Isaiah 29 (Nephi's "Likening" of Isaiah 29):

 

     John Tvedtnes writes that parts of Isaiah 28 and 29 are interspersed throughout 2 Nephi 25-29. Some of these are direct quotes (often with variations), followed by commentary, while others are paraphrases (also with commentary in many cases). Some critics have attacked Joseph Smith, saying that he deliberately altered Isaiah 29 in 2 Nephi 27 in order to back his own story (that of Martin Harris' visit to Prof. Anthon, as recorded in JS-H 1:63-65). But a careful reading of 2 Nephi 27 will reveal that this is not a transcription of Isaiah 29, but, rather, a midrash or scriptural commentary. After quoting Isaiah chapters 2-14 (as found in 2 Nephi 12-24), Nephi proposes to,

           speak somewhat concerning the words which I have written, which have been spoken by the mouth of Isaiah. For behold, Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many of my people to understand . . . [but] because of the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy (2 Nephi 25:1, 4)

 

The subsequent verses outline his intention to pursue the matter, giving Isaiah's prophecies meaning by use of his own revelations and prophecies. Because many of Nephi's Isaiah quotes are paraphrased and intermingled with his own thoughts in these chapters, it should not be surprising to see the Book of Mormon version of Isaiah 29 quite at variance with the King James Version. Nephi and some of the other prophets of the Book of Mormon were fully aware of the purpose for which they were making their record. They knew of Joseph Smith's future mission, and it is by no means accidental that Nephi here refers in part to that mission, by drawing upon the prophecies of Isaiah. Some of parts of Isaiah 28 and 29 which are interspersed throughout 2 Nephi 25-29 are as follows:

     2 Nephi 25:1            (Isaiah 11:11 + 29:14)

     2 Nephi 26:15      (Isaiah 29:3)

     2 Nephi 26:15-16      (Isaiah 29:4)

     2 Nephi 26:18      (Isaiah 29:5)

     2 Nephi 27:2-5      (Isaiah 29:6-10)

     2 Nephi 27:6-9      (Isaiah 29:4, 11)

     2 Nephi 27:15-19      (Isaiah 29:11-12)

     2 Nephi 28:9            (Isaiah 29:13, 15)

     2 Nephi 28:14      (Isaiah 29:13)

     2 Nephi 28:16      (Isaiah 29:21)

     2 Nephi 28:30            (Isaiah 28:10 or 13)

     2 Nephi 29:1            (Isaiah 29:14)

[John A. Tvedtnes, "The Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon," FARMS, pp. 60-61]

 

2 Nephi 27 Heading Compare Isaiah 29 (Nephi's "Likening" of Isaiah 29)

 

     In 2 Nephi 27, we find much of what appears to be Isaiah 29. In fact, the present chapter heading in the 1981 edition tells the reader to "compare Isaiah 29." However, according to Robert Cloward, what we find in 2 Nephi 27 is not Isaiah 29, it is Nephi's "likening" of Isaiah 29 to his own circumstances, formulating an original prophecy that gave the old scripture new significance and saw fulfillment in the Book of Mormon. . . .

     Before examining exactly how and where Isaiah 29 appears in the Book of Mormon, it is vital to study it in its biblical context; then it will become clear how Book of Mormon writers applied Isaiah's words to truths they understood about themselves. This process, which Nephi and Jacob call "likening," was in part their justification for using Isaiah's words (see 1 Nephi 19:23-24; 22:8; 2 Nephi 6:5; 11:2; 11:8). Not only did they delight in "likening" scripture to themselves, they urged this process upon later readers as well. Their "likening" of Isaiah 29 provides a most interesting illustration of how this is done. . . .

     Isaiah 29 is not a long chapter, but its message is clear to the Jews: The Lord announces the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of her people as his response to pride and hypocritical worship. Then he foretells the miraculous era when he will revive and restore Jerusalem and the house of Jacob, calling this restoration "a marvellous work and a wonder." . . .

     There is a direct correlation of Isaiah's prophecy in 29:1-4,6 with the 587 B.C. destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. Isaiah's continuing prophecy in 29:5,7-8 can be matched with the subsequent vanquishing of Babylon's power by the Medes and the Persians (see Isaiah 13-14, 21, 41, 43-48). History tells us that in 536 B.C., Cyrus the Great of Persia allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (see Isaiah 44:28; 45:1; compare 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1, 3), but evidently this was not the restoration Isaiah prophesied in 29:14,17-24. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, and Malachi indicate that, for the most part, Jerusalem's prophets, rulers, and seers were still "covered" during the sixth through the fourth centuries B.C., and "the vision of all" was still like the words of a sealed book. . . . Additionally, passages in the New Testament (Matthew 15:7-9; Mark 7:6-7; Romans 11:8) also imply that despite their return from Babylon, the Jews of the New Testament era were still in the state of blindness and stupor that Isaiah had foreseen. . . .

     The Romans (which helped fulfill the "woe" and "destruction" prophesied) eventually declined and became "as a dream of a night vision" (Isaiah 29:7). . . . Nevertheless, the question still remained, What about the Jerusalem and her people as prophesied in Isaiah 29:17-24 which talks about "a marvellous work and a wonder"?

     According to Cloward, a comparison of these verses of prophecy related to a "marvellous work and a wonder" with the present condition of Jerusalem and the Jews reveals that most of these prophecies have not yet been fulfilled. The Lord promised a reversal of Jerusalem's physical and spiritual destruction, but today the hearts of Jerusalem's people are still far removed from him. Their fear toward him is still taught by the precept of men. He has not yet made them the work of his hands so that they "sanctify the Holy One of Jacob" and "fear the God of Israel," the Great Jehovah, Jesus Christ (Isaiah 29:23).

     Isaiah lamented in Isaiah 29:11 that the vision of Jerusalem's people had become as the words of a sealed book. No specific book is mentioned because Isaiah's concern was the lost vision of his people not a book. His expression is symbolic--a simile, one of many similes and metaphors in Isaiah 29. Isaiah's symbolic sealed book is still sealed today. Jerusalem's vision has not yet been opened. Her people that erred in spirit have not yet come to understanding and they that murmured have not yet learned doctrine (see Isaiah 29:24).

     It was Nephi who made Isaiah's symbolic book into a literal book. Nephi "likened" the symbolic book in Isaiah's simile to a literal, specific record the Lord had commanded him to write on gold plates. Nephi also foretold the latter-day role of his record in restoring vision, understanding, and doctrine to the house of Israel. To understand how this would occur, readers must turn to the Book of Mormon.

     In 2 Nephi 25:4 Nephi declares:

      . . . for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. But I give unto you a prophecy, according to the spirit which is in me; wherefore I shall prophesy according to the plainness which hath been with me from the time that I came out from Jerusalem with my father; for behold, my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn.

 

     After the lengthy quotation of Isaiah 2-14 (contained in 2 Nephi 12-24), the text of the Book of Mormon indicates a clear break at 2 Nephi 25:1. There, Nephi begins his "own prophecy," comprising six chapters, 2 Nephi 25-30. Nephi's "own prophecy"177 is easily definable in the text.178 It has a distinct introduction in 2 Nephi 25:1-8 and a distinct end statement in 2 Nephi 30:18. The body of the prophecy contains two major sections. The first, in 2 Nephi 25:9-20, speaks of the Lord's dealings with the Jews, and the second, in 2 Nephi 25:21--30:18, broadens into his dealings with the Nephites, Lamanites, and Gentiles, and the role of the Book of Mormon in the last days.

     In Nephi's "own prophecy" he uses many words and themes from the just-quoted chapters of Isaiah (2 Nephi 12-24--Isaiah 2-14). He also uses words and themes from other chapters of Isaiah, including many words that sound like Isaiah 29. . . . In essence, Nephi's "own prophecy" displays his total mastery of Isaiah's concepts and doctrines. No one with cursory knowledge could have written this. Because he knows them intimately, Nephi can integrate Isaiah's complex teachings into his likening in such a way that they become "plain."

     As for Nephi's likening of Isaiah 29, the words which sound like Isaiah 29 are found in:

     2 Nephi 25:17;

     2 Nephi 26:3,6,15-18;

     2 Nephi 27:1-7,15,17,19,25-35;

     2 Nephi 28:9,14,16,20,31;

     2 Nephi 29:1

     

     Nephi attributes none of these verses to Isaiah. In fact, he repeatedly claims the words as his own or attributes them to the Lord.179 . . . In 2 Nephi 27, Nephi adds a wealth of prophetic detail not found in Isaiah--about events that will occur thousand of years after his time. . . .

     Once Nephi had likened the words of Isaiah 29 to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the Nephites accepted this likening as the standard interpretation of Isaiah's words for them, and they passed that interpretation down from generation to generation. At the end of his contribution to the Book of Mormon, Nephi wrote: "I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come" (2 Nephi 33:13). This is an obvious allusion to Isaiah 29. In the final portions of the Book of Mormon, Moroni referred twice at length to Nephi's version of Isaiah 29 (see Mormon 8:23, 26-27, 29-30; and Moroni 10:27). Moreover, Moroni later introduced Nephi's likened version of Isaiah 29 (not the Jewish version) to the latter-day dispensation when he appeared in 1823 to the Prophet Joseph Smith. [Robert A. Cloward, "Isaiah 29 and the Book of Mormon," in Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, pp. 191-214]

 

2 Nephi 27 (Isaiah Text & Commentary):

 

     Chapter 27

     (Prophetic Paraphrase of Isaiah 29)

 

     The Last Days: A Time Darkness

 

 1 But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles (that is, when the times of the Gentiles are being fulfilled -- see Luke 21:24)--yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land (or the land of the Restoration -- the Americas) and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken (or out of control) with iniquity and all manner of abominations (that is, they will be hooked on wickedness)--

 2 And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire (the signs of the Last Days).

 3 And all the nations that fight against Zion (or that fight against the Lord's work and his people), and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision (or in other words, their domination over the house of Israel will be suddenly be gone); yea, it shall be unto them (or unto the wicked nations), even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth [in his dream] but he awaketh and his soul is empty (or he is still hungry); or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion (or in other words, although the persecutors of the Lord's work might feel motivated because they feel like their persecutions are going to pay off, they will come up empty, and their hunger and thirst will continually be unsatisfied).

 4 For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder (that is: Stop and Think!), for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken (or out of control) but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink (that is, you will stagger about in wickedness because you reject the prophets).

 5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep (or spiritual darkness -- see Alma 12:11). For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers (or righteous leaders), and the seers (or prophets) hath he (the Lord) covered (or taken away) because of your iniquity.

 

     The Book of Mormon Will Come Forth in the Last Days

 

 6 And it shall come to pass (in the last days) that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book (the Book of Mormon), and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered (or the words of people who have already passed away such as Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, Moroni, etc.).

 7 And behold the book shall be sealed (referring to the sealed portion of the plates -- see verses 10, 21; also Ether 5:1); and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.

 8 Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed (or the sealed portion of the plates) shall not be delivered (or translated, etc.) in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book (or the sealed portion) shall be kept from them.

 9 But the book (that is, the gold plates) shall be delivered unto a man (Joseph Smith), and he shall deliver [from darkness to light -- or translate] the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he (Joseph Smith) shall deliver these words unto another (referring prophetically to the incident in which Martin Harris gave a copy of characters taken from the plates to Professor Charles Anthon -- see JS-H 1:63-65);

 10 But the words which are sealed (or the sealed portion of the plates) he shall not deliver (or bring to light -- or translate), neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed (or the sealed portion) shall be kept in the book (that is, it will be kept with the plates) until the own due time of the Lord (verse 22), that they (or the contents of the sealed portion) may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.

 11 And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed (or the sealed portion -- see verses 8 and 10) shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things (see D&C 101:32-34) shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.

 

     Chosen Witnesses Will View the Book

 

 12 Wherefore, at that day when the book (that is, the gold plates) shall be delivered unto the man (Joseph Smith) of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses (that is, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris -- see D&C 17, heading and verse 1) shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.

 13 And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few (or the Eight Witness) according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead.

 14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses (missionaries, etc.) as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!

 

     The Learned Will Say He Cannot Read the Book

 

 15 But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him (Joseph Smith) to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another (that is, to Martin Harris), that he may show them unto the learned (or unto Professor Charles Anthon and Dr. Mitchell -- see JS-History 1:64-65), saying: Read this, I pray thee. And the learned (or Charles Anthon) shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.

 16 And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they (Anthon and Mitchell) say this, and not for the glory of God.

 17 And the man (Martin Harris) shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.

 18 Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.

 19 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him (Joseph Smith) that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned.

 20 Then shall the Lord God say unto him (Joseph Smith): The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee [with the help of the Urim and Thummim, etc.].

 

     The Restoration Will Be a Marvelous Work and a Wonder

 

 21 Touch not the things which are sealed (that is, don't even peek at the sealed portion), for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.

 22 Wherefore, when thou (Joseph Smith) hast read the words which I have commanded thee (that is, when you have finished the translation of the Book of Mormon), and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read (which is the sealed portion), until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.

 23 For behold, I am God; and I am a GOD OF MIRACLES; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever (or in essence, I have used the same gospel covenants to save people from the beginning; I am totally reliable and dependable); and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

 24 And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him (Joseph Smith -- see JS-H 1:19) that shall read (or translate) the words that shall be delivered him:

 25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me (or their concept of God) is taught by the precepts of men--

 26 Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous (or "astonishing") work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder (meaning The Restoration of the Gospel), for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid (or in other words, all the scholarly religious attitudes and beliefs will be inadequate when compared with the revealed truth).

 27 And wo unto them (or unto the wicked) that seek deep to hide their counsel (or their evil plots) from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down (or your perversion of truth) shall be esteemed as the potter's clay (or in other words, they will claim they can get along without God -- see Isaiah 45:9). But behold, I will show unto them (or unto the wicked), saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work (or the pot) say of him that made it (or of the potter), he made me not? Or shall the thing framed (a house, etc.) say of him that framed it (or of the carpenter), he had no understanding (or in essence, can any child of God say: God doesn't know me, and not only can I hide from God, but I have no accountability to God)?

 28 But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while (that is, it won't be long after the Book of Mormon comes forth) and Lebanon (or the Holy Land -- the homeland of the House of Israel) shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest (that is, Israel will blossom with truth, spiritual growth, etc., after the Restoration).

 29 And 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 (or in other words, the spiritually deaf and blind will be healed as a result of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, etc.).

 30 And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (that is, the righteous will know the Savior again).

 31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one (or the tyrant oppressing Israel) is brought to naught, and the scorner (or scoffer) is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity (or who are experts in calling white "black," and black "white," as in those who wrongfully criticize Church leaders and members -- see D&C 45:50) are cut off;

 32 And they that make a man an offender for a word (or take offense--sometimes purposely--at another's words, even though no offense may have been intended, and seek the help of other corrupt officials to enforce their ideas), and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate (or in other words, who find fault with the prophet or try to destroy the honest person attempting to straighten out corrupt governments, etc. Note* The "gate" was an alcove in Jerusalem's wall where officials and citizens met to discuss matters.), and turn aside the just for a thing of naught (that is, who destroy good people for unimportant matters).

 33 Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob (or the house of Israel): Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale (or in other words, Father Jacob will no longer have to be embarrassed about the behavior of his posterity).

 34 But when he seeth his children (or his faithful posterity), the work of my hands (or their righteousness), in the midst of him, they (the righteous house of Israel) shall sanctify my name (that is, they will keep their covenants), and sanctify THE HOLY ONE OF JACOB, and shall fear (or respect) the God of Israel (who is Christ).

 35 They also that erred in spirit (or that unintentionally made mistakes because they followed the philosophies of men) shall come to understanding, and they that murmured (or were hard-hearted--or slow to accept doctrinal truths and put them to use in their lives) shall learn doctrine (In other words, many will be brought to Christ through the truths of the Restoration).

[Alan C. Miner, Step by Step through the Book of Mormon: The Covenant Story, Vol. 2. Adapted from David J. Ridges, Isaiah Made Easier / The Book of Revelation Made Easier, 1994]

 

2 Nephi 27:1-5 (Chiastic Structure):

 

     The reader should note that the messages of Nephi 27:1-5 (and of Isaiah 29:6-10) are prophetically strengthened because these prophecies appear in chiastic form. However, the chiasm in the Book of Mormon is more complete, more understandable, and adapted for the last days. It becomes a prologue for Nephi's prophetic words on the coming forth of a book which is sealed (the Book of Mormon). In Isaiah's prophecy concerning the fate of the Jews at Jerusalem, however, the book really remained sealed.

     It becomes clear that Joseph Smith didn't just copy some words from Isaiah into his manuscript on a whim. The person who wrote this section of the Book of Mormon would have had to have an understanding of chiasms in prophetic writings. The reader is invited to compare the chiastic structure of the Book of Mormon with the words of Isaiah 29:6-10. Donald W. Parry gives the following chiastic structure for 2 Nephi 27:1-5:

 

But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles--

     yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles

     and also the Jews,

     both those who shall come upon this land

     and those who shall be upon other lands,

     yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, (anabasis)

 

A. behold, they will be drunken

      B. with iniquity and all manner of abominations--

           And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts,

           with thunder

           and with earthquake,

           and with a great noise,

           and with storm,

           and with tempest,

           and with the flame of devouring fire. (synonymia)

            C. And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a

           night vision; yea, it shall be unto them,

                  D.      a. even as unto a hungry man which dreameth,

                   b. and behold he eateth

                     c. but he awaketh

                       d. and his soul is empty;

 

                  D'      a. or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth,

                   b. and behold he drinketh

                     c. but he awaketh and behold he is faint,

                       d. and his soul hath appetite; (extended alternate)

 

            C' yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion

      B' For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry

A' a. yea, ye shall be drunken (simple alternate)

          b. but not with wine,

     a. ye shall stagger

           b. but not with strong drink. For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep.

                a. For behold, ye have closed your eyes,

                     b. and ye have rejected the prophets;

                     b' and your rulers,

                a' and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.

 

And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.

[Donald W. Parry, The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted according to Parallelistic Patterns, F.A.R.M.S., pp. 102-103]

     Note* The reader should be aware that I have taken the liberty to slightly modify the structure of the last part of the chiasm (step B' and A') from what appears in Parry's book. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

 

2 Nephi 27:2 With Thunder and with . . . and with . . . and with . . . and with:

 

     Scholars have found that Book of Mormon passages apparently from the King James Version of the Bible contain variants corroborated in other biblical manuscript texts. Franklin Harris writes: "To Isaiah 29:6 the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 27:2) reads "and with" for "and" in four places. The Syriac reads as the Book of Mormon suggests. (Franklin S. Harris, Jr., The Book of Mormon: Messages and Evidences, pp. 50-52)

 

2 Nephi 27:6 The Lord God Shall Bring Forth unto You the Words of a Book:

 

     According to Robert Cloward, 2 Nephi 27:6 announces, "The Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book." This is very different from the corresponding wording of Isaiah 29:11. Isaiah's sealed book represented the obscurity of his people's vision, a negative image. In Nephi's prophecy, his partly sealed and partly unsealed book is always positive. From the first mention of it, Nephi's book is the future hope for his people. Isaiah's book is symbolic. Nephi's book is literal, real, tangible. Unlike those of Isaiah's, the words of Nephi's book, at least those of the unsealed part, are read. [Robert A. Cloward, "Isaiah 29 and the Book of Mormon," in Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, p. 209]

 

2 Nephi 27:7 And Behold the Book Shall Be Sealed:

 

     In 2 Nephi 27:7-11, the book that the Lord God "shall bring forth unto you" is spoken of as being "sealed." Because a portion of the gold plates obtained by Joseph Smith was sealed, we have generally identified that portion as the sealed book spoken of in Isaiah 29 and 2 Nephi 27. However, neither Isaiah nor Nephi clearly differentiate between the sealed and unsealed portions of the book. It may be that the "seal" Nephi was speaking of is that the message of the Book of Mormon (even the unsealed and published part) is "sealed" to anyone without faith, to anyone who trusts in the learning of the world and rejects the revelations of God.

     Although the book itself (meaning the gold plates) would be "hid from the world," the message of the book (except the sealed portion) is to go forth to all the world. [Robert J. Matthews, "Two Ways in the World," in Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 1, pp. 154-155] [See the commentary on Ether 3:25]

 

2 Nephi 27:7 The Book Shall Be a Revelation from God, from the Beginning of the World to the Ending Thereof:

 

     [See the commentary on Ether 3:25]

 

2 Nephi 27:9 But the book shall be delivered unto a man [Joseph Smith] (Illustration): Moroni Delivering the Golden Plates. Joseph Smith, the man Isaiah speaks of in chapter 27, verse 9, wrote: "On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they [the plates] were deposited, the same heavenly messenger [Moroni] delivered them up to me" (Joseph Smith--History 1:59). Artist: Gary Kapp. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 136]

 

2 Nephi 27:9 27:15 Take these words ... and deliver them to another (Illustration): The Text of the Anthon Manuscript. Two inverted parallel structures appear on the document when the text is formatted to illustrate separate phrases. The script reads from right to left. [C. Wade Brown. The First Page of the Golden Plates, pp. 80-81]

 

2 Nephi 27:9 27:15 Take these words ... and deliver them to another (Illustration): The Text of the Anthon Manuscript. Two inverted parallel structures appear on the document when the text is formatted to illustrate separate phrases. The script reads from right to left. [C. Wade Brown. The First Page of the Golden Plates, pp. 80-81]

 

 

2 Nephi 27:12 Three Witness Shall Behold [the Plates] by the Power of God:

 

     According to Stan Larson, while it is true that both 2 Nephi 27:12 and Ether 5:2-4 speak of the three witnesses, Joseph Smith specifies that it was the former passage that brought the idea of witnesses to the attention of those who were assisting him. (See the "Manuscript History of Joseph Smith," p. 23, in which the reference is to page 110 of the 1830 edition, which was the eleventh chapter of 2 Nephi in that edition and corresponds to 2 Nephi 27 of the present edition.) [Stan Larson, "A Most Sacred Possession," The Ensign, September 1977, p. 91]

 

2 Nephi 27:12 Three witnesses shall behold it (Illustration): Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris. The Lord provided witnesses to testify and establish His word. The Three Witnesses--Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin harris--testified that an angel of God showed them the gold plates of the Book of Mormon. [Thomas R. Valletta ed., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, 1999, p. 137]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take These Words . . . and Deliver Them to Another:

 

     In 2 Nephi 27:9-15 we find the following prophecy:

           But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee.

 

     According to Wade Brown, verbal history testifies that Joseph gave the "words" from the plates he was translating to Martin Harris in the form of a transcript, and Martin Harris in turn presented this document to Professor Anthon. But is there any tangible proof?

     There is a document containing Nephite script that passed into the custody of David Whitmer, one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. It is believed by many that this document is the original Harris-Anthon Transcript. From Whitmer's estate it eventually passed to the leadership of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now titled the Community of Christ. That church has protected and cared for the document for well over 100 years. Wade Brown has spent 30 years studying this document. The following is a summary of his findings:

     The strange script on the yellowing piece of paper has always been fascinating. Perhaps part of its appeal is the mystery surrounding its authenticity. It is really the Harris-Anthon Transcript? Who was the Nephite author(s) who composed it? What does it say? If Joseph copied it, is it copied accurately? Is it merely a passage from an internal part of the text or is it taken from a variety of separate plates?

     Brown goes on to detail the almost 30 years of frustrated research in gaining an answer to the above questions until he one day made a chance observation. He was looking at an enlarged copy but then turned to a normal sized copy with a magnifying glass and noticed a repetition at the bottom of the page. After many years he finally saw that the last line of the document reflected part of what appeared to be a perfect inverted parallel. One point of the last line was the center of the inverted parallel but the last little part of the parallel had been cut off. When this center point was recognized then each repeated character on the last three lines of small print on the manuscript fell into place as expected to form about two-thirds of an inverted parallel (the last part being cut off).

     In the days which followed, Brown was also able to structure the first four lines of large print into an additional inverted parallel. This one started at the beginning of the writing at the top of the document and continued completely to the end of the large print.

     Brown explains that when he was young he thought that Joseph Smith just became tired of copying the strange characters of the Anthon Manuscript and his handwriting became weaker and smaller. This proved a naive opinion. After finding the two separate inverted parallel forms, he realized that the characters do not gradually become smaller, they are apparently sized for a purpose. The top 4 lines were apparently large because they were the overall introduction to a book--the 3 small bottom lines being a sub-introduction.

     Using this newfound information, Brown found that Nephi used the same technique at the beginning to his book of 1st Nephi. The overall introduction at the very top of Nephi's first book provides a general statement explaining the colony of Lehi. The second introduction is a more personal introduction comprising 1 Nephi 1:1 through 1:3. In the first edition of the Book of Mormon, Nephi's first introduction was at the top of the printed page in large letters, and his secondary introduction was in smaller letters and was included within the text of the first chapter. This confirmed what Brown had suspected and led him to do further analysis. As a result of this analysis, Brown writes that if his theory is correct, the following facts are probably true:

     1. The characters on the proposed Anthon Transcript are accurately copied from the Nephite plates. Otherwise, the established language patterns would not have been retained. These language patterns negate the critics' claim that the script on the transcript was the idle creation of Joseph Smith.

     2. The script reads from right to left as suggested by Joseph Smith, rather than from left to right as in English and other modern languages.

     3. The text wraps--each line is a continuation of previous thought, not an independent phrase.

     4. Thus the transcript reflects identifiable Hebrew form in a transitory (shorthand) script. It truly was a form of shorthand which required less writing space than Hebrew.

     5. In comparing the transitory script with the parallel patterns of the present Book of Mormon, no similarities to any portion of the text has been found.

     6. Yet the enlarged text appears to be from the heading of a book.

     7. So perhaps the text reflects the first page of the manuscript (Book of Lehi) which was lost by Martin Harris--the first page from the golden plates of the Book of Mormon..

     8. Thus the Document held by the Community of Christ can be plausibly put forth as an authentic representation of characters which are inscribed on the golden plates.      

     9. While it might be possible to decipher the symbols through study, something that to the present time has been an exercise in frustration, it is also possible that decipherment will remain until the Lord directs his chosen servants to do so.

 

[C. Wade Brown, The First Page of the Golden Plates, pp. 55-92]

 

2 Nephi 27:9 2 Nephi 27:15 Take these words . . . and deliver them to another [Illustration]: The Text of the Anthon Manuscript. Two inverted parallel structures appear on the document when the text is formatted to illustrate separate phrases. The script reads from right to left. [C. Wade Brown, The First Page of the Golden Plates, pp. 80-81]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take These Words Which Are Not Sealed and Deliver Them to Another, That He May Show Them unto the Learned:

 

     According to the prophecies of Nephi, "it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee" (2 Nephi 27:15). Joseph Smith gave an account of the fulfillment of this prophecy of 2 Nephi 27:9-18:

           Sometime in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances, as he related them to me after his return, which was as follows: "I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.

           I then shewed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said that they were true characters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, 'I cannot read a sealed book.' I left him and went to Dr. Mitchill, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation." [Pearl of Great Price, JS-H 1:63-65]

 

     In a F.A.R.M.S. 72-page overview of this incident, with accompanying appendices, we find the following: (1) the accounts and illustrations of the meeting of Martin Harris and Charles Anthon; (2) reasoning which shows that Harris probably told the truth about Anthon's mention of Egyptian resemblances to the Book of Mormon characters, and (3) illustrations of Egyptian available to Anthon by 1828 that were comparable in form and arrangement to the Anthon Transcript.

     We can tell that Martin Harris was telling the truth because of the descriptive term "short-hand Egyptian" which he used to relate his story. Based solely on the books and illustrations which we know were readily available to Anthon, the characters Harris showed him could have reminded him of nothing so much as what the scholars were then calling "short-hand Egyptian." . . . Thus it becomes highly probable that Harris indeed got this phrase from Anthon, and that Anthon did mention "short-hand Egyptian," no doubt struck by certain obvious similarities in the transcript to hieratic or demotic Egyptian. From this, what else can one conclude, except that Martin Harris has been telling the truth all along about what Charles Anthon said on this point.

     Charles Anthon's side of the story breaks down in a number of ways, as has long been pointed out. For example, on whether he gave Martin Harris a written statement: Anthon's 1834 letter to Eber D. Howe says that he did not, while his 1841 letter to T. W. Coit says that he did. On how convincing he had been, Anthon's 1834 letter simply says that Harris "took his leave," but his 1841 letter claims that Harris left with the "express declaration" that he would not mortgage his farm or have anything to do with printing the golden book. What else can one say from Harris' subsequent conduct, except that Harris left Anthon fully satisfied?

     Although the only surviving Anthon Transcript (1) may not be the original, (2) has not been deciphered, and (3) is too short for decoding; several Egyptologists have thought that it contains many readily recognizable Egyptian cursive characters. When reached at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, the late Dr. W. C. Hayes thought it "conceivably" a poor copy of a Hieratic original. Professor Richard A. Parker, who had advised Ariel L. Crowley in his presentation of a comparison of Egyptian and Anthon transcript signs in the Improvement Era in 1942 and 1944, later stated in person to Professor Richard L. Bushman his opinion that the transcript was a copy of an authentic original in abnormal Demotic--suggesting and demonstrating to Bushman the similarity to Meroitic Demotic--noting in each case that Egyptian script was apparently being used for a non-Egyptian language. It is very important here to distinguish between language and script, just as Parker did in his conversation with Bushman, because that is exactly what Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni did in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 1:2; Mormon 9:32-34; Ether 8:9) [F.A.R.M.S. Staff, "Martin Harris' Visit with Charles Anthon: Collected Documents on the Anthon Transcript and "Shorthand Egyptian," pp. 1, 2, 4-7]

     The reader might wonder, where the original copy of the Anthon Transcript might be? Stanley Kimball responds, Martin Harris probably kept his copy for many years, but there is nothing known about what he finally did with it. In 1884 a committee of the RLDS Church conversed with David Whitmer and were shown a transcript of which he wrote, "I have in my possession the original paper containing some of the characters transcribed from one of the golden plates, which paper Martin Harris took to Professor Anthon of New York." Unfortunately we lack any further information regarding how, when, or why David Whitmer acquired this document. Though inconclusive, it is of interest to note that Martin Harris neither confirmed nor denied David Whitmer's claim. The RLDS transcript was given to the Church in 1903 by the heirs of David Whitmer, fifteen years after his death in 1888.

     One interesting, and possibly very meaningful, detail about the RLDS transcript is the word "Charactors" written across the top. Four students of early Church history, R.D. Webb, Ariel Crowley, Dean Jessee of the LDS Church Historian's Office, and the anti-Mormon writer I. Woodbridge Riley, think that this word is in the hand of Joseph Smith. If so, the authenticity of the RLDS transcript would be strengthened greatly. [Stanley B. Kimball, "The Anthon Transcript: People, Primary Sources, and Problems," pp. 347-349, Reprinted by F.A.R.M.S. from BYU Studies, Vol. 10 (1970)] [See the commentary on Moroni 10:27-29]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take These Words . . . and Deliver Them to Another:

 

     Part of Nephi's prophecy about showing the words of the Book of Mormon to another included the Lord's command, "Take these words . . . and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned" (2 Nephi 27:15). According to McConkie and Millet, here is the prophetic word which attests that Martin Harris's trip to New York was based upon more than his own curiosity or desire for academic substantiation for the Book of Mormon translation. Joseph Smith was commanded of the Lord to send another, Martin Harris, to New York. [Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 322]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned (Illustration): This document, which may be the original paper carried by Martin Harris to show Charles Anthon in New York City, presents some of the Book of Mormon characters. Courtesy Library Archives, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Auditorium, Independence, Missouri]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take These Words Which Are Not Sealed and Deliver Them to Another, That He May Show Them unto the Learned:

 

     According to Stanley Kimball and Cleon Skousen, Professor Charles Anthon is the brilliant and scholarly gentleman who turned out to be the "one that is learned," spoken of in Isaiah 29:11 and in 2 Nephi 27:15-18. It was to this learned professor of Columbia that Martin Harris took the characters which had been copied from the plates of the Book of Mormon.

     Charles Anthon was professor of classical studies at Columbia College (later Columbia University) for forty-seven years--1820-1867. In earlier years he attended Columbia as a student and is described as probably the most brilliant scholar ever to attend Columbia College.

     The Dictionary of American Biography describes Professor Anthon as a prolific writer. During a period of thirty years he produced at least one volume annually. "Each of his text books passed through several editions, and for thirty years his influence upon the study of the classics in the United States was probably greater than that of any other man." (Vol. 1, p. 314) Edgar Allen Poe wrote of Anthon: "If not absolutely the best, he is at least generally considered the best classicist in America . . ." (The Literati, New York, 1859, pp. 45-47). Harper's Weekly, Aug. 17, 1867, said Professor Anthon was "more widely known in Europe than any other American commentator on classical authors."

     Charles Anthon was a bachelor and lived in a wing of Columbia College. It is believed that it was there, in his study, that Martin Harris interviewed him. (Stanley B. Kimball, "The Anthon Transcript," BYU Studies, Spring, 1970, p. 331.) [W. Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, p. 1367]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned (Illustration). Professor Charles Anthon (1787-1867) [W. Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, p. 1367]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take These Words Which Are Not Sealed and Deliver Them to Another, That He May Show Them unto the Learned:

 

     According to Carl Jones, the first archaeological evidence of a possible New World script which might be comparable to that of the Anthon Transcript was found on a cylindrical stamp reported in La Venta, Tabasco: A Study of Olmec Ceramics and Art (Drucker, 1952).

     Another archaeological example of Anthon Transcript-like characters from the New World is the roller stamp found at Tlatlilco in the Valley of Mexico, now in the Milwaukee Public Museum, which was reported by David H. Kelley in the journal American Antiquity (Kelley, 1966). In his brief article Dr. Kelley went so far as to call this an example of a "hitherto unknown writing system." [Carl H. Jones, "The 'Anthon Transcript' and Two Mesoamerican Cylinder Seals," Newsletter and Proceedings of the S.E.H.A., Number 122, pp. 6-7]

 

2 Nephi 27:15 Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned (Illustration): Markings on the inscribed roller stamp ("cylinder seal") found at Tlatilco in the Valley of Mexico (bottom) and Anthon Transcript equivalents. [Carl H. Jones, "The 'Anthon Transcript' and Two Mesoamerican Cylinder Seals," Newsletter and Proceedings of the S.E.H.A., Number 122, p. 5]

 

2 Nephi 27:19 I Am Not Learned:

 

     Donl Peterson comments that while the Lord chose Joseph Smith to preside over this last dispensation of the gospel, Joseph had not been tutored in the schools of his day except to learn a few basic skills. Neither had he been schooled in the religious philosophies of his day. Joseph was pliable clay, ready and willing to be molded by the Master Craftsman. Isaiah reported that the Lord would give the ancient western scripture "to him that is not learned." Joseph, whom Isaiah saw in vision, would acknowledge:

     I am not learned. Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee. . . . For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith. (2 Nephi 27:19-20, 23)

     Joseph exercised faith early in his life; consequently, he was introduced to the ultimate schooling that is available to man--God's way. Joseph once said: "The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compl. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], p. 191).

     It is impossible to determine how many heavenly messengers counseled the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is equally difficult to ascertain how often those who have been identified visited him. Moroni appeared over a score of times--probably many more--and he is but one of several dozen angelic beings who further prepared Joseph Smith for his great calling.

     Even though the following canon is probably far from complete, it is the most complete list of heavenly personages who appeared to Joseph Smith or who were seen by him in vision that Donl Peterson was able to compile. Realize, again, that some of these great beings appeared several times to the Prophet Joseph.

 

Personages Who Appeared to Joseph

 

Personage

References

1. God the Father

JS--H 1:17; History of the Church 1:5; D&C 76:20

2. Jesus Christ

JS--H 1:17; HC 1:5-6; D&C 76:20-24; D&C 110:2-10

3. Moroni

JS--H 1;30-49; Journal of Discourses, 17:374

4. Elijah

D&C 110:13-16; JD 23:48

5. John the Baptist

D&C 13; HC 1:39-40

6-8. Peter, James, John

D&C 128:20; HC 1:40-42; JD 18:326

9. Adam (Michael)

HC 3:388; D&C 128:21; HC 2:380; JD 18:326, 21:94; 23:48; D&C 107:53-57; JD 9:41

10. Noah (Gabriel)

D&C 128:21; JD 21:94, 23:48

11. Raphael

D&C 128:21

12. Moses

D&C 110:11; JD 23:48; 21:65

13. Elias

D&C 110:12; JD 23:48

 

14. Abraham

JD 21:94, 23:48

15. Isaac

JD 21:94

16. Jacob

JD 21:94

17. Enoch

JD 21:65, 94; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

18-27. The Twelve Jewish Apostles (Peter, James, and John are already counted above.)

JD 21:94

 

28-39. The Twelve Nephite Apostles, including the Three Nephites

 

JD 21:94

 

40. Nephi

JD 21:161

41. Seth

JD 21:94; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

42. Methuselah

JD 18:325; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

43. Enos

JD 18:325; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

44. Mahalaleel

JD 18:325; HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

45. Jared (Bible)

HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

46. Lamech

JD 18:325

47. Abel

JD 18:325; HC 3:388

48. Cainan

HC 3:388; D&C 107:53-57

49. Zelph the Lamanite

Times and Seasons 6:788

50. Alvin Smith, Joseph's deceased brother

HC 2:380

 

51. Mormon

JD 17:374

 

[H. Donl Peterson, Moroni: Ancient Prophet Modern Messenger, p. 139-141]

 

2 Nephi 27:27 Wo unto Them That Seek Deep to Hide Their Counsels from the Lord:

 

     According to John Tvedtnes, some passages of the Book of Mormon can be better understood in Hebrew than in English because the Hebrew reflects word-play or a range of meaning which gives more sense to the passage. . . . Nephi wrote of the wicked who "seek deep to hide their counsel(s) from the Lord" (2 Nephi 27:27; 28:9). If Hebrew was indeed the language of the Book of Mormon, the Hebrew word here translated as "counsel" may have been sod, which can also mean "secret." [John A. Tvedtnes, "I Have a Question," in The Ensign, October 1986, p. 64]

 

2 Nephi 27:32 And They That Make a Man an Offender for a Word:

 

     In discussing examples of passages from Isaiah which appear to be copied from the King James Bible into the Book of Mormon, scholars have found variations in the text. Jeff Lindsay notes that this issue of Isaiah variants in the Book of Mormon is actually fairly complex and interesting. Lindsay includes a quote from Franklin Harris discussing one example:

           To Isaiah 29:21 the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 27:32 adds the phrase "and they" to the beginning of the verse. The Septuagint and Syriac both read the same as the Book of Mormon. (Franklin S. Harris, Jr., The Book of Mormon: Messages and Evidences, pp. 50-52)

[Quoted by Jeff Lindsay, "Did Joseph Smith Plagiarize from the King James Bible?," Book of Mormon Commentary, www.jefflindsay.com]