In 2 Nephi 11, Nephi expressed his love for the words of Isaiah. He also testified that Jacob and Isaiah had seen the “Redeemer, even as I have seen him” (2 Nephi 11:2). 2 Nephi 16 contains Isaiah’s account of being cleansed of his sins and called as a prophet when he “saw … the Lord sitting upon a throne” (see 2 Nephi 16:1, 5–8). Both Nephi and Jacob taught the value of likening Isaiah’s writings to ourselves (see 1 Nephi 19:23; 2 Nephi 6:5; 11:2), and the Lord declared, “great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1). 2 Nephi 11 contains some of Nephi’s explanation for his inclusion of the prophecies of Isaiah in his record, thus serving as an introduction to the words of Isaiah in 2 Nephi 12–24. 2 Nephi 25 serves as a conclusion to these chapters, containing Nephi’s counsel on how to understand Isaiah’s words. Nephi expresses his delight in testifying that salvation comes through Jesus Christ.
- What advantages are there to having multiple witnesses?
The Lord calls prophets to be His witnesses to the world. Ponder what it has meant to you to hear prophets testify of Jesus Christ.
Write the following statement in your scripture journal. By studying prophets’ testimonies of Jesus Christ, we can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and rejoice in Him.
- Understanding Isaiah
Teachers and students may find it difficult to understand the words of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles acknowledged that as we study the Book of Mormon, these chapters might seem like a barrier. Then he said: “Do not stop reading! Move forward through those difficult-to-understand chapters … even if you understand very little of it. Move on, if all you do is skim and merely glean an impression here and there” (“The Things of My Soul,” Ensign, May 1986, 61).
Read 2 Nephi 11:2–3.
- According to these verses, what did Nephi, Isaiah, and Jacob experience that enabled them to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ?
- Why do you think it is important to have a witness of Jesus Christ from multiple prophets? (See also Mosiah 13:33–35.)
Scan the first lines of each verse in 2 Nephi 11:4–6, looking for a phrase Nephi repeated in each verse.
- What does it mean to “delight in” something? ( The word delight suggests a feeling that is deeper than just liking or being interested in something. It implies an experience of joy and satisfaction.)
Read 2 Nephi 11:4–7 . identify things that delighted Nephi. What phrases most impress you and why. Also i share what delights you or leads you to rejoice about Jesus Christ write it in your journal.
Read 2 Nephi 11:8, look for a reason why Nephi included the writings of Isaiah in his record.
- What did Nephi hope his people and future readers of the Book of Mormon would experience when they read the words of Isaiah?
The following list provides some examples of why Nephi included the writings of Isaiah in his record:
- Isaiah had seen the Saviour, as Nephi and Jacob had (see 2 Nephi 11:2–3; see also 2 Nephi 16:1–5, which includes Isaiah’s description of a vision in which he saw the Saviour).
- Nephi delighted in testifying of Christ, and Isaiah also testified of Christ (see 2 Nephi 11:4, 6; see also 2 Nephi 17:14 and 19:6–7, two examples of Isaiah’s prophecies of the Saviour).
- Nephi delighted in the covenants of the Lord (see 2 Nephi 11:5). Isaiah’s prophecies related to the covenants of the Lord. For example, he prophesied of latter-day temple work (see 2 Nephi 12:1–3).
In this lesson and the next three, we will study and discuss Isaiah’s words in 2 Nephi 12–24. Look for truths in these chapters that will strengthen tyour testimonies of the Saviour and help you to rejoice in Him.
Isaiah is called to serve as a prophet
We will study 2 Nephi 16 next because it contains Isaiah’s account of a vision in which he received the call to be a prophet. To prepare to understand this vision, We must realise that Isaiah’s writings include symbolic language. The scriptures are rich in symbols, types, and figurative expressions. In one of the verses you’ve read earlier, Nephi stated, “All things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of [Jesus Christ]” (2 Nephi 11:4). The use of symbols and types is one way the scriptures teach us of the Lord’s saving mission.
Write the following words and phrases in your journal train, seraphim (angels) with six wings each, smoke, live coal.
What thoughts come to your mind when you see or hear these words? Isaiah used these words in his account of his call to be a prophet of God.
Read 2 Nephi 16:1. (If you have access to the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible, you may want to turn to Isaiah 6, which contains footnotes and study helps that will enhance understanding of the scripture passages covered in this lesson.)
In this verse, the word train refers to the hem or skirts of a robe.
- Do angels have wings?
“An angel of God never has wings” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 3:392). Then why did Isaiah describe angels as having wings? Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that the description is symbolic: “The fact that these holy beings were shown to him as having wings was simply to symbolize their ‘power, to move, to act, etc.’ as was the case also in visions others had received. (D. & C. 77:4.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 703).
- What might the six wings of the seraphim represent? ( read Doctrine and Covenants 77:4 for a clue. The image of wings is symbolic of power to move and act.)
- What words indicate the seraphim’s attitude toward the Lord?
- When have you felt a similar attitude toward God?
Read 2 Nephi 16:4 and Revelation 15:8 . Look for the meaning of the phrase “filled with smoke.” ( The smoke represents the presence, power, and glory of the Lord.) Consider writing Revelation 15:8 in the margin of their scriptures next to 2 Nephi 16:4.
Read 2 Nephi 16:5. Look for phrases that express how Isaiah felt in the presence of the Lord. (If the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible is available, look up Isaiah 6:5, footnotes a and b.)
- What do you think Isaiah meant when he said, “I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips”? ( In Isaiah 6:5, the word undone was translated from a Hebrew word that means “cut off,” and the phrase unclean lips refers to Isaiah’s consciousness of his sins and the sins of his people. Isaiah was expressing that he felt unworthy to be in the presence of the Lord.)
Ponder why Isaiah may have felt this way. Several prophets have expressed how inadequate they felt when they received their calls. President Spencer W. Kimball described the telephone call in which President J. Reuben Clark Jr. of the First Presidency informed him that he had been called to the Quorum of the Twelve:
“‘Oh, Brother Clark! Not me? You don’t mean me? There must be some mistake. I surely couldn’t have heard you right.’ This as I sank past the chair to the floor. …
“‘Oh, Brother Clark! It seems so impossible. I am so weak and small and limited and incapable’” (Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , 189).
Isaiah, a righteous man, felt “undone” and “unclean” in the presence of the Lord. Who among us would not feel unworthy standing before God?
Write the following truth in your journal : We can be cleansed of our unworthiness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
- What would happen to someone who touched a hot coal?
Read 2 Nephi 16:6–7 . Look for Isaiah’s experience involving a live coal. (If a Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible is available, have students look up Isaiah 6:6, footnote a, and Isaiah 6:7, footnotes a and b.)
- According to 2 Nephi 16:7, what did it mean when the angel symbolically touched Isaiah’s lips with a hot coal? ( the live coal is a symbol of cleansing. When the angel in Isaiah’s vision touched his lips with the coal, it represented the Lord cleansing Isaiah of his unworthiness and forgiving him of his sins.)
Think about times when you have felt the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Read 2 Nephi 16:8–13. Summarize what the Lord said about Isaiah’s ministry among the people. ( the Lord advised Isaiah that his preaching to the rebellious Israelites would be largely ignored but that he should continue to preach until “the land be utterly desolate.” In other words, the Lord will graciously continue His mission of salvation through His servants “so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved” [Moroni 7:36].)
Isaiah became a powerful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel. the Saviour is real and can forgive us of our sins, and that as we experience the power of the Atonement in our lives, we too can be witnesses of the Saviour.
Next weeks Lesson 32 2 Nephi 12-15