I am going to start in 2 Nephi 11. Nephi is about to write more of the words of Isaiah, chapters 2-14 specifically, and he gives us a few reasons why he is doing this. He states that Jacob, and Isaiah and himself comprise the original three witnesses to the words that are written. All of whom have walked with Christ. Nephi also says that he delights in the covenants and plan of salvation, in the truth of Christ and how all things from God typify of Christ. These are his purposes in quoting Isaiah, so we may lift up our hearts and rejoice, and that we are to liken them unto ourselves.
Let’s jump to 2 Nephi 25 as he finishes his quoting of Isaiah and begins to expound on what is already written, Nephi states:
Now I, Nephi, do speak somewhat concerning the words which I have written, which have been spoken by the mouth of Isaiah…
…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.
Nephi tells us what we already know, that we don’t understand Isaiah, and he tells us why. We are not filled with the spirit of prophecy. But he is going to help us, and he is going to give unto us:
… 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.
Notice that he is going to prophecy, according to the spirit. That very thing he said we needed for the words to be plain to us. He is going to speak plainly to us. He does not end this prophecy until chapter 31, and then he follows with his testimony of Christ.
It is important to note ALL of the things in this prophecy are a complete thought for Nephi.
It may go without saying, but I will say it anyway, if he quoted Isaiah so we may lift up our hearts and rejoice, and that we should liken them to ourselves, does it not follow that the prophecy he is about to give is so we may lift up our hearts and rejoice, and that we should liken it to us?
This prophecy is Nephi’s magnum opus. He is reaching across the vast expanse of time as a voice from the dust and one who has seen us in our day. He knows exactly what we need to hear, who we are, how we act. He speaks as plainly as he can, he knows exactly what he is saying.
We skip to chapter 27, for here we will find a key we will use for all our studies of the Book of Mormon. (Isaiah 29 vs 2 Nephi 27 compared)
Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man 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 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. (2 Nephi 27:12)
Nephi is now telling us that Father is going to establish three witness to the book, in conjunction with the three witnesses to the words we discussed above (see 2 Nephi 11:3).
Father has three witnesses for both the words and the book, and both are established as separate things.
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. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.
And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God.
And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.
Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.
Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: 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. (2 Nephi 27: 15–20)
In this we have two types. We teach that this IS Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, and Professor Anthon, but notice that Anthon is a type for the learned. It says “I will read them” then still speaking of the learned it says “they say this”. “I” suddenly changed to “they.” Read it again, notice the change this time.
The Lord God says about this: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them. Then note that Joseph says, “I am not Learned” and the Lord says he “shalt” read them.
We have the words of the book, not the book. For us to read them, we must be as Joseph, it is not by being an expert on anything that the Lord will open these words. The Lord is able to do his own work. We must be willing to be taught by the spirit of prophecy, not by the research of professors. Not by this silly article, or a study manual, or a doctrinal commentary. But we must learn to read these things for ourselves, even the plain parts. Nephi saw our day, he reached back to grab Isaiah, to use his words to then prophecy of Joseph Smith and our day, using a contemporary event, to teach US to read the words, by the spirit of prophecy. We must trust in the Lord to teach us.
Let us liken the words of Isaiah and Nephi to ourselves that we may lift up our hearts and rejoice!!! The Lord will do his own work with us, we are not forgotten.