Changed LDS Scripture/Part 17
|By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2011|
|Mormons believe Isaiah 29 contains two prophecies about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Our last article discussed the first ten verses of Isaiah 29 where the first “prophecy” is located. LDS believe the second prophecy about the Book of Mormon is found in Isaiah 29:11-14 of the King James Version.|
Mormons believe Isaiah 29 contains two prophecies about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Our last article discussed the first ten verses of Isaiah 29 where the first “prophecy” is located. LDS believe the second prophecy about the Book of Mormon is found in Isaiah 29:11-14 of the King James Version (KJV), which says:
- (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.
- (13) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near to me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men;
- (14) Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this 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.
The LDS interpretation of Isaiah 29:11-14 does not come from that text in the KJV or any other real translation of the original Hebrew text, but from Joseph Smith, the LDS founder.
The LDS interpretation of Isaiah 29:11-14 is also found in II Nephi 27:6-35 in the Book of Mormon which was later put verbatim (except for two or three words) into the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of Isaiah 29:11-32. So, Smith’s interpretation of the KJV of Isaiah 29:11-14 is also in two LDS books of scripture!
Smith said he translated the Book of Mormon from Reformed Egyptian to English by 1830 while he “translated” the JST of Isaiah by 1833. Isaiah was originally written in Hebrew, so translators know that by 1830 to 1833, Smith could not translate two different books from two different languages into the KJV English of 1611AD and have identical words in both books. He had to copy II Nephi 27:6-35 into Isaiah 29:6-26 of the JST. Those texts are too long to quote in this article, so we will only quote a few verses and then explain the LDS interpretation.
Both II Nephi 27:6-7 and Isaiah 29:11-12 in the JST say,
- 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.
Both II Nephi 27:9-10 and Isaiah 29:14 in the JST also say,
- But the book shall be delivered unto A MAN, and HE shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust; and HE shall deliver these words unto another, but the words that are sealed HE shall not deliver, neither shall HE deliver the book.
And both II Nephi 27:15-20 and Isaiah 29:20-22 of the JST say,
- 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 THE MAN shall say, I cannot bring the book for it is sealed. Then the learned shall 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, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore THOU shalt read the words which I shall give THEE.
Notice that the subject in these texts is “the book,” not the vision. LDS believe the Nephite ancestors of the American Indians wrote their scriptures and history in “Reformed Egyptian” on gold plates. Smith claimed he copied some words in that language from the gold plates and sent them to Professor Anthon, the learned man, who couldn’t read them. Smith claimed HE was the unlearned man who was enabled by the Lord to translate the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. LDS claim the “marvelous work and a wonder” in Isaiah 29:14 of the KJV, II Nephi 27:26, and Isaiah 29:26 in the JST is the “coming forth of the Book of Mormon.” Words in CAPITAL LETTERS in this paragraph refer to Joseph Smith and words in bold type are the subject in these two LDS texts. Since Smith wrote both LDS books of scripture and HE fulfilled this “prophecy,” does it raise any questions?
Bible verses must be interpreted in their God given contexts to correctly understand them. The KJV of Isaiah 29:1-10 is clearly about the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the unstableness of her enemies. It did not change in Isaiah 29:11-12 which says: “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed.” The subject is “the VISION of ALL” (all that was revealed in Isaiah 29:1-10) became to YOU (Jerusalem) like a book that is sealed.”
The original Hebrew word for “book” literally means a “letter” or “writing,” not a book like in a library. Isaiah told Jerusalem that his message to them was like a sealed letter which wasn’t understood because of their spiritual blindness. In the vision, the writing was given to a learned (educated) man who was told to read it. He replied “I can’t, because it’s sealed.” The writing was then given to a man who was not learned (uneducated) who was also told to read it. He replied, I can’t read it because I’m not educated. So, neither man read or understood the writing which was the vision that Isaiah revealed to Jerusalem.
Because they were spiritually blind, the Lord said in Isaiah 29:13, “This people (the Jews) draw near to me with their lips but their hearts are far from me” which is why they didn’t understand Isaiah’s message. Verse 14 then says, “Behold, I will do a marvelous work and a wonder among this people (Jerusalem)…The wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding (intelligence) of their prudent (intelligent) men shall be hid” (or vanish).
That, and the destruction mentioned in Isaiah 29:3-4, is the “marvelous (or amazing) work and wonder” (or astonishment,) not the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as LDS claim! The Lord did not foretell the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the midst of revealing to Jerusalem their impending destruction!
If you want to read more about the JST you may do so in a chapter entitled “Mormon Scriptures” and the Bible in Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? by Jerald and& Sandra Tanner, published by Utah Lighthouse Ministry in Salt Lake City, UT. Our study of the Joseph Smith Translation will continue next time.