APPENDIX

    A PROPHET'S PREROGATIVE

    A COMPARATIVE STUDY

    Contributed by Jeff Savage, Scriptures Compilation Team
    When comparing the King James Version of the Isaiah text to Joseph Smith's Inspired Version, it is apparent that the two have significant differences. This raises the question: Was Joseph Smith authorized by God to make those changes? To understand why he was able to make those changes, it is expedient to lay out the prerogative of a prophet, and more especially, a dispensation head, with respect to a vision from God.
    To understand what a messenger is allowed to do, recognizing the nonlinear nature of prophecy is important. Christ and His Father see things outside of time, where all things past, present and future are continually before them. The vision of all, and in fact any true vision from God, will be from Heaven's vantage point. True messengers prophesy after the manner of our Lord, and this is a key to understanding whether a message or vision comes from God: a message sent from the Father will be greater in scope and context than the personal question that resulted in His answer. When it comes to the salvation of souls, it is always God's agenda that drives the message. There can be no ego between God and man, and to place any man between God and His people, as has been done in the past, is to limit that generation or even dispensation. Moses is the chief example of how Zion was unavailable for an entire dispensation because the people refused to face God, instead requiring Moses to stand between them and Him.
    The prophet Nephi's commentary demonstrates how the head of a dispensation may, in righteousness, revise a broad vision given through Isaiah to focus upon the narrow scope of his people. Nephi reduces Isaiah's general prophecy to all Twelve Tribes of Israel, into his own specific prophecy about his people, turning Isaiah into a Mormon, America-centric text that directly addresses the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Can he do that? Yes; it is his prerogative. His father Lehi does the same thing by liberally adapting the prophecy given to Joseph of Egypt. In both cases, a prophet can apply a generalized prophecy for a large body of God's people over multiple dispensations to a more specific meaning only intended for the prophet's descendants, even when that means adding and rearranging details not found in the original prophecy.
    In his translation of Isaiah 29, Joseph Smith followed Nephi's precedent by removing the universal, broad application of Isaiah's original prophecy and applying the specific context of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the latter days. Again, as head of a dispensation, it was his prerogative to do so. Joseph's mission was to translate and publish the Book of Mormon, and to speak to the audience of his day. To a nation of Bible-believing Christians, it was necessary to do all in his power to persuade them to take the Book of Mormon seriously, as they would be judged by their acceptance or rejection of the Book of Mormon. This does not suggest that Joseph believed the original version was in error; rather, he accepted and followed Nephi's rendering. All of the principal authors of the Book of Mormon--Nephi, Mormon and Moroni--spoke directly to the Latter-day Gentiles and commanded that we search the prophecies of Isaiah. Nephi specifically directs believers to liken them to ourselves; given the gravity of Joseph's message, he was able to do so following the pattern of righteousness.
    In considering whether to include both Isaiah's original or Joseph's rendering of Isaiah 29, we face the risk of either refusing to heed the warnings given in the Book of Mormon or failing to preserve Joseph's work restoring truth. In keeping the latter only, we run the risk of letting Nephi's message eclipse the broader message of Isaiah. Nephi's meaning was certainly fulfilled with the Book of Mormon, but it is not the only time that Isaiah's prophecy has been or yet will be fulfilled. We know there is yet more the Lord has promised to give us. Dropping the KJV Isaiah 29 also changes the structure of Isaiah's argument, which presents two distinct paths available to God's people--light and truth or darkness and confusion. Isaiah's words are a microcosm of this choice of two ways, both collectively and individually. The Lord has said, Great are the words of Isaiah. Should we throw some of them away? God forbid.
    In the past, the Lord has at times constrained one prophet because the people were too close- minded to receive the message of two prophets. To honor Isaiah, Nephi, and Joseph, it seems best to include all of their words in our scriptures. The scriptures are a body of sacred writings. They are the standard against which we will be measured and judged by God. In accepting them, they become a conditional covenant that we willingly place ourselves within at God's invitation. Including both Isaiah's and Joseph's versions of Isaiah in our scriptures suggests to the Lord that our hearts are open to receiving His word, even when it appears in two different versions. It is a sign to Him that we are willing to receive what has been sealed up from the foundation of the world, to be weaned from the milk and to enjoy the meat of the Gospel.

    2 NEPHI 27

    ISAIAH 29 - JST

    ISAIAH 29 - KJV

    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, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity, and all manner of abominations.

    Wo to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt. Add ye year to year, let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow, for thus hath the Lord said unto me, It shall be unto Ariel, that I the Lord will camp against her round about, and will lay siege against her with a mount, and I will raise forts against her. And she shall be brought down, and shall speak out of the ground and her speech shall be low out of the dust, and her voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit out of the ground, and her speech shall whisper out of the dust. Moreover the multitude of her strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that

    Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall

    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.

    passeth away, yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly. For they shall be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.

    be at an instant suddenly. Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.

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

    And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of

    And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her munition, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of

    a night vision. Yea, it shall be unto them even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul is empty. 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.

    a night vision. Yea, it shall be unto them even as unto a hungry man who dreameth, and behold, he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul is empty, or like unto a thirsty man who 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.

    a night vision. It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.

    For behold, all ye that do iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out and cry. Yea, ye shall be drunken, but not with wine, ye shall stagger, but not with strong drink. For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, for behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets, and your rulers and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.

    For, behold, all ye that do iniquity, stay yourselves, and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry, yea, ye shall be drunken, but not with wine, ye shall stagger, but not with strong drink. For, behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For, behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets, and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquities.

    Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.

    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. Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in he day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore, the book shall be kept from them. 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 which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth, for, behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof. And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the housetops, and they shall be read by the power of Christ. And all things 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. 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. And there is none other which shall view it save it be a few, 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. Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book, and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God. 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 shew 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. Touch not the things which are sealed 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. Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee 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 until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men. For behold, I am God, and I am a God of miracles, and I will shew 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. And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall

    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. Wherefore because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore, the book shall be kept from them. 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. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth, for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof. And the day cometh, that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the housetops, and they shall be read by the power of Christ, and all things 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. 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. And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few 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 it were from the dead. Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book, and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word, and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God. 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. Touch not the things which are sealed, 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. Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, 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 until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men. 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. And again it shall come to pass, that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall

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

    be delivered him, 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 is taught by the precepts of men, therefore I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, yea, a marvellous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.

    be delivered him, 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 toward me is taught by the precepts of men, therefore I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.

    Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

    And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel 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 shall be esteemed as the potter's clay. But behold, I will shew unto them, saith the Lord of hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? But behold, saith the Lord of hosts, I will shew unto the children of men that it is not yet a very little while and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.

    And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel 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 shall be esteemed as the potter's clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of hosts, that I know all their works. For, shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? But behold, saith the Lord of hosts, I will show unto the children of men, that it is not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.

    Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?

    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. 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. For assuredly as the Lord liveth, they shall see that the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off, and they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

    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, 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. For, assuredly as the Lord liveth, they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off, and they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught. Therefore, thus saith the Lord who redeemed Abraham concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale, but when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

    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. The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

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