(Note: This isn’t one of my finer papers, but I do love how Nephi had almost all the same revelations that Isaiah had. Nephi knew the words of Isaiah were true because he had the same revelations himself! I love the words of Isaiah and I would love to study them more in depth some time. This year – the character of Christ. Next year – standard works in a year. The next year – words of Isaiah.)
After Nephi read to his brothers from the book of Isaiah, he then proceeded to testify to his brothers about the truthfulness of the words of Isaiah. Nephi received his testimony of those words by way of his vision in which he was shown prophesies that Isaiah talked about. If Nephi was going to tell his brothers about his own personal prophesies why did he wait until after he had read the words of Isaiah to testify to his brothers about his own revelations? Why did he think that the words of Isaiah would be more convincing to his brothers? Nephi used the testimony of Isaiah to back up his own visions and prophecies; however, his brothers were not spiritually prepared to receive Isaiah. If they were so unprepared to understand Isaiah’s teachings, it would have been that much more difficult for them to understand Nephi’s vision.
Nephi read from Isaiah because, as he stated, his purpose was to “persuade [his people] that they would remember the Lord their Redeemer.” (1 Nephi 19:18) Nephi knew the value of the words of Isaiah because he had his father’s testimony compounded with his own personal revelation of the scattering of Israel and the Messiah’s coming. Nephi tried to explain to his brothers how they could receive a testimony of the things that they had read from Isaiah and tried further to explain why he himself had such a testimony of the words of Isaiah when he bore witness that “by the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets.” (1 Nephi 22:2) Laman and Lemuel demonstrated that they knew what the words were supposed to mean as they asked, “Are they to be understood according to things which are spiritual?” (1 Nephi 22:1) Although Laman and Lemuel understood that the writings of Isaiah were of a spiritual matter, they did not have the desire to know the truthfulness of the things that were read to them. They were not spiritually prepared for the testimony of Isaiah and, furthermore, not prepared for the subsequent testimony of Nephi.
Nephi’s own personal testimony must have been strengthened by reading the words of Isaiah. The personal revelation Nephi received was confirmed by the things that he knew of his Redeemer through his study of the words of Isaiah. Although Laman and Lemuel did not understand the teachings of Isaiah they at least understood the spiritual significance of those teachings and therefore were more prepared to understand the spiritual significance of their brother’s testimony, which testimony presented “more than one witness,” (Alma 10:12) strengthening both the testimonies of Isaiah and the testimony of Nephi.
Have you ever shared the scriptures to help give your own testimony more power? How do you understand the words of Isaiah?