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Prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the Restoration


Fowdy92

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One thing I am fascinated with, are the prophecies in the Old testament (namely Isaiah) which appear to predict the restoration of the gospel, book of mormon, etc.

Now I believe and have a testimoyn that these prophecies are indeed what I interpret them as. In the KJV of the bible, which we use, they seem to be relevant. However, when I compare the various prophecies in regards to the restoration of the gospel in modernised versions of the bible, they seem to be written in a way that has little similarity or even relevance to such prophecies I would see in the King James Version.

A good example to compare is Isaiah 29. We believe it to prophecy the following

  1. Coming of the Book of Mormon
  2. Restoration of the Gospel
  3. The Anthon Transcript

Now, Isaiah is perhaps one of the more difficult texts in the old testament to understand, I have no resources at all on the topic of "understanding Isaiah". Having read that chapter in the KJV, its easy to see how I interpret LDS prophecies from it, but again reading the same chapter in a modern version it holds seemingly little reference to the points listed above whatsoever.

I dont know how problematic this is on the whole. My only solution is that when newer "modern language" versions of the bible are composed, they are done so alongside a means of interpretation from perhaps a more mainstream Christian interpretation. It is worth noting that in the modern versions of Isaiah, the metaphorical and somewhat descripted language does seem to be sidelined and replaced with a more simple meaning, which in doing so could remove or tamper the actual meaning of some of the verses.

therefore could contain an unconscious bias? Nonetheless, I do believe the KJV to be more accurate to "newer versions".

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"Nonetheless, I do believe the KJV to be more accurate to "newer versions". "

Unfortunately, that's not unqualifiedly correct. There are several translations that are much better and much more accurate to the original langages (and making use of older manuscripts, such as the DSS) - such as the NRSV. Which also does a good job of shattering commonly used LDS proof-texts.

As someone who very much does believe in the restored Church Gospel, I do believe that most of the regularly used Old Testament (or even New Testament) Restoration proof-texts are just that - prooftexts retroactively applied to something they were not originally intended to convey. The so-called 'Anthon Prophecy' was highly expanded and re-interpreted during the Translation Process of the Book of Mormon to specifically illustrate the incident that had occurred. They are useful language in describing what did happen, and were useful in the past in helping early members see themselves in a biblical narrative, but in their context, to me, they do not have anything to do with events of the 19th Century. And I wish we would move past them.

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"Nonetheless, I do believe the KJV to be more accurate to "newer versions". "

Unfortunately, that's not unqualifiedly correct. There are several translations that are much better and much more accurate to the original langages (and making use of older manuscripts, such as the DSS) - such as the NRSV. Which also does a good job of shattering commonly used LDS proof-texts.

As someone who very much does believe in the restored Church Gospel, I do believe that most of the regularly used Old Testament (or even New Testament) Restoration proof-texts are just that - prooftexts retroactively applied to something they were not originally intended to convey. The so-called 'Anthon Prophecy' was highly expanded and re-interpreted during the Translation Process of the Book of Mormon to specifically illustrate the incident that had occurred. They are useful language in describing what did happen, and were useful in the past in helping early members see themselves in a biblical narrative, but in their context, to me, they do not have anything to do with events of the 19th Century. And I wish we would move past them.

Then if so, what about all the Isaiah verses in 2 Nephi? are you basically trying to tell me they are irrelevant to the actual topic they are potrayed to describe? It certainly appears so.

Prophets interpret scripture correctly, through the power of God, and I believe that authority to be superior to "modern translations" of the bible, which may appear to mean something else because of a usage of more modern language.

We should remember that English has evolved significantly since the time of the KJV.

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Then if so, what about all the Isaiah verses in 2 Nephi? are you basically trying to tell me they are irrelevant to the actual topic they are potrayed to describe? It certainly appears so.

Prophets interpret scripture correctly, through the power of God, and I believe that authority to be superior to "modern translations" of the bible, which may appear to mean something else because of a usage of more modern language.

Prophets are also authorized to re-work the words of scripture to teach true and applicable and relevant principles to their modern audience. The New Testament writers regularly took out of context old testament passages to teach true principles - just not the principles they initially appeared to be intended to teach.

Joseph received some powerful and world-changing revelations due to asking questions based on a misunderstanding of biblical texts. This doesn't bother me.

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From Christ's own mouth: "Great are the words of Isaiah". There is so much of Isaiah in the BoM for a reason. Some of which, as qoted by Nephi is different from the King James Version.

A particular one of the restoration that Nephi (or JS, depending on one's POV) preserved unchanged is this:

Isaiah 29:10 reads:

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One thing I am fascinated with, are the prophecies in the Old testament (namely Isaiah) which appear to predict the restoration of the gospel, book of mormon, etc.

Now I believe and have a testimoyn that these prophecies are indeed what I interpret them as. In the KJV of the bible, which we use, they seem to be relevant. However, when I compare the various prophecies in regards to the restoration of the gospel in modernised versions of the bible, they seem to be written in a way that has little similarity or even relevance to such prophecies I would see in the King James Version.

A good example to compare is Isaiah 29. We believe it to prophecy the following

  1. Coming of the Book of Mormon
  2. Restoration of the Gospel
  3. The Anthon Transcript

Now, Isaiah is perhaps one of the more difficult texts in the old testament to understand, I have no resources at all on the topic of "understanding Isaiah". Having read that chapter in the KJV, its easy to see how I interpret LDS prophecies from it, but again reading the same chapter in a modern version it holds seemingly little reference to the points listed above whatsoever.

I dont know how problematic this is on the whole. My only solution is that when newer "modern language" versions of the bible are composed, they are done so alongside a means of interpretation from perhaps a more mainstream Christian interpretation. It is worth noting that in the modern versions of Isaiah, the metaphorical and somewhat descripted language does seem to be sidelined and replaced with a more simple meaning, which in doing so could remove or tamper the actual meaning of some of the verses.

therefore could contain an unconscious bias? Nonetheless, I do believe the KJV to be more accurate to "newer versions".

Another part of Isaiah 29 that is telling is the reference to the Nephite battles and destructions. Nephi again gives the verses in context to his people. First Isaiah:

Isaiah 29:

3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee.

4 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.

Nephi quoting from Isaiah 29:3 changes Isaiah

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The problem is that Isaiah 29, in its context, is about Jerusalem, not the new World. 2 Nephi 27 is a prophetic re-working (part of Nephi's "likening" Scripture to his people) about the Nephites and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (similar to aggidic midrash).

Robert Cloward has an essay on exegeting Isaiah 29 and 2 Nephi 27 in the book edited by John Welch and Donald Parry, "Isaiah in the Book of Mormon" (FARMS: 1998). It doesn't seem to be available online yet, though the section, "A Marvelous Work and Wonder" has a very brief summary of the essay (URL: http://www.cometozarahemla.org/isaiah/isaiah-in-the-bofm.html)

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And yet, in a modern translation that I have, the Good News Bible, which I rarely use because the modern tone just seems so childishly flippant, I was quite surprised to read some difficult KJV passages in 1st John 2 interpreted exactly as the Joseph Smith Translation has them.

Namely, the several instances where "committeth sin," as per the KJV, is rendered "continueth in sin."

Intriguing. Don't know what else to say about it.

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The problem is that Isaiah 29, in its context, is about Jerusalem, not the new World. 2 Nephi 27 is a prophetic re-working (part of Nephi's "likening" Scripture to his people) about the Nephites and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (similar to aggidic midrash).

Robert Cloward has an essay on exegeting Isaiah 29 and 2 Nephi 27 in the book edited by John Welch and Donald Parry, "Isaiah in the Book of Mormon" (FARMS: 1998). It doesn't seem to be available online yet, though the section, "A Marvelous Work and Wonder" has a very brief summary of the essay (URL: http://www.cometozarahemla.org/isaiah/isaiah-in-the-bofm.html)

I think you missed the context of verse two of Isaiah 29.

1 Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices.

2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel.

Time continues on, (add ye year to year)...

It's comparing the prophecy to Jerusalem, not saying the whole of the amazing Chapter 29 is about Jerusalem, but rather Israel. (it shall be unto me as Ariel)

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"Prophets interpret scripture correctly,"

You're making all kinds of assumptions here. What does "correctly" mean?

Fact is, for the vast majority of history, prophets have interpreted scripture completely out of context; It's how the OT interprets the OT, how the Dead Sea Scrolls interpret the OT, how the NT writers interpret the OT, and how both the Rabbis and Christians interpreted the scriptures for 1000 years after that.

Nephi flatly tells us he's reinterpreting (i.e. reapplying) ISaiah in a new and different context. Elder McConkie acknowledged as much.

So, what does "correctly" mean? Correct in terms of original context/history? I'd argue "no."

This is a problem for some people. Check out Peter Enns' treatment of it in Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament (which applies just as well to Mormons, since we commonly share many Evangelical assumptions about scripture and interpretation.)

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