This entry is the beginning of a discussion that will add to our understanding of the remnant of Israel. You will need to keep in mind that this discussion IS about the remnant of Israel. My children especially, do not be intimidated by the fact we are about to try to understand some of the teachings and prophesy of Isaiah. (Even if we used to skip over the Isaiah chapters in our family scripture study) If you will read carefully and prayerfully, and ponder the things written here, you will come to understand how Isaiah can help us to understand more about the remnant of Israel we have talked so much about from the Book of Mormon. As with all things that come from our Father, there is a peaceful harmony and a fitting together of things as He brings us along in our understanding.
It will not be enough for us to know these truths in a general way as things unfold in the last days. We will need to "treasure up" these precepts and truths in our hearts and minds in order that the Lord may prepare us for all that must be done. He will teach us what He needs us to know if we are only willing to listen and obey.
Isaiah Chapter 11 - a rod, a stem, a branch, and a root. Horticulture for the latter days.
When the angel Moroni visited and taught Joseph Smith On September 21, 1823, Joseph says of that encounter, "He (Moroni) quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here." (JSH 1: 41) I wonder what were the "many other passages of scripture" Moroni quoted? How I wish we were privy to the "many explanations" offered by the angel that "cannot" be mentioned. How grand and glorious must be the things Joseph was taught by the angel that are not allowed to be spoken in public. Some things are of a nature that they "cannot" be mentioned.
Joseph did however record some of what he was told by Moroni. You and I have the benefit of knowing some of what was rehearsed by the angel from the presence of God. If you have ever wished you could stand in the presence of an angel of God and listen to an angelic recitation, you can at least know some of the details of the encounter Joseph Smith had. Like the records of Nephi and King Benjamin, both of whom recorded the words of angels, Joseph's record provides some direct quotes from the angel.
Though there were "many other" passages of scripture Joseph could not record, he did make record of some of the scripture mentioned by Moroni. Of one passage of scripture Joseph says: "he (Moroni) quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled." (JSH 1: 40)
Most likely, Joseph received "many explanations" about Isaiah chapter 11 that he did not, or was not allowed, to record. We are made privy to no explanation whatsoever as to the meaning of Isaiah's words. All we are told from Joseph's record is that Moroni quoted the chapter and said, "it was about to be fulfilled." The "explanations" that might make Isaiah chapter 11 plain are left for us to discover by study, faith, prayer, and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.
All we have to go on to begin with, is that the person, (Moroni,) who holds the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim, (The Book of Mormon), (D&C 27: 5) told Joseph Smith in 1823 the words of Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 11 are "about to be fulfilled." Is it at all significant that this message came at this time to Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration from the very one that holds the keys of the "stick of Ephraim?" Significant indeed. Why? Because, as we will see, the words of Isaiah chapter 11 relate to, and speak of, fulfillment of Book of Mormon prophesies.
The record itself, "the stick of Ephraim," to which Moroni holds the keys, contains the words of Isaiah chapter 11. Nephi included the 11th chapter of Isaiah (2Nephi 21) in his record to be included in the latter day Book of Mormon. The words of the 11th chapter of Isaiah are among those words of Isaiah Nephi said:
"...are of worth unto the children of men, and he that supposeth that they are not, unto them will I speak particularly, and confine the words unto mine own people; for I know that they (the words of Isaiah) shall be of great worth unto them (Nephi's own people) in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them; wherefore, for their (Nephi's own people) good have I written them." (2Nephi 25: 8)
This is a message from Nephi to "his own people" of the last days. This is Nephi speaking to, and about, the remnant of Israel. This is Nephi saying to the remnant of Israel, his "own people," that it is for "their good" that the words of Isaiah have been written and given to them in the last days.
Why would Nephi "confine his words to his own people" of the last days? Why would Nephi suggest the words of Isaiah would not only be of "worth unto the children of men," but that they would be of "great worth" to "his own people" in the last days? Why will Nephi's "own people" understand the words of Isaiah in that day? Why is it specifically for "their good" that Nephi wrote the words of Isaiah?
The first verse of Isaiah chapter 11 that Moroni quoted to Joseph Smith says:
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots."
Later in verse ten Isaiah says:
"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious."
The face value of Isaiah's words says that a "rod" will come forth out of the "stem" of Jesse, and there will be a "branch" that shall grow out of "his" roots. Then, in verse ten, Isaiah speaks of a "root" of Jesse which shall stand as an ensign "of" the people.
What is there in these words of Isaiah that really are symbols that might be of "great worth" to Nephi's own people of the last days? What is Isaiah saying to the remnant of Israel and to us?