Book of Mormon prophets quote Old Testament prophets
This blog is part three of “Prophets testify of Christ.” Jesus’ apostles bore witness of him as a fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus, himself, bore witness that he was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. In harmony with the Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon prophets refer to, and quote, Old Testament prophets as they testified of Christ, thus proving that the Book of Mormon people had access to the writings of the prophets.
The Nephites had the writings of Old Testament prophets in the record known as the Brass Plates
The Book of Mormon narrative begins around 600 AD in the city of Jerusalem. Lehi, a Book of Mormon prophet, prophesies of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. He also testifies of a coming Messiah. Because of his indictment of the people’s wickedness and his prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, the people seek his life. The Lord commands Lehi to leave Jerusalem. He and his family hurriedly flee into the wilderness to escape the possible death of Lehi. After they have traveled far enough for their safety Lehi sends his sons back to obtain the scriptural record known as the Brass Plates. These Brass Plates contained the “five books of Moses…and also a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; and also the prophecies of the holy prophets, from the beginning. . . and also many prophecies which have been spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah” (1 Nephi 5:11 – 13). This record was so important that Nephi and his brothers risked death to obtain in. God knew that without these prophecies they would not survive spiritually. King Benjamin, a righteous king of the Nephites, explained this to his sons:
3 And he also taught them concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, saying: My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates, which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.
4 For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, except it were for the help of these plates; for he having been taught in the language of the Egyptians therefore he could read these engravings, and teach them to his children, that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.
5 I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct. (Mosiah 1:2-5)
Nephi and his brother, Jacob, quote extensively from Isaiah. Nephi’s narrative states “that I might more fully persuade them ( his descendants) to believe in the Lord, their Redeemer, I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet, Isaiah.”
Later in the Book of Mormon, Abinadi, a powerful and courageous prophet, teaches that all the prophets, ever since the world began, have testified of Christ.
33 For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things?
34 Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth?
35 Yea, and have they not said also that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, and that he, himself, should be oppressed and afflicted? (Mosiah 13:33-35
In the book of Helaman, the prophet Nephi (a later prophet who was named after the first Nephi), extensively cites the prophecies of Old Testament prophecies as they testified of Christ. It is a lengthy passage but very significant as it names several Old Testament prophets, even some whose writings we don’t currently have. Their prophecies were undoubtedly an important part of the Brass Plates.
16 And now behold, Moses did not only testify of these things, but also all the holy prophets, from his days even to the days of Abraham.
17 Yea, and behold, Abraham saw of his coming, and was filled with gladness and did rejoice.
18 Yea, and behold I say unto you, that Abraham not only knew of these things, but there were many before the days of Abraham who were called by the order of God; yea, even after the order of his Son; and this that it should be shown unto the people, a great many thousand years before his coming, that even redemption should come unto them.
19 And now I would that ye should know, that even since the days of Abraham there have been many prophets that have testified these things; yea, behold, the prophet Zenos did testify boldly; for the which he was slain.
20 And behold, also Zenock, and also Ezias, and also Isaiah, and Jeremiah, (Jeremiah being that same prophet who testified of the destruction of Jerusalem) and now we know that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the words of Jeremiah. O then why not the Son of God come, according to his prophecy?
22 Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem because he testified of these things. Nephi also testified of these things, and also almost all of our fathers, even down to this time; yea, they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is to come.
23 And behold, he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him; and they gave unto him glory, because of that which is to come. (Helaman 8:16-20, 22-23)
All of these prophets were cited because of their testimony of Christ. As verse 22 states, “they have testified of the coming of Christ, and have looked forward, and have rejoiced in his day which is come.”
I have quoted extensively from the scriptures in this blog, but it is important because that is where the words of the prophets are found. The importance of the testimony of these prophets of old can’t be overstated. They are the foundation of our testimony of Christ. When Jesus came those who were honest in heart recognized Him as the Messiah. Jesus taught about the importance of prophecy. Shortly before his crucifxion he was teaching his apostles in the upper room. He told them of his impending death and resurrection. Then he said, “I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:2) As we study the Old Testamant prophecies in the Bible and the Book of Mormon we can see their literal fulfillment in the life of Christ. He truly “his name shalled be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)