Although the blessing and covenant of God was passed from Abraham to Isaac, to Jacob, and then to the entire house of Israel, the Lord especially chose Joseph and his seed to do a mighty work and a wonder among the children of men. They were not called to be the light and salvation of men, as this was Christ, but instead they were chosen to bring the light of the Gospel for the salvation of men. Thus God separated a small portion of the tribe of Manasseh from their brethren so that they might be preserved. Moreover, they were commanded to keep a written record concerning the ministry of the Lord so that one day the record might go forth to stand as a second witness of Jesus Christ.
“Yea, behold, I say unto you, that as these things [the prophecies and words of the Book of Mormon] are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved. Wherefore, for this cause hath the Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write, shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand. For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” [2 Nephi 11:39-40, 43-44].
The Lord promised Isaiah that this book would come forth in a day when the people would draw near unto Him with their words but not their hearts. “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder.” [Isaiah 29:14]. God also told Isaiah when He would proceed to do this work and what it would entail, saying, “Is it not yet a very little while [this is a point of reference], 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.” [Isaiah 29:17-18].
The words of the book were to come forth that the people might learn the plain and precious doctrine of Jesus Christ, and thus bring them and the Church out of obscurity and out of darkness. The question is however, has the prophecy been fulfilled? History helps to provide the answer, for the Scriptures explain that the Lord provided the children of Israel with both former and latter rains in their due season so that “thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.” [Deuteronomy 11:14]. However, in the third and fifth chapters of Jeremiah, we read that because of the wickedness of the people the Lord stopped the rains and turned the fruitful fields of Lebanon into a desert. “And thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and wickedness. Therefore thy showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.” [Jeremiah 3:2-3].
History also explains that Lebanon remained a desert for centuries until the former and latter rains returned around the early nineteenth century. The people there developed a way to irrigate the land, which caused it to become a fruitful land once again. The following is an excerpt from an article published in the National Tribune in 1889, Mr. F. G. Carpenter said:
At the present the Jews are coming here by the hundreds…a half century ago  there were only 32 Jewish families in all Jerusalem, and the number in Palestine was only 3,000. Now  there are nearly 50,000 in the Holy Land.
In 1830, there were very few Jews living in Palestine, and the country itself was desolate. However, by 1889, there were 50,000 Jews, and another 61,541 returned in 1935. The restoration of the Jews involved more than just people, but it involved the land as well. An old encyclopedia gives us the situation in Palestine in the early part of the eighteenth century:
Eighteen centuries of war, ruin, and neglect have passed over it. Its valleys have been cropped for ages without the least attempt at fertilization. Its terrace walls have been allowed to crumble, and its soil has washed down its ravines, leaving the hillsides rocky and sterile. Its trees have been cut down and never replaced. Its fields have been desolate. Its structures pillaged and all its improvements ruthlessly destroyed. A land of ruins without man or beast. Everywhere, on plain or mountain, in rocky desert, or on beetling cliff the spoiler’s hand has rested – McClintock and Strong’s Encyclopedia, Article on Palestine.
At the time that the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, Palestine was still an unproductive wilderness. However, something in the land began to change shortly thereafter. Please read the following from a book published in 1935, Mr. George T. B. Davis stated: [Roy Weldon, Other Sheep, Price Publishing Company (1954), 80-81]
The change that has taken place in Palestine…is almost unbelievable, and well night beggars description. Swamp lands have been reclaimed, and have given place to waving fields of grain. Sandy wastes have been turned into beautiful orange groves. Desert places have been turned into a veritable garden of Eden. Indeed it is quite probable that such a sudden change from a waste wilderness to a land blossoming as the rose has never before been witnessed in the history of the world. [George T. B. Davis, Rebuilding Palestine According to Prophecy, page 16]
The point of reference given in the prophecy found in Isaiah, chapter twenty-nine, was that not long after the sealed book came forth, Lebanon would again become a fruitful field. Through both the Scriptures and history, we know that at some point the former and latter rains ceased and did not return until the early 1800’s. Moreover, we know that the first copies of the Book of Mormon were printed in 1830. The question then becomes, what other sealed book came forth during this time frame, which marked the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy? The answer is none. If we believe in the Scriptures, then we must also acknowledge that the sealed book has come forth, for the sign of its coming has already occurred. The truth is there is only one book that claims to be this sealed record, the Book of Mormon.
Scriptures to Consider
2 Nephi 11:24-44 (Book of Mormon)
11:24 And behold, it shall come to pass, that after the Messiah hath risen from the dead, and hath manifested himself unto His people, unto as many as will believe on His name, behold, Jerusalem shall be destroyed again: for wo unto them that fight against God and the people of His church. 11:25 Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations; yea, and also Babylon shall be destroyed; wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered by other nations; 11:26 And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations, for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind; 11:27 And when that day shall come, that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in His name, with pure hearts, and clean hands, and look not forward anymore for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things, 11:28 And the Lord will set His hand again the second time to restore His people from their lost and fallen state.
11:29 Wherefore, He will proceed to do a marvelous work, and a wonder among the children of men. 11:30 Wherefore, He shall bring forth His words unto them, which words shall judge them at the last day; 11:31 For they shall be given them for the purpose of convincing them of the true Messiah, who was rejected by them; 11:32 And unto the convincing of them that they need not look forward anymore for a Messiah to come, 11:33 For there should not any come, save it should be a false Messiah, which should deceive the people: 11:34 For there is save one Messiah spoken of by the prophets, and that Messiah is He who should be rejected of the Jews. 11:35 For according to the words of the prophets, the Messiah cometh in six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem; 11:36 And according to the words of the prophets, and also the word of the angel of God, His name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
11:37 And now my brethren, I have spoken plain, that ye can not err; 11:38 And as the Lord God liveth, that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations, after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock, and the water should come forth; 11:39 Yea, behold, I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.
11:40 Wherefore, for this cause hath the Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write, shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation, that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph, that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand. 11:41 Wherefore, these things shall go from generation to generation as long as the earth shall stand; and they shall go according to the will and pleasure of God; 11:42 And the nations which shall possess them, shall be judged of them according to the words which are written; 11:43 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; 11:44 For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
Isaiah 29:1-4, 9-19, 24 (KJV)
29:1 Woe to Ariel [another name for Jerusalem], to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. 29:2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. 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. [2 Kings 25:1-11]. 29:4 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 [meaning a like manner of speech], out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
29:9 Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 29:10 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. 29:11 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: 29:12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
29:13 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: 29:14 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.
29:15 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? 29:16 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?
29:17 Is it not yet a very little while [this is a point of reference], and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? 29:18 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. 29:19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel… 29:24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
Ezekiel 37:15-20 (KJV)
37:15 The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 37:16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 37:17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
37:18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 37:19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim [the Book of Mormon was written by Manasseh and translated by Ephraim], and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 37:20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
Principles to Consider
The Great Plan of Redemption
Twelve principles found within the Gospel of Jesus Christ outline the plan of our redemption and salvation. Beginning with the creation and ending with eternal life