“From the Dust” – 2 Nephi 33:13

Nephi tells us that he “did liken all scriptures” to himself and to his family. Here’s an example of a passage from Isaiah which he identified with personally:

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.
(Isaiah 29:4)

Here’s what this passage meant to Nephi:

Many years in the future, after his descendants had been destroyed (“brought down low in the dust”), their written testimonies would become available to future generations of people.

The words of the righteous shall be written,
and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard,
and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten.
(2 Nephi 26:15)

When those words became available, it would be as though Nephi and his people were speaking from their graves:

For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground,
and their speech shall be low out of the dust,
and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit;
for the Lord God will give unto him power,
that he may whisper concerning them,
even as it were out of the ground;
and their speech shall whisper out of the dust.
(2 Nephi 26:16)

Nephi understood this prophecy to be literally about his words. During his final testimony, he refers to this passage as he addresses his future readers:

And now, my beloved brethren,
all those who are of the house of Israel,
and all ye ends of the earth,
I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust.
(2 Nephi 33:13)

The final author in the Book of Mormon, Moroni, also referenced this prophecy in his final words:

The time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not,
for ye shall see me at the bar of God;
and the Lord God will say unto you:
Did I not declare my words unto you,
which were written by this man,
like as one crying from the dead,
yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?
(Moroni 10:27)

Today, I will be grateful for the privilege of interacting with the inspired words of ancient authors. I will be grateful that Book of Mormon authors are able to speak to me “from the dust.” I will strive, as Nephi did, to find myself in their words and to understand how their words apply to me personally.

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