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Jeff LindsayAugust 2018

Introduction: From Dust to Dust

For dust thou art, and till dust thou shalt rerotate. Dust is a subtle however pervasive symbol in the scriptures that, in light of contemporary biblical scholarship, takes on included interpretation. That meaning fits remarkably well with the usage of dust themes in the Publication of Mormon, the voice from the dust.

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For the initially slide of this presentation, I made a decision a photo from of Mary standing at the empty tomb, wondering. Behind her is the gardener, actually the Lord, freshly risen from the dust, inviting us to come unto Him and with Him additionally climb from the dust and also enter right into a covenant relationship with God. These ideas are tied to the ancient motif of dust.

Dust, soil, dirt, ashes, and earth are terms that can describe the ground beneath our feet and the remnants of life after dying, dewriting, degrading, or becoming oxidized. Dust and also its relatives are the raw products for life, with plants literally rising from the dust or earth, and every one of us figuratively increasing from the dust. We are developed from dust, and also we go back to dust. This has long been known in the Hebrew scriptures. But scientific research likewise tells us that our entire world is created from the dust of ancient stars. How true it is that we are of the dust.

Motifs concerned dust develop a crucial facility in prehistoric scripture. When interpreted in light of modern-day scholarship, they deserve to aid us much better appreciate the richness of the message and likewise clarify some puzzling concerns and also troubles.

These themes are not distinct to the Near East. In China, the ancient principle of the 5 facets, the Wu Xing, consists of earth, metal, fire, timber, and also water, each linked via a direction, a color, an animal, and also a day. Interestingly, earth or dust is connected via the color yellow, which is the shade of the Emperor and generally the color associated via the holy place for Buddhists. The associated animal is huguy. The cardinal direction is the center, which we might watch as if it were the axis of the cosmos that connects earth to heaven and also the underworld. The day of the week is Saturday, the day in the Scriptures once the Creation was completed and rest could begin. Yellow is the shade of dust in much of China. The yellow earth of north China is the source of the silt that gives us the name of the Yellow River and the Yellow Sea.


The yellow dust of China deserve to have actually fearsome power once unified with water, as shown in this photo of hydraulic purging of a portion of the Yellow River. It deserve to be equally fearsome once entrained in air, as presented in this approaching dust storm in Western China.


Noel Reynolds’ Work: “The Brass Plates Version of Genesis”

This examine was sparked by a publication of Noel Reynolds, “The Brass Plates Version of Genesis,”<1> wherein Reynolds finds superior web links between the Publication of Moses and also the Publication of Mormon. He offers compelling reasons why the parallels are suggestive of Book of Mormon dependency on the Book of Moses or fairly, related material on the brass plates, and not the various other way around.

Reynolds discovered about 20 situations of phrases offered in both the Book of Moses and the Publication of Mormon that are not uncovered in the KJV, indicating potential relationships. A few of these are intriguing and meaningful. A few are presented below:

Table 1. Rundown of Reynolds’ Concepts in the Publication of Moses and also the Publication of Mormon Without KJV Examples


Strength, Chains, and Lehi’s Farewell

Encouraged by Reynolds’ occupational, I explored numerous various other possible web links in between the Publication of Moses and also the Book of Mormon. Curiosity around the striking imagery of “chains of darkness” in Moses 7 caused some finds common below, and also brought about 3 files on the “Aclimb from the Dust” design template publiburned at The Interpreter. I’ve ready shortcuts at for these papers, so you have the right to accessibility them as, arisedust2, and also arisedust3.<2> Noel Reynolds’ paper is at

When I review Reynolds’ paper recently, I had been looking at some Book of Mormon passeras concerned the Exodus while preparing “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,”<3> (available at, a document responding to a critic’s fairly questionable assault on Lehi’s Trail. An Exodus-associated passage I had actually simply been reading, 1 Nephi 4:2, had a puzzling statement from Nephi: “Because of this let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses.” My mental imeras of Moses and the Exodus had actually him as an aging man who was not particularly solid. In fact, throughout one scene (the Battle of Rephidim versus the Amalekites, Exodus 17:8-13), he holds up his staff and needs two guys to assist him. Yes, it was tiring, yet the scene does not soptimal to remarkable stamina. The Old Testament text also does not sheight around Moses’ toughness. In the Pentateuch, Pharaoh is solid, the waters are strong, the Lord is strong, and also Joshua is solid, but toughness is not mentioned via respect to Moses. But Nephi appears to be citing somepoint famous to his brethren. But what, I wondered. I began looking in the Publication of Moses and also quickly discovered 3 verses that can support the principle of the strength of Moses, many clearly Moses 1:25, which struck me via surprise: “Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have actually preferred thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many type of waters.” Anvarious other hit for Reynolds’ hypothesis.

Intrigued, I wondered if tbelow can be more. Reynolds have relied on computer system searcs, searching for exact matches of certain words. But by looking at the bigger concepts, I uncovered 15 additional parallels continuous through what Reynolds taught.

The following instance led me to the layout of dust. I was intrigued by the vivid imagery of chains of darkness or chains that veil the earth in darkness in Moses 7: 26, 57:

“he beheld Satan; and also he had an excellent chain in his hand, and it veiled the entirety challenge of the earth via darkness” (Moses 7:26)“the remainder were scheduled in chains of darkness till the judgment of the great day” (Moses 7:57)

I looked for “chains” and “darkness” in the same verse in the Publication of Mormon, without success. But then I detailed that in Lehi’s farewell speech in 2 Nephi 1:23, Lehi links “chains” and also “obscurity” via parallelism. In Webster’s 1828 dictionary, the first interpretation of “obscurity” is “Darkness; want of light.” This can be a recommendation to “chains of darkness” in the brass plates. The term “chains of darkness” is not uncovered in the KJV Old Testimony yet is discovered in 2 Peter 2:4 and also Jude 6, so it’s not independent of the KJV. But the Publication of Mormon intake may be especially exciting because it may involve a Hebraic wordplay as well: perhaps Nephi supplied the root ʿaphar (עפר) or ʾepher (אפר) for “dust” and also ʾophel (אֹפֶל) for “obscurity.”

In Isaiah 29:4, speech whispers from the “dust” wright here “dust” is from ʿaphar (עפר) which occurs 15 times in Isaiah, always interpreted as “dust” in the KJV other than in Isaiah 2:19 wbelow it is “earth.” A carefully related word is ʾepher (אפר) which deserve to mean “loose soil crumbling into dust” or ashes. In the KJV, all 22 events are “ashes,” but it is “dust” twice in the NIV. A word play with either of these possibilities could happen once coupled via the Hebrew word interpreted as word “obscurity” in Isaiah 29:18 in the KJV. Words is אֹפֶל, which have the right to be transliterated as ʾophel:

ʼôphel, o’fel (from H651, ʼâphêl <אָפֵל>); definition “dusk:—darkness, obscurity, privily, while ʼâphêl is “from an unprovided root definition to set as the sun; dusky—very dark.” HALOT, 79.

It is a perhaps exciting word play arguing that Lehi or Nephi was offering poetic emphasis to dust and obscurity.

In this verse and also in a major section of Lehi’s farewell speech, Lehi is clearly structure on Isaiah 52:1-2, a passage that I argue might have been of great prominence in Nephite religion:

Awake, awake; put on thy toughness, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth tright here shall no more come right into thee the uncircumcised and also the unclean.Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

This beautiful passage was provided by Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Alma, Christ, and also Moroni. In Lehi’s farewell, the layout of acquiring promised covenant blessings in the promised land fits Lehi’s “prosper in the land” teachings (2 Nephi 1:20) and the purposes of his speech. Obvious usage of this passage from Isaiah occurs as a full quotation in 2 Nephi 8:24-25 by Jacob and in 3 Nephi 20:36-37 by Christ. It is plainly being provided in Lehi’s farewell, 2 Nephi 1:13-23 and also in Moroni’s farewell, Moroni 10:31. It is alluded to in Jacob 3:11 (“shake yourselves … awake from the shardwood of death; and loose yourselves”), in Alma 5:7 (“awake from sleep, remove bands of death”), in Alma 36 (chains, falling to the earth, a state of sleep and darkness, and arising) and probably in 2 Nephi 28:19 (“shake … everlasting chains”) or Alma 13:29–30 (“lifted up … bound dvery own by the chains of hell”), among others.

The dust-related aspects of Lehi’s farewell speech incorporate a lot more than the single verse that attracted my attention in light of a feasible partnership to the Book of Moses. His consumption mirrors a remarkably poetic usage of principles from Isaiah 52:1-2 in 2 Nephi 1:13–23:

13 O that ye would awake, awake … and also shake off the awful chains

14 Awake! and arise from the dust.… few even more days and also I go all the means of the earth.

21 And now that my heart can have joy in you, and that my heart can leave this civilization via gladness bereason of you, that I can not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, aclimb from the dust, my sons, and also be guys, … that ye may not come down right into captivity;

22 That ye might not be cursed with a sore cursing….

23 Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and also come forth out of obscurity, and also aclimb from the dust.

Certainly, this passage fits a relatively concise and also clear 7-action chiasmus, shown below mostly following the chiasmus presented by Donald R. Parry in Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon:<4>


Isaiah 52:1–2 is arttotally woven right into this chiasmus, emphasizing the prominence of Lehi’s teaching. Interestingly, many of the Book of Mormon’s passages including chains occur in chiasmic passeras established in Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon.

Modern Scholars on Dust and also Covenants: Brueggemann and Wijngaards

Crucial understanding into the significance of dust in the Old Testament comes from a paper publiburned in 1972 by Holy bible scholar Wchange Brueggemann, “From Dust to Kingship.”<5> Brueggemann describes that “the motifs of covenant-renewal, enthronement, and resurrection cannot be retained in isolation from each various other.” Rising from the dust is regarded enthronement and empowerment, via political and also theological facets.

His examine started through 1 Kings 16:2, wbelow he detailed that the design template of dust is supplied both for the rise to power of King Baasha of Israel however likewise for his fall from power. The the Lord tells Baasha, “I exalted you out of the dust and also made you leader over my world Israel.” But then comes the antithesis: “Behold I will certainly utterly sweep ameans Baasha and his house” (American Standard Version), referring to Baasha losing his status and effectively returning to the dust.

Brueggeguy likewise notes that the dust motif is obviously tied to the Creation, for God developed man out of the dust (Gen. 2:7) and we are dust and will return to it (Gen. 3:19). After being developed from the dust, Adam and Eve are put in charge of the Garden — offered authority and also obligation, prefer a king and also queen over the Garden — an facet of “increasing from the dust.”

Brueggemale provides several remarkable statements in his study of the prehistoric dust motif:

“Behind the creation formula lies a imperial formula of enthronement. To be taken ‘from the dust’ suggests to be elevated from obscurity to imperial office and also to return to dust means to be deprived of that office and went back to obscurity.”“o be taken from the dust means to be embraced as a covenant-partner and treated graciously; to go back to the dust suggests to shed that covenant relation.”“To die and also be elevated is to be out of covenant and then earlier in covenant. So likewise to be ‘from dust’ is to enter right into a covenant and also to return ‘to dust’ is to have actually the covenant voided.”

His research attracted heavily upon the previous work of J. Wijngaards, “Death and Resurrection in Covenantal Conmessage (Hos. VI 2),” (<6>

Wijngaards argues that “dying and also rising” define the voiding and also renewing of covenants. Likewise, calls to “turn” or “repent” involve altering loyalties or entering into a new covenant. Further, he states that New Testimony themes of resurrection are constructed on Israel’s prehistoric enthronement rituals, and as soon as Christ was “raised up” from the dead “on the third day,” that principle draws upon a range of associated Old Testimony passeras (e.g., Hosea 6:2’s referral to renewal after 3 days of death). Again, OT dust motifs are grounded in covenant relationships and the idea of divine production.

The Creation facets of Lehi’s farewell speech in 2 Nephi 1 should be thought about in light of Wijngaards’ work and the dust motif. Lehi deals with pertinent principles such as dust, aclimb, cursing, light and dark, development (oppowebsite is destruction), and also firm (vs. captivity). Consider:

13: “awake from a deep sleep” (prefer Adam awaking from a deep sleep in Gen. 2:21).23: come “out of obscurity” prefer coming out of the void in Genesis 1.Sword and the tree (checked out by sword, v. 18), cut off from God’s presence (v. 20).“Cursed with a sore cursing” (v. 22).Putting on the armor of righteousness (v. 23) like Adam and also Eve putting on their clothes.

Creation concepts are clearly interwoven right into Lehi’s speech and are one aspect of his use of the dust motif.

In addition to development ideas, the political facets of the dust motif might be particularly interesting in this component of the Book of Mormon, and also reflect profound awareness of ancient dust motifs that may not have actually been well-known in Joseph’s day.

Politics and Nephi’s Use of Dust Themes

David Bokovoy, using the political/enthronement aspects of Wtransform Brueggemann’s “From Dust to Kingship” to the Book of Mormon, experienced the political implications of the dust theme in Nephi and also Jacob’s works.<7> He oboffered that Lehi’s charge to increase from the dust (and also keep the covenant) is welcomed by Nephi in 2 Nephi 4:28: “Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and provide area no more for the adversary of my heart.” More, Nephi likewise prays that he “might shake at the appearance of sin,” as in shaking off chains/bands per Lehi and Isaiah. This strengthens the instance for Nephi as legitimate successor of Lehi, both as the political and spiroutine leader. Two chapters later, Jacob, at Nephi’s request, quotes Isaiah 52:1-2. In context, Bokovoy says this helps cement Nephi’s legitimacy as leader. He that rises from the dust is provided authority and also power.

Laman and also Lemuel can reign if they would rise from the dust and also be righteous males, as Lehi described in 2 Nephi 1:28–29. But that honor goes to Nephi, and also Lehi’s speech and also Nephi’s response to it clarify that Nephi truly is the legitimate successor of Lehi. Lehi’s farewell speech and also Nephi’s response might then be of necessary prestige in developing the legitimacy of Nephi’s power and also of the totality Nephite enterpclimb versus the contending clintends of Lamale and Lemuel.

Redundancy or Poetry? Nephi’s Dusty Inclusio

In light of the primitive dust motif and prehistoric poetical tools, we have the right to watch better evidence of Nephi’s excellent emphasis on Lehi’s speech as we check out a Publication of Mormon puzzle that the primitive dust motif helps settle. The puzzle involves one more dust-related passage, wherein the Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah 49:22–23. The puzzle is why this passage would be quoted twice by Nephi, in brief order. The passage plainly has political overtones:

 22 Hence saith the Lord God: Behost, I will certainly lift up mine hand also to the Gentiles, and put up my typical to the people; and also they shall lug thy sons in their arms, and also thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

 23 And majesties shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow dvery own to thee via their confront towards the earth, and also lick up the dust of thy feet; and also thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

This is first quoted near the finish of Nephi’s initially book at 1 Nephi 21:22–23. Salso chapters later on, it is cited aobtain in 2 Nephi 6:6–7. Given the limited area on the plates and also the challenge of engraving, why would Nephi quote this passage twice?

In light of the prehistoric dust motif and contemporary scholarship on poetical approaches in Old Testament times, I would certainly propose that this passage is component of the primitive Hebrew poetical strategy recognized as inclusio, in which a prevalent phrase or connected product, frequently with common certain keywords, brackets the beginning and finish of a portion of text. Chiasmus have the right to be taken into consideration “recursive inclusio” with brackets within brackets within brackets. Inclusio have the right to give special emphasis to the bracketed text and include to its meaning. Here a large dust-connected inclusio highlights Lehi’s dust-associated speech to set it off as a crucial passage in Nephite religious beliefs.

Below is the proposed structure of Nephi’s “dusty inclusio.”

A1. Isaiah on Dust Removal and also (Ironic) EnthronementStart: 1 Nephi 20:1 (Is. 48:1): Aincreasing from the waters of Judah (baptism: washed).End: 1 Nephi 21:22–26 (Is. 49:22–26): Kings and also kings to lick the dust off the feet of the covenant people.

B. 1 Nephi 22 and also 2 Nephi 1–6, including Lehi’s Farewell and Nephi’s Psalm. This passage requires themes of dust, deliverance from bondage, and redemption.

A2. Isaiah on Dust Removal and also (Ironic) EnthronementStart: 2 Nephi 6:6, quoting Is. 49:22–23 (emperors licking dust from the feet)End: 2 Nephi 8:24–25, quoting Is. 52:1–2 (“Awake, awake . . . Shake thyself from the dust, arise.”)

Here one deserve to view baptism as a routine of washing off sin (a kind of “dust removal”) and also rising from spiritual death to life. “Ironic enthronement” refers to the reversal in which gentile kings and kings descend from their thrones to the earth and then lick off the dust from the feet of the former scattered refugees that now ascend to thrones.

The opening bracket moves from washing to the licking of dust, and also the closing bracket currently starts through the licking of dust complied with by a go back to Isaiah 52:1-2, currently quoted in full.

Seeing the redundant quotation of Isaiah as a delibeprice dust-related inclusio approximately a highly-significant dust-related passage resolves the question about Nephi’s apparently wasteful and redundant duplicate quotation. The duplication by means of an inclusio highlights and increases upon the interpretation of brackets the dust-associated body, and signals the prominence of related material inside. With this inclusio, arising (or being washed) from the dust is presented as a crucial and also rich motif.

Similarly, the whole book of Second Nephi begins and also ends via dust themes. Lehi’s speech in 2 Nephi 1 have the right to be compared to Nephi’s closing words in 2 Nephi 33:13: “I sheight unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.” Various theories have been proposed for why Nephi split his job-related into two publications, however one issue arising from consideration of the dust motif is that Lehi’s speech coupled through Nephi’s psalm (2 Nephi 4) assistance Nephi’s divine commission as a prophet and also as king, in parallel to Lehi’s divine commission as prophet and also leader in the opening chapters of 1 Nephi. In any type of case, the political and spiroutine effects of Lehi’s farewell speech may have been of pivotal prominence in Nephi’s mind, and also thus is given focus not just with a dust-connected inclusio, however also through establishing it off as the beginning his second book.

The Complex of Dust Themes

At this allude we have actually encountered a facility of principles regarded the dust motif. This consists of dust as a symbol of fatality, decay, chaos, and the raw products of God’s Creation. We additionally have rising from the dust pertained to maintaining covenants, resurrection, receiving power and authority, enthronement, and also salvation. More, dust, favor chains of captivity, needs to be shaken off, or washed or even licked off.

Related passperiods periodically involve:

Shaking such as shaking off of dust, chains, bands, etc.Repentance and also cleansing.Singing and also rejoicing. Those that aincrease from the dust and are freed from chains of darkness frequently break out into song or rejoicing.Rising (Hebrew quwm in Is. 52) is a crucial facet of many dust-connected passperiods, wright here the Hebrew word have the right to likewise suppose establish, stand, ascend. Alengthy with standing and rising, recommendations to feet deserve to additionally play a role.Sitting (in authority, on a throne) is additionally part of the dust complicated.Putting on robes of authority (enthronement) is an essential facet via both spiritual and also political elements.Encircling (chains, bands vs. robes/arms of the Lord). You have the right to be encircled by the robes or arms of the Lord, or encircled by the chains and also bands of death. It’s one or the other and also it’s your option, favor the doctrine of the 2 ways we discover in 2 Nephi 2.ResurrectionExaltation, enthronement

In any kind of case, dust removal is the goal for humankind, and also the Savior is the one who provides that possible.

Isaiah has other dust-connected passeras pertinent to our conversation, such as:

Isaiah 26:19: “Thy dead men shall live, in addition to my dead body shall they arise. Awake and also sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and also the earth shall cast out the dead.”Isaiah 61:3: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes , the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the heart of heaviness; that they could be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he can be glorified.”

For associated details, see the discussion of chaos and development themes in Avraham Gileadi, The Literary Post of Isaiah (San Diego, Hebraeus Press, 1994, 2012). This book examines the evidence for the literary unity of Isaiah, a examine that began after noticing that Isaiah 52 and also 53 on the enthronement of Zion were carefully regarded the loss to the dust of the King of Babylon in Isaiah 13 and also 14, and that finding caused considerable brand-new explorations that support the unity of Isaiah. Gileadi’s occupational incidentally helps fix the evident trouble of passperiods from a later on theoretical Deutero-Isaiah being available on the brass plates before the Exile.

Dust Removal

Let’s go back to the concern of dust removal. This appears to be an essential theme of the Publication of Mormon. In addition to shaking off dust or chains in order to arise from the dust, dust can be removed via washing and also connected implies. Hence we have the right to have actually (1) washing of the feet, which, favor rising from the dust, can be regarded as a washing to rerelocate dust, a symbol of cleansing and also receiving authority or honor. We deserve to also think about (2) licking the dust off the feet in Isaiah 49:23, and (3) washing eyes anointed via clay in John 9:6–7, wbelow Christ heals a blind man. Here clay, like dust, is a symbol of the Creation or God’s creative power, according to Irenaeus. A number of commentators rejected that suggestion, yet brand-new evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls argues Irenaeus was correct and that clay was supplied as a symbol of God’s artistic power among primitive Jews. For details, see Daniel Frayer-Griggs, Journal of Biblical Literature.<8>

If washing eyes anointed with clay is connected to God’s creative work, this might shed understanding on the story of Enoch in the Book of Moses that came to be a seer once God told him to anoint his eyes through clay and wash them (Moses 6:35–6). He receives this gift that allows him to watch points that others cannot. The washing off of dust or clay, prefer the removal of sin and also the overcoming of chaos, appears to cause the receipt of divine gifts. Is dust removal an facet of baptism as one rises from the waters of chaos and also death? I would certainly imply that it is, and that the covenant and ritual of baptism can likewise be thought about in light of dust motifs.

King Benjamin’s Speech

The covenant-based aspects of the complicated of dust themes might assist us much better appreciate some scenes in the Publication of Mormon, such as King Benjamin’s speech, a beautiful covenant-making episode. Near its start in Mosiah 2:25–26, King Benjamin speaks of dust a number of times, telling the human being that they are less than the dust of the earth and that he, too, is dust and have to perish soon:

Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth…

And I, even I, whom ye contact your king, am no better than ye yourselves are; for I am also of the dust … and also am about to yield up this mortal framework to its mother earth.

Following his speech, the civilization are ready to make a covenant in Mosiah 4:1–2. Their willingness to repent and enter into the covenant appears to be signaled by what will certainly become a characteristic of Book of Mormon individuals at crucial spiritual moments:

e actors his eyes round about on the multitude, and also behost they had actually fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had actually come upon them.

And they had viewed themselves in their very own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud via one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we might get forgiveness of our sins….

The crying via one voice says their vocal response was scripted or orchestrated in some way. Might the falling to the earth likewise be a ritualized response to spiroutine occasions in Nephite society, influenced by dust motifs? It may be worth considering.

Falling to the earth can have numerous feasible symbolic definitions, including:

Physical deathSpiroutine fatality (falling amethod from God)Rebellion, sin, breaking the covenantLosing power, authority, lifeDestruction

Symbols that stand also in contrast to falling to the earth deserve to include increasing, standing, resurrection, rebirth, receiving power, enthronement, covenant making and also covenant keeping. Various scenes with falling to the earth may well be considered in light of such possibilities, especially as soon as key words from the dust motif are employed or possibly even emphasized such as “aclimb.”

Abinadi vs. the Priests of King Noah

Another influential Publication of Mormon scene wright here dust motifs may play a far-reaching duty and assist resolve puzzles in the message is the encounter of the prophet Abinadi via the wicked clergymans of King Noah. The priests want to entrap the annoying prophet and find legal accusations against him. But their strategy puzzled me for years. Of all the tricky questions they can toss at Abinadi, why carry out they ask him to define “just how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet” from Isaiah 52:7-10?

20 And it came to pass that one of them shelp unto him: What meaneth the words which are written, and which have been taught by our fathers, saying:

21 How beautiful upon the hills are the feet of him that bringeth excellent tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth great tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth;

22 Thy watchguys shall lift up the voice; via the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye as soon as the Lord shall bring again Zion;

23 Break forth right into joy; sing together ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath reunderstood Jerusalem;

24 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and also all the ends of the earth shall view the salvation of our God?

Their goal is to refute, neutralize, accuse and possibly even execute this adversary. Why usage this route? Who cares what that passage means? Why carry out they care? Why make that a focus for their defense and counterattack?

In light of the facility of dust motifs, however, we deserve to make a proposal: If Isaiah 52 were a foundational component of Nephite faith, as argued by Nephi’s dusty inclusio, then the “feel good” part of Is. 52 via its beautiful feet, excellent tidings, salvation, joy, and breaking out in song can seem like an reliable rebuttal to Abinadi’s gimpend and also doom. If an essential component of Nephite religion emphasizes great news, why must we accept the depressing message of Abinadi? From their perspective, this undoubtedly seemed like an reliable discussion.

What’s particularly puzzling, though, is Abinadi’s response.

At first glance, Abinadi appears to give an odd, rambling answer that doesn’t address the puzzling question prior to him. But if Isaiah 52 was a pivotal passage in Nephite religion whose abusage or misinterpretation truly deoffered and also compelled a thounstable reply to counter prouncovered apostasy, then we deserve to view that his answer lays a foundation to overthrow the priests’ deceptive misapplication. His therapy step by step covers the nature of the legislation and its objective, the inadequacy of the legislation for salvation and the require for reconciliation with the Messiah, and also the need for repentance and following God, leading to being elevated by God. Only once we understand also and also accept the Messiah have the right to we have actually reason for rejoicing. Those whose feet will end up being beautiful on Mount Zion are those who heed Isaiah 52:1–2 with shaking off the dust, repenting, arising, receiving the grace of the Messiah and also placing on the beautiful garments of the Lord. Their feet shall be beautiful and firmly establimelted, standing on Mount Zion, supporting saints through reason to rejoice and sing praises to their Redeemer.

Abinadi’s answer, long as it is, is a logical and also motivating response that exposed the ignorance and apostasy of the clergymans and also turned their question to their very own shame and also need to repent. And it would certainly profoundly influence generations of Nephites via the instrumentality of a new transform among the wicked clergymans, Alma the Elder.

Dusting off Alma 36

Knowledge of dust motifs might be advantageous in better understanding one of the most exciting poetical passeras in the Publication of Mormon, the grand also chiasmus of Alma 36. Regardless of the outstanding evidence that Alma 36 is an arttotally crafted chiasmus, tright here are legitimate concerns about a couple of seemingly “loose” parts on both halves of the chiasmus where just a few words are schosen among many type of others. Critics and faithful Mormons deserve to ask fair inquiries about those loose portions. But some of that looseness may tighten up a little bit when we think about the added parallelism that is current in light of dust motifs.

Today I will only address one of numerous concerns existing in these loose sections: the meaning of falling to the earth, which is a authorize of covenant breaking and also death. Contrasting principles encompass developing and regetting life, reacquiring use of limbs, and also entering right into the covenant.

Look at the associated dust themes in the initially “sloppy” portion of Alma 36:

7 earth did tremble beneath our feet … fell to the earth … are afraid of the Lord8 …the voice sassist unto me, Aclimb. And I emerged and stood up9 …destroyed … seek no more to destroy the church of God10 … I dropped to the earth … three days and three nights …11 …destroyed…damage no even more … fear … damaged … fell to the earth and also did hear no more

Keep in mind that falling to the earth is discussed 3 times. His spiroutine fatality is explained in methods that mimic physical death: collapse to the earth, unable to move, and three days and also 3 nights, like the 3 days in the grave of Hosea 6:2, the topic of Wijngaard’s research that aided develop modern-day knowledge of ancient dust motifs in the Old Testimony.

The equivalent “loose” portion on the various other side of the pivot allude, where Alma accepts Christ and also every little thing alters, provides language that have exciting relationships with the passage we just saw:

22 Yea, methought I saw, also as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded via numbermuch less concourses of angels, in the mindset of singing and also pincreasing their God; yea, and my soul did long to be tbelow.

23 But beorganize, my limbs did get their toughness again, and also I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had actually been born of God.

24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have actually labored without ceasing, that I might lug souls unto repentance; that I might lug them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they can additionally be born of God, and also be filled with the Divine Ghost.

25 Yea, and also currently behold, O my boy, the Lord doth offer me exceedingly excellent joy in the fruit of my labors;

26 For bereason of the word which he has imparted unto me, beorganize, many kind of have been born of God, and also have actually tasted as I have tasted, and also have actually viewed eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they execute understand of these things of which I have spoken, as I carry out know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.

In light of the covenant-related facets of the dust motif and the miscellaneous meanings of falling to the earth, what might be a far better oppowebsite for falling to the earth than being born again? In opposition to the triple mention of falling to the earth, here its oppowebsite, being born of God, is additionally stated three times. Other contrasts encompass standing, limbs reobtaining stamina, tasted + watched + spoken (indications of life), singing, viewing a throne, joy, and so on Tright here is sophisticated and artful parallelism entailing dust themes that don’t seem to have actually been adequately considered, but which might not reflect a single, straight chiastic structure. Rather, one can argue that tright here are multiple strands of dust-associated themes interwoven through the chiastic backbone, via complex but exciting fads that might call for additionally research. At this allude, some tentative conclusions can be offered:

The “loose sections” in vv. 5–15, 23–26 have actually much more parallelism than just 4 words determined by Welch.Multiple strands employing dust-related themes show up to be interwrange.Alma’s contrast between falling to the earth and also being born aget and also freed from the chains of death says awareness and deliberate use of dust-related concepts from Nephi, Isaiah, and so on.Tbelow might be a lot even more structure and also craftsmanship than we realized in passeras often sassist to be as well weak to be genuine chiasmus.

The paper experimenting this rather speculative issue is obtainable at The Interpreter via this shortcut:

Christ’s Use of Isaiah 52

Another fascinating application of Isaiah 52 and connected dust motifs occurs in 3 Nephi 20, wbelow Christ quotes Isaiah 52:1–2 and also other verses from Isaiah 52 and somewhere else. This occurs best after the significant miracles of 3 Nephi 19 adhering to baptism and also receipt of the Holy Gorganize in a miraculous scene with angels descending, divine fire, and miraculous events through Christ. Christ proceeds the covenantal template as He breaks and blesses breview, gives wine, all miraculously gave, filling those present (vv. 3-10). But initially, he regulates them to aclimb. “And they developed up and stood” (v 2).

He then speaks of fulfilling prehistoric covenants through Israel, their gathering and also their lands of inheritance (10-15). Then He claims that “I will establish my people” (21), “this people will certainly I establish in this land” (22), and says a “prophet shall … God raise up” (23). These all might have provided or been pertained to the Hebrew word quwm that is the root behind “arise” in Isaiah 52 that deserve to likewise suppose “create.”

More teachings follow:

“The Father having actually raised me up unto you initially,” to revolve sinners amethod from iniquities (renewing covenant, 26)“Break forth into joy — Sing together” (34)“Awake, awake aobtain, and also put on thy strength” (36)“Shake thyself from the dust; aincrease, sit down” (37)“How beautiful … are the feet …” (40)Restoration, gathering, fulfilling covenant (vv. 41-46)

Christ emphasizes the fulfilling of the Lord’s covenants, His mission in turning us from our sins, the cause we need to rejoice, but also the need to awake, shake, aincrease, and also be enthroned. This is much more than a rallying cry to encourage the Nephites to rebuild their fallen cities, but encouragement to redevelop fallen resides and also climb from the dust spiritually and also literally, inevitably receiving all the promised blessings in and from the covenants of the Lord. The Savior’s repetition of Isaiah 52:1–2, calling the Nephites and us to increase from the dust and also sit dvery own, is encouraged by His love and also grace, seeking to help us enter the Father’s existence and also be enthroned via the grace of Christ.

Moroni’s Third & Final Closing, Moroni 10

The last recommendation to Isaiah 52’s dust layout occurs in the last few sentences of the Publication of Mormon as Moroni ultimately closes his message. Twice previously he thought he was done, but his ending was not clear and also impactful. On this third try, it’s various, as Grant Hardy explores in detail in his Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide.<9> See additionally short articles at Publication of Mormon Central and the Maxwell Institute on Moroni’s farewells (, 15, and 16).<10> In using Isaiah 52, which he may have recently encountered with brand-new insights as he operated through the account on Nephi’s little plates, Moroni appears to have actually found the ideal way to close the message, and in continues his pattern in illustration upon many teachings from the small plates, alluding to details tbelow, making Joseph Smith’s translation all the even more miraculous for those that claim he fabricated it, for the writings of Nephi and Jacob were dictated after Moroni’s close, with substantial citations of passages and teachings there, passages that had not yet been dictated as Joseph looked right into his hat ( Interestingly, Moroni’s last farewell complies with language in both Nephi’s and also Jacob’s farewells.

31 And awake, and aincrease from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and also strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no even more be constarted, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your could, mind and also toughness, then is his grace enough for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ….33 hen are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye end up being holy, without spot.

The themes applied below incorporate covenant maintaining and also fulfilling, sanctification, gathering, cleansing, resurrection, judgment, and also enthronement. Closing the “voice from the dust” with these words reflects a profound expertise of the interpretation of the dust motifs and the core concerns of Nephite religion and also the original and brought back Gospel of Jesus Christ.


The Book of Mormon artcompletely employs an old complicated of themes linked through the motif of dust, specifically Isaiah 52:1–2. Both political and also spiroutine applications are accordingly and also meaningcompletely used.

Modern scholarship on this prehistoric template gives us devices to better understand affluent and subtle definitions in a range of areas, such as:

Messperiods from Nephi and Lehi, and Nephi’s rightful reignFurther relationships to the Book of Moses & brass platesThe chiastic parallelism of Alma 36 (and also other chiastic passperiods with chains)The scene of Abinadi vs. Noah’s priestsKing Benjamin’s speech and Nephite swooningCovenantal goals of Christ and also MoroniThe pivotal function of Isaiah 52 in Nephite religious beliefs.The Publication of Mormon is an old voice from the dust.The Book of Mormon goal to assist us increase from the dust and also follow the Savior.

The Book of Mormon’s authentic ancient nature is continuously manifest in the correct and exact method the facility of dust motifs is used. There is much even more that needs to be explored, however I hope this will certainly lay a foundation of some kind that might be useful to other students of the Publication of Mormon.

Finally, I’d prefer to return to the picture of a puzzled Mary standing at the tomb, from which the Messiah has currently increased from the dust. She is beholding miraculous proof for the best event in history, and also yet misunderstands its definition. In a means, this is prefer many type of of us as we encounter the Book of Mormon, the miraculous message that offers proof for the Repair and the truth of the Messiah and his Resurrection and grace. Just as Mary wonders if the body is lacking bereason someone has imcorrectly rerelocated it, perhaps by a questionable gardener, possibly an act of malfeasance or even a crime, so we as well deserve to look at the book and also its proof and mistake it as a fraud, a deception, and as little more than a garden-selection product of 1nine century spiritual zeal from a con-guy.

Mary did not at initially identify the gardener behind her and also possibly suspected him of a possible violation of rules and laws or a deceptive act, also after hearing His voice the first time. It was it is just when she listened again, recognizing a acquainted voice, that she turned and could master – literally, in her case, per the JS translation – a entirety new body of evidence for a miracle beyond anypoint she supposed. When we enrespond to but misunderstand the Publication of Mormon, it is just as soon as we listen to that voice from the dust aobtain and revolve to the resource of that voice that we can hear its magnificent message and relocate towards it, finding ourselves taken on by the arms of Christ’s love, clasped in a covenant relationship. That voice from the dust testifies that God is not dead, that His child resides, that He speaks to us via this spiritual volume, and that He calls us to follow him, to climb from the dust, to shake off the chains that bind us, to put on robes of righteousness, to follow Him and also sit dvery own with Him in the existence of the Father. May we all arise from the dust and pay even more attention to the miraculous message of the voice from the dust, the Publication of Mormon.

Thank you. 


<1> Noel Reynolds, “The Brass Plates Version of Genesis,” in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Esclaims in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 27 March 1990, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City and Provo, UT: Deseret Publication and also FARMS, 1990), 2:136–173;

<2> Jeff Lindsay, “‘Aincrease from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Publication of Mormon (Part 1: Tracks from the Book of Moses),” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 179–232;; Jeff Lindsay, “‘Aclimb from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Publication of Mormon, Part 2: Enthronement, Resurrection, and Other Ancient Motifs from the ‘Voice from the Dust,’” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 233-277,; Jeff Lindsay, “‘Aincrease from the Dust’: Insights from Dust-Related Themes in the Publication of Mormon (Part 3: Dusting Off a Famous Chiasmus, Alma 36),” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 22 (2016): 295-318;

<3> Jeff Lindsay, “Joseph and the Amazing Technishade Dream Map: Part 1 of 2,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 19 (2016): 153-239;

<4> Donald R. Parry in Poetic Parallelisms in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Maxwell Institute, BYU, 2007), check out chiasmus for 2 Nephi 1:13–23; cost-free downpack at

<5> Walter Brueggemann, “From Dust to Kingship” (Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 84/1 (1972): 1–18.

<6> J. Wijngaards, “Death and Resurrection in Covenantal Conmessage (Hos. VI 2),” Vetus Testamentum 17, Fasc. 2 (April 1967): 226–239; or

<7> David Bokovoy, “Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: A Literary Analysis (pt. 1),” When Gods Were Men,, April 29, 2014;, additionally easily accessible at See also David Bokovoy, “Deutero-Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: A Literary Analysis (pt. 2),” When Gods Were Men,, April 30, 2014;, also obtainable at

<8> Daniel Frayer-Griggs, Journal of Biblical Literature, 132/ 3 (2013): 659-670; and also

<9> Grant Hardy, Understanding the Publication of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (Oxford: Oxford College Press, 2010), Kindle edition, Chapter 9, “Strategies of Conclusion.” Also check out Bokovoy, “Deutero-Isaiah in the Publication of Mormon: A Literary Analysis (pt. 2),”

<10> “Why Did Moroni Comment So Much Throughout Ether?,” Publication of Mormon Central, Nov. 30, 2016; or; “Why Did Moroni Write So Many kind of Farewells?,” Book of Mormon Central, Nov. 17, 2016; or; and Mark D. Thomas, “Moroni: The Final Voice,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 12/1 (2003): 88–99, 119–20; or

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The Twin Peaks Poem: Fire Walk With Me Full Poem, The Twin Peaks Poem: Fire Walk With Me

<11> Royal Skousen, “The Pleading Bar of God,” Insights 24, no. 4 (2004): 2-3; http://criticalmessage.byuresearch or