Old Wine in New Bottles

Exploring the Use of the Old Testament in the Doctrine and Covenants

Nicholas J. Frederick

Nicholas J. Frederick, “Old Wine in New Bottles: Exploring the Use of the Old Testament in the Doctrine and Covenants,” in Prophets and Prophecies of the Old Testament, ed. Aaron P. Schade, Brian M. Hauglid, and Kerry Muhlestein (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2017), 231-264.

Nicholas J. Frederick was an assistant professor of ancient scripture at BYU when this was written.

From its opening verses, the Doctrine and Covenants demonstrates a close reliance upon the language of the Old Testament. D&C 1:1–2 contains two allusions to the words of Isaiah (D&C 1:1/Isa. 51:4; D&C 1:2/Isa. 6:10).[1] D&C 2 is a restatement by Moroni to Joseph Smith of Malachi 4:5–6, with significant theological changes. D&C 3, a remarkable revelation that records the Lord’s chastisement of Joseph Smith after his loss of the 116 pages, contains an allusion to 1 Samuel 15:24, Saul’s confession to Samuel that he has “transgressed the commandment of the Lord” (cf. D&C 3:6). D&C 4 begins with an allusion to Isaiah 29:14 and its discussion of a “marvelous work and a wonder” that, the Lord reveals, is about “to come forth among the children of men” (D&C 4:1).

This appropriation of Old Testament language appears at length throughout the Doctrine and Covenants and tends to take one of two forms (or in some cases both). The first form is structure, meaning that the language of the Old Testament provides the textual building blocks for the various texts of the Doctrine and Covenants. These various sections adopt and utilize phrases or sentences from the Old Testament and then adapt them into a new text. The second form is meaning, occurring when the Old Testament language is adopted and adapted in a manner that reflects or expands the Old Testament context. Sometimes a phrase or sentence from the Old Testament will appear in the Doctrine and Covenants in a way that mirrors the Old Testament context. However, at other times the revelations will adopt words or phrases from the Old Testament and place them in a new context, one that alters or adapts the original context. By exploring the different ways in which the Doctrine and Covenants interacts with the Old Testament, we can gain a deeper appreciation for both texts.[2] The clear and obvious presence of the Old Testament throughout the Doctrine and Covenants suggests that this important book of scripture is just as relevant to an understanding of the restored gospel as the New Testament or the Book of Mormon. This paper will proceed as follows: It will first look at how the Doctrine and Covenants adopts and adapts the structure of the Old Testament in its own construction. It will then look at passages where the Old Testament meaning or context is reflected or expanded. It will then offer some concluding observations on the general role of the Old Testament in the Doctrine and Covenants.

I. Structure[3]

When discussing how the Old Testament contributes to the structure of the Doctrine and Covenants, we can perhaps do it in three basic ways: simple, expanded, and condensed. An example of a “simple” structure would be an instance when a phrase or sentence from the Old Testament is appropriated into the Doctrine and Covenants without any real changes to the Old Testament text. Simple allusions can be fairly easy to identify and make up the majority of structural forms. One example of a simple structure can be seen in this comparison between D&C 66:11 and Isaiah 35:10. Isaiah 35:10 is a verse describing the eschatological redemption of Jerusalem, when those liberated by Yahweh will safely find sanctuary in Zion.[4]

Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful; and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads. (D&C 66:11)

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)

With the exception of only one word change, “and/of,” the phrase from Isaiah 35 has been seamlessly appropriated into D&C 66. Another example can be seen when comparing D&C 71:9 with Isaiah 54:17:

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you—there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; (D&C 71:9)

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)

Again, with the exception of a single word change, “you/thee,” the statement from Isaiah 54 has been fully appropriated into the structure of D&C 66, although the careful preservation of the language from Isaiah 54 does make D&C 71:9 read a little awkward due to the addition of “there is” at the beginning of the phrase.

In some instances, the simple structure is altered slightly by inverting a series of phrases. For example, Isaiah 58:1, a verse instructing God’s prophet to loudly and publically call Israel to repentance, reads:

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

In D&C 34:10, the two italicized phrases from Isaiah 58:1 are repeated, but in an inverted order:

Wherefore, lift up your voice and spare not, for the Lord God hath spoken; therefore prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. (D&C 34:10)

There is a similar phrasal inversion in D&C 98:12, which contains an allusion to Isaiah 28:10:[5]

For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith. (D&C 98:12)

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isaiah 28:10)

A more nuanced inversion can be seen in D&C 84:69, which also contains an allusion to Isaiah, in this case Isaiah 35:5, another verse foreshadowing the eschatological redemption of God’s people:[6]

In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; (D&C 84:69)

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (Isaiah 35:5)

In this instance, the phrases are preserved in the same order, with “blind” preceding “deaf,” but the word order has been inverted. In Isaiah, the word order was “eyes of the blind,” followed by “opened” and “ears of the deaf,” then “unstopped.” In D&C 84:69, the word order shifts to “open,” followed by “eyes of the blind” and “unstop,” then “ears of the deaf.”[7]

On other occasions, the Doctrine and Covenants will adopt a phrase or sentence from the Old Testament, but rather than simply inserting it nearly word-for-word into the revelation, the language from the Old Testament will be expanded. This expansion is perhaps a way of furnishing new meaning or further explanation to the phrase appropriated from the Old Testament. D&C 128 is an 1842 letter written by Joseph Smith after he was forced to flee Nauvoo following an attempt by an unknown party to assassinate former Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs.[8] In this letter, Joseph celebrates the blessings of the Restoration, in particular the restoration of priesthood keys, with their power of sealing the living and the dead. Towards the end of this letter, he writes:

Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers! (D&C 128:23)

Compare the italicized portion above to Job 38:7, a verse that originates in an encounter between

God and Job wherein God poses a series of rhetorical questions to Job, such as the following:

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)

Joseph has taken the question posed by God to Job and changed it in two notable ways. First, he adds “sun” and “moon” to the “morning stars.” Second, he has taken what was originally a rhetorical question highlighting the beauty and wonder of the natural world and turned it into a declarative statement celebrating the beauty and wonder of the Restoration.

A second example of structural expansion can be seen in D&C 109, which records the 1836 dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple. Toward the end of the prayer, the following words are spoken:

And whatsoever city thy servants shall enter, and the people of that city receive their testimony, let thy peace and thy salvation be upon that city; that they may gather out of that city the righteous, that they may come forth to Zion, or to her stakes, the places of thine appointment, with songs of everlasting joy; (D&C 109:39)

Now compare this with Isaiah 35:10, a verse celebrating the redemption of Jerusalem and a successful journey to Zion:

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)

D&C 109:39 is clearly drawing upon Isaiah 35:10 for its language, but it has inserted two phrases, “or to her stakes” and “the places of thine appointment,” in between the two phrases borrowed from Isaiah 35, “come forth to Zion” and “with songs of everlasting joy.” The purpose of this structural expansion is to help the Saints understand that the process of gathering “to Zion” is not necessarily limited to a central gathering place but includes the “stakes” of Zion as well.

A third type of structural form is the appropriation of an Old Testament phrase or group of phrases in a manner in which the Old Testament language is condensed or shortened. For example, D&C 58:8 contains two allusions to Isaiah 25:6, a passage describing a future messianic banquet celebrating the victory of Yahweh:

And also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor; yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail; (D&C 58:8)

And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. (Isaiah 25:6)

In D&C 58:8, the phrases “a feast of wines on the lees” and “of fat things full of marrow” have been omitted from Isaiah’s words, while the phrases “a feast of fat things” and “of wine on the lees well refined” have been appropriated.

Readers encounter a similar “condensing” in D&C 133. In this eschatologically charged revelation, the Lord elaborates on the place of the gospel and the Saints as the arrival of the Kingdom of God grows nearer. Near the end of the revelation, the Lord declares that he sent forth the “fulness of his gospel” in order

to prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord’s errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight. (D&C 133:58)

The phrase “little one become a strong nation” is an allusion to Isaiah 60:22, where Isaiah predicts that the influence of Israel will become so great that it will be disproportionate to her size:

A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time. (Isaiah 60:22)

Isaiah’s words in this verse are an example of synonymous parallelism, a feature of Hebrew poetry in which the poet makes a statement and then restates it with different wording in the next line. For example,

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

In three separate places, Isaiah makes a statement and then restates it for poetic purposes. In D&C 60:22, the two parallel expressions are “a little one shall become a thousand” and “a small one a strong nation.” In D&C 133, the two phrases have been combined to read “little ones become a strong nation.” However, the remarkable element of this verse is that, after condensing Isaiah’s two parallels into one phrase, the revelation adds a second phrase (from Deuteronomy) to maintain the synonymous parallelism:

To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord’s errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight. (D&C 133:58)

How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up? (Deuteronomy 32:30)

Textually, this is a remarkable feat, one requiring not only knowledge of verses from Isaiah and Deuteronomy but also recognition of the poetic structure behind Isaiah’s words.[9]

II. Meaning

As hinted at in the discussion of structure, the explicit presence of the Old Testament in the text of the Doctrine and Covenants can have an influence on how the Doctrine and Covenants is interpreted. This section will explore four ways in which meaning is conveyed through the appropriation of Old Testament language by the Doctrine and Covenants. The first type of meaning is “modernization,” referring to occasions when the Doctrine and Covenants appropriates language from the Old Testament but, either through addition or omission, places the Old Testament allusion in a modern context. The second type of meaning is “clarification,” referring to occasions where the Doctrine and Covenants clarifies or illuminates the meaning behind an Old Testament text. The third and fourth types of meaning are primarily derived from how the context of the Old Testament passage being alluded to is itself adopted and adapted by the Doctrine and Covenants. On one hand, the context of the Old Testament passage may mirror or reflect the context of the Doctrine and Covenants verse it is placed within. In this instance, the Old Testament context can be read into the Doctrine and Covenants context and serve as additional or further contextualization. On the other hand, the context of the Old Testament passage being alluded to may be expanded or altered and thus recontextualized in the Doctrine and Covenants. This type of meaning focuses on allusions to passages from the Old Testament whose recontexualization in the Doctrine and Covenants goes “against the grain,” so to speak, of how these passages are generally understood or read in their original context. This shouldn’t be taken to mean that the Doctrine and Covenants is using these passages incorrectly. Rather, the recontextualization would be the result of modern revelation providing an alternate interpretation. It should be noted, however, that these categories can be rather fluid and will often overlap with one another. In other words, a category that attempts contextualization can also be providing modernization or clarification.

A. Modernization

The Old Testament is a text that was written many centuries before the birth of Joseph Smith. When the Doctrine and Covenants alludes to passages from the Old Testament, it is sometimes necessary to “modernize” certain elements of the Old Testament that wouldn’t necessarily be familiar to a nineteenth-century American audience. One example of this modernization can be seen in D&C 133:46:

And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save. (D&C 133:46–47)

This is an allusion to Isaiah 63:1:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (Isaiah 63:1)

For the most part, the language of D&C 133 matches that of Isaiah 63:1, with the notable omission of two words: “Edom” and “Bozrah.” Isaiah 63 begins as a dialogue between a watchman and a warrior. The watchman sees the warrior approaching Jerusalem from the south in what appears to be red garments and in 63:1 asks him who he is. The warrior responds that he is one who speaks “in righteousness, mighty to save.” This answer sparks a second question from the watchman: “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel” (Isaiah 63:2), to which the warrior responds, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment” (Isaiah 63:3).

The direct meaning of Isaiah’s words is unclear. Perhaps he is referring to Jehovah’s execution of judgment against those who reject him[10] or perhaps to his protection of Jerusalem against her enemies (albeit without Jerusalem’s assistance).[11] Reading Isaiah “backwards” yields perhaps a glimpse of Jesus’s conquest of sin and death on the cross or perhaps of Jesus’s Second Coming and conquest of the wicked.[12] Of interest here are the references to “Edom” and “Bozrah.” Edom was situated southeast of Jerusalem, and its capital city was Bozrah. Additionally, “Edom was the perennial enemy of Judah, so much so that it came to represent all its enemies.”[13] Isaiah’s selection of Edom as the location of the warrior’s conquest makes sense in an Old Testament context. As one scholar has noted, “The choice of Edom is dictated by the paradigmatic status of Edom as neighbor, related by kinship, yet unremittingly hostile, and also by the fact that traditionally, in heroic poetry, Edom is where YHWH first came from.”[14] However, by the time D&C 133 was received, the symbolic nature of Edom and Bozrah would have been lost and more likely would have been confusing to a nineteenth-century American audience. Thus the allusion to Isaiah 63:1 eliminates the geographic symbolism but maintains the meaning behind Isaiah 63: the enemies of God will be destroyed.[15]

Another example of this modernization can be seen in D&C 65:2, a passage that contains two allusions to Daniel 2. In Daniel 2, Daniel offers an interpretation of a dream that had been given to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream centered on a great image made of various types of metal and clay, which is then destroyed by a mysterious “stone.” Here is the verse describing the stone:

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34–35)

Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to be one of a vague succession of kingdoms, beginning with the Babylonians and continuing until they are broken by the stone. There remains a great deal of scholarly debate as to the identity of this image. Does it refer to the four ages of man? Does it refer to the rulers who will immediately succeed Nebuchadnezzar? Does it represent those empires that would follow the Baylonians, namely the Medes (silver), the Greeks (brass), and the Romans (iron)?[16] The true nature of the “stone” is also the topic of debate among scholars. Does it historically represent Cyrus and the Persian overthrow of Babylon? Does it broadly speak to the sacred, divine nature of kingship and stand as a reminder that God can stand behind the rise and fall of any secular empire?[17] Early Christians, building off of passages that also spoke of a stone, such as Isaiah 8:14 and Psalms 118:22 (cf. Luke 20:17–18), began to interpret the stone as either referring to Jesus Christ (in either his first or second advent) or the eschatological kingdom he will establish in the final messianic age.[18]

In D&C 65, “a voice” declares to Joseph Smith that the keys of the kingdom have been restored and that the eschatological kingdom of God is prepared to come forth if the Saints would seek after it through prayer. D&C 65:2 then appropriates language from Daniel 2:35:

The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth. (D&C 65:2)

Significantly, there is no mention in D&C 65:2 of the image of metal and clay from Daniel’s vision. One explanation for this absence is that the Doctrine and Covenants is modernizing Daniel’s text. If the image of metal and clay represented either kings or empires that rose up in succession after the fall of Babylon, then they have very little relevance to a nineteenth-century restoration of God’s church in America. Nebuchadnezzar was seeing something in the future, but by the time Joseph receives D&C 65, Nebuchadnezzar’s visionary experience has become the distant past. There is no need to discuss ancient empires that have come and gone—the Lord’s emphasis is on the present kingdom of God.

For this reason, the primary focus of D&C 65:2 is instead upon the stone, which the Lord likens to “the gospel” as it rolls “forth unto the ends of the earth.” In this sense, D&C 65:2 also serves to clarify the mystery surrounding the stone: the stone appears to be the gospel of Jesus Christ, which will spread throughout the earth through missionary work. Joseph Smith further expounded on the image of the stone, stating that it revolved similar to “a grind stone” and that as “the Elders went abroad to preach the gospel and the people became believers in the Book of Mormon and were baptized,” they would be “added to the little stone.”[19]

B. Clarification

Clarification is similar to modernization, but instead of altering an appropriated Old Testament text in a manner that makes sense to a modern audience, clarification occurs when the Doctrine and Covenants alludes to an Old Testament text in a manner that helps to resolve or answer ambiguous Old Testament passages. Due to the nature of prophecy, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what or when a prophet is referring to. For example, consider Isaiah 63, the chapter discussed in the previous section. A warrior approaches Jerusalem from the south, and the watchman inquires about what appears to be red clothing. The warrior responds, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment” (Isaiah 63:3). It is often presumed that the warrior is Jehovah, his clothes stained with blood after his conquest of the wicked. However, Isaiah scholar John D. W. Watts has noted that “most interpreters have identified the bloody warrior as Yahweh himself, but the text does not so identify him.” Watts argues that the warrior “is more likely a symbol of Persian imperial power fighting Jerusalem’s and Yahweh’s battles for them.”[20]

Part of the complication behind this verse and others like it is that prophecy can often have multiple fulfillments. Prophecies given during Isaiah’s lifetime can have certain elements fulfilled during his life yet also be fulfilled during the life of Jesus and during the era of the Church in the latter days, with each fulfillment being a valid result of the prophecy.[21] So, returning to the warrior prophesied about in Isaiah 63, the Doctrine and Covenants provides a possible clarification regarding an identity of the warrior. Consider this verse from D&C 88:

And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. (D&C 88:106)

With this allusion to Isaiah 63:3, the Lord reveals to Joseph Smith that an identity of the warrior who has “trodden the wine-press alone” is “the Lamb of God,” or Jesus Christ, an identification that is also made in D&C 76:107. However, while D&C 88:106 may provide clarification as to an identity of the warrior, and while Jesus Christ may represent a valid fulfillment of this prophecy, this interpretation does not preclude Isaiah 63:1–6 from having an equally valid fulfillment during a prior dispensation.

Another clarification of an ambiguous identification occurs in D&C 116. D&C 116 is a revelation received by Joseph Smith in 1838 as to the location of Adam-ondi-Ahman:

Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. (D&C 116:1)

The revelation specifically identifies Adam as being “the Ancient of Days,” a mysterious figure who is mentioned in the book of Daniel:

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (Daniel 7:9)

The true identity of the “Ancient of Days” has long been an enigma for Old Testament scholars. In the words of one, “The Ancient of Days has always been an intriguing yet obscure figure, though there is little doubt that in Daniel he can represent none other than Yahweh.”[22] The equally mysterious “Son of Man,” also mentioned in Daniel 7, provides another possible candidate for scholars.[23] However, D&C 116 provides some additional clarity to the question by suggesting that Adam, or Michael, is the “Ancient of Days” spoken of by Daniel.[24]

Two different types of clarification, identity and time, can be seen in D&C 110:14. D&C 110 is a record of the vision Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received on 3 April 1836, during the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. The appearance of Jehovah is described first, followed by the appearances of Moses, Elias, and Elijah. When Joseph describes the vision of Elijah, he includes a statement by Elijah in which the Old Testament prophet directly alludes to Malachi 4:

Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come— (D&C 110:14)

Here is the verse as it appears in Malachi:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: (Malachi 4:5)

Two of the questions surrounding the Malachi passage deal with a literal versus figurative interpretation for Elijah and the timing of this appearance. Various interpretations for the identity of Elijah include John the Baptist, Malachi himself, or an unnamed angelic messenger but not necessarily Elijah himself in a physically restored sense.[25] The timing of the “day of Yahweh” is usually linked with the Second Coming, when Jehovah will return and judge the nations. It constitutes “the ultimate theophany; all the signs, miracles, and cataclysms of nature marking Yahweh’s previous encounters with humanity were but pallid foreshadowings of this most dramatic and momentous intervention of Yahweh in the human sphere for the sake of his people Israel.”[26] According to Malachi, Elijah would appear at some point prior to this “day of the Lord,” although Malachi gave no hint as to how long in the future this would be, allowing for anyone from John the Baptist to a future, unknown prophet to fit this description. D&C 110 clarifies both of these confusing issues. First, as to the identity of Elijah, D&C 110 states specifically that it was Elijah himself—not John the Baptist, Malachi, or another messenger—who appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple. Second, D&C 110 tells readers that this appearance of Elijah represents a fulfillment of the timing of Malachi’s prophecy: “Behold, the time has fully come.” Again, this does not mean that the only fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy is the Kirtland Temple dedication, but it does clarify that the dedication provided one instance of fulfillment.

C. Reflection

A third type of meaning that can be found in the use of Old Testament scripture by the Doctrine and Covenants is “reflection.” What is meant by reflection is that an allusion by the Doctrine and Covenants to the Old Testament can sometimes reflect not only the language but also the context as well. An example of this reflection can be seen in D&C 10:27, where Satan is described:

And thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men. (D&C 10:27)

D&C 10:27 is an inverted allusion to Job 1:7 and 2:2:

Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. (Job 1:7; cf. 2:2)

The context of Job 1:7 and 2:2 is a discussion between Yahweh and Satan and represents one of the few passages in the Old Testament where Satan appears to have a defined role, although not perhaps the one he assumes in later Christian texts.[27] Here Satan comes among the “sons of God” and makes his presence known in the council of Yahweh. Yahweh inquires of Satan, “Whence comest thou?” and Satan responds with the passage quoted above. Yahweh and Satan then begin a theological discussion that centers on the figure of Job, specifically whether Job is loyal to Yahweh in spite of his suffering or because Job hasn’t yet been subjected to true suffering. In other words, is Job prosperous because he is pious, or is he pious because he is prosperous? If he loses his prosperity, will his piety fall away as well? In order to determine Job’s true nature, Satan seeks and receives Yahweh’s divine authorization to afflict Job in any fashion short of killing him.

The context of D&C 10 broadly reflects the context of Job, as again we encounter the Lord (Jehovah) and Satan, and again their point of focus appears to be the actions and responses of a single individual, in this case Joseph Smith, who repeatedly sought and was eventually granted permission to lend Martin Harris the 116 pages. The loss of the 116 pages by Martin Harris and the instruction received by Joseph to not retranslate the lost portion provide the immediate context for the allusion to Job 1:7 in D&C 10:27. The Satan described in D&C 10 is closer to the Satan familiar from the New Testament, the enemy of humanity who seeks to “lead their souls to destruction” and “destroy the work of God” (D&C 10:22–23). It is difficult to know how far to push this allusion. While in both cases the allusion refers to Satan, does this intertextual connection open the door to the possibility of understanding Joseph’s loss of the 116 pages as the result of a “test” conceived by God and Satan? Probably not, as the likely placement of the allusion to Job 1:7 in D&C 10:27 is to allude to Satan in general and not necessarily in a specific way.

A second example of a textual reflection can be seen in D&C 84:5:

For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (D&C 84:5)

This verse is an allusion to a passage from 1 Kings:

And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings 8:10–11)

The context of D&C 84:5 is the building of a temple by “this generation,” presumably on the temple site in Independence, Missouri, which Joseph had already purchased and dedicated a year earlier on 3 August 1831 (cf. D&C 57:1–3). This temple context is reflected in 1 Kings 8:10–11, which refers to Solomon’s temple and more specifically to the Shekinah, or presence of God, which inhabited the temple of Solomon during periods of Israel’s righteousness. The comparison of the “glory” or presence of God to a “cloud” is also noteworthy, as it was the presence of God in a pillar of “cloud” and “fire” that led the children of Israel through the wilderness (cf. Exodus 13:21–22). The implication of this allusion in D&C 84:5 is that the temple built in this dispensation will be the restoration of Solomon’s temple, perhaps in fulfillment of Ezekiel’s vision where he witnessed the return of the Skekinah to the temple in the latter days (Ezekiel 43:2–3).

A third reflection can be seen in this verse from D&C 130:

Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. (D&C 130:15)

The Old Testament source of this allusion is likely the book of Deuteronomy:

But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. (Deuteronomy 3:26)

This allusion is an interesting one and raises an important hermeneutical issue: How much of the Old Testament context can be brought to bear on the interpretation of a verse from the Doctrine and Covenants? The context for most of D&C 130 is a series of instructions given by Joseph Smith to a group of Saints in Ramus, Illinois, in 1843. The immediate context of D&C 130:15 appears to be Joseph talking about an occasion in which he had made an inquiry of the Lord regarding the timing of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.[28] The Lord’s response to Joseph’s inquiry is D&C 130:15, the verse quoted above. D&C 130:15, as we can see, is an allusion to Deuteronomy 3:26. In Deuteronomy 3:26, Moses relates an experience he had where he prayed to the Lord and begged to be able to see the promised land, which had been forbidden to him as a result of Israel’s wickedness. Moses had apparently been rather persistent in his seeking this favor from the Lord, to the point where the Lord responds with the passage quoted above. The King James translation of Deuteronomy 3:26 doesn’t fully convey the Lord’s frustration with Moses, and some modern scholars have chosen to translate this verse as “Enough! Never speak to me of this matter again!”[29] or “Enough of You! Do not continue speaking to me.”[30]

Deuteronomy 3:26 shows the Lord frustrated with Moses for his repeated inquiries to enter the promised land. The enigmatic element of D&C 130:15 is whether we can interpret a similar tone when the Lord is speaking to Joseph Smith. We have seen how the Doctrine and Covenants can appropriate the language of the Old Testament, and we have seen how the Doctrine and Covenants can appropriate the general context of the Old Testament. The question here, as with the Job passage discussed above, is how much context is being reflected. In the Job passage discussed above, the question was raised of how far a text can be pushed beyond it limits, but here the context invites readers to pursue a deeper meaning. D&C 130:15 suggests that what Joseph is relaying to his audience is that he, like Moses, persisted in a request that the Lord was unwilling to grant, to the point that the Lord finally responded with an answer (albeit a confusing one) and then ordered Joseph to not broach the subject again. Whether Joseph is describing the exchange with the Lord in this specific language because this is how the Lord said it or because Joseph is linking his experience with that of Moses’s experience takes us into the realm of speculation. But the allusion itself demonstrates that the role of the Old Testament in the Doctrine and Covenants goes beyond simply inserting a biblical phrase here and there. Each allusion must be identified and carefully explored in order to gain a fuller impression of what the text is trying to tell its readers.

D. Expansion

The final type of meaning we will examine in this paper is what can be termed “expansion.” This type of meaning occurs when the Doctrine and Covenants alludes to a passage from the Old Testament in a way that expands or diverts from the original context, essentially creating a new context or frame of interpretation. A significant example of expansion occurs in D&C 45:48–52:

And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake. And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly. And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God. (D&C 45:48–52)

D&C 45:48, 51, and 52 contain allusions to two verses from Zechariah:

And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zechariah 13:6)

Significantly, while the two passages from Zechariah have been combined to form one (inverted) allusion in D&C 45:48–52, the two Zechariah passages actually originate in two separate prophecies. The first one, Zechariah 14:4, is an eschatological prophecy of a time in the future where Yahweh will descend from heaven and stand as a warrior upon the Mount of Olives. The result of his arrival will be the cataclysmic splitting of the mount in half, creating a valley of refuge for Israel. This eschatological arrival of Yahweh “stresses Yahweh’s power over history and the peoples of the world. He will fight against the nations. The nations are undifferentiated here. The Mount of Olives will split and a valley will be formed across it from east to west so that the rest of the people in Jerusalem can find refuge and a way of escape.”[31]

The second prophecy, Zechariah 13:6, is also likely eschatological but is a difficult passage to contextualize. The chapter begins with a general denunciation of false prophets and shifts to a farmer who explicitly claims, “I am no prophet,” apparently seeking to distance himself from the group of false prophets condemned in the previous verses. The farmer is then asked about wounds that he has received, wounds that could identify him as a prophet, since self-flagellation and cutting were often signs of non-Israelite prophets.[32] The farmer responds that he “was wounded in the house of my friends,” claiming that his wounds were received in a setting other than a prophetic setting.[33] The point of Zechariah’s prophecy seems to be that at some future time, false prophets will be sought out and condemned, driven to offer alternative explanations for their prophetic marks.[34]

One of these prophecies from Zechariah seems to refer to the future coming of Yahweh, and one seems to refer to a future rejection of false prophets. In D&C 45, these two verses are skillfully appropriated and woven together into a description of the eschatological appearance of Jesus to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon teaches that the era of the Gentiles will end when the Gentiles have heard the restored message of the gospel but then “shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations” (3 Nephi 16:10). At this point, the fulness of the gospel will be taken away from the Gentiles, “and then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them” (3 Nephi 16:11). D&C 45 describes how Jesus’s appearance on the Mount of Olives and his revelation that he, the crucified Jesus, is the long-awaited Messiah, the warrior of Zechariah 14, will be a major step in the commencement of the gathering of the Jewish nation. What D&C 45 does is expand upon Zechariah 13:6 and 14:4 by maintaining the language but drastically shifting the context so that Zechariah’s words have a new application and meaning.[35]

A second example of expansion in the Doctrine and Covenants’ use of the Old Testament is found in three verses from the Doctrine and Covenants:

And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. (D&C 5:14)

But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations; (D&C 105:31)

That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners; (D&C 109:73)

All three of these verses are alluding to a passage from the Song of Solomon:

Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? (Song of Solomon 6:10)

The Song of Solomon, while largely ignored by Latter-day Saints, is a beautiful and moving series of exchanges between two lovers.[36] In Song of Solomon 6:10, the verse cited above, the man[37] is describing the woman using celestial imagery, comparing her beauty to the grandest objects in the universe—the sun, the moon, and the stars.[38] In his mind, she has no equal. Interpretations of the Song of Solomon tend to fall into two camps: literal and allegorical. Those who see the Song of Solomon as literal read it as the actual expression of love between two lovers, perhaps Solomon and the Shulamite woman explicitly named in the text. For those who seek an allegorical interpretation, the most common theories are that the text symbolically refers to the relationship between Yahweh and Israel or the relationship between Jesus Christ and his church.[39]

This later allegorical interpretation, that of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his church, appears to be the interpretation taken by the Doctrine and Covenants as well. In D&C 5, a revelation given to Joseph Smith that addresses Martin Harris and his lack of faith, the allusion to Song of Solomon 6:10 appears in verse 14: “The coming forth of my church out of the wilderness.” This application is similar to what readers encounter in D&C 109, the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple. There again the passage from Song of Solomon follows the line “that thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness” (D&C 109:73). D&C 105 seems to give Song of Solomon 6:10 a slightly different application, although still within the allegorical vein of D&C 5 and 109. In D&C 105, Joseph is told to disband Zion’s Camp and to begin looking ahead to the building up of the kingdom of Zion upon the Earth through the construction of the Kirtland Temple. The redemption of Zion, the Lord said, would come after “a little season” (D&C 105:9). The Saints should also seek to legally purchase land in Missouri, after which “I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands” (D&C 105:30). Likely playing off of the word “armies,” the inverted allusion to Song of Solomon 6:10 follows in the next verse: “But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations.” In this context, it is not the church but the “army of Israel” that is described by Song of Solomon 6:10. In all three cases, the Doctrine and Covenants has taken the language of the Old Testament and expanded upon its context, bestowing meanings beyond what the original text had allowed.


The use of the Old Testament through the revelations and other texts canonized as the Doctrine and Covenants goes beyond simply inserting phrases or passages into the middle of new texts. Structurally, the phrases from the Old Testament that are appropriated into the text of the Doctrine and Covenants can sometimes follow nearly word-for-word what is in the Old Testament, but at other times the Old Testament text can be condensed, expanded, or inverted into a new text, one that is recognizable as an Old Testament passage but that contains enough innovation to establish itself as a new text. This innovation carries over to the meaning of the appropriated allusions. The Old Testament allusions are often recast in a way that modernizes the archaic and clarifies the enigmatic. The Doctrine and Covenants text can reflect the context of the Old Testament passages in a way that can allow them to inform one another; they also expand upon Old Testament contexts to such an extent that the reader is encouraged to study both texts as a means of deriving possible meanings. However, it is important to remember that while the Doctrine and Covenants may offer an alternative perspective on an Old Testament passage, this does not mean that the original Old Testament context can be dismissed or ignored. Restoration scripture does not supersede the Bible; rather it offers the alternative perspective of those who read it from a different vantage point.

But the presence of the Old Testament in the Doctrine and Covenants also reflects a broader trend that can be seen throughout the Restoration, namely a serious engagement with Israelite scripture. Because the restored gospel is often represented as a restoration of the primitive New Testament church, the Old Testament is often forgotten or gently pushed aside. But the language of the Old Testament runs through critical periods of the Church’s Restoration. When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith to introduce the Restoration, he quoted heavily from Old Testament texts such as Isaiah and Malachi. The language of the Old Testament courses through the Book of Mormon and, as we have seen, the Doctrine and Covenants. Isaiah, not surprisingly, appears to be the author alluded to the most in the Doctrine and Covenants, while Malachi 4 is the chapter alluded to the most (a topic worthy of a full-length paper in its own right). But the Doctrine and Covenants also quotes from Genesis, Job, 2 Kings, Zechariah, and even the Song of Solomon. Through the various ways the Doctrine and Covenants deconstructs and reconstructs the language and meaning of the Old Testament, it begs readers to engage in a serious study of these holy and sacred writings. This is a daunting project that may require us to stretch a little bit more than we are often comfortable doing, but one that in the end will help us understand Restoration scripture on a deeper and more profound level.


[1] The term “allusion” is notoriously difficult to define among scholars of intertextuality. Often it is positioned as less defined and harder to identify than a “quotation” but more defined and identifiable than an “echo.” For the purpose of clarity, this paper will use “allusion” to refer to any instance where the Doctrine and Covenants adopts the language (usually phrasal) of the Old Testament in a manner that is clear and identifiable.

[2] The technical name for the study of how two or more texts interact is called “intertextuality.” It has become common in biblical studies to use intertextuality in studying the impact of the Old Testament on the New Testament. Important to this type of intertextual study are the works of Richard Hays Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1989) and The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2005), as well as the recent publication of G. K. Beale’s and D. A. Carson’s massive work, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Books, 2007). The standard work analyzing the role of the Bible and Mormon scripture is Philip Barlow, Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). In Mormon scripture, intertextuality has most often been used to study the impact of the Bible on the Book of Mormon, such as Donald W. Parry and John W. Welch, eds., Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998); Victor L. Ludlow, Unlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003); David P. Wright, “Isaiah in the Book of Mormon: Or Joseph Smith in Isaiah,” in American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, ed. Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002), 157–234; Krister Stendahl, “The Sermon on the Mount and Third Nephi,” in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed. Truman G. Madsen (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1978), 139–54; John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: FARMS, 1990); Daniel L. Belnap, “The King James Bible and the Book of Mormon,” in The King James Bible and the Restoration, ed. Kent P. Jackson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 2007), 162–81; David P. Wright, “‘In Plain Terms That We May Understand’: Joseph Smith’s Transformation of Hebrews in Alma 12–13,” in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, ed. Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993), 165–229; and Julie M. Smith, “So Shall My Word Be: Reading Alma 32 through Isaiah 55,” in An Experiment on the Word: Reading Alma 32, ed. Adam S. Miller (Salem, OR: Salt Press, 2011). As for intertextual work involving the Doctrine and Covenants, less has been done. Two important master’s theses exploring the textual connections are Ellis T. Rasmussen, “Textual Parallels to the Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Commandments as Found in the Bible” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1951), and Lois Jean Smutz, “Textual Parallels to the Doctrine and Covenants (Sections 65 to 133) as Found in the Bible” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971). Other works include Eric D. Huntsman, “The King James Bible and the Doctrine and Covenants,” in The King James Bible and the Restoration, 182–96; Terry B. Ball and Spencer S. Snyder, “Isaiah in the Doctrine and Covenants,” in You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants, ed. Scott C. Esplin, Richard O. Cowan, and Rachel Cope (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2012), 108–33; and Lisa Olsen Tait, “Gathering the Lord's Words into One: Biblical Intertextuality in the Doctrine and Covenants,” in You Shall Have My Word, 92–107. For a general introduction to intertextuality as a methodology, see Nicholas J. Frederick, “The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament Gospels,” herein.

[3] While I will briefly discuss the context of some of the Old Testament passages analyzed in this section, the majority of contextual analysis will be done in the second section, “Meaning.” In this first section, the focus will be primarily on an evaluation of text more so than context.

[4] Isaiah 35 represents the apex of Isaiah’s “eschatological vision.” John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1986), 626.

[5] The context of Isaiah 28:10 is interesting, especially as the phrase “line upon line, precept upon precept” has become a common part of LDS discourse. In Isaiah 28:10, the religious leaders of Israel, who are represented as drunk to the extent that they are vomiting onto their tables, are chastising the prophets for teaching the people in such a simplistic fashion, as you would teach a young child the alphabet or repeat a simple phrase over and over again until their young minds grasp your message. It is this style of teaching that is represented by the phrase “precept upon precept, line upon line.” Isaiah will cleverly turn this insult back upon the drunkards in 28:13. See discussion in Oswalt, Isaiah 1–39, 511–14. See also the discussion in John D. W. Watts, Word Biblical Commentary: Isaiah 1–33, rev. ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005), 430–32, and Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New York: Doubleday, 2000), 387–90.

[6] According to John Oswalt, “the prophet promises a day when true values are seen and true guidance is received. In short, in this context, they will cease to trust the nations and begin to trust God” (Oswalt, Isaiah 1–39, 624). Blenkinsopp sees Isaiah as speaking of “a visionary future of the transformed land and saved people.” Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39, 456.

[7] One approach to this method of editorial inversions is what has become known, after its discoverer, as Seidel’s Law. Seidel argued that quotations of earlier Old Testament texts by later authors were marked by a reversal of the source text by the newer text. See M. Seidel, “Parallels between Isaiah and Psalms,” Sinai 38 (1955–56): 149–72. A more specific approach to Old Testament quotations is found in Shemaryahu Talmon, “The Textual Study of the Bible—A New Outlook,” in Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text, ed. Frank Moore Cross and Shemaryahu Talmon (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), 321–400.

[8] For more on the context of this letter, see Andrew H. Hedges, “‘They Pursue Me without Cause’: Joseph Smith in Hiding and D&C 127, 128,” Religious Educator 16, no. 1 (2015): 43–59.

[9] Contextually, there is something interesting at work behind this combination of phrases. The first two phrases, “the weak shall confound the wise” and “the little ones become a strong nation,” both refer to the eventual influence of the remnant of Israel. However, the third phrase, “two shall put their tens of thousands to flight,” is a phrase that functions in exactly the opposite way. In this passage, the Lord is predicting what will happen to those who put their trust in themselves and not in him, namely that an army with greater numbers will be easily vanquished without the assistance of Yahweh. Yet in D&C 133:58, all three phrases have been united under a single context (cf. Isaiah 30:17).

[10] Joseph M. Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56–66 (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 249–50. See also John D. W. Watts, who adds, “The blood-spattered clothes are unmistakable. First comes the confession: ‘I did it, alone and in anger.’ Then comes the justification: it was an act of vengeance. That is, the enemy had done something first that created an unjust situation. This had to be answered and put right. So this was done to redeem something or someone. It freed someone from bondage, and it allowed healthy progress and life to return to the communities and societies of the land.” John D. W. Watts, Word Biblical Commentary: Isaiah 34–66, rev. ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005), 891.

[11] Watts, Isaiah 34–66, 887.

[12] This interpretation appears to be the one followed by John the Revelator. See Revelation 19:13–15.

[13] John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40–66 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1998), 596.

[14] Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56–66, 249.

[15] Note as well the insertion of “And he shall say” into D&C 133:47 (not in Isaiah 63:1) in order to help the reader understand they have suddenly entered into a dialogue, a point that could be confusing without the context of Isaiah 62–63.

[16] See the discussion in John E. Goldingay, Word Biblical Commentary: Daniel (Dallas: Word Books, 1982), 49–61.

[17] See the discussion in Goldingay, Daniel, 49–61.

[18] For a discussion of the various viewpoints regarding the stone, in particular the early Christian interpretation, see Gerhard Pfandl, “Interpretations of the Kingdom of God in Daniel 2:34,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 34, no. 2 (1996): 249–68.

[19] Henry William Bigler, Journal, February 1846–October 1899, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, as cited in Steven C. Harper, Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants: A Guided Tour through Revelation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2008), 227.

[20] Watts, Isaiah 34–66, 321. But see also Blenkinsopp, who argues that the soldier is Yahweh: “What is emphasized in the reply to the second question is that in executing judgment YHVH acted alone” (Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 56–66, 250).

[21] For a discussion of multiple fulfillments of prophecy as well as other types of prophetic interpretation, see the useful discussion in David L. Turner, Matthew (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Books, 2008), 68–73.

[22] John Walton, “The Anzu Myth as Relevant Background for Daniel 7?,” in The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception, ed. John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 1:79.

[23] For background on both the “Ancient of Days” and the “Son of Man,” see Karel van der Toon, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst, eds., Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, (Leiden: Brill, 1999).

[24] A year later, Joseph Smith taught: “Dan VII Speaks of the Ancient of days, he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together, & hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He, (Adam) is the Father of the human family & presides over the Spirits of all men, & all that have had the Keys must stand before him in this great Council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him & there is given him glory & dominion.—Adam delivers up his

Stewardship to Christ, that which was deliverd to him as holding the Keys of the Universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.” Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds. The Words of Joseph Smith (Orem, UT: Grandin Book Company, 1991), 8–9.

[25] “Since the writings of Luther and Calvin, most Protestant commentators have figuratively interpreted the Elijah figure as ‘a prophet in whom the spirit and power of Elijah are revived’—not the prophet Elijah reincarnate or resurrected.” Andrew H. Hill, Malachi (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 383.

[26] Hill, Malachi, 386.

[27] In Job, “Satan” is more literally “the Satan,” likely meaning “the accuser.” It is difficult to fully grasp his relationship with Yahweh and the “sons of God,” whether he is intruding upon their council or whether he is a member of it himself. David J. A. Clines describes the enigmatic relationship between Yahwah and “the Satan” in the following way: “There are two heavenly personalities in uneasy confrontation; two personalities who are not equals but able to converse freely, who are neither enemies nor conspirators, neither friends nor rivals.” David J. A. Clines, Job 1–20: Biblical Word Commentary (Dallas: Word Books, 1982), 22. For more on the origin and development of Satan in the Judeo-Christian tradition, see van der Toon, Becking, and van der Horst, Dictionary of Deities and Demons, 726–32.

[28] The experience Joseph is referencing likely would have occurred before the reception of D&C 49, the revelation that answered Joseph’s inquiry. See discussion in Stephen E. Robinson and H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 4:227.

[29] Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 1–11 (New York: Doubleday, 1964), 189.

[30] Duane L. Christensen, Word Biblical Commentary: Deuteronomy 1:1–21:9 (Dallas: Word Books, 1991), 69. The NIV translates the Lord’s rebuke as “That is enough. . . . Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.”

[31] Ralph L. Smith, Word Biblical Commentary: Micah–Malachi (Dallas: Word Books, 1984), 286. See also Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, who write that this event provides “a final resolution to Jerusalem’s centuries-long history of being threatened or subjugated by other nations. . . . Here God’s fight against the nations involves a cataclysmic reordering of the natural world in order to achieve security for the people.” Carol L. Meyers and Eric M. Meyers, Zechariah 9–14 (New York: Doubleday, 1993), 421.

[32] “Like special clothing, certain modes of activity characterized the professional identity of prophetic figures. Dancing, eating or imbibing certain foods or liquids, and chanting were such activities; flagellation or wounding by one’s own hand or by that of an associate was apparently another.” Meyers and Meyers, Zechariah 9–14, 382. See also Ralph L. Smith, who writes, “The wounds between the prophet’s hands were probably wounds made in an ecstatic orgy (1 Kgs 18:28). The wounds or scars would have been visible in the summer. Such a prophet would deny that they were the marks of a prophet.” Smith, Micah–Malachi, 281.

[33] “Anyone prophesying was to be accused of lying in the name of Yahweh and put to death (v 3). Consequently any prophet would be ashamed of his vision and not put on the hairy mantle in order to deceive (v 4). He will deny that he is a prophet and claim to be a farmer instead.” Smith, Micah–Malachi, 281.

[34] As Meyers and Meyers note, the wounds “could have been received in a household accident or in a quarrel with these friends—but we are left wondering, a fact that makes us suspect that this disclaimer is a cover-up. That is, the bruises may in fact be flagellation wounds of a professional prophet who now, in the eschatological future, renounces his profession and thus must find an explanation for the physical signs of his former role.” Meyers and Meyers, Zechariah 9–14, 384.

[35] F. F. Bruce, quoting T. V. Moore, wrote that “No New Testament writer tries to interpret this utterance as a prophecy of the nail-wounds in our Lord’s hands, ‘in the grossest misapprehension of its meaning.” F. F. Bruce, New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1968), 114.

[36] The Joseph Smith Translation includes the description that “the Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie referred to the Song of Solomon as “biblical trash.” “The Bible—a Sealed Book” (Church Education Symposium, BYU, 17 August 1984). In contrast, the Mishnah includes the following: “Said R. Aqiba, ‘Heaven forbid! No Israelite man ever disputed concerning Song of Songs that it imparts uncleanness to hands. For the entire age is not so worthy as the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel. For all the scriptures are holy, but the Song of Songs is holiest of all.” Mishnah, Yad., 3:5. For an article advocating a healthy, positive Latter-day Saint view of the Song of Solomon, see Dana M. Pike, “Reading the Song of Solomon as a Latter-day Saint,” Religious Educator 15, no. 2 (2014): 91–113.

[37] The other possibility is that the question is posed by a choral group observing the interplay between the two lovers. In this case, the question would likely be posed interrogatively rather than the rhetorical sense of the man’s question.

[38] That the phrase “an army with banners” refers to heavenly stars is argued by Duane Garrett, who says that “the twlgdb must be the stars, here personified as heavenly armies, ‘awesome as the panoply of heaven.’” Duane Garrett and Paul R. House, Word Biblical Commentary: Song of Songs/Lamentations (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2004), 229. He continues: “Where v4 had described the woman’s awesome beauty under the metaphor of the fortified cities, this text describes her as splendid under the metaphor of heavenly bodies.” The NIV translation follows this interpretation: “Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?”

[39] See discussion in Marvin H. Pope, The Song of Songs (New York: Doubleday, 1977), 89–229.