1 Nephi 1:14. Great and Marvelous Works

1 Nephi 1:14. Great and Marvelous Works

The words “Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty” (1 Nephi 1:14) were taken from Revelation 15:3, which, being in the New Testament, was unavailable to the Nephites, who left Jerusalem six centuries before Christ’s birth.

Joseph Smith Translate Book of MormonRevelation 15:3 says that these words derive from “the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” The Bible contains a few songs attributed to Moses (Exodus 15:1-19; Deuteronomy 31:19-22; 31:30-32; Psalm 90—see preface), and it is even possible that the verbiage derives from a song of Moses that did not survive in the Bible.

Wording similar to that of Revelation 15:3-4, however, appears in several Old Testament passages, as the following comparison shows:

Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:3-4)

“Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without inquiry, just and right is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

“Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.” (Psalm 86:8-12)

“O Lord, how great are thy works!” (Psalm 92:5; cf. Psalm 40:5)

“Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy. The king’s strength also loveth judgment . . . worship at his footstool; for he is holy. Moses and Aaron among his priests; . . . ” (Psalm 99:3-6)

These biblical passages have much more in common than most of the Book of Mormon passages listed by the Tanners have with the New Testament passages to which they are compared. Two of the examples listed above (the ones from Exodus and Deuteronomy) are from songs attributed to Moses, while the rest are from songs (Psalms) attributed to David. The one closest to the passage in Revelation 15 is found in Psalm 86, which may have been attributed by earlier people to Moses, as is nearby Psalm 90 is. It is perhaps no accident that Psalms 86, 92, and 99 are in close proximity to Psalm 90 in the Bible, and this may have led to the attribution to Moses in Revelation 15:3.