In 2 Nephi 26:16 it says in part, “…the Lord God will give unto him power…” Just who is the “him” referenced in this scripture? We have read this verse over and over again, along with the verses that come before and after and cannot come to any kind of conclusion. Any help would be sincerely appreciated.
In all probability, Nephi is talking about the destruction of the ancient Nephite civilization in these passages of scripture. Because of inquity and unbelief they were to be “brought down low in the dust” and destroyed. Even though the Nephites were destroyed as a people without any posterity, their words would speak from the dust. Elder Orson Pratt stated:
“Never was a prophecy more truly fulfilled than this, in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith took that sacred history “‘out of the ground.” It is the voice of the ancient prophets of America speaking “out of the ground”; their speech is “low out of the dust”; it speaks in a most familiar manner of the doings of bygone ages; it is the voice of those who slumber in the dust. It is the voice of prophets speaking from the dead, crying repentance in the ears of the living. In what manner could a nation, after they were brought down and destroyed, “speak out of the ground?” Could their dead bodies or their dust, or their ashes speak? Verily, no: they can only speak by their writings or their books that they wrote while living. Their voice, speech or words, can only “speak out of the ground,” or “whisper out of the dust” by their books or writings being discovered.”
Joseph Smith was given the power to translate the Book of Mormon so that we could receive the testimonies of those prophets who resided on the American continent. This way they could speak or “whisper” to us “even as it were out of the ground”. Elder Bruce R. McConkie in his book “The Millennial Messiah” stated:
“The Lord designed from the beginning to bring the Book of Mormon forth from the ground as a voice from the dust, as truth springing out of the earth. The symbolism and imagery in this are beautiful. As revelation pours down from above to water the earth, so the gospel plant grows out of the earth to bear witness that the heavenly rains contain the life-giving power. Heaven and earth join hands in testifying of the truths of salvation. Their combined voices are the voice of restoration, the voice of glory and honor and eternal life, the voice from heaven, and the voice out of the earth.”