The paradox of people’s understanding the words of Isaiah only when they are taught the manner of prophesying among the Jews—and yet Nephi’s not teaching it to his people because “their works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations” (2 Nephi 25:1–2, 5)—has led to many people not searching Isaiah’s words as Jesus commanded (3 Nephi 23:1).
Still, because some perceive the necessity of piercing this paradox—and learn to do so—Nephi could foresee that “in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass. . . . for I know that they shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them” (2 Nephi 25:7–8).
Ultimately, laying hold of this “great worth” divides those who believe Book of Mormon teachings from those who treat them lightly, culminating in an everlasting division at the time the words of Isaiah are fulfilled (2 Nephi 30:9–15; cf. Isaiah 11:4–8; 1 Nephi 14:7). Things of less worth, in other words, won’t be a sufficient defense against the evils of that time (Alma 12:9–11).
In today’s era of encryptions and encodings used to protect against modern “works of darkness,” the idea of keywords and word patterns that are a key to understanding the prophecy of Isaiah shouldn’t present much of an obstacle to those who desire what is of great worth. Persons who scorn these things, on the other hand, cannot experience breaking out of their darkness.
It is ironic that the “secret words” that distinguished a brother who had entered into a Gadianton-type covenant (Helaman 6:22) have their parallel in Isaiah’s codenames. But this also holds the promise that the manner of prophesying that unlocks Isaiah’s hidden knowledge and sublime covenant theology are God’s means of turning potential works of darkness into works of light.