Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Glory of Zion Will Be a Defense

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As we read and study the all the scriptures we have available to us at this time, we find many times that the Lord repeats the same idea, instruction, or doctrine.  He has done this for our benefit, that we may have knowledge and understanding to help us endure the trials of our lives here on earth.  Following is some specific council given by the Lord to us for our day, can you identify the message  he is teaching us?

Doctrine and Covenants 45:32
 32 But my disciples shall astand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and bcurse God and die.

Doctrine and Covenants 87:8'
8 Wherefore, astand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh bquickly, saith the Lord. Amen.

Doctrine and Covenants 101:22 
22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should agather together, and bstand in holy places;

“Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved.” is his main theme which we hear time and again.  What do you think this phrase means?  Being worthy at all times, desiring to be in holy places frequently, choosing not to go into unholy places, having confidence that God will guide you, and taking a stand for truth and holiness.

As we continue our study of the Old Testament we discover why the Lord has commanded us over and over to stand in holy places and just exactly what these holy places are.  Specifically, he has given us the words of Isaiah and shown us his willingness to serve so that we can draw strength from his example and teachings to avoid the evils of the world; learning to stand in those holy places as the Lord has counseled us to do.  Thus a study of Isaiah is imperative for us as the Lords people, for all people.  

Who Was Isaiah?
The name Isaiah means "Jehovah has saved", his father's name was Amoz and Rabbinic tradition says that Isaiah's father was a brother to king Amaziah. If true, then Isaiah was a cousin of king Uzziah and therefore of royal blood. He prophesied to both Israel and Judah during a time of  Political decay when power had become concentrated in Jerusalem. Corrupt judges aided their friends in robbing the poor, there was greater social and moral decay than at previous times in Judah and Israel along with high and unequal taxation. Sound familiar?

Brother Duane S. Crowther states that:  "Isaiah is a statesman and a member of Jerusalem's ruling class. He is well acquainted with the society and political intrigues of the capital city of Jerusalem and shows much interest in the political events of his time. He is a capable author and speaker. His writing reflects his culture and refinement." (Prophets & Prophecies of the Old Testament, p299)

Isaiah's ministry overlapped the reigns of "Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah" approximately 742-700 B.C.   He appeared at a point in history when God's work seemed about to collapse. The chosen people had forsaken the Lord to worship idols, and they were imitating the ways of the world and doing wicked things. Both kingdoms, Israel and Judah, consequently felt of God's wrath: citizens of the Northern Kingdom along with many of the Southern Kingdom were carried into Assyrian captivity; the land of promise was made desolate, and so few people remained that Isaiah could lament that had God not left them "a very small remnant," they would have been as Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 1:9). The covenant people were not carrying out their mission to bless the nations of the earth and were resisting all of God's efforts to reclaim them.

And sadly like those we read about in other scriptures, God's chosen are not always honored. A tradition in the Talmud says that Isaiah was martyred by being tied to two planks and then being sawed in half with a wooden saw.  

However, for those that believed in the past and do believe now; as a called Prophet of God, “Great are the words of Isaiah,” The Savior Himself proclaimed it as he commanded the Nephites to search Isaiah’s prophecies (3 Nephi 23:1). Isaiah’s prophecies are quoted more often in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants than the words of any other prophet. He prophesied many things about the earthly mission of the Savior, about the destruction that would follow Israel’s wickedness, and about the mission and destiny of latter-day Israel.

The Book of Isaiah
Has someone ever recommended a book to you? Did it make any difference who recommended it? Did the recommendation influence your feelings toward the book?  

The book of Isaiah is a compilation of the prophet’s writings, possibly even an abridgment of some of his work. Chapters 1 through 39 deal with the ministry of Isaiah, and chapters 40 through 66 with his visions and revelations of the future.

Now, think about the following recommendation concerning the writings of Isaiah:  

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.” (3 Nephi 23:1). 

This instruction was given by the Savior to the Nephites, but the commandment to “search these things diligently” forms a challenge that continues for us today. Isaiah had a wide perspective of God’s workings with His children. He understood the power and principles of the Zion society and saw their application for his day and for the future. While strengthening the spiritual of his own day, he prophesied of the establishment of Zion for those who would be called to carry it out in our day.

Numerous prophets and leaders have served the Lord, but of all the prophets who prepare us for the future through messianic and millennial prophecies, Isaiah is by far the most significant. Although Christ has endorsed the words of all his servants, the prophets (D&C 1:38; 68:3-4), he singled out Isaiah's words in particular and commanded his followers to study Isaiah's message.

Why read this book?  

All of Isaiah's words will be fulfilled. Isaiah spoke to Israel and the whole world, delivering many prophecies concerning the Lord's work. In speaking to the Nephites, Jesus promised that all Isaiah's prophecies will be fulfilled, just as Isaiah gave them.

Periods of Prophetic Fulfillment From the Book of Isaiah
Chapter 1 Period 2 - Events relative to Judah (primarily 635-535 BC)
Chapter 2 Period 4 - Events during the Last Days
Chapter 3 Period 2 - Events relative to Judah (primarily 635-535 BC)
Chapter 4 Period 4 - Events during the Last Days
Chapter 5 Period 2 - Events relative to Judah (primarily 635-535 BC)
Chapter 6 Period 1 - Events before & during the fall of Israel to Assyria (800-700 BC)

Isaiah inspires and teaches. Many of the great prophets and teachers took material for their messages from Isaiah: when Nephi tried to persuade his brothers to believe in Christ, he read from Isaiah; as Abinadi taught about the Messiah, Resurrection, and Atonement, he preached from Isaiah (Mosiah 14-15); while the resurrected Lord ministered to the Nephites, he incorporated and elucidated much of Isaiah within his teachings (3 Ne. 16, 20-23); and as Moroni concluded his records, he exhorted his readers to search the prophecies of Isaiah (Morm. 8:23). The Lord and these Book of Mormon prophets recognized the universal application of the inspired teachings and prophecies of Isaiah. Just as they used his words to teach their audiences, we too can reap insights from Isaiah to inspire ourselves and others.

Isaiah promises the return of Israel. Isaiah not only taught Israel about her ancient history and covenants, but he also prophesied that the Jews and other remnants of Israel will return to the Lord and their promised lands in the last days. His ideas stimulated the Book of Mormon prophets to seek for further insights into these future events. Isaiah also gives signs and promises concerning the other remnants of Israel, the Ten Tribes and Lamanites; some of these prophecies were used by Christ as he taught the Lamanites about their latter-day destiny. When the Ten Tribes return and their scriptural record is revealed, Isaiah's words will probably be frequently quoted in them as a major teaching source and witness. (See 2 Ne. 29:13.) In short, Isaiah's words have inspired all the dispersed groups of Israel, and his promises concerning their return will certainly be fulfilled.

People in the last days will witness the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecies. Although some of us may wish that we had lived in the days of Isaiah, when his visions and revelations might have been explained to us personally, most of us would still be confused, since we could not then have comprehended the scientific achievements and religious developments to come in the last days. From an ancient perspective, our modern age would have appeared astonishing with its labor-saving machines, communication systems, transportation devices, and other advances; yet it would also have baffled us that so much poverty, inequality, and wickedness could still be a part of the "advanced" society of the last days. We would also have a difficult time appreciating how the plain, simple, restored truths of the gospel could come forth and grow in such a sophisticated and wicked world. Since Isaiah used imagery and symbols to describe the latter days and did not completely and literally describe all that he saw, his audience would have been even more confused about modern events and how they would fulfill Isaiah's prophecies. In the Book of Mormon reference quoted above, Nephi promises that those who live in the last days will witness the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecies and understand them! We can build upon our hindsight of history with knowledge of contemporary events and Isaiah's visions of our day to see how his words are being fulfilled.

How do we read a book that so many feel is beyond understanding?

Search and study Isaiah's gospel teachings. It is not enough simply to read the scriptures, or to read Isaiah; Christ said that one must search the scriptures (John 5:39) and search Isaiah (3 Ne. 20:11; 23:1). It is only after careful and deep examination, comparison, and synthesis that the words of Isaiah burn brightly and his images reveal themselves.
Since Isaiah's inspired writings reflect both his time and culture and also reveal the Lord's work throughout later generations, the question, "What does Isaiah say?" is not as important as the more insistent query, "What does Isaiah mean?" This second question should motivate everyone's search into the words of Isaiah.
One aid to understanding is to study Isaiah within the context of the gospel dispensation of Moses. Many Israelites of Isaiah's time knew the elements of the plan of salvation (premortal existence, purpose of earth life, resurrection, etc.), the basic principles and ordinances of the gospel, and the prophetic promises about the Messiah, who would free them from spiritual and physical bondage. Isaiah builds upon this gospel foundation and teaches it in greater depth.  Before we can understand Isaiah's teachings and share the inspiration he received, we must study his words, ponder how they fit within the gospel, and pray about them. A careful study requires us to look at Isaiah theme by theme, chapter by chapter, concept by concept, verse by verse. As we come to share his insights, we will come to a greater understanding of the gospel.

Liken Isaiah to yourself. You might take the words of Isaiah and place them in a modern context by:
1. Rewriting a chapter to express the same ideas, only using your own vocabulary and imagery.
2. Preparing a talk or home evening lesson based upon one of Isaiah's themes.
3. Writing a poem that conveys the same feelings as one of Isaiah's.
4. Drafting a sermon as a general authority might address one of the doctrines stressed by Isaiah.
But whatever method you choose, take the ideas, feelings and teachings of Isaiah and see how they apply in your own life and how you can use them in teaching and inspiring others.
Isaiah spake many things which were hard for many . . . to understand; for they know not concerning the manner of prophesying among the Jews. . . . And my soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah, . . . and I know that the Jews do understand . . . the prophets, and there is none other people that understand . . . save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews. (2 Ne. 25:1, 5.)

Study Isaiah's manner of prophesying Isaiah's "manner of prophesying" follows certain patterns that require sensitive interpretive skills before one can understand his teachings.

First, his mode of communication should be studied, since most of his writings are poetry. A careful look at his poetic style, called "parallelism," is necessary to understand the form of his writing.

The second element in Isaiah's "manner of prophesying" is his use of symbolism. Symbolic names, title, places, and acts (washing, sacrifice, shedding blood, etc.) are scattered throughout Isaiah. By studying the history and context of Isaiah's ministry, one can see how he uses contemporary symbols both to teach his immediate audience and to provide images and lessons for later generations.

The third element in understanding Isaiah's prophesying is more difficult since it requires a careful look at his prophetic role and philosophy of teaching. Because of the spiritual limitations of his audience, he could not always be exact and straightforward in his teaching. His insights are often well hidden within a poetic discourse. He thereby not only challenges our understanding through his writing expertise, but also deliberately obscures his ideas in imagery and symbolism.

The last element necessary to understand Isaiah's prophesying is the use of inspired interpretation. Revealed insights and interpretive keys are found in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and latter-day revelation, though much remains to be revealed as the prophecies of Isaiah continue to unfold. 

Review the restored gospel and the signs of the times. In modern revelation, the Lord has interpreted, clarified, and expanded the meaning of many of Isaiah's words. Many quotations from Isaiah are found in the latter-day scriptures, and explanations of his meaning are contained in the teachings of the prophets and apostles of this dispensation. Moroni quoted Isaiah to Joseph Smith at the opening of this dispensation (JS-H 1:40), and the Doctrine and Covenants is especially rich in phraseology from Isaiah. For example, section 113 interprets parts of Isaiah 11 and 52; section 133 repeats many phrases and ideas from Isaiah 35, 51, 63, and 64; and section 101 presents some keys to understanding Isaiah 65. Also, numerous Isaianic terms and phrases are found in sections 1, 45, 88, 109, 124, and 128.
Later prophets and apostles of this dispensation also have taught from Isaiah and explained difficult points of his message. Elder Bruce R. McConkie points out the value of these modern, inspired commentaries:
There are also, of course, numerous allusions to and explanations of the great seer's words in the sermons of Joseph Smith and the other inspired teachers of righteousness of this dispensation. So often it takes only a prophetically uttered statement, revealing the age or place or subject involved in a particular passage in the writings of any prophet, to cause the whole passage and all related ones to shine forth with their true meaning and import.
It truly takes revelation to understand revelation, and what is more natural than to find the Lord Jehovah, who revealed his truths anciently, revealing the same eternal verities today and so tying his ancient and modern words together, that we may be blessed by our knowledge of what he has said in all ages. (Ensign, Oct. 1973, p. 81.)
In seeking to understand more of Isaiah by reviewing the restored gospel and studying the signs of these last days, we should study the Doctrine and Covenants carefully, especially the sections noted above. We should know the important events and movements of Latter-day Saint and world history. We should study the general conference addresses and review the scriptures that prophesy of the last days. All these things will not only help us to understand how Isaiah's prophecies are being fulfilled, but also prepare us to become better servants in fulfilling the prophesied events of this dispensation.
Wherefore, hearken, . . . and give ear unto my words; for because the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy. (2 Ne. 25:4.)

Develop yourself spiritually. During our mortality, most of us may not be privileged to see Christ in vision as did Isaiah and Nephi, or in the flesh as did others, but all of us can draw nearer to the Lord through following his teachings and example. As we attain greater spiritual heights and develop an intimate relationship with him through mighty prayer, we will naturally come to a greater love and appreciation of him. And as we give Christian service and increase our love toward others, we will become more like him. Then we will understand more of the words and feelings of Isaiah and the other prophets who loved the Lord and served him with all their power. As our spiritual life becomes more like Isaiah's, his writings will communicate to us on a higher spiritual level and teach us great truths about ourselves, others, the Lord, and the divine plan for this earth and its inhabitants.
(Isaiah Prophet, Seer, Poet Victor L Ludlow)

Part 1: Isaiah describes the condition of the world in the last days 

Many of Isaiah’s warnings and prophecies apply both to his time, which was a time of great wickedness, and to our time.  

How are the conditions described in the following scriptures evident in the world today?

 Isaiah 1:3–5 (Rebellion against the Lord)
3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s acrib: but Israel doth not bknow, my people doth not consider.
4 Ah asinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, bchildren that are ccorrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto danger, they are gone away backward.
5 Why should ye be astricken any more? ye will brevolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart cfaint.

“Israel’s rebellion is evidence of the highest degree of sin” (Sidney B. Sperry, The Spirit of the Old Testament, p. 175). Jehovah had nourished and brought them up as children (in Egypt and the wilderness), and now in their adulthood (in the promised land) they had turned against the Lord. Their affliction is like wounds or sores that have not healed. The totality of their rebellion is illustrated by the references to head and heart, to the whole person from foot to head. In other words, the spiritual cancer had infested the whole body of Israel. Little spiritual health was left in the nation. That was why the land would be left utterly desolate.  (Old Testament Student Manual)

Isaiah 1:11–15 (Religious ceremonies without meaning or faith)
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your asacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I bdelight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more avain boblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and csabbaths, the calling of dassemblies, I cannot eaway with; it is finiquity, even the gsolemn meeting.
14 Your new amoons and your appointed bfeasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am cweary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many aprayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of bblood.

These verses do not mean that the Lord rejected the law of Moses, particularly the performances and ordinances of the law. The condemnation here is of the hypocritical fulfillment of the Mosaic offerings and feasts. Israel misused these religious activities because they fulfilled only the outward requirements and did not worship with full purpose of heart, turning their worship toward the Savior. (See Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 58–59; Young, Book of Isaiah, 1:61–62). To refer to the people of Israel as Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 10) vividly depicts how deeply the people had sunk into sin and depravity.  (Old Testament Student Manual)

 Isaiah 2:7–8 (Worship of worldly things and military security instead of the Lord; note that horses and chariots were used as instruments of war in ancient times)
7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:
8 Their land also is full of aidols; they bworship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:

Verse 7. The land was “full of silver and gold,” that is, the people were wealthy and materialistic. Their hearts were set on the things of the world. Again in the last days, materialism runs rampant.
Verse 7. The land was “full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots.” The horse was a symbol of warfare, as was the chariot. Today is an age characterized by “wars and rumors of war” (see JS—M 1:28.)

Verse 8. The land was filled with idolatry then, and people still turn to false gods today, though not necessarily to idols made of wood or stone.

Verse 9. The “mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not” (2 Nephi 12:9; emphasis added). The differences in the Book of Mormon account of Isaiah’s writings, noted by the italics, show that Isaiah was not making further reference to idolatry but was referring to the fact that men would not worship the true God. In the preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord indicated this failure would be a major concern of the last days. (see D&C 1:16.)
Because of her sins, ancient Israel brought upon herself the judgments of God, and because of the same problems the people of the last days will likewise bring sorrow and problems upon themselves.
The brass plates contained other differences that clarify Isaiah’s meaning. Compare Isaiah 2:10, 12–14, 16, 19, 21with 2 Nephi 12:10, 12–14, 16, 19, 21(Old Testament Student Manual)

 Isaiah 2:11–12 (Pride)
11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be aexalted in that bday.
12 For the aday of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is bproud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought clow:

Isaiah 3:5 (Oppression of other people and failing to honor older people)
5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the aancient, and the base against the honourable.

Isaiah 3:9 (No shame for sin)
9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their asin as bSodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

The Book of Mormon clarifies the meaning of this significant verse (see 2 Nephi 13:9). Individuals radiate the quality of their spirit and attitude. They manifest the real person—good or evil. Isaiah warned that the disobedient cannot hide the effects of their transgressions from others. President David O. McKay provided the following insights into this principle:
“Every man and every person who lives in this world wields an influence, whether for good or for evil. It is not what he says alone; it is not alone what he does. It is what he is. Every man, every person radiates what he or she really is. … It is what we are and what we radiate that affects the people around us.

“As individuals, we must think nobler thoughts. We must not encourage vile thoughts or low aspirations. We shall radiate them if we do. If we think noble thoughts; if we encourage and cherish noble aspirations, there will be that radiation when we meet people, especially when we associate with them.’ (Old testament Student Manual quoted from Man May Know for Himself, p. 108.)

Isaiah 3:14–15 (Taking advantage of the poor and failing to care for them)
14 The Lord will enter into ajudgment with the bancients of his people, and the cprinces thereof: for ye have deaten up the vineyard; the espoil of the fpoor is in your houses.
15 What mean ye that ye abeat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

Why Should the Lord Be Upset Because the People Have “Eaten Up the Vineyard”? The vineyard is a symbol of the chosen people (see Isaiah 5:7), and the rulers of Israel were called to be watchmen over the vineyard. Instead of guarding the Lord’s vineyard they had oppressed the people and consumed the vineyard (compare Matthew 21:33–40).  (Old Testament Student Manual)

 Isaiah 3:16–24 (Emphasis on outward physical beauty at the expense of righteousness and good character)

16 Moreover the Lord saith, Because the adaughters of Zion are bhaughty, and cwalk with stretched forth necks and dwanton eyes, walking and emincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will adiscover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their acauls, and their bround tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the amufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The achangeable suits of bapparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The aglasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle aa rent; and instead of well set hair bbaldness; and instead of ca stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and dburning instead of ebeauty.

In these verses one can see a good example of dualism.  Isaiah shows that the wickedness prevailing in Israel and Judah included the women, who were proud, arrogant, and more concerned with their clothing, jewels, and personal appearance than with righteousness. But these verses can also be applied in the latter days, when women will once more lose sight of proper priorities. President Joseph Fielding Smith said of this passage:

“Isaiah, one of the great prophets of early times, saw our day, and he described the conditions that would prevail among the ‘daughters of Zion’ in these latter days. …  “The standards expressed by the General Authorities of the Church are that women, as well as men, should dress modestly. They are taught proper deportment and modesty at all times. It is, in my judgment, a sad reflection on the ‘daughters of Zion’ when they dress immodestly. Moreover, this remark pertains to the men as well as to the women. The Lord gave commandments to ancient Israel that both men and women should cover their bodies and observe the law of chastity at all times.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:172–74.)

The following explanations may be helpful in understanding the power of Isaiah’s condemnation of the women’s apostasy.

Verse 16. “Stretched forth necks” is an idiom describing haughtiness—pride in self and scorn toward others (see Young, Book of Isaiah, 1:162).

Verse 16. “Mincing … and making a tinkling with their feet.” The women wore costly ornamental chains connecting rings about the ankles. These were often adorned with bells. (See Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 7:1:143.)

Verse 17. “Discover their secret parts” is an idiom meaning that they would be put to shame (see Isaiah 3:17a).

Verse 18. “Cauls … round tires like the moon” were ornamental jewelry in the shape of suns and moons according to the fashions of that day (see Young, Book of Isaiah, 1:165).

Verses 19–23. These terms describe fashions that were popular among the worldly women in Isaiah’s day: “muffler”—veil; “bonnet”—headdress; “tablets”—perfume boxes; “earrings”—charms or amulets; “nose jewels”—nose rings; “changeable suits of apparel”—clothing for festivals only; “mantle”—overcloak; “wimples”—a type of shawl or veil worn over the head; “crisping pins”—erroneously rendered as hair curling implements. The Hebrew suggests a bag, like modern purses or handbags; “glasses”—most authorities translate as a metal mirror, although some suggest transparent clothing, “hoods”—turbans, head cover wrapped by hand. (See Young, Book of Isaiah, 1:165–66; Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 7:1:144–47.)  Old Testament Student Manual

Isaiah 5:8 (Greedy desires to own more and more material things)
 8 Woe unto them that ajoin bhouse to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may cbe placed alone in the midst of the earth!

Verse 8. They built up great estates through wickedness. Keil and Delitzsch explained: “‘They, the insatiable, would not rest till, after every smaller piece of landed property had been swallowed by them, the whole land had come into their possession, and no one beside themselves was settled in the land’ [Job 22:8]. Such covetousness was all the more reprehensible, because the law of Israel had provided so very stringently and carefully, that as far as possible there should be an equal distribution of the soil, and that hereditary family property should be inalienable.” (Commentary, 7:1:166.)
An acre is the amount a yoke of oxen could plow in a day. A bath is about 5.5 gallons. A homer is about 6.5 bushels, and an ephah is one tenth of a homer. These measurements show how unproductive the land would become because of this wickedness.  (Old Testament Student Manual)

 Isaiah 5:11–12 (Constantly seeking worldly pleasures instead of seeking the Lord and his work)
 11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till awine inflame them!
12 And the harp, and the aviol, the btabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they cregard not the dwork of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.

Verse 11. Drunkenness and partying prevail, with no regard for God.

Verse 12. There is no knowledge of truth and true principles. Ignorance is a hindrance in any field of endeavor, but especially in spiritual things. The Prophet Joseph Smith gave instruction on this important principle: “The Church must be cleansed, and I proclaim against all iniquity. A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power than many men who are on the earth. Hence it needs revelation to assist us, and give us knowledge of the things of God.” (Teachings, p. 217.)  Old Testament Student Manual

 Isaiah 5:20 (Saying that evil things are good and good things are evil)
 20 Woe unto them that call aevil bgood, and good evil; that put cdarkness for dlight, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Verse 20. They pervert righteousness and goodness, calling them evil, and try to pass off evil things as good. It is the nature of sinners to reject the reality of the consequences of their transgressions, and so they attempt to explain them away. (Old Testament Student Manual)

Isaiah 5:21 (Trusting in oneself instead of in God)
 21 Woe unto them that are awise in their own beyes, and cprudent in their own sight!

Verse 21. They are “wise in their own eyes.” President N. Eldon Tanner illustrated the necessity of heeding this warning. He noted that when people “become learned in the worldly things such as science and philosophy, [they] become self-sufficient and are prepared to lean unto their own understanding, even to the point where they think they are independent of God; and because of their worldly learning they feel that if they cannot prove physically, mathematically, or scientifically that God lives, they can and should feel free to question and even to deny God and Jesus Christ. Then many of our professors begin to teach perverse things, to lead away disciples after them; and our youth whom we send to them for learning accept them as authority, and many are caused to lose their faith in God. …

“How much wiser and better it is for man to accept the simple truths of the gospel and to accept as authority God, the Creator of the world, and his Son Jesus Christ, and to accept by faith those things which he cannot disprove and for which he cannot give a better explanation. He must be prepared to acknowledge that there are certain things—many, many things—that he cannot understand.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1968, pp. 48–49.)  (Old Testament Student Manual)

 Isaiah 5:24 (Despising the commandments and word of God)
 24 Therefore as the fire devoureth the astubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their broot shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 How are all these prophecies being fulfilled today?

According to Isaiah 1:11, 16–17, Although the Israelites tried to be outwardly religious, their hearts were far from God and their sacrifices and offerings were unacceptable.  Though Isaiah was writing about ancient Judah, does this condition exist in the world today? How is that evident?  At the time of the Joseph Smith's first vision, the Lord said of the people at that time, "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof" (Joseph Smith History 1:19). Do you think things have improved since 1820?

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said that the prophecy in Isaiah 3:16–24 refers to today’s Church members and “pertains to the men as well as to the women” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 5:174)

In Isaiah 5:20 the ability of Israel to distinguish between good and evil had diminished, is that the case in our day as well? President Spencer W. Kimball:  "Infidelity is one of the great sins of our generation. The movies, the books, the magazine stories all seem to glamorize the faithlessness of husbands and wives. Nothing is holy, not even marriage vows. The unfaithful woman is the heroine and is justified, and the hero is so built up that he can do no wrong. It reminds us of Isaiah who said: 'Wo unto those who call evil good, and good evil; . . .' (Isaiah 5:20)." (Conference Report, Oct 1962)

From Isaiah 2:11–12 President Ezra Taft Benson taught:  "Pride is characterized by 'What do I want out of life?' rather than by 'What would God have me do with my life?' It is self-will as opposed to God's will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p435)

For Isaiah 5:21  President N. Eldon Tanner:  "The last days are here and now, and Paul's prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. Men are refusing sound doctrine, and after their own lusts they are turning their ears from the truth and are listening to those who preach to their own liking. As a result, we are suffering many tribulations throughout the world. We have reached a time in our history which I believe is the most crucial mankind has ever had to face." (Conference Report, Oct 1968)
So what do we do with the state of things as they are now and are to come? We come back to him.  Isaiah provided two beautiful images that help us understand how completely the Lord will forgive those who repent. He said, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18)  After we repent, then we continue to stand in Holy Places. 

Part 2:  Isaiah counsels the faithful to stand in holy places
What places offer safety from the worldly conditions mentioned by Isaiah? 

What are the three holy places mentioned in Isaiah 4:5–6Every dwelling place of mount Zion (homes), Assemblies (stakes, wards, and branches), and Tabernacle (temples)

 5 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount aZion, and upon her assemblies, a bcloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming cfire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.
6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of arefuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.

How can a home be a holy place that offers refuge from the wickedness of the world? 

How can stakes, wards, and branches be holy places and refuges? 

How can a temple be a holy place and refuge? 

How have these three holy places helped provide a defense for you against the evils of the world?

What expressions are used in Isaiah 4:5–6 to describe how these holy places will protect us? “A shadow in the daytime from the heat”, “A place of refuge”, “A covert [a hiding place or shelter] from storm and from rain”. 

In Doctrine and Covenants 45:66–72, the sacred and protected status of “Zion” for the gathered Israel in the latter days is described. Doctrine and Covenants 105:31–32speaks of how the glory of Zion shall be her defense. Isaiah compared the protecting divine influence with that experienced by Moses (see Exodus 14:19–20; Deuteronomy 1:33). Elder Orson Pratt suggested that the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy would be literal:
“The time is to come when God will meet with all the congregation of his Saints, and to show his approval, and that he does love them, he will work a miracle by covering them in the cloud of his glory. I do not mean something that is invisible, but I mean that same order of things which once existed on the earth so far as the tabernacle of Moses was concerned, which was carried in the midst of the children of Israel as they journeyed in the wilderness. … But in the latter days there will be people so pure in Mount Zion, with a house established upon the tops of the mountains, that God will manifest himself, not only in their Temple and upon all their assemblies, with a visible cloud during the day, but when the night shall come, if they shall be assembled for worship, God will meet with them by his pillar of fire; and when they retire to their habitations, behold each habitation will be lighted up by the glory of God,—a pillar of flaming fire by night.
“Did you ever hear of any city that was thus favored and blessed since the day that Isaiah delivered this prophecy? No, it is a latter-day work, one that God must consummate in the latter times when he begins to reveal himself, and show forth his power among the nations.” (In Journal of Discourses, 16:82.) (Old Testament Student Manual)

Many of Isaiah’s writings are also included in the Book of Mormon, which have become plainer to us through the understanding of the Prophet Nephi.  In 2 Nephi 14:5 the words of Zion are added to Isaiah 4:5.  

What do these words add to our understanding of this verse?   In that day, each dwelling place and every public building ("assembly") will shine gloriously, showing that God is present wherever his people are, whether they are at home or in their assemblies. How gloriously this prophetic picture compares and contrasts with that special time in Israel's earlier history when God was present in their camp but only in his tabernacle. All citizens of Zion will be holy then (Isa. 4:5-6).  (Studies in Scripture vol 4 Kent P Jackson)

What prophecy about temples in the last days is included in Isaiah 2:2–3? Many people will come to the house of God, which is the temple, and desire to learn God’s commandments and walk in his ways.

2 And it shall come to pass in the alast days, that the bmountain of the Lord’s chouse shall be destablished in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all enations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us ago up to the bmountain of the Lord, to the chouse of the God of Jacob; and he will dteach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of eZion shall go forth the flaw, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Why do you think Isaiah described the temple as a “mountain of the Lord”? Ancient prophets often went to mountains to commune with the Lord and receive counsel from him. He revealed things to them there. We can have similar experiences in the temple today.

Part 3: Isaiah describes the gathering of Israel in the latter days

 In Isaiah 5:26–29, Isaiah describes the latter-day gathering of Israel. The ensign that is being lifted up is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To “hiss” is to whistle or summon, which represents the invitation to the nations of the earth to gather to the Church. This gathering will be swift and powerful.

 26 And he will lift up an aensign to the nations from far, and will bhiss unto them from the cend of the earth: and, behold, they shall dcome with speed swiftly:
27 None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:
28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind:
29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young alions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the bprey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.

What Does It Mean to “Hiss” to the Nations? This expression describes a signal, such as a whistle, to summon or alert someone to an event. (see Isaiah 5:26b and Isaiah 7:18a.)

The gathering of Israel in haste and with means not known in Isaiah’s day is portrayed in the conclusion of this chapter. Elder LeGrand Richards provided this modern-day application of the prophet’s words: “Since there were neither trains nor airplanes in that day, Isaiah could hardly have mentioned them by name. However, he seems to have described them in unmistakable words. How better could ‘their horses’ hoofs be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind’ than in the modern train? How better could ‘their roaring … be like a lion’ than in the roar of the airplane? Trains and airplanes do not stop for night. Therefore, was not Isaiah justified in saying: ‘none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken’? With this manner of transportation the Lord can really ‘hiss unto them from the end of the earth,’ that ‘they shall come with speed swiftly.’” (Israel! Do You Know?, p. 182.)

How is the prophecy that nations will be gathered to the Church being fulfilled today?  Missionaries are going throughout the world to teach the gospel and gather people to the truth.

What can each of us do to help fulfill this prophecy?  Not only can and should we pray for the Missionaries and their efforts but we should pray for what we can do to help teach and forward the gospel so that everyone upon the face of the earth and across the veil will hear and have the change to accept it.  This includes not only efforts for the living but also for the dead.

Part 4: Isaiah responded willingly to his call to be a prophet

The Lord called Isaiah to be a prophet through a vision in which Isaiah saw the Lord in his glory. This vision is recorded in Isaiah 6 where Isaiah sees the Lord and his sins are forgiven,  He then is called to prophesy and prophesies of the Jews’ rejection of Christ’s teachings after which a remnant will return,

Isaiah's call to be a prophet came in a vision of the Lord in the temple. Standing in the presence of his holy Lord caused him to feel keenly how unworthy he was (Isa. 6:5). But in words reminiscent of the Savior's, his "Here am I; send me" (Isa. 6:8) shows how quickly he responded to whatever call the Lord might give him (cf. Abr. 3:27). The Lord cleansed Isaiah symbolically by using a burning coal to take away his sins (Isa. 6:6-7). Obviously, the searing action was a visionary experience, but Isaiah's personal sense that he had been purified from his sins would have strengthened his own witness that scarlet sins can be made white (Isa 1:18).
Isaiah was introduced to a key aspect of his ministry when he was charged to tell the people, "Hear ye indeed" and "See ye indeed" (Isa. 6:9). But, as the superior reading in the Book of Mormon indicates, "they understood not" and "they perceived not" (2 Ne. 16:9). He was charged to "make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isa. 6:10). That did not mean, of course, that Isaiah was to make seeing people become blind. The blindness referred to in this book and by Jesus in his ministry refers to people who have eyes to see but who prefer to walk in darkness. When Isaiah provided revelation and light from God for that generation and they chose to walk in darkness, they, not God, inflicted blindness upon themselves (cf. John 9:40-41; see also Alma 29:4-5; D&C 93:31-32, 38-39; John 3:19-20).

Isaiah's generation loved darkness and hated light. He called them "rebellious," "lying" people who refused to "hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us" (Isa. 30:9-11; cf. John 12:46). When Isaiah offered them light and they preferred darkness—to be spiritually blind—they were bringing upon themselves God's judgments.

Isaiah and his contemporary Micah were not privileged to work the whitened fields (see Micah 7:1-7); rather, they prepared a fallen people for the judgments at hand. According to the general sense of all scripture, a loving and merciful God encourages sinners to repent and return to him; he encourages rather than discourages repentance and conversion. Thus there must be something wrong with a translation or text that suggests that God wanted the Israelites to fail, so that they would not "see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" by God (Isa. 6:10).

But after the judgments were meted out, just as surely as foliage returns to a tree when spring returns, so surely will a tenth of the remnant of Israel return (Isa. 6:13). This major theme of Isaiah explains one reason why he gave his son the name of Shear-jashub, "a remnant will return" (Isa. 7:3; 8:18).  (Studies in Scripture vol 4 Kent P Jackson)

How did Isaiah describe the glory of the Lord?  Isaiah 6:1–4
1 aIn the year that king Uzziah died I bsaw also the cLord sitting upon a dthrone, high and lifted up, and ehis train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the aseraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the aLord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his bglory.
4 And the aposts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with bsmoke.

A vision of the celestial sphere would be difficult if not impossible to describe. That was the dilemma of the prophet Isaiah. He endeavored in these verses to portray something of the power and glory of his experience, using images and terms with which his readers could identify. Even then he sensed how much he fell short of communicating the reality of the experience. Later in his writing, Isaiah described the inadequacy of words and even of the senses of mortal man to comprehend heavenly things. He wrote: “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

Others who have experienced visions of the celestial realms have cited Isaiah in an attempt to explain their limited ability to tell of what they had been shown (see 1 Corinthians 2:9; D&C 76:10). The Prophet Joseph Smith provided a perspective on such experiences when he said: “Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.” (Teachings, p. 324.)

Isaiah 6:1. “I Saw … the Lord” Both John and Nephi testified that the Lord whom Isaiah saw was the premortal Jesus Christ (see John 12:41; 2 Nephi 11:2–3). In addition, some have witnessed a similar scene (see Revelation 4:1–11).

Isaiah 6:2. What Are Seraphim? “Seraphs are angels who reside in the presence of God, giving continual glory, honor, and adoration to him. ‘Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.’ (Ps. 148:2.) It is clear that seraphs include the unembodied spirits of pre-existence, for our Lord ‘looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made.’ (D. & C. 38:1.) Whether the name seraphs also applies to perfected and resurrected angels is not clear. While petitioning on behalf of the saints, the Prophet prayed that ‘we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around thy throne, with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb!’ (D. & C. 109:79.)

“In Hebrew the plural of seraph is seraphim or, as incorrectly recorded in the King James Version of the Bible, seraphims . Isaiah saw seraphim in vision and heard them cry one to another ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ ([JST], Isa. 6:1–8.) The fact that these holy beings were shown to him as having wings was simply to symbolize their ‘power, to move, to act, etc.’ as was the case also in visions others had received. (D. & C. 77:4.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 702–3.)

 Isaiah 6:4. “The Posts of the Door Moved … , and the House Was Filled with Smoke”  Another rendering of the first phrase from the Hebrew suggests more clearly what was intended: “the foundations of the thresholds trembled” (Isaiah 6:4a). The presence of smoke was symbolic of the presence and glory of God (see Exodus 19:18; Revelation 15:8). Fire and smoke are frequently used to depict the glory of celestial realms. In the language of Joseph Smith:

“God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire. [Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29].’ When our flesh is quickened by the Spirit, there will be no blood in this tabernacle. Some dwell in higher glory than others.
“… Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings.” (Teachings, p. 367.)  (Old Testament Student Manual)

What was Isaiah’s response when he saw the Lord?   Isaiah 6:5  Isaiah felt unworthy to be in the Lord’s presence.  The expression “Woe is me! For I am undone” is an idiom declaring Isaiah’s overwhelming feeling of unworthiness before God.

 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am aundone; because I am a man of bunclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have cseen the dKing, the Lord of hosts.

How did the Lord symbolically show that Isaiah was clean before him?  Isaiah 6:6–7 
The purging by a live coal is symbolic of purifying, cleansing, and forgivenes.

6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live acoal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my amouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is btaken away, and thy sin purged.

How did Isaiah respond when the Lord called him to be a prophet?  Isaiah 6:8  In accepting his call, Isaiah used the same words as the Savior did when He accepted the responsibility to carry out the plan of our Father in Heaven for the salvation of his children Abraham 3:27

 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I asend, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; bsend me.

What are some situations in which we may also need to answer the Lord with similar words? When we are called to serve missions, when we are asked to serve in the Church, and when we are asked to endure difficult trials.

Many chapters of Isaiah are recorded in the Book of Mormon, including chapters 2 through 6. What reasons did the prophet Nephi give for including Isaiah’s writings in his record? 2 Nephi 11:8.  

8 And now I write asome of the words of Isaiah, that whoso of my people shall see these words may lift up their hearts and rejoice for all men. Now these are the words, and ye may liken them unto you and unto all men.


Which messages from these chapters from Isaiah cause you to rejoice? 


Which messages of these chapters do you feel are most important to liken to yourself? 


The words of Isaiah teach us many things about the latter days. By studying Isaiah’s counsel, we can learn how to stand in holy places and avoid the evils of the world. By following his example, we can be more willing servants of our Father in Heaven.



Old Testament Student Manual

Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson

 Israel! Do You Know?

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson

Answers To Gospel Questions

Conference Reports

Man May Know for Himself

Joseph Smith History

Isaiah Prophet Seer Poet Victor Ludlow 

Prophets and Prophesies of the Old Testament










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