Lesson 32: Isaiah Prophecies of Israel’s Glorious Future

Reading Preperation:
  • Isaiah 53-56; 58; 60-66
Lesson Notes:
1. Introduction
With this chapter, we conclude our adventure to uncover the treasures of Isaiah. We will continue with our previous format. We will begin with a summary overview of the noted chapters taken from the works of Terry Ball and Nathan Winn. This will be followed by an in-depth examination of selected verses from the chapters of Isaiah and accompanying commentary. It is my desire that together, we will continue to benefit from our encounter with the writings of Isaiah.
2. Overview of Isaiah Chapters
As previously noted, I am especially grateful to Terry Ball and Nathan Winn for their valuable summaries I have chosen to quote.
2.1. Isaiah 53: Thou Shalt Make His Soul An Offering For Sin
Isaiah 53 is arguably the most beautiful, sublime, and poignant of the Servant Songs. In this moving prophecy we learn of the Servant’s humble beginnings and unassuming appearance (53:1-2). We are told that He will be widely rejected, a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ (53:3). We learn of His vicarious sufferings (53:4-6, 8, 10-12) and His willingness to endure oppression, persecution, and injustice (53:7-8). We are told of His incongruous death (53:8) and what His death and suffering can mean for all of humankind (53:9-11).
2.2. Isaiah 54: ‘Sing, O Barren’
In Isaiah 54 the prophet returns to a remarkable prophecy given earlier—a prophecy that the time will come when the ensign, or gospel, will be raised up among certain Gentiles who will then help gather scattered and lost Israel, restore them to the covenants, and be recognized as part of the covenant family (see 11:10-16; 49:18-23). In Isaiah 54 Israel is likened to a married but barren wife who will break forth into singing as she learns that though she has not labored in childbirth, a desolate one shall bring forth covenant children in abundance—so many that they will be compelled to enlarge their dwellings to accommodate them all (54:1-3). In comforting and assuring tone the Lord promises His children that this is all according to His divine plan. Though they have strayed from Him and were forsaken and refused for a time, when they return to honor their covenants with Him, the Lord, as their divine husband, intends to have mercy on them, gather them, restore them, protect them, and redeem them, just as surely as the mountains endure and as surely as He has kept His covenant to Noah never to destroy the earth by flood again (54:4-17).
2.3. Isaiah 55: Come Ye, Buy… Without Money
Fervent and tender invitations characterize Isaiah 55. All who thirst are invited to partake of the Lord’s water, wine, and mild, which can be bought without money or price and will help them avoid laboring for that which is not bread does not satisfy (55:1-2). We are invited to ‘hearken diligently’ so that we can eat ‘that which is good’ (55:2). We are then entreated to incline our ears and come unto the Lord with the promise that in doing so our souls shall live and we shall enter in everlasting covenants, receiving the sure mercies of David and the support of ‘a nation that thou knowest not’ (55:5; compare 2 Samuel 7:15-17; Acts 13:26-41; Isaiah 49:18-23; 54:1-3). We are further invited to ‘seek’ the Lord, ‘call upon’ Him, and ‘return’ unto Him with the assurance that He will have mercy and ‘abundantly pardon’ (55:6-7). All this the Lord can do, for His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (55:8-9). He can perform His pleasure; control the elements; provide rain, see, and bread as needed; and cause us to rejoice (55:10-13). He will do all this, for an ‘everlasting sign that shall not be cut off’ (55:13).
2.4. Isaiah 56: A Place And A Name
Isaiah 56 begins with a promise of blessings to the righteous, even a promise that the Lord’s salvation is near and His righteousness is soon to be revealed. In contrast, the chapter ends with a frightening warning of destruction to the wicked, especially to those shepherds commissioned to be watchmen but who, instead of caring for the flock, are preoccupied with their own way and gain. We can feel the Lord’s anger with such selfish servants as He labels them ‘blind,’ ‘ignorant,’ and ‘dumb dogs’ that cannot bark a warning in their slothful slumber, condemning them as ‘greedy dogs’ and; shepherds that cannot understand’ as they indulge themselves in their reveling (56:9-12).
Between the promise and the warning is a message to the sons of the stranger and the eunuch, promising remarkable blessing to them if they keep the Sabbath and choose the things that please God (56:3-8).
2.5. Isaiah 58: Then Shall Thy Light Break Forth
Isaiah 58 is a remarkable discussion of fasting and Sabbath Day observance. The Lord begins by describing the improper and hypocritical fasting of His people, identifying it as a sin among them (58:1-5). He next describes what constitutes a proper fast (58:6-7). In beautiful poetic language, He speaks of the blessings that come from righteous, sincere fasting (58:8-12)
Following His discussion of proper fasting, the Lord turns His attention to proper Sabbath observance. He explains principles of Sabbath observance that can make the day ‘a delight’ (58:13). Again in stirring language He speaks of the blessings that come from faithful Sabbath observance (58:14).
2.6. Isaiah 60: The Sons Of Strangers Shall Build Up Thy Walls
A prophecy of restoration and redemption bursts forth in chapter 60. Isaiah declares that after a period of apostasy and ‘gross darkness’ the ‘Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen’ (60:1-2). Gentiles will come to the light and sons and daughters will be gathered from afar (60:3-9). Together they will rebuild and restore (60:10-17). A theocracy of peace will follow. Violence will disappear. The Lord will be our light, and all shall be righteous (60:18-22).
2.7. Isaiah 61: To Give Unto Them Beauty For Ashes
A prophecy of a ministering, liberating, loving, and nurturing Messiah opens Isaiah (v.1-3), followed by an inspiring description of the blessings to be received and the labors to be performed by those comforted and redeemed by Him (61:4-6). Again Isaiah emphasizes the vital role Gentiles will play in the Messiah’s plans, as strangers build and make productive a lost and scattered people, feeding their flocks, plowing their fields, and caring for their vineyards (61:5). They too will receive a divine inheritance and enjoy the blessings of the Lord’s everlasting covenant, as the Lord causes righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations (61:1-11; the Hebrew word goyim, translated as ‘nations’ in verse 11 is the same word translated as ‘Gentiles’ elsewhere in Isaiah).
2.8. Isaiah 62: For Jerusalem’s Sake I Will Not Rest
With eloquent imagery Isaiah 62 presents a prophetic picture of the restored and redeemed ‘daughter of Zion.’ The Lord assures Zion that He will not rest until His work of righteousness and salvation has gone forth and is recognized—until He and His people are joyfully united under the covenant (62:1-5). He further pledges that the watchmen He has commissioned to assist in the work will likewise not rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (62:6-7). Then will His people be able to peacefully enjoy the fruits of their labors. The chapter closes with an imperative to His servants helping in the redemptive work to prepare for the coming salvation by casting up the highway, removing the stones thereof, and lifting up the standard, or ensign, for the people (62:10—12).
2.9. Isaiah 63: In All Their Affliction He Was Afflicted
Isaiah 63 opens with a fascinating dialogue between the returning millennial Messiah and some apparently apprehensive and bewildered mortals who encounter Him. As He comes in glory and strength from the direction of Edom, the confused people ask His identity and why His apparel is strained red (63:1-2). In response, the Lord identifies Himself as the one ‘mighty to save’ (63:1). Then with vivid imagery the Messiah declares His garments are stained with blood from treading the ‘winepress alone,’ trampling the wicked in His fury in the ‘day of vengeane’ and ushering in the ‘year of my redeemed’ (63:3-4).
In the middle of chapter 63, the prophecy dramatically turns from a warning of vengeance and destruction for the wicked to a message of hope and loving kindness for the repentant and the redeemed. The prophet speaks of the Lord’s mercy and suffering on behalf of His covenant people (63:7-9), notes their rebellion and chastisement (63:10), and foretells their repentance and return to faith as they remember how the Lord led and delivered them in the days of Mosses (63:11-14).
A passage known as Isaiah’s Intercessory Prayer closes this chapter and opens the next (63:15-64:12). This beautiful and instructive prayer will be discussed with Isaiah 64.
2.10. Isaiah 64: We Are The Clay, And Thou Our Potter
As the Savior met with His disciples in the upper room shortly before descending to the agony of Gethsemane, He pleaded with Father in their behalf. His petition is often referred to as Christ’s Intercessory Prayer (John 17). In similar fashion, as Isaiah approaches the close of his book of prophecy, he offers a poignant plea to the Father that is known as Isaiah’s Intercessory Prayer (63:15-64:12). Therein the prophet entreats God for intervention and mercy, acknowledges Him as our Father, recognizes His power and glory, confesses Israel’s sins, and pleads for forgiveness and restoration (63:15-19).
2.11. Isaiah 65: These Are Smoke In MY Nose
At the end of Isaiah 65 we are given an intriguing description of millennial life. Joy will abound in the holy city; people will not die before their time; homes will be built; land will be cultivated and the produce thereof enjoyed by those who tend it (65:17-23). Peace will prevail, and the Lord will hear and answer prayers even as they are offered (65:23-25).
Yet this description of millennial bliss stand in stark contrast to the withering rebuke the Lord gives at the beginning of the chapter. He chastises the covenant people for their hypocrisy, noting that He is more readily sought and found by a nation that was not called by His name, perhaps again foreshadowing the conversion of faithful Gentiles in the latter-days (65:1-7).
The Lord then reassures the covenant people that in spite of their rebellion, He will yet raise up a righteous and elect remnant from among them (65:8-10). He warns that those who persist in iniquity, those who choose not to be part of the righteous remnant, will be destroyed and enjoy none of the blessings reserved for His servants (65:11-16), even the joy of the millennial life He so beautifully describes (65:17-23).
2.12. Isaiah 66: All Flesh Shall Come To Worship Before Me
As the book of Isaiah closes, the Lord summarizes His plans for His people. He will watch over those who are poor and of a contrite spirit and condemns the hypocrites, who have chosen their own ways and who delight in their abominations (66:1-6). The Lord describes the joy, comfort, and peace that will prevail among the righteous when He brings forth Zion, as well as the slaughter that will befall the wicked when He comes to plead with all flesh by fire and sword (66:5-17). He promises that he will gather out the faithful from among all nations and bring them to His holy mountain to worship (66:18-24)” (Making Sense of Isaiah. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009, 150; 153; 155; 158; 163; 169; 171; 173; 175-177; 179; 182).
3. Examination of Isaiah Chapters
3.1. Isaiah 53: Thou Shalt Make His Soul An Offering For Sin (B/M Mosiah 14-16: Words of Abinadi)
The identity of the servant whom Isaiah references in Isaiah 53 is unclear among modern Isaiah scholars.
John W. Welch notes,
“In Hebrew, the identity of the servant is ambiguous. Who is he? The servant is never actually named or identified, except by the things that he suffered… The song is unclear about when the servant had lived in the past or would yet live in the future. It is fair to ask, should Isaiah be read in reference to the past, the present, or the future?…[Is he] perhaps an innocent prophet who went silently to his death, executed because of some testimony he bore… Other questions include, What did he suffer or will he suffer? And What led the ‘we’ to change their minds about the servant? At first the people despised him, but later they agreed that he had borne their grief. The text is not specific about the answers to such questions, and thus it is open to a variety of interpretations” (“Isaiah 53, Mosish 14, and the Book of Mormon” in Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Edited by Donald W. Parry and John W. Welch. Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1998, 309-310).
It is the position of this author that there is only one individual to whom the criteria applies and that is Jesus Christ whose life, death and resurrection Isaiah saw in vision.
Scriptural Reference Insight
Isaiah 53:1
1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
John 12:38-39
38 But though he [Jesus] had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
39 That the saying of Esias [Isaiah] the Prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, Lord who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
[*Isaiah knew in advance that there would be many who would not believe the miracles Jesus performed]
Isaiah 53:2
2 He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.
“Jesus was born as a small, helpless infant just as all men are. Jesus grew as other men do” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings—Malachi. [1982], Second Edition, 197).
He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
“There was nothing about him to cause people to single him out, In appearance he was like men; …he was not so distinctive, so different from others that people would recognize him as the Son of God. He appeared as a mortal man” (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1, 23).
Isaiah 53:3
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
“Jesus experienced tragedy and sorrow throughout his life. Members of his own family did not accept him as the Messiah at first (see John 7:5). People in his hometown [Nazareth] sought to kill him (see Luke 4:16-30). His countrymen, the Jews, rejected his messianic calling (see John 1:11). One friend betrayed him; another denied knowing him (see Luke 22:48, 54-60). In the end ‘all the disciples forsook him and fled (Matthew 26:56). His enemies demanded his crucifixion (see Matthew 27:22-23)”
Isaiah 53:4-8, 12, 9
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
“Jesus suffered and was crucified for men’s transgressions… The Savior’s suffering was a vicarious act of one totally innocent assuming responsibility for myriads of guilty ones…
When Jesus stood before Pilate, the governor of Judea, ‘he was accused by the chief priests and elders’ of many evil things, but ‘he answered noting; in return (Matthew 27:12). ‘Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?’ But Jesus held his peace and ‘answered him… never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly’ (Matthew 27:13-14)…
8 He was taken from prison and judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
While it was yet early in the morning, the soldiers in charge of Jesus brought him ‘from Caiphas [the high priest] unto the hall of judgment’ of Pilate’s residence (John 18:28).
12 … and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.
Later, at the time of crucifixion, Jesus was placed between two evil men who were thieves (see John 23:32-33).
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
After Jesus’ death upon the cross, Joseph of Arimathaea, a rich man, went to Pilate and begged for permission to bury Jesus. Joseph laid the body ‘in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock’ (Matthew 27:60).
An examination of Matthew’s account shows that the remarkable detail with which Isaiah foretold the Savior’s arrest, trial, death, and burial was accurate” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings—Malachi. [1982] Second Edition, 197-198).
Isaiah 53:10
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his land.
“Obviously God [the Father] was not pleased with the way men treated Jesus, but he was pleased with his son’s ‘offering for sin’ (Isaiah 53:10). The Atonement met the strictest demands of God’s innate justice and made forgiveness and mercy possible on certain terms” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings—Malachi. [1982], Second edition, 198).
“… the seed of Christ are those who are adopted into his family, who by faith have become his sons and his daughters (Mosiah 5:7). They are the children of Christ in that they are his followers and disciples and keep his commandments (B/M, 4 Nephi 17; Mormon 9:26; Moroni 7:19)” (Bruce R. McConkie. Mormon Docrine. [1966] Second Edition, 700).
Isaiah 53:11
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
“The law of justice requires punishment for every sin. In making an atonement for the sins of all men, Jesus satisfied the full demands of justice [as outlined by His Father] and made forgiveness of sins possible” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings—Malachi. [1982], Second Edition, 199).
Reference: Chart: “Scriptural Reference/Insight” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981, Second Edition, 197-199).
The words of Isaiah are understood by the Prophet Abinadi as he spoke to those of the America’s. He quotes Isaiah 53 in Mosiah 14 with only the addition in verse 1, “Yea, even doth not Isaiah say.” He in chapters 15 and 16, gives further witness as to the mission of Jesus Christ.
B/M, Mosiah 15:6-7, 20
6 And after this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.
7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.
20 But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead.
The mission of Jesus Christ was to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead. He, without sin, offered himself as payment for the sins of all of his Father’s children thereby satisfying the demand for justice. To those who are willing to accept him as their Savior and be obedient to his commandments, he also offers life everlasting.
The words of Abinadi, as well as the words recorded by Matthew in the New Testament regarding the Savior’s arrest, trial, death, and burial provide a second witness of Jesus Christ as the servant in Isaiah 53.
W. Cleon Skousen observe,
“It is almost miraculous that this one chapter of all the prophecies concerning the coming of the Savior should have been preserved in the Jewish scripture. No doubt that is why it was so difficult for the Jews in the days of Jesus to identify him as the promised Messiah” (Isaiah Speak to Modern Times. Salt Lake City: The Ensign Publishing Company, [Second Edition, First printing, February, 1993], 656).
It is important for us today to understand the sacrifice the Savior made for each of us. Someday every knee shall bow in reverence for his great atoning sacrifice and its blessing to each of us.
3.2. Isaiah 54: Sing, O Barren (B/M, 3 Nephi 22)
Isaiah 54 was quoted in its entirety by the Savior when he appeared among the Nephites following his resurrection. 3 Nephi 22:1 is an addition to Isaiah 53:1. It states, “And then shall that which is written come to pass,” refers to 3 Nephi 21:29 which states, “And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not got out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them,… ” This means that the prophecies in Isaiah 54 will not occur until after the restoration of the gospel and the gathering of Israel commences.
Isaiah 54:1
1 Sing, o barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, said the LORD.
As the gathering commences, there will be more who will be gathered into the church, “the children of the desolate” than those who currently enjoy church membership.
Isaiah 54:2-3
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
In order to make room for those who will be gathered to Zion, it will be necessary to increase available housing including even “mak[ing] the desolate cities to be inhabited”. These steps will be necessary in order that all will be made to feel welcome and comfortable. Currently in the Church, the term “stake” refers to a large geographical area that is administered by a Stake President as compared to smaller designed areas referred to as “wards” administered by a Bishop. In order to meet the spiritual needs of the increased number of families and individuals, it will also require expanding the number of stakes in the area.
The Lord gives these words of encouragement to those who may be reluctant to come due to their previous disobedience.
Isaiah 54:4, 7-10
4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed;… for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
9 … for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10 For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
These verses reiterate the promise of the Lord of his everlasting patience and kindness with scattered, but often disobedient, Israel. His arm of forgiveness is yet offered to them. Just as he promised Noah that he would never again destroy the earth by water (see Genesis 9:15), or if upheaval would occur that would cause the “mountain [to] depart and the hills [to] be removed,” his promise would be secure. He bears his solemn witness.
It is my personal opinion that the word “Not” should be restored to the beginning of 54:7. It should read, “Not for a small moment have I forsaken thee.” This is now congruent with Deuteronomy 4:31, “(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee… ;” Joshua 1:5, “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee;” and Hebrews 13:5, “… for he hath said, I will never leave thee, or forsake thee.” The Lord wished to make it clear to Israel that he would never forsake her, not even for a small moment. In the face of life challenges, we and Israel, need to know that no matter what may occur in our lives, the Lord will never leave us alone. His love for us is so great that “… I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls [you as an individual?] are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:16).
Isaiah 54:5
5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of hosts; Our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. As we petition the Father in prayer, we do it in His name for He is our mediator between Heaven and earth.
Why is it so important that scattered Israel be gathered to Zion?
Isaiah 54:13-14, 17
13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
17 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.
They will come to Zion to be taught and to be given protection against all their foes. They will be protected and taught by the Lord and his servants.
3.3. Isaiah 55: Come Ye, Buy… Without Money
Isaiah 55:1-2 B/M, 2 Nephi 9:50-51
1 HO, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 50 Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
The contrast between the words of Isaiah and the additions provided by Nephi is the focus upon the Holy One of Israel. He alone is the provider of eternal truths that do not perish or be corrupted. Both Isaiah and Nephi understood and freely taught to all who would listen, without cost to the individual or monetary gain for themselves, these eternal truths. Unlike the falsehoods perpetrated by false prophets, the unchanging truths they taught led the listener to honor their covenants with the Lord.
Isaiah extends his invitation to all.
Isaiah 55:3
3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
The emphasis of this verse is for the individual to listen and hear the words Isaiah has to share which will lead the individual to enter into or renew the covenants of obedience that David had made with the Lord.
Isaiah 55:6-7
6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah understood that it is important that we do not procrastinate our day of repentance. Now is the time to make or renew our covenants with the Lord. He is willing to have mercy upon us and to pardon our sins if we are willing to take the necessary steps to forsake our former ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The stumbling block for many is that our pride gets in our way, especially regarding spiritual matters. We believe that we know better than even God, Our Father knows. We fail to recognize that his knowledge and understanding is so much greater than ours and that we need to listen to his counsel.
Isaiah 55:12
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Those who are receptive to the truths taught by the Lords prophets will “be led forth with peace.” They will feel like “singing” or be joyful for now they have the guidance and comfort of the Lord in their lives.
3.4. Isaiah 56: A Place And A Name
Isaiah 56:2, 4, 6-7
2 Blessed is the man that does this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose to do things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my servant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
The Old Testament student manual states,
“Strangers (Gentiles) and eunuchs (those previously excluded from full fellowship with the covenant people, and who felt they could produce no fruit in the covenant)… would now find the full blessings of God extended to them if they keep the Sabbath (epitomizing the law of God). Not only will the ‘outcast of Israel’ (those who were scattered) be gathered in the last days, but so will “others” (v.8). Whether one is a blood descendant of Israel will not matter as much as whether he will make and keep the covenants with God. Thus, in the age of restoration, the house of God will be “an house of prayer for all people” (v.7); emphasis added)” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings–Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981, Second Edition, 204).
Isaiah 56:10-11
10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber
11 Yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, form his quarter.
There is no agreement among scholars as to whom the dumb and greedy dogs refer. Are they the leaders of the nations of the world who are so focused upon their own desire for power and wealth that they are oblivious to the needs of their citizens? Are they the leaders of the various churches who are the “watchmen… [and] shepherds” but because they have strayed so far from the truth that they are unable to provide direction or protection to their flock? Do they also describe some of the covenant people who have the truth, but do not sound a warning to their neighbors, or are apathetic in their own responsibility to others around them who are in need? Each are in need of awaking to their responsibility to their nation, their congregation or to the covenants they made.
3.5. Isaiah 58: Then Shall The Light Break Forth
Isaiah 58:3-5
3 … Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
It is unclear if Isaiah is speaking to those of his day or ours who have accepted the Lord’s day of the fast. What is clear is that they/we have distorted the Lord’s purpose and practice of the fast.
W. Cleon Skousen observes,
“Their day of fasting is supposed to be a holy day, but they have made it a holiday. They use it as a day of celebrating and pleasure. Meanwhile, on the Sabbath they exact a full measure of labor from their servants, who must cook great feasts which usually mark the end of the fast… When the people fast [they] do [it] for the wrong reasons… It is interesting that the Septuagint version gives the last part of… [v.4] as follows: ‘To smite with the fist the POOR. Wherefore fast ye unto me in this manner?'(Clarke, Commentary, 4:217; emphasis added)… [they] abuse the poor [rather than sharing their wealth]” (Isaiah for Modern Times. Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing Company, [Second Edition, First printing, February, 1993], 700).
Through Isaiah, the Lord instructs his covenant people as to the purpose of the fast.
Isaiah 58:6-7
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread of the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own faith?
Some of the elements of our fast as outlined are to include: (1) to repent from our imperfections and to renew the covenants we have made; (2) to lift up those around us who carry heavy burdens; (3) to rest from our daily labor; (4) to share our abundance with those who are in need including the hungry, and the naked. We cannot keep the Lord’s fast and neglect to care for those in need around us.
Isaiah 58:8-9, 13-14
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward [rearguard]
9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am…
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD;…
To the obedient, numerous blessings will be poured out upon their head. They will receive inspiration and revelation from on high; they will enjoy good health in body and mind; they will enjoy the protection and guidance of the Lord; when they seek the Lord in prayer, He will hear their petition and answer their prayers. When we make the Sabbath a holy day, in all that we do, the Lord will be delighted in our desire to be submissive to his will, not ours.
In the Guide to the Scriptures, we read,
“In the Church today,, one Sabbath each month is set aside for the purpose of fasting. During this time, Church members go without food and water for twenty-four hours. They then contribute to the Church the money that they would have spent on food for those meals. This money is called a fast offering. The Church uses the fast offerings to assist the poor and needy” (Fast, Fasting. The Guide to the Scriptures. Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2001, 100).
3.6. Isaiah 60: The Sons Of Strangers Shall Build Up Thy Walls
Isaiah 60:1
1 Arise shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Parley P. Pratt states,
“The passage which I have quoted from Isaiah [60:1], has reference to the latter-day Zion… The Zion that is here spoken of is called to ‘arise and shine… for the glory of Lord is risen upon thee.’ There is no one thing more fully revealed in the Scriptures of eternal truth, than the rise of Zion of our God in the latter days, clothed upon with the glory of God from the heavens—a Zion that will attract the attention of all the nations and kindreds of the whole earth. It will not be something that takes place in a corner on some distant island of the sea, or away among some obscure people; but it will be something that will call forth the attention of all people and nations upon the face of the whole earth” (Journal of Discourse 16. London: Latter-day Saint’s Book Depot, 1854-56, [Eighth Reprint 1974], 78).
Isaiah 60:2
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
What is this “darkness that shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people”? Isaiah is speaking of the wickedness that will prevail during the latter days that will be destructive to society at large and to the individuals specifically.
Joseph Smith stated,
“Consider for a moment, brethren, the fulfillment of the words of the prophet [Isaiah 60:2]; for we behold that darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the inhabitants thereof—that crimes of every description are increasing among men—vices of great enormity are practiced—the rising generation growing up in the fullness of pride and arrogance—the aged losing every sense of conviction, and seemingly banishing every thought of a day o retribution—intemperance, immorality, extravagance, pride, blindness of heart, idolatry, the loss of natural affection; the love of this world and indifference toward the things of eternity increasing among those who profess a belief in the religion of heaven, and infidelity spreading itself in consequence of the same—men given themselves up to commit acts of the foulest kind, and deeds of the blackest dye, blaspheming, defrauding, blasting the reputation of neighbors, stealing, robbing, murdering, advocating error and opposing the truth, forsaking the covenant of heaven, and denying the faith of Jesus—and in the midst of all this, the day of the Lord fast approaching when none except those who have won the wedding garment will be permitted to eat and drink in the presence of the Bridegroom, the Prince of Peace! (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith. Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 1977, 47).
The excerpts just quoted are from a letter written by Joseph Smith in January 22, 1834, where he provides further clarity regarding the conditions that Isaiah saw would exist during the latter days. These words, written by Joseph Smith in 1834, provide a further witness regarding the conditions that exist in our world today.
Isaiah 60:8, 10
8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?
10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls,…
David R. Minert states,
“Isaiah asks, ‘Who are these latter-day converts who flock together as quickly as birds flying through the sky?’ [He replies:] The gentiles who are converted to the gospel from the nations of the earth… ” (Simplified Isaiah For the Latter-Day Saints. Orem: Granite Publishing and Distribution L.L.C, 2006, 245).
Jeffrey R. Holland states,
“In a general conference of the Church in April 1844, the brethren recalled those first gatherings of 1830. One of them said: ‘We [talked] about the kingdom of God as if we had the world at our command; we talked with great confidence, and talked big things, although we were not many [in number];… we looked [and] we did not see this [congregation], we saw by vision, the church of God, a thousand time larger [than it was then], although [att he time] we were not enough to well man a farm, or meet a woman with a milk pail… All the members [of the Church] met in conference, in a room 20 feet square… We talked… about… people coming as doves to the windows, that all nations should flock unto [the Church]… If we had told the people what our eyes behold this day, we should not [have been] believed” (“As Doves to Our Windows” in Ensign, May, 2000, 75, emphasis added).
Isaiah saw the increased growth of the church during the latter days when people [“sons of strangers”] from all nations would be numbered among the members.
Isaiah 60:11-12
11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
12 For the nations and kingdom tht will not serve thee shall perish; yet, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
Spencer W. Kimball gave this warning,
“We [The Modern day Prophets] continue to warn the people and plead with them, for we are the watchmen upon the towers, and in our hands we have a trumpet which must blow loudly and sound the alarm” (“The Time to Labor is Now” in Ensign, November, 1975, 7).
The nations and inhabitants of the earth will be invited to come into the “gates” which will be open to all. However, the time will come when the Lord will issue his final warning to the inhabitants of the earth, and the gates will be shut.
Isaiah 60:18
18 Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shall call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates, Praise.
Following the closing of the gates and the destruction of the wicked, “violence shall no more be heard in thy land.” The peace of the Lord shall prevail in the land and will rejoice and “praise” the Lord, for peace and salvation shall finally reign in the land.
Isaiah 60:19, 21
19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
While the sun will yet shine and the moon give her light, neither will be necessary when the Lord is present in His city. It will be His presence and glory that will provide the necessary illumination for the inhabitants. In order to inhabit this city, a prerequisite requirement will be that each individual will personally have achieved the degree of righteousness necessary to feel at peace in the Lord’s presence. Today, meeting the requirements necessary to attend the Lord’s temple is an important step in our spiritual preparation for this experience.
3.7. Isaiah 61: To Give Unto Them Beauty For Ashes
Isaiah 61:1-2
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the LORD hat anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; be hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
Jesus had declared his Messiahship in Jerusalem and performed many miracles. Many had believed his words. Following, the imprisonment of his cousin, John, by Herod, Jesus and his disciples returned to the Galilee region. While he was there, he came to Nazareth. Jesus was known by many for here he had been raised by Mary and Joseph as a boy in this village where Joseph had earned his living as a carpenter. According to Luke, “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah]” (Luke 4:16-19). Jesus read to them Isaiah 62:1-2, and sat down. Luke records, “And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him” (Luke 4:20).
James E. Talmage states,
The reason why the audience was so alert to hear Jesus’ comments was “the scripture He had quoted was one recognized by all classes as specifically referring to the Messiah, for whose coming the nation waited” (Jesus The Christ. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1916, [Thirty-fifth Edition,1963], 179).
James E. Talmage continues,
Jesus response to his listeners was, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). Jesus had just declared to those in attendance that He was the Messiah for whom the nation had waited! The response was varied. Some questioned aloud how that could be or “Is not this Joseph’s son?” Others were upset when they learned that he had not come to perform miracles as he had done elsewhere. Then their astonishment and disappointment turned to diabolical rage when he [knowing their lack of faith or spiritual sensitivity] likened them, as Talmage notes, “unto despised unbelievers, … Gentiles and lepers… [They then] seized the Lord and took Him to the brow of the hill on the slopes of which the town was built, determined to avenge their wounded feelings by hurling Him from the rocky cliffs… But the Lord’s time to die had not yet come” (Jesus the Christ. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1916 [Thirty-fifth Edition, 1963], 180).
Having connected the writings of Isaiah with the mortal testimony of Jesus Christ, let us clarify the meaning of His message.
Monte S. Nyman states,
“(1) To preach the gospel to the poor (to proclaim the plan of salvation); (2) To heal the brokenhearted (to provide forgiveness of sin); (3) To preach deliverance to the captives (to open the spirit world for the preaching of the gospel); (4) To recover sight to the blind (to perform miracles of healing and to overcome ignorance and superstition); (5) To open the prison to those that are bound (to provide vicarious ordinances for the dead); (6) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (to identify the earthly ministry of the Messiah); (7) to declare the day of vengeance of our God (to foretell his second coming); (8) To comfort all who mourn (to given the Holy Ghost as a companion), and (9) To appoint certain blessings to those who mourn in Zion (to deliver the keys necessary for establishing Zion)” (Great Are the Words of Isaiah. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980, 235).
The response to the message and declaration of His Messiahship by Jesus Christ and through his prophets of old as well as today is unchanged. There are those who question, those who want physical proof and those who are emphatic in their rejection. There are however some who are yet open to the message that was declared then and now.
Isaiah 60:6
6 But ye shall be named the Priests o the LORD; men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
W. Cleon Skousen states,
“… the established members of the kingdom will find themselves deeply involved in the ministry of the kingdom. Teaching the newcomers and ministering the ordinances in the temple will be a tremendous task which the Priesthood will have to perform. Instead of devoting most of their time to horticulture and industry as in the past, the Priesthood will be performing their much-needed service… ” (Isaiah For Modern Times. Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing Company, 1993, [Second Edition, First printing, February, 1993], 727).
Those who come to Zion seeking to learn its truths, will need someone who is qualified to teach and assist them in performing sacred ordinances. This task will require further preparation and sacrifice on the part of the current members to meet this increasing need.
Isaiah 61:10-11
10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels
11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isaiah has seen the latter days and he rejoices in the believing Gentiles who, receptive to the word of the Lord, come to Zion seeking the truth. He rejoices as he views the fruits of their repentance and the mercy shown by the Lord to those who repent.
3.8. Isaiah 62: For Jerusalem’s Sake I Will Not Rest
Isaiah 62:1-5 JST, Isaiah 62:4-5
1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.  
2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.  
3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal disdem in the hand of thy God.  
4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. 4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any mre be called Delightful, and thy land Union: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. 5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy God marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
During his Millennial reign, the Lord will maintain two capitals from which He will govern the earth in righteousness. One will be located in Jackson country in the state of Missouri is referenced as Zion (New Jerusalem) and the other will be the ancient city of David, Jerusalem, located in Israel.
The Old Testament student manual states,
“Once again Isaiah referred to the Old and New Jerusalems. Both are to possess ‘righteousness’ that will ‘go forth as brightness’ and offer salvation ‘as a lamp that burneth’ (Isaiah 62:1). Zion is to be called by a ‘new name’ (v 2), the New Jerusalem, and the Old Jerusalem shall ‘no more be termed Forsaken’ nor ‘Desolate (v 4). Once again Zion shall be married to the Lord. This symbol represents her return to spiritual righteousness, for ‘as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall [our] God rejoice over [Jerusalem’s restoration]’ (v 5)… [We learn from modern revelation that the union of these two cities] is “not of the people and God, but of the land and God” (Old Testament student manual 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981, Second Edition, 207).
Doctrine and Covenants 133:23-24
23 He [Jesus Christ] shall command the great deep [ocean], and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands [current continents] shall become one land;
24 And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like it was in the days before it was divided.
Isaiah 62:12
12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, a city not forsaken.
W. Cleon Skousen states,
“As the people of the world contemplate the wonders of the two Zion societies which will be built in America and Jerusalem, they will feel compelled to declare that they are indeed a ‘holy people.’ They will not only see that they have been ‘redeemed of the Lord,’ but that they will call them the blessed people who have been gathered or ‘sought out’ by the Lord and have built unto themselves these great municipalities of righteous government which will never again be called, ‘forsaken'” (Isaiah For Modern Times. Salt Lake City: The Ensign Publishing Company, 1984, [Second Edition, First printing, February, 1993], 734).
What joy shall exist for those who have been faithful to their covenants and will be privileged to live during the time when these two holy cities will be built. The city of Zion (New Jerusalem) with its magnificent temple and the city of Jerusalem restored to its prior grandeur. It will also be amazing to live when the oceans have been dispersed and the continents are again joined together. It will be from these two cities that the Lord will govern the earth in peace.
3.9. Isaiah 63: In All Their Affliction He Was Afflicted
Let us begin by contrasting two scriptures: One from Isaiah 63 and the other from modern revelation given to Joseph Smith. The revelation to Joseph Smith regarding the scripture in Isaiah provides greater clarity to its meaning.
Isaiah 63:1-6 Doctrine and Covenants 133:46-51
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? 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?
I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 47 And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
  49 And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withheld its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.
3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: 50 And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were 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 strain all my raiment. 51 And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.
4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that that was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.  
6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drink in my fury; and I will bring down their strength to the earth.  
By contrasting these two scriptures, we gleam some important insights. We learn: (1) it is the Lord who comes “down from God in heaven” known also as Jesus Christ whom Isaiah was addressing in his scripture whose reference in Isaiah has been omitted; (2) we learn that it is the Lord who “shall be red in his apparel, and his garments, like him that had treadeth in the wine-vat,” referring to his blood atonement in the garden of Gethsemane and suffering on the cross that “brought judgment [freedom] upon all people;” (3) so great was his suffering for all mankind that even the heavenly bodies were affected; (4) his sacrifice and suffering was done alone, without any assistance or intervention, even by God, His Father, and (5) his trial, conviction and execution were accomplished in anger and vengeance by those for whom his blood was also being shed.
Isaiah 63:7, 9 Doctrine and Covenants 133:52-53
7 I will mention the lovingkindness of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindness. 52 And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.
9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel o his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. 53 In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love and in his piety, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old;
David R. Meret notes,
“Isaiah [in these verses] reminds the Israelites that the Lord is not only a God of vengeance but throughout history He has helped them on many occasions as they were in need. He assisted them even though they were often wicked and did not deserve His blessings” (Simplified Isaiah for the Latter-Day Saints. Orem: Granite Publishing and Distribution L.L.C., 2006, 255).
Isaiah looks to the day of the Lord’s second coming when the House of Israel will recognize, as Minert notes, the intervention by the Lord on their behalf in the past, when He intervened not only at times with vengeance, but also in kindness. Modern revelation adds that with their recognition of his past intervention, they will also accept him as their Redeemer, one whose supernal act of individual sacrifice was done on their behalf “in goodness and loving kindness forever and ever.”
Isaiah 63:15-17 JST, Isaiah 63:17
15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?  
16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.  
17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. 17 O LORD, why hast thou suffered us to err from thy ways, and to harden our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Ivan J. Sanderson notes,
“Although due to their long-time dispersion and separation they are not recognizable as children of the covenant, Isaiah pleads for the Lord’s intervention on behalf of his people, that the Lord might return to them the knowledge of their heritage” (Isaiah The Times of Fulfillment. Salt Lake City: Westbench Publishing, 2009, 625).
* Note that Isaiah 63:15-64:12 is, according to Ball and Winn {see outline Isaiah 63] commonly viewed as Isaiah’s Intercessory Prayer.
3.10. Isaiah 64: We Are The Clay, And Thou Our Potter
Note the comparison between these verses from Isaiah 64 and modern revelation to Joseph Smith.
Isaiah 64:1-5 Doctrine and Covenants 133:38-45
  38 And the servants of God shall go forth, saying with a loud voice:…

1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

40 Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.

2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causethe thw waters to boil,

41 And it shall be answered upon their heads; for the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which would cause the waters to boil.
42 O Lord, thou shalt come
to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence—
3 When thou didst terrible thing which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence. 43 When thou doest terrible things, things they look not for;
44 Yea, when thou comest down, and the mountains flow down at thy presence, thou shalt meet him who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth thee in thy ways.
4 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. 45 For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee.
  JST, Isaiah 64:5
5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold thy art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved. 5 Thou meetest him that worketh righteousness, and rejoiceth him that remembereth thee in thy ways; in righteousness there is continuance, and such shall be saved
As we contrast these two scriptures, we are aware of some differences which enhance our knowledge of Isaiah’s meaning. They include: (1) the petition or prayer that is offered is by the servants of God during the days prior to the Lord’s second coming; (2) the inference is that their petition comes at a time when the righteous are experiencing great tribulations and adversity from the wicked of the earth for they are “calling upon the name of the Lord [both] day and night… that thou wouldst come down” and save them; (3) the appearance of the Lord will be heralded by changes to the geology of the earth due to His glory; (4) his presence will cause the wicked among all nations to “tremble at [his] presence”; (5) this will be a time of rejoicing for the righteous and those who have been obedient to His commandments in spite of the trials and tribulations to which they have been subjected, and (6) those who are faithful will rejoice at the great blessings that they will receive at the Lord’s return.
Isaiah 64:8-9
8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are the work of thy hand.
9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever; behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
In this scripture, Isaiah recalls his prior reference to the relationship that exists between the clay and the potter. These include: (1) “Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay” (Isa.29:16); (2) “And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the busting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit” (Isa.30:14), and (3) “I have raised up one… and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay” (Isaiah 41:25). Paul in his letter to the Romans also observed this relationship, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishounour?” (Romans 9:21).
In each of these references, the clay is in the hands of the Potter who makes the final determination as to the shape of the clay which determines its use. When Israel is willing to be shaped, according to the determination of the Lord, she can then become a vessel of worth. When she resists the Lord’s guidance and direction and is disobedient, she then becomes unfit for the Lord’s purpose. In the final analysis, Isaiah prays that Lord will not remember Israel’s past iniquity forever, but will eventually find her to be of worth.
Isaiah 64:12
12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?
W. Cleon Skousen notes,
“He [Isaiah] wants to know if the people can ever be restored to God’s favor. Can they eventually have peace? Can they someday live without these afflictions? (Isaiah for Modern Times. Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing Company, [Second Edition, First Printing, February, 1993], 747).
Maybe Isaiah is also reflecting upon his years of service to Israel as her prophet. During his service, he has experienced times of joy as well as time of disappointment. Surely, he is concerned regarding the spiritual wellbeing of those with whom he has labored. While he knows, through his prophetic insight, there will be many, after a ng a period of scattering and repentance, eventually will come unto the Lord and honor him; there will also be those who will yet remain in their wickedness.
3.11. Isaiah 65: There Are Smoke In My Nose
This chapter speaks both of tragedy and joy for those who have been rebellious as well as those who were obedient.
We begin our exploration by contrasting the words of Isaiah with those of recent revelation in order to increase our understanding of Isaiah’s writings.
Isaiah 65: 1-2 JST, Isaiah 65: 1-2
1 I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: 1 I am found by those who seek after me, I give unto all them that ask of me: I am not found of them that sought me out, or that inquireth not after me.
I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. 2 I said unto my servant, Behold me, look upon me; I will send you unto a nation that is not called after my name, for I have spread out my hands all the day to a people who walketh not in my ways, and their works are evil and not good, and they walk after their own thoughts.
2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
The clarity that is offered by modern revelation offers increased meaning to Isaiah’s writing. The “I” meaning the Lord, is found by those who seek for him, but he is not found by those who do not even bother to inquire of him. The Lord is going to send his servant[s] “unto a nation that is not called after my name, or those who are not members of his covenant people, the Gentiles. The reason is that his covenant people are disobedient to his commandments and “walk in after their own thoughts” or disregard the counsel given by his prophets.
Isaiah 65:5-7
5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are as smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.
6 Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom,
7 Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together, said the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
Reg Christensen notes,
“In their pride, they had concocted their own false religion and false moral standards… In a figurative sense, by burning “incense upon the mountains,” Israel had climbed the wrong mountain—they had sought the mountains of idolatry rather than the mountain of the Lord” (Unlocking Isaiah. American Fork: Covenant Communications, Inc., 2013, 308-309).
Isaiah 65:8-9
8 Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all.
9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.
The servants or missionaries of the Lord are sent to the nations of the world in order to gather in scattered and repentant Israel, as well as the Gentiles who are receptive to the word of the Lord. They will join with “mine elect,” or those who previously have accepted the covenants of the Lord.
Isaiah 65:14
14 Behold my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
The servants or missionaries will rejoice in those who forsake their former lives and make covenants with the Lord and thereby enter into a new life of joy and happiness. They will be saddened and pained by those who reject their message for their sorrow and pain will continue, rather than the happiness the gospel offers them.
We now contrast verses from Isaiah 65 with the addition of insight provided from the Joseph Smith Translation of Isaiah 65:20, and Doctrine and Covenants 101:26. These scriptures are grouped together for they jointly clarify changes that Isaiah describes that will occur following the Lord’s Second coming.
Isaiah 65: 17, 20-21, 25 JST, Isaiah 65:20
17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.  
20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. 20 There shall no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  
  Doctrine and Covenants 101:26
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. 26 And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beast, yea the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.
Isaiah saw in vision some of the changes that will occur during the Millennium. This will be a thousand years of peace that shall follow the Lord’s second coming. A change will then occur as a “new heaven and a new earth” will exit. Following the cleansing of the earth of the wicked, an era of peace and happiness will commence. The Lord will govern the earth in righteousness, and peace and good will exist among all mankind. Therefore earth’s inhabitants will be able to build homes and plant crops without fear of persecution or attack from others. Their children will live until they are old, no longer plagued by disease, as the life span for all flesh is extended. This peace will also be found in nature as the enmity that currently exists “among all flesh” will end. It will truly be a wonderful time to live upon the earth and to raise families.
3.12. Isaiah 66: All Flesh Shall Come To Worship Before Me
Isaiah 66:3-4
3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations,
4 I also will choose their delusions, and I will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear; but they did evil before mine eyes, and choose that in which I delighted not.
In these opening verses, Isaiah remunerates to Israel their acts of disobedience regarding the commandments of the Lord. He sought in his mercy to provide guidance and direction when He saw that they had gone astray, by sending his word through his prophets, but they did not heed his words. In spite of the prophet’s counsel, they continued to do evil in the Lord’s sight.
Isaiah 66:5
5 Hear the word of the LORD. ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
Having previously given warning to those who failed to heed his words, the Lord offers hope to those individuals whose hearts have been touched and yet, in spite of criticism, are stalwart in their decision to keep the commandments. When the Lord appears, they will be glorified, while others will be denounced and rejected.
Isaiah 66:8-9
8 who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be make to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth and shut the womb? saith thy God.
Sidney B. Sperry notes,
“Zion is… personified as having travailed and brought forth a man child (figurative of a speedy increase in population). Having brought forth, there will be nothing to stop the progress of God’s people. The Lord will not leave His business unfinished. Enemies may make light of the predictions of Zion’s redemption, but the Lord will fulfill His promise” (The Voice of Israel’s Prophets. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1952, 148).
Isaiah 66:15-16
15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.
When the Lord returns to the earth the second time, He will come in power and glory. Some will view this as a astrological phenomena like a large meteor striking the earth. The wicked, who have been fighting against Zion or the forces of righteousness, will be filled with fear and dread.
Isaiah 66:20
20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.
W. Cleon Skousen notes,
“The thousands of converts who will be harvested from this mighty missionary effort will be gathered to the ‘holy mountain Jerusalem’ (no doubt including a similar gathering to the New Jerusalem as well), and they will be like a gift offering which these might high priests will make in righteousness to the Lord” (Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times. Salt Lake City: The Ensign Publishing Company, [Second Edition, First Printing, Febrary, 1993], 770).
It is noteworthy that when the Savior appeared to the members of the Church in the Americas, following his resurrection, He came to those who were gathered at the temple in Bountiful (see 3 Nephi 11:1-10). Isaiah’s reference to “holy mountain Jerusalem” may refer to the temple which had been built in the latter days in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 66:23
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
W. Cleon Skousen observes,
“The day of which the Lord is speaking will be far different from the days of wickedness which preceded it. Instead of the multitudes of mankind largely ignoring or defying God and reveling in their wicked indulgences, the whole inhabited earth will come up regularly to their designated places of worship to express their adoration for the Lord and seek instructions from his servants” (Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times. Salt Lake City: The Ensign Publishing Company, [Second Edition, First Printing, February, 1993], 771).
Following the devastation and death that occurred with the Lord’s appearance, in which the wicked are destroyed, comes a time of gathering and instruction for the righteous. The inhabitants of the earth gather in various locations of worship to receive instruction directly from the Lord.
Today, each April and October, the leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gather in Salt Lake City, Utah, to receive instruction and direction from the living Prophet and Apostles of the Church. Their messages are transmitted by the internet and through satellite to various meeting places of members throughout the world. This may be similar to what Isaiah describes will occur following the Savior’s appearance.
4. Conclusions
I have sought over the past four chapters of the text, through an examination of Isaiah as recorded in the King James Version of the Bible as well as modern scripture and revelation including noted commentary to unearth the treasures found in the writings of Isaiah. We have not been disappointed. First and foremost, we have been given witness that the babe born in a manger in Bethlehem, in the Meridian of time, is as He testified the awaited Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer of mankind. He as the Son of God voluntarily gave his life as a ransom for the sins of all mankind, thereby assuring our freedom from Satan’s grasp and the obtainment of life after death. He also provided the opportunity to all, if they will accept Him as their Savior and obey his commandments, the opportunity to live again with their Father who is in Heaven.
He is also the creator. Under the direction of His Father, He created this earth upon which we dwell and all its elements are under his command.
He is the God of the Old Testament. He spoke to all the prophets from the beginning of time to the present. He appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai having brought the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt. He brought them over the river Jordan into the Promised land where He continued to guide and direct them through his appointed prophets. He also spoke through prophets to those whom he had led to the Americas. He revealed to them important truths which as Isaiah noted, “shalt speak [to us] out of the ground” (Isaiah 29:4).
Isaiah spoke of events of his day including the conquest by the Assyrians of Israel, and the leading away of the ten tribes. He also predicted the Babylonian conquest of Judah as well as their return granted by the king of the Medes and Persians, Cyrus, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple. He also addressed the Roman conquest of and destruction of Jerusalem. He saw the scattering and persecution of the House of Israel as well as their gathering and restoration during the latter days.
Isaiah saw the restoration of the keys of Israel’s gathering given to his servants and the establishment of the Lord’s Church in these latter days. Once the Lord’s Church had been established in the tops of the mountains, the “marvelous work and wonder” (Isaiah 29:14) that Isaiah saw could commence. Israel’s scattered as well as the believing Gentiles would be taught the truths of the gospel by the Lord’s servants and many would come to Zion.
We learned of the destruction of the wicked and the Second coming of the Lord that paves the way for the beginning of the millennial reign of a thousand years of peace and happiness. This promise provides me with hope for the future as I too strive to be faithful and obedient, in spite of the persecution and upheaval that will precede this glorious event.
These events and more are some of the treasure we have discovered as we have sought diligently to understand the writings of Isaiah. Personally, I have come to truly see the worth of the words of the risen Christ as he taught those gathered in the Americas, “… for great are the words of Isaiah. For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles. And all things that he spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake” (B/M, 3 Nephi 23:1-3).
The words of Isaiah will remain in our memory, both as a warning and a witness, of the value of his writings–and the hope and comfort they will now be to us.