OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 38
- Isaiah teaches that the Savior is incomparable.
- Isaiah describes the Savior's incomparable qualities.
- The world (Babylon) competes with the Savior for our devotion.
- Isaiah describes the mission of latter-day Israel.
A study of this lesson should help us to increase our understanding
of Jesus Christ, that he is incomparable in his devotion to his people,
and that he has a great work for them to do.
Chapter 40 - Period 4: Events Of The Last Days
- READ ISAIAH 40:1-5. The glory of the Lord shall
READ 40:11. A picture of a loving Savior to his
- V1-2: WHEN WILL THE LORD'S PEOPLE BE COMFORTED? WHEN IS THE WARFARE
OF JERUSALEM ACCOMPLISHED?
- At the time of the Lord's Second Coming.
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Through Isaiah the Lord speaks of comfort
to Jerusalem that shall be fulfilled after the Second Coming."
(The Millennial Messiah, p.336)
- V3: WHO IS THIS VERSE REFERING TO?
- Consider the reference to John the Baptist in Luke 3:4: "As
it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The
voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight."
- BUT ISAIAH 40 SPEAKS OF THE LATTER DAYS. HOW DO WE EXPLAIN THIS?
- Luke 3:5 goes on to refer to events of the latter days when it says,
"Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall
be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways
shall be made smooth."
- John the Baptist was also a forerunner in the last days (his appearance
to Joseph and Oliver and their ordination to the Aaronic priesthood).
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Malachi [as does Isaiah] speaks of
the Lord sending his messenger to prepare the way before him, and while
that does have reference to the coming of John the Baptist, it is one of
those prophecies in the scriptures that has a double fulfilment. It has
reference also to the coming of the Prophet Joseph Smith, because that
messenger which was to come and prepare the way before him, was to come
in this day....
"I...maintain that Joseph Smith
was the messenger whom the Lord sent to prepare the way before him. He
came, and under direction of holy messengers laid the foundation for the
kingdom of God and of this marvelous work and a wonder the that the world
might be prepared for the coming of the Lord." (Doctrines of Salvation,
- V4: "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and
hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the
rough places plain".
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Great changes are in store for the earth
and all things on its face when our Lord comes in glory. 'Not many days
hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man.'
(D. & C. 88:87)." (Mormon Doctrine, p694)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "The changes in men, all forms of life,
and the earth itself, which will be incident to the new order of things,
will take place in the day of that coming." (Mormon Doctrine,
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Three natural changes in the earth -- all
apparently growing out of one transcendent happening -- are here named
as attending our Lord's Second Coming. They are:
"1. Earth's land masses shall
unite; islands and continents shall become one land.
"2. Every valley shall be exalted
and every mountain shall be made low; the rugged terrain of today shall
level out into a millennial garden.
"3. Such an earthquake as has
never been known since man's foot was planted on this planet shall attend
these changes in the earth's surface and appearance.
"And, fourthly, as recorded elsewhere,
the great deep -- presumably the Atlantic ocean -- shall return to its
place in the north, 'and the earth shall be like as it was in the days
before it was divided.' (D. & C. 133:21-24)." (Doctrinal New
Testament Commentary, 3:544)
- V5: This is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ in glory.
READ 40:31. They that wait upon the Lord shall
- This will be a comfort for those of us who survive the difficult times
ahead in these last days.
- "Wait" in Hebrew means to hope for or anticipate (see
- This might be another way of saying "endure to the end".
- WHAT IS THE BLESSING? IS THIS A SPIRITUAL OR PHYSICAL BLESSING?
- Isaiah 41:10: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed;
for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I
will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
- HOW HAS THE LORD EVER RENEWED YOUR PHYSICAL OR SPIRITUAL STRENGTH?
Chapter 43 - Period 2: Events Relative To Judah (primarily
- This chapter addresses the Babylonian captivity.
- READ 43:5-7. Bring my sons from far and my daughters
from the ends of the earth.
READ 43:14. Judah sent to Babylon for her benefit.
- Even though Judah was to be taken captive by Babylon, Judah and Israel
would be gathered together once again.
READ 43:22-26. Israel has forgotten the Lord.
The Lord pleads to be remembered.
- WHAT BENEFIT WOULD THERE BE IN SENDING JUDAH TO BABYLON?
- To humble the proud and the wicked.
- Helaman 15:3. "...yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and
also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath
he chastened them because he loveth them."
- The captivity of Judah also provided an indisputable reason for destroying
the wicked nation of Babylon.
- V1: "But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast
been weary of me, O Israel."
- DO WE SOMETIMES FEEL THAT THE LORD HAS FORGOTTEN US, WHEN IN REALITY
WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THE LORD?
- President Spencer W. Kimball: "I find that when I get casual
in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear
is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away.
If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality
returns." (Teachings SWK, p135)
Chapter 45 - Period 2: Events Relative To Judah (primarily
- READ 45:1-4. Cyrus told that the Lord would go
READ ISAIAH 45:15-25. Isaiah's testimony of Jehovah.
- HOW COULD CYRUS, A PERSIAN KING, BE CALLED THE LORD'S ANNOINTED?
- There is no evidence that Cyrus knew the Lord.
- The Hebrew translation of 'anointed' to English = 'Messiah'.
- Cyrus was a type of the true Messiah.
- Cyrus was the anointed one who delivered the people of Israel from
their captivity, as the true Messiah will lead us from captivity our of
- NOTE: Isaiah called Cyrus by name well over a hundred years before
- The Lord's symbol of Babylon as a place or condition of wickedness.
- D&C 133:5: "Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear
the vessels of the Lord."
- D&C 133:14. "Go ye out from among the nations, even from
Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon."
- Some notes on Babylon:
- The Babylonians rose to power following the collapse of the Assyrians.
- Babylon reached the summit of its greatness under Nebuchadnezzar.
- Used slaves from parts of the empire to build the greatest city in
- Great wealth flowed into the city of Babylon.
- A great wall was built around the city. Herodotus (ancient historian)
claimed "...that this wall was eighty-four feet wide and three
hundred and thirty-six feet high. He also claimed that one-story houses
were built on the top of the wall on either side, and there was even then
space enough between the house to permit four chariots to drive abreast."
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were constructed (one of the 7 ancient
wonders of the world).
- Wickedness of Babylon:
- Its inhabitants were notorious for their addiction of self-indulgence
- Nothing was more corrupt than their morals.
- Money dissolved every tie. It was the god of Babylon.
- Isaiah makes it clear that Jehovah is Jesus Christ, a doctrine which
much of the Christian world has lost sight of.
- V15: He names the God of Israel as the "Savior".
- V17: He shall save Israel with an "everlasting" salvation.
- V21-22: There is no other name given by which man may be saved.
- V23: Every knee shall bow and every tongue swear (confess).
- V25: He is the mediator for all the seed of Israel.
Chapter 47 - Period 2: Events Relative To Judah (primarily
- In this chapter, Isaiah warned that Babylon would be destroyed because
of its wickedness. These warnings can also be applied to the eventual destruction
of the world and its wickedness. Consider the following warnings to Babylon
and what they teach about the results of seeking after the wicked ways
of the world:
WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE GIVE THEIR DEVOTION TO THE WORLD INSTEAD OF THE
- READ ISAIAH 47:1,5. The world to be brought down
to the dust and become silent and dark.
- READ ISAIAH 47:7-9. Despite the world's thoughts
that it is invincible, it will be destroyed and lose the things of greatest
value, symbolized by the loss of husband and children.
- READ ISAIAH 47:10-11. Because the world declares
that it is greater than God, desolation will come upon it.
HOW ARE WE DOING? HOW CAN WE HELP OTHERS SEE WHAT THE SAVIOR OFFERS?
- Hugh Nibley made an interesting comparison, "Babylon is a state
of mind, just like Zion. Like Zion, Babylon is a city" (Collected
Works 9:324). Using Brother Nibley's comparison of cities, we might consider
two modern cities, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. Many people are attracted
to Las Vegas because of its glitter, its visual enticements, its false
promise of big winnings. It is an exciting town. But one rarely leaves
the glitter of Las Vegas satisfied. Salt Lake City is a much quieter city.
In the center of the city we find Temple Square, a place where those who
are spiritually thirsty can drink from the fountain of truth. Unlike Vegas,
those who drink from the fountain can find the satisfaction for which they
are searching. Salt Lake doesn't offer the glitter and glamour of Vegas,
but it offers much more.
- Neal A. Maxwell: "So here we are in Eden, an Eden become Babylon!
Perhaps we have grown too accustomed to the place. Even if we decide to
leave Babylon, some of us endeavor to keep a second residence there, or
we commute on weekends. To quote President Marion G. Romney, some go on
'trying to serve the Lord without offending the devil'." (A Wonderful
Flood of Light, p47-p48)
- Neal A. Maxwell: "Our capacity as Church members to love and
to forgive will be freshly and severely tested as battered and bruised
souls come into the Church in ever-larger numbers. Some come in from the
cold shivering. Others are breathless, having caught what was for them
the last train out of Babylon. Their own continued process of repentance
will be much aided if they see, all about them, more regular emphasis in
the lives of the rest of us on faith unto repentance." (Not My
Will, But Thine, p74)
Chapter 48 - Period 2: Events Relative To Judah (primarily
- NOTE: This is the first chapter of Isaiah quoted in the Book of Mormon
- 1 Nephi 20.
READ ISAIAH 48:10-11. Israel refined in the furnace
- Every verse of this chapter reads differently than the King James version.
READ ISAIAH 48:17-18.
- V11. The Lord says he will not give his glory to another - Israel will
not be forgotten. V11. The Lord says he will do it (refine Israel) for
his own sake.
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT THE LORD DOES IT FOR HIS OWN SAKE? DOES HE TAKE
PLEASURE IN SEEING ISRAEL SUFFER?
- The Lord's sake = "This is my work and my glory to bring to
pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
- HOW DOES THE REFINER'S FIRE PREPARE ONE FOR ETERNAL LIFE?
- Neal A. Maxwell: "The Lord has said, 'I have chosen thee in
the furnace of affliction.' (Isaiah 48:10; 1 Nephi 20:10.) He knows, being
omniscient, how we will cope with affliction beforehand. But we do not
know this. We need, therefore, the refining that God gives to us, though
we do not seek or crave such tribulation." (All These Things Shall
Give Thee Experience, p38)
- Albert P. Rockwood (later to become one of the seven presidents of
the Seventies) wrote in his journal during the last days of the Missouri
period the following thoughts: "Finally are you ready to be made
perfect through suffering even as Christ[?] If you are ready for all this
you are fit subjects of Zion. You need not think to come here & be
wafted into the Celestial Kingdom on flowery beds of ease. But remember
that after much tribulation cometh the blessing[.] You know but little
about the refiners fire in Zion, therefore prepare for the worst &
hope for the best. Our troubles are blowing the chaff of the Church to
the four winds. And our prayer is she may be made clean evry whit."
(BYU Studies Vol 28, No 1, pg30)
- WHAT BLESSINGS DOES THE LORD GIVE TO THOSE WHO SEEK HIM RATHER THAN
- He provides us with directions for life and eternity.
- We will be blessed with peace and righteousness.
Chapter 49 - Period 4: Events Of The Last Days
- Brother Monte S. Nyman wrote: "...chapter 49 is one of the
most important chapters in the whole book of Isaiah, because it also clearly
foretells the mission of the Latter-day Saints and the destiny of the land
of America in connection with the house of Israel. Nephi interpreted the
chapter as foretelling that the land of America would receive some of scattered
Israel, while his brother Jacob applied it both to the Jews in Jerusalem
and to the Gentiles. Chapter 49 is of such importance that it ought to
be studied diligently by every member of the church." (Great Are
The Words of Isaiah, p173-174)
- READ ISAIAH 49:5-6. Israel to be a light to the
gentiles, to be the Lord's salvation.
READ 49:19-20. The places of gathering to be too
- IF THIS SPEAKS OF OUR TIME, WHERE DO WE FIND ISRAEL BEING A LIGHT TO
- D&C 86:11: "Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in
my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a
savior unto my people Israel. The Lord hath said it." According
to this verse, wherever we find righteous bearers of the priesthood, we
will find modern Israel being a light to the Gentiles.
- Look at the places of greatest gathering of Israel, the Mountain West
and nation of Israel.
- The gathering of Israel continues to progress:
- The accelerated growth of the church, now having surpassed the 10 million
- The gathering of the Jews to Jerusalem which continues to gather Jews
from throughout the world and most recently from the former Soviet Union.
- The future of this gathering:
- The gathering to America to resume.
- In speaking of the New Jerusalem, the Lord said, "And it shall
come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword
against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall
be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the
only people that shall not be at war one with another" (D&C
- D&C 115:6: "And that the gathering together upon the land
of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from
the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon
the whole earth.".
- The building of the New Jerusalem and its temple.
- The ten tribes to return from the north to Zion (see D&C 133:26-34).
- The gathering to Jerusalem to continue along with the building of a
- The ten tribes to return to Palestine (Isaiah 50:19-20).
We are blessed to live in this great latter day when we rejoice in the
blessings of the Lord and see the prophesies of Isaiah being fulfilled.
Great events have yet to transpire as we approach the time of the Second
Coming. Will we be ready? Are we willing to turn away from Babylon and
fully dedicate ourselves to the Lord? If follow the Lord in obedience "then
had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the
sea" (Isaiah 48:18). Do we want the temporary glitter of Babylon
or the eternal peace found in Zion? As Joshua stated so boldly, "choose
you this day whom ye will serve" (Joshua 24:15).
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