OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 39
- Isaiah speaks of messengers who bring glad tidings.
- Isaiah prophesies of the Savior's atoning sacrifice.
- Isaiah describes some of our responsibilities.
A study of this lesson should strengthen our testimony of the Atonement
of Jesus Christ.
Some Introductory Thoughts
- My study of Isaiah and his prophecies has stimulated my thinking.
- We know from Isaiah's prophecies and the words of other prophets that
we are forerunners in preparing the way for the second coming of our Lord.
D&C Official Declaration 2 (2nd paragraph of letter, pg. 294):
"Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the
Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all
of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing
the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we
have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren,
spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord
for divine guidance.
- D&C 34:5-6: "And more blessed are you because you are called
of me to preach my gospel-
"To lift up your voice as with
the sound of a trump, both long and loud, and cry repentance unto a crooked
and perverse generation, preparing the way of the
Lord for his second coming."
"He has heard our prayers, and
by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come..."
READ LUKE 18:1-5. Parable of the unjust judge.
- PRIOR TO THIS TIME, WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS AS TO WHEN THE PRIESTHOOD
WOULD BE EXTENDED TO ALL WORTHY MALES?
- My own thought were that it would not occur until the millenium or
immediately prior to it.
- WHAT WAS THE CATALYST FOR CAUSING THIS EXTENSION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
- I would suppose that many of these Saints (those prohibited from realizing
the full blessings of the priesthood), along with many others, had plead
with the Prophet and the brethren to consult with the Lord on this matter.
- I am sure that many of these same people had fasted & prayed that
this day would come soon.
- "...we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these,
our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple
supplicating the Lord for divine guidance."
- WOULD THE PRIESTHOOD HAVE BEEN EXTENDED HAD NOT THESE STEPS BEEN TAKEN?
- Probably not at that time.
- It is important to note that the restoration of the Church and the
deliverance of modern scriptures have been the result of prayers &
- DO WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO ACCELERATE THE FULMILLMENT OF PROPHECY?
- WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING CONCEPTS OF THE LATTER DAYS?
- The building of the city of Zion or the New Jerusalem.
- CAN WE HASTEN THE BUILDING OF ZION? HOW?
- Purify our lives. Cleanse ourselves of unrighteous desires.
- Live faithfully and do all that we can do to build Zion.
- Share the gospel.
- Prepare our children for missions and service.
- Pay extra tithing/offerings.
- Share our desire to commence the building of Zion with the brethren.
- Plead with the Lord in prayer and fasting.
- IF WE, AS A PEOPLE, PURSUED SUCH A COURSE WOULD THE LORD DENY US?
Messengers Who Bring Glad Tidings
- Isaiah 52:7: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet
of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth
good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion,
Thy God reigneth!"
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT ISAIAH MADE REFERENCE TO THE FEET OF THOSE
"THAT BRINGETH GOOD TIDINGS"?
- Anciently, important messages were often brought by runners traveling
on foot. For instance, according to legend, in 490 BC a Greek soldier named
Phidippides ran the from the site of the battle of Marathon to Athens,
where he died after announcing the Greek victory over the Persians. The
modern marathon commemorates this feat. Isaiah is using the messengers'
feet to symbolize the messengers themselves.
- WHO ARE THESE MESSENGERS?
- According to Abinadi, "Yea, and are not the
prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that
has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since
the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.
"And these are they who have
published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published
salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!....
"And behold, I say unto you,
this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of
him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even
the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted
salvation unto his people" (Mosiah 15:13-14,18).
- WHAT IS THE MESSAGE?
- It is the redemption that cometh in and through the Holy Messiah (see
2 Nephi 2:6-8).
- ARE THERE OTHER MESSENGERS?
- The missionaries. This glorious message of salvation has been carried
by foot, door to door, by missionaries throughout the ages. The image one
pictures of missionaries is tracting from door to door. Though missionaries
now travel by car, bicycle, or mass transportation, still they spend much
of their time on their feet going door to door.
- Every member a missionary.
- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THOSE THAT BROUGHT YOU THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION?
The Savior's Atoning Sacrifice
- READ ISAIAH 50:5-7. The Lord made his sacrifice
by his own free will.
READ ISAIAH 51:6. Salvation shall be forever.
- WHAT WAS THE SAVIOR'S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE GREAT SACRIFICE HE WOULD
MAKE IN OUR BEHALF?
- Matthew 26:39: "And he went a little further, and fell on his
face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup
pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
- Philippians 2:8: "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
- As our Lord approached the time of his atoning sacrifice, the human
element was evident when he said to his Father, "if it be possible,
let this cup pass from me". Like any of us, Jesus did not relish
the thought of the mental anguish or the physical pain that lay ahead.
He had the agency to walk away from this mission. But he did not. As Paul
wrote to the Philippians, "he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death" or we might say that he was obedient to the will of
READ ISAIAH 51:22. The Lord to plead the cause
of his people.
- According to Joseph Fielding Smith, the earth is a living body which
must die and become resurrected (see Doctrines of Salvation 1:72-73, Restoration
of All Things, p295).
- HOW LONG WILL THE EFFECTS OF THE ATONEMENT LAST?
- Longer than the temporal existence of this earth or beyond the time
that "the earth shall wax old". Isaiah is telling us that
the benefits of the great atoning sacrifice will last forever.
- We recently took a trip from our home here in Washington, through Montana
and Wyoming. Every few hundred miles we had to stop and fill our Plymouth
Voyager with gas or at some point we would have become stranded on the
plains of Wyoming or in the mountains of Montana. Filling the gas tank
had a temporary effect. Sometimes only a few hours.
The house we live in has a longer effect.
It has protected my family for many years, but like the gasoline we have
to continue to renew the house for it to have its beneficial effects. We
have had to replace the roof. The old one became worn, it was filled with
moss, and had even started to leak in a couple locations. The new roof
will have to be replaced again in a few years. I have to paint the siding
or it begins to crack and weather. The house requires continuing renewel
for its beneficial effects to last.
The effects of the atoning sacrifice do not
need continual renewel. It is as if we had a gas tank that never needs
filling or a house that needs no maintenance. The Atonement and its benefits
last forever. It does not need to be renewed. This is the fountain from
which we can drink and never thirst.
- "He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that
is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless,
that there can be no more death" (Mosiah 16:9).
READ ISAIAH 53:2-4. He has born our griefs and
carried our sorrows.
- This verse is one of those prophecies that have multiple fulfillments:
- Orson Pratt applied these verses to the persecutors of the Church in
the early days of the restoration (see JD 10:73-74).
- These verses also apply to those who come against Judah in the last
days (see Great Are The Words of Isaiah, p197).
- These verses also apply to the Atonement.
- FOR WHOM DOES THE SAVIOR PLEAD?
- All those who accept him and strive to follow his commandments.
- WHAT QUALIFIES THE SAVIOR TO PLEAD IN OUR BEHALF?
- D&C 45:3-4: "Listen to him who is the advocate with the
Father, who is pleading your cause before him--Saying: Father, behold the
sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased;
behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou
gavest that thyself might be glorified".
- If I go before a court for legal proceedings, it is best that I have
an "advocate". A lawyer is a trained advocate who can best "plead"
my cause before the court. He qualifies for this position because he engaged
in years of training and passed a state exam.
Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father.
He qualifies as our advocate because of his sinless life, his absolute
obedience to the Father, and his infinite and eternal sacrifice. None of
the rest of us have lived a perfect life and we will need this great advocate
with the Father.
- WHAT IS THE "CUP OF TREMPLING" THAT JESUS HAS DRUNK FOR US?
- D&C 19:15-19: "Therefore I command you to repent--repent,
lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger,
and your sufferings be sore--how sore you know not, how exquisite you know
not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
"For behold, I, God, have suffered
these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
"But if they would not repent
they must suffer even as I;
"Which suffering caused myself,
even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed
at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit--and would that I might
not drink the bitter cup, and shrink--
"Nevertheless, glory be to the
Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of
- WHAT MUST WE DO TO RECEIVE THE FULL BLESSINGS OF THE ATONEMENT?
- "...they might not suffer if they would repent".
READ ISAIAH 53:5. Christ suffered for our transgressions.
- WHAT DO THESE VERSES TELL US ABOUT THE LIFE OF THE SAVIOR?
- "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as
a root out of a dry ground" (53:2).
- Bruce R. McConkie: "...he grew up as a choice and favored plant
whose strength and achievement did not come because of the arid social
culture in which he dwelt; it was not poured into him by the erudition
of Rabbinical teachers; but it came from the divine Source whence he sprang."
(Promised Messiah, pp477-478)
- "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him,
there is no beauty that we should desire him" (53:2).
- Bruce R. McConkie: "There is no mystique, no dynamic appearance,
no halo around his head, thunders do not roll and lightnings do not flash
at his appearance. He is the Son of the Highest, but he walks and appears
as the offspring of the lowest. He is a man among men, appearing, speaking,
dressing, seeming in all outward respects as they are." (Promised
- "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and
acquainted with grief" (53:3).
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Our Lord himself was 'a man of sorrows,
and acquainted with grief' (Isa. 53:3-4; Mosiah 14:3-4), meaning that he
both suffered pain and had sadness and disappointment caused by the unbelief
of his fellow mortals." (Mormon Doctrine, p747)
READ ISAIAH 53:6-7. Christ came willingly, as
a lamb to the slaughter.
- In speaking of the agony at Gethsemane, B.H. Roberts wrote, "He
felt the whole burden and mystery of the world's sin, and encountered the
fiercest assaults of Satan.... His sorrow did not spring from His own life,
His memory or His fears, but from the vicarious nature of the conflict.
The agony was a bearing of the weight and sorrow of our sins, in loneliness,
in anguish of soul threatening to crush His body, yet borne triumphantly,
because in submission to His Father's will." (The Seventy's Course
in Theology, Second Year, p127)
READ ISAIAH 53:8-11. Christ was stricken because
of the transgression of his people.
- WHAT QUALITIES OF CHARACTER DID THE SAVIOR DISPLAY WHEN HE WAS OPPRESSED,
AFFLICTED, AND MADE TO BEAR OUR INIQUITIES?
- He was absolutely obedient to the will of the Father.
- He knew his mission, and he was not going to allow distraction to cause
him to deviate from his destined course.
- HOW DO WE SOMETIMES "TURN [OUR] OWN WAY" RATHER THAN SUBMIT
TO HEAVENLY FATHER'S WILL?
- HOW CAN THE SAVIOR'S EXAMPLE HELP US TO SUBMIT TO HEAVENLY FATHER'S
- As we strengthen our testimony in the Savior, his life and his mission,
we will be strengthen to turn away from those distractions which would
lead us away from our mission.
Isaiah was blessed to prophetically see the life of the Savior. As
he struggled amonst the wickedness of his time and beheld the wickedness
of future times, what comfort it must have been to know that in the battle
between good and evil, that righteousness would be victorious. "Therefore
will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil
with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he
was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made
intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).
- The prophet Abinadi enlarges on these verses, "And now I say
unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that
when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed.
And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?
"Behold I say unto you, that
whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets
who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord--I say unto you,
that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the
Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a
remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they
are the heirs of the kingdom of God.
"For these are they whose sins
he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from
their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?
"Yea, and are not the prophets,
every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into
transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began?
I say unto you that they are his seed." (Mosiah 15:10-13)
- WHO WILL BE THE SEED OF THE SAVIOR?
- Whosoever has heard the words of the prophets.
- All those who have hearkened unto their words.
- Those who believed that the Lord would redeem his people.
- Those who have looked forward to that day for a remission of their
Some Of Our Responsibilities
- WHAT ARE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS DESCRIBED IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES?
HOW CAN WE BETTER FULFILL EACH OF THESE RESPONSIBILITIES?
- Isaiah 51:1,4,7.
- Listen to and obey the Lord.
- Do not fear the reproach and revilings of men.
- Isaiah 51:12-13.
- Remember the Lord.
- Do not fear Satan.
- Isaiah 52:1-2.
- Awake and put on the strength of the priesthood.
- D&C 113:7-8: "Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant
by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy
strength, O Zion--and what people had Isaiah reference to?
"He had reference to those whom
God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood
to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength
is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right
to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost."
- Put on the beautiful garments of righteousness.
- Loose thyself from the bands of they neck.
- D&C 113:9-10: "What are we to understand by Zion loosing
herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?
"We are to understand that the
scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they
have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will
speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses.
The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of
Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles."
- Isaiah 52:11.
- Depart from the wickedness of the world.
- Do not touch unclean things, but be clean.
- John Whitmer: "Now if a man is clean, according to the word
of the Lord he will not be unclean in his person; he will be neat and cleanly
in his apparel; yea, he will keep all the commandments of God, and then
he will come into the presence of God, and 'Lift up clean hands, and a
pure heart without wrath and doubting.' It is in vain for the disciples
of Jesus to tell us that they can have the spirit of God, when we can see
nothing but filth and uncleanness about their dwellings: God has declared
that he did not dwell in unholy temples. Surely if we are unholy we expect
to come short of the celestial kingdom, unless we reform and become as
we should." (Messenger and Advocate, Sep. 1835, p187)
Isaiah prophesied much about the mission of the Savior. We now know
that many of those prophecies have been fulfilled. How blessed we are to
live in a day when the glad tidings of the gospel are going forth to the
four corners of the earth. In gratitude for the sacrifice of the Savior,
we should follow the admonition of Isaiah to "be ye clean" and
put on the "garments" of righteousness.
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