- Isaiah 58-66: “The Redeemer Shall Come to Zion” (October 3-9)
“Christ in a Red Robe,” (detail) by Minerva Teichert
The book of Isaiah opens with a wake-up call and then leads us on a journey to a glorious destination. At the beginning of the book the Lord appeals to nature: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth:… I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me” (Isaiah 1:2). By the end, he is promising better things: “I create new heavens and a new earth…and I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people” (Isaiah 65:17-19). At the beginning, He starkly warns, “When ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:15). But by the end, His relationship with His children has been transformed: “It shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
This week, we get to experience the end of that journey. Each of the nine chapters we are studying this week has a distinctive message. Taken together, they represent a description of what it is like to be reconciled with God, to be redeemed by Him. Here is a summary of what I have learned from each chapter, with links to relevant blog posts.
- Chapter 58 – If you focus only on what you are giving up to live the gospel, you may fail to enjoy the consequent blessings. Isaiah uses two examples to illustrate this point: fasting and keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
- Chapter 59 – Justice is important to God and should also be important to us. Jesus Christ can deliver us from every obstacle and set things right.
- Chapter 60 – When we share the light we have received from the Savior, others will be drawn to us. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come.”
- Chapter 61 – The Savior’s mission was to lighten burdens and to set people free. His disciples have the same mission.
- Chapter 62 – Jerusalem will be redeemed and will be called by different names. Instead of “Forsaken” and “Desolate,” it will be called “God’s Delight” and even “Sought Out.” Note that in the Book of Mormon, the Savior and the prophet Ether both prophesied that there will be a New Jerusalem.
- Chapter 63 – Jesus will be wearing red robes when He returns, representing not only the personal nature of His sacrifice for us but also His power to save us.
- Chapter 64 – Israel longs for the Savior’s return: “Oh that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down!” They testify that God’s promised blessings are indescribable.
- Chapters 65 and 66 – God will create a new heaven and a new earth, sanctifying our environment, and also sanctifying us.
“What’s the point of fasting?” ask the children of Israel in Isaiah 58. “Why are we torturing ourselves when God doesn’t even notice?” In response, Isaiah contrasts the way they are currently fasting with the way God wants them to fast: Current Expected The Book of Mormon emphasizes the importance of fasting: President Henry B…. Continue Reading →
Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren explained how compassion sparked within her a yearning for justice: I rarely resonate with the image of Jesus as a judge. I gravitate to my hippie version of Jesus, with a flower tucked behind his ear. I’m drawn to his grace, his kindness, his beauty. But when I encounter those… Continue Reading →
A key characteristic of the Savior’s ministry was that He responded to evil with good. He expects the same from His disciples: “If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?”… Continue Reading →
The gift of eternal salvation is priceless. It can’t be bought. No amount of time, effort, or money would match its value. Perhaps that’s why Isaiah emphasizes twice that money is not required to receive it: Thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money. Isaiah 52:3 Ho, every one that thirsteth,… Continue Reading →
In the 55th chapter of Isaiah, we receive important instructions about listening to messages from God: Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:9, 43). King Benjamin warned his people not to “trifle” with his words, but instead to “open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that… Continue Reading →
We worship God not only out of gratitude for his loving-kindness but also in recognition of His supremacy. He is our divine parent, and He has the ability and the desire help us improve, to make us more like Him. Through the prophet Isaiah, God emphasized His own perfection and the perfection of the place… Continue Reading →
Isaiah contrasted the temporary nature of this world with the permanence of God’s love for us: 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. Isaiah 54:10, 3 Nephi 22:10 The Hebrew word translated “kindness” in… Continue Reading →
After reminding Israel that God has not abandoned them (Isaiah 50, 2 Nephi 7), the prophet Isaiah invites them to look back to their roots. “Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged” (Isaiah 51:1, 2 Nephi 8:1). Specifically, he wants them to look to their ancestors and remember… Continue Reading →
In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.
The Book of Mormon builds on a biblical foundation, both historically and doctrinally. Here are some of the ways that a strong Old Testament foundation can enhance your study of the Book of Mormon.
Nearly a third of the book of Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Mormon, and the book encourages us to search the words of Isaiah diligently. Here are some blog posts to assist you in your study of Isaiah’s words.