Understanding Isaiah

Isaiah,” by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier, circa 1838

A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to write some posts to help her better understand the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon. She wrote, “Whenever I see ‘Compare Isaiah. . .’ at the end of a chapter heading I have an instant feeling of dread, almost.  Maybe you could break down the Isaiah chapters and how they relate to Nephi and his family and in turn to us.”

Out of 66 chapters in Isaiah, 20 are quoted in the Book of Mormon:

IsaiahBook of Mormon
Isaiah 2-142 Nephi 12-24
Isaiah 292 Nephi 27 (paraphrased and extended)
Isaiah 48-491 Nephi 20-21
Isaiah 512 Nephi 8
Isaiah 522 Nephi 8:24-25, 3 Nephi 20:36-38, Mosiah 12:21-24, 3 Nephi 16:18-20, 3 Nephi 20:40-45
Isaiah 53Mosiah 14
Isaiah 543 Nephi 22

Furthermore, the Book of Mormon encourages us to study Isaiah:

  • Nephi wrote, “My soul delighteth in the words of Isaiah” (2 Nephi 25:5).
  • When Jesus Christ visited the American continent, He said, “A commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1).
  • Moroni urged his future readers, “Search the prophecies of Isaiah” (Mormon 8:23).

Background

Here are some blog posts I wrote to give my friend some background as she studies the Isaiah chapters:

Posts by Chapter

I’ve written a lot about the Isaiah chapters that are quoted in the Book of Mormon. Here is a list of those posts, broken down by chapter.

Isaiah 2

Hubris, Arrogance, and Haughtiness

Ezra Taft Benson said that pride manifests itself in different ways, which he called the “faces of pride.” Some of the manifestations he identified were selfishness, contention, defensiveness, and unwillingness… Continue Reading →

We Love Thy House

Based on: Psalm 26
Core message: We long to be in sacred spaces because we look forward to being in God’s presence.
Related Book of Mormon passages: 2 Nephi 12, 2 Nephi 19:2-3

“Up, Make Us Gods”

Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. Isaiah 2:8, 2 Nephi 12:8 When Moses delayed coming down from… Continue Reading →

A Tower to Get to Heaven

Sometime after the Great Flood, the descendants of Noah were gathered in a place called Shinar, which later became known as Babylonia. They collectively resolved to build “a city and… Continue Reading →

What Is Haughtiness?

I wrote yesterday that pride means thinking too highly of yourself, exaggerating your capabilities and minimizing your limitations. When pride leads you to treat other people with contempt, it is… Continue Reading →

What Is Zion?

Six generations after Adam, there was a man named Enoch. The Bible tells us that “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). In… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 3


Isaiah 4

Holy Places

The prophet Isaiah foretold a time when every home would be a holy place: And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 5


Isaiah 6


Isaiah 7


Isaiah 8


Isaiah 9


Isaiah 10

Glory

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 11


Isaiah 12

The Lord Is My Light

Based on: Psalm 27
Core message: Some hymns represent a personal testimony, even though we sing them as a group. “The Lord is my light,” not “The Lord is the light.”
Related Book of Mormon passage: 2 Nephi 22:2


Isaiah 13

Babylon

Don’t get attached to temporary things. That’s the message I hear when I read about the destruction of Babylon. A… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 14


Isaiah 29

No End

A few months ago, I heard a presentation by Simon Sinek, author of The Infinite Game. He explained that many… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 48

What Does It Mean for Jesus to Be Our “Redeemer?”

The Hebrew word “go’el” is sometimes translated “redeemer” and sometimes “near kinsman.” When we enter a covenant relationship with Jesus, He becomes the “near kinsman” who will deliver us from bondage, even bondage of our own making.


Isaiah 49

Forsaken

King David opens the 22nd psalm with a desperate cry: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from… Continue Reading →

Be a Light

Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). To His disciples on the American continent, He phrased… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 51

Pavilion

The Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot, features the building of booths or huts, temporary structures which represent the tents the… Continue Reading →


Isaiah 53

Why Is Jesus Called the Great Mediator?

The word “mediation” descends from the Latin word mediare, which means “to be in the middle.” A mediator stands with the people they are serving and engages with them personally.


Isaiah 54

Spare Not

The Lord told Isaiah to preach the gospel whole-heartedly, holding nothing back. “Cry aloud,” He said, “spare not, lift up… Continue Reading →

Confounded

After prophesying of difficult days ahead, the prophet Isaiah foretold a time of prosperity and peace, when the children of… Continue Reading →

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