Old Testament Lesson 37 (Isaiah 1–12)
MISSION OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH
Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord
● Isaiah 6:1–4 Isaiah’s glorious vision of the Lord in the Holy of Holies of the Jerusalem temple. To understand this scripture we must understand the metaphors and figures of speech that Isaiah used to describe it:
— “In the year that King Uzziah died”—approximately 740 BC (v. 1).
— “I saw . . . the Lord.” Both John and Nephi testified that the Lord whom Isaiah saw was the premortal Jesus Christ (v. 1; John 12:41; 2 Nephi 11:2–3).
— Seraphs (Heb. seraphim) means “fiery ones” or serpents (v. 2; Numbers 21:6,8; Deuteronomy 8:15; Isaiah 14:29).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:
“Seraphs are angels who reside in the presence of God, giving continual glory, honor, and adoration to him . . . The fact that these holy beings were shown to him [Isaiah] as having wings was simply to symbolize their ‘power, to move, to act, etc.’ as was the case also in visions others had received. (D&C 77:44).”
— The Prophet Joseph Smith described them as beings who “dwell amid everlasting burnings.” They have “wings” a Hebrew term meaning “veils” or “covers.”
— With these “wings” they can veil or cover their “face,” Hebrew for “presence.”
— Also, they can hide their “feet” or “legs,” Hebrew for ”footing,” or “location.”
— They also have the power to “fly about,” meaning to move freely through space (v. 3).
— Holy, holy, holy: The Hebrew superlative method is to say it three times. The modern equivalent would be to say “most holy.”
— Posts of the door: Hebrew way of saying “the foundations” (v. 4).
— Filled with smoke: Hebrew symbol for the “presence and glory of God.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire. ‘Our God is a consuming fire. [Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29].’ When our flesh is quickened by the Spirit, there will be no blood in this tabernacle. Some dwell in higher glory than others . . . Immortality dwells in everlasting burnings.”
● Isaiah 6:5–7 Isaiah received forgiveness of his sins.
— “Woe is me! For I am undone” is a figure of speech indicating Isaiah’s overwhelming feeling of unworthiness before God (v. 5).
— Coals: A Hebrew symbol for “cleansing” or “purging” (v. 6).
Isaiah Accepts His Call to the Ministry
● Isaiah 6:8–9 Isaiah accepted the call to minister to his people. Later in his writing, Isaiah described the inadequacy of words and even of the senses of mortal man to comprehend or describe heavenly things (Isaiah 64:4). Others who have experienced visions of the celestial realms have cited Isaiah in an attempt to explain their limited ability to tell of what they had been shown (1 Cor. 2:9; D&C 76:10).
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.”
● Isaiah 6:9–13 The Lord warns Isaiah that the people will reject his message. We will discuss the details of this prophecy later on in this lesson.
APOSTATE CONDITIONS IN ISRAEL & THE WORLD
Apostate Conditions in Isaiah’s Day
● Isaiah 1:1–9 Israel’s rebellion against the Lord is total—illustrated by the references to head and heart, to the whole person from foot to head. In other words, the spiritual cancer had infested the whole body of Israel.
— v. 4 “Holy One of Israel.” This sacred title of the Savior is used for the first time in scripture by Isaiah. It appears about 30 times in his writings.
— v. 8 A “cottage in a vineyard.” When the vineyard and the cucumber crops were ready to harvest, small booths, or huts, were built in the fields so the owner or his servants could watch over the harvest and protect it from thieves or animals. These huts were generally crudely made and hastily erected. After the harvest, they were abandoned and quickly became dilapidated and forlorn relics of the harvest. Jerusalem was to be like that—once proud and useful, but now, through her own spiritual neglect, an empty and forlorn relic.
— v. 9 “Left unto us a very small remnant.” This promises the preservation of the lineage of Judah for future times. Paul cited this passage in this same context (Romans 9:29; Isaiah 10:22).
● Isaiah 1:11–15 Religious ceremonies without meaning or faith. These verses do not mean that the Lord rejected the law of Moses. The condemnation is of the hypocritical misuse of these religious activities—they fulfilled only the outward requirements and did not worship with full purpose of heart.
A Call to Repentance and Forgiveness
● Isaiah 1:16–20 The Lord is willing to forgive all their sins, no matter how egregious, and save them. Note the conditional nature of this promise and warning (vv. 19–20; D&C 64:34–35).
Conditions in the Last Days
● Isaiah 2:1–3 “The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established.”
President Harold B. Lee said:
“The coming forth of his church in these days was the beginning of the fulfillment of the ancient prophecy when ‘the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains.’”
(endnote: 5) “With the coming of the pioneers to establish the Church in the tops of the mountains, our early leaders declared . . . the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy.”
● Isaiah 2:3 “Out of Zion shall go forth the law . . . the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“We are informed in the revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, that the city of Zion and the New Jerusalem is one and the same. [D&C 28:9; 42:9; 45:66–67; 57:2; 58:7]. . . . Jerusalem of old, after the Jews have been cleansed and sanctified from all their sin, shall become a holy city where the Lord shall dwell and from whence he shall send forth his word unto all people. Likewise, on this continent, the city of Zion, New Jerusalem, shall be build, and from it the law of God shall also go forth. . . . These two cities, one in the land of Zion and one in Palestine, are to become capitals for the kingdom of God during the millennium.”
● Isaiah 2:4–5 Establishment of the Millennium. The writings of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon include an additional phrase in verse 5: “Yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways” (2 Nephi 12:5). This verse indicates a widespread apostasy in Israel and the return of Israel to the Lord before the Second Coming.
Conditions in Both Isaiah’s Day and the Latter Days (Dualistic Prophecies)
● Isaiah 2: 6–22 Spiritual problems in Isaiah’s day that will prevail again before the Second Coming.
— v. 6 “Replenished from the east” means looking to the religious philosophies and the gods of world for wisdom and guidance instead of to the gospel.
— v. 6 “Hearken unto soothsayers”—false prophets who claim to foretell the future.
— v. 6 “They please themselves in the children of strangers” means joining the heathen nations in all their wickedness.
— v. 7 The land was “full of silver and gold”—people are wealthy and materialistic.
— v. 7 “Full of horses, neither . . . any end of their chariots” indicates reliance on military security instead of God. The horse was a symbol of warfare, as was the chariot.
— v. 8 The land was filled with idolatry then, and men still turn to false gods today, though their gods are no longer idols made of wood or stone.
— v. 9 The “mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not.” The Book of Mormon account of Isaiah’s writings (2 Nephi 12:9) shows that Isaiah was referring to men not worshiping the true God.
— vv. 11–13 The “cedars of Lebanon” and the “paks of Bashan” were the loftiest and most impressive trees in the ancient Middle East. They symbolized not only the great beauty of the land that would be destroyed but also the pride of men—which shall be brought low by the Lord.
— v. 22 “Cease ye from man” is a warning about trusting merely in man (2 Nephi 4:34; 28:31; topical guide, s.v. “trust not in the arm of flesh”).
● Isaiah 3:5 Oppression of other people and failing to honor older people.
● Isaiah 3:9 No shame for sin.
● Isaiah 3:14–15 Taking advantage of the poor and failing to care for them.
● Isaiah 3:16–24 Outward physical beauty at the expense of righteousness and good character.
● Isaiah 5:8 Greedy desires to own more and more material things.
● Isaiah 5:11–12 Constantly seeking worldly pleasures instead of seeking the Lord and his work.
● Isaiah 5:20 Saying that evil things are good and good things are evil.
● Isaiah 5:21 Trusting in oneself instead of in God.
● Isaiah 5:24 Despising the commandments and word of God.
PUNISHMENT AND RESTITUTION
Wicked Judah Will Fall
● Isaiah 3:1–15 Noted officials and respected persons will fall because of their arrogance and sins.
— v. 5 Oppression of other people and failing to honor older people.
— v. 9 No shame for sin.
— v. 9 “The shew of their countenance doth witness against them.” Individuals radiate their spirit and attitude—manifesting the real person, good or evil.
— v. 14 They have “eaten up the vineyard.” The vineyard is a symbol of the chosen people (Isaiah 5:7), and the rulers of Israel were called to be watchmen over it. Instead, they oppressed the people and consumed the vineyard.
The Haughty Daughters of Zion Will Fall (Dualistic Prophecy)
● Isaiah 3:16–23 In Israel and Judah, the women were proud and arrogant, and more concerned with their clothing, jewels, and personal appearance than with righteousness. These verses can also be applied in the latter days.
— v. 16 “Stretched forth necks” is an ancient idiom describing haughtiness—pride in self and scorn toward others.
— v. 16 “Mincing . . . and making a tinkling with their feet.” The women wore costly ornamental chains connecting rings about the ankles. These were often adorned with bells.
— v. 17 “Discover their secret parts” is an idiom meaning that they would be put to shame (Isaiah 3:17n).
— v. 18 “Cauls . . . round tires like the moon” were ornamental jewelry in the shape of suns and moons according to the fashions (and false religions) of that day.
● vv. 19–23 Other archaic terms were used in Bible translations to convey a message of the fashions that were popular among the worldly women in ancient times:
— “muffler” = veil.
— “bonnet” = headdress.
— “tablets”= perfume boxes.
— “earrings”= charms or amulets.
— “nose jewels”= nose rings.
— “changeable suits of apparel” = clothing for festivals only.
— “mantle” = over cloak.
— “wimples” = a type of shawl or veil worn over the head.
— “crisping pins” = erroneously rendered as hair curling implements. The original Hebrew word suggests a bag, like modern purses or handbags.
— “glasses” = most authorities translate as a metal mirror.
— “hoods” = turbans, head cover wrapped by hand.
● Isaiah 3:24–26 The Fruits of Transgression. The prophet contrasts their former beauty with the results of judgment. Because of their wickedness, the beauty, the pride, and the fashion shall become tragedy, disaster, and slavery.
— The “girdle” is replaced by a “rent” = the rope used to bind slaves.
— “Sackcloth” was black goat’s hair worn at times of great mourning.
— The “burning” refers to the branding that accompanied being a slave.
● Isaiah 4:1 In that day there will be a scarcity of men due to war. To be unmarried and childless in ancient Israel was a disgrace. So terrible will conditions in those times be that women will offer to share a husband with others and expect no material support from him.
Eventual Restitution and Salvation
● Isaiah 4:2–6 Zion will be beautified in preparation for the establishment of God’s kingdom.
— v. 2 The “Branch of the Lord” is Christ, who will dwell in the midst of Zion.
— v. 4 “Washed . . . purged . . . burning.” Describes the purification of Zion in preparation for the establishment of God’s kingdom in the last days (Isaiah 4:4n).
— v. 6 “A place of refuge, and a covert from storm and from rain.” In that day, the glory of Zion shall be her defense against all enemies.
The Wicked State of Judah in Isaiah’s Day
● Isaiah 5:1–7 Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard. The loss of protection for the vineyard, the neglect, and the effects of famine would result from Israel’s transgression.
● Isaiah 5:8–24 A lengthy description of their apostasy and willful sins:
— v. 8 Greedy desires to own more and more material things.
President Spencer W. Kimball said:
“For ten acres to yield one bath (about 8 1/4 gallons) and a homer of seed (about 6 1/2 bushels) only an ephah (about 1/2 bushel) shows how unproductive the land would become because of this wickedness.”
— vv. 11–12 Constantly seeking worldly pleasures instead of seeking the Lord and his work.
— v. 18 “They draw sin and iniquity with ropes of vanity” is an idiomatic expression that means “they are tied to their sins like beasts to their burdens.”
— v. 20 Saying that evil things are good and good things are evil.
— v. 21 They are “wise in their own eyes”—trusting in themselves instead of in God.
— v. 23 They “justify the wicked for reward.” Those who were guilty of crimes were declared innocent by bribed judges and other officials, whereas the innocent were found guilty so that they could be silenced or their property exploited.
— v. 24 They despised the commandments and word of God.
An Ensign to Be Lifted in the Last Days (A Royal Metaphor)
● Isaiah 5:25–30 The gathering of Israel in haste—with means not known in Isaiah’s day.
Elder LeGrand Richards said:
“Since there were neither trains nor airplanes in that day, Isaiah could hardly have mentioned them by name. However, he seems to have described them in unmistakable words. How better could ‘their horses’ hoofs be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind’ than in the modern train? How better could ‘their roaring . . . be like a lion’ than in the roar of the airplane? Trains and airplanes do not stop for night. Therefore, was not Isaiah justified in saying: ‘none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken’? With this manner of transportation, the Lord can really ‘hiss unto them from the end of the earth,’ that ‘they shall come with speed swiftly.’”
— v. 25 A prediction of great destruction and death in Judah’s streets—yet the Lord’s hand is still offered to them in peace if they will take it.
— v. 26 An “ensign” or “banner”is a military symbol of a place to which to gather.
— v. 26 “Hissing” to the nations. This idiomatic expression seems strange today. It describes a signal, such as a whistle, to summon someone to an event.
— v. 30 The king of Assyria and his allies are called a “River” and “Sea”—well-known symbols of chaos and evil in Near Eastern mythology.
Tree and Tenth Symbols
● Isaiah 6:9–11 A prophecy of the rejection of spiritual things by the Israelites, so that they would be left without excuse. The people claimed to hear and see, but they did not want to understand the spirit of the message.
Keil and Delitzsch said:
[The command to] “make the heart of this people fat, . . . their ears heavy, and shut their eyes” is used to describe the process of making the people accountable. The command, of course, refers to “their spiritual sight, spiritual hearing, and spiritual feeling” . . . “There is a self-hardening in evil . . . sin from its very nature bears its own punishment. . . . An evil act in itself is the result of self-determination proceeding from a man’s own will.”
— v. 11 The prophet Isaiah asked the Lord how long some men would be hardened against the truth; the answer—until mortal man no longer exists (Isaiah 6:11n).
● Isaiah 6:12–13 A prophecy of the scattering of Israel except for a very small remnant.
— The “tree”: The Hebrew term has three meanings, and “eaten” is only one of them. The verb’s primary meaning is “burned.”
— The word “substance” is also a secondary meaning. The primary meaning is “stump” or “that which is left standing.”
— Survivors are like a “terebinth” tree or an “oak” whose “stump” remains alive when the tree is “cut down” or “felled.”
— The “holy seed” is likened to the stump which has can grow into new tree after it is cut down.
— The “tenth”: The key word in this verse is the “tenth, “ which means “tithe.” The Hebrew word has a special ending, making it the “tithe of ya,” or Jehovah. This refers to the tithe of the tithe that the Levites paid. Thus: Only 1% of the people will remain when the tree is hewn down.
Judah’s Rejection of Signs and Warnings
● Isaiah 7:1–9 A prophetic warning against Judah forming an alliance with Israel and Syria. The kingdom of Israel (Ephraim) in the north had formed an alliance with Syria for mutual strength and protection against the conquering empire of Assyria. Isaiah warned King Ahaz of Judah against seeking political alliances in order to defend his people. The king eventually rejected the warning.
— v. 4 “Smoking firebrands.” The kings of Syria and of Israel are compared to torches that have burned out.
— v. 8 “Within threescore and five years” suggests that the destruction of Israel (Ephraim) will occur after the initial invasions of both Tiglath-pileser III and Shalmaneser V to the final conquest and displacement of the majority of the population under the Assyrian king Esarhaddon.
● Isaiah 8:9–12 Judah is again told not to trust in foreign alliances but to trust in the Lord, for all alliances would come to naught.
● Isaiah 8:13–14 Judah’s fear was to be of the Lord—who would be a “stone of stumbling” to them.
● Isaiah 8:18 Symbolic Names. “I and the children whom the lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel.”
— Isaiah means “Jehovah saves.”
● Isaiah 8:1–4 The names of his two known sons also convey a message to the people in Judah. Whenever anyone saw or heard Isaiah and his sons, he was given a message through their names.
— Maher-shalal-hash-baz means ” to speed the spoil, he hasteneth the prey.”
— Shear-jashub means “the remnant shall return.”
— Prophetess. The expression is used here only to designate the prophet’s wife, not a prophetic office or gift.
Seeking “Familiar Spirits”
● Isaiah 8:19 A warning against “familiar spirits, peepers, and mutterers.”
— “Familiar Spirits.” The expression is not an accurate term to convey the significance of the Hebrew term used anciently. The Hebrew word ‘ob means “a leather bottle or bag.” This was used by the practitioners of necromancy, a deceptive craft of pretended communication with the dead. The art involved a kind of ventriloquism wherein the voice or message of the “departed spirits” was called forth from the bag or sometimes a pit.
— “Peepers” and “Mutterers.” The peeping (chirping) and muttering (twittering), some-what like birds, was intended to invoke the departed spirits or to convey the pretended message.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“To seek for information through . . . any way contrary to the instruction the Lord has given is a sin. The Lord gave positive instruction to Israel when they were in the land of their inheritance that they were to go to him for revelation and to avoid the devices prevalent among the heathen nations who occupied their lands. . . . “
The Fate of Judah, Assyria, and Babylon
● Isaiah 10:9, 24–34 The coming successful military campaigns of Assyria (v. 9). Isaiah prophesies of the eventual intrusion and success against Judah, even listing the names of many of the cities of Judah that would fall to Assyria (vv. 28–32).
● Isaiah 10:1–5,15–19 The nations of Babylon and Assyria, whom the Lord calls the “rod of [his] anger” will eventually themselves be destroyed. The destruction both of Israel and of Assyria is described as complete (vv. 15–19).
● Isaiah 10:20–23 A remnant of Israel will return to the holy land.
ISAIAH’S MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
“A Virgin Shall Conceive”
● Isaiah 7:10–16 A Messianic promise after both Israel and Judah have been destroyed.
— v. 14 King Ahaz was given a sign that Judah would be preserved: Immanuel (“God with us”) would be born after the kings of Israel and Syria were deposed.
The Messiah Will Eventually Come to Galilee
● Isaiah 9:1–5 The Messiah will eventually come to Galilee—the land of Zebulun and Naphtali— which would also be the location of the first Assyrian invasion in 734 BC
— Matthew 4:12–16 Matthew saw the fact that the Messiah dwelt in the area of Galilee as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
— v. 3 The inconsistency of verse 3 is corrected when the purer Book of Mormon text is used: The word “not” does not appear (2 Nephi 19:3).
— v. 5 “Every battle . . . shall be with burning.” Christ’s coming will be accompanied by cleansing and destruction by fire.
● Isaiah 9:6–7 The Messiah will reign with judgment and peace.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said about the Savior’s various titles:
“Isaiah . . . speaks of Christ as ‘Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’ . . . These titles, and the sayings that Jesus was the Creator and all things were made by him, have proved to be a stumbling block to some who are not well informed. The question arises, ‘How could he, if he had not body and flesh and bones, before he was born of Mary, accomplish these things as a spirit?’ Jesus had no body of flesh and bones until he was born at Bethlehem. This he fully explained to the brother of Jared. The answer to this question is simply that he did these wonderful works because of the glory his Father had given him before he was born (John 17:5–24) and because at that time he was God.”
“The Stem of Jesse”
● Isaiah 11:1 “The Rod.” D&C 113:3–4 says this is Joseph Smith
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“It is Ephraim, today, who holds the priesthood. It is with Ephraim that the Lord has made covenant and has revealed the fulness of the everlasting gospel. It is Ephraim who is building temples and performing the ordinances in them for both the living and for the dead. When the ‘lost tribes’ come—and it will be a most wonderful sight and a marvelous thing when they do come to Zion—in fulfilment of the promises made through Isaiah and Jeremiah, they will have to receive the crowning blessings from their brother Ephraim, the ‘firstborn’ in Israel.”
President Brigham Young said:
“It is the house of Israel we are after, and we care not whether they come from the east, the west, the north, or the south; from China, Russia, England, California, North or South America, or some other locality; and it is the very lad on whom father Jacob laid his hands, that will save the house of Israel. The Book of Mormon came to Ephraim, for Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite, and the Book of Mormon was revealed to him, and while he lived he made it his business to search for those who believed the Gospel.”
● Isaiah 11:2–9 “The Branch.” D&C 113:1–2 says this is Jesus Christ.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:
“Jesse was the father of David. Isaiah speaks of the Stem of Jesse, whom he also designates as a branch growing out of the root of that ancient worthy. He recites how the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; how he shall be mighty in judgment; how he shall smite the earth and slay the wicked; and how the lamb and the lion shall lie down together in that day—all of which has reference to the Second Coming and the millennial era thereby ushered in. (Isa. 11). As to the identity of the Stem of Jesse, the revealed words says: ‘Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.’ (D&C 113:1–2). This also means that the Branch is Christ.”
— v. 9 “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”
Elder Orson Pratt said:
“The knowledge of God will then cover the earth as the waters cover the mighty deep. There will be no place of ignorance, no place of darkness, no place for those that will not serve God. Why? Because Jesus, the Great Creator, and also the Great Redeemer, will be himself on the earth, and his holy angels will be on the earth, and all the resurrected Saints that have died in former dispensations will all come forth, and they will be on the earth. What a happy earth this creation will be, when this purifying process shall come, and the earth be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the great deep! What a change! Travel, then, from one end of the earth to another, you can find no wicked man, no drunken man, no man to blaspheme the name of the Great Creator, no one to lay hold on his neighbor’s goods, and steal them, no one to commit whoredoms—for all who commit whoredoms will be thrust down to hell, saith the Lord God Almighty, and all persons who commit sin will be speedily visited by the judgments of the Almighty!”
● Isaiah 11:10–16 “The Root.” D&C 113:5–6 says this is Joseph Smith
President Wilford Woodruff said:
“Isaiah’s soul seemed to be on fire, and his mind wrapt in the visions of the Almighty, while he declared, in the name of the Lord, that it should come to pass in the last days that God should set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, assemble the outcasts of Israel, gather together the dispersed of Judah, destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea and make men go over dry-shod, gather them to Jerusalem on horses, mules, swift beasts, and in chariots, and rebuild Jerusalem upon her own heaps; while, at the same time, the destroyer of the Gentiles will be on his way; and while God was turning the captivity of Israel, he would put all their curses and afflictions upon the heads of the Gentiles, their enemies, who had not sought to recover, but to destroy them, and had trodden them under foot from generation to generation.
“At the same time the standard should be lifted up, that the honest in heart, the meek of the earth among the Gentiles, should seek unto it; and that Zion should be redeemed and be built up a holy city, that the glory and power of God should rest upon her, and be seen upon her; that the watchman upon Mount Ephraim might cry—’Arise ye, and let us go up unto Zion, the city of the Lord our God;’ that the Gentiles might come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising; that the Saints of God may have a place to flee to and stand in holy places while judgment works in the earth; that when the sword of God that is bathed in heaven falls upon Idumea or the world,—when the Lord pleads with all flesh by sword and by fire, and the slain of the Lord are many, the Saints may escape these calamities by fleeing to the places of refuge, like Lot and Noah.”
— vv. 10, 12 “An ensign of the people.”
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“Over 125 years ago, in the little town of Fayette, Seneca County, New York, the Lord set up an ensign to the nations. It was in fulfillment of the prediction made by the Prophet Isaiah, which I have read. That ensign was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was established for the last time, never again to be destroyed or given to other people. It was the greatest event the world has seen since the day that the Redeemer was lifted upon the cross and worked out the infinite and eternal atonement. It meant more to mankind than anything else that has occurred since that day.
“Following the raising of this ensign, the Lord sent forth his elders clothed with the priesthood and with power and authority, among the nations of the earth, bearing witness unto all peoples of the restoration of his Church, and calling upon the children of men to repent and receive the gospel; for now it was being preached in all the world as a witness before the end should come, that is, the end of the reign of wickedness and the establishment of the millennial reign of peace. The elders went forth as they were commanded, and are still preaching the gospel and gathering out from the nations the seed of Israel unto whom the promise was made.”
— vv. 15–16 “The Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea . . . and there shall be an highway.”
Elder Parley Pratt said:
“We have also presented before us, in verse 15, the marvelous power of God, which will be displayed in the destruction of a small branch of the Red Sea, called the tongue of the Egyptian Sea, and also the dividing of the seven streams of some river [perhaps the Nile], and causing men to go over dryshod; and lest any should not understand it literally, verse 16 says that ‘there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.’ Now we have only to ask whether, in the days of Moses, the Red Sea was literally divided or whether it was only a figure? for as it was then, so it shall be again.”
A MILLENNIAL HYMN
● Isaiah 12:1–6 This brief chapter is a hymn of praise for the great millennial era when the Lord will reign “in the midst” of his people.
— v. 2 “God is my salvation . . . the Lord Jehovah is my strength.”
Ellis T. Rassmussen said:
“A literal translation reveals the sacred names and name-titles of Deity:
“‘Behold El is my salvation, I shall trust and not be afraid; For my strength and my song is Yah, Yehovah, And he has become my salvation.’
“El” is the singular of Elohim. It seldom occurs in the Bible in singular. In the English Bible both singular and plural are rendered by the word ‘God.’
“Yah” is a contracted form of Jehovah or Yehovah. To avoid LORD LORD, they have rendered it as LORD JEHOVAH. This is one of the few times the name is written out fully as Jehovah in the King James translation.
“The short form Yah occurs in Hebrew also in Exodus 15:2 and Psalms 118:14.”
1: Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 702–703.
2: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith , 367.
3: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 324.
4: Young, The Book of Isaiah, 1:55–56.
5: In Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 5.
6: “The Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, 15.
7: Doctrines of Salvation, 3:69–71.
8: Israel! Do You Know? , 182.
9: Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, rev. ed. , 7:1:200–201.
10: Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:32.
11: Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:168.
12: Doctrines of Salvation, 3:252–253.
13: In Journal of Discourses, 2:268–269.
14: The Promised Messiah, 192.
15: In Journal of Discourses, 21:325.
16: History of the Church, 6:26.
17: Doctrines of Salvation, 3:254–255.
18: Voice of Warning, 35.
19: An Introduction to the Old Testament and Its Teachings, 46.