Old Testament Lesson 41 (Isaiah 58–66)
● Isaiah 58:1–5, 9 Examples of improper fasting
— v. 3 With a complaining attitude.
— v. 4 While breaking the commandments and oppressing others.
— v. 4 Expecting our prayers to be heard despite our wickedness.
— v. 5 With a great show of pretended humility so that others will notice.
— v. 9 With vanity and the criticism of others.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“Fasting we may well assume is a religious custom that has come down from the beginning of time, and always associated with prayer. There are numerous customs and practices that were given anciently about which the knowledge became so common that their origin has been lost in antiquity; therefore we cannot give time or place where the first commandment on fasting was given. It was common in the most ancient times, and there are numerous incidents recorded in the Old Testament indicating that it was well established not only among the true worshipers of Deity but also among the heathen nations. All of this indicates the antiquity of fasting, which we may presume was revealed to Adam.
“We may obtain the understanding from the writings of Isaiah that fasting and prayer were commanded by the Lord. For their perversion of this doctrine, Isaiah rebukes Israel and endeavors to bring them back to the path of faithful obedience . . .
“Isaiah points out clearly the intent of the fast. It was observed with a contrite spirit, a humbled heart, before the Lord. Evil was to be forsaken, prayer and supplication offered with a covenant to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and let the oppressed go free. If they would do this, then, said the Lord, “shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.” Israel, however, had perverted the fast and thus merited Isaiah’s and the Lord’s rebuke.”
● Isaiah 58:6–7,10,13 Examples of proper fasting.
— v. 6 Loose the bands of wickedness (Repent).
— v. 6 Undo heavy burdens, etc. (Help others).
— v. 7 Providing food and shelter to those who are without these things.
— v. 7 Hide not thyself from thine own flesh (Spend time with family).
— v.10 Feed the hungry and give comfort to the afflicted.
— v.13 Keep the Sabbath day holy.
● Isaiah 58:8–14 Promises for those who fast properly.
— v. 8 Enlightened minds,
— v. 8 Good health.
— v. 8 Righteousness and the companionship of the Lord.
— v. 9 Our prayers will be answered.
— v.11 Continual guidance from the Lord.
— v.11 Happiness “like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”
— v.12 Becoming part of the Kingdom of God and of His people.
— v.14 Receiving the blessings of Jacob (temple blessings).
President Spencer W. Kimball said one element of a true fast is giving generous fast offerings: “I think that when we are affluent, as many of us are, that we ought to be very, very generous . . . and give, instead of the amount we saved by our two meals of fasting, perhaps much, much more-ten times more where we are in a position to do it.”
PROPER OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH
● Isaiah 58:13–14 The Law of the Sabbath (Expressed in the form of “if . . . then”)
— v. 13 Man’s part The “don’ts.”
— v. 14 God’s part The blessings.
— v. 14 Delight himself in the Lord Increased self-confidence (D&C 121:45).
— v. 14 High places of the earth Communion with God.
— v. 14 The heritage of Jacob Eternal life and exaltation (D&C 132:37).
— D&C 59:9–16 A modern-day restatement of this law.
THE RESULTS OF DISOBEDIENCE
● Isaiah 59:1–8 Iniquity separates us from the Lord.
● Isaiah 65:1–16 The Lord’s power has not diminished.
— He is not deaf.
— It is our iniquities that have separated us from Him.
— The Israelites had become eager to commit sin (“their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood”).
● Isaiah 59:9–15 The results of disobedience.
— v. 9 We “wait for light,” but none comes.
— v. 10 We “walk in darkness” and “grope for the wall like the blind.”
— v. 15 Our judgment (righteousness) disappears.
— v. 15 Transgression increases.
— v. 15 Our knowledge of the “truth faileth.”
● Isaiah 63:7–14 A rehearsal of the Lord’s goodness to Israel and their disobedience.
● Isaiah 63:10–19 “O Lord, why hast thou suffered us to err?”
— JST Isaiah 63:17 Contains a significant alteration: “O Lord, why hast thou suffered us to err from thy ways, and to harden our heart?” God does not compel any man to sin or to harden his heart.
● Isaiah 64:4–11 Man’s righteousness is like “filthy rags” unto the Lord.
— Keil and Delitzsch translated the passage: “All our virtues [are] like a garment soiled with blood.”
— God does not despise virtue nor view it as filthiness.
ZION IN THE LATTER-DAYS
Christ Will Come to Zion
● Isaiah 59:16–17 Characteristics of our Savior.
— Christ is our intercessor with the Father, sent to earth because “there was no man” else who could save us.
● Isaiah 59:18–20 Christ’s latter-day coming.
— When the Savior comes again, he will “come to Zion,” and if the house of Israel will turn unto the Lord he will place his spirit upon them.
Elder Orson Pratt said, “Certainly Jesus when he came eighteen centuries ago, did not turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for they then were filling up their cup with iniquity. They have remained in unbelief from that day to this; hence, there did not come a Deliverer out of Zion eighteen centuries ago. But the Zion of the last days, that Zion that is so frequently and so fully spoken of by the ancient prophets, especially by Isaiah, is the Church and kingdom of God; and out of that Church or kingdom or Zion is to come a Deliverer, who will turn away ungodliness from Jacob after the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Conditions in Zion in the Latter-days
● Isaiah 60:1–2 The Glory of the Savior will rise upon Zion.
— v. 1 “Arise and shine.”
Elder Orson Pratt said, “The Zion that is here spoken of is called to ‘arise and shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.’ There is no one thing more fully revealed in the Scriptures of eternal truth than the rise of the Zion of our God in the latter days, clothed upon with the glory of God from the heavens—a Zion that will attract the attention of all the nations and kindreds of the whole earth. It will not be something that takes place in a corner on some distant island of the sea, or away among some obscure people; but it will be something that will call forth the attention of all people and nations upon the face of the whole earth.”
— v. 2 Spiritual darkness will have covered the earth.
— Moses 7 Enoch and his people built the city of Zion in a day of great wickedness.
— JST Gen. 14 Melchizedek preached to a wicked generation that eventually joined the city of Enoch.
— D&C 45:63–71 The Saints of this dispensation will build the holy city of New Jerusalem in a day of great wickedness.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “I am sure you [religious educators] appreciate the fact that you have been given custody of some of the choicest spirits of all time. I emphasize that. These are not just ordinary spirits, but among them are some of the choicest spirits that have come from heaven. These are they who were reserved to come forth in this time to bear off the kingdom triumphant.”
● Isaiah 60:3–7 People will flock to Zion.
— v. 3 Gentiles and kings will be among those gathered to Zion.
— v. 4 Zion’s “sons shall come from far.”
— v. 5 “The forces of the Gentiles” will do the same.
— v. 7 Gold, silver, camels, and dromedaries (symbols of earthly wealth) will be brought to “glorify the house of [God’s] glory” as in Solomon’s day.
Elder LeGrand Richards believes countries like Great Britain have fulfilled this prophecy:
“The part that Great Britain played in the liberation of Palestine from Turkish rule is a matter of history which occurred during World War I, in a remarkable manner. The issuance of the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917, had great significance. The text reads:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
● Isaiah 60:8–10 Missionaries will cover the earth.
— v. 8 Their method of travel: “Who are these that fly as a cloud”?
Elder LeGrand Richards said the development of the airplane has helped fulfill this prophecy:
“Clearly, Isaiah was referring to individuals and not to birds. Surely there has never been a time in the history of this world when men flew “as a cloud” or “as the doves to their windows,” until our present time since the advent of the airplane.”
— v. 10 “The sons of strangers” (Gentiles) will help to build the city of Zion.
● Isaiah 60:11–18 Zion will be safe from all her enemies.
— vv. 11–12 Zion’s “gates shall be open continually.”
— v. 18 There will be no violence.
Elder Orson Pratt said, “What! no people or nation left that will not serve Zion? Not one. What will become of this great republic [the United States] . . . which is spreading forth continually? If they will comply with the ordinances of Zion, repent of their sins, and be prepared for this great and glorious day, God will save them; but if they will not they will be utterly wasted away. Thus have the prophets declared.”
● Isaiah 60:19–22 Zion will be lit up by the presence of the Savior.
Elder Orson Pratt said, “Zion will not need the sun when the Lord is there, and all the city is lighted up by the glory of his presence. When the whole heavens above are illuminated by the presence of his glory we shall not need those bright luminaries of heaven to give light, so far as the city of Zion is concerned. . . . People round about, dwelling in other cities . . . will still have need of the light of the sun and the moon; but the great capital city where the Lord will establish one of his thrones . . . will not need this light . . . They will be clothed upon with the glory of their God. When the people meet together in assemblies like this, in their Tabernacles, the Lord will meet with them, his glory will be upon them; a cloud will overshadow them by day and if they happen to have an evening meeting they will not need . . . lights of an artificial nature, for the Lord will be there and his glory will be upon all their assemblies. So says Isaiah the Prophet, and I believe it. Amen.”
THE SECOND COMING AND MILLENNIUM
● Isaiah 61:1–2 “The Lord Hath Anointed Me to . . . “
— v. 1 Preach good tidings unto the meek.
Bind up the brokenhearted.
Proclaim liberty to the captives.
Open the prison to them that are bound.
— v. 2 Proclaim . . . year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of God.
Comfort all that mourn.
— v. 3 To appoint unto them (give them) that mourn in Zion . . . .
• Beauty for ashes.
• Joy for mourning.
• Praise for the spirit of heaviness.
— v. 3 That they might be called trees of righteousness.
That he (God) might be glorified.
— Dualism: Luke 4:16–21 Jesus used this scripture to announce his ministry in Nazareth.
Matthew 11:2–5 Jesus also used it as evidence of his divinity.
Isaiah 61:3–9 But it also clearly applies to Zion in the latter days.
1 Peter 3:18–19 And it also applies to the spirits in prison
ANOTHER MARRIAGE METAPHOR
● Isaiah 61:3–9 The robes of righteousness and the garments of salvation.
— This refers to the physical restoration of Zion and to the priesthood, which Zion’s sons will use to restore again this glory of the Lord.
● Isaiah 61:10–11 Christ as the Bridegroom.
— Covered “with the robe of righteousness” and dressed “as a bride adorneth herself with pearls”, Zion awaits the coming of her “husband,” Jesus Christ.
— Revelation 19:7–8 “The marriage of the Lamb” is described.
● Isaiah 62:1–7 Marriage Metaphor Continues.
— Zion will possess “righteousness” and offer salvation.”
— As the Lord’s bride, she will be called by a “new name.”
— v. 4 She will “no more be termed Forsaken” nor “Desolate.”
— Hephzibah means “delightful”—refers to Zion’s righteousness.
— Beulah means “union”—the nation’s land will be united.
— v. 5 “So shall thy sons marry thee” is changed in the Joseph Smith Translation to “so shall thy God marry thee.”
— She will once again be married to the Lord, and “as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall [our] God rejoice over [Jerusalem’s restoration]”
CHRIST’S SECOND COMING
● Isaiah 34:1–10 The great destruction of the enemies of Jerusalem.
● Isaiah 63:1–9 Christ’s robe will be red, signifying the blood of the unrighteous, for whom the second coming will be a day of judgment
D&C 133:46–48 against them.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Isaiah has pictured this great day when the Lord shall come with his garments, or apparel, red and glorious, to take vengeance on the ungodly . . . This will be a day of mourning to the wicked, but a day of gladness to all who have kept his commandments. Do not let any one think that this is merely figurative language, it is literal, and as surely as we live that day of wrath will come when the cup of iniquity is full. We have received a great many warnings. The great day of the Millennium will come in; the wicked will be consumed and peace and righteousness will dwell upon all the face of the earth for one thousand years.”
President John Taylor said, “When he comes again he comes to take vengeance on the ungodly and to bring deliverance unto his Saints; [Isaiah 63:4]. It behoves us to be made well aware which class we belong to, that if we are not already among the redeemed we may immediately join that society, that when the Son of God shall come the second time with all the holy angels with him, arrayed in power and great glory to take vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel, or when he shall come in flaming fire, we shall be among that number who shall be ready to meet him with gladness in our hearts and hail him as our great deliverer and friend.”
● Isaiah 64:1–3 Great physical disturbances will accompany His coming.
— Last warnings before great destructions (D&C 133:37–45).
— Tremendous physical changes @ the 2nd coming (D&C 88:87–91).
— Valleys shall be “exalted” and mountains “made low” (D&C 49:23).
— God’s voice “shall break down the mountains,” so that “the valleys shall not be found” (D&C 133:22).
— Elder Charles W. Penrose said: “He comes! The earth shakes, and the tall mountains tremble; the mighty deep rolls back to the north as in fear, and the rent skies glow like molten brass. He comes! The dead Saints burst forth from their tombs, and ‘those who are alive and remain’ are ‘caught up’ with them to meet him [1 Thessalonians 4:17]. The ungodly rush to hide themselves from his presence, and call upon the quivering rocks to cover them. He comes! with all the hosts of the righteous glorified. The breath of his lips strikes death to the wicked. His glory is a consuming fire. The proud and rebellious are as stubble; they are burned and ‘left neither root nor branch’ [Malachi 4:1]. He sweeps the earth ‘as with the besom of destruction.’ [Isaiah 14:23]. He deluges the earth with the fiery floods of his wrath, and the filthiness and abominations of the world are consumed. Satan and his dark hosts are taken and bound—the prince of power of the air has lost his dominion, for He whose right it is to reign has come, and ‘the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.”
● Isaiah 65:17–25 The Millennium will last a thousand years, which is what “millennium” means.
— v. 17 People will have no desire for things to be as they once were.
— v. 17 The old earth “shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”
— v. 19 Everything will be gloriously new.
— v. 19 Sorrow will cease.
— v. 20 Children will not die in infancy.
— v. 21 Homes will be built, trees and gardens planted and enjoyed.
— v. 22 No one will be driven from his lands.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “When the Lord comes to rule on the earth in his own right, and all kingdoms become subject unto him, and the earth is renewed and again receives its paradisiacal glory, death shall be removed as far as it possibly can be removed before the resurrection, and while mortality remains. During the Millennium the earth will be transformed into a “new earth” with a new heaven, as Isaiah has declared. It will no longer be a telestial earth, but will become a terrestrial earth. Infants will not die until they become old and then death shall be the transition to the immortal from the mortal state in the twinkling of an eye. This day is near at hand, “speaking after the manner of the Lord,” and then shall come the time of the entire separation of the wicked from the righteous.”
“The earth as it is now, this mundane earth covered all over its face with wickedness will not be remembered when this change comes. We will be glad to get rid of this condition, and we will not bring it up to mind. Remember, in speaking of the heavens he is not referring to the sidereal heavens. He is speaking of that which pertains to our own earth, the heavens in which the birds fly. . . .
“You can see that [Isa. 65:17–20] does not have any reference at all to the earth when it is celestialized. The new heaven and earth have nothing to do at all with this earth as it will be after it dies and is raised in the resurrection to be a celestial body because then there will not be any death at all. It is going to be restored as nearly as possible to what it was in the beginning. This is coming to pass when Christ comes, and that’s part of this restoration.”
“This new heaven and new earth are our own earth and its heavens renewed to the primitive beauty and condition. This is not the great last change which shall come at the end of the earth, but the change to take place at the coming of Jesus Christ. Moreover, when this change comes all things will be set in order. Enmity between man and man and beast and beast will cease.”
— 1 Thess. 3:13 • Christ will bring his Saints with him.
— Art. of Faith 10 • Christ will reign personally and the earth will be renewed.
— D&C 101:23–31 • All flesh will see His coming simultaneously.
• Every corruptible thing will be consumed.
• Everything will be new.
• All enmity will cease.
• Every desire will be granted.
• Satan will have no power to tempt us.
• There will be no sorrow.
• There will be no death; every child will live a long life.
• “Death” will be an instantaneous change to immortality.
• All things will be revealed.
• The righteous will be taught and prepared for exaltation.
• Righteous members of the Church from the days of Adam to the present will associate with one another and with Christ.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Great and marvelous though the changes will be incident to life during the millennial era, yet mortality as such will continue. Children will be born, grow up, marry, advance to old age, and pass through the equivalent of death. Crops will be planted, harvested, and eaten; industries will be expanded, cities built, and education fostered; men will continue to care for their own needs, handle their own affairs, and enjoy the full endowment of free agency. Speaking a pure language (Zeph. 3:9), dwelling in peace, living without disease, and progressing as the Holy Spirit will guide, the advancement and perfection of society during the millennium will exceed anything men have supposed or expected.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “While in conversation at Judge Adams’ during the evening, I said, Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the thousand years. They will not probably dwell upon the earth, but will visit it when they please, or when it is necessary to govern it. There will be wicked2 men on the earth during the thousand years. The heathen nations who will not come up to worship will be visited with the judgments of God, and must eventually be destroyed from the earth.” (Dec. 30, 1842).
● Isaiah 66:5–14 Israel will be redeemed and the wicked destroyed at 2nd coming.
— v. 7 A woman “delivered of a man child” recalls a similar reference in Revelation 12:1–7, wherein a woman is depicted as struggling in travail to give birth and brings forth “a man child.” This child is identified by the Joseph Smith Translation as the millennial kingdom of God (JST Revelation 12:7).
— v. 8 A nation will be “born at once” and . . . The “earth be made to bring forth in one day.”
Elder Charles W. Penrose said:
“His next appearance will be among the distressed and nearly vanquished sons of Judah. At the crisis of their fate, when the hostile troops of several nations are ravaging the city and all the horrors of war are overwhelming the people of Jerusalem, he will set his feet upon the Mount of Olives, which will cleave and part asunder at his touch.
“Attended by a host from heaven, he will overthrow and destroy the combined armies of the Gentiles, and appear to the worshiping Jews as the mighty Deliverer and Conqueror so long expected by their race; and while love, gratitude, awe, and admiration swell their bosoms, the Deliverer will show them the tokens of his crucifixion and disclose himself as Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had reviled and whom their fathers put to death. Then will unbelief depart from their souls, and ‘the blindness in part which has happened unto Israel’ [see Romans 11:25] be removed. ‘A fountain for sin and uncleanness shall be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem’ [see Zechariah 13:1], and ‘a nation will be born’ unto God ‘in a day’ [see Isaiah 66:8]. They will be baptised for the remission of their sins, and will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the government of God as established in Zion will be set up among them, no more to be thrown down for ever.”
● Isaiah 66:15–24 The Final Scenes At Jerusalem.
— vv. 15–17 The great army gathered against Jerusalem will be destroyed.
— vv. 18–24 The gospel will be received by many who had not yet heard it.
— vv. 19–23 The heathen nations will bring an offering to Jerusalem.
— v. 24 The people of God will marvel at what God has done to the wicked.
OTHER REFERENCES WE WILL STUDY IN LATER LESSONS
● Zechariah 14:16–21 The heathen nations who survive will eventually turn to Jehovah, and great holiness would prevail in Jerusalem among God’s people.
— Evidently many will then join the Church, for the Lord said he will take of the Gentiles “for priests and for Levites” (v. 21); in other words, they shall receive the priesthood.
● Jeremiah 25:31–33 The entire earth will be swept clean of the wicked.
● Ezekiel 38:17–23 Destruction of the armies of Gog.
● Ezekiel 39:1–16 Destruction of the armies of Magog.
● Joel 3:1–2;11–14 The battle of Armageddon.
1: Answers to Gospel Questions 1:88–90.
2: In Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 184.
3: Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, 7:2:470.
4: In Journal of Discourses, 14:64.
5: In Journal of Discourses, 16:78.
6: “The Gospel Teacher and His Message” [address delivered to religious educators], 17 Sept. 1976, 1.
7: The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann, Trial and Error, 208.
8: Israel! Do You Know? 206.
9: Israel! Do You Know? 101.
10: In Journal of Discourses, 14:355.
11: In Journal of Discourses, 14:355–356.
12: Church History and Modern Revelation 1:191–192.
13: In Journal of Discourses 10:116.
14: “The Second Advent,” Millennial Star, 10 Sept. 1859, 583.
15: Church History and Modern Revelation 1:232–233.
16: Signs of the Times, 36–37.
17: The Restoration of All Things, 23.
18: Mormon Doctrine, 496–497.
19: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 268.
20: “The Second Advent,” 583.