Friday, October 8, 2010

Supplement to OT Lesson #37

Isaiah 22; 24-26; 28-30

Note:  The previous blog entry has a complete lesson based entirely on Isaiah 25.  This entry offers additional insights into the other chapters included in the reading assignment.


v.11 refers to the fortifications and preparations for seige made by Hezekiah.  (See a previous entry for more information on this story.)  Although these were entirely effective protection under Hezekiah's righteous rule, if the people do not look unto their Maker, it will not matter how ingenius their fortifications are. 

v.12-13 The Lord called for repentance.  He expected sorrow, weeping, self-abasement in sackcloth and ashes, but instead, the people continued to indulge recklessly in their worldly pursuits, "eating and drinking."  They are unconcerned. (Ludlow, p. 233; Parry, p. 198)

v. 15  Shebna was an actual person, singled out as an example.  He was leader of the king's court, equal to a present-day secretary of state.  (Ludlow, p. 234, Parry, p. 199)

v. 19  This prophecy was fulfilled; Shebna was demoted.  (Isa. 36:3)

v. 20  Eliakim was another real person with a position in the kingdom.  He held the keys to the king's storerooms (v. 22).  His family depended upon his position as their security (v. 24).  He was unsuccessful, however (v. 25).  But his story can also be interpreted as being a type of Christ.  Eliakim means "God shall cause to arise" (see footnote).  He will be priest, king and father (v. 21).  He will hold the keys of the priesthood (v. 22) that will "open, and none shall shut; and...shut, and none shall open."  He will be fastened "as a nail in a sure place" on the cross (v. 23).  As he hung on the cross, so "the glory of his father's house" will hang upon him, and all the children of God, "offspring and issue," will rely upon his merits and position (v. 24).  "In that day" (usually meaning the final days or the end of the world) "the nail that is fastened in the sure place" will be removed, the sorrow and pain that was afflicted upon Christ and those who take up His cross, will be "cut down, and fall; and the burden...shall be cut off" (v. 25).  (Ludlow, p. 235; Parry, p. 199)


v. 1 See D&C 5:19.

v. 2 Twelve groups of people are listed, in six opposing sets, representing all castes and levels of society.  The wrath of the Lord upon the earth will be no respecter of persons.  (Parry, p. 215)

v. 5  Three reasons are given for the devastation:  1) the people have transgressed the laws, 2) changed the ordinance, and 3) broken the everlasting covenant.  This verse was quoted in the introduction to the D&C, D&C 1:15-17.

But, of course, the righteous will be saved:

v.13 They will be few, as the last olives clinging to the tree which must be shaken down, and as the grapes that are left when the harvest is over.


See previous blog entry.


This is a song of praise for the Lord.  The basic theme is:

v. 13-14  Israel admits having previous gods, but now has turned to Jehovah.

v. 15  The promise of the Abrahamic Covenant is being fulfilled; the Lord "hast increased the nation."

v. 19 The dead will be resurrected.


This chapter is replete with interesting imagery about the ways of wickedness, alternating with imagery about Christ and what he offers to those who would accept it.

v. 1-4 Woes to the wicked church members ("drunkards of Ephraim")

v. 5-6 Praise for the Lord who, in the last days, will be glorious and helpful to the righteous.

v. 7-8 Description of the disgusting condition of the wicked

v. 9-13 The Lord reveals his word to those who are spiritually mature ("weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts") or, an alternative interpretation, using the footnotes, he reveals his word to those who have been taught from infancy.  Either way, revelation will be received bit by bit over time.  It is a process.  Those who really desire it must hang on patiently, and learn as they go.  Those who are not willing to do so, will "fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

v.14-15  Sinners foolishly make covenants with "death and hell," thinking that, just because they desire it, or just because Satan lies to them about it, or because it is fashionable, they can change the consequences of their actions and avoid punishment and devastation.

v.16-17  The Lord will lay out a sure foundation, however: one that will not fail, one that will function as promised.  This would undoubtedly be the Savior and his Atonement.  (Jacob 4:16-17; Helaman 5:12)

v. 18-20  A return to the previous concept, that false covenants will not stand, no matter how much the people believe in them.  They will be "trodden down" by an "overflowing scourge."  It will be so severe, that it will be troubling just to hear about ("a vexation only to understand the report"), let alone to be involved in it.  Agreements with evil are like beds that are "shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it" and like a blanket "narrower than that he can wrap himself in it."  They will never be successful solutions, comforts, or resting places like the "sure foundation."

v. 21-22  The Lord will do "his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act."  He has determined a trial ("consumption") for everyone "upon the whole earth."  He has a plan that man cannot comprehend, in which to best aid each of these foolish children. 

v. 23  Listen!  This is important!  ("Give ye ear, and hear my voice.")

v. 24-29 And here is the important thing:  The Lord personalizes trying circumstances to exactly match the need of each wandering individual.  God tailors the chastisement to the person, to best prepare him to repent and receive the gospel seed.  He does exactly the right amount of chastening--never too much, never not enough.  "Fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument."  Fitches are little black poppyseeds and would be crushed if threshed.  "Neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin."  If it was, the delicate cumin would be destroyed.  Instead, "the fitches are beaten out [by hand] with a staff, and the cummin with a rod."  Corn (or wheat), however, must be threshed, or there will be no harvest.  "Bread corn is bruised." "When it is necessary to separate the sinful parts of our nature from the divine, he will shake us, but with as little severity as possible to achieve the desired outcome" (Mark Edmond, p. 200).  This shows that the Lord is "wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."


This is a prophecy of the Book of Mormon, "the marvelous work and a wonder."

v. 1-2 "Ariel" refers to Jerusalem.  (Parry, p. 261)

v. 11 was quoted by Moroni to Joseph Smith in September of 1823.  (Ensign, Aug. 1990, p. 13-16)

v. 11-12 Much more detail on these verses is given in the Book of Mormon version, 2 Nephi 27:6-24.

v.15-17 Those who have been calling good evil and evil good, who have expected positive consequences from wicked works, who have denied the existence of their Creator, are going to see an upset. Things they have turned "upside-down" will shift:  Lebanon, known for its mighty forests, will become a farmer's field.  The fruitful field, in turn, will become a forest.

v.18-24 The chapter closes with a beautiful long about the latter days.  The meek and poor in spirit who come unto Christ (see the Beatitudes in 3 Nephi 12:3-10) will have increased "joy in the Lord."  All of the evil will be overturned and overruled.  Those who have followed Christ ("the house of Jacob") will neither be laid low ("ashamed") nor given cause to fear ("face now wax pale").  When they see Christ this time, they will "sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and [respect and reverence] the God of Israel."  Those that "erred in spirit shall come to understanding," and even those that "murmured" (think: Laman and Lemuel) shall learn the gospel!!!


This chapter continues the theme:  men are grossly wicked, yet the Lord remains ever attendant to bring them back to the truth.

v. 1-11  The people are terriby wicked, and the sources they seek for strength are not the Lord.

v. 12-14 Trusting in sinful ways is extremely dangerous and will always fail.  For a while, it seems fine, like a "high wall" as that around Jerusalem, or as a retaining wall or a dam.  But always, there will come a "breach" which will "swell out" gradually, and then "breaking cometh suddenly at an instant."  Imagine a city wall collapsing and allowing the enemy soldiers to pour into the city, or a dam breaking and flooding over homes and farmlands.  Destruction will always follow wickedness, eventually.  (Parry, p. 279)

v. 15-17 True strength, which is always offered to Israel, is "in returning and quietness and in confidence."  Returning can also be translated as repenting.  (New International Version; Parry, p. 280). But Israel refuses the sure way, the easy way, the way of faith in the Lord, and instead "flees upon horses," but is always overtaken.

v. 18-20  But God is amazingly patient and ever loving!  He will "wait, that he may be gracious unto you...that he may have mercy upon you."  He will give "the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction," but note that bread and water are sustenance, nourishment!  They are "teachers" and eventually the children of Israel shall see them as such.

v. 21-24  Finally the House of Israel will notice the "word behind [them], saying, This is the way, walk ye in it!"  They will be in tune with the Holy Ghost, and follow its promptings!  (Parry, p. 282)  They will throw out their idols, and they will realize how truly abominable and disgusting their past behaviors were, the vilest of garbage to be thrown away ("a menstruous cloth").  The Lord will then bless them, "give rain to their seed" and "bread of the increase of the earth," replacing the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.

v.25-33 "Upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill" (in other words, in the multitudes of temples around the world) there will be "rivers and streams of waters," the living water of Jesus Christ, flowing abundantly.  This will happen in the day when the wicked are overthrown ("the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall").  We often repeat the prophecy that the sun and moon will be darkened, but seldom this one: that after the slaughter, the light of the moon and the sun will increase exponentially!  In fact, to the degree of a holy perfection:  "sevenfold, as the light of seven days."  The wicked will be violently destroyed, but the righteous, those who "come into the mountain of the Lord" (the templegoers), will be gloriously blessed.



Victor Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet
Parry, Parry and Peterson, Understanding Isaiah
Mark Edmond, "Images of Mercy in the Writings of Isaiah," Covenants, Hymns and Prophecies of the Old Testament

No comments: