Friday, September 26, 2008

Isaiah 52

Christ's Commentary on Isaiah 52 & 54

From 3 Nephi 20:10 to 3 Nephi 21:29, Christ comments on Isaiah and teaches the Nephites about these important prophecies and signs. As Ludlow points out, Christ delivers his commentary and teaching in chiastic form. Both Isaiah 52 and 54 are contained in this section of 3 Nephi. I encourage the reader, as I did, to read and mark this chiasmus in 3 Nephi. You will get a much clearer understanding of what point Christ is trying to impress on the Nephites and us (the Gentiles). Pay particular attention to the focal point … the sign.

Below I note the chiastic pattern as outlined by Ludlow.

A - The Father and Son work together (3 Nephi 20:10)

B - Isaiah's words will be fulfilled (3 Nephi 20:11)

C - The Father's covenant with Israel will be fulfilled (3 Nephi 20:12)

D - Those scattered upon the face of the earth will be gathered (3 Nephi 20:13)

E - This land (America) is an inheritance for the Lamanites (3 Nephi 20:14)

F - If the Gentiles do not repent, Israel will tread them down and they will be cut off; the Lord's sword of justice will hang over them (3 Nephi 20:15-20)

G - The Lord's covenant people of Israel, Moses, and the Gentiles (3 Nephi 20:21-29)

H - Great work of the Lord with Israel, his marred servant (3 Nephi 20:30-44)

I - Kings shall be speechless (3 Nephi 20:45; see Isaiah 52:15)

J - Covenant and work of the Father (3 Nephi 20:46)

K - "Sign" is when "these things" shall be made known unto the Gentiles (3 Nephi 21:1)

L - Gentiles will learn about scattered Israel (3 Nephi 21:2)

M - These things will come from the Gentiles to the Lamanites (3 Nephi 21:3)

N - The sign (3 Nephi 21:4)

M` - These works will come from the Gentiles to the Lamanites (3 Nephi 21:5)

L` - Some Gentiles will be remembered with the house of Israel (3 Nephi 21:6)

K` - The sign is when "these things" come to pass with the Lamanites (3 Nephi 21:7)

J` - Work and covenant of the Father (3 Nephi 21:7b)

I` - Kings shall be speechless (3 Nephi 21:8; see Isaiah 52:15)

H` - Great work of the Father; his marred servant (3 Nephi 21:9-10; see Isaiah 52:14)

G` - Moses, the Gentiles, and covenant Israel (3 Nephi 21:11)

F` - If the Gentiles do not repent, Israel will tread them down and cut them off; the Lord's vengeance will come upon the unresponsive (3 Nephi 21:12-21)

E` - American an inheritance for all righteous Gentiles (3 Nephi 21:22-23)

D` - Gentiles help in the gathering (3 Nephi 21:24-25)

C` - The Father's work with the dispersed of his people (3 Nephi 21:26-27)

B` - The Father's work shall commence; search Isaiah to find details about the Father's promises (3 Nephi 21:28; see 3 Nephi 23:1-3)

A` - The Father and Son work together (3 Nephi 21:29)

Scriptural References to Isaiah 52 Outside the Bible
IsaiahJacobAbinadiJesus ChristMoroniJoseph Smith
1-22 Ne. 8:24-25- 3 Ne. 20:36-37Moroni 10:31D&C 113:7-10 D&C 82:14 (see D&C 109:61-67
3, 6-- 3 Ne. 20:38-393 Ne. 16:18-20--
7-10-Mosiah 12:20-25 Mosiah 15:13-313 Ne. 20:32-35, 40-D&C 19:29; 31:3; 79:1; 84:98-99; 113:10; 128:19; 133:3
11-12--3 Ne. 20:41-42 3 Ne. 21:29-D&C 5, 14-15 (see D&C 38:42; 49:27; 84:88; 101:68
13-15--3 Ne. 20:43-453 Ne. 21:8-10- D&C 101:94

The Sign and Missionary Work

Obviously, Isaiah 52 is a very important chapter. It is referenced multiple times throughout the scriptures. Many prophets and general authorities have quoted Isaiah 52 as well (see all the citations for Isaiah 52 at The reason why it is so important to the work today is because it is precisely why the Church has been established again on the earth.

Going back to the sign that is given in 3 Nephi 21:4 it reads, "For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel" (emphasis added). In other words, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today. And that the Church has been established in order to spread the gospel to the entire world and especially scattered Israel.

Be Ye Clean

Why does the Church have to be so strict in the seemingly numerous commandments we must keep? Isaiah 52:11 tells us exactly why. "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord." Symbolically, we are the "vessels of the Lord." What we do reflects on the Church and the gospel. If we keep the commandments and are clean, then others will desire to know more of the truthfulness of the gospel. But if we are not clean, we set a poor example and hinder the work of gathering Israel.

Sprinkling Nations

Isaiah 52:15 reads, "So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider."

This scripture reminds me of what Nephi saw in the Tree of Life vision. "And it came to pass that I looked and behold the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

"And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw." (1 Nephi 14:11-12)

It would seem that the Lord has sprinkled the nations with the saints who in turn have a positive influence on the citizens of the world. Another way to read this is the seemingly small army of missionaries who cover the earth. With this small force, many people are brought to the knowledge of the gospel.

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