Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Next Project

I have two more posts before I am done with Isaiah. I know this has not been the most comprehensive study of Isaiah. The fact that I will have read Isaiah and tried to understand some of it is a major accomplishment in and of itself.

Obviously, I've been slacking quite a bit with my studies of Isaiah. I should have been done months ago. But I am determined to finish this before I move on. It took me about 10 years to finish my commentary on the Book of Mormon, so me taking so long to finish Isaiah really isn't a suprise for me.

My next little scripture study project will be the New Testament. One of the last classes I took at BYU was Religion 211 and I absolutly loved it. I still have the notes from the class. I plan on using a lot of those to study the NT. I also want to read Jesus the Christ while studying the Gospels. The last time I read Jesus the Christ was in my 2nd area on my mission in October 1995 (that took quite a while to finish too). Hopefully I will be much more diligent with my NT studies than I have been with Isaiah.

Isaiah 61 & 62

The Savior and Saviors of Men

Isaiah 61:1-2 states the mission of Jesus Christ. He is "to preach good tidings unto the meek," to "bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." He is also to "proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."

I like Ludlow's chart that shows what our Lord did to fulfill his mission and what we can do to help fulfill that same mission (see page 504).

Bind up the brokenhearted

Christ's atonement allows God's eternal family to live together again.

We can teach the plan of salvation to our friends and families.

Proclaim liberty to the captives

Christ preached the Gospel on Earth and in the spirit world.

We can be missionaries by example and by preaching.

Open the prison

Christ opened the gates to the celestial kingdom. Whereas the way to return to our Father in Heaven was shut before Christ, we now are not forced to be held captive to sin.

We can do missionary work on both sides of the veil (inside and outside the temple).

Comfort the mourners

Christ's teachings and mission bring peace to those who now mourn.

We can comfort those who suffer and are oppressed.

As we proclaim the Gospel and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, we become the saviors of men. Isaiah 61:3 uses another description of those who help fulfill the Saviors mission. They are "trees of righteousness." Ludlow's reference translates it as "terebinths of victory" while the NIV says "oaks of righteousness." Oaks are strong and hearty trees and are not easily brought down. So too, the testimony of those who help fulfill the Savior's mission are strong and immovable.

The rest of Isaiah 61 discusses the redemption of Israel. Ludlow nicely summarizes: "In sharp contrast to the shame, destruction, and desolation promised in his earlier writings (see Isaiah 1), Isaiah now prophesies prosperity - the people multiply (v. 3), cities are rebuilt (v. 4), and the land is replenished (v. 5). While others till the land and provide society's physical sustenance (v. 5), the member of the covenant Israel will officiate in the Lord's priesthood and temple service (v. 6). Isaiah contrast the wealth, reputation, joy, justice, and family security that God's chosen people will eventually enjoy with their earlier depraved condition" (506).

Isaiah 62 continues much the same way. There are a few things I wish to note about this chapter.

New Name

As Ludlow pointed out, Isaiah 61 and 62 have many references to the temple. Isaiah 62:2 says, "thou shalt be called by a new name."

Delightful and Union

Ludlow also pointed out that when Joseph Smith translated parts of the Bible, he translated Hephzi-bah and Beulah as delightful and union respectively. The footnotes in the KJV translates them as "my desire is in her" and "married wife."

Receive For What You Labor

I found Isaiah 62:8-9 very interesting in light of our current government's stance on taxes. Today, there are many who believe there is a massive redistribution of wealth about to take place via taxes. Verse 8 and 9 discuss the justice of receiving the reward for the labor. "The sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured: But they that have gathered it shall eat it."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Isaiah 59 & 60

Sins and Iniquities and Transgressions

I am listening to Avraham Gildeadi tonight while reading Isaiah. He mentioned that there is a difference between sin and iniquity. Sin is when we do something wrong - when we transgress God's law. We are responsible for our own sins. Iniquity, on the other hand is the effects of sin on later generations. (see Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deut. 5:9;). Both sin and iniquity can be overcome, but iniquity is much more difficult to overcome than sin. We are forgiven our sins when we are justified. We then overcome iniquity by becoming sanctified.

Regarding transgressions, Ludlow states, “A transgression was when a person unknowingly broke a law; a sin was willful disobedience” (494).

Although the people may be praying and worshipping God, he will not hear their prayers because of their sins and iniquities. We read in Isaiah 59:3-4 that the peoples' hands, fingers, lips and tongue are all unclean. No one calls for truth or justice and they all are hypocrites.


The works of the people described in Isaiah 59:5-8 are a perfect description of our society today.

"their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

"Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths."

That last line really stands out when I read it - "wasting and destruction are in their paths." It seems that every day or week, news lines are announcing another scandal or murder or huge corruption charges. Week after week these scandals and corruptions leave a vast trail of waste and destruction and there is no time to clean up before the next one hits.

We Know Our Sins

Isaiah 59:9-15 describes a sad scene of sorrow and admittance of guilt. Verses 9 to 11 remind me of closing days of the Nephite nation. In Mormon 2:3, Mormon records, “But behold this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.”

Ultimately our transgressions and sins will testify against us and “we know them.”

Our Redeemer

Isaiah 59:16-21 refers to Jesus Christ. He will be our intercessor (Isaiah 59:16). He will bring salvation to those who repent (Isaiah 59:20). He will deliver justice to both good and evil according to their deeds (Isaiah 59:18).

New and Old Jerusalem

Isaiah 60 describes the New and Old Jerusalem in the Last Days.

Many people and Gentiles will come to Zion (verse 3, 8-9, 14).

The city gates will constantly be open as Zion will have no fear of attack (verse 11). All her enemies will be smitten (verse 12).

The city will be very rich (verse 17).

There will be no violence in her (verse 18).

The Lord himself will dwell in the midst of the city and He will be a light unto all her inhabitants (verse 19-20).

The people of the city will be righteous (verse 21).

The people will live and prosper for many generations (verse 22).