Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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."

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