They may predict something far off in the future, but the immediate audience will learn some basic principle under that discussion that will build faith, reprove, or instruct.
Commentary on Isaiah 6:1-8
The theological message of the passage will be the same; but the response to it will be different for different times, perhaps preventive as opposed to remedial. That would have encouraged them. Third, you must then consider how the passage would be understood in Gospel times. This step is usually important because the prophecy probably will have some Messianic import.
Often the Messianic passage will have a meaning back in the Old Testament times that is but a type or a foreshadowing of the Christ event. Or, the Isaianic passage may be quoted in the New Testament, especially in some apostolic teaching on doctrine or practice, and this provides a good intermediate step to the present application. Isaiah 40 was applied to John and Jesus in their missions. Fourth, you then may look for the significance or application for the modern audience.
Here you are looking for similar conditions to the original setting so that you can apply the theology in a similar way. In many cases in these chapters we can think in terms of the anticipation of the second coming and the fulfillment of the promises, just as they were looking for divine intervention and the fulfillment. Many of these oracles have both the immediate and the ultimate applications in mind, and so that makes this approach a little easier to see.
Based on Isaiah 40, for example, what John did as a voice announcing the coming of Messiah the fulfillment of the prophecy we too can do since there is now a second coming we anticipate an application of the fulfillment. The passages are all different, some more directly related than others. But if you have done the proper contextual exegesis and worked up the theology the passage teaches, the levels of application will unfold fairly easily because they will be similar.
That was true on the eve of the departure from Babylon where they expected divine intervention but not an actual coming of God into their midst. It was true on the eve of the first coming when John came preaching repentance because the Messiah was coming and that Messiah actually was God coming into the world, but as a shepherd.
And it is true today as we look for the second coming when He will come in glory ; must wait for it, prepare for it, and announce the comfort it brings. This chapter is the prologue to the whole series of oracles and songs that follow; it has the basic themes that are found throughout the following chapters. The passage begins with promise It opens with an instruction to comfort the people of God 1,2 , followed by the oracle of the one preparing the way , and the heralds announcing the coming of the LORD in accordance with the Word of God Israel was in need of such good news because they were in captivity under Gentile domination.
The second part of the chapter is an encouragement that God is able to do all this The message of comfort is based on the omnipotence of God and the incomparable nature of God Consequently, the people who know Him are instructed not to mistrust Him but to renew their faith as they wait for the promises So the first section is instruction about the coming intervention, the second section is the theological basis for it, and the third is application.
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Then, in the last part of the passage there are principles and lessons but not in the form of imperatives: the people should renew their faith 26 , stop mistrusting the LORD 27 , build up their faith 29 , and wait expectantly for the deliverance I will come back to the application later, but it looks to me like the lessons in verses are geared to the faithful remnant, the messengers, and the lessons in the end are for the general population who are weak in faith, or lacking in faith.
The first are the heralds, the voices; the latter the nation in general. If I am planning my exposition, and my study to get ready for that exposition, I will probably not do as much detailed analysis of the middle section for several reasons. First, it is one of the most magnificent sections in the book and if I try to simplify it I might diminish it. Second, it is pretty clear what God is saying.
I might have to explain an expression or a question—but an excellent reading of it will do very well. Third, my main emphasis will focus on all the instructions that employ key theological words and unusual figures of speech. I would certainly not treat this material lightly or quickly, for it is the theological basis of the instructions; but there are not that many things I need to work on there for the exegesis. I have chosen in these subpoints to pick the key phrases out of each section because they capture the point nicely.
This is not always possible, but here it is because of the different messengers. In the development of this section the text employs different heralds; the first two verses call for the remnant to announce a threefold comfort to the people. And this is all tied to the message of the first eleven verses, that God will now deliver His people. Verse 1 calls for the word of comfort to go out. The verb nakham is crucial here. It suggests that the people are discouraged, depressed, suffering—and the prophets will bring them hope, encouragement, good news, to ease and soothe their troubled hearts.
In this context, the three reasons for this kind of speech were war had ended, iniquity had been pardoned, and judgment was over. This would probably be a metonymy of subject although adjunct could be argued for since Jerusalem being the main city would represent the nation—but we still mean the people in it.
It is interesting to me that the name Jerusalem is used when the exiles in Babylon are ultimately intended. This suggests a Palestinian provenance for the writing. This oracle would certainly be comforting to the exiles in Babylon. But it soon became clear to them that these words, and many of the other prophecies in the rest of the book, were not exhausted or completely fulfilled in the return from the Babylonian captivity.
They knew there was another, greater fulfillment at the end of the age, when the Messiah would come. This section begins with the voice of one crying. We learn from the New Testament that this is ultimately a prophecy about John the Baptist—although others could have cried this message in the original period, and others in our age could also be such a voice.
The speaker is a mystery—only a voice. His identity is not important; the message is. He made it very clear, using Isaianic images, that he was not the light. The imagery throughout this little section uses implied comparisons hypocatastasis. All the changes enjoined are then in the spiritual life: valleys, crooked places, ridges, and the like are all sinful things, problems in the life that need to be straightened out. The mortal messenger will bring the good news of comfort and forgiveness; but there is no comfort in mortal flesh.
Flesh changes and dies like grass simile ; its beauty like that of flowers cannot last. These comparisons show the fading and transitory nature of human lives. One cannot find comfort there. Humans fail; they cannot save themselves. But the contrast is with the eternal Word of God that cannot fail.
That is truth. That can be trusted. Now the heralds are people who bring good tidings to Zion, possibly the returning remnant if not the faithful who live in the expectation of divine intervention.
They can point to the reason for the restoration, the comfort, the hope—God will make Himself known to deliver them. The idea of the powerful arm is anthropomorphic and idiomatic. Powerful majesty will be the pattern of His dominion as King. He will bring rewards to dispense to His faithful subjects. The second image presented here is that of the shepherd.
The figure of a shepherd was commonly used in the ancient Near East for monarchs; it is the natural figure for any culture with much animal husbandry. The figure in each case does signify the care, leadership, and provisions that the LORD will bring to His people. The great message of comfort—for us too at advent—hangs on this point. Look to God. He is coming to establish His kingdom. So in this section I should think that the application would run to the faithful remnant, especially the spiritual leaders, to announce that the sins have been paid for and that brings comfort and that God is coming and that will mean deliverance and recompense , and to call for spiritual preparation.
What kind of God is He whose coming is so expected? After all, the hope of His coming and the promise of deliverance from bondage will only be as great as the God in whom we believe. So the prophet Isaiah begins to think about His greatness by thinking about His work of creation. Through a series of questions the prophet portrays God as the Mighty Creator. No mortal could even think to do this. The argument develops in three stages. In verse 12 the questions show that only God could create.
The language is anthropomorphic in that it shows the LORD to be like a workman working with His hands, baskets, and scales. Of course, Scripture makes it clear that He spoke and it came into being. In verse 13 we have the second stage in the thought—no one could even understand the Spirit of the LORD, for His thoughts are so much higher than ours.
And then in 13b and 14 we have the next level—no one gave God any advice, ever! God created everything by His own design and counsel see Rom.
And what He did is not only beyond our ability—it is far beyond our comprehension. God needs the counsel of no one—certainly not the nations. They are all insignificant. Using obvious similes the prophet compares the nations nations that terrorized the world to a drop from the bucket, dust on the scales, fine dust if they are islands. They do not count; they do not tilt the balance of power one bit see also Dan. Even in a religious sense God does not need the nations for sacrifice or worship. If a sacrifice were to make a difference with God, all the animals in Lebanon would not be sufficient.
But none of them can influence Him or challenge Him. It is an interesting link to trace some of these themes into the New Testament. Jesus at His temptations was offered all the kingdoms of the world—and Satan could have delivered them. But they are worthless, especially for such a price. And why should He want these many divided and warring kingdoms when what belongs to Him is the one everlasting kingdom of His Father, a kingdom of righteousness and peace. God is not impressed.
A theme is now introduced that will run through this whole section of the Book of Isaiah. There is no one like God. He is the true and only God. To compare Him to idols is blasphemous. Even the materials for idols comes from God see Isa. Humans who are weak and frail have made the idols; they look for ways to make idols that will last. No one made God; rather, God created humans. The nature of the question in verse 18 then is rhetorical erotesis to express that there is no one to whom we may compare God.
In other words, one-third of the book of Isaiah 32 percent, to be exact is quoted in the Book of Mormon and about another 3 percent is paraphrased. The saints of God know thereby that the sectarian speculations relative to Deutero-Isaiah and others being partial authors of the book of Isaiah are like the rest of the vagaries to which the intellectuals in and out of the Church give their misplaced allegiance. The Lord by direct revelation has also taken occasion in our day to interpret, approve, clarify, and enlarge upon the writings of Isaiah. As reference to the footnotes in the Doctrine and Covenants will show, there are around one hundred instances in which latter-day revelation specifically quotes, paraphrases, or interprets language used by Isaiah to convey those impressions of the Holy Spirit born in upon his soul some 2, years before.
So often it takes only a prophetically uttered statement, revealing the age or place or subject involved in a particular passage in the writings of any prophet, to cause the whole passage and all related ones to shine forth with their true meaning and import. It truly takes revelation to understand revelation, and what is more natural than to find the Lord Jehovah, who revealed his truths anciently, revealing the same eternal verities today and so tying his ancient and modern words together, that we may be blessed by our knowledge of what he has said in all ages.
He is quoted at least 57 times in the New Testament. Paul is his chief disciple, calling upon his word some twenty times in his various epistles. Peter uses him as authority in seven instances. He is also quoted seven times in Matthew, five times each in Mark, Luke, and Acts, and four times in both John and Revelation.
Some of these quotations are duplicates, some are messianic in nature, and all establish the revealed meaning of the original writing. To know fully what Isaiah meant, it is essential to know what his fellow prophets had to say in like circumstances and on the same matters. For instance, Isaiah —4 [ Isa. After Isaiah gives this great prophecy about all nations flowing to the temple built by gathered Israel in the latter days, he describes certain millennial events that will follow this gathering. Micah does the same thing in principle except that his list of millennial events refers to other matters and thus enlarges our understanding of the matter.
And so that we shall be sure of these things, the risen Lord quotes from chapters 4 and 5 of Micah, as will be seen by reference to 3 Nephi, chapters 20 and And so it is with all Christendom, plus many Latter-day Saints. Nephi chose to couch his prophetic utterances in plain and simple declarations. But among his fellow Hebrew prophets it was not always appropriate so to do. Because of the wickedness of the people, Isaiah and others often spoke in figures, using types and shadows to illustrate their points.
Their messages were, in effect, hidden in parables. For instance, the virgin birth prophecy is dropped into the midst of a recitation of local historical occurrences so that to the spiritually untutored it could be interpreted as some ancient and unknown happening that had no relationship to the birth of the Lord Jehovah into mortality some years later.
Similarly, many chapters dealing with latter-day apostasy and the second coming of Christ are written relative to ancient nations whose destruction was but a symbol, a type, and a shadow, of that which would fall upon all nations when the great and dreadful day of the Lord finally came. Chapters 13 and 14 are an example of this.
Once we learn this system and use the interpretive keys found in the Book of Mormon and through latter-day revelation, we soon find the Isaiah passages unfolding themselves to our view. In the final analysis there is no way, absolutely none, to understand any scripture except to have the same spirit of prophecy that rested upon the one who uttered the truth in its original form. Scripture comes from God by the power of the Holy Ghost.
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It does not originate with man. It means only what the Holy Ghost thinks it means. To interpret it, we must be enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the sum and substance of the whole matter and an end to all controversy where discovering the mind and will of the Lord is concerned. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.
Let us then glance hastily through the 66 chapters that comprise the writings of this man, who according to tradition was sawn asunder for the testimony of Jesus which was his, and outline enough to guide us in a more detailed analysis. Apostasy and rebellion in ancient Israel; call to repentance; promise of a restoration and then of the destruction of the wicked. Quoted by Nephi in 2 Ne. General interpretation in 2 Ne. Gathering of Israel to the temple in our day; latter-day state of Israel; millennial conditions and second coming of Christ.
Micah 4 and Micah 5 ; 3 Ne. Status of Israel in her scattered and apostate condition before the second coming. Apostasy and scattering of Israel; her dire state; restoration and gathering. Local history except Isa. Local wars and history; counsel on identifying true religion. Local history: destruction of wicked Israel by Assyrians to typify destruction of all wicked nations at second coming; Isa. Restoration; gathering of Israel; millennial era.
Overthrow of Babylon typifying second coming.
Isaiah - Wikipedia
Millennial gathering of Israel; fall of Lucifer in war in heaven; destruction preceding second coming. Local prophecies and history; fate of those who oppose Israel in day of restoration. Restoration; gathering of Israel; sending of missionaries from America. Local, but typifying second coming. Latter-day apostasy and second coming. Second coming. Desolations incident to second coming. Nephites, last days, apostasy, Book of Mormon, and restoration. This Book of Mormon account is one of the best illustrations of an inspired interpretation of a chapter that is difficult to understand.
Israel, rebellious and worldly, to be saved in day of restoration; apostasy, restoration, and resultant blessings; second coming. Apostasy of Israel until the restoration. Second coming and attendant desolations. Restoration; gathering; second coming.