Anthony peered out the window of his pretend time machine. It was actually a cardboard box that he had decorated with markers, foil, and other things. For several days he had had lots of fun playing in it. Now he was imagining a strange-looking object in front of him. It was like a car, but it had wings. It was big enough for him to take a ride in, and that was what he wanted to do. But as he began to climb out of the time machine to do that, a real-life voice spoke to him: “Time to get ready for bed, Anthony.”
“Ah, Mom,” he said, flopping down on the floor in disappointment. “I was just going to take a ride in a flying car.”
“Well, you’ll have to play that pretend game tomorrow,” Mom replied. “Right now you need to get ready for Book of Mormon time and bed.”
Anthony reluctantly dragged the box into the corner where they kept the toys, then went off to his room. In a few minutes everyone was sitting in the living room with a Book of Mormon in hand.
Dad said, “Tonight we’ve come to the part where Nephi tells us about the words of a prophet named Isaiah. He’s the same prophet Isaiah who’s in the Bible.” Father showed them where the book of Isaiah was in the Bible, then where Isaiah was quoted in the Book of Mormon. He began to read what Isaiah had said.
Anthony found the right page and tried to follow along, but after a few minutes his eyes started to close. The next thing he knew, his mother was waking him up, telling him that it was time for bed.
The following night Anthony had taken another imaginary ride to the future. When his mother called, he was pretending to talk to some creatures from Pluto who had come to earth to live. Slowly he climbed out of the box, went to his room, got ready for bed, then sat down for scripture time.
But he didn’t understand what Dad was reading, and he kept wriggling and squirming. That made his brother and sister wriggle and squirm too. When Anthony’s mother reminded them all to sit still and listen, Anthony tried to, but even the words he knew sounded strange, somehow. “Isaiah is too hard,” he said when Dad finished for that night.
“Yes, it’s difficult,” Dad agreed. “But if we read slowly and you listen carefully, you might be able to understand.”
“And,” Mom added, “we can ask Heavenly Father to help us understand.” As she offered the prayer that evening, she asked for help in understanding Isaiah.
The next night, Anthony was dragging his box to the corner again when Dad stopped him. “Wait, Anthony. Leave your box there for now. I want to do something different for our scripture reading tonight.”
When everyone was settled, Father began. “Tonight I thought that we should learn more about Isaiah and his teachings. That way we might be able to understand a little better when we read his words.
“Isaiah was a prophet who lived a long time ago, even a long time before Jesus was born. But he prophesied, or told about, things that would happen many years later. When we read his words, it’s like listening to someone who had traveled in a time machine.”
Anthony sat up tall. “Did he travel to the future?”
“No,” Dad answered. “But with Heavenly Father’s help, he saw visions of things that would happen in the future and he told about those things.”
Dad had the three children climb into Anthony’s time machine. “When we read Isaiah,” Dad said, “it’s like we are traveling in a time machine with him. We can listen to his words and imagine that we are there, seeing the things that he saw.”
Anthony and his brother and sister were excited. They wanted to ride in the time machine with Isaiah.
Father went on. “In the Bible, we learn about things that happened while he was actually alive. One of those stories is about a king named Hezekiah. One time King Hezekiah was very sick and was about to die. He prayed and asked the Lord to let him live longer. The Lord told Isaiah what Hezekiah should do to get better, and He told Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that he could live for fifteen more years. As a sign to Hezekiah, the Lord turned the sun back ten degrees. Another time Isaiah helped King Hezekiah win a battle and save Jerusalem.”
The next night they read about things that Isaiah saw would happen in the future. They climbed in the time machine and pretended that they were with Isaiah when he saw a vision showing Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. They listened to the prophet’s beautiful words: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. …”
The children next listened to Isaiah’s words about the sad time when Jesus died: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.”
Then they pretended to travel ahead many more years and listened to Isaiah telling about the coming of the Book of Mormon: “Thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.”
Each night that week at Book of Mormon time, they climbed into the time machine and pretended to travel with Isaiah. One night Anthony asked, “Has everything that Isaiah saw already happened?”
“No,” Dad answered, “not everything. Isaiah saw things that would happen in our very own day, and he saw things that are still in the future, in a time called the Millennium, when Jesus will come and live on earth again.”
“Isaiah was so lucky,” Anthony’s little sister said. “He saw so many things.”
“Yeah,” Anthony agreed as he climbed back into the time machine. “But we’re lucky, too—we can go with him and see them, too, when we read the scriptures.”