Lesson 36: The Glory of Zion Will Be a Defense

Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 175–78


Purpose

To encourage class members to avoid the evils of the world by standing in holy places and to help them draw strength from Isaiah’s willingness to serve.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study the passages from Isaiah 1–6 that are discussed in this lesson.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: 2 Nephi 11.

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

You may want to use the following activity (or one of your own) to begin the lesson.

Explain that the Lord often repeats the same idea many times throughout the scriptures. Write the following references on the chalkboard and ask class members to discover what counsel the Lord has given to help us endure the trials of the last days:

Write on the chalkboard “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved.”

  • What do you think this phrase means? (Answers may include being worthy at all times, desiring to be in holy places frequently, choosing not to go into unholy places, having confidence that God will guide you, and taking a stand for truth and holiness.)

Explain that in this lesson, class members will discover why the Lord has commanded us to stand in holy places and what these holy places are.

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss how they apply to daily life. Encourage class members to share experiences that relate to the scriptural principles.

“Great are the words of Isaiah,” the Savior proclaimed as he commanded the Nephites to search Isaiah’s prophecies (3 Nephi 23:1). Isaiah’s prophecies are quoted more often in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants than the words of any other prophet. He prophesied many things about the earthly mission of the Savior, about the destruction that would follow Israel’s wickedness, and about the mission and destiny of latter-day Israel.

1. Isaiah describes the condition of the world in the last days.

  • Many of Isaiah’s warnings and prophecies apply both to his time, which was a time of great wickedness, and to our time. How are the conditions described in the following scriptures evident in the world today? (You may want to write the references on the chalkboard and have class members find them.)

    1. a.

      Isaiah 1:3–5 (Rebellion against the Lord)

    2. b.

      Isaiah 1:11–15 (Religious ceremonies without meaning or faith)

    3. c.

      Isaiah 2:7–8 (Worship of worldly things and military security instead of the Lord; note that horses and chariots were used as instruments of war in ancient times)

    4. d.

      Isaiah 2:11–12 (Pride)

    5. e.

      Isaiah 3:5 (Oppression of other people and failing to honor older people)

    6. f.

      Isaiah 3:9 (No shame for sin)

    7. g.

      Isaiah 3:14–15 (Taking advantage of the poor and failing to care for them)

    8. h.

      Isaiah 3:16–24 (Emphasis on outward physical beauty at the expense of righteousness and good character)

    9. i.

      Isaiah 5:8 (Greedy desires to own more and more material things)

    10. j.

      Isaiah 5:11–12 (Constantly seeking worldly pleasures instead of seeking the Lord and his work)

    11. k.

      Isaiah 5:20 (Saying that evil things are good and good things are evil)

    12. l.

      Isaiah 5:21 (Trusting in oneself instead of in God)

    13. m.

      Isaiah 5:24 (Despising the commandments and word of God)

  • How are these prophecies being fulfilled today? (See the additional teaching idea for further discussion of some of these prophecies.)

2. Isaiah counsels the faithful to stand in holy places.

  • What places offer safety from the worldly conditions mentioned by Isaiah? What are the three holy places mentioned in Isaiah 4:5–6?

    1. a.

      Every dwelling place of mount Zion (homes)

    2. b.

      Assemblies (stakes, wards, and branches; see also D&C 115:5–6)

    3. c.

      Tabernacle (temples)

  • How can a home be a holy place that offers refuge from the wickedness of the world? How can stakes, wards, and branches be holy places and refuges? How can a temple be a holy place and refuge? How have these three holy places helped provide a defense for you against the evils of the world?

    You may want to write Stand in Holy Places on the chalkboard and then write below it 1. Homes; 2. Stakes, Wards, and Branches; and 3. Temples. List class members’ comments under each heading.

  • What expressions are used in Isaiah 4:5–6 to describe how these holy places will protect us?

    1. a.

      “A shadow in the daytime from the heat”

    2. b.

      “A place of refuge”

    3. c.

      “A covert [a hiding place or shelter] from storm and from rain”

  • Many of Isaiah’s writings are also included in the Book of Mormon. Have class members read 2 Nephi 14:5 to discover what words are added to Isaiah 4:5. (The words of Zion are added.) What do these words add to our understanding of this verse?

  • What prophecy about temples in the last days is included in Isaiah 2:2–3? (Many people will come to the house of God, which is the temple, and desire to learn God’s commandments and walk in his ways.) Why do you think Isaiah described the temple as a “mountain of the Lord”? (Ancient prophets often went to mountains to commune with the Lord and receive counsel from him. He revealed things to them there. We can have similar experiences in the temple today.)

3. Isaiah describes the gathering of Israel in the latter days.

In Isaiah 5:26–29, Isaiah describes the latter-day gathering of Israel. The ensign that is being lifted up is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To “hiss” is to whistle or summon, which represents the invitation to the nations of the earth to gather to the Church. This gathering will be swift and powerful.

  • How is the prophecy that nations will be gathered to the Church being fulfilled today? (Missionaries are going throughout the world to teach the gospel and gather people to the truth.) What can each of us do to help fulfill this prophecy?

4. Isaiah responded willingly to his call to be a prophet.

The Lord called Isaiah to be a prophet through a vision in which Isaiah saw the Lord in his glory. This vision is recorded in Isaiah 6.

  • How did Isaiah describe the glory of the Lord? (See Isaiah 6:1–4.) What was Isaiah’s response when he saw the Lord? (See Isaiah 6:5. Isaiah felt unworthy to be in the Lord’s presence.) How did the Lord symbolically show that Isaiah was clean before him? (See Isaiah 6:6–7.) How did Isaiah respond when the Lord called him to be a prophet? (See Isaiah 6:8.)

  • In accepting his call, Isaiah used the same words as the Savior did when He accepted the responsibility to carry out the plan of our Father in Heaven for the salvation of his children (Abraham 3:27). What are some situations in which we may also need to answer the Lord with similar words? (Answers could include when we are called to serve missions, when we are asked to serve in the Church, and when we are asked to endure difficult trials.)

  • Many chapters of Isaiah are recorded in the Book of Mormon, including chapters 2 through 6. What reasons did the prophet Nephi give for including Isaiah’s writings in his record? (See 2 Nephi 11:8.)

  • Which messages from these chapters from Isaiah cause you to rejoice? Which messages of these chapters do you feel are most important to liken to yourself?

Conclusion

The words of Isaiah teach us many things about the latter days. By studying Isaiah’s counsel, we can learn how to stand in holy places and avoid the evils of the world. By following his example, we can be more willing servants of our Father in Heaven.

Additional Teaching Idea

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use it as part of the lesson.

Further discussion of Isaiah’s prophecies in Isaiah 1–6

Making our religious observances acceptable to the Lord

  • According to Isaiah 1:11, 16–17, why were the Israelites’ sacrifices unacceptable to the Lord? (Although the Israelites tried to be outwardly religious, their hearts were far from God. See also Matthew 5:23–24; Moroni 7:6–9.) Why do some people try to be outwardly religious even though their hearts are far from God? Why does this kind of hypocrisy offend God?

The blessings of forgiveness

  • Isaiah provided two beautiful images that help us understand how completely the Lord will forgive those who repent. He said, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). How can these images help us when we have sinned and feel far from the Lord? (See also D&C 58:42.)

Avoiding worldliness in appearance

  • Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said that the prophecy in Isaiah 3:16–24 refers to today’s Church members and “pertains to the men as well as to the women” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 5:174). How might our manner of dress reflect or influence our spiritual well-being? What does it mean to dress modestly? What are the dangers of becoming too concerned with our dress and personal appearance? (See Alma 31:27–28.) How can we teach children to avoid worldliness in appearance?

Calling evil good and good evil

  • Why was Israel’s ability to distinguish between good and evil impaired? (See Isaiah 5:20.) In what ways do people today call evil good and good evil? What can we do to ensure that we recognize the difference between good and evil? (See 2 Nephi 32:5; D&C 45:57.)

“Wise in their own eyes”

  • What did Isaiah mean when he warned people not to be “wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight”? (Isaiah 5:21). What causes this problem? Why is it dangerous? How can we guard against it?

“His hand is stretched out still”

  • What message did Isaiah emphasize in Isaiah 5:25, 9:12, 17, 21, and 10:4? Why is this message important? How have you come to know of the truth of this message?