Lesson 119

Isaiah 10–16

“Lesson 119: Isaiah 10–16,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)


Introduction

Isaiah foretold the destruction of both Assyria and Babylon, which can be likened to the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming. He prophesied of the latter-day Restoration of the Church and its role in gathering Israel. He also prophesied of the destruction of Moab.

Suggestions for Teaching

Isaiah 10

Isaiah prophesies that Assyria will punish Israel and that Assyria will also be destroyed

Write the word woe on the board, and ask students to recall what it means. (Intense sorrow or suffering.) After they respond, invite a student to read Isaiah 10:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what actions would bring intense sorrow and suffering upon Israel.

  • What actions would bring suffering upon Israel?

Summarize Isaiah 10:3–4 by explaining that because the leaders and people of Israel had turned away from the Lord through their wickedness, they would be punished and not have the Lord’s help.

Invite a student to read Isaiah 10:5–6 aloud, including the footnote to verse 5. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Israel would be punished for its wickedness.

  • Who would the Lord use to punish Israel?

Summarize Isaiah 10:7–19 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied that after the Assyrians had fulfilled the Lord’s purposes in punishing Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the Lord would destroy the Assyrians as well because of their pride and wickedness. This destruction is symbolic of the destruction the proud and wicked will experience at the Second Coming.

Summarize Isaiah 10:20–34 by reminding them that Isaiah foretold that the Assyrian army would destroy many cities as it marched toward Jerusalem; however, Jerusalem would be miraculously spared (see 2 Kings 19).

Isaiah 11–12

Isaiah prophesies of the latter-day Restoration and of the Millennium

Invite a student to come to the board. Ask another student to read Isaiah 11:1, 10 aloud while the first student draws what is read. After the drawing is complete, ask the class if they understand what Isaiah was talking about. Also ask the student who drew on the board to remain at the board and adjust the drawing as needed to match the explanations that will follow.

Explain that sometimes we can better understand the meaning of symbols in the scriptures by referring to explanations found in other scriptures or in the words of modern prophets.

  • What objects did Isaiah refer to? (A rod, a stem, a branch, roots, and an ensign.)

stump with roots and branch

Explain that the word stem in Isaiah 11:1 is translated from a Hebrew word that can refer to the stump of a tree that has been cut down. Ask the student at the board to revise the drawing to include a tree stump, if needed, and to write Stem near the stump. Then ask the student to add roots, if needed, and label them Roots.

  • According to Isaiah 11:1, what comes out of the stem? (A rod. In other words, new growth.)

Ask the student at the board to draw new growth coming from the stump, if needed, and to label it Rod.

Point out that the Prophet Joseph Smith’s explanations of what the stem, rod, and roots represent are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 113. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 113:1–6 silently, looking for the meanings of these symbols.

Invite the student at the board to write Jesus Christ on the board next to the word Stem. You may want to suggest that students write the meanings of these objects in their scriptures. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles clarified that the branch Isaiah mentioned also represents Jesus Christ (see The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 192–94; see also Jeremiah 23:5–6).

Explain that Elder McConkie suggested that the rod and the roots could both represent Joseph Smith (see The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 339–40). Invite a student to write Joseph Smith on the board next to Rod and Roots.

Explain that after Isaiah described some of the conditions of the Millennium (see Isaiah 11:5–9), he prophesied of Joseph Smith and the latter days.

Invite a student to reread Isaiah 11:10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Isaiah said that describes Joseph Smith.

  • What did Isaiah say that the root of Jesse would be for the people? (An ensign.)

  • What is an ensign? (A flag or banner that an army may sometimes gather under or march behind.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 45:9 aloud.

  • What is the standard, or ensign, that the Gentiles will seek after? (The everlasting covenant, or the gospel of Jesus Christ.)

  • How is establishing an ensign similar to what the Lord did through Joseph Smith?

Invite a student to read Isaiah 11:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Isaiah prophesied would happen in the last days.

  • What did Isaiah prophesy would happen in the last days?

Explain that the phrase “set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people” in verse 11 refers to the Restoration of the Church and the latter-day gathering of Israel (see D&C 137:6).

Explain that because of latter-day revelation, we understand that the phrase “he will set up an ensign for the nations” in verse 12 refers to the Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Write the following phrase on the board: The restored Church is an ensign to …

  • Based on verse 12, how would you complete the phrase? (After students respond, complete the phrase so that it states the following truth: The restored Church is an ensign to gather scattered Israel back to the gospel of Jesus Christ.)

  • What does it mean to “gather” scattered Israel back to the gospel of Jesus Christ? (To help others join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [see Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (1954–56), 3:255].)

  • What can we do as members of the Church to help gather scattered Israel to the Lord?

Summarize Isaiah 11:13–16 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied that the Lord would use miraculous means to help gather Israel again.

Invite students to read Isaiah 12:1–3 silently, looking for what these Israelites will do during the Millennium because they have been brought to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Why do you think they will praise the Lord and have great joy?

Invite students to think of someone they know who is a convert to the Church. Ask a few students to describe how that person felt when he or she joined the Church. Summarize Isaiah 12:4–6 by explaining that those who are gathered into the gospel of Jesus Christ will praise the Savior during the Millennium.

Isaiah 13–16

The destruction of Babylon can be likened to the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming

Ask students to imagine that they have the opportunity to join one of two teams. One team is led by a captain who cares very much about his team and wants each team member to succeed. The other team is led by someone who promises great victory and success, but the captain only cares for himself.

  • Which team would you join? Why?

Explain that these teams can represent the Lord’s side and Satan’s side. Write on the board: The Lord’s side and Satan’s side. Invite students as they study Isaiah 13–16 to look for gospel truths that will help them know why they should choose to be on the Lord’s side instead of Satan’s side.

Summarize Isaiah 13:1–10 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied of the destruction of Babylon and that these events can be seen as a type or similitude of the destruction of the wicked that will take place at the Second Coming of the Savior.

Invite a student to read Isaiah 13:11 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord said He would do to the wicked in Babylon.

  • If the punishments described in this verse are a type or similitude of what will occur at the Second Coming, what can we learn about what the Lord will do to the wicked when He comes again? (Using students’ words, write the following truth on the board: When the Lord comes again, He will destroy the wicked.)

Summarize Isaiah 13:12–22 by explaining that Isaiah continued to prophesy about the destruction of Babylon.

Invite a student to read Isaiah 14:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord will do for His people after Babylon is destroyed.

  • If the events described in this verse are a type or similitude of what will occur at the Second Coming, what can we learn about what the Lord will do for His people when He comes again? (Using students’ words, write the following truth on the board: When the Lord comes again, He will be merciful to His people and give them rest.)

  • What kind of rest do you think the Lord’s people will receive?

Summarize Isaiah 14:4–11 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied of the downfall of the Babylonian king and compared this to the downfall of Lucifer, or Satan. Invite a student to read Isaiah 14:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Satan desired.

  • According to these verses, what did Satan desire? (Satan wanted to take God’s power [see also Moses 4:1; D&C 29:36–37].)

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Isaiah 14:15–20. Ask the class to follow along and look for what will ultimately happen to Satan.

  • According to verses 15–16, what will ultimately happen to Satan? What will people say about him? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: Satan will lose his influence and power over mankind, and he will be cast out forever.)

  • How might the truths written on the board help us choose to be on the Savior’s side and not Satan’s?

  • Why do you think Satan succeeds in luring some people to his side, even though he will ultimately lose?

Encourage students to remember the fate of Satan and his followers when they are tempted to leave the Lord’s side.

Summarize Isaiah 15–16 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied of the destruction of Moab. You may want to conclude the lesson by testifying of the truths discussed in this lesson.

Commentary and Background Information

Isaiah 11:1. “A rod out of the stem of Jesse”

Jesse was the father of King David; thus, the term “stem of Jesse” refers to someone who will reign as king over Israel. Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that Joseph Smith was the rod that Isaiah saw:

“Are we amiss in saying that the prophet here mentioned is Joseph Smith, to whom the priesthood came, who received the keys of the kingdom, and who raised the ensign for the gathering of the Lord’s people in our dispensation? And is he not also the ‘servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power’? (D&C 113:4–6.)” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 339–40).

Isaiah 11:1. Who is the “Branch”?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the branch spoken of in Isaiah 11:1 is Jesus Christ (see The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 192–94, quoted in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 148).

Isaiah 11:10. “An ensign of the people”

President Joseph Fielding Smith described the ensign and its significance:

“Over 125 years ago, in the little town of Fayette, Seneca County, New York, the Lord set up an ensign to the nations. It was in fulfilment of the prediction made by the Prophet Isaiah, which I have read. That ensign was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was established for the last time, never again to be destroyed or given to other people [see Daniel 2:44]. It was the greatest event the world has seen since the day that the Redeemer was lifted upon the cross and worked out the infinite and eternal atonement. It meant more to mankind than anything else that has occurred since that day. …

“Following the raising of this ensign, the Lord sent forth his elders clothed with the priesthood and with power and authority, among the nations of the earth, bearing witness unto all peoples of the restoration of his Church, and calling upon the children of men to repent and receive the gospel; for now it was being preached in all the world as a witness before the end should come, that is, the end of the reign of wickedness and the establishment of the millennial reign of peace. The elders went forth as they were commanded, and are still preaching the gospel and gathering out from the nations the seed of Israel unto whom the promise was made” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:254–55; see also Isaiah 5:26).

Isaiah 14:12–16. “I will ascend into heaven … ; I will be like the most High”

Isaiah 14:12–16 describes Lucifer’s aspiration in the premortal life to challenge God’s plan and usurp His authority. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles clarified Satan’s motives and desires:

“Satan, or Lucifer, or the father of lies—call him what you will—is real, the very personification of evil. His motives are in every case malicious. … He is eternally opposed to the love of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the work of peace and salvation. He will fight against these whenever and wherever he can. He knows he will be defeated and cast out in the end, but he is determined to take down with him as many others as he possibly can” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 44).

Isaiah 13–14. Multiple meanings in Isaiah’s writings

“Some of Isaiah’s writings have a dual [more than one] meaning. That is, they can apply to more than one situation or may be fulfilled at more than one time. He also at times combined dualistic phrases with terms that were intended for or understood by only a certain group. …

“In the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters [of Isaiah], Isaiah wrote of the gathering of Israel and their eventual triumph over Babylon. … Babylon is used to refer both to the nation of Babylon as it existed at the time of Isaiah and also to the wickedness of the world and the dominions of Satan in the world, which the nation of Babylon epitomized. In his writings about Babylon in these chapters, Isaiah used concepts that applied to the future fall of Babylon (as a nation and as the symbol of the world), to the triumph of Israel, and to the pre-mortal overthrow of Lucifer and his hosts (see Isaiah 14:4–23). His words are not only dualistic but esoteric [understood only by certain people] as well, for only those who understand the Lord’s plan of salvation can grasp the full message Isaiah presented. Many of Isaiah’s chapters are dualistic in the sense that the message fulfilled in Isaiah’s time is a type or shadow of events to take place in the last days.

“This richness of language and meaning seems to be what Nephi meant when he spoke of the manner of prophesying among the Jews. There is frequent reference to the law of Moses and extensive use of imagery, figurative language, and phrases that have dualistic and esoteric meanings. Though modern readers cannot fully grasp the culture and times of ancient Israel, understanding the methods Isaiah used to convey his meaning can give the reader a far greater understanding of Isaiah” (Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 133).