Lesson 121

Isaiah 24–28

“Lesson 121: Isaiah 24–28,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)


Introduction

Isaiah prophesied that the wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will receive great blessings at the Savior’s Second Coming. Isaiah also testified that the Savior is the only sure foundation on which to build our lives.

Suggestions for Teaching

Isaiah 24–27

Isaiah describes the destruction of the wicked and praises the Lord for blessing the righteous

Explain that in the 1970s a professor conducted an experiment in which he showed three- to five-year-old children a marshmallow. He told them that they could eat that one marshmallow right away, or they could get two marshmallows if they waited 20 minutes. (You might consider giving students the same challenge.)

  • What do you think most of the children did?

  • Do you think you would have waited 20 minutes when you were that age? Why or why not?

  • What are some things the Lord has asked us to wait for? (Write students’ responses on the board. You will refer to this list later in the lesson.)

Invite students to look for principles as they study Isaiah 24–27 that will help them understand why it is important for them to be patient as they wait for the Lord to deliver the blessings He promises.

Summarize Isaiah 24 by explaining that it records a prophecy of the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming. Then explain that Isaiah 25 contains a poetic celebration of the blessings the Lord will give to the righteous.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Isaiah 25:1–4. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Isaiah said the Lord had been for the righteous.

  • What did Isaiah say the Lord had been for the righteous?

Tell students that Isaiah 25:6–12 includes some of Isaiah’s prophecies about the joy the righteous will feel when the Lord comes again. Invite a student to read Isaiah 25:6–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord will do when He comes again. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that the symbolic feast described in verse 6 represents the idea that people of all nations will be invited to partake of the blessings of the gospel.

  • In what ways is a feast a good representation of the blessings that people who accept the gospel can receive?

Point out the phrase “he will destroy … the veil that is spread over all nations” in verse 7. This prophecy refers to the time in which we live (see Moses 7:60–61). The “veil” of darkness that covers the earth refers to widespread lack of knowledge about God and His gospel and lack of faith in Him. This darkness is dispelled by the light of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which will eventually penetrate all nations (see D&C 101:23).

  • According to Isaiah 25:8, what will the Lord do for His people in the Millennium?

  • How did the Savior “swallow up death in victory”?

  • What do you think it means that the Lord “will wipe away tears from off all faces”?

Invite students to read Isaiah 25:9 silently, looking for what the Lord’s people will say in the Millennium.

  • What will the Lord’s people say in the Millennium?

  • What principle can we learn from this verse? (As students respond, help them identify the following truth: If we wait for the Lord, then we can receive His salvation and rejoice. Consider inviting students to mark the phrases in verse 9 that teach this truth.)

Explain that Isaiah’s prophecy can also apply to waiting on the Lord for promised blessings.

  • What does it mean for us to wait for the Lord?

If possible, provide students with copies of the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read it aloud, and ask the class to follow along and look for what it means to wait for the Lord:

Elder Robert D. Hales

“In the scriptures, the word wait means to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, long-suffering, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end” (“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 72).

Refer to the list on the board of things the Lord has asked us to wait for.

  • What are some additional things we may need to wait for the Lord to bless us with? (Possible answers include faith, answers to prayers, revelation, help in overcoming temptation, forgiveness, marriage, children, physical or spiritual healing, testimony, and answers to questions we struggle with.)

  • When have you needed to wait for the Lord before receiving a blessing? What did the Lord require from you before He blessed you?

  • Why was the blessing you received worth the wait?

Invite students to write on the back of the statement by Elder Hales or on another piece of paper a goal that states how they will more faithfully wait for the Lord now so that they can rejoice in the blessings that will come later. Ask them to take the paper home and put it somewhere where they will see it often to remind them of their goal.

Summarize Isaiah 26–27 by explaining that Isaiah testified that we can trust in the Lord forever. You may want to suggest that students mark Isaiah 26:4, which teaches about the importance of trusting in the Lord. Isaiah also used the imagery of a vineyard to show how the Lord cares for His people.

Isaiah 28

Isaiah prophesies of the destruction of Ephraim and testifies that Christ is the sure foundation

If possible, bring to class a ladder, a stone, a clod of dirt, and a seed (or draw these items on the board). Display these items, and invite students to look for how they relate to gospel principles they study Isaiah 28.

Invite students to imagine trying to climb the ladder by skipping four rungs at a time.

  • Why would it be difficult to climb a ladder by skipping four rungs at a time?

Explain that in Isaiah 28 we read that Isaiah taught a truth that the wicked Northern Kingdom of Israel needed to understand. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Isaiah 28:9–10, 13. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a principle we can learn about receiving knowledge and understanding from the Lord. To help students better understand the content of these verses, direct them to also read the information in Isaiah 28:9, footnote b, and Isaiah 28:13, footnote b.

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about how the Lord reveals truth? (Students may suggest several principles, but make sure they identify the following truth: The Lord reveals truth to us precept upon precept and line upon line. You may want to suggest that students mark the phrases in verses 10 and 13 that teach this truth.)

  • What are precepts? (Laws or teachings.) What does it mean that the Lord reveals truth “precept upon precept” and “line upon line”?

  • How does this truth relate to the ladder? (The Lord reveals truth to us one step at a time.)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ask the class to listen for reasons why the Lord reveals truth line upon line.

Prophet Joseph Smith

“It is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us; but that we should have a little at a time; then we can comprehend it.

“When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 268).

  • Why do you think the Lord reveals truth to us one step at a time?

Summarize Isaiah 28:14–15 by explaining that the people did not think they needed the word of the Lord because they believed other things would save them from the problems they would experience.

Show students the stone. Ask students why builders use stone in the foundations of buildings.

Invite a student to read Isaiah 28:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for how Isaiah described the stone that Zion, or the Church, would be built on.

  • How did Isaiah describe the stone?

  • In what ways is the stone a representation of the Savior? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: The Savior is the only sure foundation upon which to build our lives.)

Summarize Isaiah 28:17–20 by explaining that the Lord told the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel that they would be swept away because they believed they could build on something other than the Savior.

Show students the dirt clod. Invite a student to read Isaiah 28:24–26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Isaiah said about dirt clods.

  • According to verses 24–25, why does the plowman plow his fields? (To break the dirt clods and prepare the soil for the seeds.)

Explain that just as a plowman breaks apart clods of dirt to soften the soil before planting seeds, the Lord often gives us experiences that will help soften our hearts to prepare us to receive His word.

Show students the seed. Invite a student to read Isaiah 28:27–29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what Isaiah said about seeds. Explain that fitches, cumin, and bread corn (wheat) are types of seeds and that threshing is a process of removing the seed from its pod or stalk.

  • What did Isaiah say about how the fitches and cumin seeds are threshed? (They are not threshed with a threshing instrument; rather, they are beaten out with a staff or rod, which is a more gentle process.)

  • Why do you think some seeds need to be threshed in a gentle way?

  • What did Isaiah say about how the wheat is threshed? (It can be “bruised,” or crushed, which is a rougher process.)

Explain that this analogy teaches that a farmer knows that different seeds need to be threshed in different ways.

  • What principle can we learn from this metaphor about how Heavenly Father works with His children? (Students may identify a variety of principles, including the following truth: Because the Lord knows each of us individually, He gives us personalized experiences to help us grow.)

Invite students to share experiences they have had that illustrate this principle. Consider sharing one of your own experiences.

Commentary and Background Information

Isaiah 25:6. “A feast of wines on the lees”

“The word lees in this passage refers to the sediments attending the preparation of wine; thus ‘wine on the lees’ implies a wine that has been preserved for some time and, less the sediments left on the bottom, is ‘well refined’—symbolic therefore of the harvest of abundant and supernal blessings awaiting the faithful and obedient” (Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen, Unlocking the Old Testament [2009], 331).

Isaiah 25:9. “We have waited for him”

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared the following account of how President David O. McKay had to wait upon the Lord:

“As a young man, President David O. McKay prayed for a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel. Many years later, while he was serving his mission in Scotland, that witness finally came. Later he wrote, ‘It was an assurance to me that sincere prayer is answered “sometime, somewhere”’ [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay (2003), xviii].

“We may not know when or how the Lord’s answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I testify, His answers will come. For some answers we may have to wait until the hereafter. This may be true for some promises in our patriarchal blessings and for some blessings for family members. Let us not give up on the Lord. His blessings are eternal, not temporary” (“Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 73).

Isaiah 28:10, 13. “Line upon line”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles clarified the Lord’s pattern for giving us spiritual knowledge:

“I believe many of us unknowingly accept a faulty assumption about the Lord’s pattern. And this faulty assumption then produces erroneous expectations about how we receive spiritual knowledge. And that faulty assumption and our misinformed expectations ultimately hinder our ability to recognize and respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Let me suggest that many of us typically assume we will receive an answer or a prompting to our earnest prayers and pleadings. And we also frequently expect that such an answer or a prompting will come immediately and all at once. Thus, we tend to believe the Lord will give us A BIG ANSWER QUICKLY AND ALL AT ONE TIME. However, the pattern repeatedly described in the scriptures suggests we receive ‘line upon line, precept upon precept,’ or in other words, many small answers over a period of time. Recognizing and understanding this pattern is an important key to obtaining inspiration and help from the Holy Ghost” (“Line upon Line, Precept upon Precept,” New Era, Sept. 2010, 3–4; emphasis in original).