Isaiah 1–12

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 164–67


At the time Isaiah began his ministry (about 740 B.C.), both Israel and Judah were being threatened by outside enemies. Their biggest problem, however, was their lack of inner righteousness. Isaiah brought a message of rebuke from the Lord to the people of Judah. But his message also included a promise of hope: if the people repented, they would be reconciled to the Lord. As you read Isaiah 1–12, look for ways that Isaiah’s message to Judah might be applied or “likened” to yourself (see 1 Nephi 19:23).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

video icon Old Testament Video presentation 21, “Isaiah Helps” (7:38), can be used in teaching the book of Isaiah. You might want to preview the presentation and determine whether it is best to show the segments or to teach the skills yourself. Presentation 23, “Isaiah–Malachi: An Overview” (19:10), can be used in teaching the last part of the Old Testament. (See Old Testament Video Guide for teaching suggestions.)

weekly icon Isaiah 1–12. Prophets tell us what we need to know and do to have eternal life. (20–25 minutes)

President Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our faithfulness. …

“As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him” (“Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet,” in 1980 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1981], 28–29).

Ask students to find phrases from Isaiah 1–12 that are calls to repentance or counsel on Christlike living. Encourage students to follow Nephi’s counsel and apply those teachings in their own lives for their profit and learning (see 1 Nephi 19:23). Divide the following scripture references among the class and invite them to find the counsel Isaiah gave:


Isaiah’s Counsel

Isaiah 1:11–13

Do not be a hypocrite.

Isaiah 1:16

Be baptized and washed clean.

Isaiah 1:17

Serve others.

Isaiah 1:18

Repent (see the teaching suggestion for Isaiah 1:16–19).

Isaiah 1:28

Do not forsake the Lord; endure to the end.

Isaiah 2:2–3

Go to the temple (see the teaching suggestion for Isaiah 2:2–5).

Isaiah 2:4

Be a peacemaker.

Isaiah 2:5

Walk in the light of the Lord; stay close to His Spirit.

Isaiah 2:7–8

Do not worship or idolize what God blesses us with.

Isaiah 3:9

Do not sin openly and rebelliously like the people of Sodom.

Isaiah 3:16–24

Avoid the fashions and fads of the worldly.

Isaiah 5:11–12

Beware of following the path of ease (see also 2 Nephi 28:8).

Isaiah 5:18

Do not be tied to sins like beasts to carts and burdens.

Isaiah 5:26

Help the Lord gather His children.

Isaiah 6:8–10

Follow the living prophets.

Isaiah 10:33

Avoid pride and wickedness, for such will be destroyed at the Second Coming.

Isaiah 12:2

Have faith in Jesus Christ (see the second teaching suggestion for Isaiah 1–66).

Isaiah 1–12. The different names Isaiah used for the Lord teach us about the character, purposes, and mission of Jesus Christ. (20–25 minutes)

Have students do activity A for Isaiah 12 in their student study guides (pp. 142–43). Discuss what they learn about the names of the Lord.

Isaiah 1–66. Certain key ideas can help us better understand Isaiah. (5–10 minutes)

Write the following six Hebrew letters on the board: י ש א י א ה. Ask the students to decode the message. Without help, they probably will not figure it out.

Give students the following two keys:

  • ה = H, א = A, י = I, ש = S

  • Hebrew is read from right to left.

Tell students that just as those keys helped them understand the message, certain keys to understand Isaiah are also helpful.

Enrichment section E in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi (pp. 131–35) discusses ten keys to understanding Isaiah (for example, “Have the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’” and “Understand the Manner of Prophesying of the Jews”). Share with your students any of those keys that you think would be useful. For each key you discuss in class, make a large paper cutout in the shape of a key. Give students scripture references to help them discover each idea and then write that idea on a paper key. Display the keys throughout your study of Isaiah.

Isaiah 1–66. Isaiah prophesied of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. (20–25 minutes)

One way to quickly cover one of Isaiah’s most significant messages is to search his messianic prophecies. Give students a copy of the following chart, with only the scripture references column filled in. As a class or in small groups, have the students work through the verses and find all they can about Christ and His first and second comings. Though not exhaustive, this chart summarizes some of the major messianic passages in Isaiah.


Isaiah’s Prophetic Messages about the Savior

Isaiah 2:3–12; 4:4–5

At the Lord’s Second Coming the wicked will be destroyed. The Lord will reign on the earth, where the righteous will walk in His light.

Isaiah 6:8

“Here am I; send me” is a type of the premortal Christ volunteering for His holy mission.

Isaiah 7:14–16

Christ will be born of a virgin and will be called Immanuel. He will refuse evil and choose good.

Isaiah 8:13–15

When Christ comes, some will accept Him and others reject Him.

Isaiah 9:1–6

Christ will be born into the world during a time of spiritual darkness. He will bring great blessings to the people in Galilee.

Isaiah 9:6–7

Christ will be called “The mighty God” and “The Prince of Peace” and will sit on David’s throne forever.

Isaiah 11:10–12

The Lord will come in power and glory to usher in the Millennium.

Isaiah 12:6

The Lord will dwell in the midst of His people during the Millennium.

Isaiah 25:8

Christ will conquer death through His Resurrection.

Isaiah 28:16

Christ will be the “corner stone,” tested and tried to be the sure foundation.

Isaiah 32:1–4, 15–18

During the Millennium the Lord will rule as king. There will be safety and peace.

Isaiah 33:22

The Lord is our judge, lawgiver, king, and savior.

Isaiah 40:3

The Lord will send a messenger to prepare the way before Him.

Isaiah 40:4–5; 42:1–4

At the Second Coming, Christ will come in judgment, and “all flesh shall see him together.”

Isaiah 50:4

Christ will have the “tongue of the learned.”

Isaiah 50:5–6

Christ will willingly obey the Father and allow Himself to suffer persecution.

Isaiah 53:2–12

Christ’s atoning mission is explained.

Isaiah 53:2

Christ will not be different in appearance than others.

Isaiah 53:3–4

Christ will be despised, rejected, and acquainted with grief. He will bear the grief and sorrows of all.

Isaiah 53:5–6

Christ will pay for our sins and heal us.

Isaiah 53:7

Christ will not revile against His oppressors.

Isaiah 53:8, 11–12

Christ will be slain for the sins of His people.

Isaiah 53:9, 12

Christ will be crucified with thieves and buried in the tomb of the rich.

Isaiah 53:9

Christ will be innocent of any wrongdoing.

Isaiah 53:10

It is Heavenly Father’s will that Christ die for us.

Isaiah 53:12

Christ will be glorified.

Isaiah 54:5

Christ is the Creator and Redeemer; Israel will be restored.

Isaiah 59:19–20;
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:26

At the Second Coming, the Lord will come from the east like the rising sun.

Isaiah 60:19–20

The brightness of the Lord’s glory will be the light of the world during the Millennium.

Isaiah 61:1–2

Christ is the anointed one who will help those in spiritual bondage, including the spirits in prison (see also Luke 4:16–21; 1 Peter 3:18–19; 4:6).

Isaiah 63:1–6; 66:15

Christ will come in power and glory in a “day of vengeance,” having “trod the winepress alone.

scripture mastery icon Isaiah 1:16–19 (Scripture Mastery, Isaiah 1:18). Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and our own repentance, we can be forgiven and become clean. (15–20 minutes)

Bring to class a clear glass with water in it. While the students are watching, add a drop or two of red food coloring. As the color spreads, ask how the food coloring is like sin. Read Isaiah 1:16–19 with them and ask:

  • What has the Lord promised us concerning our sins?

  • Is it our repentance or the Atonement that cleanses us from sin?

Have students look for answers to this question in Alma 42:12–15 and Helaman 5:10–11. Help them understand that our repentance allows the power of the Atonement to cleanse us.

Drop a capful of chlorine bleach into the water and set the glass aside. The change in color will be gradual. Explain to students that it takes time for repentance to lead us to forgiveness. (By the end of the class period the water will appear as clear as at the beginning.) Ask:

  • How long did it take to see the effects of the food coloring?

  • How long did it take to see the effects of the bleach?

  • How does that compare to sin and forgiveness?

Share with your students the statement by Elder Charles W. Penrose in the commentary for Isaiah 1:16–20 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi (p. 138). Read Alma 41:3–7 and discuss the blessings that come from repentance.

Isaiah 2:2–5. The ordinances and covenants of the temple can help Church members more fully enjoy the blessings of the Atonement and can transform their lives and the lives of those around them. (25–30 minutes)

Have each student draw a picture depicting what Isaiah saw in Isaiah 2:2–3. Invite a few students to share their drawings. As you discuss the drawings, ask:

  • Why do you think Isaiah called the temple the “mountain of the Lord”?

  • Why do you think he taught that the temple would be placed “in the top of the mountains,” in other words, a place of prominence?

  • If what is placed in a prominent position represents what is most important to us in our personal lives, what kinds of things might compete with the temple for a place there?

Have students read Isaiah 2:6–9 and look for examples of what ancient Israel placed above the Lord and His house. Ask: According to verses 3–5, what will happen when the house of Israel puts the temple in this prominent position?

To help students understand why the temple is so important to us, reproduce the accompanying diagram and fill in the words as you discuss how the temple helps us return to the presence of God.

Review with students what they learned earlier in the year about their premortal existence and the Fall (see pp. 13–15). Ask some of the following questions and have students find answers in the scriptures:

Help students understand that for all who are accountable, the full blessings of the gospel can only be received through the ordinances of the temple. President Howard W. Hunter said:

“I … invite the members of the Church to establish the temple … as the great symbol of their membership and the supernal setting for their most sacred covenants. …

“Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord” (in Jay M. Todd, “President Howard W. Hunter: Fourteenth President of the Church,” Ensign, July 1994, 5).

You may want to invite someone who has recently been to the temple to talk about how his or her life is better because of temple worship. Ask the person not to talk about the specifics of the temple, but rather how the temple experience has been a blessing.

Isaiah 11. Isaiah prophesied of the Restoration of the gospel in the last days and of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (10–15 minutes)

Show students a picture of a wolf or other carnivore and a separate picture of a lamb. Ask the class what they think would happen if those two animals were in the same cage together. Show students the picture below (also on p. 239) and have them read Isaiah 11:6–9.

lamb and lion

Ask students:

  • When will the scene in the picture become a reality?

  • When will the earth “be full of the knowledge of the Lord”? (In the Millennium; see Isaiah 11:9; see also the commentary for Isaiah 11:9 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 149.)

Ask your students to ponder those verses and tell what they would like best about living during the Millennium.

Have students read Isaiah 11:1–5, and ask:

  • Who do you think those verses are talking about? (Christ.)

  • What must happen before the Millennium will come? (The destruction of the wicked and Christ’s Second Coming.)

Read Doctrine and Covenants 113:1–4 and discuss what we learn from those verses. Read with your students Isaiah 11:10–16 and discuss what else will happen before the Millennium comes. (Israel will be gathered; see the commentaries for Isaiah 11 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, pp. 149–50.) Read some of the following scriptures and help your students understand how they have been gathered and that they are called to help gather others: Jeremiah 16:14–16; 1 Nephi 10:14; D&C 29:7–8; 45:9; 88:81.