Isaiah 24–35

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 169–70


Introduction

In chapters 24–35 Isaiah shifts from judgments pronounced on the wicked nations of his day to a prophetic view of the last days and this final gospel dispensation. When we consider how well Isaiah saw his own day, the Savior’s earthly ministry, and these last days, it is not surprising that Jesus Himself said, “Great are the words of Isaiah,” and commanded that we “search these things diligently” (3 Nephi 23:1).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

Isaiah 24–35. For those who are righteous and prepared, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be a glorious occurrence. For those who are not, it will be a dreadful time of God’s judgments. (40–50 minutes)

Have students sing, “Now Let Us Rejoice” (Hymns, no. 3). Ask them why we would sing, as we do in that hymn, words of rejoicing and joy about the Lord’s Second Coming, especially when so much is taught about the calamities preceding this event. Read the following statement concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“The world will present a scene of conflict such as has never been experienced before. Still, men’s hearts will be hardened to the revelations from heaven. Even greater signs shall then be given to manifest the approaching great day of the Lord.

“And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.

“And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke. “And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven. [D&C 45:40–42]

“I realize this is an unpleasant topic on which to dwell. I take no delight in its portrayal, nor do I look forward to the day when calamities shall come with increasing number upon humanity. But these words are not my own; the Lord has spoken them. Knowing what we know as his servants, can we hesitate to raise a warning voice to all who will listen that they may be prepared for the days ahead? Silence in the face of such calamity is sin!

“But to an otherwise gloomy picture there is a bright side—the coming of our Lord in all his glory. His coming will be both glorious and terrible, depending on the spiritual condition of those who remain” (“Prepare Yourselves for the Great Day of the Lord,” in Brigham Young University 1981 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [1981], 66–67).

Have students read Isaiah 24:3–6 and look for why the earth must be cleansed prior to and during the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Ask who verse 5 says that cleansing will be directed against. Have them read Isaiah 25:9 and 26:2–4, 7–9, 13 and ask what kind of people will receive those judgments. Read Isaiah 25:3–8 and 26:12, 19–21 and note what the Lord will do for the righteous, both before and when He comes.

Remind students of President Benson’s statement, especially emphasizing that “His coming will be both glorious and terrible, depending on the spiritual condition of those who remain.” Ask how we can prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord. Read some or all of the following scriptures with students and have them help you make a list of what they say we can do to prepare: 1 Nephi 22:16–22; Doctrine and Covenants 1:12–14; 38:30; 45:32; 64:23. Help them understand that the righteous need not fear the Second Coming but can look forward with anticipation to the wonderful events that will occur at that time.

Isaiah 28:16–20. If we make Jesus Christ our life’s foundation and always turn to Him for strength, we will not fall. (20–25 minutes)

Bring a large, solid-looking stone and a blanket to class. Show them to students and give them time to come up with ways those two objects could be used to teach about Jesus Christ. Invite a few students to share their ideas. Have students read Isaiah 28:16–20 and look for ways Isaiah used those objects to teach about the Lord. Discuss verse 16 by asking:

  • Why should we make Christ our foundation stone?

  • How is He a “sure foundation”?

Students may want to cross-reference Isaiah 28:16 to Matthew 7:24–27 and Helaman 5:12.

In discussing Isaiah 28:20, ask students to imagine a man who is too tall for his bed, with a blanket too small to cover him. Ask: How is that like living without the Savior’s Atonement? That verse also reminds us that the Atonement “covers” mankind completely if they will accept it.

You may also want to refer to 2 Nephi 9:21; Alma 7:11–12; and Doctrine and Covenants 19:15–19 as you discuss and testify of the power of the Atonement.

weekly icon scripture mastery icon Isaiah 29 (Scripture Mastery, Isaiah 29:13–14). Isaiah prophesied of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. (35–40 minutes)

The following activity may be a good way to help students understand Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. The following chart matches events Isaiah prophesied would happen when the Book of Mormon was brought to light with the fulfillment of each event. Change the order of the scripture references in the second column and, individually or in groups, have students search the scriptures in the two lists and match the prophecy with the fulfillment.

Isaiah’s Prophecy of the Book of Mormon

Fulfillment of Isaiah’s Prophecy

Isaiah 29:4

Joseph Smith—History 1:29–34, 42, 51–52

Isaiah 29:10

Joseph Smith—History 1:10, 18–19

Isaiah 29:11

Ether 4:4–6

Isaiah 29:11–12

Joseph Smith—History 1:63–65

Some of the following questions may help in a discussion of Isaiah’s prophecy:

  • How would it be helpful for people today to know that ancient prophets knew of and prophesied of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon?

  • How could such prophecies in the Bible help prepare people for the Book of Mormon?

  • Why do you think God would reveal such detailed knowledge to His prophets?

  • What do such prophecies teach us about God’s foreknowledge?

  • How does understanding that God is all-knowing and all-powerful help us trust Him?

Other ancient prophets also prophesied the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, such as Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 37:15–17), Joseph in Egypt (see 2 Nephi 3:11), and Nephi (see 2 Nephi 27:6–23).

Have students mark the scripture mastery verses (Isaiah 29:13–14) and cross-reference them with Joseph Smith—History 1:19. Ask:

  • How do people honor God with their words but not with their hearts?

  • How are the Restoration of the gospel and the Book of Mormon a “marvellous work and a wonder”?

  • How does the Book of Mormon cause the wisdom of the worldly wise to perish? (see Isaiah 29:11–14).

You may want to have three students role play an investigator asking two missionaries questions about the Book of Mormon. The rest of the class could help provide the students playing the missionaries with scripture references. Prepare questions like the following for the student playing the investigator to ask—not contentiously, but as an honest seeker of truth:

  • Does the Bible say anything about the Book of Mormon?

  • Why do we need more scripture than the Bible?

  • Why don’t other churches accept the Book of Mormon?

  • Did anyone besides Joseph Smith ever see the gold plates?

  • How can I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet?

Invite some students to tell how they feel about the Book of Mormon and what effect it has had on their lives.

Isaiah 28:23–29; 30–31; 36–37; 40. The Lord’s power is infinitely greater than man’s. When we “wait upon” the Lord, we will receive His power to help us overcome our trials and will eventually receive all of His promised blessings. (35–40 minutes)

Ask students:

  • Who are some people you trust? Why?

  • Who would you trust to guide you safely on a dangerous journey through the Amazon River?

  • Who would you trust if you needed your car fixed?

  • Who would you trust to do the surgery if you needed an operation?

  • Who would you trust to lead you on the path of salvation?

  • Why do we need to trust the Lord?

  • How are we sometimes tempted not to place our trust in Him?

Tell students that in Isaiah’s time, Israel was tempted to trust neighboring countries, such as Egypt, to save them from their enemies rather than trusting in the Lord (see Isaiah 30:1–3, 7; 31:1–3). Because the people of Israel often worshiped false gods and looked to other sources for help, they needed to learn to trust and serve the Lord in order to be saved.

Have students read Isaiah 30:15–17 and tell in their own words what the Lord promised the Israelites and how He warned them about the things they put their trust in. Invite them to cross-reference those verses to Helaman 4:13. Ask:

  • What does the plan of salvation teach about why we are in such great need of the Lord’s help? (We all sin, we all are under the effects of the Fall, and we all need the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

  • What might our future be like if we didn’t receive help or strength from the Lord?

Read Isaiah 30:18, noting what the Lord does while we go on trusting in our own strength (and failing). Ask students:

  • What do you think it means to wait for the Lord?

  • Why are those who do so blessed?

Have students read Isaiah 30:19–21 and identify the blessings the Lord promised to give those who wait.

Summarize Isaiah 36–37, which tells of a time that King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem learned about waiting upon the Lord. Help students understand how this account relates to our day, particularly when we are misunderstood or criticized for trusting in the Lord and His commandments. Ask what will happen if we, like Hezekiah, wait and endure faithfully.

Isaiah 40:10–31 testifies of the Lord’s power and that He will destroy the wicked and reward the righteous who wait upon Him. Read selected verses with your students—verses 28–31 are especially good to read aloud. Share an experience or invite students to share experiences that have taught them that these verses are true.

Another of Isaiah’s testimonies of trusting in the Lord is found in Isaiah 28:23–29 (see the commentary for Isaiah 28:23–29 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, pp. 163–64). Help students understand from those verses that they can trust the Lord in every circumstance.