Thursday, September 29, 2022

Trodden the Winepress Alone (Isaiah 54-66)

Without Money & Without Price

READ Isaiah 55:1-3

What is Christ’s invitation to us, given the Atonement we’ve been talking about?

Come unto Me and be saved.

All are invited, regardless of how they’ve lived their lives; and all can be saved if they will do what is required – which does not require a “payment” but does require your love and commitment to Christ.

Why are Christ’s gifts “without money and without price?”

He doesn’t “charge” money or require us to pay the same sacrifice He did (unless we don’t repent – see D&C 19:17); what He requires is a sacrifice each of us CAN give – a broken heart and contrite spirit.

Immortality is entirely “free”.

It’s nothing we could afford anyway – we do not want to pay that eternal punishment and we couldn’t anyway – not in this life at least!

What must we do to be saved?

Incline your ear – hear – awake!  Obtain the knowledge needed to exercise saving faith (see LoF 3:2-5).

Come unto Christ in this life.

Covenant with Christ.

 

READ Isaiah 55:6-7

What else must we do to be saved?

Turn from Babylon to the Lord – the Two Ways are really just the opposite destinations on the same path.

It is not making it all the way back to perfection (the destination of the path) before you can be saved – through the Atonement, you can be “perfect in Christ” as soon as you turn to Him with full purpose of heart – “immediately shall the great plan of redemption be brought about unto you” (see Alma 34:31) regardless of how far on the path you still have to walk to make it to the ultimate destination.

What does it mean to “seek the Lord WHILE He may be found”?

This life is a probationary state – we have a limited time opportunity (see Alma 12:24).

And after this opportunity to find Christ is over, there is a “night of darkness” where no labor can be performed (see Alma 34:33).



Savior on Mount Zion

READ Isaiah 61:1-3

What is the Lord found doing today?

Preaching good tidings unto the meek.

Binding up the broken hearted.

Proclaiming liberty to the captives (sin, death, spirit prison, etc).

Comforting those that mourn.

Giving “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy… the garment of praise”.

He is still personally ministering to those who will receive Him – either unseen or seen. 

 

READ Isaiah 58:6-11

What must we do if we are to follow and worship our Master?

Loose bands of wickedness.

Undo heavy burdens.

Give bread to the hungry.

Clothe the naked.

In a phrase: “relieve the suffering of others”.

What blessings will we be given by acting as a “Savior on Mount Zion” to others?

Filled with light and glory.

Call to the Lord and He will come to you.

Redeem you from the yoke of bondage to sin and death.

Guide you continually.

 

READ Isaiah 56:3-8

What hope do these verses give to us ethnic “Gentiles”?

It’s not about the mortal lineage you were born into.

God is no respecter of persons – it’s about “taking hold of (His) covenant”.

 

 

He Comes In Red

READ Isaiah 64:1 and Isaiah 63:1-3 and Isaiah 66:15-16

How will the Lord appear when He comes in His glory?

Wearing red; dressed entirely in a red robe.

With fire and glory.

With His fiery or glorious entourage to destroy the wicked.

 

READ Isaiah 66:22-23 and Isaiah 60:19-21

What must those righteous that remain be able to do?

Abide in His glory, for it will be so bright it will drown out the light of the sun and moon.

Stand in His presence (“remain before me”).

You must have a portion of that light or glory within you; you must resonate at a high enough frequency to be able to withstand the glory of God and not be utterly wasted. 

 

READ Isaiah 55:8-11 and Isaiah 64:4

How much higher are God’s Ways than our ways?

No man can behold all His works unless they behold all His glory, and they can’t do that and remain on the earth (i.e. mortal; see Moses 1:5 and Jacob 4:8).

We cannot learn it all here on this earth (see Jacob 4:8 and TPJS 392:2).

We cannot begin to truly comprehend it here in mortality.

 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Trodden the Winepress Alone (Isaiah 54-66) QUESTIONS

Without Money & Without Price

READ Isaiah 55:1-3

What is Christ’s invitation to us, given the Atonement we’ve been talking about?

Why are Christ’s gifts “without money and without price?”

What must we do to be saved?

 

READ Isaiah 55:6-7

What else must we do to be saved?

What does it mean to “seek the Lord WHILE He may be found”?



Savior on Mount Zion

READ Isaiah 61:1-3

What is the Lord found doing today?

 

READ Isaiah 58:6-11

What must we do if we are to follow and worship our Master?

What blessings will we be given by acting as a “Savior on Mount Zion” to others?

 

READ Isaiah 56:3-8

What hope do these verses give to us ethnic “Gentiles”?

 

 

He Comes In Red

READ Isaiah 64:1 and Isaiah 63:1-3 and Isaiah 66:15-16

How will the Lord appear when He comes in His glory?

 

READ Isaiah 66:22-23 and Isaiah 60:19-21

What must those righteous that remain be able to do?

 

READ Isaiah 55:8-11 and Isaiah 64:4

How much higher are God’s Ways than our ways?

Thursday, September 22, 2022

With His Stripes, We Are Healed (Isaiah 50-53)

Waiting on the Lord

READ Isaiah 50:1

Why are we in bondage?

We have sold ourselves and have lost our freedom to settle a debt that we have incurred which we cannot repay.

We are in bondage to sin and death.

God did not do this to us; we both incurred the debt and sold ourselves as a result.

 

READ Isaiah 50:11

How do those who have sold themselves walk in the darkness of mortality?

We walk in the light of our own fires – our own intellect and intuition (what we think and feel to be right).

But it is like walking a treacherous mountain path at night with a “sparkler” as a guide.

 

READ Isaiah 50:5-10 and Isaiah 51:12-13

What is the difference between the last individual and one who “trusts in the Lord”?

They will not rebel and turn away from the Lord when He “opens their ears” to hear Him.

Implied is that He attempts to contact all of us by “opening our ears” but only some will not rebel at the message.

What will happen to the person who does not rebel when the Lord calls them?

They will be hated of the world.

They will be beaten.

They will be spit upon and mocked.

They will be shamed and discredited.

They will be contended with (confronted).

Who fights their battles?

The Lord God, but not before they have experienced the hatred, beating, shame and confrontation.

Who do they “fear” or respect or worship?

The Lord God – NOT MAN.

Even though they may walk in darkness for a time (i.e. the threats of the fury of their oppressors).

But they worship and respect God, regardless of the intimidating treatment they receive from worldly people. 

Who do these verses apply to?

All those who seek to follow the Lord – who “wait” for Him – who do not rebel when He calls to them.

Christ Himself, with the “Lord God” being the Father, in that case.

 

 

How Beautiful Upon the Mountains

READ Isaiah 51:1-3, 11

Where are we to look?

To the Fathers and Mothers (in heaven) as an example of what to do and what covenant to seek for.

To “the Rock” (the Lord) who will heal and comfort us.

Why must the Lord comfort Zion?

Because Zion (the people and the place) is a ruin, a wilderness, a desert.

All is NOT well in Zion.

They need to be redeemed in order to have joy.

 

READ Isaiah 52:1-3

What must those who wish to enter Zion do first?

Awake from their “deep sleep” and realize they are bound by “awful chains” but they must only be “shaken off” to be freed (see 2 Nephi 1:13, and 2 Nephi 9:47, Mosiah 2:40).

Implied is that the chains appear “awful” and they are bound by them, but they are not locked or secured, as they appear to be; all one must do is “shake” them and they will fall off. 

After they are awake, what must they do next?

Put on the “beautiful garments” which the Father gives to those who will accept His invitation – you must be made clean in the blood of the Lamb.

 

READ Isaiah 52:7

Why are the feet of those who bring good tidings beautiful?

In ancient ceremonies involving animal sacrifice, blood was shed on the ground and the feet of those doing the rites would get bloody.

The blood on the feet was a symbol of the sins of the people – of the “generation”.

Christ’s Washing of the Feet was symbolic of the cleaning of the feet of those covered in blood (see John 13:5-10).

He does the cleaning Himself – he “employs no servant there” (see 2 Nephi 9:41).

They are beautiful because they are clean from the blood of their wicked generation (see D&C 88:74-75); Christ makes them beautiful.

It is beautiful. All of it is beautiful – even the difficult climb upon the mountains is beautiful. All of it is a reflection of the purity and intelligence of God, whose ways are higher than man's ways as the heavens are higher than the earth. (see Isaiah 55: 8-9.)

It reminds me of this version of the Navajo Beauty Way Chant, which is part of a healing ceremony to restore “hozjo” or spiritual/temporal balance: “With beauty before me, may I walk; With beauty behind me, may I walk; With beauty below me, may I walk; With beauty above me, may I walk; With beauty all around me, may I walk; With beauty within me, may I walk; In beauty, it is finished. In beauty, it is finished. In beauty, it is finished… In beauty, it begins.”

What is the desire of those whose “feet” have been cleansed and sanctified by Christ?

Like Lehi, their first desire is to share this discovery (of Christ) with others – the “fruit” is “delicious” to them.

They want to “cry peace” – they don’t administer the peace but they have experienced it and know where it is found.

Why are they “upon the mountains”?

Mountains are nature’s (God’s) symbol of the ascent to Heaven.

The climb represents repentance and purification of the soul – it is difficult and can seem dangerous, even life threatening (to the natural man, it is life ending).

When a person stands upon the top of the mountain, s/he appears to be part of heaven itself and no longer earthbound. Their profile is with the sky, symbolizing the completion of the ascent back to God.

 

 

The Suffering Servant

Now we will turn to He that has made this ascent back to Heaven possible, and the depths to which He had to go to enable it.

READ Isaiah 53:1 and JSH 1:25

Why does Isaiah say “our” report if it is his testimony?

Because God authorized the message to be delivered – Isaiah’s not freelancing and he’s not just reporting on a vision he has seen – he was commanded to report what he saw.

Many others have seen the same “report” and have also been commanded by God to testify of it; Isaiah must have told or seen or sensed the fact that he was not alone in this testimony. 

Why is Isaiah doubtful that people will believe their report?

His message contradicts the ideas held by his readers – it will tell them something very different from what they thought to be true.

Most people do not seek for the truth – they are not open to the possibility that they do not have all of the truth or that what they think is true may not be.

What does the “arm of the Lord” represent?

God’s strength or might.

His glory, power, light or intelligence. 

What does it mean to have the arm of the Lord revealed to you?

Gain a knowledge of Him and His ways – which are not what men presume them to be – He has much higher and holier ends.

To know God personally; to have personal experiences of His reality which cannot be denied without lying. 

Is the arm of the Lord revealed to those who will not believe the report?

No – and He is merciful not to reveal His arm to them as it would surely damn them if He did (remember Laman and also Cain; interesting that the former say an angel and the latter heard the voice of God – implied is that neither of these is enough to constitute the “arm of the Lord”. 

Casting off the veil of unbelief (unbelief = believing things that are false) is the first step.

 

READ Isaiah 53:2-3

What does the “dry ground” represent?

The culture and religion of the day was not producing redeemed or saved souls.

Leadership was corrupt (Sadducees and scribes) and doctrine had been changed and added to (Pharisees).

How can a root grow in “dry” or essentially “dead” ground that gives no nutrient?

It must have life (and light) in itself.

It must be nourished from another source – directly from God, not dependent at all upon the “soil” or culture in which it is “planted”.

Why would Christ be described as having no “form” or “comeliness” or “beauty that we should desire him”?

Perhaps he was not handsome (he was clearly charismatic and tall, however, as people followed Him regardless).

Perhaps he was scarred or marred from his career as a carpenter.

He had no credentials or priestly status or wealth/power that Israel would be enticed to automatically follow (in fact, His lack of these things led people to doubt Him and not want to follow – He became a “rock of offense and stone of stumbling” (2 Nephi 18:14) because “can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

Those who recognized in His message the voice of the Lord were required to overlook His obscurity (a carpenter from backward Galilee), lack of status (was not a priest – not a Levite or from priestly bloodline), and credential (lack of rabbinical education).

Why did the people who were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah “despise and reject” Him?

Because He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief – He was from humble circumstances AND he associated with the poor, sick, afflicted and sinful.

The rich and powerful “hid their faces from Him” meaning they refused to associate with Him, by and large – He had nothing to offer them (as He wasn’t going to free them from Rome) and acknowledging Him would require them to condescend.

He did not fit their (false) mental model of what a Messiah would look like or do. 

 

READ Isaiah 53:4-5

If He is bearing our grief and sorrows, why do we esteem Him smitten of God?

Because after all He did, most do not believe He was really the Son of God – for will God really afflict those that He has chosen?

Those who bear the world’s grief and sorrows ARE smitten; but “for” God (and us) not “of” or “by” God for some perceived sin. 

Was Christ’s suffering “just”?

No, His sinless life means that justice would only be served if He never suffered anything at all.   

Yet He suffered it all (infinite and eternal suffering – see Alma 34:10 and D&C 19:11).

And this is how He was able to open the gates of death and hell – it requires someone upon whom death and hell have no claim to go there – and justice itself requires Him to be released from that prison. 

Having then returned to life, because it was just for Him to do so, He acquired the keys of death and hell and can open them for all.

 

READ Isaiah 53:6 and John 10:27

How can Isaiah say that “all” have “gone astray”?

Because all are fallen and are lost (see Alma 34:9).

Because “relative righteousness” won’t save us as God cannot look upon any sin with the least degree of allowance (see D&C 1:31).

How do we find the true shepherd again?

We must know His voice to hear it – if we can’t recognize His voice in the shout and tumult of other voices (including our own), we won’t know where to walk to find Him (think of the imagery of His calling to His sheep, which means they are not with Him yet but are still lost).

After we’ve head and recognized His voice, we must choose to leave our “own way” and follow Him.

What is implied by the fact that the God has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all going astray in our own ways?

He has been there (lost and mired in the darkness of our sins and unbelief) and knows the way back to God and light.

 

READ Isaiah 53:8-9

Why did the Sanhedrin have the Romans crucify Christ?

Crucifixion was a death administered to criminals.

It was done very publicly (on the road leading to Jerusalem) as a warning to others but also to shame the individual before his death.

If He died a criminal’s death, why was He buried in an honorable tomb worthy of the rich?

Because He had done no violence and no deceit was in His mouth – He wasn’t a criminal (sinful) but was completely unjustly condemned as one – He was worthy of such a tomb.

Joseph of Arimathea begged His body from the Romans and buried it in the tomb because He believed in Christ as the Messiah; He was inspired by God to do this.

 

READ Isaiah 53:10-11 and Moses 7:47

Why were God and the Heavens pleased at Christ’s suffering?

His suffering enabled God’s work – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

His suffering was the victory that enabled our release from death and hell.

His overcoming of eternal suffering and death was triumphant – it defines or epitomizes the word.

Who are Christ’s seed?

All mankind (to whom He gives immortality).

More specifically, those who come unto Him and receive exaltation and eternal life.

What does it mean that He “prolonged His days?”

When it came to the moment in the Garden and the weight of eternal suffering began to be felt, He asked to have the Cup removed from Him (see D&C 19:15-19; John 12:27; Matt 26:37-39), as He began to sense the depth of the infinite and eternal suffering – all that a God can suffer.

But He “prolonged His days” and finished the sacrifice for our sakes (His seed)… when He saw us.

It is possible that Christ saw in vision all those who would accept His sacrifice by coming unto Him (His seed or children); if that is true, it is also possible that all of His seed who come unto Him will be shown, in vision but as if you were there, His working out of the atonement for you in the Garden and on the cross; so that you see Him and He sees you, in that exact and real moment of time in the Garden – that you actually are there with Him but unable to help as He treads the winepress alone for you – an interactive “vision” for both you and Him.

How does Christ “justify man?”

Through the knowledge He gained suffering the eternal punishment.

The great Sacrifice was the “preparation” (see D&C 19:19) but not the completion (see Alma 7:11-12) – He uses His saving knowledge to succor and tutor each soul who will permit Him to minister to them.

 

READ Isaiah 53:12

Why does Christ only retain a portion?

Because He divides His “earnings” with His seed – He merited it all but does not hoard His rightful reward.

Christ will not only willingly share with His lesser beings, but He will go further and "make intercession for the transgressors". 

He is neither jealous of their sharing in His triumph, nor resentful to "divide the spoil" of His great victory. Here is a Messiah indeed!  Here is a Redeemer indeed! 

Despise Him and His servants and He will still condescend to succor you so far as you permit Him to do. Turn your face from Him and His servants, He will still plead for you to listen. Forsake and abandon Him and He will still forgive and make intercession for your errors. Those who follow Him will be misunderstood, reviled, persecuted.  It is in the nature of things in this world.  The entire prophecy in Isaiah 53 is a description not only of the Messiah, but also of the Messiah's children.  They are His children because they walk His Way with them – learning, in a small way, what it will be like to work out an atonement for others, most of whom will reject it. 

 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

With His Stripes, We Are Healed (Isaiah 50-53) QUESTIONS

Waiting on the Lord

READ Isaiah 50:1

Why are we in bondage?

 

READ Isaiah 50:11

How do those who have sold themselves walk in the darkness of mortality?

 

READ Isaiah 50:5-10 and Isaiah 51:12-13

What is the difference between the last individual and one who “trusts in the Lord”?

What will happen to the person who does not rebel when the Lord calls them?

Who fights their battles?

Who do they “fear” or respect or worship?

Who do these verses apply to?

 

 

How Beautiful Upon the Mountains

READ Isaiah 51:1-3, 11

Where are we to look?

Why must the Lord comfort Zion?

 

READ Isaiah 52:1-3

What must those who wish to enter Zion do first?

After they are awake, what must they do next?

 

READ Isaiah 52:7

Why are the feet of those who bring good tidings beautiful?

What is the desire of those whose “feet” have been cleansed and sanctified by Christ?

Why are they “upon the mountains”?

 

 

The Suffering Servant

Now we will turn to He that has made this ascent back to Heaven possible, and the depths to which He had to go to enable it.

READ Isaiah 53:1 and JSH 1:25

Why does Isaiah say “our” report if it is his testimony?

Why is Isaiah doubtful that people will believe their report?

What does the “arm of the Lord” represent?

What does it mean to have the arm of the Lord revealed to you?

Is the arm of the Lord revealed to those who will not believe the report?

 

READ Isaiah 53:2-3

What does the “dry ground” represent?

How can a root grow in “dry” or essentially “dead” ground that gives no nutrient?

Why would Christ be described as having no “form” or “comeliness” or “beauty that we should desire him”?

Why did the people who were looking forward to the coming of the Messiah “despise and reject” Him?

 

READ Isaiah 53:4-5

If He is bearing our grief and sorrows, why do we esteem Him smitten of God?

Was Christ’s suffering “just”?

 

READ Isaiah 53:6 and John 10:27

How can Isaiah say that “all” have “gone astray”?

How do we find the true shepherd again?

What is implied by the fact that the God has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all going astray in our own ways?

 

READ Isaiah 53:8-9

Why did the Sanhedrin have the Romans crucify Christ?

If He died a criminal’s death, why was He buried in an honorable tomb worthy of the rich?

 

READ Isaiah 53:10-11 and Moses 7:47

Why were God and the Heavens pleased at Christ’s suffering?

Who are Christ’s seed?

What does it mean that He “prolonged His days?”

How does Christ “justify man?”

 

READ Isaiah 53:12

Why does Christ only retain a portion?


Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Furnace of Affliction (Isaiah 40-49)

Christ Comes in Glory

READ Isaiah 40:3-5

What will happen when the Lord returns in glory?

Everything will seem to be upside down – valley’s exalted and mountains made low.

All flesh shall see the glory of the Lord together.

 

READ Isaiah 40:12, 15, 18, 21-22, 25

Who is this Lord who is coming?

He measures the oceans in the hollow of His hand.

The heavens are like a curtain.

The earth is weighed in a cup.

The nations are a drop in a bucket.

Humans are like grasshoppers in comparison.

The Lion, not the Lamb.

 

The Prophet Joseph taught in the Lectures on Faith that we need a “correct idea of (God’s) character, perfections, and attributes” if we are to exercise faith in Him unto life and salvation (see LoF 3:2-5).  The character of God is described by Joseph as…

READ LoF 3:13-18

Why are these character attributes critical to our ability to exercise faith in Him?

Creator and upholder: If God wasn’t the creator and upholder of all things then it might be possible for another, more powerful God to thwart His plans.

Merciful: Our sinfulness would test His limits of patience.

Unchangeable: The plan is the same for all throughout eternity.

God of Truth: Can have faith in His word – if He says you are forgiven, you are – regardless of what you’ve done.

No respecter of persons: all have equal privilege – just do what He says has to be done (sacrifice whole soul, be believing, etc).

Love: it is why He does what He does, i.e. sacrifice Himself to save us.

 

READ Isaiah 40:28-31 and 11

What does He do for those who wait upon Him?

He gives them strength.

He feeds them.

He carries them.

He leads them gently.

What is implied by the word “wait”?

He works according to His own timetable – in line with the character attributes outlined above.

He is a “fourth watch God”.

The fact that we must wait is ultimately a benefit to us – it doesn’t matter to Him; meaning He can act at any time, but He waits for a purpose.

 

READ Isaiah 41:11, 14

What does the Lord do to His peoples’ enemies?

He fights their battles for them.

He confounds, embarrasses and destroys them.

Can his people defend themselves?

No, they are the weak things of the world – without means, power or reputation (“worm”).

They are of necessity, humble.

They trust the Lord to fight their battles and stand as sentinels for His word to do whatever He asks of them.

 

 

A Bruised Reed

READ Isaiah 42:3

What does a “bruised reed” symbolize?

A reed is weak but a bruised reed is very weak – not straight, barely standing up; it has an inherent, fatal flaw.

It is symbolic of those who wait on the Lord.

It is symbolic of the sins and weaknesses that all mortals have.

The shepherds of Israel used to make simple reed pipes to play music on.  If the pipe was stepped on it would easily bruise and would most likely be discarded, as it was easy to make a new one and the bruised pipe no longer sounded in tune.

What is the symbolism of the Lord not breaking the bruised pipe in two and discarding it?

It is symbolic of the way He has promised to bind up our hurts, forgive our sins, and wipe the tears from our eyes.

We are not cast away because of our imperfections.

The Lord wants to save us because we are dear to Him, regardless of how unprofitable we might be.

It speaks to our inherent value in His eyes.

 

READ Isaiah 43:24-25

What does “I have not caused thee to serve with an offering” mean?

He has not burdened us with temporal sacrifices.

He has not required “all that we possess” in order to placate Him to save us.



An Acceptable Sacrifice

In the ancient religions, priests would sacrifice innocent victims to placate the Gods – what does the true and living God sacrifice?

Himself – He is the sacrifice for our sins.

He attempts to placate or touch our hearts with His sacrifice (like Abigail, who did not sin with Nadal but took her husband’s sins upon herself, and sinless of her husband’s crimes, begged for mercy from David).

Why does He do it?

For His own sake – it is His work and His glory.

Because He first loved us.

What sacrifice does He require of us?

Broken heart and contrite spirit (see 3 Nephi 9:19-20).

He wants our whole souls – something that we can give Him that is really ours to give.

 

READ Isaiah 44:3-4

What does the fact that Israel is thirsty and dry imply?

Dry ground = dead ground.

Thirsty = seeking life giving water.

So, the two together could show that they have come to themselves or recognized their terrible state – they realize their need and are seeking Christ.

How do His people react to the water?

They “spring up” – they come alive again and multiply.

They stay near the living water – it is their life source and they don’t want to leave it.

 

 

A Refiner’s Fire

The Lord will save those who come unto Him and wait for Him – but what of those of Israel that profess His name while they turn away from Him in deed?

READ Isaiah 48:1-2, 4-5, 8

Who is the Lord talking to here?

Israel (the Church) – they “stay themselves upon the God of Israel”.

If these are “active” Israelites, why would the Lord accuse them of idol worship?

They say they believe in God but they don’t really.

They are prideful and stubborn – think they know it all, can do it all, don’t really need God except as a tool or cheerleader or a “closer” after “all they can do”.

They believe in other Gods: idols, money, leaders.

 

READ Isaiah 48:8-11

Why is the Lord refining Israel for their own sakes?

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God and He cannot abide sin with the least degree of allowance.

His refining opportunities take us to our knees and compel us to call on His name for mercy and grace, if we haven’t already done so – which leads to a mighty change of heart.

We have to sacrifice all things to gain faith sufficient for salvation.

He is testing us in the crucible of affliction – helping us to understand who we will unconditionally love and humbly serve.

If we succeed, it accomplishes His work and His glory – to bring to pass OUR immortality and eternal life.

And remember, it hurt Him more than it hurts us anyway – He suffered all that a God can suffer – an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

 

READ Isaiah 48:16-17

Should this probationary state come as a surprise to us?

No, God has been very plain about His intentions from the beginning.

This world is not a place of ease – it is a test and an opportunity.

The more darkness we endure in Christ, the more light, in equal measure, we will receive because we’ll be capable of receiving it.

Who has been teaching and guiding us from the beginning?

The Lord Himself.

Through His Spirit and directly in person, and through prophets like Isaiah, Nephi and Joseph Smith.

 

READ Isaiah 48:18, 21 and 49:8

What are the Lord’s promises?

If we listen to His voice and keep His commandments – we will have peace and live in righteousness.

He will lead us through our afflictions (deserts) with living water to make it through safely.

He will help and preserve us.

We will inherit a land of promise which is “desolate” now.

All of that implies that life will be very difficult; “peace” is an inward condition and living water keeps us alive but does not ensure us any prosperity.

How are they administered to us?

By covenant with Him.

 

READ Isaiah 49:13-16

What would it take for a woman to forget her nursing baby?

An imminent, horrendous death.

Heroin.

Why will the Lord never forget us?

Those moments of eternal sacrifice and horrendous death (see D&C 19:15-19) were the very things that caused us to be “graven” on the palms of His hands, so that He will never forget us; He refused the narcotic on the cross because He had to finish the cup to the bitter dregs.

 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

The Furnace of Affliction (Isaiah 40-49) QUESTIONS

Christ Comes in Glory

READ Isaiah 40:3-5

What will happen when the Lord returns in glory?

 

READ Isaiah 40:12, 15, 18, 21-22, 25

Who is this Lord who is coming?

 

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught in the Lectures on Faith that we need a “correct idea of (God’s) character, perfections, and attributes” if we are to exercise faith in Him unto life and salvation (see LoF 3:2-5).  The character of God is described by Joseph as…

READ LoF 3:13-18

Why are these character attributes critical to our ability to exercise faith in Him?

 

READ Isaiah 40:28-31 and 11

What does He do for those who wait upon Him?

What is implied by the word “wait”?

 

READ Isaiah 41:11, 14

What does the Lord do to His peoples’ enemies?

Can his people defend themselves?

 

 

A Bruised Reed

READ Isaiah 42:3

What does a “bruised reed” symbolize?

What is the symbolism of the Lord not breaking the bruised pipe in two and discarding it?

 

READ Isaiah 43:24-25

What does “I have not caused thee to serve with an offering” mean?



An Acceptable Sacrifice

In the ancient religions, priests would sacrifice innocent victims to placate the Gods – what does the true and living God sacrifice?

Why does He do it?

What sacrifice does He require of us?

 

READ Isaiah 44:3-4

What does the fact that Israel is thirsty and dry imply?

How do His people react to the water?

 

 

A Refiner’s Fire

The Lord will save those who come unto Him and wait for Him – but what of those of Israel that profess His name while they turn away from Him in deed?

READ Isaiah 48:1-2, 4-5, 8

Who is the Lord talking to here?

If these are “active” Israelites, why would the Lord accuse them of idol worship?

 

READ Isaiah 48:8-11

Why is the Lord refining Israel for their own sakes?

 

READ Isaiah 48:16-17

Should this probationary state come as a surprise to us?

Who has been teaching and guiding us from the beginning?

 

READ Isaiah 48:18, 21 and 49:8

What are the Lord’s promises?

How are they administered to us?

 

READ Isaiah 49:13-16

What would it take for a woman to forget her nursing baby?

Why will the Lord never forget us?

Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Wedding Feast (Isaiah 22-30)

Note: For the material on Isaiah 7-21, see Book of Mormon posts on February 13th and 21st of 2020.

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/2885016782413631610/8097827834001993245

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/2885016782413631610/778632126303845138

 

The Covenant Breakers

READ Isaiah 22:21-23

Who is being talked about here?

Christ.

What power does He possess?

Power to govern.

Power to seal.

Power to save (“sure nail”).

Power to further glorify His father by exalting His father’s children.

 

READ 2 Nephi 9:41

What does it mean that the Holy One of Israel is the keeper of the Gate to Heaven, and He doesn’t employ a servant there?

There is only ONE way to get to Heaven.

If you do not KNOW the Gate Keeper and are known by Him, you cannot enter.

In ancient times, the risk of opening the gate to see if one could recognize the traveler as an acquaintance, or to assess a stranger as a friend or foe was way too great.  So, after dark especially, unless the gatekeeper recognized your voice as a family member or close friend to the House, you would be denied entry.

 

READ Isaiah 24:3-6

Why is the earth defiled?

Because those with the Gospel of Christ, which is the only thing that can lead people back to the Keeper of the Gate, have not been true to their stewardships.

The stewardship was to guard against losing the knowledge of the path back to the gate, and to fail to communicate that knowledge to those that needed it.

What have they done?

They have transgressed the laws.

Changed the ordinances.

Broken the everlasting covenant.

They thought they knew better then God – they put “fences” around the Law focusing on outward “performances”.

They changed the ordinances to be more acceptable to the thinking (philosophies) and behavior of the world (politically correct and culturally aligned).

By doing these things, the people cannot perform the ordinances or obey the commandments that will allow them to know for themselves the Holy One of Israel or be known by Him, such that they will be “strangers at the Gate” and will not be opened to, to receive the everlasting covenant for themselves – in affecting breaking it, for themselves at least.

What happens if the law is transgressed, ordinances are changed, and covenant is broken?

The whole earth (not just Israel) is cursed.

They are desolate or burned; they are utterly wasted at His coming in glory because they cannot abide it – it is a natural consequence.

Only the few that knew the Gatekeeper/Master’s voice are left alive because only they can abide it as they are filled with enough light.



The Covenant Keeper’s Wedding Feast

But for those who are faithful and keep the Lord’s covenants unchanged…

READ Isaiah 25:4-5

Who are those who keep His covenants and receive his protection?

The poor and needy – not the “terrible ones”, meaning “mighty” or “powerful” ones.

Those who sought Him out because they understood they needed His protection and covenants – they understood their need for redemption and were humble (and wise) enough to do whatever it took to receive it. 

Those who loved Him – whose deepest desire was to be with Him and to do His will to help to save others.  But these activities don’t usually result in earning the praise and rewards of the World. 

 

READ Isaiah 25:6-9

What will the Lord do in His “mountain”?

Prepare the finest of feasts for “all people”.

Rend the veil for all who are at the feast.

Swallow up death.

Wipe away tears from off all faces.

Remove the rebuke of His people.

All are invited but who will attend the feast?

Those who can abide the glory (when the veil is removed).

“His” people – those who waited for Him.

 

READ Matthew 22:2-14

Who ends up actually attending the feast?

Not the originally invited guests.

The folk from the highways.

Why are both “bad and good” invited from the highways?

The Lord can forgive both the “bad” and the “good” if they will come to the feast and put on a wedding garment.

Bad and good are not His criteria for attendance – it is willingness or desire to come which is the criteria. 

What does the wedding garment symbolize?

The Atonement.

Being “chosen” or self-elected (see JST) – those who accept the atonement and are clothed in His glory.

The protective or “appropriate” garment enables you to attend the feast and be in the presence of the King without shame. 

Who provides the wedding garment?

The King.

You do not “bring your own garment” – implied would be that you can stand in God’s glory without the need for any transfiguration. 

So why would this man be found without the wedding garment?

He rejected the atonement – he refused to put it on when presented it, prior to entering into the feast.

He was called but “chose” not to sacrifice what was required (his whole soul).

 

READ Isaiah 26:3-4, 9

What mindset must you have to “put on the wedding garment”?

Mind is “stayed on thee” (i.e. always remember Him).

Trust in Him forever – because of who He is, a God of Truth, meaning that as long as He exists, He will keep His promises (or, if He did not keep His promises, He would cease to be God).

Desires of your soul (or “heart”) are for Him – day and night.

You act on those desires by seeking for Him (to be like Him, yes - that we might resonate at His frequency and glory, BUT FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENTERING INTO HIS PRESENCE and being sealed up to Eternal Life, which first requires being forgiven – we can only seek Him and offer our whole souls – He must do the rest); the real test of this is whether or not we share His desires – which is to save as many as will come, which saving requires extreme sacrifice on the part of the savior – which comes from pure love.

 

 

The Knowledge That Saves

READ Isaiah 28:9-10

Joseph said that knowledge saves a man (see TPJS 400:2), so what does this verse teach us about what we should be actively pursuing?

The knowledge that SAVES.

Not all knowledge is the same.

How do you receive this knowledge?

Line upon line – through experience and study/prayer/revelation – the “live and learn” principle (See 1 Nephi 10:19, Jacob 4:8, Mosiah 1:5, Alma 12:9-11).

 

Now let’s talk about where that knowledge can be found, for those with eyes to see it…

READ Isaiah 29:9-14

Why has the “vision of all” become as the words of a book that is sealed?

Because the people are drunken or asleep with regards to the words of God, i.e. the vision of all.

We all know the story of Martin Harris and Professor Charles Anthon, so what is the sealed book?

Book of Mormon.

Could also be referring to the “Book of Mahonri” within the Book of Mormon – the literally sealed portion of the plates containing the vision of Mahonri, the brother of Jared, which Moroni sealed up.

If it is the Book of Mormon, why is it a “sealed book”?

Because we don’t read it.

Because we read it but don’t understand it – we listen to how the precepts of men interpret the book instead of going directly to God (see 2 Nephi 32:4-7).

Because we read it but take it lightly – and are under condemnation for doing so (see D&C 84:49-58; Ezra Taft Benson, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” April 1986 General Conference; Dallin Oaks “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”, BYU Fireside Talk June 6, 1993).

The bottom line is that the knowledge that the Book of Mormon gives us is the knowledge of how to awake from the deep sleep and walk back into the presence of God through covenant with Jesus Christ to be sealed up to Eternal Life.  Experience after experience tells this same tale: Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Benjamin, Alma, Lamoni, Nephi, the people at Bountiful, Mormon, Moroni…it must not be a “sealed book” to us if we are to avoid the condemnation.

 

Lastly, we have a comparison of two kinds of Saints – defined by how they react to the “marvelous work and a wonder”:

READ Isaiah 30:1, 9-13

What do the rebellious “children” (i.e. Saints) want?

They do not want to hear the voice or word of the Lord (direct revelation and the scriptures).

They want what is pleasing to the world – to appeal to the world – to be popular with them (“cover with a covering but not of my spirit”; prophesy “smooth things”; also the verses we didn’t read about “Egypt”, the “Superpower of the West”, i.e. v2-7).

They want to do things the world’s way (by oppression and perverseness – i.e. D&C 121).

What will happen to them when the Lord comes again?

Their destruction will be as a flood – coming in an instant and washing them away (v13).

Implied is that they will be ok until that flood breaks; perhaps they think they will make it.

 

READ Isaiah 29:18-19

What hope do these verses give us?

The deaf will hear and the blind will see.

If we are blind and deaf now – i.e., we are still failed seekers – but there is hope for us.  The key is that we must open the book that is “sealed” and do what it teaches us to do (come unto Christ in the flesh) before it is too late!

 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

The Wedding Feast (Isaiah 22-30) QUESTIONS

Note: For the material on Isaiah 7-21, see Book of Mormon posts on February 13th and 21st of 2020.

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/2885016782413631610/8097827834001993245

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/2885016782413631610/778632126303845138

 

The Covenant Breakers

READ Isaiah 22:21-23

Who is being talked about here?

What power does He possess?

 

READ 2 Nephi 9:41

What does it mean that the Holy One of Israel is the keeper of the Gate to Heaven, and He doesn’t employ a servant there?

 

READ Isaiah 24:3-6

Why is the earth defiled?

What have they done?

What happens if the law is transgressed, ordinances are changed, and covenant is broken?



The Covenant Keeper’s Wedding Feast

But for those who are faithful and keep the Lord’s covenants unchanged…

 

READ Isaiah 25:4-5

Who are those who keep His covenants and receive his protection?

 

READ Isaiah 25:6-9

What will the Lord do in His “mountain”?

All are invited but who will attend the feast?

 

READ Matthew 22:2-14

Who ends up actually attending the feast?

Why are both “bad and good” invited from the highways?

What does the wedding garment symbolize?

Who provides the wedding garment?

So why would this man be found without the wedding garment?

 

READ Isaiah 26:3-4, 9

What mindset must you have to “put on the wedding garment”?

 

 

The Knowledge That Saves

READ Isaiah 28:9-10

Joseph said that knowledge saves a man (see TPJS 400:2), so what does this verse teach us about what we should be actively pursuing?

How do you receive this knowledge?

 

Now let’s talk about where that knowledge can be found, for those with eyes to see it…

READ Isaiah 29:9-14

Why has the “vision of all” become as the words of a book that is sealed?

We all know the story of Martin Harris and Professor Charles Anthon, so what is the sealed book?

If it is the Book of Mormon, why is it a “sealed book”?

 

Lastly, we have a comparison of two kinds of Saints – defined by how they react to the “marvelous work and a wonder”:

READ Isaiah 30:1, 9-13

What do the rebellious “children” (i.e. Saints) want?

What will happen to them when the Lord comes again?

 

READ Isaiah 29:18-19

What hope do these verses give us?

The Return to Israel & the Second Temple (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai) QUESTIONS

Returning to Israel Background: The temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BC, when they sacked the city, killing or ta...