Isaiah Chapter 6 / 2 Nephi 16

Join Me In a Personal Study of Isaiah's Vision of God and his Commission as a Prophet

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Tree Pruned - the oak and the teil-tree, can have all their leaves eaten off, can even be chopped down, but will regenerate because the sap or substance is still within to help them regrow
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This chapter could be confusing because historical facts are intermingled with some prophesying and Isaiah’s call to be a prophet; Isaiah’s call is filled with strange symbolism. For example, in the prophet’s call, he comes to understand the atonement as his lips are anointed with fire.

So some history first. In the years leading up to this time, the ten northern tribes of Isreal had formed an alliance with Syria in hopes to stave off the growing power of Assyria. This coalition worked to subjugate the southern tribe of Judah. During that era, Ahaz ruled with his father, Jotham, son of Uzziah.

Then in about 740 BC, the same year Isaiah was called to be a prophet, Jotham and Ahaz began ruling jointly. However, King Ahaz was an idolatrous leader who even sacrificed some of his children.

The Lord sends angels to help Isaiah partake of the Savior’s Atonement.

After his father’s death, Ahaz attempted a political alliance with Assyria to keep them from attacking Jerusalem, but in the end, it was all to no avail. (To get a better historical context read  2 Kings 16:1-20).

In the period Ahaz and his father took the throne, Isaiah had a dramatic vision where saw the Lord on his throne and received his call to be a prophet (to see what must occur for someone to be a prophet read Jeremiah 23:18–22). Recorded in Isaiah 6, you can tell that Isaiah, like many of us, felt inadequate to his calling. Stating that both he and his people (the Jews) are unqualified and unworthy, the Lord sends angels to help him partake of the Savior’s Atonement.

Healed from unworthiness, Isaiah says “Here am I, send me,” (see Abraham 3:27). In this Isaiah is a type for the Savior who offered the same response in the Council in Heaven. Then Isaiah was told he must cry repentance all the days of his life even though the people will harden their hearts and reject his message. However, he learns that eventually, a remnant of the house of Israel will return to the promised land.

THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH
CHAPTER 6

Isaiah sees the Lord—His sins are forgiven—He is called to prophesy—He prophesies of the Jews’ rejection of Christ’s teachings—A remnant will return—Compare 2 Nephi 16

 King James Version

Book of Mormon
2 Nephi 16

Expanded Notes and Commentary

Joseph Smith Translation (JST) corrections in the Book of Mormon are in RED; commentary and notes are GREEN 
1aIn the year that king Uzziah died
bsaw also the cLord sitting upon a
dthrone, high and lifted up, and
ehis train filled the temple.

aIn the byear that king Uzziah
died, csaw also the Lord sitting
upon throne, high and lifted up,
and his train filled the temple.

It was the usual practice in Isaiah’s time to date events by the regnal year of a king. Here, Isaiah dates the theophany recorded in the verses that follow to the year in which King Uzziah died, about 742 B.C.—Hoskisson, Paul Y., “A Latter-Day Saint Reading of Isaiah: The Example of Isaiah 6

The “train” refers to the hem of his garment, symbolizing that his robes, his power, his light filled the temple.—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads, Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.

Above it stood the aseraphims:
each one had six wings; with twain
he covered his face, and with twain
he covered his feet, and with twain
he did fly.

Above it stood the aseraphim;
each one had six wings; with twain
he covered his face, and with twain
he covered his feet, and with twain
he did fly.

D&C 77:4 their wings are a drepresentation of epower, to move, to act, etc.
The word “seraphim” is not used anywhere else in the Old Testament … Isaiah employed the …root from which this noun is formed denoting in its verbal aspect to burn or be fiery …Latter-day Saints should have no trouble recognizing that seraphim represent celestial beings who attend God at His throne—Hoskisson, Paul Y., “A Latter-Day Saint Reading of Isaiah: The Example of Isaiah 6

And one cried unto another, and
said, Holy, holy, holy, is the
aLord of hoststhe whole earth is
full 
of his bglory

And one cried unto another, and
said: Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord
of Hosts; the whole earth is full of
his aglory

A word repeated three times forms the superlative in Hebrew, meaning the very best—Ridges, The Old Testament Made Easier

And the aposts of the door moved
at the voice of him that cried, and
the house was filled with bsmoke.

And the posts of the door moved
at the voice of him that cried, and
the house was filled with smoke.

Another rendering of the first phrase from the Hebrew suggests more clearly what was intended: “the foundations of the thresholds trembled” (Isaiah 6:4a). The presence of smoke was symbolic of the presence and glory of God (see Exodus 19:18Revelation 15:8). Fire and smoke are frequently used to depict the glory of celestial realms. Old Testament Student Manual

¶ Then said I, Woe is me! for am
aundonebecause am man of 
bunclean lips, and dwell in the
midst of people of unclean lips:
for mine eyes have cseen the dKing,
the Lord of hosts.

Then said I: Wo is unto me! for
am undone; because am man
of unclean lips; and dwell in the
midst of people of unclean lips;
for mine eyes have aseen the King,
the Lord of Hosts.

The expression “Woe is me! For I am undone” is an idiom declaring Isaiah’s overwhelming feeling of unworthiness before God.— Edward J Young, Book of Isaiah, vol 1, pp 247–48

The live coal from the sacrificial altar represents the element that makes the burnt offering possible, the element that cleanses our soul, fire. With this cleansing Isaiah is able to stand with confidence in the presence of the Lord.—Hoskisson, Paul Y., “A Latter-Day Saint Reading of Isaiah: The Example of Isaiah 6

Then flew one of the seraphims
unto me, having live acoal in his
hand, which he had taken with the
tongs from off the altar:

Then flew one of the seraphim
unto me, having live coal in his
hand, which he had taken with the
tongs from off the altar;

The purging by a live coal is symbolic of purifying, cleansing, and forgiveness—Edward J Young, Book of Isaiah, vol 1, pp 250–51 

And he laid it upon my amouth,
and said, Lo, this hath touched thy
lips; and thine iniquity is btaken
away, 
and thy sin purged.

And he laid it upon my mouth,
and said: Lo, this has touched thy
lips; and thine ainiquity is taken
away, and thy sin purged.

“…the Lord symbolically cleanses his lips with a burning coal, representing the cleansing by the power of the Holy Ghost.”—ChristensenUnlocking Isaiah

Also heard the voice of the Lord,
saying, Whom shall asendand
who will go for us? Then said I, Here
am I; bsend me.

Also heard the voice of the Lord,
saying: aWhom shall send, and
who will go for us? Then said: Here
am I; send me.

The cleansing power of the Atonement and help of the Spirit gave Isaiah the needed confidence to accept the call—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3 

¶ And he said, Go, and tell this
people, aHear ye indeed, but
bunderstand not; and see ye indeed,
but cperceive not.

And he said: Go and tell this
people Hear ye indeed, but they
understood not; and see ye indeed,
but they perceived not.

The Book of Mormon version of this verse helps us understand that the Lord is not telling Isaiah to confuse the people but rather informing him that they will choose to reject his words.—Ball, Making Sense of Isaiah.

10 Make the aheart of this people
fat, and make their ears heavy, and
bshut their eyes; lest they see with
their eyes, and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and convert, and be healed.

10 Make the heart of this people fat,
and make their ears heavy, and shut
their eyes – lest they see with their
eyes, and ahear with their ears, and
understand with their bheartand be
converted and be healed.

The Hebrew verb translated as “be healed” in the King James Version of verse 10 can also be translated, and perhaps is better translated, as “heal themselves.” This alternative translation suggests that as the people reject Isaiah’s words, they also reject the healing power of Christ’s Atonement, choosing rather to try to heal themselves, perhaps through the works of the law and their own righteousness—Ball, Making Sense of Isaiah.

The command to “make the heart of this people fat, … their ears heavy, and shut their eyes” is used to describe the process of making the people accountable. The command, of course, refers to “their spiritual sight, spiritual hearing, and spiritual feeling.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 7:1:200). “There is a self-hardening in evil. … Sin from its very nature bears its own punishment. … An evil act in itself is the result of self-determination proceeding from a man’s own will.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 7:1:201). An individual cannot resist or reject the truth without eventually becoming spiritually hardened (see History of the Church, 4:264). Isaiah’s indictment of the kingdom of Judah was cited again in the New Testament to show that the people of that time were no different. The inability of many to understand the parables is a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (see Matthew 13:10–17Luke 8:9–10). The significance of many of the miracles was also misunderstood (see John 12:37–41). The testimony of the Messiah and His Sonship was understood, at least in part, by the disciples, but it was rejected by others (see Luke 10:21–24).— Old Testament Student Manual

11 Then said I, Lord, ahow long?
And he answered, Until the cities be
wasted without inhabitant, and the
houses without man, and the land
be utterly desolate,

11 Then said I: Lord, how long? And
he saidUntil the cities be wasted
without inhabitant, and the houses
without man, and the land be utterly
desolate;

Is it possible that Isaiah was not only asking for more details of his mission, but that he was allowing his humanness to show? Well might one ask the Lord, if one had the necessary chutzpah, for how many years he was to deliver this message.—Hoskisson, Paul Y., “A Latter-Day Saint Reading of Isaiah: The Example of Isaiah 6″

12 And the Lord have removed men
far away, and there be a great
forsaking in the midst of the land

12 And the Lord have aremoved men
far away, for there shall be great
forsaking in the midst of the lan

The consequence of rejecting the Lord is to be scattered. This verse alludes to perhaps both the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C., and the Babylonian captivity of 587 B.C. (And maybe even the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred after the Savior’s resurrection in A.D. 70)—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads, Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition. 

 13 ¶ But yet in it shall be a tenth, and ait shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

 

13 But yet there shall be tenth,
and they shall return, and shall be
eaten, as teil tree, and as an oak
whose substance is in them when
they cast their leaves; so the aholy
seed
 shall be the substance thereof.xx

x

x

 

The trees mentioned here, the oak and the teil-tree, can have all their leaves eaten off, can even be chopped down, but will regenerate because the sap or substance is still within to help them regrow (see Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s Imagery of Plants and Planting,” in Thy People Shall Be My People and Thy God My God: The 22ndAnnual Sperry Symposium, Deseret Book, pp 24–25)—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads, Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition. 

Well, did Jacob in the Book of Mormon declare “that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning Christ” (Jacob 7:11). In this verse, Isaiah recorded one of the more clear prophecies concerning the Messiah. The Lord declared to Isaiah that after he had given his message of accusation all the days of his life and after the land had been devastated and Isaiah was dead, there would be a tenth[40] of the people who would return to the land of Palestine.

This remnant is symbolized in the King James Version by dormant trees,[41] signifying that this rest of the house of Israel will be spiritually fallow. The key to understanding that this verse also refers to Christ lies in the words “the holy seed.” As Paul states in Galatians 3:16, the “seed” referred to in the Old Testament is Christ.[42] And it is that “seed” that comprised the substance, that is, the life of Israel, here symbolized by trees. In other words, the Messiah of Israel would be born of the spiritually dormant remnant of Israel living in the land of Palestine, and He is the life substance of Israel.[43]

As depressing as Isaiah’s message for the people could have seemed to him, the Lord did not leave him reason for despair. Isaiah was told that after his death, a remnant of the house of Israel would be in Palestine, and out of this rest would come the promised Messiah, the life and light of God’s chosen people in Israel and on the isles of the sea.—Hoskisson, Paul Y., “A Latter-Day Saint Reading of Isaiah: The Example of Isaiah 6″

 


1 Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc., Kindle Edition.

 

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I am a retiree from Scouting. There I blogged for VoiceOfScouting.org, a site with more than 250,000 readers. During 42 years in the workplace, I've had many years senior level management with the BSA, professional associations, and high tech user groups. My background includes capital fundraising; outdoor adventure program development; property and construction management; event/conference planning; risk management and safety; lobbying federal, state and local government agencies; public relations; strategic planning; member advocacy and staff/volunteer training. Along the way, I have also taught Gospel Doctrine Classes and been both the ward and stake Sunday School President. In these settings, I have seen teachers and class members minimize Isaiah, a book Christ has commanded us to "search diligently." (3 Ne 23:1) With that in mind, I will do my best to explore and post my discoveries about the book of Isaiah. I am not a Bible scholar; like you, I read Isaiah in the Old Testament cycle of study in LDS Gospel Doctrine Classes and again in the Book of Mormon Cycle, so this is a whole new scripture adventure for me.

2 COMMENTS

  1. […] • Isaiah Chapter 6 / 2 Nephi 16 Isaiah’s vision of God and his commission as a prophet• Isaiah Chapter 7 / 2 Nephi 17 Isaiah prophesies to the king that a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son called Immanuel• Isaiah Chapter 8 / 2 Nephi 18 Christ will be a stone of stumbling, seek Him, not muttering wizards, turn to a testimony of Him.• 2 Nephi 19/ Isaiah 9• 2 Nephi 20/ Isaiah 10• 2 Nephi 21/ Isaiah 11• 2 Nephi 22 / Isaiah 12• 2 Nephi 23/ Isaiah 13• 2 Nephi 24/ Isaiah 14 […]

  2. […] • Isaiah Chapter 6 / 2 Nephi 16 Isaiah’s vision of God and his commission as a prophet• Isaiah Chapter 7 / 2 Nephi 17 Isaiah prophesies to the king that a virgin will conceive and bring forth a son called Immanuel• Isaiah Chapter 8 / 2 Nephi 18 Christ will be a stone of stumbling, seek Him, not muttering wizards, turn to a testimony of Him.• 2 Nephi 19/ Isaiah 9• 2 Nephi 20/ Isaiah 10• 2 Nephi 21/ Isaiah 11• 2 Nephi 22 / Isaiah 12• 2 Nephi 23/ Isaiah 13• 2 Nephi 24/ Isaiah 14 […]

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