The LDS Bible Dictionary describes a major theme of the Book of Isaiah: “God requires righteousness of His people, and until they obey Him they will be smitten and scattered by their enemies. But in the end, Israel will be restored; the barren land will be made fruitful and able to support a large population; and the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, will dwell in the midst of His people, who will be called Zion.”
That entry in the dictionary ends saying, “The reader today has no greater written commentary and guide to understanding Isaiah than the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. As one understands these works better, he will understand Isaiah better, and as one understands Isaiah better, he more fully comprehends the mission of the Savior and the meaning of the covenant that was placed upon Abraham and his seed by which all the families of the earth would be blessed.” (Bible Dictionary, “Isaiah.”)
Speaking of the words of Isaiah, Jesus commanded, “Ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1). Here are eight reasons why Christ called Isaiah’s words “great”:
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles writes, “Isaiah is by every standard the messianic prophet of the Old Testament and as such is the most penetrating prophetic voice in that record” (see Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon).
- Nephi used Isaiah’s writings to “more fully persuade [his brethren] to believe in the Lord their Redeemer” (1 Nephi 19:23).
- Isaiah is the most often quoted prophet by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John than any other Old Testament prophet. The Savior quotes Isaiah in the New Testament at least 7 times and the Apostles quote Isaiah at least 40 times.
- Similarly, Isaiah has been quoted by Church authorities more than 4,215 times in this dispensation. According to BYU’s Citation Index, Isaiah is bested only by Matthew, John, and Luke, putting him in fourth place for scripture quotes in conference talks.
- Likewise, the Book of Mormon quotes from Isaiah more than from any other prophet; the Book of Mormon quotes 32% of the book of Isaiah and paraphrases an additional 3%.
- The Doctrine and Covenants makes at least 100 references to the writings of Isaiah; specifically, sections 113 and 133 offer interpretations and clarifications of some of Isaiah’s prophecies.
- Isaiah understood our times, the last days. He wrote about many of the signs for which to look before the Second Coming of the Savior, so that faithful people could recognize God’s plan, be warned, and prepare. These include: