Isaiah at April 2019 General Conference

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During General Conferences, among the books of the Old Testament, Isaiah is the most often quoted. In this conference eight General Authorities or Auxilary leaders quoted Isaiah fourteen times. In every case, it was to help center on their messages on Christ, which is most appropriate since Isaiah is “the messianic prophet of the Old Testament and as such is the most penetrating prophetic voice in that record.”1

How Can I Understand?

2 Nephi 6 - Jesus Christ being crucified
Isaiah 53:He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was anydeceit in his mouth.

Elder Ulisses Soares, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, opened his address with the story from the book of Acts, when “Philip the evangelist taught the gospel to a certain Ethiopian who was a eunuch in charge of all the treasures belonging to the queen of Ethiopia.2 ” The eunuch he said, was returning from worship in Jerusalem and was reading from the book of Isaiah. “Compelled by the Spirit, Philip came closer to him and said, ‘Understandest thou what thou readest?’

“And [the eunuch] said, ‘How can I, except some man should guide me? …’

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”3

The passage of scripture that the eunuch was reading was Isaiah 53: “Like a sheep to the slaughter he was led, and like a lamb before the shear­er is silent, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation, justice was denied him. Who can describe his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth. …Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this scripture he declared to him the good news about Jesus.”4


Preparing for the Lord’s Return

Isaiah 11: 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in his message about preparing the world for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Used these words from Isaiah to share the promise that, “When He comes, oppression and injustice will not only diminish; they will cease:

“’The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. …

“’They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.’”3


The Atonement of Jesus Christ

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Brother Tad R. Callister, Sunday School General President referenced Isaiah twice in his address on the atonement of the Savior. He said, “The Savior overcame sin and guilt for all those who repent. So deep and expansive is His cleansing power that Isaiah promised, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’” (Isaiah 1:18). Then in his summary he promised,”the Savior’s Atonement gives us life for death, “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3), healing for hurt, and perfection for weakness. It is heaven’s antidote to the obstacles and struggles of this world.


Missionary Work: Sharing What Is in Your Heart

Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, referenced Isaiah in this statement: “Walking the path of discipleship takes practice—each day, little by little, ‘grace for grace,’ ‘line upon line.’

“Sometimes two steps forward and one step back.”





Christ: The Light That Shines in Darkness

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.

Sister Sharon L. Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, in her message used the words of Isaiah three times. “The scarlet dye of the Old Testament was not only colorful but also colorfast, meaning that its vivid color stuck to the wool and would not fade no matter how many times it was washed. Satan wields this reasoning like a club: white wool stained scarlet can never go back to being white. But Jesus Christ declares, “My ways [are] higher than your ways” (Isaiah 55:9), and the miracle of His grace is that when we repent of our sins, His scarlet blood returns us to purity. It isn’t logical, but it is nevertheless true.

“‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ (Isaiah 1:18). The Lord says emphatically: he or she ‘who has repented of … sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.’ In essence: ‘Come, let us reason together’ (Isaiah 1:18). You made mistakes; all come short. Come unto me and repent. I will remember the sin no more. You can be whole again. I have a work for you to do. Christ makes wool white.”


Cleansed by Repentance

President, Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, offered his thoughts on repentance. Using Isaiah he stated: “When we repent, we have the Lord’s assurance that our sins, including our acts and desires, will be cleansed and our merciful final judge will ‘remember them no more’ (Isaiah 1:18). Then addressing His arms of mercy, he promised, “The prophet Isaiah assured even the wicked that when they ‘return unto the Lord, … he will have mercy … [and] abundantly pardon’ (Isaiah 55:7).”


Good Shepherd, Lamb of God

He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.' (Isaiah 40:11)
He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Isaiah 40:11)

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, pointed to Isaiah  Isaiah 56:11 when he said, “Our Good Shepherd cautions that shepherds in Israel must not slumber, nor scatter or cause the sheep to go astray, nor look our own way for our own gain.” And again as Abinadi testified of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice: “All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the [iniquity] of us all. ( Isaiah 53:6) ” Finally he reminds, “Our Savior assures us, whatever our circumstances, whoever we are, in the words of Isaiah: ‘He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.’ (Isaiah 40:11)”






The Immediate Goodness of God

As Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy, spoke. he said, “God also gives immediate hope for eventual deliverance. No matter what, no matter where, in Christ and through Christ there is always hope smiling brightly before us. Immediately before us.

“Moreover, He has promised, ‘My kindness shall not depart from thee.’ (Isaiah 54:10; emphasis added.)”8




Footnotes

1 Jeffery R. Holland, Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon (1997), 75.
2 See Acts 8:27
3 Acts 8:30–31, 35
4 Wayment, Thomas A., The New Testament: A New Translation for Latter-day Saints, Acts 8:32-33, BYU Religious Studies Center, 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.

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