The Savior Quotes Isaiah Isaiah in the New Testament

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Isaiah is often quoted in the New Testament. The Savior cites him at least seven times and His apostles forty. But that is not all, because Jesus knew Isaiah well, he often paraphrased the prophet. Below are some examples of him both quoting and paraphrasing the prophet.

Isaiah 61:1–2 describes the ministry of the Messiah to the poor:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

As Jesus recited the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:1–11, He is likely alluding to the above prophecy, using some of its words:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted,
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Jesus speaking in parables fulfills the prophecy in Isaiah 6:9–10

9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.1

Matthew 13: 13–15
13 For this reason, I speak to them in parables, so that seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, nor do they understand.
14 The prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled in them when he said, “Hearing you will hear but you will not understand, and seeing you will see but not perceive.
15 The heart of this people grew fat, and their ears heavy, and they closed their eyes so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand in their heart and turn that I might heal them.”
16 Blessed are your eyes that see and your ears that hear.2 (See also Mk 4:12Lk 8:10).

Jesus calls out scribes and Pharisees for their duplicity toward God in Matthew 15:8-9:  “Hypocrites, Isaiah rightly prophesied of you, saying, ‘ This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;  in vain they honor me, teaching things that are the precepts of men .’”2 (see Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men) Also qutoed in Mark 7:6–7).

When Jesus cleansed the temple from the buying and selling, he references Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 56:7 on how God’s house was intended to operate:

7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Matthew writes in Chapter 21:

12 ¶ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (see also Mk 11:17Lk 19:46).

Also in Matthew 21, Jesus alludes to Isaiah in the parable of the vineyard where Isaiah records in Chapter 5:

Isaiah 5 Matthew 21
Now, will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.
And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; andbreak down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
33  Hear another parable:
There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last, of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. (see also  Mk 12:1Lk 20:9).

Mark 2:19 records: And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. Here the Savior is making an allusion to Isaiah 62:4-5:

Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

In Mark 9, Jesus teaches concerning the condemnation of those who offend His little ones and ends each in verses 43-48 with: “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” three separate times. This “quotation from Isaiah 66:24 … makes little sense, but in the context of Isaiah, it speaks of the apocalyptic destruction that will come on all nations.”

Luke 4 records a return visit to Jesus’ childhood synagogue in Nazareth, where while quoting Isaiah, He proclaims His divine sonship:

16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (see Isa. 61:1–2)
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

In Luke 10, as the Seventy were returning from their brief missions to prepare the way for Jesus, they marveled at what they had been able to do in His name. To this Jesus said:

18 “I saw Satan as lightning falling from heaven.
19 I give you power to tread on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you.
20 But do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in the heavens.”

Here the Savior makes an allusion to Isaiah 14:12

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

(Wayment suggests comparisons of this verse in  Psalm 41:13 and 2 Nephi 2:17)

Isaiah foresaw the Savior’ death as recorded in Chapter 53:12

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Jesus cited this same scripture during the last supper as recorded in Luke 22:37 claiming His would be a sinner’s death:

37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

In John 6, near the Sea of Galilee, Jesus taught that His ministry allows the people to be taught of God (Is 54:13Jn 6:45).

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Once again Jesus is quoting Isaiah in 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.


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FOOTNOTES

Wayment, Thomas A.. The New Testament: A New Translation for Latter-day Saints, Kindle Edition.
Ibid.
Ibid.
4 Ibid.

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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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