Understanding Isaiah 40–49—”Come, Follow Me” With Search Isaiah

Understanding that Jesus outstretched hand comforts men
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.—Isaiah40:1

September 19–25: “Comfort Ye My People”

Isaiah 40 begins with the word “comfort.” And beginning with this chapter, a new tone and understanding Isaiah is developed as he changes the emphasis of his prophetic message to messages of comfort. “Fear not,” the LORD has not forgotten you, will preserve you, and will send you a Messiah. He will gather in all of Isreal, bless and redeem them, and rebuild Jerusalem.

Chapters 1–39 were mostly messages of destruction and warning of impending captivity because of the wickedness of the Jews in breaking their covenant with Jehovah. But beginning here, and from this point forward, his prophecies were meant to provide comfort to the Jewish nation in Babylonian captivity, which was after the destruction of Jerusalem and the desecration of the temple.

But the Come, Follow Me Study Guide, reminds us that “…these prophecies reach even further into the future than to the defeated, disheartened Israelites. They speak to us, who also sometimes feel defeated, disheartened, and even lost.

“Isaiah’s message to them and to us is simple: ‘Fear not’ (Isaiah 43:1). … The LORD has not forgotten you, and He has power over situations that seem out of your control. Isn’t the LORD ‘he that created the heavens, and … he that spread forth the earth, and … he that giveth breath unto the people upon it?’ (Isaiah 42:5).… Isn’t He more powerful than Babylon, than sin, than whatever is holding you captive? … He can heal, restore, strengthen, forgive, and comfort—whatever is needed for you, in your case, to be redeemed.”[1]

Understanding Isaiah 40–47

Chapter 40 sets the stage for our study of the remaining chapters in the Book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 40A comfort is given Jerusalem by the LORD; her iniquity is pardoned; she has paid double for her sins (40:1–2). The glory of the LORD will be revealed to all flesh, but first the spirit of Elias will prepare the way before the LORD, the earth will be restored as it was before the curse, and. the Spirit of the LORD will consume all corruptible flesh. HE will come with a strong hand, and HIS arm will rule; Zion will bring good tidings from a high mountain before he comes; Jerusalem will lift up its voice and proclaim God before he comes. The LORD will feed his flock like a shepherd when he comes; HE has created all things, and has all knowledge and all power; the nations of the earth are nothing in comparison; the graven images worshipped by man are nothing; even Jacob (Israel) does not recognize the power of God, but those who wait upon the LORD will be given power and strength (40:9-31). Adapted from Monte S. Nyman, Great are the Words of Isaiah. Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition.
Isaiah 41Isreal is the LORD‘s servant; HE will preserve you, HIS people, so fear not, be not dismayed, we be strengthened. Know that the world’s idols are nothing in the end, but that one will bring good tidings to Jerusalem
Isaiah 42Isaiah speaks about the Messiah—The Lord will bring His law and His justice, be a light to the Gentiles, and free the prisoners—Praise the Lord.
Isaiah 43CHAPTER 43
To Israel the Lord says, I am your God; I will gather your descendants; beside me there is no Savior; you are my witnesses.
Isaiah 44The Lord’s Spirit will be poured out on the descendants of Israel—Idols of wood are as fuel for a fire—The Lord will gather, bless, and redeem Israel and rebuild Jerusalem.
Isaiah 45Cyrus will free the captives of Israel from Babylon—Come unto Jehovah (Christ) and be saved—To Him every knee will bow and every tongue will take an oath.
Isaiah 46Idols are not to be compared with the Lord—He alone is God and will save Israel.
Isaiah 47Babylon and Chaldea will be destroyed for their iniquities—No one will save them.
Isaiah 48The Lord reveals His purposes to Israel—Israel has been chosen in the furnace of affliction and is to depart from Babylon—Compare 1 Nephi 20 and see also Understanding Isaiah 48–49 Using SearchIsaiah.org below
Isaiah 49The Messiah will be a light to the Gentiles and will free the prisoners—Israel will be gathered with power in the last days—Kings will be the nursing fathers of Israel—Compare 1 Nephi 21 and see also Understanding Isaiah 48–49 Using SearchIsaiah.org below

Understanding Isaiah 48–49 Through the Book of Mormon

Happily, Nephi and Jacob in 1 Nephi 22 and 2 Nephi 6, offer their own likened versions of the last two chapters (Isaiah 48–49)of our study assignment this week. Garold N. Davis, a BYU Professor of German and comparative literature, explained this about the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon, which he says “are not unnecessary duplications of the biblical Isaiah. Rather, they are an inspired, integral part of that sacred text.

“Although the Book of Mormon Isaiah makes significant corrections to the biblical Isaiah, the greater value lies, first, in the contextual setting in which the doctrines of the covenant of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, the prophesied scattering of Israel, and the restoration of the house of Israel in the last days through the instrumentality of the gentiles receive their full and proper emphasis; and, second, in the rich and detailed interpretations given us through the commentaries of Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Abinadi, and the Savior.”[2]

Understanding Isaiah 48–49 Using SearchIsaiah.org

And to that, we offer several of our own curated posts from SearchIsaiah.org:

Since the published Old Testament Reading Schedule doesn’t include every chapter in the Book of Isaiah our team has not curated all resources from our site. But we have made this workable directory for your five-week study of this important book in the Old Testament in a total of seven curated posts:

  1. Come, Follow Me Study Guide. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. September 19-24
  2. Gerald N. Davis.  Nephi’s Commentary on Isaiah 48–9 (1 Nephi 20–1). ScholarsArchive.byu.edu

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Darryl Alder is a retired professional, with an adopted family of four, and a lovely wife of 40+years. He has blogged for a variety of sites and loves to bake, garden, camp, and study ancient scripture, all of which is reflected in his posts at AbigailsOven.com, EternalCore.org, SearchIsaiah.org and various Scouting blog sites


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