I bought a second set of new scriptures a few months ago, because I’ve been wanting to do a new markup for an entire set. This week, an idea came to me of how I could do that, two themes in particular to focus on: the restoration, latter-day work and personality traits and characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ. I wanted to start in the Old Testament, and settled on the book of Isaiah as the first one to tackle. It seemed like a reasonable choice, and a good sampling of what most of the Old Testament is like anyway — difficult passages to understand, but with persistence, inspiration and study, you can find some gems.
I’ve been studying it all week, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. My initial markup of the entire book went fast — I got it all done in two days (Sunday and Monday). Since then, I’ve been going back over it, and finding more stuff.
The prophets writing style is pretty amazing. He will switch from theme to theme all the time, sometimes mid-sentence. The topics he seems to cover the most are: the restoration, the last days, the final judgement, the second coming of the Lord and the millennial reign. On top of that, there are constant promises, reminders, and prophecies to and concerning the house of Israel (the saints who have accepted the covenant). There’s just so much.
I’ll quickly share a few verses that have really stood out to me lately, though I can’t go into much detail because of time right now.
Isaiah 5:1-7 is a cool parable of sorts. I like it because it paints a cool picture of what the Lord has done. Here’s the actual text from the King James version:
1. Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:
2. 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.
3. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
4. 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?
5. 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; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
6. 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.
7. 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.
This one touches upon the apostasy of Israel, an event that has happened on numerous occasions. One thing that stands out to me is in verse 2, documenting all the things the Lord did for His vineyard, he “planted a tower in the midst of it.” That phrase, “in the midst of it” has been popping up in my brain lately, and it’s interesting to see where it occurs.
When the risen Lord visisted the Nephites in America after his ascension … well, I’ll just quote the verses from 3rd Nephi 11 and point it out there:
And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.
2. And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.
3. And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
4. And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not.
5. And again the third time they did hear the voice, and did open their ears to hear it; and their eyes were towards the sound thereof; and they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.
6. And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard; and it said unto them:
7. Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name–hear ye him.
8. And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them.
9. And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying:
10. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
12. And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words the whole multitude fell to the earth; for they remembered that it had been prophesied among them that Christ should show himself unto them after his ascension into heaven.
Okay, I didn’t intend to quote that much, but I didn’t want to take it out of context, and it’s easier to follow this way.
Verse 8 though, what fascinates me is that when the Lord descended, “he came down and stood in the midst of them”. When I read the verse in Isaiah, it jogged my memory about this event, and I find it interesting because I had always envisioned Him, for some reason, as appearing on the edge of the crowd and having them come to Him. That’s not the case, though — He was right there among them. I think that’s pretty cool.
Anyway, lots of little realizations like that … I could probably write a whole series of posts on the stuff I’m finding in here. Good times, though. It’s really fascinating to study, I would recommend and encourage it yourself.