41: “The Redeemer Shall Come to Zion” (Isaiah 58–66)
Hopefully, the following sentence makes you feel a little sad: this week will conclude our study of Isaiah. When we started on this journey four weeks ago, our goal was to be able to see the great worth of Isaiah’s words and delight in them. Have you experienced that sense of delight yet? Do you feel less timid and more excited about this precious part of scripture? If you do, wonderful. If you haven’t felt that way yet, don’t worry–this week’s lesson in Isaiah 58-66, is sure to do the trick. So let’s dive into our discussion about fasting, repentance, and how God always has our back.
Isaiah 57:14-58:14 (Scriptures of fasting)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement
Isaiah 58 (Isaiah’s sacrament talk on fasting)
Isaiah 58:4 (Everyone gets hangry)
Isaiah 57:20-21 (No peace for the wicked)
Isaiah 58:1-2 (Going through the motions of the gospel)
Isaiah 58:6-7 (The true reason for the fast)
Isaiah 58:8 (God has our back)
Isaiah 59:1 (The LORD’s hand is not shortened)
CR: Isaiah 1:18 (Sins as scarlet)
Isaiah 59:5-6 (Spider imagery)
Isaiah 59:15-17 (Christ is our warrior)
Isaiah 61:1-3 (Acceptable year of the LORD)
CR: Luke 4:16-30 (Christ teaches at the synagogue)
Leviticus 25:8-24 (The Law of the Jubilee)
Oil of Joy see “Tina M. Peterson, Jay A. Parry, Donald W. Parry; “Understanding Isaiah: Isaiah 61:3” Deseret Book, 1998.
Isaiah 63:1-3 (Christ comes)
Isaiah 63:7 (Goodness and mercy of the LORD)
Lovingkindness = hesed - mercy and love
Isaiah 65:17-25 (Millenium)
CR: Isaiah 5:8-10 (Houses will be desolate)
Isaiah 66:12-14 (Peace like a river)
This week concludes our study of Isaiah. Now, the challenge when we started four weeks ago was that we would be able to delight in and see the great worth of the words of Isaiah. Has it happened? Do you like the words of Isaiah more than before you started? Are you less timid when it comes to his words? Today we begin our study of Isaiah 58 through 66, and I can't wait to introduce you to another friend who has paid the price to delight in and see the great worth of the words of Isaiah.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, we just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link in our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your quality study just like my friends Tara McKaren and Kailyn Davies. Hi, ladies. Now another awesome thing about our study group is each week we're joined by usually two of my friends, so it's always a little different. But today is definitely different because I only have one friend, and I invited Professor Kerry Muhlestein to join us. Hi, Kerry.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:05
Hey, how are you?
Oh, I'm so excited to have you here. This is gonna be fun.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:10
I'm glad to be here. This is going to be fun; good, clean, fun.
Well, for sure. And I thought I couldn't think of a better book ends for Isaiah, because we began with Don Perry and we get to end with you. And it is just sheer perfection. Ahhh.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:24
Don was my Hebrew teacher. That's who I learned Hebrew from for the first seven classes I had in it. So, it was good, good stuff.
Wow! Oh, it's such good stuff. Well, and for those of you if you don't already own Kerry Muhlestein's book on Isaiah - it's called "Learning To Love Isaiah" - you have to add this to your collection. And just FYI, you can listen to it for free on Bookshelf Plus, which is really cool, because then you get to hear Kerry's voice explain Isaiah, which I love. That's my personal favorite.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:51
Oh, that took a long time to record, by the way, a really long time to record.
I was just gonna ask that because I have recorded before and you have 66 chapters. That's a lot!
Kerry Muhlestein 2:01
Yeah. It's, it's, I mean, how long is this book? It's like 500 pages long or something. And it's got a lot of whitespace because we have the verses on one side, and the commentary on the other side. So you can take notes in that white space on the left side. But still, it took a long time to read all of that.
Indeed it did, but it's totally worh the purchase. So go and get it you guys if you want to dive deeper into Isaiah, or just kind of listen and follow along on Bookshelf Plus, it's super fun. So if you want to know more information about Kerry Muhlstein, I highly recommend you go to our show notes, which are at LDS living.com/sunday On Monday, and you can read his bio and see his picture. He's a professor at BYU, he's an Egyptologist, he knows his stuff. And I'm just thrilled that he's joining us today. So everyone grab your scriptures, something to write with, and your scripture journal. And let's dig into Isaiah 58 through 66.
All right, Kerry, Tuesday of this week marks 10 days since the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, and we've talked about that. It's the Jewish New Year. And Tuesday will begin the holiest of all the Jewish holidays and it's called Yom Kippur. And Yom Kippur translates as Day of Atonement. And I asked Kerry to come and help tell us about this because, here's something fascinating. During the celebration of Yom Kippur, they actually recite scriptures from Isaiah 57 and 58. So Kerry, tell us about this holiday and the scriptures they recite.
Kerry Muhlestein 3:24
Yeah, this is the most important holiday from a Jewish perspective or from a perspective of a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if you're going to look at the Old Testament law of Moses, festivals or holidays. This is the most important one. The Day of Atonement, Kippur, it means literally to cover. But that's how we translate as atonement. And it's that idea, we're covering, Christ is covering us in the robes of righteousness, covering up our sins and so on to make it so we can be with God again. And that's what the festival was about. It was the one day of the year,when they had a temple or a tabernacle, it was the one day of the year where the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies, which is symbolic of coming into the presence of God. Right?
So the preparations they did to be able to do that were extensive. There's all sorts of washings that you would go through, there was fasting, and then we're going to talk about that a little bit more in a second, but lots of fasting. I mean, they would have sacrifices, they would take the blood and put it on all the parts of the temple, including into the Holy of Holies, signifying how it's cleansed. And Israel is reunited with God again, through that sacrifice.
But they also had two goats, and this ends up being kind of the key element of the Day of Atonement. So one goat is sacrificed. But the other goat, they place their hands, the High Priest places his hands on the head of that goat and and symbolically transfers all the sins of Israel onto that goat. It's called the scapegoat and when you hear the phrase 'scapegoat' today, it comes from this idea, all the sins of Israel are transferred onto that goat. And then that goat is sent out into the wilderness, taking the sins of Israel away with it. And over time, they just wanted to make sure the goat didn't come back, so they chased it off a cliff to make sure it didn't come back.
But the idea is that with all of the things that are going on, the sacrifices, the washings, the clothing, the anointing, and then these scapegoats, that Israel is made pure and free of sin, and they're able to come back into the presence of God. And it's, I think significant, this happens just really soon in the new year because that's the idea is that as we start the new year out, and as these days of meditation and preparation and trying to make yourself ready for the new year, that culminates. You're really ready when you've been reunited with God again. And it's beautiful symbolism. In modern times that they, of course, they can't sacrifice. So the emphasis ends up being on the meditation and the fasting. And Yom Kippur is the most serious day of fasting; it's supposed to be a 25-hour fast, so they're one upping us there. Well, we just go two meals, it doesn't have to be 24 hours. But you know, typically, we think 24 hours. Anyway. But the idea is, you know, it's a sundown to sundown thing, but just to make sure that you didn't,
Yeah, they're gonna cover their bets.
Kerry Muhlestein 6:24
Yeah, the sundome changes. That's exactly right. They do 24-25 hours of fasting with heavy meditation. And it's a very solemn, solemn day. There are some horn blasts that they do on their shofar, but the emphasis is on this fasting. And so I think that's probably why the kind of reading for the day that most will do is Isaiah 57:14-58:14.
Perfect, mark those, those if you who are listening, 57:14-58:14. And we're going to cover 58 in the next segment. But it's, I love how you just set that up, Kerry, and especially when you said the whole point is to come in the presence of God. That's the idea of Yom Kippur. And again, kudos to the Come, Follow Me people, because it is so significant that we're studying this during the same time as the Jews, that it kind of coincides. Because ultimately, that is the message of Isaiah 58-66, is to come into the presence of the Lord. There's a lot of talk about Second Coming, and millennium. And I just think it's powerful. As we read this, I want all of us to be in this frame of mind where we are trying to come into the presence of the Lord, that we are going to have our own fasting, enter His presence, be forgiven. And that's what we, that's the day we're looking towards.
And I think it's neat because I feel like we get to have Rosh Hashanah every Sunday, where we come in, we renew our covenants, we start over, we partake of the sacrament, with the goal to enter His presence. We take His name upon us, like a scapegoat, kind of in a cool way. I mean, that there's just so much symbolism in our religious belief system that coincides with Judaism. And now we get to dive into the words that they're going to be studying this week. So it's gonna be so fun.
Kerry Muhlestein 8:06
Okay, so in the next segment, we are going to study the idea of fasting, and why it's so important to all of us.
Segment 2 8:28
So Kerry, I want to know, what was fasting like for you when you were a kid?
Kerry Muhlestein 8:31
Ugh, I hated it. I still, I still have a love-hate relationship with it. So I'll just tell you, I have like a really high metabolism. So it doesn't matter how much I eat, I'm hungry two hours later. And if I like some wimpy, like oatmeal or something like that I'm hungry half an hour later.
So that's what it's called - a high metabolism? Oh, yeah. I got that, too.
Kerry Muhlestein 8:50
I just chew through that stuff. So I'm hungry all the time, it's getting a little bit less now that I'm hitting mid 50s, a little bit less, but not that much. So my family definitely knows to be aware of the hangry issue. If I'm not hangry, I'm really tired. That's, those are my two options. So I didn't love it growning up. But I've grown to love it. I really, really do love it, but it doesn't mean that I'm not still hungry and I'm not still tired. And in fact, in some ways, that's what I've learned is to anytime I feel hunger pangs, to remind me to pray. And so I'm praying a lot, a whole lot on fast Sunday. And and that's what I've learned to love about it; is that it brings me closer to God because I let that discomfort remind me of God. And so I'm thinking about God all the time.
Oh, wow. That's a great example. Great story. And I think everyone listening can relate because fasting is hard. It definitely is. I remember I had one year when I was teaching seminary. I don't even know how it came up. But I had the mother of a student who had special needs. And she was talking about how she encourages all of her children to fast, even her child with special needs. And I thought that was so weird, because like, I'm pretty sure he gets a pass. And she said to me, but why would I deny him the blessings of that? And then she said, I feel like it's the one day of the month, where we are reminded what it's like to be spiritual beings and not physical beings. And I thought, okay, all right, maybe I'll fast better. At that - that's cool - when you reach that point where you're no longer hungry, and your spirit has overcome physical need. I tried to point that out with my own kids, because fasting is hard for a lot of people, especially kids. And what I love about Isaiah 58 is that it puts it into a beautiful context about the purpose of the Fast.
So let's go to Isaiah chapter 58. And at the top of this page, I would just put "The law of the Fast', or I really appreciated one of the books I used, said 'Isaiah's Sacrament talk on fasting'. You know what? That's a great way to describe Isaiah 58. But the thing I'm going to highly recommend, I love studying Isaiah chapter 58 with Kerry out of his book, because he points out some really fun things. Specifically, he said, hangry, in verses 1-5. It describes the reaction people have to fasting. And verse 4 was so much fun. I'll read verse 4, because you said verse 4 is hangry. It says,
58:4 "Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: you shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard from on high."
And I just love how you're like, they're probably hangry. They're, you know, they're cantankerous, they're angry, And I thought, who can't relate to that? So Kerry, take us into Isaiah chapter 58, and talk to us about the law of the Fast and what the Lord has to teach us in this chapter.
Kerry Muhlestein 11:40
Alright, and maybe I can just set the stage a little bit. One of the things I'm really big on is not taking any parts of Isaiah in isolation, but recognizing how Isaiah progresses through things. And so he ends chapter 57 with this idea that the wicked are troubled. I'll just read the last few verses of
57:20 and 21. "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
And but just before that, he's been talking about how He can create peace for those who come to Him. And so you've got that contrast. And then I think it starts in 58 describing the people who have been in contention and who have been troubled, and so on. And he's describing what they're like, he's gonna, he's going to describe Israel when they complain to God, about fasting, right? So this might be me, hopefully, only when I was younger and not, you know, yesterday or something. But let's move into chapter 58. And verse 1 is one of these places where Isaiah, he often levels charges. It's like get there are a number of court scenes almost in the book of Isaiah, where he is leveling charges. And he always wants to make sure everybody knows and everybody hears, they're all witnesses to the court scene. So we get that in verse 1.
58:1 "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins."
So he's saying, Look, you need to let everybody know, this is the charge I'm bringing against them. And then the charges bringing against them is the charge they've brought against him. Oh, and He's gonna say your charge against me is a bad charge. So this is what He says. T
58:2 "....they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God."
So He's saying they're going, they're doing all the motions. They're going through all the motions, all the things that He asked them to do. And to me, this is where it gets really applicable to us. Because so often, we're focusing on the checkboxes, right? Okay. I did my ministering. I went to church. I taught my lesson on Sunday. I did all my little checkboxes, right? But then we might still say the same thing that we get in verse 3. This is the question that He's saying, Israel or Judah is asking,
3: "Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou see us not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul? And they'll take us no knowledge." Now, let's pause right there. Because these are the questions that are the accusations that Judah has against God, that God doesn't like. And what he's saying is, that Judah is saying to Him, 'Hey, we're fasting. We're doing what You asked, and we're not getting our answers the way You wanted,' right? It's almost like a General Conference talk where they compared our prayers to a vending machine, right. We pray, we put the quarter in, and we want the little answer to come out right then. And that's what they're saying. We did this fasting and the miracle didn't happen. What's, what's up with that?
I think that is so prevalent in our culture, where we do,ing goes wrong, we're like, but I did exactly what You asked. We, especially when you're raising children, and they go astray and things don't turn out. You're like, But we had family home evening and we read our scriptures. And we we check the boxes like you said, and I love how the Lord's addressing that. Well, that's not what it's about. It wasn't about checking the boxes, and I've never promised you perfection. I've never promised you a beautiful, you know, signed, sealed, delivered. Like there's a process in all of this, He's kind of calling us out.
Kerry Muhlestein 15:16
I think that's really important. And I mean, He's gonna go on, and we'll see this that He's going to say, the problem with you is that you went through the motions, but your heart wasn't in it. But I think it's important to recognize that even when our heart is in it, and we have done this, not only the checklist - the actions, but the inward part is right. We still can't control the actions of our children and other people, right? There's some things that we're just still not going to control. But the problem God has with Israel, or Judah, is that they've gone without food, but basically, they've just been starving themselves. So look at the end of verse 3 there, after He says, 'This is your accusation against me that you don't see what I'm fasting for. You don't seem to acknowledge what I'm fasting for. He says, But behold, in the day of your fast, you find pleasure, and exact all your labor. So you're just doing normal things. But fasting is supposed to be solemn, it's supposed to remind you of some of the sorrow of being separated from God, and of sin and so on. At least that's the way that ancient Judah was supposed to do it. And, and instead, they're just doing life as normal. And they're going, as we read in verse 4, they're upset, they're having debates. This is not drawing them closer to God. So they're going through the motions, but their heart is not in it.
So how does He teach us? Let's mark this, how does he teach us to fast, and then let's mark the blessings that come from fasting.
Kerry Muhlestein 16:47
Let's look at what Isaiah says in verse 6. But it's really Isaiah speaking for the Lord. And he says, "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?" Now think about that. "Loose the bands of wickedness". I think He's talking about getting rid of the natural man, right. And this is part of what fasting is about. The natural man in US wants food, there's nothing sinful about wanting food, we actually need it to survive. But, but it's still the natural man. And instead, we're going to say, Well, I'm not paying attention to the natural man today; I'm pairing attention to the divine nature within me, I'm going to feed that today. That's my focus. I'm not a slave to my physical needs. I choose to feed my spiritual needs.
And, and but there's also an element of taking care of other people. And you can see it in there, "let the oppressed go free". And verse 7:
58:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"
So the idea is, we're not only feeding our spiritual selves, we're helping other people physically and spiritually, we're getting rid of our natural man desires for things, for more food for us. And we're instead giving into the divine nature within us to give those things to others. And so we're losing ourselves from all sorts of bands. And we're losing them from bands as well. And just try, becoming more Christ-like really. We're becoming more like God and Christ because that's what they would do.
Absolutely. And then there's so much beauty in verses 8-12, bracket those off. These are the blessings that come from doing what Kerry just described, and they're incredible blessings. I love verse 8.
58:8 "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward." I really like that word, rearward. It's kind of a tongue twister. But I love it because we discussed this word last year in Doctrine and Covenants 49:27, when it says, 'Behold, I will go before you and I will be your rearword; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.' Now, the cool thing about this word is that we learned that the Lord goes before us. And we applied it to like a scout leader. He's at the head of the hike, looking for any danger. And then He has our rearward which is at the end of the troop or the trail. And He's, He's the safety net for us. And then He, in our midst, He's in the middle. And I just thought this was so cool, because the glory of the Lord is behind. It's hedging up our way. It's acting as a protector from like any enemy. And in this case, it just feels like fasting, because you want someone there to catch you when you faint from lack of food. Am I right? That's so true.
Kerry Muhlestein 19:37
That's exactly right. Yeah. And another way of phrasing that, and I love this"The glory of the Lord should be thy rearwar. He's, he's basically saying, I've got your back. And who of us don't want to hear someone say that? "Don't worry, I got your back." And let's just look for a second at verse 9. But remember that their complaint was that when they were fasting, God didn't hear them. And God tells them when they fast with this intent: not about themselves, but about God and about others. He says, "Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am." That's to me, that's so beautiful. And it's the direct answer. He's saying, the reason I'm not answering you is because you're not doing this with real intent of heart. You do this with real intent of heart, and when you call, I'm there; I am so there for you. What more could any of us ask than to say when we call, God shall answer?
Yeah. Well, Kerry I'm so grateful you brought that up, especially in light of how we started this whole segment. Because you brought us back to Isaiah 57:18-21. And I think sometimes we get caught up in the idea that when we fast, we're gonna get what we asked for. And I remember my sweet daughters, that was their biggest issue with the Lord, is they fasted that their mom would not die of breast cancer. And my little nin-year old Anna fasted, fasted, fasted. And when her mom did die, that was when she was like, I don't think I believe in God anymore. He did not answer my prayers. But we learned from Don Perry, that there weren't actually chapters in Isaiah, there weren't breaks.; it all just kind of read into it. And so I'm grateful you started with verses 18-21. Because I go back to Isaiah 57: 18, and it's just a beautiful lead into this fasting. He says,
57:18 "I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners." Like, you might not get what you asked, and you're going to be sad and mourn, but I will bring you comfort. Like, just know that, and then you connect it to what you just taught us here. I am, like, yeah, I've got you. And it's okay. He's aware of us. So thank you.
Kerry Muhlestein 21:40
And remember that part of the idea of fasting is that you are morning. It doesn't mean that there is no mourning, it means that after the mourning, there's comfort. That God will take care of this, but not by avoiding mourning; we have to have that for our mortal probation. Then God is on the other side.
Oh, awesome, Kerry. Thank you so much. Okay, well, still using the lens then of Yom Kippur and fasting and entering into God's presence, in the next segment we're going to learn what Isaiah teaches about sin.
Segment 3 22:11
Okay, well, here we go. Isaiah 59 is a little bit scary, I'm not gonna lie. And there are some verses in here that freaked me out, because I hate spiders. And I'm gonna tell you what that is, in a minute. I have I cannot but think the whole time I was studying for this episode, the song that kept playing in my head over and over again - in fact, I woke up with it in my head again this morning. It's the primary song that says, (sings) "There's a right way to live and be happy." And then it goes on, "Choose the right way."And when we sing that with our kids - I'm in the primary - we make the kids turn to the right every time we say the word right, which is a lot. And I can't do that many turns because I get sick. But, I think there's some power to that: there's a right way to live and be happy. And that's what we're hearing about in Isaiah 59 because the Lord calls them out on all their sins in such graphic. Like, Kerry, I want you to teach us about the way the Lord calls the people out of their sins. So I marked verses 5-6, and I wrote 'ew' next to it.
Kerry Muhlestein 23:14
I have a sister and daughter that would do that.
Yes, like it's just that weird. So when we get there, I want us to just look at that. But Kerry start us out in Isaiah chapter 59. What is the Lord doing here and what's going on?
Kerry Muhlestein 23:26
Well, and again, I'm going to want to kind of take a step back and look at a little bit of big picture. And like we mentioned, these chapters, they flowed together, and we put chapter breaks in and think that there's a some kind of disconnect and we should just get rid of that. There are sections and breaks, but they're not the chapters, right? They're big chunks of chapters and so on. So I think 58 and 59 are actually really, really important transition chapters in the book of Isaiah. So until then, you've got, actually there's a huge chiasmas that goes from like chapter 40-57. And it's been about God's redeeming His people by sending a serpent that will help them keep a covenant and get the blessings of the covenant. But it ends as we said, with Okay, when you're being righteous things are good and when you're being wicked things aren't so good.
And 58 and 59 are about getting yourself to where you're not just going through the actions, you're doing it for the right reason. And that will lead to from the end of 59 through the end of Isaiah, we would call them the 'exultant chapters', especially through chapter 62, the the exultant chapters. These are what happens when you have gotten to where you do things with real intent. But 58 and 59 are the calling you out. Here's what you're doing wrong. and here's how you get your heart right. And when you do get your heart right, then we get all these wonderful things happening. And so I think they're important transition chapters about calling us out to recognize how - and again, I think it's so applicable for us. It is so easy for us to try and do all sorts of good things but not have our heart in the right place. And then, so we need to recognize we're that, not that different from our Israelite and Judahite ancestors. So that's kind of the big picture as we get into this.
I like that setup so much. So take us into these verses and just tell me, what are some that stand out to you as He's calling them out on their sins?
Okay, so verse 1 really stands out to me, because remember in chapter 58, they've been complaining 'You don't want to hear us', right? But in chapter 59:1, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:" So you see what He's saying? I can hear you and I can do something about it. The problem is with you, not with me, right? And verse 2 is where He tells them the promise with them. And I think verse 2 is actually harkening back to some language we saw in Isaiah 1. You remember the famous verse is in 1:18, where He says, "though your sins be as scarlet, they can be white as snow". But before that, starting in verse 15 He talks about 'when you spread your hands before me', which is the gesture of supplication, 'I won't answer your prayers, because your hands are full of blood.' right. So He first of all tells 'em your hands are full of blood, you're iniquitous, so I don't answer when you call to me. But, if you'll repent, then, though your sins be red as scarlet they can be white as snow, and so on. So this is a really similar thing, where He's just said in verse 1, I can answer your prayers. But verse 2, I'm not for this reason.
59:2 "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 "For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath uttered perverseness."
So notice, it's so similar to chapter 1. And, but He's emphasizing here, both what we do, and I think what we think and say. I think that we could say just what you see, where we get the lips and the tongue representing that. But they're representing what we think, right? So what we're doing, and what we're thinking, or the reason behind what we're doing, is causing a problem.
Wow. And I, I've specially marked verse 2, because I think I'm so grateful you focused on that, that our sins have separated us from our God. And we see that. Many of us have felt that and experienced it, but we're separating ourselves from God. I think that's what's key, is that it's our choices. And because I just don't believe in a god that's going to run away now and say, Good luck, see you later. Like, you know, it's us.
Kerry Muhlestein 27:46
One of the major themes of Isaiah. Isaiah in Isaiah, God does say frequently, 'I've hid myself from you', or something like that. But He always says, 'Well, it's because of your sins. I am here waiting for you. It's because of your sins.' And I would dare say that we've all experienced that. Every single one of us at some point, have recognized we're a bit distant from God, and it's our fault.
Yeah. In fact, look how He describes these sins? So can I read verses 5-6?
Kerry Muhlestein 28:16
Yeah. Well, let's let's do 4 first, if it's alright, just because this is the specific thing.
59:4 None calleth for justice". (So we're going to explain that in a minute.) "Nor pleaded for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity."
So when we read the word 'justice', we think court system and we want someone to make things, you know, this way, you get your just desserts. But really, the prophets in general, and especially Isaiah, when they talk about judgment or justice, what they're talking about is making things the way they're supposed to be. And that always includes an element of helping people who can't help themselves. Ideally, everyone is okay. Everyone can eat, everyone has clothes, everyone has what they need. But that's not what happens in reality. So doing judgment or justice, is helping people who aren't in the situation where things can be okay for them. And that's almost always what judgment or justice is being referred to when you're reading the prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and all of the other prophets.
And so no, we just saw that in 58. And He was saying, you're supposed to take care of the poor, supposed to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. And here He's saying the same thing: call for justice and give the truth of that, right. But instead, you're thinking of ways to aggrandize yourself through mischief and iniquity, and so on. So those are some of the things that they've done wrong. And that's a consistent accusation in Isaiah and among other prophets. There are probably two that are, three that are the most consistent. One is idolatry. The second is going through the motions that we've just been talking about, you're doing what you're supposed to do but not with true intent. And the third is not taking care of the poor, which ties in with the second one because a lot of our true intents shouldn be taking care of each other. And so you're gonna see that again and again. And that's really those two are just what Isaiah has accused them of. You're not doing this with real intent, and you aren't taking care of people the way you should.
And that brings us to verse 5 and 6, which you should bring us through because I just want to see you get the shivers, there.as we think about it.
Here we go, sorry, I'm writing all that stuff down that you just said. I love the three ways the Lord calls us out. That's so good. Okay, here we go. Verse 5.
59:5 "They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.
6 "Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.
7 " Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths."
I mean, it's just, I hate spiders, and just, yeah, it's
Kerry Muhlestein 31:00
pretty potent imagery, isn't it?
It really is. Isaiah is brilliant.
Kerry Muhlestein 31:04
Yeah, he helps you feel the terrible situation they've gotten themselves in by, I love that idea. They run to do evil, like they're excited to go and do these bad things because of what can be brought to them. So there's both the lack of doing good things - the sins of omission, and the hurrying to do bad things - the sins of commission. And he compares that. I love this image. They hatch cockatricees. So this is like, you know, a hatchery when you've got these eggs, and you really want chicks, let's say your geese or something. And so you just really take care of these to make sure. And I worked in a bird hatchery when I was young and so I know a little bit about all the things you do to make sure you're gonna get these little things to hatch. And so they're working so hard to hatch something that will consume them. Yeah, that will kill them. And so if they eat the egg, there's venom in it, so they're gonna die. Well, I guess it would become poison if they eat it.
Well, and how careful a spider is to weave a web. That is precise. That's not - well, for most spiders. There are some that are haphazard - but pretty much we think of spiders that we think of the beautiful, ornate perfect geometry, and so they're careful.
Exactly right. And again, like He's, as He's using these snakes eggs He's saying, If you eat it, it's gonna kill you. If you recognize it's a problem and you crush it, well, a little baby snake actually still has venom, right? So you crushed the egg, this baby snake bites you, you still die. Once you started hatching, or taking care of wickedness, once that became your concern and you're working on wickedness, then you've got a problem. And then I love this imagery, and I know you hate it. And I have a daughter who would freak out about it as well. Toughest girl I know, except for for spiders. But anyway, to think of what He's saying, so you've got this, they weave these webs so carefully, but they can't become close. And if we're talking Yom Kippur, remember it means to cover. And then the idea is that Christ covers us in robes of righteousness. And this cannot become that. A spider's web cannot clothe you, it just causes you problems. It's not going to cover you the way Christ covers you. But we're doing it because we think all of this wicked stuff will cover us, it will get us what we need. We want to have some needs met, and we think it will be met by pursuing the natural man, and it won't. It's poison to us. We can only have our needs met by going to Christ with pure intent of heart.
Well, and then in this chapter, I'm so grateful you brought all of this up, because then it points out you do need a savior. The only thing that will cover you is found in verses 16 -21, basically. But I've, I put your name next to verse 17. Kerry, because you taught us this when you were on a couple of episodes back, this year. Verse 16 says,
59:16 "When he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
17 "For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke."
And you taught us that Christ is a warrior, and we have to allow for Him to be a warrior who will fight. And that was a powerful segment.
Kerry Muhlestein 34:22
And don't we want Him to be that, don't we want Him to be someone who comes out in vengeance against all that is oppressing us, most especially death and hell. But whether that be our mental health oppression, or our addictions to destructive things that are like spiders' eggs, right, and snakes' eggs. We want someone who will kill the snake for us.
Right. And that's exactly what the Savior will do. So thank you for that discussion. And I hope as you're listening, you're kind of thinking about how all these verses play into our own lives. I mean, we didn't even go over all of them. There was one that struck me. In verse
10 " We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope up as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men."
I mean, just Isaiah beautifully describes what we're going through, but we need an intercessor, we need the Savior to be our warrior. And so thank you, Kerry for all of that. So what we're going to do in the next segment is we're going to talk about the Savior, and specifically part of Isaiah that He quoted when He was alive, and I can't wait to show you what that is.
Segment 4 35:25
So I love these verses in Isaiah. Let's turn to Isaiah chapter 61, because Isaiah spoke of the Savior's mission, and we just have to go over three verses, that's all we're going to cover. But there is so much in these verses there, probably three of my favorite Isaiah verses. So let's go there. And Kerry, will you walk us through these verses? I'm just excited for us to have a discussion.
Kerry Muhlestein 35:51
Yeah, these are significant verses. So both in terms of Isaiah and in terms of the Savior, who we get in Luke 4:16-21.
So let's cross reference with the Luke 1. So what Kerry just said everyone, right that at the top of your page. He said, Luke 4:16-30, okay. Very good, keep going.
Kerry Muhlestein 36:13
And that's the story of the Savior in the synagogue, reading these verses. And I think we can understand that story better if we understand Isaiah better, and we can understand Isaiah better if we understand the Law of Moses better. So we'll read verse 1 and 2, and then talk about what the imagery Isaiah is drawing on. He's such a master of imagery, isn't he? I mean, just think of what we were just talking about with the spiders' webs ,or with the blind man. Isaiah paints pictures with his words. And I would say that you can understand Isaiah best if you ask yourself, What is he trying to get me to feel? And what does he want my reaction to be when he evokes that feeling? So I think that's something we could do with the cockatrice' eggs and the spider web. Say, Okay, what's he trying to get me to feel? Or the blind man? What does he want me to feel? And what does he want my reaction to be when I feel that way? I think that's a key to understanding Isaiah.
Oh, I totally agree. Because of all, I think for me, of all Isaiah verses, these are the most feeling. Like when I studied this for the first time, I felt something. So I'm writing that in my scriptures, I'm so glad. 'What does Isaiah want me to feel?' Thank you for pointing that out.
Kerry Muhlestein 37:23
With that imagery that he creates, right? He's good. He's very good. Okay,
61:1 "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;
2 "To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;"
So we can immediately see a lot of symbolism in there. But we're going to get more if we recognize what Isaiah's audience would have recognized and the Savior's audience would have recognized. And that's that Isaiah is referring to Leviticus 25:8-24. So Leviticus 25:8-24, is what we call The Law of the Jubilee or, and it's about the year of the Jubilee.
Oh, I love this tradition.
Kerry Muhlestein 38:16
And this fits in with our Yom Kippur, as well. Because what happens is that every seventh year under the law of Moses, you're supposed to let people who have come into bondage, and most slavery, and most loss of property and destitution in Israel happened because of not being able to pay a debt. So you live in a land that is based on agriculture, everybody survives because of agriculture. And everyone is supposed to have a piece of land. When they came in, it's divided up so that every family has some. And that land's supposed to stay in that family so that everyone has a piece of land. And it's part of why they keep saying you need to take care of the stranger, which is the resident alien, because they come in, and they don't automatically have a piece of land.
But the problem is that farmers usually have to borrow to plant and they can't pay off until harvest, right. And that's why they have to borrow because their income is seasonal. They don't get income all year long. It's just during the harvest. But if you have a bad harvest, you can't pay off your loans. And so it's frequent that people come into bondage, and then they can't - well that they come into debt, and they can't pay off their loan. And as a result, they're put into bondage. Their lands are seized, and sometimes their children or their spouse or themselves are seized, and that's how their debt is met. But every seven years, there's at least, there's a degree of releasing people from bondage. And that's a beautiful thing. They're redeemed, they can be redeemed by a kinsmen. That's the Goel, and Christ is the Goel or the Redeemer of Israel. But after seven periods of seven years, so those of you who are not good at math, we'll just tell you that's 49 years. The next year, the 50th year, is the Jubilee year and this is why you call anything that's a 50 year celebration, a to Jubilee Celebration. It comes from Leviticus. You didn't know your life was so affected by that Leviticus, but it is.
Kerry Muhlestein 39:29
And in this 50th year of the Jubilee year, on the day of Yom Kippur, you're supposed to blow your trumpet, and everyone goes free, everyone gets their land back. All that was lost because of debt. All that went into was went into bondage because of debt is set free. And they call it 'The year of the Lord.' They call it 'Proclaiming Liberty', right? That's a phrase right out of Leviticus 25:10 - Proclaim Liberty, that Isaiah is quoting to. And that's part of how his audience is going to recognize, that he's referring to this redemption. This is universal redemption; everyone gets redeemed in that year. So even if you didn't have a family member that was capable of paying off your debt and setting you free, still, you get set free. And that's because Jehovah redeems everybody. And that's what, that's the imagery that Isaiah is drawing on when he says, "To preach the good tidings unto the meek, and bind up the brokenhearted, and the acceptable year of the Lord." That's the Jubilee Year, and so on.
So let's actually, let's first look at the original context. In some ways, this is about Isaiah, when Isaiah says, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he's anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek." Isaiah is the one who is preaching to them. It doesn't matter how often you get scattered, conquered by other nations, get scattered, how often you come into bondage to sin. God will still redeem you. Sell yourself into bondage 100 times? God will redeem you 100 times. He is preaching that message. And so as Israel as a whole, as Israelites we're supposed to preach that message, we should be a fulfillment of this verse. But the most important fulfillment is Christ, who will read these verses and say, "This day is this fulfilled in your ears." And they recognize, 'Well, hang on. Jehovah is the one who redeems us according to that passage. You just equated yourself with them. And they don't like it. Right?
Oh they were so upset about that when when Jesus read these verses, yeah.
Kerry Muhlestein 42:17
Yeah, they tried to kill him for it. It's blasphemy because He really did just equate Himself with Jehovah, which would be blasphemy if it were anyone else. All right, but happens to not be for Him. But you see the message that he's really trying to give us then. It's beautiful the way Isaiah has said it and in the way the Savior quotes it. But it's even more beautiful when you have all the symbolism of the Jubilee Year packed behind it. And you understand that He is saying, I am here on earth now, to create the real jubilee year, where everyone from every kind of bondage, whether that's addiction, to pornography, drugs, cigarettes, whatever else Whether that's oppression, I mean, depression, or anxiety, or physical health issues. I free you from everything. I am the Redeemer of Israel.
Oh, my gosh. I mean, those two verses were so powerful. I thought of President Nelson's conference talk when he encouraged everybody to forgive. That was so profound to just to whatever it is you're carrying, whatever burden, forgive people. And so I love this idea of Jubilee; I think we should bring it back. Can we just make that part of our cul? Like every 50 years, everybody let go of everything. I think it'd be awesome.
It sounds good to me.
even though we really do that on Sundays. I get it. That's the whole idea. But I just left Judaism. Like the 50 year, let's just get rid of all of our stuff. And then we go back into Isaiah 61 because now we have verse 3. Oh, this is the verse that makes me feel. Can I read it?
Kerry Muhlestein 43:48
Yeah. And it's the result of the Jubilee stuff. That's what gets us to verse 3, right? Or the results of having a redeemer. please do.
Okay, this is the result of this Jubilee,
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."
I mean, I have so many things to talk about with this verse. I think it's powerful to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion. Who doesn't, right? I mean, everyone listening can relate to that feeling. And he's setting that up to explain to us, here's what He's going to give us. I mean, beauty for ashes. And I've just thought, What are my ashes? what have been my ashes throughout my life? and the power that He'll give me beauty for that? for my trials, my sorrow, my troubles, my sin. And explain a little bit about why He's specific with the word ashes. What's the symbolism or the culture when people from Isaiah's time are reading that? What do they know about ashes?
Kerry Muhlestein 44:54
Yeah, and I think there are two elements he's drawing on here. And when the the most prevalent one is this idea that when you are in mourning. So in this culture that is so symbol-oriented, and especially symbolic action, if something's going on inside you, you have to have an outward symbol of it. So when you feel terrible in your soul, something's happened that makes your soul feel terrible, that you have to have an outward expression of that. So you put ashes on yourself, because that does not feel good, right? There's only a discomfort from covering yourself with ashes. And so you have a physical discomfort that matches the emotional and spiritual discomfort that you feel.
And this is where we get the term sackcloth and ashes.
Kerry Muhlestein 45:38
Yeah. And so He's going to replace that terrible discomfort with beauty. I think He's also drawing actually on Isaiah, chapter three, when you had that long list of all the things the daughters of Zion are doing, when they're tingling as they go, and so on. And He then says that He is going to give them burning for beauty. So they've made themselves beautiful. And then instead, they get burning, which has an element of ashes in it. So in a way, this is also saying 'I'm undoing that, the things you brought upon yourself for doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I'm going to undo that as well.' So I think He's packing a number of symbols into this,
He definitely is; He has the oil of joy. And oil is, is the mainstay for these people. It's food, it's light, it's what they use to sell to make money. And He's saying the oil of joy for your morning and so they understand that. Lke our everything will replace our sadness. And I thought this was interesting, too: It was the Israelite custom to anoint oneself with oil preparation for festivities, and in times of happiness and prosperity. So here we have in times of sorrow and mourning, anointing oil was not used. So this is teaching us, or me for sure is, that the Lord will bless the faithful, that their sorrows will be replaced with joy. And then I love the 'garment of praise' for the 'spirit of happiness'. Because in my mind, I want a Muumuu, I want that garment to cover as much of my body as possible. When you think about clothes that we wear, I want so much 'garment of praise for the spirit of happiness'. But Kerry, tell me about this when He says that they might be called the 'trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord', that He might be glorified.
Kerry Muhlestein 47:19
So in the ancient world, and especially in Israel. Like trees, or planting trees, is how you take care of the future. It's how you prepare for the future, but especially things like the cedars of Lebanon, these forests. You, that's how you are going to survive and how you're going to build anything that's grand. So if we become God's trees, He's planting us, He's caring for us, and He will make something amazing and grand with us. So it's got all this nurturing image. You can think of Jacob chapter 5, and so on: nurturing and dunging, and you know, the, I guess we're gonna get dunged, and so on. But, but He does all these things to make us into magnificent things that can be used to make magnificent things.
Oh, that's a great way to describe that, Kerry. Sorry, I'm writing all this down. This is so good.
Kerry Muhlestein 48:08
And I'd also love to just suggest that maybe we all can do better at heaping garments of praise on each other. Or we should heap garments of praise on the Lord but also on each other. We could, we could all use a little more praising, and it's good for us to be praised, but it's also good for us to praise each other. So that's a good garment; that's a Muumuu I'll wear.
Yeah, to cover each other. Oh, I think that's awesome. Again, going back to that idea of Kafar - atonement, Yom Kippur, it's all wrapped into this. So Kerry, thank you, thank you. Okay, so here we go. In the final chapters of the Book of Isaiah, it contains Isaiah's teachings about prophecies, the redemption of the Lord, the Second Coming the last days, the millennium, all of that. And so in the next segment, we're going to begin our discussion of that. And we're going to talk about what Jesus might be wearing when He returns.
Speaker 5 48:56
So I had the privilege of attending Kerry's class during Education Week, and it was amazing. And he knows Isaiah. And so Kerry I have to tell you, my biggest takeaway was when you taught us - and you've taught this beautifully throughout this episode - is that Isaiah has many levels of meaning. And so this could not be more true than for these last few segments and chapters of Isaiah, is because you read it and you're like, oh, it just means our Second Coming. But there's layers. So I'm excited for you to talk us through Isaiah chapter 63. And tell us, what is Jesus going to wear when He comes? or is He?
Kerry Muhlestein 49:33
Well, good. There's some symbolism there. So yeah, let's let's go through, I love chapter 63 and I love the complexity of it. And it starts out with a series of questions and answers to those questions. So we'll go to verse 1. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? So, first of all, I always suggest stop and slow down when you're reading Isaiah and figure out what he's talking about. We typically see place names and we just skip past them but there's a reason for for them. So Edom is in the east, so that's one key. All right. Bozrah is the capital of Edom and Bozrah is known for its its vineyards, its viticulture and vineyards and making wine, right? So all that is important as we go into this, is someone coming from Edom and their garments. When someone hears they're dyed from Bozrah, they're gonna think, Oh, they've got grape stains on them. They're gonna already think that, right?
Then we get the question continued, but this question actually even kind of starts to answer the first question about who is this? Because the second question is, " this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?" So part of the answer is, this is someone who is amazing, both in his apparel, that these dyed garments, right?, and is powerful, right? Then note the answer. Christ answers, or Jehovah - same person - "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save." This speaks to our Divine Warrior we were just talking about. He is mighty to save. The reason why is because of His righteousness, right? So that's the first answer, well, first question and answer.
Now we get another question in verse 2, and another answer in verse 3. "Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?" So they're asking, Okay, we're gonna go a little bit more into this dyed garments, your garments are red, like they've been soaked in grape juice, basically. And then verse 3, "I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me." Now that's, that's interesting, right? This is imagery that we know speaks of the Savior and what He suffered for us in Gethsemane where he was in that winepress alone. And by the way, when you press grapes - and I've done this with my family just for fun - when you press grapes with your feet, it's hard to do it on your own. 1) it gets kind of slick. And it's actually handy to have someone else to kind of hold on to to keep your balance. I didn't know that till we did it. But 2) as grapes are getting away from you, it's hard to get them all if they always just squish out from you. But if they're switching out to you to someone else, then you get them, right? And so it just works much better to do this in groups.
But He's doing this alone, and we will automatically and rightly think Gethsemane. But now look at the next line because it's not Gethsemane time period. And this is part of the complexity, is looking at the different time fulfillments of this, all right? So He says, "For I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." So now let's think about this: This is not at the meridian of time, when it, literally His garments do get covered in blood. He has this brightly covered garments because He bleeds from every pore. But now he's talking about coming out of vengeance, which didn't happen in the meridian of time, that's Second Coming stuff.
And He's now not saying that His garments are red because of the wine in the winepress or because of His own blood. This is other people's blood, when He comes out in vengeance against them and strikes them down. When he strikes down the wicked, their blood cover His garment. And so He jumps immediately from meridian of time to Second Coming with the same imagery, which ties them together, which tells us that there's a connection we should make between this blood and this garment and His different Comings. And it seems to me that at least part of that is because He suffered in Gethsemane alone and bled from every pore, and His garments became stained with blood within. That gives Him the ability to relieve us because the reason He's coming out, well let's actually keep reading the next verse. The next two, or, well let's do three verses.
63:4 "For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come."
5 "And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore, my own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
6 "And I will tread down the people in my anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."
So what He's saying is, 'I looked to see is anyone else going to help? And there wasn't anyone else. And so it was up to me. And I will do it, I will help. I will relieve them from their oppression.' So Christ's ability to relieve us from the oppressions we experience now, whether that be wicked people in our day, whether that be - as we've said before - emotional, spiritual, physical oppression. Whether that be the oppression of Satan and death and hell themselves. Christ will relieve us of that oppression. And He can do that because He tread the winepress alone in the meridian of time and blood from every pore. Thus he has the ability to defeat our enemies at the end of time, and cover Himself in a different kind of blood as He, really the blood of death and hell. And that allows Him to relieve us. What a beautiful interweaving of those two time periods and His two roles.
Well Kerry, as you were teaching this I was struck with the juxtaposition of the word 'help' when He says there was none to help, and then He becomes the ultimate help. And we connected that to the word ZER in Hebrew. And Ebenezer. He's the stone of our help. And I just, I can't, like I'm so sad when He says, "and there was none to help." And in my heart, I'm like, How can I help? Like, I want to, I want to help, what can I do? And it just is so striking to me that there was none to help. And then He will, He will become the ultimate help over everything you just described. That is powerful. Kerry, that is so awesome!
Kerry Muhlestein 56:04
It is powerful. And I have to say it reminds me of this line in "Lord of the Rings", right, where you've got Gandalf and the battle rock, and he says, "This bow is beyond you." Right? "None of you can handle this bow." And that's exactly what, that's the reason there is none to help. And that's really what Christ is saying, 'This is beyond you.' And you're right, you and I would like to help. And there are some things we can do to help, but when it comes to conquering death and hell and a lot of forms of oppression, I can't do it. It's beyond me. Christ can do it. Christ can and did defeat this enemy for us and as He tread the winepress alone. It's incredible. I'm so, so grateful and overwhelmed by that.
Why are you overwhelmed? Tell me about that.
I'm overwhelmed by, with gratitude that someone saves me from something I can't save myself. I think that's when I feel the greatest gratitude, when I really need help, and I just can't do something on my own and someone comes in and helps me. That's when I just really am overwhelmed by gratitude. Well, this is that, magnified exponentially, right? This is something I can't do. I really just can't do this. But Christ did it for me at a huge price, but He was willing to pay that price. And it brings us to, let's see heere, brings us to verse 7. We should at least get there. "I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord." That's the word HESED, this mercy and love that's available to people who are in a covenant relationship with God. So because of all that he's been talking about God delivering us, he says,
63:7 "I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses."
This deliverance, there's a form of deliverance is available to everyone. But full deliverance is only available to those who have made and done their best to keep a covenant with Jehovah. And when we're in covenant relationship that makes Him the Redeemer - remember a redeemer is only someone who has a kinsmen - so we have to create that relationship, we have to become related and begotten of Him through the covenant, and then He can redeem us. In other words, He will pay that price that He paid in the winepress and Gethsemane, and He will deliver us like it talks about in 61. But here, it's talking about it in a different way. He will deliver us from all of this oppression because we created that covenant relationship, and He has this hesed or this mercy and love on us.
Oh my gosh, I'm so thankful pointed out hesed in verse 7. We've talked a lot about that this year and many of the listeners are like, Yes! They know what that means, and that covenant relationship. And Kerry, I just have to thank you. Because as you were talking about what all of this means to you, you, for me, I definitely felt the spirit. I mean, it just is such a good feeling that what you're saying is true. And I felt that throughout this episode, but specifically when you just bore witness to us of what this means, that He's your help. And like you said earlier that He has our back, that He's our rearward. He really is. And these verses are proof of that. So thank you for sharing that with us. Oh, my gosh, that was just a few verses in 63. I mean, Isaiah is the greatest. So in the next segment, Kerry is going to dive into some Millennial talk and give us the multilayers of this, and I can't wait to hear what he has to teach us.
Segment 6 59:35
Let's turn to Isaiah chapter 65 and read the section heading. It says "Ancient Israel was rejected for rejecting the Lord." And we know that, we've been learning that this whole time. And then it says, "The Lord's people will rejoice and triumph during the Millennium." So you can immediately read this and think it's all Millennial talk, but I love that Kerry teaches there's multilayers. So Kerry, what is Isaiah 65 teaching, and what do we need to learn from it?
Kerry Muhlestein 1:00:01
So I think you're right that the greatest and ultimate fulfillment of this system Millennium, but we understand that best if we look at the other ways it has been fulfilled. And if we think of how Isaiah's immediate audience would have taken this. So let's read the verses. And I want as we read them, first of all, think of how they would have taken it in Isaiah's day. So let's set the stage.
Assyria has just conquered and destroyed and scattered the Northern Kingdom and the 10 tribes. They then came through the Southern Kingdom, the kingdom of Judah, and destroyed every large and defense city except for Jerusalem. They laid Judah waste and many of those cities are never rebuilt and in Isaiah's lifetime that none of them have been rebuilt. This is just a wasteland with terrible things having happened to so many in Judah. And they are barely surviving, they're trying to recover after this just devastating attack. And so with that in mind, let's read Isaiah and we're going to read verses 17-25 if that's all right,
Oh, it's perfect. In fact bracket those off everyone and you can write next to the outside "Millennium", because that is ultimately like Kerry said was talking about, but he's going to teach us more. So go ahead, verse 17. Here we go.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:01:21
65:17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."
Now again, we hear that and we think, Okay, Millennium. And that's certainly true. But how would Isaiah's audience have heard it? They probably thought Millennium but they also would have thought, We're starting over. Everything is different, now. We are starting over after the storm as it were. The storm it is waste and now we're gonna start over. Now again, put yourself in their shoes,
18 "But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy."
Remember Jerusalem is the one city that wasn't destroyed, they were saved, when God miraculously destroyed the Assyrian army.
19 "And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy and my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
20 "There shall be no more intense an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die in hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed."
So no one is dying when they're young and so on. Again, that's primarily millennial. But in Isaiah's day, they're going to take this as just images of super abundance, of God taking care of them, of posterity, right? The promise of posterity that is part of the Abrahamic covenant. We continue on in verse 21, when he's talking about these houses and people inhabiting them and their vineyards, he's making reference in some ways to Isaiah 5:8-10, So chapter five is where he does the Parable of the Vineyard and it doesn't bring forth what it should and so on. But in verse 8, he starts talking about woe to them that built the houses close one and to another. And he says, it's because, I mean they had so many inhabitants, but they will be without inhabitant, and they'll become desolate, and no one will live there. And in verse 10, of chapter five, he's talking about, you'll have all these vineyards, but they won't produce anything. Right? So that's what happens because Judah is not keeping the covenant.
But now, in chapter 65, he's talking about that you have kept the covenant, and remember that the reason they're spared in Isaiah's day, that Jerusalem's spared, is because they renewed the covenant and did their best to really keep it with full purpose apart. So when they hear this, they're going to say, Aha, wonderful. Now the curse has been reversed, and we will have to build lots of houses because there are so many of us, and we're not being killed. And we can plant vineyards and we'll eat the fruit of them rather than our enemies coming and eating the fruit, or they don't produce anything. Right. So they're going to see very real fulfillments in their lives that I think Isaiah intended. Isaiah intends more than one meaning. And so that's absolutely true for them. But it's going to be true for the Millennium as well.
Here's what I love about these verses is I'm putting myself in the place of these people during Isaiah's time, and they're so excited because they thought like, we're gonna have joy again, we're gonna build again. That just the anticipation of this being fulfilled is so exciting. And then I think, I hope I'm that way right now. Like am I that excited about the anticipation of the Savior coming again? There will be joy again when He comes. We'll build the vineyard. I just think there's so much beauty in this and I've never considered it through the lens of the people during Isaiah's time. I think that's so powerful.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:04:49
I do too, and you just naturally did exactly what I hope we all do when we see that original context. It makes it easier to apply in our lives and our context, right? They're rebuilding after devastation. We all have periods of devastation in our lives. And as we get ready for the Second Coming, there's some real nasty stuff going on. And I can understand this rebuilding and rejoicing and things being set right better for what happens individually in my life and what's happening in large scale in our lives today by understanding what happened for them.
So then Kerry, let's do this. Because I love how we're just talking about the way that they're thinking and then our thinking. Let's jump to Isaiah 66. Because 12-14 must have been so comforting for them, to hear the words as they're expressed right here.
12 "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be born upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
13 "As one whom his mother comforteth," Oh, my gosh, how much do you love that? "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comefort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 "And when you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation towards his enemies."
Kerry Muhlestein 1:06:15
It's incredible imagery, isn't it? Again, ask yourself, what is Isaiah trying to get you to feel as he uses this mothering and nurturing imagery? So we've got this beautiful notion of a nursing mother, who's taking your child, right? I love that dandle on the knees image. Like just taking care of your little baby. That's what He's going to do for us. So think of what they would have felt, what imagery is he using? How are they going to feel in his day, as they recognize, Okay, you were wiped out, you are starting over. I'm going to take care of you like you take care of a baby. And then how does that transfer to us? What does he want us to feel in our day from that in our individual lives, all of us as a whole? And I love the idea of right now, you know, there's some trials going on. But Christ is gonna take care of me the same way I've taken care of my children. Right now I have a three year-old grandson. I can picture that, just bouncing him on my knee. And when he gets hurt, just holding him until he feels better. That's an image that evokes something in me that I think Isaiah intended to evoke.
I really like how you just compared that to your grandson, because as I look back at that word comforted, it gives so much power to it. That when he does get hurt you comfort him until he's not crying anymore. And that changes the word comfort for me. To think of the Savior holding me, bouncing me on his knee to comfort me in whatever it is I'm going through until I stop crying, or, and talking me through my pain. So that is great imagery, Kerry. Thank you. Wow, thank you so much. That's it. That's our discussion. Oh, my gosh, we're done. That went by fast. Not really done. I mean, we could do this for hours.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:07:59
Yeah. But Isaiah has so much to offer. And yet even, and this is what I would love and say to everyone: You may not be able to study all of the chapters that we want to in depth. But what you study, study well, and you'll get something from it that that brings you closer to God and closer to redemption as you keep the covenant. And those are Isaiah's main themes is covenant and redemption. You can see it even in what we've talked about today, covenant and redemption came up a number of times, it's really his main themes. If you're just doing it well, let those images affect you and bring you to Christ or Jehovah and help you keep your covenant better so you can be redeemed. Then Isaiah's been worth it.
Absolutely, I will Amen that 100%. I truly do delight in his words. I just think they're great. So, Kerry, thank you for joining us today. So we always ask our guests as you know, to just take a minute, and what is something that will be your takeaway from today's discussion? and I have a million notes, I'm just gonna have to find one - highlighted so many. But if there's anything you want to share, Kerry, go ahead.
Kerry Muhlestein 1:09:03
I'll just say it's been wonderful for me today. I, so my children have some challenges they're going through, health challenges and other things. It's been a long, hard slog and to think of these images again and again as we've talked about this, I've thought of being relieved from oppression. And the hope and at a time where I could use some hope held out before me,
Who doesn't or hasn't needed hope? Like, thank you. Thank you not only for your takeaway, but for also making it personal. And I have to just say my takeaway was when you pointed out in Isaiah 61, that the trees of righteousness are really about God making us into something grand, and you said something magnificent. That was powerful. In that moment, like it hit me hard. Because, I'll be honest, I have not always believed that about myself. And so when you said it, there was a truth that resonated in me like, Yeah, we are being built into something grand and magnificent. So, thank you. This was such an excellent episode. And I can't think of a better way to finish up our study of Isaiah. So thank you, Kerry, so good.
Well, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or on Instagram, go do it. It is so fun. People ask questions throughout the week, they even post things they're learning. But then at the end of every week, usually on a Saturday, we post a call for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson and let us know what you learned. I LOVE it. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sunday On Monday, and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, it's where we're going to have links to all the references we use and the scriptures as well as complete transcript of this whole discussion. So go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our awesome study group participant was Kery Milstein. And you can find more information about my friend at LDS living.com/sunday on Monday. Our podcast is produced by Cole Wissinger and edited by Hailey Higham. It is recorded and mixed by Mix At Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week.
And please remember you trees, you trees of righteousness, that you are God's favorite!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai