Old Testament Lesson 37 -“Thou Hast Done Wonderful Things”

1. The Saviour opens the door to Heavenly Father’s presence.

Isaiah 22:22 the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder
“Kingship belongs to Jesus the Messiah both by lineage and by divine decree. He alone possesses “the key of the house of David” (Isa. 22:22; see also Rev. 3:7), the key to the governance of Israel. The house of David reigns forever because the Son of David reigns forever. He will be the God-King of this celestialized earth.” (Richard D. Draper, ed., A Witness of Jesus Christ: The 1989 Sperry Symposium on the Old Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 255)
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2. The Saviour shows mercy for those in spirit prison.

Isaiah 24:21-23 Jesus the deliverer

‘There is no question but that Jesus was to be the Deliverer and that they that sit in this prison were to be in the bonds of darkness, which must refer to spiritual darkness rather than to political prisoners here upon the earth. The work of Jesus definitely was not confined solely to those of his own earthly generation who heard his voice in person as on this occasion when he spoke in the synagogue at Nazareth. His work was a greater work, a universal work, and applied not only to the whole wide world of those then living, but also to all who ever lived or ever would live upon this earth.’ )Theodore M Burton, General Conference, October 1964)

Isaiah 42:5–16. Who Is the Light That Opens the Eyes of the Blind?

‘Isaiah’s frame of reference shifts from the Father’s relationship with His Son to the Savior’s relationship with covenant Israel, particularly with those who would respond to the gospel invitation and be qualified to sing the song of the exalted (both living and dead). (Compare Isaiah 49:7–121 Nephi 21:7–12Revelation 14:1–3; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation,1:269–70; 1 Peter 3:18–214:6John 5:28.) When mortals who are blind because they lack gospel light embrace the gospel, they are as prisoners set free.

The Prophet Joseph Smith was speaking of the crucified Christ when he said: “Here then we have an account of our Savior preaching to the spirits in prison, to spirits that had been imprisoned from the days of Noah; and what did He preach to them? That they were to stay there? Certainly not! Let His own declaration testify. [Luke 4:18Isaiah 42:7] It is very evident from this that He not only went to preach to them, but to deliver, or bring them out of the prison house. … Thus we find that God will deal with all the human family equally, and that as the antediluvians [those who lived before the Flood] had their day of visitation, so will those characters referred to by Isaiah, have their time of visitation and deliverance, after having been many days in prison.” (History of the Church, 4:596–97.)

Everything centers in the Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the light of the world and “of the gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6). His hand is extended to strengthen, support, and protect covenant Israel; but that is not all. Every covenant person becomes a light to the world by holding up the light of the Savior through faithfully living His commandments (see 3 Nephi 18:24; see also Acts 26:17–18).’ (Institute Old Testament Manual)

Isaiah 49:9 To them that are in darkness

‘Salvation for the dead is taught in the Old Testament. How do we know that Isaiah understood this vital doctrine? ‘And Isaiah, who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound, [was] also there [in the spirit world when the  Saviour visited between his death and resurrection]’ (D&C 138:42). (Andrew C Skinner and D Kelly Ogden, Verse by Verse, The Old Testament)

3. The Saviour is a strength and a refuge.

Isaiah 25:4 The blast of the terrible ones

‘ It may be…that nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the  priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the atomic holocausts that surely shall be.’ (Bruce R McConkie, Ensign, May 1979)

Isaiah 32:2 A hiding place from the wind

‘”A man” in verse 2 is the King, and a series of pleasant similes depicts the glorious millennial kingdom.’ (Andrew C Skinner and D Kelly Ogden, Verse by Verse, The Old Testament)

4. The Saviour will prepare a feast and destroy the “vail.”

Isaiah 25:1–11. The Second Coming Will Be a Time of Great Rejoicing for the Righteous

‘Though he spoke of great destruction and judgments, Isaiah was filled not with despair but with joy. Here he burst into a hymn of exultation because the Lord would finally come and reign in Zion and Jerusalem (see Isaiah 24:23).

The Second Coming will be a time of great rejoicing that follows “much tribulation” (D&C 58:3–4). A great “feast of fat things” (Isaiah 25:6) will also attend the Lord’s return, meaning that men will feast upon the fruits of the gospel until they are full (compare D&C 58:8). The Lord’s coming will help to dispel “the veil that is spread over all nations” (Isaiah 25:7). This veil may be the “dark veil of unbelief” (Alma 19:6; see also Ether 4:15) which characterizes those of the latter days who reject the gospel. Or, it could be a more literal “veil of darkness,” such as that described in Moses 7:61 when the heavens shall be darkened and “shall shake, and also the earth.” But great joy will also follow, for the time will come when “the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces” (Isaiah 25:8). This figure is used twice in the book of Revelation (Revelation 7:1721:4) and obviously represents a millennial condition.’ (Institute Old Testament Manual)

5. The Saviour wipes away our tears.

Isaiah 25:8

‘Some among us, desperately ill, know the loneliness of a hospital room by night when loved ones have departed or are “sleeping for sorrow”  (Luke 22:45) unable to “watch” another “hour”  (Matt. 26:40). The night magnifies the stillness of the hospital corridors, as these individuals brush against the veil of death. Even so, whether or not “appointed unto death”  (D&C 42:48) these faithful are in His hands. They can and do know of God, “Yet thou art there!”

Widows and widowers whose deprivation stretches into years, when the caress of dimmed memories is insufficient, sometimes sob to see purpose in it all. However, they will later know moments when the Lord shall “wipe away tears from off all faces”  (Isa. 25:8) Meanwhile, they can truly testify, “Yet thou art there!” (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, October 1987)

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6. The Saviour will bring the Resurrection.

Isaiah 26:19

‘The doctrine of the resurrection was definitely taught in the Old Testament, though Sadducees later, believing only what was written in their Hebrew scriptures, verbatim, managed to find little in the Hebrew Bible on resurrection, so they didn’t believe in it (Acts 23;8). Reflect also on Isaiah 25:8 as clear evidence of the resurrection. Not only will the dead arise and live again but they will awake and sing!’ (Andrew C Skinner and D Kelly Ogden, Verse by Verse, The Old Testament)

7. The Saviour is our sure foundation.

Isaiah 28:16. What Is the Tried and “Precious Corner Stone”?

‘The tried and precious cornerstone is Jesus ChristHimself. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “One of Isaiah’s great Messianic prophecies was that the promised Messiah would be ‘for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.’ (Isa. 8:14–15.) Both Paul (Rom. 9:33) and Peter (1 Pet. 2:7–8) record the fulfilment of this prophecy.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 657.)

Jacob referred to this figure when he said that “by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation” (Jacob 4:15).

Paul also used the same imagery when he said the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ was Apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone (see Ephesians 2:19–20).'(Institute Old Testament Manual)

8. The Saviour will restore the gospel to the earth.

Isaiah 29:4 A familiar spirit

‘Youth of all ages, even infants, can and do respond to the distinctive spirit of the Book of Mormon. Children may not understand all of the words and stories, but they certainly can feel the “familiar spirit” described by Isaiah  Isaiah 29:4 see also  2 Nephi 26:16 ‘ (David A Bednar, General Conference, April 2010)

 Isaiah 29:11–12. What Was the “Book That Is Sealed” and to Whom Were Its “Words” Delivered?

‘Early in the process of translating the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris desired proof that the translation Joseph Smith was making was genuine. He obtained permission to carry a copy of several of the “words” from the plates, together with their translation, to some learned men. Martin Harris’s account given to the Prophet Joseph Smith states that he took the copy to Professor Charles Anthon of New York City, who certified that the characters were real and correctly translated. But when Professor Anthon discovered that the record from which the characters were obtained was itself received by supernatural means, he retracted his statement by asking for his certificate back and tearing it to bits. Martin Harris reports that Anthon said that “if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him, and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation” (Joseph Smith—History 1:65).

The unlearned man to whom the book was delivered was, of course, Joseph Smith. Elder Orson Pratt once said: “Now in regard to Joseph Smith’s qualifications or attainments in learning, they were very ordinary. He had received a little education in the common country schools in the vicinity in which he had lived. He could read a little, and could write, but it was in such an ordinary hand that he did not venture to act as his own scribe, but had to employ sometimes one and sometimes another to write as he translated. This unlearned man did not make the same reply that the learned man did. For when the book was delivered to this unlearned youth and he was requested to read it, he replied, ‘I am not learned.’ I suppose he felt his weakness when the Lord told him to read this book; for he thought it was a great work” (In Journal of Discourses,15:186).’ (Institute Old Testament Manual)

Isaiah 29:14 A marvellous work and a wonder

‘Surely and steadily The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints moves across the earth. In Daniel’s language it is “the stone … cut out of the mountain without hands.”  Dan. 2:45 Isaiah described what he foresaw as “a marvellous work and a wonder.”  Isa. 29:14 It is a wonder! The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ is filled with miracles, revelations, manifestations of every kind. Many of those have come in our lifetime.’ (Jeffrey R Holland, general Conference, October 2001)

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9. The Saviour knows our trials and directs our paths.

Isaiah 30:19-21 The bread of adversity

‘Is there not wisdom in his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified? If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given to the doer of good, there could be no evil– all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls. Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood. Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long suffering, and self-mastery. The sufferings of our Savior were part of his education.’ (Spencer W Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle)

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