“Lesson 131: Isaiah 59–66,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 131,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Isaiah taught the Israelites that their sins had separated them from God. Isaiah prophesied of the last days, the role of the promised Messiah, the Second Coming, and the Millennium.
Read the following scenario: A young woman meets with her bishop and confesses that she has repeatedly broken the Word of Wisdom. She describes how she has lost the trust of her parents, was removed from a school club because her grades have become poor, and does not feel the influence of the Spirit in her life anymore. She adds, “I don’t understand why God has made my life so hard and has abandoned me.”
Ask students to ponder how they would respond to this young woman.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 59:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a principle that Isaiah taught the people about how their sins had affected them. You may need to explain that the phrase “the Lord’s hand is not shortened” means that the Lord’s power to save has not decreased.
What principle did Isaiah teach about the effects of sin on a person’s relationship with God? (Students may use different words, but make sure it is clear that when we sin, we separate ourselves from God.)
Invite a volunteer to come to the front of the class. Write the word God on the board, and ask the volunteer to stand facing it. Explain that in this position, this student represents people who honor their covenants and follow God.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 59:3–4, 7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the sins the people had committed. Ask the volunteer to turn away from and then take a step away from the board for each sin that is mentioned in answer to the following questions. The volunteer will remain standing and continue to take steps away from the board until students identify the principle for this section of the lesson.
What sins had the people committed?
Why do you think committing these sins would separate someone from God?
Which of these sins are prevalent in our day?
Invite students to read Isaiah 59:8–10 silently, looking for effects of being separated from God.
What did the Israelites experience because their sins had separated them from God? (You may want to explain that they were blindly groping or searching in the darkness for anything to help guide them, like a wall or a fence.)
Why would being separated from God cause us to walk in darkness or to grope and stumble as if we had no sight?
Invite a student to read Isaiah 59:11–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the people would further recognize about the effects of their sins.
What would the Israelites recognize about the effects of their sins? (Salvation was far from them, their sins testified against them, and by sinning they had departed from God. Point out the distance between the volunteer and the board.)
Remind students of the scenario presented at the beginning of the lesson and ask:
How could recognizing that she had separated herself from God through sin help the young woman in the scenario?
Invite students to ponder whether they feel separated from God and what hope exists for us when we feel separated from Him.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 59:16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord saw that the people needed.
What did the Lord see that His people needed? (An intercessor.)
Explain that an intercessor is someone who intervenes to help settle differences between two people or groups. When we sin, we disrupt our relationship with God, and a penalty must be paid to restore harmony and balance to the relationship. However, we are unable to pay the penalty ourselves and need someone to intercede on our behalf to satisfy the demands of God’s justice.
According to verse 16, who became the intercessor? (The Lord. You may need to explain that the phrase “his arm brought salvation unto him” means the Lord brought salvation to man [see verse 16, footnote d].)
Summarize Isaiah 59:17–19 by explaining that Isaiah described how the Lord would punish His enemies.
Invite students to read Isaiah 59:20 silently, looking for the title Isaiah used for the Lord. Ask students to report what they find.
How would you explain the Savior’s role as our Redeemer?
What phrase from Isaiah 59:20 teaches what we need to do so the Lord can intercede for us and redeem us? What does the phrase “turn from transgression” mean?
Invite the first volunteer to turn back toward the board and return to it.
How do these actions represent repentance?
Ask the volunteer to write the following incomplete principle on the board: If we repent of our sins, … Then ask the student holding the picture of the Savior to complete the principle on the board so it reads, If we repent of our sins, then the Lord will intercede for us and redeem us. Thank these students and invite them to return to their seats.
Why do you think our repentance is needed for the Lord to intercede for us and redeem us?
Ask students to write a response to the following question in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
If you could personally express your gratitude to the Savior for interceding for you and redeeming you, what would you tell Him?
Invite students who are willing to share what they wrote to do so. Ask students to ponder whether there is anything in their life they need to repent of. Encourage them to begin the process.
Summarize Isaiah 60 by explaining that Isaiah prophesied of events that would occur in the last days and during and after the Millennium.
Explain that in Isaiah 61, Isaiah spoke of the Savior’s mission. You may want to suggest that students write Luke 4:16–21 as a cross-reference in their scriptures next to Isaiah 61:1–2. These verses in Luke give an account of when the Savior read from Isaiah 61:1–2 during His mortal ministry and declared that the prophecy contained in those verses would be fulfilled in Him.
Invite a student to read Isaiah 61:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for different parts of the Savior’s mission. You might want to point out the phrase “the Lord hath anointed me,” and explain that the title Messiah means “anointed one,” referring to the one chosen by God to lead and deliver His people.
What are some of the “good tidings,” or good news, the Savior preached and continues to preach?
How did the Savior “bind up the brokenhearted” during His mortal ministry? How does He continue to do so in our day?
How does the Savior bring “liberty to the captives” and open “the prison to them that are bound”? How can this relate to spirits in the postmortal spirit world? (see D&C 138:11–12, 15–18, 29–31).
Invite a student to read Isaiah 61:2–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior does for those who mourn. Explain that the “day of vengeance” refers to the day when God punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous.
What does the Savior do for those who mourn?
Help students understand the phrase “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3) by explaining that the Israelites had a custom of pouring ashes on their heads when deeply saddened, as in times of ruin, hopelessness, death, and despair. God promised to replace the ashes with “beauty,” referring to a beautiful head covering or crown of beauty, and to replace mourning with “joy” and sadness with “praise.”
Based on Isaiah 61:1–3, how would you summarize Jesus Christ’s mission as the promised Messiah in your own words? (Though students’ answers may vary, help them identify a truth similar to the following: As the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ preaches hope, heals, liberates, and comforts.)
Which of these roles of the Savior have special meaning for you? Why?
Summarize the remainder of Isaiah 61 by explaining that Isaiah spoke of Zion being built up in the last days. Isaiah also spoke of the Lord making an everlasting covenant with him and with the people and clothing them in “the garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10).
Explain that the final chapters in the book of Isaiah contain Isaiah’s teachings and prophecies about the redemption of the Lord’s people in the last days, the Savior’s Second Coming, and the Millennium. As an example of a prophecy about the Second Coming, invite a student to read Isaiah 63:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to look for the color of the Savior’s clothing when He returns to the earth.
What color will the Savior’s clothing be when He returns to the earth?
Inform students that the red color of the Savior’s garments represents the blood of the wicked who will be destroyed when justice is poured out upon them at the Second Coming. It can also remind the righteous of the blood Jesus shed on their behalf (see D&C 133:46–53).
Invite a student to read Isaiah 64:1–2. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord’s people will pray for in the last days. Ask students to report what they find.
Explain that the Millennium will begin following the Second Coming. Assign half of the class to read Isaiah 65:17–20 silently and the other half to read Isaiah 65:21–25 silently. Ask them to look for what conditions on earth will be like for the Lord’s people during the Millennium. (You may want to explain that the Joseph Smith Translation provides the following clarification for Isaiah 65:20: “For the child shall not die, but shall live to be an hundred years old.”)
How would you summarize what conditions will be like for the Lord’s people during the Millennium? (Students should identify the following truth: During the Millennium the Lord’s people will enjoy happiness, peace, and prosperity.)
What are some things we can do to enjoy happiness, peace, and prosperity now?
Conclude by sharing your testimony of the goodness of the Lord in providing His people with happiness, peace, and prosperity.