How to Search Isaiah
October 9, 2021
We can observe a huge difference between “searching” the words of Isaiah and not doing so in responses to the question and answer in Doctrine & Covenant 113:5–6: “What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter? Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.”
Someone who has read these things but hasn’t searched them might say, “That sounds like the prophet Joseph Smith! So let’s assume it’s him and write that in our manuals and teaching materials.” Or you might hear people say, “Everyone knows that is the prophet Joseph Smith!” and take the high moral ground when someone believes differently—though they themselves haven’t searched the topic but simply jumped to conclusions about it.
If you did word searches in the Book of Isaiah and Book of Mormon you might look up terms such as “ensign,” “gather,” and “my people.” You would then discover that they deal with the restoration to God’s covenant and lands of inheritance by the Jews, Lamanites, and Ten Tribes—called “the house of Israel”—in a new exodus from the four directions of the earth, and that he who gathers them is God’s end-time “servant” in the Book of Isaiah.
You would also not take Isaiah 11:1, 8 out of context but ask yourself questions such as, “If the “stem” and “root” of Jesse are persons, wouldn’t it follow that the “rod” and “branch” in Isaiah 11:1 are also persons? And if so, who are they? When viewing the entire context in which these verses appear, you would further observe that they form a part of a much larger scenario in the Book of Isaiah that is discussed at length in the Book of Mormon.
You would additionally discover that Israel’s gathering and restoration and the Lord’s great and marvelous work are all one and the same end-time event that hasn’t happened yet. If you analyzed the “great and marvelous work,” marvelous work,” “great work,” or “work” of the Lord in the scriptures you would see that it follows a great division among the Ephraimite Gentiles who are the ones who assist in gathering and restoring the house of Israel.
You would also find that those who cry, “A Bible! A Bible!” (2 Nephi 29:3) when additional scriptures come forth at the time the Lord performs his great and marvelous work are Ephraimite Gentiles who end up fighting against Zion, and that “the restoration of the Jews, or of the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 15:20), the mission of the two witnesses to the Jews “at the time of the restoration” (Doctrine & Covenants 77:15), etc. are all concurrent events.
Literary tools used in the Isaiah Institute’s commentaries demonstrate different approaches to searching the “words” of Isaiah and related scriptures. They form an initiation or induction into Isaiah’s end-time prophecy on which one can build. They are also easily verifiable for accuracy through anyone’s own searching efforts. Lastly, when searching Isaiah, it is best to start with his definitions of things before branching out to search other scriptures.