Acombination of prophecy, sound thinking and doctrine help make Isaiah "a bonus book of the Old Testament."
So noted Elder Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy and Sunday School general president in a Church News interview. "Isaiah gives us a marvelous opportunity to think deeply about doctrine," said Elder Pinnock."Even though the book has many difficult passages, it is filled with marvelous doctrinal rewards, which are such gems of wisdom. We have to work, toil and labor our way through Isaiah, but there is always a reward waiting for us.
"It really is a marvelous book. All scriptures are helpful and we'll be blessed by reading all of them, but Isaiah is a bonus book. We get inordinate rewards from reading it."
Elder Pinnock further said, "We're grateful for Isaiah for many reasons. One is that he is a connecting author between the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Isaiah's writings appear more in those three great books of scripture than any other of our ancient prophets."
He said another reason for gratitude is that it was Isaiah who received many revelations announcing the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. Those revelations gave hope to countless thousands both in the Old World and the New World.
"It was Isaiah who announced to the world that Jesus would be born of a virgin. Isaiah is unique. He spoke of the Savior, calling Him `the Prince of Peace.' I don't think anyone else used that title before Isaiah. So many of the names by which we know the Savior were communicated first by Isaiah. He left no doubt the Messiah would come, or what His mission and identity would be."
He said Isaiah had two groups of people focusing upon the Redeemer: the people of the Old World and the people of the New World. "His prophecies were heard in Jerusalem and his writings were carried to the New World by Lehi," said Elder Pinnock.
"Isaiah also is appreciated for his prophecies of the future. There was not much of the future of the world that escaped Isaiah. He talked about the Millennium, identified Satan, explained the restoration of the gospel. He was very strong in his writings of apostasy and idols. Isaiah saw the temples of the latter-days. He's the one who said that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains.
"Isaiah made that prophecy about `a book that is sealed.' (Isa. 29:11.) The very financing for the publication of the Book of Mormon came about because of a revelation Isaiah gave in Old Testament days.
"One of the exciting aspects of studying the Old Testament, particularly Isaiah, is that its teachings are as modern as today. Isaiah's writings are timeless. Reading them is almost like reading something President Ezra TaftT Benson has said."
Elder Pinnock said Isaiah is quoted often in the Church. "We think we're quoting the Book of Mormon," he said. "We cite 2 Nephi, but often it is really Isaiah we are quoting. Isaiah became almost the focal point of Nephi as he began to write his record.
"Great blessings have come to untold numbers because of Isaiah and his words that are recorded in the Book of Mormon. Jacob said: ` . . . I will read you the words of Isaiah. . . . And I speak unto you for your sakes, that ye may learn and glorify the name of your God.' " (2 Ne. 6:4.)
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: Interview with Elder Hugh W. Pinnock; The Old Testament: A Mormon Perspective, by Glen A. Pearson; and Great Are the Words of Isaiah, by Monte S. Nyman.