Isaiah 61

CLICK HERE to read Isaiah 61.

Isaiah, as a Prophet, is anointed to preach to the people and call them to repentance.  However, the Savior is the one who is sent to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and open the (spirit) prison to those that are bound (verse 1).  The Prophets declare that the Savior has come, just as He Himself quotes this verse to announce it (verse 2; see also Luke 4:21-30).  When we rejoice in this, we no longer grieve our sorrows and are no longer burdened down by the cares of the world (verse 3):

give unto them beauty for ashes,
(being filled with the Spirit instead of only called to repentance)
the oil of joy for mourning,
(washed and anointed following repentance)
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
(the priesthood garments given to those with a broken heart and contrite spirit)
that they might be called… righteousness
(calling on the atonement, exchanging our not-of-God for His righteousness)

Just as there will be great destruction for those who reject the Lord, so will there be great restoration for those who accept Him (verse 4).  With that restoration comes the influx of converts, and verse 5 has both literal (Aaronic) and spiritual (Melchizedek) implications.  Skousen points out (p. 727) the literal layer, that so many migrating will require work for those families, and much of that work will be found in migrant farming and shepherding jobs.  However, I would also suggest a spiritual layer, that the “standing and feeding of the flock” also refers to converts who become our priesthood leaders, nourishing wards and stakes and areas.  This seems confirmed by the next verse, which calls these people “priests of the Lord” (verse 6), though Skousen goes on to say that the converts will take the temporal duties and this will free the established members to focus on teaching and ministering.

Regardless, those Israelites who return to the Lord will inherit double (because Abraham did pass the birthright on to Isaac) (verse 7).  The Lord declares that He loves justice and hates those who steal and then offering their spoils to Him on the altar (verse 8).  This reminiscent of chapter 58, where He taught about Fasting meant also caring for the poor, not just making a public spectacle of the sacrifice.  But those who truly offer their best, and seek His righteousness, will be blessed and all the people will know it (verse 9).

Understanding these things, Isaiah rejoices to be dressed in the holy garments of the priesthood, and to have access to temple ordinances (“robes of righteousness”), and to be making and keeping sacred covenants (verse 10).

We will all rejoice like this, when we really understand, because true testimony always involves a natural response in two layers: one in praise to God, and one in testimony to His children (verse 11).

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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