Jeremiah lived at the crossroads of troubled times and troubled places. He stood as a witness and a representative of an old covenant dying away with the promise of a new covenant emerging.
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The prophet Jeremiah provides us with a remarkable study in steadfastness in the Lord. From his premortal performance to his mortal ministry we are given an often painful portrait of what a prophet goes through to serve God in correcting his own people.
Isaiah was a prophet for many ages. He was first and foremost, however, a prophet for his own times. The first 39 chapters of his writings were primarily directed to the House of Israel in his own day as well as the surrounding nations. There are, however, scattered throughout these chapters prophesies regarding the future. Nephi urged his readers to apply these teachings to any time period in which Isaiah’s writings are read.
The book of Isaiah has been called a “fifth gospel” because it testifies in detail of the Christ who should come with power to save. Isaiah prophesied with remarkable precision how and why the Savior would bring about the Atonement; thus, the purpose of this lesson is to help us understand the meaning of His Atonement in our lives.
Isaiah, as well as the rest of the Lord’s prophets, used symbolism to both reveal and conceal the truth about the Lord and his gospel. The animated yet sometimes ambiguous language can be confusing and frustrating to readers, but dedicated Latter-day disciples can lay hold upon these inspired and inspiring images of Isaiah in such a way as to increase faith in the Lord and faithfulness in themselves.
Many scholars have noted that the Book of Isaiah can be divided into two major sections. Chapters 1-39 are characterized by doom, focusing predominantly on God’s judgments against Israel and her neighbors. Chapters 40-66 are characterized by hope with Israel’s future gathering and redemption at its nucleus. It may seem odd then that in an attempt to cause his reader to “rejoice for all men”, the prophet Nephi quoted Isaiah 2-14, the beginning of “the book of doom.”