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Isaiah 35:1–10 Latter-day Israel Rejoices and Blossoms as a Rose
“Wilderness,” “dry land,” “desert,” “parched ground,” and “thirsty ground” are symbols of Israel in its apostate condition, lacking the “waters,” “streams,” and “springs of water” (35:6–7), which refer symbolically to Jesus Christ and the great life-giving blessings associated with Him and His gospel. Anciently, the Lord said of disobedient Israel that He would “make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land” (Hosea 2:3). But when Israel keeps its covenants and obeys the Lord, it is compared to Zion and Eden (the Lord’s garden). Elsewhere, Isaiah contrasts “Zion,” “Eden,” and the Lord’s “garden” with “desolate places,” “wilderness,” and “desert”: “For the Lord comforts Zion: He comforts all her desolate places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord” (51:3). Although Isaiah 35 contains many symbols, portions of the chapter can also be read literally—many of the great deserts in Utah and Israel have blossomed, yielding fruitful crops and bounteous harvests. The prophecies of this chapter will be fulfilled in the last days, the time of the Restoration (Doctrine and Covenants 49:24–25; Latter-day Saint Bible chapter heading).
wilderness . . . will exult/desert will be joyful. Whereas covenant Israel in olden days was disobedient to the Lord—symbolically becoming a desert—in the last days covenant Israel will “exult” and be “joyful.” Elsewhere Isaiah prophesied, “In days to come . . . Israel will blossom and flower and they will fill the face of the world with fruit” (27:6). And also, “Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose” (Doctrine and Covenants 49:24). After the death of the early Church’s Apostles, the Church was driven “into the wilderness” (Doctrine and Covenants 86:3), but with the Restoration of the gospel, we have witnessed “the coming forth of [the Lord’s] church out of the wilderness” (Doctrine and Covenants 5:14).
rose. The category of flora (Hebrew chavatzalet) in this verse is uncertain; some lexicons read “meadow-saffron” or “crocus” or “asphodel” (kind of lily). See also Doctrine and Covenants 49:24: “The Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.”
glory of Lebanon . . . majesty of Carmel and Sharon. Latter-day Israel will become like the lush forests of Lebanon, the fertile fields of Carmel, and the beauty and flowers of Sharon (2:13; 33:9; 60:13). Just as Israel will flourish agriculturally, like a fruitful garden, it will also thrive spiritually! Note Isaiah’s next words—faithful Israel “will see the glory of the Lord and the majesty of our God.” With the restoration of the priesthood and its ordinances, the obedient and worthy are privileged to behold God and His majesty.
weak hands/feeble knees. See Doctrine and Covenants 81:5.
God will come with vengeance . . . and save you. At His Second Coming, Christ will exact vengeance on the wicked for their evil acts (Mormon 3:15); at the same time, He will “save” the righteous.
eyes of the blind will be opened/ears of the deaf opened. This prophecy has a literal, physical application of healing the blind and the deaf (Doctrine and Covenants 84:69–70) and also a spiritual application—the spiritually blind and deaf will “see” and “hear,” or recognize the truths of the gospel.
waters/streams/pool/springs of water. These words have a dual application—actual water will change the deserts of Israel, Utah, and other places into fruitful fields; also, the waters speak concerning Jesus and His salvation. Earlier, Isaiah wrote, “For there the Lord is . . . a place of rivers, wide streams” (33:21).
highway will be there . . . “The Way of Holiness.” This refers to the covenant path to God, which leads us out of the world of wickedness into the promised land. It leads us through the gates of baptism and to the temple. This is called “The Way of Holiness,” meaning, it is the path or highway for those who seek holiness. See also Doctrine and Covenants 133:27–33, which cites portions of Isaiah 35. unclean will not pass over. Spiritually unclean souls will not walk on the Way of Holiness.
No lion . . . nor violent beasts. Satan, who is “as a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8), and other enemies of the kingdom will not walk, “The Way of Holiness.”
redeemed will go/ransomed of the Lord will return. “The Way of Holiness” is for those who have applied the Atonement in their lives and are thus “redeemed” and “ransomed” by the Lord.
come to Zion. Zion is the antithesis of the desert and wilderness, mentioned in verse 1. songs/everlasting joy/exultation/rejoicing. Sacred songs and rejoicing have always been part of Zion and God’s kingdom: “And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:71; emphasis added; see also Doctrine and Covenants 66:11).
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