One Tree at a Time: Mosiah 14 (Isaiah 53)

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(This is an excerpt from the book Isaiah for Airheads.)

Jehovah Is Salvation

Synopsis: Isaiah speaks Messianically—Messiah's humiliation and sufferings are set forth—He makes his soul an offering for sin and makes intercession for transgressors—Compare Isaiah 53.

Who Is Our Guide?

The wicked priests of King Noah tried to trap Abinadi with a question about an Isaiah passage. Abinadi responded with, "Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people . . . yet desire to know of me what these things mean? . . . What teach ye this people?" They answered, "The law of Moses." Abinadi then pointedly asked, "Why do ye not keep it?" (Mosiah 12:25, 27–29).

After reciting the ten commandments, Abinadi used the great Messianic prophecy of Isaiah as a witness against the wickedness of King Noah and his priests and to show them that salvation comes not by the law alone, but because of the Messiah. After quoting Isaiah, Abinadi gives his own prophetic commentary and explains what Isaiah meant.

What Are the Trees?

  • Christ (Jesus' early life and ministry are described)
  • Coming Events (the Messiah came some 740 years after Isaiah began to prophesy)

What Keys Can We Use?

  • Learn the Manner of Prophesying (look for coming events described in past tense, or "prophet-perfect" tense)
  • Have the Spirit of Prophecy (read prayerfully)
  • Live in the Last Days (use Restoration scripture; the prophet Abinadi comments on the prophet Isaiah)

Overview of Mosiah 14 in One Paragraph

Isaiah describes the origins of the Messiah, events in His mortal ministry, his suffering and death, and the blessings resulting from His atoning sacrifice.

Dividing the Tree of Mosiah 14 into Branches

  • Mosiah 13:33–35: Abinadi's introduction to Isaiah 53
  • 1–3: A description of the mortal Messiah
  • 4–6: The mission of the Messiah
  • 7–9: His condemnation by His persecutors, His suffering and death
  • 10–12: The results of the Messiah's atoning mission

How Does This Tree Help Me Today?

Entire books have been written about Isaiah 53 and the "suffering servant" described therein. George Frederic Handel used many of Isaiah's phrases in this chapter in his masterwork Messiah. In only twelve verses, Isaiah describes the Savior's humble beginnings, his life and ministry, his betrayal and suffering, and his ultimate triumph. Abinadi used Isaiah's words to teach that the law alone will not save and that we all must rely on the atonement of Christ in order to enjoy the blessings of eternal life. This message, that "Jehovah is salvation," is relevant to all people in all times and all places.

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