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TitleIsaiah 61
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsParry, Donald W.
EditorHalverson, Taylor
Book TitleOld Testament Minute: Isaiah
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT
KeywordsBible; Isaiah (Book); Isaiah (Prophet); Old Testament

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Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61:1–3 The Mission of the Messiah

Isaiah 61:1–3 provides a powerful, yet compact description of a segment of Jesus’s mission. When Jesus Christ visited a synagogue of Nazareth, He read Isaiah 61:1 and the first portion of verse 2 from an Isaiah scroll (chapters and verse numbers did not yet exist in scriptural texts—these were a later innovation). Then He closed the scroll, “gave it to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:20–21; see also Acts 10:38). Jesus was stating, in effect, that the Isaiah passage that he had just read was fulfilled in Him.

Isaiah 61:1

anointed Me. The Hebrew Messiah and the Greek Christ mean “anointed one.” Jesus has been anointed. proclaim liberty to the captives/opening of the prison. Jesus Christ provides freedom to those who are captive to sin and Satan. But this passage also prophesies of Jesus’s visit to the world of spirits, to free those (who would accept Him as their Savior) who were bound in the spirit prison. Regarding this prophecy, Joseph F. Smith wrote of his vision, received October 3, 1918, “And Isaiah, who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound, were also there” (Doctrine and Covenants 138:42).

Isaiah 61:2

to proclaim the year of favor of the Lord. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (KJV) means “to proclaim” the time of the Lord’s grace and favor. The Lord invited Sidney Rigdon, “Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:51; emphasis added). The “acceptable year” may be considered a jubilee year, in which all that was in bondage goes free and all that which was lost is restored. year of favor of the Lord/day of vengeance of our God. God’s “day of vengeance” refers to the period of His judgments against the wicked. “Day” stands in contrast with “year.” His judgments are brief, compared to the “year” of His grace and favor.

Isaiah 61:3

to give to them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes. To the inhabitants of Zion, the Lord blesses abundantly, giving them the best of everything. When they mourn with ashes on their head (2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:3; Jeremiah 6:26; see also Job 2:12), the Lord provides them with a “crown of beauty.” When they are in a state of mourning, He gives them “the oil of gladness” (see also Matthew 5:4). Oil was used during times of happiness (Eccl. 9:8; Psalm 45:8). When they are faint of spirit, He gives them “a garment of praise.” “Oaks of Righteousness”/“The Planting of the Lord.” Righteous, faithful individuals are compared to productive, strong trees (for example, oaks; see also Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:7–8) and plants that are planted by the Lord.

Isaiah 61:4–11 Blessings to Restored Israel

The Lord promises His covenant people great blessings—both temporal and spiritual—in the latter days (see Latter-day Saint Bible chapter heading). Because of these blessings, the righteous will rejoice in their God (see 61:10–11).

Isaiah 61:4

They will build up the ancient ruins. Literally, the ancient places of Palestine will be rebuilt in the last days; symbolically, God’s covenant people will be built up and established.

Isaiah 61:5

strangers will stand and shepherd your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. Anciently God’s covenant people were greatly oppressed by foreign nations, but in the latter days His people will be blessed by other nations.

Isaiah 61:6

Priests of the Lord/Ministers of Our God. At the Restoration, many will possess the priesthood, not just those who belong to the tribe of Levi (see Exodus 19:5–6). The priests will minister God’s ordinances, including those belonging to the temple. You will eat the wealth of nations. See Isaiah 60:5–11.

Isaiah 61:7

Instead of your shame, a double portion. Rather than experiencing the shame of servitude to foreign nations or to sin and transgression, God’s covenant people will be blessed with a double portion (of temporal and spiritual blessings). “Double portion” recalls the blessings of the first-born Son (Deuteronomy 21:17).

Isaiah 61:8

I will make an everlasting covenant with you. God will make the righteous His covenant people. The “everlasting covenant” is the gospel.

Isaiah 61:9

your seed will be known among the nations. This refers to the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1–2).

Isaiah 61:10–11

The righteous express the words of these two verses. I will greatly exult in the Lord. God’s covenant people continually sing praises to Him; the praises focus on the temple—“clothed me,” “garments,” “robe,” priest,” and “headdress.” Also, “bridegroom” and “bride” speak of marriage. He has clothed me with garments of salvation/robe of righteousness. These are not common items of apparel, but special clothes that pertain to the sacred temple; in fact, the expressions “garments of salvation” and “robe of righteousness” separate these clothes from common attire, which we wear during our everyday lives. See also 2 Nephi 9:14. bridegroom serves as a priest, with a headdress. The “bridegroom” is not ordinary; rather, he is one who is a priest, again a reference to the temple. The Hebrew term pe’er (“headdress”) pertains to a special, sacred head covering for a male. bride is adorned with her jewels. “Bride” in this context pertains to the temple. The Hebrew term kele (“jewels”) is a generic term that can refer to ornaments, jewels, and even garments (see the lexicons); hence, the translation can also read, “bride is adorned with her garments,” speaking of special clothing.

Isaiah 61:11

the Lord, will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all of the nations. Just as the earth generously provides produce, crops, and fruit to earth’s inhabitants, even so the Lord will cause “righteousness and praise to spring up before all of the nations.” In other words, both “righteousness” and “praise” are as available to earth’s people as are plants springing forth from the ground.


Scripture Reference

Isaiah 61:1