Who was Isaiah?
The name Isaiah, or in Hebrew, Yesha’yahu, means, “Jehovah is Salvation.” It’s a perfect name for one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. While other prophets like Moses, Elijah, and Elisha performed many miracles, this prophet made so many profound and beautifully-written prophecies that it has made him the most often quoted Old Testament prophet in our canon of scriptures.
During the last general conference, I listened to the number of times Isaiah was quoted and he seemed to be the most quoted person, except for Jesus. In fact, when Jesus visited the Nephites, he gave Isaiah a glowing front-cover endorsement. He said:
3 Nephi 23:1
And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.
So who was this man with such great words? Yesha’yahu was born in 770 B.C. He was the son of Amoz (not to be confused with Prophet Amos). According to rabbinic tradition, Amoz was the brother of King Amaziah of Judah. Since his uncle was the king, that makes Isaiah a descendent of the royal house of Judah and Tamar.
He was married to someone who was known as “the prophetess” and together they had at least one daughter and two sons—one of whom had an odd name that even rivals that of Mahonri Moriacumr. Isaiah named his youngest son, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. Can’t you imagine this young prophet bouncing his baby up and down as he was giving him a name and a blessing? Maybe he sneezed or something. I would have liked to have heard what Sister Isaiah said later that night. She may have said, “Izzy…,” I imagine that was her pet name for him. She said, “Izzy, you actually named him Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz? Really? What were you thinking?” At any rate, Isaiah and his little family lived in the capital city of Jerusalem during the reign of Uzziah (yoo-ZAI-uh), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. By the way, Hezekiah was, in fact, Isaiah’s son-in-law.
Now when Isaiah was 30, he had a vision. It is recorded for all of us to read in Chapter 6. In it, he saw the Lord seated upon a high throne within the celestial temple. The Lord asks, “Whom shall I send?” And Isaiah answers, “Here am I, send me.” Ah, the exact same exchange that occurred between the Father and the Son in the primordial councils. That makes Isaiah another type and shadow of Christ.
During this vision, after being forgiven of his sins, Isaiah was called to be a prophet and given the charge to declare repentance to the people. However, he was warned that his ministry would be characterized in three ways. First, the people around him would not understand his messages, let alone take them to heart. Second, his words would remain unclear until after Israel has been scattered. And third, after a period of time, a remnant of Israel will eventually understand and apply his counsel. Not very encouraging, but it does explain why Isaiah wrote the way he did.
See, he knew he had a diversified audience that would be reading his words for centuries to come from many different cultures around the world. He also knew that he presently had an uninterested audience. (Some would say he still has an uninterested audience; some of us look forward to studying Isaiah over the next four weeks about as much as we look forward to a root canal.) He also knew that he had an unworthy audience, one that did not have the Spirit to help interpret his messages. So he cleverly masked his messages and used some pretty perplexing teaching techniques as he tried to fulfill his complex mission.
And he kept at it for a very long time. After he took up his prophetic mantle, he pretty much stayed where most of the people gathered, at the city gates and on the temple square. In fact, he preached and prophesied for the next 60 years, making him the longest serving prophet of Israel. He prophesied until the year 680 BC, at which point he was martyred by his grandson, the wicked King Manasseh. Tradition holds that at one point Isaiah was fleeing and took refuge in the hollow of a cedar tree. He was found and they decided to saw the tree in half, with him in it. He was “sawn asunder.”
Of course he wasn’t the only prophet in the land. Zechariah and Jonah were alive during Isaiah’s early years. And Isaiah probably interacted with Micah, Amos, and Hosea. But Isaiah was the last prophet to preach to both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. It was during his lifetime that the Assyrians conquered the Ten Tribes, only to lose them later somewhere up North. Since he was the last major prophet to the people, his words were carefully handed down to the faithful wherever they were scattered, which is why you’ll find Isaiah quotations in the Book of Mormon, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in Muslim and Baha’i writings.
So what’s in this book? As we now know, Isaiah’s warnings and prophecies cover almost 3000 years of Israelite history. They fortell:
- The first and second coming of the Messiah
- The restoration of the gospel
- The gathering of the house of Israel
- The events and leaders before the Millennium, and
- Some characteristics of the Millennium.
As Christ said about Isaiah, “surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel” (3 Nephi 23:2).
Isaiah was obviously a refined and educated man. His vocabulary exceeds that found in any other Old Testament book. His writings were poetic—literally. Over 90 percent of the Book of Isaiah is in poetic form, which helped during the oral transmittal process since not too many people had a set of scriptures on their mobile devices. But poetry, especially when set to music, is much easier to remember.
His writing are also very sophisticated, very courageous, and very cryptic. He often talks about two or three things at the same time which mean different things to different people. Like Jesus, the world’s greatest teacher, Isaiah taught using metaphors, symbolism, parallelism, chiasmus, parables—effectively hiding the pearls from the swine.
So as you read the book, and find you aren’t understanding absolutely everything, don’t worry about it. You’re obviously part swine. (Just kidding.)
Nephi gave us the key to understanding Isaiah. He said:
2 Nephi 25:4
The words of Isaiah are … plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy.
An angel told John the Revelator that the spirit of prophecy was the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10). So we need to have a living knowledge and testimony of gospel truths, especially about the divine mission of Jesus Christ. This is a spiritual gift that God has promised to all who diligently seek for it. But like all spiritual gifts it is dependent on our worthiness. We have to strive to keep all of the commandments and retain the Holy Spirit. And then we have to study, ponder, and pray so we can have the same spirit that inspired Isaiah originally. Then we can understand it. So we have to develop our own spirituality in order to understand Isaiah.
Example of Poetic Imagery
Let me give you an example of the poetic genius of Isaiah. I remember first hearing this when I was a young pup back in the 70’s. It was a song on a cassette tape produced by the Mormon folk group, “The Three D’s” (Dick Davis, Denis Sorenson, and Duane Hiatt, Songs and Stories of the Old Testament). It has always stuck in my mind because it is so graphically descriptive. Let me read it to you. This comes from the third chapter of Isaiah.
16 ¶Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
19 The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
20 The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
21 The rings, and nose jewels,
22 The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
23 The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.
24 And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
That’s pretty graphic, isn’t it? It pretty much lays down what happens when the children of the covenant, both men and women, set aside their covenants, become haughty, and vain, and proud. When they do that, they are ripe for humbling.
And how does the Lord often humble His people? With oppression from the outside until the people humble themselves and repent. Isaiah is warning the people about what’s around the corner if they don’t repent. He’s telling them about the direct consequences of invasion and destruction. The stink that replaces the sweet smells could refer to the decaying flesh of those slain by the enemy. A shaven or a bald head, sackcloth, and the burning of a brand, traditionally mark those taken into captivity. In short, these women who delight in their immodest exposure are rewarded with indecent and rude exposure at the hands of the Babylonian conquerors, who molest and rape, thus discovering “their secret parts.”
But these verses not only talk about a gruesome physical and sociological change, but it also reflects something more. There is a spiritual counterpart to it. I would argue that if you look closely, you will see that when you abandon your covenants, you will always find yourself enslaved by the devil. The precious covenants you made in sacred places, the sacred clothing you once had that kept you safe and ennobled and empowered with priesthood authority, is stripped away, and you become, quite literally, a slave to the evil one, without true freedom, without true joy, without true love.
Now there’s a lot more meaning we can pull out from these verses. In fact, there are literally hundreds of hefty books written about Isaiah that all attempt to explain the meaning of his words. These are great supplemental resources. But the most important resource is the Holy Ghost. Because He will tell you the message you are supposed to learn from the words. Your lesson, and your interpretation, may be complexly different than mine. And that’s okay. In fact, that is more than okay. That is the design of it. All it takes is an eye that sees and an ear that hears.
The Last Days
Now let’s jump into some more of Isaiah’s prophesies. By the way, today’s lesson is actually a combination of the lesson we skipped over during ward conference and the one that was scheduled for today. Together, they cover the first 40 chapters of Isaiah. We’re only talking about less than 1% of those today. I’ll leave the rest to you to cover during your own scripture study time. But trust me, if you want to taste some might good eats, they’re in there.
Let’s jump into how Isaiah described the people of his day, who were mainly completely apostate Israelites. I’m going to give you just a quick summary.
- In Isaiah 1:3–5, we learned that the Israelites were in full-on rebellion against the Lord. As a whole, they were a sinful nation, laden with iniquity.
- In verses 11–15 we see that they carried on religious ceremonies and traditions without meaning or faith. They kept on doing the outward things that made them appear righteous to others, but on the inside they were not devoted at all to the Savior.
- In chapter 2, verses 7–8 we see that they are worshiping worldly things and the things money can buy. They were worshipping the god, Mammon, slaves to stuff and slaves to things. They also thought their strength came from the military and trusted their ability to conquer instead of the Lord.
- In verses 11–12 we see that all of this led them to have a copious amount of pride. They were not humble at all, nor did they recognize the hand of the Lord in their lives.
- In chapter 3, starting in verse 5 we see that they were oppressing other people, even their own neighbors, and were failing to honor older people.
- In verse 9 we see that they have no shame for their sins. In fact, they were sinning openly and flagrantly.
- In verses 14–15 we see them taking advantage of the poor and failing to care for them, crushing the little people in their quest for power, position, and prestige.
- In verses 16–24, which are the same verses I read to you earlier about the Daughters of Zion, we see that they have an emphasis on outward physical beauty at the expense of righteousness and good character.
- In chapter 5, verse 8, we see, again, their greedy desires to own more and more material things.
- In verses 11–12 we see them constantly seeking worldly pleasures instead of seeking the Lord and his work. They just didn’t have the time to work in or build up the kingdom of God.
- In verse 20, we see a famous quote. Their world was upside down.
20 ¶Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
- In verse 21, they were so sure they had all the answers. They trusted in their own wisdom instead of in God.
- And finally, in verse 24, they have sunk to a position where they despise the commandments and the word of God.
Does this remind you of anybody?
Most of Isaiah’s warnings and prophecies apply both to his time and to our time. If we had the time, I’d love to talk about specific examples of how too many of us, in this country are doing exactly the same things the ancient Israelites did. I’m sure we could boot up our news apps and find more than one example for each of these things in just a few seconds.
But the key thing to remember is we are doing the exact same things they did—right before they were conquered, forced into servitude, and scattered. The ancient Israelites didn’t believe in Isaiah’s prophesies. Do we? Do you?
Thou Hast Done Wonderful Things
Of course, not everything Isaiah said was a downer. In fact, one of Isaiah’s reoccurring themes is his description of the life and mission of the promised messiah. And that’s what I want to spend the rest of this lesson talking about.
Recall with me these beautiful words from chapter 9:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
In this verse we learn about some of the roles and responsibilities of the Savior. But there’s a lot more. Let’s quickly investigate some of the wonderful things the Savior has done for us.
1. The Savior opens the door to Heavenly Father’s presence.
First, let’s see what we can find in Isaiah 22:22.
22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
What does this mean? What is the wonderful thing the Savior is doing for us?
Having the key to the house of David is a symbolic way of saying the Savior has the power to admit or exclude any person from Heavenly Father’s presence. Therefore, the wonderful thing that is going on here is that Jesus, and only Jesus, will open the door for us to enter into Heavenly Father’s presence. If you want to know what you must do to be able to enter into that door, go see 2 Nephi 9:45. If you’ve got a set of those old-fashioned paper scriptures, you might want to write down that cross-reference. It’s a dandy.
2 Nephi 9:45
45 O, my beloved brethren, turn away from your sins; shake off the chains of him that would bind you fast; come unto that God who is the rock of your salvation.
Okay, that’s number one. That’s the first thing that the Savior does for us. He opens the door to Heavenly Father’s presence.
2. The Savior shows mercy for those in spirit prison.
Now let’s turn to Isaiah 24:21-22 for the second wonderful thing the Savior has done for us.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.
22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.
What wonderful thing has the Savior done for us?
The Savior shows mercy for those in spirit prison, the place where the spirits of some of our deceased ancestors have gone while awaiting the Resurrection. According to D&C 138:32 they are there because they did not receive the gospel on earth or were not valiant in their testimonies. So the Savior, immediately after his death, organized the Spirit Prison Mission and sent righteous spirits over to teach them the gospel. By the way, that’s the only mission in the church where you don’t need to pack your belonging into some suitcases. In fact, you’re even going to leave your body behind. And by the looks of some of you, you might be getting a transfer there sooner than later.
So the second thing is that the Savior shows mercy for those in spirit prison.
3. The Savior is a strength and a refuge.
Okay, let’s look at the third thing the Savior has done for us, and is still doing for us. It is found in 25:1–4; 32:1–2.
1 O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
2 For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.
3 Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.
4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
Isaiah 25:1–4; 32:1–2
1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
So what do these verses teach us? Isaiah is saying that the Savior will strengthen us during the storms, tempests, deserts, and heat of our lives. In these verse we learn that:
- He is a refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4).
- He is a shadow from the heat (Isaiah 25:4).
- He is a hiding place from the wind (Isaiah 32:2).
- He is a covert (cover) from the tempest (Isaiah 32:2).
- He is rivers of water in a dry place (Isaiah 32:2).
- He is the shadow of a great rock in a weary (thirsty) land (Isaiah 32:2).
If we let him, the Savior can be our strength and a refuge. He’s more than willing to help us out and go before us and clean up after us. And while we’re in the thick of things, he’ll be there. But he must be invited. We must freely choose to let him help us. And then we must sacrifice our own will and our own pride and our own sense of “I don’t need any help” and then humbly do whatever he says to do. And it won’t be much. In fact, all he really wants is a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a drive to follow him no matter what.
So that’s the third thing. The Savior will be a strength and a refuge to anyone who asks for it. And sometimes, even if they don’t ask for it but really need it anyway. He is a Savior, after all.
4. The Savior will prepare a feast and destroy the “vail.”
Next, let’s turn to Isaiah 25:6–7 for the fourth thing.
6 ¶And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.
In these verses, what does the mountain symbolize? The temple (see also Isaiah 2:2; D&C 58:8–9).
What is the feast mentioned in Isaiah 25:6? A feast of the words and teachings of Christ. Attending the temple can certainly be a feast, can’t it?
What does the veil represent? A veil is a thin covering. Symbolically it often represents the unbelief that prevents people from truly coming to Christ (Moses 7:26).
So the fourth thing is that the Savior will prepare a feast and destroy the “vail” that keeps us from the presence of the Lord.
5. The Savior wipes away our tears.
Next, let’s turn our attention to the very next verse: Isaiah 25:8:
8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.
I’m particularly interested in the second phrase of that verse. In that phrase, what is the wonderful thing that the Savior does for us? He wipes away our tears. What do you do when someone you love is crying? Picture a parent wiping tears away from a child’s face. There is a sense of intimacy in this act. It is a tender gesture that is shared only by people who love and trust each other deeply.
This is reminiscent of a verse from the Book of Revelation. Let me read that one to you.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
For whatever reason we are crying, whether it be from sorrow for our own sins, or the death of a loved one, or the pain that comes from suffering through all sorts of challenges—the Savior will tenderly wipe away all our tears. That’s the fifth thing.
6. The Savior will bring the Resurrection.
The sixth wonderful item that the Savior does for us comes from Isaiah 26:9.
19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
What is the wonderful thing the Savior brings to us? The Resurrection. Earlier we read that Isaiah prophesied that when the Messiah would come, he would die and be resurrected (Isaiah 25:8). Furthermore, he made it possible that all the children of God who have lived on the earth will be resurrected. (See Isaiah 26:19; 1 Corinthians 15:20–22; Alma 11:43–44.)
The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “When the voice calls for the dead to arise, … what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 295–96).
So the sixth thing is that the Savior will bring the Resurrection.
7. The Savior is our sure foundation.
For the seventh thing the Savior has done for us, let’s turn to Isaiah 28:16.
16 ¶Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
What or who is this “tried stone”? The Savior. This scripture is even more meaningful when it is paired up with Helaman 5:12:
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
What does the Lord promise if we build on this foundation? We read about that in D&C 50:44.
44 Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.
So the seventh thing is that the Savior can be our sure foundation.
8. The Savior will restore the gospel to the earth.
Now, let’s talk about the eighth thing. And the eighth thing is that the Savior will restore the gospel to the earth. Let’s turn to Isaiah 29:4.
4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.
What event is Isaiah talking about here? The coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
Let’s jump down to verses 9–12.
9 ¶Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.
10 For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
Isaiah truly foresaw the latter-day restoration of the gospel. He knew that it would come at a time of spiritual darkness. He knew that the Martin Harris would take some of the characters transcribed from the Golden Plates to Professor Charles Anthon for validation and the professor would utter those infamous words, “I cannot read a sealed book.” It’s all there. 2800 years in advance of the actual event! How did Isaiah know this? By the gift and power of the Holy Ghost and acting under the direction of the Savior.
And when we do that, when we act under the direction of the Savior, marvelous things can happen. Let’s keep on reading verses 13 and 14.
13 ¶Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.
Isaiah told of people drawing near to the Lord with their mouths while their hearts are far from Him. This observation isn’t just about other people. We, you and I, need to check ourselves every single day to make sure we are close to the Lord in our thoughts and actions as well as in our words. We already have enough hypocrites around to try our faith. But when we repent and then think and do Christ-like things, we shall hear the voice of the Lord and understand the mysteries of the kingdom. And we find that in verse 18.
18 ¶And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.
And finally verse 24.
24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
The eighth thing is that the Savior has restored the gospel to the earth.
9. The Savior knows our trials and directs our paths.
Okay, the last thing that the Savior has done for us, or at least the last thing we’re going to cover in today’s lesson is found in Isaiah 30:19–21.
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:
21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
The message that I get from this is that the Savior knows our trials and directs our paths. Even though we must experience adversity and affliction—apparently reading about these things isn’t enough, the Voice of the Lord, His Spirit, will teach us which way to go and what to do.
Alma 37:37 goes nicely with this concept. It says:
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
In conclusion, let me review the nine things that Isaiah has taught us about the Savior. There are more, many more, but these are the ones we talked about today.
- The Savior opens the door to Heavenly Father’s presence.
- The Savior shows mercy for those in spirit prison.
- The Savior is a strength and a refuge.
- The Savior will prepare a feast and destroy the “vail.”
- The Savior wipes away our tears.
- The Savior will bring the Resurrection.
- The Savior is our sure foundation.
- The Savior has restored the gospel to the earth.
- The Savior knows our trials and directs our paths.
Oh how I love the Savior. The older I get the more I’m amazed at the love he offers each of us. The more I read the scriptures and listen to his prophets, and the more I try to apply their teachings to my own life, the more I learn that there is no end to his love. He will always be there for us. He has shown it over and over and over again to people throughout the history of the world. He has always led by example. He doesn’t say one thing and do another. He is always consistent. Always more than fair. Always more kind and more happy and more friendly than we would be. He is the way. The only way.
If we truly saw him the way Isaiah saw him, as the way our prophets see him, then absolutely nothing would stand in our way in our quest to follow in his footsteps. Each of us can come to that point where we will have a face-to-face meeting with Jesus. In fact, each of us will come to that point, whether we want to or not, whether in this life or the next. You, and you alone, have complete control over whether that meeting will be a wonderful event or not. I pray that it will be perfectly wonderful for each of us.