Isaiah was the son of Amoz and a prophet in Jerusalem from approximately 740-700 B.C. His religious and political influence took place during the reign of Hezekiah in whom Isaiah was the chief adviser. At this time, the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Southern Kingdom of Judah, where Isaiah lived, was under homage to Assyria and also faced destruction. They were spared, however, because Judah's King Hezekiah obeyed Isaiah's counsel. Isaiah warned Judah that they must continue to repent or they would also be destroyed by Babylon, not Assyria.
Isaiah is quoted more often in the New Testament than any other prophet. There are at least three reasons why the book of Isaiah is of great importance to the reader. First, the Savior gave a commandment to search the words of Isaiah thoroughly.1 Second, the scriptures quote Isaiah more than any other prophet. The writers of the Book of Mormon quoted or paraphrased 35 percent of the book of Isaiah. The Doctrine and Covenants makes approximately one hundred references to Isaiah by either quoting, paraphrasing, or interpreting its teachings. At the time Christ visited the Nephites after his Resurrection, Jesus told the people they should "search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah."1 These additional references to other books of scripture give clarification or additional insight into the meaning of Isaiah. The third reason Isaiah's message is so important for us it that it centers on redemption through Jesus Christ, whom the prophet saw.2
One major responsibility for a prophet is to testify of the Savior. Appropriately for Isaiah, since the meaning of his name is "Jehovah saves".
Isaiah was a prophet of God, as well as a gifted writer and poet to the tribes of Israel. For this reason, his writings can be difficult to understand when translated from Hebrew into other languages. Through the use of images and symbols, Isaiah effectively taught his message. The reader must read beyond these and other images to understand the feelings and principles Isaiah wrote about.
- "Book of Mormon", 3 Nephi 23:1
- "Holy Bible", Isaiah 6:5; "Book of Mormon", 2 Nephi 11:2