the Place of Thy Tent”
"Lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes."
"With great mercies will I gather thee."
The Millennium will be a time of peace and joy.
A study of this lesson will encourage us to strengthen the stakes of Zion and
prepare for the Second Coming and the Millennium.
Scripture references for study: Isaiah
54–56; Isaiah 63–65
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 40 Handout (PDF
Strengthen The Stakes Of Zion
Isaiah 54 begins by talking about the children of Israel. The "children
of the desolate" represent the large number of people from the tribes
of Israel who will gather to Zion following the building of the New Jerusalem.
ISAIAH 54:2. Enlarge the place of thy tent
and strengthen thy stakes.
Brother Monte S. Nyman: "The concept of
a tent with its cords and stakes comes from the tent or tabernacle of Moses,
and all Israel is being invited to seek shelter under it." (Great
Are The Words Of Isaiah, p211)
WHAT DOES THE TENT DESCRIBED BY ISAIAH REPRESENT?
Zion or The Church of Jesus Christ.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE "ENLARGE THE PLACE OF THY TENT"?
It is the call of the Lord for Church members to share the gospel and to
expand the Church throughout the earth.
WHY DOES A TENT NEED STAKES?
The stakes hold a tent up and keep it from collapsing.
The stakes also hold a tent in place.
Many modern tents have internal frames that do not require stakes in order
for the tent to stand. However, stakes are often necessary to hold
the tent in place. Several years ago my son and I went on a bicycle
trip. We stopped one evening in Idaho and made camp utilizing a tent
with an internal frame. We put up the tent, threw our sleeping bags
and gear inside, and rode to a nearby town in search of supper. When we returned, the tent had been blown several yards by a strong evening
wind. We should have staked the tent down.
WHAT DO THE STAKES IN
ISAIAH 54:2 REPRESENT?
President Ezra Taft Benson: "To members,
the term stake is a symbolic expression. Picture in your mind a great tent
held up by cords extended to many stakes that are firmly secured in the
ground. The prophet Isaiah likened latter-day Zion to a great tent encompassing
the earth. That tent was supported by cords fastened to stakes. (See 3
Nephi 22:2; Isaiah 54:2.) Those stakes, of course, are various geographical
organizations spread out over the earth. Presently Israel is being gathered
to the various stakes of Zion." (Teachings of ETB, p149)
As we return to a discussion of a physical tent, we find that stakes are
fundamental to its stability. Also, as we "enlarge" the tent, more
stakes are necessary to hold the tent up and keep it stable. When
I attended Scout camp years ago, our troop took along a huge, square tent
that would sleep fifteen to twenty boys. One stake at each corner was not
sufficient to keep the tent up. We placed several large stakes along
each side of the tent. So it is with the Church. As the Church
expands, more and stronger stakes are needed.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO STRENGTHEN THE STAKE IN WHICH WE LIVE?
Do our duty, which includes the development of personal spiritual strength,
influencing our families and friends to do the same, service to our member
and non-member neighbors, and accepting and fulfilling calls from priesthood
HOW CAN STAKES BLESS PEOPLE'S LIVES?
President Ezra Taft Benson: "Stakes are
organized to assist parents 'who have children in Zion' to teach them the
gospel of Jesus Christ and administer the ordinances of salvation (see
D&C 68:25). Stakes are formed to perfect the Saints." (Teachings
of ETB, p150)
HOW ARE THE STAKES OF ZION PLACES OF DEFENSE AND REFUGE FOR US?
"And that the gathering together upon the land
of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from
the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon
the whole earth." (D&C 115:6)
Joseph Smith: "The time is soon coming,
when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes."
President Ezra Taft Benson: "Stakes are
a defense for the Saints from enemies both seen and unseen. The defense
is provided through priesthood channels that strengthen testimony and promote
family solidarity and individual righteousness." (Teachings
of ETB, p150)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "These stakes are
part of the church structure, and all who forsake the world and who seek
to be one with those of Enoch's day gather into the stakes of Zion, where
they find refuge from the carnality and evils of the world."
( A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p333)
The Gathering Of Israel
ISAIAH 54:4-10. With great mercies will I gather
WHO IS INVITED TO FIND REFUGE BY GATHERING WITH THE SAINTS?
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THESE VERSES?
The Lord is the symbolic husband of Israel.
Verses 7-10 speak of the latter-day gathering of Israel, "For
a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather
The concept of gathering, as taught by Isaiah and other prophets, is an
exciting thing to contemplate. We are living in the day when these
prophecies are being fulfilled. We can have a role in this gathering
as we send our children on missions and as we live the gospel faithfully
and serve as an example to our neighbors.
All of Heavenly Father's children are invited..
"...every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and
milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1).
WHAT IS THIS THIRST THAT ISAIAH MAKES REFERENCE TO?
A spiritual thirst, a desire for things of eternity.
HOW IS THIS THIRST QUENCHED?
By coming to the "waters," accepting the gospel, and gathering to the stakes
HOW DO SOME ATTEMPT TO QUENCH THIS THIRST?
"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is
not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently
unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself
in fatness." (Isaiah 55:2)
Rather than coming to the living waters, many spend their time, money,
and efforts in pursuit of the pleasures and things of the world, but they
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous
man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy
upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah
Those who repent are invited. And if they repent the Lord "will
have mercy" upon them.
ISAIAH 56:3, 5-8. The stranger is invited.
Brother Monte S. Nyman: "These verses seem
to clearly describe the times of the Gentiles when those who are not of
Israel will be given the opportunity to come and be numbered with Israel.
The strangers are those not of Israel who represent the gentile nations
where the gospel is restored. The eunuchs, literally those who could not
produce offspring, may refer to those who have no posterity in the Church
and no other relatives who will join; yet they will become the sons or
daughters of Jesus Christ." (Great Are
The Words of Isaiah, p218)
Consider the results of gathering the righteous and strengthening the stakes
Isaiah said, "For as the rain cometh down, and
the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth,
and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower,
and bread to the eater" (Isaiah 55:10).
We have the privilege, opportunity, and duty to share the gospel with those
around us. As we do so, we enable this rain and snow to fall upon
the parched land of many souls. When the Saints first arrived in
the Salt Lake Valley, the land was almost a desert. One of the first things
they did was to dam City Creek and turn the water upon the land. It wasn't
long until the land was green and producing "bread" for the Saints. So it is when we share the message of the gospel. We are turning
living waters upon the soul. As the seeds of truth grow, they flourish
and change lives for the better and lead souls to eternal happiness.
ISAIAH 60:1-3. Glory of the Lord to be
Orson Pratt: "The Zion that is here spoken
of is called to 'arise and shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon
thee.' There is no one thing more fully revealed in the Scriptures of eternal
truth, than the rise of Zion of our God in the latter days, clothed upon
with the glory of God from the heavens--a Zion that will attract the attention
of all the nations and kindreds of the whole earth. It will not be something
that takes place in a corner on some distant island of the sea, or away
among some obscure people; but it will be something that will call forth
the attention of all people and nations upon the face of the whole earth."
The Millennium - A Time Of Peace & Joy
Isaiah testified that there would be struggles,
temptations, and suffering in this world, and that ultimately good would overcome
evil. He said that for the righteous, the future would
be full of joy.
ISAIAH 64:1-4. The coming of the Lord.
Isaiah describes the conditions that will exist during the Millennium?
WHAT ARE THESE VERSE SPEAKING OF?
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE OF HOPE FOUND HERE?
Verse 4 it makes reference to that which the Lord has prepared for those "that
waiteth for him."
This will be the beginning of a grand new era, when truth shall reign and
righteousness shall abound upon the earth. Those who have prepared
and looked forward to this time will be blessed by living in this marvelous
Additional Quotations on the Millennium.
"For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth:
and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind"
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The millennium
is the age of renewal and regeneration when the Lord will 'create new heavens
and a new earth.' So sweeping will be the changes, so radical the differences
in the order of things, that the former heavens and earth 'shall not be
remembered, nor come into mind.' (Isa. 65:17.) It will be a 'day of transfiguration,'
a day 'when the earth shall be transfigured' (D. & C. 63:20-21), a
day when the continents and islands shall again 'become one land,' when
the mountains and valleys will no longer be found (D. & C. 133:22-24),
when all things will return to their state of paradisiacal glory."
(Mormon Doctrine, p495)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "...conditions
which prevailed in the Edenic day forecast similar conditions that will
again prevail during the millennial era; and a revealed knowledge of millennial
conditions gives an understanding of analogous conditions that prevailed
when the earth enjoyed its first paradisiacal status. The same conditions
will not prevail in every detail, but certain basic things will be similarly
arranged." (Mormon Doctrine, p633)
"But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which
I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a
joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice
of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying."
"There shall be no more thence an infant of days,
nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an
hundred years old." (Isaiah 65:20)
"And they shall build houses, and inhabit them;
and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not
build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for
as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long
enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring
forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and
their offspring with them." (Isaiah 65:21-23)
This will be a day of great prosperity. Imagine how well society
can function when selfishness and greed are removed.
"And it shall come to pass, that before they call,
I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."
The Lord will answer the prayers of the people.
"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and
the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's
meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the
LORD." (Isaiah 65:25)
A concluding thought on Isaiah:
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "The gospel
will be taught far more intensely and with greater power during the millennium,
until all the inhabitants of the earth shall embrace it. Satan shall be
bound so that he cannot tempt any man. Should any man refuse to repent
and accept the gospel under those conditions then he would be accursed.
Through the revelations given to the prophets, we learn that during the
reign of Jesus Christ for a thousand years eventually all people will embrace
the truth." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:64)
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "The Lord
has said through his servants that during the millennium those who have
passed beyond and have attained the resurrection will reveal in person
to those who are still in mortality all the information which is required
to complete the work of these who have passed from this life. Then the
dead will have the privilege of making known the things they desire and
are entitled to receive. In this way no soul will be neglected and the
work of the Lord will be perfected." (Doctrines of Salvation,
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "When we speak
of the binding of Satan in connection with the millennium, we mean that
he will be bound during that era, that his powers will be limited after
that day commences, and not that men will turn to righteousness so as to
tie the hands of Satan, thereby bringing millennial conditions to pass.
The plan does not call for men to turn voluntarily to righteousness thereby
causing the thousand year era of peace to commence. Rather, the millennium
will be brought about by power; the wicked will be destroyed; and those
only will remain on earth who are sufficiently righteous to abide the day
of the Lord's coming." (Mormon Doctrine, p495)
It is interesting how much Isaiah focused on the latter days.
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE HE DID THIS?
Isaiah, like many other righteous persons throughout the ages, longed for
the time when there would be peace and the Lord would reign upon the earth. I believe that his righteous desires were rewarded with extensive visions
of the future, most especially the latter days.
As with many of the prophets, he was not writing or prophesying to
the people of his time alone, but to people throughout the ages. Most certainly, the righteous of all ages long for the time when real
peace will be established upon the earth.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- We are blessed to live in a day of prophetic fulfillment as we see the
gathering of Israel and preparations for the second coming of the Lord. Let us be participants
in the great events of this day by working to strengthen the stakes of Zion by
increasing our own spirituality and by reaching out to others with the great
- Record your thoughts on the prophecies of Isaiah. What do they mean in
your life? How can you help strengthen your stake and prepare for the great
events which have been prophesied.
Resources Used In This Lesson
A New Witness For the Articles of Faith by Bruce
Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 3, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Great Are The Words Of Isaiah by Monte S. Nyman.
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
06 October 2014