"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious." (2Nephi 21: 10, Isaiah 11: 10)
Joseph Smith gives the following interpretation of this verse:
"What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter (of Isaiah)?
Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days." (D&C 113: 5-6)
After learning from verse one of Isaiah chapter 11 (in the last post) about a servant that will "come out" of Christ, we are now told by Isaiah of a "root" of Jesse in verse ten. The "root of Jesse" according to isaiah will:
• stand for an ensign "of" the people.
• to it (the ensign, the root) shall the Gentiles seek
• and "his" rest shall be glorious.
Did you notice from Joseph Smith's interpretation in D&C 113, that "the servant" that will "come out" of Christ, spoken of in verse one of Isaiah chapter 11(as discussed in the last post) is a partial descendant of both Jesse and Ancient Joseph through Joseph's son Ephraim. Now, in verse ten, the "root of Jesse" is described by Joseph Smith as being descended from both Jesse and Joseph as well. Unlike "the servant," that will come out of the stem of Jesse, (Christ,) the "root of Jesse" is not called a servant. The "root" is in fact THE very root of Jesse.
An angel delivered the words of Christ to the beloved apostle John on the isle of Patmos. John was so taken with the message he attempted to worship the angel. The angel rebuked John and said, "...See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God." (Rev. 22: 9) Strangely, the angel then begins to speak in the first person to John as if he (the angel) were Christ. John does not say that the angel who just rebuked him was replaced by Christ. He (the angel) declares, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." (Rev. 22: 13) Then, as if stepping back to the second person the angel says, "Blessed are they that do his commandments..." (Rev. 22: 14) Then back to the first person, the angel says, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David,and the bright and morning star." (Rev. 22: 16)
By His own confession to John, Jesus is the root of David (Jesse).
The Lord is called "the root" in one other place earlier in John's revelation. While being shown the book with the seven seals John records:
"And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Rev. 5: 5)
Interesting isn't it, that Joseph Smith says the root of Jesse "is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph?" Here, it is good to be reminded that Moroni told Joseph Smith in 1823, this prophecy of Isaiah's "is about to be fulfilled." As of September 23, 1823, the root of Jesse, (Jesus,) had not yet appeared as a descendant partly of Jesse and partly of ancient Joseph. His appearance as prophesied by Isaiah will be "in that day." "In that day" refers to the day just spoken of by Isaiah in verses 6 through 9. Verses 6-9 (of Isaiah chapter 11) are Isaiah's description of the millennial day. The millennial day will be preceded by tremendous upheaval and terrible destruction upon the earth - and the establishment of the Holy City, Zion, the New Jerusalem, by the remnant of Joseph's seed, the remnant of Israel. (Ether 13: 8-10)
In the words of Jesus:
23 And they (repentant Gentiles) shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I (the root of Jesse, Jesus) also will be in the midst.
In another place Isaiah speaks of the day when the Lord, (the root of Jesse), will dwell among His people and provide for them an ensign. That ensign will be Him:
6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold,it is I.
7 ¶ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when theLord shall bring again Zion. (Isaiah 52: 6-8)
Joel also spoke of this day when the Lord, the root of Jesse will personally be the ensign of the people. It will be in His Zion established by the remnant of Israel. Joel said:
"And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else; and my people shall never be ashamed...And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." (Joel 2: 27 and 32)
According to Joseph Smith's interpretation in D&C 113, the root of Jesse, (Jesus) is the one:
• "unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood,"
In fact, He IS "the power of heaven" that will "come down among them." (3Nephi 21: 25) The rights of the priesthood after all, are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven. (D&C 121: 36) The priesthood "rightly belongs" to Him.
• "and the keys of the kingdom,"
Jesus loaned these keys of the kingdom to Peter (Matt. 16: 19) and to Joseph Smith (D&C 81: 2). He could never have bestowed the keys of the kingdom on His servants had they (the keys of the kingdom) not first "rightly belonged" to Him.
• "for an ensign,"
The best definition of "ensign" that fits the manner the Lord Jesus is an ensign is: "a sign, token, or emblem" (how fitting) He is the ensign to whom, like the children of Israel, if one will look, he may be healed. (1Nephi 17: 41)
• "and for the gathering of my people in the last days."
"And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I (the root of Jesse, Jesus) also will be in the midst. (3Nephi 21: 24-25)
Do you remember that Isaiah prophesied in verse one of chapter 11 that: "there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." By what we have learned it should become clear to the inspired reader the meaning of the "branch" that will grow out of "his" roots. Do you see it? Ask for understanding.
This amzing prophecy of Isaiah, quoted by Moroni to Joseph Smith, is all about the gathering of Israel. It is all about the remnant of Israel and the building of Zion the holy city. Jesus, the root of Jesse, the Lord and King, will do this work.
"and his rest shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11: 10) for those "who dwell therein, (Zion the holy city) for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel." (Ether 13: 10)
Next, we will go back and discover what we can about the servant upon whom is laid "much power." (Isaiah 11: 1 and D&C 113: 3-4)