Isaiah 56:3-5 neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree
How could a eunuch be entitled to the blessings of Abraham? How can the eunuch have children as numerous as the stars in the heavens or the sands of the seashore? How can a eunuch have a name that endures without children to preserve it? It would seem that eunuchs have no chance of enjoying the greatest blessings of the covenant of Abraham.
But the Lord in his mercy has a plan for the eunuchs. They are not to blame the Lord for their condition. They are not to lament their inability to have children saying, "Behold, I am a dry tree" because the Lord will give them a place and a name if they keep their covenants.
There is a huge lesson here for our generation. In the church, we speak of eternal families and the importance of the marriage covenant. Like outcast eunuchs, those with homosexual tendencies feel left out. They don't fit. It would seem that God has no plan for them, that the church doesn't understand. They claim to have been born that way, that it was not by choice. Again, the analogy of the eunuch is appropriate. Some eunuchs were emasculated to serve in royal harems. Others were born that way.
Even though some were made eunuchs by choice and some were eunuchs by birth, the Lord's plan of salvation has room for both. The eunuch is not to complain that he can't have children. The homosexual is not to complain that the Lord made him this way. Both are to have faith that the Lord has a plan. Both are to have faith that salvation is truly open to all of God's children. Both are to understand that all of these blessings are dependent on keeping the covenants. If the eunuch doesn't keep the Sabbath, choose the things that please God, and keep his covenants, he is not accepted. The same is true of the homosexual, whether born that way or not!
Isaiah 56:6 the sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord
"It was through the bloodline of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that redemption was to come to mankind... But Isaiah tells of the time when all others-the Gentiles-would participate in the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. 'The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him' (Isa. 56:8; see also 3 Ne. 21:14, 22-25).
"No one who is obedient to the Lord will be denied the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. The day when others would be gathered is foreshadowed in the account of Naaman the Syrian and the story of Ruth (see 2 Kgs. 5:1-14; Ruth 4).
"In keeping with the Abrahamic covenant, whenever an individual who is not a lineal descendant of Abraham accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ he becomes an adopted member of the house of Israel, regardless of his actual lineage, because he becomes an heir to the blessings of the covenant. Further, a literal descendant of Israel may lose his spiritual heritage if he does not accept the gospel.
"Israel, therefore, has more than one meaning. There is no divine discrimination except with respect to righteousness, which is the key to being one of the Lord's chosen. While lineal Israel was initially the Lord's betrothed, by the time the marriage takes place, many will have lost their birthright. Others, not Israelite by birth, will have been adopted in with full family status. The symbolic bride, then, will consist of those individuals who have accepted the Lord by individual covenant.
"'For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel' (2 Ne. 30:2)." (Richard K. Hart, "The Marriage Metaphor," Ensign, Jan. 1995, 24)
Isaiah 56:7 mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people
Outsiders weren't allowed in Solomon's temple. Only the priests were allowed into the holy place. Gentiles were kept outside the gates (Acts 21:28). Prejudice against strangers increased over time reaching a fever pitch by Isaiah's day. Therefore, this prophecy would almost seem blasphemous to the Jews. For the prophet to prophesy a day when all people would be allowed and welcomed into the Lord's house must have seemed impossible to his audience. But Isaiah could not have used language which is any clearer, "Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people."
"The thought that Gentiles could participate in the temple worship would have astonished Isaiah's contemporaries... But here Isaiah foretells of a day when all, even Gentiles and eunuchs, who serve and love the Lord could enter His house and be given a hand and a name that would make them equal to the sons and daughters born into the covenant people (56:3-7). The prophet describes a truly wonderful day and a truly significant doctrine, the doctrine that ultimately righteousness, not genealogy, determines election." (Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, [SLC: Deseret Book, 2009], 159)
From our perspective, it makes perfect sense. The gospel has gone forth unto the Gentiles and Gentile conversions occur daily. Once converted, they of course want the saving ordinances of the temple and exclaim: "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." (Micah 4:1)
Isaiah 56:9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour
What is this feast for the beasts of the field? Isaiah doesn't say but Ezekiel says it is the feast of the dead bodies-the scavenging of the remains of those fallen in the battle of Gog and Magog:
Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezek. 39:17-20)
Isaiah 56:11 they are greedy dogs which can never have enough
Gordon B. Hinckley
I want to warn you to be careful of how you measure success. One need only read the daily newspapers to know of case after case of the "Yuppie Generation" whose driving greedy impulses have led to trouble, and serious and abysmal failure. Some of those who once drove about in the fanciest of cars and owned the fanciest of homes are now languishing in prison. They were, without question, men of tremendous capacity and ability. They had good minds, but their very brilliance led to their downfall. . . .
During the past few years, our local papers have carried story after story of able men who began working with integrity and honesty. They lived in reasonable comfort, but they were not satisfied. In their greed to enlarge their own kingdom, they enticed others to invest with them. And the investors, in many cases, were not without the same affliction of greed. They listened to stories of large returns with little effort. Like a dog chasing its own tail, the momentum of the scheme increased until one day there was a collapse. . . .
In one of his great letters to Timothy, Paul wrote: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:10.) You need not look far to see the veritable truth of that great warning. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 251)
Marvin J. Ashton
"Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." (Isa. 56:11.) Greed can make a person both dishonest and gullible. Such are spoken of in Doctrine and Covenants 68:31-32: "Their eyes are full of greediness. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them." Good advice for those who would avoid deceitful propositions is found in Doctrine and Covenants 9:13: "Be faithful, and yield to no temptation."
A friend recently confided that he had lost heavily in a get-rich-quick scheme because he couldn't turn off his greed valve. Wanting more and more-living beyond one's income-makes many of us susceptible to the dishonest promoter. The plan that offers exorbitant rewards or gives you and only you a once-in-a-lifetime deal is to be avoided.
Use of important, well-recognized names or undue reference to special community or religious affiliations are often used to gain confidence and open the door to sales deceptions.
Avoid those who want immediate decisions or cash right now. All worthwhile investment opportunities can bear deliberation and scrutiny. We must get all the available facts and consider them well, and then make decisions that are in the best interest of all. When marginal cases and situations arise, personal integrity must be an important element in any decision. When right actions are not clearly evident, personal honesty will lead us to discern and reveal relevant points or facts of which others may not be aware. A person of integrity will assist others to be honest. A person of integrity will ask questions and give answers that are accurate. Integrity makes it possible for us to chart a course of righteous personal conduct long before the time for action arrives. ("This Is No Harm," Ensign, May 1982, 10)