Isaiah presents a positive report—“The Lord will wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion,” (4:4) and they will be called “Holy.” But, there is a key to escaping some of the calamities (of the previous section)—obedience to His commandments (see Doctrine and Covenants 97:25; 63:34). The prophecies of this chapter will take place in the last days and during the Millennium: “Zion and her daughters will be redeemed and cleansed in the millennial day” (Latter-day Saint Bible chapter heading). The bracketed words are from JST, 2 Nephi 14:5.
Branch of the Lord. A Messianic title (see also 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8). fruit of the earth will be majestic and glorious. The fruit signifies Christ’s true disciples, who come forth from the “Branch of the Lord.” They will be “majestic and glorious” because Jesus magnifies them through His Atonement. Compare John 15:1–5, where Christ is the Vine and the faithful are the fruit. escaped of Israel. Those who escape calamities that were identified in the previous section.
whoever is left in Zion/whoever remains in Jerusalem. Those who are left in Zion and Jerusalem will be called “Holy.” In the Hebrew (qdsh), holy is sometimes connected to the temple, its ordinances, and God’s covenant. We recall that God had commanded ancient Israel to be holy: “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). written for life. A possible reference to the “book of life,” wherein are written the names of the righteous (Alma 5:58; Revelation 21:27).
wash away the filth/cleanse the blood. Only Jesus Christ can “wash away filth” because He wrought the Atonement. Revelation 1:5 states that Jesus Christ “loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” “Wash away the filth” may also refer to the ordinance of baptism (1 Nephi 20:1; Alma 7:14), wherein we are cleansed of our sins. filth. The Hebrew word tzo’oh, translated “filth” literally means “excrement” or “dung.” blood. The Hebrew word dm, translated “blood” may be translated as “blood-stains.” These conditions may also refer to a people who have been in captivity or prison—God frees and cleanses them from their imprisonment.
These verses describe Zion: “majestic and glorious,” “holy,” no more “filth,” “cleanse[d],” “sanctuary,” “solemn assemblies,” “flaming fire,” “glory of Zion,” “refuge,” “shelter.”
spirit of judgment/spirit of burning. God’s judgments cleanse people (if they become humble and repentant), just as a hot furnace purifies gold and silver (Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 17:3). A furnace that cleanses people is called the “furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).
sanctuary. The Hebrew word makhon often refers to the place of the Lord’s dwelling (Exodus 15:17; 1 Kings 8:39, 43, 49; Isaiah 18:4; Psalm 33:14; Daniel 8:11; Ezra 2:68), i.e., His temple. Some translators read “over all the sanctuary of Mount Zion.” cloud by day/fire by night. The cloud and fire recall the Israelite experience in the wilderness: “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light” (Exodus 13:21). the glory [of Zion] will be a canopy. Zion’s glory will serve as a canopy or protective covering for Zion’s inhabitants.
place of refuge. Doctrine and Covenants 45:66 calls Zion “a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God.” storm/rain. These are symbols of the Lord’s judgments on the wicked (see Psalm 83:15).