Sunday, January 17, 2010

ZION: The Old Testament (Isaiah 35 to Isaiah 66)

The Old Testament (Isaiah 35 to Isaiah 66)

JST Isaiah 35:7-10

This chapter speaks of the time when the gospel shall be restored in the last days, the blossoming of the desert, the gathering of Israel, and the establishment of Zion. We also have as one of the signs yet to be fulfilled the "highway" that shall be cast up out of the midst of the great deep, over which the believers shall pass to gain their inheritance in Zion. (See verse 8, also D&C 133:29; Isaiah 11:16; 51:10-11). It is apparent that this "highway" spoken of by so many of the prophets is likely symbolic and literal. One gains access to the "way" of eternal life through the waters of baptism (see 2 Nephi 31:17-21), the symbolic meaning, and Israel always crosses over the water on dry ground to reclaim Zion in the literal sense. (See Exodus 14:21-22; Joshua 3:14-17). Even modern Israel crossed over the mighty Mississippi on dry ground in the dead of winter when its waters were frozen. Part of being a true disciple is being considered a fool in the eyes of the world, and the "fools for Christ" who find the path of salvation are always mocked by the worldly wise. (See 1 Nephi 8:26-28, 11:34-36, 12:17-18, all scriptures pertaining to those in the “great and spacious building;” then see also Romans 1:22, 1 Corinthians 3:18, 4:10, 2 Nephi 9:42, all referring to the necessity of true disciples being characterized by the worldly wise as “fools”).

A comparative study of D&C 133:26-32 in connection with this prophecy of Isaiah is considered useful. True prophets speak with one voice:

JST Isaiah 35:7-10

And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there; for a way shall be cast up, and it shall be called the way of holiness. The unclean shall not pass over upon it; but it shall be cast up for those who are clean, and the wayfaring men, though they are accounted fools, shall not err therein.
No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

D&C 133:26-33

And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
Their enemies shall become a prey unto them.
And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.
And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.
And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.
And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.
And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.

JST Isaiah 37:21-23, 31-36

We see in this chapter yet another type of future events. King Hezekiah seeks Isaiah's counsel concerning a blasphemous letter he has received from Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians, threatening the destruction of Israel. At this point the cup of their iniquity is not yet full, and the Lord spares Israel and Jerusalem for a season, destroying 185,000 Assyrians by the hand of an angel. As it is spared on this occasion by the hand of the Lord, so will the establishment of Zion in the last days also come to pass "the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this." (Verse 32). What is the extent of God's power in the affairs of men? He speaks in no uncertain terms of his power. (See D&C 60:4; 101:10-15; 117:6).

The "remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah" is Lehi and his descendants, as well as other remnants of Israel now classified as "lost," who shall return to their inheritances in Jerusalem in a future day when Zion is established in her.

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria:
This is the word which the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin, the daughter of Zion, hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? even against the Holy One of Israel.

And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant; and they that escape out of Jerusalem shall come upon mount Zion; the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it.
By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.
For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.

Isaiah 40:3-11

This is Isaiah speaking Messianically of events in preparation of the Second Coming and the establishment of Zion. He speaks of the voice in the wilderness preparing the way for the coming of the Lord (see D&C 88:66; 65:3; 34:6; 84:26; Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; John 1:23. See also TPJS, 364-5, a sermon in which Joseph Smith declares himself to be God's messenger, "ordained and prepared for that purpose in the last days." It was to be Joseph's boldest declaration of his prophetic ministry among men, and his witness was sealed with his blood less than three months later when he received the "reward" of all true prophets), the highway to which we have made previous reference see Isaiah 35:8), and several other signs of the times including the upheavals that will exalt valleys and lay low the mountains. (See Luke 3:5; Helaman 14:23; D&C 109:74). Among other things, Zion shall be established in the last days. The Savior shall feed his flock like lambs, and gather them.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

JST Isaiah 41:27-29

Israel is once again condemned for her faith in her idols, and God declares that he alone will give Jerusalem the Messiah who shall declare glad tidings -- all other gods are silent and without power. Israel has never been able to leave the false gods of this world alone. Isaiah surely speaks to us in our day.

The first shall say to Zion, Behold, behold them: and I will give to Jerusalem one that bringeth good tidings.
For I beheld, and there was no man; even among men, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.

Isaiah 46:5-13

This chapter is yet another condemnation of Israel's fascination with idols. God asks Israel through her prophet, Isaiah, if there is any false god that is his equal. False worship is so appealing to the carnal mind, so natural and so desirable -- but so repulsive to God. (See Mosiah 3:19).

To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.
They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.
Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it. I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:
I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

Isaiah 49:1-7, 13-17, 22-23

This chapter makes one reference to Zion in verse 14, but its content is so compelling we cannot pass by without a closer look. It is altogether possible that Isaiah, speaking under the influence of the Holy Ghost and with the authority of Jehovah, is also speaking for a future prophet of the latter days, even Joseph Smith. I do not suggest a new interpretation, only an additional one. Isaiah appears to be speaking about himself, or even the Savior, but he may just as easily be speaking of Joseph Smith, for he fits the description just as completely as either Isaiah or Christ.

Even the opening verse of this chapter corresponds with the opening statements in Section 1 of The Doctrine and Covenants. It is as though the content came from the same author (Jehovah) to different prophets in different dispensations. Compare:

Isaiah 49:1-7

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far;
The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto
the end of the earth.
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes so shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

D&C 1:1-2

Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office in that Grand Council. It is the testimony that I want that I am God's servant, and this people His people. (TPJS, 365).
I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain. . . Thus will I become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over all and every one of them. . .(TPJS, 304). [I acknowledge these are probably Joseph Fielding Smith’s words in fleshing out Joseph’s characterization of himself, since the contemporary accounts of this sermon are sketchy, but at least now we know where the thoughts to compose it came from.]
Wherefore, I the Lord knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and gave him commandments. (D&C 1:17).
O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed? (D&C 121:1 2).
I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, and I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world. (TPJS, 366).
. . .I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;
But this generation shall have my word through you. (D&C 5:9-10).
He said unto me. . . that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (JS-H 1:33).

We will now consider the verses of immediate interest to us concerning Zion, but the reader is urged to study the entire chapter in depth. Isaiah laments that Israel has been forsaken, but the Lord answers that he will never altogether disown her, and gives assurances that Israel will receive the fulness of the gospel through the Gentiles in the last days. (See also 3 Nephi 21; 1 Nephi 13).

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.

Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

JST Isaiah 51

This chapter is an earnest appeal to Israel to look to God and live. Further evidence of the Prophet's incomplete work on the JST is apparent from a study of chapters 48-54 of Isaiah, because most of the KJV Isaiah verses quoted from these chapters in The Book of Mormon text do not carry over into the JST manuscript, yet they are substantially different. (Monte S. Nyman, The Joseph Smith Translation, 130-1). It is likely the Prophet did not spend as much time as he would have liked in these chapters.

Isaiah speaks of the two prophets of the last days who will minister in Jerusalem, and be slain by the Jews who reject their ministrations. These two sons are the fulfillment of the types of Moses and Elijah, the two great prophets among Israel. (See Zechariah 4:11-14; Revelation 11:3-12).

Hearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness; ye that seek the Lord, look unto the rock from whence ye were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence ye are digged.
Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.
My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord, awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?
Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?
Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
I am he, yea, I am he that comforteth you; behold, who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.
But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name.
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Behold, thou art my people.
Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.
There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.
These two sons are come unto thee; they shall be sorry for thee, thy desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword; and by whom shall I comfort thee?
Thy sons have fainted save these two, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net; they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.
Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:
Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:
But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.

JST Isaiah 52

This chapter is quoted seven times by Book of Mormon prophets, so valued were these words of Isaiah to them. Once again the idea of two separate capitols is clear, and the time these things shall all come to pass is in preparation of the millennial day. As ancient Israel was ransomed and led out without money by the power of God, so shall it yet be in the last days -- God himself shall go before the host of Israel. (See D&C 103:15-20).

With reference to the admonition by Isaiah to "put on thy strength, O Zion," Joseph received the understanding by revelation that the strength of Zion is priesthood power to bring again Zion in the last days. Those who hold the priesthood have right to it by lineage. (See D&C 113:7-10). Those who would preach the gospel of salvation, publish peace, and bring good tidings are spoken of by Joseph Smith as having their calling and election made sure. (See TPJS, 330, 366).

Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money.
For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for naught? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.
Therefore, my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I.
And then shall they say, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.
For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.
Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men;
So shall he gather many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Isaiah 59:16-21

We have another scathing rebuke in this chapter by the Lord through his mouthpiece, Isaiah, to a rebellious Israel. Despite her sins Israel is still chosen of the Lord, who will not altogether cast them off if they repent. Only the Messiah can pay the price for sins, he will come to Zion, and redeem the repentant. He holds out his covenant to all who will embrace it, but the entire chapter is a recital of all the reasons Israel will not hearken. Will we?

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.
According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.
So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

Isaiah 60:13-22

This entire chapter gives an almost impossible and improbable promise of conditions in Jerusalem at the coming of the Lord in the last days. We will not cite the entire chapter, but it should be considered in its entirety. Given conditions in the world today, one wonders how the Lord could make such lavish promises to Israel. (See Ether 13:1-12 as one example). It is almost inconceivable that the nations who have hated Israel, despised her, conquered and enslaved her, will one day bow down and worship at the throne of the living God of Israel, and yet the Lord has so declared. One wonders how even modern Judah could be brought to such a circumstance. In his wrath God punished Israel anciently for their rebellion, yet he holds out continual hope of redemption and restoration.

The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.
The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.
Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.
For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness.
Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in my time.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Soon after he began his Galilean ministry, Christ returned to his hometown of Nazareth. In the congregation were friends and neighbors of Joseph and Mary and the boyhood companions of Jesus. As was the custom a portion of the scriptural canon was read to the congregation. This particular day Jesus had the privilege of delivering the text. He turned to this passage cited above in the writings of Isaiah and read the text. Luke tells us what happened next:

And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son. . ?
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath.
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. (See Luke 4:14-32 for the full account).

Joseph Smith had personal experiences that compared precisely to this one cited above. As he revealed the truth to the early saints in this dispensation he was summarily rejected by them, among those who questioned him even his brother Hyrum immediately after the revelation on plural marriage was recorded. Hyrum eventually came around, but the majority did not. The Prophet Joseph said:

This generation is as corrupt as the generation of the Jews that crucified Christ; and if He were here today, and should preach the same doctrine He did then, they would put Him to death. (TPJS, 328).

The problem was the same for Joseph as it had been for Jesus. The minute he began to reveal in full to the saints what had been revealed to him the people opposed him:

Many men will say, "I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times." But the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared for them they will be the first to stone you and put you to death. It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation. (TPJS, 309).

JST Isaiah 62

This chapter reiterates the now-familiar themes of Israel's gathering in the last days, and the establishment of Zion. The watchmen of Zion will teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, raise the gospel standard, and they shall be redeemed after their travail.

For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Delightful, and thy land Union; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy God marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence.
And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
The LORD hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:
But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the LORD; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
And they shall call them, The holy people. The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

JST Isaiah 64

Isaiah prays in these verses for the Second Coming. His words are prophetic, and filled with similar content as many of the prophets who have seen the day in vision. (Compare D&C 133:22, 40-47; Revelation 16:17-21; D&C 34:8; Exodus 34:10; Micah 1:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9; D&C 76:10). Isaiah knows, and so should we all, that there is no salvation except in Christ, and he further states we have all sinned. We are fallen, and desperately in need of salvation. Let us not make the same mistake as ancient Israel in rejecting the Holy One who heals our stripes.

Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence.
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
Thou meetest him that worketh righteousness, and rejoiceth him that remembereth thee in thy ways; in righteousness there is continuance, and such shall be saved.
But we have sinned; we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O Lord? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

Isaiah 66:5-13

This chapter concludes the record of Isaiah. He has truly spoken of Zion, as we indicated at the beginning. He concludes with an allegory in which he likens God to the mother bringing forth her child, the nation of Israel in Zion, at the Second Coming. The wicked will be destroyed at his coming, and the gospel will be preached to the Gentiles.

Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.
Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:
That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

We cannot say it enough, nor overemphasize it. Isaiah is the one prophet quoted more by the Savior in Holy Writ than any other. It is his testimony we are admonished to study continually, for he speaks of us, our day, and the conditions that still await us in this dispensation prior to the Second Coming.

In summary, let us cite Avraham Gileadi, who spoke about keys to understanding Isaiah at a BYU symposium:

On the basis of the key that "what has been shall be," one may therefore conclude that, with regard to prophecies concerning the events of his own day, Isaiah spoke on two levels, the first pertaining to what was then transpiring, the second to the latter days. Both periods of Israel's history were seen by the prophet in vision (cf. Sir. Isaiah 48:25), and thus he prophesied of "all things" concerning the Lord's people, according to the Savior (3 Nephi 23:2). Isaiah's literary genius, or that which made his words "great" (3 Nephi 23:1), was his inspired competence at including his own time and the last days in a single prophecy, one in which the former events served as the type of the latter.
This key of interpreting the prophecies of the book of Isaiah typologically is necessary in order to understand the modern relevance of ancient names and entities such as Assyria, characterized by Isaiah as the great world power from the north, the first to conquer the world (except Zion/Jerusalem) by military force; Egypt, the greatest political and military power up to that time, to whose vast force of horsemen and chariots other nations look for protection in the day of the Assyrian flood; Babylon, characterized as a great materialistic and idolatrous world dominion, representing all that is destroyed in a fiery holocaust; Zion, a new Israel created out of the chaos of Babylon, comprising the righteous who participate in a New Exodus out of Babylon before destruction comes. By means of this great key to the book of Isaiah, we may read the names of ancient entities as code names for latter day entities, providing an invaluable source of knowledge for those who will see the events so foreshadowed. (Avraham Gileadi, Isaiah and The Prophets, ed. Monte S. Nyman, [Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, Inc., 1984], 135-6).

To assist the serious scripture student further, I have added Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s article that appeared several years ago in the Ensign, as Appendix B to shed further light on the topic. Entitled “Ten Keys to Understanding Isaiah,” it will give insight into his prophetic book as it pertains to us today. (Ensign, October 1973, 78-83).

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