Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Isaiah 34: Vengence and Life

This chapter is an interesting microcosm of prophecy concerning the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The important points appear to be 1) There will be a big destruction out of heaven, 2) Hypocrites need to fear the most, 3) The righteous are known and need not fear.

I’ll illustrate my observations with commentary on the major divisions of this chapter:

Verses 1-10:

These verses are prefaced with a warning that the whole earth should take note of what Isaiah is saying. And Isaiah’s message is that there is going to be a great destruction, so great that it will appear that even the heavens will shake and fall. The Lord’s vengeance will fall directly out of Heaven on “Idumea” and the “people of my curse”. Idumea refers to the Edomites who are the children of Esau. John Calvin felt that because of Esau’s relationship with Israel, this reference applies to those who appear to be of the religion of God, but are not true followers. This agrees with what is revealed in the Book of Mormon about the wrath of the Lord upon those who receive his choicest blessings and choose to cast them aside. This is further supported by the statement in verse 8 that the Lord’s vengeance is recompense for “controversy of Zion”. It appears the Lord is most angry not with the general unbelieving populace, but with the Saints who know better and turn away from Him.

Verses 11-15:

Isaiah employs wilderness metaphors to illustrate the completeness of the destruction to come. I can’t help but think about the use of animal imagery by other prophets such as Ezekiel and John the revelator. Scholars are divided as to the interpretation of the creatures mentioned, and I feel that Isaiah is concealing some important meaning here. Suffice to say that the institutions of men and the devil have numbered days.

Since the animals are coming in to possess Idumea, or the world, one likely interpretation is that the animals represent those righteous who are left over after the great destructions of God. The description of the animals in verse 14 suggest animals that are solitary and wild when found in nature. They dwell in islands and on deserts. Shall the righteous of our day be described in the same manner? Few and far between? Unbound to the laws and traditions of the world? Indeed, this is exactly the scene the scriptures paint for us over and over again.

Verse 16-17:

I believe these verses require modern revelation to understand completely, and I think they are important enough that I would like to interpret them part by part:

16 ¶ Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read:

The Book of the Lord in this verse refers to the Lamb’s Book of Life mentioned in Rev. 20: 12, 15 (see also D&C 128: 6-7) , Alma 5: 58, and D&C 132: 19

no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate:

Those written in the Book of life shall not falter, especially when caught in the midst of the destruction of the second coming. Interestingly, those in this book shall also not want their mate. This could mean that there won’t be any desire to be married, but I think the correct interpretation is that those written in this book will have their mates and will therefore not be looking for them.

for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

Who is in the Book? Those who follow the commandments of God and have heeded the still small voice of the Holy Ghost.

17 And he hath cast the lot for them,

God has prepared for the righteous their possession, and it is by his good will and pleasure that he does so.

and his hand hath divided it unto them by line:

The blessings of God do not come all at once- they come as knowledge comes, line upon line.

they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.

And the great news is that once the Lord bestows an inheritance, it is ours forever.

It feels like these days are close upon us. I pray that we will be found ready.


Joshua said...

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