These chapters cover the sojourn in the wilderness, building a ship, and crossing to the promised land. We spent most of the time focused on the two chapters from Isaiah and Nephi’s assessment of those chapters.
2 Nephi 8:16
3 Nephi 15:23
I don’t remember if you mentioned D&C 1:1, but even the LDS footnotes for 1 Nephi 21:1 reference D&C 1:1 which says: 1 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.
Which is very similar language to Isaiah 49/I Nephi 21:1
1 And again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel. Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far
So even the footnote put by the church points to section 1 which according to section 1 was written as, “my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.” So, this should be a big clue that probably the Isaiah chapters are written for us too. Plus Jesus specifically commands us to read the words of Isaiah and says that they will all be fulfilled again.
We really are a blind people stumbling in the mists of darkness. Bound down by secret combinations and sins that so easily beset us. And yet if the people would simply grasp the rod they will live. Israel had to but look and live, and yet many of them chose to perish. The word is sitting in front of us all. Hell it’s on the internet for free in multiple languages. And yet the people still won’t study it and look to it for guidance. What more could God do for such a people? And yet He will do more because He loves us. And He will save His people not because they deserve it, but because He loves them and said He would. He is the ultimate Father/Saviour who laid down His life that we all might live though unworthy and obstinate we are.
There is so much here! If you look at 1 Ne. 19:24, it says he words of Isaiah were written unto all the house of Israel. And because of this, and the promise that the latter day blessings would come to the house of Israel through the Gentiles, I look at these Isaiah chapters as a prophecy of the apostasy of the Christian American nation, not just a reference to the early days when Joseph Smith was alive. America has strong Christian roots, yet we don’t “stay ourselves upon the God of Israel”. Instead, we have a national religion of independence, self-reliance, and individualism. God is trying to tell us that we have been blessed through Him, yet we credit our own hard work for the blessings we enjoy. (Which leads to a condemnation of the poor who are assumed to be lazy or undeserving because of their lack.)
According to 20:8, God knew we would deal treacherously, but he has not cut us off because of the same reason Moses gave not to destroy the adulterous Israelites, because other nations would see that example. Instead, he refines us in the furnace of affliction. The Civil War is a prime example of using his wrath to refine the collective direction of this country which was founded on the premise that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. All this has been prophesied from the beginning (at least since the record of Isaiah, and witnessed to through the Book of Mormon prophecies.)
The section of this reading related to the Servant is the basis for many of my previous questions about how you expect this Servant to come. Is there something in the scriptures of our doctrine that requires only one opportunity in mortality in order to achieve an assignment for God? We have debated back and forth whether Joseph will come as a recognized divine being with spiritual power, or if he could have another lifetime to finish the work he began, in which case the work would be done by a mortal with a different name and life story . This is relevant to both our doctrine and also perhaps recognizing what is right in front of our noses.
Moving along to the reference to pastors in the context of this being a prophecy of America. The pastors are those who are in positions of trust for the flock. I think it would be appropriate to include elected leaders in this category as well.
Here is the quote from Joseph Smith you cited: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priest-craft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women—all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.”
Do you know anyone today who is having their corners “knocked off” as he is hit by those who embrace religious bigotry, priest-craft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, perjured executives who are backed by mobs , blasphemers, and licentious and corrupt men and women? All while he is trying to help people inherit their desolate heritages (think about desolate manufacturing towns, like Detroit and Pittsburg), and set both federal prisoners and hostages free?
I know it is controversial to say that forsaken Zion can be the American nation most of us have grown up in, rather than some religious enclave. There are elements of both Babylon and Egypt in America as we know it (which is why she would be forsaken), but I cannot disregard the possibility that this is exactly what Isaiah is talking about (keeping in mind the dual nature of prophesy). In which case, Isaiah is sending messages of comfort and hope to us.
The last few verses of chapter 21 have also come into sharper focus for me recently as I have learned that the socialist nations of the world have been propped up by the US taxpayers and consumers through multinational agreements (like NATO) and lopsided trade agreements. WE have financially carried these nations on our shoulders since the post WW2 agreements where we rebuilt their infrastructure, economies, and allowed them to enjoy generous socialist welfare benefits while our quality of life has been stagnant and depreciating. (Now our president is telling them they are big enough to walk on their own feet.) Also, the captives of the mighty and the prey of the terrible are being delivered, if you are able to see the dismantling of international slave trafficking routes. The rich and powerful people in this world have been trading in human lives, and their days are coming to an end. As God promises in verse 25 “I will save thy children.”
I know my comment is controversial, but I don’t confuse the servant with the God he is serving. God’s work is going forth right now to fulfill the words of Isaiah you rightly celebrate. How do I know? Because we have been promised that at the time Isaiah’s prophesy comes to pass, it will be plain to understand. It is clear as day to me, but not if I focus too sharply on what the leaders of any particular church are saying or doing. And not if I wait for word that an angel is going through the countryside performing miracles. From day one I have heard about your anticipated return of the servants, so I ask again, HOW WILL YOU RECOGNIZE THEM? I might be totally wrong about my interpretation of current events, but I am looking for the patterns described. What signs are you looking for?
Sorry for the multiple comments this week, but there was so much in these chapters that I was taking it section by section. I don’t really have a lot to add about the chapter 22 part, except to disagree with the podcasters adamant denial that any of the events related to the Gentiles lifting up the scattered children of Israel have happened yet. Would you disagree that the Gentile nation established on this promised land has already temporally lifted the oppressed people of other nations? Europe, China, and Japan have all benefited from our economic generosity to rebuild them into first world nations after devastating war. We have also literally adopted the unwanted orphans from many countries around the world and nursed them as our own.
I also want to point out from this chapter the part from verses 9-10 about making known the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying – In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Galatians 3:29 says, “if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” One of the things I have noticed over the past few years is the persecution of Christians. There are other persecuted religious minorities throughout the world as well. One of the goals of this presidential administration is to promote religious freedom throughout the world. Verse 10 might be saying that until the Lord God makes bare his arm, there is not an opportunity for the true gospel to flow through the nations in a way that it can be a light to those in darkness. Our own history shows that the advent of the LDS church did not occur until after religious freedom was guaranteed by a war and the Bill of Rights.
My other takeaway from this chapter was how the great and abominable church would fall into the pit it dug for others. One relevant example is the current effort to delegitimize and impeach Pres. Trump. There were traps laid, pits dug, and yet, he seems to walk right through them. While those who schemed are now coming under fire. Many have lost their jobs, and in the near future I expect to see actual criminal indictments of those who sought to overthrow the results of the election. This is just a tiny microcosm of that larger event. The politicians in Britain who schemed to undermine the vote for Brexit have lost their power. They exposed their agenda and are being cut off. I have heard 2019 called the “Year of the Boomerang” for whatever that is worth. It indicates for me that people are seeing this dynamic play out, even if they don’t connect it to the prophesies of Isaiah and Nephi.
Final point goes back to the “churches” that are built up to get gain. These can be organizations of any size and shape, including political parties, universities of learning, etc. The work that is coming is global in scope. Great things to be watching and waiting for!
I just noticed some notes in my scriptures related to 1 Ne. 16:12, which says “And it came to pass that we did take our tents and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman. For some reason I had underlined “across the river” and connected it back to 1 Ne 2:9 where Lehi talks about the river Laman. They did not cross the river until after they obtained the liahona.
In the bottom margin, I wrote, “The Lord takes us into the wilderness, then begins to teach us to rely on Him instead of the things we have brought with us.”
I think this ties back to the discussion from 1Ne20:1-2 about the house of Jacob who has come forth out of the waters of Judah, but do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel.
I appreciate your enthusiasm and looking at current events for a fulfillment of prophecies, however, I fear your political biases are blinding you to the proper interpretation. Many people in the Christian community and not just Mormons seem to see Trump as some kind of pseudo-savior which is not only wrong but I believe blasphemous. Only the God of Israel will save His people through His true servant being recommissioned to finish the work he started.
Trump is no different than those who came before him except in one regard. He thinks of himself and his family’s interests first rather that what the secret combinations who run the country want him to do. Therefore, they are trying to remove him from power. He’s no hero however and has ties to the Russo-Ukrainian mafia just like many other figures in the establishment such as the Clintons and the Bidens. He simply chooses to ignore the establishment to enrich himself and his friends which is why they want to get rid of him as he is too unpredictable. Have our foreign wars ended? Nope, instead we just increased the military budget and added a new branch of the military. Yay space force! So, contrary to Christian/Mormon beliefs business of expanding the empire is continuing, hundreds of thousands continue to die due to our military-industrial complex, the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer, so what exactly is there to celebrate?
As to how the servant will return, he will return in power to finish what he started. Our only confirmed scripture of someone returning is Elijah/John the baptist. He returned under a different name, so I would assume this will be the same for Joseph. What kind of test would it be if someone named Joseph Smith appears and brings forth records? So, I would assume he will be unrecognizable as Joseph, but will fulfill the prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon by bringing forth additional records and calling for those who believe to gather to Zion. He will perform miracles, and no earthly power will be able to stop him. He’s not going to be a politician, but will be someone from an average unremarkable background that no one will suspect. I believe he’s already on the earth, but may not know who he is yet, but will soon.
I view Trump very differently. He isn’t only about enriching himself and his family/associates. He is changing decades of policies (the establishment) designed to enrich the few by shipping low-skill jobs overseas. What he is doing is benefitting all those Americans who were being left behind who were told in the past their jobs weren’t coming back.
He’s shifting trillions of dollars that were enriching the few at the expense of the majority of Americans. That is why the establishment is so desperate to destroy him.
However, I agree with you that he is well versed in the ways of Babylon. He’s spent his life learning how to succeed in the swamp filled environment. I don’t believe he is the returning servant, but that he’s in some ways setting the stage for that event.
To your point about Elijah/John the Baptist, there were quite a number of parallels between each of their lives here on earth. If what you propose is correct, then we should expect Joseph Smith and the end-times servant to have similar parallels in their lives. I think that would be one way for those of us who are watching and waiting to recognize him..
It would be interesting for those of us here to brainstorm a list of possible parallels we might expect and be looking for. Of course, I don’t expect them to share a similar death as when Joseph returns he will remain on earth until the second coming .
What are significant markers in Joseph Smiths life:
– Didn’t affiliate with any of the false churches of his day
– He brought forth the Book of Mormon – we know more scriptures should be coming
Any other thoughts? I know there are many more possibilities.
One difference between Elijah and Joseph is that Elijah didn’t die, but Joseph did. Did the fact that Elijah didn’t suffer death allow him to come back as John the Baptist through a miraculous conception? Would Joseph having died preclude him from starting over as a baby? We don’t seem to have enough data to answer that. The other servants from the 1830s were also promised to return to finish their labors. So one possibility is that they will be raised from the dead, like Lazarus, to complete their original missions rather than start all over from birth under different identities.
That leads to all sorts of questions. If one or more people show up claiming to be someone who died 150+ years ago, how would it be proved or disproved? DNA testing? If DNA testing came back saying 99% likelihood this is the same person, how many people would still refuse to believe?
In either case, the question is a good one. How would we tell a true servant from an imposter?
That’s a good point on a key difference. I think one of the answers is to adhere to the word of God. We need to see what the scriptural profile is. I don’t think it will be easy, as there will be imposters. So we will also need to rely on the Spirit.
John is a special case and different from Joseph, however, they are similar as well. D&C 84 says:
27 Which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron among the children of Israel until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb.
28 For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power.
So, I think that Elijah/John not dying was necessary for his mission in order for him to be baptized by fire in his mother’s womb, as he had not died and had no need of being baptized again, since he kept his priesthood power when he came back to earth. Additionally it explains how he could be ordained when only 8 days old, since again it was simply a confirmation of his mission from his previous life.
Joseph however, is a little different as he did die, and was told in section 122 that:
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.
So, these verses say that he will go to hell and descend below all these things like Christ, but the priesthood will remain with him and his years won’t be numbered less, meaning he is promised to live a total certain age. Thus, I think this implies that he has to be born again into this fallen and telestial world aka hell, suffer, and then be restored to his full priesthood power that he is promised will remain with him. I think this may be the scene we see in Zechariah 3:
1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.
6 And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying,
7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
We see similar language in Malachi where the other servants will be purified by the Lord:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Also section 113 expounding upon Isaiah 11 and 52 is important:
5 What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?
6 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.
7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.
So, Joseph is a descendant of both Joseph and Jesse, so probably of mixed ancestry. Furthermore, again we see the reference to regaining the fullness of the priesthood which he has a right to. I believe this will happen in Kirtland after the temple is cleansed and rededicated.
Joseph will have a different name will look different, be of mixed ancestry, publish more records of the nephites to confirm the truth of what has already gone forth, and declare the gathering of Zion. Impostors will also claim the same things, however, if we rely on the word that we already have, we will be able to recognize the true words that he brings forth. I’m not sure he will declare himself to be joseph, but rather as the one mighty and strong, or the one who is raising an ensign to the nations, or as a polished shaft in the Lord’s quiver of arrows, or as the marred servant. However, if someone asks him if he is Joseph he won’t deny it.
I think one key element we can use to discern the returning servant is that he will have priesthood power restored to him in the Kirtland temple.
I’m not certain how to take the “change of raiment” passage. It could support what you propose as Joseph getting a completely new body – new clothes for the same spirit.
I can also see it supporting Joseph returning in the same body. The filthy garments are his dead body and him having taken on the sins of the people. The new clothes, is simply cleansing his body from sin and restoring it as it was, similar to how we wash a garment.
I can keep my mind open to both possibilities. I think the key markers are those items outlined in the scriptures. Characteristics that he may repeat should he start from an infant or characteristics he will maintain if returning as he was. Also, others will be returning with him, so we should also be watching for them.
Another key difference between Elijah and Joseph is that the mission of John the Baptist occurred before the resurrection of Christ. There might have been different rules in play in that situation, making translation rather than death necessary to leave mortality.