Note: For the material on Isaiah 7-21, see Book of Mormon posts on February 13th and 21st of 2020.
The Covenant Breakers
READ Isaiah 22:21-23
Who is being talked about here?
What power does He possess?
Power to govern.
Power to seal.
Power to save (“sure nail”).
Power to further glorify His father by exalting His father’s children.
READ 2 Nephi 9:41
What does it mean that the Holy One of Israel is the keeper of the Gate to Heaven, and He doesn’t employ a servant there?
There is only ONE way to get to Heaven.
If you do not KNOW the Gate Keeper and are known by Him, you cannot enter.
In ancient times, the risk of opening the gate to see if one could recognize the traveler as an acquaintance, or to assess a stranger as a friend or foe was way too great. So, after dark especially, unless the gatekeeper recognized your voice as a family member or close friend to the House, you would be denied entry.
READ Isaiah 24:3-6
Why is the earth defiled?
Because those with the Gospel of Christ, which is the only thing that can lead people back to the Keeper of the Gate, have not been true to their stewardships.
The stewardship was to guard against losing the knowledge of the path back to the gate, and to fail to communicate that knowledge to those that needed it.
What have they done?
They have transgressed the laws.
Changed the ordinances.
Broken the everlasting covenant.
They thought they knew better then God – they put “fences” around the Law focusing on outward “performances”.
They changed the ordinances to be more acceptable to the thinking (philosophies) and behavior of the world (politically correct and culturally aligned).
By doing these things, the people cannot perform the ordinances or obey the commandments that will allow them to know for themselves the Holy One of Israel or be known by Him, such that they will be “strangers at the Gate” and will not be opened to, to receive the everlasting covenant for themselves – in affecting breaking it, for themselves at least.
What happens if the law is transgressed, ordinances are changed, and covenant is broken?
The whole earth (not just Israel) is cursed.
They are desolate or burned; they are utterly wasted at His coming in glory because they cannot abide it – it is a natural consequence.
Only the few that knew the Gatekeeper/Master’s voice are left alive because only they can abide it as they are filled with enough light.
The Covenant Keeper’s Wedding Feast
But for those who are faithful and keep the Lord’s covenants unchanged…
READ Isaiah 25:4-5
Who are those who keep His covenants and receive his protection?
The poor and needy – not the “terrible ones”, meaning “mighty” or “powerful” ones.
Those who sought Him out because they understood they needed His protection and covenants – they understood their need for redemption and were humble (and wise) enough to do whatever it took to receive it.
Those who loved Him – whose deepest desire was to be with Him and to do His will to help to save others. But these activities don’t usually result in earning the praise and rewards of the World.
READ Isaiah 25:6-9
What will the Lord do in His “mountain”?
Prepare the finest of feasts for “all people”.
Rend the veil for all who are at the feast.
Swallow up death.
Wipe away tears from off all faces.
Remove the rebuke of His people.
All are invited but who will attend the feast?
Those who can abide the glory (when the veil is removed).
“His” people – those who waited for Him.
READ Matthew 22:2-14
Who ends up actually attending the feast?
Not the originally invited guests.
The folk from the highways.
Why are both “bad and good” invited from the highways?
The Lord can forgive both the “bad” and the “good” if they will come to the feast and put on a wedding garment.
Bad and good are not His criteria for attendance – it is willingness or desire to come which is the criteria.
What does the wedding garment symbolize?
Being “chosen” or self-elected (see JST) – those who accept the atonement and are clothed in His glory.
The protective or “appropriate” garment enables you to attend the feast and be in the presence of the King without shame.
Who provides the wedding garment?
You do not “bring your own garment” – implied would be that you can stand in God’s glory without the need for any transfiguration.
So why would this man be found without the wedding garment?
He rejected the atonement – he refused to put it on when presented it, prior to entering into the feast.
He was called but “chose” not to sacrifice what was required (his whole soul).
READ Isaiah 26:3-4, 9
What mindset must you have to “put on the wedding garment”?
Mind is “stayed on thee” (i.e. always remember Him).
Trust in Him forever – because of who He is, a God of Truth, meaning that as long as He exists, He will keep His promises (or, if He did not keep His promises, He would cease to be God).
Desires of your soul (or “heart”) are for Him – day and night.
You act on those desires by seeking for Him (to be like Him, yes - that we might resonate at His frequency and glory, BUT FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENTERING INTO HIS PRESENCE and being sealed up to Eternal Life, which first requires being forgiven – we can only seek Him and offer our whole souls – He must do the rest); the real test of this is whether or not we share His desires – which is to save as many as will come, which saving requires extreme sacrifice on the part of the savior – which comes from pure love.
The Knowledge That Saves
READ Isaiah 28:9-10
Joseph said that knowledge saves a man (see TPJS 400:2), so what does this verse teach us about what we should be actively pursuing?
The knowledge that SAVES.
Not all knowledge is the same.
How do you receive this knowledge?
Line upon line – through experience and study/prayer/revelation – the “live and learn” principle (See 1 Nephi 10:19, Jacob 4:8, Mosiah 1:5, Alma 12:9-11).
Now let’s talk about where that knowledge can be found, for those with eyes to see it…
READ Isaiah 29:9-14
Why has the “vision of all” become as the words of a book that is sealed?
Because the people are drunken or asleep with regards to the words of God, i.e. the vision of all.
We all know the story of Martin Harris and Professor Charles Anthon, so what is the sealed book?
Book of Mormon.
Could also be referring to the “Book of Mahonri” within the Book of Mormon – the literally sealed portion of the plates containing the vision of Mahonri, the brother of Jared, which Moroni sealed up.
If it is the Book of Mormon, why is it a “sealed book”?
Because we don’t read it.
Because we read it but don’t understand it – we listen to how the precepts of men interpret the book instead of going directly to God (see 2 Nephi 32:4-7).
Because we read it but take it lightly – and are under condemnation for doing so (see D&C 84:49-58; Ezra Taft Benson, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel” April 1986 General Conference; Dallin Oaks “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”, BYU Fireside Talk June 6, 1993).
The bottom line is that the knowledge that the Book of Mormon gives us is the knowledge of how to awake from the deep sleep and walk back into the presence of God through covenant with Jesus Christ to be sealed up to Eternal Life. Experience after experience tells this same tale: Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Benjamin, Alma, Lamoni, Nephi, the people at Bountiful, Mormon, Moroni…it must not be a “sealed book” to us if we are to avoid the condemnation.
Lastly, we have a comparison of two kinds of Saints – defined by how they react to the “marvelous work and a wonder”:
READ Isaiah 30:1, 9-13
What do the rebellious “children” (i.e. Saints) want?
They do not want to hear the voice or word of the Lord (direct revelation and the scriptures).
They want what is pleasing to the world – to appeal to the world – to be popular with them (“cover with a covering but not of my spirit”; prophesy “smooth things”; also the verses we didn’t read about “Egypt”, the “Superpower of the West”, i.e. v2-7).
They want to do things the world’s way (by oppression and perverseness – i.e. D&C 121).
What will happen to them when the Lord comes again?
Their destruction will be as a flood – coming in an instant and washing them away (v13).
Implied is that they will be ok until that flood breaks; perhaps they think they will make it.
READ Isaiah 29:18-19
What hope do these verses give us?
The deaf will hear and the blind will see.
If we are blind and deaf now – i.e., we are still failed seekers – but there is hope for us. The key is that we must open the book that is “sealed” and do what it teaches us to do (come unto Christ in the flesh) before it is too late!