Sunday, August 31, 2014

What I Left Out Of My Book

Previously: The Drunkards of Ephraim

Late at night on July 22nd, after I had gone over the manuscript of my book one last time (did I mention I wrote a book?), I sent the final draft to the printer and went to bed.  The very next morning I wished I had waited one more day, because Denver Snuffer had written a piece that so encapsulated the entire theme of my book that it just screamed to be included as an afterward.

But I was too late. My book was going to press. And soon I remembered something else I had meant to include in the book, and a week later at the Sunstone Symposium Joe Jensen delivered a paper that would have been perfect in the appendix -if I had thought to include an appendix.

So, what follows in today's post are things I wish I had mentioned or included or linked to, had I not been in such an all-fired hurry to get the book to press. Think of the following bon mots as something like DVD Bonus Extras.

But first, a word from the Mrs.

Maybe I Should Listen To My Wife
Connie was never keen on the title I gave my book, What To Expect When You're Excommunicated: The Believing Mormon's Guide to the Coming Purge.

"People are going to think it's only for people who are facing excommunication," she insisted, "You'll lose most of the people you're hoping to reach."

I disagreed. I thought the title was clever and provocative, and anyone who saw it would be so intrigued they would buy it the minute they read the title. Besides, the only other name I could think of was I Have A Blog So Buy My Book.

I'm beginning to think my wife was onto something. Because the truth is, the book isn't entirely about excommunication. Now, if you happen to be one of the many believers currently facing an unwarranted excommunication from the LDS Church over a bogus charge of "apostasy," then chapter 7 will likely be quite helpful to you.

But the rest of the book is for the average latter-day Saint who is struggling to make sense of  the craziness going on in the Church of late. As a commenter on another blog recently expressed things, "It just feels as though we as LDS who want to follow Jesus Christ are in the middle of a terrible storm right now."

Many faithful Saints are coming to realize that the modern LDS Church bears little resemblance to the one founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. If you've done any reading in church history and wonder why the marvelous gifts of the spirit once abundant in Nauvoo seem to be missing in the church today, this book will provide an overview of how that happened and why.  It compares the revealed word of God to the foolish traditions of men, and will help you sort out one from the other. It asks and answers the pertinent question of the day: how did the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which began as a theocracy (government by God) find itself largely transformed into an oligarchy (government by a small group of dominant elites)?

If you are convinced it's impossible for The True Church to ever go astray, this book may not be for you.  But for everyone else it will deconstruct that false teaching, and direct you to where the Book of Mormon prophets -as well as Jesus Christ Himself- predicted just the opposite. In short, this book is for every latter-day Saint concerned with the direction the modern Church appears to be heading, and provides solutions from the word of God as to how we can repent and get ourselves back on track.

But first we're going to have to recognize what we have to repent of.  Which brings us to that piece I mentioned from Denver Snuffer's blog.

After I had written an entire book describing the various causes in which the Christ-centered religion of my youth had been loosed from its moorings, Denver Snuffer comes along and distills it all into one simple truth: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apparently has only one doctrine left.

Here is the essay I wish I had included in my book as an afterword, presented here with his permission:
 Only One Doctrine Left
"In LDS Mormonism there is really only one doctrine left. Everything else is subordinate and changeable. But this single demand is paramount. If you disbelieve this position, then LDS Mormonism has no place for you. The doctrine:

"We follow a man whom we call a prophet."

"If you disbelieve this, and think you ought to follow Christ first, and the church's 'prophet' is secondary, then you are insubordinate and a threat. Believing that Christ comes first opens the possibility that Christ could tell you the 'prophet' is mistaken. That is intolerable.

"In LDS Mormonism it is allowed for the current 'prophet' to criticize and denigrate a former 'prophet.' This happens frequently. Even editorials now appear on the website rejecting Brigham Young's teachings as wrong, even immoral. The new, living leader has the 'keys' and the contradictions are viewed by blinded followers to be 'proof of continuing revelation.'

"Therefore these contradictions are valued by the deceived. An unchanging God has error prone key-holders who can guarantee his contemporaries their salvation. This is even if later key-holders proclaim the earlier leader's mistakes. All of this is only consistent if you believe the central, single doctrine. If you question it, the whole construct begins to look foolish and riddled with error.

"When I joined LDS Mormonism there were many doctrines. None of them put President Spencer W. Kimball into a position of a dictator. Indeed, President Kimball earned our loyalty and respect by his meek example and the content of his sermons. He denounced modern idols, and criticized the war-like nature of our country. But no one demanded a loyalty oath, insisting that veneration of him took precedence over worship of Christ. I believe if President Kimball heard of such a thing being taught he would have vocally and immediately spoken against it. He denounced Ezra Taft Benson's sermon about Fourteen Fundamentals for Following the Prophet. But today these are taught in General Conference!

"LDS Mormonism has changed since I first joined. So much so that I no longer belong in an organization that holds one and only one doctrine as its bedrock. I believe Christ alone is worthy of veneration. I do not believe I must follow a man to be able to follow Christ. I do not believe I should look to the example of some man in order to be able to see Christ.

"This radical and false shift of the religion has happened in my lifetime. I never engaged in this idolatry while among the LDS organization, and I refuse to accept that kind of religion now. It is false. I reject it.

"Insofar as the LDS Church 'believes' in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the revelations through him, including the D&C and Pearl of Great Price, I honor them. Insofar as they testify of the Book of Mormon and preach from it, I believe and accept it. Therefore I see some considerable merit to the LDS Church. However, their current single fundamental doctrine is false. Utterly false.

"If you extend the fundamental LDS doctrine to its logical conclusion, it is also satanic. It abrogates free will, requires obedience to a man even if he tells you to do something which you know to be wrong (a principle that has been taught in General Conference), and requires you to abandon your own agency. Since I believe everyone will be accountable before God for their choices in the Day of Judgment, the paradigm is false and will not protect you. You may think the 'key holder' will absolve you of your mistakes, but God will judge you. If you are asked to do something wrong, and you do it out of veneration for a 'prophet you will not be spared, but you will be judged and condemned.

"There are many good people in the LDS Church. There is also some considerable good done by the LDS Church. But when adulterers, liars, idolaters and the ignorant who preside in wards, stakes and areas of the church insist their personal unworthiness is excused because they are loyal to a priesthood line of authority, as we presently find in the church, then someone needs to proclaim faith in Christ and repentance. Even if only one voice will speak up, God will vindicate faith in Him in the end.

"The Great Whore will always outnumber the few who are Christ's sheep. But that cannot detract from Christ's affection for those who hear His voice and defend His religion."
The Latter-Day Apostasy
Just days after submitting my manuscript to the publisher, I attended the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City where one particular presentation struck me as something that would have been perfect to include as an appendix to my book if I hadn't already been too late. It was Joe Jensen's presentation titled The Latter-day Apostasy: A Scriptural Perspective.  During the rest of the symposium, and for days afterward, I was still hearing quite a bit of buzz about this one. And for good reason. 

I have recommended Joe's website, Just And True, many times in the past, and the transcript of this talk is available there.  Sunstone has also provided the audio on this site here, so you can listen to it if you wish.  Just scroll down to Session 224, and click on the arrow below the title. You can also purchase it from the Sunstone site on CD. I'd recommend it.

What I really wish is not so much that I had included Joe's presentation in my book, but that I had written the thing myself because it's phenomenal. Joe has performed an invaluable service to all of us by examining the subject of apostasy from every conceivable angle of interest to Mormons, and concludes -no surprise here- that the real iniquity in the LDS Church is always fomented from above (as our founding prophet Joseph Smith lamented in a quote on page 152 of my book).

Brother Jensen presents the correct (and scripturally accurate) definition of apostasy as found on the LDS Church's official website ("When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel") and then juxtaposes that with the fraudulent definition provided to local leaders in the corporate Church Handbook of Instruction.

"There appears to be one definition of apostasy for public consumption," Brother Jensen writes, "and another private directive to church leadership." It is this latter, completely arbitrary definition that is used today by some in high office who desire to strip faithful believers of their membership in the Lord's church.

One of the things that really caught my attention was Joe's discussion of Nehor, the notorious Book of Mormon apostate.  Among the things Nehor advocated for was that the leaders of the church should enjoy certain perks and privileges, including being supported by the people so they didn't have to hold down normal jobs like everyone else, and being treated like celebrities. 

I have a friend who worked at Church headquarters for several years, meeting frequently and answering directly to two well-known apostles.  Once he was able to find more suitable employment, he resigned, and was glad to be out of there. "These guys," he told me, referring to the apostles, "are treated like rock stars. And they act like they expect it."

I won't name the particular apostles my friend worked under, in the interest of protecting his identity, but he also told me jaw-dropping tales of waste, abuse, and cavalier attitudes toward large amounts of money spent on dubious projects, "because they believe they can do no wrong." And although no one really knows how much our general authorities are compensated for their "labors," based on the lifestyles my friend observed, he believes the sum is quite substantial.

All this in a Church that boasts of having a humble unpaid clergy, as the Book of Mormon requires.  In the first book of Alma, we learn that Nehor loses his temper and kills a guy, so Nehor is executed for committing murder, and that's the end of that.

Except it seems that now the spirit of Nehor -"the only person in the index of the LDS Scriptures to be branded an apostate"- lives on today in the pampered and popular hierarchy of the LDS Church.

Also worth noting is Brother Jensen's reminder that the Lord has insisted that for His church to be legitimately His, it must be "called in my name" which our church certainly was for many decades.  But we now know that the the name of the church was legally changed by Heber J. Grant on November 26, 1923, with the new entity retaining the original name only as a trademark that is now held in reserve by Intellectual Reserve, Inc, the copyright arm of the corporation. This is no matter to be taken lightly, as Jensen submits:
"To be His church, the organization must be called by His name, be built upon His gospel and demonstrate the works of God....The current formal name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This seems to fit the requirement although this is only the trademark. The legal name of the organization is The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; the holder of the copyright of my triple combination. Buildings and facilities typically show ownership as the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop or other entities. Does this meet the Lords requirement?
I can't stress how important I feel it is for you to read this entire essay. I don't even care if you stop reading my words right now.  Click on this link and get yourself an education about what it really means to be in apostasy.

Strangers In Zion 
In my newly published book, I discuss how growing numbers of faithful, believing latter-day Saints have gotten fed up with the direction the LDS Church appears headed and have vowed to stop supporting it. Many of these devoted members, though they remain committed to the Restored gospel, are resigning from the institutional Church in protest.

I have never advocated resigning from the Church, for a variety of reasons. In the first place, this is our church. Nowhere in scripture can you find any indication that God has given an elite priest class the authority to own or control His church. In the second place, when you resign from the church, others assume you have lost your testimony of the gospel. You appear to them as just another apostate, a turncoat. Whatever statement you intended to make by leaving is lost on your fellow believers, because they don't want to hear your reasons. Your voice is therefore not heard, and your valiant stand for truth and righteousness is ignored.

So last month a group of believers led by Micah Nicholaisen, one of the lights behind A Thoughtful Faith Podcast series, has come up with an alternative to resigning. They call themselves Strangers In Zion, and they are saying, in effect, "If you're going to hold disciplinary councils on our brothers and sisters over matters that heretofore have never warranted such action, then we insist you hold disciplinary councils on us, too, because we share the same views as those you have targeted."

It's a pretty radical idea, but I like it. No sooner had the website been publicized than over a hundred church members signed on, drafting letters challenging their local leaders to convene Church courts and try them for the "sin" of refusing to kowtow to authority.

On August 18th, Strangers In Zion founder Micah Nicholaisen was disfellowshiped from the Church, and he appears none the worse for the experience. The real oddity about the whole thing is that Micah was disfellowshiped for holding the very same views that Kate Kelly was excommunicated over.

Excommunication is a much harsher punishment, yet this Church insists its women are treated no differently than its men.

Here's a photo of Micah and his family taken today after church. Note that Micah has a beard, is not wearing a tie, and his shirt isn't white. This is proof that he is lost to us forever.

Oh, and his prepubescent daughter is wearing a sleeveless top, so she's lost, too.

As much as I find the idea behind Strangers In Zion strangely endearing, there may be an even better way to work the needed reforms. That would be to hold disciplinary hearings on the real apostates.

Throw The Bums Out?
When I was in Salt Lake City last month I had conversations with a group of concerned Utah Attorneys and professionals who, except for one, are all present and former high council members.

They posed a simple question: why should believing members resign from the church in protest, or fall on their swords like Micah Nicholaisen and others are doing, when the Lord has already provided us with the remedy to this problem?

What they propose sounded intriguing to me, and I'm interested in hearing how things  develop.

In my book I express the belief that the current rash of senseless persecutions we are seeing are not the work of a concerted, unified pogrom instituted by the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. From what we know so far, this craziness is likely the work of one or two rogue apostles, just as it was twenty years ago with the the September Six. They appear to be aided by two or more members of the Quorum of the Seventy who, for various reasons, are overclocked with ambition and zealotry. (I go into greater detail in the book as to why they chose this particular time to tip their hand.)

Since the identities of some of these men are known, all that is necessary to rein them in is to convene a Council of Elders and try them for apostasy.

Easier said than done, you say?  Yeah, could be.

Actually the idea is scripturally sound, but given the climate of the Church today, it might be as Quixotic as trying members of congress for violating their oath of office. Everyone knows they're guilty, but who's going to call them on it?

The remedy does exist for putting things back in order. Doctrine and Covenants section 107 makes it clear that not even the president of the Church himself is immune from prosecution for violation of his office.  And the body of the Saints are qualified to conduct the trial. Where something like this has a chance of making a difference is that the unfavorable publicity that would result from calling out GAs who constantly break the rules might itself be enough to get the other members of the Twelve to finally step up and put a stop to the usurpations of their brethren.

Is there evidence to convict a general authority of apostasy?  Man, is there ever! Finding evidence is not the problem. Some of  these so-called "leaders" violate Church law routinely and openly. You know the adage: "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Human nature is the same whether in politics or religion.

This committee I've spoken with suggests the most appropriate target would be the recreant apostle Boyd K. Packer, because Packer was responsible for a DVD that thoroughly renounced the teachings of Jesus. I wrote something about that video in my post titled Vengeance And The Latter-day Saint and I have seen for myself how Packer has twisted and misquoted both scripture and the modern prophets (in particular the First Presidency back in 1942) in order to present a deliberate distortion of doctrine that suited his own agenda. He'd fit the bill, all right.

So right about now you've decided these guys have lost their minds, right? You think it's a nutty idea to threaten high Mucky-Mucks in the Church to get them to shut up and sit down?  Well what do you think they've been trying to do to us down here at the bottom of the totem?

It doesn't sound any crazier or less effective to me than resigning from the church to try to make a point.  Maybe it's time the members of the body of Christ stood fast and reclaimed their power as members of the church of Christ, and kept a closer watch on those at the top whose personal ambitions have clouded their judgment.

As D&C 20:80 instructs, "any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct."  So the way it would work is two or more witnesses belonging to Boyd Packer's stake would have to come forward and testify that the video he promoted teaches false doctrine.  Frankly, that part would be a cakewalk. The difficult part would be in getting a council of Elders from his stake with the integrity to call out a GA in this day and age when we've all been conditioned to believe these men are beyond reproach.

Anyway, it's something to think about, and it's certainly an intriguing idea whether it's feasible or not.

What I do know is this: we have to put a stop to this divisiveness that's tearing the church apart simply because one person's views don't line up with someone else's. This is not the way to unify the church.  Maybe it is time to rein in those leaders who are letting their thirst for control cloud their judgment.  If they wish to lead, then let them lead, but what we're seeing now isn't leadership. We have enough problems in the church today without everybody making things worse.  Like the title of Lori Burkman's recent post puts it, If It Keeps On Raining, The Levee's Going To Break.

What To Expect When You're Out Of State
People have been asking what's the latest with my situation?  Well, the other thing that happened the day after I sent my book to press was that I finally got the call from my stake president in Sacramento wanting to meet with me for the first time. I had been expecting his call for two months, ever since that meeting with my bishop where I was given the ultimatum to shut up, get out, or get kicked out.  Since I was in Utah when he called, I told him we'd have to get together when I got home.  When I got home I called him and told him I wasn't well, and he said he'd call me back in a couple of weeks.  This is one week later. Maybe I'll call him.

So that's the update. Here's a few more odds & ends and then I'll wrap this up:

A reporter from The Daily Beast did a story on the Sunstone Symposium and quoted me spouting off at the end.

The Blog Nearing Kolob has compiled a chart listing many of those who have been, or are in the process of being brought up on charges of apostasy.  I don't know how current the list is, but it's interesting to look at.

One of my online heroes, Tim Malone, posted a review of my book today.  You can read it here at Latter-day Commentary.

I hope you'll take a look at my book. And better yet, I hope you'll buy it.  In the midst of all this blabbering, did I mention the title? I don't think I did.

It's called What To Expect When You're Excommunicated: The Believing Mormon's Guide To The Coming Purge. You can find it at Amazon, and also at Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City. But be advised that as of yesterday Benchmark Books is down to their last ten copies, so you may want to call first.  By the way, I finally got hold of somebody at the publisher and got them to reduce the price of the book overall, so there's some good news. I never was comfortable with it listing at fifteen dollars.

My thanks to all the wonderful people who reviewed my book on Amazon and said such kind things about it. (Except you, Payton Chalmers.) I greatly appreciate your input and welcome more comments. (Again, Payton Chalmers, I'm talking to everybody but you.)

Updated September 1, 2014, 7:14 AM:  
Whoo-hoo! I just found out I've sold TWO BOOKS already this month! You read that right, my friends. Two. That puts my Amazon Ranking at #63,094.  I only have to sell sixty-three thousand and ninety three more books today and I'll be at number one!

Come on, people, we can do this!

(Psssst! Hey! Click Here!)

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I respect all reader's wishes to post anonymously, and you may continue to do so as long as at the beginning and/or end of your comment you use some type of unique identifiyer so that others can tell you from the hundreds of others posting as "Anonymous." With so many commenting under the name "Anonymous," the conversations have become increasingly difficult to follow.  It has also become obvious that some of those posting anonymously are often among the most uncivil; rather than engage  in intelligent arguments, some of these people tend to get quarrelsome.  A civil argument advances the dialogue; petty and immature attacks on other's views do not.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Drunkards of Ephraim

Previously: What To Expect When You're Excommunicated

I had every intention of posting something new here before this month gave out, but for the time being, my own health has given out (pneumonia), and at the moment I'm too weak to create something of my own. Thankfully, our daughter Amy is looking out for both Connie and me until I get some strength back. Also thankfully, Connie has an oxygen machine which I have hacked into with a length of 'Y' tubing so we can share the air and both sleep the sleep of angels.

Nevertheless, I've been strongly nudged by the spirit to crawl out of my sickbed and draw attention to this chapter from JJ Dewey's "Infallible Authority" which I am re-posting below, because I suspect that even many long time readers of this blog may not have gotten around to reading that work.  These past few weeks I've been seeing the reality of these Isaiah prophecies unfolding plainly before my eyes, and after you read this, I'm sure you'll see why it has been calling to me.  Everything that once seemed completely indecipherable to many of us is now plain as day.

Normally when I post a new piece here on my blog, I announce it through my Facebook page and the various Mormon Facebook groups I frequent, but for now I'm just too weak to advertise myself.  Hard to believe, but the simple acts of cutting and pasting this small chapter and writing this introduction have pretty much taken all the steam out of me, so if any of you who stumble across this feel compelled to share it on Facebook and elsewhere, I would be obliged if you would do so.  I feel very strongly that this has something important to say to us, or I wouldn't have gone to the trouble at this time.

(Oh, and P.S. I'm frail and weak, but not so frail and weak that I'd forget to squeeze in a mention of my new book, which is available on Amazon.)

Anyway, below I've reproduced the piece I got up to urge you to take a look at. It's very insightful and I really hope you'll read it.
Right now I am stuffed with antibiotics, and I've also taken massive amounts of PRO-biotics, so I think I'll go back to bed now and let them fight it out.

The Drunkards of Ephraim
by J.J. Dewey
(To read the previous chapter, click here. To start this series at the beginning, click here.)

We shall now comment on one of the fascinating chapters in the scriptures, Isaiah 28:
“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!” (Isa. 28:1)
Before elaborating on this, we must note that even though Isaiah’s prophesies were given to ancient Israel and had meaning for them, most of them also applied to the far future such as the first and second coming of Christ, the Millennium, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

First we must note here that Isaiah is speaking to "the drunkards of Ephraim”. There is no question that the Latter-Day Saints refer to themselves as “Ephraim” and there is no question that the Church teaches that the very next chapter of Isaiah (chapter 29) refers to our day or the coming forth of the Church, and the Book of Mormon. Therefore, it would seem quite logical that Isaiah 28 would also refer to Ephraim of our day.

But wait! It calls Ephraim drunkards and Mormons don’t drink! Therefore, it could not refer to us.

On the contrary, a drunkard in the scriptures does not always refer to one drunk with wine. David explains, “Thou hast showed thy people hard things; thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.” (Psalms 60:3)

Another example: “And I will tread down the people in my anger, and I will make them drunk in my fury....” (Isa. 63:6) “They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of a deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” (Isa. 29:9-10)

Thus we see that the “drunkards of Ephraim” refers to a people who stumble because the little doctrine that the Lord did give them was too much for them to handle and they did stumble as a drunken man.

Concerning the words of Isaiah, Nephi said, “The words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy.” (2 Nephi 25:4)

Where is there an authorized prophet or apostle in the Church that can declare that the words of Isaiah are plain unto him? On the contrary, most of them will admit they do not understand them.

Nephi also says, “In the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled, men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass.” (2 Nephi 25:7)

Many of the prophesies referred to here by Nephi are approaching fulfillment and the prophesies of Isaiah are becoming so clear that none will have an excuse to not understand. The same is true of the revelation written by John as Moroni said, “And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of the people. Remember, when ye see these things, we shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed.” (Ether 4:16)

The time is verily approaching when all these scriptures will be unfolded in the eyes of the people, but not through “authorized channels.”

Getting back to Isaiah 28, we see that the drunkards of Ephraim are called the “crown of pride.” Being the crown of pride is referred to by Jesus as the day “when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations and above all the people of the whole earth.” (3 Nephi 16: 10) In other words, out of all the pride the peoples of the earth have, the Latter-Day Saints are the crown of it all.

“...Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower... .” The glorious beauty of the cities in the valleys established by our pioneers is becoming a fading flower. The rivers and the atmosphere is now becoming polluted and the beauty that was there is fading, not only physically, but spiritually. The inhabitants are no longer bright with the spirit of God making prophesies, healing by the Spirit and seeking the mysteries.

Unless they turn from the arm of flesh to the Spirit within, they shall be counted as among the foolish virgins.

“Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.” (Isa. 28:2)

The mighty and strong one ... that rings a bell doesn’t it? We find reference to it in D&C 85:7-8: “And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God; while that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by a vivid shaft of lightening.”

I once heard an LDS lecturer declare: “If the authorities knew how many problems this scripture was going to cause them, they would have never let it in the Doctrine and Covenants.” This may be true and the present day authorities would love to rip this section out of the book, but since it would bring criticism from the people, they decided to ignore it instead. Even if it were taken out of the D&C (which may possibly happen in the future), it would still be in Isaiah, and all the Bibles in the world cannot be changed.

The Doctrine and Covenants tells us that the one mighty and strong will set the house of God in order.

How can it be set in order if it is not first out of order?

The authorities say that this scripture has already been fulfilled, but how can this be when we have not yet received our inheritances in Zion? The authorities also say that circumstances did not warrant a complete fulfillment here, but the scripture says a few verses later, “These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, He WILL also fulfill. (D&C 85:10)

Not only will this individual set in order the house of God, but his word will cause much turbulence “as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing.” At his presence the power of God will cause much destruction to bring the people to repentance.

He shall “Cast down to the earth with the hand.” What shall be cast down? He shall cast down the crown of pride, or the authorities in the Church.

How will he do this?

There are a number of ways this could happen. Some avant guard LDS students think he will forcibly remove the authorities (by higher power) and install himself and others as the new leaders of the church. Anything is possible, but a more likely scenario is that his works and teachings through the Spirit will be of such high order that many will look up to him and down on the teachings of authorities. This is what happened in the situation of Jesus and some of the prophets. The teachings of the religious leaders were “cast down” because of the light or “ensign” which was lifted up.

And where will they be cast down to? The scripture says “the earth.” What does this mean?
Their original teachings were a revelation from heaven, but because revelation has ceased, the consciousness of the authorities is cast down to the earth, or earthly things – not heavenly things.
“The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under foot.” (Isa. 28:3)

The explanation of this is found in a verse previously explained: “But if the salt shall loose its savor, wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under the foot of men.” (3 Nephi 12:13)

“And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up. In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.” (Isa. 28:4)

It is interesting that the Mormons who claim to be from Ephriam have their headquarters in a "fat valley." But the meaning goes beyond this. Many unjust teachers and leaders there are who live in abundance off the people (symbolized by fat valleys). The fat valley also symbolizes the abundance of light that should be theirs, given to them by the sacrifice of past prophets and seers. Unfortunately, all these past teachings have become a "fading flower" through neglect by those who are looked upon as the stewards of light by humanity.

The next phrase continues the story:

"And as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up."

"Hasty fruit" comes from the Hebrew BIKKUWR which literally means "first fruits." The first fruits are considered as the most precious of the harvest - this is one of the reasons that Jesus himself was called this.

Who are these first fruits? They are the original bringers of light in a religion, group or country. For Christianity these would be Jesus and the apostles and prophets. For the protestant Churches this would include Martin Luther and the reformers. For Mormonism, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and other founders would be included. For the United States the firstfruits would be the Founding Fathers.

The first fruits usually go through great sacrifice to initiate a new work that will benefit humanity and often garner very little personal benefit from their work in their own lifetime. However, the later stewards who are entrusted to carry on, enhance, and teach the work often live lives of plenty with great adoration from the masses. These teachers who get rich in the fat valleys are threatened when they see they are a fading flower so they seek to devour the first fruits.

How do they do this?

The unjust stewards seek to destroy the firstfruits by using several methods.
(1) Altering their teachings
(2) Destroying or hiding their teachings from the people.
(3) Convincing the masses to ignore their teachings.
(4) Minimizing their work by elevating mediocrity so current caretakers will seem to be as great as the founders.

By using these and other subversive methods the "crown of pride" eats up the first fruits and manages to keep its authority over the people while leaving them in darkness.

Isaiah Continues: "In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate." Isa. 28:5-6)

Even though the majority of the people will be deceived by lazy or false teachers there will be a "residue" who will be a "crown of glory" and a " diadem of beauty." These are they who refuse to be taken in by traditional teachings which are missing the light of the first fruit. These think for themselves and go within and find the beauty of the Spirit of God. These are they who will turn the tide of the spiritual battle and eventually pave the way for the new age of peace and enlightenment.

Isaiah continues: “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” (verse 7) This is written as clear as word can be and needs no explanation.

“For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” (Verse 8) We talked earlier about problems with the current sacrament, but this scripture has meaning on other levels also.
The basic message is that instead of giving their people food which feeds the soul the current teachers feed their flocks with decaying food that has no life - old worn out teachings that need to be discarded or restored and replaced with fresh and living food and drink.

“Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will be speak to this people.” (verses 9-11)

There has been much written, especially by the Fundamentalists, about the stammering lips and another tongue. Most believe that it refers to an Indian prophet who will preach to the Latter-Day Saints. Even though there will be Indian prophets, this does not necessarily refer to him. The English word “stammering” is translated from the Hebrew "laeg." When one speaks stammering or laeg, he speaks in a sort of repeating baby talk to jokingly irritate his listeners. Joseph Smith sometimes did this to stir up the sectarians and Isaiah himself is using this sort of talk with the Jews when he repeats himself unnecessarily in verse 10. When he speaks of “another tongue”, we must remember that our tongue today is a different one than that used by the Jews.

Then, too, looking at it from a different angle, many of the Lamanites will eventually teach the children of Ephraim who will listen, but many of them will speak English. The scripture mainly indicates that Ephraim will become as a little child again and must be taught with a stammering lip, or repetitive language before they can learn doctrine.

A higher interpretation of what the other tongue is refers to a new way of speaking and teaching to Israelites. Jesus spoke with a different tongue, or manner of speaking, than Moses, and God will speak in new and different ways as the times change in this age. The teachers of the various ages and climes teach so differently (even though it is all one message) that it seems to be "another tongue."

"To whom he said, This is my rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." (Verse 12)

Here Isaiah identifies the people in the prophecy as those who were promised the rest of the Lord. This promise was made through Moses to the Hebrews that Isaiah was talking to and also through Joseph Smith to the Latter-day Saints in our day. We must bear in mind that even though most of Isaiah deals with the future, he had to write it in such a way so it had meaning to the people in his day.

Concerning the people in the days of Moses, the Lord said, "But they hardened their hearts and could not endure His presence; therefore, the Lord in His wrath, for His anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into His rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of His glory." (D&C 84:24)

Were the Latter-Day Saints given a similar promise? They were:
"Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city of New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord which shall fill the house." (D&C 84:4-5)
Just as ancient Israel was unable to obtain the promise of the rest of the Lord, so did modern Israel fail to achieve its rest by establishing the temple and New Jerusalem in Jackson County. The Mormons are one of the groups prophesied of by Isaiah of whom the Lord promised a rest and a refreshing "yet they would not hear."
"But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." (Verse 13)
Here Isaiah again used his "stammering" language for he again uses his repetitive speech. He clearly illustrates how the word of the Lord has been to the resisting religions. He says it is, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept;" the repetition or stammering indicates the manner of presentation of the gospel to the Mormon people (and other religions). That is, the few precepts they have been given are given to them again and again in simple language a child can understand. At nearly every conference, the general authorities say the same things over and over, and the Sunday School manuals teach the same simple lessons over and over. Because they "would not hear," this is the backward manner that the word of the Lord would come to them.

Why is this? So that they "might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

"Taken" is from the Hebrew LAKAD which signifies being "caught in a trap." The Lord is allowing the Church to follow the backward course it is taking so it will be caught in a trap, and when its bands are made strong the real truth through wise virgins will come forth to reveal the bondage to those who thought they were free. There must be great contrast between light and darkness or the light will not be seen or sought.

Verily the time is at hand when that contrast between the light and the dark, the shadows and the real, the ego and the soul will be seen by those who wait and the choice will be clear. Let us hope that all people of goodwill choose the highest light they see before their eyes.
"Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem". (Today it is Salt Lake and other religious centers) 
"Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves." (verses 14-15)
So what is the covenant with death and agreement with hell?

In ancient times Israel made covenants with the Living God and in return they were promised protection from all their enemies as well as peace and prosperity. A covenant with death would be the opposite of this. Instead of making covenants with a living God the spiritual guides of the people make covenants with groups, organizations and governments with a priority above their commitment to God and the people they serve. Any commitment that is not sought through the Spirit is a covenant with death.

An agreement with hell is the opposite of an agreement that brings peace and benefit to all. An agreement with hell is one that takes the group's attention away from freedom, from attention of spiritual progress and causes the organization to center on lower desires and looking good in the eyes of the world at the expense of nurturing the soul in its members.
"And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fullness of my gospel; but they receive it not (that is, the "fullness"); for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be men standing in that generation that shall not pass away until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die." (D&C 45:28-32)
Concerning this "overflowing scourge" Isaiah said that the leaders would believe that "it shall not come unto us," but they forget that the Lord said that "upon my house shall it begin." (D&C 112:25)

Mormons are told that the members will be protected by standing in "holy places" and the leaders today say that this means we should make frequent trips to the temple, for the temples are holy places. While it is true that the temples are supposed to be holy places, they are not the ones referred to in this prophecy for they are in no way large enough to provide protection against desolation. A few verses later in that same section, we are told that the holy place is Zion, "a city of refuge, a place of safety for the Saints of the Most High God." (D&C 45:66) We are told that "the wicked will not come unto it." (v.67)

So it certainly cannot be Salt Lake. The holy places or the cities of light are yet to be set up and the great day is waiting at our doors.

We are further told that, "The Lord's scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come." (D&C 97:23) Also, the Lord tells us to keep His commandments, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay." (D&C 84:58-59)

In spite of all this evidence, the authorities say, "it shall not come unto us" for we stand in holy places, and the Lord is with us for behold we are growing and prospering as never before.

"We have made lies our refuge and under falsehood have we hid ourselves." The "lies" refer to various false doctrines now espoused and the "falsehood" refers to the distortions of Church history and the cover-up of many important facts.

"Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: He that believeth shall not make haste." (Verse 16)
The tried stone is Christ as is evidenced: "I am the good shepherd and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall." (D&C 50:44) In addition to this, the stone is also those who have been tried and found faithful and have the spirit of Christ in their hearts to the extent that they can speak the words of Christ.

"He that believeth shall not make haste." One who is really capable of accepting the Christ, who is the tried stone, will not do so in haste. He will not be converted on the spur of the moment or be saved in a day as with the case of many religious claims. He will be the type of person who will study the teachings out and eventually follow with a true realization of the difficulties involved. He will realize the wisdom in the words of Christ: "Which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it. Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him." (Luke 14:28-29) Even so, let him who believes in the setting in order count the cost before he decides to serve else his strength give out.

On the other hand, those in illusion are not to make haste in rejecting the revelations of God for behold, many will read a few paragraphs of anything new and reject the whole. Does not the scripture say, "He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly and shame unto him." (Proverbs 18:13)
"Judgment also will I lay to the line and righteousness to the plummet: and hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place." (Verse 17)
This refers to two calamities brought by the one Mighty and Strong mentioned in verse 2 - that is hail and flooding. If the religious authorities resist strongly enough a fairly literal fulfillment will happen on the physical plane. If they practice what they preach and show minimal love, tolerance and understanding then these calamities will happen on a higher level.
Instead of literal hail it will be hard truth that cannot be withstood. Instead of literal flooding of water it will be overwhelming evidence of new truths which will sweep the land.
"And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it." (Verse 18)
The calamities will cause the present authorities to lose their power and influence, for "in the days that the prophesies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled, men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass." (2 Nephi 25:7)

The spiritual authorities again have a choice for how this prophecy will be fulfilled. Instead of a physical overflowing scourge it could be an emotional one. The emotions and feelings of authorities will be disturbed through the new light and teachings and reach a point of tension. When this point is reached they will definitely go down kicking and screaming on the emotional plane, but if they leave their response on that plane and seek to do no harm, then this prophesy does not have to be fulfilled on the physical.

If reasonable restraint and harmlessness on a physical level is maintained by authorities then the overflowing scourge from God will be one which plagues their belief system and the errors thereof will be "trodden down" by the light.
"From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report." (Verse 19)
If resistance to truth is strong enough the scourge will not only be calamities, but it shall also be a "desolating sickness" (D&C 45:31) It shall be "poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty." (D&C 5:19)

If those who resist the light do not seek to do damage to disciples on the physical plane then the fulfillment will merely be a desolating sickness of outworn organizations and belief systems until the earth is empty of illusion and error and "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9
"It shall be a vexation only to understand the report."
If authorities remain physically harmless then the vexation will be teachings which will stir their souls rather than a physical plague which will wake them up to the fact that the powers of God are against them as they are against the truths of the soul. As a last resort physical calamities will come to vex the authorities to understand the report just as the plagues of Moses came against he Pharaoh.

"Report" is from the Hebrew SHEMUWAH which implies "an announcement which is fairly startling to people". It is also translated as news, tidings or doctrine. The report shall be teachings setting the tone for the new age which shall give the people light to put an end to the famine for greater knowledge. The greater knowledge which is becoming manifest by thousands of workers of light in varying degrees will create an unstoppable tide for the setting in order of the house of God; and because the established teachers will not listen, the Lord will cause a vexation to get their attention. These leaders may not all accept higher light by a long way, but the Master will certainly have their attention.
"For the bed is shorter than a man can stretch himself on it: the covering narrower than he can wrap himself in it." (Verse 20)
The "bed" refers to the foundations of the church and kingdom as presently constituted. They are not enough to fully satisfy the earnest seeker; therefore, he cannot "stretch himself on it." The "covering" refers to the teachings available. The fullness of revelation is no longer with the church; therefore, the covering is narrower than that a member "can wrap himself in it."

Visualize yourself going to bed in a cold room to take a rest. Your bed is so short that your feet hang over the edge. The covers are so short that they only cover half your body. Would this not be an uncomfortable situation you would want to rectify at the first possible moment?

Yet the foundation teachings, the good, the beautiful and the true, of most religions have been in large part shorted or removed, making the bed of religion too short and a very uncomfortable resting place. Foundation teachings and new revelation have been suppressed so members do not have sufficient light as a covering and shiver inside stone buildings lacking warmth.
"For the Lord shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act." (Verse 21)
Before we can comprehend this scripture, we must understand what it is the Lord did in Perazim and Gibeon.

The story is in the Old Testament: right after David was anointed king over Israel, the Philistines came seeking his life, and David inquired of the Lord as to what to do and was told to go against the Philistines and the Lord would deliver them into his hand.
"And David came to Baal Perazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth mine enemies as the breach of the waters. Therefore, he called the name of the place Baalperazim. And there they left their images and David and his men burned them." (2 Sam. 5:19-21)
It is important here that we comprehend the full meaning conveyed. Baalperazim comes from the Hebrew word that literally means "master of breaking forth." The name was given in honor of David for he is the one who led the battle. The thought conveyed by the word is the breaking down of a barrier or enemy as the flooding waters will burst a dam. David and his men were compared to the waters and the Philistines were compared to the dam that was broken by the power of God.

The very next verses relate an incident in Gibeon which is translated "Geba" in the King James edition:
"And the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: For then shall the Lord go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines. And David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba (Gibeon) until thou come to Gazer." (2 Sam. 5:22-25)
Here David was told to "fetch a compass behind them" or in the Hebrew to surround them from behind and to wait for "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees." This sound that David was to wait for was the sound of the actual army of the Lord, which although unseen, would make a noise going through the trees. He was told "then shall the Lord go out before thee to smite the host of the Philistines."

Most of the fighting was done by an invisible host sent from the Lord and David had an easy victory.
The most famous incident in Gibeon was when Joshua gave the great command: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon." (Joshua 10:12) On that day, "The Lord cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: and there were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword." (Joshua 10:11)

In this case, there was a great slaughter to the enemies of the Lord by the hand of his people, but there was even greater slaughter from God caused by the hailstones.

These incidents are interesting when we consider that the one Mighty and Strong will come "as a tempest of hail (as the Lord sent in the days of Joshua) and a destroying storm (as the invisible hosts of the Lord were in Gibeon), as a flood of mighty waters overflowing...." (Isa. 28:2)

Just as David defeated his enemies in Baalperazim as a flood of mighty waters overflowing a dam, so will God defeat his enemies as a flood of water which breaks down the illusion ands false doctrine which hold back the truth.

Again, these prophesies can be fulfilled either physically or on a higher level. The course is determined by those who have stewardship over the captive students and political realms of the earth. The events to come are more related to the natural law of cause and effect than it is the decision of an angry God.
If the powers that be attempt to physically destroy then they will be destroyed by the effect of divine fire that can no longer be held back after many ages of attacking the workers of light.

On the other hand, if they can restrain their response to the emotional and mental plane and only seek to stop the light with argument, reasoning, and even anger, yet remain harmless physically then that which will be given them will be on the emotional plane and higher, and not the physical.

Their worn out ideas and teachings will be destroyed in place of physical destruction and replaced by higher teachings of light. This will have the effect of being a "destroying storm" on the emotional plane, but that is better than a similar destruction on the physical level. The Lord says He allows this that "He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act." (Isa. 28:21)

Why does He call this work "strange"? It is strange because in the last days He will have to fight against not the Philistines, but those who claim to be His own people. This is a strange, foreign, and repulsive thing for the Master to do, but to establish Zion He has no other choice. This incident is related in prophecy to come forth in the days of the "marred" servant:
"For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my beloved son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel; and I will execute vengeance and fury upon them even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard." (3 Nephi 21: 10, 20-21)
Speaking of Israel in the latter days the Lord also said, "But they rebelled, and vexed his holy spirit: therefore, he was turned to be their enemy and fought against them." (Isa. 63:10)

It will indeed be a strange work when the Lord has to fight against people who claim to be his own, those who claim to represent Him, "as upon the heathen" in order to gather a people out of the people who will truly serve Him and seek in their hearts to establish Zion.

The Lord then warns His people: "Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth." (Isa. 28:22)

Here all those who claim to represent God are warned as well as the whole earth. The judgment will begin at the Lord's own house and from there spread over the earth.

Again, I repeat. Remember the message of Jonah. The prophesy does not have to end with calamity on the physical plane. The judgment of God could be a correction from God as the voice of the Spirit is allowed into the heart to speak to the souls of men and change them so the consumption will be a consumption of old outworn teachings and not a consumption of physical calamity.

Isaiah continues, "Give ye ear and hear my voice; hearken and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? Doth he not open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principle wheat and the appointed barley and the rye in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him." (verses 23-26)

Here again Isaiah refers to the '"stammering" teachings in a round about way. He asks the question to a backward Israel: "Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?" In other words, Is all the farmer does is plow all day, day after day? No! Sooner or later, if he has any sense at all, "when he hath made plain the face thereof" he will "cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principle wheat and the appointed barley and rye in their place." In other words, when he is finished plowing he will then plant the seeds.

Unfortunately, the churches in these latter days do not have the sense of a simple plowman for all they have been doing is plowing through the same precepts over and over and over for hundreds of years. We forget that "precept must be added upon precept" and the teachers never cast in the principle wheat and consequently never have a harvest, which harvest is the creation of Zion.

The fact that we do not get beyond the plowing stage is no fault of God's, for we are told that "His God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him." (Verse 26) God has instructed us to do more than the plowing, but we have not heard.

Isaiah continues, "For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen." (Verse 27-28)

We are told that the fitches (probably fennel) are not threshed with a threshing (Hebrew: CHARUTS, which means a heavy sledge-like) instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin. If this type of crop were harvested in this pulverizing manner, it would be destroyed; instead "the fitches are beaten out with a staff (Hebrew: MATTEH, which is a stick), and the cummin with a rod (Hebrew: SHEBET, which is a whip-like stick).

By comparison, today we do not need the same old precepts that we should have mastered years ago hammered into us over and over with a sledge hammer. A light threshing of the simple doctrines is all we need to prepare us for the heavier.

Verse 28 is not a very clear translation and I would like to render it a bit plainer. "Bread corn" is undoubtedly wheat; and the word bruised comes from the Hebrew DAQAQ, which means to crush to powder. The word "because" is from KIY, which is more appropriately rendered "nevertheless". Taking this into consideration, we will render the passage thus:
"Wheat used for bread is ground to powder; nevertheless, he will not ever be threshing it, nor crush it with the wheel of his cart, nor grind it with his horsemen."
In other words, Isaiah here admits that wheat is threshed, broken and ground, but this process is not "stammered" or repeated over and over for it would be a waste of time and damage the grain in the process.

The message in these obscure words of Isaiah is this. The major problem of the church in the latter days will be that the teachers will be like a plower who just plows his field over and over and never plants or harvests his wheat. The authorities are also like the wheat miller who merely grinds the product over and over and never makes any bread. Teachers will go through the motions of beginning the creative process, but never produce fruit or bread. No food for the soul will be grown or given. Only the illusion that they are headed in that direction is projected. They do busy work by plowing and grinding, but no fruit or bread is ever produced - no real progress made. This illusion will create a trap for the teachers so when true food for the soul is offered the contrast between plowing and grinding and a finished spiritual food will be stark and embarrassing.

Isaiah ends with: "This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." (Verse 29) This whole chapter indeed illustrates that the Lord is "wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working."

Thus we conclude one of the greatest chapters in all the scriptures.
Copyright J.J. Dewey, used with permission.