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.