Saturday, January 26, 2008

Isaiah 24 & 25

An Empty Earth

The main theme of Isaiah 24 is that the earth will become desolate.

Isaiah 24:1 reads, "the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof."

Isaiah 24:3 reads, "The land shall be utterly emptied and utterly spoiled."

Isaiah 24:6 clarifies, "the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left."

Isaiah 24:20 also reads, "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard" (see also D&C 45:48; 49:23; 88:87).

We don't know how the earth will be emptied of its people and become desolate, but we do know that many prophets have foreseen the day the earth will be burned. Some suggest it will be by nuclear destruction. Others may think it will be by global warming.

When I read scriptures as these, I always recall 2 Peter 3:10 which states, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (see also 3 Nephi 26:3; Mormon 9:2). D&C 101:25 goes a bit further and adds, "all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth."

Why an Empty Earth?

Isaiah explains why the earth will become desolate. He teaches that the earth is "defiled under the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hat the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left" (Isaiah 24:5-6).

I like how Ludlow explains this verse. He says, "Each gospel principle, commandment, and ordinance was designed by God to help his children grow spiritually. Isaiah emphasizes that their changes have occurred upon three levels of the gospel: the knowledge level (teachings, instruction, or understanding), the action level (laws, commandments, or guidelines), and the contractual level (covenants, ordinances, or promises)" (242).

Not only will the earth become desolate because her people disobey the gospel, but as verse 6 states, "they that dwell therein are desolate." To me, that means their souls become void or are empty and of no worth. The destiny of the earth is linked to the destiny of our souls. If we care for our souls, we will care for the earth.

Many voices today declare that mankind has caused global warming. These same voices advocate a change in everyone's lifestyle. They demand everyone drive cleaner cars, use less and recycle more. Instead, if we want to "save the earth" we must clean the inward vessels first (Matthew 23:25-26).


Isaiah 24:13-14 talks about those who will be saved in the last days. "When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea."

I searched to see if there was any reference to Zion with regard to these two verses, but I did not find anything. But as I read these two verses, it seems to me that Isaiah saw the establishment of Zion.

A Glorious Worked Finished

In Isaiah 25, Isaiah teaches that we will rejoice in the last day when the victory over death and sin has been fully achieved. Christ will "swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth" (Isaiah 25:8)

There will be many who will have waited patiently for the Lord. They will say, "this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:9).

Now let us rejoice in the day of salvation.
No longer as strangers on earth need we roam.
Good tidings are sounding to us and each nation,
And shortly the hour of redemption will come.

In faith we'll rely on the arm of Jehovah
To guide thru these last days of trouble and gloom,
And after the scourges and harvest are over,
We'll rise with the just when the Savior doth come.

Then all that was promised the Saints will be given,
And they will be crown'd with the angels of heav'n,
And earth will appear as the Garden of Eden,
And Christ and his people will ever be one.

(Hymns, "Now Let Us Rejoice", 3)

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