The Signs of the Times
There really isn't much to say about what Isaiah prophesies regarding the times before the Second Coming. Many other scriptures give similar prophesies. It really is amazing to read all these passages and ponder upon them.
"And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree."
"And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
"And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.
"And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
"And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.
"And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place."
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
"And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree asteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
"And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
"For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
3 Nephi 26:1-5
"And now it came to pass that when Jesus had told these things he expounded them unto the multitude; and he did expound all things unto them, both great and small.
"And he saith: These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you; for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations.
"And he did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory—yea, even all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should melt with fervent heat, and the earth should be wrapt together as a scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away;
"And even unto the great and last day, when all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
"If they be good, to the resurrection of everlasting life; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of damnation; being on a parallel, the one on the one hand and the other on the other hand, according to the mercy, and the justice, and the holiness which is in Christ, who was before the world began."
"Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;
"That their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked, both in this world and in the world to come. Verily, I say unto you, let those who are not the first elders continue in the vineyard until the mouth of the Lord shall call them, for their time is not yet come; their garments are not clean from the blood of this generation.
"Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.
"For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that alleth from off a fig-tree.
"And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
"For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
"And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
"And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
"And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
"And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.
"And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.
"And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;
"And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
"And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—
"They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God."
Desert Blossoming as a Rose
Ludlow offers some insight into this chapter.
With regard to Isaiah 35:1-4, he says, "The source of the people's weaknesses or fears is also unnamed, though it could result form the horror of their life in the desert. Desert life for the Hebrew usually symbolizes one of two conditions: either a place of refuge and asylum, or a place into which one is forced as a trial and tribulation. In either case, the desert is where God segregates and tests his people. (See Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, p. 115)"
Christ was also "tested" in the wilderness or desert. After he was tested, he formally began his ministry. It too blossomed like a rose.
Isaiah 35:3-4 is another one of those little gems. "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
"Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you."
Did not Christ fulfill these words? He strengthened the weak hands and feeble knees. He brought comfort to those who sought it. He came and saved us all.
We too, as we follow Christ, can strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees as we serve our fellow men.
In the October 1992 Priesthood session of General Conference, President Hinckley said, "Be strong, my brethren, in the quality of mercy. It is easy to be a bully in one’s home, in one’s business, in one’s speech and acts. This sick world so cries out for kindness and love and mercy. These virtues become an expression of strength rather than weakness on the part of any holder of the priesthood of God. Be strong with that strength of which Isaiah speaks when he said, “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees." (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Building Your Tabernacle,” Ensign, Nov 1992, 50)
As we build up Zion, the desert will blossom like a rose. The knowledge of the Lord will grace His people and He will administer to them. The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the lame will walk. Just as He administered to the people in the ancient world and in the new world, He will administer to those who will live on the earth at His coming.
Highway to Holiness
How will one arrive at Zion? Isaiah 35:8 says, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein."
Of this passage, David O McKay said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bears testimony to the world that this will of God has been made manifest in this dispensation, that the principles of the gospel, the principles of life, have been revealed. They are in harmony with the principles that Christ taught in the meridian of time. It is impossible to give here all the principles that constitute that will, but they are so simple that, as the scriptures say, "the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1966, pp.136-138)