"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Heb 5:13-14)
"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." (Isaiah 28:9)
"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21)
From where do we obtain meat? What is our authority?
"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!" (Isaiah 28:1)
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6, 2 Nephi 19:6)
The space on Nephi's plates are limited and difficult to write. Enos who had to confron this space limitation wrote in a condensed form, the plan of salvation, receiving the second comforter and having his calling and election made sure. Nephi commanded his posterity that they do not occupy the plates with that which is of no worth. The book was written for our day, to come forth by the gift and power of God. As Nephi knew, we would have Isaiah's words. Why would he waste precious space repeating what we already had? Nephi was forbidden from revealing what the Lord had shown him in the end of his vision, yet, if other prophets had prophesied the same things, and if he could make minor revisions to these would he not want to warn us of the problems we, who would recieve the book, would face?
"Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism1, who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness." (1 Nephi 20:1)
"Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city, but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is the Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is his name." (ibid. v. 2)
"And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass" (ibid v. 4)
"O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways." (2 Nephi 12:5)
"Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots. Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not, therefore, forgive him not." (ibid v. 7-9)
"And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (2 Nephi 13:12)
1. Nephi's clarification is not in Isaiah.
"And again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel." (1 Nephi 21:1)
(v. 1) 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!
The fat valley upon which Ephraim resides refers to the modern church. The head of the valley refers to church headquarters, or the leadership of the church.
Christs prophecy to the Nephites predicts the same for the latter-day church, that they would be lifted up in pride above the whole earth.
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of 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, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.
But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.
But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (Christ, 3 Nephi 16:10-15, Emphasis added)
The salt which has lost its savor refers to a people who were once favored of God, but have lost faith and the Gifts that go along with it. The savor of the people of God is always the works of faith: Prophecy, visions, revelations, dreams, speaking in tongues, conversing with angels, etc.
The glorious beauty refers to receiving the fullness of Gospel. Joseph was trying, as did Moses, to prepare a people to receive a fullness of the Gospel as he had. It was his meat and drink to get the saints to comprehend and know God and to bring them into the presence of the Father and the Son, not only to behold them, as some did, but to minister unto them. For as Christ said, if we would receive and follow the First Comforter, we would receive the Second, which having the person of Christ to personally minister and further lead that individual to the fulness of all that the Father hath.
The children of Israel would not receive what was offered through Moses, and seems likely, contrary to all protestations, that the modern saints did not receive what was offered either. The children of Israel followed Moses, just as the saints sacrificed and followed Joseph, but they would not come all the way up to the mark.
When a man is drunk, he stumbles and is foolish. Pride is the intoxication which causes this loss, which leads to other poor decisions Isaiah describes later on as a "covenant with death". Pride is the opposite of dependence on God and instead relies on the arm of flesh. This results in the attitude that did not begin with Wilford Woodruff when he stated, "follow me; I and my successors will never lead you astray."
The Lord commanded us through Nephi that we were not to rely on man at all. We could listen, but unless God sanctioned what those men had to say we were cursed for heeding them.
"Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost." (2 Ne 28:31)
The Lord reveled in his preface to the Doctrine and Covenants that the purpose of those revelations were that the day may come when "that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh" (D&C 1:18-19)
The fading flower is the loss of this glorious beauty which began.
(v. 2-3) 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. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:
This language is identical to the revelation given to Joseph about one who would yet come and be filled with truth and light and would put God's house in order:
Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying: 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 the vivid shaft of lightning.
And all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day, but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, he will also fulfil. (D&C 85:6-10)
It is important to note regarding Ark Steadying, that men, including kings, presidents, bishops, etc, need steadying. The Ark of the Covenant does not represent church leadership, it represents the Law of God; specifically the one given to Moses, but more generally, any revelation of God. When men's knees buckle and quake, they need to be steadied, and the revelations outline the way to deal with leadership who have gone out of the way or who have become offenders.
The tempest, hail, destroying storm and flood of mighty waters most likely represents the truth of God, and that anyone who rejects or fights against truth, whether it is because they are inspired by the devil, or because the devil deceives them by their traditions, which the Lord tells us is the very mainspring of corruption. The flood of truth will lift some, it will cut off others.
Hands in scripture usually represent authority. When the children of Israel failed to receive the fulness that was offered, they often had prophets who did have the fulness or higher priesthood. These prophets, Joseph informs us, received the fulness of the priesthood at the hand of God himself. Joseph taught that if a man has the priesthood on the earth, that God will not interfere with ordinations, however, when a man does not have sufficient authority, God himself ordains those who come to Him. This is how a fulness of the priesthood is always transmitted. Moses described Melchizedek and how he obtained this power:
"Now Melchizedek was a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire. And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, It being after the order of the Son of God; which order came, not by man, nor the will of man; neither by father nor mother; neither by beginning of days nor end of years; but of God; And it was delivered unto men by the calling of his own voice, according to his own will, unto as many as believed on his name.
"For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; To put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God which was from before the foundation of the world.
"And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven. And now, Melchizedek was a priest of this order; therefore he obtained peace in Salem, and was called the Prince of peace.
"And his people wrought righteousness, and obtained heaven, and sought for the city of Enoch which God had before taken, separating it from the earth, having reserved it unto the latter days, or the end of the world; And hath said, and sworn with an oath, that the heavens and the earth should come together; and the sons of God should be tried so as by fire.
"And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace." (Genesis 14:26-36, Inspired Version)
If the fulness is not here, then one with authority will come whose bowels are a fountain of truth and has light for a covering.
(v. 4) 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.
The fading flower is paralleled with early fruit. These both burn brightly, but have been quickly consumed and no new fruit comes forth. Fruit is meant to be consumed by those who find and eat it, the works of faith are meant for those who have faith, but cannot be transmitted or saved or stored up. Joseph was the first fruit in the spring of 1820. He ministered until his death at the beginning of the summer solstice 1844.
(v. 5-6) ¶ 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.
In future day, Lord's beauty will be a crown instead of pride. While the proud are cut off, they will likely remain on the earth, and continue laboring under the same delusions they are under. "Unto the residue of his people..." a residue denotes a very small amount that are left after the main contents are poured out.
The battle, is the ongoing war for the souls of men. The Lord will give each person the greatest degree of salvation they were willing to receive, just as the devil is working to deceive us to the greatest degree we will allow him. Joseph warned us that "False prophets always arise to oppose the true prophets and they will prophesy so very near the truth that they will deceive almost the very chosen ones." (Joseph Smith, HC 6:17, p. 364). The devil will always oppose true prophets, whether living or dead until the truth becomes of no effect. There must not always be a true prophet in the world for false prophets to rise and oppose him.
There is a reason that these two statements are together; first that the Lord will be the crown of men's glory, and second that they will turn the battle to the gate. It is the gate at which men receive the glory of God. This gate is manned by the Lord himself and he employs no servant there. This is the gate that the Brother of Jared went through and was redeemed from the fall and brought back into the presence of God. It is the same gate we must all go though if we desire anything from the Lord. It is a shame that this teaching must be dug out, rather than taught as the only aim of every church member.
“The way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the Keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. And whoso knocketh to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches - yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, He will not open unto them.” (2 Nephi 9:41-42)
Those that turn the battle to the gate are not the leadership of Ephraim. Isaiah declares that it is the leaders, the priest and the prophet who err. Isaiah later declares "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21) The juxtaposition of the voice may add significance to these verses.
(v. 7-8) ¶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 swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
Isaiah is affirming again, in different poetic language through his use of "the priest and the prophet" that he is speaking of the leadership of the Lord's church.
Nephi, who had a penchant for quoting Isaiah, also used his words to describe the vision he saw of the last days. He specified that it was the leaders who caused the errors:
"O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (2 Nephi 13:12, quoting Isaiah 3:12)
"...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)
Tables are where you eat. The table of the Lord is where you feast on the word of God. What happens when there is no new revelation is that the food must be regurgitated and eaten again. The scriptures, including the inspired words if Joseph are of no private interpretation. Joseph was only able to understand scripture in its true meaning as he had the power and gift of the Holy Ghost with him. It was a matter between a man and his God. The scriptures and Joseph's words can be understood in no other way today. No matter how many times they are regurgitated. The problem with continuing to feast on regurgitation, is that the nutrients once in abundance gradually diminish to nothing and become unhealthy, and only the strong fetters and chains of tradition can keep people from seeing the obvious and keep the fraud going.
(v. 9) ¶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.
Spiritual attainment in this state of the church, and arguably in any state, is the responsibility of the individual. When Joseph began teaching the Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel, it was not easier for those early followers to believe, even though they had a great prophet in their midst, and his words were affirmed by the power of the Holy Ghost. These early members were tried probably harder than anyone else because they had to abandon their false traditions to even believe that Joseph was God's servant. They did not have hundreds of years of precedents to believe his teachings, and they did not have thirteen million members who believed him. In every age, men must seek God and sacrifice everything to obtain the faith necessary to please him. These who are weaned and drawn rely upon the Lord and his strong reasoning.
(v. 10-13) 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 he speak to this people.
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the 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.
It is true, that truth is given line upon line, precept on precept, but notice here the repetition: Line upon line, Line upon line, precept on precept, precept on precept, and then to make the point clearer, Isaiah says "with stammering lips" the people are taught. Then the word-play is repeated again with the same monotonous repetition. They are taught the same things over and over and over, and all this that they might fall, be broken, snared and taken in their idolatry, or their worship of men and authority. We will see this same principal later with a different analogy of a farmer plowing his field.
The cry of the day to the unlearned lawyers is "follow the prophet!" The problem is that this statement makes a big assumption, that we have a prophet on earth speaking by the power of God. The second problem is that God speaks through prophets but says follow me, not man. This may seem like splitting hairs, but it is very important. Joseph had this same problem with the early saints.
"President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel--said the Lord had declared by the Prophet, that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church--that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls--applied it to the present state of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall--that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves...." (Joseph Smith, TPJS, Section Five 1842-43, p.237)
He says the attitude of "follow the prophet," even a true prophet is mistaken, and will lead to a darkened mind.
Ezekiel 14 is worth a careful reading. It talks about how people who come to the prophets will receive deceptions from the Lord according to their idols. It also talks about how the prophets who think they are speaking the word of the Lord, yet are deceived they will be cut off the same as those who seek from that prophet.
On another occasion Joseph said those who follow their leaders even if they knew they were wrong did not deserve a place among intelligent beings.
These verses are entirely an echo of Ezekiel 14.
Because the saints were not willing to receive the Lord's offered rest and refreshing at the gate, they stumble around in their own foolishness.
(v. 14-15) ¶Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 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:
Mormon describes the process the Nephites went through in building up the Gadianton robbers and murderers.
"And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations." (Helaman 6:38)
Seduce means to employ the arts of flattery, falsehood and deception. The "righteous" were "seduced" or to some degree tricked into supporting these combinations and as a result partaking in their spoils. It is like the buyer who wonders somewhere within himself if the seller is selling stolen goods, but just doesn't ask detailed enough questions to find out because the price benefits him
Satan has many methods to thwart the work of God. One of the primary methods he does this is through fear. Mortals, not willing to sacrifice their lives, capitulate to the beast who makes war upon the saints, thinking these inroads from Babylon are worth the price to spread the teachings of a chosen people. It was done with Rome, it is done now. This is the "covenant with death" made by the priest and prophet who "rule", and supported by the flock.
The cry of the fearful is "who can make war with the beast" because the beast is fearful and has terrifying, horrifying, and sickening means of compulsion at its disposal. Nothing but faith in the power of God and obedience to His revelations, commandments and ordinances can protect us from the beast as young David knew. For all the planned ways of escape will come to nothing as the desolation is first poured out upon the Lord's house (D&C 112:23-26).
"'In time of war or stress, we have no hesitancy in following the flag,' he added in an interview. 'You won't find any more patriotic group.'--
"'Once the United Nations took its action and President Bush took his stand, we were behind our leader,' President Monson said, noting that Congress also ratified the U.N. action. 'That's all that was needed.'
"'Interestingly, in our church, it is assumed and understood that when the leadership of our nation lines up behind a particular policy in a crisis, we support and sustain it,' he said.
"'You rarely find any Latter-day Saints in the role of conscientious objector,' President Monson said. 'We don't believe in marches and protests and carrying placards.'
"'You have to be careful what you ask a Mormon to do, he'll do it,' President Monson chuckled." (President Monson, Deseret News, While Others Flagged, Mormons Backed Gulf War from Outset, 3/10/1991, George W. Cornell, Associated Press)
See also President Hinckley's talk War and Peace where he walked both sides of the line, yet strongly on the side of going to, what turned out to be a pre-planned war of aggression against the people of Iraq, which has resulted in the killing of over a million Iraqi soldiers and civilians, not to mention the untold, yet future horror caused by the use of massive amounts of depleted uranium in the conflict.
Others he bribes with the possessions of others like Cain and others with apathy. All of these he lulls carefully into a state of carnal security and apathy who then cry "All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well!" (2 Nephi 28:21)
(v. 16) ¶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.
"For 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, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:28-33)
(v. 17) Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
A line and plummet, or plumb bob, along with other tools such as a level and square are used to ensure correctness in building a structure. Here the Lord is saying he will set his house in order, truth will be re-enthroned and falsehoods, false traditions and misinterpretation will be able to be corrected. This can only be done as individuals reconnect with God.
Here again we see a reference to hail, and this time more directly tied to the symbology of truth. Lies are told because they provide a refuge, a hiding place, but the truth will remove out all such coverings.
(v. 18) ¶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. 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.
See comments on v. 14-15
(v. 20) For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.
Doctrines, such as the doctrines of keys, the Holy Ghost, understanding mysteries and other Gifts of the Spirit, achieving salvation taught today are not correct. When a man hears these castrated doctrines they provide him no incentive, no goal, no where to go. When it is taught that the Temple and Temple Marriage is the goal instead of the beginning and after achieving this beginning the rest of our work is to the end, enduring in such a miserable set of conditions is unbearable and is all the rest of the Christian world has to offer. It is not a bed or covering a man can be comfortable in, but always finds wanting.
The Peacemaker (Udney Hay Jacob), who's authorship has been disputed goes into a very detailed explanation this verse.
(v. 21) 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.
In Mount Perazim (2 Samuel 5, 1 Chronicles 14) the Lord gave power to David to smite the Philistines as a "breach of waters" and he routed them and burnt their idols. When the Philistines came again the Lord told David to surround his enemies and the Lord fought himself with his army as the sound went forth above the mulberry trees. In Gibeon (Joshua 10), five nations with mighty men rose up to fight against God's people. The Lord told Joshua to fear not and delivered them into his hands. Many were killed by mighty hailstones. Joshua commanded the sun and moon to stand still until his enemies were slain.
What the Lord showed in these lessons is that he is able to do his own work, able to fight his own battles. The question is will we have faith like Joshua and David to trust the Lord?
The world viewed Enoch with curiosity, they said of him "we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us." Strange is something out off the ordinary; something to which people are unaccustomed. Wild refers to the seeming absence of structure and established authority. When the Lord has cleansed his people and washed the filth from the daughters of Zion he will have a residue prepared to accept him.
(v. 22) 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.
(v. 23-28) ¶Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he 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 principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. 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.
At first these verses appear disjointed and out of place, they fit very well into the theme Isaiah is pursuing. I will leave the explanation of these verses to another man:
"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.'
"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."
(v. 29) This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
When one works for the Lord, there is joy, rejoicing, trust in the process. When one labors under the commandments of men there is emptiness, hollowness and drudgery.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord." (D&C 112:23-26)
This verse very likely coincides with the problems Isaiah describes among the leaders of Ephraim. The desolation will first be poured out upon the Lord's house. There will be some who profess to know the Lord, His "special witnesses" but "have not known me". It will be these blasphemers who will receive the front of the storm. These false prophets who teach false doctrine, who agree with the beast and offer him little or no opposition and drink in with the tradition of Gadianton robbers. But the day will come when "They who are not apostles and prophets shall be known." (D&C 64:39) That day can be at any time when a man rises up, dusts himself off and takes the Holy Spirit for his guide.
Gathering should not be in haste. This has do do with counting the cost of being a disciple. He who is not prepared to sacrifice all, or is not currently sacrificing all, or he that looks back, cannot enter in.
"For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward." (2 Nephi 15:19)
"Wo unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope; That say: Let him make speed, hasten his work, that we may see it; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it. Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Wo unto the wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight! Wo unto the mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink; Who justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!" (2 Nephi 15:18-23, Isaiah 5:18-23)
"For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward." (3 Nephi 20:42)
"And let the work of the gathering be not in haste, nor by flight; but let it be done as it shall be counseled by the elders of the church at the conferences, according to the knowledge which they receive from time to time." (D&C 58:56)
"And let the residue take their journey from St. Louis, two by two, and preach the word, not in haste, among the congregations of the wicked, until they return to the churches from whence they came....And after thou hast come up unto the land of Zion, and hast proclaimed my word, thou shalt speedily return, proclaiming my word among the congregations of the wicked, not in haste, neither in wrath nor with strife." (D&C 60:8-14)
"And now, behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence." (D&C 63:24)
"Therefore, a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed. Nevertheless, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you....All the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand. Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you." (D&C 101:71-72)
"But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him." (D&C 133:15)
Nephi specifies that it's the leaders that cause the people to err:
"O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (2 Nephi 13:12, quoting Isaiah 3:12)
"...they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)