It always amazes me how we acknowledge the historical certainty of the rise and fall of nations in the past, but we don’t seem to think that the same fate is an eventuality today.
Sure, men wanted to take over the world back then, but not today.
Sure, there were men trying to take over the world in the last century, but not today.
Sure, the newly appointed (unelected) “President” of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, recently stated: “2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”
To think that we will ever be at the mercy of power-hungry men bent on world domination and global plunder is surely just some kind of crazy conspiracy theory, isn’t it?
I could not more highly recommend Avraham Gileadi’s “The Book of Isaiah: Analytical Translation with Comprehensive Concordance” which you can purchase online, or you can read the translation without the interpretive keys online for free here. Imagine a contemporary translation of Isaiah by an LDS scholar who incorporates the light shed by the Book of Mormon, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other texts that have spoken from the dust in our day.
Consider the following three verses from Gileadi’s translation of Isaiah chapter 10:
12: But when my Lord has fully accomplished his work in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will punish the king of Assyria for his notorious boasting and infamous conceit, …
13: … because he said, I have done it by my own ability and shrewdness, for I am ingenious. I have done away with the borders of nations, I have ravaged their reserves, I have vastly reduced the inhabitants.
14: I have impounded the wealth of peoples like a nest, and I have gathered up the whole world as one gathers abandoned eggs; not one flapped its wings, or opened its mouth to utter a peep.
Here is Gileadi’s commentary on those verses:
Believing he has all power, the archtyrant boasts of his exploits—the pronoun “I” appears seven times, portraying him as an ultra-egotist. His claims show that in the course of committing global genocide he indeed conquers the world, establishing a one-world government or new world order. For him, God’s Day of Judgment is the great day of his power, when the earth’s inhabitants quail before him (cf. Isaiah 37:26–27). He is the “thief in the night” who gathers up the world’s wealth before Jehovah comes to reign on the earth (cf. Matthew 24:42–44; 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6; 2 Peter 3:10).
According to Isaiah, these are the things that the archtyrant seeks to do:
- Do away with the borders of nations
- Ravage their reserves
- Vastly reduce the inhabitants
- Impound the wealth of the people with no resistance
Do away with the borders of nations
Why would doing away with borders be one of the archtyrant’s goals? It’s quite simple actually; erasing borders is the byproduct of consolidating power.
When done by compulsion or force, the laws within those borders are overtaken by the dictates of the archtyrant. The archtyrant is Satanic and cares nothing for the principle of agency, therefore, as governments are trampled, liberty is destroyed.
Ravage their reserves
I think that these words (often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte) say it best:
“When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes… Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.” (Attributed in Monarchy or Money Power (1933), by R. McNair Wilson. No primary source for this is quote is known, but it is a statement of fact, nonetheless.)
The United States today used to have a gold-backed currency and now we have a debt-backed currency. The vast majority of our wealth is represented in worthless “IOUs”; truly our reserves have been ravaged by a system of global private central banks.
Vastly reduce the inhabitants
The first question that may come to mind is “Why would this global superpower want to reduce the number of people in the world?” Pondering a few examples from history may shed some light:
Nimrod had long read in the stars that a child born who would oppose his power and his religion would finally overcome both Acting on the advice of his wise men he built sixty ells high and eighty ells broad into pregnant women were brought to be delivered the nurses were instructed to put to death all that were born but to make handsome the mothers who were brought to bed of daughters After seventy thousand male children had thus perished the angels of heaven turned to the Allmighty besought Him with tears to stay this cruel murder of innocents – Rev. S. Baring Gould, Legends of the Patriarchs and Prophets, John B. Alden, 1884, 170
Was this the adversary’s attempt to prevent the birth of Abraham?
We all remember the story of Pharaoh who was afraid that the increasing population of the Hebrews was a threat to his power. (Exodus 1:8-21) Was this the adversary’s attempt to prevent the birth of Moses?
Who can forget Herod’s “Massacre of the innocents” in Matthew 2:16–18? Was this the adversary’s attempt to prevent the birth of Jesus Christ?
I suppose we can ask the same question for today but in a different way: “Who is the adversary trying to prevent from being born in these last days?
With the introduction and evolution (pun intended) of eugenics in the late 1800s, the fear of “overpopulation,” and the push to popularize and defend from criticism relationships that do not produce children, we see a very persistent and deliberate attempt to reduce the world population by any means necessary.
Be careful of those that teach such things because what they cannot achieve through compliance, they will seek by force.
Impound the wealth of the people with no resistance
I suppose that Isaiah’s metaphor of the people as birds is fitting for today. The people sit idly by as their wealth is collected by the archtyrant as easily as a farmer collects eggs from his domesticated chickens.
Unknowing and trusting, the chickens lay their eggs in the nests that have been provided for them; nests that have been strategically set up for ease of collection. Likewise, we work hard to earn a living and then place our ‘money’ into banks that are part of a system that continually devalues that ‘money’ by printing more and more.
Isaiah is somewhat of a “prophet for all times”. His words reflect the cycles of history that repeat themselves and just like times of old, the archtyrant will fall and peace will reign forever, but not before leaving a trail of death and terror in his wake. Isaiah had the last days in mind when he wrote; the days in which we live.
Pay attention to what the archtyrant is doing today, look for those same patterns and reject them, fight against them, and do not be deceived into supporting them.
Do not become like those of old who were deceived by the Assyria of their day who “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).
The words of Isaiah combined with the Book of Mormon are like an oracle revealing the face of evil in our time and if used with that end in mind, we cannot be led astray.
If you study the patterns of the past, read the prophecies concerning the future and open your eyes to what is happening in the world today, you will see that there is perhaps no better time to get yourself right with God than right now.
Before that day comes, however, the Saints will be put to a test that will try the integrity of the best of them… Then is the time to look out for the great sieve, for there will be a great shifting time, and many will fall. For I say unto you there is a test, a Test, a TEST coming. (Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor in the First Presidency, May 1868, in Deseret News, 23 May 1931; see also Conference Report, Oct. 1930, p. 58-59)
“I do not know precisely the nature of that test. But I am inclined to think the time is here…” (Gordon B. Hinckley, A City Set Upon a Hill, October 1974 General Conference)
Thank you! This was just the talk I needed to tie present history in with Joseph’s time on the issue of living set-apart from the world. I’ll send this out to my GD class as part of our preparation. I also love Gileadi’s translation of Isaiah. I find it readable and beautiful and I just ignore his interpretation of the arm of the Lord, because he’s wrong about that. So much to Isaiah. Love it.
You’ll probably want to check out this article too then for a more in-depth look at Heber C. Kimball’s prophecy being fulfilled today: http://oneclimbs.com/2012/07/29/the-test-has-begun/
As for his interpretations and the interpretations of others, I consider them, prove or debunk them if I can and if I can’t, I keep it in the mix to see how it plays out ;)
I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on the Davidic servant. The subject has not really come up thus far in my studies other than in passing through Gileadi’s work. I’m more interested in other aspects of Isaiah’s prophecy for the time being.
But you’re right, you can’t find a more beautiful translation.
I just published this one that goes along the same theme that you might find interesting: http://oneclimbs.com/2013/01/20/the-three-tests-we-must-pass/
Bonnie, it was just brought to my attention that I had misread what you originally posted and assumed you were speaking about the “Davidic Servant” when you were talking about the “arm of the Lord”.
Would you go into more detail about where you think the interpretation of the “arm of the Lord” is wrong?
Oh, that was what I meant. Gileadi seems to take the position that references to the arm of the Lord being revealed refer to that Davidic Servant, or powerful political leader raised up by the Lord. I don’t agree at all (unless in some cases we’re talking about Joseph Smith), and think this tendency to look to a single individual to save us is the same thing that has made people all throughout time want a King. I take the position that the arm of the Lord is ALWAYS revealed in small and simple ways to the believers, until that day that he comes in his glory and the whole earth sees him together. In that way, the arm of the Lord has been revealed in my life as I have turned to the Lord in prayer and seen answers to my prayers, and as we all turn to righteousness instead of tangible power and authority and allow the Lord to fight our battles, the arm of the Lord will be revealed in larger measure. God’s power is revealed in righteousness, not in position, so I disagree with his interpretation that it can be in any person other than Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ himself.
I understand your perspective. Do you think there is a difference between the people seeking a king and the Lord appointing a deliverer as he has done in the past?
It is true that the arm of the Lord is revealed in the ways you described. It is also revealed in great and mighty ways as well. As we are approaching the winding up scene where all things are being restored and brought back, we know that there will be great things done, perhaps greater miracles than moving mountains or parting seas. I wonder what will happen between now and then.
I think sometimes our paradigm can make it difficult to receive certain things from prophecy. Gileadi is looking at patterns that repeat and occur together and since God is the same, it is assumed that the same solutions will be necessary to confront the same sins and downfalls of society. This is a perfectly reasonable assumption in my opinion.
Perhaps the Davidic servant’s mission will be unknown to the majority of the church at the time of his service. Maybe he will simply be a great leader, gathering and working according to whatever the Lord commands him.
Think of Samuel the Lamanite, he did not come from the ‘structure’ of the church, but he came to warn them in the hopes of ‘setting things back in order’. Lehi rose up independent of any structure and I think that you can find several other examples. If we look at David himself, he was a mere shepherd that came out of nowhere and defeated the Philistine’s greatest warrior and found a place of importance in the leadership of the people.
Is it possible that the rise of a “Davidic servant” will constitute part of the great test for the members in the latter-days? These are just some of the things I think about and I’m not so quick to discount anything that doesn’t appear to fit within our current paradigm.
I think the combination of it being the last days, the repetition of patterns, the idea that Isaiah’s problems will be our problems and his solutions will be our solutions and a knowledge that there will be many amazing things that will transpire in the future, it is reasonable to keep these possibilities in mind and allow the spirit to guide as events unfold.
At this time, I personally do not have any knowledge or absolute convictions beyond this point on the subject of the “Davidic servant”.
I know it is the position of many that the elect being deceived and the cleansing beginning in the Church refer to the highest Church leadership, but I don’t believe that is what those prophecies mean. I think the people who will be cleansed from the Church are those who are culturally LDS but not converted, who traffic in “good deals” and “grind upon the face of the poor.” They serve on high councils and manage wards and stakes, but their hearts are more tuned to the apparent evidence of their spiritual success (their material success) than in doing missionary work or serving with humility and obedience and charity. I think this encompasses both men and women, let me be clear.
The parallel to David is, I think, crucial to an understanding of Isaiah. David had a heart like God’s, but he was warlike and seduced by his own power. When I read Isaiah, I get the impression that Isaiah purposefully positioned David against the Davidic servant, comparing their qualities and contrasting their eventual success. I think the Davidic servant is Christ, and Isaiah places them side-by-side showing how David was called by Christ, but Christ descended from him mortally, but that David’s fall was precisely determined by the ways that the two are different. Christ did *not* achieve his success through conquest, but through conversion. His final return to the earth will not be by conquest either, but it will end conquest. The division of those on the Lord’s side and not will be complete, and he will simply make a way for their escape.
I think the greatest test for the saints in these days is the preparation, as in the ten virgins. The separation will occur prior to the bridegroom’s return. Those who were obedient and went to Judah escaped Assyria in Isaiah’s time, and that will be so in our own time. Our warlike Davidism will be our own fall too. The righteous allow the Lord to fight their battles – they withdraw from the world.
I am also searching on this issue, considering more and more. I think, if we wait upon the Lord, we will know the Davidic servant. I doubt it will be someone who raises a voice of criticism of church leaders too loud. Even Nibley, who was the closest I’ve seen to that kind of servant with that kind of spiritual credibility, didn’t extend his criticism to the highest councils of the Church.
I am aware that there are many who wish to criticize the current leadership of the church. Personally, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I look to the apostles with an ear towards the spirit. Ultimately I’m responsible for my life and my relationship with God as they are responsible for theirs. I sustain them, which means that if I see a weakness I look to bear them up rather than tear them down in the spirit of Aaron and Hur. The apostles are mortal men, just like me and God would have us support one another.
Though apostasy within the apostleship happened in Christ’s time and Joseph Smith’s time, I don’t rule out that it cannot happen in our time. The words “never” and “always” I can safely apply to God, but I cannot apply the words “never” and “always” to men as they are unpredictable and fallible.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the church in it’s current form blossomed into a Zion and not one fell away? We all hope this, but we also know that moral agency is in effect and that people do not always keep themselves in the right way. God loves his people and though men may fail us, he will not.
If our trust is in God and we can receive knowledge through the Spirit, if the truth wins out in the end and the kingdom comes, does it really matter what happens between now and then if we personally are led by the Spirit?
I would suggest you look at how the “arm” is used in Isaiah. There is an easy way to look at the 13 times that it is used in Isaiah.
1. Click to the verse of the first instance of a metaphorical key word. It will be in red. Read the verse.
2. Place the cursor on the keyword and read the tool tip. which will be commentary on the word arm.
3. With the cursor on the keyword, click to the next occurrence.
I believe my self that Jehovah(Christ also comes hidden as a great prophet and is here now) and his servant is Joseph Smith(Arm, hand, Davic servant) who comes back to the earth hidden also and is getting ready for his mission. in the DC 101, and 103 this is supported. also in Jacob 5 vineyard allegory Christ and his servants come back to the earth and dig and dung it one more time, before Russia and friends burn it.
No matter who this new David is who will be under Christ, I give you my testimony that if you will search the key words in Isaiah you will come to a resolution on how Isaiah uses his keywords.
It takes about 2 years of constant study to understand Isaiah, and it can be done with the tools the Isaiahexplaned.com site has
Also the 120 Sketches are good.
Here is some more to support what was said
End-Time “Assyria”—A Militaristic Alliance
by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D.
Featuring prominently in the book of Isaiah is a militaristic superpower that seeks to conquer the world. Indeed, God commissions its king figure—an End-Time archtyrant—to punish God’s people when they turn to evil and apostatize: “Hail the Assyrian, the rod of my anger! He is a staff—my wrath in their hand. I will commission him against a godless nation, appoint him over the people [deserving] of my vengeance, to pillage for plunder, to spoliate for spoil, to tread underfoot like mud in the streets. Nevertheless, it shall not seem so to him; this shall not be what he has in mind. His purpose shall be to annihilate and to exterminate nations not a few” (Isaiah 10:5–7).
Following the pattern of ancient Assyria, this ruthless world power and its alliance of nations will commit genocide on a world scale: “Hark! A tumult on the mountains, as of a vast multitude. Hark! An uproar among kingdoms, as of nations assembling: Jehovah of Hosts is marshaling an army for war. They come from a distant land beyond the horizon—Jehovah and the instruments of his wrath—to cause destruction throughout the earth. Lament, for the Day of Jehovah is near; it shall come as a violent blow from the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:4–6). Although all nations in their wicked state suffer destruction, it is the apostasy of God’s covenant people that is the catalyst.
11. 23. 2011
Eight years later and this article and its comments are enlightening. Covid, political and social strife, internet tribalism, the outcry from members against The Family: A Proclamation, to name a few. Neil A Maxwell said there would be a compression of events in the last days, that the events of a year would feel like that of a decade. (2020 to a T.) I can’t tell you the grief I feel for our ward’s youth as several parents are openly opposed to gospel teachings and the youth are carrying burdens about chastity, gender identity, and critical race theory that I can’t even begin to comprehend carrying at that time of life. They are also strikingly noble spirits. Relationships are being strained, many to their breaking points. Suicides were up 500% in 2020. Peace does very much seem taken from the earth and a covering of darkness and anxiety clouds people’s minds. The messages from the prophets tell us it’s going to get harder and we need to be spiritually and temporarily prepared, but especially spiritually. A beautiful song was released for the youth in 2018, “when there’s no peace on earth, there is peace in Christ.”
Personally, I’ve been attacked by fellow members regarding teaching womanhood and the Family Proclamation. I’ve had opportunities to bear testimony, as well, born of those challenges.
I am glad to hear interpretations about the Davidic servant. I always wondered about him. I hope to read more from this blog. Thank you.
Thanks for your comment, fortunately for us, the scriptures are always relevant. I know it can be difficult to navigate some of these things, but the simple fact is that we have to speak the truth always and endure whatever backlash that follows.
Keep teaching the truth, and do it relentlessly, because too many in error are often far more motivated. The truth has nothing to be ashamed of and when fools mock, you know you’re on the right track.