A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE METAPHOR HIGHWAY
Copyright © 2000 DSOTO-
by Keith Hepworth
Chapter 35 of Isaiah isn't just about a desert that will be cultivated and made to bloom as a rose, as easy as it is to see that happening in Israel today. These verses are also describing the spiritual condition of Israel metaphorically. They are to have a glorious spiritual awakening, following a long period of apostasy. Two thousand years of spiritual darkness are represented by a dry desert (chapter 34). It is to be replaced by a gloriously beautiful rose, representing an abundance of knowledge of the true God. Then, those blinded by tradition and deaf because they would not hear will know the truth (V5). Verse six goes on to say that in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Water and streams, we know, are used metaphorically to describe a condition just opposite to a spiritual wilderness, or a condition of abundant truth and knowledge of God (cp. D&C 33:5, 86:3, 109:73). Then, most significant of all, (see verses 8 & 9), these newly awakened and ransomed of the Lord will be worthy to have a highway (high way), which means they will have a temple again. It describes it as: "The way of Holiness, not for the unclean like wayfaring men, fools or those that would err therein, " Now Isaiah 34:1-9:
This is not the only time Isaiah used this image this way. Consider the following verses (62:8-10).
Metaphorically, these verses refer to the fact that the truths (corn, meat and wine) that were once Israel's have been taken from them and given to the rest of the world for thousands of years; but now those that first had it, or gathered it, will eat it and drink it (learn the truth) in the "courts of my holiness" (temple). Go through the "strait" gate and find the gospel of Jesus Christ. Prepare the "narrow" way for the people. "Cast up the highway" (the temple) and "gather out the stones" (the righteous) from the wicked world.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3.)
This familiar verse, referring to John the Baptist as well as the servant of the Lord of the last days, is asking for the same thing--a temple. And just as the temple of David was a place upon this earth for Jehovah to reside, this verse also says the highway (temple) is "for our God."
And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (Isaiah 11:16).
Keep in mind that a highway out of Egypt, would be a temple (particularly its ordinances) taking them out of the wicked world, spiritually that is. Moses tried to do this for them at Mount Sinai, but they had to settle for less.
Jeremiah also used "highway" this way.
Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. (Jeremiah 31:21-22.)
Can this be saying anything other than look to the temple of God, which you had before, O backsliding daughter (Israel). A woman (Israel, the bride) shall finally compass a man, meaning the groom, which is their God, Jehovah, or in other words, Jesus Christ.
Isn't that interesting? Highway is used metaphorically to represent the temple of the Most High God? Now, armed with that idea consider the "highway" that will be thrown up from the "deep" for the lost ten tribes of Israel. Could that possibly mean that a temple will be the means by which they return to Zion? figuratively as well as literally? New possibilities like these have spurred me to study all of the Old Testament prophets as I have never done before. (Read Isaiah 62:10, and D&C 133:27) Does highway mean a temple, or is it another description for Zion, or both? Are the ten tribes only scattered in the deep of ignorance throughout the world? Will they return to Zion out of the darkness through missionary work, followed by a visit to a temple of the Lord to receive their endowments?