INTRDUCTION TO THE BOOK OF ISAIAH
This commentary on Isaiah is unique. It grows out of
learning to understand The Book of Job,
Reformatting and commentary by Keith Hepworth
The Book of Isaiah divides nicely into two parts. The first part (chap.1-39) is primarily historical and contains mostly indictments and curses for ancient Israel, while the remaining part (chap.40-66) is primarily about her glorious future, and contains mostly blessings and promises. Yet in a more important way, nearly all the first part is about Israel's glorious future too, because underlying the ancient history are types and metaphors pointing to Jesus Christ, who is the key to their glorious future. When these underlying types and shadows are understood they push the history into the background and only the future is seen. This means these early chapters can be read in two ways. First, in a purely historical way, even paralleling Chronicles and Kings, and then again typologically as if they were about another time and place entirely, which makes them anything but just ancient history as some think. If one is not aware of these layered meanings, then the history can become tiresome; but when the other meanings come into view, Isaiah becomes engaging if not outright exciting. When this happens we begin to learn how great the words of Isaiah really are, just as Jesus said (3 Nephi 23:1). It is not just that they have double meanings, but that the underlying meanings are about Jesus Christ and his "Saving Gospel." Sometimes they are even his own words.
But how can Isaiah be the words of Jesus and about Jesus and everyone not know it? Because very little of this book has been understood. Consider the following examples which show this surprisingly clear. The first is Isaiah 51:12-13. In these lines, which are synonymous parallelisms, Jehovah prophesies that he, the God of the Old Testament, will become the Son of Man, meaning Jesus, and shall die as the grass dies. It means Jehovah will become mortal and shall die, even as other men die. The chiasmus (a-b-b-a) and the synonymous parallelisms, which are underlined, tie these lines together in meaning. The bracketed words are added for clarity. Jehovah is speaking and has been since the first verse of this chapter.
a I am he
[Jehovah]; yea, I am he that comforteth you.
Clearly, these are exciting verses to find in the Old Testament. Not only do they tell us that Jehovah, the God the Old Testament, will become a mortal man, but also that he shall die, even as the grass dies. In the scriptures, men are often compared to grass, which comes and goes all too soon. He also tells us that he is the creator, which of course we knew (Heb. 1:2; cp. John 1:3; Heb 1:2, 11:13), and by innuendo tells us that he will defeat Satan, which he did when he lived as Jesus Christ and made his great sacrifice for mankind. How could these verses be referring to anyone other than Jesus Christ? But I can't find any other explanation like this anywhere else.
Another verse showing that we have not understood is found in Isaiah 25:11. There it speaks of Jehovah showing Israel the palms of His hands (in that day to come). He will spread them out like a swimmer does, opening and flattening them to form paddles which will reveal the scars in his palms made by the nails. The preceding verses (9 -10) make it clear this verse is speaking of the LORD, meaning Jehovah.
He shall spread forth his
hands in the midst of them [showing his spoils],
Why is Jehovah showing Israel the palms of his hands? Would it not be to show the scars he received from being nailed to the "tree"? The scars are his spoils from this world. By showing these scars he reveals his other identity (Jesus Christ), which "shall bring down their pride" and "the spoils of their hands," meaning their worldly gains. It is the spoils of his hands, although unsaid, that parallels the "spoils of their hands." Zechariah spoke of these scars: "And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends" (Zech. 13:6). Remember, these lines were written 600 years before Jesus lived, leaving us with no room for doubt--Jesus was Jehovah, come down in the flesh, the Jewish Messiah.
A truly "diligent search" would have found and understood the above examples because they are really quite straightforward, but the next verse is different. It is more difficult to see because it is one of those verses with an underlying meaning, a typological meaning. Although this verse is very well known and quoted often for its historical meaning, no one has seen the second meaning so far as I can discover. It is found in Isaiah 22:13-14.
And behold joy and gladness,
slaying oxen, and killing sheep,
Surely, most everyone is familiar with this verse,
recognizing it as a cynical expression of resignation by those who have
lost hope and cast off their fear of the Lord. But if read carefully, it
also means exactly the opposite. Then it becomes an expression of joy,
celebration, and promise for those who will die in the waters of baptism.
Yes, tomorrow they are scheduled to die in their carnal ways, buried in
the waters of baptism. Isn't baptism in similitude of a burial and
rebirth? It marks the end of our carnal ways and the beginning of a new
life. It is a spiritual death, burial, and rebirth. The next verse
explains that iniquity is not purged until we die. But where do the
scriptures teach that our physical death purges our iniquity? They don't,
not in any way. In actuality, then, this verse can only be referring to
baptism. How did we ever read it any other way? Isn't the purging of
iniquity the primary reason for baptism? And isn't our baptism a reason
for real joy and gladness, even a celebration? You might argue that
this is taking the verse out of context because the rest of the chapter
sounds so negative, but that is simply not so. The whole chapter has this
same positive tone when read typologically. It is only the historical
meanings that are so negative.
As we have already seen, the book of Isaiah can be divided into different parts or structures. There are great, all encompassing structures like the two parts mentioned above, all the way down to small, two line ones. Historically speaking, the first part consists primarily of indictments and promises of punishments, while the second part consists primarily of promises of a future glory for Israel. The indictments (1-39) include Isaiah's warnings of Israel's destruction by the Assyrian and the Babylonian armies, and the promises (40-66) pertain to their return from exile and their glorious future. A second group of structures, divides the book into three parts, and summarizing are: (1) trouble at home, (2) exile, and (3) homecoming. Another divides it into four parts: (1) apostasy, (2) judgment, (3) restoration, and (4) salvation.
You might have noticed that the same basic message is contained in each of these overlapping structures; that Israel, after a period of apostasy and exile, will be greatly blessed and restored to a homecoming and salvation. This message applies not only to Israel in a national sense, but also in a spiritual sense. You should also recognize that these same patterns apply to each of us, individually, when we realize we have sinned, repent, and become restored to God through baptism. Then we, too, have been restored to Israel--spiritual Israel.
Basically, these structures control the broad order of things and can be used as we would use an outline. They reveal the book of Isaiah to be like a fine piece of glassware in which any chip at all would be a serious flaw. They show us the whole history of Israel; that the book of Isaiah, including the future, is about apostasy, exile, and then a gathering. Israel apostatized from God long before Jesus lived, by eagerly chasing after false gods. Because of this, Jehovah caused them to be scattered (exiled) throughout the wicked world, where they remain to this day. However, a change is in the wind and some are being restored to Israel even now, which is only the beginning of their national salvation. Their spiritual gathering will follow.
As pointed out, this same pattern also holds true for each of us, individually, just like it holds true for the nation of Israel. This life on earth, with Satan, is our period of apostasy where we have committed sins against our God, all of us. It is during this time that we learn good from evil, and learn to choose between them. Judgment day will follow this life of learning and testing, which will decide our place in our "Father's house of many mansions."
Jewish scholars identified still other structures that we need not go into. They are interesting and do attest to a single authorship for Isaiah, but they do not contribute enough to our understanding to justify getting bogged down in a literary technique. This writer isn't qualified anyway. However, there are smaller structures that add to our appreciation of the magnificence of Isaiah. These smaller, simpler ones are called parallelisms, where the meanings of two or more verses are very closely linked. The most common of these are called synonymous parallelisms, and as the name implies the second line repeats the first one in meaning, usually very closely. There are about six other kinds of parallelisms, some reversing the first idea, some expanding the first idea, and some which are combinations of these. Parallelisms usually repeat in the next line or verse, although sometimes they are separated in a chiasmus. The very first verse we looked at was like this. The forth line paralleled the first line, and the third line paralleled the second line. When lines are constructed like this (a-b-b-a), or in even more lengthy inversions (e.g., a-b-c-d-e-f-e-d-c-b-a), which is often the case, the lines are related to each other by the central thought. At first, the parallel lines seem to say the same thing, but almost always add something new. Many things are taught this way. For example, the first verses we looked at taught us that Jehovah would become a mortal man and would die; also that Jehovah is the Son of Man.
The following four lines are excellent examples of parallel verses. The first two repeat almost perfectly, and all four teach us that the punishment he receives (the servant, meaning Christ, from v11) is what heals us of our transgressions and brings us peace (salvation).
Other important parallelisms teach that peace and righteousness are both interchangeable with salvation. The parallels are underlined.
This next example teaches us that "peace" is the same as "the glory of the Gentiles," which the Gentiles will bring to Israel like a river. (more about the Gentiles coming like a river later.) "Upon her" means upon Israel, who is to be the LORD'S bride. The "LORD" should also be paralleled with the "glory of the Gentiles," because it is the LORD that brings peace/salvation. "Peace" (salvation) will come to her from the Gentiles. Then, it follows: in that day, the LORD will be found among the Gentiles, and they will bring Him to the Jews.
66:12 . . .saith the LORD:
Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
The following parallelism teaches that death, both spiritual and physical, is like a veil or covering because it hangs over all mankind like a pall. But much worse than the physical death we face, is the spiritual death we might have to suffer because of our sins. These verses, along with many others, bring us the promise of life and resurrection, as well as an eternal life with God. This theme of life is a common thread throughout Isaiah. That is, the Lord of Hosts, who is Jehovah, will swallow up death. In other words, Jehovah will become our savior, bringing us eternal life. The preceding verse (v6), tells us that learning these great things is like eating a great feast, metaphorically--even to the extent of eating fat things and rich things, which introduces the really "good news" of these verses. He goes on to say that He will wipe away the tears from all our faces, paralleling it with taking away our shame, which is our sins, and the veil of death. Isaiah 25:7-8
a And he will destroy
in this mountain the covering cast over all people,
Beneath these structures are the details of what we must learn and do to bring about our salvation. We must learn that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, even the Son of God, and do as he commands. These details teach us that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament, which has already been pointed out above. They teach us about the Father's great plan of salvation, which was set forth in our pre-mortal life, "When all the sons of God shouted for Joy." In other words, the book of Isaiah is about:
(1) The "children
of God" rejecting Him, and their
TYPES AND SIMILITUDES
Types that prefigure later events are one of the most important devices Isaiah uses to achieve his layered meanings. In the course of history events repeat, maybe not exactly the same, but many times with an incredible number of parallels. These repetitions are especially important in the book of Isaiah, where the Lord uses them as types or similitudes to tell us of important events to come, or in other words for prophesying. Click the link to go to a more complete explanation.
Many of the deeper meanings of the Old Testament are missed because metaphors are used so extensively. Examples of this are "eating" and "drinking," which refer to learning spiritual truths. Others are vines, trees, briers and thorns, cattle, and even fish when they refer to people. The metaphors in the Old Testament are a hard to see sometimes because many times they are only alluded to.
The types and metaphors discussed above are interlaced with metaphorical pseudonyms--nicknames if you like. Isaiah used these pseudonyms a great deal to avoid being specific with names; that way, his prophecies can carry multiple meanings. When he did use a name, such as Cyrus or Hezekiah, the individual usually served as a type. These pseudonyms are not just nicknames chosen at random, but are names descriptive of their roles or positions in some way. That is why Assyria, which was used by the Lord to punish Israel, is referred to as "river." Assyria was a land of rivers. Egypt is also called "river" for the same reason. Both of these countries represent the "wicked world," and so "river" represents Satan's realm. Both countries are also used by the Lord to punish Israel, so they are both called his "rod," meaning a chastening rod (10:5).
8:7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon
them the waters of the river, strong and many,
It's plain to see that the waters of the river represent the armies of the King of Assyria. The King and his armies are used by the Lord to punish (destroy) Israel, so they are also called his rod:
From these two examples one might conclude that "river" and "rod" are only used to represent evil, like Assyria, Babylon, and Satan (he does use them for all three), but that would be a mistake. He also uses these same pseudonyms to represent the righteous "servant" and the flood of righteous missionaries that will "destroy" Israel in the last days. Although this might seem inconsistent, it isn't. The same pseudonyms have to be used for both, because the Assyrian invasion, which comes like a flood, is used for the type. It is through the type that we learn of the flood of Gentiles.
Another example of a righteous "rod," is the "rod out of the stem of Jesse," in Isaiah 11. This servant of the Lord will "smite the earth" with the "spirit of wisdom, and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord" (11:1,2,4).
Examples of a righteous "river" are found in 27:12, where it says that the children of Israel will be "beat off" (like kernels of wheat, they are harvested, or "picked"), one by one, from the river, meaning from the flood of missionaries (Cp. the Jewish Version), and in 66:12, where it says:
For thus saith the Lord,
"Peace," means "the Salvation of the Lord." This "peace" is the "glory" that will flow from the "Gentiles," by way of the "river" (flood of missionaries). They will bring "milk," to nurse (suck), the Lord's "milk", to "feed" Israel, like a mother would--with love, even until they can advance to "bread and meat." (Cp. 7:20, 11:15, 19:5, 30:31).
If you were asked to give Jesus a pseudonym, one that personifies him, one that would be unique to him alone, what would it be? What word personifies him and no one else? Do you think it would be salvation, since he alone brings salvation through the Atonement? Or, perhaps righteousness would be better, as he was the only person to live a completely righteous life. Isaiah used both. When speaking of Job (the allegorical Jesus, the servant that turns Israel back to God), he uses righteous, or righteousness. When he speaks of Jesus as the resurrected God that brings eternal life, he uses salvation. Isaiah uses these two pseudonyms some twelve times, even together in synonymous parallelisms. This certainly would be correct, since Job is Jesus. Here are several verses using these pseudonyms:
46:13 I bring near my
righteousness; it shall not be far off,
In three of the above scriptures, he tells us that righteousness is near. As righteousness represents Job, indeed, righteousness was very near, even right under their noses, in their Bible. This idea of righteousness being near was also expressed in Isaiah 48, where the Lord tells Israel, "I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass, I shewed it thee: lest they shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them" (48:4-6). These verses explain that what he speaks of (which is the book of Job) has been known by them from the beginning, to prevent them from saying that it did not come from him. The above verses also repeat the idea that salvation is near by saying salvation is gone forth (51:5) (speaking as if it were now), and salvation is near to come (56:1), which would refer to the coming of Christ, both in the meridian of time and in the last days when he returns in glory.
THE SERVANT / SERVANTS
A difficult part of this study has been trying to distinguish between the many servants of the Lord that are mentioned by Isaiah. Sometimes he uses "servant" to mean a single individual, while other times he means all of Israel, collectively. To be sure, the collective use of servant is quite clear each time it is used. For example 41:8, "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, and the seed of Abraham, my friend" (Also see, 43:10, 44:1,2,21,26; 48:20). There are other references to a servant which are very different and more difficult to determine.
The first and most important question is: Is there a servant separate and distinct from Jesus, and if there is, how do we separate him from Jesus? If we listen to the Jews we would have to conclude that there are not two at all, that only one person is involved. They think all of the "servant" verses refer to their expected King-Messiah, or Davidic king, even the following well-known messianic verses:
7:14 . . .a virgin shall conceive and bear a son . . .
9:6 . . .For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: . . .
53:7 . . .he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, . . .
. . .so he opened not his mouth.
61:1 . . .the Lord has sent me . . . to proclaim liberty to the captives.
We know they are wrong; that these verses prophesy of Jesus. He even said so himself in the case of 61:3 when he announced, after reading it in the temple, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:21). But surely, the Jews are not all wrong, and we can benefit from their exhaustive studies if we only look beyond their view of the Davidic king. Simply extrapolating from their conclusions, however, still leaves us with just one "servant," who would have to be Jesus. Current sectarian teachings agree with this, that all of these prophecies refer only to Jesus, that Jesus simply replaces the Jew's Davidic king, and there is no other servant.
But a close study seems to show that some of these verses are talking about a "servant" other than Jesus, even though sometimes they may include information about Jesus. We have to conclude that there is another servant since some of these "servant verses" can't possibly be referring to Jesus. They are some of the same verses that cause the Jews to look for a messiah quite unlike the Son of God, even a king that will restore the grandeur of their nation instead of a king that will restore the grandeur of their eternal lives. For example, try to explain any of the following verses in terms of Jesus. They seem to refer primarily to another "servant," the one who prepares the way.:
He pursued them, and passed safely, even by the way that he had not gone with his feet" (41:3).
He shall not . . . lift up his voice, or cause it to be heard in the streets" (42:2).
He is one who could become discouraged" (42:4).
He is one who will prepare the way of the Lord" (40:3).
He is a man from the East" (41:2).
He is a man from the North" (41:25).
He will show . . . the Gentiles" (42:1).
He is a messenger" (42:19).
He is from a far country" (46:11).
Then I said: I have laboured in vain; I have spent my strength for nought, to no purpose" (46:4 ).
He calls a nation that he knows not" (55:5).
There has been speculation about this "servant" before based on a prophecy of the Lord given to Joseph Smith in 1834, which, besides comparing the servant to John the Baptist, says: "Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel (D&C 103:16). Early leaders of the Church, Orson Pratt for example, speculated that this man, "like as Moses," might even be the Prophet Joseph Smith, resurrected. Others feel that it will most likely be one of the General Authorities of the Church today. The latter seems more plausible since there is not a precedent of a resurrected person remaining on earth to take a part in the everyday affairs of men.
It seems that the Jews first, and the rest of us following after them, have confused some of these prophecies of Jesus with the prophecies of the servant, probably because they are recorded together and typify similar events, often overlapping one another. It might seem strange that events in Jesus' life would be used typologically for a servant of less importance later, when Jacob, a prophet of the Book of Mormon, told us that all scriptures are the typifying of Jesus (2 Nephi 11:4); but their missions are so much alike it could easily be so. Besides the preparation or "leading" role, previously discussed, also consider a scenario where most of Isaiah's prophecies could have a double meaning; or that prophecies fulfilled by Jesus could be fulfilled again by the servant; e.g., taken from prison, tried, put to death, suffer for them, etc.). This is entirely plausible, and Isaiah indicates that it is the case. An exception would be Jesus' payment for our sins through his suffering, as spelled out in Isaiah 53. In other words, the servant will never be the suffering figure prominent in Isaiah 53, although he also may die at the hands of mobs. He will be marred, but the Lord will, "heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil" (3 Nephi 21:10).
That last line implies that the devil will be attempting to hoodwink the people in some special, "cunning" way. He could do it through the antichrist that the world expects, even masquerading as the "servant" and doing many, great things to fool the people; or it might be that a competitive situation will develop between the two, something like the one between Moses and the Pharaoh of Egypt. It could be like that, however, the type figure that Isaiah uses, indicates that the servant's efforts should be more like Gideon's defeat of the Midianites, which was a complete rout (10:26). Somehow it must result in the death of the servant, though, through the cunning of the devil, only later to be reversed by the servant's "healing." However it might happen, when the true servant is raised from the dead, before all the world, to bear witness that Jesus was, and is, the Christ, the impact will be earthshaking, to say the least, and will probably bring more people to the truth than anything else that has ever happened before. This scenario is appealing because it is typical of how the Lord has thwarted Satan in the past, upsetting his plans by using them against him, and it would even be possible to say that the servant will suffer because of Israel's sins. He will not pay for their sins through suffering as Jesus did, but he is to be "marred" and then healed, so he could suffer for them nevertheless, to help them to see Jesus Christ.
But getting back to the servant talked about in 3 Nephi 21:10: We have assumed it referred to Joseph Smith because we knew of no other; only it doesn't fit him on close scrutiny. Here Jesus says he will heal him after he has been marred; and marred means destroyed (See Isaiah 52:14, Jer. 13:9&18, Nah. 2:2, Mrk. 2:22). So, after he is destroyed, this servant will be healed. Joseph Smith was not healed after he was martyred, so there has to be another servant who will be raised up after suffering death. Although the "raised from the dead" scenario fits Jesus' resurrection, it can't mean Jesus because this servant must be healed after the restoration of the Gospel, which happened in 1830. It's evident that in 3 Nephi, Jesus is talking about the same servant meant in Isaiah. The fact that Jesus, in verse eight, quotes Isaiah 52:15 is also evidence that this is the case.
You may have noticed that in this work the servant has not been called David. That is because Isaiah doesn't call him David. He mentions "the house of David" the "covenant of David," etc. but never calls the servant David. The Davidic king and this servant have to be two different people. The Jews could see nothing in any of these prophecies concerning the coming of the Son of God, either in the meridian of time or in the last days, and so, they worked hard to explain all of them in terms of this corporate individual they called the Davidic king. Others since have more or less gone along with the same thinking, simply replacing the Jew's Davidic king with Jesus. Why the Jews would think this way seems reasonable when prophets like Ezekiel say, "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it" (Ezek. 34:23-24, also see Ezek. 37:23-25). Both of these can be speaking of the Spirit of Jesus.
Joseph Smith spoke of a future David but he didn't say it wasn't Jesus. He said of David, the ancient leader of Israel: "The throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage" (See HC, 6:253, D&C 132:38-39). Some have jumped on this, thinking it means that the "servant" figure would be called David, but Jesus can fulfill this prophecy nicely, and still not be this servant. Jeremiah also comments about a David in the last days and is no more specific (Jer. 30:9). He says:
But they will serve the LORD
This verse virtually equates "David their king" to "the LORD their God," especially if it is considered to be a synonymous parallelism. If that is so, he can only be Jesus Christ. (The Ezekiel verses above can be considered parallelisms with the same result.) Isaiah 11:1-5 mentions both the servant and Jesus but doesn't call the servant David, and neither did the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith when he explained these verses in D&C 113. There the Lord says that the Stem of Jesse is Christ, and the rod spoken of in verse one is a servant in the hands of Christ, but he doesn't call the rod David.
Besides the foregoing, we still have the reason to look for another servant that was mentioned earlier: Bruce R. McConkie clearly expected a servant to come forth in the last days, explaining that the prophecy in Isaiah 40:3 is only incidental to John the Baptist, and is primarily prophesying of "the servant" of the last days.
Who is right? Is there going to be some man raised up by the Lord in the last days other than Jesus Christ? Consider these scriptures that agree with, and link to, the "servant" scriptures of Isaiah by the linking words "marvelous work and wonder." They tell us that this other "great and marvelous work" will be the words of Christ (3 Nephi 20:23, 21:11 (9-11), 28:34); that it will be, even laid up for you from the foundation of the world (Eth. 4:13,14)(Cp. Isa. 49:1); that it will go forth, first, to the Gentiles and then to the house of Israel (3 Nephi 26:9-11, Cp. Isa. 49:6); and that it will fulfill the Abrahamic covenant with God (1 Nephi 22:9,10) (Cp. Isa. 49:5-6). (See Avraham Gileadi's The Last Days, Chapter two for a comprehensive study of this subject.)
Each of the above scriptures has its parallel in Isaiah 49, where Job is speaking: (1) the book of Job is certainly the words of Christ, since it is an allegory for Christ while he was on the cross; and (2) Job has been "laid up," or hidden (Cp. Isa. 48:6-7) from the world, for who knows how long?; and, (3) the book of Job (the truth of it) will go first to the Gentiles, and afterwards to the Jews. Yes, the book of Job, that has been "hidden' for so long, has got to be at least part of the "great and marvelous work." It will be a surprise to many (though it isn't just yet), even "not believed by some, though a man shall declare it unto them" (3 Nephi 21:9), "a new thing from this time, even hidden things that thou didst not know before" (Isaiah 48:6-7, emphasis added); which will be so amazing that "kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider" (v10).
Some might argue here, that this is very nice but they know that all of these prophecies were fulfilled through Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. There are several problems with that view point. First, is the need to understand the chronology of events found in 3 Nephi 21:7-10 of the Book of Mormon. There Jesus tells us that he will do a "marvelous work among them" (meaning a remnant of the house of Jacob, v9), after "thy seed shall begin to know these things" ("Thy seed" being the Lamanite people to whom he is talking), after "the work of the Father hath already commenced" (v7). This very clearly means that "the marvelous work and wonder" means more than just the restoration of the Gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon as we have thought, but includes another work that comes forth later. It comes forth well after the Church is established, in order for the work to be "already commenced," as stated in verse seven. The Book of Mormon had to come forth earlier.
It is apparent that this "great and marvelous work" that Jesus mentions has got to be a later thing, not to mention even a "greater things" (3 Nephi 26:6-10, Morm. 8:12, Eth. 4:8 (4-10)) than the "commencement" (3 Nephi 21:7, Eth. 4:17, Morm. 3:17).
So, who are these kings that shall shut their mouths, and now see and consider that which they have not known? They are the faithful of the Lord, which have that promise, the promise of becoming kings (Cp. Rev. 1:6, 5:10). It should be no surprise to hear God refer to the Latter-day Saints as kings and queens, but for some reason it is pleasing to hear Him use it this way. The concordance reveals that there are many times the scriptures use kings and queens in this way. One of the most interesting is found in the Book of Mormon. It plainly says that this land (America) is blessed unto the Gentiles, and that there shall never be kings raised upon this land, or the people will perish (2 Nephi 10:11). That is understood to mean the people of this land will never be ruled by a king. But wait a minute; go back to verse nine, where it says, "the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers and mothers." It is speaking of the very same Gentiles of this land. Obviously, we have a contradiction, or else we have two kinds of kings.
There are two kinds of kings, and the good Saints that have the promise of becoming kings and queens will be the nursing fathers and mothers to the Jews. Oh, ye kings and queens of Zion, hear the words of the Lord, "Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them [the Jews], shake [wave] the hand that they may go into the gates of the nobles [accept Jesus]. I have commanded my sanctified ones [The Saints], I have also rallied my mighty ones; for mine anger is not upon them that rejoice in my highness . . . the Lord of Hosts mustereth the host of the battle [the missionaries]. They come from a far country, "from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of His indignation [the truth] to destroy the whole land (2 Nephi 23:3, Cp. Isaiah 13:2)." Joel adds to that, "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. (Joel 3:9) "put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow . . ." (Joel 3:13).
A search through Israel's past for types of the Davidic king (Jesus Christ) indicates that the future king must fill roles similar to those of Moses and King David. Both of them served as a mediator or advocate between the people and God. Moses especially filled this role when he saved Israel from destruction. He offered to give up his life, even his soul, to save them, when God was going to destroy them for their wickedness with the golden calf. God then covenanted with Israel to protect them as long as they kept the commandments which he gave them through Moses.
King David also served as an advocate with the Father, and led Israel to heights of glory that were unparalleled, setting a type for the later accomplishments of Jesus. The things David said and did, especially his comments about his suffering, parallel what Jesus experienced so much that reading his Psalms is like reading Jesus' autobiography.
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