All things that he [Isaiah] spake have been and shall be, even according to the words which he spake. (3 Nephi 23:3)
Do we believe the Savior’s key to understanding the words of Isaiah that new research on his book’s literary structures has verified? That Isaiah’s prophecies came to pass in his day or soon thereafter, and that they will come to pass a second time in the last days (2 Nephi 25:6–8)?
Why “Searching” Isaiah’s Words Is Vital
Many scholars today apply certain prophecies to ancient times and others to the latter days. Dr. Gileadi’s research, however, informs us that the Book of Isaiah’s literary structures refute this:
“The head of the rabbinic school where I studied in Jerusalem taught that Isaiah’s writings apply to two different time frames simultaneously: (1) Isaiah’s day; and (2) “the last days” or “end-time” (‘aharit hayyamim). When I asked how he knew this he said he had no proof but that it was Jewish tradition.
“Years later, during my Ph.D. program, I discovered the proof in the holistic literary structures of the Book of Isaiah. These entirely change the rules for interpreting the book. Linear structures map out cycles of events covering many centuries of time, starting in Isaiah’s day. Additionally—layered over them—are synchronous structures. They view the entire Book of Isaiah as a single scenario. And the time frame of that scenario is indeed the last days or end-time.
“That means we must readjust our thinking about the Book of Isaiah to know how its message relates to the end-time. Like John, Isaiah saw the end of the world in a vision. His synchronous literary structures transform his book into an apocalyptic prophecy. (Windows on the Prophecy of Isaiah, Avraham Gileadi, pp.1–2; available on www.isaiahexplained.com)”
Although Isaiah’s prophecy is grounded in the history of his time and shortly thereafter, Dr. Gileadi discovered that Isaiah used the names of ancient nations, persons, and objects as codenames and types of their modern counterparts and to depict new versions of ancient events in the last days.
The two superpowers of the ancient world, for example—Assyria and Egypt—typify two superpowers in the world today. By examining the way Isaiah characterizes these ancient nations, we can identify modern versions of “Assyria” and “Egypt.” One represents a militaristic alliance of nations from the north while the other represents a mighty nation in decline that the smaller nations in the world look up to for protection. In effect, Isaiah used ancient Assyria’s destruction of Egypt and of the known world as an allegory of the destructions of the last days.
The Lord himself tells us that he uses ancient people and events as types to prophesy of the future: “Who predicts what happens as do I, and is the equal of me in appointing a people from of old as types, foretelling things to come?” (Isaiah 44:7; emphasis added) “Review the prophecies of the events of old! I am God, there is none other. I am divine; nothing resembles me. I foretell the end from the beginning, from ancient times things not yet done” (Isaiah 46:7).
The idea of the entire Book of Isaiah being an end-time or apocalyptic prophecy is important for everyone living on the earth today. I now quote examples of the Lord’s warnings to the wicked of the world and his promises to those who trust and follow God—taken from Dr. Gileadi’s beautiful modern English translation of the Book of Isaiah available at www.IsaiahExplained.com and as a free download on Kindle at www.IsaiahInstitute.com:
Isaiah 13:9, 11
The Day of Jehovah shall come
xxxx as a cruel outburst of anger and wrath
to make the earth a desolation,
xxxx that sinners may be annihilated from it.
I have decreed calamity for the world,
xxxx punishment for the wicked;
I will put an end to the arrogance of insolent men
xxxx and humble the pride of tyrants.
Now therefore scoff not,
xxxx lest your bonds grow severe,
for I have heard utter destruction
xxxx decreed by my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts,
upon the whole earth.
Inquire of Jehovah while he is present;
xxxx call upon him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
xxxx and sinful men their thoughts.
Let them return to Jehovah,
xxxx and he will have mercy on them;
to our God, who graciously pardons.
Tell the righteous it shall be well with them;
xxxx they shall eat the fruits of their own labors.
But woe to the wicked
xxxx when calamity overtakes them:
they shall be paid back
xxxx for the deeds they have done!
Those whose minds are steadfast, [O Jehovah,]
xxxx you preserve in perfect peace, for in you they are secure.
Ever trust in Jehovah,
xxxx for Jehovah, Yah, is an everlasting Rock.
Hear me, you who know righteousness,
xxxx O people in whose heart is my law:
Do not fear the reproach of men;
xxxx be undaunted by their ridicule.
For the moth shall consume them like a garment;
xxxx moths shall devour them like wool.
But my righteousness shall endure forever,
xxxx my salvation through endless generations.
They who hope in Jehovah
xxxx shall be renewed in strength:
they shall ascend as on eagles’ wings;
xxxx they shall run without wearying,
xxxx they shall walk and not faint.
Do we feel the power and fervor of these words? While the Lord’s promises for the righteous give us great hope and strengthen our faith, his stern warnings for the wicked should deeply motivate us to fully turn away from our sins and iniquities and return to him with all our heart. Let us remember these warnings and promises are part of all things that “shall be.”
|Read part 1 here||Read part 3 here|