In the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass. (2 Nephi 25:7)
Do we believe Nephi’s prediction that Isaiah’s words will be understood at the very time his prophecies are being fulfilled? That our efforts to “search diligently” the things Isaiah spoke, as our Savior commanded (3 Nephi 23:1), will indeed bear good fruit? Would such understanding not empower us in an amazing manner to deal with and live through the events as they unfold? Isn’t that the very reason we are blessed with the words of Isaiah today?
Signs of Isaiah’s Words Being Fulfilled
The fact that interpretive methods and tools for understanding the words of Isaiah are now available to us (see my earlier articles Part 1 and Part 2) and that people are coming to understand his word remind us that we live in the time when fulfillment of Isaiah’s words is fast approaching, for Nephi prophesied that “men shall know of a surety” “in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled.” He reiterates this point: “For I know that [the words of Isaiah] shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them” (2 Nephi 25:8; emphasis added).
As Dr. Gileadi points out, we see the signs of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy all about us:
The time Isaiah speaks of is characterized by gross injustices, neglect, and oppression of the poor, every kind of idolatry, love of power and gain, covenant breaking, outward religious worship lacking true devotion, and shameless sodomy. Aren’t we already seeing these signs among us today? God’s calling his people by the names “Sodom” and “Gomorrah” signifies that they will suffer a similar fate as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah anciently when a desolating rain of fire and brimstone wiped them out. (Isaiah Made Simple, Avraham Gileadi, p.68)
Search the Words of Isaiah—A Commandment for Our Day
When the Savior gave his commandment to “search diligently,” he stated the reason for giving this commandment: “For great are the words of Isaiah. For surely he spake as touching all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel; therefore it must needs be that he must speak also to the Gentiles” (3 Nephi 23:2; emphasis added). In other words, the encoded message of Isaiah covers all things about all peoples in the past, present, and future.
Then the Savior gave this commandment that indicates his intended audience: “Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles” (3 Nephi 23:4). The words of the Savior to his ancient disciples are to go forth among the Gentiles in the last days (3 Nephi 16:4-7; 21:1-7). Thus, the Lord makes it amply clear that his commandment to search diligently the words of Isaiah is directed to people living on the earth today.
In case his intended audience missed this vital point, Moroni echoed the Savior’s command to “search the words of Isaiah” (Mormon 8:23) after his people were all destroyed. His intended audience, therefore, was us—people living in the last days (Mormon 8:35).
In case any lingering doubts or excuses still remained in our minds, the Savior repeatedly declared that “every soul” who will not hear his words “in all things” “shall be cut off from among the people” or “among my people who are of the covenant” in the last days (3 Nephi 20:23; 21:11; emphasis added). This declaration has been repeated in all four standard works with specific reference to the last days (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22-23; 1 Nephi 22:19-21; JS History 1:40; D&C 136:37).
So, what will we do? We have already received the words of Isaiah that covers “all things” (3 Nephi 23:2). That is the comprehensive vision of the end-time he saw wherein historical events repeat themselves in the end-time or as foreshadows of the future (Isaiah 48:6). The Lord Jesus Christ, who commanded us to search diligently the words of Isaiah, is the same Lord who declared, “I foretell the end from the beginning, from ancient times things not yet done. I speak, and my purposes take effect; I accomplish all my will” (Isaiah 46:10). Given our pressing need to follow the Savior’s commandment and the needed resources now at our disposal, let us renew our resolve to follow our Savior by faithfully keeping his commandments!