Category Archives: The Latter Rain

ISAIAH’S MISSION: A HIDDEN WEAPON

The mission of the prophet Isaiah is described in Isaiah 49. In this chapter we learn specific things concerning Isaiah’s message, and its importance to those living in the last days.

Isaiah 49:1-3

1  LISTEN, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

2  And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

In the first two verses, we learn that Isaiah was known of the Lord before his birth. He was expected and chosen for a specific assignment that was planned out even before he was born. Likewise, in verse 2 we learn that the Lord made Isaiah’s mouth like a sharp sword. Thus Isaiah’s message, or “his mouth,” will have the effect of a sharp sword in that it will help in the conversion of the Lord’s people to the right way, or to the correct path. What we also learn, however, is that Isaiah’s message is hidden. So, Isaiah’s message is a sharp sword with an important purpose, but it has been hidden from the understanding of the people by the Lord himself: “in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me.” The Lord has hidden the message of the prophet Isaiah through the use of symbolism.

Isaiah 49:4

4  Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

In verse 4, the prophet Isaiah laments the fact that his message is hidden in symbolism. It takes so long before the Lord decides to reveal his message, that Isaiah feels that perhaps he has “spent [his] strength for nought, and in vain.” But he humbly resigns himself to the will of the Lord to use his message when he is ready. In the next verses, the Lord reassures Isaiah what his purpose is, and the affect his message will have:

Isaiah 49:5-8

5  ¶ And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

6  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

In verse 5 we see that Isaiah’s message will come forth in its power at a time Israel is still dispersed and not completely gathered. Isaiah’s message will help “bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered.” So, it will come at a time when the Lord is working to convert Israel back to the true fold of God. Likewise, Isaiah has a special mission regarding the Gentiles: “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” While Isaiah’s message may also be of use to the Jews, it is specifically targeted to the Gentiles or non-Jews , to bring them to the restored Zion.

Isaiah 49:8-10

8  Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

9  That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves.  They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

10  They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

In a time acceptable to the Lord, Isaiah’s symbolic framework will enhance the message of restored Zion. It will be a powerful tool to help convert those who are seeking true doctrine. The children of Jacob will be drawn away from the places where they are held captive in falsehood. And, they will be guided and helped by the Lord directly through personal revelation, “for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them–or with the still small voice of revelation. Thus, the mission of Isaiah is really to enhance and hasten the missionary efforts of restored Zion in the latter days. Isaiah’s message will clarify doctrines and prophecies that are contained in the Bible, which were once hidden in symbolism.

RESTORATION CONCEPT

Those that understand and accept the idea of the Great Apostasy, must also embrace the idea of a restoration as well. If the Church were taken from the earth, then at some point in the latter days, it will be restored again to the earth. This restoration is not an incremental improvement of a corrupted Church, but rather the establishment of a completely new organization, brought forth by the Lord himself through the calling of new, modern-day prophets. The problem for the last two centuries is that no one has said Restore!

 Isaiah 42:22

22  But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

 For a restoration of the Church and Kingdom of God to occur, the Lord will need to call prophets. In fact, without using a prophet to transmit his will to the children of the earth, the Lord will basically do nothing.

Amos 3:7

7  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

 After Jesus Christ was resurrected, he appeared unto many of his disciples, including his chosen Apostles. He made it clear in these encounters that he was not a gaseous cloud or spiritual being, but rather he had a physical body of flesh and bone.

 Luke 24:36-43

36  ¶ And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

37  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

38  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

40  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.

41  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

42  And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

43  And he took it, and did eat before them.

 If Jesus could appear to his prophets and apostles in ancient times, then we should expect him to do the same today, if he desired to do so. The scriptures indicate that indeed he will appear to a new prophet when he restores Zion to the earth.

 Psalm 102:16-17

16  When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.

17  He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.

 From these verses in the Psalms, we learn that a clear marker of the restoration of Zion is that he will appear in his glory to someone. Latter-day Saints know this someone to be Joseph Smith, and the location of this visit was the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. The full account of this first encounter with the risen Lord in modern times can be had in Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price, which is a book of scripture had by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This vision occurred in the morning of April 6, 1820.

Isaiah 41:25

25  I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.

ONLY ONE APOSTASY PREDICTED

Another false concept that perhaps might find its way into the heart of man is that of a second Apostasy. In other words, the thought is that the Lord might allow his Church and Kingdom to again fall into a state of corruption, in the which, the priesthood of God would be lost from the earth again a second time. This idea is completely and utterly false. Once the Lord restores Zion again to the earth, it will never fall away. There is only one apostasy predicted by the Bible prophets, speaking of the Church as a whole, not individually.

 Daniel 2:44

44  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

 From Daniel, we see that when the Lord sets up his Kingdom in the last days, it “shall never be destroyed.” In this verse, kingdom could be replaced with the word “Church.” Thus, the God of heaven will set up his Church and it shall never be destroyed. On the contrary, “it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” So the Lord’s Church, once it is reestablished in the last days, shall overcome all the false doctrines and false precepts that exist in the world until it consumes them all. It will fill the earth. There is no prediction whatsoever of any kind that it will retract, run aground, or stumble in this process. Any such doctrine is contrary to spirit and meaning found in the scriptures.

In Isaiah, the Lord refers to his Church as if it were a woman forsaken. Let us examine the promise the Lord makes to the Church regarding a second Apostasy.

 Isaiah 54:5-10

5  For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

6  For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.

7  For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

8  In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.

9  For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.

10  For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

 Just as the Lord promised Noah that a flood would never again be sent to destroy the inhabitants of the earth. Likewise, the Lord promises the Church that he will never again depart. Hence, there is only one Apostasy predicted, and any doctrine to the contrary is completely false. Individual leaders may fall away from the Church, but the Lord will never again allow the Church as a whole to become corrupted.

One source for confusion on this point is derived from the false concept of a future Anti-Christ. As was discussed in a previous blog, there will be no mortal evil political leader that will be allowed to take over the entire world. The great anti-Christ is Satan, a spirit being who will never be born. And, he was allowed by the Savior to overcome the world, only in that the Lord withdrew his Church from the earth. Thus, Satan had his day of power, and “ruled the earth” in the sense of teaching the inhabitants of the earth falsehood with no true Church as an alternative. This has led to great confusion in the earth.

However, if one falsely assumes that the anti-Christ spoken of in Isaiah and Revelation is a future mortal being, then he or she would also be led to the conclusion that this anti-Christ figure would also be allowed to “make war with the saints and overcome them” in the future as well (Revelation 13:7). If one correctly identifies the anti-Christ as being Satan, and correctly associates the timing of his “overcoming the saints” as being shortly after the death of the ancient Apostles, then this expectation of a second Apostasy is completely removed. Thus, both issues resolve themselves in truth. There will be only one Apostasy and thus only one Restoration.

THE APOSTASY CONCEPT

The great Apostasy is one of the least understood doctrinal phenomena in the world today. The idea of the Lord withdrawing his priesthood and his Church from the earth is not taught in most Christian churches. Rather, the Church is viewed as having perhaps become weakened or corrupted, but that through the consensus of men been righted again in its true path. This belief, however, has led to the establishment of hundreds, if not thousands of different churches, doctrines, and sects.

 Matthew 24:1-2

1  AND Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

2  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things?  verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

In this situation, the Lord is using the destruction of the temple as an analogy of the destruction of the Church. Though the temple was sacked, defiled, and destroyed in 70 AD, it is doubtful that every single stone of the temple was removed. The Western Wall in Jerusalem today, while not necessarily part of Solomon’s original temple, still witnesses that the ancient buildings of Jerusalem have remained at least to some degree intact. However, what the Lord is saying in the above scripture is that the Church will be completely dismantled and withdrawn. This idea is further strengthened by the Lord himself during his encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria.

 John 4:19-23

19  The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20  Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

 Here the Savior establishes two important facts. First, the religion that the Samaritan woman and her people were practicing was already in a state of Apostasy. “Ye worship ye know not what.” And, secondly, even though at that point the Church of God was had among the Jews, it would soon be taken away. “The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” In other words, the time is coming when the true Church of Jesus Christ will no longer be found on the earth.

 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

1  NOW we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

 The Bible is clear on this point. Numerous scriptures describe a time when the Church of Jesus Christ will no longer exist on the earth. Prophets will be withdrawn, and the priesthood of God taken away. Yet, for some reason, the world has lost sight of these prophecies. Hence, the concept of the Great Apostasy is a paradigm shift that must occur in the mind of each individual before a discussion of true religion can be undertaken in earnest.

THE GREAT ANTI-CHRIST DISTRACTION

The books of Isaiah and Revelation describe a great anti-Christ. Both Isaiah and John the Revelator describe an evil tyrant, and prophesy that he will take over the world. In modern western culture, this prophecy finds expression in pop theatrical dramas. Such movies, books, and so forth describe a child born who is evil from birth, and bares the mark of “666.” However, this idea of a single great future anti-Christ is a false concept. It is put forth to distract us from the truth. It is similar to the idea of the Devil being a red demon with horns, a pitch fork, and a pointed tail.

The problem is the timing of the event, and the identity of the culprit. He is not a mortal being with a body, but rather Satan, a personage of Spirit. He will never have a body, and will never take over the world in a political sense. Instead, it is prophesied that the Lord will withdraw his Church and Kingdom from the earth, thus giving Satan control of the entire earth from a spiritual sense. Once this paradigm shift occurs in the mind of the reader of the Bible, the question then arises: When is Satan allowed to take over the world and how does it occur?

In both Isaiah and Revelation, it is clear that this great tyrant will indeed overcome the earth and the inhabitants thereof. In the Book of Isaiah we read:

 Isaiah 7:17

17  ¶ The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria.

 Isaiah 8:4-8

4  For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.

5  ¶ The LORD spake also unto me again, saying,

6  Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Rezin and Remaliah’s son;

7  Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:

8  And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.

 In Revelation, we learn that he not only conquers the world, but the saints as well:

 Revelation 13:7

7  And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

 The world is looking for this great anti-Christ to overcome the world sometime in the future. The expectation is that some mortal being will have power given him from Satan and be able to conquer and subdue the entire world. Instead, however, the great anti-Christ spoken of in the Bible is Satan himself and he is allowed to overcome the Church according to prophecy, which occurred shortly after the ministry of Jesus Christ and his twelve Apostles from ancient times.

Thus, discussions about a single future anti-Christ are really just a distraction from the truth. There is not a single anti-Christ, but many. Anyone who teaches false doctrine in order to deceive or get the praise of the world is an anti-Christ. But the father of lies is of course Satan himself. He is the evil leader spoken of in both Isaiah and Revelation.

ISAIAH AND THE USE OF “RAIN” AS A SYMBOLIC TYPE

In the Book of Isaiah, there are many references to rain or water. The prophet Isaiah often uses such references to water or rain to convey the concept of revelation falling from heaven to prosper the Lord’s people Israel.

 Isaiah 55:10-11

10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

 Once the reader of the Bible understands this relationship between rain and revelation, then further meaning is derived from the Book of Isaiah that might otherwise be hidden. In fact, Isaiah teaches that revelation from God to man through his servants the prophets will not always be available to his children on the earth.

Isaiah 3:1-2

1  FOR, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,

2  The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

Realizing the connection between references to water and revelation, the above citation gives us insight into the Lord’s intentions concerning revelation from Heaven to his children on earth. Isaiah predicts a time when the Lord ceases to give revelation to his servants the prophets. He will take away the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. And, this action on the part of the Lord is clarified in verse 2 above to mean that he will remove the prophet. This same prediction is repeated by Isaiah:

Isaiah 5:5-7

5  And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:

6  And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

7  For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.

 Here the Lord tells us through the prophet Isaiah that the time will come when he will no longer attend to his vineyard but will lay it waste. And he makes the specific prediction in verse 6 that he will “also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” If there were any doubt as to the meaning of the Lord’s vineyard in this context, the prophet Isaiah clarifies it in verse 7: “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.” Hence, we see here the same prediction as before—a time when the Lord will withdraw his prophets from Israel and cease to give revelation to them for a certain period.

Isaiah’s symbolic type rain, as used by other Bible prophets – continued

Once we make this connection in our minds, then this symbolic type of water or rain begins to present itself not only in the Book of Isaiah, but throughout the rest of the Bible as well. It becomes such a dominant theme that we can no longer ignore it, even if we try.

 Deuteronomy 32:1-2

1  GIVE ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

2  My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

Likewise, other prophets besides Isaiah predict the cessation of revelation through prophets. They do this using water and rain as a symbolic type as found in Isaiah.

 Jeremiah 14:1-4

1  THE word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

2  Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

3  And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.

4  Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

Here the prophet Jeremiah makes the same prophecy as found in the Book of Isaiah. The future generations of the children of Israel will seek revelation and not find it. “They came to the pits, and found no water.” Hence, “the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth.” The children of God seek revelation from God and seek for the Lord’s servants the prophets, but there is no revelation and there are no prophets. The prophet Amos, likewise, reiterates this prediction of prophetic dearth or drought.

 Amos 8:11-12

11  ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

12  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

 Again, water and rain are used to mean “hearing the words of the LORD” or in other words revelation through prophets. We see from the prophet Amos that the children of the earth will wander around seeking the word of the LORD, “and shall not find it.” I believe this concept of spiritual famine should now be well documented. But what about the Latter Rain? When will this spiritual famine of hearing the words of the LORD cease?

Isaiah describes the idea of a restoration in the last days. And this concept of restoration is repeated throughout the Bible.

 Isaiah 35:4-8

4  Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.

5  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

6  Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

7  And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

8  And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

In the last days, the prophet Isaiah predicts a time when this terrible spiritual drought will end, and prophets will once again be called upon the earth. The rain of revelation these modern-day prophets receive will help create a sure path for those living on the earth. Though fools, they shall not err therein. Latter-day Saints recognize the beginning of this Latter Rain period as starting with Joseph Smith and his first vision in the Sacred Grove of Palmyra, New York.

A KINDER, GENTLER ISAIAH

The change in how I viewed Isaiah’s description of war in the last days occurred when I read the following verses.

 Isaiah 19:22

22  And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

 Isaiah 30:31

31  For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.

 When I stumbled upon these verses in Isaiah, I was puzzled at first. How can the Lord smite and heal at the same time? But Isaiah 30:31 finally clarified how it is done. The Lord smites the sinners of the earth not with a sword made of fine steel, or with other weapons of war. Instead, the Lord smites the sinner with his voice. Hence, the sword of the Lord is his word, or in other words the preaching of his Gospel to the nations. As my mind took hold of this thought, the entire set of passages I had read previously suddenly took on a completely new meaning.

The young men that were dashed to pieces before the eyes of their parents were not really killed physically by the Lord’s servants, but were converted to the restored Gospel. Likewise, when the wife was ravished, it simply meant that a family was being taught the Gospel, and only the mother was converted. To her husband and children it was as if she were ravished. But, in reality she becomes the key to her family’s ultimate conversion in the future. Consider now the following verses with the idea in mind that the armies of the Lord in the Book of Isaiah are really his army of missionaries.

 Isaiah 5:26-29

26  ¶ And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly:

27  None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:

28  Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind:

29  Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.

30  And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.

 My mind focused quickly on verse 29 as I read these verses with new understanding. What lion in nature would ever lay hold of the prey, and then “carry it away safe.” No wild lion in nature would do so. Therefore, I was left to conclude that these young lions were not really lions or soldiers in a physical battle. Instead the army described above represents the Lords missionaries, and their prey is both the sinner and the seeker of truth. When the Lord’s missionaries lay hold upon them, they are teaching them the Gospel. When they carry the prey away safe, it means the investigator is converted and baptized, thus joining the Church.

This paradigm shift in my thinking has completely changed the way I look at not only the Book of Isaiah, but in fact the entire Bible. I can now see that many of the violent descriptions contained in the Bible are figurative in nature. This is not to say that no actual physical wars and battles will occur in the Last Days. It just means that the armies of the Lord are more concerned with the conversion of souls, rather than the physical destruction of the wicked. So to me, when the Lord says in Isaiah 13:9 cited above, “he will destroy the sinners thereof out of it,” many of them will be removed through repentance and conversion rather than through a physical slaughter. My heart and mind prefer this interpretation, especially considering my view of the Savior and his personality as described in the New Testament account.

RESISTING ISAIAH

Have you ever read the Book of Mormon, and found yourself skipping the part where Nephi quotes directly from the Book of Isaiah? Why do we do this? Or if we do read it, do we treat it like a distance runner would face a difficult, steep upward climb of a race? We force our way through it, and are almost relieved when we come out the other side.

When I have done this in the past, I think it was due to the symbolic nature of Isaiah’s writings. The surface meaning of Isaiah’s message is uncomfortable for readers. His references to the Messiah are pretty straight forward, but his references to war and latter-day conflict leave the reader wondering what lies in store for his or her offspring. I experienced this same feeling when I was reading Isaiah 13.

 Isaiah 13:15-16

15  Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

16  Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

My first reaction as I read these verses was to suppose that it was the enemies of the Lord that would be doing this—dashing children to pieces and thrusting people through. But, then I looked back in the chapter to clarify the point, and was surprised to find that it was not the bad guys doing it, but it was the armies of the Lord himself. So, I found myself scratching my head, and did not want to believe it. But, there it was clearly stated.

 Isaiah 13:3-9

3  I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

4  The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

5  They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

6  ¶ Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

7  Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:

8  And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

9  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

 After reading this, my mind was troubled because I realized that the dashing to pieces was being done by the armies of the Lord. My problem in dealing with this conflict was comparing this cruel God described by Isaiah with the merciful and kind God of the New Testament embodied in the mortal ministry of Jesus Christ. As I struggled with this dilemma over the course of several weeks, I finally reached an epiphany that helped clarify and resolve this conflict in my mind. It created a complete paradigm shift in my thinking. Likewise, as a bi-product, it made me feel much better about the message contained in the Book of Isaiah.

CHRISTIANITY’S USE OF THE TERM “THE LATTER RAIN

While the term, the Latter Rain, may be new to most LDS people, it is quite familiar to most people from other Christian faiths. All one must do is to search for the term on the internet to prove this point. There are hundreds, if not thousands of web sites dedicated to this concept—the Latter Rain. There are Churches Called “the Latter Rain”—e.g. The Latter Rain Ministries of Texas. There are songs called the Latter Rain—e.g. The Latter Rain by Neglathea Johnson. There are sermons given on the subject on YouTube. There is a Gospel Singing Group in West Virginia called “The Latter Rain.” There is even a water distribution company in Bermuda called “The Latter Rain.”

The most pronounced movement concerning this term, however, is probably the one that occurred among Pentecostal Christians between 1948 and the early to mid-1960’s. The Latter Rain movement is a well-documented phenomenon that began in Canada and spread through the United States and other nations. The following is a quote from the Wikipedia account of this movement:

“The term Latter Rain stems from Bible passages such as Jeremiah 3:3, 5:23–25, Joel 2:23, Hosea 6:3, Zechariah 10:1, and James 5:7. The idea of a latter rain was not new to Pentecostals. It was present from the earliest days of Pentecostalism, which believed that the reappearance of speaking in tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit marked the “latter rain of God’s Spirit.” It was believed that these were signs of the coming end of history. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost had been the “former rain” that established the Church, but the current “move” of the Spirit was the latter rain that would bring the Church’s work to completion and culminate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which was and is imminent.”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latter_Rain_%28post%E2%80%93World_War_II_movement%29)

The point I wish to make is that main stream Christianity is well aware of the term, “the Latter Rain,” while the LDS perspective is not well defined. The stark contrast in terms of discussion and emphasis concerning this important Bible concept creates a need among Latter-Day Saints to focus on what this term means to them, and how it relates to the Church’s doctrine of apostasy and restoration.