A “Spiritual translation of Isaiah, Chapter 28”

“These are all major blessings and gifts that the Lord bestows upon His servants for the purpose of building the Kingdom; but this gift has a personal application in a lesser form. The gift of Translation is helpful when studying scripture. For instance, many have struggled with Isaiah. Using this gift, asking the Lord in faith for permission to understand the intent of the words, can lead to your personal spiritual translation of these books. Put away your study manuals and lean upon the Lord for revelation. This gift, used for personal use is appropriate when the Lord has given express permission and not for the purpose of simply sharing your opinions. In this case, it would be taking the Lord’s name in vain. As with all gifts of the Spirit we must seek permission from the Lord.” –

PR, A Witness to the Gifts of the Spirit

This is one of the chapters of Isaiah that PR did not translate. I have often made “spiritual translations” scripture before. It really helps you to understand it, and it is really useful, even if you are the only one who reads it. I love the words of Isaiah. Just putting his words into modern English puts a vivid picture in your mind. My favorite lines in this are:

  • “to perform his act, his unusual act, and do his work, his awesome work.”  – Awesome is a popular, but over-used word, but it really fits here
  • “This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.” – This also describes the Lord at work. He plans, he counsels, and his work is excellent. So is the work of Isaiah. I hope I can measure up to it in some tiny way.
  • The first verse was fun. It talks about the shiny gold decorations that the “drunkards of Ephraim” like to decorate the tops of their buildings with. The ones that get struck by lightning or toppled by earthquakes

1 Woe to the crowns of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim! Their crowning splendor is now the foolish [nabel meaning ‘foolish’ or ‘drooping’] gold decorations [tsiyts From a Hebrew word meaning to ‘blossom’ or ‘sparkle’. A metaphor for shining thing (of gold plate on high priest’s mitre). Isaiah was simply describing what he saw in vision. Wonder what he saw?] so cherished by the fat proud ones [drunkards drunk on their own wine]. [2 Nephi 28:14 They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms …]

2 My Lord has held back in reserve to come forth one mighty and strong [a servant, sent from God to deliver a message by the power of God]: like a tempest of hail of a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters, he will bring their false traditions of men down to the ground by his hand [the power of his words, which are the words of Christ]. [D&C 85:7. And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God …] [teach and administer the ordinances of adoption into the family of God]

3 The traditions of men that the drunkards of Ephraim are so proud of shall be trampled underfoot.

4 And the foolish gold decorations [see above], like crowns of pride, their idols, shall be like the first-ripe fruit before summer harvest: he who sees it devours it the moment he has hold of it.

5 In that day the Lord of Hosts, alone, shall be as a crown of honor and the object of praise to the remnant of his people:

6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle [persuade others to a knowledge of the truth] in their gathering places.

7 Nevertheless, even they [the remnant] have indulged in wine [false traditions] and are giddy with strong drink: priests and prophets have gone astray through liquor. They are intoxicated with wine and stagger because of strong drink; they err as seers; they blunder in their decisions. [2 Nephi 28:14 … they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.]

8 For all tables are filled with vomit [traditions and teachings passed on from the learning of men, not taught through the Spirit]; no spot is without excrement.

9 To whom shall he give instruction? To whom shall he enlighten with revelation? Weanlings weaned from milk, those just taken from the breast? [Young men and young women who have been taught the basics of the true Gospel and who hunger and thirst for more.]

10 For it is but line upon line, line upon line [teach the Doctrine of Christ], precept upon precept, [build precept upon precept] precept upon precept [then, teach the Everlasting Covenant]; a trifle here, a trifle there [He will teach from the revelations of God, taught so that people can receive them but not run faster than they have strength].

11 Therefore, by incomprehensible speech [His servants will teach the truth in all plainness, teaching principles, not clichés.] and a strange tongue [They will teach in a language which the people have not heard before, but will sound familiar to them.] must he speak to these people,

12 to whom he said, this is rest; let the weary rest! This is a respite! But they would not listen. [But they hardened their hearts, taking too lightly that which they had received, i.e. the fullness of the Gospel and the Everlasting Covenant, therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest, which rest is the fulness of his glory.]

13 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

14 Therefore hear the word of Jehovah, you scoffers who preside over these people in Jerusalem. [The leaders of the church]

15 You have supposed, by taking refuge in deception and hiding behind falsehoods, to have covenanted with Death [Any covenant not made through the Holy Spirit of Promise is a covenant with death.], or reached an agreement with Sheol [the world], that, should a flooding scourge sweep through the earth, it shall not reach you. [You think you will be safe.]

16 Therefore, thus says my Lord Jehovah: I establish in Zion a stone, a tried and tested stone, a glorious cornerstone, a sure foundation. Whoever is faithful to it will not act hastily.

17 I will make justice the standard of measure, righteousness the standard of weight; a hail shall sweep away your shelter of lies and the judgments of God shall overflow your hiding place.

18 Your covenant with Death shall prove null and void, your agreements with Sheol [the world] have no effect: when the flooding scourge sweeps through, you shall be overrun by it.

19 As often as it sweeps through, you shall be seized by it: morning after morning it shall sweep through, by day and by night it shall seize you; it shall cause terror merely to hear news of it.

20 Then shall come to pass the proverb: The couch is too short to stretch out on, the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in. [The doctrine that is offered is not enough to cover the spiritual needs of the seeker. The fullness of the Gospel is not taught. People are leaving the church and going elsewhere because they “want more”.]

21 For Jehovah will rise up as he did on Mount Perazim [A battle where the Lord led King David into battle where he defeated the Philistines and burned their idols.], and be stirred to anger, as in the Valley of Gibeon [Another battle where the Lord and his hidden army of heaven assisted King David to defeat the Philistines.] — to perform his act, his unusual act, and do his work, his awesome work.

22 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made stronger, for I have heard utter destruction decreed by my Lord, the Lord of Hosts, upon the whole earth.

23 Give heed, and hear my voice! Be attentive, and listen to what I say!

24 Will the plowman be forever plowing to sow seed, disking and harrowing the same ground? [Does the farmer do nothing except plow all day and yet expect a harvest?]

25 When he has smoothed its surface, does he not sprinkle fennel and scatter cumin? Does he not demarcate wheat from barley and plant buckwheat in its own plot? [Rightly dividing the word of God with discernment.]

26 His God instructs him, directing him in the proper procedure. [God is giving a simple lesson of a farmer.]

27 Fennel is not threshed with a sharp-toothed sledge, nor is a cartwheel rolled over cumin: fennel is beaten out with a stick and cumin with a rod.

28 Domestic grain is ground; one does not go on endlessly threshing it. It cannot be ground by driving horse and threshing cart over it. [Teach all of the Gospel, so that people learn the complete path to salvation. Do not damn them by just repeating the same basic lessons over and over again. Precept must be added upon precept.]

29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

The End-time Servant

If you are anything like me, you used to skip over the chapters in the Book of Mormon that quoted Isaiah. I always did. Then, I bought a copy of Avraham Gileadi’s translation of the Book of Isaiah, and I could finally see what Isaiah was talking about. I think it was Chapter 49 I was reading when I realized: he’s talking about some kind of special “servant”. Then I found other chapters talking about a servant. Is it the same servant or different servants? I have read from other people talking about end-time servants. And, there are people from time to time claiming to be that servant.

I finally decided to dig into this issue for myself. Gileadi is the ultimate resource. I have taken the chapters from his translation of Isaiah that specifically have to do with the end-time servant and listed them together with a condensed version of his commentary.

Here is a brief list of what are the most important attributes of the end-time servant as gleaned from the chapters of Isaiah and included in this document.

• Called before birth.
• Helped create the world.
• His genealogy: Wild shoot grows out of trunk of Jesse (Christ). Wild shoot doesn’t produce fruit, but keeps the tree alive. A tame natural branch of the tree is grafted onto the wild shoot. It blossoms and bears fruit: this is the Branch, the end-time servant.
• Likened to Moses, David, Hezekiah, Cyrus in the Old Testament.
• Likened to Joseph Smith D&C 103.
• His missions are to defeat the archtyrant, return Jacob to Israel, be a light/ensign to the Gentiles, prepare the way for the coming of Jehovah. Subduing nations, releasing captives, leading the new exodus, and rebuilding ruins.
• As Jehovah’s hand to Jehovah’s people, the servant reclaims their remnant, smelts away their dross, empowers them, leads their new exodus, leads their new conquest, assigns them inheritances, and protects them. Many, however, pay no regard to him.
• Goes through life phases of Descent (futility), Marred, Healing, Ascent (reversal of circumstances.)
• Ascends to seraph level: beloved, sealing power, power over the elements, Patriarchal Order.
• The world knows nothing about him until he is empowered, neither do Jehovah’s people.
• Initially rejected by Jehovah’s people (Jacob/Israel), who later trust him.
• Initially rejected by the world, but later acclaimed after battling and defeating archtyrant.
• Replaces a previous servant who neither “sees” nor “hears” spiritually.
• Fulfills ancient prophecy.
• Predicts the future which is immediately fulfilled.
• Personifies righteousness, prepares conditions to bring about salvation (Jehovah).
• Brings about true Justice.
• Confounds current ecclesiastical leaders.
• Teaches his things that have never been seen nor heard before.
• Divine revelation resumes and is available to all.
• “Astute”. Knows how to teach and convince Jehovah’s people and confound their false prophets.
• Mediates Davidic covenant. People obey him as he obeys God.
• The covenant is initially a conditional covenant until the servant and his people prove their loyalty to Jehovah under all conditions, then conditions are reversed and the covenant becomes unconditional.
• Receives new name after proof of loyalty to Jehovah.
• As Jehovah empowers his servant, he empowers the people.
• Those who “follow” and “know” righteousness —Jehovah’s servant—in other words, ultimately ascend spiritually and assume restorative functions toward Jehovah’s people as the servant does
• The servant helps others ascend and become like him.
• There are others from the Gentiles who are like him: “Kings and queens”. Share seraph status. They assist others to ascend. (Nursing fathers and mothers.)
• Isaiah writes about the servant as an individual, as a surrogate for those like him, and as a surrogate for all of Israel/Jacob.
• Imbued with the knowledge of God, Jehovah’s servant seeks to wake up Jehovah’s people as he is awake. Those who need waking up include their prophets and seers.
• Jehovah’s servant receives opposition from the rebellious who feel threatened by his preaching true doctrine that they have not heard before.
• His enemies plot against him behind his back.
• While God’s holy Spirit serves as a Comforter, so does Jehovah’s servant and Jehovah himself—each according to his people’s needs and circumstances.
• Zion’s watchmen “see eye to eye,” having seen the same vision of the end from the beginning.
• With the empowerment of Jehovah’s servant and his associates, a new day dawns for those who ascend to the Zion/Jerusalem level and levels higher.
• Like Jehovah’s servant, in other words, all who covenant with Jehovah may ascend and attain higher spiritual categories—from Jacob/Israel to Zion/Jerusalem to sons/servants to seraphs/saviors. In the millennial age of peace that ensues, they may likewise inherit thrones of glory.
• In the course of serving as a proxy savior of Jehovah’s people — “bearing their iniquities” under the terms of the Davidic Covenant—Jehovah’s “servant” or vassal suffers horrific physical “marring beyond human likeness” at the hands of enemies as an intrinsic part of his descent phase. Just as many people are appalled at his plight, however, so he astounds them when Jehovah heals him. In his ascent phase that follows—when Jehovah empowers him over his enemies—he becomes “highly exalted” and “exceedingly eminent”.
• The servant teaches the kings and queens of the gentiles so that they may perform their savior roles.
• His mission is so that all who desire it may partake of salvation.