In this week’s reading of the Book of Mormon, we’ll look at chapters 10 through 18 of 2 Nephi. Here Jacob extends his teaching on the Law at the end of chapter 9 and reads chapters 2 through 8 of Isaiah, which describes God’s Endtime judgment of His people in apostasy and of the world in general. When we look at this Endtime apocalypse of the world, we must realize that this is not any ordinary event and that the Earth is being transformed fundamentally into something else. This week, we’ll look at this transformation and the basic reason for this global transitional event or what Isaiah calls – The Day of Jehovah.
The Day of Jehovah
Central to the prophecy of Isaiah is a worldwide judgment of God that sweeps the world as God cleanses it from the unrighteous and unjust. This how Dr. Gileadi describes the Day of Jehovah.
Whether they lived before or after Israel’s exile from the Promised Land, the Hebrew prophets predict a great future “Day of Jehovah” or “Day of the Lord” upon all nations (Isaiah 13:6, 9; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18, 20; Obadiah 1:15; Zephaniah 1:7, 14, 18; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:1, 5). This Day of Judgment upon a wicked world will come “as a violent blow from the Almighty,” “as a cruel outburst of anger and wrath to make the earth a desolation, that sinners may be annihilated from it” (Isaiah 13:6, 9). Precedents from the past—such as Assyria’s world conquest in Isaiah’s day—typify that great and dreadful end-time event. John’s vision of “the Lord’s day” or “Day of the Lord” (Revelation 1:10) depicts the same events. Whereas Isaiah encodes his end-time vision in the historical events of his day, John encodes it in imagery.
A Sodom and Gomorrah Destruction
Isaiah predicts that the destruction that befalls the world during its Endtime events resemble that of the calamity that came upon Sodom and Gomorrah – fire raining down from heaven – probably meteors from space that annihilate these cities. Dr Gileadi –
God’s desolation of Sodom and Gomorrah by a hail of fire and brimstone in the days of Abraham wiped out all vestiges of human habitation in that place even to this day. Thereafter, Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction became synonymous with a curse God pronounces on any people whose depravity resembles theirs: God “turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, damning them by overthrowing them, hence making an example of them to those who live wickedly. Because such wickedness by God’s end-time people is the catalyst of a worldwide Sodom and Gomorrah type of desolation, they experience what Babylon does. When “Babylon, the most splendid of kingdoms, the glory and pride of Chaldeans, shall be [thrown down]as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 13:19), they are destroyed with it.
God Transforms the Earth
We might ask ourselves, why is there such an utter and absolute destruction of the world’s inhabitants that only a few survive. As we look at the whole of the Bible, the answer is that God is preparing the Earth itself for a fundamental transformation into to something better. In fact, the Earth has and will go through multiple transformations that include descensions and ascensions until God has finished His work and made this Earth a Heavenly Home.
When we look at this series of transformations, we can begin in the first chapter of Genesis where God initiates a new creation by forming a spirit world and then in the second chapter of Genesis, Jehovah endows this spirit world with a physical form. This physical creation is a Garden or Paradise. Moreover, we see another evolution of the Earth when Adam and Eve transgress and the Earth also falls and becomes our Fallen World – no longer a Paradise – but a world that brings forth noxious plant life and forces man to labor for his existence. So this process looks like this.
We also see in the scriptures where this physical creation is transformed back into a Paradise for the Millennium and then into a Heaven. But in the scriptures we see preparatory events that facilitate these future transformations. Those events include a total separation of the righteous and the unrighteous and the a cleansing of the unrighteous from the Earth. So that process looks like this.
Isaiah’s Pattern of Descent before Ascent
This pattern follows one of Isaiah’s Gospel themes that for something to be exalted it must first descend. Dr. Gileadi explains –
According to Isaiah’s theology—which he develops systematically in his seven-part literary structure—every ascent to a higher spiritual level is preceded by a temporary descent. That descent phase consists of God’s trial of a person’s faith equal to the level of that person’s ascent. In other words, the higher one ascends, the greater the temporary descent that precedes it. Ruin may occur cyclically before rebirth to a higher spiritual level, as may suffering before salvation, humiliation before exaltation, and so forth—intensifying each time a person ascends. Even Messiah descends below all before he is exalted above all to sit on his Father’s throne.
We see this same sort of thing with our Earth, which can be illustrated as follows.
Those Who Survive and Those Who Don’t
Next week in Part 2, we’ll analyze Isaiah’s Spiritual Categories of Humanity to see who survive and those who don’t.