CLICK HERE to read Isaiah 25.
What is Isaiah’s response, after witnessing the things he described in the previous chapter?
What can we say? Nothing. We will be in awe. We are already in awe. We will sing the song my father always sang, How Great Thou Art! Isaiah says it this way (verse 1):
O Lord, thou art my God:
I will exalt thee,
I will praise thy name;
for thou hast done wonderful things;
thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
That’s what a person can say in response to these wondrous things. We will understand and acknowledge that all He has said was right, and all He promised has come true. We will “get” that the cleansing of the earth was in preparation for the millennium, during which the adversary will be bound by our righteousness (see Isaiah 14 and Ether 13). During this time, there will be no place for “strangers” (those outside the covenant) to live in His presence (verse 2), but those within the covenant will build Zion – both as the city itself (New Jerusalem and the rebuilding of Jerusalem) and us as a people of holiness (verse 3).
But this means we must do the work to be righteous, so that we can become a holy people.
What is the work of the righteous?
It is to care for the poor, to give strength to those in distress, to make peace in a world of contention and war, to give relief to a society under pressure, and to protect others by testifying to them (verse 4).
There is controversy how to interpret verse 5. Some think it is translated incorrectly, and so take it to mean that the proud (instead of strangers) will be silenced the way there is heat (without) shadow from the clouds, such heat that even the trees get limp and the leaves turn brown. That all makes sense, but I think it makes sense as it is, too. Those “strangers” who are those that refused to convert will be silenced, because everyone will see what the Lord has done and everyone will acknowledge it. Not all will choose to make Him King, but everyone will agree that what He did was good and right for all the people. And if the cloud is the sheckinah cloud (see 1 Nephi 17 and Isaiah 9), the very presence of the Lord, then the one cannot escape the “heat” (Spirit) that does correct, instruct, and guide, and all are humbled (“brought low”) before Him – even the “branch”, which Isaiah has already defined.
It is after all are humbled and acknowledge what He has done, even those who choose not to follow Him but cannot deny what He has accomplished, after that the Lord will reign from His Temple (“this mountain of the Lord”) (verse 6). Isaiah says there will be a literal feast, where the Lord dines with the past patriarchs and prophets and priesthood leaders of the five dispensations before us and ours (ours being the sixth, and the millennium being the seventh) (see also D&C 27:5-14). This is a sacrament like feast, following temple worship, and may also be a literal victory meal following the establishment of the Lord’s literal kingdom. It all blends together, now, because the veil that separates this terrestrial world from the celestial-ness that is all around us will be removed (verse 7). We will see more clearly, and know more deeply, and understand more thoroughly. We will see those here with us in the spirit world, and love and understand them better the way they already love and understand us better than when they were limited by mortality. The poverty, persecution, and oppression the remnant will endure just before the Second Coming will be finished, and He will deliver us and “wipe away tears”. The first resurrection will bring the people of holiness to meet the Lord returning with his cities of holiness (verse 8; see also D&C 88:97). Also when the Lord returns, He will “dive” into the chaos like a swimmer, gaining the victory over all who oppose Him (verse 11). The proud and wealthy and political powers will be no defense against Him, and cease to exist against Him (verse 12). There will no longer be a threat to righteousness, and so we will rest – even as we now can in temples all over the world (verse 10). We will all know He has kept His promises, and we will rejoice in it (verse 9).