6 Interpretations of Isaiah that Should Not be Perpetuated

Bored in Vernal LDS lessons, Mormon, symbols 39 Comments

Avatar-BiVOT SS Lesson #36

LDS Sunday School students will soon take a quick leap through 66 chapters of Isaiah in five forty-minute lessons. All too often, some uniquely Mormon interpretations are given to these chapters which merit a critical analysis. In this post I present six Mormonisms often used with the first few chapters of Isaiah which I believe hinder a deeper and more accurate understanding of these prophetic writings.  Let us know if any of these interpretations show up in your Sunday School class!

1. Isaiah 2:2,3 Popular LDS commentary on this verse identifies it as Isaiah’s vision of people from many lands coming to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Many prophecies of Isaiah are dual and can be applied to more than one time, situation or people. I am aware that latter-day prophets and apostles have related this verse to the Salt Lake temple or even to the Conference Center from which the word of the Lord is issuing forth in these days. However, if we insist too strongly on this Mormon-centric view, we can miss the primary application which this verse has to the millennial reign of the Messiah. The word “mountain” as used in the Bible is a metaphor for “nation,” “government,” or “political system.” In verses 2 and 3 Isaiah is speaking of the millennial condition when Christ shall establish the political Kingdom of God upon the earth. This will be established “in the top of the mountains,” or in other words “as the head of the nations.”

2. Isaiah 2:3 Isaiah wrote that the word of the Lord will come from Jerusalem, and the law will come from Zion, the New Jerusalem, located in Jackson County, Missouri. There will be two distinct centers of influence for God’s people.

This may be, but verse 3 should not be used as a proof-text. Here we have a synonymous chiastic parallel where

the Law = the Word of the Lord, and
Zion = Jerusalem (one and the same)

The chiastic structure of this phrase indicates that Isaiah equated Zion with Jerusalem (the one located in Israel!) If we accept this, we will be able to learn more about Zion as it relates to the ancient City of David.

3. Isaiah 2:9 In the Book of Mormon, verse 9 is clarified by adding the word “not” to the following statement: “And the mean man boweth [not] down and the great man humbleth himself [not], therefore forgive him not.”

This verse actually makes much more sense in its original context, without the extra “not” added in the Book of Mormon version. Verse 8 speaks of idols which are found throughout the land. And the mean (common) man and the great (important) man boweth down (to these idols). This version makes more sense coming as it does right after the description of people worshipping idols, the work of their own hands.

4. Isaiah 2:13-17 , see also 2 Ne 12:13-17 Some Mormons still insist that this passage is an example of the restoration in the Book of Mormon of passages that were lost in the Old Testament. As noted in footnote 16a, “The Greek (Septuagint) has ‘ships of the sea.’ The Hebrew has ‘ships of Tarshish.’ The Book of Mormon has both, showing that the brass plates had lost neither phrase.”

Pike and Seely have shown the challenges of accepting this interpretation. I love the poetry of the passage and find that the addition of the extra phrase and other interjected words spoils the beauty of the chiastic tripled bicola. Isaiah used poetic conventions frequently to emphasize his points. The Book of Mormon addition does not enhance the poetic structure of the passage, but instead inhibits it. The Greek “ships of the sea” and the Hebrew “ships of Tarshish” are probably different translations of one original phrase and it is not necessary or preferable to include both. Observe the perfection of the Masoretic text with the pattern of w- (conjunction) + al (preposition “upon”) followed by kol- (“all/every”) and then two words (here in English translation):

For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be

upon every one that is proud and lofty,
and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up,
and upon all the oaks of Bashan,

and upon all the high mountains,
and upon all the hills that are lifted up,

and upon every high tower,
and upon every fenced wall,

and upon all the ships of Tarshish,
and upon all pleasant pictures (fine craft)

and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
and the haughtiness of men shall be made low;

and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

(if all this fascinates you, there is a well-reasoned apologetic view here. But I stand by my opinion.)

5. Isaiah 3:16-26 The Daughters of Zion and their apparel show the dangers of worldliness and immodesty.

If your Sunday School teacher identifies this passage (as does the lesson manual) with modesty in dress, s/he has missed the boat! The daughter of Zion, is a poetic term for the covenant people of Israel, and the items of clothing stand for different types of authority. In the Old Testament, authority was passed down with the symbolic action of transferring clothing. Thus the significance of the passing of Elijah’s mantle to Elisha, and Jonathan’s dressing David with his own clothes in 1 Samuel 18. As the son of the reigning king, Jonathan symbolically transferred his claim to the throne to his friend by stripping himself of his clothing and weapons and bestowing them upon David. In Isaiah, the covenant people are struck down because of their pride. Each of the articles of clothing worn by the daughter of Zion represent some authority or privilege which is being misused and thus removed by the Lord.

6. Isaiah 4:1 The Mormon speculation on this verse goes as follows: With so many men killed in war, righteous single priesthood holders are in short supply. Thus, plural marriage is reinstituted, with many women stating they will support themselves in order to receive priesthood covenant protection.

My examination of the Hebrew of this verse makes me confident in translating “one man” as “a certain man.” The verse thus teaches that in the latter day seven women (symbolic number of completeness, denotes the covenant people) shall take hold of a certain man (guess who that would be?) and ask him “let us be called by thy name,” which will take away their reproach (effects of atonement). In my view this verse is Messianic and has nothing whatsoever to do with polygamy.

As Latter-day Saints, we certainly have many resources in our scriptural records and our doctrine to interpret the Book of Isaiah.  But I think we need not go overboard in trying to overpersonalize these passages.  As important as it is to apply Isaiah’s writings to ourselves, we must not lose the historical connotations and meanings within the text.  Since we have only 5 weeks to cover this important book of scripture, let us carefully choose the scripture blocks we will discuss, and maintain a focused and accurate exegesis of the material.

Comments

comments

Comments 39

  1. #2 (Isaiah 2:3) “Two distinct centers of influence”

    The employment of a chaiastic structure is most commonly used to mark the turning point of a “contrastive” parallel, but not always. If contrast were the intent of this phrase, we would expect “Torah” to be in strong contrast with “word of the Lord, and perhaps a similar contrast between “Zion” and “Jerusalem.” And we might translate something like “out of Zion will go forth the Law, BUT the word of the Lord [not Torah] will go out of Jerusalem [not Zion].” So, the presence of the chaiasm would be a natural arrangement of the words, were Isaiah trying to emphasize a distinction between the two phrases.

    If, on the other hand, the parallel is intensive (a “going one better,” to quote James Kugel, for what is often misleadingly called “synonymous” parallelism), then we have the sense that “out of Zion will not only go the Torah, but the very WORD of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

    A couple of structural elements running throughout verse 3 leads me to view the parallel as being somewhat synonymous. I see three parallel couplets tied together with a very common poetic device where the beginning of a section is marked by an imperative or vocative [“come” “go” “hear” “fear not!” “O”] followed in Hebrew by the conjunctive “ki” [usually translated “for”]. This device may be as simple as “Fear not, for I am with thee” or a long series, as in Isaiah 54:4-10.

    In the case of Isaiah 2:3, we have the imperative “Come ye” followed by “for” [out of Zion], essentially framing the series of three parallel couplets:

    Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    even to the house of the God of Jacob

    He will teach us of his ways,
    in fact, we will walk in his paths

    “for” out of Zion will go forth Torah,
    even the very word of the Lord from Jerusalem

    So, the fact that the first two parallel couplets seem to employ the more common “synonymous” type of parallelism, it seems that the third couplet is probably intended to follow this same pattern. There are also repeated ideas of walking, going up to and going out from, paths, ways and holy places, learning and Torah [literally means “teaching” or “instruction” or “law”], all tending to tie all the couplets together into poetic unit.

    I once taught a Sunday School class where I suggested that this verse was not referring to two separate holy centers, but was just common Biblical parallelism. A class member stood up shouted with his finger pointing in the air that I was apostate and that it was inappropriate of me to speak contrary to what “all the prophets have said.” Whoops!

  2. Unfortunately, we tend to use the Bible (especially the Old Testament) not as a sacred record in its own right, but rather as a collection of proof-texts to bolster our unique doctrines. There is a wealth of wisdom and spiritual treasures that we would discover if we would open ourselves to the Bible as a whole.

  3. I really like your reading of Isa 4:1. That is definitely worth raising if I come across this misconception one that I had previously believed. I have a little annotation in my BoM which I had written during my mission which recapitulates that position.

  4. I especially like the alternate interpretation of 4:1 to refer to it as messianic rather than referring to plural marriage, which I’ve recently stopped believing in. Another interpretation of that verse is one I heard in school wherein come the day when the world falls into such degeneration, some women will think the only way to regain God’s favor is to find a man to get them pregnant. It made sense at the time.

    1. On Isaiah 4:1, I think one needs to be careful how they interpret it. That seven women would lay hold on one man, and (apparently) beg him to take them (apparently, IMO, to wife), but they would earn their own keep (it appears), does not forcibly mean that plural marriage will (then) be practiced; nor does it at all rule that possibility out.

      I see two possible reasons, however, this might be done.

      First, that so many men have perished in war (or pestilence or famine), though war seems much more likely, the ratio of women to men would be huge.

      Two, I have heard hints, here and there, over the years, of bishops of YSA wards who often ask the Brethren what might be done for all the faithful young sisters, especially, who seem to go unmarried, for lack of equally faithful young men.

      This was, I believe, likely the condition in the early days of the Church when plural marriage was practiced.

      That it is referring to “our day” (our time, dispensation) seems evident, since the Isaiah prophecy is given in the Book of Mormon, which God knew would be published in our day.

  5. I think that Isaiah 4:1 needs to be viewed in light of multiple levels of fulfillment — much like Isaiah 14:12-17. That scripture has reference to a cosmological event (Venus), a historical event (king of Babylon), and a spiritual event (Satan). Saying that there is one interp. doesn’t exclude the others.

    Does Isaiah 4 reference our relationship to Jesus? Yes — it references that relationship in terms of literal polygamous ones.

    Many wives one flesh with a single husband : many saints one spirit with a single savior.

  6. Teelea,

    “but rather as a collection of proof-texts to bolster our unique doctrines. There is a wealth of wisdom and spiritual treasures that we would discover if we would open ourselves to the Bible as a whole.’

    I totally agree with you here, but, isn’t that what everyone does? Including the Jews?

  7. I think a lot of this comes from Bruce R McConkie. He essentially wrote the “headings” before each chapter in the Bible to reflect the Church’s/his interpretations. They therefore obviously become proof-texts for an LDS-centric reading of an English translation of copied version of an ancient document.

    I suppose it all depends on the purpose of our lessons. If the purpose of the lesson is to teach LDS-doctrine using whatever text happens to be assigned that year, then the current method is fine. If the purpose of the lesson is to help us learn what was actually said in the context in which it was actually said, then the current method is wrong.

  8. Proof texting is only bad thing if the interpretation of the text is wrong when using the text in this manner, and I do not believe those interpretations are incorrect. I think your interpretations are good, but I fail to see how you have proven the previous LDS interpretations to not be valid and true uses of the scriptures in question, that will be fulfilled in the very way that they are traditionally used. The fact that you can make these other interpretations just proves once again that these scriptures are a template that have multiple interpretations.

  9. I was working on the lesson #36 for Sunday and comparing the verses used in the lesson with the ones BIV has used in her post. Not a single one of her’s is used in lesson #36. Not even in the Additional Teaching Ideas. So i am not sure why I would cover the ones in the post at all.

  10. “Proof texting is only bad thing if the interpretation of the text is wrong when using the text in this manner…”

    But the very nature of “proof texting” — approaching a text with the primary objective of finding support for preconceived ideas — biases it, and so likely increases the odds of making errors in interpretation.

  11. Isn’t it true, however that some of Isaiah’s prophecies have multiple fulfillments? I’ve read some authors who teach that there can be, for instance, both a messianic fulfillment AND a millenial fulfillment from the same prophecy. So, while it is good not to proof text, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a particular prophecy was not connected to a restorationist event. And I see the wisdom of the post. Seminary teaching was something like ‘THIS IS WHAT THIS PROPHECY MEANS’…learn it for the test. That was the tidbit written in the margin of our seminary scriptures in red. Thus, it would become, sometimes, a stumbling block to further light during our individual study or to peaceful biblical discussions with non-Mormon acquaintances.

  12. I don’t see your take on Isaiah 4:1. To me ‘echad means “one” in the sense of “same”; IE seven women will grab hold of one man (meaning the same man). To me it’s abundantly clear that the 7:1 ratio is a commentary on the loss of male life in war. You seem to be arguing that ‘echad means “certain” such that this is not a proverbial saying but one with a very specific and singular fulfillment. You seem to think it’s obvious to us who this certain man is or will be, but that’s not clear to me; do you mean the returning Christ? If so, I think the traditional Mormon way of reading it is superior to your revisionist suggestion. Maybe you could fill in for us a little bit what you have in mind here.

  13. I think one of the tests of scripture is precisely the ability of the Spirit to use it to pass truth not seen by the writer onto future readers. I think Nephites found answers in Isaiah beyond the questions Isaiah was thinking about when he wrote it. I think JS found more, too. I happened to be attending a Jewish service on a Sabbath when prophecies of the end-times and restoration of Israel were the Torah readings. They drew entirely different lessons.

    God is very good at multichannel communications. 😀

  14. Furthering what Rigel said above, Isaiah prophecy can be interpreted multiple ways in different times. He frequently talks about a local political or cultural situation then about the scattering of Israel, the post captivity gathering, the coming of the Savior, the latter-day gathering, and finally the millennium. Of course some prophecies are very symbolic and some are quite literal, even though they may have had previous fulfillment.
    So, BIV is correct when she says: “we must not lose the historical connotations and meanings within the text”, but that does not mean that some of the traditional mormon readings are not also good or correct interpretations. Some of the passages included in the Book of Mormon seem less powerful than others that are not included. Maybe Nephi saw an additional fulfillment that we do not recognize and he included it because it was also a Messianic or millennial prophecy.

  15. Thank you! I enjoyed reading your insights, which make Isaiah’s prophecies more global and less ethnocentric. Sometimes it seems Mormons believe these scriptures refer only to them when God is speaking to all of His children.

  16. I am so grateful for all of your posts. You continually challenge my doctrinal understanding and educate me in ways I look forward to every week. You prepare a wonderful weekly feast that feeds me – thank you!!

  17. So my Sun. School class did the Isaiah 1-6 lesson today. The teacher didn’t mention any on this list — however she did use the “hand stretched out still” that KC (#7) mentioned. However, another member of the class and I corrected the teacher and she admitted to just stating that one b/c of a Fielding Smith quote in the manual.

    1. I’ve been searching this blog only a short time and have been amazed at the number of people that are smarter than the brethren.

  18. BiV, I have made some of the observations you make (and others here have made), but I have also made the observation, that if I approach Isaiah or many others without any preconceived notions, I can come up with more than what would be obvious from just a linguistic/historical point. I naturally can’t bring the same kind of Hebrew understanding to bear, but I have managed with a couple different sources for Hebrew texts and dictionaries/transliterated/translated sources to come up with a personal relationship with Old Testament.

    And I’ve thought much in the vein of FireTag’s comment here on how the secret of how the Lord lets us know things can be hidden in plain sight.

    After I had a stroke and lost a great deal of my memorized scriptures, I had to go back to them and read, read, read and read again, and pray, naturally, and ponder. Actually, I think I am spiritually better off now when I can’t just quote from memory a handy scripture for every situation. I was initially very sorry for all of my accumulated memorizations that I was unable to recollect (part of which I have recovered to my great surprise — I hope those are the “good” ones, or the ones with real nourishment instead of facile arguments with antis; I also lost the taste for bashing with proof-texts for some funny reason 😉 ).

  19. re: Isaiah 3:16-26…  I had a seminary teacher tell me that these scriptures describe Jewish Women and how God punished them during World War II and the Holocaust, especially verses 24 and 25.  That’s been a hard image for me to shake.

  20. I’m afraid Bored in Vernal is gonna hate this post.  

    I pretty much disagree with this whole article — from both a spiritual and from a scholarly basis — but especially from the perspective of an instructor in Sunday School. 

    Sunday  School is not the place to become scriptorians.  It is where the doctrines of the Gospel as commissioned by the First Presidency and the Twelve are to be taught.  The scriptures are supporting tools to that end.  This whole message says — ignore that, let’s work on our University Degrees in the Theology of Doubt instead.

    Its this sort of thing that leads the Apostles to tell us to stick to the manuals. 

    In fact, the advice in this article is to *DIRECTLY CONTRADICT THE MANUAL*.  

    If you can’t teach the doctrines of the Church you should resign as a teacher.  You are not called to teach your opinion.  You are called to each the doctrines of the Gospel as authorized by the First Presidency and the Twelve.   You must get over yourself and be humble if you disagree with them — or you must not teach.  

    This is not a particularly weird thing.  If you are a member of any organization that has certain views or beliefs or opinions — even if it is not religious — and they hold classes to disseminate those views — you should teach those views or do not teach.   If I were, for example, Libertarian and I was engaged by that Party to teach Libertarian principles to new Libertarian acolytes but instead I started talking about how Libertarians have got some ideas about the Constitution all wrong, I should not be surprised if I get the boot. 

     And in terms of opinion — The concluding  recommendations of the author that we not go overboard in personalizing the scriptures are directly contradicted by the notion of reading the scriptures and “likening” them to ourselves. 
    As I said, I disagree with this whole article from start to end.  I strongly urge any Sunday School teachers to totally disregard it. For others though — its fine, if taken with a grain of salt. 

    1. Interestingly, I don’t totally disagree with “Attentive in Texas”, at least on some points. I find, “often enough” where the “conclusions” listed or implied in lessons as to the meaning or “point” of certain scriptures “in the Gospel Doctrine” manual are occasionally not only wrong, but ‘dead wrong’!

      In discussing some of the areas in a particular lesson some weeks back with a good and close friend of mine, whose opinion I largely value, he was essentially saying the same thing that “Attentive in Texas” said above.

      And, I stand corrected that as “Attnetive in Texas” pointed out that the purpose of pretty much everything in Church is to help the ‘average’ member. If you are more ‘erudite’ and/or ‘bright’, you (hopefully) can/will get the finer points “on your own”. So, don’t expect anyone in Gospel Doctrine (or even ANYWHERE in the Church) to acknowledge the correctness of your interpretation and/or understanding of all or any scriptures as being ‘possibly/probably’ correct. It isn’t suppose to happen. Even most leaders (including most bishops, stake presidents, and even a ‘decent’ number of the Brethren, have approximate ‘average’ understandings of scripture.

      Though, I will give it to many in the Twelve and First Presidency these days. Many more (than there generally use to be), there are more and clearer “thinkers” and articulate now, overall, better than they (generally) use to do.

      President Uchtdorf, Elders Nelson, Oaks, Holland, and Bednar are up there. All of the brethren in those quorums often make very insightful and important points on a variety of gospel subjects. Elder Packer, over the years, has made many insightful and important points. As, again, have others. Each have their strengths, and correspondingly, their weaknesses (as do we all)!

      I have found, for example, where President Joseph Fielding Smith, in regards to what I believe to be a correct understanding of a certain verse of scripture was, basically, wrong. Because, from what I can tell, he didn’t catch a very important transition in the scripture.

      However, that said, I knew Joseph Fielding Smith was, still, as much a “true prophet” of God as any and all the Presidents of the (LDS) Church are or have been.

      We don’t claim they are never wrong. Nor have they.

      But where I find even a “Church approved” manual to contain much correct doctrine, I also find, “frequently enough” both regarding stated or at least “implied” translations or understandings of certain scriptures to be found in Church manuals, in this case, in the Gospel Doctrine manuals, are sometimes misleading, and occasionally “wrong”. I find it a disservice, in a way, when only certain parts (often not necessarily the ‘main’ point of the ‘main’ scriptures we are to study, are not fully and ‘forcefully’ brought out.

      I think that the current problem the Church is experiencing, where both regular members, and more and more leaders, are finding so many things brought up by distractors and apostates of the Church are becoming, for the ‘average’ member, increasingly difficult to protect them from.

      To some extent, I think a kind of Pollyana approach in what is taught from the Standard Works leads to this. Taking, occasionally, at least, head on, some of the harder issues brought up by detractors and, yes, even ‘enemies’ of the Church, would help bolster members when it does come up.

      We cover the exact same lessons every four years in Gospel Doctrine. I think it would be helpful if we looked at some different areas of emphasis, each four years, a bit, and covered certain different scriptures now, in the New Testament (2015), than we did in 2011, for example. Then, we could go back to the old 2011 lesson in 2019, for example. That way, we could cover twice as much of the scriptures, than we do now.

      For, you will find, that if members actually read anything (other now than the Book of Mormon), it is most likely to occur each time we go through other scriptures (the Bible & the D&C, in particular), as we rotate through the Standard Works every 4 years.

      (Yes, I realize I am responding to posts that are 5 years old. But, I thought, bet later than never)!!

  21. I agree with Texas–Bored in Vernal’s intepretations are completely off base. “Mountain” in the Old Testament, and in the Near East as a whole, most often refers to temples. This is true not only for Israel; to the Canaanites, God often appears to people on mountains. She provides no references for why “mountain” means a nation. I’ve never heard that, and I’ve read quite a few books.

    If she dismisses the interpretation of Isaiah as part of the latter-days, there is no reason to interpret the scripture as Christ’s millenial reign either; it refers to the Jews’ return from Babylonian exile.

    People here like to be contrarian.

  22. I like what Bored in Vernal said, “Many prophecies of Isaiah are dual and can be applied to more than one time, situation or people.”

    We should liken Isaiah to ourselves. If something is meaningful to you great I can accept your interpretation but allow me mine. I personally would love to hear everybody’s interpretation and make up my own mind. We don’t need to be too dogmatic and say there is only one correct interpretation.
     

  23. “If your Sunday School teacher…(so and so)”  I don’t think this is a blog to support and assist our Sunday School teachers or at least provide relevant feedback on how they can improve.

    This can even be taken as isolating your Sunday School teacher’s mistakes and talking about it.  You may not agree with me, but that’s how it sounds.  You may be critiquing something isolated or may be critiquing the author of the Sunday School books.

    Please send your comments on lds.org so that action can be made about it if you feel that way.

  24. This was one of the most insightful articles I have ever read. Often you read an article and might learn a thing or two. This was packed with new insight. With all due respect to those who have posted below, this article does nothing to destroy faith. If anything it bolsters faith, as a number of the interpretations in this article point us to Jesus Christ. Nothing could be more insincere and false than just taking an interpretation and saying that since so-and-so said this about X, Y, or Z, it must be. And so we must not question. Especially when it’s a footnote. Footnotes are not scripture, (although they are in the scriptures.) Footnotes have often changed with different explanations (e.g. 2 Ne 3:24a).

    Also, it is impossible for me to read these verses and have any interpretation other than millennial. I’ve never heard of any nation who has yet turned their weapons of war into articles of agriculture.

    1. I found the article, myself, to harken back to the interpretations made by old Jewish rabbis and scholars, as well as to traditional ‘Christian’ practicers of hermaneutics. Many of their views, likewise, dismiss all others.

      The one thing I’ve discovered about scriptures, and a ‘correct’ interpretation and/or understanding of them. They are often concise, foretelling of sometimes one, other times two, other times several similar events that occur at different times.

      I find that many of the interpretations she says that are Mormon-centric may be as correct, perhaps even more so, than other “accepted” views of them.

      I would give the article and “corrections” a ‘D’ grade, myself.

  25. Elder Nelson stated in conference this past weekend: “Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains. The exodus of Mormon pioneers to the mountains of western America is a fulfilling saga of sacrifice and faith.”

    While I think the point of your statements above were that we shouldn’t limit ourselves to only viewing these as Mormon-centric prophesies, I think we harm ourselves in denying that some of these are legitimate fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. There is strength of testimony in knowing that the events of our Church were prophesied in the Bible. I don’t think we should hide or stop teaching that. We just need to also teach that prophecies can be fulfilled more than once and to be open to additional interpretation.

  26. Woah, biased alert!

    starting off with #1, claiming that “The word “mountain” as used in the Bible is a metaphor for “nation,” “government,” or “political system.” — sure thats SOMETIMES the case but more often we see “Mountain of the Lord”, “Holy Mountain” are interchangeable with TEMPLE, depending on the translation. compare KJV to others here, http://biblehub.com/isaiah/65-11.htm

    notice “the LORD and have forgotten his Temple” is also read, “forget my holy mountain.”

    or here: NET version, “I will bring them to my holy mountain; I will make them happy in the temple where people pray to me. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my temple will be known as a temple where all nations may pray.”

    compare with KJV which says “house of Prayer”.

    its no surprise that the holy episodes within the bible occurred atop mountains, away from the sullies of the world below. its symbolism of being above the world, and being closer to God is why the holy grounds of the temples, both ancient and modern, are directly related to mountains.

    ex 1: Transfiguration on the Mount. Jesus took up his Melchezidek priesthood holders to the top of the Mount where they were visited by holy resurrected beings, like moses and Elijah (if i remember correctly).

    ex 2: moses and the ten commandments.

    also, did you know the Mayans used the same comparison of Mountain with temple?
    the Maya never called their temples pyramids, castle, or temple.
    The word to make reference to their sacred buildings was Witz,
    Which means Mountain, sacred mountain or mountain of God.

    Its no surprise to LDS faithful that the hub of Christ’s restored Gospel, Utah, comes from a Ute Native American Word meaning “top of the mountains.” its also interpreted as “people of the Mountains”…

    keep in mind, the LDS are the ONLY TEMPLE CENTERED Christians on the planet, “temple” is synonymous with mountain, and they just happend to plant themselves in Utah.

    1. I think that hills, mounts, mountains, etc, might be compared with statistical graphing. The bell curve ‘norm’ kinduv looks like a ‘mount’, ‘hill’, or ‘mountain’, does it not? City centers, have buildings rising in a ‘downtown’ area that, overall, resembles a ‘mountain’. Nephi’s vision of the future as shown to him by the Spirit of God (Holy Ghost) and an angel, seems to have language where cities are built, and cover the land (maybe looking like a bunch of little hills, or ‘mountains’ where taller buildings, including temples and pyramids and the like, “congregate”.

      So, trying to tie these terms down to JUST the temple, etc, is perhaps way too limiting. Also, the references in the article above to the “temple mount” in Jerusalem, seems to forget that thee will yet be a “New Jerusalem”, where there will be a temple that the Lord comes to (also)!

  27. Woah, biased alert!

    starting off with #1, claiming that “The word “mountain” as used in the Bible is a metaphor for “nation,” “government,” or “political system.” — sure thats SOMETIMES the case but more often we see “Mountain of the Lord”, “Holy Mountain” are interchangeable with TEMPLE, depending on the translation. compare KJV to others here,http://biblehub.com/isaiah/65-

    notice “the LORD and have forgotten his Temple” is also read, “forget my holy mountain.”

    or here: NET version, “I will bring them to my holy mountain; I will make them happy in the temple where people pray to me. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my temple will be known as a temple where all nations may pray.” http://biblehub.com/isaiah/56-7.htm

    compare with KJV which says “house of Prayer”.

    its no surprise that many of the most holy episodes within the bible occurred atop mountains, away from the sullies of the world below. its symbolism of being above the world, and being closer to God is why the holy grounds of the temples, both ancient and modern, are directly related to mountains.

    ex 1: Transfiguration on the Mount. Jesus took up his Melchezidek priesthood holders to the top of the Mount where they were visited by holy resurrected beings, like moses and Elijah (if i remember correctly). God also spoke to them (another hint that God the Father and Jesus are separate beings, thats another “win” for the LDS)

    ex 2: moses and the ten commandments.

    ex 3: in the book of mormon, The Brother of Jared saw the hand of the Lord when he climbed to the top of the mountain.

    in each of these occurrences, the prophets/apostles left that HOLY GROUND visibly glowing themselves. This holy ground is mimicked in temples both ancient and modern.

    also, did you know the Mayans used the same comparison of Mountain with temple?
    the Maya never called their temples pyramids, castle, or temple.
    The word to make reference to their sacred buildings was Witz,
    Which means Mountain, sacred mountain or mountain of God.

    Its no surprise to LDS faithful that the hub of Christ’s restored Gospel, Utah, comes from a Ute Native American Word meaning “top of the mountains.” its also interpreted as “people of the Mountains”…

    keep in mind, the LDS are the ONLY TEMPLE CENTERED Christians on the planet, “temple” is synonymous with mountain, and they just happend to plant themselves in Utah.

      1. “Mounts” in “Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.”

        (Old Testament | Jeremiah 32:24)

        Might that not, possibly, alternately refer to soldiers or an army on horses?

  28. Lesson for all – don’t take anyone’s word for doctrine. Study it out in your own mind and then seek He whose work is to testify of truth. Just saying.

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