Fulfillment of Prophecy—The Desert Watered and the Wilderness Made Fruitful—Zion in the Valleys of the Mountains—Increase of Her Families Like a Flock—Her Peace, Plenty, and Prosperity
Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 30, 1875.
I will read the latter part of the 32nd chapter of Isaiah, commencing at the 13th verse. [The speaker read from the 13th to the 20th verse inclusive.]
It is very evident from these predictions of the Prophet Isaiah, that he, by that spirit which opens the future, was able to see the calamities that would come upon the house of Israel, and not only upon the people, but also upon the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, now called Palestine. A curse was predicted upon that land, that instead of bringing forth those things that were necessary to sustain a people, it should bring forth briars and thorns. We are also told that this desolation should remain for a long period, until the Spirit should be poured out from on high, until, in the purposes of the Most High, he should pour out his Spirit, and that would produce a great change upon that land, but until that time it was to be desolate. All the houses of joy in the Jewish city were to be desolate, and, as it is recorded in other passages in Isaiah, they were to be the desolations of many generations. Not the desolation of seventy years, as happened to Israel in their Babylonish captivity, which only comprised about one generation, but the desolations were to be for many generations, during which that land was to lie uncultivated. The latter rains were to be withheld, and the land was to become dry and parched up, bringing forth thorns and briars, and this was to continue until the Lord poured out his Spirit from on high.
It seems, then, that the Lord had a particular set time in his own mind, when he would again pour out his Spirit from on high upon his people, and more especially upon the house of Israel; and when that time arrives, there will not only be a great moral reformation among the people, but we are told that the revolution will extend to the land also, for the Prophet says here, that when the Spirit is poured out from on high, the wilderness shall be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be counted for a forest. What are we to understand by the prediction that the wilderness shall be a fruitful field when the Spirit is poured out from on high? We are to understand the same as is recorded in the thirty-fifth chapter of this prophecy, a small portion of which I will read. Speaking of the gathering of the Israelites in the latter times, he says—“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God.”
Now, to comprehend that this is to be a latter-day work, and not a work that was to take place soon after the prediction was uttered, we will read the following verses—“Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong and fear not; behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.”
That has never been fulfilled; but preparatory to the time when God will come with vengeance to sweep away wickedness from the face of the earth, the house of Israel will be gathered back to their own lands, and the people of God will be permitted to dwell in the wilderness, and that wilderness will become a fruitful field. It is even said that the desert should rejoice because of those who are gathered, and should blossom as the rose.
Now that is something that has been fulfilled during the last quarter of a century, here in this wilderness, barren, desert country. The great latter-day work has commenced, the kingdom of God has been reorganized on the earth; in other words, the Christian Church in all its purity and with all its ordinances, has been reorganized upon the face of the earth, and the time has at length come when the Spirit of God has been poured out from on high. Until that period arrived, there was no hope for Israel, no hope for the land of Palestine, no hope for the redemption of the tribes scattered in the four quarters of the earth; but when the wilderness should become as a fruitful field, when the spirit should again be poured out from on high, through the everlasting Gospel of the Son of God, then the people should be gathered together by the commandment of the Lord. As is here stated, his Spirit should be the instrument in gathering them together. “My mouth, it hath commanded this great gathering.” Then we may look out for a change upon the face of the land where this gathering takes place; we may look for the deserts to become like the garden of Eden, to blossom as the rose that blossoms in rich and fertile gardens, to blossom abundantly, and the desert to rejoice with joy and singing. We are to look also, soon after this period of time, for the great Redeemer to come. “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not, behold your God will come with vengeance; he will come and save you,” having reference to his second coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and with great glory, attended by all the angelic hosts; coming in flaming fire to consume the wicked from the face of the earth as stubble, to burn them up, both root and branch, while the Saints that are left will go forth upon the face of the earth and grow up as calves of the stall, and tread upon the ashes of the wicked.
The Prophet says that, when Jesus comes with vengeance and destroys the wicked, redeems the desert, and causes the wilderness to become a fruitful field, then the lame man shall leap as a hart, the tongue of the dumb shall speak, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert, and the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.
A great many people enquire of the Latter-day Saints—“Why is it that you do not heal up all of your sick and those who are afflicted among you?” This question is often asked. Says the enquirer—“If you are the true Christian Church; if God has indeed sent his angel from heaven, as you Latter-day Saints testify that he has; if he has indeed organized his kingdom on the earth for the last time, preparatory to the day of his coming; how is it, if you have those gifts that they had in the ancient Christian Church, that all your lame and blind and dumb, and those who are afflicted are not healed up?” I answer, for the same reasons that the ancient Christians were not all healed. If they had always been healed in ancient times in the Church, they would have been living now. The time came for them to die, and they did die, notwithstanding all the faith of the ancient Christians, and notwithstanding they had power to say to the lame—“Be thou healed,” and the lame would leap as a hart; notwithstanding they had power, in the name of Jesus, to command blindness to depart from the children of men, and to command all manner of plagues and pestilences and they were subject to their command in the name of Jesus, yet, after all, the ancient Christians died. Why did they not heal them, keep them along, and not let them die? Because that was not according to the order which God had es– tablished. When a man or woman is appointed unto death you, nor I, nor Peter, nor James, nor Paul, nor John, nor any other man of God can heal them in the name of Jesus. Why? Because God has otherwise determined. But that did not do away the gift of healing in ancient times; that gift was abundantly made manifest, notwithstanding there were many who were sick who were not healed.
So in the latter-day kingdom, when the spirit is poured out again from on high, when God begins to manifest these ancient gifts again among his people, and the blind among them are made to see, and the deaf to hear, and the tongue of the dumb is made to speak, and the lame is made to walk—when all these things begin to take place among the people of God, still there will be many, very many, that will not be healed, otherwise the prophecy will not be fulfilled.
At the very time the Savior makes his appearance and comes with vengeance, there will be the sick, the lame, the blind, the dumb, the maimed, and those afflicted with all manner of diseases. The Prophet says that when he comes and finds them in this condition, “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be unstopped, the tongue of the dumb speak, and the lame man shall leap like a hart,” &c. So there will be something left for Jesus to do, when he comes in flaming fire, to heal all the sick who have not faith to be healed prior to that time. But when Jesus comes, he brings all the Saints with him; he raises the righteous dead from their graves, not as he raised Lazarus into mortality, but he raises them up, male and female, with immortal bodies, to reign here on the earth during the period that he himself shall reign, during the great Sabbath of creation, the millennial reign of one thousand years.
Now, we would naturally suppose that during that period of a thousand years everybody would have the power of faith to be healed. But no, though the Son of God is there, though the righteous dead with their immortal bodies are there, yet old men will die even then, for it is according to the design and purpose of the great Jehovah. Though there will be no one to fall asleep in infancy; though none of the youth will die in that day; though there will be no middle-aged persons upon whom death will lay his powerful grasp, yet the aged, or, as Isaiah says in his last chapter but one—“The days of my people shall be as the days of a tree, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. A child shall not die until he is a hundred years old.” We would naturally suppose that, the Lord being here, all the resurrected Saints being here, he would not let them die when they become old; but he lets them pass away according to the decree that was made when man fell and was cast out from the presence of the Lord. They must die, the penalty must come upon them.
But with regard to the wilderness that is here spoken of—“Water shall break forth in the desert, springs of living water, streams also in the desert, and the parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water”—have you seen anything of the nature of this prediction fulfilled? Latter-day Saints, how was it with this wilderness twenty-eight years ago this summer when the pioneers entered this land, and when several thousands followed them in the autumn of that same year? What did you, who were appointed to explore the country, find? Many places parched up, looking as though there had been no water or rain from heaven for many years. You began to form your settlements on the streams that ran down from the melting snows in the mountains; and in a very short period of time you began to send forth your settlements, north and south and west. Occasionally you would find a little spring that would break out from under the threshold of the mountain, sufficient to water perhaps an acre of ground, and only one family could go there and settle. What do you find now? The same streams that would only water one acre of ground then—you know I am speaking to people who know for themselves, for they have seen it—the water in those very localities is now sufficient to water from one hundred to five hundred acres. What do you think of that? Have you realized that the hand of the Lord is with you?—that he has indeed fulfilled that which he spoke by the mouth of his ancient Prophet, when he said—“For in the wilderness waters shall break forth and streams in the desert, etc.?” He meant just what he said, and you have come hither and proved his words to be true.
I recollect traveling through this country, some three or four hundred miles, in the early days, soon after we had begun to branch out from this city to the north and the south, I found sometimes on a little stream of water from two to three families, and one or two of them would be talking about breaking up and going elsewhere, because there was not sufficient water to enable them to raise what was necessary to sustain themselves. Now we visit the same settlements and what do we find?—flourishing villages containing from thirty to fifty families. What is the matter? The Lord has fulfilled that which he spoke, causing streams in the desert.
I recollect that the pioneers, in the month of July, 1847, went over onto the north point of the west mountain to see the Great Salt Lake, to see what it looked like, what was the nature of the water, &c. We went to a place that has been called for many years “Black Rock,” a rock that is out in the lake a few rods from the shore. We concluded that we would go out to this rock to see what the depth of the water was beyond it. We did so, on dry ground, the waters of the lake being then several feet below the place where we walked to the Black Rock. What do we see now, and what have we seen for several years past? The path on which the pioneers traveled on foot to Black Rock is now covered with water ten feet deep. Showing that Salt Lake has risen some twelve or fifteen feet during the last quarter of a century. What is the meaning of this? Can you tell? Says one—“I should have thought the lake would have become lower.” That would be a very natural supposition; for our people have gone to work and made scores and scores of canals to carry on to their farms the water from the mountains that formerly ran into the lake, and hence the lake has had very little water running into it compared with what it would have had if the streams from the mountains had not been so diverted. But God has said that he would make the wilderness a fruitful field, and streams in the desert, and he has fulfilled his promise.
Pioneers, if any of you are here today, let me ask you a question—When you came down from the mouth of Emigration Canyon, where Camp Douglas is now situated, into this region of country, in July, 1847, what did the ground appear like? Did you dig down and make any experiments? “O yes, in many places.” How far did you dig down? “Some of us dug many feet to see if there was any appearance of moisture.” Did you find anything? What was the appearance of the soil? It looked as though there had been no rain for many generations. What do we find now? We find this same parched-up soil, for some five square miles, where Salt Lake City is located, converted into fruitful gardens, planted with apple, pear, peach, plum, and other kinds of fruit trees adapted to the climate, and in the spring season of the year, in the months of May and June, this locality is like one vast garden full of blossoms, so much so that strangers are astonished beyond measure to see such a large extent of country so much like a garden.
Now let us see what Isaiah says about it, for he looked upon it as well as you, if he did live twenty-five hundred years ago. “The Lord shall comfort Zion, he will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.” Indeed! Did you see it, Isaiah, as well as the people that live in our day? Did you see a people go into the desert and offer up thanksgiving and the voice of melody? Did you see that desert and wilderness redeemed from its sterile condition and become like the garden of Eden? “O yes,” says Isaiah, “I saw it all, and I left it on record for the benefit of the generation that should live some two or three thousand years after my day.” But Isaiah, are we to understand that the people are to be gathered together in that desert, and that the gathered people are to be instrumental in the hands of God, in redeeming that desert? Yes, Isaiah has told us all this. We will go back to what we read in his thirty-second chapter—“Until the spirit be poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.” What fruitful field? Why, the wilderness that will be converted into a fruitful field. “The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance forever; and my people shall dwell in peaceable habitations, and in sure dwellings and in quiet resting places.”
Was that the way we dwelt in Missouri or Illinois? Did we live in quietness and with assurance continually in those States? Oh, no, we were tossed about; as Isaiah says—“tossed to and fro and not comforted.” That was the case with Zion while down in the States, and that was in accordance with a modern revelation, in which, speaking of Zion, the Lord says—“You shall be persecuted from city to city and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive their inheritance. But when the time should come for Zion to go up into the wilderness things would be changed; then my people shall dwell in peaceable habitations, in sure dwelling places, and in quietness and assurance.”
Will they have any capital city when they get up into the mountain desert? O, yes. Isaiah says here—“When it shall hail, coming down on the forest, the city shall be low in a low place.” How often have I thought of this since we laid out this great city, twenty-eight years ago! How often have this people reflected in their meditations upon the fulfillment of this prophecy! They have seen, on this eastern range of mountains and on the range of mountains to the west of this valley, snow and storms pelting down with great fury, as though winter in all its rigor and ferocity had overtaken the mountain territory, and at the same time, here, “low in a low place,” was a city, organized at the very base of these mountains, enjoying all the blessings of a spring temperature, the blessings of a temperature not sufficient to cut off our vegetation. What a contrast! “When it shall hail, coming down on the forest, the city shall be low in a low place.” That could not be Jerusalem, no such contrast in the land of Palestine round about Jerusalem! It had reference to the latter-day Zion, the Zion of the mountains.
Says one—“Is there anything in Isaiah that speaks of Zion being located in a high or elevated region in the mountains?” Oh yes, let us read and see what he says about it in his fortieth chapter: “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God.” Then he goes on to speak of the second coming of the Son of Man, and he says—“Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The same as you have made, or assisted in making, the great highway through this desert region, and constructed highways here in the desert called the iron railroad. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Says one—“That meant his first coming, John the Baptist, etc.” Let us see. “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be laid low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places be made plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
Did that mean his first coming? Was the glory of God then revealed? Did all flesh see it together? No; it has reference to the second advent, the coming of the Lord in his glory and in his power, when every eye shall see him. Then the mountains shall be laid low, then the valleys shall be raised up, then the rough places will be made smooth, then the glory of God will be made manifest to all flesh living, and every eye—the wicked and the righteous—will behold him, and they also who pierced him.
But before that day what will take place? We will read the 9th verse in the same chapter. “O Zion”—something about Zion now, before the Lord comes—“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountains.” Did you come up into these high mountains, you people of the latter-day Zion? What did you come here for? Because Isaiah predicted that this was the place you should come to, you should get up into the high mountain. He foretold it, and you have fulfilled it. “O Zion, that bringest good tidings.” What good tidings? What tidings have you been declaring the last forty-five years to the nations and kingdoms of the earth? What have you testified to, you missionaries? Your missionaries have gone from nation to nation and from kingdom to kingdom, proclaiming to the people that God has sent his angel from heaven with the everlasting Gospel to be preached unto all people upon the face of the whole earth. This is what you have been proclaiming. Is not the everlasting Gospel glad tidings to the children of men? I think it is, and especially when it is brought by an angel to prepare the way for the great and glorious day of the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is good tidings that people who receive this everlast– ing Gospel, are commanded to get up into the high mountain. You have fulfilled it, you have been at it now for twenty-eight years, coming up from the eastern slope, from the great Atlantic seaboard, and gradually rising and ascending until you have located yourselves in a place upwards of four thousand feet above the level of the sea. And here in the Zion of the mountains you have founded a great Territory, with some two hundred towns and villages, with your capital city “low in a low place,” where the temperature of spring prevails, while all the rigors of an arctic winter are beating upon the tops of the mountains in our immediate vicinity.
But lest any should suppose that this getting up into the mountains was a former-day work, let me read the next verse—“Behold the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him. Behold his reward is with him and his work before him.” Not coming to be smitten and spat upon, and despised, and to hang upon a cross, as was the case in ancient days; but the Lord God is to come with a strong hand, and his arm is to rule in that day as a king, as a lawgiver, as a mighty potentate to reign over all the kingdoms of the world, which will then become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, I mean that portion of them that are not swept off with devouring fire.
But I said that this people, called the Zion of the mountains, that were to cause the wilderness to blossom as the rose, were to be a people gathered from the four quarters of the earth. Can it be proved? Yes. I will refer you to the 107th Psalm, where it is said—“Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is God, and his mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered them out of the lands from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south”—a gathered people. Let us see what this people were to do. “They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way. They found no city to dwell in.” I wish you had all been with the pioneers in the year 1847. When we started out, in the dead of the winter of 1846, upon the prairies of Iowa, after leaving the great Mississippi, and getting out about fifty miles from that river, we did not as much as find a foot track, and no signs of a human habitation. We wandered over that uninhabited territory some four hundred miles, until we reached the Pottawattamie and Omaha tribes of Indians, then located on the Missouri River. Then, early the next spring, we started forth (one hundred and forty-three pioneers), with our faces still westward, and went up on the north side of the Platte River several hundred miles. Did we find a road most of that distance? No road at all. We found tens of thousands of buffalo and their paths; we found a great many hostile tribes of Indians, who sought very diligently to take away our horses and mules, and to cripple us in this manner. But we continued our journey, and at length came through these mountains, after having crossed at the South Pass, and come forth to a little fort called Fort Bridger. We then started into an unknown country, still bending our course southwesterly, for there was a rumor, and not only a rumor, but it had been testified, that there was a great inland sea, called the Salt Lake, in the midst of the great American desert. We had heard this rumor, and had read some of Fremont’s travels in the midst of hostile Indian tribes. We came forth into this desert, wandering in the wilderness in a solitary way. Who were they that thus wandered? People that had been gathered but from the east and the west, from the north and the south, redeemed from the hand of those who sought to destroy them. “They wandered in the wilderness, in a solitary way, and they found no city to dwell in.” How different this was from the ancient Israelites when they entered the land of Palestine! They found numerous cities, built by the former inhabitants of the land. Jerusalem was a city that had been known for a long period before the Israelites went into that land, built up by its former heathen inhabitants. They found large vineyards, with grapes and fruit in great abundance, and cities, towns, and villages spread throughout the land, which the Lord God gave them for their possession. How different was that from the latter-day work, when the redeemed of the Lord should gather from the four quarters of the earth, and wander in a wilderness in a solitary way; they were to find no city to dwell in.
Did we suffer anything? Yes. Did the old Prophet speak of these sufferings? Yes. “Hungry and thirsty, their souls fainted in them; then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses, and he led them forth by the right way.” Yes, when our food gave out; when the crickets came in here by armies; when tons and tons of them poured in on the little crops first planted, ready to devour everything before them, and we were living on quarter rations, what did we do? We cried unto the Lord in our distress, in our hunger and thirst, believing that he would have compassion on us, and open some way for our relief, and he did so—he sent forth large flocks of gulls that lit down upon these crickets and devoured them up, and thus the crops of the people were saved.
“Well,” says one, “does this have reference to the same desert and wilderness that you have been reading about?” Let us see. “Let them exalt him, also, in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. He turns rivers into the wilderness, and water springs into dry grounds, and a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.” Now notice the next prediction—“He turns the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into water springs, and there he makes the hungry to dwell.” What for? “That they may prepare a city for habitation.” Though we did not find any cities already built here, we had to prepare one, and we have done so, and a very fine one indeed it is, and the wonder and astonishment of strangers who come here and see what has been done in the midst of a desert. The Lord predicted it, and you are the ones who have fulfilled it. “That they may prepare a city for habitation.”
What else? Were they to be lazy and indolent? No. That they may “sow fields and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly, and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.” Strangers, if you want to know how fast we are multiplying, just go through our settlements, and look at the numerous children in our Sabbath schools; you never heard of such an increase and multiplication, and the Lord foretold that it would be so.
There is another very curious thing concerning this people who should come into the desert wilderness. Isaiah says—“He setteth the poor on high from affliction.” Now, a great many of this people were very poor on arriving here; they had been robbed five times of all they had, and driven out. After having been thus plundered, we came here very poor; but the Lord “setteth the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.” What a wonderful prophecy this is! A poor man to have not only a family like a flock, but even families. If you do not believe it strangers, go through our Territory, and see the large families, and in some cases you will find in the same vicinity six or eight different families, with their houses and farms, all belonging to one man, and he perhaps a poor man when he came here. “He setteth the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. The righteous shall see it and rejoice.” What! The righteous see this and have joy in it? So says the prophecy. “But,” says one, “I should have thought everyone would have been disgusted with it.” To think that a man should have a family or families like a flock, while the righteous see it and rejoice! What else? “And all iniquity shall stop her mouth.” That has not yet been fulfilled. “Whosoever is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving kindness of the Lord.” That is, those who observe these things are called a wise people, those who have gathered from the east, and the west, and the north, and the south, that wander in the wilderness in a solitary place, finding no city to dwell in, hungry and thirsty, poor, stripped, robbed, plundered, forced into the desert, driven by their enemies, that very people should multiply exceedingly, the families of the poor man should become like a flock, and the people should rejoice in the midst of all their afflictions, while all the wicked should eventually stop their mouths. That will be their destiny sooner or later.
We will now return to our text, the 32nd of Isaiah—“Blessed are ye that sow by the side of all waters, and send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.” Why did Isaiah say that a blessing should be given to a certain people that should happen to sow by the side of streams of water? Why did he not bless the others who lived on the hills and mountains, as they do all over our States and many other countries of the globe? Because he saw, in looking at this people, that they, in their location, were to go into a desert, and the redeemed of the Lord would be under the necessity of getting along the sides of streams; they could not go out several miles from a stream or spring and trust to the rains of heaven; no, the rains do not come here, or did not when we first located, so as to bless those who would naturally desire to reside far from a stream of water, but we were all under the necessity of getting down close to the side of some stream of water. What for? That it would be handy to build little canals to get water out to throw over the land. “Blessed are they who sow by the side of all waters and send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.”
We have read these words of the ancient Prophet, in order that the Latter-day Saints may call to mind how completely the Lord is fulfilling every jot and every tittle, so far as time will permit, of that which he caused to be spoken, by the power of the Holy Ghost, through his ancient Prophets. Strangers think it very curious that this people should have such large families. If such were not the case, we would not be the people predicted about that were to be so blessed; but we are that people, and it is in vain for us to undertake to turn the hand of the Lord to the right or to the left. He has his own eternal course to pursue, and all his purposes he will fulfil, and there is no power beneath the heavens that can stay his almighty hand. He will fulfill that which he has spoken, in order that there may be no room for infidelity in the four quarters of the earth. There are a great many infidels nowadays, and I do not wonder at it. Looking at modern Christendom, without any Prophets, inspiration, gifts, or the ancient powers of the Gospel, it is enough to make three quarters or nine-tenths of the people infidel in regard to religion. But the Lord is going to leave the people without any excuse, for every jot and tittle of that which he spoke by the mouths of his ancient Prophets he will bring to pass in its time and in its season. Zion is destined to fill the mountains in the last days; Zion will become, as Isaiah says, in his 60th chapter, a great people. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. The Lord shall bring it forth in its time, says Isaiah, and in the same chapter he speaks of the future glory of that people, and declares that while darkness should cover the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, Zion should arise and shine. These are the words of the Prophet—“Zion shall arise and shine, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon her. The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”
Inquires one—“Is Zion going to become popular, so that Gentiles and kings and great men will come to her light?” Yes, certainly; and not only Gentiles, kings and great men, but many of all the nations of the earth have got to come to Zion, and, according to this very chapter, that nation and kingdom that will not serve Zion shall perish, and be utterly wasted away. Has there ever been such a people as this since the day Isaiah lived? There never has; but such a people and such a time are coming, and Zion will be that people. “The Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Thy gates shall be open continually, that men may bring the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.”
It will be a time of great plenty of the precious metals. In those days God will give the keys of the treasures of the earth and he will open them up to the people, Isaiah says, in this connection—“For brass I will bring gold, for iron I will bring silver, for wood brass, and for stones iron.” Gold and silver will be so plentiful that they will be used for the pavement of streets. But the covetous may say—“That will be a fine chance for us to steal; if you get pavements made with gold and silver we shall be along after them.” I think you will not. Why? Because God will be there, and I do not think you will have any chance to steal; for it is said in the fourth chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, that in that day every dwelling place in Mount Zion and all her assemblies shall have a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night. Do you think you would like to go into a city where every dwelling place is lighted up with a pillar of fire by night, and undertake to dig up the pavements? I think you would not have the heart to do it, you would fear that light would go forth from the presence of the Lord, and consume you, as it did many rebellious and wicked ones among the Israelites. Gold will be very good for pavements, if they are only constructed properly; and Mount Zion will be a very beautiful city, one of the most beautiful that has ever been on the face of the whole earth. It is spoken of by the Psalmist David, in the 50th psalm and also in another psalm—“Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”
You Christians quote the Psalmist David, and sing about this in your chapels and meetinghouses, and you sing about the desert becoming like the Garden of Eden, and joy and gladness being found therein; you have it all fixed up so that it makes melody in the ears of your respective congregations. You sing about the fulfillment of these prophecies, but let a man of God be sent forth by the inspiration and power of the Almighty to warn you concerning the great day of the Lord that is coming; and concerning the fulfillment of these prophecies, and you will gnash your teeth upon him. He reads to you the same things that you sing, and brings forth the same testimony and the same Scriptures that are, every Sabbath day, repeated in your hearing, and yet you stone him and close the doors of your synagogues and chapels against him, and cry “False Prophets,” “delusions,” “false teachers,” and every evil epithet you can possibly invent to prejudice the minds of the people against him. Why? Because he comes to you with the truth; because he comes to you as a messenger from heaven; because he comes to you, testifying that the Lord God has spoken by his own voice, that he has sent his angel with the everlasting Gospel to be proclaimed to the nations as a preparatory work for the great day of bringing in the fullness of the Gentiles and the salvation and gathering of all the house of Israel. You cannot bear the truth, you will not hear it, and you cast out the servants of God, and stir up prejudice against them. Amen.