In this modern age, when materialism, idolatry, perversions, and telestial trivia seduce the masses, one can foresee how the endtime Gentiles’ all-is-well attitude of self-sufficiency, indifference, conceit, and hypocrisy might in the end evolve into priestcraft and the murderous persecution of souls who hold fast to the truth (3 Nephi 16:10). Like the Zoramites, who had the word of God preached to them (Alma 31:1–29), the unrepentant Gentiles “shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts . . . above all the people of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 16:10). Their indignation at being exposed as those whom God dooms to destruction—in the pattern of others of his people who became prosperous and succumbed to pride—will amount to little more than exasperation as they seek to shift their burden of guilt onto those Gentiles who repent who embrace their role as saviors to the house of Israel. Thus will the vexation of the Gentiles who are “cut off” become a refiners’ fire for God’s “saints” or sanctified ones.
Because the ecclesiastical and political establishments of God’s endtime people closely parallel one another in the Book of Isaiah—so that the kinds of activities characterizing one institution match the other’s—a nationwide corruption marks that time. Consequently, just as Jehovah permitted a “lying spirit” to speak in the mouths of prophets anciently (1 Kings 22:22), so he does at the end of the world (Isaiah 9:14–16; 32:6; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3–12), causing unwary souls to stumble. An analogous instance occurred in 70 A.D. among the Jews in their corrupt state, whom the Jewish historian Josephus describes as overcome by a kind of delusion before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and its temple (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 1:7:5; 6:5:2–3). Jesus’ prediction of the end of the world, that “for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22), infers that persons on Isaiah’s son/servant level will suffer inordinately as they complete their descent phase toward transitioning to the level of seraphs.
And yet, in spite of the people’s wickedness that brought upon them God’s retribution, temple ordinances, celebration of feastdays, and other religious observances continued to the very end at both the Babylonian and Roman destructions of Jerusalem. In other words, to God’s people themselves—right up to their demise—their wickedness wasn’t at all apparent. Like Laman and Lemuel, they believed all was well: “We know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, we know that they are a righteous people” (1 Nephi 17:22). Like Laman and Lemuel, however, the people at Jerusalem had not “inquired of the Lord” or “searched the scriptures” as God commands all men (1 Nephi 15:9–10; Jacob 7:23). They were unable, therefore, to see through the lie of “All is well in Zion” (cf. 2 Nephi 28:21, 25) but instead stood to “perish” (1 Nephi 15:10).
In our day, when what passes for the fulness of the gospel consists of but its basic principles, when gospel teachings center around admonitions to “choose the right,” and when no one addresses imminent world events because no one knows, then religion has yielded to “a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5)—lacking the wherewithal to withstand the tide of evil. As the prophet Joseph Smith cautioned, “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation” (Lectures on Faith 6:7). As for upcoming world events, Israel’s God asks, “You have heard the whole vision; how is it you do not proclaim it?” (Isaiah 48:6). For the Ephraimite Gentiles, the effect of not searching Isaiah’s vision of “the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 1:1; 46:10) has indeed caused his writings to “become as the words of a sealed book” (Isaiah 29:11). Little did we anticipate that its unsealing would be so damning of us!
(Taken from Endtime Prophecy: A Judeo-Mormon Analysis, p 445–447.)