When Isaiah asks God’s people of our day, “You have heard the whole vision [hazut kullah]; how is it you do not proclaim it?” (Isaiah 48:6), he is predicting the Ephraimite Gentiles’ neglect of his end-time prophecies whose understanding would most empower them through the time the world has now entered. When he adds, “For you the sum of vision has become as the words of a sealed book” (Isaiah 29:11), he is referring to the things in his vision that the Lord commanded him to record in a “book for the end-time” (Isaiah 30:8).
For all the church’s publications, manuals, and study programs, it appears no one has dared to “proclaim” the words of Isaiah Jesus commanded his people to search diligently (3 Nephi 23:1) because they don’t understand them. Not having undertaken serious study of them—and rejected them in instances where they were made plain—they have confined themselves to passages about fasting and Sabbath keeping or interpreted them from a historical or moralistic standpoint. As a result, people are woefully unprepared for these times.
The words of Isaiah are not to pick and choose from. Because they consist of a single end-time “vision” (Isaiah 1:1)—in which the historical parts are an allegory of the end-time—they must be viewed as a whole. Singling out parts of it without connecting them to the whole is to “pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 13:27). For this, “the wise, and the learned, and the rich that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts” are responsible (2 Nephi 28:15).
A dramatic change needs to occur, in other words, for Nephi’s prophecy to be realized that “In the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass,” and also that “they shall be of great worth unto them in the last days; for in that day shall they understand them” (2 Nephi 25:7–8). Isaiah concurs with this when he says, “In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book and the eyes of the blind see out of gross darkness” (Isaiah 29:18)—referring to his own book.
Evidently, however, it isn’t the ecclesiastical institution that will help the blind and deaf of God’s people to see and hear the words of the Book of Isaiah. Rather, the opposite is true as it has been a very cause of such blindness and deafness by relying on academics—the wise and learned—to interpret Isaiah’s words. Indeed, only certain “men” and “children of men” (2 Nephi 25:7–8)—those who search Isaiah’s words diligently for themselves—will understand them. Knowing that no other process works, Jesus made it a commandment.