It seems no coincidence that Isaiah’s end-time message should come to light in all its literary, theological, and prophetic glory at the very time truth is at a premium in the world—when so much of what passes for the truth consists of but a cunningly conceived façade concealing layers of lies, lies, and more lies. Said Paul of our day, “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11–12).
The assault on members of the church from within and from without is unmitigated and waxing ever more paradoxical. On the one hand, if one speaks the truth as found in the Holy Scriptures, he may be disciplined for things those in leadership hadn’t themselves considered or searched out. On the other, expatriates from the church offer “comfort” to conflicted members with a deceptive assemblage of ninety-nine truths and a single untruth. Thus, Satan puts them between a rock and a hard place, which God turns into a test of his saints.
What shall either side of the divide—unrighteous leadership or self-righteous dissidents—do when God sends “righteousness” down from heaven and “truth” out of the earth “to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth” (Moses 7:62)? What shall they do when records that were sealed up by prophets whom God had “shown all things . . . come forth in their purity, according to the truth which is in the Lamb, in the own due time of the Lord, unto the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 14:25–26)?
Either they will be among “they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived,” or among the foolish who are cast “into unquenchable fire” in the day God makes “an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked” (Doctrine & Covenants 45:57; 63:54). Those who have searched the words of Isaiah using the literary tools now available—who understand them as a standard of truth God has predestined for our day—liken both outcomes to ourselves, not just one.
How could we possibly accept the things God has held back, for example, if we still take lightly what we have received (Doctrine & Covenants 84:54–55)? How aren’t we under condemnation if we say to Isaiah’s prophecies, “We have received, and we need no more” (2 Nephi 28:27, 29)? If the Book of Mormon forms but “a lesser part of the things which [Jesus] taught the people,” how shall we not be numbered among those who “contend against the word of the Lord” when he reveals “the greater things” (3 Nephi 26:8–11; Ether 4:8)?
At the heart of this issue is that Isaiah’s words are by far the most relevant in all of scripture to both our current spiritual condition—anticipating the end-time mission God has prepared for us—and the political situation in the world now unfolding before our eyes. As Jesus calls Isaiah’s words “great” (3 Nephi 23:1–2)—and applies them specifically to us—there can be little doubt that those who will contend against “the greater things” when they come forth are many who today spurn Isaiah’s words as God’s voice of truth for our day.