Today’s Keyword: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”

I got an email from a reader who has mastered the art and science of keyword searching.

I would normally include an exchange like this in the Notable Email Series but this thread is so long, and my next part of that series already has to much content in it anyway so I have decided to just make a post out of this thread.

I want to share our exchange to once again show how useful keyword searches in conjunction with CONVERSATIONS with fellow believers can be in searching the scriptures.

I believe that is why the Lord has said, that when two or three are gathered in his name, he would be in their midst…. what else would two are three gathered in his name be doing besides pondering his words in conversation or ordinance???

I feel that such keyword searches and conversations can be very helpful in connecting pieces of the puzzle with regard to the sending forth of the gospel message and the events of prophecy. They can sometimes break down some false interpretations that we have previously arrived at.

I know there are lots of readers of this blog that do keyword searches.

Hopefully this post will encourage and motivate those that don’t already discuss keyword searches with friends.

His First Email (9:21 AM)

Hey Watcher

I’ve been reading and studying and came across a few interesting discoveries I want to share with you.

When I do a word search for “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” it shows up in the scriptures 11 times.

ALL but one of them have reference to the 3rd Watch when read in context.

The ONLY OT reference is Isa. 40:3-5

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

5 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.

There are three NT references to that phrase and they are found in Matthew, Mark and Luke.  However, they ALL refer to Esaias.

My thought is that this could be the NT or Greek equivalent to the OT Hebrew version of Isaiah or this could be a completely different prophet whose writings we don’t have.

D&C 76:100

100 These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;

D&C 84:11-13

11 And Gad under the hand of Esaias;

12 And Esaias received it under the hand of God.

13 Esaias also lived in the days of Abraham, and was blessed of him—

I’m going to go with the thought that it’s the NT form of the OT prophet Isaiah.

John the Baptist (himself) and Nephi are the only two prophets that make mention that John the Baptist is the one fulfilling this prophecy found in Isa. 40:3.

However, when read in context it’s clear that JtB crying repentance in the wilderness is a shadow fulfillment and NOT the literal fulfillment.

Here’s what I find interesting.

Given that this is a future prophecy, is JtB the one to fulfill it or is it JS?

I know you’ve done a lot of writing about this lately, and it’s caused me to ponder and reflect on the fact that the JST restores two significant insights.

1) JST John 1:20-28

20 And this is the record of John [the Baptist], when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem, to ask him; Who art thou?

21 And he confessed, and denied not that he was Elias; but confessed, saying; I am not the Christ.

22 And they asked him, saying; How then art thou Elias? And he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him saying, Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

23 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we man give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

24 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as saith the prophet Esaias.

25 And they who were sent were of the Pharisees.

26 And they asked him, and said unto him; Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias who was to restore all things, neither that prophet? [Three prophets here or two?]

27 John answered them, saying; I baptize with water, but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

28 He it is of whom I bear record. He is that prophet, even Elias, who, coming after me, is preferred before me [dual fulfillment? Christ and JS?], whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, or whose place I am not able to fill; for he shall baptize, not only with water, but with fire, and with the Holy Ghost.

2) JST Lk 3:4-11 restores the missing part of the Isa. 40:3 prophecy.

4 As it is written in the book of the prophet Esaias; and these are the words, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight.

5 For behold, and lo, he [the Lord] shall come, as it is written in the book of the prophets, to take away the sins of the world, and to bring salvation unto the heathen nations,to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel;

6 Yea, even the dispersed and afflicted; and also to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles;

7 And to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth; to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead, and to ascend up on high, to dwell on the right hand of the Father, [1st Watch ministry]

8 Until the fullness of time, and the law and the testimony shall be sealed, and the keys of the kingdom shall be delivered up again unto the Father;

9 To administer justice unto all; to come down in judgment upon all, and to convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds, which they have committed; and all this in the day that he shall come; [3rd Watch]

10 For it is a day of power; yea, every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;

11 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

I found this prophecy so interesting that I decided to do a key word search in wilderness. What I found BLEW my mind.

Because there were 531 references in the complete standard works I limited my search to just the D&C. This yielded me 16 verses.

Here’s what I found completely AMAZING

As I’ve learned from you the Church came out of the wilderness in 1830 and went back into the wilderness in 1834.

In 1829, the Lord revealed in D&C 5:14 that his church was beginning to come forth out of the wilderness.

14 And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.

And by Oct 1830 it was FULLY out of the wilderness as proclaimed by D&C 33:5

5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.

But by 1836, JS is petitioning the Lord to bring forth again the church out of the wilderness as found in the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer in D&C 109:73.

73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;

All of this you’ve documented so clearly and it was prophesied in Rev. 12.  

Now for the good stuff…

We learn in D&C 86:3 that the tares are responsible for driving the church into the wilderness.

3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.

And while the church is in the wilderness the Lord can only be heard, NOT seen as D&C 88:66.

66 Behold, that which you hear is as the voice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is Spirit; my Spirit is truth; truth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound.

FIRST, this should SHUT DOWN any claims that ANYONE has that the Lord has appeared unto them or that they have entered into His rest.

That goes for DS or ANY of the Apostles called AFTER Dec. 4, 1834. Which means that the apostles called Feb. 14, 1835 on to those called today have NOT entered into His rest.

How can I be so certain?

Because the Lord himself has said so. You see, the term wilderness isn’t a physical location as I have always thought. It’s a station or standing for the church as in D&C 84:23-24.

23 Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God;

24 But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory.

It’s also used ambiguously in D&C 128:20.

20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book! The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light! The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!

The voice of the Lord, because he can’t be see while in the wilderness and Peter, James and John where in the wilderness or the church was in the wilderness because they appeared in 1829, BEFORE the church had come out of the wilderness.

So the question becomes, who will be the one crying in the wilderness before the Lord comes?

JtB clearly cried in the wilderness before Christ set up his kingdom during the 1st Watch.

Now that the church is in the wilderness, who will declare repentance?

Clearly these scriptures in D&C 49:24 and D&C 33:8-11 have NEW meaning and context.

24 But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

8 Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness.

9 Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you.

10 Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;

11 Yea, repent and be baptized, every one of you, for a remission of your sins; yea, be baptized even by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost.

God Bless! Your brother in the Lord,

 

My Response (10:23 AM)

Unbe-frekin-lievable

What a great and extensive keyword search on “prepare ye the way of the Lord” and on “wilderness“!!!!!!!

Couple questions-

Do you feel your keyword search provides clarity to the following passage in the Book of Mormon?

22 And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.

 23 And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.

 24 But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me.

IMO the context of what is being said in that chapter, Christ was explaining that his visit to the Nephites as a collective, would be IN PERSON. He would speak face to face with them.

As a collective group of people they would both see and hear him.

The gentile church in the 3rd watch however would not literally see him and hear his voice like the Nephites did.

But why?

Because the gentiles in the 2nd watch would be in the “WILDERNESS of darkness” per your keyword search. (We know that Christ destroyed the more wicked before descending to visit the Nephites however in modern revelation he revealed that in the 2nd watch he would allow the wheat and tares to grow together until the harvest was fully ripe)

Yes, a few selected individual gentiles of the 2nd watch had visions and saw Christ and received revelations to lay the foundation of the future marvelous work, however , as a collective group, the gentiles of the third watch did not enjoy see and hearing the voice of Christ as the Nephites did. They had to be converted through the written testimony of the previous watch saints.

One more question for you..

I have hinted in previous posts that JtB’s mission may not be complete and that just as he prepared the way in both the first watch and then prepared the way again in the second watches by restoring the priesthood keys, he might also act as a preparer in some fashion once again in the 3rd watch in relation to the return of the first laborers of the last kingdom and final gathering that will be conducted by Joseph Smith, who is designated as Elijah the restorer.

After all, the JST strongly implies that everyone must accept JtB testimony or they cannot fully have a testimony of Christ… of course it could be referring to his written testimony… but it could be referring to his literal appearance to testify and prepare the way…

I have personally not reached a definite conclusion on this issue. But it makes sense that many if not all previous prophets of past dispensations that are not in the City of Enoch that will descend to meet the kingdom of God on earth, will return to play a role in the Marvelous Work prior to the kingdom of God on earth ascending to meet the kingdom of Heaven.

Does the keyword search that you did convince you that JtB could yet play a role or do you think his mission is finished?

One more thought-

If in fact the gentile collective of the 2nd watch remained in the wilderness of spiritual darkness, and if the descriptives in section 109 about how the gentiles will come out of spiritual darkness in the 3rd watch are literal and true, which of course they are, then that leaves no room or need for anyone claiming to be God’s servant during the interim time period, as you have already implied.

According to section 109, it is Joseph and his brethren of the 2nd watch that finally have their garments made pure in the 3rd Watch

73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;

74 And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth;

75 That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord;

76 That our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy for all our sufferings.

The first elders of the last kingdom had already had their garments made pure early in the second watch, (see D&C 88:85.)

Nevertheless, as documented in 109, they will need to have their garments made pure once again upon their return in the 3rd watch.

That is yet another testament to substantiate the truthfulness of the atonement statute prophecy and the fact that God’s servants in the 2nd watch became clean, then offered themselves as an intercession, taking upon themselves the sins of the people like Moses had previously done, and then they eventually will become clean once again upon completion of their offering and commission in the 3rd watch. [BTW if you are reading this searcher, that is something you might want to consider for inclusion into your upcoming book, ;)]

His Replay (11:25 AM)

Watcher,

To answer your question about the difference between the Nephites during Christ’s visitation and the Gentiles of the 3rd Watch, I believe JST Luke 3:5-6 explains that.

5 For behold, and lo, he shall come, as it is written in the book of the prophets, to take away the sins of the world, and to bring salvation unto the heathen nations, to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel;

6 Yea, even the dispersed and afflicted [during the 1st Watch]; and also to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles;[3rd Watch]

 Earlier in that same chapter of 3 Ne. you shared Christ tells them that they were “separated” or “dispersed” from them at Jerusalem.

19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.

I think I vaguely remember you writing somewhere that the Nephites would return and minister unto the Gentiles before the 3rd Watch or at the beginning of the 3rd Watch. A fulfillment that the Gentiles shall have their word. As one that sleeps and speaks from the dust. Maybe a lot more literal than most have assumed. 🙂

As for your question about JtB, after reading JST John 1 again in conjunction with JST Lk 3, I would say yes, very likely he will be the one crying in the wilderness to repent and make the Lord’s paths straight.

24 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as saith the prophet Esaias.

I believe that John the Baptist is the voice of one of many that will be crying in the wilderness prior to the Lord’s second coming.

And that he quotes Esaias, which clearly is a reference to a 3rd Watch prophecy, gives me the impression that he will have a major role during that time.

You have to look at JST Lk 3:4-11 as two separate prophesies. One inside another one. One dealing with the 3rd Watch and one dealing with the 1st Watch

This is how I read them. I’ll bold the 3rd Watch and underline the 1st Watch.

4 As it is written in the book of the prophet Esaias; and these are the words, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight.

5 For behold, and lo, he shall come, as it is written in the book of the prophets, to take away the sins of the world, and to bring salvation unto the heathen nations, to gather together those who are lost, who are of the sheepfold of Israel;

6 Yea, even the dispersed and afflicted; and also to prepare the way, and make possible the preaching of the gospel unto the Gentiles;

7 And to be a light unto all who sit in darkness, unto the uttermost parts of the earth; to bring to pass the resurrection from the dead, and to ascend up on high, to dwell on the right hand of the Father,

8 Until the fullness of time, and the law and the testimony shall be sealed, and the keys of the kingdom shall be delivered up again unto the Father;

9 To administer justice unto all; to come down in judgment upon all, and to convince all the ungodly of their ungodly deeds, which they have committed; and all this in the day that he shall come;

10 For it is a day of power; yea, every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth;

11 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

I read it as John the Baptist being the designated one to declare in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord until the fullness of time comes in.

You?

My Response (12:31)

“I read it as John the Baptist being the designated one to declare in the wilderness prepare ye the way of the Lord until the fullness of time comes in.”

You make a compelling case.

On the other hand there are references that seem to clearly be referring to Joseph and/or associates that will prepare the way, ie, 65:3 which takes us back to the profundity that there will be multiple servants from multiple watches participating in the general preparing of the way for the final gathering and return of the Lord.

Interestingly, after reading your keyword searches, I have re-read section 65 (attempting to read without previous interpretive bias)

I can actually see how 65 could be referring to JtB in verse 1 and to Joseph and his associates in verses 2 as the ones John had previously delivered the keys to, and then continuing on making reference to JtB mission of preparing the way in the 3rd watch in verses 3

That interpretation of 65 based on some assumptions from your keyword search could make JtB the servant of the vineyard that visits the saints with the Lord in all three watches according to the allegory in Jacob. A prophetic item that probably fits with JtB better than JS.

That interpretation would not change the fact that JtB is designated by Christ as Elijah the Preparer and Joseph as Elijah the Restorer..

That would mean that part of JtB’s third watch mission, in addition to reiterating his original testimony of Christ, would be to testify to the world that he had indeed previously delivered the keys to Joseph and Oliver as documented in 13 and also returned seven years later to make his Malachi declaration as documented in 110.

His Response 2:39 PM

Wow!! What an incredible insight that John the Baptist could be the servant in the vineyard the ENTIRE  time.
Yes, verse 1 from section 65 has always caught me off guard, especially with the fact that the voice shall be descending from above. And you’ve already pointed out that JS will be ascending from beneath.
It very well could be that Joseph Smith is being referred to in verse 2.
and John the Baptist and verse 1
[Editorial Note: I got this email from the reader
I just read your post and the last part of my last email didn’t make it. I was there when I sent it.
Clearly there are two different events that the servants are preparing for in D&C 65.
Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
3 Yea, a voice crying—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom.
How does one make the Lord’s paths straight and what and when is the supper of the Lamb?
I can see it as two different servants with two different purposes or ministries. One general and one specific.
By the way, as a side note in the BoM all of the “strait and narrow” passages were changed by the printer. The original manuscript has them all as “straight and narrow”.
I don’t know if that’s significant or not when thinking about the Lord’s path. Instead of squeezing through a strait, it’s a straight course.

 

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