Isaiah 24

Introduction to Isaiah 24
"Isaiah 24 through 35 are sometimes called Isaiah's apocalypse because they reveal events in the last days of this earth, alternately describing the terrible destruction of the wicked and the blessing and rejoicing of the righteous as they welcome the Messiah and His millennial theocracy of peace. Isaiah 24 begins the apocalypse, graphically describing the sorrow and suffering of the wicked in the opening and closing verses (24:1-12, 16-23). The middle of the chapter describes the joy of the righteous remnant who, rather than fearing and suffering at that time, 'sing for the majesty of the Lord' (24:14)." (Terry Ball and Nathan Winn, Making Sense of Isaiah, [SLC: Deseret Book, 2009], 69)
Isaiah 24:5 they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant
Israel had broken the Law of Moses, they had distorted the ordinances of the temple; they had broken their covenants. As a result they were killed or taken captive: by the Assyrians for the northern kingdom, and by the Babylonians for the southern kingdom. Their apostasy becomes a type for the apostasy prophesied prior to the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world when "the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left." (v. 6, see also 2 Thes. 2:3)
"The whole nation succumbed... and worshiped idols of wood and stone.
"The people had 'transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant.' (Isa. 24:5.) Therefore, the covenant was no longer in effect. As a result, the Lord withdrew his spirit from his people and left them desolate. They became wanderers and strangers in strange lands, for the Lord scattered his people among all the nations of the earth-a tragic testimony that the guardians of the covenant had failed to keep faith with the Lord their God. (Mary Pratt Parrish, "Guardians of the Covenant," Ensign, May 1972, 28)
LeGrand Richards
I have selected as a text for my talk the words of the apostle Paul as recorded in the second chapter of First Corinthians, where Paul said that the things of God are understood by the Spirit of God, and the things of man are understood by the spirit of man. (See 1 Cor. 2:11.)
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him." (1 Cor. 2:14.) I take it that that is the reason we have nearly a thousand churches here in this great land of ours, because men with their own wisdom have not been able to understand the things of God as they are given by our Father's holy prophets because, as Paul said, they are foolishness unto them.
I think of the words of the prophet Isaiah when he said:
Because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. (Isa. 24:5-6.)
I am sure that he had in mind these thousand churches that are following the precepts of men, and that is what Isaiah had in mind when he said:
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isa. 29:13-14.)
Now I would like to point out a few of the differences between the ways of men and their teachings and the truth as the Lord has revealed it through his holy prophets. First, I refer to the way they believe in the Trinity. When the Prophet Joseph saw his vision, the whole Christian world believed in a God without body, parts, or passions. That means he had no eyes; he couldn't see. He had no ears; he couldn't hear. He had no mouth; he couldn't speak. Moses knew that this condition would prevail, for when he went to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land, he told them that they would not remain there long, but that they would be scattered among the nations, and that they would worship gods made by the hands of man (that's man's doing) that could neither see, nor hear, nor taste, nor smell. (See Deut. 4:26-28.) That's exactly the kind of a god the whole Christian world was worshipping at the time Joseph Smith had his vision. But Moses didn't leave it at that. He said in the latter days (and we live in the latter days) that if they would seek after God they would surely find him. (See Deut. 4:29.) Joseph Smith sought after him and found him. ("The Things of God and Man," Ensign, Nov. 1977, 21-22)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Are we not too much inclined to blame the generations that are past for the breaking of the new and everlasting covenant, and to think it is because of the great apostasy which followed the ministry of the Apostles in primitive times, that these troubles are coming upon the earth? Perhaps we should wake up to the realization that it is because of the breaking of covenants, especially the new and everlasting covenant, which is the fulness of the Gospel as it has been revealed, that the world is to be consumed by fire and few men left. Since this punishment is to come at the time of the cleansing of the earth when Christ comes again, should not Latter-day Saints take heed unto themselves? We have been given the new and everlasting covenant, and many among us have broken it, and many are now breaking it; therefore all who are guilty of this offense will aid in bringing to pass this destruction in which they will find themselves swept from the earth when the great and dreadful day of the Lord shall come. (The Progress of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 488 - 489)
Isaiah 24:1-6 therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left
Parley P. Pratt
In these few verses (Isa. 24:1-6) we discover a like calamity awaiting priests and people, rich and poor, bond and free, insomuch that they are all to be burned up but a few; and the complaint is that the earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant. Now, this could not be speaking of any other than the covenant [than that made in the latter-days]... But this destruction is to come by fire, as literally as the flood in the days of Noah, and it will consume both priests and people from the earth, and that, too, for having broken the covenant of the gospel, with its laws and its ordinances; or else we must get a new edition of the Bible, leaving out the 24th of Isaiah. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission], 37 - 38)
B.H. Roberts
Clearly all this prophecy of Isaiah's has not yet been fulfilled; for the earth, however much it may have been defiled under the inhabitants thereof, has not yet been burned, and but few men left. That is a judgment that still hangs over the world; and will come upon it as sure as the Lord has spoken the word; and that, too, because men have transgressed the laws; because they have changed the ordinances, because they have broken-not the covenant made with Moses, or with Abraham-but because they have broken the everlasting covenant; of which covenant the blood of Christ is the sign and seal. In other words, they have broken the Gospel covenant-departed from the Gospel faith-hence the predicted judgment. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951], 1: xciii.)
George A. Smith
The storm of desolation and destruction has barely commenced; and all who would avoid it must come back to the original platform, beginning with faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and lie according to the principles of that Gospel that was revealed from heaven, with apostles and prophets, with powers and blessings, accompanied by the gifts of wisdom, of knowledge and understanding, to bless, and save, and exalt mankind, and which will spread among the honest in heart of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 11: 50, January 22, 1865)
Isaiah 24:18 he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit
While the righteous sing songs of glory, the wicked moan in fear for their lives. While the righteous have refuges of safety from the storm (D&C 115:6), the wicked are exposed to the full brunt of the Lord's fury (D&C 88:90-91). While the righteous will "stand in holy places," the wicked will run from the "noise of the fear" to the pit and from the pit to the snare. There is no place to hide-nowhere to go.
But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another. (D&C 45:32-33)
Neal A. Maxwell
We can stand fast "in holy places" even though in the world "all things shall be in commotion." (D&C 45:32; D&C 88:91.) (Ensign, May 1993, 79)
Isaiah 24:20 the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard
Bruce R. McConkie
As a prelude to our Lord's glorious return, such transcendent events shall occur, both in heaven and on earth, that there is no language known to mortals, nor any imagery or illustration, which can convey to them the wonders of that dreadful day.
"The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard" (Isa. 24:20), causing such an earthquake as has never before been known (Rev. 16:17-21), and it shall appear to man on earth as though the stars in the sidereal heavens are falling. And in addition, as here recorded, some heavenly meteors or other objects, appearing as stars, will fall "unto the earth." Indeed, the events of that day shall be so unprecedented and so beyond human experience, that the prophets are and have been at an almost total loss for words to describe those realities pressed in upon them by the spirit of revelation. And we can envision only in small measure the great events which they saw and understood by the power of the Spirit; that is, we are so limited unless and until we enjoy the same Spirit and see the same things which that God who is no respecter of persons revealed to them. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 487)
Marion G. Romney
In the eighty-eighth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord gives us this counsel and prediction:
Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin, but let your hands be clean, until the Lord comes.
For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree. (D&C 88:86-87.)
Now all the acts of governments, all the armies of the nations, all the learning and the wisdom of man together cannot turn these calamities aside. The only way they can be averted is for men to accept and conform to the way of life revealed by God our Heavenly Father. Calamities will come as a matter of cause and effect. They follow naturally "and inevitably the sins of mankind and the unregenerate state of the race." (Talmage, Improvement Era, June 1921, p. 739.)
And let it not be supposed, now, that the Lord takes pleasure in these calamities. He does not. He graphically foretells the inevitable consequences of men's sins for the purpose of inducing them to repent and thereby avoid the calamities. ("A Silver Lining," Ensign, May 1977, 53)
Isaiah 24:21-22 The Lord shall punish the host of the high ones... and the kings of the earth
Orson Pratt
You see, from these passages, that in the last days many of those kings and high ones who will not place themselves in a position to receive the Gospel, and who die ignorant of its principles, will be gathered together as prisoners in the pit, and be shut up for many days, with a fearful looking for the judgment of the great day. They will not know what is coming-what will befall them, like all prisoners guilty of crime. But after many days they shall be visited by the servants of God, as Jesus visited the antediluvians with a message: the door of their prison will be thrown open, after they have been sufficiently long confined; and if they repent, they can be redeemed; but if they will not repent, they will be taken from thence and cast into outer darkness.
You know that men are taken up for crime and shut up in the calaboose, or jail, or some such place to stay there for a length of time until they are brought to judgment; and then they are sentenced to hard labour, perhaps, in the Penitentiary. These will be in torment until they obey the message sent to them; and if they do not receive the message of pardon, they will be punished until they have paid the uttermost farthing; that is, they will be punished with eternal punishment...
They may like to know what the peculiar doctrines of the Latter-day Saints are, and that is all the good it will do them. But, as Latter-day Saints, we have principles to lay before the inhabitants of the earth that embrace, not only the people living on it, but all the generations of the dead. It is the most charitable doctrine that was ever preached to the nations of the earth. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 7: 88)
Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed
"In comparison with the glory and brilliance that will surround the Lord when he "reign[s] in mount Zion," the light of the sun and the moon will pale and be confounded and ashamed. It will be the glory of the Lord that will light the city of Zion (Isa. 60:19; Rev. 21:23)." (Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, and Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 222)