The Mountain of the Lord’s House

25 Aug

Recently I have been thinking a great deal on the many prophecies that have been given and recorded in the scriptures; particularly those that deal with the last days. So I have decided to write some short posts addressing a few of these prophecies. Some have been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some we are still waiting to see. I will draw from all the standard works, and in each post I will address only one prophesy.

ISAIAH 2: 2-3

Isaiah chapter two is a lengthy prophecy dealing with many aspects of the last days. For this I will be focusing on just verses 2-3. This is a fairly well known prophecy among members of the church, but I wonder how many people have looked at it in depth, and so this is my intent at this time. The actual text is as follows.

And  it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

This prophecy is actually restated two more times in the scriptures, both with almost the exact same wording. The first is in Micah chapter four, verses 1-2, and the second in second Nephi chapter twelve, verses 2-3. Actually, both of these chapters are really just restating the same prophecy of Isaiah. Each gives a few unique details (which I will discuss in other posts), but it appears to be essentially the same. Here are the text of these two chapters in regards to this prophecy.

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Micah 4: 1-2)

and…

And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (2 Nephi 12: 2-3)

There are only minor difference between the three, and those amount to style and not meaning, so I do not feel the need to do a comparison of them. Let us rather just look at the various elements that this prophecy contains. I am sure most members, and many non-members are familiar with what is taught concerning this prophecy. So, I will deal with that at the end. Let us first consider the basic meaning without reference to any particular religion or denomination. There are several aspects to this prophecy. Let us consider each in turn.

  1. The Last Days: It is commonly understood that the last days are our day, and there is no reason it should mean anything else here.
  2. The Lord’s House: Most commonly the Bible refers to the temple as the Lord’s house, or the house of the Lord. However, the term can also refer to the family of a person, or, in the case of the Lord, the church and gospel.
  3. The Mountain of the Lord’s House: In the scriptures mountains are frequently associated with that which is holy. Prophets are taken to mountains to have visions; before the temple was build sacrifices were usually done on mountains (i.e. Abraham and Isaac); Solomon built the temple on a mountain. So, here Isaiah is indicating the holiest aspect of the Lord’s house.
  4. Shall be Established: To establish something means to found, or institute, or bring into being on a firm or stable basis. So, in the last days (not the days of Christ) the church of God would be established. If it is to be established at that time, than previous to that time it was not established (or was, but was later lost). So, for a period of time before this the church of God did not exist on the Earth.
  5. In the Top of the Mountains: Since the term mountain has already been used as a metaphor, to do so again (especially with a different meaning) would be confusing. As such it is apparent that this reference is literal in its meaning; the prophecy will occur among the peaks of a mountain range.
  6. Exalted Above the Hills: With the term exalted we are drawn back to the metaphor of holiness. The hills take on a comparable meaning to the Mountain of the Lord’s house.
  7. All Nations Shall Flow Unto It: Again, this seems to be very literal in meaning; all nations, or people of all nations will seek out the Lord’s house.
  8. House of the God of Jacob: See ‘Lord’s House’ above.
  9. He Will Teach Us…in his paths: It is at the Lord’s house that the people will learn truth and become able to walk after the Lord.
  10. Out of Zion…From Jerusalem: This clearly separates Zion and Jerusalem into two different and distinct places, both of which are centers for learning the gospels.

So, what do we have in this prophecy? In the last days God will establish His Gospel (the mountain) and his church (the Lord’s house), and will do so in a mountain range, though which range is not specified. This church and gospel will be greater than all other churches (exalted above the hills) and will attract people of all nations who are seeking the true gospel of Christ. It will eventually have two centers, Zion and Jerusalem, from which the gospel will be dispensed to the rest of the world.

As to the fulfilling of this prophecy that many are familiar with in the church, this is also somewhat misunderstood. It is generally thought that the Mountain of the Lord’s house is the temple, and that the building of the Salt Lake Temple was in fulfillment of this. However, that is not really accurate. The temple is only part of the prophecy, and the Lord has revealed that Zion is to be in Missouri, not Utah. I do agree that the Salt Lake Temple began the fulfillment of this prophecy, but only that. It was not until the church was in Utah, in the top of the mountains, that it was truly established or on a firm foundation. Thus the church and the gospel were truly established in the top of the mountains. The building of temples worldwide is a continuation of this prophecy, as the temples are the holiest aspect of the gospel, and thus can be called the mountain of the lord’s house. But the prophecy will not be fully fulfilled until there is a temple in Zion (Independence, Missouri) and Jerusalem, and the church headquarters are established in both places.

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