Above Offense - Book of Mormon Isaiah

Above Offense

When situations in life greet you in which persons and institutions whom you would expect should most stand by you instead oppose you, it indeed presents a paradoxical challenge difficult to reconcile. You might say that such situations would likely rarely happen because most people and proven institutions are good. True, but there are also persons at large and individuals within institutions who don’t have others’ interests at heart, who, although they represent a larger body that is good, feel themselves personally threatened.

It is no secret that God tests to the utmost those who love him and desire to become as he is. The greater the ascent phase of rebirth or re-creation to a higher spiritual level, moreover, the greater the descent phase that precedes it. Witness Jesus Christ, who descended below all in order that he might rise above all to his Father’s throne (Doctrine & Covenants 88:6; 122:8). Did not he who was Israel’s God Jehovah suffer offenses at the hands of men during his earthly ministry that in reality were the due of humanity’s worst criminals?

But if “the servant is not greater than his lord,” then “if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Especially is that so as Jesus’ second coming draws near: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24:9–10); “For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7).

Questions arise from Jesus’ prophecy about who is meant by “they” and to whom his servants in that day will be betrayed. Isaiah has the answer: “Hear the word of Jehovah, you who are vigilant for his word: Your brethren who abhor you, and exclude you because of my name, say, Let Jehovah manifest his glory, that we may see cause for your joy! But it is they who shall suffer shame. Hark, a tumult from the city, a noise from the temple! It is the voice of Jehovah paying his enemies what is due them” (Isaiah 66:5–6).

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