User:Janetlisonbee/THE HIGHWAY OF THE LORD
THE HIGHWAY OF THE LORD
Janet Lisonbee 11-17-2008
In Matthew chapter 22, Jesus gives the parable of a certain king who made a marriage for his son and sent forth servants to “call them that were bidden to the wedding” Matt 22:3. They had already been invited and it was time for them to come. But they would not come Matt 22:3. So the king sent other servants and they were to tell the people that the king had prepared the dinner and all things are ready, “Come unto the marriage”! Matt 22:4. What was their response? “They made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise” Matt 22:5(Ft. Note #1) . Some of the people slew the servants. Then the Lord sends other servants saying, “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good (#2) : and the wedding was furnished with guests” Matt 22:9-10. Jesus concluded the parable with “For many are called (or are invited), but few are chosen (or choose to attend)” Matt 22:14, inserts added.
It is interesting that in order to furnish the wedding supper with guests, the servants were sent out into the highways to find and gather the people. Isaiah also explained this marriage celebration and the gathering of the righteous via highways. “Prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people” Isa 62:10 and those who were on the highway were called “The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord” Isa 62:12. Isaiah also described this highway as “the way of holiness”.
“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it…but the redeemed shall walk there”. --Isa 35:8-9
Anciently, when it was known that a king would visit a city, the people would do everything in their power to fix up the road he would be traveling on. Rocks and debris would be removed and holes filled and the road made as smooth as possible. (#3)
Isaiah exclaimed, “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. 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”. Isa 40:3-4
In constructing our highways, we likewise fill in the valleys and lower the hills and make the road relatively straight and make them as smooth as possible for the most direct, efficient and comfortable ride.
In describing the defective spiritual roads ancient Israel was making, Isaiah said, “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their going; they have made them crooked paths.” We know, however, that the Lord “doth not walk in crooked paths…his paths are straight…” D&C 3:2
In Prov 16:17 we read, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul”.
Isaiah prophesied about John the Baptist, who was the voice in the wilderness crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” Matt 3:3. John was instrumental in helping people prepare to receive their Messiah by helping them prepare their personal highways through teaching them about faith and repentance through the “one mightier than I…the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose” Luke 3:16.
In the early days of the Church, the Lord told the missionaries that they were to preach the Gospel to a “crooked (again the highway imagery) and perverse generation, preparing the way of the Lord for his second coming” D&C 34:6. In bringing the Gospel to the world, the missionaries, like John, are preparing a people to meet the Lord.
Simply hearing the Gospel is not enough preparation, however. In D&C 65:1 it states, “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”. In Section 88:66 the Lord explains the voice, “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”. It is the Spirit of the Lord that is the great preparer of the way. As Nephi said, the “Holy Ghost…will show unto you all things what ye should do” 2 Ne 32:5 in preparing our personal highway to receive the Lord.
Moses plainly taught the children of Israel in the wilderness that “in the ordinances the power of godliness is manifest” D&C 84:20 and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God D&C 84:23. But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath…swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst and the Holy Priesthood also; and the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key…of the preparatory gospel” D&C 84:24-26. We, as latter-day Israel, however, hold the keys to the higher priesthood and have the keys in the ordinances of the temple that prepare us to enter into the presence of the Lord.
“And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world and to be a standard for my people…and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me D&C 45:9.
Hence, the missionaries, the Holy Spirit, the Priesthood and temple ordinances are the preparers of the way. They are the teachers, the foreman and the power equipment needed to help us clear and construct our straight and level highways. We must remove debris of sin, obstacles that are spiritual stumbling blocks our lives, level our hills of pride and fill our valleys of selfishness.
It would be extremely dangerous to travel our freeways at night if they were not lit. Likewise our spiritual highways must be lit. Christ said, “for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning” Mark 13:35. In the parable of the ten virgins, it was at midnight that the bridegroom came Matt 25:6. Prov 4:19 states “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble”.
However, “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day”. Prov 4:18 Likewise, Jesus said, “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him”. John 11:10-11. We are to be the light of the world Matt 5:14. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” John 8:12. In Philip 2:15, we read that we must become “the sons of God, with out rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”.
For the wicked, the Lord will come as “a thief in the night”(#4) but for the righteous he will come as the morning sun rises in the east JS-M 1:26.
In Helaman, chapter 7, Nephi’s tower upon which he prayed for his people was located near the highway. “And behold, now it came to pass that it was upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market, which was in the city of Zarahemla” Hel 7:10. It is interesting that he prayed vocally and loud enough for those who passed by on the highway to hear him. In doing so, he was able to preach to the people about their sins and encourage them to repentance.
Regarding the second coming, Isaiah says that a highway will be built for the remnants of His people like “as it was unto Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt” Isa 11:16 and that this highway would connect Israel’s enemies, Assyria and Egypt, with Israel when the Lord has made these nations a blessing and has healed them, symbolic of the millennial peace Isa 19:22-24. Isaiah also prophecies, “And I will make all my mountains a way (He will turn the mountains into roads!), and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim” Isa 49:11-12. (#5)
At the second coming, the Lord will cause the lands to be reunited and it shall be like “it was in the days before it was divided” D&C 133:23-24 and cause that a “highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep” D&C 133:27 for those in the north countries.
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Jer 31:6-9
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land” Jer 23:7-8.
In constructing and maintaining our spiritual highways, we are preparing the way for the Lord in our lives. We need to remember it was those who are in the highways, actively preparing the way, that are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, O virgin Israel, return…” Jer 31:21 (NIV Bible translation)
1. Jesus gives the same parable in Luke 14. The excuses were, “I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it….I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them, I pray thee have me excused”. These two excuses were invalid because no one would buy land or oxen without examining them first, showing that our excuses for not responding to the Lord’s invitation really are not justified.
2. I believe the good and the bad could represent different degrees of personal righteousness, just as our Church is filled with people at different levels. The words “great and small” would have been a better translation. See Revelations 19:5
3. See Isaiah 57:14. The NIV Bible translates this verse as “And it will be said: Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way …”
4. Doc. & Cov. 106:4, 2 Peter 3:10
5. The NIV Bible translates Sinim as Aswan, which was located in the most southern part of Egypt. The LDS Bible dictionary says, “It is uncertain what country is meant, but must have been one of the most distant lands known to the writer of the prophecy.”