Saturday, April 16, 2016

In Their Foreheads?


Michelangelo's Isaiah
Recently, I was directed1 to an essay,2 entitled, “Isaiah’s Job” which “first appeared in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936.”

If one has ever wondered how to navigate this present corrupted world—wondered how to be one with the Remnant instead of the masses (i.e., majority)—this essay might prove helpful. Here is a portion highly relevant to all of us in this age of messaging and WorldWideWeb.
Everyone with a message nowadays is, like my venerable European friend, eager to take it to the masses. His first, last and only thought is of mass acceptance and mass approval. His great care is to put his doctrine in such shape as will capture the masses' attention and interest. This attitude towards the masses is so exclusive, so devout, that one is reminded of the troglodytic monster described by Plato, and the assiduous crowd at the entrance to its cave, trying obsequiously to placate it and win its favor, trying to interpret its inarticulate noises, trying to find out what it wants, and eagerly offering it all sorts of things that they think might strike its fancy.
The main trouble with all this is its reaction upon the mission itself. It necessitates an opportunist sophistication of one's doctrine, which profoundly alters its character and reduces it to a mere placebo. If, say, you are a preacher, you wish to attract as large a congregation as you can, which means an appeal to the masses; and this, in turn, means adapting the terms of your message to the order of intellect and character that the masses exhibit. If you are an educator, say with a college on your hands, you wish to get as many students as possible, and you whittle down your requirements accordingly. If a writer, you aim at getting many readers; if a publisher, many purchasers; if a philosopher, many disciples; if a reformer, many converts; if a musician, many auditors; and so on. But as we see on all sides, in the realization of these several desires, the prophetic message is so heavily adulterated with trivialities, in every instance, that its effect on the masses is merely to harden them in their sins. Meanwhile, the Remnant, aware of this adulteration and of the desires that prompt it, turn their backs on the prophet and will have nothing to do with him or his message.3
It is well worth the time to read the entirety.

In the End Times and Judgment, we are told that a critical difference between the Remnant and the masses will be found in their foreheads.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (New Testament | Revelation 7:2-4)

And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. (New Testament | Revelation 9:3-4)

And he [another beast who rose up out of the earth] had power to give life unto the image of the beast [that arose out of the sea], that the image of the beast [from the sea] should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (New Testament | Revelation 13:15-17)

AND I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. (New Testament | Revelation 14:1)

AND he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (New Testament | Revelation 22:1-4)

Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads; nevertheless they had come out in open rebellion against God; therefore it was expedient that the curse should fall upon them. (Book of Mormon | Alma 3:18)

Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse? A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things. (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 77:9)
Perhaps some questions to ask ourselves: Are we just another historical déjà vu seeking “mass acceptance and mass approval”? What is being written or sealed in our foreheads as we go about our daily lives? Can we awaken in time? Can we endure the seeming solitude?

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1. Thanks to my sibling, BYS.
2. (by Albert Jay Nock, reposted 06/21/2008 at Mises Daily at https://mises.org/library/isaiahs-job)
3. First two paragraphs of Part III of the essay.

 
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