“Make Haste Against Thy Destroyers”

K. Douglas Bassett

(Isa. 49:17; 3 Ne. 21:11–13; Morm. 5:22–24; 3 Ne. 20:15–16; refer also in this text to 2 Ne. 27:1–2)

Consider the role played by Great Britain and the United Nations in Palestine following the end of World War I. The British were made responsible by the allied nations for seeing to the peace of the Holy Land, and almost at once Lord Balfour, the British Prime Minister, announced that “his majesty’s government” viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of a permanent homeland for the Jews. After serving as the land’s protectorate for about 29 years, Britain relinquished control to the United Nations in 1946. These same Gentile nations helped create the modern State of Israel in 1947–48. Since that time, the world has witnessed a reversal of power from that which existed in ancient times. Isaiah prophesied of such a reversal: “Thy children [in the latter days] shall make haste [gain strength] against thy [ancient] destroyers; and they that laid thee waste [anciently] shall [in the latter days] go forth of thee” (49:17; also in 1 Ne. 21:17).
Even a limited understanding of modern history and the present situation in the Middle East shows the literal fulfillment of this promise. Descendants of ancient powers which surround Israel today—Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iran and Iraq (to name but a few)—respect Israel’s military might, even though they find it difficult to accept. And from whence has Israel’s might and power come? From a mighty Gentile father, even that nation among whom Isaiah prophesied the Lord would set up his “standard.”

(Leland Gentry, Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr. [Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, BYU, 1989], 163.)

In the full and true sense, Israel shall triumph over her foes only when the Millennium is ushered in, only when her Messiah comes to deliver them from the aliens, only when the wicked are destroyed and the Lord reigns gloriously among his saints.

(Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 242.)

It is not a war that a few Lamanites or any remnant of Israel shall wage against Gentile oppressors; the Lord does not operate in that manner. When he comes the wicked shall be destroyed and the righteous preserved; those who have not hearkened to the prophets shall be cut off from among the people; thus, the ‘enemies’ of Israel ‘shall be cut off.’ And it shall be with power, as though a young lion went forth rending and tearing in pieces a helpless flock of sheep. And so, if the Gentiles do not repent and believe in Christ after the gospel is restored among them, then, when the Lord comes, they will be destroyed and the triumph of Israel—because they kept the commandments and did receive the gospel—that triumph will be complete.

(Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Book 4 [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 334–35.)

Commentaries on Isaiah: In the Book or Mormon