I do my e-mail on Yahoo. Before they expanded the size of the mailboxes, my personal storage space was very limited, and so I rarely archived any of my old correspondence. But I did save the following question that was put to me back in 1998, and my response thereto:
Note Isa 25:6-9 where the Lord is to prepare a feast and destroy a “vail”. And note the spelling of veil/vale/vail. The GosDoc Class Member Study Guide on p24 has “vail” in quotes.
Can someone please explain this passage?
Why would the Study Guide put the word in quotes?
What is the feast? And what is to be destroyed?
Yeah Yeah Yeah I know what the manual says — I am looking for something which makes sense.
Here is the KJV of the passage in question:
6And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
8He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
The word “vail” is simply an obsolete spelling for “veil.” Compare E.B. Howe’s anti-Mormon opus Mormonism Unvailed, to which Mormon historians delight in appending a sic. I assume the GD Class Member Study Guide put the word in quotes for the same reason, because the normative spelling is “veil.”
I’ll give you my take on this passage. I would understand “this mountain” in vss. 6 and 7 as either Mount Zion or the temple thereon. My personal reading of the feast of v. 6 is that it is the messianic banquet, such as that described in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The Hebrew here is very interesting. The verbs “and he will destroy” in v. 7 and “he will swallow up” in v. 8 are the same verb in Hebrew (bala’, literally meaning “swallow up,” and by extension “destroy”). The words “covering cast” are cognates in Hebrew: hallot hallot. The entire expression might be better rendered: “the surface of the
covering which covers over all the peoples.” Similarly, the words “vail that is spread” are cognates: wehammassekah hannesukah. This part of the verse might be better rendered: “and the veil which is veiled over all the nations.”
The “covering” and “vail” in verse 7 appear to refer to veils used in mourning death. That is, the LORD will figuratively destroy the veils used in mourning by overcoming death. (Or, perhaps the veils are shrouds covering the dead.) This meaning of overcoming death might be made clearer in English by using the word “shroud” in lieu of “vail.” Verse 8 continues the thought with “he will swallow up death in victory.” [The Hebrew does not actually say “in victory,”
but rather “for ever”; i.e., permanently.] I would understand the “tears” that the Lord will take away in verse 9 as being tears of mourning.
The imagery of “swallowing up death” is especially vivid, and calls to mind an inversion of Canaanite mythology, in which Death is portrayed as hungrily swallowing its victims. But here it is the LORD who will swallow up Death–for ever.
In any event, these verses can be read as offering a truly powerful image of the resurrection.