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O, that You would rend the heavens. To rend the heavens is to tear open the veil so that God can be seen, so that He will deliver the people. Compare another expression in this prayer: “You have hidden Your face from us” (64:7). mountains would quake at Your presence. Quaking and melting mountains are sometimes manifestations of God’s presence (Exodus 19:18; Psalm 18:6–8; Doctrine and Covenants 133:40–41). Compare the speaker’s words three verses later: “You came down, and the mountains quaked at Your presence” (64:3).
fire kindles brushwood/fire causes water to boil. The Lord’s glory is so intense and powerful that it is compared to fire that burns undergrowth and kindling or like fire that brings water to a boil.
Paul paraphrases this verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9 (see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:10).
one who is unclean/like filthy garments. “Unclean” (Hebrew tame’) has a special meaning in the Hebrew, referring especially to the temple and ceremonial uncleanness.
we are the clay/You are our potter. Just as a potter works clay into a beautiful, useful receptacle, God molds His people into functional vessels, if we permit Him to do so.
Jerusalem has become desolation. The speaker prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem, which would occur more than a century later, in 587 BC.
Our holy and glorious House. Israel’s enemies burned the temple of Solomon the same time that they destroyed Jerusalem.
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