Posts Tagged 'Gathering of Israel'

Deuteronomy Chapter 30

The Israelites made sacred covenants with the Lord, and were promised great blessings if they would be obedient to the commandments of God. They were also promised a lot of awful curses if they would not be obedient. Among those was a scattering of the people across the earth. This is what is called the scattering of Israel. The Israelites learn more of what will happen in this chapter. It begins:

1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,
2 And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

The scattered people would some day be brought to a remembrance of the covenants that their ancestors made. When they remembered these things, they would return to the Lord through repentance, and obey his commandments. The Lord would then deliver them from captivity and gather the house of Israel from every place to which they would be scattered. They would be gathered back to the promised land, and blessed with great blessings, as had been promised already to the fathers. In that day, the Lord would place curses upon the enemies of the Israelites. The blessings would be had among all those who willing gave all their heart and soul to the Lord, and were obedient.

Each of us becomes separated from the Lord as well, when we disobey any of his commandments. We also, need to be gathered back in through the repentance process. We return to the Lord, when we humble ourselves enough to admit to God that we have been wrong and have gone against His word. We receive the blessings, when we turn away from any sin and draw nearer to the Lord instead. I am so grateful for the blessings of repentance in my life. I have felt a great sense of peace and love, when I have used the atonement in my life, to turn back to the Lord and remember the commandments and the covenants that I have made with the Lord to keep them.

11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

The people were reminded that the commandments and God’s law, were right there for them to live. They did not need to go seeking after it elsewhere, because it had already been given to them. When lived, they could in their mouths and in their hearts. The footnote of verse 11, for the phrase “hidden from thee”, reads, “too hard for you”. The commandments were not too hard for the people to follow. They were plain to them and anyone who desired to be devoted to the Lord, could follow them. Likewise, the commandments that we are asked to live now, are not too hard for us to follow either. In Doctrine and Covenants 93:31 it says, “Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.” These commandments are plain and so simple. I think of how often the modern day prophets have taught us, that in order to receive the blessings of God, we need to do simple things such as daily prayer and scripture study, having family home evening, attending church meetings and so on. These things really are simple and it’s easy to understand what is required of us, and yet there are many who feel these things are too difficult, and they “receive not the light”. We should desire to receive the light of Christ, through keeping the commandments near to us, in our own mouths and in our own hearts.

(Note: If you would like to know what the modern prophets and apostles have to teach us, you can learn a lot this coming weekend from the Latter-Day Saint General Conference. To read more of what General Conference is, you can do that here: What is General Conference?)

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

In the words of Moses, he had given them the choice of life or death. Life, which was doing and gaining all that was good, and death, which was doing and gaining all that was evil. If they chose life, they were choosing to be obedient to the commandments and loving God. Likewise, they would choose the blessings that come from doing good. If they chose death, they were choosing to be disobedient to God’s commandments and turning from Him. If they made that choice, they were also choosing the consequence of curses, such as a promise to perish. Moses seals this promise by calling heaven and earth to record this covenant and its promises to stand against them. He pleads with the Israelites, to choose life.

What I see as the main purpose of this chapter, is the message of this last section. It reminds me so much of the words of the prophet, Lehi found in 2 Nephi 2:

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Lehi was a prophet who knew and lived the law of Moses. He had the brass plates, which taught this law, and he had studied the words and lived them. His testimony here is a second testimony of this principle. “Life” in the words of Moses, can read as “eternal life”, which is the greatest blessing that God has to give us. It is liberty from Satan’s power, and freedom to enjoy the blessings of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the “great Mediator of all men”. On the other hand, the word “death” in Moses’ words, can read as “eternal death”. Eternal death is captivity to the power of the devil, and a cursing of the misery which will come in living in the kingdom of Satan, which is hell. Both Moses and Lehi teach us here, that it is a choice we make. All of us have our agency, which is the eternal gift of choice, and we need to be active in choosing our own destiny of eternal life and its blessings, or eternal death and its curses.

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Commentary on the Vision of Nephi

I recently received a comment on one of the first posts I wrote back in 2008, for 1 Nephi, Chapter 14. The following request was made:

Some things that I can’t understand that may be you could help me. When the angel asked Nephi if he remembers the covenants of the Father unto the House of Israel. And Nephi said, Yea. … the [angel] showed to Nephi the 2 churches. I just wondered why he showed this after asking Nephi. And in verse 17, I get a little hint here but still can’t gather all the thoughts.

I decided to make it a matter of further study, especially since I wrote my post so long ago. This response is a bit lengthy, but it helped me and I hope it can help others seeking to have a greater understanding.

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In all things in the gospel, especially as the spirit reveals truth to us, lessons are learned line upon line. I believe that the spirit is building upon the foundation of Nephi’s knowledge here. What is the foundation? For this, we need to look back to the beginning of the vision of Lehi. It is important to see the whole picture, to understand these smaller sections. Somewhere between 600 and 592 BC, Lehi has a vision of the tree of life (see 1 Nephi 8). It seems that in the perspective of Lehi, the importance of this dream is his family (descendants) receiving the glorious fruit of the tree. In the vision, the great and spacious building is introduced. We learn from what he teaches, that those within the building would mock and scorn those trying to do what was right. Throughout all time, the world has been against those who would choose to follow the Lord.

In 1 Nephi 10, Lehi teaches his family that the Jews would eventually return to Jerusalem after it would be destroyed. He taught them of when the Savior would come to earth, as the prophets had long foretold. He told them of how the Jews would dwindle in unbelief and kill the Messiah. Lehi tells them that at this time, the Savior would reveal himself to the gentiles. (I think it’s important to remember that Lehi and his family lived in a time when the Jews understood the gospel to be set apart for the Jews alone. The revelation for it to anyone outside of the covenant, would not come until Peter received it after the Savior had been resurrected. We read about that in Acts 10.) Then, Lehi preaches to them of how the Jews and gentiles compared to the olive tree and its branches. This is part of those things that the Lord promised in the covenants with their fathers, that the house of Israel would be divided. Lehi taught them of the gospel being received by the gentiles and of them bringing the natural branches, or the house of Israel, back into their place through coming to know the true Messiah. (chapter 10 vv. 2-14)

I am sure that the sons of Lehi had heard much of this before, through the teachings of youth. I believe he taught them with greater details, because of the vision he himself had received. Nephi desired to know the truth of this foundation his father had set in his teachings. In his pondering, he was carried away into his own vision (see 1 Nephi 11). In his vision, the spirit of the Lord first shows him the tree of life, which his father had seen. Then Nephi sees a vision of the coming forth of the Savior to the world. He speaks with an angel of what these things mean. Nephi witnessed the ministry of the Savior, and his apostles, to the Jews. Then he witnessed the sacrifice of the Savior by the Jews, and how the Jews would then fight against the apostles of the Savior. Those that fought against them, were in the great and spacious building of the world. In this part of the vision, Nephi has it confirmed to him, that the Jews would fall into apostasy and be of the world instead of being of the Lord.

In chapter 12, Nephi is shown more than what we learn from Lehi’s vision. He learns that his family would dwell in the promised land, as one of the broken off branches of the olive tree, and after many generations of fighting with the seed of his brothers, and great destruction for their wickedness, the Savior would appear to the part of his family that remained. Then after faithful generations, the two sides of their family would again fight each other, because of the temptations of the world. He saw again the great and spacious building of the world and its wickedness. Then he saw his seed destroyed in their wickedness and the seed of his brothers fall away into greater wickedness.

In chapter 13, the angel teaches Nephi of the many gentile nations. In verse 3 we read, “And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.” He witnessed the formation of the great and abominable church among the gentile nations. This is part of the world’s great apostasy and it is led by the devil himself. Nephi is taught that worldly things are the desire of that church, which would strive to destroy the righteous saints of the church of God. This great church is presented to Nephi, much like the great and spacious building of the world. Nephi was then shown that the descendants of his brothers, were separated from the gentile nations, and that a gentile man would be inspired to journey to them across the waters. The gentiles would scatter and destroy many of their descendants. Then, the gentiles would prosper and separate themselves from other gentile nations, through war. After the war, a book of a jew would be brought forth among them, which we know to be the Bible, which contains the covenants of the house of Israel. Nephi learns that the book would start pure, but would be changed by the great and abominable church. After being changed, it would cause some confusion and stumbling. The angel shows Nephi, that the Lord would cause the seed of Lehi to also keep records of the gospel and the truth, and that these records would be brought forth to the gentiles at that time. The gentiles would then, teach the descendants of his brothers, of the record of their fathers. The records together would convince many of the truth and eventually, the Lord would be made manifest to all the nations and all the people of the world.

This is what the angel has shown Nephi leading up to this chapter, 1 Nephi 14. The angel teaches Nephi that those who would accept the gospel contained in the records, and therefore accept and hearken to the Lord, would be joined into the house of Israel. This is the gathering of Israel in these latter-days. The angel reminds Nephi that he has learned that those who repent, gentile or jew, would not perish. Those who would harden their hearts, would have destruction. This is the great and marvelous work that would be had among all the world. This is when in verse 8, he asks Nephi, “Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel?” In all this teaching, the angel has been reminding Nephi of the covenants of the Father to the Israelites.

The covenant of the Father unto the house of Israel, is the Abrahamic covenant. The Bible Dictionary can teach us of this covenant better than I can explain it. It reads:

Abraham first received the gospel by baptism (which is the covenant of salvation). Then he had conferred upon him the higher priesthood, and he entered into celestial marriage (which is the covenant of exaltation), gaining assurance thereby that he would have eternal increase. Finally he received a promise that all of these blessings would be offered to all of his mortal posterity (D&C 132:29–50; Abr. 2:6–11). Included in the divine promises to Abraham were the assurances that (1) Christ would come through his lineage, and that (2) Abraham’s posterity would receive certain lands as an eternal inheritance (Gen. 17; 22:15–18; Gal. 3; Abr. 2). These promises taken together are called the “Abrahamic covenant.” It was renewed with Isaac (Gen. 26:1–4, 24) and again with Jacob (Gen. 28; 35:9–13; 48:3–4).

The portions of the covenant that pertain to personal salvation and eternal increase are renewed with each individual who receives the ordinance of celestial marriage (see D&C 132:29–33). Those of non-Israelite lineage, commonly known as Gentiles, are adopted into the house of Israel and become heirs of the covenant and the seed of Abraham through the ordinances of the gospel (Gal. 3:26–29).

Being an heir to the Abrahamic covenant does not make one a “chosen person” per se but does signify that such are chosen to responsibly carry the gospel to all the peoples of the earth. Abraham’s seed have carried out the missionary activity in all the nations since Abraham’s day. (Matt. 3:9; Abr. 2:9–11.)

To fulfill the covenant God made with Abraham—having particular reference to the fact that the literal seed of his body would be entitled to all of the blessings of the gospel (Abr. 2:10–11)—a number of specific and particular things must take place in the last days. The gospel must be restored, the priesthood must be conferred again upon man, the keys of the sealing power must be given again to mortals, Israel must be gathered, and the Holy Ghost must be poured out upon the Gentiles. All this has already taken place or is in process of fulfillment.

Then, with a reminder of the covenant, the angel shows Nephi that the world would eventually be divided into two parts or churches. The first is the church of the Lamb of God, which consists of those who are the people of God, the latter-day house of Israel. The second is everyone else, who would belong to the great and abominable church of the world, and who would be led by Satan. The two churches would fight. Those of the world, would fight against the people of God. At that time, when God and his people would fight against Satan and his followers, the covenant would begin to be fulfilled (see verse 17). This would lead up to the time of the second coming, which was written about in the book of Revelation, by the apostle John, and Nephi was told not to write any more of what he saw in the vision.

So, with all of this in mind, I think that the question the angel posed to Nephi, was more of a reminder to him that in this entire vision, he was being shown the fulfillment of the covenants made to the house of Israel. I do not think that what directly followed the question, was the complete answer. I think it’s much like posing a question at the closing of a lesson, when we may be reminded of the entire purpose for the words spoken. Nephi needed to be shown all that would lead up to the restoration of the gospel, which would lead to the descendants of his father being able to make sacred covenants again some day. Nephi was blessed with a knowledge that in latter-days, the house of Israel would be gathered again, so that the promised blessings of the covenant could be received by all those who were willing to be a part of the church of the Lamb. The fulfillment of the promises would come as the Lord’s church stood against the great and abominable church of the world. I hope that this helps in your understanding, as it has in my own. I think to understand it even more fully, it is important to also look to the book of Revelation, to see what Nephi was shown after what he has written for us. I have not yet approached the book of Revelation in my own deeper study, but I am really looking forward to it and the understanding I know it will bring.

Deuteronomy Chapter 4

The Law of Moses was given to the children of Israel, through the prophet, Moses, while they were in the area of Mount Sinai. Within that law, there were commandments and statutes, which they were to keep in order to turn their hearts more fully to the Lord and to live with one another in peace and happiness. At this point in the narrative of the Israelites, Moses was preparing them to have a new leader and to finally gain the promised land and rest from their journeys. He continues to instruct them in this chapter.

1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers giveth you.
2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did because of Baal-peor: for all the men that followed Baal-peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from among you.
4 But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.
5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?
9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
12 And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.
13 And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.

Moses instructed the people, that they were not to alter the laws and ordinances of the Lord, whether to add or take away from them. In the book of Revelation we read a similar verse, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:” (Revelation 22:18). No man has the right to alter the words of the Lord, found in any book of scripture. If they do, it is only done to mislead others into apathy and sin.

Moses reminded them that there were consequences if they turned to other gods, as some of the people had done previously. In the case of those who sinned by following Baal-peor, they were all killed by the Israelites, plus a plague was brought among the people. The law of Moses, was the law they were to live in the land of promise. When they lived this law, they would be seen by others, as a great nation, with wisdom, and understanding, because God would be with them. He told the Israelites to remember the things which they had witnessed, and to teach them to their children, especially those things they witnessed in Sinai, when the Lord spoke to the people from the mount. He told them to remember when the ten commandments had been given to them. In modern times, we have also been told to watch ourselves and remember those things we have in the scriptures and the words of our prophets. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read:

43 And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.
44 For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.

When the word of the Lord is given to us, in scripture or by the prophets, we are going to be held accountable to our understanding of those things, and for how much we teach them to our children, just as the Israelites were held accountable in their day. We might think that we’ll never forget the feelings we have at one time, or the things that we have witnessed at another. But, it is easy to forget if we are not living and teaching those things that we have learned. In addition, our children will never know, if we do not teach them. When I think of how important this is, I am reminded that many in the world today do not know of the gospel of Christ. Many do not know that we have living prophets today, just as they had Moses of old. Many do not know that revelation continues today and that we can each receive personal revelation for ourselves. Many do not know that we can make sacred ordinances and covenants with God, which can bring us eternal blessings. There is great importance in the missionary work going forward in our day.

14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,
18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:
19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
20 But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.
21 Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:
22 But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Moses had been commanded by the Lord, to teach the laws (the law of Moses), which would be the laws of the land of inheritance. These laws would bring them peace and happiness as a people, just as the laws of God can do for us today. Moses told them to notice that there was no idol being worshipped on the day when they witnessed the voice of the Lord speaking to them. Moses taught them that they were not to make any images, like man or animal, or they might fall prey to worshipping that idol. They were the people of the Lord, chosen and delivered from Egypt. Because of the choices to fall away to worshipping other things, the Lord had not allowed Moses to enter the promised land. Moses pleads with the Israelites, to remember their covenants not to make false idols, because the Lord would be able to consume them with His fire.

25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.
28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
31 (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
32 For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
33 Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
35 Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.
36 Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
37 And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
38 To drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day.
39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
40 Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Moses taught the children of Israel, that if they should turn to worshipping idols after the generations have passed, judgement would be upon them and they would shortly be removed from the promise land and the nation of Israel would be destroyed. He promised them that they would be scattered among gentile nations. Those nations would lead them throughout the lands, serving their gods and idols, which are not real, but are made of wood and stone. He teaches us here, that the living God sees, hears, eats and smells. Moses also taught them, that if they would, instead, continue to seek the Lord with all their heart and soul, they would be blessed. He promised them that they would find the Lord and if they repented and were obedient through difficult times. The Lord would be merciful and remember the covenants of their fathers. Moses reminded them, that in all the time of the world, there had been nothing quite like the miracles and manifestations that they had witnessed. Never before had a people witnessed the glory of the Lord among them, as they had in the fire, or heard His voice speaking to them. Never before had a people been delivered from another nation, by such miracles and wonders. These things were a part of their lives, so that they would know the Lord was their God. They had been blessed and protected, because the Lord loved their fathers and had made promises to them. The Lord had made them a mighty nation, giving them the strength to drive the nations from before them, and giving them the promised land to inherit. Moses told the people to recognize that this had been the work of the only true God. They needed to be obedient to the commandments, in order to continue to receive the blessings of God and live a long life.

41 Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
42 That the slayer might flee thither, which should kill his neighbour unawares, and hated him not in times past; and that fleeing unto one of these cities he might live:
43 Namely, Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.

The cities of refuge were then created (Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan), for those who might kill another without intention to do so.

44 And this is the law which Moses set before the children of Israel:
45 These are the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which Moses spake unto the children of Israel, after they came forth out of Egypt,
46 On this side Jordan, in the valley over against Beth-peor, in the land of Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, whom Moses and the children of Israel smote, after they were come forth out of Egypt:
47 And they possessed his land, and the land of Og king of Bashan, two kings of the Amorites, which were on this side Jordan toward the sunrising;
48 From Aroer, which is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto mount Sion, which is Hermon,
49 And all the plain on this side Jordan eastward, even unto the sea of the plain, under the springs of Pisgah.

Moses had concluded his teaching of the commandments and statutes of God, by bearing his testimony of the consequences of disobedience and repentance. Moses taught them of the causes for the eventual scattering of the Israelites, specifically the worship of false gods. Then he taught them of the gathering of Israel in the last days, when they would turn again to the Lord. He witnessed to them, of the goodness and mercy of the Lord and promised they would be blessed if they would remember the Lord.

We have the blessing of being able to look at these words in hindsight. The scriptures teach us, that the people inherited the land of promise, and then over time, they fell away to the worship of other things. Then, just as Moses said, they were scattered throughout all the nations of the world. It seems to me that today, there has got to be a bit of Israelite blood in all the nations. As the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, reaches all the nations of the world, there are some who are being drawn back into the house of Israel. The gathering is happening now, just as Moses promised them so long ago. This is not so much a physical moving back to Israel, but a spiritual gathering of hearts to the Lord. This is only possible through the goodness and mercy of the Lord. He made repentance possible to all people and His power is what moves the gospel forward now. We can all turn and find Him, if we will seek with all our heart and soul. The commandments are provided for us today, so that we may have the opportunity to obey and be blessed. The same great blessings that were given to the fathers of the Israelites, can be ours now, if we will turn away from the false gods of our day, and turn to the Lord.

Exodus Chapter 28

At this point in the Bible, Moses has been given instruction regarding the commandments, laws and judgments, and building of the Tabernacle. He spoke with the Lord in Mount Sinai, as the Israelites were camped at the base of the mountain. The word of the Lord continues as follows:

1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

Aaron and his sons were called to be priests unto the Lord. This lesser priesthood is now known as the Aaronic priesthood, after Aaron. He was instructed in what clothing and accessories Aaron was to wear, which would be consecrated for him and the holy purposes of the Lord. These included a breastplate, an ephod (which I think was a type of robe), a coat, a mitre (or some type of cap), and a girdle (or a belt or band).

I liked that those who were found with wisdom in their hearts, were going to be asked to make the sacred clothing for Aaron. Wisdom is an attribute of God. Those who had been blessed with that gift of the spirit, would have had the desire to do the work and the reverence to keep those things sacred as they worked. I always wonder what it would be like to be one to create something of beauty for the holy purposes in the temple. I am sure it is a sacred experience itself, and such a blessing to the righteous.

6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10 Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.

Aaron was to wear precious stones on the shoulders of his clothing, which would have the twelve children or tribes of Israel engraved on them. This was to be done to keep them in remembrance.

Names have a special place in the gospel. For example, so far in this study of the bible we have seen some receive sacred new names, such as Jacob being known as Israel. I think that having stones with all the names of the tribes in one place could have been a reminder that they were together even though they were twelve individual tribes. Eventually, those tribes would be scattered as prophesied many times. And yet, the Lord would promise that his work would include a gathering of these tribes again. The work will not be complete until after the Levites make their offering again in the temple or tabernacle of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 13 we read the following:

Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.

To me, these stones would have been a beautiful reminder of the perfection (making whole) of the covenant people of the Lord.

13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
14 And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.

The ouches were the places on the clothing where the stones were set. Then there would be chains of gold attached to the shoulder pieces.

15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.

The breastplate was a breastplate of judgment and was to be made of the same matierials as the other parts of the clothing, which was fine linen of the colors of the tabernacle. It was also to have precious stones set into it, with the names of the twelve children of Israel, or the twelve tribes.

22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.

Again, there were to be chains of gold and parts where the shoulder pieces and breastplate would be able to connect.

26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

Moses was told how the two parts of Aaron’s clothing were to be connected. Aaron was to always wear the breastplate in the holy place of the Tabernacle.

30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.

In the breastplate, the Urim and Thummim would be placed. Aaron was called to be a judge of Israel, and keep a remembrance of this always.

31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.

His ephod, or robe was to be made in a way, where it had no seams, but was all one piece with a hole, I’m assuming for his head.

33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34 A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.

On the hem of his robe, he was to have bells attached. The bells would make a sound, so that as he went into the holy place of the tabernacle and returned out of it, he would be heard and not die.

36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.

The phrase, “Holiness to the Lord” was to be engraved on a plate and then attached to the cap on Aaron’s forehead. He was to wear this always as he served. He was to be held accountable for all the holy things in the tabernacle.

39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.

All these parts of his clothing, were to be made of fine linen and beautiful craftsmanship.

40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43 And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

The sons of Aaron, were to have coats, belts, and hats also. Moses was to place these things upon the priests of Aaron. He was to anoint, consecrate and sanctify these men to minister in the office they were called to. This meant that these worthy men would be given the authority to serve in the holy tabernacle of the Lord. All of them were to be covered in sacred garments when they came to the tabernacle of the congregation (just outside the holy place), and by this and their worthiness, they would able to enter there.

When we go to the House of the Lord, or His holy temples, we need to sanctify ourselves. In prayerful preparation, we make sure that we are worthy to enter there. This does not mean that we must be perfect to enter, because no one is perfect in their life now. If we were, we would have no need to be here. Instead, we go to the temple with our hearts turned to Christ, having repented of those things that would make us unworthy and having left the things of the world behind. We need to enter the doors of the temple, with a willing heart and mind, and with a sincere desire to sin no more. With this, we can enter the temple with holiness to the Lord written in our hearts and mind, just as Aaron was to enter with those words literally upon his head. All those who are worthy and willing, have the opportunity to enter the temple and serve there. I love the temple. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be in the temple and to make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord because of it. I cannot imagine having the kind of happiness I have in my life, without this sacred opportunity.

The Gathering of the House of Israel

To view the entire lesson go here: The Gathering of the House of Israel

This week in our Relief Society lesson we are studying the gathering of the house of Israel. I think to understand this, we have to understand that the house of Israel was scattered. The house of Israel are the descendants of Jacob, who was later called Israel because of his righteousness. He had twelve sons who became the tribes of Israel. They were the covenant people of God during biblical times. In Deuteronomy 28:64 we read, “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” The scattering was promised long before it actually occurred. The people fought amongst themselves and divided into two. This led to more fighting and eventually caused the scattering that had been promised to them. In 1 Kings 22:17 we read, “And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.” The descendants of Israel were scattered to all the world because of unrighteousness. In Romans 11:20, we read, “. . . because of unbelief they were broken off . . .”. The promises of the prophets of old, are only available to those who keep their covenants with the Lord. As latter-day saints, we believe that those who become covenant people of the Lord now, are in a sense adopted into the house of Israel.

What responsibilities do God’s covenant people have to the nations of the world?

In Matthew 28:19-20 we read the following:

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

God’s covenant people have made covenants with the Lord, to be a light to the world. This means that they are to be an example of righteousness and have the duty to teach the gospel to all people and to bring them closer to God. In order for the world to be blessed as a whole, the covenant people of the God, must keep the commandments and stand for truth and righteousness.

What benefits have come to God’s children because His covenant people have been scattered throughout the earth?

Some of those who were scattered, such as Lehi’s family, brought the gospel with them to other parts of the world. Because of the scattering, much of the world has been able to learn of some portions of the gospel. The blessings of the house of Israel are not for only those who live where ancient Israel once was, so many people all over the world have the blessings available to them if they choose it.

Why does the Lord want His people to be gathered?

The Lord made a covenant with the house of Israel, that they would be gathered again. In 3 Nephi 20:29 we read, “And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem, which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father.” The Lord wants to keep his covenant with his people. There has always been strength in numbers. We are constantly in a world-wide war against Satan and his angels. When we gather together as covenant people, we have the strength to overcome. In Jeremiah 12:15 we read, “And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land.” The tribes of Israel need to be gathered so that the inheritance that God has promised them, can be received. It can only be received when they willing accept Christ as their Lord and Savior, and so part of the reason for the gathering is to bring the people to Christ so that they can have salvation.

How will the house of Israel be gathered?

The gathering, which began with the restoration of the gospel, is done through missionary work. In 1 Nephi 15:1 we read, “And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed—”. As people are brought into the fold of God through baptism, they are gathered into the house of Israel. This gathering started with the gentiles when Joseph Smith was instructed to organize the church. It will continue until the second coming of the Lord, when all will be made aware of Christ.

In what ways have you been gathered spiritually as one of the Lord’s covenant people?

I made the choice to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as a member I have made covenants with the Lord. Through these covenants, I have been spiritually gathered with other saints who are all striving to live righteous lives and become more like Christ. As I draw closer to him, through my choices and understandings of the gospel, I am gathering closer with the saints. I have been able to make more covenants because of living worthy to enter the temple of the Lord. These covenants and blessings are eternal and sacred to me.

UPDATE: The more I thought about this, I realized that even though I was raised in the church and baptized at age 8, I have since had the opportunity to be gathered spiritually. There were many things that I took for granted about the gospel, when I was young. Then, when I was 19 years old, I went out with a friend and we sat looking at the temple. We talked about the choices we had made personally and how we felt about our own levels of righteousness. He challenged me to be a better person than I was at the time and I challenged him to do the same. We made a pact to work on it together. In that very moment, I had a change of heart and I started my own personal gathering with the saints.

In what ways have you participated in the gathering of others?

In one way, I have tried to share my testimony with others. This is done both in word and in my actions. When we live a righteous life, firm in the truth of the gospel, we have a joy and a light that is an example to those around us. I am striving daily to be a light to others so that they will want to find the joy that comes through this gospel. In another way, I am helping to gather others, by going to do temple work. Those who are dead, are hearing the gospel through the missionary efforts going on beyond the grave. These people need people like me, to go and do the physical work for them in the temple, so that they can be baptized and make additional covenants. I am so glad to have the opportunity to share my testimony and to do work for those who have died. I know that these things bring me great blessings in this life and I have a great hope in the blessings that this will bring after this life as well.

UPDATE: I think it would be interesting to hear from Jews, who have a lineage of living as practicing Jews, about their feelings about the gathering of Israel. I am sure these promises are discussed for them today. This should be a source of great anticipation and excitement for those who are devout. I would love to know how they feel, so that I could understand even more, the blessings that will be when the gathering has been finished.

The Tenth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We believe that the Lord promised the Children of Israel that they would be scattered if they failed to keep his commandments and live righteously. In Deuteronomy 28:64 we read, “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” Then we learn of the outcome of this promise in 2 Kings, chapter 17:

6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,
8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.
10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:
11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger:
12 For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.
15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.
16 And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.
17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
19 Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made.
20 And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.

We believe that it is truth that Israel will be gathered again. In 1 Nephi 10:14 we read, “And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.” We believe that this gathering will literally be fulfilled. In Deuteronomy 30:3 we read, “That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.” The tribes of Israel will be gathered together from all the earth, where they were scattered. Moreover, we believe that this gathering has already begun. In Doctrine and Covenants 110:11, we learn when this gathering started. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had the keys of the priesthood restored to them, which gave them the authority from God to do this work. “After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.”

We believe that the tribes of Israel will be restored to the knowledge of the truth, which has long since been denied and forgotten. In 3 Nephi 20 we learn what the Savior taught the Nephites of this:

30 And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;
31 And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.

We believe that this restoration started with the gospel being taken to the gentiles, or those who were not of the house of Israel. This started with the translation of the Book of Mormon and the missionaries being sent out to the world to preach of the gospel. We believe that as the gentiles have received the gospel, they have made covenants with God, which has allowed us to be adopted into the house of Israel. We believe that it is our responsibility to take the fullness of the gospel to the rest of the world, which will bring the scattered tribes back together.

We believe that along with the gathering and restoration of the ten tribes of Israel, that Zion will be built. We believe that this Zion will also be knows as the New Jerusalem and it will exist as a partner to Jerusalem, which will be built again by the gathering of the tribes. We believe further, that the New Jerusalem will be upon the American continent. In Doctrine and Covenants 45 we read the following:

66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

In another modern revelation, the Lord revealed that Zion, the New Jerusalem, would be built in the state of Missouri (see D&C 84:3). We believe that this will be the center of Zion, but that Zion as a whole will exist throughout the world, in the hearts of the righteous and covenant people of the Lord.

We also believe that Christ, the Lord and Savior of mankind, will come again and will reign as Lord over the earth. In Matthew 16:27 we read, “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Then in Doctrine and Covenants 76:63 we read, “These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.” He will bring all the nations under his reign, and all people will know that He is the Christ. I think one of the things I look forward to most, is that all laws will be the laws of God, and all governments will be under his rule. This means that all those things that are wicked and unrighteous about governments today, will no longer exist.

Finally we believe that at the second coming of Christ, the earth will be cleansed of all wickedness. In Malachi 4:1 we read, “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” We believe that the earth will be renewed to its perfect state and then it will receive its proper glory, which is paradisiacal. In Isaiah 51:3 we read, “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Then later in Isaiah 65:17 we read, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” That paradisiacal condition will be like the Garden of Eden that existed for Adam and Eve. Then it will have the glory and be prepared for the righteous to dwell upon the face of it.

These beliefs bring me such great joy and excitement. I believe that the work of the Lord is going forth and that the tribes of Israel are indeed being gathered, because the gospel is spreading across the earth. I know that wether I am alive or not, I will rejoice at the second coming of the Lord. I know that the earth will be prepared for his reign, and therefore it must be pure of all wickedness. This will be the beginning of the millennium, and I am so excited for the great work and blessings that will come from that time.

D&C Section 110

In April of 1836, the prophet, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery received this vision after the saints had partaken of the sacrament and heard preaching from the brethren of the church. They were in the temple, where church meetings were held at the time, and I think that the rest of the saints had left for the day at this time. Joseph and Oliver knelt in prayer and afterwards this was what they both witnessed.

1 The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.
2 We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.
3 His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
4 I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.
5 Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.
6 Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house to my name.
7 For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here; and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.
8 Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this holy house.
9 Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house.
10 And the fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands; and this is the beginning of the blessing which shall be poured out upon the heads of my people. Even so. Amen.

The Lord appeared to the prophet and Oliver Cowdery in the temple. This description of the Savior, is much like the previous descriptions that were given by the prophets, such as the description found in the first vision (See Joseph Smith-History), and the description found in Revelations (See Revelation 1). I think that this is the closest description that we as mortals could understand, but it probably comes no where near the actual brilliance of the Lord. I find that when I read these things, I become greatly excited within me for the day when I will be able to be a witness of Him in the flesh.

The prophet and Oliver were blessed with forgiveness for their sins. The Lord accepted the temple that the saints had built and dedicated to Him. I know that the reason the temple was accepted, was because it was done just as the Lord has required. Not only was it built to His design and for his purposes, but the saints had proven that they would sacrifice all that they had for it and would put it as their first priority over all other things. I wonder if I would be that strong and truly sacrifice the things that I have come to believe I need, even when I probably don’t need them.

Oliver and Joseph, were told that He, the Lord, would show himself to those who served in the temple, if they kept the temple holy with their righteousness and their works. The Kirtland temple, was just the beginning of the many temples that have now been built all over the world. With the building of the temple, many people have received the blessings of endowments from the Lord and have made sacred covenants as well. Because of the building of the Kirtland temple, the ordinances of God were revealed to men, and we are able to be blessed by them today.

11 After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
12 After this, Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.

Moses and Elias came to them, and restored the keys of the gathering of Israel, and the gospel of Abraham. This is the day, when the gathering officially began, because the proper authority of God had been restored to the earth once more. I believe that the day will come, when all of the tribes of Israel, will be gathered once more. It really is such an exciting era of man to live, in which all things are being restored to their proper place and eventually the second coming of the Savior will happen. Elias is what one is called who is sent by God to restore or prepare (see Elias in the Bible Dictionary). According to the manual I am studying, this Elias is Gabriel, also known as Noah. This is not told in the Bible Dictionary, but from a quote by President Joseph Feilding Smith. The gospel of Abraham that was restored, was the blessings and promises that were given to Abraham, that his seed should continue. The footnote references the Abrahamic Covenant, which also talks about an eternal increase, promised lands, and eternal inheritances. If we are faithful, the blessings that were promised to Abraham, can be ours. This is through the power of the priesthood and the keys that were restored on that day in the Kirtland temple.

13 After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
14 Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
15 To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.

Elijah appeared to them and restored keys to the prophet and Oliver. In the footnotes, it says that the keys were those of the sealing power. From this point on, saints could be sealed to their loved ones for eternity. With these keys, all people who have ever lived have the opportunity to receive all the ordinances and covenants, including being sealed to their loved ones. This happens through the proxy work that is done for the dead, within the temples. It is the responsibility of worthy saints, who are able to do service in the temple, to do this work. It is a great work, and will continue through the time of the Millennium. The restoration of these keys was prophesied to happen close to happen before the second coming (see Malchi 4:5). In this vision in 1836, Elijah said that the second coming, which is the great and dreadful day of the Lord, is “at the doors”. This should teach us the urgency of the work and the importance of our own preparation.

This vision was such an important part of the restoration of the gospel. The blessings that we can have because of the priesthood keys which were restored, are absolutely amazing. I know that we cannot even begin to understand the value of these things because we are not currently in the eternities, but I believe that they are great. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith. I am so glad that he was worthy enough to receive these things for us. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven, who wants all of His children to have the opportunity to live with Him again some day. I have hope in this gospel truth and I am so excited to be a part of this gospel and this great work.

D&C Section 109 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post (D&C Section 109 Part 1).

In the previous post on this section, we read the beginning of the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland temple. The saints had sacrificed much and the prophet asked for great blessings from the spirit to be given to the saints. We are promised power and protection from Satan and temptations of the world, if we are faithful and obedient in temple work and sharing the gospel.

This section continues:

43 O Lord, we delight not in the destruction of our fellow men; their souls are precious before thee;
44 But thy word must be fulfilled. Help thy servants to say, with thy grace assisting them: Thy will be done, O Lord, and not ours.
45 We know that thou hast spoken by the mouth of thy prophets terrible things concerning the wicked, in the last days—that thou wilt pour out thy judgments, without measure;
46 Therefore, O Lord, deliver thy people from the calamity of the wicked; enable thy servants to seal up the law, and bind up the testimony, that they may be prepared against the day of burning.
47 We ask thee, Holy Father, to remember those who have been driven by the inhabitants of Jackson county, Missouri, from the lands of their inheritance, and break off, O Lord, this yoke of affliction that has been put upon them.
48 Thou knowest, O Lord, that they have been greatly oppressed and afflicted by wicked men; and our hearts flow out with sorrow because of their grievous burdens.
49 O Lord, how long wilt thou suffer this people to bear this affliction, and the cries of their innocent ones to ascend up in thine ears, and their blood come up in testimony before thee, and not make a display of thy testimony in their behalf?
50 Have mercy, O Lord, upon the wicked mob, who have driven thy people, that they may cease to spoil, that they may repent of their sins if repentance is to be found;
51 But if they will not, make bare thine arm, O Lord, and redeem that which thou didst appoint a Zion unto thy people.
52 And if it cannot be otherwise, that the cause of thy people may not fail before thee may thine anger be kindled, and thine indignation fall upon them, that they may be wasted away, both root and branch, from under heaven;
53 But inasmuch as they will repent, thou art gracious and merciful, and wilt turn away thy wrath when thou lookest upon the face of thine Anointed.

The saints had suffered a lot of hardship at the hands of angry people. They were promised that the wicked would suffer if they would not repent of their ways. This part of the dedicatory prayer, reiterates these promises. It is a reminder that we must have faith and hope in the Lords promises, being obedient to his laws and repent for our sins, so that we can be saved when the day of judgment comes upon the wicked. It is also a reminder that even though people may do awful things and hurt others, there is always a chance for repentance. The Lord will allow for every opportunity and knows the hearts of men and because He is merciful. God not bring down His wrath until there is no room for repentance any longer.

In the case with Missouri, the saints had previously been told to ask for help from the government in restoring what was rightfully theirs. The saints did, but the help was not to be found. This prophetic prayer was fulfilled during the civil war, because Missouri saw fighting in most of the state. In fact, I read that in Jackson County and the surrounding areas, the residents were all evicted and their property was burned. This was so much like what they had done to the saints.

54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.
55 Remember the kings, the princes, the nobles, and the great ones of the earth, and all people, and the churches, all the poor, the needy, and afflicted ones of the earth;
56 That their hearts may be softened when thy servants shall go out from thy house, O Jehovah, to bear testimony of thy name; that their prejudices may give way before the truth, and thy people may obtain favor in the sight of all;
57 That all the ends of the earth may know that we, thy servants, have heard thy voice, and that thou hast sent us;
58 That from among all these, thy servants, the sons of Jacob, may gather out the righteous to build a holy city to thy name, as thou hast commanded them.

It is a testimony to me of the greatness of this land that I live in, that the prophet, Joseph Smith, would say these things in this prayer. I believe these things to be true – that the establishment of the United States was done by inspiration, that the creation of our constitution was also by inspiration, and that we continue to need our rulers to be blessed by the Lord so that they can lead us in good ways. We have so much contention and fighting in the world, which is not the right environment for the gospel to enter the hearts of men. I hope that more peace can be found all over the world, and that leaders of all nations have the same opportunities to be influenced by the spirit, if they are trying to do what is right. I hope for hearts all over the world to be softened because that is they only way that the spirit can convert them to come unto Christ. I know that the gospel can bring peace to all men.

59 We ask thee to appoint unto Zion other stakes besides this one which thou hast appointed, that the gathering of thy people may roll on in great power and majesty, that thy work may be cut short in righteousness.
60 Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.
61 But thou knowest that thou hast a great love for the children of Jacob, who have been scattered upon the mountains for a long time, in a cloudy and dark day.
62 We therefore ask thee to have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed;
63 And the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David;
64 And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father.
65 And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel;
66 That they may lay down their weapons of bloodshed, and cease their rebellions.
67 And may all the scattered remnants of Israel, who have been driven to the ends of the earth, come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed from oppression, and rejoice before thee.

The prophet asked that the church may grow in stakes so that the gospel could gather the saints from all over. The church has over 28,000 congregations all over the world, and the stakes of Zion are being strengthened in many lands. I don’t know a lot of the world history and current events, so I don’t know the progress of Israel being redeemed, but I understand that it is slowly happening. The gentiles have brought the gospel back through the restoration and the prophet, Joseph Smith. The gentiles will have the privilege to bring the gospel to the house of Israel, and the tribes of Israel will gather again once more. The gathering is happening now and I am so grateful to be a part of it.

68 O Lord, remember thy servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., and all his afflictions and persecutions—how he has covenanted with Jehovah, and vowed to thee, O Mighty God of Jacob—and the commandments which thou hast given unto him, and that he hath sincerely striven to do thy will.
69 Have mercy, O Lord, upon his wife and children, that they may be exalted in thy presence, and preserved by thy fostering hand.
70 Have mercy upon all their immediate connections, that their prejudices may be broken up and swept away as with a flood; that they may be converted and redeemed with Israel, and know that thou art God.
71 Remember, O Lord, the presidents, even all the presidents of thy church, that thy right hand may exalt them, with all their families, and their immediate connections, that their names may be perpetuated and had in everlasting remembrance from generation to generation.
72 Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;
74 And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth;
75 That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord;
76 That our garments may be pure, that we may be clothed upon with robes of righteousness, with palms in our hands, and crowns of glory upon our heads, and reap eternal joy for all our sufferings.
77 O Lord God Almighty, hear us in these our petitions, and answer us from heaven, thy holy habitation, where thou sittest enthroned, with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy, and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting.
78 O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord! And answer these petitions, and accept the dedication of this house unto thee, the work of our hands, which we have built unto thy name;
79 And also this church, to put upon it thy name. And help us by the power of thy Spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around thy throne, with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb!
80 And let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen.

The closing of this dedication is an example to us. We should pray for the prophets and other church leaders, so that they will have the strength and support of the church. We should pray for their protection from persecution and prejudices. We should pray for their families, which keep them strong. We should pray for the church and its growth around the world. We should pray for the poor, that their needs will be met. We should pray that the gospel will touch the hearts of many, so that more of the children of God will be prepared for the second coming. We should pray that the faithful saints will receive glory, honor and eternal life according to their obedience to the covenants they make.

I am so grateful for the temples that are on the earth today. I am grateful for the covenants that I have made to God. I know that we are living in the latter-days, when we need to be doing all that we can to prepare for the second coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We must do our part in sharing the gospel and in preparing ourselves, so that we can be worthy to meet the Lord. I have hope in the blessings that we can be promised through our covenants. I want to serve the Lord and to be found worthy, so that I can share in these blessings.

Ether, Chapter 13

Why did the Jaredites reject their prophet, Ether?

My 6 year old worked hard on a drawing of our family.  She was extremely proud of how it turned out.  When she was gone a few hours later, her 2 year old sister found it and I saw it just as she was finishing ripping it to shreds.  I felt heartbroken for my older daughter.  It was hard to see that her beautiful work had been destroyed.

Elder Sterling W. Sill said, “The Jaredites became a great nation and flourished upon this land for approximately nineteen hundred years, or almost the exact length of time that has elapsed since the birth of Jesus to our own day. . . . The Jaredites loved this land and enjoyed its blessings, as we have done.  The Lord promised them that there should be no greater nation on the earth than the one which he should raise up for them upon this land.”  The Jaredites lasted so long as a great nation, because the Lord blessed them.  They may have had a lot of wickedness at times, but they were learning through cycles of pride and many were righteous.  I am sure that it would be devastatingly sad to watch a great nation, such as this, be destroyed.  Only the greatest wickedness would bring such a great nation to an end like this.

“And now I, Moroni, proceed to finish my record concerning the destruction of the people of whom I have been writing (v. 1).  For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof (v. 2);”  The Jaredites had rejected the words of the prophet Ether.  It says here that they rejected all of his words, which must mean that they were being pretty wicked.

“And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden; but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether; but they esteemed him as naught, and cast him out; and he hid himself in the cavity of a rock by day, and by night he went forth viewing the things which should come upon the people (v. 13).  And as he dwelt in the cavity of a rock he made the remainder of this record, viewing the destructions which came upon the people, by night (v. 14).”  Ether was kicked out, forced to hide away, and then witnessed the destruction of his land and people.  When all people reject the prophet, and therefore reject the word of the Lord, they are ripe for destruction.  I am sure that Moroni felt like he was reading of his own experiences as he abridged the records of Ether.  I think that Moroni felt it important to include the record of Ether and the Jaredites, to show that the destruction of a people can come to any of us.  He experienced it and was a witness, but Ether had experienced it as well and provided another witness to the promise of destruction.  We can help to preserve our nation, by praying for it.  We help, by listening to the words of our prophets and not rejecting them.

What did Ether see?

Moroni recorded a small part of what Ether prophesied to the people.  “And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord (v. 3). . . And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new (v. 9).  And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel (v. 10).”  The New Jerusalem would come out of heaven and those who live there will be clean from sin.  The manual says that Bruce R. McConkie has said that this will be the city of Enoch, which will return to the Earth as part of the New Jerusalem.

The second New Jerusalem would be on the land that Moroni knew as his home.  “Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land (v. 4). . . And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type (v. 6). . . . Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away (v. 8 ).”  The New Jerusalem, would be the home of the remnant of the seed of Joseph.  It would be on the American continent, which has been prophesied many times, to be the choice land.

In Moses 7:62-64 we read, “And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem (v. 62).  And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other (v. 63); And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall crest (v. 64).”  The two New Jerusalem cities will be joined together as one.

Ether talks of one other Jerusalem.  “And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come—after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel (v. 5). . . For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not (v. 7). . . And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham (v. 11).  And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first (v. 12).”  The old Jerusalem was destroyed and exists today.  We know this Jerusalem as Israel, and it is promised that it will be rebuilt with the gathering of Israel.

Fight to the death

When Ether was cast out, a war broke out between the king, Coriantumr, and those who wanted to kill him (v. 15).  Coriantumr was able to fight well because he had spent a lot of time studying the arts of war (v. 16).  Ether saw many people killed by secret combinations, because they would not repent and because there were many who wanted to take the kingdom from Coriantumr (v. 17-18 ).  Among those killed were the sons of Coriantumr (v. 19).  “And in the second year the word of the Lord came to Ether, that he should go and prophesy unto Coriantumr that, if he would repent, and all his household, the Lord would give unto him his kingdom and spare the people (v. 20)—Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr (v. 21).”  Ether told Coriantumr to repent and be spared, or he would witness the death of all of his people and be killed by those who would take the land from him.

Wicked leaders hardly ever seem to listen when the prophets tell them what will happen if they do not repent.  Coriantumr and his people did not repent after Ether told them what would happen, but instead they wanted to kill Ether.  The wars did not end, and Ether went back to hiding in the rock (v. 22).  Then a man named Shared, came to fight Coriantumr and won (v. 23).  Coriantumr’s sons fought Shared and won, so Coriantumr was able to be king again (v. 24).  The war became spread across there whole land and the wickedness and robbers were everywhere (v. 25-26).  Coriantumr was really angry, so he fought again against Shared (v. 27).  They fought for three days and Coriantumr won and drove Shared to a place called Heshlon (v. 28 ).  In Heshlon, Shared won and drove Coriantumr back, but he fought back and killed Shared (v. 29-30).  “And Shared wounded Coriantumr in his thigh, that he did not go to battle again for the space of two years, in which time all the people upon the face of the land were shedding blood, and there was none to restrain them (v. 31).”  The fighting continued, while Coriantumr could not fight, so he was forced to sit back and witness more of his people fighting and dying.

Power and pride are motivators of evil and wickedness.  Satan had such a great hold on the hearts of Coriantumr and his people.  Everyone wanted the control and power for themselves and they were all willing to fight and die for it.  They also fought out of anger and for the revenge of their people.  We see many times in the scriptures, that fighting because of anger or revenge, will never bring happiness.  It is not an acceptable reason for fighting, by the standards of God.  This was such a waste of a great land that had been so prosperous and blessed by the Lord.  I am sure that it brought some great sadness to Ether, to witness the destruction of the people.  I cannot truly imagine what it would have been like to witness such awful wickedness and destruction.  This must also have been hard for Moroni to read and record, because he had already experienced this for himself with his own people.  I am glad to have this example and I pray that I will be able to be strong enough to keep anger and pride from motivating my actions and giving Satan control over me.

3 Nephi, Chapter 29

When will the Jews be gathered home?

“And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled (v. 1).  And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel (v. 2).  And ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made unto his people of the house of Israel (v. 3).”  These sayings are the words of the Book of Mormon.  We are reminded here that the Book of Mormon came to the Gentiles.  Once that happened we should know that another one of the prophesies of the Lord was fulfilled and the prophecy of the Second Coming and the gathering of Israel would also be fulfilled.

The children of Israel would come to know the Lord and would receive the promised blessings.  In D&C 109:62-67 we read, “We therefore ask thee to have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed (v. 62); And the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David (v. 63); And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father (v. 64).  And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel (v. 65); That they may lay down their weapons of bloodshed, and cease their rebellions (v. 66).  And may all the scattered remnants of Israel, who have been driven to the ends of the earth, come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed from oppression, and rejoice before thee (v. 67).”

I’m not one who knows a lot about the political climate and physical nature of Israel, but I have faith that this prophecy will be fulfilled as the Lord has promised us.  I look forward to the time when everyone will know of Him and the gathering is complete.  What an awesome time it will be when the Lord comes again and those who have had faith, will know the things they hoped for were true.

What does “spurn” mean?

“And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you (v. 4).  Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works (v. 5)!  Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost (v. 6)!  Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ (v. 7)!  Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn (v. 8 ).  Therefore ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left, that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel (v. 9).”

The word spurn means “to reject or treat with extreme dislike”.  When the Book of Mormon was brought to the gentiles, there was to be no rejection of the “doings of the Lord”.  Those who deny Christ, his works, revelations, and miracles will have no mercy through Christ.  There should not be any rejection of the Jews and the children of Israel, because they will received the promised blessings from the Lord.

To spurn, can also mean “to kick or drive back with the foot”.  Many people today spurn the “doings of the Lord”.  There are those who say that there are no longer revelations by the Lord and therefore there could not be prophets on the earth today.  There are those who do not believe that people can have the gift of the Holy Ghost.  There are many who reject the church, its gospel and its members.  This is spurning the things of the Lord.  Those who have heard of the things of the Lord, and willingly deny or spurn them, will have no mercy for their denial.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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