The Gathering Must Take Place Before The Second Coming
Many people today seem to be getting the idea that Jesus could come most any time, but few realize that among the many events that must take place before he can come – even to a group of people, is the gathering of Israel. The Lord commanded the building of the New Jerusalem “that my covenant people MAY BE GATHERED IN ONE IN THAT DAY WHEN I SHALL COME TO MY TEMPLE. AND THIS I DO FOR THE SALVATION OF MY PEOPLE.” D&C 42:36 Isn’t that interesting that the gathering of the elect at his second coming is “for the salvation of his people?” This is in perfect harmony with a statement by Joseph Smith: “There is no other way for the saints to be saved in these last days, than by the gathering, as the concurrent testimony of all the Holy Prophets clearly proves… It is also the concurrent testimony of all the prophets, that this gathering together of ALL saints, MUST TAKE PLACE BEFORE THE LORD COMES to take vengeance upon the ungodly, and to be glorified and admired by all those who obey the gospel.” DHC 4:272
Again from the scriptures we have more evidence: “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, a 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.” Moses 7:62
How could they be looking forth to the time of his coming after Zion is built if he is coming previous to that as many believe? We are plainly told here that the Saints will still be looking for the coming of the Lord even after they are dwelling in the new Jerusalem.
Joseph Smith again verifies this: “BEFORE the tabernacle can be with men, the elect must be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.” And to show further upon this subject of the gathering, Moses, after having pronounced the blessing and cursing upon the children of Israel, for their obedience or disobedience, says thus: ‘And it shall come to pass, when these things shall come upon thee, the blessing and the curse which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind, among the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, 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 thine soul, 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. 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.’” (Deut 30:1-4)” DHC 2:261
As further evidence of this point we quote the presiding Bishopric in Kirtland from the History of the Church; These men were taught directly by Joseph Smith: “Every saint has an equal interest in building up the Zion of our God, for it is AFTER the Lord has built up Zion that he will appear in his glory (Psalm cii:16). We all look for the appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, but we shall look in vain UNTIL ZION IS BUILT, for Zion is to be the dwelling place of our God when he comes.” DHC 2:516.
Few seem to realize that Jesus does not want a repeat performance of his last visit when he comes again this time. If He were to appear now in our unprepared condition the Latter-day Saints would reject him and accuse him of operating by the power of the devil just as the ancient Jews did. The reason is, of course, that be would teach many of the deeper mysteries and concepts which would seem as foolishness to the natural man. “His reward is with him” or, in other words, the great knowledge within him can only be shared with a prepared people. Only those who are “seeking” and “knocking” as they were commanded will appreciate the Lord when he comes.
One of the main reasons for substantiating the fact that the
literal gathering must take place before the second coming is because of the gross misunderstanding of the following scripture: “Then shall two men be, in the field; one is taken and one is left: two women shall be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.” MATT 24:40-42
Often when the gathering concept is presented to the Latter- Day Saints they will quote this scripture and then state their belief that all that is needed is personal righteousness for then he can live in a large city and if he is worthy then the Lord will rapture him away to safety at his coming.
This is a great and dangerous deception by the craftiness of men, and it was never taught by the prophets but many of the saints now believe that because of this future rapture that a gathering is no longer necessary for why do we need to be gathered away from the wicked if we are going to be raptured from them anyway in the future?
Actually, this reasoning would be fairly accurate if this was the correct interpretation of the scripture, but as we shall show this belief is a mere sectarian notion which leads people into a false sense of security, just as the Jews were in before the destruction of Jerusalem.
There are several flaws and contradictions in this belief and the most obvious is the idea that we no longer need a gathering be cause of the future rapture. Have we not clearly shown in the last few pages that this is false by quoting the prophets as saying that Zion must be built and the saints gathered BEFORE the second coming? Yet this supposed rapture is to take place AT the coming of the son of Man. (See Matt 24:39) Moreover Matthew chapter twenty-four itself relates the gathering of the elect before this rapture event. About ten verses previous we find: “They shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matt 24:31 Consequently, Matthew and all the other prophets teach that the elect have to be gathered BEFORE the second coming and BEFORE any supposed rapture.
Actually, people read this scripture, and they think that it is merely referring to the separation of the good and evil people throughout the world, but few realize that at the fulfillment of this scripture most of the really evil people will have already been separated from the earth. We have already quoted scriptures showing how desolation will come and cities will lay waste so those who expect to live in a city of Babylon and be raptured will find themselves “utterly burned with fire” long before the second coming transpires.
What then is the true meaning of this rapture scripture? We have several interesting clues: (1) This is event will take place AFTER the literal gathering of Israel. (2) It will happen at the advent of the Son of Man. (3) One half were taken and one half left. (4) These people referred to were all among those who were commanded to “watch” or, in other words, the saints of God.
This is illustrated more fully in the Inspired Version “And then cometh the end of the wicked according to the prophecy of Moses, saying, They should be cut off from among the people.” Matt 24:56 I.V. This scripture indicates that Jesus is referring to a final separation of the sheep from the goats. In other words, there are two separations which must occur. The first separation is to happen in the immediate gathering when the Telestial people will be left behind. In speaking of the Telestial people Joseph Smith said that “these are they who WILL NOT BE GATHERED WITH THE SAINTS, to be caught up.” D&C 76:102. Concerning this first separation we are told that there will be “one of a city and two of a family” Jer 3:14 or a very small percentage of the people. But concerning this second separation, which will separate the Celestial from the Terrestrial people, we are told that a full HALF will be on each side. This is reiterated in the parable of the ten virgins with one half wise and one half foolish, or “deceived by the craftiness of men.”
An examination of the Greek words involved here will shed further light on the interpretation. In the scripture Jesus compares His coming with the days of Noah where the people were unprepared then and adds: “so shall be the coming of the son of Man. then two men shall be in the field; one is taken and one is left…”
Two key words here are “taken” and “left.” Taken here comes from the Greek word PARALAMBANO which literally means “to accept or receive into a close relationship.” The word “left” comes from the Greek APHIEMI which literally means “to send away.” Thus if we translate the scripture according to the true meaning we have: “Then two men shall be in the field; one shall be received into full fellowship (By the Christ) and the other one shall be sent away.” This agrees with the inspired Version which says that the unworthy “should be cut off from among the people” in that day.
We might point out here that those who are cut off may not all be terrestrial people for there may yet be telestial people even gathered with the saints, or perhaps some will have lowered themselves to that state as indicated: “But if my evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him.” Matt 24:48-49 We are told that this individual is a servant of the Lord who will have survived the desolations and will be here when the Lord comes, but he will loose faith and not be received into full fellowship, but will be sent away to dwell with the hypocrites.
This is all reiterated in the parable of the Virgins which follows the rapture scripture: “And then, at that day, before the Son of man comes, the Kingdom of Heaven shall be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and WENT FORTH (Gathered together) to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five of them were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps (meaning they did all things that were physically necessary they built cities and gathered together) and took no oil with them (they were not spiritually prepared and depended on others for their strength); but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps (these had the Holy Spirit and light within them). While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all these virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out, Stay with us and teach us for without you to lean on we cannot stand. But the wise answered, saying, lest there not be enough for us and you, go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves. (We will retrogress and loose the Spirit if we stay any longer with you. Go and find other teachers to help you prepare). And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; (Notice that he came when only the five wise virgins were gathered) and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not. Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day not the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matt 25:1-12 Inspired Ver.
The Doctrine and Covenants sheds some light upon this parable. We are clearly told: “And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins, for they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived – verily, I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.”
The scriptures clearly tell us that the five foolish will be AMONG the righteous that are gathered: “And until that hour (the second coming) there will be foolish virgins among the wise.” D&C 63:54
CONCLUSION: Those who do not gather because they expect a rapture are heirs to the Telestial kingdom (D&C 76:102). The supposed rapture scripture will not be fulfilled until AFTER the gathering, at the time of the Second Coming, and even at that time approximately fifty percent of the people will be foolish and unprepared.
Copyright 1979 by J J Dewey
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