The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Three

This entry is part 3 of 16 in the series Literal Gathering

Chapter Three

Was The Gathering Of Israel Suspended?

Those few who do yet believe in a literal gathering of Israel often state that the gathering process is-suspended until we go back to Jackson County. Then they believe we will go back there and again have a great gathering.

The gathering of Israel and the establishment of Zion was paramount on the minds of the early church. The Lord has made it clear that we should not cease in this endeavor: “Again, verily I say unto you, I will show unto you wisdom in me con­cerning ALL the churches, inasmuch as they are willing to be guided in a right and proper way for their salvation,. That the work of the gathering of my, saints MAY CONTINUE, that I build them up unto my name upon HOLY PLACES, for the TIME OF THE HARVEST IS COME, and my word must needs be fulfilled. Therefore, I MUST GATHER TOGETHER MY PEOPLE, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory…While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire. Therefore, a commandment I give unto ALL the churches, that THEY SHALL CONTINUE TO GATHER TOGETHER unto the places which I have appointed… if they will hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion.” D&C 101: 63-67, 74

Here we are clearly told that the gathering was to continue and nowhere in the scriptures are we commanded to cease gathering, instead the First Presidency announced in the days of Joseph Smith: “The work of the gathering spoken of in the scriptures WILL BE NECESSARY to bring about the glories of the last dispensation.” DHC 4:186.

In the days of Joseph F. Smith an announcement was made that it was no longer necessary for the saints to gather, but was it done by revelation? If it was done by revelation then it had to be a “Secret” revelation and today the church openly condemns secret revelations as being a sure mark of the devil, yet the church is claimed to be run by revelation and apparently all of them are secret. Thus the church leaders are condemning themselves when they condemn such secret revelations,

Joseph F. Smith was not the first individual to try and stop the work of God in gathering his People for the gathering was one of the main causes of persecution, for most of the persecution came before polygamy was introduced.. And why were they persecuted for gathering? Because when the saints gathered together they formed a medium of power for good and they began talking about the glories of the Kingdom and how Zion would eventually rule the world and such talk put great fears in the hearts of their neighbors for their neighbors feared that they may eventually be ruled over by those “tyrannical” Mormons and thus they tried to destroy them.

When the saints gathered in Ohio they were persecuted, and when they gathered in Missouri and tried to build Zion they were mobbed and Bogg’s famous extermination order was issued. When they were ordered to leave Missouri they were told to scatter abroad – that if they dispersed then no one would bother them and they could live their religion without persecution. This seemed like good advice for them, and some followed this and taught others the same. Hyrum Smith spoke in a general conference on this subject and “made remarks disapproving the course pursued by some elders in counteracting the efforts of the presidency to gather the saints, and in enticing them to stop in places not appointed for the gathering.” DHC 4:424

Unfortunately this spirit of enticing of the saints “to stop in places not appointed for the gathering” has spread to the first presidency of the church and the sheep have followed the shepherds. Today they have told all the saints to stay in their native lands for their native countries are appointed for gathering places, yet the saints in Mexico do not gather in Mexico and the saints in Brazil do not gather in Brazil for there is no gathering places appointed for the members of the church anywhere on the earth. Today there are only figurative gatherings,and no literal ones.

On the contrary Brigham Young said: “Recollect that we are now calling upon the Elders to go and gather up Israel; THIS IS THE MISSION THAT IS GIVEN TO US. It was the first mission given to the Elders in the days of Joseph. The set time is come for God to gather Israel, and for his work to commence upon the face of the whole earth, and the Elders who have arisen in this Church and Kingdom are actually of Israel.” JD 2:268. The Lord said: “I must gather together my people according to the parable of the wheat and the tares.” D&C 101 :65 In the parable of the wheat and the tares the Lord did not instruct his servants to gather the wheat for a while and then throw it back in with the tares, yet this is what the shepherds have done in saying that a literal gathering is no longer necessary, but the Lord said: “And now I show unto you a parable. Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.” Joseph Smith 1:27

This gathering began with Joseph Smith and the Lord instructed its continuance and he condemns those servants who do not obey the principle of gathering as “hypocrites” (verse 54). The Lord also said: “But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been BROKEN UP, but would have been ready.” Joseph Smith 1:47. Have the shepherds of Israel allowed the house of Israel to again be broken up even after a gathering had begun? Yes. The prophecy is fulfilled and Israel is not gathered today, but broken up. The Lord continues: “Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh, shall find so doing (Gathering Israel and building Zion); verily I say unto you, he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My Lord delayeth his coming (That is be delays the building of Zion to some future date and we do not have to worry about it now. Build up Zion wherever you are). And he shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, (This is done today by excommunicating the pure in heart), and to eat and drink with the drunken. (Since Israel is not gathered today then they “eat and drink with the drunken). Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, AND SHALL CUT HIM ASUNDER, AND SHALL APPOINT HIM HIS PORTION WITH THE HYPOCRITS,” Joseph Smith 1:50-54 (Compare Matt 24)

The general feeling in the church today regarding this scripture is that it applies mainly to the lowly member and home teacher for surely the authorities are being as the wise servant. But NO! The evil servant one who has power enough to allow the Lord’s whole house to be “broken and the lowly member and home teacher has not this power. The evil servant was one, who was supposed to have care for the Lord’s house, one in high authority. The faithful servant is represented by those who do not give up on the gathering and building of Zion.

The evil servants are also referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord compared the gathering Of Israel to a tower and after He commanded its construction “They began to say among themselves: And what need hath my Lord of this tower? And consulted for a long time saying among themselves: What need hath my Lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace? (That is persecution has subsided so why gather. It is no longer necessary) Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things. (After all it costs money to gather together and build cities) And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not to the commandments of the Lord. And the enemy came by night and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were afrightened and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive trees. Now behold, the nobleman, the Lord of the vineyard called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil? Ought YE NOT TO HAVE DONE EVEN AS I COMMANDED YOU, and after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof – built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, AND NOT FALLEN ASLEEP, lest the enemy should come upon you? And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy While HE WAS YET FAR OFF; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.” D&C 101:47-54 Then the Lord tells us he will call a faithful servant to fulfill his will which would be accomplished “after many days”. Verse 62 Then the He speaks clearly a few verses later and said: “They shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed.” Verse 7.

One might ask how would the gathering enable us to “have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off?” Verse 54 The reason he would have been seen while he was yet afar off is because the gathering always draws opposition and the enemy would have continued to show himself while he was yet weak or afar off. If the gathering had continued then the Church would be prepared for the enemy today. As it is, with the dissolution of the gathering, the Church does not draw the evil men to oppose them. They appear as friends and the saints eat and drink with the drunken and cannot see the enemy afar off; yea, they cannot see him until it is too late.

Oh, how great is the wisdom of God in commanding his people to gather, yet how great is the folly of man in neglecting this principle because they see no need. Is it not clear that the gathering of Israel is one of the main promises made to the fathers and without it “the earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” D&C 2:3. Nephi elaborates somewhat on this principle “For thus are the covenants of the Lord with our fathers; and it MEANETH US IN THE DAYS TO COME, AND ALSO ALL OUR BRETHREN WHO ARE OF THE HOUSE, OF ISRAEL…

Therefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and THEY SHALL BE GATHERED TOGETHER to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness.” I Nephi 22:6&12.

Jesus tells us when these promises are to be fulfilled: “When the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled… then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel. And then shall the remnants, which shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth BE GATHERED IN from the east and from the west and from the south and from the North; and they shall be brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God who hath redeemed them… And I will gather my people together as a man gathered his sheaves into the floor. For I will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people…” III Nephi 20: 11-13 &18-19

Concerning the gathering Jesus also said: he “will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer… And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and HARDEN NOT THEIR HEARTS; wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto ONE PLACE UPON THE FACE OF THIS LAND, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.” D&C 29:2, 7-8

Micah makes some interesting prophesies concerning the period when the final gathering will begin: “O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the Lord straightened? Are these his doings? Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly’? Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy (This could be referring to the people of the church when they abandoned the gathering). … Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because IT IS POLLUTED, it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; (That is receiving revelations the world wants to hear) he shall even be the prophet of this people. (The people will have a false prophet) I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I WILL SURELY GATHER THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL; 1 will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men

“And I said, Hear I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the House of Israel (The General Authorities): Is it not for you to know judgment? (That is they should know how to make correct judgments.) Who hate the good, and love the evil… Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but He will not hear them: he will even hide His face from them at that time, (What time? At the time the Lord Gathers out a remnant.), as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. Thus Saith the, Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite their teeth, and cry, Peace; (The Knox version translates this: ‘All is well) and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him. (This means that the person who does not go along with those who believe all is well in Zion and raise their voice in protest they, the Authorities prepare war against him.) Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall have not a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips: for there is no answer from God.” Micah 2:7-12; 3:1-7

LDS missionaries use this scripture to substantiate the great apostasy during the dark ages, but there are several facts to indicate that the prophesy pertains to our day and not the dark ages. First of all the church during the dark ages did not believe in prophets, seers and revelators, but here Micah talks about people who will actually claim to be such and will receive false revelations. Secondly, we are told that at the time of these false prophets the Lord “will surely gather the remnant of Israel”. There was no gathering during the dark ages.

Thirdly, Micah makes another prophecy which is to be fulfilled after this successful gathering: “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And MANY NATIONS SHALL COME, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: FOR THE LAW SHALL GO FORTH OUT OF ZION, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:1-2. This famous quote, which is also found in Isaiah, is often used by the church to support the idea that the Church today has Zion established in the tops of the mountains in Utah, and to the casual observer it seems as if this is the logical fulfillment of the prophesy, but is it??? We are told that “the law shall go forth out of Zion”. Does the church have any dominion that they have power to give laws? The next verse says: “And he shall judge among many people, and REBUKE STRONG NATIONS AFAR OFF… And I will make her that halteth a remnant, (the true gathering of the Jews), and her that was CAST FAR OFF A STRONG NATION.” Micah 4:3 & 7. Who was cast afar off? It was the children of Lehi. When they are gathered in the Lord will make Zion a strong nation.

Does the church today have power “to rebuke strong nations afar off? Is the church today a strong nation? No. These prophecies are not yet fulfilled and it may shock some people to learn that the mountain of the Lord’s house is not in Utah among those beautiful mountains. Has not the Church been clearly told that Zion is to be established in Jackson County Missouri and that it is from this spot that the law will go forth that will govern the nations? Joseph Smith made this clear near the end of his life at a time that he was aware that the “Saints would go to the Rocky Mountains and become a mighty people.” He said: “The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord should be, AND THAT IT SHOULD BE IN THE CENTER OF THE LAND. When the Elders shall take up and examine the old prophesies in the Bible, they will see it.” DHC 6:318-319

If the Church accepts the revelations given through Joseph Smith then they must acknowledge that the mountain of the Lord’s house is not in the Rocky Mountains, but is in Missouri. It is from this place that strong nations will be rebuked and that the law will go forth and that other nations will come forth and want to be governed by the principles of freedom as outlined in the original constitution of the United States which was established “for the rights and protection of ALL flesh.” D&C 101:77

If this is so one might well ask then why the prophecy speaks about the Mountain of the Lord’s house in the tops of the mountains when there are few mountains in Missouri. There are several things to keep in mind here. First recall that the Lord often speaks of his holy mountain as being in Israel, yet there are no high mountains there. A good-sized hill is the highest thing you can find there. Secondly the Lord often refers to his people gathered together as his “holy Mountain” even if there are no mountains around. Thirdly, Missouri is in the center of a land filled with mountain ranges, and Forth, if you demand a literal interpretation we are told that the time will come “for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low.” D&C 49:23. Thus it would hardly do to establish the Central stake in Salt Lake for it would no longer be in the tops of the mountains when they are made low. On the other hand it is possible that the Lord will raise up a great mountain in the central stake in Missouri.

The Lord seemed to be aware that the gathering commenced by Joseph Smith would not be permanent as we have previously indicated by the parable of the servants abandoning the tower. The scriptures say: “Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this I will do when the cup of their iniquity is full. And in that day ALL who are found upon the watchtower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved. AND THEY THAT HAVE BEEN SCATTERED SHALL BE GATHERED.” D&C 101:11-13. This gathering spoken of here has to refer to a second gathering for the first had already started. This second successful gathering will take place when the Lord’s wrath is poured out upon the nations.

This second gathering was sensed by some of the early leaders. Brigham Young said: “God will preserve a PORTION OF’ THIS PEOPLE of the meek and humble, to bear off the kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth.” Contributor 10:362. Also Heber C. Kimball said: “But the time will come when the Lord will choose A PEOPLE OUT OF THIS PEOPLE upon whom he will bestow His choicest blessings.” Deseret News; Nov 9, 1865.

True saints look forward to the true literal gathering Of Israel. A  marvelous work and wonder will come forth, a work which shall be so great that the history books will teach that all that has gone on before us including the restoration of the gospel was only preparation for that which is to come. The work of the Lord through Joseph Smith, as great as it was, was only preparation for that which God will yet accomplish through the meek and humble of the earth.

John the Revelator prophesied of the great gathering, or the coming out of Babylon. He said: “And I heard another voice (rev elation) from heaven, saying, COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4 This revelation that John prophesied of was given to Joseph Smith November 3, 1831 wherein the Lord said: “Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.” D&C 133:14 Joseph Smith said that this commandment was given “that the people of the Lord MAY LIVE when Babylon the great is fallen.” DHC 4:9

How can one deny that the commandment to come out of Babylon is literal and is yet binding on the Latter-Day Saints? The Lord said: “Save yourselves from this untoward generation, and COME FORTH OUT OF THE FIRE, hating even the garments spotted with the flesh.” D&C 36:6.

Jesus also personally prophesied of the coming out of Babylon: “And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, GO YE OUT FROM THENCE, touch not that which is unclean; GO YE OUT OF THE MIDST OF HER. III Nephi 20:41

When Jacob was chastising his people he told them: “And the time speedily cometh, that except ye repent… the Lord God will lead away the righteous out from among you.” Jacob 3:4 Is not this the principle that God has used in all ages? Will he not lead forth the righteous from the Latter-Day Saints today except they repent?

Jeremiah speaks extensively concerning the commandment to come out of Babylon: “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place… Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks. For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the North country: and they shall set themselves in array against her… Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver ever, man his soul… Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her that ‘have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the Lord afar off, and let Jerusalem (That is the New Jerusalem) come into your mind.” Jer 50:6,8-9;.51:9,5

Again we are told: “The diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; THEY COMFORT IN VAIN… I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them… And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man… I will hiss for them, and gather them… I will bring them again also out of tile land of Egypt, (That is he will deliver us from oppressive laws and taxation), and gather them out of Assyria (That is the Lord will gather them from among the wicked); and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon;” Zech 10:2,6,7 & 10

What does the Lord mean when he says he will bring them “into the land of Gilead and Lebanon”? If we apply the Hebrew meanings of the words we get an interesting interpretation. Gilead means “many witnesses” and Lebanon means “the center” so we could render it thus: “I will bring you to a land of which you have received many witnesses which is in the center”( of the country). Did not Joseph Smith say that Jackson County, Missouri is the “center” stake in the center of the land? Is not the consistency of all of the prophets amazing?

We must keep in mind here that many of the prophesies concerning Zion will commence in their fulfillment in the Rocky Mountains, but they will not bud forth in all of their glory until the center stake is established. The prophecy that Joseph made about the saints becoming a mighty people in the midst of the rocky mountains has not yet been fulfilled. The Mormon people are now a numerous people, but they are not mighty, but a mighty people will grow up out of their midst.

 

Copyright 1979 by J J Dewey

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