Chapter 18 The Gathering Of Israel

ARTICLE 10 -- We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; * * *

The Gathering Predicted -- Dire as was the chastisement decreed on Israel for their waywardness, amounting, as it did, to their dissolution as a nation, fearful as has been their denunciation by Him who delighted to call them His people, yet through all their sufferings and privations, while wandering as outcasts among alien nations who have never ceased to treat them with contumely and insult, when their very name has been made a hiss and a byword in the earth, they have been sustained by the sure word of promise, that a day of glorious deliverance and blessed restoration awaits them. Associated with the curses, under which they writhed and groaned, were assurances of blessings. From the heart of the people, as from the soul of their king in the day of his affliction, has poured forth a song of tearful rejoicing: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." FN The sufferings of Israel have been but necessary chastening by a grieved yet loving Father, who planned by these effective means to purify His sin-stained children. To them He has freely told His purpose in thus permitting them to be afflicted; and in His punishments they have seen His love: "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth" FN and "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord." FN

Though smitten of men, a large part of them gone from a knowledge of the world, Israel are not lost unto their God. He knows whither they have been led or driven; toward them His heart still yearns with paternal love; and surely will He bring them forth, in due time and by appointed means, into a condition of blessing and influence befitting His covenant people. In spite of their sin and notwithstanding the tribulations that they were bringing upon themselves, the Lord said: "And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God." FN As complete as was the scattering, so shall be the gathering of Israel.

Biblical Prophecies Concerning the Gathering -- We have examined a few of the Biblical predictions concerning the dispersion of Israel; in all cases the blessing of eventual restoration was associated with the curse. Among the early prophecies we hear the Lord declaring that it shall come to pass that when thou, Israel, "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; 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. 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: 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." FN

Nehemiah pleaded in fasting and prayer that the Lord would remember His promise of restoration if the people would turn unto righteousness. FN Isaiah spoke with no uncertain words of the assured return and reunion of scattered Israel, saying: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left. * * * And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." FN

The restoration is to be comprehensive; there shall be a united people, no longer two kingdoms each at enmity with the other; for: "The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim." FN With the words of a fond father the Lord thus speaks of His treatment of Israel and brightens their desolation with promise: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer." FN

After having given a fearful recital of the sins of the people and of the penalties to follow, Jeremiah thus voiced the will and purpose of God concerning the subsequent deliverance: "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.' FN And again: "Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth. * * * Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord." FN

"Backsliding Israel," "treacherous Judah" are the terms of reproof with which the Lord addressed His recreant people; then He commanded the prophet, saying: "Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers." FN

To Ezekiel the Lord also declared the plan of Israel's restoration: "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." FN

That the reestablishment is to be a permanent one is evident from the revelation given through Amos, wherein we read that the Lord said: "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." FN

As a fitting close to our selection of Biblical prophecies, let the words of Jesus of Nazareth be pondered, spoken while He lived among men: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." FN

Book of Mormon prophecies -- The gathering of Israel claimed the attention of many prophets whose teachings are recorded in the Book of Mormon, and not a little direct revelation concerning the subject is preserved within the pages of that volume. We have noted Lehi's discourse in the valley of Lemuel, in which that patriarch-prophet compared the house of Israel to an olive-tree, the branches of which were to be broken off and scattered; now we may add his prediction regarding the subsequent grafting-in of the branches. He taught that, "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 a knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer." FN

Nephi, quoting the words of the prophet Zenos, FN emphasizes the declaration that, when purified through suffering, Israel shall come again into the favor of the Lord, and then shall they be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and the isles of the sea shall be remembered. FN Jacob, brother of Nephi, testified to the truth of the prophecies of Zenos, and indicated the time of the gathering as a characteristic sign of the last days. Consider his words: "And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh." FN

Among the most comprehensive predictions regarding the restoration of the Jews is this utterance of Nephi: "Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations; yea, and also Babylon shall be destroyed; wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered by other nations. And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind -- and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things. And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men." FN

Nephi, commenting on the words of Isaiah regarding the sufferings and subsequent triumph of the people of Israel, states the condition upon which their gathering is predicated, and says of God: "That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise." FN

It is evident from these and many other scriptures that the time of the full recovery or redemption of the Jews is to be determined by their acceptance of Christ as their Lord. When that time comes, they are to be gathered to the land of their fathers; and in the work of gathering, the Gentiles are destined to take a great and honorable part, as witness the further words of Nephi: "But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance. And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, carrying them forth to the land of their inheritance. Yea, the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers; wherefore, the promises of the Lord are great unto the Gentiles, for he hath spoken it, and who can dispute?" FN

The assistance which the Gentiles are to give in the preparation of the Jews, and of the remnant of the house of Israel established on the western continent, is affirmed by several Book of Mormon prophets; and, moreover, the blessings which the Gentiles may thus bring upon themselves are described in detail. FN A single quotation must suffice for our present purpose; and this the declaration of the risen Lord, during His brief ministration among the Nephites: "But if they [the Gentiles] will repent, and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance; And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst. And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father, to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father, among all nations, in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance." FN

Latter-day Revelation Concerning the Gathering -- We have found abundant proof of the severely literal fulfilment of prophecies relating to the dispersion of Israel. The predictions relative to the gathering have been but partly fulfilled; for, while the work of concentration has been well begun, and is now in active progress, the consummation is yet future. It is reasonable, then, to look for revelation and prophecy concerning the subject in modern scripture as well as in the inspired writings of former times. Speaking to the elders of the Church in this dispensation, the Lord declares the purpose of gathering His people "even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings" FN and adds: "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." FN

Hear further the word of the Lord unto the Church in the present day, not only predicting the gathering of the saints to Zion, but announcing that the hour for the gathering has come: "Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my Church * * * Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." FN

Extent and purpose of the Gathering -- Some of the prophecies already cited have special reference to the restoration of the Lost Tribes; others relate to the return of the people of Judah to the land of their inheritance; yet others refer to the rehabilitation of Israel in general, without mention of tribal or other divisions; while many passages in the revelations of the present dispensation deal with the gathering of the saints who have numbered themselves with the Church of Christ as reestablished. It is evident that the plan of gathering comprises:

1. Assembling in the land of Zion of the people of Israel from the nations of the earth.

2. Return of the Jews to Jerusalem.

3. Restoration of the Lost Tribes.

The sequence of these events as here presented is that of convenience and has no significance as to the order in which the several gatherings are to be accomplished. The division first named constitutes an important part of the current work of the Church, though the labor of assisting in the restoration of the Lost Tribes is included. We are informed by revelation, given in the Kirtland Temple, that the appointment to and the authority for the work were solemnly committed to the Church. And through none could such authority be more fittingly conferred than through him who had received it by divine commission in a former dispensation of united Israel. Moses, who was the representative of Israel's God when the Lord set His hand the first time to lead His people to the land of their appointed inheritance, has come in person and has committed to the latter-day Church the authority to minister in the work now that the Lord has "set his hand the second time" to recover His people.

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, each of whom had been duly ordained to the apostleship, testify of the manifestations made to them, in these words: "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." FN The importance of the work thus required of the Church was emphasized by a later revelation, in which the Lord gave this command: "Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews. And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: Go ye forth unto the land of Zion * * * Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountain of the Lord's house. Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon." FN

The last sentence of the foregoing quotation expresses the purpose for which this work of gathering the saints from the nations of the earth has been ordained. The Lord would have His people separate themselves from the sins of the world and depart from spiritual Babylon, that they may learn the ways of God and serve Him the more fully. John the Revelator, while in exile on Patmos, saw in vision the fate of the sinful world. An angel came down from heaven, "and he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. * * * And I heard another voice 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. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." FN

The faith of the Latter-day Saints teaches that in the day of the Lord's righteous fury safety will be found in Zion. The importance which they associate with the work of gathering, and the fidelity with which they seek to discharge the duty enjoined upon them by divine authority in the matter of warning the world of the impending dangers, as described in the Revelator's vision, are sufficiently demonstrated by the great extent of the missionary labor as at present prosecuted by this people. FN

Israel the Covenant People -- The Lord has designated the people of Israel as especially His own. FN With Abraham He entered into a covenant and said: "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." FN This was to be an everlasting covenant. FN It was confirmed upon Isaac, FN and in turn upon Jacob who was called Israel. FN The promises regarding the multitudinous posterity, amongst whom were to be counted many of exalted rank, have been literally fulfilled. No less certain is the realization of the second part of the prediction, that in and through Abraham's descendants should all nations of the earth be blessed. For, by world-wide dispersion the children of Israel have been mingled with the nations; and the blood of the covenant people has been sprinkled among the peoples. FN And now, in this the day of gathering, when the Lord is again bringing His people together to honor and bless them above all that the world can give, every nation with the blood of Israel in the veins of its members will partake of the blessings.

But there is another and a more striking proof of blessings flowing to all nations through the house of Israel. The Redeemer was born in the flesh through the lineage of Abraham; and the blessings of that divine birth are extended, not only to the nations and families of the earth collectively, but to every individual in mortality.

Restoration of the Lost Tribes -- From the scriptural passages already considered, it is plain that, while many of those belonging to the Ten Tribes were diffused among the nations, a sufficient number to justify the retention of the original name were led away as a body and are now in existence in some place where the Lord has hidden them. To them the resurrected Christ went to minister after His visit to the Nephites, as before stated. Their return constitutes a very important part of the gathering, characteristic of the dispensation of the fulness of times.

To the scriptures already quoted as relating to their return, the following should be added. As a feature of the work of God in the day of restoration we are told: "And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows." FN

From the express and repeated declaration, that in their exodus from the north the Ten Tribes are to be led to Zion, there to receive honor at the hands of those who are of Ephraim, who necessarily are to have previously gathered there, it is plain that Zion is to be first established. The establishment of Zion will receive attention in the next chapter.


Biblical Prophecies Concerning the Gathering of Israel

The Lord promises not to forget Israel in their scattered condition -- Lev. 26:44.

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 -- Deut. 30:1-5.

Supplication that the Lord will remember his words: Yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there -- Neh. 1:8, 9.

When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad -- Ps. 14:7; see also 107:3.

The Lord will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly -- Isa. 5:25, 26.

In that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people -- Isa. 11:11, 12.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion -- Isa. 35:10.

The Lord promises to have mercy on Jacob and to choose Israel and set them in their own land -- Isa. 14:1; see also 35:4; 43:5; 54:7; 61:4.

The Lord promised to restore both the house of Judah and the house of Israel -- Jer. 3:12-18.

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 -- Jer. 12:14, 15.

The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them -- Jer. 16:15, 16.

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds -- Jer. 23:3.

I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers -- Jer. 30:3; see also 31:7-12; 32:37, 38; 33:7-11; 50:4.

I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered -- Ezek. 11:17; see also 20:34.

The Lord's promise of great blessings when he shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered -- Ezek. 28:25, 26; 34:13; 37:21-27; Amos 9:14, 15.

At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you -- Zeph. 3:20.

And they shall be as though I had not cast them off -- Zech. 10:6.

Angels to gather together the Lord's elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other -- Matt. 24:31.

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.

Book of Mormon Prophecies Concerning the Gathering of Israel

And after the house of Israel should be scattered, they should be gathered together again -- 1 Nephi 10:14.

All the people who are of the house of Israel will I gather in, saith the Lord -- 1 Nephi 19:15, 16.

He will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance -- 1 Nephi 22:11, 12; see verse 25.

When the Jews come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance -- 2 Nephi 6:11; see also 9:2; 10:7.

He shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people -- Jacob 6:2.

They shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth -- 2 Nephi 10:8.

A remnant of the seed of Joseph to be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth -- 3 Nephi 5:23-26.

The house of Israel to be established on the western continent; the Lord reiterates to the Nephites his former promises respecting the gathering -- 3 Nephi 20:21, 29-33.

The gathering of Israel in the last days to be a sign of other great occurrences -- 3 Nephi 21:1-7.

The Father's purpose -- to restore the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance -- Mormon 5:14.

Latter-day Revelation Concerning the Gathering of Israel

The Church commissioned to bring about the gathering of the elect into one place upon the face of the land -- D&C 29:7, 8.

The covenant people to be gathered in one -- D&C 42:36.

The restoration of the scattered Israel to be shown -- D&C 45:17; see also verses 25, 43, 69.

The land of Missouri appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints -- D&C 57:1, 2.

And they that have been scattered shall be gathered -- D&C 101:13.

Moses appeared in the Kirtland Temple and committed unto Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth -- D&C 110:11.

This is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things -- D&C 77:9; see also verse 14.

Let them who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion, and those of Judah flee unto Jerusalem -- D&C 133:12, 13.

The Lost Tribes to be Restored

They shall come together out of the land of the north -- Jer. 3:18; see also 31:8.

Other sheep besides the Jews and the Nephites -- 3 Nephi 16:1-3.

The resurrected Christ announced that he was about to show himself unto the lost tribes of Israel -- 3 Nephi 17:4.

The work of the Father to be wrought among the tribes which have been lost -- 3 Nephi 21:26.

The records of the lost tribes of Israel shall be had among the Nephites and the Jews -- 2 Nephi 29:13.

Blessed conditions following the bringing back of the tribes from the north country -- Ether 13:11.

Moses committed to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery the keys of authority for the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north -- D&C 110:11.

And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord -- D&C 133:26-34; compare Isa. 35:3-10.