Universal Israel*
God's Conception of Israel
Part VIIb
(The Covenant Blessings of Heaven By Way of Covenant Israel)

an LDS conception by Don R. Hender

"Who Has Begotten Me These?"
~ Isaiah 49:20-22 ~

"God's conception of Israel is to the end of Universal Inclusion rather than Selective Exclusion. God's Plan and Conception for His children has never been to the ends of excluding anybody, even one of God's children, from the blessings of Heaven. That the Covenant Blessings of Heaven have remained in a necessary orderly fashion of having a select representative few by whom those blessings have remained and survived through the generations of time is true. But this role played speaks more to a solemn responsibility that has been carried in God's tapistry for man and was never to the eventual exclusion of any. It was but the means to the end of preserving the Covenant Blessings that they might come unto ALL." ~ drh

  • Many have written concerning Israel, the Great Plan of Salvation and Israel's role in it. Often Israel, particularly the tribe of Ephraim, seems to be placed upon a pedestal of the great and noble ones who the Lord has chosen to be his leaders and his 'chosen people'. Much of what is said is true, but not in the way that may have said it or presented it. God's Plan of Salvation has always included every design for 'bringing to pass the immortaly and eteranl life of man' and as many of his sons and daughters as are so possible to do to the end of the inclusion of them all. All had kept their first estate who have ever lived upon this earth and all are potential gods in embryo, the children of God. And the 'test' has been to see who will exercise their agency in the maturation process of coming to know good and evil, the opposition in all things, and who will choose the good over the evil and come unto Christ and desire to and prevail in living by the laws and commandments of God unto the attainment of exaltation. Only God, Jehovah who is Jesus Christ, will stand as the ultimate judge and the design is to give every person of mankind every opportunity to gain their highest reward possible.

    To this end, it has always been, in the spirit of taking those who are the 'greatest among us' and the making of them to be 'our servants'. That is Israel, namely those of the tribe of Ephraim in our day, have been reserved to come to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the ushering in of the Millennium. That is that period of 1,000 years that will guarantee that all the children of God will obtain their full opporturinty in all fairness of obtaining Eternal Life. Man's probation has always been designed to include both mortality and the spirit world separation from the body to test God's children to the fullest. The gospel of Jesus Christ is taught in both places to all who will hear and accept it. Vicarious temple work will have been performed for all who have lived to the end that everyone will have their opportunity to accept the gosepl and be judged as to men in the flesh and as so determined by Jesus Christ, to obtain their greatest reward.

    Now who would you put in charge to serve you to insure this design of providing everybody their full and just opportunity of exaltation? This God has done. He has put it into the hands of the greatest and noblest of us all to serve us that this marvelous work and a wonder will be successfully performed to the greatest benefit of us all. They who are the greatest and noblest of us, have been called to serve us, not to stand above us, but to be our servants in whose arms and upon whose shoulders we may be carried unto eternal life by their service to mankind; every nation, kindred, tongue and people. This has always been the plan to insure the greatest and most important work of God in bringing about the salvation of all God's children—it has been reserved and will be carried out in the 'Great Millennial Day' when every injustice and wrong will be righted and all will be provided for under Christ's immediate reigning eye as our merciful Savior and King.

  •     God's plan for his children is His Eternal Plan of Progression, Exhaltation, Redemption, Salvation, the Gospel and Happiness. Perhaps there are a few missed titles and/or labels of God's Great Plan, but in a bit of a snippet fashion let it be stated, that it is not a representative conception that God's Plan was but a 'Single Day Plan.' But it is of a perspective that it is a Seven Day Plan. And the big game or the big inning is yet to come. That is as Yogi Berra might state it, "It ain't over till it's over!" And there is much to be said about that, which is both aimed for and to be accomplished in that Seventh Day of the Lord, that only God fully has the details of its greatness in the palm of his hand and under his control. Men may say and preach what they will about it but it is God that will decide the matter.

    What can be addressed is but a limited understanding and perspective of that which must be considered the design of it all, that is as God has intended it to be. For certain the Plan of Salvation and Exhaltation is that which has been designed and open unto all of God's children who have come down to earth. And the conception of Israel is not to the purpose to selectively exclude anyone from God's saving hand.

    It is often even spoken of at cross purposes in its 'limited' conception. That is the Hebrew nation mixes its own diminsional perspective when it defines a limited Israel. The Jews are the world wide representative of the House of Israel, for the majority of the world knows not of Ephraim's role. And the Jews nor the world would exclude Father Abraham from their ancestral inclusion. Yet Abraham is literally born outside the spectrum of identifiable "Isreal." That is the first to be named 'Israel' is but Abraham's grandson Jacob. Thus neither Isaac nor Abraham comes within the limited scope of the house of Israel except by ancestral connection. But what Jew would deny themselves of being one of the children of Father Abraham? Thus one concept is here already presented that Israel even in its most exclusive elite and limited definition is ancestrally inclusive.

    Now this included concept of the Patriarchal connections of those who are to be termed Israel is of acceptable consideration. Who for example could or would exclude Father Noah or Father Adam? Even in our modern revealed scriptures it is Abraham who is but seeking after the 'blessings of the fathers' in his persuit of righteousness and the covenant blessings of the 'seed.'

      "IN the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my fathers, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence;
      "And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same; having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir, a High Priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers.
      "It was conferred upon me from the fathers; it came down from the fathers, from the beginning of time, yea, even from the beginning, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time, even the right of the firstborn, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through the fathers unto me.
      "I sought for mine appointment unto the Priesthood according to the appointment of God unto the fathers concerning the seed."
      ~ Pearl of Great Price | Abraham 1:1-4

    Too often we are guilty of being a 'quick study' and all too ready to 'jump' to conclusions. Even the most lengthy essays upon matters have lost their focus early by so jumping and pursuing but a first conception that was concluded upon early and left unchanged though the broader perspective was yet to maturate.

    In this quotation from the revealed writings of Abraham, it is worth reading and considering Abraham's very words of his desire, intent and purpose of it all. And though outside of the name labeling of Israel, it is from Abraham that 'we of Ephraim' in the latter-day tend to take our own responsibility and calling in our priesthood and church bound responsibilities of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, to every nation, kindred, tongue and people in fulfilling the covenant that the Lord Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ, made unto father Abraham.. It is that we of Ephraim are the 'tribe' of Israel, descendants of Joseph of Egypt, feel and fill that responsibility upon us to take the blessings of God to all the nations of the earth, the living and the dead in that of our vicarious temple work. And this in a work that all may stand before God to be judged and come under the mercy of the atonement of Jesus Christ. One hundred and fifty temples dot the earth today and the work will only accelerate at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and under his administration during Millennial Day. Under his direction and administration there can be no limits to the work and how rapidly it will then continue to go forth.

    Abraham's first stated aspirations was to attain 'greater happiness and peace' by being 'ordained to administer' the blessings of the fathers. To be 'ordianed to administer' is to be ordianed to 'serve' others. Therein is the true happiness of man to be found. And what was it that Abraham desired to administer? Why it was the blessings of the fathers. And to cut a rather long story short, it was to administer thoses blessing of the father that not only reached back from Adam, but they reached back from the 'beginning' or even before the foundation of the earth. And those are the blessings relative to and concerning of the 'seed.' The seed being Jesus Christ, by and through whom the blessing of salvation and redemption were to come to all of mankind.

    Abraham's intent and purpose was so pruely that of service to God in God's great plan, the though Abraham did not specically attain unto being the direct ancestory of the coming Messiah, the Lord God Jehovah would so blessing Abraham unto that calling and position. True as it may well have been that this was one of Abraham's preordinational blessings in heaven to so become, it would not have been in Abraham's immediate design as mortal man. But rather Abraham was but seeking to serve God in bringing about the blessings of God to the children of God on the earth.

    Like others of those who would have been Abraham's heros, such as Adam, Enoch, Noah and even Melchizedek, Abraham desired to be a righteous father to his posterity, a father of righteous nations, a prince of peace and so forth. And to father Abraham's eventual exclamation of relative surprise, he will so be left to exclaim, 'Who hath begotten me these?' (Isaiah 49:21). For indeed Abraham's own children have been lost, scattered and destroyed through the generations of time. And in the end, it will be the blessing of Father Abraham to be the father of the nations of the earth, every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Those that Abraham would not have expected to be the father of, even the father of all the nations of the earth, unto their being blessed with those blessings of heaven through the administrations of Abraham's seed unto the bringing of the blessings of Heaven unto all those who ever have lived, even before the days of Abraham in such as the people of the Jaredite nation and even their dry bones would have their means of comeing unto God's blessings by the administrations of the blessings of God available unto all as a result of that great latter-day and Millennial day work to the glory of God in bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Even Jesus has obtained the very keys to the unlocking of the prisons of the spirit world, bring all out of that captivity of the devil unto life, resurrection and the judgments of glory to all who would come unto the Lord. And every knee will bow and every tongue confess.

    Now with that grand persective relatively in mind, for indeed this is but a brief insight to the understanding of it all, a return to the matter of Israel and its extent is now more addressable. Jacob was but given the name of 'Israel.' That name and concept of thought of which it represented was not new. It is a name that does appear in such in 'Eblaite' and 'Ugaritic' texts. Israel as a 'word' meant loosely 'to rule' with or in 'God'. But as the such events associated with Jacob, it is further elaborated to mean, one who did 'prevail' with or in or through God' (see verse below). Perhaps the word 'prevail' is not the best of word to represent the fuller connotation so associated with 'Israel' in respect to Jacob, but since Jacob 'wrestled' with the Lord or even likely as did Enos of the Book of Mormon 'strugle' with God not as to actual physical engagement but rather as to the 'strugle' with God in obtaining recognized reconciliation or acceptance of God being the nature of the event wherein Jacob was given the 'new name' of 'God rules' or even 'God's ruler' or 'rules by God' in its intended meaning.

    But as those of the descendants of Israel have taken that name upon them, or even in the case of Ephraim and Manasseh, it was bestowed upon them specificly by Jacob's blessing (JST Genesis 48). In has come to mean 'he' or 'they' who have 'prevailed' in God. And after the taking and scattering of Israel meaning the Kingdom of Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom, around 721 B.C. it is then was 'assumed' by the Jews that since it was they who remained and Ephraim was gone, that they prevailed and Ephraim and Joseph no longer did (1 Chronicles 5:1-2).

    As so taken in its meaning, the name certainly could have been 'backwards applicable to Isaac and Abraham. And as to other further back who have 'prevailed' in or with God, then there is such as Shem the great high (D&C 138:41), Noah, Enoch, Adam and even Jehovah the Firstborn son of Ehohim, annointed and appointed God our Heveanly Father, the Father of Spirits (Moses 4:1-2, Abraham 3:27-28, Zechariah 3:1-10). These all are examples of those who have 'prevailed in and through God' and who might well have also so been said or described by the word, being ones of 'Israel.' That is ones who pertain unto and have prevailed with and in God. Note how the King James Bible gives the account of Jacob receiving the name Israel after his 'struggle' with God.

      "And he [Jehovah] said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
      "And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
      "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
      ~ Old Testament | Genesis 32:28-30

    In relationship to the LDS Temple rites and ceremony, such as the name title/label of Israel has a further possible association as Jacob was recognized as a 'Prince' or of a royal position equivalent to 'Ruler' and even 'King' in and of God, that may be aligned with being made Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses, or even priests and priestesses or of the elevated position promised by the temple sealings.

    And now from perhaps this shortened route to the matter of Universal Israel, we have arrived at one perspective in which all who ever have lived may be named and so discribed as being ones who are of Israel, and who have prevailed with God. And this conception is totally in agreement with the New Testament and the Book of Mormon scripture teachings that state:

      "For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 26:33

      "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones [gentiles] to raise up children unto Abraham." ~ New Testament | Matthew 3:9

      "Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones [gentiles] to raise up children unto Abraham." ~ New Testament | Luke 3:8

      "AND now behold, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you; for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed."
      "For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord [Israel]; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel."
      ~ Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 30:1-2

    When it says the word 'stones' it is but a reference to Gentiles, for so thought the Jews of Jesus' day of the Gentiles, that they were dead unto God even as were the stones, so lifeless before God. And these verses substantiate that truely the Lord our God is not a respector of persons. But it was to the ends of preserving the covenant that Abraham and that those righteous of Israel were called. And further according to the rendition of the Allegory of the Olive Tree in Jacob chapter 5, it is there further presented that those who are not Israel are just a apt to obtain the blessings of God in the final analysis, being so grafter into the natural tree as the 'wild' branches of the 'gentiles' and if their fruit was to be found to be good, then they did become a part of the natural Tree of Israel.

    Then the question may be raised of whom did Moses obtain his priesthood right and authority? It was not a member of the house of Israel, but that of his father-in-law Jethro. That is Jethro the Midianite. Jethro was a high priest who received his priesthood through Caleb and Elihu back to Melchizedek and Noah (D&C 84:6-16 & JST Ex. 18:1) and not through Jacob, Isaac, or Abraham. We just don't know of all God's deallings with men of the earth. What we have preserved in our sriptural record is the trail and responsibility of the coveannt through the seed of Abraham down to Joseph and Ephraim and Manasseh. Manasseh who is to assist Ephraim in the work of the latter-day in taking the gospel of Christ to the world. And those of Manasseh have already provided the essential restoration of many of the plain and precious tenents of faith through the Book of Mormon which solidifies our understanding of the plaiin and precious things and also overcomes the confounding of scripture meaning that the use of the Bible alone allows and does persist in as it has been striped of many of its plain and precious things and meanings by the hand of man (Moses 1:41 & 1 Nephi 13:24-27). And of course, it being laid upon the shoulders of those of Ephraim to be the foundational force of carrying the gospel to the nations of the earth in the latter-day in order for the fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham and the house of Israel.

    Thus it is not the position of Israel of Ephraim to tout their house of Israel status to the world, but it is of Ephraim's responsibilty to carry that gospel forth that all might partake of the blessings thereof. And that extend to all who have ever lived, in and by the blessing of the temple and the work for the death with will contintue until the whole of it is done for all the children of God who ever have lived. Ever wonder just what it is that is going to keep you busy for the length of a thousands years of living in the Millennium? Wonder no more.

    One last scripture which seems to further put it into perspective:

      "THE hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
      "And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry."
      "And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
      "Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
      "Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
      "And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
      "So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
      "And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
      "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
      "So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
      " Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
      "Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to bcome up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
      "And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
      "And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD."
      ~ Old Testament | Ezekiel 37:1-14

    Now think of these bones as being of the children of God who have ever lived. Whether they be the considered lost souls of the flood of Noah, the fields of the bones of the Jaredites, those lost of Israel or of the Jews. Think of then of ever soul who has ever lived and whose spirits are but captive of the spirit world whether of prision of paradise, for both are captive there until their resurrection. Then think again that the Lord has promised the blessing of the covenants of God to be available unto all of his children, whether they be of DNA Israel or of all the souls of the world. For certainly all that to come unto the Lord, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess, and all will receive of that great free gift of immortalilty and be raised from the dead as members of the covenant family of God. And then all will be blessed according to their hearts and desires and righteousness unto the various levels of the glories and kingdoms of God from the least to the greatest, to be judged as men in the flesh having not lost that blessing of opportunity before God. For the sins of all men were suffered upon Jesus Christ and through him may as many as well may become blessed of God according to the tender mercies and judgments of God. Then will Abraham proclaim, 'Who hath begotten me these?' And all who are judged righteous and who have prevailed with God through Christ will be raise unto the eternal family of Israel, of God whose father these spirits children were.

    This is what makes sense to me. We have been told in my family that our father has been at work teaching the gospel to the spirits in prison so that they might have the opportunity to accept the gospel. And for all who do accept the gospel, the temple work must be done and completed that they may rise to their just reward, that this corruption doth put on incorruption and live. 'For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.' (Moses 1:39) And this is that great joint unifying faith of the godhead, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen.

    * NOTE: Not having an understanding that the LDS doctrine of God allows for vicarious ordinance performances so as to eventually allow all who ever have lived to come unto him, some have taken to misrepresenting the LDS position and history of the church as elitest or exclusionary. Thus a brief set of facts are set out here. As in ancient Israel, that it was often self represented as only the descendants of Abraham and/or Jacob were God's people and to be the people of God and none others, and as in the early LDS Church was first majorly concerned with establishing the foundation of responsibility upon covenant Ephraim, it has been asserted that the Church was practiciing discrimination of sorts.

    As per the ancient understanding of Israel, what has been such as God's stipulation of Israel and such as the Jewish perspective even against such as the remnant of Ephraim in the Samaritan culture, God's position was that which has preserved the covenant through time to be so available in the fulness of times to be exercised to make the blessings of heaven available unto all of God's children who ever have lived. Thus God's position in the broadest and universal sense has never been to the intent of ultimate exclusion but a design unto universal inclusion and being no respector of persons, other than those who would reject God, in the eventuality of the Plan of God for his children.

    Now as to the Jewish position, it had and/or has persisted in its exclusionary practice only to the extent of not coming to the proper end as of yet to accepting and realizing the ultimate culmination of God's intent in Israel's preservation of the covenants and God's eventual blessing of all the nations of the earth in and through that covenant so preserved through Abraham by Israel.

    And finally as to the LDS position. In the early latter-day church the first main concern was unto the establishment of the foundational responsibility of Ephraim in the fulfilling of the promised blessings of Abraham unto all the nations of the earth, every kindred, tongue and people; black and white, bond and free, male and female, and so forth. That the gospel of Jesus Christ was first to be taken primarily then to those who were of the distinguishable seed of Ephraim/Joseph, wherein the birthright blessing of responsibility did reside (1 Chronicles 5:1-2), ought not to be misunderstood as being exclusionary but rather as of necessity to insure that God's kingdom be established in those of Ephraim first to their coming forth to bring the blessing of God unto all the earth. And this has been misunderstood by both LDS members and also the world to a number of false aligations.

    Thus the Church has come forth in stages designed to insure the sucessful coming forth of the blessings of God unto all his children. This in first establishing the Gospel of Christ in Ephraim who is he who is covenantly responsible for the eventual taking of the Gospel to the world in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ and the ushering in of the Millennial Day of the Lord. After fully successfully establishing the Chruch in covenant Ephraim, the next or second stage has been that in the development of the Chruch as to the 'time of the Gentiles' or when all of the people of the world with exception, would or will only later eventuate. This was the full openning up the Gospel unto the all nations, kindred, tongues and people of the world to the end of the full realization of the blessings of God's children with the available blessing of heaven who ever have, do now and will live, past, present and future. Thus some nations and some people whose time had not fully come in first establishing Ephraim as responsible covenant Israel, have now been included.

    Yet there are those whose time or times are yet to fully come. Many of these are those who of their own continued resistence, mostly by the their governing officials of various levels, have prevented the opeining up of the Gospel of Christ to come unto their people. This is such as those nations which reject and do not tollerate for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be taught unto their people. This includes the Jewish nation of Israel who holds out such limited restrutions to those who refuse to allow such religion freedoms to enter into their nations of the Gospel of Jesus Chrsit such as North Korea and others. The Church still actively attempts all such entry to take the Gospel to the world. And successes are frequent such as to Russia of such recent date. But there are yet many who are restricted from hearing, accepting and living the Gospel of Jesus Chrsit according to their own self imposed 'government' and 'political' restrictions.

    Yet even those bariers and walls will be resolved if even but yet by the Coming of Christ himself. Thus even yet all are not free to come unto Christ and his fulness of his blessings. That is why the plan of the Lord has required vicarious performances for the dead. And even according to the prophecies of God, there will yet come the full day of the Jews when they come to recognize as a nation that Jesus is the long awaited blessed Messiah.

    Thus according to God's perspective, he is no respector of persons. Such has been of those restrictive conditions of man, that have prevailed in the earth even unto the very day of his Second Coming and his own taking of his Gospel to all the earth, past, present and future. For God is in truth no respector of persons. It has been the ways of the imperfect world, that have all too often rejected God, that have prevented God in his desire to bless all of his children. But he will yet so accomplish this thing in his great and marvelous promised work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

    The House of Israel

    rev. 28 January 2016