The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Thirteen

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the series Literal Gathering

Chapter Thirteen

Until This Be Accomplished

¬†On March 27, 1837 when Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland temple we are told that the prayer was given by revelation. See the preface to section 109 and DHC 2:420. In this revealed prayer Joseph said: “And whatsoever city thy servants shall enter, and the people of that city receive their testimony, let thy Peace and thy salvation be upon that city; THAT THEY MAY GATHER OUT OF THAT CITY THE RIGHTEOUS, that they may come forth to Zion, or to her stakes, the places of thine appointment, with songs of everlasting joy AND UNTIL THIS BE ACCOMPLISHED LET NOT THY JUDGMENTS FALL UPON THAT CITY.” D&C 109:39040

If the saints had continued the gathering until the present day the act would now be “accomplished” and the great judgments of God would be poured out, but because the righteous are now scattered with the wicked or the wheat mixed with the tares to a greater extent than ever the Lord is withholding His judgments, but he can only withhold them for a limited period as He did with the Nephites. Then comes the entire destruction if the words of God are not heeded. Nevertheless, it is the will of God to gather out the righteous and this will be done at all costs, then cometh the fall of Babylon, but “How can Babylon fall, so long as the saints stay and hold it up?” Mill Star 32:233 You will remember that when the Lord appeared to Abraham and told him that he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorra. Abraham was quite upset and he asked the Lord if he would destroy them if there were fifty righteous people in the cities and He said: “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” Gen 18:26 Then Abraham proceeded to bargain with the Lord for the physical salvation of the city and the number decreased from fifty to forty-five to forty, to thirty, to twenty and finally to ten and the Lord said “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.” Gen 18:32 Then the angels went to Sodom for the purpose of finding the righteous and gathering them out and all they could find was four souls who would listen, but only three escaped because Lot’s wife disobeyed and looked back. Lot tried to save his relatives, but they laughed at him and only he and his two daughters escaped with their lives, but just before they left one of the angels made an interesting comment to Lot: “Haste thee, escape thither; FOR I CANNOT DO ANYTHING TILL THOU COME THITHER.” Gen 19:22

Here we see that even the presence of FOUR righteous souls prevented the angels from carrying on the work of destruction.

And what was the main criteria that determined a righteous man in Sodom? He was judged to be righteous if he would listen to the warning voice of either Lot or the angels and flee for their lives. Of course, only those who had done other works of righteousness had the Holy Spirit to the degree necessary to know that the warning voice came from God.

Finally when three righteous souls escaped “The Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorra brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.” Gen 19:24

Just as the story of Joseph and others from the Old Testament foreshadows greater events in the Latter days so does the story of Lot for another cycle of destruction will come and only those who listen to the warning voice will escape, and again the numbers will be few just as they were in the days of Lot.

Listen to the words of Nephi: “Behold, my brethren I say unto you, that these things must shortly come; yea, even blood and fire, and vapor of smoke must come; and it must needs be upon the face of this earth; and it cometh unto men ACCORDING TO THE FLESH if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Holy One of Israel. For behold, the righteous shall not perish; for the time surely must come that all they who fight against Zion shall be cut off… AND ALL THAT FIGHT AGAINST ZION SHALL BE” DESTROYED.” I Nephi 22:18-19, 14

How do you fight against Zion? One way is to fight against the gathering by not participating in it.

Joseph told the Elders “You must faithfully warn all and bind up the testimony, and seal up the law, and the destroying angel will follow close at your heels, and exercise his tremendous mission upon the children of disobedience; and destroy the workers of iniquity, WHILE THE SAINTS WILL BE GATHERED OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and stand in holy places ready to meet the bridegroom when he comes.” DHC 2:309

He also said: “The servants of God will not have gone over the nations of the Gentiles with a warning voice until the destroying angel will commence to waste the inhabitants of the earth.” DHC 2:263

The Lord also indicates that the destruction will be after the similitude of ‘Sodom and Gomorra: “Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon. But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, LET HIM NOT LOOK BACK LEST SUDDEN DESTRUCTION SHALL COME UPON HIM.” D&C 133:14-15

We can well understand why the early leaders wrote: “If we throw overboard the principle of the gathering, we cast away one of the most important principles connected with the work of God and salvation of humanity.” Mill Star 33:326

We are also told: “Israel shall be gathered: the seed of Jacob shall be gathered from their long dispersion. There will be a feast to Israel, the elect of God. It is a sorrowful tale, but the Gospel must be preached and God’s ministers rejected: but where can Israel be found and receive your testimony and not rejoice? Nowhere! The prophecies are full of great things to take place in the last days. AFTER THE ELECT ARE GATHERED OUT, DESTRUCTIONS SHALL COME on the inhabitants of the earth; the nations shall feel the wrath of God, AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN WARNED BY THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH. IF YOU DO NOT WARN THEM, OTHERS WILL, AND YOU WILL LOUSE YOUR CROWNS.” DHC 2:197

We see here more evidence that God will held back the destruction until the inhabitants of the earth are warned and if those who were called do not warn the children of men, then others will. Verily, the church is called to warn the people of the earth, but they are not even warning their own people, thus God is calling anyone who has a listening ear to participate and share the crown of glory.

The original twelve apostles in the church declared: “For the time is rapidly approaching when the saints will have occasion to regret that they have so long neglected to assemble themselves to ‘ together and stand in holy places, awaiting those tremendous events which are so rapidly approaching the nations of the earth.” DHC, 4:410

Brother Joseph said: “The saints have not too much time to save and redeem their dead, and gather together their living relatives, that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten, and the consumption decreed falls on the world.” DHC 6:184

How often is this principle repeated by the prophets. Again the Prophet Joseph said: “If they do not do this in all humility, making preparation from this time forth, like Joseph in Egypt… and if we do not exert ourselves to the uttermost in gathering up the strength of the Lord’s house that this thing may be accomplished, behold there remaineth A SCOURGE FOR THE CHURCH.” DHC 2:145 How plain can the word be? Let us quote the Prophet Joseph further: “Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none; for without Zion, and a place of deliverance, WE MUST FALL; because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, and the moon turned to blood, and the stars fall from heaven, and the earth reel to and fro. Then, if this is the case, and if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and out, great love for the Bible, WE MUST FALL, WE CANNOT STAND; WE CANNOT BE SAVED; for God WILL gather out his saints from the Gentiles, AND THEN COMES THE DESOLATION AND DESTRUCTION, AND NONE CAN ESCAPE except the pure in heart who are gathered… If Zion is not delivered, the time is near when all this church wherever they may be found, will be persecuted and destroyed.” DHC 2:52-53

Is it not obvious that the Latter-Day Saints have fallen from their high and holy calling to gather the elect, especially when you read such statements as: “The place of gathering for the Mexican saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth.” Bruce R. McConkie, Sep 2, 1972 CHURCH NEWS. This would sound feasible if they did actually gather in these countries, but THERE IS NOT ONE gathering place for a future refuge set aside in Mexico, Brazil, or any country on the whole planet by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Of course, we must remember Brother McConkie’s definition of the gathering as previously quoted. He said that the gathering consisted of worshipping in the congregations of the saints all over the world. In other words, he believes in a figurative gathering, but listen to the early brethren on this: “Why do the saints gather to America? Why can they not be saved in their own land? These are questions often asked BY THOSE WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Neither have they read or studied the scriptures much. If they have, they have been void of the Spirit of God to guide them.” Mill Star 21:648

Clearly the early brethren believed that Zion is the American continent and this is the place where we must gather. The church cannot use the excuse that there is no room left here for there is plenty of room in the United States alone for every Latter-Day Saint many times over. The only legitimate objection people have today is the difficulties in immigrating, but even with this obstacle the church could still effect a great gathering using the great pull it has today. It could re-establish the perpetual immigration fund set up by Brigham Young to help the saints immigrate and eventually when they become the wealthiest of all people they would be able to buy immigration favors legally with gold if necessary.

As it is there is little hope for the church to do this in it’s present spiritual stale so the job will be left to the faithful few workmen who want to do the Master’s bidding. The time will come when all will have an opportunity to come to Zion. Joseph Smith said: “There will be here and there a Stake for the gathering of the saints. Some may have cried peace, but the saints and the world will have little peace from henceforth. Let this not hinder us from going to the stakes; for God has told us to flee, not dallying, or we shall be scattered, one here and another there. There (in the stakes) your children shall be blessed, and you in the midst of friends where you may be blessed. The Gospel net gathers of every kind.

“I prophesy that THAT MAN WHO TARRIES AFTER HE HAS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY OF GOING WILL BE AFFLICTED BY THE DEVIL… We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. When wars come we shall have to flee to Zion.” J.D 6:239

In the near future there will be here and there a stake or city of Zion for the gathering of the Saints. Those who have the Spirit will feel the impulse to gather and those who do not will be against it, with many openly fighting against the principle.

“I’ll follow the prophet, right or wrong” attitude does not wash in the courts of heaven. We are responsible for our own actions, not the prophet. Is that not our second article of faith: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins…” If the prophet is wrong you cannot blame him for your sins at the last day. You are required to find out for yourself. We are commanded to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I Thess 5:21 1 hereby offer a challenge: Prove the truth of the gathering, or if I am wrong, prove it. God has commanded you to. He does not expect you to walk in blindness, even if you are right.

O Lord, let the light from Thy presence shine forth upon thy people, many of whom are trying their best to live thy commandments, but are deceived by the craftiness of men. Let the light be as seven times the strength of the sun that the black shield over the eyes of thy people may be penetrated. Let thy voice be as the sound of the seven thunders that their ears may be pierced, let Thy Spirit reverberate as the many waters that Thy influence may be felt above the influence of men that Thy people may be gathered in one that the great Zion dreamed of by the prophets may finally gain a foothold on the earth that all nations will be one under the Ensign Thou shalt establish!

One important aspect of the gathering that is often overlooked is that it is an eternal Principle. The basic reason that the Celestial Kingdom is such a good place to live is that the gathering principle is applied to make it such. The Celestial Kingdom is merely a gathering together of the righteous on the other side. That is the reason the city of Enoch was taken up – because through the principle of the gathering they created a kingdom that was higher than the telestial earth. We are told clearly in the scriptures: “And he that receiveth these things receiveth me; and they shall be gathered UNTO ME IN TIME AND IN ETERNITY.” D&C 39:22 IF we do not want to gather unto the Lord in time here on this earth, then how can we ever expect to be gathered unto Him in eternity? This principle is made clear in the scriptures for the Lord said that those who go to the telestial kingdom are “they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of Firtstborn.” D&C 76:102

It is clear that John Taylor understood this principle of eternal gathering. He said the Lord would “gather together his elect from the four quarters of the globe; through whom he could introduce upon the earth the principles that exist in the heavens, that we might be taught to do the will of God on the earth as it is in the heavens.” J.D. 24:198. Obviously the gathering is one of the principles that exist in the heavens.

Think a moment. If you love this telestial earth here and want to stay in it and build it up and receive the glory thereof, and have no desire to gather with the saints what makes you think your desires will be any different in the next world? If you love the telestial conglomeration here then that is what you will naturally seek in the next world. If one will not gather to create a higher kingdom on this earth then why should he want or be given one in the next world? Many of the church members who testify loudest of going to the celestial kingdom would resist it if it was handed to them on a platter. Many are lucky if their spirits are prepared to be a telestial bright star at best, for their minds are not prepared for the glories to be revealed. Like the children of Israel in the days of Moses they would ask God to withdraw His presence if he should come.

Let us remember the words of the scriptures: “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because YOU HAVE TREATED LIGHTLY THE THINGS YOU HAVE RECEIVED.” D&C 84:54 Have we not received the gathering in the scriptures? Does the church treat this principle lightly? Verily, they do not consider it at all.

Let us continue with the scripture: “Which vanity and unbelief have brought THE WHOLE CHURCH under condemnation.” Verse 55 Do we really believe the scriptures today? Is the church still under condemnation?

“And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall REMAIN UNDER THIS CONDEMNATION UNTIL they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Rook of Mormon (Which covenants to gather Israel) and the FORMER COMMANDMENTS which I have given them, (Such as the gathering), not only to say, BUT TO DO according to that which I HAVE WRITTEN. (The Lord has written time and time again about the gathering). That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there REMAINETH A SCOURGE and judgement to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.” D&C 84:56-59

Such scriptures as the above should give one a desire to gather with the elect, even if the whole world, including church leaders should take an opposite course.

Copyright 1979 by J J Dewey

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