Chapter 17 – 3rd Nephi Chapter Twenty

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After Christ leaves, the Father’s message is not picked up again until chapter twenty. By the time Christ returns to the Nephites, their numbers have swelled from about 2,500 people, to “an exceedingly great number”.[i] Many people worked the whole night through getting the word out and assembling on the spot where Christ would again return. Christ’s disciples update the people regarding His teaching of the previous day, and then Nephi baptized all of the disciples the Savior had chosen the previous day. After the disciples are baptized they are administered to by angels, and Jesus appears in their midst. He confers upon the disciples the Holy Ghost. The Lord administers the sacrament to the entire multitude and then he continues his sermon from the previous day.

Behold now I finish the commandment which the Father hath commanded me concerning this people, who are a remnant of the House of Israel.[ii]

Remember when He last spoke He was discussing a group from the House of Israel that would come through and trample down the unrepentant Gentiles. He spoke about the people that would come and inherit the Gospel from the unbelieving among the Gentiles, and refresh the church, as in the early days of its history. He likewise spoke of the group that would redeem Jerusalem. This latter group is the same group that He visited while the Nephites rested – the Lost Tribes of Israel.

Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled—behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them [the words he is referring to is when the watchmen of Joseph and the coming group of Israel see eye to eye for the first time]—And verily, verily, I say unto you, that when they shall be fulfilled then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O House of Israel [Note, Christ is now addressing the entire House of Israel, so to the extent that something is specific to a certain group, He will make it clear.].

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 the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you [Manasseh] this land, for your inheritance.[iii]

These verses imply that once this large body of Israel returns, there will be a mighty missionary effort that will yield pronounced results. All the remaining remnants will be gathered together at that time. This fact is confirmed by Jeremiah – reconsider the following passage:

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.[iv]

Jeremiah, like the Savior, clearly indicates that there is a missionary component that accelerates once the Lord has brought back the Lost Tribes from their land in the North. The fishing effort is ongoing, and has been from the founding of the church. Fishing, however, conjures different images than hunting. With fishing, you catch what comes to you, whereas the hunter actively pursues its prey. The image of a hunter is similar to that of a soldier or warrior. Envision powerful and fearless missionaries, overcoming any and all obstacles. The laws of men will not hold back these hunters, they will penetrate every clime, valley and cave. It will be unlike any preceding effort, as the merciful Father oversees the great and last midnight harvest. Christ continues:

And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the House of Jacob, [Christ formally puts a name to the this Host of Israel or Lost Ten Tribes, He calls them “a remnant of Jacob] go forth among them; and ye [the Lost Ten Tribes] shall be in the midst of them [Gentiles-the enemies of God] who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand [the Lost Ten Tribes] shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. And I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor [Again referencing the great and last harvest of men’s souls].

For I will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted [the Lost Ten Tribes], yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he who doeth it. And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.[v]

The Lord is quoting the above verses from Micah in the Old Testament, albeit with some modification. The context of the chapters being quoted is worth considering. The opening verse of Micah chapter four puts the events in context. It should sound very familiar. It begins as follows, “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”.[vi] Micah then identifies three distinct groups of people in a unique manner:

In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;[vii]

All three of these groups are referred to as female. The scriptures often refer to Israel as a woman and the Lord as her bridegroom. These three women represent three distinct groups in the House of Israel. The first group, “her that halteth” could refer to any of the groups we have previously discussed, as all the groups struggled with consistently following the Lord. Let us therefore look at the other two groups first.

Her that is driven out – Of all the tribes of Israel, the term “driven” best applies to the House of Joseph, both Ephraim and Manasseh have been driven. Consider the following verse:

But behold, it shall come to pass that they [Manasseh] shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the House of Israel.[viii]

Clearly Manasseh was driven before the Gentiles, now consider the following verse from the Doctrine and Covenants regarding Ephraim, or the early church:

Thy brethren have rejected you and your testimony, even the nation that has driven you out; and now cometh the day of their calamity, even the days of sorrow, like a woman that is taken in travail; and their sorrow shall be great unless they speedily repent, yea, very speedily.[ix]

This verse refers, of course, to the church being driven out of the United States. As we know, early church members were driven before the mobs, losing all they possessed on multiple occasions – from New York to Ohio, from Missouri to Illinois. After the saints had left the United States, the country descended into civil war. The term “woman in travail” is the same term Micah uses in the chapter we are discussing, as will be noted subsequently. Micah’s reference to being driven, therefore, refers to the House of Joseph.

Her that I have afflicted“Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.”[x] Among the Twelve Tribes, it is Judah that has drunk most deeply from the cup of trembling. This group is clearly Judah.

With the above two groups identified, the third group should default to the Remnant of Jacob/Lost Ten Tribes. As Micah continues, this assumption is validated. Consider the following:

And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation [this reference is indicative of the Remnant of Jacob who was taken to the “outmost parts of Heaven”]: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever [mount Zion is the temple mount in Jerusalem, so we know that ultimately this remnant will settle there]. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion [this indicates that the Remnant of Jacob will first come to Ephraim, to both purify and establish Zion upon the American continent]; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem [first Zion is established, then the Remnant moves to Jerusalem].

Now why dost thou cry out aloud, is there no king in thee, is thy counselor perished? Pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail [Speaks of the purifying America, similar to that of the civil war.[xi]]: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the Lord shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.[xii]

This last part has reference to when the Jews were taken captive by Babylon around 600 BC. The Lord delivered them from Babylon and they were redeemed from their enemies by His hand. A similar redemption at the hand of the Lord awaits those that wait upon the Lord in the latter-days.  However, there will be a period of great travail, which has been likened unto birthing pains, before that deliverance occurs. Thereafter, the Lord’s people will likewise be innocent and pure, just like a new born infant.

Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.[xiii]

And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.[xiv]

Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.[xv]

These last verses are the same the Lord quoted to the Nephites, although Christ linked the last to the Remnant of Jacob, whereas Micah uses the term Daughter of Zion, a clear reference to Ephraim. These two accounts are not contradictory. The remnant will come to Ephraim first, to receive the fullness of the gospel at her hand. But as we have learned from the parable of the ten virgins, membership in the church is not the objective. It is knowing the Savior, and being known by Him – having His image engraved upon our countenances. In that sobering parable, He claimed to not know half of the church at the time of His coming.  The Joseph Smith Translation of that verse, however, clarifies the Savior’s meaning as “Ye know me not.” Just as Zion could not be established in the past under such circumstances, neither can it be in the future while members of the church know Him not.

Therefore, the purification process is likened unto the pains of childbirth. The child being birthed is Zion, and the New Jerusalem, and a righteous people. The righteous of Joseph shall see eye to eye with the returning remnant in that day – and shall be one in purpose. Thus the acceptable interchanging of these two terms: Daughter of Zion, and Remnant of Jacob. But it should be noted that these terms were interchanged only after “the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion”.[xvi] The church and country will be purified, that Zion may finally be established upon the American continent. Then will Jerusalem also be redeemed. Christ will continually expound upon this as He continues his discourse.

And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O House of Israel. And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.[xvii]

In this verse the Lord uses the term “establish” which denotes, bringing into being on a firm and stable basis. This brings to mind a strong and firm foundation, one which will hold through the millennium. Christ is the rock upon which our foundation must be established. Wickedness fosters instability, breeds apostasy, and sin, and Jesus is the only saving salve against sin. Christ continues his discourse highlighting this fact.

Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people [This prophet is Jesus Christ]. Verily I say unto you, yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have testified of me.

And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the House of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. The Father having raised me up unto you first, and sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities; and this because ye are the children of the covenant[xviii]

In these verses Christ teaches that the Father raised Him up to bless them, meaning the House of Israel, and turn every one of them from their iniquities. Those who will be numbered among the House of Israel must be humble. Those that are wicked, regardless of their genealogy will be cast off. These verses have far reaching ramifications for the latter-day generation that will experience the events discussed in this book. After the Remnant of Jacob is come, all those still among the living shall be called holy.

We live in a society saturated with the stench of sin, but fewer and fewer among us can perceive it. Just because a skunk has become accustom to its stink, does not mean its stench is not wildly offensive. A society whose senses have become so deadened is not easily made aware of the awfulness of its situation. Just months before their destruction, the people of Ammonihah openly mocked Alma and Amulek, “gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned?”[xix] Unfortunately it seems that such a society tends to only be aroused to a sense of its horrible state by the infliction of terrible destruction.

In such cases, the Book of Mormon and the Lord’s covenant to Israel serve as the playbook. Unfortunately, the events of days past will become the events of our day. It is just a matter of timing; of ripening. Consider the events preceding the Savior’s first coming to America:

And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land. And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder. And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.

And the city of Zarahemla did take fire. And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned. And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain. And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.

But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land Northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth; and the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough. And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.

And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain. And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away. And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.[xx]

The destruction that came upon the American inhabitants was apocalyptic in nature – far beyond anything they had ever known. Such will be the degree of our latter-day destruction “such as they have not heard”.[xxi] It is important to note, that this destruction did not come by the hand of some known enemy. The hand of God brought this destruction upon them, suddenly, in an instant. It was a purification process. The wicked were destroyed so that an extended period of peace and prosperity could be ushered in, where Christ Himself would walk among His people. Consider the following verses.

O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.

Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name. I came unto my own, and my own received me not. And the scriptures concerning my coming are fulfilled.

And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh, and in me is the law of Moses fulfilled. I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.[xxii]

And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets. And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—

And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness. And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets. Behold, I say unto you, Yea, many have testified of these things at the coming of Christ[xxiii]

It is difficult to miss the similarities between these past events which preceded the Lord’s first coming to America, and those prophesied to precede His second. Just as John the Baptist was the forerunner of the Lord in his day, the Book of Mormon and the Remnant of Jacob are the forerunners in ours. The voices from the dust cry out from its pages, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”[xxiv] Its very arrival is the sign to the world, that the great and marvelous work and a wonder long foretold has already commenced.

Similar to the more righteous part that survived the destruction preceding the coming of the Lord in their day, shall the more righteous part in our day be blessed in a similar manner, and for a similar purpose. That the Lord himself might reign in righteousness among them, “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”[xxv] “And it shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem shall be called holy, every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.”[xxvi]

The Lord continues his discourse to Manasseh:

And after that ye were blessed [by turning from their iniquities] then fulfilleth the Father the covenant which he made with Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed—unto the pouring out of the Holy Ghost through me upon the Gentiles [Ephraim], which blessing upon the Gentiles [United States of America] shall make them mighty above all, unto the scattering of my people, O House of Israel. And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land [Manasseh]. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.

And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem [note that the land of Jerusalem has been promised to Judah, and to the Lost Tribes], which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father. And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them [referring to the fact that Judah will be the last to receive the gospel in the latter-days]; And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.

Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye. [Judah, Joseph & the Remnant of Jacob] Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance.[xxvii]

Though not expressly noted in the preceeding verses, Christ is referring to the reunion of the entire House of Israel, after the worldwide purification process has taken place. Before this day comes, the Jews shall drink down the dregs of the cup of trembling.  They will be wrung out, but they will come out of the events of that day a pure and holy people. They will then forget the shame of their youth, the days of their constant rebellion before the Lord of Hosts, and will at last with joy “see eye to eye”. Note, that for the remainder of this chapter the Lord quotes directly from Isaiah.

Then shall they [Judah, Joseph, and the Remnant of Jacob] break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Father hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father [The whole earth shall see the events relating to the purification and salvation of the Jews]; and the Father and I are one [Christ added this phrase, it is not found in Isaiah].

And then shall be brought to pass that which is written: Awake, awake again, and put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. [Just as the gospel will never be taken again from the earth, neither will the Jews as a people falter again after their suffering] Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord: Ye have sold yourselves for naught, and ye shall be redeemed without money.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak.

This last part refers to the fact that the Jews, who for millennia have known the titles: King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Jehovah, the Great I Am, the Messiah, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, etc., but have hitherto never known the Lord, shall at that day, at last, see eye to eye with the Mighty God of Israel.

And then shall they say: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!

Finally, when the Jews receive their King, how grateful they will be to have the everlasting gospel taught to them by their long lost brothers. These brothers, who once vexed each other will now, in joy, unite, and the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

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; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.

This refers to the great and last missionary effort, where the “hunters” of the Lord will bring in the remaining scattered children of Israel, and bring them to Jerusalem and Zion.

For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward. Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

As many were astonished at thee—his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men [This draws a similarity between the Jews and Christ. As the Son of God was beaten and torn by the Jews, so will they have been beaten and torn by the Father, more so than any other people]—So shall he sprinkle many nations [Refers to Judah’s prior scattering]; the kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider [referring to the amazing restoration that will happen with Israel in the latter-days].

Verily, verily, I say unto you, all these things shall surely come, even as the Father hath commanded me. Then shall this covenant which the Father hath covenanted with his people be fulfilled; and then shall Jerusalem be inhabited again with my people, and it shall be the land of their inheritance.[xxviii]

Care should be taken when discussing the lands of inheritance for the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel shall be free to live where they will, whether that be at Jerusalem, or Zion. Their inheritances are a reward, not a prison cell. The Twelve Tribes will not be forcefully segregated. The earth will be theirs and they can dwell where they will, but Zion and Jerusalem will be the lands of Israel, never again will they be taken from them, so long as the earth shall stand.

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[i] 3 Nephi 19:3

[ii] 3 Nephi 20:10

[iii] 3 Nephi 20:11-14

[iv] Jeremiah 16:14-16

[v] 3 Nephi 20:13-20

[vi] Micah 4:1

[vii] Micah 4:6

[viii] Mormon 5:20

[ix] D&C 136:34-35

[x] Isaiah 51:17

[xi] D&C 136:34-35

[xii] Micah 4:7-10

[xiii] Micah 5:3

[xiv] Micah 5:7-8

[xv] Micah 4:7-10;13

[xvi] 2 Nephi 14:4

[xvii] 3 Nephi 20:21&22

[xviii] 3 Nephi 20:23-26

[xix] Alma 14:21

[xx] 3 Nephi 8:5-17

[xxi] 3 Nephi 21:21

[xxii] 3 Nephi 9:13-18

[xxiii] 3 Nephi 10:11-15(3 Nephi 10:11-15)

[xxiv] Mark 1:3

[xxv] Isaiah 54:13

[xxvi] 2 Nephi 14:3

[xxvii] 3 Nephi 20:27-33

[xxviii] 3 Nephi 20: 34-46