Chapter 18 – 3rd Nephi Chapter Twenty-One

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Any student of the Second Coming has made a study of the signs of the times leading up to the main event. As Christ continues His discourse, he focuses on the timing of when these events will happen. As we focus on this particular message we will note those things that have already occurred, and those that have not. Christ continues His message:

And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O House of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion; and behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a Remnant of the House of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them;[i]

In the above verses, Jesus Christ clearly notes two separate groups of people that must come to the knowledge of the Gentiles, both of which will serve as signals that these events are at the door. One is that the Gentiles will come to the knowledge of Manasseh, who was scattered by the Gentiles. This is to say that we as Gentiles will know and understand the religious history of the peoples who once prospered upon this hallowed land. Why they prospered, and why they were scattered, driven and destroyed. This is an important sign, because these people went through events that foreshadowed what will shortly happen again.

The other signal that the events long foretold by the prophets is at our door, is that the Gentiles will know concerning the Remnant of Jacob – the Lost Ten Tribes. That is to understand the true meaning of the tenth article of faith:

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes [the Remnant of Jacob]; that Zion – the New Jerusalem – will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

It is my hope, that the reader of this book can now clearly see, that this Remnant of Jacob is an important and inextricable theme of the latter-day message told by the Book of Mormon. Despite this being such an important aspect of the Book of Mormon, it has been largely overlooked. Our realizing this important fact is a necessary step, indeed it is a sign that the time is at hand. Let us hasten the work by fulfilling this requirement. Consider the Book of Mormon. Why were those portions selected for inclusion in this holy record? Mormon said he literally had hundreds of plates he could have chosen from. Consider his words:

And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; and these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken [for the very reason we are presently discussing].

And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people. Therefore I, Mormon, do write the things which have been commanded me of the Lord.[ii]

Mormon did not haphazardly slap records together while on the run from the Lamanites. He was shown by the Lord what should be included. It is our responsibility to search these things. We have been commanded to do so. Yet too many of us can barely find the time to crack the book. On the other hand, many have read and re-read the Book of Mormon, but far fewer have dipped below a cursory surface level of study, like a rock skipping along the surface of an otherwise profound depth of knowledge. Case in point, Isaiah’s words, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, are read by most with glazed eyes, if they are read at all. In this light, consider the following warning given to us all:

And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church 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 Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written.[iii]

The above verse is also reminiscent of Nephi’s closing remarks to his record wherein he states:

Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.[iv]

Clearly the Lord expects more of us than a stone skipping across the surface of knowledge. Too few of us truly seek to understand the word of the Lord. Are we too busy being distracted by virtual reality to listen to the reality crying out to us from the voices of the dust? On the other hand, the timing of all things is in the Lord’s hands and operates on the Lord’s timetable. This introspective question should be asked by every reader of this work – Have I felt the spirit of the Father speak to me as I have read the message found in this book? After more than 2,700 years of absence; are you becoming aware of this Remnant of Jacob? Has Elijah planted the promises made to your fathers in your heart?

The Lord continues His discourse:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them [the Gentiles] of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them [Ephraim] unto you [Manasseh];[v]

Again, note the use of the plural in the word “things”. These things are a knowledge about both the Remnant of Jacob, and Manasseh. The Lord continues:

For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O House of Israel; therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity; for thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O House of Israel; and when these things come to pass that thy seed [Manasseh] shall begin to know these thingsit shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the House of Israel.

And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.[vi]

The phrase, “and when that day shall come” is referring to the fulfilling of the Lord’s covenant, the gathering of Judah and Joseph, and the return of the Remnant of Jacob. When this happens kings will shut their mouths. That is to say the world will be stunned into amazed silence, for that which Babylon had not foreseen shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they consider. However, Latter-day Saints should be joyously awaiting their return, for this information has been before us in the written word for almost 200 years now! Christ continues:

For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.[vii]

If no one else has declared this message, Christ has. Note that He repeatedly uses the word declare when discussing these things, as well as how a true knowledge of these things was to be obtained in the latter-days.

…this is the thing which I [Christ] will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the House of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them [the Nephites]. [viii]

Through His declaration of the Remnant of Jacob in the Book of Mormon, we have the key of knowledge to unlock the meaning of his servants regarding this same topic, regardless of the dispensation from which they were called to serve. From a secular standpoint these things are too sensational to believe. It is the same with the Gospel at large. The things that the Latter-day Saints believe are foolish in the sight of the world – at least without the benefit of the confirming testimony of the Holy Ghost, they are unbelievable.

It is precisely for this reason that many members of the church today are falling away. They have exchanged their testimonies for the philosophies of men. They look for answers that are pleasing to the carnal mind. They dismiss the things of the spirit as emotional responses, thereby cutting themselves off from the only reliable source of spiritual knowledge. Absent the ongoing confirmatory witness of the Holy Ghost, those who once walked in light will eventually turn and rail against the gospel, and denounce the servants of the Lord. Such is the continued message of Christ’s discourse.

But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.[ix]

Who is this servant of Christ that will have been marred by the people, but healed through the “great and marvelous work”? Of all the latter-day servants of Christ, is there one whose reputation has been more marred by the people than Joseph Smith? Did he not declare these things? It is his name that is spoken of for good and evil among all people. It was his blood that was shed to seal his testimony. Today, perhaps more than ever, the man from Palmyra evokes vehement opposition, ridicule and slander. However, imagine the great and terrible day when the mighty hosts of Jacob come forth from their highway cast up out of the great deep to be crowned at the hands of the children of Ephraim. Will the events of that great day not heal the marred reputation of this great prophet of God! To echo the words of the 135th section of the Doctrine and Covenants:

Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing [declaring] it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated![x]

In the days that these things are finally seen and considered by the kings of the earth, Joseph Smith will be vindicated, his reputation healed. Christ continues this discourse:

Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him [referring to Joseph Smith his servant] to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him [Joseph Smith] power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

And my people who are a Remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them 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. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.

Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles [the world] except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; and I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; and I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, [Note the Lord is quoting Micah chapter 5 from the Old Testament here, the term witchcraft here is translated from the Greek word PHARMAKEIA, the root term for pharmaceuticals, thus witchcraft could well be associated with the illicit drug trade. This verse closely mirrors the destruction previously seen on the American continent.] and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;

Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; and I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities. And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.

For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O House of Israel; and I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.[xi]

The fulfillment of the Lord’s covenant to Israel, to gather all twelve tribes, is followed by breath taking destruction at the hands of the Remnant of Jacob. Such destruction as the Gentiles “have not heard”. The destruction that happened preceding the Lord’s coming to the Nephites was truly awe inspiring, and in a similar manner, unheard of. A prophesy of such wholesale destruction might solicit feelings of great anxiety and despair, but those whom have put their faith in the Mighty one of Jacob, need not fear. God is merciful, giving the wicked abundant opportunities to repent, for in his own words: “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”[xii]. Christ continues along this vein:

But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them [the repentant Gentiles], 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; [Both Jerusalem and Zion will be open to all the House of Israel.]

And they [the repentant Gentiles] 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. [The building of the New Jerusalem is a precursor to the Second Coming, and will be built after the Remnant of Jacob returns to America] 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 [This is the last great missionary effort of which we have already spoken]. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.[xiii]

In the above section, Christ offers hope to us all. If we will repent, this mighty host comprising the Remnant of Jacob will be welcomed with open arms. These verses tie back to the vision of Nephi. Reconsider what Nephi described in the following verse:

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.[xiv]

Together these verses provide a complete picture. The repentant saints of God will be endowed with power alongside the Remnant of Jacob. At this time, wherever the un-gathered of Israel are upon the face of the earth, the spirit will move upon them with great power. We can assume that missionary work will accelerate to break-neck speeds, never before seen in our era. They will pour into America from all nations of the earth, thus fulfilling the following prophecy of Isaiah:

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.[xv]

Together we will build Zion upon the American continent. Despite the wickedness and tribulations of those days, the brotherhood that will be felt among the Israelites and their adopted brethren gathering in America will be euphoric. For the righteous, these will be days of such wonder, happiness and glory, that words cannot express, nor can enter into the hearts of men the joy of those days. These are not days to be feared, but greatly and joyously anticipated. Not only will the Remnant of Jacob return, along with the other dispersed of Israel, but Enoch’s great city with its host will also return among us. Hasten the day!

After giving us this brief glimpse into things to come, Christ again reverts back to the timing of these events as He continues His message from the Father:

And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day [the day when the previous two conditions have been met, the Gentiles learn via the Book of Mormon regarding both Manasseh and the Remnant of Jacob], even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people [referring to Mannaseh]. 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 [evidently including Enoch’s people as well], with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name.[xvi]

Here the Lord clearly states, that at the same time the gathering is taking place among Judah and Joseph, a similar work will be taking place among the Lost Ten Tribes. According to the History of the Church, on June 3, 1831, Joseph Smith prophesied that such was indeed the case, consider the following:

The Spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner, and he prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers.[xvii]

This is an amazing prophesy, but not a unique one. According to Mormon, who was ministered to by the Three Nephites first hand, these three have a mission similar to John’s. Jesus Christ informed them of this fact. This should come as no surprise since all four of these have so much in common. Given Mormon’s account, it would appear that these four will be intimately involved with the Remnant of Jacob and the marvelous work and a wonder that will be associated with them. Consider Mormon’s following extraction from the many words of Christ, regarding when the Three Nephites were called:

And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me. Therefore… ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.[xviii]

The Lord mentions John the Beloved to the Three Nephites at the time that he grants them the same thing that he granted John. It is therefore only reasonable to assume that since they have the same calling, they will work together to accomplish the same wondrous end. Mormon then provides the following insight that is relevant to our present discussion.

Behold, I have seen them [the three Nephites], and they have ministered unto me. And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not. They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.

And it shall come to pass, [that] the Lord [shall see] fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel … Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day. And if ye had all the scriptures which give an account of all the marvelous [words] of Christ, ye would, according to the words of Christ, know that these things must surely come.[xix]

It is clear from Mormon’s account that we do not have even a fraction of the marvelous words of Christ that the Nephites were blessed to have. There is a reason we do not have all His words.  After having them for so long, we are only now just beginning to understand the meaning of the things we do have. It is clear from the words we do have, that this marvelous work and a wonder has to do with both the Remnant of Jacob, and these four amazing servants of Jesus Christ. Who knows but that, among the prophets that shall no longer stay themselves, are counted these four?[xx] Regardless, as attested to once again, these coming events will be spectacular! Christ continues with his discourse as follows:

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. And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.[xxi]

The word “rearward’ refers to the rear part of an army positioned behind the main body for defense. Christ is stating that He will be their defender as they gather to Zion. This implies that the environment at that day will be hostile towards them. However, if God is with us, who can stand against us?

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[i] 3 Nephi 21:1-2

[ii] 3 Nephi 26:6-12

[iii] D&C 84:54-57

[iv] 2 Nephi 32:4&7

[v] 3 Nephi 21:3

[vi] 3 Nephi 21:3-8

[vii] 3 Nephi 21:9

[viii] 3 Nephi 21:2

[ix] 3 Nephi 21:10

[x] D&C 135:3

[xi] 3 Nephi 21:11-21

[xii] John 3:17

[xiii] 3 Nephi 21:22-25

[xiv] 1 Nephi 14:14

[xv] Isaiah 2:3

[xvi] 3 Nephi 21:26-27

[xvii] History of the Church 1:Chapter 15

[xviii] 3 Nephi 28:6-7

[xix] 3 Nephi 28:26-29; 31-33

[xx] D&C 133:26

[xxi] 3 Nephi 21:22-29