In his role as a prophet, Jacob reveals the Lord’s mind and will. In the passage below, Jacob teaches his people about how, in the last days, God will bless their descendants (and those who are numbered among their descendants) in the American promised land.
“…My beloved brethren, thus saith our God: I will afflict thy seed by the hand of the Gentiles, nevertheless, I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel. Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land…above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God.” (2 Nephi 10:18-19)
-Are the Gentiles, referred to in the passage above, those who live in the American promised land but are not descendants of Jacob’s parents (Lehi and Sariah)?
-Given their unique blessings upon the land, will any group ultimately prosper in the American promised land without serving hand in hand with those of Lehi’s descendants who come to worship the true and living God?
-What does it mean to be numbered among the house of Israel? Does it matter if you have Israelite heritage going back to ancient Israel or not?
-Who among the Gentiles will be numbered among the house of Israel in the last days (whether they have Israelite heritage or not)?
-Is true worship of the true and living God tied to helping fulfill His covenants with the house of Israel?
-Is there a church to which the covenants and priesthood of the house of Israel have been restored?
Jacob declares God’s will and voice concerning the promised land in the Americas. Along with being a land of inheritance for Lehi’s descendants, it will also be a land of freedom and liberty for all people—a place where Zion will be reestablished with the King of Heaven as its King.
“…This land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land. And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles. And I will fortify this land against all other nations. And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God. For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.” (2 Nephi 10:10-14)
-Are all parts of the Americas a promised land? Or, is the promised land referred to in this passage more localized?
-Are there other promised lands outside the Western Hemisphere? (See link to a definition of promised land above)
-Why will God fortify the American promised land against all other nations? What or who will He be protecting?
-How will Zion be established within the American promised land? Has it already begun to be established?
-How will Lehi’s descendants be involved in the establishment of the American Zion?
-Will the establishment of Zion in the Americas be a source of marked conflict? Or, will it be a more peaceful, organic process?
-How important is it to hear God’s words? Do you believe the Book of Mormon is God’s word? How can you find out if it is or isn’t? (see Moroni 10:3-5)
Lehi, the Book of Mormon prophet, speaks of some of the special characteristics of the promised land as established by God in the Americas.
“[T]his land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” (2 Nephi 1:7)
-Is there any land where God does not bless the obedient and withdraw blessings from the wicked?
-Has God established certain lands — such as the promised land of the Americas — where this dynamic of blessing and cursing is swifter and more pronounced? Why would He do so?
-Does iniquity abound in America (or areas within the Americas)? If so, are there signs of God withdrawing His favor from these peoples and places? Are their signs of liberty being lost?
After arriving in the Americas, Nephi recorded more of his father Lehi’s teachings and prophecies. The first recorded prophecy relates to the promised land which they had obtained from the Lord in the Americas…
“[W]e have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, I, Lehi prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” (2 Nephi 1:5-6)
-Are their Native American groups who are the descendants of Lehi and, thus, have a special God-given privilege to inherit and prosper on certain American lands (much as the Israelites where given a promised land in the Near East by God)?
-Where are these promised lands in the Americas?
-Is all North and South America covenanted to Lehi’s descendants? Or, are their promised lands more localized?
-Can individuals or groups, who live in the areas of the Americas promised to Lehi’s descendants, ultimately prosper and find lasting protection without sustaining and cooperating with the children of Lehi?
-Is there a key to Lehi’s descendants finding their full potential — in peace, prosperity and strength — upon the lands promised to them?
-What do the above scriptural passages suggest about God’s will in relation to Columbus, the Pilgrims, and many others that have come to the Americas?