These Things are Written unto the Remnant of the House of Jacob

The Book of Mormon was recorded on metal plates and translated by the power of God as a message to scattered Israel in the latter days before the return of Jesus Christ. The record that would become the Book of Mormon was written according to God’s will when the prophet Moroni hid the plates in the ground about 421 A.D., and it was translated, faithfully, according to His will by an unsophisticated young man (Joseph Smith) who was called and prepared by the Lord for this purpose in the early 1800’s. To stand as a second witness of Jesus Christ, avoiding the intellectually and spiritually corrupted systems of the world, God saw fit that the Book of Mormon would come forth in this miraculous manner. The Book of Mormon is an invitation to “more fully believe” the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“…These things are written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob; and they are written after this manner, because it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them; and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time. And this is the commandment which I have received; and behold, they shall come forth according to the commandment of the Lord, when he shall see fit, in his wisdom. And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, the great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant. And also that [the descendants of Lehi] may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles…” (Mormon 5:12-15)

Questions:

-How sure are God’s promises to His covenant people, including the Jews and all the descendants of Israel?

-Are His promises any less sure for those who are not descendants of Jacob but have taken upon themselves the covenants of the Restored Gospel and, thereby, joined themselves with Israel?

I Write unto You All

The prophet Mormon, writing about 320 A.D. somewhere in the Americas, testifies the following to all the inhabitants of the Earth:

“…I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil; And also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you; and also that the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, shall have other witness besides him whom they saw and heard, that Jesus, whom they slew, was the very Christ and the very God. And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.” (Mormon 3Mormon 3:20-22)

Questions:

-Having perfect love for all, how willing will Christ be to emphasize the positive and reduce the impact of the negative at the time of judgment?

-Will the love and pure light that emanates from the Savior say everything that needs to be said so that each person will see themselves for what they have become in the perfect context of God’s presence?

-What does it mean to repent in preparation for standing before the judgment-seat of Christ?

Great and Marvelous Works Shall Be Wrought by Them

Before finishing His ministry to the descendants of Lehi (A.D. 34-35), Jesus Christ blessed three of the twelve disciples He called in the New World so they would not die but, instead, remain on the Earth until His second coming (similar to the blessing John received from Christ in the Old World). In the following verses, the prophet Mormon discusses these three American-based apostles’ role leading up to Christ’s return:

“Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world. But behold, I have seen them, 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, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good. 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.” (3 Nephi 28:27-32)

Questions:

-Are there signs that the three apostles discussed above are working with the Gentiles, Jews, and the scattered tribes of Israel in our time?

-Who would they reveal themselves to in order to bring many souls to Christ?

If the Gentiles Shall Harden Their Hearts Against Me, I Will Return Their Iniquities Upon Their Own Heads

The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and His early Jewish disciples set off a chain of events where (especially after the Reformation when many more souls were able to read the teachings in the Bible) the Holy Ghost influenced the Christian nations in such a way that they became the most powerful — politically and technologically — in the world. Without the impetus created by the Lord’s covenant people – starting with Abraham and culminating in the Lord Himself coming to His people in the flesh – none of these blessings and powers would have come to the Christian (i.e. Gentile) nations. The truths and teachings in the Bible were (and are) a blessing from the house of Israel and were a conduit for the Holy Spirit to influence the cultures and peoples who embraced them. See the following video, which touches on some of these themes: Because of Him—Easter Video – YouTube

As the nations that have previously been Christian turn away from the spiritual wellspring given to them by the house of Israel — firstly through the Bible and subsequently from the added testimony of Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mormon — they will no longer be strengthened and upheld by God. Their sin, instead of being forgiven through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, will be turned upon them.

Below is Jesus Christ speaking to a group of the descendants of the house of Israel in the Americas about A.D. 34.

“…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—And after that ye were blessed 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 which blessing upon the Gentiles 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. 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.” (3 Nephi 20:25-28)

Questions:

-How many perceive — or believe in — the intervention of God in granting prosperity to countries influenced by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the testimony of the house of Israel (as found in the Bible)?

-How many believe that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of the truth of the Bible and was instrumental in restoring the fulness of Christ’s gospel?

Let Your Light So Shine before This People, That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father Who is in Heaven

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses fourteen through sixteen of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore, let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:14-16)

Questions:

-Is there a light in some peoples’ countenances which testifies they have received the Holy Ghost (and Jesus Christ of whom the Holy Ghost testifies)?

-Are these the same people whose good works glorify the Father?

-Why does Christ refer to glorifying His Father rather than himself?

Blessed Are They That Mourn, For They Shall Be Comforted

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the second of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)

And again, blessed are all they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (3 Nephi 12:4)

Questions:

-Do the pains and disappointments of this life provide the context in which the joys and blessings of heaven are deeply appreciated and valued (for eternity)?

Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit Who Come unto Me

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the first of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.  

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3)

Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:3)

Questions:

-Why would God inspire Joseph Smith to interpret the Beatitudes – as taught by Christ to Lehi’s descendants in the Americas — in language very similar to the King James version of the Bible?

-Do you feel the phrase, “who come unto me,” is an inspired addition to what is found in Matthew.

-What does it mean to be poor in spirit?

-Is it possible to truly come unto Christ if one is not poor in spirit?

He will Gather in from the Four Quarters of the Earth All the Remnant of the Seed of Jacob

Mormon, a Nephite prophet and historian, prophesies about the literal physical gathering of Jacob’s descendants in the last days.

“As surely as the Lord liveth, will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, who are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth. And as he hath covenanted with all the house of Jacob, even so shall the covenant wherewith he hath covenanted with the house of Jacob be fulfilled in his own due time, unto the restoring all the house of Jacob unto the knowledge of the covenant that he hath covenanted with them. And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen.” (3 Nephi 5:24-26)

Questions:

-Clearly the Jews have gathered (and continue to gather) to the nation of Israel. Have other descendants of Jacob begun to be gathered to their homelands?

I Speak unto You as the Voice of One Crying from the Dust

As the prophet Nephi records his final words he testifies in no uncertain terms that he has been commanded by God to write all that he has written.

“And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come. And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day. For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen.” (2 Nephi 33:13-15)

Questions:

-What does it mean to partake of the goodness of God?

-What would prevent a person from partaking of the goodness of God?

-What does it mean to respect the words of the Jews, Nephi’s words, and the words of the Lamb of God?

-How many in the world have had a prolonged enough exposure to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and other scripture to make a meaningful decision about the respect they have for them?

-Is the condemnation Nephi refers to reserved for those who have a witness from the Holy Ghost that these scriptures are of God and then still reject them?

The Lord Covenanteth with None Save it be with Them That Repent and Believe in His Son

After prophesying about some of the beliefs and misconceptions that would keep many of the Gentiles from accepting the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and also the blessings that would come to the house of Israel in the last days, Nephi warns his people that no one receives salvation by birthright. Covenant blessings can only be made fully alive through repentance, obedience to God’s commandments, and faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

“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; 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.” (2 Nephi 30:1-2)

Questions:

-Do the verses above imply that most of the Gentiles will repent and become part of the Lord’s covenant people in the last days? Or, do they imply that it will be a relatively small proportion that will do so? (see The Gentiles Shall Deny Me)

Teachings of Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators:

“We need a strong faith in Christ to be able to repent” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf,“Point of Safe Return,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 100).