In my first post on this topic, I attempted to show from the scriptures that the latter day church is included with the Gentiles from a Book of Mormon perspective. I would encourage anyone to do their own study on this topic by searching out all the references to ‘gentile’ in the scriptures and formulating their own opinion. There are only 309 references to ‘gentile’ found in the scriptures, but it would be interesting to include the term ‘nations’ in the Bible as ‘goyim’ is translated as both. I would also like to hear comments from anyone who could provide an alternative viewpoint as to how the LDS Church fits into the context of the Book of Mormon.
As we consider the topic further, let’s go back to Nephi’s vision found in 1 Nephi, chapter 13. Here are some of the key verses found there:
- “among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church” (verse 4)
- “a man among the Gentiles…went forth upon the many waters…to the promised land” (verse 12)
- “many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise” (verse 14)
- “mother Gentiles were gathered together… to battle against them” (verse 17)
- Nephi sees a book that “is a record of the Jews” (verse 23)
- This book goes from the Jews to the Gentiles but “many parts which are plain and most precious” of the gospel and covenants are removed (verse 26)
- “I will be merciful unto the Gentiles… I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel” (verse 34)
- Nephi’s seed will write many things and “these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles” (verse 35)
- “other books…came forth…from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed” (verse 39)
- “these last records… shall establish the truth of the first” (verse 40)
It is important to note that the Lord did not change how he called this people after they received the gospel. They were Gentiles before the restoration and they were still Gentiles after. From the perspective given us through Nephi’s vision, we were Gentiles then and still Gentiles now.
The thirteenth chapter ends with this statement:
“And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” (verse 42)
While I go into more detail on my website www.fulness.com/lastfirst , let me just say that the manifestation unto the Gentiles represents the restoration of the Gospel to us, being the Gentiles. This verse also indicates that ultimately, the Lord intends to manifest Himself unto the Jews.
So let us consider what the Book of Mormon says about our future. We see in verse 42 above that there is a transition from Gentile to Jew, just as there was a transition from Jew to Gentile in the meridian of time. I am sure that you will agree that the rejection of the Gospel by the Jews at the time of Christ did not bode well for them. In a comment to the Gentiles-R-Us Part 1, NEPT pointed out the discussion of the inspired version of the Bible dealing with Matthew 21. I would encourage you to read it. The essence of the discussion in the verses is that God will take the kingdom of God from the Jews and it ‘shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles).’ However, we find in verse 56, that the fruits are short-lived:
“And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.”
Why would we as Gentiles receive the kingdom of God but then be destroyed? It can only be a result of our rejection of the fulness of the gospel. Let me explain.
In Part 1, I discussed the verses found in 3 Nephi 16 surrounding the believing and unbelieving of the Gentiles. This chapter also supports the prophetic demise of us, as Gentiles, when the Lord states:
“And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.”
This verse portends the rejection of the fulness of the gospel by the Gentiles. In the BYU series on the Book of Mormon, Robert Millet and others discussed this scripture. To listen to a portion of that discussion click here. I might note that the reference in this audio clip to the twelve may be more appropriately pointed at the original twelve apostles of the Lord than Bro. Millet’s suggestion that this applies to the latter-day apostles. I don’t believe you can separate out today’s leadership from the rejection of the gospel. It is the whole church that is under condemnation.
In the context of the 16th chapter of third Nephi where this is found, it applies to the Gentiles collectively, both believing and unbelieving. And what does the Lord do with the fulness of the gospel that is taken away from the Gentiles?
“And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.” (verse 12)
So, just as predicted in 1 Nephi 13:42, ‘the last shall be first, and the first shall be last’ with the Jews receiving the fulness of the Gospel after it is rejected by the Gentiles.
The plea from the Lord at this point is thus:
“But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.” (verse 13)
We are asked to repent and return so that we may be included among His people.
So… what must we repent of? Pride is certainly one item mentioned in 3 Nephi 16:10. Sinning against His gospel is another. I would suggest this be a critical topic of prayer and fasting. Here are some suggestions to ponder:
- What is the fulness of the gospel that is rejected?
- Where is the fulness of the gospel found in the scriptures?
- What is the definition of the gospel found in the scriptures?
- What must I give up of this material world that is restricting my ability to acquire the fulness of the gospel?
- How does the Lord measure His church?
I believe that the scriptures have answers to all these questions.
Here is one final topic to consider. Growing up in the church, I was given the distinct impression that one day, we would be called to go back to Missouri to establish Zion and build His temple. So, what does the Book of Mormon have to say on that topic?
Speaking of the Gentiles, the Lord states in 3 Nephi, chapter 21 verses 22-25:
“But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, 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;
And they 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.
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.
And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.”
In a close reading of this chapter, the Lord is asking us Gentiles to repent. If we do, we will have his church established among us. I get the distinct impression that the establishment of the church He speaks of here happens well after the restoration of the gospel and shortly before the events surrounding New Jerusalem. I would also note that it is the lot of the Gentiles to ASSIST the remnant of Jacob in the building of Zion. Not the other way around.
The warning is clear. We must repent and return. We must accept the fulness of the gospel. We must subdue our pride and understand that we will be the assistants to the remnant of Jacob in the building of Zion.
What think ye?