Friday, July 20, 2012

The Remnant of Israel - "He Will Set His Hand Again The Second Time"

After prophesying about Christ, (the stem and root of Jesse from Isaiah 11: 1 and 10), and His servant, (the rod that will "come out" of the stem which is Christ - Isaiah 11: 1) and their central roles in the establishment of the latter day Zion and the gathering of Israel, (see prior posts), Isaiah then prophesies: 

11 And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11: 11-12)

If the Lord "shall set His hand again the second time" to recover the remnant of his people, then what event identifies as the "first time" he set his hand to recover them? I have a note (from a long time ago, probably from an institute teacher who didn't know jack) in the margin of my scriptures next to these verses we are now considering, that says:

"first time was Moses and Egyptian bondage and exodus."

There is a problem with the conclusion that "the first time" the Lord set His hand to recover the remnant of his people was Moses and the Egyptian exodus. It is true, the Lord did indeed lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. The problem with identifying the Egyptian exodus as "the first time" the Lord set his hand to recover "the remnant" of his people, is that "the remnant" of his people did not even exist until after the great scattering of Israel that happened much later in history after the Exodus.

In other words, the "remnants of scattered Israel" did not exist (obviously) until after Israel had been scattered. One could not say (as Isaiah did in his verse eleven that we are now considering) that those of Israel who had been left all around the world including "the isles of the sea" were recovered in the Egyptian exodus. It doesn't fit.

When then, was the "first time" the Lord set his hand to recover the scattered remnants of Israel? Not until the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. 

Joseph said:

"All that the prophets that have written, from the days of righteous Abel, down to the last man that has left any testimony on record for our considerstion, in speaking of the salvation of Israel in the last days, goes directly to show that it consists in the work of the gathering." (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith page 190-91)

Joseph said every prophet who ever wrote "speaking of the salvation of Israel in the last days" was speaking about the work of the gathering. "In the last days" is the key phrase; Joseph is the prophet and the head of the dispensation of the fullness of times in the last days. Joseph was given charge of the beginning gathering of the remnants of Israel. Joseph's attempts to "gather," mark the "first time" the Lord set his hand to attempt to recover the remnants of scattered Israel and to establish Zion. This, according to the prophets of the Book of Mormon, was to be done by the Gentiles. 

Nephi recounted the teachings of his father Lehi that further confirm it would be after Joseph Smith and the restoration that the remnants of Israel would eventually be gathered. 

13 Wherefore, he (Lehi) said it must needs be that we should be led with one accord into the land of promise, unto the fulfilling of the word of the Lord, that we should be scattered upon all the face of the earth.
14 And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive-tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer. (1Nephi 10: 13-14)

According to Lehi, it would only be after Joseph Smith and the Gentiles "had received the fullness of the gospel," that the remnants of the house of Israel would be grafted in. But this, according to Isaiah, will require that the Lord "will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people."(Isaiah 11: 11)

The Lord Jesus teaches the same sequence of events as Lehi did for the latter days. He says:

"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.

And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.

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." (3Nephi 16: 10-12)

The "second time" the Lord's hand is set to recover his people in the last days, he will be personally involved. This is why Isaiah prophesied the root of Jesse (Christ Jesus) (see prior post) "shall stand for an ensign of the people." (Isaiah 11: 10) Joseph Smith, in his interpretative revelation, said of the root of Jesse, (Jesus), to Him "rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days." (D&C 113: 6)

It will be the Lord Jesus that will set his hand again the second time to recover the remnants of Israel from all across the world including the isles of the sea. As He said to the Nephites,

"And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst. And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. 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." (3Nephi 21: 25-26)

The work of the Father to recover scattered and lost Israel "which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea," (Isaiah 11: 11) will not even "commence" according to the Lord, until the Lord Himself comes down with His power to dwell among the people. This will be after the fullness of the Gentiles, the remnant of Israel receives the fullness of the gospel, and the remnant of Israel (Lehi's seed) builds the Holy city New Jerusalem. (3Nephi 21: 23-24 also Ether 13: 8-10)

We await the Lord to set his hand again the second time. The first time he set his hand, the day and the fullness of the Gentiles, has fulfilled every prophecy concerning it in the Book of Mormon. Now, after the passing of "three to four" generations, (D&C 124: 50), there begins to be stirrings anew.


This will be the last entry for a while concerning the remnant of Israel. 

I spent a couple of evenings talking with my family about the things I have included in the series of recent blogs related to the remnant of Israel from the Book of Mormon. I got the sense from those discussions, there is a "remnant fatigue" going on. (At least with my kids) So I am going to leave the remnant for a while after this entry. There is enough in the Book of Mormon about the remnant of Israel that we could go on perhaps indefinitely. I have come to see through the exercise of writing this little series that there is so much to this topic and doctrine that it would take a good size book to do anything close to a comprehensive treatment. 

My purpose in writing has always been to teach myself, my children, my posterity, and those I love, light and truth in order to bring us closer to Christ. We have had enough revealed by the Lord and included in this blog concerning the remnant of Israel, that the record we have here provides enough of a foundation for any of my posterity to understand and know the key elements of the doctrine. From what has been written, any of you can make an inquiry with the Lord to continue and complete your understanding of the remnant of Israel and the latter day Gentiles. I plan to continue my personal inquiry in the Book of Mormon for further understanding on this topic. It is vast.

Those Gentiles (that means you if you are my blood) who have been, or may be asked to participate in the Lord's great unfolding of His strange and wonderful act in the latter days, will be placed at great advantage to know as much as can be learned about themselves (the Gentiles) and the remnant of Israel from the words and precepts of the Book of Mormon.

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