LDS Articles of Faith, Part LV
Article 10, The Gathering of Israel in the Last Days, Part 2
The 10th LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the ten tribes; 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.” Previous blogs showed that the (LDS) Lord gave Joseph Smith several revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) that told LDS to gather in Zion in Jackson County Missouri. Smith said he received D. & C. 133 on November 3, 1831, and it is one of his early revelations about Zion. In verse 4 the LDS Lord said, “Gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry.” Zion and the land of Zion are mentioned several times in this revelation. And from the first time Smith mentioned Zion he said it was a specific place. In D. & C. 97 the LDS Lord said on Aug. 2, 1833, “I, the Lord” seven times as He commanded LDS to speedily build a temple in Zion (vs. 10-11) and He said, “Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place” (v.19). On Dec. 16, 1833, the LDS Lord told Smith in D. & C. 101:17, “Zion shall not be moved out of her place.” And in v. 20 He said, “Behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed for the work of the gathering of my saints.” The LDS Lord was referring to the revelation in D. & C. 84:1-5 which Smith said he received on Sept. 22 and 23, 1832. Verses 4-5 say: “Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the (LDS) saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house (temple) shall be built unto the Lord…” While D. & C. 84 only says that temple and city are to be built in the “western boundaries of the state of Missouri,” Smith said D. & C. 57:1-3 was received July 20, 1831, and it says the temple is to be built in Independence, MO “upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse.” So, the exact spot for the temple to be built in Zion was identified just 15 months after Mormonism began. Notice that D. & C. 84:4-5 says, “this generation (of 1832) shall not all pass away until an house (temple) shall be built unto the Lord,” but that generation all passed away more than a hundred years ago without building either the temple or New Jerusalem! Some LDS say that will still be fulfilled in the future. But all those living in 1832 are dead, so it is too late for them to build a city and temple in MO! Other LDS say D. & C. 97:21 says that Zion is the “pure in heart,” but that is not the meaning of “Zion” in the above references. Zion and a temple can not be built in “the pure in heart” and called Jackson County, MO!
II Esdras 13:40-47 in the Apocrypha says after their Assyrian captivity, the ten northern tribes of Israel traveled a year and a half farther north “where never mankind dwelt.” That would be very cold but Smith taught LDS it was true even though most Christians and Jews don’t accept the Apocrypha as scripture. Smith said he received a revelation on Nov. 3, 1831, that was put in the D. & C. appendix until 1920 when it became D. & C. Sec. 133. It is addressed to LDS living in 1831 and verse 1 says, “Harken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you.” Verse 4 says, “Prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you who have not been commanded to tarry.” In verses 7-9 the Lord said, “I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations…Go ye forth unto the land of Zion.” Verse 26 says, “And they (10 lost tribes) who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.” It doesn’t say why the prophets smote the rocks or why “ice flowed down.” Verse 38 says, “The servants of God shall go forth saying with a loud voice: Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” And verse 52 says, “And now the year of my redeemed is come.” D. & C. 133 has 74 verses, so it is too long to discuss everything in it, but those who don’t have a copy of the D. & C., can see it online or in a library. The above verses were pointed out because they show the meaning of the 10th LDS Article of Faith as well as Smith’s teaching that LDS were living in the last days and Christ’s second coming was imminent. And in 1838 Smith said the Lord told him to name their Church “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Many of his revelations and sermons emphasize Christ’s 2nd coming, but the purpose of His coming is quite different for LDS than for Biblical Christians. LDS Apostle Talmage said LDS “believe that during the millennial era they will be privileged to continue the vicarious work for the dead, (baptisms, marriages etc. for the dead) which constitutes so important and so characteristic a feature of their duty, and that the facilities for direct communication with the heavens will enable them to carry on their labor of love without hindrance. When the thousand years are passed Satan will again be permitted to assert his power, and those who are not then numbered among the pure in heart will yield to his influence. But the liberty thus recovered by ‘the prince of the power of the air’ will be of short duration; his final doom will speedily follow, and with him will go to the punishment that is everlasting, all who are his. Then the earth will pass to its celestial condition and become a fit abode for the glorified sons and daughters of our God” (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, p.371).
The footnote in the History of the Church vol. 1, p. 176 reports on the LDS Conference on June 3-6, 1831 and says, “According to John Whitmer’s History of the Church, (chap. V): ‘The spirit of the Lord fell on Joseph (Smith) 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. He prophesied many more things that I have not written. After he had prophesied, he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight and ordained him to the High Priesthood after the holy order of God. And the Spirit fell upon Lyman and he prophesied concerning the coming of Christ. He said that there were some in the congregation that should live until the Savior should descend from heaven with a shout, with all the holy angels with Him…yea, He will appear in His brightness and consume all [the wicked] before Him; and the hills will be laid low, and the valleys be exalted, and the crooked be made straight, and the rough smooth.’” Smith had the same High Priesthood that he ordained Lyman Wight to, but it didn’t keep Lyman from being a false prophet! Smith said he received D. & C. 7 as a revelation in April 1829 which said John the apostle never died and will preach on earth until Jesus returned. So, on June 3-6, 1831, Smith said John was preaching to the ten tribes of Israel.
Next time we will continue our discussion of Article 10 of the LDS Articles of Faith.