The Lord’s People Israel

When the people with Moses continually balked at receiving the gifts offered to them by the Lord, the Lord tired of their murmuring and considered rejecting them and making of Moses alone His covenant people:

And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. (Numbers 14:11-32, emphasis added.)

The first offering to the gentiles in Joseph’s day was hardly offered before the Lord sadly reflected:

For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin. And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now. And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received— Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay. (D&C 84:51-59, emphasis added.)

These early gentiles did not repent. The people Joseph taught, like those Moses taught, their carcasses also fell in the wilderness. They were even told by the Lord of what had happened in the time of Moses, to help them avoid the same fate:

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live. Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fulness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; (D&C 84:21-25, emphasis added.)

How oft might a people have been the Lord’s and they simply would not.

For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (D&C 88:33, emphasis added.)

Can you not feel the Lord’s exasperation with us today when we murmur and dispute among ourselves? Can you not feel greater light whenever you accept and seek to understand His words rather than when you fear and complain against them?

Those who have ears will hear this, and those who do not cannot.

1 Nephi 14:7

1 Nephi 14: 7:

“For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken.”
There will be a time when the accounts will all be settled. Everything will become everlasting and people will either inherit eternal lives and move forward, or they will return to be destroyed both temporally and spiritually again. Joseph Smith commented in the King Follett Discourse about the process of gaining exaltation.  He said, “you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave.”
Death and hell are the devil’s domain. He’s the god of that world, and since we have death and suffering here, he calls himself the god of this world. Those who come here are subject to his buffeting, and his will. They are tormented, tempted, troubled, and then they die. While captive here, they endure the insults of the flesh, and the difficulties of trying to find their way back to God.

Those who find Him, however, are able to receive “peace and life eternal” through a higher way. The devil is bound for them, and they are able to be “added upon” by the experiences and difficulties here.

All of this is called a “great and marvelous work” to occur “among the children of men.” Note it isn’t the “remnant” or the “gentiles” but “the children of men.”  Why so? Is everyone invited? Why, if everyone is invited, will it largely only affect the “remnant,” and the “gentiles,” and the “scattered Israel,” and “Jews?” What about the “heathen,” since they are also “the children of men?” Don’t they also have part in the first resurrection? (D&C 45: 54.) Will even some of them be included among the “children of men” who behold this “great and marvelous work?”

Why is it “everlasting” whether it is for “peace and eternal life” or “captivity and destruction?” Isn’t “Everlasting” another of God’s names just like “Eternal” and “Endless?”  (D&C 19: 10-12.) If so, then what does the “everlasting peace and eternal life,” and “everlasting captivity and destruction” really involve?  [You really need to read that paper I’ve been emailing out if you haven’t read it already.]

Why does God want us to respond to His message and get out of this Telestial Kingdom into another, higher kingdom? Why does He want us to become like Him? How is this experience able to make us more like Him?
If one is involved in the “continuation of the lives” (D&C 132: 22) is that distant and second-hand? Or does God (or the Gods) get involved directly with His/Their children? (Abraham 3: 24-25.)

What causes “hardness of their hearts?” What causes “blindness of their eyes?”  Why are those whose hearts are hard unable to receive Christ? Why are those who are blind unwilling to see Him?

This cycle of inviting people to come to the Lamb of God has been going on for some time now. When mankind generally rejected Him after the time of Noah, there was a chosen people who were given a sacred tradition. Ultimately they got proud, failed to recognize Him when He came, rejected His message, and killed Him.  Gentiles converted and became the inheritors of His teachings. Then the gentiles began to persecute the previously chosen people for generations. In this verse the gentiles are remembered, sacred materials are entrusted to them with an obligation to spread that sacred material back to the earlier chosen people. However, for the gentiles to be able to accomplish this they need to hold onto the sacred materials and teachings. You simply can’t spread abroad what you’ve failed to retain.

If the gentiles let the sacred materials and teachings fall into disuse, forfeit their priesthood by draining it of any power, and have nothing to offer the previously chosen people, then the gentiles will be cast off, trodden under foot and destroyed, as we have earlier seen.

This verse reminds us what is at stake: Eternity. Or at least God’s judgment. It’ll be embarrassing to return to Him unimproved and un-added upon. Particularly when His hand was stretched out to us all the day long. Gentiles who do as they are asked are given all the blessings of the chosen people. Those who do not are rejected and destroyed.
As a friend and I discussed last week, Hindu’s advise us to get off the wheel and return to God. They may be onto something with that thought. One eternal round, indeed…..

Isaiah 53:2

Isaiah 53: 2 states this about the Messiah:

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

The first “he” is a reference to the Messiah.  The second “him” is either the Father in Heaven or Israel.

The Messiah will be a “tender plant” or a “root” that arises “out of a dry ground” because the barren, unproductive, rancorous people among whom He will be sent will not be producing redeemed souls when He comes.  They will be racked with religious falsehoods; ambitious and controlling men who have obtained their leadership through political maneuvering, influence peddling and purchase.  

The acquisition of religious status was so normal a thing in that day that the Apostles would later be asked by Simon if he could purchase the priesthood from them.  (Acts 8: 13-24.)  And yet the Messiah will find the way back to opening the heavens, receiving power from on high, and then go about preaching and leading other souls to redemption as well.  For Him the barren, dry ground will be no impediment to salvation.

The Messiah will “have no form nor comeliness,” and have “no beauty.” Not because of His physical appearance, however.  It will be due to the lack of position, absence of credentials, failure to hold a leadership position, and outsider status which makes Him undesirable.  Those who recognize in His message the voice of the Lord will be required to overlook His obscurity and status.  I’ve described this more fully in two chapters in Come, Let Us Adore Him.

This image contradicts the presumptions of the people who hear Isaiah’s report.  They imagine themselves as followers of the true faith.  They presume they would hearken to the voice of God no matter when it came.  But they look for it in barren ground.  Therefore, when the Messiah should come, they will be unable to find anything desirable, beautiful or comely about Him.  Rather they will shout “crucify Him!” because He will have merited the charge of blasphemy.

For those who heard Isaiah’s report, this would seem altogether wrong.  It is incomprehensible for the chosen people to fail to recognize the Lord’s own Son.  And yet they will kill Isaiah, as well.  So when the message of the prophet Isaiah came to pass, the generation in which it was fulfilled was entirely oblivious to how his prophecy was unfolding before their eyes.

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.