BOWbutton

This button is a resource to link those desiring baptism with those having authority to baptize. More information can be found here.

 

3 Nephi 21: 23-24

3 Nephi 21: 23-24: 

“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.”
Who are those referred to as “my people?” “My people” are “the remnant of Jacob.”
Who are those referred to as “they?” The “they” are gentiles who have repented, come to Christ, entered into a covenant with Him, received the fullness of His Gospel, become heirs, and received the promise of land, and a connection with the promises to the remnant.
So it will be these few, chosen, covenantal gentiles who will “ASSIST” the remnant.  
-They won’t lead them,
-preside over them,
-control them,
-subjugate them,
-nor dominate them. 
They will “assist” them. What does “assist” mean? Who is taking the lead if the gentiles are only to “assist” in the process?
What will the remnant do? What city is to be built? Why is it called the New Jerusalem?
Forget everything you think you know about where the New Jerusalem is to be built. Most of the myth and traditions about it are based on incomplete and inaccurate recreations of the events. 
Joseph sent the first missionaries to the Lamanites to find the place. The entire block of Native Americans east of the Mississippi, from the Delaware to the Cherokee, had been relocated at the time of the 1834 revelations regarding the New Jerusalem. At that brief moment in time, all of them were located just over the boundary of western Missouri. The closest you could get to them was Independence, Missouri. Since it was the remnant who would build the New Jerusalem, the obligation was to find them, preach to them, and assist them in building. But the missionaries couldn’t do that. When they tried, they were sent out of the Indian Territory on the threat of being imprisoned. So Independence was as close as they could get.
The Native Americans have relocated and relocated again. Now they are nowhere near Independence. When Joseph fled Nauvoo in late June, days before his death, he was leaving for the Rocky Mountains where he intended to locate the remnant. He returned, was killed, and never made it out here.

Brigham Young tried to locate the remnant. In fact, the St. George Temple was built as the next fully functioning Temple at the chosen location precisely because it was intended to be near the remnant. In the very first endowment session, the Hopi Chief and his wife went through, received their endowment, and were sealed the next day. They were invited to try and connect with the remnant and this tribe was suspected as the one the Saints were to locate.

We’ve lost that fervor. We’ve assumed Independence is the site. We think we’re going to build it. We have no clue we are only to “assist” and not control.
All of this is worth some study. But you’re going to have to search back into history and ignore all the recent re-done and re-worked histories that ignore this early material. It’s too much to get into in this post, but maybe I’ll take it up at some point.

Temporary Blog Disarray

While my wife is at girl’s camp for the next few days you may notice some temporary disarray in things here.  This is caused by my direct involvement in the blog, rather than hers.

The problems you witness as I take a direct hand will be less, I’m sure, than the domestic tragedies which will undoubtedly unfold in the absence of my wife.  Fortunately, I recognize my limits and will make use of Taco Bell, KFC and Arby’s to avoid some of the perils I now face.



She has scheduled posts I wrote before her departure for the next few days, and they will come up in regular order.  I may add comments as well, but they will interrupt the discussion rather than continue it.


I’m hoping things will not deteriorate too far before her return.  And that I can keep the garden watered…  

The dog seems to recognize his life is temporarily in jeopardy.  But I think I have my son and remaining daughter fooled into thinking its going to work out.

3 Nephi 21: 21-22

3 Nephi 21: 21-22:  

“And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.  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;” 

Again the warning and the promise. Vengeance and fury are terrible words. It will be the responsibility of Christ to inflict it, and Christ says it will be His. “I will execute vengeance and fury” not “the Father.” This is Christ’s assignment – His cup.

His fury will be executed upon disbelieving gentiles, as well as the offending and violent heathen. When the spirit withdraws and they are left to themselves, it is only the limits of their cruel imagination that will compass the torture and evil they will visit upon one another. He will allow it by withdrawing the light of Christ, or His spirit. Without conscience, without remorse, without affection, filled with anger and hatred, it will be vengeance and fury.

This is juxtaposed with the reminder that “if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts” He will be with them. If they will follow His path, His light and spirit will not forsake them. They will not descend into the same violent vengeance and fury. They will remain at peace. They will have hope in Him.

For those who will “repent,” and “hearken unto His words,” He will establish “my church” among them.  Does this mean The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the church of the Firstborn?

When His church is joined it is through “the covenant.” What “covenant” is that? Merely baptism, or something more?

When the “covenant” is given them, they become “numbered among this remnant of Jacob.” Who is that remnant? When they become “numbered” among them, what significance does that hold? Does it imply a covenantal link which, like being sealed to someone, makes you part of that eternal family line (as discussed earlier)? 

Why is it necessary to become first in the covenant and numbered with the remnant before they receive the blessings of being “given this land for their inheritance?” What does the promise of land have to do with entering into a covenant? Can it ever be the same as the covenant made with Abraham if it does not involve an inheritance of land? If, therefore, the covenant of land is part of that new and everlasting covenant which was begun through Joseph, is this a promise of reuniting the recipients with the “fullness of the Gospel” as opposed to receiving “much of the Gospel” discussed in earlier posts?

What is the Lord setting out in this declaration and prophecy?  How do we become part of those promises? Is this something which an institution can do for you? Must you repent and come to Christ in order to become a part of it? If so, why not repent?

One a Day

I will be posting one post a day Tuesday and Wednesday because I will be gone.

CM

3 Nephi 21: 19-20

3 Nephi 21: 19-20:

“And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.  For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;”
Notice that the first four defects that are to end, include “lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes.” These are somewhat different than the next two. These first four are character flaws that lead to the next two.
The character flaws should not be thought of as defects in our ability to do business or conduct commerce. These are flaws leading to the failures of our redemption. Therefore, think of them as flaws in our beliefs, leading us to have what the Book of Mormon terms unbelief.
What lying goes on among us leads to priestcraft? How is our lying keeping us from knowing the Lord? What is it about our peculiar form of false belief that leads us to believe in, and spread about lying as part of the fallen, false faith we entertain?
What deceivings are part of our culture of unbelief? How is it we can celebrate the great priesthood “authority” we possess while acknowledging that it lacks any “power?” Are we deceiving ourselves? Are we alienated from God while thinking ourselves His peculiar people?

What envy is there among us? Has envy become a tool for church governance? If so, how does it become a tool for church governance? Have we built it right into our system at present?

Are we filled with strife? Is strife among us suppressing healthy exchange of ideas by labeling such discussion as “contention?” Is strife different from contention? Is uniformity of ideas and suppression of dissent something that will remove strife? If not, then why not?
These character flaws in turn lead to “priestcrafts” where people seek approval of the world but not the best interest of Zion. (2 Ne. 26: 29.) Do we want popularity from the “world?”  What is the “world?” Why would someone practicing priestcraft seek in particular to have approval and lead the world? Why is the distinction made between the interests of Zion and the interests of the world? Is public relations always focused on approval from the world? If so, why are we seeking such approval? Does the world’s opinion of us matter? Why? When have the followers of Jesus been popular? What have they suffered for His name? (Heb. 11: 36-40.)
Then we see “whoredoms” which we have discussed earlier. David Christensen’s comment on the meaning of false religion is worth returning to read again in this post.
Then Christ sounds the alarm, attributing it to the Father.  Repent. Come unto Christ. Otherwise you will be cut off. What does it mean to come to Christ? Read the short statement in D&C 93: 1. There is a succinct description of the process. You haven’t come to Him until you have “seen His face and know that He is,” or, in other words, until you hear from His own voice that He has atoned for your sins and He promises you a place in His kingdom.
All of these warnings are being given to orient you to what is important. The important thing is to come to Him. As Christ put it to Martha, “but one thing is needful.” (Luke 10: 38-42.) Until we have come to Him, all our concerns about other matters must remain secondary. Of what good is it to know all mysteries, if we have not come to Him? This is why, in the middle of this warning of calamities to come, the Lord places this invitation to come to Him. He can help. He can restore and protect. But only if you are His.

3 Nephi 21: 15-18

3 Nephi 21: 15-18:

“And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;  And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.”
 
Cleaning up things so that the course of wickedness comes to an end involves some highly specific purging. However, the description is not given to us so we can know what will be coming as much as it is given to us to guide our own conduct and beliefs.
 
“Cities will be cut off” means what? “Strongholds thrown down” refers to what? Interesting things to contemplate to be sure.  But much more relevant are the warnings in what follows:
 
“Cut off witchcrafts” is a warning to those who engage in certain practices. What should you do to avoid being cut off as a result of being involved in “witchcraft?” What does that mean? Are only wiccans being warned by this?
 
Who are the “soothsayers” who are to be terminated? What constitutes “soothsaying?” Look that word up. It appears in interesting contexts. The typical example involves predictions made using means other than true prophecy. But you should look at it and ask yourself how it would apply in modern applications: in business, government, economics, weather–especially long-term weather, politics, etc.
 
What are “graven images?” What are “standing images?”  Why are the “standing images” said to be “in the midst of thee?”
 
What does it mean to “worship the works of thy hands?” How can a person worship their own works?
 
What are the “groves” that are to be plucked up? Why are the groves also “in the midst of thee?” The ancient usage of groves involved fertility rites, sacred sexual practices, or the worship of intercourse. What modern versions of this ancient form of fertility worship would be similar to the ancient behavior as to merit being called the same thing?
 
What does it mean to have our “cities destroyed?” Does this have anything to do with the other prophecy that the final victory of Israel will inhabit the desolate cities of the gentiles?  (Isa. 54: 3.)
 
Remember this is Christ speaking. This is the Redeemer, the merciful author of our salvation. Therefore, you must conclude that these direful predictions are actually based on the overall long-term best interest of those involved. They are better off, improved and advanced by these judgments. Imagine that. The wrath of God is best visited upon those who are destroyed, rather than leaving them to continue the course they are headed in. It is an interesting thing to contemplate.

3 Nephi 21: 15-18

3 Nephi 21: 15-18:

“And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;  And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.”
 
Cleaning up things so that the course of wickedness comes to an end involves some highly specific purging. However, the description is not given to us so we can know what will be coming as much as it is given to us to guide our own conduct and beliefs.
 
“Cities will be cut off” means what? “Strongholds thrown down” refers to what? Interesting things to contemplate to be sure.  But much more relevant are the warnings in what follows:
 
“Cut off witchcrafts” is a warning to those who engage in certain practices. What should you do to avoid being cut off as a result of being involved in “witchcraft?” What does that mean? Are only wiccans being warned by this?
 
Who are the “soothsayers” who are to be terminated? What constitutes “soothsaying?” Look that word up. It appears in interesting contexts. The typical example involves predictions made using means other than true prophecy. But you should look at it and ask yourself how it would apply in modern applications: in business, government, economics, weather–especially long-term weather, politics, etc.
 
What are “graven images?” What are “standing images?”  Why are the “standing images” said to be “in the midst of thee?”
 
What does it mean to “worship the works of thy hands?” How can a person worship their own works?
 
What are the “groves” that are to be plucked up? Why are the groves also “in the midst of thee?” The ancient usage of groves involved fertility rites, sacred sexual practices, or the worship of intercourse. What modern versions of this ancient form of fertility worship would be similar to the ancient behavior as to merit being called the same thing?
 
What does it mean to have our “cities destroyed?” Does this have anything to do with the other prophecy that the final victory of Israel will inhabit the desolate cities of the gentiles?  (Isa. 54: 3.)
 
Remember this is Christ speaking. This is the Redeemer, the merciful author of our salvation. Therefore, you must conclude that these direful predictions are actually based on the overall long-term best interest of those involved. They are better off, improved and advanced by these judgments. Imagine that. The wrath of God is best visited upon those who are destroyed, rather than leaving them to continue the course they are headed in. It is an interesting thing to contemplate.

3 Nephi 21: 12-14

3 Nephi 21: 12-14

“And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.  Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;”
Notice again the distinction between the gentiles and the remnant.
The “remnant” will behave in a way which will “tread down and tear in pieces” the gentiles. As they do this, “none can deliver” the gentiles.
Unlike the previous slaughter of the remnant by the gentiles, this time it is the gentiles who are slaughtered at the hands of the remnant. Those who are “enemies” to the remnant will all be “cut off.” What does “cut off” mean?
The woes of that coming time can all be avoided by the gentiles – predicated upon their willingness to “repent.” So we return again to the recurring question of what it means to “repent?” How can “repentance” be the only means by which the gentiles survive the slaughter? What is it about gentile repentance that spares them from the wrath that is to be otherwise poured out upon them?
What symbol comes to mind when you think of “horses?” What does cutting out the horses symbolize?
Does the symbol of the “horses” and the symbol of the “chariots” go together? That is, does cutting out the horses and destroying the chariots express a single thought? If it does, what do the horses and chariots symbolize? How vulnerable is the American military might to destruction? What effect would symbolically destroying the horses and chariots of the American population have?
If the United States is to be engulfed in domestic violence, will it continue to have foreign military influence? Economic influence? Social and cultural influence?
Assuming the gentile population is swept away, trodden under foot and torn in pieces, what culture and social influence will remain?
What symbol does the lion among the beasts of the forest suggest? The young lion among the sheep? What is the difference between the beasts of the forest and the sheep? If both beasts and sheep are gentiles, then are the beasts different than the sheep? What sort of person called a gentile “beast” will be swept away? What kind of person called a gentile “sheep” will be torn in pieces? Why would both gentile beasts and gentile sheep need to “repent?” Does repentance of a “beast” and repentance of “sheep” take the same form?  Why would both need repentance when they are so remarkably different in symbol? Is it enough alone to be a gentile sheep?
What message is being sent by this warning?

3 Nephi 21: 10-11

 
“But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.  Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.”
 
This statement has caused endless conjecture. Who is the “servant?” Was this Joseph Smith? Wasn’t it Joseph who was “given power to bring forth the words to the gentiles?” If Joseph was this “servant,” then what does it mean he will be “marred,” but the Lord will “heal him?” Is he coming back? Will Joseph be resurrected? Will he be born again?
 
Although Christ is speaking, this raises a matter worth addressing in connection with the statement. Therefore we’ll take a bit of a detour and address it. First, the purpose of prophecy is not always to make a matter clear before it happens. Prophecy may not have a clear meaning before an event happens, but once it has happened it becomes apparent that the event was foretold. This keeps the prophecy from controlling the event, but allows those who have faith to see the Lord’s hand in operation. Therefore, having some difficulty in attaching specific meaning to the prophecy is exactly in keeping with prophecy’s traditional way of communicating an event.
 
Second, the words of prophecy are not always established in the same way. In fact, there are a variety of ways in which the language is fixed. Below are descriptions of the various ways the language of a prophecy comes about:
 
The Lord may give, announce or dictate the language and the prophet takes it down word for word. If this is the case, then the one who receives the language may not understand their meaning, even though they received the message. (In this case it is Christ who is speaking. We assume He would know fully the word’s meaning.  However, Christ has explained that His Father knows things that have been withheld from Him. See, e.g., Mark 13: 32. So, you cannot rule out that even in this case the language was given and the meaning withheld.)
 
Sometimes it is not the language or the words that are given to the prophet, but a vision is shown or opened and then the prophet is left to craft a description. In such cases the words are the prophet’s, but the underlying meaning is the Lord’s.
 
Sometimes a vision may be shown or opened, but when the prophet takes to write the description, the language is prescribed, or limited by inspiration. In this instance, the prophet’s understanding may be greater than the words used, and the language will be designed to accomplish the Lord’s purposes rather than to make what the prophet understands clear to the recipient.
 
With respect to when one or another form of language is in scripture, we may not always be able to tell. Section 76 is one example we know how the language came to us. There was a vision, opened to both Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon, and as the vision proceeded Joseph would dictate the words given to him by the Lord to describe what he and Sydney beheld. The words were the Lord’s.The vision was greater or included more understanding for Joseph and Sydney than the words of the revelation. Hence Joseph’s comment: “I could explain a hundred fold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them.” (TPJS p. 304.)
 
It is not important to fully understand the statement of Christ in this prophecy until AFTER it is fulfilled. Before it is fulfilled the following questions are interesting to contemplate as you think about its meaning:
 
Is the “servant” who will be “marred” and then “healed” a single individual, or a people with whom the Lord is working?  If a people rather than an individual, then who is this servant?
 
If the ones who will cause the servant to be “marred” are plural, who are they? Are they a group, or groups? If groups, which are they? What is their affiliation with the “great and abominable church?”
 
What does it mean that the “servant” will not be “hurt” but will be “marred?” How can one be “marred” without being “hurt?”
 
Is the “servant” in verse 10 the same as the “him” in verse 11? Have the subjects changed? That is, can verse 10 be speaking about a people, but verse 11 be addressing a person whose work it was (or is) to bring forth Christ’s words?  If an individual, is Joseph Smith the only one who can qualify? Can others also bring forth words of Christ to the gentiles, and the gentiles given an opportunity to accept or reject the words at their peril?
 
If they risk being cut off by rejecting the words, then can more than Joseph Smith be qualified to be “(even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” That is, when the latter-day prophets are sounding alarms and warning, is the message from Christ–no matter who speaks it– something, if rejected, will cause people to be cut off from the covenant?
 
How does one cut themselves off from the covenant? If you will not listen to Christ’s words, do you thereby cut yourself off by not listening? Would that be true if Joseph Smith is a prophet and you reject him? Would that be true if Brigham Young were a prophet and you rejected him? What about an angel sent to you? What about someone like Abinadi, or John the Baptist, or some other unexpected messenger? Would the same be true anytime someone decided to reject a message authorized or sent from the Lord?
 
Now go back and re-read verses 10 and 11 with these questions in mind and see if you get a different meaning from them.