The Gathering Of Israel

ARTICLE 10-We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes;
A painting depicting Jacob blessing his sons.The Gathering Predicted-Dire as was the chastisement decreed on Israel for their waywardness, amounting, as it did, to their dissolution as a nation, fearful as has been their denunciation by Him who delighted to call them His people, yet through all their sufferings and privations, while wandering as outcasts among alien nations who have never ceased to treat them with contumely and insult, when their very name has been made a hiss and a byword in the earth, they have been sustained by the sure word of promise, that a day of glorious deliverance and blessed restoration awaits them. Associated with the curses, under which they writhed and groaned, were assurances of blessings. From the heart of the people, as from the soul of their king in the day of his affliction, has poured forth a song of tearful rejoicing: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell.” The sufferings of Israel have been but necessary chastening by a grieved yet loving Father, who planned by these effective means to purify His sin-stained children. To them He has freely told His purpose in thus permitting them to be afflicted; and in His punishments they have seen His love: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” and “Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord.”

Though smitten of men, a large part of them gone from a knowledge of the world, Israel are not lost unto their God. He knows whither they have been led or driven; toward them His heart still yearns with paternal love; and surely will He bring them forth, in due time and by appointed means, into a condition of blessing and influence befitting His covenant people. In spite of their sin and notwithstanding the tribulations that they were bringing upon themselves, the Lord said: “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God.” As complete as was the scattering, so shall be the gathering of Israel.

Biblical Prophecies Concerning the Gathering-We have examined a few of the Biblical predictions concerning the dispersion of Israel; in all cases the blessing of eventual restoration was associated with the curse. Among the early prophecies we hear the Lord declaring that it shall come to pass that when thou, Israel, “shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.”

Nehemiah pleaded in fasting and prayer that the Lord would remember His promise of restoration if the people would turn unto righteousness. Isaiah spoke with no uncertain words of the assured return and reunion of scattered Israel, saying: “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. 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.”

The restoration is to be comprehensive; there shall be a united people, no longer two kingdoms each at enmity with the other; for: “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” With the words of a fond father the Lord thus speaks of His treatment of Israel and brightens their desolation with promise: “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.”

After having given a fearful recital of the sins of the people and of the penalties to follow, Jeremiah thus voiced the will and purpose of God concerning the subsequent deliverance: “Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” And again: “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth. * * * Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord.”

“Backsliding Israel,” “treacherous Judah” are the terms of reproof with which the Lord addressed His recreant people; then He commanded the prophet, saying: “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”

To Ezekiel the Lord also declared the plan of Israel’s restoration: “Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”

That the reestablishment is to be a permanent one is evident from the revelation given through Amos, wherein we read that the Lord said: “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.”

As a fitting close to our selection of Biblical prophecies, let the words of Jesus of Nazareth be pondered, spoken while He lived among men: “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Book of Mormon Prophecies-The gathering of Israel claimed the attention of many prophets whose teachings are recorded in the Book of Mormon, and not a little direct revelation concerning the subject is preserved within the pages of that volume. We have noted Lehi’s discourse in the valley of Lemuel, in which that patriarch-prophet compared the house of Israel to an olive-tree, the branches of which were to be broken off and scattered; now we may add his prediction regarding the subsequent grafting-in of the branches. He taught that, “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 a knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.”

Nephi, quoting the words of the prophet Zenos, emphasizes the declaration that, when purified through suffering, Israel shall come again into the favor of the Lord, and then shall they be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and the isles of the sea shall be remembered. Jacob, brother of Nephi, testified to the truth of the prophecies of Zenos, and indicated the time of the gathering as a characteristic sign of the last days. Consider his words: “And the day that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people, is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in his power, to nourish and prune his vineyard; and after that the end soon cometh.”

Among the most comprehensive predictions regarding the restoration of the Jews is this utterance of Nephi: “Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations; yea, and also Babylon shall be destroyed; wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered by other nations. And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind-and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things. And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men.”

Nephi, commenting on the words of Isaiah regarding the sufferings and subsequent triumph of the people of Israel, states the condition upon which their gathering is predicated, and says of God: “That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.”

It is evident from these and many other scriptures that the time of the full recovery or redemption of the Jews is to be determined by their acceptance of Christ as their Lord. When that time comes, they are to be gathered to the land of their fathers; and in the work of gathering, the Gentiles are destined to take a great and honorable part, as witness the further words of Nephi: “But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance. And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, carrying them forth to the land of their inheritance. Yea, the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers; wherefore, the promises of the Lord are great unto the Gentiles, for he hath spoken it, and who can dispute?”

The assistance which the Gentiles are to give in the preparation of the Jews, and of the remnant of the house of Israel established on the western continent, is affirmed by several Book of Mormon prophets; and, moreover, the blessings which the Gentiles may thus bring upon themselves are described in detail. A single quotation must suffice for our present purpose; and this the declaration of the risen Lord, during His brief ministration among the Nephites: “But if they [the Gentiles] 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. 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. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father, to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father, among all nations, in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance.”

Article Name
The Gathering Of Israel
Mormons believe in the literal and spiritual gathering of Israel, the return of the lost Ten Tribes, and establishing Jerusalem and Zion as holy cities.