“10 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.”
There are 5 key points to consider within this article of faith. Each one of them worthy of their own post, however I will endeavour to include them all. All of which are a rather large part of the LDS doctrine and theology. All of which are deep doctrine and one of my favorite doctrinal aspects. The 5 key points are the Gathering of Israel, restoration of the 10 tribes, the new Jerusalem, Christ reigning personally upon the earth and the earth receiving his paradisiacal glory.
1) The Gathering of Israel.
There is much debate and speculation about the gathering of Israel in the last days. Much that is written about this suggests it means literal gathering of the Jews back to their homeland. Others argue that the gathering of Israel is not in the literal sense of Jews returning to their homeland but spiritually. There is much debate about whether it is literal, spiritual or both.
The first appearance of this prophecy was given by Moses in the book of Deuteronomy 30:1-5
1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,
Moses it seems spoke of this prophecy which sounds like a literal gathering of Jews world-wide back to their homeland. This prophecy and several others were a key component of the Zionist movement of the Jewish nation. The literal gathering of Israel back to their homeland certainly seems to fit with this prophecy, however I do believe that there is more to it than just a literal gathering. This, in a very real way is also about the spiritual renewal or spiritual gathering of the Jews in the last days.
Elder Bruce R Mckonkie stated when talking about the spiritual gathering of Israel
“The spiritual gathering takes precedence over the temporal. . . . Men can be saved wherever they live, but they cannot be saved, regardless of their abode, unless they accept the gospel and come unto Christ”’
From the Gospel and Doctrines teacher’s Manuel
“A spiritual rejuvenation will take place among the house of Israel. The following scriptures detail this spiritual awakening:
- Deuteronomy 4:29–31. They will be seeking the Lord and turning to him.
- Jeremiah 50:4–5. In humility they will seek God and Zion, striving to be a covenant people.
- Ezekiel 11:17–20. Detestable things will be put away; they will walk in the statutes and keep the commandments.
The gathering of Israel is both spiritual and literal. While the Jews are being restored to their home land they are also being restored to the knowledge of their redeemer who is Christ. It is important to remember that Israel was the father of 12 tribes, not just the Jews. The restoration of Israel must also mean the restoration of all of his descendents. Only the Jews have been gathered to Jerusalem and Israel, although I’m sure there are many members of other tribes there. This leads us to the second part of this Article of faith
2) The restoration of the ten tribes of Israel.
Now this one is interesting in that we know that there are in fact 12 tribes of Israel. The reason for this is because 10 of the tribes of Israel were scattered or “lost” and thus 10 of the tribes must be found again. How then will this happen? Clearly from my understanding the tribes are not simply hiding out in some undiscovered land in the world, Cut off from everyone else wondering when they will be found, if ever. The ten tribes were scattered, captured and lost when the kingdom of Israel was conquered by many different enemies.
The restoration of the 10 tribes is most definitely more of a spiritual gathering rather than a physical gathering. As members of the church we have the opportunity to have a patriarchal blessing which can tell us what tribe of Israel we are members of. When we join the church we become members in the house of Israel, whether through blood lineage or adoption. When we join the church, even though we may be gentiles, we still can be a part of Israel. When we are baptized we become members of one of the lost 10 tribes. This is what the gathering of the 10 tribes is all about. Identifying who is a member of what tribe and thus bringing the lost 10 tribes back.
This idea coincides with church and doctrinal history and I believe is the reason we have 12 apostles in both Christ’s day and the ancient church. The book of revelation tells us that there will be 144,000 in the heavens praising God, 12,000 from each tribe. While it has never been spoken of as the reason for 12 apostles I personally believe that Christ chose 12 Apostles because there are 12 tribes of Israel. One for each tribe. Each of the 12 are special witnesses of Christ. Thus each tribe has one representative to be a witness of Christ.
It is through identifying what tribe we belong to in our Patriarchal blessings that the restoration of the 10 tribes is happening
3) Zion the new Jerusalem will be built upon the American Continent.
I love this aspect of the 10th article of faith. The question of when is still not known, but we know where it will be built. We have been told it will be built on the American Continent in Jackson County Missouri. It is said that there will be a great General priesthood meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman before the new Jerusalem will be built. Prophecy concerning the new Jerusalem is probably one of the most interesting of all prophecies concerning future events in christian theology.
Ezra Taft Benson said in a General conference address titled A Witness and a Warning
“The eventful destiny of America has also been revealed to God’s prophets. To Joseph Smith the Lord revealed that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938, p. 362). Further, the Lord decreed this land to be “the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, … the holy sanctuary of the Lord” (Ether 13:3). To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up … and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).
The new Jerusalem will not be a city built by traditional means but will be a city that will “come down out of heaven”. This certainly leads one to wonder what such a site would look like and how it will happen. Perhaps Doctrine and covenants section 84 can shed some light on this in the first 5 verses.
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until a house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.
We know that the city of New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens and we learned from Genesis 9:21
21 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant, which I made unto thy father Enoch; that, when men should keep all my commandments, Zion should again come on the earth, the city of Enoch which I have caught up unto myself.
That the city of Enoch was taken up to heaven. One cannot help but wonder if the city of Enoch will once again come to earth and become the city of new Jerusalem.
4) Christ will reign personally upon the Earth
The millennial reign of Christ is something that all Christians world-wide look forward to. Much has to happen first before that comes to pass. The scriptures tell us that when Christ reigns it will be for a period of 1,000 years. This will happen after the great battle of Armageddon in the valley of Megiddo in Israel.
Revelation chapter 20:4,6,7
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The time of Christ’s millennial reign will be one of peace and harmony among all of God’s children. No war, No death, No disease and No poverty. It will be a time of unprecedented prosperity among all nations of the Earth. Like many other Christians it is a time that I look forward to very much.
5) The Earth will be renewed and receive is paradisiacal glory.
This will be a day to look forward to when the earth becomes a paradise. After all of God’s work on Earth has been done we can look forward to the paradise it will be.
The earth will be renewed. What does this mean to you? When I read that, it tells me that the earth must first be destroyed before it can be made new again. We know that the earth will burn at the second coming of Christ. It is after this burning the Earth will be made new and then receive its paradisiacal glory.
What will the earth be like once it has received is full glory? We are told in the book of Isaiah 11:6-9
Pollution as we know it will no longer be an issue. All mankind and beasts of the field and fish of the sea will get along and there will be no war, no contention, no disease all will finally be at peace. That is a day that we should all look forward to. Much has yet to happen before that becomes a reality but it is a reality that we must all work towards.
And that is the gospel according to Andrew