There is one subject that always draws the attention of any Christian, well one that knows any Old Testament and New Testament history is the restoration of the Jews. For the most part, restoration has ceased to be a naughty word in our generation. While most Christians now use the term ‘revival’ it has a similar meaning. But the restoration of the Jews is one most Christians are well aware. They and we know that the Savior’s second coming will come after their restoration to Jerusalem. It is one of those signs we are supposed to know. Accordingly, most have watched for the day and have even done what they could to expedite the process. In that vein, here is a scripture I find revealing in the Book of Mormon.
“But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified. Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations” (2 Nephi 10:5-6).
There is little debate this part of the sermon by Jacob has taken place. They have surely known destruction, famine, pestilence, and the most horrid bloodshed. The latest of which took place in the past century. Even before then, the scattering was well under way. If it were not for the scattering, Hitler probably would not have had so many opportunities to shed their blood. We see the Crusades and innumerable other attacks on Jerusalem from a variety of people. Christians through the ages have recognized the need of the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land.
Over the centuries attempt after attempt has been made to relocate them back. The Crimean war is a great example. The French and Russians claimed it their prerogative to convert them and protect them. The Latter-day Saints recognized a different responsibility upon their shoulders. They were to gather in Israel. However, the Jew was to be last. 2 Nephi gives us another twist on the take from normal Christianity.
“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” (vs 7).
An interesting question arises here. Who, or which of their fathers was this covenant made to? What is more interesting is that this restoration is not supposed to start until they shall believe in Christ. How much do they have to believe? How many have to believe to start this gathering? Who will start this process? They don’t appear to believe yet, so have we really seen much of a gathering yet?
Then comes something more instructive, “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, in carrying them forth to the lands 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?” (2 Nephi 10:8-9).
They shall be gathered in from their scattering by the nations of the Gentiles. America and Britain definitely fall into this category. Indeed, the leaders of these Gentile nations shall nurse them because the Lord has so abundantly blessed these nations. What an interesting observation. We certainly know many nations have aided in the return of the Jew to their inheritance lands. How much has this been completed? We do not know.
On a tangent, Jacob then goes on to say there will be no kings over this nation or land, and that this land is the decreed land of Zion. None, Jew or Gentile, shall fight against this land and prosper. A most interesting light considering the scriptures where different nations may lead this land, but there will be no kings, and nobody will ultimately conquer it. He also states how the seed of Lehi will be afflicted in the land. Anyhow, back to the Jews, I cannot help but think of some comments by Brigham Young.
“The decree has gone forth from the Almighty that they cannot have the benefit of the atonement until they gather to Jerusalem, for they said, let His blood be upon us and upon our children, consequently, they cannot believe in him until his second coming. We have a great desire for their welfare, and are looking for the time soon to come when they will gather to Jerusalem, build up the city and the land of Palestine, and prepare for the coming of the Messiah. When he comes again, he will not come as he did when the Jews rejected him; neither will he appear first at Jerusalem when he makes his second appearance on the earth; but he will appear first on the land where he commenced his work in the beginning, and planted the garden of Eden, and that was done in the land of America. When the Savior visits Jerusalem, and the Jews look upon him, and see the wounds in his hands and in his side and in his feet, they will then know that they have persecuted and put to death the true Messiah, and then will they acknowledge him, but not till then. They have confounded his first and second coming, expecting his first coming to be as a mighty prince instead of as a servant. They will go back by and by to Jerusalem and own their Lord and Master. We have no feelings against them. I wish they were all gentlemen, men of heart and brain, and knew precisely how the Lord looks upon them” (JD 11:279).
The restoration of the Jews had not commenced yet when Brigham stated those words. They will return to rebuild Jerusalem before he will return. The Gentiles will take them back, but their conversion will not start.
“Jerusalem is not to be redeemed by the by the soft still voice of the Preacher of the Gospel of Peace. Why? Because they were once the blessed of the Lord, the Chosen of the Lord, the promised seed. They were the people from among whom should spring the Messiah; and salvation could only be found through that tribe. The Messiah came through them, and they killed him; and they will be the last of all the seed of Abraham to have the privilege of receiving the New and Everlasting Covenant. You may hand out to them gold, you may feed and clothe them, but it is impossible to convert the Jews, until the Lord God Almighty does it” (JD 2:142).
“This American continent will be Zion; for it is so spoken of by the prophets. Jerusalem will be rebuilt and will be the place of gathering, and the tribe of Judah will gather there; but this continent of America is the land of Zion” (JD 5:4).