5 And now, saith the Lord—that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him—though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.5 And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.6 And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth. [1 Nephi 21:5–6]6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. [Isaiah 49:5–6]
The servant now states what the Lord had said in response to his expression of having labored in vain among the Christian Churches. The Lord reaffirms that Israel has been foreordained to be his servant in gathering together the scattered remnant of Israel who had culturally become Gentiles. The servant acknowledges that his work would be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and that God would be his strength (v. 5).
The servant, through Isaiah, now quotes what the Lord had said to him (v. 6). The “ light thing” is the glorious work of the Lord that the servant is to undertake. Scriptural light means edifying or truthful, not insignificant or lighthearted as in our society. Through the strength of the Lord, Ephraim will accomplish three things. The first will be “to raise up the tribes of Jacob.” Originally there were twelve tribes, but now they are divided into three segments; “the Nephites and the Jews … and the lost tribes” (2 Nephi 29:13). Although each group remained intact after their dispersion, they were not producing fruit at the time of the Restoration. “The first and the second and the last had all become corrupt” (Jacob 5:39).
The second part of Ephraim’s mission is “to restore the preserved of Israel” (v. 6), those who have the blood of Israel, but have been scattered “among all nations” as prophesied by Amos (9:8–9). This group has lost their identity and have become “identified with the Gentiles” (D&C 109:60).
The third part of Ephraim’s mission is to be “a light to the Gentiles” (v. 6). At the same time Ephraim is gathering those having the blood of Israel from among the Gentiles, he will be giving the Gentiles an opportunity to be adopted into Israel. Thus, Nephi’s interpretation will be fulfilled: “it shall also be of great worth unto the Gentiles … unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (1 Nephi 22:9).
Those who receive the “Gospel shall be called after [ Abraham’s] name, and shall be accounted [Abraham’s] seed, and shall rise up and bless [Abraham], as their father” (Abraham 2:10). Modern revelation has called the priesthood holders of this dispensation to be “a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto [God’s] people Israel” (D&C 86:11). Therefore, the servant Ephraim will “be [the Lord’s] salvation unto the ends of the earth” (v. 6).