“To Do a Marvelous Work and a Wonder Among the Children of Men”

Church Educational System

President Wilford Woodruff (1807–98) spoke to the people of the tribe of Judah, highlighting the great blessings to be realized as they fulfill the work prophetically appointed to them—that of gathering to take possession of their homeland and rebuilding the great temple in Jerusalem: “This is the will of your great Elohim, O house of Judah, and whenever you shall be called upon to perform this work, the God of Israel will help you. You have a great future and destiny before you and you cannot avoid fulfilling it; you are the royal chosen seed, and the God of your father’s house has kept you distinct as a nation for eighteen hundred years, under all the oppression of the whole Gentile world. … When you meet with Shiloh your king, you will know him; your destiny is marked out, you cannot avoid it. It is true that after you return and gather your nation home, and rebuild your City and Temple, that the Gentiles may gather together their armies to go against you to battle … ; but when this affliction comes, the living God, that led Moses through the wilderness, will deliver you, and your Shiloh will come and stand in your midst and will fight your battles; and you will know him, and the afflictions of the Jews will be at an end” (quoted in Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff: History of His Life and Labors, 2nd ed. [1909], 509–10).

“A Marvelous Work and a Wonder”

The phrase “marvelous work and a wonder” also appears in Isaiah 29:14 and refers to the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days. In 2 Nephi 27 we read of the important role of the Book of Mormon in this Restoration. Isaiah prophesied that as the Book of Mormon would help dispel the darkness of almost 2,000 years of apostasy, the “wisdom” of the supposed “wise and learned” would “perish, and the understanding of their prudent” would come to naught (2 Nephi 27:26).

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) related some of the remarkable events that constitute this marvelous work and wonder:

“That glorious day dawned in the year 1820, when a boy, earnest and with faith, walked into a grove of trees and lifted his voice in prayer, seeking that wisdom which he felt he so much needed.
“There came in response a glorious manifestation. God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared and spoke with him. The curtains which had been closed for much of two millennia were parted to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times.
“There followed the restoration of the holy priesthood, first the Aaronic and then the Melchizedek, under the hands of those who had held it anciently. Another testament, speaking as a voice from the dust, came forth as a second witness to the reality and the divinity of the Son of God, the great Redeemer of the world.
“Keys of divine authority were restored, including those keys which were necessary to bind together families for time and eternity in a covenant which death could not destroy.
“The stone was small in the beginning. It was hardly noticeable. But it has grown steadily and is rolling forth to fill the earth” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1999, 94; or Ensign, Nov. 1999, 74).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)