“Lessed Are the Gentiles Because of Their Belief in Me”

Alan C. Miner

Wayne Shute, Monte Nyman, and Randy Bott write that when the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith in September, 1823, he “stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in” (J. S. Hist. 1:41`). The fulness of the Gentiles is the full opportunity for the nations of the Gentiles to receive the gospel (see D&C 45:24:30; JST Luke 21:24-32; 3 Nephi 16:7-11). The Prophet Joseph Smith, and other descendants of Ephraim, began the dispensation of taking the gospel to the Gentiles (D&C 21:10-121; 86:8-11; 90:6-9).

The patriarch Jacob’s blessing given to the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, was an affirmation of what Jacob had previously told Joseph. The blessing as recorded in the KJV was as follows:

God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day. The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (Genesis 48:15-16)

The reader should note that according to the King James text it says that Jacob blessed Joseph (v. 15), however as the footnote shows, the Septuagint (the Greek text copied form an earlier Hebrew text) states that Jacob blessed “them.”

Now there are two significant statements in the above blessing conferred upon the two sons of Joseph:

(1) they were to have the name of Israel that had been given Jacob by the Angel who redeemed him (Genesis 32:24-30) (Note* the angel who appeared was apparently Jehovah himself as a careful reading of the text and also Genesis 35:9-15 that speaks of a second appearance will confirm.)

(2) the offspring of the two sons was to become a multitude of people in the midst of the earth. Joseph questioned his father regarding who was to inherit the birthright, having assumed Manasseh would. But Jacob responded; “I know it, my son, I know it: also he shall become a people, and also he shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19).

Collectively the offspring of both sons would become a multitude. While Manasseh would become great, Ephraim would become even greater. Ephraim’s greater blessing extended to his posterity who would become a multitude of nations. The “multitude of nations” may also be given a more enlightening translation. The word “nations” is often translated as “Gentiles.” The word multitude may also be translated “fulness.” Therefore, Ephraim’s blessing as interpreted by Jacob could be that he would “become the fulness of the Gentiles.”

Ephraim was scattered among all the nations of the Gentiles (Amos 9:8-9; Hosea 8:8). Today Ephraim is being gathered out of those nations. As Ephraim is gathered, the Gentiles are being given an opportunity to accept the gospel and be numbered with Ephraim. When the gathering is completed, it will bring in the fulness of the Gentiles. We are living in the day of its fulfillment. [R. Wayne Shute, Monte S. Nyman, and Randy L. Bott, Ephraim: Chosen of the Lord, pp. 20-21]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary