The Gathering. (Continued.)

1844-02-01

Times and Seasons

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“The Gathering (continued).” Times and Seasons 5, no. 3 (1 February 1844): 423–27.

THE GATHERING.

(Continued.)

Jared and his brother, together with the families that were with them, and their several offsprings, were greatly blessed of God, for a length of time upon this continent; they prospered exceedingly. They were blessed with communion with the Lord, with revelations, visions, faith wisdom, and in all temporal blessings they became a great people. But when they transgressed the laws of God, the cnrse of Jehovah fell upon them, and they were swept from the face of the earth, according to the word of the Lord.

Abraham was made use of, he was selected and chosen as a peculiar personage, to whom God would commit his laws and ordinances, and to his seed after him, and in order that he might accomplish his purposes, he gave unto him, the land of Canaan as his inheritance, that he might be selected and set apart from all other nations; and this was the only principle upon which God could teach him his law, and establish the priesthood.

It is true, that Abraham obtained it by faith, but then if he had not possessed faith, he would not have been a fit personage for the Lord to select, through whom he could communicate his will, and preserve a chosen seed upon the earth. Abraham, through a long train of afflictions, and in many trials, had proven his unflinching integrity and faithfulness to God, for many years, and when the Lord saw that he was a proper person to exalt, he said unto him, ‘get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee, and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.’ And when Abraham had journeyed to the place appointed, ‘the Lord appeared unto him and said, unto thy seed will I give this land,’ and he afterwards entered into a covenant with Abraham, saying, ‘unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates. The Kenites, and the Kennizites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perrizites, and the Rophaines, and the Ammorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.’

That land was given unto Abraham, and unto his seed, for an everlasting inheritance, and ‘Isaac, and Jacob were heirs with him, of the same promise.’ The land was allotted unto the [423]Twelve Tribes of Israel, but in consequence of their iniquities, they were afterwards driven from it, and scattered upon the face of all the earth. Previous to their scattering, the Lord made provisions for the preservation of a remnant, upon this continent, that he might preserve a pure seed unto himself; and Lehi and his family, together with Ishmael, were directed by the Lord to come here and to possess this land.

There was no doubt provision made also for many others; the Ten Tribes of Israel were carried away to a distant land, ‘where never mankind dwelt;’ where they should remain ‘until the latter day;’ then should they return according to the word of the Lord, and become one nation with Judah, ‘in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king over them, and they shall no longer be two nations any more at all.’ That there were then remnants of the house of Israel, is evident from the words of the apostle Paul. In writing to the Romans, who were Gentiles, and reasoning with them upon their standing and relationship to God, he tells them that ‘the Jews were broken off because of their unbelief, and that they, (the Romans) stand by faith;’ he tells them not to ‘boast against the branches,’ for the obvious reason, that ‘thou bearest not the root, but the root thee; and that although the house of Judah was at that time about to be destroyed, yet all the house of Israel had not become extinct, nor were the promises made to the fathers, forgotten; for God said that he would graft them in again, not only so; but the house of Judah was only one branch of the house of Israel, whereas, there were many branches, who we e not broken off. For, says Paul, if some of the branches be broken off, and thou being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in AMONG them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness, of the olive tree; boast not against the branches;’ (that yet remain,) ‘but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.’ From the above, it is evident that there were other branches of the house of Israel, that were not broken off at the time to which the apostle refers; and that instead of the Gentiles possessing the above kingdom and dominion, as some suppose, and having the exclusive charge of the ordinances of God’s house, they were only ‘graffed in’ as a wild olive, ‘ among the natural branches, and with them partook of the root and fatness of the olive tree.’

The Lord provided for all these things; and before he destroyed, or broke off one portion of the house of Israel, he made ample provision for the perpetuation of their seed, the continuation of his mercy, and the ordinances of his house among the other branches.

This is beautifully exemplified in the parable of the olive tree in the Book of Mormon.

“And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard went forth, and he saw that his olive tree began to decay; and he said, I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it, that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not. And it came to pass that he pruned and digged about it, and nourished it, according to his word. And it came to pass that after many days, it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish. And it came to pass that the master of the vineyard saw it, and he said unto his servant, it grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, go and pluck the branches from a wild olive tree, and bring them hither unto me; and we will pluck off those main branches which are beginning to wither away, and we will cast them into the fire, that they may be burned.

And behold, saith the lord of the vineyard, I take away many of these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will; and it mattereth not that if it so be, that the root of this tree will perish, I may preserve the fruit thereof unto myself; wherefore, I will take these young and tender branches, and I will graft them whithersoever I will. Take thou the branches of the wild olive tree, and graft them in, in the stead thereof: and these which I have plucked off, I will cast into the fire, and burn them, that they may not cumber the ground of my vineyard.

And it came to pass that the servant of the Lord of the vineyard, did according to the word of the Lord of the vineyard, and grafted in the branches of the wild olive tree.

And the Lord of the vineyard caused that it should be digged about, and pruned, and nourished, saying unto his servant, it grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof that they perish not, that I might preserve them unto myself, I have done this thing. Wherefore, go thy way; watch the tree, and nourish it, according to my words—And these will I place in the nethermost part of my vineyard, whithersoever I will, it mattereth not unto thee: and I do it, that I may preserve unto myself the natural branches of the tree: and also, that I may lay up fruit thereof, against the season, unto myself: for it greveth me that I should lose this tree, and the fruit thereof.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard; some in one, and some in another, according to his will and [424] pleasure. And it came to pass that a long time passed away, and the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant, come let us go down into the vineyard that we may labor, in the vineyard.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard, and also the servant, went down into the vineyard to labor. And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master, behold, look here; behold the tree. And it it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard looked and beheld the tree, in the which the wild olive branches had been grafted; and it had sprang forth and began to bear fruit. And he beheld that it was good: and the fruit thereof was like unto the natural fruit. And he said unto the servant, behold, the branches of the wild tree hath taken hold of the moisture of the root thereof, that the root thereof hath brought forth much strength; and because of the much strength of the root thereof, the wild branches have brought forth tame fruit: now, if we had not grafted in these branches, the tree thereof would have perished. And now, behold, I shall lay up much fruit, which the tree thereof hath brought forth: and the fruit thereof I shall lay up, against the season, unto mine own self.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant, come, let us go to the nethermost part of the vineyard, and behold if the natural branches of the tree hath not brought forth much fruit also, that I may lay up of the fruit thereof, against the season, unto mine own self. And it came to pass that they went forth whither the master had hid the natural branches of the tree, and he said unto the servant, behold these; and he beheld the first, that it had brought forth much fruit; and he beheld also, that it was good.

And he said unto the servant, take off the fruit thereof, and lay it up, against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self: for behold, said he, this long time have I nourished it, and it hath brought forth much fruit.

And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master, how comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? for behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of the vineyard. And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him, counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time; and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant, look hither: behold, I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree: I have nourished it this long time, and it hath brought forth much fruit; therefore, gather it, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said again unto his servant, look hither, and behold another branch also, which I have planted: behold that I have nourished it also, and it hath brought forth fruit. And he said unto the servant look hither, and behold that last: behold this have I planted in a good spot of ground; and I have nourished it this long time, and only a part of the tree hath brought forth tame fruit; and the other part of the tree hath brought forth wild fruit: behold, I have nourished this tree like unto the others.”

From the above, it is very evident that there did exist other branches of the house of Israel, that were under the special guidance of the Lord, and to whom he paid peculiar attention, and that in order that he might preserve a pure seed unto himself; he took those “young and tender branches from the main tree, before it had become corrupt, and planted them in different parts of his vineyard, and dressed and nourished them, that they might bring forth good fruit unto himself.” There is one peculiar trait in this dispensation of providence, which is, that these branches were hid, in the vineyard, and consequently not generally known by the generality of mankind.

This may account for the generally received opinion, that the house of Judah were the only representatives of the kingdom of God upon the earth, and that consequently, when the kingdom of God was taken from them and given to the Gentiles, that the Gentiles were the sole possessors of it, and that the house of Israel had lost the blessings of God forever, and would only obtain mercy through the Gentiles. This opinion was obtaining among the Romans, in Paul’s day, hence his reasoning with them on this subject, shewing that they had received all their blessings through the Jews, and that if the Jews were broken off and the Gentiles graffed in, they bore not the root, but the root them; and that instead of either being the root, or the main branches, they were merely a scion taken from the wild olive tree and grafted into the old stock, dependant upon it; that they were neither the root nor the main branches, but “graffed in among the branches and with them partaking of the root and fatness of the olive tree.”

Those branches taken from the main stock were hid in different parts of the vineyard, some in one part and some in another. The [425] Ten Tribes were taken to a “land where never mankind dwelt, from whence they will return in the latter day”

Lehi and his family, together with others, came to this continent, where they worshipped the true God, and there were other branches, besides those, according to the parable, and also according to the account given by our Savior when he conversed with his disciples on this continent. “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that I have other sheep; neither of the land of Jerusalem; neither in any parts of that land round about; where I have been sent to minister. For they of whom I speak, are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But as I have received a commandment of the Father, that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold, and one shepherd; therefore, I go to shew myself unto them;”—7th chap., book of Nephi.

There were a number of the house of Israel discovered in little Thibet in the interior of China, in a highly civilized state, a few years ago. Whither these were the branches referred to or not, is not for us at present to say;—certain it is, however, that they do exist some where; according to the accounts given both in the Bible and the Book of Mormon,—there are some of the house of Israel, living on the islands of the sea. In the second book of Nephi, page 121 we have the following: “For I command all men, both in the east, and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them. * * “For behold I shall speak unto the Jews, and they shall write it, and they shall also speak unto the Nephites, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes which I have hid away, and they shall write it.” Here then we find some of God’s people on the islands of the sea.

Agreeable to this is the account given by Isaiah, XI; 11: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” No doubt then, according to these testimonies, but that there exists a remnant of the house of Israel, somewhere on the Islands of the sea; for the obvious reason, that if they do not exist there, they cannot come from there.

We have now found out several of the hiding places of the branches of the house of Israel. The Ten Tribes are undoubtedly hid; the history of the Nephites on this continent, was unknown to the world till lately. The watchful jealousy of the Chinese, has been a bulwark to those in Little Thibet, Bucharia, and those on the islands of the sea are not known: and all of them have unquestionably been hid from the world, and this was the design of God to fulfil his purpose, according to the account given in the Book of Mormon, page 522.

“And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he said unto those twelve whom he had chosen, ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph. And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you. And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem; neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment, that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father had led away out of the land. This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them, that other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And now because of stiffneckedness and unbelief, they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing unto them. But, verily, I say unto you, that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye are separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity, that they know not of you.—And verily I say unto you again, that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity, that they know not them. And verily, I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said, other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching; and they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice; that I should not manifest myself unto them, save it were by the Holy Ghost. But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that I have oth- [426] er sheep, which are not of this; neither of the land of Jerusalem; neither in any parts of that land round about, whither I have been to minister. For they of whom I speak, are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them. But I have received a commandment of the Father, that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold, and one shepherd; therefore I go to shew myself unto them. And I command you that ye shall write these sayings, after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me, and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write, shall be kept, and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth, because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me their Redeemer.”

(To be continued.)

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