Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Gathering - Times of the Gentiles - Jerusalem

As the Lord sets His hand a second time, one may ask, how is this to happen?  What are the characteristics of the gathering?  In particular, what may we see in our times?

Part of arriving at an answer depends on understanding where we are in relation to the prophecies in the scriptures.  When Christ came to earth, there was a switch which occurred in which the gospel, which had been among the Jews was then dispensed and sent forth among the Gentiles.  In the scriptures, this is referred to as the times of the Gentiles.

One of the first mentions in the New Testament of the times of the Gentiles occurs in Luke 21:

20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
 21 Then let them which are in Jud├Ža flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Here, Christ was speaking to His disciples about what to watch for in relation to the Jewish people.  Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies.  Many would flee to the mountains. It was to be a day of wrath and distress. The Jews would be killed and scattered among all nations.

The state of Jerusalem here appears to be linked to the times of the Gentiles.  First, Christ tells of the siege of Jerusalem.  After the death of Christ, there was a siege in AD 37 and another one in AD 70.  In AD 70, the temple was destroyed.  Since then, Jerusalem has been down trodden by the Gentiles and continues to be until this day.  It will continue to be so until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Isaiah, in his prophecies of Zion coming forth in the latter days, speaks of this latter state of Jerusalem.  It is a time in which the city is no longer trodden down by the Gentiles.  A time in which it will become a holy city.

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
In 2 Nephi chapter 25, Nephi also discussed what would happen to the Jewish people:

14 And behold it shall come to pass that after the Messiah hath risen from the dead, and hath manifested himself unto his people, unto as many as will believe on his name, behold, Jerusalem shall be destroyed again; for wo unto them that fight against God and the people of his church.
 15 Wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered among all nations; yea, and also Babylon shall be destroyed; wherefore, the Jews shall be scattered by other nations.
 16 And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind—and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things.
 17 And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men.
According to Nephi's prophecy, there will be a time in which the Jewish people will believe in Christ.  It is here that we also find a reference to the Lord setting his hand again, a second time, to restore his people from their lost and fallen state.  It is here that there is a reference to the Lord doing a marvelous work and wonder among the children of men.

So what is the time frame of the items in verse 17?  Was it in Joseph Smith's day?  Is the second time related to the gathering of the Jewish people and the fulfilling of the times of the Gentiles?  Who are "his" people that are referred to at this point?  Will this be in our day?  What can we watch for from these scriptures to identify that the prophecies are being fulfilled?

Why blog?

I have felt the need to start blogging.  There are many who are already writing blogs about the things I wish to blog about.  I want to add my witness to these things as well.  I feel that the Lord is about to bring some great things to pass which will be to the fulfillment of scriptures and prophecy.  I believe He is about to set His hand a second time to gather His people together.  This blog will be dedicated to discussing observations and sharing my witness of these events and the scriptures around them.

I chose the name Servants in the Vineyard because I believe we are in the times from the allegory of the vineyard by Zenos and taught through Jacob in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 5) where the Lord is readying the final pruning and work of the vineyard.  While I do not see myself as one of these servants, I do feel that I know and am acquainted with others who are working to help the Lord in the pruning of the Vineyard for the last time.

Jacob 5

61 Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all other fruit.
 62 Wherefore, let us go to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard.