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Update and Articles
When we look at the happenings all around us and even in the church, we feel confusion and want stability instead. I submit it was no different in 1830, except they didn’t have covid-19 then. Look at this time as an opportunity to reflect on where we need to be as individuals and as a people. Below is an article that will call us to meditate and repent.
WHAT ABOUT OUR HOPE IN ZION?
Beginning in 1830, yea and even before, we have looked forward to the promise of Zion. For 190 years we have enjoyed this promise, it has given us a reason to hope for the day of its coming. Today as we sadly look out upon our country engulfed in anarchy, disorganization, and multiple sins, the hope for the coming of that day sinks further and further into the distant future. Yet we have witnessed the work of God's hand here in this land, beginning with the opening of the movement to restore His Church. We have seen in a revelation given through the prophet Joseph Smith Jr in July 1831 the Lord's establishment of the place for the City of Zion. (RLDS) Section 57:1a-b “Hearken, O ye elders of my church saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints: wherefore this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion."
Now this has been taught, read, and enjoyed many times in the past years, but how many of you have realized that it is a fulfillment of a prophecy given many hundreds of years ago? In a prophecy from the Lord given in the days of King David through the Prophet Nathan we find this: 2 Samuel 7:10 “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as before time," I have highlighted one word in Section 57 and in 2nd Samuel that connects these two scriptures over a period of many hundreds of years. There are many ancient prophecies fulfilled today, but I have not seen any that are fulfilled with so much physical evidence as is this one. In fact, if this does not turn on the light in your soul it could be because your electricity is turned off.
However marvelous the Restoration movement may have been in the eyes of our forefathers, the result of that work is not so marvelous today. The Church established in 1830 is now broken apart and scattered throughout this nation and yes even scattered around the world. The fullness of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has been corrupted many times to suit different individuals’ views and desires. Each segment contains some truth but is intermingled with half-truth and false ideology. This is the fruit of the adversary, for apparently he made his appearance in those early 1830 days also and was able to plant his tares among the wheat. This should be no surprise to those of you who are students of scriptural history. When the Lord led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and established them in the promised land with expectation of them becoming a Holy, obedient people, the adversary was there also. It is true God does not change; neither does the adversary. Every time the Lord attempts to establish a Holy people, Satan opposes that work. It is no different today, but we find that the Lord has a plan to accomplish His purpose
Jeremiah 31:6 speaks of a time that Saints may awaken: "For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God." This will come about because we do not give up on our hope for that Zion. We believe in the Lord; we believe that He will accomplish His purposes. However, we also acknowledge that there will be opposition. Jeremiah 8:19-20 also tells us there will be problems in Zion at that time: "Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country; Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." Now this becomes important to us who "dwell in a far country" for we are of the house of Israel that has been driven to this far country. To us was given the opportunity and the responsibility of establishing the House of the God of Jacob, the King in Zion, and we have not done so. Thus, the words of the Prophet, "Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? Section 83:8a "And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation."
The Church, and the opportunity to establish that King and Zion, remains under that condemnation because we will not turn back and obey the demands of that revelation. We are held captive by our vain traditions that have failed us in the past and by our unbelief. In this way we have brought upon us the chastisement of our Lord, our God. Let us look to Habakkuk, who is one of the minor prophets, yet has much to say to us: chapter 1:5-6 “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously; for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling-places that are not theirs." He addresses us as "ye among the heathen," and we are those who were driven from the homeland out into the nations of the Gentiles or Heathens. In speaking to us, he has warned us of the coming of the Chaldeans into our country and of how dangerous they are. I have said many times that it would be the Assyrians (who are descended from the Chaldeans) that would invade this land.
If this is true, there should be scriptural evidence to give us warning. Let us see. Habakkuk said the Lord would "work a work" in our days. Go to Isaiah, 10th chapter, verse12: “Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and upon Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks." Mount Zion and Jerusalem! That is the USA and Jerusalem, now what is the work that He intends to do to these two nations? Again let us look to Isaiah in chapter 4:2-3 “And it shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even everyone that is written among the living in Jerusalem; When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." Is this not the work of which Habakkuk spoke? Is it not consistent with this from Psalms 101:8? “I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the Lord." It is a cleansing process, a breaking away from the bondage placed upon God's people found in the 47th Chapter of Isaiah, verse 6 “I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand; thou didst show them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke."
Jeremiah speaks of the same work that Isaiah and Habakkuk have given us as the work the Lord will do in our days. Notice what Jeremiah says in chapter 30:7 “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." When the prophets speak of Jacob, that includes the USA and Jerusalem and all the tribes of Israel, and the time of trouble is now for we are all coming into a time of danger. Going on down to the next verse, we see what the prophet is warning us about. 8 “For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him;" Going on to the last two verses of that chapter we find this that confirms what Habakkuk and Isaiah have been telling us: 23-24 “Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart; in the latter days ye shall consider it."
Notice what Jeremiah has just said above: "intents of his heart." All that I have written so far is about the intents of the Lord’s heart. Remember what I quoted above from the 47th chapter of Isaiah: ".... upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke." A yoke ties us to a burden, the burden of bondage, or captivity. I like this from that book that has given us much understanding for the past 190 years, The Book of Mormon. 1 Nephi 3:140 “And the angel said unto me, Behold the foundation of a church, which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity." This is the work of that daughter of the Chaldeans that the 47th chapter of Isaiah which I quoted above tells us about. What really caught my eye in this reference is this: ".... bringeth them down into captivity.” The yoke is the means of capturing us and holding us captive. Jeremiah and Isaiah and many other prophets have spoken about breaking this yoke off our necks. These are the intents of the Lord, for we remember His calling: Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives,...." “Liberty to the captives…” that is us, we are the captives. We are the ones that are under this yoke and Jesus Christ is anointed to free us.
Now let us get back to the removing of that yoke, that bondage that holds us captive. Isaiah 10:5-6 “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation..." This tells us who is going to be the one that executes the intents of the Lord "...I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." The people of His wrath are the wicked of the land of this nation and Jerusalem, and we are that hypocritical nation. It doesn't matter whether it is heavy snow in the mountains, or wet muddy and steep hillsides, the dangers of snow or landslides exist, and once they start, they will not stop until they are finished. So, it is with the work of God's hands. Once it starts, it will not stop until it finishes the intents of His heart. While we, as a people, have centered our thoughts on the salvation of mankind, we have failed to understand the intent of the Lord. This is the intent of the adversary, to keep our understanding under his control. This is the result of the "yoke" laid upon the ancient people with whom God has made covenant. (see Deut 26:16-19) For several hundred years, beginning with the reformation movement, the prevalent concern in Christian theology has been "salvation." This has distracted us from understanding what it is the Lord wants to accomplish.
Let us take a look at the desired purpose the Lord has tried to accomplish with His people, Israel. Isaiah 5:1-2 “And then will I sing to my well-beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes." When the Children of Israel had been down in Egypt, in bondage, for over 400 years, the Lord took Moses and led them out of bondage and planted them in the promised land. He had made covenant with them and had given them His laws. Psalms 147:19-20 “He showeth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation; and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord." His desire was that they would become a Holy Nation, that they would produce "grapes," but they produced "wild grapes." They became a rebellious people. In like manner, in the early 1800's the Lord called upon Joseph Smith Jr to bring forth not only the Book of Mormon, but also His Church in a land filled with descendants of ancient Israel. It was a very fruitful land and had been fenced with borders. The stones of opposition had been cleared away, England, France, Spain, Mexico. He had planted it with the Choice vine, Children of Israel, established His Church and desired that it produce "grapes" but they followed in that same path of the ancients that had become rebellious, and they produced "wild grapes."
Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;" Woe means: great sorrow or distress.
So we are right back to Isaiah 10:12 “Wherefore it shall come to pass, that, when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and upon Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks." The Lord has already begun His "whole work upon Mount Zion and upon Jerusalem." Yea even the landslide has begun to move. Are you prepared? You have been warned. In a revelation given Nov 1, 1831, Section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants: 3b “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; and the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth; and the arm of the Lord shall be revealed;" I think the best words of advice are found in this from Isaiah 17:7-8 “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made........... " Amen