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Friday, December 18, 2015

The Remnant of Jacob

Who is the remnant?

The descendants of Lehi:

"And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob;" (Mormon 7:10)
"Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant." (D&C 52:2.)

"Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain. Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment." (Alma 46:23-24.)

"17 Behold, our father Jacob also testified concerning a remnant of the seed of Joseph. And behold, are not we a remnant of the seed of Joseph? And these things which testify of us, are they not written upon the plates of brass which our father Lehi brought out of Jerusalem?" (3 Nephi 10:17.)

"...this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob." (3 Nephi 21:2.)

The subset of the people of God who survive the tribulation preceding the Second Coming of Christ:

"10 Woe to those who enact unjust laws,
who draft oppressive legislation— 2 denying justice to the needy,
depriving the poor of my people of their right, making plunder of widows,
mere spoil of the fatherless!
3 What will you do in the day of reckoning
when the holocaust overtakes you from afar?
To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth?
4 There shall nothing remain
but to kneel among the captives or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this his anger is not abated; his hand is upraised still.
5 Hail the Assyrian, the rod of my anger!
He is a staff—my wrath in their hand.a
6 I will commission him against a godless nation,
appoint him over the people
deserving of my vengeance,
to pillage for plunder, to spoliate for spoil,
to tread underfoot like mud in the streets.
7 Nevertheless, it shall not seem so to him; this shall not be what he has in mind.
His purpose shall be to annihilate
and to exterminate nations not a few.
8 He will say, Are not my commanders kings, one and all?
9 Has not Calno fared like Carchemish? Is not Hamath as Arpad,
Samaria no better than Damascus?
10 As I could do this to the pagan states, whose statues exceeded
those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 shall I not do to Jerusalem and its images even as I did to Samaria and its idols?
12 But when my Lord has fully accomplished his work in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will punish the king of Assyria for his notorious boasting and infamous conceit, 13 because he said,
I have done it by my own ability
and shrewdness, for I am ingenious.
I have done away with the borders of nations, I have ravaged their reserves,
I have vastly reduced the inhabitants.
14 I have impounded the wealth of peoples like a nest, and I have gathered up the whole world
as one gathers abandoned eggs;
not one flapped its wings,
or opened its mouth to utter a peep.
15 Shall an axe exalt itself
above the one who hews with it,
or a saw vaunt itself
over him who handles it?
As though the rod wielded him who lifts it up! As though the staff held up the one
a5 Or, My wrath is a staff in his hand.
who is not made of wood!
16 Therefore will the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, send a consumption into his fertile lands,
and cause a fire to flare up like a burning hearth, to undermine his glory:
17 the Light of Israel will be the fire and their Holy One the flame,
and it shall burn up and devour
his briars and thorns in a single day. 18 His choice forests and productive fields
it will consume, both life and substance,
turning them into a rotting morass.
19 And the trees left of his forest shall be so few,
a child could record them.
20 In that day those who survive of Israel and who escape of the house of Jacob
will no longer rely on him who struck them, but will truly rely on Jehovah,
the Holy One of Israel:
21 of Jacob a remnant will return to the One Mighty in Valor.
22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sands of the sea, only a remnant will return;
although annihilation is decreed,
it shall overflow with righteousness.
23 For the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts,
will carry out the utter destruction decreed upon the whole earth.
24 Therefore, thus says my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts:
O my people who inhabit Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians,
though they strike you with the rod or raise their staff over you,
as did the Egyptians.
25 For my anger will very soon come to an end; my wrath will become their undoing.
26 Jehovah of Hosts will raise the whip against them, as when he struck the Midianites
at the Rock of Oreb.
His staff is over the Sea,
and he will lift it over them as he did to the Egyptians.
27 In that day their burdens shall be lifted from your shoulders,
their yoke removed from your neck: the yoke that wore away your fatness
shall by fatness wear away.
28 He advances on Aiath, passes through Migron; at Micmash he marshals his weaponry.
29 They cross over the pass, stopping overnight at Geba.
Ramah is in a state of alarm, Gibeah of Saul is fleeing.
30 Cry out, O Daughter of Gallim!
Hear her, Laishah; answer her, Anathoth!
31 Madmenah has moved out of the way,
the inhabitants of Gebim are in full flight.
32 This same day he will but pause at Nob and signal the advance
against the mountain of the Daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Then will my Lord, Jehovah of Hosts,
shatter the towering trees with terrifying power;
the high in stature shall be hewn down, the lofty ones leveled.
34 The dense forests shall be battered down with the force of iron,
and Lebanon fall spectacularly." (Isaiah 10, Gileadi Translation)

The Jews scattered in the Old World:

"For thus saith the Lord; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn." (Jeremiah 31:7-9.)

The globally scattered descendants of Jacob:

"I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men." (Micah 2:12)

"Now these things are written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob; and they are written after this manner, because it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them; and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time....And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant; And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry." (Mormon 5:12, 14-15.)

"And he did hide them up unto the Lord, that they might come again unto the remnant of the house of Jacob, according to the prophecies and the promises of the Lord. And thus is the end of the record of Ammaron." (4 Nephi 1:49.)

"And as surely as the Lord liveth, will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, who are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth." (3 Nephi 5:24.)

"We therefore ask thee to have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed; And the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David; And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father. And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel; That they may lay down their weapons of bloodshed, and cease their rebellions. And may all the scattered remnants of Israel, who have been driven to the ends of the earth, come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed from oppression, and rejoice before thee." (D&C 109:62-67.)

The agents of the destruction of the Gentiles:

"Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver." (Mormon 5:24)

" 9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
 10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
 11 Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.
 12 And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 13 Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.
 14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;
 15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;
 16 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;
 17 Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;
 18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.
 19 And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.
 20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
 21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
 22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
 23 And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
 24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
 25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.
 26 And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.
 27 Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name." (3 Nephi 21.)

"1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
 2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
 4 ¶And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
 5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
 6 And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
 7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 9 Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
 10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
 11 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
 12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
 13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.
 14 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.
 15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard." (Micah 5.)

 14 And the Father hath commanded me that I should give unto you this land, for your inheritance.
 15 And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my people—
 16 Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 17 Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off.
 18 And I will gather my people together as a man gathereth his sheaves into the floor.
 19 For I will make my people with whom the Father hath covenanted, yea, I will make thy horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass. And thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he who doeth it.
 20 And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.
 21 And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O house of Israel.
 22 And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you. (3 Nephi 20)

Discussion:

So when the scriptures say "the remnant of Jacob" they could either mean the Lehites, the Jews scattered in the Old World, or both. It is unlikely that the authors of the scripture meant both groups when they said "a remnant of Jacob."

Why does this all matter? For two reasons, I think. First, the Book of Mormon must go forth to both the Lehites and the Jews in the Old World. Second, the Gentiles ought to know which group is going to "go forth among you as a lion, and tear you to pieces, and there is none to deliver." Third, we ought to be clear about roles. We ought to know what role the Book of Mormon will play, what role the Gentiles and the LDS will play, and what role the remnants will play.

1. The Book of Mormon must go forth to the Lehites and the Jews.
This has not happened yet. Those who claim it has are under the delusion that the main purpose of a book that took so much effort in writing, condensing, and preserving could be fulfilled as a side effect of a haphazard missionary effort focused on Gentiles, staffed by scriptural ignoramuses, and financed by Babylon. Incidentally, rumor has it that the LDS church has a Hebrew Book of Mormon translation, but made it unavailable as a condition to get permission to build the BYU Jerusalem Center. 

The only way one could be deluded enough to think that the LDS church has sent the gospel to the Jews is by erroneously believing that "the remnant" refers to Gentiles who accept the gospel. It does not. The majority understanding of this topic is completely reversed: LDS think that the Jews and Lehites have been offered the gospel when only incidental conversions have occurred as a by product of sending the gospel to the Gentiles. In reality, whatever Gentile conversions have occurred (and true conversions to Christ among the Gentiles are very rare indeed) are incidental to the purpose and focus of the gospel message: the remnant. This phase has not yet begun, to my knowledge, but it will soon.

2. The Gentiles will be torn up by a remnant of Jacob without deliverance (see 3).

3. Roles.
It is the Book of Mormon that will convert the Lehites and the Jews. Not scriptural ignoramuses using marketing techniques and arguing the importance of a "living prophet," going out without even having studied the Book of Mormon.

The Gentiles have a very limited role in all of this. They are to oppress the Lehites (check), preserve the Book of Mormon (check), and reject the gospel (has this happened yet?). 

The rejection of the gospel by the Gentiles is not what most think it is. As quoted above in Micah 5 and 3 Nephi 21, there is a key series of events. These two chapters tell of the same series of events. They can be read in parallel. Micah tells of a female travailing and bringing forth. He then speaks of a man who "shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth." Many erroneously understand this man to be the Messiah. He isn't. "...this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders." Jesus did not deliver the Jews from the Assyrians. This is referring to events yet to take place. Isaiah is key to understanding what this means, and that discussion is probably beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that the book of Isaiah is, in large part, the prophecy of an end times scenario where a servant of God leads the people of God while an Assyrian force conquers and ravages the world. This birth imagery links Isaiah to Micah, 3 Nephi 21, and the Book of Revelation chapter 12, which is often erroneously interpreted to be a description of the pre-existence (in reality it is a prophecy of what is to come using the pre-existence as an allegory).

In 3 Nephi 21, Jesus says the following about what this end time servant will do: "For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them." Is this man Joseph Smith? Nope. "But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." The Book of Mormon offers further evidence that the "marvelous work" has not yet happened. "For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other—either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the devil, of which I have spoken." (1 Nephi 14:7)

In that day, those who choose to cling to their vain religion will be cut off:

 20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
 21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

Those who reject Christ by rejecting his attempt to rescue them from their false traditions will be cut off from among his people. This means that they begin being among "his people." Which group is the only group on earth that can identify as "his people"? Only those who believe in the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith.

 22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;

This is an interesting verse if we are operating under the understanding that Jesus is saying that the one mighty and strong will come to preach to the LDS church to convince them to follow Christ and not men, but that most of them will reject him and then be cut off, because here Jesus says those who do not reject the message will have his church established among them. But wait, don't we already have a church? Well, what did Christ do when he came to the Americas? He established a new church, even though there was one there already. What makes it new? He tells us. They will be given a new covenant and (this is important) they will be numbered among the remnant of Jacob. The Gentiles do not have a promise of Zion. They never have. That promise has always belonged to the Lehites. "And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem." (3 Nephi 21:23.) The only way to become a part of that group is to accept an invitation to a new covenant.

Early church leaders realized that the LDS church as a whole would never become Zion. Though I don't believe they understood exactly how things would happen, here are some interesting quotes:

"God will preserve a portion of this people, the meek and the humble, to bear off the kingdom to the inhabitants of the earth and will defend his priesthood; for it is the last time, the last gathering time." (BY, The Contributor Vol. 10, p362).

"The day will come when the Lord will choose a people out of this people, upon whom he will bestow his choicest blessings..." (HC Kimball, JD 11 p145 & Des News 9 Nov. 1865).

"the kingdom will not be taken from this people and given to another, but a people will come forth from among us who will be zealous of good works...  (Daniel Wells, JD 18:99)

"There will come up from the midst of this people that people that has been talked so much about..."  (Daniel Wells, JD 23:305b, & Des News Dec. 9 1882).

"There will be a people raised up, if we will not be that people–--there will yet be a people raised up whose lives will embody in perfection the revelations contained in this book [probably the D&C], who will live as the doctrines here taught require, as the laws here revealed show  unto us, and they will be raised up, too, in this generation, and such a  people will have to be raised up before Zion can be fully redeemed..."  (George Q. Cannon, JD 24:144).

4. Timing.
When does all this happen? The Lord said of his marvelous work:

94 That wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered;
95 That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God. (D&C 101)

This event will not be invisible, though it may not be acknowledged by the world as what it truly is, as many past events of great import. For example, the birth and death of Christ were not done in secret. These were paramount events heralded by men, angels, and natural signs. Yet, the world denied their significance.

God's word talks about how he will provide an ensign to the nations when these things occur.

Isaiah 49:
22 Thus says my Lord Jehovah:
I will lift up my hand to the nations,
raise my ensign to the peoples;
    and they will bring your sons in their bosoms
and carry your daughters on their shoulders.
23 Kings shall be your foster fathers,
queens your nursing mothers.
    They will bow down before you,
their faces to the ground;
they will lick the dust of your feet.
    Then shall you know that I am Jehovah,
and that they who hope in me are not disappointed.

There are signs promised, though I don't pretend to know exactly what they will be. Maybe the ensign and the marvelous work are one and the same. I don't know.

What I do know is that God has enumerated several things that will occur around this time, any or all of which may be the ensign. These include the taking of the Book of Mormon to the Lehites (this hasn't really happened yet), the taking of the Book of Mormon to the Jews (this definitely hasn't happened yet), the temporal destruction of the Gentiles (this hasn't happened yet, but the spring is wound very tightly and could at any moment), and great natural disasters (haven't happened yet).

Whatever the ensign and marvelous work are, they result in the physical gathering of Israel, which hasn't happened yet.

I believe it is important for us to study and pray and figure out what these things mean.

This post is excellent, and should be read in conjunction with this one.