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on the scale of their vanished greatness. They were impoverished by the aggressions of Syria and Egypt, and eventually became tributary to Rome, in which condition of vassalage they existed at the time of Christ's earthly ministry amongst them.
From the numerous Biblical prophecies relating to Israel's dispersion the following are cited as particularly illustrative:
"And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you." (Deut. 4:27.)
"And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee." (Ezek. 22:15).
"For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." (Amos 9:9).
"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." (Luke 21:24).
And so, in progressive stages, the covenant people of God have been scattered. The bringing of a body of Israelites to the Western Continent six centuries before the birth of Christ, of which the Book of Mormon bears record, was part of the general dispersion, and was so recognized by Nephite prophets.
Since the destruction of Jerusalem and the final disruption of the Jewish nation by the Romans, A. D. 71, the Jews have been largely wanderers upon the face of the earth, outcasts among the nations, a the nations, a people without a country, a nation without a home. Israel has been sifted
"like as corn is sifted in a sieve"; but, be it remembered that coupled with the dread prediction was the assuring promise "Yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth."
The record made by that division of the house of Israel which took its departure from Jerusalem, and made its way to the Western Hemisphere about 600 B. C., contains many references to the dispersions that had already taken place, and to the continuation of the scattering which was to the writers of the Book of Mormon yet future. In the course of the journey to the coast, the prophet Lehi, while encamped with his family and other followers in the valley of Lemuel on the borders of the Red Sea, declared what he had learned by revelation of the future "dwindling of the Jews in unbelief," of their crucifying the Messiah, and of their scattering "upon all the face of the earth." He compared Israel to an olive tree, the branches of which were to be broken off and distributed; and he recognized the exodus of his colony, and their journeying afar, as an incident in the general plan of dispersion.
Nephi, the son of Lehi, also beheld in vision the scattering of the covenant people of God, and on this point added his testimony to that of his prophet-father. He saw also that the seed of his brethren, subsequently known as the Lamanites, were to be chastened for their unbelief, and that they were destined to become subject to the Gentiles, and to be scattered before them. Down the prophetic vista of years, he saw also the bringing forth of sacred records, other than those then known, "unto the convincing of the Gentiles, and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth."
After their arrival on the promised land, the colony led by Lehi received further information regarding the dis
persion of Israel. The prophet Zenos, quoted by Nephi, had predicted the unbelief of the house of Israel, in consequence of which these covenant ones of God were to "wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and a by-word, and be hated among all nations."
The brothers of Nephi, skeptical in regard to these teachings, asked whether the things of which he spake were to come to pass in a spiritual sense, or more literally; and were informed that "the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations"; and further, in reference to dispersions then already accomplished, that "the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea"; and then, by way of prediction concerning further division and separation, Nephi adds that the Gentiles shall be given power over the people of Israel, "and by them shall our seed be scattered."
The day of deliverance for Israel is near at hand; the restoration of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and of the remnants of all the tribes distributed throughout the earth, as well as bringing forth from their long exile the tribes that have been lost, are particularly specified as events of the current dispensation, directly precedent to the second advent of the Christ.
Faith, No. 10).
THE GATHERING OF THE TRIBES
Judah and Israel to Come Into Their Own
E believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes, etc. (Articles of
As complete as was the scattering, so shall the gathering of Israel be. Great as has been the chastisement of the covenant though recreant people, all through their centuries of suffering they have been sustained by the Divine. promise of recovery and rehabilitation. Though despised of men, a large part of them gone from the knowledge of the world, the people of Israel are not lost to their God, who knows whither they have been led or driven. Note the paternal affection, in which appears commiseration for the plight into which they had brought themselves through sin: "And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God." (Lev. 26:44; see
also Deut. 4:26-31).
Isaiah thus forcefully proclaims the purposes of God to be fulfilled in the last, the current, age: "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. . . . And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isa. 11:11-12).
So momentous shall be the assembling of the tribes in their respective places of gathering, that the event shall be held to surpass the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage, for thus hath the Lord spoken: "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto
their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." (Jer. 16:14-16).
To these Biblical citations let us add the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, given to His Apostles just prior to His death and specified as one of the signs to precede His later coming: "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matt. 24:31).
Two gathering centers are distinctively mentioned, and the maintenance of a separate autonomy for the ancient kingdoms of Judah and Israel is repeatedly affirmed in Scripture, with Jerusalem and Zion as the respective capitals. In the light of modern revelation by which many ancient passages are illumined and made clear, we hold that the Jerusalem of Judea is to be rebuilt by the reassembled house of Judah, and that Zion is to be built up on the American continent by the gathered hosts of Israel, other than the Jews. When such shall have been accomplished, Christ shall personally rule in the earth, and then shall be realized the glad fulfilment: "For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:3; see also Joel 3:16; Zeph. 3:14).
Book of Mormon prophecies are plain in defining the extent and purpose of the latter-day gathering. Be it remembered that it was the people who once constituted the kingdom of Judah, the Jews, not the entire house of Israel, who rejected Jesus as the Son of God and the foreappointed Redeemer. By the Nephites who dwelt on the American continent, an Israelitish branch, He was received and wor