RS/MP Lesson 42: “The Gathering of the House of Israel” (Gospel Principles Manual)
Posted by kirkcaudle on September 9, 2011
This lesson may contain information that is not widely known among many members of the church (especially those that are recent converts). In my experience as a teacher, I receive many questions every time that I teach on this subject. Therefore, if you would like a brief synopsis of what the Gathering of Israel entails it might be helpful to read the entries “Israel” and “Israel, Kingdom of” in your Bible dictionary. This could at least keep you from going into this lesson blind if you are less familiar with the subject matter. The complete lesson can be found here.
The House of Israel Are God’s Covenant People
The manual asks, “What responsibilities do God’s covenant people have to the nations of the world?”
Those that are worthy are adopted into the family of Abraham and have a responsibility to do the work. I would point the class to Abraham 2:9-11 and Gen. 12:1-3 and have them point out the responsibilities found within those verses.
The House of Israel Was Scattered
This section is mostly historical. It gives a brief overview of the historical Israel/lost ten tribes. If you are dealing with new converts, it might be good to either read this section out loud or explain it in your own words if you are comfortable your Old Testament knowledge.
The House of Israel Must Be Gathered
Moses appeared in the Kirtland Temple and bestowed upon Joseph Smith the “keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth” (D&C 110: 11). What was the significance of Joseph receiving these keys?
Joseph Smith needed these keys because the Lord told him in 1832 that he would be “a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel” (D&C 86:11). Joseph could not fully do this until Moses gave him the keys to do so. However, this would not only be a work for Joseph Smith, but all worthy priesthood holders (D&C 84:34).
The manual states that “The Israelites are to be gathered spiritually first and then physically. They are gathered spiritually as they join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and make and keep sacred covenants” (248). Joseph Smith was much like Moses.
Moses led the covenant people of God through the wilderness. However, before Moses could gather the people into the promise land he needed to gather them spiritually. Unfortunately, God took Moses off the earth before his people were in a position to be physically gathered into the land of promise. Joseph Smith was in a similar situation at the time of his death. To spiritually gather Israel in the latter-days is to lead people unto Christ and to true temple worship.
After the spiritual gathering comes the physically gathering, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes” (AOF 10). We might be tempted to think they we need to gather people to the promise land. I often hear it stated that America is the promise land. While that might be true, however, unlike for Moses, there are many promise lands. America is simply a promise land, one of many. Israel “shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise” (2 Ne. 9:2) by “people [who] shall take them and bring them to their place . . . from far unto the ends of the earth (2 Ne. 24:2). I believe that missionaries are doing this miracle every single day.
Elder Nelson states in the manual that, “in the early days of the Church, conversion often meant emigration as well. But now the gathering takes place in each nation. . . The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is ‘the pure in heart.’ [D&C 97:21.] Zion is wherever righteous Saints are” (249).
Although we have a hand in starting this gathering now, it will continue through the millennium, it will not be completed during our mortal lifetimes.
Genesis 17:1–8 (God’s covenant with Abraham)
Romans 9:4–8; Galatians 3:29 (those who follow Jesus Christ and His word are the children of the covenant)
2 Nephi 30:2; Mosiah 5:10–11 (those who repent, follow the prophets, and have faith in Jesus Christ become the Lord’s covenant people)
2 Kings 17 (Northern Kingdom taken captive)
2 Chronicles 36:11–20 (Southern Kingdom taken captive)
James 1:1 (twelve tribes scattered abroad)
1 Nephi 10:12–13 (Nephite migration was part of the scattering)
Jeremiah 3:14–18 (one from a city, two from a family)
3 Nephi 20:29–46 (Jews will be gathered to Jerusalem)
1 Nephi 15:13–18; 3 Nephi 21:26–29 (gathering starts with Restoration of the gospel)
D&C 38:31–33 (the Lord’s covenant people will be saved)
Isaiah 11:11–13 (the Lord will recover His people)
Revelation 18:4–8 (a voice will proclaim the gathering)
D&C 133:6–15 (Gentiles to Zion, Jews to Jerusalem)