Recently our prophet Russell M. Nelson spoke to the youth of this church inviting them specifically to Enlist in God’s Army and to join forces in the Gathering of Israel.
This gathering of Israel has been spoken of for thousands of years from prophets in Old Testament times (Isaiah 18:2,7; Malachi 4:5-6; Abraham 2:10-11) to New Testament prophets (Paul/Ephesians 1:10, Acts 3:19-21) to prophets in The Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 9:2, 3 Nephi 21:29, 1 Nephi 10:14, 2 Nephi 29:14) to the beginnings of the fulfillment of this prophecy (D&C 110:14-15, D&C 33:6, D&C 27:13)
Here is what President Nelson said about the Gathering of Israel:
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“Would you like to be a big part of the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on the earth today?” said President Nelson. “Would you like to gather Israel during these precious latter days? Would you, who are the elect, be willing to help find the elect who have not heard the message of the restored gospel?”
“My dear extraordinary youth, you were sent to earth at this precise time—this most crucial time in the history of the world—to help gather Israel,” President Nelson said. “There is nothing happening on this earth right now that is more important than that. … This is the mission for which you were sent to earth.”
President Nelson said the gathering of Israel ultimately means “offering the gospel of Jesus Christ to God’s children on both sides of the veil, children who have neither made crucial covenants with God nor received their essential ordinances.”
Why was the House of Israel scattered?
In order to fully grasp what it means to “gather Israel, we need to understand WHY the House of Israel was scattered in the first place. In Teachings and Doctrine of The Book of Mormon Manual Lesson 23 we read this:
The Lord scattered the house of Israel because they hardened their hearts against Him, but He promised that they would be gathered in the last days. Prophecies in the Book of Mormon make clear that the long-promised gathering has begun. Members of the Church have the responsibility to bless the families of the earth by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Bruce R. McKonkie explained:
“Why was Israel scattered? The answer is clear; it is plain; of it there is no doubt. Our Israelite forebears were scattered because they rejected the gospel, defiled the priesthood, forsook the church, and departed from the kingdom. …
“What, then, is involved in the gathering of Israel? The gathering of Israel consists in believing and accepting and living in harmony with all that the Lord once offered his ancient chosen people. … It consists of believing the gospel, joining the Church, and coming into the kingdom. … It may also consist of assembling to an appointed place or land of worship” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 515).
Lehi and his family played a role in that scattering, taking their family from Jerusalem to the America’s. Others were scattered through wars and captivity.
The scattering and gathering had been prophesied since Old Testament times. (Read here in the Teachings and Doctrine of The Book of Mormon Manual
Also see, C. Scott Grow; The Book of Mormon, the Instrument to Gather Scattered Israel
Why is the gathering of the House of Israel so important to us?
Abraham was promised through the Abrahamic Covenant that his seed would be instrumental in gathering Israel. The gathering is literally a fulfillment of prophesy.
Paul K. Browning published an article on the Gathering of Israel in Gathering Scattered Israel
President Harold B Lee quoting Bruce R. McKonkie stated: “
President Harold B. Lee explained the nature of the gathering in the last days: “The gathering of Israel consists of joining the true church; of coming to a knowledge of the true God and of his saving truths” (quoting Bruce R. McConkie in “Strengthen the Stakes of Zion,” Ensign, July 1973, 4).
As President Nelson said, this needs to happen on both sides of the veil so the need for missionary work and family history and temple work is so very important to this process.
The Two parts of The Gathering
President Nelson very clearly said: “Anytime you do anything that helps anyone—on either side of the veil—take a step toward making covenants with God and receiving their essential baptismal and temple ordinances, you are helping to gather Israel.”
As we take part in this great gathering we will be given opportunities to work on both sides of the veil in sharing the gospel on earth and helping those on the other side of the veil who have not had the opportunity, receive the covenants they need to return to Heavenly Father.
Gathering Eternal Families
Temple and Family History Work will be a protection to our families in these last days before the Savior comes. Three of my favorite quotes:
We who are on the earth right now, have a job to do. We have been given the specific responsibility to gather. Please seek out your Family History Consultants and ask them to help your family if you are not familiar with the process. If you are, teach and work side by side with your children, young and teens to become familiar with how to do the work and then go together to the temple to bring those people to receive their eternal covenants. If you are looking for some some ideas please visit my post on Fun Family History Activities. I am currently serving as a Family History Consultant to the youth specifically. I would also recommend the movie Coco that came out in the last year. Even out two year old grandson loves it and grasps some of the family concepts in it.
One of the things that stuck out to me as I listened to President Nelson was his plea to, “Pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, this struck me in a different way than you might think. In Neal A. Maxwell’s book “Meek and Lowly” he says this in speaking of God’s timing, “Divine mercy is always operative. It may even cause God to hasten things. Jesus declared, for instance, that except the tribulations of the last days “should be shortened” for the sake of the very elect, no flesh shall be saved (Matthew 24:22)
Now this, according to the Gospel of Kim. (hahaha!) Could it be that our prophet is trying to hasten this work of gathering so the very elect can be protected from prolonged tribulation? Elder Neal A. Maxwell said this about God’s timing, “Divine mercy is always operative. It may even cause God to hasten things. Jesus declared, for instance, that except the tribulations of the last days “should be shortened” for the sake of the very elect, no flesh shall be saved. (Matthew 24:22) (Neal A. Maxwell; Meek and Lowly, chapter 6) As we do our part to gather, we will absolutely be hastening the Lord’s work and bringing things to pass that must happen before He can come again. This gives me so much motivation to go and share, to pray in every prayer that countries and hearts will be open to receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all will be “gathered safely in”, during these days of trial.
(PRINT ABOVE so everyone can see it and memorize!)
Much more to the gathering
There is so much more to the “gathering” than is written here but sufficeth to say, our youth and we as their parents and grandparents have been called to a work by a prophet of God. A quick suggestion to many, chances are, as you study your Patriarchal Blessing, something about this call to gather Israel is mentioned in many of yours. If not it does not mean you are off the hook. We have all been called upon to do this job. Let’s get to work!