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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday School - Book of Mormon Lesson 40

Book of Mormon Lesson #40: “Then Will I Gather Them In”
3 Nephi 16, 20-21

1. Bruce R. McConkie: [Lost tribes of Israel] Our friend Mormon, as he nears the end of divinely appointed work, that of preserving the everlasting word as it was had among the Nephites, says: “I write unto you, Gentiles, and also unto you, house of Israel, when the work shall commence, that ye shall be about to prepare to return to the land of your inheritance.” Then, as though this salutation was not sufficient, and lest any should be confused as to the people to whom the Book of Mormon shall go, Mormon wrote: “Yea, behold I write unto all the ends of the earth; yea, unto you, twelve tribes of Israel.” The Book of Mormon is written to the twelve tribes of Israel. And this includes the lost Ten Tribes. For that matter, the New Testament is addressed “to the twelve tribes, which are scattered abroad.” Millennial Messiah, p. 215.

2. Bruce R. McConkie: But, says one, are they [the lost tribes of Israel] not in a body somewhere in the land of the north? Answer: They are not; they are scattered in all nations. The north countries of their habitation are all the countries north of their Palestinian home, north of Assyria from whence they escaped. Query: What happened to the Ten Tribes after the visit of the Savior to them near the end of the thirty-fourth year following his birth? Answer: The same thing that happened to the Nephites. There was righteousness for a season and then there was apostasy and wickedness. Be it remembered that darkness was destined to cover the earth – all of it – before the day of the restoration, and that the restored gospel was to go to every nation and kindred and tongue and people upon the face of the whole earth, including the Ten Tribes of Israel. Millennial Messiah, p. 217.

3. Daniel H. Ludlow: The literal descendants of Abraham (Hebrews) include, among others, the descendants of Jacob (Israelites) and Judah (Jews) [Judah was the fourth-born son of Jacob]. … The basic meaning of the word Gentile is “foreign,” “other,” or “non”. Thus, to a Hebrew, a Gentile is a non-Hebrew; to an Israelite, a Gentile is a non-Israelite; and to a Jew, a Gentile is a non-Jew. In this sense, some Latter-day Saints have referred to those who are not members of the Church as Gentiles, even though the non-members might be Jews! The word Gentile might also be used in different ways to refer to family, religious, political, or even geographical relationships. For example, a person might be considered an Israelite in a family or blood sense, but might be called a Gentile in a political or geographical sense, because he lives in a land or nation that is primarily Gentile, or non-Israelitish. Ensign, Jan. 1991.

4. Neal A. Maxwell: [3 Nephi 20:11 – search the scriptures] One of the unique features of the living Church of Jesus Christ is its ever-expanding body of fundamental spiritual knowledge about man’s identity and purpose. … Lost books are among the treasures yet to come forth. … Thus, just as there will be many more Church members, families, wards, stakes, and temples, later on, there will be many more nourishing and inspiring scriptures. However, we must first feast worthily upon that which we already have! Gen. Conference, Oct. 1986.

5. David J. Ridges: [3 Nephi 20:19 – symbolism] The word, “horn,” is symbolic of power and protection, for instance, in ancient Israel, the altar had four horns on it, and anyone who was in danger from another could grab hold of the horns of the altar and be safe and protected. Also “horses” symbolized military might, triumph and victory in Biblical culture. Therefore, “hoofs of brass” in verse 19, next, could symbolize horses, in other words, victory over those who try to prevent Israel from being gathered in in the last days. In addition, “brass” is sometimes associated with Christ as in Rev. 1:15, wherein the Savior’s feet are described as being “like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.” Thus, “I will make thy hoofs brass,” in verse 19, could symbolize that righteous Israel will have the help and power of the Lord in ultimately triumphing over their enemies. Pay special attention to the word, “I,” as the Savior tells these Book of Mormon people that the reason Israel will be gathered in the last days is that He, the Lord, will be involved, and will use His power to fulfill the prophesies of the gathering. The Book of Mormon Made Easier, part 3, p. 193.

6. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [3 Nephi 20:20 – sword of my justice] God’s justice will not be limited to some sort of vigilante group of Lamanites attacking America. Rather, the sword of justice, wielded by the Almighty, shall fall upon the wayward and rebellious of all nations. The Lord explained that until the coming of the Son of Man in glory “there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour [that is, at the time of the Second Advent] cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked. And in that day I will send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire (D&C 63:53). Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 140.

7. Brigham Young: When the Savior visits Jerusalem, and the Jews look upon him, and see the wounds in his hands and in his side and in his feet, they will then know that they have persecuted and put to death the true Messiah, and then they will acknowledge him, but not till then. They have confounded his first and second coming, expecting his first coming to be as a mighty prince instead of as a servant. They will go back by and by to Jerusalem and own their Lord and Master. Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 279.

8. Bruce R. McConkie: The Jews shall begin to believe in Christ before he comes the second time. Some of them will accept the gospel and forsake the traditions of their fathers; a few will find in Jesus the fulfillment of their ancient Messianic hopes; but their nation as a whole, their people as the distinct body that they now are in all nations, the Jews as a unit shall not, at that time, accept the word of truth. But a beginning will be made; a foundation will be laid; and then Christ will come and usher in the millennial year of his redeemed. Millennial Messiah, pp. 228-29.

9. Henry B. Eyring: [3 Nephi 20:40 – beautiful upon the mountain] Even the smallest act to build faith in another person or in a family qualifies us for the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. You can expect that, every time you go to a home to build faith, as a home teacher or a visiting teacher or a friend. Some may not feel that blessing in their Church service. But that is because they have focused on the mechanics and not the glorious opportunity of publishing “peace, yea, tidings of great joy” to God’s children in His kingdom. When that is how we see our service, we will not only be lifted up at the last day but refreshed and encouraged along the way. And the Spirit will testify that this is the Lord’s kingdom restored in the latter days. Gen. Conference, Oct. 2003.

10. Gordon B. Hinckley: [3 Ne. 20:40 – him that publisheth peace] I am satisfied that a man cannot do well in his work unless there is peace in his home. You recall that when the Prophet Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon, he quarreled with his wife and discovered that “the gift and power of God” left him. Brethren, be true to your wives. Wives, keep faith with your husbands. Parents, admire and respect your children. Without peace and mutual respect in your homes, there will be neither peace nor proficiency in your labors. Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 424.

11. John H. Groberg: [3 Ne. 20:41 – be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord] There is no individual power in the priesthood outside of individual purity. … Since there is nothing Satan can do about the power of the priesthood, he concentrates his energy on trying to limit our individual power in the priesthood by attempting to dirty our hands, hearts, and minds through abuse, anger, neglect, pornography, selfishness, or any other evil he can entice us to think or do. He knows if he can sufficiently soil us individually, he can, to that degree, keep us from the purity needed to properly exercise the priesthood and thus bring more light, life, and love to this earth and all the inhabitants thereof – past, present, and future. Gen. Conference, April 2001.

12. Ezra Taft Benson: [3 Ne. 21:3-5 – destiny of America] The establishment of this great Christian nation with a spiritual foundation was all in preparation for the restoration of the gospel following the long night of apostasy. … This then becomes the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days. And this base will not be shifted out of its place – the land of America. This nation will, in a measure at least, fulfill its mission even though it may face serious and troublesome days. The degree to which it achieves its full mission depends upon the righteousness of its people. A Nation Asleep, pp. 8, 10.

13. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [3 Ne. 21:8 – kings shall shut their mouths] The great ones of the earth shall yet rise up and acknowledge Joseph Smith and Mormonism as a preeminent blessing to the world. … Josiah Quincy, a man who became the mayor of Boston, visited Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. He later wrote: “It is by no means improbable that some future textbook, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. And the replay, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious commonplace to their descendants.” (Figures of the Past,1883, pp. 376-77.) It is reported that Count Leo Tolstoy, in speaking of the Mormons, said: “Their principles teach the people not only of heaven and its attendant glories, but how to live so that their social and economic relations with each other are placed on a sound basis. If the people follow the teachings of this church, nothing can stop their progress – it will be limitless. There have been great movements started in the past, but they have died or been modified before they reached maturity. If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known.” Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 148-49.

14. Joseph Smith: [3 Ne. 21:5-6 – Gentiles numbered among my people] The effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150.

15. Orson Pratt: [3 Ne. 21:22-24 – who shall build New Jerusalem?] The Latter-day Saints in these [Rocky] mountains can never have the privilege of going back to Jackson County and building that city which is to be called the New Jerusalem, until quite a large portion of the remnants of Joseph [Lamanites] go back with us. Now then, here is a work for us, and we have no need to pray to the Father to return us to Jackson County until the work is done. The Book of Mormon, the Lamanite, and His Prophetic Destiny, P. Felt, pp. 32-33.

Next week: 3 Nephi 22-26 “He Did Expound All Things Unto Them”

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