Sunday, March 4, 2012

Israel, Israel, God is calling (1 Nephi 21)

1 Nephi 21 is Nephi's quotation of Isaiah 49, which is mostly about the scattering of Israel and the promises from The Lord that Israel will be remembered and gathered back into the fold of God.

I'll mention a few of things from this chapter, and may go over it again when I post about chapter 22, which is Nephi explaining what Isaiah meant.  We'll see...

1 Nephi 21: 1
1.  And again:  Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel.  Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Who is Israel?

Abraham begat Isaac.  Isaac begat Esau and Jacob.  Esau and Jacob were twins, though Esau was the older of the two.  When it came time for Isaac to bestow his blessing and continue the patriarchal line, he was going to give it to his oldest, Esau, because he really liked how he cooked.  It makes pretty good reading in Genesis 25-27 where Jacob bought the birthright off of Esau for a bowl of soup, and then how Jacob and his mother, Rebekah, tricked Isaac (who was blind in his old age) into giving his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau by putting goat skins on Jacob's arms to simulate Esau's hairy skin and his unique smell.

Don't think too poorly of Jacob and Rebekah for this deception.  Rebekah was told in Genesis 25: 23 that "the eldest (Esau) shall serve the younger (Jacob)".

So, Jacob had bunches of kids, including 12 sons.  Before the birth of his last son, Benjamin, The Lord changed Jacob's name to Israel.  So, the 12 sons of Jacob are the 12 tribes of Israel, or the children of Israel.

  • Lehi is a descendant of Joseph, through Manasseh.
  • Moses is a descendant of Levi, the designated carriers of the Levitical (or Aaronic) Priesthood.  
  • From Judah came Jesse, the father of King David.  Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and Joseph, the "step-father" of Jesus, were both descendants of Jesse and King David.  Isaiah 53 talks about The Messiah being a "stem of Jesse".  In fact, if Israel would have continued to be ruled by Kings instead of being conquered and re-conquered, Jesus Christ would have been the King of the Jews.  
  • Joseph Smith is a descendant of Ephraim, the son of Joseph.  My own patriarchal blessing places me in the lineage of Ephraim. 

Am I boring you again?  I think this stuff is interesting, but I'm sorry for the tangent.

So, Israel was warned that they would be scattered (they were, several times).  They were also assured, however, that they would not be forgotten by God, and promised that they would be gathered (that's going on right now).

In order for Missionaries to be allowed to proselyte in a foreign country, that country's government must give its permission and support.  Simple in some places, but not so much in others. 

Some of these guys are real knuckleheads
In each country, someone of influence must make a decision of Eternal Significance in order for missionaries to be allowed to enter.  In my early days the thought of The Gospel message being brought to places like the USSR, China, Vietnam, India, East Germany, Cambodia, Cuba, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland or the Middle East (to name several) was a seemingly very far away goal. 

Did I tell you my nephew Josh is serving a mission in Cambodia?  Vietnam is in his mission, and missionaries are now stationed in Saigon.
1 Nephi 21: 22-23
22.  Thus saith The Lord God:  Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

23.  And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am The Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin, and part of the Iron Curtain, which separated Communist Eastern Europe from the free world.
I used to sleep better knowing that the world had to last at least until the gospel was taken into the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc countries of Eastern Europe. 

Then all the sudden...

November 9, 1989 (my birthday) the wall came down, and we listened to "The Winds of Change" by The Scorpions

Verse 23 makes more sense now...

And that led to an LDS Temple in...

Kiev, Ukraine.  Wow!
I'll close by re-emphasizing this wonderful truth:  The Lord would not, could not, will not forget His people.  The gospel will roll forth, as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and fill the earth.  Here's verse 7 of How Firm a Foundation:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

1 Nephi 21: 15-16 (one of my most favoritests, ever)
15.  For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

16.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

There's no better note to close on than that.

Peace be with you...


  1. The son of the second counselor in our Stake Presidency, is on a mission is Bulgaria, to which mission Turkey has been added where there is now a branch! How cool is that! Missionaries in an Islamic country. The stone cut out of a mountain without hands rolls forward to fill the earth.

  2. I love your last photo, and the scripture that you put with it.

    1. I was happy to find that picture. Perfect. Nice to hear from you, Ellen.