Sunday, December 20, 2015

Scripture Overhead, Part 6:
Overflowing Scourge

Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.
—Isaiah 28:2

In our examination of the fourth blood moon, we now turn to the symbolism of pouring out—as embodied in the constellation Aquarius. As I mentioned before, the outpouring represents both water and fire, which we’ll cover in due course. But the outpouring also represents a flood, which is the topic of today’s post.

Floods Destroy

In Noah’s day, the Lord used a flood of water to destroy all flesh, with the promise that such a general flood would not happen again. The “floods” of destruction since have been of a different type:
Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword. (Alma 10:22)
The imagery of a flood is applicable for an overflowing surge, even when water is not involved. For example, the word “flood” is used in nearly every current news report covering the Middle-East refugee crisis. Millions of refugees from Syria, North Africa, and the Middle East in general, are flooding into Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America. Most are fleeing war, oppression, or poor living conditions in their prior home countries. Not
surprisingly, this flood was prophetically foreseen:
Click to Enlarge

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, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 11:11)
If you take a few minutes to research the ancient locations of Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shiner and Hamath, you’ll find that these regions cover the Middle East and North Africa. Syria, historically a melting pot of many groups and cultures, is right in the center of it all. In other words, now that the Lord has set his hand again the second time to recover the remnants of his people, we can watch in awe as this prophecy is literally fulfilled by the gathering out of people from the very areas Isaiah identified. You couldn't ask for a more literal fulfillment.

I believe this flood of refugees necessarily includes a mixture of the blood of the Northern ten tribes of Israel, carried away captive in 722 BC by the Assyrians into the areas now known as Iran, Iraq and Syria. Undoubtedly, there was a mixing of the bloodlines as Jacob’s descendants settled the area. 

Similarly, the southern kingdom, taken captive by Babylon, mixed their bloodlines in Babylon, and only a small portion of the Israelites returned to Israel when the opportunity was granted 70 years later. 

There have been enough mixtures, migrations, and interbreeding to ensure that nearly everyone in the Middle East has some mixture of the blood by which they may have right to the covenant of Israel. And though many in those areas passionately hate the nation of Israel, they do so while unaware that they carry the blood of the man Israel in their veins.

This flood of refugees (over 4 million, from Syria alone) is overwhelming the infrastructure of many of the countries where the refugees arrive. The European union, already plagued with economic difficulties, is on the verge of fracture as nations divide and struggle over how to deal with the crisis. Some have erected walls and razor-wire fences, while others have opened their doors without restriction. But no matter the reception, the sheer volume of migrant refugees is staggering.

Note in that Isaiah 11 passage above, he also mentions “the islands of the sea” as a source from which the scattered remnants will gather. This is the same language used in the Book of Mormon to describe the American continent. (2 Nephi 10:20-22)

Here in the U.S., in addition to Middle-Eastern refugees, we also have a massive flood of migrants crossing our porous southern border. Arriving primarily from Central America, many of these migrants are children, and they’re coming by the hundreds of thousands. Numbers have actually doubled since last year, though the news cycle has moved on and offers little coverage of the Central American migrant flood into the U.S.

Gentile Nations

These migrations share a commonality; they involve people flooding into countries that are primarily populated by white Europeans or descendants of white Europeans. Or, in the parlance of the Book of Mormon, the remnants are flooding into the Gentile nations. Interestingly, in the New Testament, “Greek” is the term often used to denote a Gentile. And the nation of Greece is now not only the most economically crippled nation in the EU, but is also the highest-volume recipient of fleeing migrants. The Gentiles are symbolically and literally overrun, even now.

In the case of America, remember, none are brought to this land, but by the hand of the Lord. (2 Nephi 1:6) Therefore, we must conclude that the Hand of the Lord is involved in both the current refugee migration, and the migration over our southern border. He has indeed set his hand, just as Isaiah said.

But why? 

Well, according to the Lord:
Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many; and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thy hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. (3 Nephi 20:16-17)
And again:
And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. (3 Nephi 21:12-13)
There’s much more that could be said about the Gentile destruction and about the gathered remnants building New Jerusalem (3 Nephi 21:23-29). But what I've quoted makes the point that these massive, unprecedented movements of millions are absolutely part of the Lord’s plan. The Gentile nations, having passed their day of grace, will now be trodden down by the remnants of scattered Israel, and it has already begun. 

The remnants are not gathering into Gentile lands by accident. If we have eyes to see, we are watching the cast assemble for the winding-up scenes of this world. This is not random, cannot be stopped, and does not end well for the Gentile nations.

Treading Down

Aside from some well-publicized acts of terrorist violence perpetrated by immigrants, the much greater threat is economic. Destitute immigrants, arriving penniless and by the millions, require housing, food, employment, medical care, education, welfare assistance, legal help, transportation and law enforcement—overwhelming the already weakened Gentile nations, who are only providing for themselves by borrowing. When the receiving nations cannot provide for the arriving refugees, chaos results. We can already see this process unfolding, and it will lead to collapse. 

With collapse comes the prophesied violence, disease, famine, and scenes too horrible to contemplate. An invading army is not required to tread down and tear in pieces the Gentile nations. A failure of the fragile Gentile infrastructure will be enough to topple the whole house of cards. The only hope for any of us is the establishment of Zion. 
And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. 
And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. (D&C 45:66-69)
Zion will come, but cleansing will precede the blessing. The proud Gentiles, confident in their strength, trusting in the arm of flesh, unfamiliar with the Lord’s voice, following men, and filled with iniquity, will discover too late that their trust was misplaced. God will cleanse the land, not only through a flood of remnant migrants, but in other ways as well:
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; 
But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. 
And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. (D&C 45:28-32)
This uncomfortable prediction of an overflowing scourge brings us squarely back to Isaiah 28, which we studied in Blood Moon 3:
Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 
Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 
And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. (Isaiah 28:14-18)
Blind Watchmen

Unfortunately, this dire outcome is now inevitable. But it didn’t have to happen this way. The Lord called for watchmen, who should have warned us:
Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you? 
And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer. (D&C 101:53-54)
Why do the watchmen NOT raise the warning? Why do they tell us all is well? Why do they point to their life experience and reliance upon trained scholars, rather than their connection to heaven and understanding of scripture? Why do they tell us to keep our eyes on them, rather than on the Lord who can save us? Why do they insist we stay in the boat they blindly steer toward the rocks?

And why, oh why, must a nobody like me raise the warning? Are we really that blind? With the scriptures before us and the signs above us, why is the truth not in us? How have we so utterly failed to recognize our predicament? Why have we trusted the arm of flesh?

It breaks my heart—truly—to consider how many still trust their lives to ignorant, sleeping watchmen, rather than awakening and arising themselves. The flood is already upon us, the tempest is raging, and we perish.
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 
Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 
Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. (Isaiah 56:10-12)
So What Does this Have to do with the Blood Moon?

The 4th blood moon appeared on September 27th in America and 28th in Europe. 

September 28th was the day that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in a move widely regarded as thumbing his nose at America, announced the formation of a coalition with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia united to combat ISIS. Visibly absent was not only the U.S., but even any notice to, or consultation with the U.S., despite the U.S. alliance with, and presence in, Iraq. In other words, Russia essentially has stepped in to take over the fight against ISIS, regardless of American involvement or wishes. Russia immediately began air strikes, against not only ISIS, but also against U.S. trained and supported rebel fighters in Syria. 

In other words, the blood moon of September 28 marked the beginning of a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia, carried out in Syria, with Russia supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and America trying to topple him. Meanwhile, Russia’s greatly increased air attacks and military presence have weakened U.S. interests, and driven many more refugees fleeing for their lives into Europe. 

Not coincidentally, on September 28, President Barack Obama tweeted the following: 

Both men, Obama and Putin, though adversaries, are unwittingly participating in and performing the Father’s work of Gentile destruction by means of the remnant flood. Therefore it’s more than just a little ironic that President Obama, in his weekly address the day before Thanksgiving, compared the fleeing refugees to the Mayflower Pilgrims. 

They’re really sides of the same coin. 

The Pilgrims marked a milestone in the growing Gentile invasion that eventually decimated and nearly destroyed the Remnants of Israel on this continent. (1 Nephi 13:14). And now, the refugee flood begins the process of treading down the Gentile nations and restoring the gospel covenant to Israel. (3 Nephi 21:12-13)

Both events were explicitly prophesied in the Book of Mormon. The prophecies have been, and will be fulfilled. Will you repent and be numbered among the House if Israel? Or will you be swept off and destroyed by the flood? It’s entirely up to you, but those are your only two choices. Aquarius is pouring out the water pot.

When a flood comes, you float or you sink. There is no other option.

And it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that the sword of my justice shall hang over them at that day; and except they repent it shall fall upon them, saith the Father, yea, even upon all the nations of the Gentiles.
—3 Nephi 20:20

A Note about Refugees

Note that I have not taken any position for or against the refugees. I've only observed the meaning and potential outcome of these migrations. The vast majority of refugees appear to be truly desperate and fleeing for their lives, with no intent to do harm. As followers of Christ, we all have an obligation to do what we can to help with their needs. There's no point in fighting against them; if the Father wants them brought here, they will come, regardless of Gentile opposition. 

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis spoke passionately about the coming economic collapse of Europe in the face of this flood. Then he observed the following, regarding whether Europe ought to help:

“I don’t have the answer. The numbers of people are very large. But if someone knocks on my door at three in the morning, scared, hungry and having been shot at, as a human it is my moral duty to let them in and give them a drink and feed them. And then ask questions later. Anything else is an affront to…civilization.”

Friday, December 4, 2015

But What if You’re a Gentile?

And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying: Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard that whoso repenteth not must perish. 

Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.

—1 Nephi 14:5-6

Before we continue with Blood Moon 4, it’s important to clear up some confusion about the Gentiles. So we'll take this brief detour to discuss the topic. 

There are two good reasons we must get clear about the Gentiles:

First, the interplay between the Gentiles and the House of Israel is a critical component of the Father’s work in our day, and in the events that are now upon us. A correct understanding is vital if we hope to be rescued from what is coming.

Second, most Mormon people consider themselves part of the House of Israel and therefore fail to understand the dire predicament confronting us all. 

So let’s start by reviewing a couple of definitions. When we speak of the “House” of “Israel” the word “house” actually refers to a family. But this family is more than just people related by bloodlines. It also entails a covenant relationship with other members of the family. 

And “Israel” doesn’t refer to a country or a posterity, but rather to a man. That man was originally named Jacob, but he received a new name when he entered into the covenant that made him part of God’s family. Like his father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham, he covenanted personally with God.

So…Israel (the man) received a covenant from God, making him (Israel) a part of God’s family. Therefore, anyone who enters Israel’s family by the same covenant, becomes part of God’s family. 

In other words, the “House of Israel” is really the family of God. By necessity, all members of that family are in a covenant relationship with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who was renamed Israel,) as well as with God.

But I’m a member of the House of Israel...aren’t I?

The idea that LDS people are automatically part of the House of Israel comes from various sources, but its origins are not well understood. Neither can most Mormons explain exactly how, or when, they received a covenant from God that made them part of Israel’s family. But because every LDS patriarchal blessing declares a “lineage, tying the recipient to one of the twelve sons, or “tribes of Israel, we tend to assume its a done deal, rather than a conditional possibility.

Various claims get advanced—that it happens at baptism, at confirmation, in the temple, or upon priesthood ordination. Past church leaders have taught these ideas, though there’s little scriptural basis for these claims. In fact, those who advance such claims show no understanding of the covenant in question. 

So let’s turn to scripture, the Book of Mormon in particular, and take a look at how things are laid out there for our benefit. The basic understanding and definitions used throughout the book were set by the book’s first writer, Nephi, who divides people into three groups:

My People: (AKA my brethren, the remnant of my people, my seed, etc.). This generally refers to Lehi’s descendants, clear down until today. He sometimes also uses it to refer to the House of Israel in general, because he was a literal blood descendent of Jacob, or Israel. (2 Ne. 33:7, 2 Ne. 25:3-4, 1 Ne. 15:5, and many, many others.)

The Jews: (2 Ne 33:8, 2 Ne 25:1-2, and many others.) By this, he primarily means the people at Jerusalem, or “those from whence I came.”

The Gentiles: 1 Nephi 13 gives a lot of information about those Nephi viewed as the “Gentiles.” Here is some of what he says about them (with verses in parentheses):
  • They are the source of the great and abominable church (4)
  • They were separated from Nephi’s descendants by “many waters” (10)
  • The Gentiles went forth out of captivity and crossed the waters to come to the land of promise (13-14)
  • The Gentiles scattered and smote the remnants of Nephi’s seed, but did not utterly destroy them (14, 30)
  • The Gentiles were prosperous, white, fair and beautiful (15)
  • They humbled themselves on the land of promise (16)
  • They were delivered by the power of God from all other nations (19)
  • They had the Bible, though it was in a very corrupt state and actually prevented salvation and became a stumbling block to them (24-29)
In short, the “Gentiles” refers to the primarily white, European immigrants who came to America and displaced the Native Americans. That is how Nephi sees you, me, and the vast majority of LDS people on this continent. To him, we’re certainly not “Jews,” nor are we “My People” because we are not part of his family, nor part of the posterity of Jacob (Israel). Racially, ethnically, and by bloodlines, Nephi identifies us as Gentiles. Period. 

And he doesn’t have high hopes for us, either.
I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation. (2 Nephi 33:9)
In 1 Ne. 13:34-35, the Lord tells us that the Book of Mormon and much of the Gospel would come forth to the Gentiles in the last days:
Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father—wherefore, after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb— 
I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb. 
For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.” (1 Nephi 13:34-35)
This is clearly referring to us, the Latter-day Saints. The restoration of the plain and precious things certainly didn’t come to the Catholics or Protestants. The “hidden up Book of Mormon didn’t come to other churches. WE are the Gentiles to whom it came.

Joseph Smith also identified the Latter-day Saints with the Gentiles in his dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland temple, which alone ought to be enough to convince us or our scriptural identity: 
“Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.” (D&C 109:60)
OK, so Nephi views the white Europeans and their descendants as Gentiles, including those of us to whom the restoration has come. 

But somewhere along the way, we picked up the mistaken notion that we are not, in fact, Gentiles, but part of the House of Israel. This is a comfortable thing to believe because it then means all of the bad stuff prophesied about the Gentiles doesn’t apply to us. It applies to all those “other” churches, but not to us. 

The trouble is, the scriptures teach the opposite. If we assume WE are of the House if Israel, then who are the Gentiles who brought us the truth? Because according to scripture, the restoration comes first to the Gentiles, who then carry the truth to the remnants of the House of Israel. This prophecy is laid out in many places throughout the Book of Mormon. The short overview is 2 Ne 30:3—
And now, I would prophesy somewhat more concerning the Jews and the Gentiles. For after the book of which I have spoken shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many which shall believe the words which are written; and they shall carry them forth unto the remnant of our seed.
A more detailed example is by the Lord himself in 3 Nephi 16:6-15. It’s too long to quote here, but you should go read it before continuing.

Here are the highlights:
  • The Gentiles are blessed in the latter day with the truth and the fulness. (7) Is that the Mormon church, or some other group of Gentiles? Who, exactly was offered the truth and the fulness of the gospel in the Latter days?
  • The scattered remnants of Israel are smitten, afflicted, slain, cast out and hated by the Gentiles. (9) In the promised land, this refers to Lehi’s descendants.
  • The Gentiles will sin against the gospel and reject the fulness (10) You must first be offered the fulness before you can reject it.
  • The Gentiles will become filled with all manner of wickedness (10) This does not bode well for us. 
  • The Lord will then take the fulness of the gospel from among the Gentiles and return it to the house of Israel (10-11) Do you know the definition of the “Fulness of Christ’s Gospel?” Do you have it?
  • Those few Gentiles who will repent will be numbered among the house of Israel (13)
  • The house of Israel will tread down the Gentiles (14-15)
  • The “remnant of Jacob,” or the house of Israel, will build Zion, assisted by the few Gentiles who repent (3 Nephi 21:22-23) 
Did you catch that? It is the Israel’s blood and covenant family that will build the Zion of New Jerusalem. NOT the Gentiles, except those few who will repent and come into the covenant. How much LDS folklore has been devoted to the false idea that we already are Zion? Or that we soon will be? Or that were sailing inexorably to heaven, guided by infallible leaders, on a great ship called Zion?

No, the scriptures tell a different story entirely. IF we repent and come into the covenant, we may be “numbered among” the remnant of Jacob and assist in building that holy city. 

But only IF.

And if we dont repent and receive the covenant—many, many prophecies promise our destruction as a people, as a society, as a dominant force in the world, so the remnants of Israel’s family can establish Zion without Gentile interference. This Gentile destruction is already underway, and it will overcome nearly all of us unawares, unrepentant, and unprepared. Thank God we have the Book of Mormon warnings, if we will only heed them.

You and I—weve been warned. 

And therefore, the Gentile warnings and instructions contained in the Book of Mormon are directed to us—which makes sense, really, seeing that Mormons are the only people who read or believe the Book of Mormon. It wouldnt make any sense at all if all the warnings were directed to people who will never read the book. Therefore well dismiss the nonsensical claims that Mormons are exempt from the Gentile warnings. The safer course—in fact the ONLY safe course—is to heed the warnings and repent.

Of course, none of this is comfortable. The Book of Mormon, written to us and about us, also prophesies our imminent destruction. The time is at hand, the signs have been given, and denial only serves to destroy us.

But, unfortunately, denial is the only comfortable option—and God forbid the gospel should ever make us uncomfortable. Therefore, we go on our merry way, staying in the ship, following blind guides who neither understand nor teach scripture, and comforting ourselves by pretending the prophecies apply to someone else. 

No ifs, ands, or buts.

We are the Gentiles. The sooner you come to realize this, the sooner the Book of Mormon will begin to open to you with actual power to bring you to Christ. Literally.

When I teach this to most Mormons, confronted with the unmistakeable declarations of the Book of Mormon, some will concede that yes, were identified as Gentiles. And then theyll follow up with “Yeah, but...” and still give a reason why we are somehow special, immune to the warnings, and not in any danger, just so long as we follow the right man and stay in the ship.

Don’t “Yeah, but...” this. Kiss your buts goodbye. 

Pretending you’re something that you’re clearly not, may be comforting for a moment, but will not protect you from what lies ahead. Don't take comfort in wishful thinking. 

There is a Covenant

I know that there is a lot of information here. The topic of Gentiles and Remnants is repeated incessantly throughout the Book of Mormon. God intends to keep the covenant he made with Israel concerning his posterity. The Gentiles have no such promise. Therefore, our only hope is to repent and receive the covenant offered to us. 

What covenant is that? 

Well, the one taught in the Book of Mormon. The one by which we may become children of God—literally part of His family. The covenant that binds the hearts of the children to the fathers in heaven. (Which fathers are in heaven? Surely not our unbaptized dead.) The covenant that must be in place to prevent the whole earth from being smitten with a curse. (JSH 1:38-39D&C 128:18) The covenant the Lord has plainly stated we have neglected and therefore bear his condemnation still today. (D&C 84:57) The covenant Moroni promised at the very beginning of the restoration (D&C 2).

If you don’t know what that covenant is; if you don’t understand what it entails; if you have not entered into it and heard the words of  Psalms 2:7 declared to you by God, (see also Mosiah 5:7), you may be assured you are yet numbered among the Gentiles, regardless of your blood lines.

These things are incredibly important. Our eternal destiny is in peril unless we take the Book of Mormon seriously and search for understanding of these things. We need to realize who we are and what we are offered before it is everlastingly too late.

The Book of Mormon is like a brand new book when you read what it actually says.

Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.

—3 Nephi 21:11

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Scripture Overhead, Part 5: A New Age

Wherefore, I must bring forth the fulness of my gospel from the Gentiles unto the house of Israel. 

—D&C 14:10

With some background now in place about the timing and setting of this fourth blood moon, together with its importance as the sign of Jonah, or sign of the dove, we can proceed to discuss the further symbolism and testimony written above.

The Age of Aquarius (Yes, it’s a real thing.)

Let’s start with an understanding of the astrological age. But before you get a horrible ’70’s song stuck in your head, let’s find out what the age of Aquarius really means. As you may know, the earth’s wobbling rotation causes a gradual shift in the heavens from our viewpoint. The heavens rotate through the 12 constellations of the zodiac, with a complete rotation cycle lasting 25,800 years. This means that as the earth gradually shifts, sunrise on the day of the vernal equinox each year will gradually shift from constellation to constellation. This isn't astrology; it's astronomy.

This 25,800-year trip through the 12 signs of the zodiac is called the precession of the equinoxes. If all the constellations were of equal size, then each zodiacal age would last 2,150 years (25,800 ÷ 12 = 2,150.) But of course, the constellations are all sized differently, and boundaries between them are arbitrary and disputed. Therefore, there’s no objective way to determine with certainty the current astrological age. We can approximate, based on our best guesses and observations, but only heaven knows when the age has changed. 

Heaven, therefore, will inform us with signs, which will be noticed by the observant.

The Age of Pisces began around the time of Christ. It was marked by our Lord sending out “fishers of men” to gather as many as possible into the gospel net. He used the Gentiles to accomplish this work, because the House of Israel rejected Him and thereby forfeited the gospel opportunity for a time. 

The Times Of the Gentiles

Through the Gentile efforts, forms of Christianity spread throughout much of the world during the Age of Pisces. Thus, this age in scripture is also called the “Times of the Gentiles” —so called because it is the time period in which the gospel opportunity would primarily exist among the Gentiles, who would be commissioned to take the gospel to the world.

Such was prophesied by our Lord:
Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them. (3 Nephi 16:7)
Unfortunately, the Lord also prophesied that the Gentiles would reject the fulness of the gospel and it would ultimately be taken from them and given back to the House of Israel:
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. (3 Nephi 16:10)
During the Times of the Gentiles, the gospel net did indeed gather many millions, but all have utterly failed to rise up, take hold of the offered covenants, become purified, and establish Zion. Blinded by the precepts of men, proud Gentiles have considered themselves chosen, righteous, and favored of God, even as their opportunity has slipped away and the Lord has rejected them.
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (D&C 45:28-30)
The times of the Gentiles have come to an end. But to make provision for the gospel opportunity to revert back to the House of Israel, the fulness of the gospel is offered to the Gentiles one last time. The time of this final offering at the close of the age is called the “Fulness of the Gentiles.” 

OK, got that? The “Times” of the Gentiles lasted for roughly 2,000 years, ever since the ministry of Christ. The “Times” were marked by the age of Pisces. 

The “Fulness” of the Gentiles is the last voicing of Christ’s word and last opportunity for the Gentiles to rise up, receive God’s covenant, and become redeemed. The Fulness of the Gentiles marks the end of the Gentile opportunity and the reversion back to the House of Israel.

During the fulness of the Gentiles, some few Gentiles will accept the fulness of the gospel and take hold of the final opportunity. These are they who will preach the gospel to the gathered remnants of the House of Israel.
And now, the thing which our father meaneth concerning the grafting in of the natural branches through the fulness of the Gentiles, is, that in the latter days, when our seed shall have dwindled in unbelief, yea, for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in body unto the children of men, then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the Gentiles unto the remnant of our seed 
And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved. (1 Nephi 15:13-14)
The observant may note that this is the very scripture that has appeared as the subheading of this blog ever since the first post. As a believing Gentile, I have an obligation to preach the doctrine of Christ, and this blog is part of how I hope to fulfill that obligation.

The End of an Age

During the last 2,000 years, the vernal equinox has gradually moved through Pisces and is now entering Aquarius. Though astronomers are divided on the exact year of the shift, there is no question in heaven’s eyes. And though there may be some overlap between ages, the shift inexorably comes.

All this together now brings us back to the Age of Aquarius. The second blood moon of this tetrad was clearly in Pisces. This fourth moon, however, has moved out of Pisces and toward Aquarius. I believe this is God’s testimony to His creation that the age of Pisces has ended and Aquarius is beginning. The Times of the Gentiles have come to an end, and the fulness of the Gentiles is now upon us as the Lord prepares to fulfill His covenant with Israel.

An angel informed Joseph Smith of this plan very early in the restoration:
He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. (JSH 1:41)
Note that the angel connected the Fulness of the Gentiles with the following words from Joel:
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. (Joel 2:28-30)
Note the connection with the Lord pouring out His spirit, and the signs in the heavens when the fulness of the Gentiles arrives. I think we can wrap it all up and put a bow on it with the following:
And he answered them, and said, In the generation in which the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, like the sea and the waves roaring. The earth also shall be troubled, and the waters of the great deep; (Luke 21:25 JST)
Did you catch that? The signs of the Gentile fulness are manifest in the sun, moon and stars. We’re observing those signs right now. How many books, seminars, talk show appearances, youtube videos, and webpages have been produced about these blood moons? How much breathless excitement accompanied their manifestation? How much conjecture was offered about cataclysmic events that would accompany the final blood moon of the tetrad? The Lord designed these signs to be so conspicuous that even those living in darkness would notice. 

And yet, nearly all have failed to learn the interpretation. Most everyone expected monumental events to happen in conjunction with these signs—and monumental events, even cosmic ones have happened—and yet nobody noticed. This generation of sign seekers hoped for the miraculous, yet could not see it through their scales of darkness. How fitting are the Lord’s words again in our time:
And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. (Luke 11:29)
Few recognized the redemption of Israel when it happened, and few recognized the very Son of God when he walked among them. Few realized the gospel was restored in Joseph Smith’s day. So it’s not surprising that few realize they have just witnessed the changing of the age and the end of Gentile dominance. Millions looked into the sky, snapped a picture of the very sign of their doom, and went back to life as usual, giving the sign little more than cursory attention as an astronomical curiosity or a good social media post. Prophecies that have stood for thousands of years are fulfilled, and the world ignores them.

Fulness of What?

The fulness of the Gentiles has a double meaning. Yes, it refers to the last opportunity for the Gentiles to take hold of the fulness of the Gospel, but it also pinpoints the reasons for the coming Gentile destruction:

And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. 
For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.
And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. (Ether 2:9-11)
The fulness of the Gentiles comes when we practice the fulness of iniquity, or to use another scriptural term, are ripened iniquity. “Iniquity” is an interesting term that not only refers to sin, but specifically denotes gross injustice. Iniquity is most often generational, and denotes false religious beliefs, passed on from generation to generation, continually degrading until they have become grossly perverted from truth. Iniquity is false religion. 

Unfortunately, the fulness of iniquity is here. So much so, in fact, that the Lord has ceased working through organized religion.

Last and First

It’s important to note the Father’s symbolism in this Blood Moon. The planet Uranus and the constellation it rules, Aquarius, both symbolize the Father of Heaven and the God of all Creation, pouring out His spirit on all flesh at the time of these signs in the heavens. As Aquarius pours out his jug, our modern interpretation has Him pouring out water, but a more ancient interpretation includes a dual outpouring of water and fire. 

As we discussed in the second blood moon, this work of the final age is the Father’s work. HE is pouring out His spirit. HE is responsible for the gathering of Israel. HE commands all men, everywhere, to repent and believe in His son (3 Nephi 11:32). And HE is pouring out water and fire—both symbols of His work.

The earth was cleansed by a flood of water in Noah’s day. Afterward, Noah’s righteous family restarted humanity on the earth, but iniquity soon prevailed. A man named Abram rejected the false religion taught him by his fathers, and sought the original truths that brought men into the presence of God. As you know, Abram prevailed with God and received a covenant, making him God’s son, and therefore part of God’s family. In conjunction with the covenant, Abram was re-named Abraham.

The opportunity for redemption and salvation continued in Abraham’s bloodlines through Isaac, then Jacob, who was renamed Israel. The “House” or family of Israel, therefore, was the first to be offered the gospel covenant. When the house of Israel had fully rejected the Lord’s offer, it was withdrawn and offered to the Gentiles. Therefore the House of Israel was first, and the Gentiles were last.

But in the latter days, the Gentiles were first, and the House of Israel will be last. This is the meaning of the phrase, “The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” (Ether 13:12, 1 Nephi 13:42, Matthew 20:16, and many others.) According to Moroni’s title page of the Book of Mormon, restoring the House of Israel to a knowledge of their covenants and opportunities is one of the primary purposes that sacred record was produced. 

—Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—
In the previous post of this series, I concluded with the following: 
...we ought to ask ourselves what truth heaven is proclaiming in our day. What does the super blood moon sign proclaim? What could be so important that the sign of the dove has appeared again in the East?
We yet have more to uncover, but at least one meaning is so cosmically important, so cataclysmically vital, that the Lord has written it in the sun, moon, and stars: 

The times of the Gentiles have come to an end. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Pisces ends and Aquarius begins. The Lord has turned the page, set His hand again the second time to recover His people Israel, and the Father's Marvelous work and Wonder are moving forward. 

Prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes. God help us to believe and prepare while there's still time.

And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men.

—2 Nephi 25:17

Final Note: I believe we have two more posts to cover the remainder of this blood moon. Coming up next: Water and Fire.