Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The End, Part 6: The End

For I desire not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own eyes. That blindness, in part, has happened to Israel until the fullness of the gentiles has come in. Then all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
—Romans 1:56 NC


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

We began this series by talking about the Lord’s marvelous work and the ordered series of events required to complete it. To finish this series, we need to take a look at that order of events and consider where we are.

We’ll start by rolling all the way back to the time of the Abraham. As you recall, though he lived in a time of apostasy and great wickedness, Abraham rose up to know God and obtain a covenant. This covenant extended promises to Abraham’s posterity, through whom the covenant remained available for five generations before it lapsed back into apostasy and the people into bondage.

Moses came on the scene to free Israel from bondage and re-establish the covenant between God and Israel, but the people rejected the fulness of what was offered. For the next 1,500 years, God continued to work with Israel, sending prophets, warnings, and calls to repent—all to little avail. Nevertheless, the covenant offer remained open for Israel, upon conditions of repentance.

When the Messiah came to Israel, his ministry offered the opportunity for Israel to repent and return to God. At one point he sent his disciples to teach, but commanded them, “Go not into the way of the gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 5:2 NC)” Reflecting the same sentiment, he said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 8:11 NC)

After Christ’s death and resurrection, however, the target audience changed. Israel, having rejected the prophets, the Messiah and the offered covenant, lost the covenant opportunity for a time. Therefore, after his resurrection, Christ commanded that the gospel be taken to all nations, rather than only to Israel:
All power is given unto me in Heaven and on earth. Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. (Matthew 13:4 NC)
This change in target was likewise confirmed to Peter in a vision, after which he began teaching and baptizing gentiles. (See Acts 6:4-9, NC). This shift after the Messiah’s mortal ministry ushered in the era called, “the Times of the Gentiles.” To help keep the various time periods and eras straight, I’ve prepared the following illustration showing the order of events, together with some attempt to differentiate long periods from short periods:




Times of the Gentiles

So what was first targeted to, and reserved for, the house of Israel, became available to the gentile world after the Messiah’s death and resurrection. The Lord extended the covenant offering beyond the family of Israel, and opened the way for grafting gentiles into Israel by adoption.

Shortly thereafter, Jerusalem was destroyed by the gentile Romans, and the Jewish people were scattered and persecuted. This exile and persecution continued for nearly 2,000 years, which period is known astronomically as the age of Pisces, and is known scripturally as the Times of the Gentiles.

During this era, while the Jews lacked a homeland and suffered endless persecution, the gentile nations of Europe and later America came to dominate much of the world. The Lord poured out blessings on the gentiles, culminating in the restoration of the gospel and the return of the gospel fulness, through a gentile prophet in a gentile nation. The Times of the Gentiles gave the nations ample time to repent, choose God, and become adopted, or grafted, into God’s family. But the gentiles rejected the fulness of the offer, instead adopting a powerless, corrupt vestige of apostate Christianity, and its various permutations. This offering to the gentiles, and their subsequent rejection of the gospel was prophesied in the Book of Mormon:
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 fullness 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 these things, and shall reject the fullness of my gospel, Behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them. (3 Nephi 7:5 NC)
As the Times of the Gentiles neared completion, the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith included the promise that something greater would come before the gentile opportunity completely ended. Specifically, the angel Nephi informed Joseph that “the fullness of the gentiles was soon to come in.” (T&C 1, Part 3:4)

Final Voicing

The Fulness of the Gentiles represents a number of important ideas, one of which is the final voicing of the Lord’s offer, in its fulness, to the gentile nations. During this period, the covenant opportunity is again made available, and all gentiles are invited, for the last time, to come unto God. This final voicing, planned for millenia, was prophesied by Moses:
I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto you, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass that whoever will not listen unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy 6:4 OC)
The prophecy was repeated in the book of Acts (2:3 NC) and quoted by Nephi to Joseph Smith, with the following explanation:
…that that prophet was Christ, but the day had not yet come when they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people, but soon would come. (T&C 1, Part 3:4)
Note that the voice that must be heard and heeded is the voice of Christ, sent through a prophet. This final declaration by one who is sent, and subsequent cutting off is one of the primary identifiers of that period known as the Fulness of the Gentiles.

During Joseph Smith’s ministry, he attempted, against terrible opposition, to prepare a people who would receive God’s covenant and rise up to fulfill the prophecies. Joseph’s efforts were thwarted again and again until the last major revelation he received called upon the people to repent, build a temple to which the Lord could personally come and restore the fulness of the priesthood, which had been taken away. The command to build the temple included a limited time period in which the work could be acceptably accomplished. Upon this final command hinged both tremendous blessings and tremendous cursings. (T&C 141:10-14)

As it turned out, the limited time period for that opportunity began January 19, 1841 when the command was received, and ended June 27, 1844 when Joseph and Hyrum were slain. The interim period of opportunity lasted exactly 1255 days—5 days short of the 1260-day period scripturally defined as three-and-a-half years. (Remember that 1255-day period; it’s important later.)

The rejection and murder of the Smith brothers required three and four generations to pass before the Lord would begin his work again. The required time passed, and as prophesied, the Lord “set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people” (see Isaiah 5:5 OC). That effort found a small, but receptive audience, with some few gentiles who chose to repent and hear the Lord’s voice, sent through His messenger.

Fulness of the Gentiles

As you can see from the above diagram, the Fullness of the Gentiles comes when the Times of the Gentiles have ended, and it only lasts for a short period. When it passes, the Lord’s efforts turn back to the House of Israel. During the gentile fullness, some few gentiles repent, believe, receive the Lord’s offering, and become grafted in, or numbered among the house of Israel. These believing gentiles-turned-Israel are tasked with bearing the Lord’s message to the rest of the scattered remnants of Israel in the next phase of the work.

The passing of the gentile fullness is enormously significant, because it marks the beginning of the gentile destruction. The Lord’s blessings and protection are removed from the gentile nations, and his spirit begins to withdraw. As the gathering of scattered Israel commences, gentile devastation follows.
Therefore, woe be unto the gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God. For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men, a work which shall be everlasting, either on the one hand or on the other, either to the convincing of them unto peace and life eternal, or unto the deliverance of them to the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds, unto their being brought down into captivity and also unto destruction, both temporally and spiritually, according to the captivity of the Devil of which I have spoken. (1 Nephi 3:25-26)
The end of the gentile fulness marks the beginning of the gentile destruction, and, as you can see from the diagram, the beginning of the restoration of scattered Israel. The Lord will remember his covenants to Israel’s fathers, and will gather his people home to the lands of their inheritance. Ultimately, the house of Israel will gather to two holy cities, Jerusalem (for Judah) and New Jerusalem (for Joseph), and succeed in building two holy temples. The Messiah will then return and cleanse the earth.

Now this is necessarily a brief overview, just to give an orientation regarding the periods of the Lord’s work. A full treatment would fill many blog posts—though the best treatise on the subject is the Book of Mormon itself. Everything I’ve written so far in this post is only a summary—and here’s a summary of the summary, from a blog post I wrote on November 28, 2015:
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 to the gentiles, 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. 
The above excerpt comes from a series of posts I wrote on the signs evident in the blood moon tetrad of 2014-2015. Those signs overhead indicated the end of the Times of the Gentiles and the beginning of the Fulness of the Gentiles; the blood moons marked the turning of a page in history.

What Happened in June

This brings us now to current times and the events of this year. Allow me to lay out a timeline of events that took place when I started this series, titled The End. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019: The 175th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, an event the LDS church chose to almost completely ignore, focusing instead on Russel Nelson’s star-studded birthday bash announcement. See Post 1 in this series, “Without Foundation.”

Friday, June 28, 2019: Lightning struck the Nauvoo LDS temple, damaging the golden statue atop the tower. Moroni’s face was burned, and his trumpet’s mouthpiece was removed. Ample symbolism accompanied this event, including the following:
  • The Nauvoo temple doesn’t have a “spire” like many temples. Rather, it has a tower, with the statue on top. 

  • The golden watchman on the tower was blinded when his eyes were darkened by the blast. Likewise, he was rendered unable to sound the trumpet, as the mouthpiece of the trumpet was blown completely away. The symbol of the blind watchman who will not sound the alarm was covered in post 5 in this series, “Blind Watchmen on the Mount.” 
  • The Nauvoo temple was built as a replacement replica of the failed and destroyed prior effort. The LDS attempt to replace what ended in failure with the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, has been rejected. 
  • The date of the lightning strike was highly significant. The date was the 6th on nine sacred calendars—an event occurring approximately once in 10,000 years. Nine sixes is 666,666,666. See post 2 in this series, “Commemoration.” This was a sign of condemnation.





Saturday, June 29, 2019: The next day, Saturday, was dated the seventh on nine sacred calendars. That is to say, it was 777,777,777. Seven is commonly considered the number of fullness or completion, and nine sevens is emphatic. Certain events took place that day, which permanently changed things on earth and in heaven.

I didn’t realize anything about the significance of these events or dates until after they happened. Things usually occur that way in the Lord’s work. Only in hindsight do we recognize the fulfillment of prophecy, which prevents human interference in the Lord’s timetable as it is happening.

Here’s an example of what I mean: You may recall post 5 in this series, “Blind Watchmen on the Mount.” That post was about the choice the LDS church made to actively prevent and fight against the Lord’s work by refusing to share the gospel or the Book of Mormon with the Jewish people. Only later did I realize I wrote that post on Tisha B’Av, the annual Jewish day of mourning. Historically, this was the day that both the first and the second Jewish temples were destroyed, as well as other tragic events. Each year, the tragedies are commemorated with fasting and mourning on Tisha B’Av. I only realized later that my post fell on the most appropriate day of the entire year to commemorate this tragedy. There’s no way I could have planned or even known about that alignment until after it happened. To me, it demonstrated the Lord’s hand in the timing.

Declaration

OK, so with that example in mind, I need to speak of another such “coincidence.” I would normally not share what follows, but the Lord has required it, regardless of my discomfort.

Several weeks after the fact, when I learned of the nine sevens occurring on June 29th, the day after the Lord’s sign of gentile rejection, I wondered what the sevens meant. Fullness? Completion? 777,777,777…I pondered for days and eventually made my question a matter of prayer, along the lines of “What came to an end on that day?” In response the question came, “What ended with the martyrdom?” “The gentile opportunity,” was my summary response. This troubled me, and I thought, “But there was warning given first. That’s the pattern. The saints had 1255 days of notice to repent.”

“Check your blog 1255 days before June 29” came the reply.

I did so, and that landed me on January 21, 2016—the day I wrote the final post in the Blood Moons series. That post was part seven of the series, and it included a numbered list. Item seven on that list said the following:
The Age of Pisces (Time of the Gentiles) has ended, and the Fulness of the Gentiles is upon us. The covenant is reverting back to scattered Israel, and the Gentile nations will be destroyed.
At that moment, comprehension flooded my mind, leaving me absolutely thunderstruck. Speechless and shaking, I simultaneously realized two things.

First, the Fulness of the Gentiles began on January 21, 2016 and ended on June 29, 2019. Just as in Joseph’s day, it lasted exactly, precisely, 1255 days. The Lord followed the same pattern in our opportunity as he did in the offering through Joseph.

And second, the Lord—completely unbeknownst to me—had given warning to the world, in the seventh item in the seventh post in that series, precisely on the required date to give a 1255-day opportunity.

This all troubled me deeply, as I consider myself not only unimportant, but an entirely unsuitable watchman to make a proclamation putting the world on notice. And yet, there it was. To the day. And it was nothing I could have planned, or indeed understood, until years after it happened. At the time I simply wrote what the Lord gave me—without understanding its full import.

Even so, I shrank at the obligation to make the declaration you are now reading. Though I have faith in the Lord, it was hard for me to believe he had used me for so critical a task. At length, I brought it up in prayer again, because I couldn’t shake the continued urgings to make this known, and desperately needed reassurance.

My questions this time were along these lines: “Did the Fullness of the Gentiles really end on June 29? and Did you really put the world on notice through my blog when the Fulness began?”

And again the Lord, who is patient and kind, gave answer: “Go look at the first blog post you ever wrote.”

I went and looked. It was written on June 29, 2014. Exactly 5 years—to the day—from the June 29, 2019 end of the Gentile Fulness. I could not have planned that, nor could I have begun to guess the Lord would use that post as a second witness to reassure me when the time came. When I started this blog, I knew nothing of sacred calendars, signs overhead, the Fulness of the Gentiles, nor anything about the Lord’s timing.

Even now, after processing this information for months, I still marvel that the Lord could accomplish anything at all with so poor a servant as myself. I cannot take any credit whatsoever for what he has done. All I can do is testify that it was Him, not me. He told me when to start this effort, what to call it, and what to write about. I’ve done my best to obey. Now that he has told me to point out what He has done, I’ve done so, through considerable personal discomfort. Please ignore me; I am nothing. But please do notice what the Lord has accomplished by small and simple means.

In making this statement, I’ve only spoken of certain signs giving witness to the declaration I now make. There are many more signs I am not obligated to reveal. But I can and will testify: It really has happened. The Fulness of the Gentiles really has ended and the restoration of Israel is now upon us. Regardless of where you think we are in the Lord’s timeline, or what you think the prophecies mean, or how you think they will be fulfilled, I’m declaring to you the truth. It has happened.

More about the Fulness

That term, “Fulness of the Gentiles” comes from several places in scripture. It refers to a time period, of course, but it also refers to a group of events and a group of people. Now that we’ve discussed the time period and given specific dates, let’s look at the events and people.

The phrase first appears in Genesis, when Jacob (Israel) blesses Ephraim and Manasseh.
He [Manassah] also shall become a people and he also shall be great, but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he. And his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Genesis 12:18 OC, emphasis mine) 
The Hebrew words translated as “multitude of nations” are מלא הגוים [Milo HaGoyim] which actually means “fulness of the gentiles.” Therefore, the above statement literally says Ephraim’s seed shall become the fulness of the gentiles. Thus, there is no question about WHO will be the gentiles to whom the fulness is offered. It is Ephraim; it says so right in Genesis. And though most have rejected what was offered, some few have believed, repented, accepted, and received a covenant, restoring their status as part of the House of Israel.

As for events of the Fulness, along with the final voicing of God’s invitation to the gentiles, other events have transpired as well during this period. Here’s a partial list of important things that happened during this period:
  • Intense labor to recover the most accurate collection of scripture available, culminating in the Lord’s acceptance of the effort
  • The first general conference of believers, and thereafter multiple conferences and gatherings
  • A group assignment from the Lord to create a statement of principles, and completion of the assignment
  • The servant David revealed
  • A fund established to prepare for construction of the temple
  • A major book of scripture revealed in the Testimony of St. John
  • Canonization of new scripture and multiple new revelations
  • A group of gentiles, for the first time in history, accepted the Book of Mormon as a covenant
  • In response, the Lord offered his covenant to all who would accept it, creating the first modern grafting back into the House of Israel, with signs accompanying
  • The sign in the heavens of the birth of God’s kingdom
  • Other important activities and events, that have gone largely unknown or unnoticed, but which are nevertheless pivotal in the Lord’s marvelous work.

This is quite a list for a period of not-quite-three-and-a-half years. Though at times it may feel as if things are moving slowly, you and I have lived through and witnessed one of the most significant periods in the history of the world. It is impossible to overstate the significance of what the Lord has done and is now doing.

So What Does it All Mean?

The gentile opportunity has now passed, and the Lord’s work has reverted back to the house of Israel. The work will move forward, but will not be accomplished by the gentiles who spurned it. All that remains for those gentiles now is the spiritual and temporal destruction of all who will not repent. The great and spacious building and all who are in it, lacking any foundation, and no longer upheld at the last day, will come crashing down and fill the pit which was dug by those who fight against God. (1 Nephi 3:25 NC) We can only pray that the Lord will stay the destruction until we can accomplish what he requires of us.

You may have noticed a new focus at our last conference. The Lord’s agenda now revolves around the lost sheep remnants of Israel, on this land and abroad. We’ll wrap this up in my next post by talking more about that work.

Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name. Yea, and then shall the work commence with the Father among all nations, in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance. And they shall go out from all nations, and they shall not go out in haste nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.
—3 Nephi 10:1 NC