Tuesday, June 22, 2010

3 Nephi 16: 7

"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."
This is a teaching from the first day of Christ's visit with the Nephites. It is a quote from Christ.
The time frame in which the Gentiles were to have "belief in [Christ,]" and merit a special blessing as a result, was the time immediately following the Judean ministry. The Gospel would be taken to the Gentiles and they would believe. The Jews were going to reject Him and oppose His faith, the Gentiles would welcome it and have belief.
Now the words Christ spoke and Nephi's record preserved were from "the Father."  Christ's explanation of these prophecies originate with His Father.
Gentiles will believe. Moreover, the "house of Israel" will not believe in Him. The result of that acceptance and rejection is the juxtaposition of the roles of Gentiles and Israel.
Whereas, the Gospel came to the Jews first, and by the Jews it was transmitted to the Gentiles, later the opposite will occur. The pattern will reverse. It will go from the last back to the first.  (It is an historic chiasm.)
Accordingly, the Gentiles will be the ones to whom the restoration of the "fullness" will come in the latter day. The reward for earlier faithfulness is later recognition and reward.
Now, it should take no amount of brilliant insight to realize that the restoration involved Joseph Smith. A man of English descent. May have some Israelite blood in him from the earlier disaporia of the Lost Ten Tribes, but he is nevertheless the one through whom the restoration was brought. He is necessarily identified as a "Gentile" in this prophecy by Christ, given by the Father. If Joseph Smith is NOT a Gentile, then the whole promise of the Father and word of the Son is defeated. Therefore, you may know for a surety that the Gentiles are not those nasty non-members. It is US. WE are the Gentiles who receive the first offer in the last offering.
So it was that the Father determined and Christ taught that the Gentiles would be the ones to whom the Gospel message would first come in our day. Now we have it. (Or had it anyway.)

This movement from Israel to Gentile and from Gentile to Israel is evening the playing field. This is balancing out the record of history.  It is not that one is more favored than another. Rather it is that each one will have a suitable turn and opportunity to receive what the Lord offers. In the end, no people will be able to say the opportunities were unfair, unequal, or more challenging for one than for another. [I leave it to you to determine why that is so when lives come and go across generations and one dispensation may include different people than another.  It raises the question as to how certain we should be about some of our premises. That, however, is too far afield at the moment. And it may not matter anyway. Today is the day of salvation, not yesterday or tomorrow.  So we should confine ourselves to solving the problem we face at the moment.]
The promise is that the "fullness of these things" will come to the Gentiles. What things? What does it mean that the "fullness" will be coming to the Gentiles?  Have the Gentiles in fact received it?

If we received it, what have we done with it? Do we still have it? If not, how do I know that? What will happen if we have not retained that fullness?
Fortunately for us, Christ will answer all those questions as He moves along in the message He delivers here.


  1. "Therefore, you may know for a surety that the Gentiles are not those nasty non-members. It is US. WE are the Gentiles who receive the first offer in the last offering."

    I completely agree that WE (Latter-day Saints) are the Gentiles who have received and accepted the first offer in the last offering.

    But you seem to be saying that "non-members" are not to be classified as gentiles. A Venn-diagram would not show overlap.

    Is Gentile/House of Israel not an either-or (or at least an either-and-or) condition?

    Clearly modern Jews and Lehi's descendants are properly considered House of Israel. What are the masses of historic-Christians of American & European descent (who are neither Jewish nor Lamanite) if they are not Gentiles? Is there a third group they can be classified as?

  2. The "others" are not necessarily a focus for the Book of Mormon prophecies. They inherit the blessing of being here, as Nephi foresaw. They are blessed to be on the land, but they are not given anything other than a conditional possession. They are those who get offered the restored Gospel when it returned, and if they accept it they become part of the prophetic subject. When, however, they reject the offered restoration, then they are background and will be swept away just as the Saints who reject the fullness of the Gospel will be swept away.

    We'll be discussing some of that in upcoming posts.

  3. Have we been studying about the "fullness" in Alma 13?

  4. So we have:

    A) House of Israel (Jews, Lamanites);

    B) "Prospective Gentiles" (those who've not yet had the opportunity to encounter/consider the restored gospel themselves);

    C) Gentiles (those who've accepted the restored gospel who aren't Jews or Lamanites);

    D) "Backgrounded Gentiles" (those who've declined the invitation of the restored gospel)

    We can identify some possible further subgroups:

    A1 (those relatively few Jews and Lamanites who've already accepted the restored gospel), and A2 (the majority whose turn comes only after the time of group C has passed).

    Within group C we could possibly identify several subgroups: C1, those members who embrace the fullness and are eventually numbered among Israel proper; C2, those who leave the church and gospel entirely; and C3, those who aren't paying enough attention and end up rejecting and being rejected because all was well and they were slowly led down to hell.

    I don't see any meaningful distinctions to draw within group B or group D. They aren't really in focus as it were (though a lot of members would consider group D to be the group spoken of, with some C2 rather than C3).

    Is this a fair summary of the cast of characters you'll be talking about in your upcoming posts?

  5. Thank you for your comment, "the Gentiles are not those nasty non-members. It is US." My experience has been that many Anglo-Saxon Mormons are freaked out by the idea that they/we are the Gentiles and will argue to the death that they/we are of the House of Israel. The heart of this mentality is that, somehow, we Anglo-Saxons must, by nature, be better than everyone else -- the blacks, Hispanics, Orientals, and anyone with a darker skin. This mentality, among other things, has kept us from being able to see that the Book of Mormon is written directly to us, the Anglo-Saxon Gentile Mormons as a warning and an invitation to repent and join "His people", the Remnant of the House of Israel. How can it be that we, the members of the true Church, and white, upper middle-class, American Mormons need to repent? I think we're about to find out...

  6. There's an interesting article called, The Jaredites Were Black, by David Grant Stewart - a brilliant linguist and faithful LDS. It's hard to come by nowadays but I've seen it on Amazon.

  7. David Stewart has a facebook page... if you contact him, he may be able to direct you to his article. Actually, I'll go ask him and see if he can let me know how to get a copy and let you know.


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