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"Serving as Kings and Queens of the Gentiles"


Hebraeus Foundation Zion Conference 14th May 2016
Keynote Address - Avraham Gileadi
(Note: Click here for PDF version)

There comes a time in life when you have to take stock and ask yourself whether you are, in fact, doing what you came to do in this world. We read scriptures that speak of heroes and heroines who valiantly served God and accomplished miracles that saved much of humanity. Maybe they didn't do so at first, but when they awoke to a sense of who they were, they set about serving God to their utmost without the need to look back. We too seldom come to an awakening of who we are all at once because we often don't see ourselves as anyone special, and because heaven withholds its gifts from us until we finally conform our lives to God's will. But because we have implanted in us his divine gene, we are no less capable of being recreated into something like a god-magnificent and powerful-able to transform the world as did those illustrious forebears. Thus it is with the end-time kings and queens of the Gentiles whom Isaiah predicts are to restore the house of Israel:

"I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, raise my ensign to the peoples, and they will bring your sons in their bosoms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings will be your foster fathers and queens your nursing mothers" (Isaiah 49:22-23). It is as if this passage from Isaiah acts as a lifeline that Book of Mormon prophets hold on to, knowing that God made provision from the beginning for those end-time Gentile kings and queens to save their descendants from their lost and fallen and scattered state. For that reason, Book of Mormon prophets refer back to this passage again and again, as if to inspire those same kings and queens of the Gentiles who read the Book of Mormon to wake up and perform their saving role to the house of Israel. That role, however, has little to do with non-Israelites but everything to do with Israel's birthright tribe of Ephraim whose ancestors assimilated into the Gentiles and became "identified with the Gentiles" (Doctrine & Covenants 109:60).

Of course, other passages in the Book of Isaiah speak of those same kings and their queens because Isaiah's entire book consists of interconnecting word links, so that we can't interpret a single verse without taking into account what the other interlinked ones are saying. I believe that is why we hear almost nothing quoted from Isaiah-except passages of a seeming general nature-because so few people follow Jesus' commandment to diligently search Isaiah's words (3 Nephi 23:1). Searching the words of Isaiah, moreover, is a deliberate challenge and has huge importance in God's end-time scheme of things. I have laid a foundation to make keeping that commandment easier for you. But many who have met the challenge and perceive Isaiah's words for what they actually say have been ostracized by their brethren, as Isaiah predicts (Isaiah 66:5). Because Isaiah's words don't reflect the standard line, that is one of the hazards you may expect from keeping Jesus' commandment.

With reference to Isaiah 49:22-23, which political kings and queens do you know in the world who "have care for the house of Israel" (Mormon 5:10), who act as "a father to them" (2 Nephi 10:18) as Book of Mormon prophets predict? Certainly, Isaiah isn't speaking of political kings and queens but of spiritual ones. Which brings us back to the question of who we are. If these spiritual kings and queens aren't us, then who are they? If we aren't the ones who gather the house of Israel and establish Zion among them, then who will? Doesn't Doctrine & Covenants 103:10 say, that with all we have been given, if we aren't saviors of men we will be as salt that has lost its savor that is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden underfoot of men (3 Nephi 16:15)? By our enemies, that is, whom God will empower over us. Many in that day will be trodden down as the Nephites were trodden down by the Lamanites when they too had become as salt that had lost its savor.

So we are to be heroes, then! Heroes like those of the Book of Mormon. Heroes like Lehi, who to dared take his family into an uncertain wilderness when law and order were breaking down around him. Heroes like the Sons of Mosiah, who converted thousands of Lamanites to the gospel of Messiah and were willing to pay the price for doing so. Like Helaman and his stripling warriors, to whom Helaman ministered as a proxy savior so that not one was lost. Nephi the son of Helaman, whom God translated and gave the sealing power after he had served God with unwearyingness and not feared for his own life when secret combinations had taken over the government. Like the Brother of Jared, who rent the veil of unbelief and saw the Lord, whom God showed the world to the end of time in a great vision. And, in the Book of Isaiah, like King Hezekiah, who interceded with God for his people when an Assyrian army of 185,000 men surrounded Jerusalem and demanded its surrender.

Still, we are just ordinary people, you may say. What can we do? But weren't those heroes once ordinary people too? Didn't they overcome their ordinariness in order to perform those extraordinary things? So how did they do it? How did the Sons of Mosiah accomplish what they did? The record says they had "searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God" (Alma 17:2-3). The Brother of Jared "called upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him" (Ether 2:15) so they could inherit a better land. King Hezekiah "poured out his soul unto death" before the angel of the Lord slew the Assyrian host (Isaiah 36:14-20; 37:36; 38:1-20; cf. 53:11-12). With God's help, each of these persons succeeded in taking his spiritual life to another level.

They learned to shift their focus from the things of this world that so easily preoccupy us and lead us away to keeping their eye on God and single-mindedly pursuing his holy purposes. How they did it really isn't that big a secret! So if we are to serve as those kings and queens of the Gentiles (or have been anointed to become such), who restore the house of Israel and establish Zion among them-that is, if we who are of the lineage of Ephraim that has come down through the Gentiles are going to fulfill our birthright role and perform tasks similar to the ones these scriptural heroes performed, where should we start? How do we know what serving as "kings" and "queens" involves unless we learn how the scriptures define those roles and then begin acting them out. Otherwise, we are deceiving ourselves, thinking God will someday exalt us as kings and queens when we have never served, or known how to serve, on the model of what constitutes kings and queens in his eyes.

Each of the heroes I have cited, though not all were called "kings," served as a spiritual king by fulfilling a savior role on behalf of God's people. Moses, who vouched for Israel when it worshiped the Golden Calf (Exodus 32:7-14, 30-31), was called a "king" of his people (Deuteronomy 33:5). Nephi, whom God made "a teacher and a ruler" over his brethren (1 Nephi 2:22), was considered "a king or a protector" (2 Nephi 6:2)-which tells you that a king's role is to protect and safeguard his people. Indeed, if the Book of Mormon contains "the fulness of the gospel" (Doctrine & Covenants 27:5; 42:12-13), then that "fulness" abides in the covenants those heroes lived up to. Having learned the terms of those covenants, they knew God could work wonders through them to save his people in perilous times. Those covenants were removed from the gospel of the Lamb by the "great and abominable church of the devil" (1 Nephi 13:26). And, to our shame, we are still ignorant of them.

That is why Isaiah says, "Kings will shut their mouths at him"-at God's end-time servant (Isaiah 52:13)-because "what was not told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will consider" (Isaiah 52:15; 3 Nephi 20:43-45; 21:8-11). Evidently, these spiritual kings are all ears when at last they learn what it is that defines their kingly role that they had never been taught before. We know this is an end-time scenario because that is the context in which the Bible and Book of Mormon predict the house of Israel's restoration. Those same scriptures, moreover, identify the house of Israel as the Jews, Israel's Ten Tribes, and Lehi's descendants. The Book of Isaiah's literary evidence, in fact, supports Jesus' key to understanding Isaiah (3 Nephi 23:1-3), namely that Isaiah prophesied on two levels: (1) his own day-in which he names nations and persons of his day; and (2) the end-time-in which those ancient names act as codenames for end-time nations and persons.

We also know that the doctrine those end-time kings "see" and "consider" won't be accepted by many who hear it, who will end up being "cut off from among my people who are of the covenant" (3 Nephi 21:11). Nor do many believe that the "great and marvelous work" Jesus identifies with that end-time scenario (3 Nephi 21:9) is the restoration of the house of Israel, not the restoration of the gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith that laid its "foundation" (Doctrine & Covenants 64:33). The context of the Book of Isaiah, which predicts the great and marvelous work that Book of Mormon prophets refer to (Isaiah 29:14; cf. 1 Nephi 22:8; 3 Nephi 21:8-29) is an end-time context. As in Jesus' quotations from Isaiah, that context deals with the end-time restoration of the house of Israel and the establishment of Zion. In Joseph Smith's day, moreover, Latter-day Saints were not yet a sizeable "people who are of the covenant" that many could be "cut off" from. Here are Jesus' words:

"In that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them. But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. 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. 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" (3 Nephi 21:9-12).

In a sense, you could say that we have been set up to reject the words of Christ that his end-time servant brings forth, to be trodden down and torn in pieces by those lions (3 Nephi 21:9-14), unless we open our eyes to these basic truths from Isaiah. In any case, the words of Christ that the servant brings forth to the Gentiles-which will most certainly in many ways parallel the words of Isaiah-appear on the Large Plates of Nephi (3 Nephi 26:1-11), not on the Small Plates from which the Book of Mormon is taken. Like the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon and the words of Isaiah, Jesus' words that are on the Large Plates of Nephi predict the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10; 3 Nephi 26:3; Ether 3:25-27). Those words, the Lord is holding in reserve until at least some Gentiles-like the Brother of Jared-"become clean" before the Lord and "exercise faith" and "become sanctified" in Christ, upon which he promises to show them what he showed him (Ether 4:6-7).

But let us assume we are among those believing Gentiles who will "see" and "consider" what we hadn't heard before (3 Nephi 21:8), who will learn "the true points" of the doctrine of Christ (3 Nephi 21:6)-which statement implies that untrue points are being taught. Let us also assume that we will become clean of our "iniquities"-of generational dysfunctions-and "exercise faith" and become "sanctified in Christ" (Ether 4:6-7) so that we aren't among those who "contend against the word of the Lord" and are "cut off" at that time (3 Nephi 21:6, 11, 13; Ether 4:8). What is it that will divide us from those fellow-Gentiles "who are of the covenant" when an everlasting division occurs between those who repent and those who harden their hearts? That everlasting division, which coincides with the great and abominable church fighting against the Lamb of God, Nephi identifies as the Lamb's "great and a marvelous work among the children of men" (1 Nephi 14:7-17; 2 Nephi 30:10).

Let us additionally assume that we aren't among those same Gentiles "in Zion" (2 Nephi 28:21, 24, 32) who "are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men" (2 Nephi 28:14)-those who don't search the scriptures and repent of their error (cf. Jacob 7:23; Alma 14:1; 17:2 33:2; 3 Nephi 10:14) but who are "at ease in Zion" and assume "all is well" (2 Nephi 28:24-25). That we aren't among those who "hearken unto the precepts of men," who disallow "the power of God" in their lives and void "the gift of the Holy Ghost" (2 Nephi 28:26)-those who say, "We have received, and we need no more" (2 Nephi 28:27, 29), who get "angry" when confronted with "the truth of God" found in the scriptures when it conflicts with their "precepts of men" (2 Nephi 28:28, 31). That we aren't among those who end up denying the Lord God when his "arm"-his servant in the Book of Isaiah-"is lengthened out all the day long" (2 Nephi 28:32).

Let us finally assume that we do indeed "feast upon the words of Christ" in the scriptures-which words "tell you all things what ye should do" (2 Nephi 32:3). That we indeed "ask" and "knock" until we truly are "brought into the light" of God (2 Nephi 32:4). That we have "received the Holy Ghost" and can "speak with the tongue of angels" (2 Nephi 32:2). That we have ascended to a higher spiritual level and are now guided personally by the Holy Ghost as he additionally shows us "all things what ye should do" (2 Nephi 32:5). That Christ does "manifest himself unto you in the flesh"-as he does to his elect-and that we are doing "the things which he shall say unto you" (2 Nephi 32:6). And, lastly, that as the righteous Nephites "were led even by God the Father" (Mormon 5:17), so we are led-or will be led-in doing what the Father tells us to do so that we end up "blessed in the kingdom of my Father," a blessing Jesus promised his three Nephite disciples (3 Nephi 28:7-8).

What law, then, did Jesus' three Nephite disciples observe? Which terms of the covenant did they keep as they ascended as far as a man could ascend spiritually in this life? In other words, what must we do to have the Father's name written in our foreheads so we might "bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn" (Doctrine & Covenants 77:11), so we might "assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem" (2 Nephi 10:7-9; 3 Nephi 21:22-24), so we might establish Zion among them at the very time God destroys the wicked from the earth (3 Nephi 21:1-9)? We make covenants, but do we understand them? Has the Father confirmed in us the oath and covenant of the priesthood that he alone makes with all who "offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice" (Doctrine & Covenants 84:31-40)? Under what circumstances must we make such an "offering and sacrifice" in order for them to be "acceptable"?

The Book of Isaiah puts these questions in perspective when we search its inner workings and learn "all things concerning my people which are of the house of Israel" that Isaiah spoke (3 Nephi 23:2). By "all things," Jesus means things past, present, and future as well as the fulness of the gospel of Messiah found in the Book of Isaiah that precedes the New Testament. Searching the words of Isaiah was one reason Book of Mormon prophets could teach the gospel of Messiah long before Jesus was born, besides the personal visions they had in which God showed them the circumstances of Jesus' birth. As a prophecy and a theology in all their richness, the words of Isaiah indeed compare with the "greater things" that are on the Large Plates of Nephi and in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, both of which are still withheld from us because we haven't yet fully believed or lived what we have received thus far (Isaiah 48:6; 3 Nephi 26:6-11; Mormon 8:12; Ether 4:4-16).

Even more than the Book of Mormon, which quotes Isaiah extensively and relies on him for its understanding of Zion, the Book of Isaiah is by far the most Zion-oriented ancient scripture. So shouldn't we use Isaiah's words as a guide to Israel's end-time restoration and to the establishment of Zion? And also his theology, the fulness of the gospel from its Hebrew perspective? We know from the evidence I have gleaned over the past forty years that identifies Isaiah's literary structures, typologies, rhetorical links, key words, and codenames that the ancient events Isaiah selectively chose to speak about in his writings function as an allegory of the end-time. In other words, one can superimpose the entire Book of Isaiah on our day and read into it events now taking shape in the world. On the prophetic principle of "what has been shall be" (Ecclesiastes 1:9; 3 Nephi 23:3), we may thus use the hindsight Isaiah gives us from his day as foresight to figure out the world's imminent future.

We can see, for example, how Egypt, the great superpower of Isaiah's day, was a perfect type of end-time America. As a nation to whom other nations of the ancient world looked for protection against Assyria-a militaristic power from the North (Isaiah 10:5-7; 37:9-13)-Egypt proved to be of no help but an embarrassment because Egypt was then imploding from within (Isaiah 30:1-5; 31:1-3). In Isaiah's day, Egypt was ruled by a non-native black pharaoh during whose dynasty Egypt suffered national disasters, fell into anarchy, and was invaded by Assyria (Isaiah 19:1-15; 20:3-6). Although God's covenant people who lived in Egypt suffered from the collective guilt and curses that came upon Egypt because of its idolatries, God made provision for delivering a righteous remnant of his people to escape destruction. When certain covenanters in the land of Egypt did "worship by sacrifice and offerings and make vows to Jehovah and fulfill them," Jehovah healed them (Isaiah 19:21-22).

As in the above instance, Isaiah's theology forms the basis for all that unfolds in the future. That is particularly the case with the restoration of the house of Israel-the Jews, Israel's Ten Tribes, and Lehi's descendants. Although Latter-day Saints are covenanters-or "my people who are of the covenant" (3 Nephi 21:11)-Zion is never established among the Gentiles. Certain descendants of Ephraim, who assimilated into the Gentiles (Hosea 7:8) and are "identified with the Gentiles" (Doctrine & Covenants 109:60), are nevertheless predicted to emerge from among us to serve as those spiritual "kings and queens of the Gentiles." These act as proxy saviors to assist the house of Israel in establishing Zion. But until we understand the covenant theology behind the establishment of Zion, we will never understand what it is that impels and empowers proxy saviors to accomplish what they do. Nor will we fully perceive the divine patterns that repeat themselves, in the end-time as anciently.

Jesus Christ himself follows these patterns. Scriptural foreshadowings of the life of Jesus, of his teachings and atonement for humanity's transgressions, are too many to mention. From Isaiah's perspective, however, while one can clearly perceive the nature of Jesus' atonement and how perfectly it fits into the Old Testament's theology, Jesus additionally serves as humanity's exemplar-he whom we emulate if we are ever to ascend to higher spiritual levels. Not only did Jesus, in his pre-earthly role as Jehovah the God of Israel, give the Law of the Covenant to Moses, he also personifies God's law and word (John 1:1; 3 Nephi 15:5, 9). That is, he keeps God's law and word to such a high degree that he embodies them, just as he does other divine attributes and perfections. God's law and word, however, constitute the terms of any covenant God makes with his people or with individuals. It is in keeping God's law and word in that covenantal context that we discover who we are.

Because lesser laws and higher laws correspond with whatever covenant God makes, we must first identify which covenants God made anciently that laid a foundation for all subsequent covenants. The Law of Moses, for example, pertained to the Sinai Covenant, God's collective covenant with his people Israel. As a conditional covenant, its blessings and curses depended on whether the people of Israel obeyed or disobeyed its law. When they disobeyed the terms of the covenant after inheriting the Promised Land, they lost God's protection and their enemies gained power over them. That led to the Davidic Covenant-God's covenant with King David and his heirs. In that covenant, the king answered for his people's disloyalties to God, who protected the people for the king's sake. Whereas under the Sinai Covenant every man had answered for his own disloyalties to God, now all that was required of the people in order to obtain God's protection was to remain loyal to their king.

The king, however, now functioned under a higher law and covenant than the Sinai Covenant and its law had been. The law of the Davidic Covenant consisted of a king's serving as a proxy savior of his people by interceding with God for their protection. King David succeeded not only in restoring God's protection of his people, but he also ushered in Israel's Golden Age. King Hezekiah, a descendant of David, provides the best example anciently of proxy salvation under the terms of the Davidic Covenant when the angel of God slew the Assyrians besieging Jerusalem. When Hezekiah kept God's law and the people kept Hezekiah's law, God was bound by the terms of the Davidic Covenant to protect them. That principle epitomizes the "knowledge" or assurance proxy saviors have that God will deliver them, as it says, "Because of his knowledge, and by bearing their iniquities, shall my servant, the righteous one, vindicate many" (Isaiah 53:11), referring to God's end-time servant.

But a king's "bearing the iniquities" of his people-by answering for their disloyalties to God-can be hazardous. Hezekiah suffered almost to death before God assured him he would deliver his people (Isaiah 38:1-20). Although he was a political king, Hezekiah fulfilled a spiritual role. His suffering typified keeping the law of the Davidic Covenant, under which a people obtained temporal salvation by being physically delivered from death for the sake of their king, their proxy savior. Under the same terms of the Davidic Covenant, but on a higher level, Jesus "bore the iniquities" of his people in order to obtain their spiritual salvation. Jesus' sufferings typified the law he kept when he atoned for humanity's transgressions. After Jesus had paid the price for that salvation (Isaiah 53:1-10), the Most High God was bound to deliver him and those loyal to Jesus from death. Thus was laid the foundation for humanity's resurrection from the dead and deliverance from spiritual death.

Although there exist many types of suffering-suffering for one's sins, suffering inherent in our mortal state, suffering of generational covenant curses, and so forth-under the terms of the Davidic Covenant suffering assumes another dimension. The kind of suffering a proxy savior takes on when he covenants with God on behalf of those to whom he ministers-be they a nation he rules, an army he commands, or simply family and friends-that kind of suffering is redemptive because it pays a price for the salvation or deliverance of others. In its fullest, covenantal context, that is the kind of suffering Paul refers to when he says, "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, then heirs-heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if it so be that we suffer with [him], that we may also be glorified together" Romans 8:16-17). And again, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him], but if we deny [him], he will also deny us" 2 Timothy 2:12).

In other words, if we who have received the gospel choose not to be "saviors of men"-in its fullest covenantal sense as kings and queens of the Gentiles-we will be as "salt that has lost its savor" (Doctrine & Covenants 103:10). We won't just have procrastinated the day of our salvation but also forfeited our exaltation as kings and queens. Either way, there is a price to pay. We can either ascend the spiritual ladder that Isaiah's theology reveals and ultimately be recreated in God's express image and likeness, or we can descend and be de-created from what we once were. No one can expect to become a "joint-heir with Christ" and "reign with [him]" unless he does the kingly works he has seen him do, as Jesus said, "That which ye have seen me do, even that shall ye do" (3 Nephi 27:21). And as God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Mormon 9:9), he will not do for one what he doesn't for another, including his Only-Begotten Son.

A category of salvation below that of Jesus but above that of local kings pertains to translated persons. All three categories, however-that of Jesus, of translated persons, and of local kings-rely on proxy saviors who function under the terms of the Davidic Covenant. Like Jesus' three Nephite disciples, translated persons are "led even by God the Father" (Mormon 5:17). Like Enoch, Moses, and Elijah, they exercise power over the elements (Exodus 14:21-22; 2 Kings 2:8; Moses 7:13). Their ministry extends to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people (3 Nephi 28:29; Doctrine & Covenants 77:8-11). The proxy salvation they obtain under the terms of the Davidic Covenant is characterized by divine intervention, as when "God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah" Genesis 19:29). In other words, God intervened to save Lot for Abraham's sake, though he saved Lot's daughters for Lot's sake.

As shown by the angels who led Lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction (Genesis 19:15-16), divine intervention often occurs through the ministry of angels or translated persons. Called "seraphs" in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:2-3, 6), they are no longer subject to death. The "angels" God sends to "gather together his elect from the four winds" at the time of Jesus' coming in glory (Matthew 24:30-31), are doubtless also translated persons. Upon Jesus' three Nephite disciples being translated, they became "as the angels of God" (3 Nephi 28:30). They continue their saving missions on the earth until the Second Coming of Christ (3 Nephi 28:7). When Nephi says, "It shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth" (2 Nephi 30:8), he is surely referring to the end-time mission of translated persons who minister to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

The mission of God's 144,000 servants whom John mentions is to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people (Doctrine & Covenants 77:8-11). As translated persons-having the Father's name written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1)-they seek out "as many as will come" from throughout the earth to prepare them for Jesus' coming in glory (Doctrine & Covenants 77:11; cf. Moses 7:62). While those whom the Father has foreordained to serve as kings and queens of the Gentiles may commence their ministry on a lower spiritual level than that of translated persons, their performing the role of proxy saviors of God's people under the terms of the David Covenant empowers them to make the transition to a translated state. The law proxy saviors keep on the level of God's elect-persons who make sure their "calling and election" (2 Peter 1:10)-is what propels them to the level of seraphs, "angels," or translated persons. Having made that transition, they, in turn, minister to God's elect.

When we compare the following four prophecies-(1) that of Isaiah about the kings and queens of the Gentiles who gather God's "sons" and "daughters" who are of the house of Israel (Isaiah 49:22-23); (2) that of John about the 144,000 servants of God who "bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn" (Doctrine & Covenants 77:11); (3) that of Jesus about his angels who gather together his elect (Matthew 24:31); and (4) that of the prophet Zenos about the "servants" of the Lord of the vineyard who graft the natural branches of the olive tree back into their mother tree (Jacob 5:61-75)-we can conclude that each of these prophecies is speaking about the same end-time scenario but using different ways to express it. In other words, Isaiah's kings and queens of the Gentiles, John's 144,000 servants of God, Jesus' angels who gather his elect, and Zenos' servants who labor in the vineyard all comprise one and the same category of end-time saviors who restore the house of Israel.

Isaiah himself uses additional descriptive terms to identify these restorers of God's people. Among them are Isaiah's "watchmen," who mediate with God on behalf of Jerusalem: "I have appointed watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall not be silent day or night. You who call upon Jehovah, let not up nor give him respite till he reestablishes Jerusalem and makes it renowned in the earth" (Isaiah 62:6-7). These righteous watchmen succeed an unrighteous category of watchmen who don't watch or warn God's people of approaching danger but who are spiritually drunk: "Their watchmen are altogether blind and unaware; all of them are but dumb watchdogs unable to bark, lolling seers fond of slumber. Gluttonous dogs, and insatiable, such indeed are insensible shepherds. They are all diverted to their own way, every one after his own advantage. Come, [they say,] let us get wine and have our fill of liquor. For tomorrow will be like today, only far better!" (Isaiah 56:10-12).

Like John and Enos, Isaiah too identifies the end-time saviors of God's people as his "servants." They consist of certain Gentiles who offer up an acceptable offering and sacrifice: "The foreigners who adhere to Jehovah to serve him, who love the name of Jehovah, that they may be his servants-all who keep the Sabbath without profaning it, holding fast to my covenant-these I will bring to my holy mountain and gladden in my house of prayer. Their offerings and sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar, for my house shall be known as a house of prayer for all nations" (Isaiah 56:6-7). Isaiah further identifies them as "priests" and "ministers": "You shall be called the priests of Jehovah and referred to as the ministers of our God. You shall feed on the wealth of the nations and be gratified with their choicest provision. Because their shame was twofold, and shouted insults were their lot, therefore in their land shall their inheritance be twofold and everlasting joy be theirs" (Isaiah 61:6-7).

The twofold "shame" these priests and ministers suffer refers to the price they pay when answering to God for the disloyalties of those to whom they minister. Merging the different scriptures we have cited into a single end-time scenario, we find that those Gentiles "who are of the covenant" who disbelieve the words of Christ that his servant brings forth (3 Nephi 21:11) persecute those who believe: "Your brethren who abhor you, and exclude you because of my name, say, Let Jehovah manifest his glory, that we may see cause for your joy! But it is they who shall suffer shame" (Isaiah 55:5). Those who harden their hearts when God brings forth "more" of his word (2 Nephi 28:30; 29:1-3; 3 Nephi 21:11; Ether 4:4-8), who love "precepts of men" rather than "the truth of God" (2 Nephi 28:26-32), who cling to false rather than "true points" of doctrine (1 Nephi 15:13-16; 3 Nephi 21:6), create opposition for those who repent. Thus occurs an everlasting division between them (1 Nephi 14:7).

God reverses the circumstances of his end-time servants when he sets his house in order: "Hark, a tumult from the city, a noise from the temple! It is the voice of Jehovah paying his enemies what is due them" (Isaiah 66:6). In that instance, God's "enemies" are those of his own house who are in authority, who ostracize their zealous brethren (Isaiah 66:5; cf. Doctrine & Covenants 112:24-26: "Upon my house shall it begin"). After his servants have passed the test-having paid the price for the temporal salvation of those to whom they minister-God validates them: "My servants shall eat indeed, while you shall hunger; my servants shall drink indeed, while you shall thirst; my servants shall rejoice indeed, while you shall be dismayed. My servants shall shout indeed, for gladness of heart, while you shall cry out with heartbreak, howling from brokenness of spirit. Your name shall be left to serve my chosen ones as a curse when my Lord Jehovah slays you" (Isaiah 65:13-15).

According to this scriptural pattern of deliverance and destruction, evil has to run its course and come to a head before God intervenes and reverses the situation. While the blessings or curses of any covenant God makes with a people or individual manifest themselves when the terms of the covenant are respectively obeyed or disobeyed, the curses of the covenant may also come upon anyone who violates the rights of those with whom God covenants. In other words, in the first place, if God covenants with a king to physically protect those to whom he ministers on condition that the king answers for their disloyalties to God, and if the king keeps the law of the Davidic Covenant by proving loyal to God under all conditions, then God is under obligation to deliver those to whom the king ministers. Secondly, however, if enemies of the king and of those to whom he ministers mortally threaten them, then the curses of the covenant God made with the king come upon the king's enemies.

In the end-time scenario that the scriptures depict, evil comes to a head when the great and abominable church of the devil "gather[s] together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God" (1 Nephi 14:13), when many of the Gentiles "unite themselves to that great and abominable church" and fight against Zion (2 Nephi 6:12), when the disbelieving Gentiles "contend against the word of the Lord" at the time he shows the repentant Gentiles the things the Brother of Jared saw (Ether 4:7-9), and so forth. When those with whom God covenants pass the test of remaining loyal through the opposition that inevitably rears its head, he empowers them over their enemies. Only at that point does "the power of the Lamb of God" descend upon the "saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord," they becoming "armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory" (1 Nephi 14:14).

Passing the test of overcoming opposition by enemies-be they within or without the church-sanctifies the proxy saviors of God's people so that thereafter they are no more called Gentiles but "saints"-that is, sanctified ones, or "holy ones" (cf. Isaiah 4:3; 13:3; 62:12; Doctrine & Covenants 1:36). Hence, Nephi's definition of those who constitute "saints": "The righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it" (2 Nephi 9:18). Further definitions of "saints" include persons who offer up prayers on behalf of others (3 Nephi 5:14; Mormon 9:36), who are "caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud" (Doctrine & Covenants 76:102), who "stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem" (Doctrine & Covenants 84:2), but who were erstwhile persecuted by "the mother of abominations" (Doctrine & Covenants 88:94).

The terms of the Davidic Covenant provide the means to take those who are saints in name only to the level of "saints" in reality. As an exemplary king taught, one "becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ" when he "yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man . . . and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father" (Mosiah 3:19). The Davidic Covenant God instituted for the protection or temporal salvation of his people lends a covenantal context to becoming a saint and empowers those who minister to God's people to ascend to the highest spiritual levels attainable. What transforms kings and queens in embryo into proxy saviors on the model of Christ-as he fulfilled the law of a proxy savior under the terms of the Davidic Covenant-is a willingness to "suffer with [him]" (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12).

The scattered remnants of Israel to whom the end-time kings and queens of the Gentiles minister will initially depend on proxy saviors to vouch for them before God.  Many of those remnants will be but newly receiving the gospel in their lives at the very time the great and abominable church of the devil is threatening to destroy them. They will also anticipate the curses of God's covenant coming upon their enemies-those who violate their rights-according to the terms of the Davidic Covenant their proxy saviors make with their God. In other words, when these end-time kings and queens of the Gentiles undertake to answer to God for these fresh converts from throughout the earth, God is duty bound to deliver their charges and curse their enemies so that they may escort them safely home to Zion. Upon transitioning to a translated state, their mission of gathering the tribes of Israel will be characterized by divine intervention as they exercise power over enemies and the elements.

As noted, the blessings of the Davidic Covenant and its protection clause operate when those who serve as kings keep God's law and those to whom they minister keep the king's law. We see that protection clause operate, for example, in Helaman and his stripling warriors. They called Helaman their "father," which in covenant language designates a proxy savior (2 Kings 13:14; Alma 56:46). He called them his "sons," which term designates those to whom a king ministers (2 Chronicles 29:1, 11). Although the high priest Helaman was not a political king, he nevertheless functioned as a spiritual king under the terms of the Davidic Covenant by answering to God for his still-tender warriors until after they had proven themselves. While Helaman kept God's law, his stripling warriors kept Helaman's law: "They did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness" that Helaman gave them (Alma 57:21). Hence not one of them could be killed (Alma 56:56; 57:25).

As with Jesus' three Nephite disciples, God empowers proxy saviors who transition to a translated state to save others spiritually as well as temporally because of the "convincing power" translated persons have to turn the hearts of those to whom they minister. The three Nephite disciples best exemplify the end-time mission of Isaiah's kings and queens of the Gentiles: "They shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good. Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ" (3 Nephi 28:29-31).

Isaiah sums up the end-time mission of the kings and queens of the Gentiles: "Arise, shine, your light has dawned; the glory of Jehovah has risen upon you! Although darkness covers the earth, and a thick mist the peoples, upon you Jehovah will shine; over you his glory shall be visible. Nations will come to your light, their kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you! They have all assembled to come to you: your sons shall arrive from afar; your daughters shall return to your side. . . . Foreigners will rebuild your walls, their kings minister to you. . . . Your gates shall always remain open; they shall not be shut day or night, that a host of nations may be brought to you and their kings escorted in. . . . The splendor of Lebanon shall become yours-cypresses, pines, and firs together-to beautify the site of my sanctuary, to make glorious the place of my feet. . . .They will call you the City of Jehovah, Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 60:1-4, 10-11, 13-14).

6 comments :

  1. Thank you,I appreciate feeling a part of this Zion Conference through this talk even though I am in England on a mission.

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  2. This is an incredible synopsis of the gospel and of our mission on earth. Thank you, Brother Gileadi, for dedicating your life to our salvation.

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  3. Haven't even read this yet and can already feel something wonderful is about to happen. Brother Gileadi thank you in advance and God bless you! You've inspired me to learn Hebrew. And now I can't go a day without praying to, singing to, and praising God in Hebrew. I felt compelled and that it will be important to know but really don't know why. I don't know anyone who speaks Hebrew or even wants to learn it with me. All I know is that it feels like it's a part of my soul as natural as breathing. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to bringing us the knowledge you so graciously impart. Again, God bless you and your family always.

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  4. Thank you for an immense supply of spiritual food for thought and of light to the understanding both in this presentation and in the conference Saturday. The conference more than exceeded my expectations. Please continue offering such gatherings. It was such a great day!

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  5. Thank you. I so appreciate the clarity you have given to these familiar scriptures. This will add depth to my prayers and meditations.

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  6. Wonderful message. I made this into an audio file and I listen to it over and over again. One of the messages of Isaiah that really speaks to me is the idea of transformation. Ascending back to God and doing that which is our purpose to do, and that the Lord will help us achieve it!

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