3. The Gathering of Israel and the Book of Mormon

Part 3 of Gregorio Billikopf's 3 part series understanding the Gathering of Israel

2035
3. The Gathering of Israel and the Book of Mormon
Read part 1 and part 2 to this series

There are multiple references throughout the Holy Scriptures where the Lord reminds His people Israel of the Abrahamic covenant which was reiterated in Rain in Due Season and elsewhere, through the expression your God, my People. Here are but a few examples. In each of these cases it can be assumed that the readers of the scriptures were intimately aware of the theological ellipsis involved:

“And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:7, emphasis added).

Speaking of a day to come: “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33, emphasis added).

“That the house of Israel may go no more astray from me, neither be polluted any more with all their transgressions; but that they may be my people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 14:11, emphasis added).

“And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 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” (Joel 2:27–28, emphasis added).

“And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness” (Zechariah 8:8, emphasis added).

Allusion is made to other portions of the Rain in Due Season scriptures, also. For instance, in Daniel 9:7–11, we read Daniel’s acknowledgement that the children of Jacob had failed to keep the covenant and had thus suffered the promised consequences or curses:

“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him” (Daniel 9:7–11, emphasis added).

Ezekiel 36

I find Ezekiel 36:16 ff. particularly interesting, because it is as if the Lord is reminding the children of Jacob about Rain in Due Season just before speaking about the vital role to be played by the Book of Mormon in helping to gather Israel from every corner of the globe: a role which is again spoken off in Isaiah 66, and elsewhere.

“Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man” (Ezekiel 36:16–17a). The Lord shares His titles with His servants. The Savior is the Son of Man, for His Father is the Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57; 7:35). “When the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman” (Ezekiel 36:17b). In other words, the Lord is telling them that they did not keep the covenant.

“Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it: And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them” (Ezekiel 36:18–19). Because of Israel’s apostasy, she was scattered as promised.

“And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:23–24).The Lord is here speaking of the gathering that would come to pass after the blessings and cursing as mentioned in Deuteronomy 30:1–6, Rain in Due Season.

Numerous spiritual blessings are enumerated next: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean [compare to the temple ordinance in Numbers: ‘And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them’ (Numbers 8:7a)]: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you [possibly an allusion to being confirmed and the reception of the Holy Ghost—GB]: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25–27).

Among the promised blessings will be a return to the lands consecrated to Israel, including the Holy Land, “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28, emphasis added).

In the next verses the Lord touches upon other promises made in Rain in Due Season, such as crops instead of famine, the reconstruction of the waste places, etc.

The Promised Book of Mormon

We finally come to the glorious punchline. How will Israel be gathered in fulfillment of the many promises made in Rain in Due Season and elsewhere in the Jewish Bible? Let us move on to Ezekiel 37:15, an often quoted scripture which I hope we will better understand in its richness.

“The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man” (Ezekiel 37:15–16a). Once again, the Lord shares His own title with Ezekiel. “Take thee one stick, and write upon it” (Ezekiel 37:16b). The prophets of God were often asked to act out the prophetic word: for instance, by cooking on cow dung (Ezekiel 4:12, 15); going ‘naked’ or wearing only the undergarments (Isaiah 20:3); burying a sash or girdle in the river (Jeremiah 13:4) and so on.

Now the Prophet Ezekiel is asked to take a stick, or rather, a piece of wood, and literally write upon it. The word עֵץ translated as stick in our KJV, means tree, or in this context, rather, wood (Gesenius, BDB, halot] or tablet {Targum (????)}.

The LHI Bible (see also 1587 Geneva Bible) translates the word עֵץ as “[a piece of] wood.” In the Targum of Ezekiel the meaning is even clearer, “take one tablet [לוּחָא] and engrave upon it” {Targum Jonathan to the Prophets (????)}.

It is clear that we have a piece of writing material here, whether wood, metal, or something else. So, “take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions” (Ezekiel 37:16b) is to symbolize that most precious book that would come down to us through Judah, the Holy Bible.

Judah, here, stands for the southern kingdom, or the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and part of Levi, called Judah for the prominent role of that tribe. His companions makes it clear that it was not to be for Judah alone, but Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, and eventually, all of Israel.

“Then take another stick [עֵץ, or once again, tablet in the Targum (????), לוּחָא], and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions” (Ezekiel 37:16c).

Beside the Bible we have another book that would be engraved, one that would proceed from Joseph—or Ephraim. His companions expands the importance of this book beyond the literal tribe of Ephraim to all of the northern tribes, and eventually, to the two and a half tribes of the south, named after Judah.

This is the second priceless book mentioned, the Book of Mormon. “And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand” (Ezekiel 37:17). This second book comes with a blessing so powerful, that all who read from its pages—and ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Christ about its truthfulness—will know it is from God.

These two books, the Bible and the Book of Mormon would become as one witness. Yes, these two engraved holy books would also come to be carried together. When I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1970s people literally carried these books together, in one hand.

The time will come—and is already here—when electronic versions of these books will replace the physical copies. People in future days may not understand this scripture unless they understand the cultural ellipsis, that people in the old days actually carried books in their hands. People who have everything in an electronic or virtual version will need to be told that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries people carried actual physical copies of these books, the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon, joined together, in their hands.

When the missionaries introduce the Book of Mormon, they are often asked, “Why Book of Mormondo we need another book beside the Bible?” We recognize both the question and the answer here in Ezekiel. “And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?” (Ezekiel 37:18). What they are really asking is, once again, “Two books?” The Lord answers through Ezekiel, “Yes, indeed, two books joined together and supporting of each other: two books that do not contradict each other: two united witnesses.”

Note the expression בְּנֵי עַמְּךָ, the children of thy people. This is because the Book of Mormon will be taken to the literal children of Israel—both Ephraim and Judah. Can you feel the increasing thrill of the narrative?

The answer comes in a further repetition of what has already been said. “Oh yes, indeed, you heard correctly. There will be two books: one written by Judah; the other by Ephraim!”

“Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand (בְּיָדִי)” (Ezekiel 37:19). In whose hand shall these two books be? In the hands of the Lord, for He shall use these as instruments for the gathering of His people, as we shall see.

“And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes” (Ezekiel 37:20). The prophet Ezekiel is commanded to carry these two tablets made out of wood before the people—in representation of these two books that would come forth, the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

The idea is that the people around the Prophet Ezekiel would ask him the meaning of his walking around with two pieces of wood pressed against each other in his hand. The very question, as we saw above, was prophetic of the inquiry in the mouth of those who would listen to the missionaries in the latter days and ask “Why do we need two Bibles?”

I have friends and scholars who belong to other churches and they recognize that the Bible can be interpreted in multiple ways. The Prophet Joseph Smith wanted to Joseph Smithknow which Church was right but concluded that “… the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible” (JS-History 1:12).

Now we come to the triumphant message, the thrilling message, the riveting message of the Hebrew Bible. Throughout the Holy Scriptures the Lord has promised that He would gather Israel in the latter days. Now the Holy One of Israel is telling us that the gathering will take place through these two books. As President Russell M. Nelson told the youth in a worldwide devotional on 3 June 2018, without the Book of Mormon there would be no gathering.

These records are the means whereby Israel will be gathered from among all the nations. Both of them are full of wonderful promises to the children of Jacob. The very purpose of the Book of Mormon, as explained by the ancient prophet who inscribed its title page, is for “the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.”

That is also the very message of the Bible even if it has been transmitted to us in an imperfect form. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (DHC, 6:57).[1] These two records—or at the mouth of two or three witnesses—testify of Christ and of His divinity.

The coming forth of the Book of Mormon, intended to work in unison with the Bible, would indicate that the gathering of Israel was about to begin. Elder M. Russell Ballard taught: “I love the Bible, its teachings, its lessons, and its spirit. I love the Old Testament’s compelling, profound stories and its great prophets testifying of the coming of Christ. I love the New Testament’s apostolic travels and miracles and the letters of Paul. Most of all, I love its eyewitness accounts of the words and the example and the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love the perspective and peace that come from reading the Bible… Brothers and sisters, I am sure many of you have had the experience of hearing people say that ‘Mormons are not M. Russell BallardChristians because they have their own Bible, the Book of Mormon.’ To anyone harboring this misconception, we say that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and the author of our salvation and that we believe, revere, and love the Holy Bible.

We do have additional sacred scripture, including the Book of Mormon, but it supports the Bible, never substituting for it. We love the Bible and other scriptures. That may be surprising to some who may not be aware of our belief in the Bible as the revealed word of God. It is one of the pillars of our faith, a powerful witness of the Savior and of Christ’s ongoing influence in the lives of those who worship and follow Him. The more we read and study the Bible and its teachings, the more clearly we see the doctrinal underpinnings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ… Those who join this Church do not give up their faith in the Bible—they strengthen it. The Book of Mormon does not dilute nor diminish nor de-emphasize the Bible. On the contrary, it expands, extends, and exalts it. The Book of Mormon testifies of the Bible, and both testify of Christ… I bear solemn witness that we are true and full believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His revealed word through the Holy Bible. We not only believe the Bible—we strive to follow its precepts and to teach its message. The message of our missionaries is Christ and His gospel and His Atonement, and the scriptures are the text of that message.”[2]

The resurrected Lord spoke to a remnant of Joseph in the American continent: “Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled—behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them—And verily, verily, I say unto you, that when they shall be fulfilled then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel. And then shall the remnants, which shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, be gathered in from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north; and they shall be brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God, who hath redeemed them” (3 Nephi 20:11–13).

Furthermore we read: “And I will remember the covenant which I have made with my people [i.e., all of Israel]; and I have covenanted with them that I would gather them together in mine own due time, that I would give unto them again the land of their fathers for their inheritance, which is the land of Jerusalem [for the tribes of Judah], which is the promised land unto them forever, saith the Father” (3 Nephi 20:29).

Here in Ezekiel, the Holy One of Israel ties the gathering, the Book of Mormon and Holy Bible together. These concepts are joined as closely as Ezekiel was to carry the two pieces of wood in his hand, in representation of these future books.

“And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen [הַגּוֹיִם], whither they be gone.” As we said earlier, the heathen, הַגּוֹיִם can also be translated as the nations [הַגּוֹיִם].

The scattering and gathering among the nations is the same as that which is mentioned in Rain in Due Season: “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations [הַגּוֹיִם], whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee (Deuteronomy 30:1).

In Rain in Due Season, right after this verse, the Lord speaks of gathering Israel from among the nations, “… then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations [הָעַמִּים], whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.”

Here, however, the word nations is a translated from a Hebrew synonym, literally, “gather thee from all the peoples [הָעַמִּים].” The Lord is speaking of gathering and fetching Israel back.

“And will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land” (Ezekiel 37:21b). Such words reaffirm what has already been promised, that the Lord would gather Israel from every quarter of the earth and bring them back to the Promised Land. Judah would be especially brought back to the Holy Land, the land of Israel; Ephraim and Manasseh, the children of Joseph, would be especially brought back to Zion, both North and South America. [The word Zion has numerous meanings, depending on the context, and includes Zion in America as well as Zion in representation of Israel.]

The enmity between the tribes of Israel will cease and shall once again become one nation. “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:22). Instead of being divided, as they were after the civil war,[3] where Ephraim and Manasseh hated each other, and where both hated Judah and Judah hated them back, there would be great unity between the tribes. Is this not the case in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today? There is great love between Ephraim and Manasseh and between these tribes and Judah. Not only is there a great abiding love between all the tribes, but also toward the children of Ishmael and to the whole world.

And Messiah their King

“And one king shall be king to them all” (Ezekiel 37:22b). Israel’s true King had Isaiah Reveals Ways to Remember Christ for Easter in Mosiah 14 and Isaiah 53been rejected and Saul had been called to be king. At that time Israel had a human king just like all the surrounding nations. The civil war brought two kingdoms and two kings, the kings of Judah in the south, and the kings of Ephraim in the north.

Christ would now once again be Israel’s King and the King of all the nations. “And they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all” (Ezekiel 37:22b).

The next verse speaks of the grace that would be poured upon the children of Jacob, so that they would be able to combat sin and be cleansed and saved through the expiatory sacrifice of the Messiah.

“Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned” (Ezekiel 37:23). Through the cleansing of baptism and the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord has blessed the children of Israel with much strength. His Grace is sufficient for all those who wish to be His disciples.

Note here a spiritual gathering from the “dwelling places wherein they have sinned.” Not only are the children of Israel gathered from every corner under the heavens, but they are gathered away from idolatry and every manner of sin, invited to leave spiritual Babylon and come to spiritual Zion, regardless of which side of the veil they live at.

And now the words which all who have embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ have been waiting for, the Holy One of Israel says to all His disciples: “And will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 37:23b, emphasis added, and see also Ezekiel 36:25–27). Note the baptismal cleansing that takes place before the gift of the Holy Ghost is imparted, wherein the Holy Ghost can become our constant companion and we can feel that the Lord is truly our God and we are His people. Is this not at least one way in which the promise is fulfilled wherein the Lord walks among us? We can then be cleansed by the Holy Spirit of Promise as we become partakers of the Abrahamic covenant. Do you hear the invitation, oh Israel?

This refers to the principal theological ellipsis we have been speaking off throughout this paper. The person who is familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures will immediately make the connection with the scriptures which speak about the great blessings and cursing that was to come upon the children of Israel as a result of their obedience or disobedience.

“And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them” (Ezekiel 37:24). David is here put for one of the many titles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we read of this second David, we know at once it refers to no ordinary man, but to the Messiah. In Jeremiah we read, “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land (Jeremiah 33:15, see also 23:5). Further-more, “But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jeremiah 30:9); “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it” (Ezekiel 34:23); “Afterward shall the children of Israel return (יָשֻׁבוּ), and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:5). This יָשֻׁבוּ is not only a physical one, but a spiritual one in which people return to the Lord.

Why David? King David of old was the first, after Moses and Joshua, to bring the hearts of all the tribes together knit as one. More importantly, of the Davidic line would be born Messiah. Jesus the Christ was often called, “Son of David.” All of these references to a latter-day David who would reign over Israel, then, are allusions to Messiah.

“And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever” (Ezekiel 37:25).

So this wonderful promise is repeated, the children of Israel would be restored to their promised lands and they would have the Holy One of Israel or the Holy Messiah, the very Son of God, to be their Prince and their King.

The land spoken of here is the land of Israel, of course. But the land of Israel shall “be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants” (Isaiah 49:19b). In addition, the Lord would give to Joseph another choice land, in the “everlasting hills” that would be found “over the wall” or the ocean, even the American continent (see Joseph’s patriarchal blessing, Genesis 49:22–26).

Other prophets also bear witness of the same gathering: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness” (Zechariah 8:7–8, emphasis added).

It is the thousands of Manasseh and ten thousands of Ephraim who will have the great blessing and responsibility for beginning the process of gathering the rest of the tribes, including Judah. In Isaiah 18 and 66 we read in great detail how missionaries will leave the American continent and help gather Israel and Judah back to the land of Israel and back to the temple: “In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled [i.e., scattered and removed], and from a people terrible from their beginning [i.e., this is what Israel was called by the surrounding nations after its return from Egypt] hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled [i.e., a reference to armies that invaded Israel, e.g., see Isaiah 8:7–8], to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion [i.e., here a reference to the temple and to the land of Israel]” (Isaiah 18:7).

“Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them” (Ezekiel 34:23). The word peace [שָׁלוֹם] is an interesting one. Peace, in Hebrew, means much more than the cessation of war. Among its meanings the idea of salvation is included. So it is that through the Holy Ghost we can be filled with calm and peace and joy, but that is notPresident Nelson's 5 Ways to Change You and the World all, we are lead through this covenant to the way of salvation and eternal lives. It is precisely joy and peace which President Russell M. Nelson offered the youth devotional as they put in the effort to learn how to pray and seek to recognize the whisperings of the Spirit.

“It shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them” (Ezekiel 37:26b). In the last days the Lord would establish His Church for the last time. It would never fall, as a Church, into apostasy. It would be the last dispensation, or the dispensation of the fullness of times.

“And will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them” (Ezekiel 37:26b–27a).

The Holy One of Israel would establish the House of the Lord, His temple, among the people so that when this gift of a converted scattered Israel would be gathered, they could enter the House of the Lord to make special covenants there. But when He says that beside His sanctuary, or Temple, “my tabernacle also shall be with them,” He is speaking of His physical presence, that will be enjoyed by those who are so privileged to behold it. This is an example of parallelism wherein what appears to be a truth repeated twice actually hides another glorious truth.

“Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:27b). This is a double blessing, a sure blessing—one that is repeated twice in these verses.

“And the heathen [or better, the nations] shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore [לְעוֹלָם]” (Ezekiel 37:28). Once again, the House of the Lord is mentioned and a promise that the Church would not fall away, ever, לְעֹלָם.

All of the nations shall know that Israel was not discarded by Her Lord, “And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” So, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1). The witness of the Book of Mormon loudly proclaims the divinity of the Savior, and help us better understand many of the promises found in the Bible.

Shon HopkinAmidst a world who is attacking the divinity of our Lord, I came across this wonderful quote from Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture, Shon D. Hopkin, of Brigham Young University, “There is no space in the Book of Mormon for any debate over His identity. He is the Son of God; He is the Savior of the world.”[4]

I cherish my testimony of God, the Eternal Father, and His beloved Son, even Jesus Christ, above all things. It is the Book of Mormon that led me to this testimony. With the Psalmist I exclaim: “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever (לְעוֹלָם)” (Psalm 106:1).

This is Part 3 of Gregorio Billikopf’s 3 part series understanding the Gathering of Israel. Here’s part 1 and part 2 if you missed them. Finally understand the gathering of Israel!

Notes

This article is an update of the introduction Rain in Due Season, in Isaiah Testifies of Christ.

[1] Robert J. Matthews, “Joseph Smith’s Inspired Translation of the Bible.” December 1972 Ensign.

[2] Ballard, M. Russell. The Miracle of the Holy Bible. April 2007 General Conference.

[3] I often speak on this subject, and at a fireside yesterday, at the Alerce Ward, Puerto Montt Stake, Sister Marisol Cornejo de San Martín wisely suggested that these mountains themselves also represent the temples of the Lord, where perfect harmony is expected of those who enter therein. 12 June 2017.

[4] R. Scott Lloyd, “Sperry Symposium speaker: Book of Mormon written ‘to the convincing of Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.’” Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (24 October 2015). Deseret News, Faith, 12 November 2015.

Last revised: 8 December 2019

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Gregorio Billikopf belongs to the Llanquihue Branch, Puerto Montt Stake, in the south of Chile. He is the author of Isaiah Testifies of Christ and an emeritus academic of the University of California and professor of the University of Chile; author of Party-Directed Mediation: Facilitating Dialogue between Individuals and other books. Gregorio’s paternal grandparents are Lithuanian Jews and German Jews and on his mother’s side of the family he is Chilean. He found Christ through reading the Book of Mormon. You may contact him through bielikov2@yahoo.cl.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I love how thorough his analysis is! If only people in my mission knew this. The Book of Mormon and Bible help and support one another. If God gave us more blessings, we wouldn’t turn our heads and reject them. We would welcome them willingly. That is what the Book of Mormon is, more blessings and a fullness of the truth! I love how the Lord has prophesied of our day since the beginning of time. This is HIS church and He is truly gathering Israel and one day we will ALL be ONE in/with/through Christ.

    • So true Zach! Christ truly is the means whereby Israel will be gathered. It’s easy to get distracted with many other things and forget the central role Christ should be playing in ALL that we do.

  2. Brother Zach, thanks for your kind comments. Indeed, the Book of Mormon is the book of books, as Parley P. Pratt affectionately called it. In my next article, although not officially part of the series, I will share how the Book of Mormon was an instrument in gathering me unto Christ.

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