Thank you for the response. It doesn't appear that this is a topic of
general interest to this group so I won't belabor any points. I find it
somewhat humbling that after many years in the church, I find myself asking
such simple questions. I have been searching the scriptures in an attempt to
understand the answers to these and other questions. These are not the type
of questions you can ask in Sunday School without getting the 'look' from
the instructor and receiving the pat seminary answer. I have begun
cataloging each scriptural reference for these terms and will attempt to
prayerfully extract the meanings for these: gentile, house of Israel, Jew,
remnant of Jacob, children of men, and others. Hopefully that will help me
understand how this all fits together.
You mention that Gileadi said that the members of the church were gentiles.
Was that the reason he was ex'ed? If so, that is not a safe area to tread
(which is a question in itself). I recently found a quote by BY stating
emphatically that we are of the house of Israel and a similar strong
statement by WW that we are the gentiles. For that reason, I am focusing on
the scriptures for a clarification.
Timing is another consideration in this whole thing. That is why I asked the
question regarding the fulness of the the gentiles. There are several
scriptural references that allude to the times of the gentiles and the
fulness of the gentiles. These seem to mean that there is a time when the
Lord will remember his covenant with the house of Israel and 'defocus' the
Your response certainly helps me to understand that I am not 'up in the
night' for asking these questions. There are some difficulties that come
from a lack of understanding of these topics. I feel a strong need to get to
an answer so that I may better understand the messages in the scriptures for
whatever label is applicable to me.
From: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Date: Saturday, October 26, 2002 5:27:11 PM
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: [ZION] Who is the House of Israel?
At 08:29 AM, Saturday, 10/26/02, Noel Bennion wrote:
>Perhaps you could help me out a little here with the answers to several
>1) Who are the Gentiles?
>2) Who is the house of Israel?
>3) What does the fulness of the Gentiles mean?
Well, that is really the problem. Each of these terms has more than one
meaning depending on how it is used. For an example, a Gentile could be
anyone who isn't descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Or it could be
anyone who lives in one of the Gentile nations. The Gentile nations are
the Christian nations of Europe. The Book of Mormon uses this last meaning
for the most part. It says that the gospel will go first to the Gentiles
and then to the Jews. Well, it came first to Joseph Smith and other white,
Anglo-Saxon Mormons. So they must be the Gentiles referred to the in the
Book of Mormon. But Joseph Smith said that he was a pure Ephraimite, and
most Church members are of the half tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. So in
one sense they are the children of Israel, and in another they are Gentile
because they can trace their lineages back to the Gentile nations of
The House of Israel today means one thing to Mormons, and another thing to
non-Mormons who consider our Bible the Word of God. Mormons generally
believe that anyone descended from Jacob whose name was changed to Israel
is the House of Israel. But in the rest of the world, the term House of
Israel is synonymous with the term Jew. While not all Jews are of the
tribe of Judah, only the Jewish people have kept their tribal affiliation
since ancient times. The the only House of Israel they know of are the
Jews. We Mormon believe that we are of the House of Israel and the Jews
are too. The rest of the world believes that Jews are the House of Israel.
Complicating this further, the Book of Mormon refers to the descendents of
Lehi as "Jews." And they were of the tribes of Ephraim (Lehi) and Manasseh
(Ishmael). And since the descendents of Lehi are Jews, and the modern day
Lamanites are descendent of Lehi, they must be Jews also. So perhaps that
prophecy is fulfilled that the gospel will be taken first to the Gentiles
(European-Americans) and then to the Jews (Lamanites).
A few years back there was a controversy over all of this. An article in
the Ensign written by Daniel Ludlow said that Church members were House of
Israel and not Gentiles. Avraham Gileadi, on the other hand, said that by
the usage in the Book of Mormon, members of the Church descended from
European ancestors were Gentiles. Who was right? Well, as I have studied
it out in my mind, Church members are either House of Israel or Gentiles
depending on the usage. In other words, I lean toward Gileadi and away
For what it is worth, because I am descended from Ephraim according to my
Patriarchal Blessing, I am House of Israel and therefore a Jew. The term
Jew does not refer only to those descended from the tribe of Judah, but all
those descended from Jerusalem, or the Kingdom of Judah, or those who
practice Judaism or the Law of Moses. I consider all those members who are
descended from Ephraim or Mannaseh to be Jews. Of course this is really
distressing to those few Mormons who are anti-Semites, ooops, I mean
You got that now? It is as clear as mud. <grin> You have to know how the
word is used to determine which meaning to attach to it.
John W. Redelfs [EMAIL PROTECTED]
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