Israel is covenant-founded, temple-based, and Christ-centered. The work
of Jesus Christ is the reason the covenant of Abraham exists. The
Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of Israel, is in every way as
significant in the last days as it was in any age of the past.
Jesus Christ is the Savior of all nations, yet by heavenly design and
divine intent, he was born into the of through the house of David.
Although he is God of the whole earth, he is precisely the Holy One of
The arrangement of nations and races is the work of the Lord, according
to his foreknowledge and our own premortal existence. Thus God has a
hand in the development of history.
The Abrahamic covenant is a prototype or manifestation of the work and
mission of Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus was an Israelite but extends his
Atonement to all nations, so also the Abrahamic covenant is centered in
Israel but has provisions for reaching out to all nations. The covenant
incorporates priesthood, the Holy Ghost, baptism, eternal marriage,
posterity, land, and a blessing for all nations.
The literal, biological descendants of Abraham have a natural right to
the priesthood and the fullness of the gospel of Christ. Ephraim holds
the birthright, or keys of presidency, in the last days.
Jesus deliberately limited his personal ministry, both before and after
his Resurrection, to those nations biologically of Israel. Jesus
manifests himself to the Gentiles through the Holy Ghost, as they are
taught the gospel by prophets who are of the house of Israel.
The Gentile nations can obtain the blessings of the gospel through the
preaching of the prophets of Israel. Whether one is Gentile or
Israelite, the only way to obtain the blessings of the Abrahamic
covenant is by faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the
Holy Ghost, priesthood, and so forth.
The house of Israel has been scattered over all the world, among all
nations; therefore, most nations today have the blood of Israel in their
veins to some extent or another.
Latter-day Saints are for the most part biologically descended from
Joseph through Ephraim and Manasseh. As descendants of Joseph, the
members of the Church have a responsibility in the last days to feed the
world the bread of life, that is, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith was a legal heir to the priesthood and the keys of
presidency through his lineage of Ephraim.
As far as individual salvation is concerned, a Gentile can be saved in
the celestial kingdom as an Israelite can, but the process for the
Gentile is to obtain the gospel through the agency of Israelite prophets
A primary purpose of the gathering is for building temples so that
sacred ordinances essential for salvation may be administered. The
building of temples is an indication that the blood of Israel is present
in the land. That truth is especially noteworthy in view of the temples
being built in Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines,
and so forth).
The holy scriptures are Israel's witness for Jesus Christ and will
eventually consist of records of the Jews, the Nephites, and the ten
The tribes of Judah, Joseph, and Levi were each given special
responsibilities of long-lasting significance, which will be fulfilled
when Israel is restored to the lands of their inheritance.
The restoration of Israel in the last days is much more extensive than a
mere gathering and is a work many times larger than the exodus from
Egypt in Moses' time. The promises of restoration are beginning to be
fulfilled even now but will not be fully accomplished until well into
The gathering progresses through various phases. The first phase was to
midwestern America and then to the Rocky Mountains. Currently the
gathering is to the stakes of Zion wherever they may be. Other phases
will come in their time.
To be engaged in the gathering and restoration of Israel was described
by the Prophet Joseph Smith as being on the "pathway to eternal fame and
(Robert J. Matthews, Selected Writings of Robert J. Matthews: Gospel
Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 581.)
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