In the Book of Psalms it reads, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (119:165) Be it ever true with those who follow God’s law, as contained in the Holy Scriptures, and who resist the carnal tendency to put their trust in the arm of flesh.
This message invites all who read, in striving to understand the mind and will of God, to be independent in a testimony of the truth. The Holy Ghost will whisper the truth when one’s body, mind, and spirit becomes a vessel of complete approachableness, which means not only purity of action as to worthiness, but completely open to His voice—becoming more dependent on the inner feelings of the Spirit than voices of “the flesh.” (see 2 Nephi 4:34; 28:31)
There are two groups of people written about in Holy Scripture that have qualified, or will eventually qualify, themselves for salvation, should they make the right choices in this life in connection with the true doctrines of Christ. These are the 1) Gentiles, and 2) house of Israel (chosen seed, or covenant people of the Lord). No salvation exists outside of the house of Israel. One is either born into the house of Israel, or one is adopted in—which is the hope of the Gentile.
A person who is of non-Israelite lineage (a Gentile) may become a member of the family of Abraham and the house of Israel by having faith in Jesus Christ, repenting, being baptized by the proper authority, and receiving the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:17–18; D&C 84:73–74; Abraham 2:6, 11).
There is a prevalent and damning precept of men being taught that says everyone, or virtually everyone that is baptized in the LDS church is Israel. This is not so. It is true that when a Gentile is baptized by a true baptism, that person qualifies to be adopted, or numbered, with the house of Israel, but that adoption doesn’t take place without the recovery of the adopter, which is the original branch of the natural olive tree—needing, in the last days, to be grafted back into the natural tree. “Natural” means the original inheritor.
Joseph Smith was of the chosen seed (D&C 132:30), but virtually no one else among the hundreds of known early saints qualified as such except for John Johnson (see D&C 96:6-7). The lesson is that today there are many many Gentiles, and very few who are of the chosen seed by birth.
But being a chosen seed doesn’t automatically qualify that person for salvation. A person born into the house of Israel can lose his or her birthright through disobedience to God’s laws. A Gentile has no birthright, but essentially can gain a birthright through adoption. With this in mind one might ask, what is the definitive difference then between a covenant seed and a Gentile? And why isn’t a Gentile included among the house of Israel at birth?
What distinguishes a Gentile from a Chosen Seed is a covenant that took place in the pre-existence. Those who took a covenant to follow Jesus Christ in the pre-existence, “being called and prepared from the foundation of the world,” received a “preparatory redemption” (see Alma 13, Ephesians 1); the Gentiles did not make this covenant; however, they may do so in this life because grace has been extended to them. This is what Paul was referring to when explaining that, “…the Gentiles… followed not after righteousness” while “Israel… followed after the law of righteousness…” (see Romans 9:30-31). The past tense use of the word “followed” refers to the time before the earth was populated—it refers to the pre-existence!
The truth that the Gentiles did not make a covenant to follow Christ in the pre-existence is why Jesus refers to the Gentiles as “dogs” while simultaneously referencing the chosen seed as “children.” (see Matthew 15:26 & Mark 7:27) This is also why the Gentiles will not ever see Christ nor hear his voice, “that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.” (see 3 Nephi 15:23) The Gentiles have no authority from God to write scripture, or lead the ministry—except during the Times of the Gentiles, which will be explained hereafter.
That being said, “…blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion…” (2 Nephi 6:12, see also 2 Nephi 10:18, 3 Nephi 16:6)
This is why Nephi states:
…I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye should suppose that ye (house of Israel) are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish… —2 Nephi 30:1
It is clear, from the scriptures, that both groups are meant to do a great work for God in bringing forth His work and glory. Both groups—in the end—affirm and support one another, with the Gentiles being adopted into the house of Israel and assisting the covenant seed in building up the New Jerusalem and Kingdom of God—assist being the word Christ himself uses twice in 3 Nephi 21 (verses 23 & 24).
To ask “who is more highly favored with God?” really depends on which time and dispensation the question is being asked—recognizing that for most of history, and certainly in the scriptures, it has been the house of Israel, and NOT the Gentiles.
From a Gentile’s perspective, prophecy has been affirmed (having already taken place) that there would come a time when the covenant seed would not live up to their birthright, and would have to be “rescued” by them—the Gentiles (see 2 Nephi 6, among others). This rescuing is referred to in holy writ as The Times of The Gentiles, which has a definitive beginning and ending period. Still, a Gentile, to be saved, has to ultimately be integrated into the house of Israel through the adoption process, since the ministry is and was always meant to be—in the end—the responsibility of the chosen seed.
Perhaps it goes without saying that being adopted means that the adopter is established and independently ready for the adoption to take place. In legal matters, a child cannot adopt another child, nor can a parent adopt a child if that parent is unfit or unsound to do so.
We know that Joseph Smith was a prophet unto the Gentiles, for he said:
Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles. —D&C 109:60
Jesus Christ himself uses the term “Times of the Gentiles” to reference a period of time in which the Gentiles will take hold of the ministry of his gospel—which began with Paul in the New Testament but continued—and peaked—with Joseph Smith. It also references a time in which the chosen seed would be minimized throughout the world (molested, scattered, smitten, and slain)—both Jews and the children of Lehi. Synonymous terms in the scriptures to “Times of the Gentiles” include “Day of the Gentiles” (i.e. 2 Nephi 27:1), and “Fulness of the Gentiles,” (i.e. 1st Nephi 15:13, Romans 11:25, 3 Nephi 16:4, JSH 1:41). The scriptures record:
An then his disciples asked him, saying, Master, tell us concerning thy coming. And he answered them, and said, In the generation in which the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled, there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, like the sea and the waves roaring. The earth also shall be troubled, and the waters of the great deep; —JST, Luke 21:24–25 (also see similarities in D&C 45:25)
Our savior clarifies that during this time, the Father approved of the Gentiles in the Book of Mormon, saying:
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… because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles… (see 3 Nephi 16:7-9)
Thus, Christ indicates the beginning of the times of the Gentiles, which Moroni clarifies in his visit to the boy-prophet Joseph by saying at Joseph’s bedside, “…the fulness (or peak) of the Gentiles was soon to come in.” (JSH 1:41)
But Jesus also indicated that the Gentile’s time shall come to an end:
And because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a byword among them—… At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations… I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them. And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel. —3 Nephi 16:9-12
Jesus Christ sums up (through Joseph Smith) the entire beginning, middle, and end of the Times of the Gentiles in three short versus found in D&C 45:28-30:
And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men (apostasy from the gospel Joseph Smith taught, also see 2nd Thessalonians 2:3).
And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (ushering in the beginning of the Times of Israel again in the last days).
The beginning of the Times of Israel—AFTER the Times of the Gentiles has closed (year 2013, according to the Book of the Remnant)—is what is mentioned in Jacob 5 concerning the natural branches of the tree (remnant) which will be grafted back into the Mother tree:
And the branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree; And the branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches of the tree; and thus will I bring them together again, that they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one. —Jacob 5: 67-68
What is the Mandate of the Gentiles During the Times of the Gentiles (or during the Dispensation of the Grace of God)?
From Paul the Apostle:
I say then, Have they (the house of Israel) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles. —Romans 11:11
Although the Gentiles did not make a covenant with Christ in the pre-existence, grace has been extended to them in this earth life. The Times of the Gentiles, thus, is also referred to by Paul as the Dispensation of the Grace of God, (see Ephesians 3:2) and Paul himself was sent to preach to the Gentiles (see Ephesians 3:7-8, and Romans 11:13).
The stumbling and the falling away of those within the house of Israel has already been shown to be prophecy from Jesus Christ himself—and is God’s judgment upon his chosen covenant people who have turned away from His gospel.
The original responsibility assigned by God to the Gentiles during the Times of the Gentiles was 1) enact judgment (scatter, smite) upon remnant Israel, 2) become nursing fathers and mothers to this group, and to 3) fully recover the remnant of Lehi’s seed to the gospel as to restore them to their proper place—adopters of the Gentiles into the house of Israel.
The first has obviously happened. The history of the Native American people is one of abuse, scattering and smiting. This has been carried out by the Gentiles—even those who have claimed to have the fulness.
The second has happened mainly through U.S. government programs and through Spencer W. Kimball, who instituted the LDS Native American Placement Program (see 1st Nephi 15:12-17), which was geared towards the temporal welfare of the Remnant. Through this program the One Mighty and Strong has risen, through his own initiative—even the very person who will “set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God;” (see D&C 85:7)
The third has not happened. The initiative rested with the Gentile LDS church leaders—they who have not been valiant in the recovery of Remnant Israel—who have (had) “care of the house of Israel, that realize and know from when their blessings come.” (see Mormon 5:10)
Should the saints fail to recover the remnant, which has been the case, the Lord doesn’t make alternate plans, for:
…I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work… For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith…
Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men—
Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid…
But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while and Lebanon (house of Israel) shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.
And in that day shall the deaf hear…, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel…
Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. —see 2 Nephi 27
Because of the covenant the chosen seed made with Jesus Christ before the world was, they received the priesthood in the pre-existence. The Gentiles did not, but they can receive the priesthood in this life. For this reason, a Gentile must have the priesthood conferred upon him, then ordained (enlivened) unto it. A chosen seed only needs to be ordained (enlivened).
Joseph Smith, Paul and Abraham made this clarification. Joseph said:
The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. —D&C 107:40
D&C 86:8-11 states:
Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers— For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God— Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles…
Abraham all but uses the word “sperm” to describe wherein the priesthood resides (the remarks within the parentheses are part of the scripture):
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. —Abraham 2:11
The posterity of Abraham are the chosen seed—for thus were the promises given unto him. The Gentiles cannot claim this heritage—yet their heritage is noble since they are the offspring of Melchizedek, for Melchizedek (who is also Japheth) married and had offspring with a Gentile, thus diluting the seed within 3 to 4 generations. A Gentile cannot claim the priesthood by way of his father’s “seed.” His (a Gentile’s) priesthood is without descent from father to son, and will come only by way of covenant—the same covenant the chosen seed already made in the pre-existence. In trying to encourage the Gentiles as to their lineage coming through Melchizedek (versus Abraham), Paul said:
For this Melchizedek was ordained a priest after the order of the Son of God, which order was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life. And all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually… For those priests were made without an oath (without a pre-existent covenant)… —JST, Hebrews 7:3, 21
The Times of the Gentiles are times with which the Gentiles have custodial rights. They are to safeguard anything that has been given them of a holy magnitude, since they are/were commanded to turn these things over to Remnant Israel, once Israel was restored. The book of the law of God in D&C 85 will not be filled with Gentile names. The scriptures refer to Gentiles as strangers, aliens, and dogs.
But a time of grace has been extended to them while the chosen seed (“woman”) is “nourished” in the wilderness, for a half a time during Paul’s ministry, and for a full time beginning with Joseph Smith’s first vision (see JST, Revelations 12:14).
As Orson Pratt stated, there is no salvation for any Gentile without the recovery of the Children of Lehi—without the Remnant! For: