By Frank M. Keele
From 1 Nephi 13:42 we read:
42 And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations, both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
So we have this first last, last first thing going on which goes like this… Jews/Gentiles in the meridian of time and Gentiles/Jews in the fullness of times, right?
However, there’s a bigger story here… after the Lord’s resurrection it turns out that he began the process of ministering among the balance of the house of Israel. We know that he ministered among the Nephites and we know that he informed them that he would go on to minister to his “other sheep” or the rest of scattered Israel as well, to include the ten tribes. So, instead of this ministering being limited to the Jews/Gentiles thing, the reality is that it was a Jews/House of Israel/Gentile, thing.
And another point that needs to be made is that the delay between the Lord’s crucifixion and his informing Peter that it was time to take the gospel to the gentiles was due to the fact that all of this interim, House of Israel based ministering, needed to take place first, before the gospel went to the gentiles or the gentiles wouldn’t be last, correct?
So, here in the fullness of times, we will see the whole process reversed, which will be Gentiles/House of Israel/Jews, which begs the question, since we know that the ministering among the House of Israel will create a gap between the day of the gentiles and the Lord’s appearance to the Jews, will the day of the gentiles end before the ministering among the House of Israel begins or will it continue until the Lord appears to the Jews?
Consider this, in the meridian of time, did the Lord’s ministering among the Jews end before his ministering among the house of Israel began? The answer is yes. Was there any overlap? The answer is no. And was there any overlap between the ministering among the house of Israel and the day of the Gentiles? The answer again is no.
And so, why would we expect there to be any overlap here in the fullness of times, where this whole process is to be repeated in reverse order? I think that’s a strong argument for the day of the gentiles ending before the ministering among the house of Israel begins. But I think there’s an even stronger argument and it’s also very scriptural.
When the Lord visited the Nephites he gave them a sequence that will soon play out among the modern-day gentiles, the sequence goes like this… 1- Warning. 2- What the destruction of the gentile will look like when the wicked gentiles shall be “cut off”. 3- The Lord comes to his saints. 4- The millennial gathering of Israel unfolds. We find this sequence in 3 Nephi 21, where we read:
11 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.
Verse 11 above gives the warning…
12 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, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
13 Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.
14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;
15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;
16 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;
17 Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;
18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.
19 And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.
20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
Verses 12-21 above explains what the destruction of the gentiles will look like, they shall be “cut off” from among the righteous.
22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
23 And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
Verses 22-24 above address the righteous among the gentiles and how they can be a part of the Lord’s plan.
25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.
Verse 25 represents the Lord’s coming to his saints “immediately” after the great destruction among the wicked gentiles who will have been “I cut off from among my people” as the Lord says. He will “come down among them” and “be in the midst” of them. This is the coming of the Bridegroom and the establishment of Zion here in America.
26 And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.
27 Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name.
28 Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance.
29 And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.
Verses 26-29 explain that the great day of the gathering of Israel unfolds after the coming of the Bridegroom. So, power and the Lord’s presence comes down among the righteous gentiles or the saints… And then… “And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.”
We also see the millennial nature of the gathering of Israel when the Lord quotes Isaiah’s words in 3 Nephi 22, we read:
1 And then shall that which is written come to pass: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
Keep in mind that the Lord is showing us how Isaiah’s prophecy relates to the ending verses of the previous chapter
We note here that not only will Israel’s exponential growth be such that “more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife”, meaning that the new members of the church will outnumber the old and become the majority, and as Isaiah says “thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.”
What? They are going to “inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited”? Yes… more evidence that this gathering will unfold after the abomination of desolation on the gentiles, right? And of course, the abomination of desolation just does precede the Lord’s coming to his saints, we read from JS Matt:
“And again shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled.
And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken…
then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory;
And so, for reasons stated above I believe that the end of the day of the gentiles will accompany their destruction and lead to the Lord’s coming to his saints as the Bridegroom. Only then will the great millennial gathering of Israel take place, a day of exponential growth for sure. Following this gathering, the Lord will finally make his long-anticipated appearance to the Jews.