Redemption of the
Jews

Because of the numerous similarities between the events accompanying the redemption of both the New Jerusalem (Zion) and the Jerusalem of old, a prophecy of one often seems to serve as a prophecy of the other.(1) In fact, many times both are mentioned in a single prophecy. Jeremiah revealed that "this people [referring to Zion] and Jerusalem" will think there will be peace "whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul." (Jer. 4:6,10,11.) Isaiah said that after the Lord has "[performed] his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem" is when he will punish the aggressor. (Isa. 10:12 = 2 Ne. 20:12.) Joel said that "in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance...." (Joel 2:32.) Isaiah added that the Lord's "fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." (Isa. 31:9.) Zechariah tells us that the Lord "will dwell in the midst of...Zion..., and shall choose Jerusalem again." (Zech. 2:10,12.)

It turns out that a certain Book of Mormon event also seems to parallel both of these future episodes. We have already looked at the Lamanite prison experience, comparing various elements of it to the way Zion will be redeemed. This same event apparently carries extensive parallels to the redemption of Jerusalem as well.

As Nephi and Lehi played a lead role in the prison experience, two prophets will "be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days...to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem...." (D&C 77:15.) The Lord said, "I will give power unto [these] two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Rev. 11:3.) Similarly, Nephi was described "as a great prophet, and a man of God, having great power and authority given unto him from God." (Hel. 11:18,19.) "Lehi, his brother, was not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness." (11:19.)

The Lord told Nephi: "...All things shall be done unto thee a.according to thy word.... Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have b.power over this people, and shall c.smite the earth with d.famine, and with e.pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people." (Hel. 10:5,6.) Likewise, the power given the two latter-day witnesses will be to "shut heaven, that it d.rain not in the days of their prophecy...." (Rev. 11:6.) They will also "have b.power over waters to turn them to blood, and to c.smite the earth with all e.plagues, as often a.as they will." (Ibid.)

John beheld that "if any man will hurt [the two witnesses], fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies...." (Rev. 11:5.) When these two latter-day witnesses "shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." (Rev. 11:7.) Similarly, when the Lamanites went forth to slay Nephi and Lehi, who had been preaching among the Lamanites, the two "were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that [the Lamanites] durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned." (Hel. 5:23.)

John beheld that after the two prophets lay dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, "they heard a great a.voice b.from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they c.ascended up to heaven d.in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them." (Rev. 11:8,9,12.) In the Lamanite prison as well, "there came a a.voice as if it were b.above the cloud of darkness." (Hel. 5:29.) All the prisoners then beheld that "the faces of Nephi and Lehi did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And they did c.lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting up their voices to some being whom they beheld." (Hel. 5:36.) Resembling the heavenly cloud into which the two latter-day witnesses ascended, "Nephi and Lehi...were as if d.in the midst of a flaming fire...." (Hel. 5:44.)(2)

Another thing that occurred in the Lamanite prison was "the earth shook exceedingly...." (Hel. 5:27.) The Lamanite prisoners were then "overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them." (Hel. 5:28.) Similarly, John beheld that in the same hour that the two witnesses were taken up to heaven, "there was a great earthquake..., and the remnant were affrighted...." (Rev. 11:13.)

John concludes, "...And the remnant...gave glory to the God of heaven." (Ibid.) Isolating this phrase, we glimpse what apparently will transpire in the hearts of the Jews as a result of these dramatic events. The Lamanites' experience presents a remarkable perspective. At one point, the frightened Lamanite prisoners asked, "What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us?" (Hel. 5:40.) The reply came: "You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ." They did this and "were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory." (Hel. 5:44.) Moroni commented that during this transcendent event, the Lamanites "were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost." (Ether 12:14; 3 Ne. 9:20.) Will the Jews undergo a similar transformation? Perhaps this is why the Lord said: "I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God." (Zech. 13:9.)

There were actually four times that a voice was heard in the Lamanite prison. On the fourth time, a voice said: "Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world." (Hel. 5:47.) The voice heard was that of the Father's. The times recorded in scripture of the Father's voice being heard are rare.(3) Each occurrence is usually associated with the Father announcing his Son, Jesus Christ. Is this occurrence in the Lamanite prison an exception, or is it perhaps intended to foreshadow that time in the latter days when Jesus Christ will appear to the Jews?

The prophecies state that He will appear to the Jews as they are about to be destroyed by the nations of the earth that will have encompassed them. The Lord Himself shall "go forth, and fight against those nations...." (Zech. 14:3.) He "shall stand...upon the mount of Olives..., and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof..., and [the Jews] shall flee to the valley of the mountains...." (14:4.) "And then," Christ said, "shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king." (D&C 45:51-53; Zech. 12:10; 13:6.)

Describing the destruction of the Jew's enemies, the Lord said, "In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left." (Zech. 12:6; 3 Ne. 22:16.) Perhaps this will become a dual fulfillment of the prophecy: "Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for...they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire." (1 Ne. 22:17.)

Due to the miraculous manifestation these few Lamanites witnessed in prison, virtually the entire Lamanite nation was converted in a very short period of time. In the same way, Isaiah foretold the incredible latter-day conversion of the Jews, saying, "...A nation [shall] be born at once...." (Isa. 66:8.)

 

Endnotes:

1. Perhaps a main reason for the apparent likeness in the redemptions of Zion and Jerusalem will have to do with the importance of the spiritual applications that are established in these patterns. Zion will need to be redeemed in the same manner as Jerusalem, both of which parallel the redemption of the individual, as is discussed in Chapter Five.

2. "Clouds" and "fire" are both common adjectives used to describe heavenly manifestations. (See Exo. 16:10 and 3:2, respectively.)

3. Five recorded instances in which the voice of the Father is heard are: (1) to John the Baptist immediately following Christ's baptism, (2) to Nephi in his vision of that event, (3) at the Mount of Transfiguration, (4) preceding Christ's Appearance to the Nephites, and (5) accompanying Joseph Smith's first vision.

 

 

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