by Lynn Ridenhour
There is one other group mentioned in the Book of Mormon that came from the East to the Americas—the Jaredites. This group came from the tower of Babel at the time of the confounding of languages around 2,300 BC. Their civilization lasted over 2,000 years, and their story is highly condensed in the Book of Ether.
The Book of Mormon then tells of three civilizations or cultures—all branches from the House of Israel—which were led by God to the Americas: 1) the Jaredites, 2) Nephites, and 3) Mulekites.
And now, let’s turn our attention to…
The Bible points to the Book of Mormon and to the New World. What a wonderful story of hope and promise for these last days!
Biblical Proof Number One
The New World
Plainly, the Bible points to the New World. The golden text for Protestantism says,
"…For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Sometimes we read a thing and really never get to the bottom of it. The above verse says that God loves the whole world—both old and new! I really never thought about that.
I like what Roy Weldon says:
"…It is estimated that at the time of Christ the civilization of ancient America was in full bloom with a culture as great in some respects superior to the civilizations of Rome, Greece, Babylon, and Egypt. Estimates of the population in Mexico, Central America, and the Andean region at the time of Christ run as high as three hundred million people." --Other Sheep, p.18
Three hundred million people?!
I must confess, as a Protestant Christian, the thought had never crossed my mind—a highly cultured civilization in the New World during the time of Christ?! Superior to the civilizations of Rome, Greece, Babylon and Egypt?!
It staggers the imagination. It does mine.
All my upbringing and teaching in our small Baptist Church back in those Missouri hills had always drawn my attention to the Old World. I had heard more than one sermon on the significance of Israel becoming a nation in 1948. Never once did I hear about the significance of the New World, that land set aside for Latter-day Israel in these last days. I had no idea that a Branch of the House of Israel had migrated to the New World, to the Americas, and would become an Ensign to the nations during these last days.
I remember sitting in church as a young lad and dreaming, "…it sure would be neat to visit the Holy Land some day. To walk where Jesus walked."
Protestants are taught from day one that all the "good stuff happens over there." We’re, generally speaking, totally ignorant of the Golden Age of Ancient America. For instance, during the time of Christ in America there was fine workmanship displayed in buildings, metallurgy was prominent, astronomy was evident, staircase farms were numerous, therapeutics were practiced, the lost art of coloring was discovered, and fine twined linen was available.
Yes, "…For God so loved the world…" the whole world. That’s why it doesn’t sound so strange anymore when someone says "…the Lord visited America."
Why wouldn’t He? It’s part of His world.
The question arises, "…If Jesus visited America, then were the ancient Biblical prophets aware of the existence of the New World?"
And the answer is yes.
Isaiah, for one, speaks of the land shadowing with wings.
"…Woe to the land shadowing with wings which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia [Africa]; that sendeth ambassadors by the sea…" (Isa.18:1,2).
Only America is beyond Africa. And she has certainly sent more missionaries "by the sea" than any other nation. Her emblem is the eagle, and the two Americas are shaped like a bird with wings.
Biblocal Proof Number Two
Other Sheep Shall Hear My Voice
"Other sheep I have which are not of this fold…they shall hear my voice…" --Jesus
I must confess, for the better part of my life I was not satisfied with the explanations given regarding the above verse. Who are the other sheep that will hear His voice?
There are indeed many fascinating scripture verses, but to me three stand out:
"…I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." --Jesus
"…Other sheep have which are not of this fold…they shall hear my voice." --Jesus
"…And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." --John
Two are sayings by Jesus and one is a saying about him.
The last verse of the four gospels quoted above (Jn.21:25) informs us, there are many things which Jesus did which are not contained in the Bible. Some of those "…things which Jesus did" are recorded in the Book of Mormon.
Roy Weldon has a point:
"…If the Book of Mormon is true, there is a fifth gospel—Nephi’s eyewitness account and record of Christ’s ministry among the ancient Americans. Is it possible that one of the ‘many other things which Jesus did’ that is not written the Four Gospels was a visitation to the New World?" --Other Sheep, p.18
A fifth gospel.
Just a few months before his crucifixion, Jesus came to attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. It was then that he made his famous "sheep statement" recorded n John’s gospel.
Again, I must confess, this particular passage has been a mystery to Bible scholars for years, if not centuries. Who could those other sheep possibly be? Gentiles perhaps? No. For the Master plainly declares, "…I am sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel."
In the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi) Christ tells he people that their forefathers had been separated from the house of Judah. He also spoke of the other tribes of the house of Israel, which had been taken away from the house of Judah. Christ continues explaining whom the "other sheep" in John chapter 10 were:
"…Verily I say unto you, that ye are they whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching. And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice…But behold, ye have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me." --3 Nephi 15:21-24
The Book of Mormon has an explanation for that puzzling passage in John 10. The "other sheep" are Joseph’s descendants who were separated from the House of Israel, that branch that migrated to the New World.
Biblical Proof Number Three
A Hebrew Nation in America
"…For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion; the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this." --Isaiah 37:32
The prophecy is plain—a remnant was to escape from Jerusalem. That occurred around 588 BC, the time of the Babylonian captivity.
Jeremiah, living in Jerusalem at the time, delivered a precious prophecy:
"…Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazar, saith the Lord; for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you. Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without gate, saith the Lord, which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone."
--Jer.49: 30, 31
Notice the details…
They were to go "far off." It is to be a "wealthy nation which have neither gates nor bars, which dwell alone." There’s no place in the old world like that. All cities of the Old World had walls; they had gates and bars, and they certainly did not dwell alone. The prophecy no doubt refers to the New World, specifically the Americas. The Americas were wealthy and they dwelt alone.
Another prophet, Zephaniah, also saw the New World.
"…From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my supplicants [Israelites who pray to the God of Israel], even the daughter of my dispersed [Israelites who were dispersed beyond the rivers of Ethiopia], shall bring mine offering." --Zeph.3:10
Ethiopia in Zephaniah’s time included the entire known continent of Africa. America is the only nation that lies "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia," beyond Africa.
In a nutshell, the Bible contains the history of God’s dealing with a colony of Hebrews who came out of Egypt. This colony migrates to the New World and becomes a key "prophetic ensign" to the nations during the end of this present church age.
Remember, though the Book of Mormon is basically an account of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, it also contains the Lord’s word concerning Latter-day Israel and thus is an ensign to the people of every nation in these latter days.
Question: Could you be a Latter-day Israelite in Joseph’s Land, and not know it except by revelation?! Could you be appointed to the kingdom "…for such a time as this?" Could you be a descendant of God’s elect nation, Israel?
How exciting to ponder the above questions.
Biblical Proof Number Four
Joseph’s Descendants to Come to the Everlasting Hills
There is a passage in Genesis chapter 49 that has strong ties to the Book of Mormon. Jacob, the old patriarch, is dying. We’re reading his last words as he pronounces prophetic blessings upon his sons and upon his two grandsons, words concerning the descendants of Joseph.
"…Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well, whose branches run over the wall…The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."
An interesting passage, indeed. Joseph and his descendants have been separated "from his brethren."
Here are a couple points to consider: 1) Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well. What’s a "bough" and what’s a "well?" Let scripture answer scripture. The Psalmist said,
"…O Shepherd of Israel, thou what leadest Joseph like a flock…Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it…She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river…"
--Psalm 80: 1,8,11
The "bough" is Joseph’s lineage and the "well" is the sea. The remnant escaping Jerusalem is the flock of Joseph. And where did the Shepherd of Israel lead the flock of Joseph "…whose branches [lineage] run over the wall [sea]?" Over the seas unto the New World. To be separate from his brethren.
"…they [Israel] wandered through the wilderness; her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea." --Isa.16:8
Second point to consider: where are the "everlasting hills?"
Biblical Proof Number Five
The Everlasting Hills
Wherever they are, the "everlasting hills" are in Joseph’s Land. And that’s where his descendants went.
If you look at a map of the world and find the longest chain of mountains on it, according to Duane Crowther, you’ll discover the everlasting hills. They are the mountains which come up out of the sea, way up in the north at the very western tip of Alaska. The mountains rise out of the sea, they curve down through Alaska and Canada and the United States and Central America, and continue all the way down to the tip of South America, where they disappear back into the Sea.
--Doctrinal Dimensions, pp.55, 56
Those mountains truly seem to be "everlasting." They’re the longest mountain range on earth.
"…It’s clear," says Crowther, "that Jacob knew what would happen to the Book of Mormon colony when he predicted that some of Joseph’s branches—not all—but some of Joseph’s branches—would run over the wall; that his descendants would be greatly blessed and that those blessings would prevail above the blessings of all his brothers because they would extend to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills as they came to the Americas. He prophesied that those blessings would be on the head of him that was separate from his brethren. That’s Lehi, we believe, who came with his people and settled in the Americas." --Doctrinal Dimensions, p.56
I have found no better interpretation of Genesis 49.
Biblical Proof Number Six
America is Joseph’s Land
Thank God for the Bible. We need not "second guess" where the "everlasting hills" are. Moses gives us a detailed description of Joseph’s Land in Deuteronomy 33:13-16. America is Joseph’s Land and the choice pasture to which the Shepherd of Israel led his flock. There can be no other. No other land fits the description; not Africa, not Europe, not Asia, not Australia, not former Russia.
Let me say a brief word about the destiny of two lads, then make mention of some historical earmarks that bear out our claim—America is Joseph’s inheritance. First,…
Judah and Joseph
Though Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, two were set apart. Destined for prophetic greatness: Judah & Joseph.
"…The Sceptre shall not depart from Judah…but the Birthright is Joseph’s."
--Gen.49:10, I Chron.5:2
Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright: two prophetic promises earmarked for the endtime. Two distinctive promises most Protestant Christians, generally speaking, know little about. All the sceptre’s blessings, privileges, and promises pertain to Judah, from whom comes the royal family of Israel’s race. Jesus, our blessed Messiah, is from the tribe of Judah.
Protestant Christians know about the messianic promise; it’s God’s birthright promise to Joseph we’re unfamiliar with.
The Messianic covenant was separated from the birthright, and given to Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, while the birthright fell to Joseph. This individual separation of the Septre and the Birthright took place previous to the death of Jacob.
Joseph was promised the Birthright! And what was that? Land! Joseph, through his two sons, Ephraim and Manassah, was to become the father of many nations which were promised to the fathers of Israel. Nations and land were promised to Joseph and his descendants.
And out of all the nations, there was one set aside to be "…choice above all others…" The Americas. Saved for the endtime. And Joseph’s descendants were to settle in Joseph’s Land and become an Ensign to all other nations.
Yes, two lads and their inheritances—Joseph and Judah—play key prophetic roles in the endtime.
For one, the Lord promised Joseph that a righteous branch would come from his seed (II Nephi 2:7).
Saints, prepare for the harvesting of that seed.
Seed that has been planted from Liberty jail to Susquehanna River, from Alabama to Africa, from Birmingham to Bermuda, from Carthage to Calcutta, from Detroit to Denmark. Seed planted and destined to rise to prominence during the endtime. Perhaps in our day.
Biblical Proof Number Seven
America is "Precious," Choice Above All Others
Again, thank God for the Bible. Listen to what Moses says about Joseph’s Land, America:
"…And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath. And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush; let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. The first born of his blood is adorned with glory, and his hors are the horn of the unicorns; with them he shall push the nations together to the ends of the earth; and they are the myriads of Ephraim. And they are the thousands of Manasseh."
You say, how can you be so sure Moses is talking about America? Notice, he makes a list of those things in the land that are "…precious…"
Let’s make application.
America, like on other nation, fits. With the divine purpose of freedom of religion in mind, our founding fathers came to these New England shores.
Our constitution was built upon the Law of Moses, and the law of our land finds its root in the Old Testament. The very inscription that appeared upon the bell that rang out the birth of this nation is found in the Word of God:
"…proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…"
America has accepted as he King and Ruler the God of Israel, for we sing in our anthem, "…Long may our land be bright, with freedom’s holy light, protect us by thy might, great God and King…"
In our "Pledge of Allegiance" to our nation’s flag we declare this nation to be "…under God…"
Yes, from its very inception, America has enjoyed "…precious things from heaven…"
America has always been the breadbasket of the world. Our nation is a land that looks to no other people to supply our needs. We are the "feeders of the world." This is one of the earmarks that would identify Joseph’s heritage. Like Joseph of old, America too feeds a starving world—spiritually and physically.
What precious things come out of our hills! Metals. Gold. Copper. Silver. Approximately every ore upon the face of the earth can be found in our land. Our precious metals’ supply has been one of the foundations for America’s wealth.
Fruits, vegetables, and oil! How blessed America is. No other country compares.
The Lord is using a bit of colorful language. He’s talking about our great rivers, fountains, and lakes. America surpasses any other country in the world when it comes to great rivers and great lakes.
In the forests of the United States are found some of the biggest, oldest, and highest trees in the world. Especially in the national forests of California.
Americans are a forgiving people, filled with good will. We win our wars and then help rebuild our enemy’s shorelines. Our shores are constantly open to immigrants. Lady Liberty is our trademark.
There you have it—seven characteristics of our great nation. Yes, Moses was talking about America!
Biblical Proof Number Eight
The Bible Prophesies of the Book of Mormon
"…And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed. And learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned."
Isaiah prophesied of the sealed book that was to become "the vision of all." In late February, 1828, Joseph Smith sent Martin Harris to New York with a copy of the Book of Mormon characters. He was to meet with Professor Charles Anthon, "a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments." The professor asked Mr. Harris if he would bring the plates so he could translate them.
"…I informed him," said Mr. Harris, "that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’"
Obviously, an apparent fulfillment of Isaiah 29. The book is delivered to two men, one learned and one unlearned. One a professor and the other a farmer’s lad with a third grade education. Joseph recognized throughout his lifetime that his education and knowledge were limited. He must depend upon the Lord for understanding.
As a side note, though the theme of our essay is: the Bible witnesses to the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon also witnesses to the Bible. For instance,
"…And the angel spake unto me saying, These last records [Book of Mormon]…shall establish the truth of the first [Bible]…and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him or they can not be saved…"
--I Nephi 3:192,193
Biblical Proof Number Nine
Ezekiel’s Prophecy of the Two Sticks
The prophet Ezekiel looked into the future and foresaw two nations and two records would some day be joined into one. The so-called "parable of the two sticks" deals with Israel’s division into two kingdoms.
"…The word of the Lord came again unto me saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it. For Judah and for the children of Israel his companions; then take another stick, and write upon it. For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions; and join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand." --Ezekiel 37:15-17
Ezekiel is prophesying the restoration of Israel in these last days.
The Hebrew prophets deplore Israel’s separation, which occurred because of wickedness (compare Zech.11:24). The day Ephraim (with nine other tribes) broke away from Judah became a turning point in Israel’s history (Isa.7:17). Since that day, Israel has remained divided into two "houses," or kingdoms (Isa.8:14). Isaiah calls the division of his people an "open wound" that the Lord will heal as his coming to the earth draws nigh (Isa.30:26,27). –The Last Days, p.126
The two sticks coming together in the endtime is a wonderful Biblical pronouncement. The Lord says, "…When…two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also" (2 Nephi 29:8). Of course, the sticks are really books and nations "…running together…" The Smith Bible Dictionary states:
"…A book in ancient times consisted of a single long strip of paper or parchment, which was usually kept rolled upon a stick, and was unrolled when a person wished to read it."
Back to the testimony of the two nations "running together."
In his prophesy, Ezekiel saw that each of the two kingdoms was to have a record, or stick. The record of Judah is easily identified as the Bible "…for Judah [the Jews], and for the children of Israel his companions…" The record of Joseph [records of the Lost Tribes of Israel] is connected with the prophesied Book of Mormon "…the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows…"
The prophet Lehi, with whom the Book of Mormon begins, was among those originally from the northern kingdom who had come, or whose forefathers had come, to live in the kingdom of Judah, for he was a resident of Jerusalem. His family came to the American continents and the record they kept is a record of the descendants of Joseph in this hemisphere. Through the instrumentality of the prophet Joseph Smith, the record of Joseph—the Book of Mormon—has joined the Bible to serve as a dual witness of the divinity of Christ. –Prophecies of Joseph Smith, p.170
These two books [the Book of Mormon and the Bible] become one in the endtime. A dual witness.
Hosea prophesied a marvelous thing:
"…I have written to him [Ephraim] the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing." --Hosea 8:12
God wrote some wonderful and great things to Ephraim in the Bible, but he wrote even more wonderful (strange) things to him in the Stick of Joseph.
Ezekiel describes the stick of Joseph as being of a dual nature: 1) the record is to be "the stick of Ephraim," and 2) it must also be "…for all the house of Israel his companions." Then Ezekiel adds that the stick of Joseph is to be "…in the hands of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows." Ephraim, of course, was the leading tribe among the tribes which were carried away captive by Assyria and which are now known as the Ten Lost Tribes. –Prophecies of Joseph Smith, p.171
Ephraim’s descendants will lead the way in the last days.
Jacob, the patriarch, lay dying and gave the following blessing concerning the last days:
"…And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days." --Gen.49:1
Jacob was speaking of our day, the "…last days."
In the last days a book will come forth "out of the dust" that will speak of the regathering of the ten lost tribes of Israel preceding the Lord’s return. The Lord will choose the tribe of Ephraim as his evangelists to begin the gathering. The Book of Mormon will be "in the hand of Ephraim" first, then flow to "all the house of Israel his companions." To the other nine tribes.
There’s a great possibility, if you’ve embraced the Stick of Joseph in these last days, you’re an Ephraimite—one of God’s endtime evangelists chosen to proclaim the endtime message.
Biblical Proof Number Ten
The Two Sticks will become One in our Day
"…The Lord says,…’they [the two sticks] shall be one in mine hand." --Ezek.37:19
Think of it!
Can you imagine a world where there are no Jews or Gentiles?! No Israelites or Christians?! But a world united, full of God’s people—moving together in one accord, coming against the armies of Satan, destroying strongholds, tearing down principalities, while the glory of the Lord begins covering the earth as the waters cover the sea.
When the two sticks become one in the Lord’s hand, the Jews and Gentiles will join together. The two houses, Israel and Judah, will become one. What glory awaits us.
Listen to the Word of the Lord:
"…And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews, and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews."
What joyous news!
"…And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever." --2 Nephi 29:10-14
What prophetic news we share.
Each nation knows its writings best and each nation embraces each other’s scriptures. Jews and Gentiles will embrace the Book of Mormon while Israel embraces the Bible.
Herein lies the power and beauty of the joining together of the two sticks: Their coming together will "Christianize" the Jews while the Church becomes "Jewish." Both become united, moving under that same godly anointing, accomplishing what the politicians have longed for but have failed to produce—peace in the middle east.
God’s Army at last conquers the earth—the Old and New World. Soldiers of the Cross spread the fullness of the gospel to the Four Corners of the earth, and bring home to Zion the spoils.
One last thought…
As the Lord combines the two sticks and they become one in his hand, they who embrace the two sticks will perform the saving mission of Joseph of Old—who befriended his brethren and delivered them from a famine. Joseph of Old is a type of the power of God destroying sectarianism, that awful spirit in our land.
Sadly, sectarianism has created a famine of love and forgiveness among God’s people, especially in America. America is the most sectarian nation in the world. The world, however, will not believe the gospel totally, will not believe God sent Jesus, until the saints demonstrate unity and love in Joseph’s Land (Jn.17). The Spirit of revival will crush denominations. The two sticks coming together will destroy the famine, the isolation among the saints, thereby ushering in the fullness of the Gentiles on this continent.
What wonders lie ahead.
There we have it—ten biblical proofs of the Book of Mormon.
I return to my original statement, "…Show it to me in the Word and I’ll believe it." I have done that. The Bible indeed points to the Book of Mormon.
I have taken scriptures from the Bible that point to the Book of Mormon and its message—God’s regathering of the Lost House of Israel in these last days.
It’s my prayer, you will ask the Spirit of God if these things be so.
Page posted on March 18, 2001
"Would God that ALL the Lord's People Were PROPHETS"