Houses of God pt. 4 “The Redemption of Zion”
On July 23rd of 1833, the Saints were forced to sign an agreement to leave Jackson County in the state of Missouri. The Saints lost their homes and property, and had to leave behind the blessed land that God had consecrated unto them.
Jackson County was the designated spot for the building of the New Jerusalem, the city in which the Book of Mormon had foretold. With the Saints forced out, Zion could not be built at this time.
Here’s a breakdown of some very important chronology:
December 16th and 17th, 1833 – Joseph Smith receives Section 101, which includes the parable describing how Zion will be redeemed.
February 24th, 1834 – Joseph Smith tells the brethren and High Council in Kirtland that he is going to go himself to redeem Zion. That same day, Section 103 is received, which reveals that the servant in the vineyard, in the parable of Section 101, is Joseph Smith. JS and others gather up the men of the church and organize Zion’s Camp, which eventually begins its march towards Jackson County with the intent to fight for the land in which the church rightfully owns.
April 23rd, 1834 – Joseph Smith receives word from God that, “the covenants [are] broken through transgression… you are dissolved as a united order.” Section 104 is evidence that by this time, the new and everlasting covenant had been broken. The law of the celestial kingdom was no longer being lived by the Saints. Collectively, not individually, the church as a whole had transgressed. (D&C 105:2)
May 1834 – The Church of Christ (or Church of God in revelation) has its name changed to The Church of Latter-Day Saints. Because the covenants have been broken, the Saints no longer have the name of Christ put upon them.
June 22nd, 1834 – After a long march to Missouri, Joseph Smith receives Section 105. In it, Zion’s Camp is told that, “In consequence of the transgression of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion–”
And then, by the time that the 1835 version of the Doctrine and Covenants was published, we discover that the wording to the ordinance of baptism was changed from the original articles and covenants. The baptismal prayer in the church pre-1835 was the same one found in the Book of Mormon. But by 1835 it was changed from “having authority” to “having been commissioned.”
The church therefore had:
broke the new and everlasting covenant
changed the ordinance
This is exactly what Isaiah had prophesied of in Chapter 24:
5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Essentially, if the church had NOT broken the new and everlasting covenant, Joseph Smith would have redeemed Zion in Jackson County. However, it has been prophesied for thousands of years that the Gentiles would fail in doing this– yet through modern revelation we have the unconditional promise that Joseph Smith WILL be the one to redeem Zion…
So… the parable in which we’ve been given, in Section 101, is referring to a future event. It was not talking about Zion’s Camp. Although Joseph Smith is in fact the servant in the vineyard, it was not Jackson County that he was meant to redeem.
It is Nauvoo.
Zion’s Camp was destined for failure. All the prophecies and revelations point to this. The church needed to fail, to then go and settle some place new. Gradually the church gathered together in Illinois, to build the city named Nauvoo.
Nauvoo– unlike Kirtland– is also considered as lands of Zion. In fact, Nauvoo is considered the cornerstone of Zion. (Section 124: 2, 23)
The parable of Section 101 describes EXACTLY what would soon occur when the church arrived there.
Let’s break down the parable and prophecy as given in Section 101:
44 A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice [Nauvoo]; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive trees [kingdom of God];
45 And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower [Nauvoo Temple], that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
46 Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
And just what is this tower? It is the Nauvoo Temple. Joseph Smith recognized this prophecy when he arrived in Nauvoo. This is why he went as far as to design the temple so that it literally looked like a tower!
He said, “From this hour bring everything you can and build a Temple unto the Lord a house unto the mighty God of Jacob. We will build upon the top of this Temple a great observatory a great and high watch tower and in the top thereof we will Suspend a tremendous bell.” (Nauvoo Discourses 19 July 1840)
47 And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
This is what happened with the Saints in Nauvoo. They started building the temple in 1840, but never made it a priority. It would never be completed. Because of this, the church was susceptible to the enemy.
51 And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive trees.
The enemy– the tares combined with the wheat– were able to destroy the work of God. The church went into apostasy.
52 Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
53 Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and–after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof–built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
There is a quote from Joseph in Nauvoo I find quite reminiscent of the nobleman in this parable. To the Saints, he told them, “I prophecy that the day will come when you will say, ‘Oh that we had given heed…’ The people will not hearken nor hear, and bondage, death, and destruction are close at our heels. The kingdom will not be broken up, but we shall be scattered and driven, gathered again and then dispersed, reestablished and driven abroad–” (March 21st, 1841)
Judging by this quote, Joseph knew even by March of 1841 that the church would not build the Nauvoo House and the Nauvoo Temple. Zion would not be established in his lifetime. About two weeks after giving this quote, Joseph apparently took his first plural wife. As prophesied throughout the D&C, Joseph stopped abiding in the Lord.
Had the church pressed onward and completed the House and House/Temple, Joseph would have been able to repent. But by 1842, the church was rejected, and that year Joseph began to teach plural marriage to others. The apostate church was given false commandments to live by a prophet who’d lost the spirit and had his eyes covered due to the iniquity of the people.
By 1842 the church had been delivered over to Satan. With no tower, the vineyard was not protected.
But, of course, God knew this would happen. He knows everything. The redemption of the church is as follows:
55 And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants [Joseph Smith]: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
Joseph Smith will return back to the earth and gather the strength of the House of Israel unto the Kirtland Temple. Following an endowment, the redemption of Zion in Nauvoo will take place in power.
Those who are appointed to tarry are the First Elders who have the commission to give the final warning to the ends of the earth. After the solemn assembly in Kirtland, the First Elders will give the warning while the rest of us go and redeem the gathering place of Zion.
56 And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.
57 Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen.
We will go to Nauvoo and throw down the tower that has been built in place of what God originally intended. As part of the redemption of Zion, the current day LDS Nauvoo Temple will be thrown down.
An interesting to think about, is that the LDS church rebuilt the Nauvoo Temple in 2002. That’s exactly 160 years after the church was rejected. That’s exactly four biblical generations.
God told the church in Navuoo that they were practicing abominations before him, and that, “the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation…” (D&C 124:50)
The LDS church has been heirs to the apostasy for 160 years, but that time is now up. The curse for hindering God’s work is no longer upon us. The corrupt Nauvoo Temple will be thrown down when the redemption of Zion comes by power.
JS-Mathew speaks of this:
27 And now I show unto you a parable. Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.
The body of Christ– which is his followers, the Saints– died in Nauvoo with the apostasy that took place in 1842. The carcass of the Saints lies in Nauvoo, and that is where the elect will be gathered together.
In the beginning, this will be a literal gathering. But not everyone will be able to make the trek there from the four quarters of the earth.
Eventually angels will gather the remainder from the four winds.
JST Luke 17:
37 And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is gathered; or, in other words, whithersoever the saints are gathered [Nauvoo], thither will the eagles be gathered together; or, thither will the remainder be gathered together.
38 This he spake, signifying the gathering of his saints; and of angels descending and gathering the remainder unto them; the one from the bed, the other from the grinding, and the other from the field, whithersoever he listeth.
As early as 1830 (D&C 29:8) the Saints knew that they would be gathered unto one place which would keep them safe from all the tribulations and desolations that would be sent forth. Through a full analysis of God’s word, it certainly appears as though Nauvoo is this place.
While in Nauvoo, Hyrum Smith gave this curious revelation to the Saints: “That the key of knowledge– that unfolds the dispensation of the fulness of times– may be turned… come forth from the ends of the earth, that I may hide you from mine indignation that shall scourge the wicked.” (HC 4:443)
Hyrum’s revelation echoes Isaiah 26:
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Hyrum, being the true prophet he was, understood and was trying to make it known to the Saints that Nauvoo is the place prophesied of by Isaiah! This would ultimately be the safe haven for God’s people when the desolating scourge goes forth.
28 And when the times of the Gentiles [again] is come in [Marvelous Work and a Wonder], a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel [the law and the testimony, which is bound up and sealed by the First Elders];
29 But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved;
Those who are true followers of Christ will be able to perceive the light when it breaks forth among us; and those who have chosen to not follow the precepts of men will be standing in holy places when the time comes to flee Babylon.
They will be hid up until the indignation is overpast.
58 … the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
59 For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.
With the evil wiped off the face of the earth via the desolating scourge, we will inherit the land located in Missouri, to which we will build up the waste places, and build the New Jerusalem.