What does the day of gathering mean? In the beginning, all things were organized as one. The heavens work on the Zion principle of unity and cooperation in a perfect organization. We were scattered when we were brought into this fallen world. The beginning of the restoration of the original union is brought about through the temple ordinances. The scriptures are replete with the message that the scattering of Israel is a type for the scattering of the original creators, organizers, prayer circle of creation. Putting it all back together again, the at-one-ment, is what everything is all about. This is done by Christ, the great High Priest and King, and those He commissions to act in His name.
The last days are a time for the restoration of truth, but also people and all things to their proper places, the places they occupied before this life. Though Israel is found throughout the earth, there is now a remnant that is no longer scattered. The temple grafts the branches back into the original olive tree.2 In Gethsemane, Christ began the process of bringing us back as one into the Garden of the Lord, the Tree of Life. The oil of gladness that comes from the Tree of Life, begins the atonement process of reversing first spiritual death, then eventually, physical death.
In the last article, we saw that the king is a proxy for the Lord in the center place that begins the reorganization of a righteous society. The king, the head of a dispensation, a prophet, or even a father who has had his salvation sealed upon him, can stand (circles within circles) in that center place of organization. They understand that the power and glory derive from Heavenly Father, and return to the Father. This is an eternal pattern. They are a conduit, they assist in the work. With the opening of the seventh seal, it will be Christ Himself, pouring out the water of knowledge and Spirit.
In the beginning, we were led by Christ and His general, the archangel Michael. In the final dispensation, what once was will be again. So what did we do in the beginning? We helped plant a garden. What should we be doing now? Helping to plant a garden. Our prophet is doing an amazing job of planting gardens all over the world. Temples are dotting the earth, and the plantings from those holy places are being rooted into the righteous homes of spiritual kings and priests.
The offices of priest and king are ideally joined in one, but have often throughout the history of the gospel, been separated into two. In the past, Judah has often symbolized the office of King, as we will explain further on. We will also look at how Joseph can symbolize the office of High Priest, and how that will change with the Second Coming. Finally, we are going to briefly share our feelings on what will bring in the Millennium, and how we can help bring to pass the opening of the seventh seal.
In the December articles Peter the Great Fisherman and Pounding the Tent Stakes, the focus was on establishing a firm and eternal foundation. Building on that theme, the scriptures are loaded with inferences about the importance of tying Israel into an inheritance in a sacred land. That land symbolizes a return to a state of unity and also the beginning of individual estates of fruitful increase. There are many places in the scriptures and quotes from Church leaders that expound on this idea but we have very little room in this one article to lay out the concept. A study of the scattering of Israel and the gathering of Israel from the topical guide helps to illuminate the subject. We can only touch on it here. Ezekiel, chapter 36 gives a partial picture of the above concept:
But ye, O mountains of Israel , ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel ; for they are at hand to come.
For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:
And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel , even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:
And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates; and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.
And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them.
And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.
But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen whither they went.
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
I will also save you from all your uncleannesses; and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.
Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel , to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.
As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am the Lord.3
Nibley had some very interesting things to say about the creation. The whole quote is in Points to Ponder but we will look at a portion of those things most pertinent to our discussion. In speaking of the Egyptian gods, he writes: "so Geb gave his own entire portion to Horus, the son of his son who was his firstborn. Well, what the theme is here is priesthood and kingship as well as land."4 Nibley understood far better than we do about the Egyptian tie-in between priesthood, kingship and the land. Brother Nibley continued this theme, writing about the authority necessary for these sacred offices and the underlying unity behind the transference of those sacred offices as the sealing power comes into effect: You have a transmission of power, and what is it? Identity? That's what you have in John. The nineteenth chapter of 3 Nephi is the same thing. He goes aside and prays that I may be in you and you, Father, in me; and those that follow me may be in me as you are in me, Father; and that those who follow them (their converts) may also be one as we are one. This idea of being in others and being identified. That's what we have here, and it's one of the keys of Egyptian, this doctrine of identity..."5 We have discussed the above subject in the past relating to D&C 84, the doctrine of the priesthood. Becoming sons of Moses and Aaron, and Paul telling his converts they are his sons as he is in Christ, is one of the organizational principles that helps bring everything into the body of Christ. The office of apostleship and divine investiture are subjects we would recommend for study. The idea of bringing all things into one and placing them on a foundation beginning with this earth is a concept that will start leaping out at you as we continue to study Nibley's writings, the Book of Isaiah, and the Book of Mormon, not to mention other scriptures. Nibley finished his lecture thus: "these things are all related. You'd be surprised how they tie in together."6 Orson Pratt wrote about the tie-in between this earth, an inheritance of land, and eternal inheritance: "And thus, all the different portions of the earth have been and will be disposed of to the lawful heirs; while those who cannot prove their heir ship to be legal, of who cannot prove that they have received any portion of the earth by promise, will be cast out into some other kingdom or world, where, if they ever get an inheritance, they will have to earn it by keeping the law of meekness during another probation."7
In a BYU Devotional, Elder Nelson explained that we were among those intelligences that were organized in the beginning as follows:
To find answers, let's go back in a mental time tunnel. Before the world was made, "Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, . . . looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven" (D&C 38:1). The Lord had shown Abraham "the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones" (Abraham 3:22). We are no doubt among those he envisioned. 8
We were among those who assisted Michael, under the direction of the Lord, to organize the earth and plant a garden. The Garden of Eden was an outdoor temple. Conversely, a temple is a garden, a sacred space, made terrestrial as was the first Garden of Eden. Those gardens, each considered the center place, are being sent out as sparks all over the world to burn away the dross and reclaim that piece of land from the fall. This earth needs to be reclaimed from the Adversary who holds dominion. Place by place, temples, chapels, and even homes (when they are paid off, the occupants live the gospel and it is dedicated) can become terrestrial. Covenant keeping members can also be redeemed from the fall and stand in holy places. Step by step, this earth can be brought into the millennial reign as the Lord's foundation spreads, the tent stretching outward and the center pole reaching upward. The Garden of Gethsemane gives a crucial clue to being rooted into the foundation garden and watered. Golgotha gives an image of the center post, a dead tree but the middle garden that connects heaven and earth is encompassed in this symbol of life coming from death, the tree becoming enlivened. As mentioned many times in other articles, it represents Facsimile 2, fig. 1, the center spot and the beginning of creation. The Garden Tomb gives the image of the tent piercing the heavens, the final garden.
The direction we want to be heading is to lay the foundation now for our future kingdom. The kingdom of God starts on this earth and will fill the expanse of space starting from these roots. When we grow up hearing that we can become like our Heavenly Father or Mother, and create worlds of our own, it is natural to picture ourselves off in our own little corner of the universe, basically working alone with our spouse. Maybe occasionally we would get together with the old family and catch up on things. In actuality, instead of separateness, the scriptures and words of the prophets show there will be eternal unity with those we love and enjoy being with. Those who prove worthy will have their own kingdoms but there will still be a perfect organization, a unity and cooperation with our family and priesthood order.9
If each temple is to be looked upon as the omphalos (navel between earth and heaven), then each person who becomes a temple is grafted into the Tree of Life. The Original tree, symbolizing the original priesthood organization, was unified under Michael and assisted Jehovah with the creation. We become one nation no matter where on earth we are. The pattern is established that was given in the beginning and those who qualify do not have to wait until the final judgment to begin their eternal work as Franklin Richards taught:
In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph, on Celestial Marriage, the Lord, speaking to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, says: 'And because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltations, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones; and are not Angels, but are Gods.' All who live on the earth, and faithfully work righteousness, as did those ancient fathers, will receive like blessings of power and dominion, for God is no respecter of persons, but judges all men righteously according to their works. Thus we have a succession of gods from Adam down to Christ and His apostles at least. All men being in the image of their father Adam, even as he is in the image of his father, and possessing a similar knowledge of good and evil, when they receive the keys and powers of the same Priesthood, and by their works attain to its blessings, they will, like Adam, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, bear rule and dominion over their own posterity and have power to redeem, purify, and exalt them, also, to like power and glory.10
This pattern was and is put in motion through the atonement. As Nibley wrote, "Adam in the presence of God is the quintessential atonement."11 We all have to become as Adam or Eve and make that journey of rebirth. The result if we claim the highest goal is to begin our own creation, create our own garden.
Thus we see Adam has a crucial job. He begins the job of reorganizing everything into one. The heads of the dispensations work under him to further organize and we would assume that the other prophets in each specific dispensation works under the head of the dispensation, and on down to the families as each individual reaches the spiritual point where he/she is authorized to move forward in that office.
Father Adam has the job of bringing his children to their own kingships. The office of kingship belongs to Adam and all who work under him in that office. "Atum writes the name of the new king on the leaves of the ished-tree; that is, the king is the tree."12 There is tremendous symbolism in the metaphor of initiates planting the seed, rooting in to the foundation stone and becoming a tree of life as we explored in The Christmas Tree of Life. Thus we can become kings/queens/, high priests/priestesses. We can become planters, beginning our garden.
Nibley, talking of new kings/queens starting their own creations, explained that the plantings are taken to other places from the Treasure House. The temple is the navel, where all eternal life begins:
"The colonizing process is called 'planting,' and those spirits which bring their treasures to a new world are called 'plants,' more rarely 'seeds,' of their father, or 'planters' in another world. For every planting goes out from a Treasure House, either as the essential material elements or as the colonizers themselves, who come from a sort of mustering-area called the 'Treasure-House of Souls.'
With its 'planting' completed, a new world is in business. A new treasury has been established from which new sparks may go forth in all directions to start the process anew in ever new spaces; God wants every man to 'plant a planting,' nay, he has promised that those who keep his law may also become creators of worlds. Thus you can say there is indeed but one God who fills the immensity of space, yet we are in the act too, as potential creators of worlds."13
In the following quote, Brother Nibley identified the treasure house as the temple. It is there that we are brought back and grafted into the Tree of Life, and from there take our plantings to begin our own creation:
'It is not too much to say that the dominant theme of the Thanksgiving Hymns of the Dead Sea Scrolls is an ecstatic contemplation of the wonder of man's participation in heavenly affairs going back to the beginning.Man belongs by prior appointment to that community of the Elect.earthly rites are but the reflection of heavenly events.[the Elect are part of] the family of the sons of Heaven, the council of the Church, and the assembly of the Temple, an establishment, literally, planting, which reaches forever into the future and the past.'14
When Moses, Elias, and Elijah came to the Kirtland Temple, they brought the keys that restore us to our original state of organization with God. Moses brought the keys of the Gathering of Israel. For a time in the early restoration, this was a physical gathering of Israel to the land of Zion , but at length it became a spiritual gathering to Zion. Basically, Moses brought the keys for the temple building, the school house. Elias brought the curriculum, the Abrahamic Covenant and the principles given within the school room. Elijah brought the empowerment, the sealing power that gives the graduate his/her certificate for each level along the way.15 Here we become part of gathered Israel and we partake of the Tree of Life. There will be no cherubim to bar your way because you knew the answers. Spiritual death is overcome through the substitution of the sacrifice of the Lamb, and the initiate can finally return to the presence of the Lord and enter into His rest. Nibley wrote that sacred gardens were a place to rest and gather strength to continue on the journey. The temple has three gardens: the Garden Room, the Celestial Room, (seventh Heaven) and a final garden that is implied and found in the Second Endowment. Washed feet are then ready to be rooted in and then they can begin their own gathering process and begin their own garden. Within these gardens, we are rooted in, watered, enlivened, and illuminated, following the pattern of the Feast of the Tabernacles that we have discussed in previous articles.
A stirring from beneath precedes a stirring from above. In other words, we assist Heavenly Father in helping this desert blossom as a rose, and then He assists us later in transplanting our kingdom (initiated on the rock of our foundation here on earth) to our own place in the universe. This is a principle that is subtle but woven throughout the scriptures. Isaiah wrote:
Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion : he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden , and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
This is all part of the Abraham Covenant. Israel will fill the earth but not until she is brought back to the center place (temple) and organized (endowed and sealed) and from there she stretches out the foundation of the Lord until it fills the earth and brings in the Millennial reign of the Lord. "He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6). Thus will a place be laid for stability and endurance when the wicked are destroyed at His coming. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste" (Isaiah 28:16). Isaiah talked of the day when the fruit would become a forest, as we become trees of life, rooted into the firm foundation: "Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? (Isaiah 29:17).
As discussed in our previous articles, it is here where the initiate is crowned, participates in the sacred marriage and feast in Facsimile 2, figure 2, and then moves to fig. 1 to begin his/her work. The tree is mature, it becomes a center place and begins to produce eternal fruit and gather its own eco system, so to speak, beneath its branches.
The Role of the King and High Priest
To begin a garden, the individual must have completed the sanctification process to the point of becoming a spiritual king and high priest. We are living in the only time that we know of where these blessings are available for the general population. This had to happen for paths to be made straight for the Second Coming. Christ stands as the originator of both these offices. The role of Adam has generally been associated with the office of kingship. This role for the Egyptians was filled by Horus. Although Christ was Horus, the King, He placed Adam in the role of Horus. The ancients from many cultures used the skin of a lion or some other large hunting cat to depict the office of kingship. Jacob filled that role as the lion of the Lord. That office passed to Joseph since Reuben proved unworthy. Joseph was the firstborn of the second wife, thus he would have had the birthright when Reuben became unworthy. Events in Joseph's life made it impossible for him to take up the reins of that office since he had other duties to perform for the Lord. The office of High Priest devolved upon Joseph and in the last days, his children are working in this office to spiritually feed the people. Judah was called the lion's whelp. Perhaps this was because he did not have the birthright but it was through his loins that the office of kingship would pass. At the Second Coming, the reversal of many things will be righted and the birthright of kingship will finally return to Joseph.16
In the meantime, it is the role of Joseph to bless the Gentiles: "Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel ." 17 Elder Nelson taught, "The Lord has called you. He has chosen you. You have inherited greatness of transcendent worth."18
Both the role of King and High Priest are necessary to begin one's eternal creation. The king (and Queen) is seated in the center place like the trunk of the tree, and the High Priest shelters all who will come as branches of that tree; but it is all one tree.
In Ezekiel 37:15-28 we read about the sticks of Judah and of Joseph being united. As with most scriptures these verses have another meaning. If we look at the stick of Judah as being the king's scepter and the stick of Joseph as being the high priest's staff then the scripture is saying that the two offices will be joined together. This union brings all things in one to bring to pass the finishing of His work and the coming of the Lord. We would recommend that the entire scripture passage be reread with this in mind.
Expounding a little on the role of Adam, he stands as king, placed there by Christ who is the true center of everything. He is the trunk of the tree, the central pillar, the altar. The Egyptians wrote of his role:
Coffin Text 132: According to Siegfried Schott, this is a drama. The speaker is the man who wants his family 'sealed to him.' 'I am Atum who created the Great Ones.' I am one of the Watchers who danced for joy [prayer circle]. I received my place to rest in accordingly as I went about exploring, taking possession, going the rounds (coming and going). I have assumed dominion of my domains (seats, places). I have toured my domains, my groves, my pastures, my word is that of command of Hw (god) who accompanies me. My two arms are raised to the gods in sacrifice, even the sacrifice of oxen to the Lord of Heliopolis. I am with those who are bound for sacrifice, inasmuch as I am verily with my back to the earth (Geb) (Fac. 2, fig. 1).I have come forth that my family be given to me: my sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters, my father, my mother, and all who come to receive my embrace.O ye who are among their ancestors, whose names are hidden to me, I have the written documents (that say) 'I begot him.'"19
There is a great deal illustrated within the above statement. The initiate has completed his journey, he has gone the round, coming and going as a Sent One, and finally, he has toured his domains and gathered up his plantings for his new creation. He has gone up the pillar, been crowned a father in Fac. 2, fig. 2. Having become a star in his father's crown, he becomes the new foundation of his own creation. He takes his place as the center point of a new creation in fig. 1, with his back to the earth (Egyptian god Geb), to begin birthing his new creation.
Adam, Jacob, and Judah are examples of the office of kingship and represent the Egyptian idea of lion, bull, and hawk. The bull gives birth through baptism (Facsimile 2, fig. 5), as shown with the twelve oxen holding the baptismal font, the lion represents many things including the higher sacrifice of the lion couch and the baptism of fire (Facsimile 2, fig. 1), and the hawk is the higher aspect of the office of kingship which can fly aloft from the sacrifices to return to heaven. There are many more aspects to these symbols but no room to go into them here.
The Egyptians believed that Horus-hawk represented Pharaoh, the father of his people around which all is organized.20 They taught that the Apis-bull was a lower form of Horus-hawk.21 Nibley wrote that the Egyptians believed the office of Atum was given to kings.22 They believed that the king added crowns and names. Re-Atum were names given to the king to represent Re, the king of heaven, and Atum, the first king on earth. We also believe that we must take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and become also as Adam or Eve. Names add upon each other as offices are added and we progress in our ascension. The addition of new offices does not eliminate responsibility for prior offices just as in the several Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood offices.
Elder Nelson wrote of Joseph Smith:
God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.established once again the Abrahamic covenant, this time through the Prophet Joseph Smith. These are the words of the Lord: ' And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph [Smith]: In thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed.' (D&C 124:58; see also D&C 110:12) The Master conferred upon Joseph Smith priesthood authority and the right to convey blessings of the Abrahamic covenant to others. [Here we can see that role of the dispensation leader to gather and organize all who will come to Christ] Joseph Smith, whose father's name was Joseph, had the same name as Joseph who was sold into Egypt, who millennia before had prophesied of Joseph Smith. This fact is documented in the Book of Mormon (see 2 Nephi 3:6-11). The name Joseph carried the connotation both that he was "added" to, and that his mission related to the "gathering" of Israel.
So Israel had ten sons before Rachel finally conceived and bore a son of her very own. She called his name Joseph (see Genesis 30:24). This name had a very special meaning. The word Joseph relates to the Hebrew word yasaph, meaning "to add." Rachel wanted all to know that this son was added to sons that she already had through her maid Bilhah. Joseph also relates to the Hebrew word asaph, which means "to gather" (see Genesis 30:24, footnote 24a in the LDS edition of the King James Version). The name and lineage of Joseph were destined to play an important later role in the gathering of Israel.23
Once again, we can see the job of Joseph is to gather in souls and every needful thing beneath the branches of the gospel tree. In our December article The Christmas Tree of Life, we connect the branches of the tree to the prayer circle. This all ties firmly into creation and gardens, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Joseph of Egypt watched over the king and what was his. He fed the people and when times were hardest, he asked them to consecrate their land to the king and in return he sustained their life. When we consecrate to the Lord, he in turns gives the right of usage of land back to us but He is able to bless us abundantly because of our sacrifice and because we and all that is ours has been offered to Him. As Elder Nelson said, "Joseph means added upon; to gather in. This is the role of the priesthood which the children of Joseph hold.
The Egyptians wrote a lot about this office. They had animals that symbolized some of the aspects of its duties including: the ape/baboon, who protects and participates (symbolically) in the prayer circle; the Ibis bird (the god Thoth) who kept careful records of the initiates; and the jackal, (the god Anubis) who leads the initiate by the hand into the presence of the throne of Osiris.
Lehi had two sons, Jacob and Joseph, who were born in the wilderness (which represents fallen earth). The offices of king and high priest are symbolically represented by those children who Nephi consecrated to serve the people. Jacob was more vocal and visible as the office of kingship is, and Joseph more in the background as usually seems to be the case with the priests. They were both priests but their names and perhaps their roles are a type and shadow, just as the sun is a type for kingship and the moon for the role of high priest (among other things).
Turning the Age
Everything comes back to the Three Pillars of the Gospel; the creation, the fall and the atonement. Hopefully, we can see from our series of articles that the creation is indeed ongoing. The following quote is about the Egyptian Shabako stone:
In the Shabako stone, the earth is prepared for man's habitation in advance, first by the planting of rushes and papyrus at the gates, and then 'out of Ptah who created Atum came forth all manner of nourishment and food for the creatures who were about to come down and inhabit the earth..'Praised be the lords of the Fields of Turquoise under the ished-tree in the midst of Heliopolis.' Here the word ished has the determinative not of a tree, but of a green arbor, booth, or bower, suggesting the green bower in which the king, all over the ancient world, sat at the New Year to represent the first man in the garden..Coffin Text 187: 'He made me to sit in the booth at the entrances of the horizon of heaven. I found Khonsu on the way; he came down to Punt' and there organized the subject's family and followers for him..turquoise and evergreen predominate..There I will cause flowers of all kinds to grow; and the Field of Rushes came into being..we see the subject and his wife together in a pleasant garden where they drink the waters of a stream or pond at the foot of a date palm; at once one thinks of the waters of life and the tree of life..the trees, which symbolized natural life eternally renewed,' in the cenotaph of Seti I, 'were meant to go down with their roots' to a canal dug to represent' the waters from which all natural life had sprung.24
The Festival of the Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Sukkot or Feast of Booths) is an eight day Judeo - Christian festival that pictures the establishment of the 1000 year messianic kingdom to be set up at the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah (Christ). It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals God gave the children of Israel in the Bible.25 It was during these festivals that the Israelites would bring their offerings and firstlings to the Temple in Jerusalem and enjoy a feast!
Following are seven points taught by a religious group called The Ami Israel Torah Study. They are a group of believers in Christ looking for His return and studying the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith. It becomes obvious that more and more truth is being restored to the earth and certain aspects of that truth are spreading to many people:
1) Yeshua has come and will come again, but at this time, He lives and dwells with The Father in Heaven. 2) It should be a believer's goal to want to become part of the "bride of the Messiah". 3) Becoming a part of the the Bride is a gift Yahweh (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) gives to those who believe He is their God and that His Son (Yeshua) has redeemed them from the penalty of their transgressions against His instructions. 4) We learn how to conduct ourselves as His bride by learning and living by the instructions He gave us. These instructions are found in the first five books of the Bible (the Torah) and are elaborated on throughout the balance of the scripture (both the old and new testaments). 5) Since the calling of the patriarch Abraham, Yahweh has been working predominately with one group of people - the Israelites and those gentiles who "attach" themselves to Israel (thus becoming Israelites themselves). 6) All Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews. 7) Yahweh has commissioned the people of Israel with the responsibility of spreading the good news of that coming Kingdom of God to all the earth.26
We can see so many pieces of the truth scattered throughout the world. The idea of a people being prepared as the Bride of Christ is so appropriate for the Feast of Tabernacles. The Church of the Firstborn must be prepared to receive the Savior. Organizing the Saints for that reception and cheering in the Millennium is our goal.
The Festival of Booths came to be known as Chag ha-Asif, the Festival of Ingathering, of the harvest. This is fascinating in light of Elder Nelson's quote above about Joseph of Egypt. 'Asif' is closely related to the name 'Joseph' which also means "Jehovah Increases".
Looking at all this in light of the concepts found in the article Winter Solstice and Saving Christmas, the Feast of the Tabernacles takes on a new light. We are convinced that this celebration foreshadowed the work of Joseph in the last days in bringing the gospel first to the gentiles and then to the Jews. The work that is going on in the temples, with the establishment of our own spiritual booths of branches (Tree of Life), will help turn the age as the seventh seal opens and the final age slowly comes upon the world. The Feast of the Tabernacles involves lights, singing, dancing, feasting, good cheer, and sacrifice. As shown in the above article, these are the aspects that are a part of Christmas, and anciently, the winter solstice celebrations, and as Nibley makes very clear, help turn the earth smoothly on its axis into a new year. As that yearly celebration assists to keep all things in proper motion, we believe the Feast of the Tabernacles will assist the turning of the new age of Aquarius, Dec. 21, 2012. Of course, in the time of the Lord, what happens in His time takes years to resolve here upon the earth. There is a great deal to explore in this concept and we will write more in our next article and in many others to come. Also, we strongly recommend reading our previous articles to clarify the big picture of how all of this works. We cannot repeat all of the documentation to establish these points in each article, so what may seem like a great deal to swallow, becomes far more understandable as one reads from the beginning and patiently allows the pieces to fall into place.
Does the above concept mean that only those who have attained the highest level of salvation possible in this life can assist in the work of preparing for the Lord? Absolutely not! Anyone who helps bring order out of chaos is assisting in the work. Israel is being brought back to the olive tree, so whether we are the tree rooted in and already bearing fruit, a spiritually young tree, or have just arrived to partake of the fruit, all participate and rejoice at being gathered in. Whether we are the tree, the fruit, or the new initiates gathered beneath its sheltering branches, as long as we are there on that foundation we are standing in holy places and we shall not be moved.
Getting to these spiritual places of safety is becoming more and more important as peace becomes harder to find. According to prophecy, this will become even more crucial in the coming days, exactly when, no one knows. If the preparation is not started now, we are in grave danger of being caught in spiritual Sodom as events progress. Christ cannot come until His paths are made straight. Following the example of our prophet and leaders, good cheer and rejoicing will help ease the bumps in the road that will try us all. The leading brethren of the Church have never been more unified. The example they set is a center place we do well to keep our eye on. The Church leaders have shown the ability to rejoice amidst trials, and to light the world with their hope. As we join them with one heart, we can all help bring in the Millennium, one step at a time. We can be the bright lights on the branches of the Tree of Life that help illuminate a path for those groping in a dark and frightening world; we can help bring in the harvest and, as Joseph's heirs, feed the Lord's sheep. This way we can help the earth to turn smoothly upon the principles of Zion, and Christ can come among His people:
For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.27
As Joseph, the gatherer, may we do as Isaiah prophesied and bring in scattered Israel so that Zion may come forth:
The bulk of Isaiah's prophecies deal with the coming of the Redeemer, both in his first appearance and as the Great King at the last day, as the God of Israel. A major theme is that God requires righteousness of his people, and until they obey him they will be smitten and scattered by their enemies. But in the end, Israel will be restored; the barren land will be made fruitful and able to support a large population; and the Lord, the Holy One of Israel will dwell in the midst of his people, who will be called Zion.28
This Church is coming out of the wilderness and creating a beautiful garden of the Lord. When the time comes, the great event of Adam-Ondi-Ahman will occur when the heads of the dispensations will return their keys to Adam, the archangel Michael. Then will things be organized as they were in the beginning with the Father placing Christ at the center with no substitutes, and Michael as His great general who will lead the followers of Christ. At last, dominion will return to the lawful heir and events will move forward to end the effects of the fall and return the earth to her paradisiacal glory.
And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness - clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.29
To a Holy Land
Land of prophets,
scripture, and covenants,
where the buried past
breathes life into our
where peace, for some,
is but a place to catch
your breath between fear
and the next war,
for others, a reality that
flows like water springing
from the hopeful ground-
Land of Bethlehem beginnings,
parables, and miracles,
Jerusalem, the Holy City
where Jesus walked
the narrow streets,
Jordan, Nazareth, Galilee,
Golgotha, Cana, Bethany,
and a garden where the
Tree of Life grows-
You call to me
Earth's other side
and be holy, whole,
and my heart, longing
to be complete, listens.
How will I answer?
Will I set aside
uncertainties and concerns,
and comfortable convenience?
Will I sacrifice transient
treasure and pay the price
to travel from where I am?
Yes! Even if I never stand
on Israel's sacred land.
Sharon Price Anderson
2See Jacob 5
3Ezekiel 36:8-11, 19-30 and 35-38
4Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price; Lecture 9, Winter Semester, 1986
7Journal of Discourses 1 pp. 332-333
8Russell M. Nelson, Thanks for the Covenant, BYU Devotional, Nov. 22, 1988
9See D&C 84
10Franklin D. Richards, Millennial Star 17: pp. 194-196
11T&C p. 383
12JSP p. 289
13T&C p. 153
14Ibid p. 187
16See Isaiah 2:3
18Thanks for the Covenant, Russell M. Nelson, BYU Devotional, November 22, 1988
19JSP p. 303
20A in E p. 241
21JSP p. 289
22A in E p. 268
23Thanks for the Covenant Russell M. Nelson BYU Devotional, November 22, 1988.
24JSP pgs. 296-7
25See Leviticus 23
2 7D&C 2:3
28Bible Dictionary p. 707