Saturday, January 30, 2010

ZION: The Old Testament (Joel 2 to Zechariah 9)

The Old Testament (Joel 2 to Zechariah 9)

JST Joel 2:1, 13-15, 23, 28-32

Moments after I had published this post, I was reminded of a recent article written by Mark W. Cannon (scroll down the page and you'll see it), citing a quote from Peter F. Drucker.  My favorite Drucker quote was this:  "Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things."  In part, Cannon's article stated:

World class organization and management guru Peter Drucker told me that “the Mormons are the only Utopia that ever worked” at a Harvard seminar on volunteerism in 1989. The word Utopia was invented by Sir Thomas More to describe a mythical island, discovered by a Portuguese sailor, with ideal economic and social conditions -- where everyone was educated, wise and prosperous. There have been numerous descriptions of utopian or ideal societies by many philosophers going back to Plato.
Of course, actually living the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ that were exemplified in his life, which even people like Thomas Jefferson saw as marvelous even though he was skeptical of Christian clergy, would represent an ideal Christian society. These fruits of Mormonism were what Peter Drucker saw in the multitude of effective service and educational activities that were successfully carried out by the Mormon Church and particularly by the close at hand large Mormon population in Southern California where Professor Drucker lived while teaching at Claremont, whose graduate school of management is named after him.
Peter Drucker has been widely recognized as the father of modern management and as one on the most astute observers of organizational and managerial effectiveness of modern times.
Like all the prophets before him, Joel saw the latter-day Zion established in his vision of the events preceding the Second Coming. Peter Drucker is only one among many modernists outside the Church who recognize there is something unique about the way Mormons live their lives and get things done for the benefit of their fellowmen.  What they fail to realize is that we haven't done it yet, but we are well along the path toward building Zion in the last days.  Joel's ministry among the post exile community of Judah occurred about 400 B.C. (See Jerusalem Bible, Alexander Jones, ed. [Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966], 1257).  One can only guess how these valiant prophets must have longed for the day Zion would be established, and we should wonder what manner of men we ought to be, knowing they saw us so long ago in these visions! In light of Joel's prophecies and Drucker's comments, shouldn't we long to see as we are seen? (See D&C 76:94 and 1 Corinthians 13:12).  Joel holds out the path for all of Israel as well as each individual -- he calls them to repentance as the way back. His hopeful message is the same as all prophets.

I have intentionally included the last four verses of this chapter, recalling that Moroni quoted this prophecy to Joseph Smith in the night and morning hours of September 21, 1823. He instructed Joseph that these verses were not yet fulfilled, but soon would be. Joel's record also contains three references to the signs in the heavens that will precede the establishment of Zion, and the Second Coming. They are undoubtedly tied to the signs of the sixth seal of John's Revelation. (See Revelation 6:12 17).  As we will demonstrate in other places in this compilation, these passages are precursor events of the return to the land of Zion in a time not far distant, and conditions that will exist in Zion.

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.

And rend your heart, and not your garments, and repent, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and he will turn away the evil from you.
Therefore repent, and who knoweth but he will return and leave a blessing behind him; that you may offer a meat offering, and a drink offering, unto the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly.

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

Joel 3:13-21

Joel bears witness of conditions among men as the Second Coming approaches, and speaks of signs preceding the event -- the restoration of the temple site, and the purification of Judah in the last days. All these promises are as yet unfulfilled, giving a clear indication of what still awaits us in preparation for the great day of the Lord.

Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.
Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation.
For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.

Amos 1:2

Amos, another shepherd in Israel, was called to prophesy for a brief period during the reign of Jeroboam II, 783-743 B.C. The Northern Kingdom was prosperous, the corruptions of city life had developed, and the military threat of Assyria was a constant menace. (See Jerusalem Bible, 1256).  Against this historical backdrop comes a prophet from the desert condemning the social injustices of his day with a message about the coming day of the Lord as a visitation of wrath from which only a remnant would be spared. Like the prophets from the Rechabite tradition before him, Isaiah, Jeremiah and all the others, his prophecies have a typological application to our day as well as the day in which Amos lived. One need only apply the words of Amos to himself to catch the true spirit of the message.

And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.

Amos 6:1-6

As an introduction to these verses, look back to chapter 5 of Amos, and read verses 18-27. If Amos were here among us today in Salt Lake City, one wonders if he wouldn't say something like this: "Thus saith the Lord to the Latter-day Saints, I hate your preoccupation with your lavish entertainments in my houses of worship. I despise your songs of praise unto me that ascend out of unworthy lips full of deceit and guile. Away with your false gods of elegant homes, expensive automobiles, fine twined linen with which ye do clothe yourselves, exotic vacations to the lands of the heathens who know not the Lord, and your many pleasures of the flesh which ye do worship above the only true and living God. Cease your sacraments and empty sacrifices of reluctant temple attendance to fulfill your quotas, and your begrudgingly slothful home teaching visits. Plead your cause before me no longer, ye who hate the cause of the widow and the poor among you whose prayers of deliverance ascend up constantly into my ears because of your idolatry. Your lips do honor me, but your hearts are far from me in your many meetings. Away from my sight, ye wicked and perverse generation!"

Accusing modern saints of idolatry is not popular, but a reading of President Kimball's sermons will yield the conclusion that a modern-day Amos has said as much. Consider this sample of President Kimball’s warning voice:

Love of material things is idolatry. Idolatry is among the most serious of sins. There are unfortunately millions today who prostrate themselves before the images of gold and silver and wood and stone and clay. But the idolatry we are most concerned with here is the conscious worshipping of still other gods. Some are of metal and plush and chrome, of wood and stone and fabrics. They are not in the image of God or of man, but are developed to give man comfort and enjoyment, to satisfy his wants, ambitions, passions, and desires. Some are in no physical form at all, but are intangible.
Many seem to "worship" on an elemental basis -- they live to eat and drink.
Modern idols or false gods can take such forms as clothes, homes, businesses, machines, automobiles, pleasure boats, and numerous other material deflectors from the path of godhood.
Intangible things make just as ready gods. Degrees and letters and titles can become idols.
Many people build and furnish a home and buy the automobile first -- then they find they "cannot afford" to pay tithing. Whom do they worship?
Young married couples who postpone parenthood until their degrees are attained might be shocked if their expressed preference were labeled idolatry.
Many worship the hunt, the fishing trip, the vacation, the weekend picnics and outings.
Still another image men worship is that of power and prestige. Many will trample underfoot the spiritual and often the ethical values in their climb to success. These gods of power, wealth, and influence are most demanding and are quite as real as the golden calves of the children of Israel in the wilderness. (TSWK, 243-4).

As President of the Church years later President Kimball was even more specific:

Few men have ever knowingly and deliberately chosen to reject God and his blessings. Rather, we learn from the scriptures that because the exercise of faith has always appeared to be more difficult than relying on things more immediately at hand, carnal man has tended to transfer his trust in God to material things. Therefore, in all ages when men have fallen under the power of Satan and lost the faith, they have put in its place a hope in the "arm of flesh" and in "gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know" (Daniel 5:23) — that is, in idols. This I find to be a dominant theme in the Old Testament. Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god; and if his god doesn't also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry.  (TSWK, 76).

Now the words of Amos, designed to afflict the comfortable among those in Israel:

Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?
Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;
That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;
That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

Obadiah 17, 21

In the complete fulfillment of this prophecy the time is not yet, but still future. However, it is clear that Obadiah saw us in a latter day standing upon mount Zion in the figurative sense, as we perform the redemptive work in the temples for our kindred dead, who have looked upon their spirits' long absence from their bodies as a bondage. (See D&C 138:50).  The complete fulfillment of this prophecy still lies ahead in the day when the saints will stand as saviors on mount(s) Zion in the temples of Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem.

But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's.

Micah 1:13

Micah, a contemporary of Isaiah, also foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem.

O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee.

Micah 3:10-12

Micah here condemns the wickedness of the priests in Israel, who were laboring for money in their priestcrafts, a condition strictly forbidden by the Lord. (See 2 Nephi 26:29-31).  Here again, we need look no further than the end of our nose for the fulfillment of these conditions in our own day. As it was then, so shall it yet be among the Latter-day Saints.

They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.

Micah 4

This prophecy in Micah's brief record is of such significance that the entire chapter is quoted. He begins by describing the mountain of the Lord's house being established in the tops of the mountains. Once again, we see a figurative meaning as well as a literal meaning. The figurative fulfillment is ongoing among the saints who attend the temple, but the literal fulfillment still lies ahead in that day when the mountain of the Lord's house is established both in the New Jerusalem and Old Jerusalem. As Micah clearly explains, his prophecy speaks of a latter day, the millennial temple being raised, all Israel gathering unto it, the ushering in of the Millennium, and the appearance of the Lord to claim the scepter of government. Isaiah also introduced this idea of the law going forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (See Isaiah 2:3).  The prophecy speaks of that millennial time when Christ will reign personally on the earth and we will live under a theocratic government.

Writing in Times and Seasons, Joseph Smith elaborated in these words:

When the children of Israel were chosen with Moses at their head, they were to be a peculiar people, among whom God should place his name: their motto was "The Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our king, and he shall reign over us." While in this state they might truly say, "happy is that people whose God is the Lord." Their government was a theocracy; they had God to make their laws, and men chosen by him to administer them; he was their God, and they were his people. Moses received the word of the Lord from God himself; he was the mouth of God to Aaron, and Aaron taught the people in both civil and ecclesiastical affairs; they were both one; there was no distinction; so will it be when the purposes of God shall be accomplished; when "the Lord shall be king over the whole earth" and "Jerusalem his throne." "The law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
This is the only thing that can bring about the "restitution of all things, spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world was" -- "the dispensation of the fulness of times, when GOD shall gather together all things in one." Other attempts to promote universal peace and happiness in the human family have proven abortive; every effort has failed; every plan and design has fallen to the ground; it needs the wisdom of God, the intelligence of God, and the power of God to accomplish this. The world has had a fair trial for six thousand years; the Lord will try the seventh thousand himself; "he whose right it is will possess the kingdom, and reign until he has put all things under his feet" iniquity will hide its hoary head, Satan will be bound, and the works of darkness destroyed; righteousness will be put to the line, and judgment to the plummet, and "he that fears the Lord will alone be exalted in that day." To bring about this state of things there must of necessity be great confusion among the nations of the earth; "distress of nations with perplexity." -- Am I asked what is the cause of the present distress? I would answer: "Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it." The earth is groaning under corruption, oppression, tyranny, and bloodshed; and God is coming out of his hiding place, as he said that he would do, to vex the nations of the earth. Daniel, in his vision, saw convulsion upon convulsion; he "saw till thrones were cast down, and the ancient of days did sit; and one was brought before him like unto the Son of man; and all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, did serve and obey him." It is for us to be righteous that we may be wise and understand, for "none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever." As a church, and a people it behooves us to be wise, and to seek to know the will of God, and then be willing to (do it); for "blessed is he that heareth the word of the Lord and keepeth it," says the scriptures. "Watch and pray always," says our Saviour, "that ye may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are coming on the earth, and to stand before the Son of man." If Enoch, Abraham, Moses, the children of Israel, and all God's people were saved by keeping the commandments of God, we, if saved at all, shall be saved upon the same principle. As God governed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as families, and the children of Israel as a nation, so we, as a church, must be under his guidance if we are prospered, preserved, and sustained. Our only confidence can be in God, our only wisdom obtained from him; and he alone must be our protector and safeguard, spiritually and temporally, or we fall. (Times and Seasons. Edited by Ebenezer Robinson, et al. 6 vols. Commerce, Illinois, and Nauvoo, Illinois, 1839-1846. Carmack, John K., vol. 3, no. 18, Nauvoo, Illinois, July 15, 1842, 857).

Now the words of Micah’s prophecy:

But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.
For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;
And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.
And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.
Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.
Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (See D&C 42:37-40).

Zephaniah 3:14-16

Yet another prophet sees Zion in the last days, and the Lord reigning in the midst of her at Zion and Jerusalem. Note the reference again to both Zion and Jerusalem, and note the clue to the time "in that day." Whenever that term is used it refers to events immediately preceding and including the millennial era.

Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.
The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Zechariah 1:12-17

Like his counterparts, Zechariah also saw the latter-day Zion in vision. An angel showed him the latter-day city of Jerusalem with a new temple. Zerubbabel was released by the decree of Cyrus, king of Babylon, to rebuild Solomon's temple to fulfill this prophecy in about 520 B.C. The rebuilt temple did not even approach Solomon's temple in splendor and beauty, and this temple like all the others was destroyed. (See notes in this compilation under Lamentations 1).  Zechariah's prophecy of the latter day temple, of course, still awaits fulfillment.

Joseph Smith, speaking at a special meeting in the Nauvoo Temple on April 6, 1943, flatly stated the Second Coming would not occur until all that had been prophesied was fulfilled:

The coming of the Son of Man never will be -- never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out: which judgments are commenced. Paul says, "Ye are the children of the light, and not of the darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief in the night." It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets.
Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, &c.; and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east. (See TPJS, 286-7. See also instructive commentary about "the sign of the coming of the Son of Man" from the James Burgess Notebook, as cited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, [Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1980], 181).

These are the words of Zechariah:

Then the angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?
And the LORD answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.
So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.
And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.
Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.
Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.

Zechariah 2:6-13

In the last days Israel will reinherit the lands of Jerusalem that were lost to her through earlier wickedness. Debate still exists about whether or not the current State of Israel constitutes a fulfillment of those promises. The Jews, obviously, are still in a state of apostasy today, but they have returned and the very fact they have survived as a political presence as long as they have since 1948, constitutes at least a partial miraculous fulfillment. The message is the same here as it always is: Come out of Babylon -- it is both literal and figurative.

Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.
Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.
For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.
Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

Zechariah 8:1-3

The themes of the gathering of Israel and of Zion's ultimate redemption are strong throughout this chapter. Israel and Zion in the last days will be blessed beyond anything she has experienced in the past. The word "save" is changed to "gather" twice in this chapter in the JST. (See verses 7 and 13).

Again the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great fury.
Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.

Zechariah 9:9, 12-13

Zechariah prophesies that the Messiah shall bring salvation in a very seemingly unspectacular way, "lowly, riding upon an ass." (See Mark 11:1-11 and Luke 19:35-40 for the literal fulfillment of this prophecy).  However, royalty often entered the city in such ways, a privilege reserved for kings.  Both Judah and Ephraim are identified as servants of the Lord to fulfill his purposes.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee;
When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man.

Orson Hyde's Dedicatory Prayer

Having come to the end of the words of the Old Testament prophets concerning their collective vision of the latter-day Zion, it is appropriate for us to consider the dedicatory prayer offered on the Mount of Olives by Orson Hyde.  He was a relatively young man (born in 1805, same year as the Prophet) when he was called as a member of the original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He offered this dedicatory prayer on October 24, 1841. The Prophet Joseph Smith, who was impressed to have the land dedicated for the return of the Jews and the preaching of the gospel, gave him this assignment.

Before he left for the Holy Land, Orson Hyde was shown his sojourn in Jerusalem in vision, and then he recorded the following in a letter dated November 22, 1841, reporting his activities to Parley P. Pratt. It is obvious by his description that his trip was made under arduous circumstances:

Dear Brother Pratt: A few minutes now offer for me to write, and I improve them in writing to you.

I have only time to say that I have seen Jerusalem precisely according to the vision which I had. I saw no one with me in the vision; and although Elder Page was appointed to accompany me there, yet I found myself there alone. . .

I have not time to tell you how many days I have been at sea, without food, or how many snails I have eaten; but if I had had plenty of them, I should have done very well. . .

On Sunday morning, October 24, a good while before day, I arose from sleep, and went out of the city as soon as the gates were opened, crossed the brook Kedron, and went upon the Mount of Olives, and there, in solemn silence, with pen, ink, and paper, just as I saw in the vision, offered up the following prayer to Him who lives forever and ever --

O Thou! who art from everlasting to everlasting, eternally and unchangeably the same, even the God who rules in the heavens above, and controls the destinies of men on the earth, wilt Thou not condescend, through thine infinite goodness and royal favor, to listen to the prayer of Thy servant which he this day offers up unto Thee in the name of Thy holy child Jesus, upon this land, where the Sun of Righteousness set in blood, and thine Anointed One expired. . .

Now, O Lord! Thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which Thou gavest him in his native land; and under the shadow of Thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of Thy name. . .

O Thou, Who didst covenant with Abraham, Thy friend, and Who didst renew that covenant with Isaac, and confirm the same with Jacob with an oath, that Thou wouldst not only give them this land for an everlasting inheritance, but that Thou wouldst also remember their seed forever. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have long since closed their eyes in death, and made the grave their mansion. Their children are scattered and dispersed abroad among the nations of the Gentiles like sheep that have no shepherd, and are still looking forward for the fulfillment of those promises which Thou didst make concerning them; and even this land, which once poured forth nature's richest bounty, and flowed, as it were, with milk and honey, has, to a certain extent, been smitten with barrenness and sterility since it drank from murderous hands the blood of Him who never sinned.

Grant, therefore, O Lord, in the name of Thy well beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to remove the barrenness and sterility of this land, and let springs of living water break forth to water its thirsty soil. Let the vine and olive produce in their strength, and the fig tree bloom and flourish. Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs; let it again flow with plenty to feed the returning prodigals who come home with a spirit of grace and supplication; upon it let the clouds distil virtue and richness, and let the fields smile with plenty. Let the flocks and the herds greatly increase and multiply upon the mountains and the hills; and let Thy great kindness conquer and subdue the unbelief of Thy people. Do Thou take from them their stony heart, and give them a heart of flesh; and may the Sun of Thy favor dispel the cold mists of darkness which have beclouded their atmosphere. Incline them to gather in upon this land according to Thy word. Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows. Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing fathers, and queens with motherly fondness wipe the tear of sorrow from their eye.

Thou, O Lord, did once move upon the heart of Cyrus to show favor unto Jerusalem and her children. Do Thou now also be pleased to inspire the hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see Thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto. Let them know that it is Thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel raise up Jerusalem at its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government, with David Thy servant, even a descendant from the loins of ancient David to be their king.

Let that nation or that people who shall take an active part in behalf of Abraham's children, and in the raising up of Jerusalem, find favor in Thy sight. Let not their enemies prevail against them, neither let pestilence or famine overcome them, but let the glory of Israel overshadow them, and the power of the Highest protect them; while that nation or kingdom that will not serve Thee in this glorious work must perish, according to Thy word "Yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. . ."

On the top of Mount Olives I erected a pile of stones as a witness according to ancient custom. On what was anciently called Mount Zion where the Temple stood, I erected another, and used the rod according to the prediction upon my head. . .  (See DHC, Vol. II, 454-59, for the complete text of the letter. For an insightful perspective on Elder Hyde's reference to "the rod," compare the text of Chapter VII of the original edition of The Book of Commandments with the text of Section 8 in our current edition of The Doctrine and Covenants. It is especially instructive for any who may believe there have been no editing changes made to the original revelations.

On a revered hill outside a revered city, President Spencer W. Kimball, dedicated a garden built in memory of an Apostle’s prayer.

The dedication’s setting was the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem, in Israel. There, on October 24, 1841, Elder Orson Hyde dedicated the land of Palestine for the building up of Jerusalem and the gathering of Abraham’s posterity. On October 24, 1979, President Kimball dedicated the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden to commemorate that event and the ongoing fulfillment of that prayer.

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