Recovering His People for the Second Time
The testimony of Amos, in the Old Testament was, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” When he set his hand the first time to recover his people from the Egyptians, he revealed his secret to his servants the prophets, Moses, Aaron and their brethren. When he visited his people with judgment for their iniquities, he revealed his secret to his servants the prophets, Jeremiah, Zephaniah and their brethren. Now that he has set his hand the second time, which will be the last time, to once again gather his people from “Egypt,” he has revealed his secret to his servants the prophets, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and their brethren.
Of course, there are many other prophets, for the work of the Lord is many faceted, but in terms of the scattering and gathering of his covenant people, the house of Israel, these are the prophets that were his servants to the people involved at the time.
In the case of Moses, Aaron, his brother, was his spokesmen, and the two of them worked together to extract the house of Jacob (Israel) from under the Egyptian rule. In the case of their subsequent captivity, Jeremiah and his contemporary Zephaniah didn’t need to have spokesmen, for they weren’t leading the people out of captivity, but warning them that they were about to go down into captivity and announcing their impending doom for having forsaken their God.
However, in the case of Joseph Smith, the Lord is once again setting his hand to deliver his people from their captivity, and he compares Joseph to Moses and says that he would prepare a spokesman for him, as he did for Moses. Now, Joseph Smith’s literal brother, Hyrum, was always with him in his ministry, but he wasn’t Joseph’s spokesman to the house of Israel.
To understand what is going on here, we must understand that the role of Moses and Aaron in the Lord’s dramatic delivery of the ancient people of Israel, from the captivity of the Egyptians, was a type and shadow of things to come in the latter days, when the Lord would set his hand again the second time to deliver his people from spiritual “Egypt.”
Joseph of old, who was sold into Egypt by his brethren, eventually rose to a position of prominence and authority in that kingdom, from which he was able to save the house of Israel in the days of famine. He had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, both of whom represented Joseph’s inheritance in the house of Israel, because he received a “double portion” inheritance: He received his own inheritance and also that of the birthright belonging to Reuben. Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, but he lost this birthright for defiling his father’s bed, and so his portion was given to Joseph, as recompense for Joseph’s unjust sentence to slavery, given him by his brethren, who were jealous of his father’s conspicuous love for him and his mother Rachel, and who were angry at the implications of the strange dreams he shared with them in his innocence.
But the Old Testament records how prophetic those dreams were, because Joseph truly did become a royal ruler, before whom both his parents and his brethren bowed themselves, just as the dreams in his youth indicated would be the case. Today, it is widely acknowledged that the life of Joseph of old, who became a temporal savior to his father’s house, is a type and shadow of the life of Jesus, the Eternal Savior of mankind.
However, what is now coming to light is that the life of Joseph of old, and the descendants of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, are also a type and shadow of Egyptian-like events set in America in the latter days; That is to say, Joseph and the Egyptian drama that played out in the ancient days, are a type and shadow of an American drama now playing out in the latter days.
To understand this, it must be recognized that many of the descendants of Ephraim, the fruit of the loins of Joseph, are today identified with the Gentiles, and now stand at the head, or hold the keys, to the dispensation of “bread,” or the word of God, for the house of Israel, since it is Ephraim who was given the birthright. Recall that Ephraim’s father, Joseph, was taken into Egypt, but was delivered by the power of God, and rose to a position of prominence and authority in Egypt, just as the “Joseph” of the Latter-day Saints, mostly descendants of Joseph through Ephraim, are rising now to positions of prominence and authority in their modern nation of “Egypt,” the United States of America.
But when the Pharaoh of Egypt, who favored Joseph of old, died, his successor persecuted and enslaved the people of Joseph, and God delivered them by the hand of Moses, whom we all know as one mighty and strong with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and to do that thing which was great in the sight of God, unto the redemption of the house of Israel, in days of old.
But what is more, in these last days, “Joseph” is once again the means of temporal salvation for his father Israel’s house, once again feeding and saving them from a famine, but this time it is a famine of the hearing of the word of God, which is on a parallel with what Joseph of old did, when he was the means of saving the house of Israel from the famine of physical bread, as recorded in the Bible. However, even though the ancients were saved from the famine of bread, by the hand of the Lord, through Joseph in ancient Egypt, they eventually became slaves to the Egyptians.
In like manner, the descendants of the ancients, who have been scattered throughout the world, and are now being gathered under Joseph, through the descendants of Ephraim, who have been instruments in the hands of God, in saving the house of Israel from the famine of the word of God in these latter days, will be enslaved by the spiritual “Egypt,” in due time.
The complicated details of this modern drama, as it was foreshadowed in ancient times, was taught by Lehi, a direct descendant of Joseph through Manasseh, to his son Joseph, as recorded in the Book of Mormon anciently. The characters of Joseph and his descendants, Moses and his brother Aaron, the house of Israel and Egypt, and the difference between the power and role of the spoken and the written word of God, are all woven into an astonishing prophecy of ancient types and shadows set to be fulfilled in the modern context of America, with the intent that it might help us understand the marvelous work and wonder of Jehovah, his work, his strange work and his act, his strange act, in turning things upside down, by voices speaking from the dust and the weak things of the world coming forth to break down the mighty and strong, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh, but that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world:
And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my last-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness of mine afflictions; yea, in the days of my greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee.
And may the Lord consecrate also unto thee this land, which is a most precious land, for thine inheritance and the inheritance of thy seed with thy brethren, for thy security forever, if it so be that ye shall keep the commandments of the Holy One of Israel.
And now, Joseph, my last-born, whom I have brought out of the wilderness of mine afflictions, may the Lord bless thee forever, for thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.
For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.
Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made known unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.
For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.
Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.
And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.
And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.
But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;
And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.
And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.
And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.
And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.
And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.
Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.
And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.
Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.
And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.
And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken. Remember the words of thy dying father. Amen. (2 Ne 3)
In modern English, we would use the word “descendants,” not “fruit of the loins,” and we would say “translate,” not “write the writing of,” but the message is clear: The latter generations of Joseph’s descendants would be called to repentance, many generations later, by an earlier generation of his descendants, by means of their writings, which would be translated for them by the gift and power of God, through the instrumentality of a descendant of Joseph of old, who would bear his name, which would be the name of his father.
Thus, it’s as if they were crying unto their descendants from the dust of the grave, crying repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the prophecy is that these descendants of the ancients will hearken to the words of the book. Indeed, “there will arise up one mighty among them who shall do much good, both in word and deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel,” and unto the seed of Lehi.
And the days will come, saith the Lord,
…that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. (Jer 23:7-8)
Clearly, the Lord’s work is to save Israel, and in the process, save all those Gentiles who will repent and come unto his Son, Jesus Christ, in humility and in faith, believing that he is the Creator of all there is and the Savior of all mankind, repenting of all their sins and all their dead works. He has sent his messenger from on high to declare the true points of his doctrine, to feed the world with the word of God, after a day of famine, not of bread, or thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.
And they who will not receive his word that is now hissing forth to all the earth and repent and come unto him shall be sealed up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure. And woe unto them that fight against the work of the Lord and spurn at his doings. Woe unto them that deny Christ and his works. As the voices from the dust warn us, they shall not escape his judgment in this day, anymore than the ancients did in their day:
And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled.
And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel.
And ye need not imagine in your hearts that the words which have been spoken are vain, for behold, the Lord will remember his covenant which he hath made unto his people of the house of Israel.
And when ye shall see these sayings coming forth among you, then ye need not any longer spurn at the doings of the Lord, for the sword of his justice is in his right hand; and behold, at that day, if ye shall spurn at his doings he will cause that it shall soon overtake you.
Wo unto him that spurneth at the doings of the Lord; yea, wo unto him that shall deny the Christ and his works!
Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!
Yea, and wo unto him that shall say at that day, to get gain, that there can be no miracle wrought by Jesus Christ; for he that doeth this shall become like unto the son of perdition, for whom there was no mercy, according to the word of Christ!
Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn.
Therefore ye need not suppose that ye can turn the right hand of the Lord unto the left, that he may not execute judgment unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel. (3 Ne 29)
These sayings, these voices speaking to us low out of the dust, have come unto the Gentiles, according to his word, therefore we know that the covenant that the Lord made with the children of Israel is now being fulfilled.