The Essential Orson Pratt
Foreword by David J. Whittaker
New Jerusalem; or, The Fulfilment of Modern Prophecy
(Liverpool: R. James, Printer, 1849)
[p.109]About five weeks ago, we received the following letter of inquiry. The writer, as will be seen, manifests a sincere desire to be enlightened upon a subject which we consider to be of vast importance to the present and all future generations. We are happy to see a spirit of inquiry occasionally manifested by our fellow-men, and should be still more rejoiced could we behold this same spirit more generally diffused: for then we should have some hopes in their behalf. But alas! the nations are in a deep sleep! They are drunken with the abominations of great Babylon! Their cup of wickedness is nearly full! It will soon overflow! Then shall the day of their visitation come—a day of sorrow and mourning—a day of great distress—a day of peril and war! The hosts of the mighty shall fall! The strength of the nations shall cease, and their glory shall pass away! Their young men shall perish in battle, and those in high places shall be brought low! Thrones shall be cast down, and the Ancient of Days shall sit, and the body of the fourth beast (or Babylon) shall be given to the devouring flame, and then shall the remnant of the heathen know that the Lord is God, for they shall see and hear of his judgments, which he shall execute upon the corrupt powers of the earth under the name of modern Christianity, scripturally called “Babylon the Great”—”The whore of all the earth,” with whom the nations for centuries have committed fornication, and have drank out of her filthy cup. O Babylon! thou hast decked thyself with costly ornaments! Thou has clothed thyself with the most gaudy apparel! Thy seminaries of learning, and thy theological institutions have been multiplied far and wide. Thy priests are polished with all the refinements of a profound and extensive education. Thy costly and magnificent churches have been erected in great numbers throughout all thy borders. The merchants of the earth have made themselves rich through the abundance of thy luxuries. The learned—the great—the mighty—the kings of the earth, have glorified themselves in thy grand and superb palaces. Thou hast indeed enrobed thyself in the royal splendors of a queen. Thine external appearance has excited the admiration of all nations. But internally thou art rotten with the filth of thy whoredoms. Thou hast presented thy golden cup to the lips of all people: they have drank the poisonous draught, and are reeling to and fro under its deadly influence. Thy priests and thy great men have heaped up treasures as the dust. Thou hast trampled upon the necks [p.110]of the poor, and thou showest no pity to the half-famished labourer their thousands per annum, to support themselves in priestly splendor and affluence. Thou hast gathered the tares of the earth, and bound them in bundles, and made their bands strong, that they may be ready for the burning. O Babylon, thy cup is nearly full! Thine hour is close at hand! Thou shalt fall and not rise again!
Awake! O ye honorable among the nations! ye who desire righteousness, but know where to find it! Awake from a deep sleep, and hear the voice of a humble servant of God: for the day-star has dawned upon a benighted world; but its light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. Come, then, to the light that your path may be illuminated. He that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth, nor the dangers which await his footsteps. He that cometh to the light shall be guided in the straight path wherein he shall not stumble. That light which was from the beginning is again made manifest, and the power thereof, that those who receive it may have eternal life, and those who receive it not, may have the light which they are in possession of taken from them.
The keys of authority and power are once more committed unto the sons of men upon the earth; and they are sent forth by divine revelation to gather out the good and virtuous from among all nations, that they may be taught in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God, and be prepared for the revelation of powers of heaven.
Woe unto the nations in that day that the righteous are gathered out of their midst, for they shall be as Sodom and Gomorrah, and shall speedily be consumed in their wickedness, for their sins cry aloud to the heavens for vengeance.
But we are aware that this great division between the wicked and the righteous is unlooked for by the slumbering nations. So great are the powers of darkness which now prevail that even many who desire to know the truth, do not, at first, because of the imperfection of their visual powers, clearly discern its bright and effulgent rays.
The author of the following letter apparently is of that number who is longing after the truth, but knows not where to find it. He has read our works extensively and most cordially acquiesces with our theological views; but he finds some supposed discrepancies between the predictions recorded in the Book of Covenants, and the subsequent history of our church. Instead of rejecting the work, however, upon these slight evidences, he has, as every honest man should do, endeavoured to make further inquiries, and, if possible, arrive at some certainty upon a message purporting to be of so great a moment. We here give the letter of our correspondent in full.
Reverend Sir,—Permit me for a few moments to call your attention [p.111]to a few remarks that I have to make to you, which I do with the greatest deference imaginable, hoping that you will give your candid and serious attention to the few problems that I submit for your philosophical mind to elucidate; in fact, from what I have learned of your deportment, I have no reason to hesitate. Without expatiating upon prefatory remarks, I will enter upon the subject at issue, believing that truth will prevail.
For a number of years my mind has been seriously affected with religious impressions, and my anxiety respecting a future state has been ineffably great; I have searched around me for the effulgent light of saving truth; but, alas! I am obliged to succumb for the present; and unless some bright meteor should start from its orbit and enlighten my dreary path, I must sink into unutterable despondency.
During my researches after truth, I have read a number of your works both theological and apocalyptical. In your theological tenets I most cordially acquiesce, and your scriptural plan of salvation I regard as most admirable. But in perusing the apocalyptical section of it, there appears to my finite mind a many discrepancies which I cannot reconcile with Infinite Wisdom, and consequently remain a stumbling block.
Now, being conscious of your ability, and believing you to be the most efficient person in this country, induces me thus to appeal to you, and I hope and trust, that you will give me your elaborate and matured views upon these revealed portions which I select for your exposition. In the first place permit me to call your attention to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—(see par. 7, last clause.) “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled”!!!
Sir, after reading the latter clause, I am led to believe that all the prophecies and promises contained therein shall decidedly come to pass; but when I read section after section until I get through the book, many of the revelations, when compared with the subsequent history of the church, appear to have totally failed in their accomplishment, and exhibit Joseph Smith to my mind only as an enthusiast. If you can dispel this illusion, if it is an illusion, I shall ever feel grateful towards you. It is not my intention to give you the whole of the dissentaneous matter, which I think have failed in this particular; but select a few, as the aggregate would be superfluous and prolix.
Firstly, sec. 4. par 1st, “A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, jun., and six Elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high, yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church established in the last days, for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city new Jerusalem, which city shall be BUILT, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the [p.112]finger of the Lord in the WESTERN BOUNDARIES of the STATE OF MISSOURI; and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, jun. and others, with whom the Lord was well pleased.”
Par. 2nd, “Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation; for verily this generation shall not all pass away, until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord which shall fill the house.”
Sec. 15, par 13. “And it shall come to pass among the wicked that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbour must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it, out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible: wherefore we cannot stand.”
Sec. 27, par. 1. “Hearken, O ye Elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land which is the land of MISSOURI, which is the land which I have appointed, and consecrated for the gathering of the Saints; wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom, here is wisdom. Behold the place which is now called Independence, is the centre place and a spot for the temple is lying westward upon a lot which is not far from the court-house: wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the Saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile: and also, every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.”
Without extracting any more, for the present, I think a few references will suffice, if you will have the kindness to notice them, viz.: Sec. 28, par. 2nd, sec 35, par. 3rd, sec. 101, pars. 2,3,4, sec. 103, par. 1, &c.
Now all these passages, according to my judgment, have a peculiar reference to the State of Missouri, and its future magnificence and perpetuity. But I find, if I mistake not, that in the year 1838, the Saints were expelled from this promised land of Zion, this place of refuge appointed (as its so said) by the immutable Jehovah, while his scourge should desolate the kingdoms of the world, and mete unto the inhabitants that retribution which shall be commensurate with their works.
Now when you place the prophecies and promises, and the subsequent incidents of your church, in a juxtaposition, their heterogen-[p.113]eousness appears obvious to a sagacious mind, and bears upon its characteristic features the appearance of a vain sumption.
Again, after the Saints were banished from this State, they found an asylum in Illinois, and the place of their location was called Nauvoo. It seems to me, that as the Lord’s commandments could not be completed in the State of Missouri, its future magnificence and destiny was transferred to Illinois, upon whose soil should be gathered the Saints of the Lord out of every nation, tongue, and people, to possess it for ever and ever.
I should not wish to offer any remark that should be at all calculated to do violence to your feelings, but only to give expression to a few of my thoughts while musing upon this subject, in order that you might have the opportunity of refuting and dispelling them, so that my mind might be free, and my soul open to become obedient to the mandates of heaven.
If you should feel inclined to give your recognition to the foregoing remarks, and respond through your invaluable periodical, I should ever feel grateful towards you, as I have other matter to lay before you before I cease my correspondence.
With feelings of profound deference and gratitude, I remain your humble servant,
Under this head we design to unfold some of the great purposes of Jehovah relating to this earth, and in so doing we hope to remove some of the objections of our correspondent. The New Jerusalem is the subject connected with those purposes which shall engage a good share of our attention in this article. It is a subject that will not admit of a philosophic elucidation. All that is known concerning the New Jerusalem is what is revealed in the revelations of God, both of ancient and modern date. The most ancient prophecy which the Saints are now in possession of relating to the New Jerusalem was one delivered by Enoch, the seventh from Adam. This ancient prophecy was revealed anew to Joseph Smith in December, A.D. 1830. There are many great and important events predicted in this wonderful revelation, among which the gathering of the Saints, and the great preparatory work for the coming of Christ are clearly foretold. We make the following extract:—
“And the Lord said unto Enoch, As I live, even so will I come in the last days—in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you, concerning the children of Noah; and the [p.114] day shall come that the earth shall rest; but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulation shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve; and righteousness I will send down out of heaven, and truth will I send forth out of the earth to bear testimony of mine only begotten,—his resurrection from the dead, yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth unto a place which I shall prepare—a holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle; and it shall be called Zion—a NEW JERUSALEM”
From this extract, we learn the important fact that a holy city called ZION or NEW JERUSALEM, is to be built up on this earth preparatory to Christ’s Second Advent; that it is to be built by the elect of God under his direction; that righteousness is to be sent down from heaven, and truth sent forth out of the earth for the purpose of gathering the people of God from among all nations. But this revelation does not tell in what part of the earth the New Jerusalem should be located.
The Book of Mormon, which the Lord has brought out of the earth, informs us that this holy city is to be built upon the continent of America, but it does not inform us upon what part of that vast country it should be built.
The most ancient prophecy in that book, concerning this city, was delivered by Ether, who lived about six hundred years before Christ; he was of the nation of the Jaredites, whom the Lord brought from the great tower, at the time he confounded the language and scattered the people abroad upon all the face of the earth, as recorded in Genesis xi. 9. Ether was raised up among a great and powerful nation at a time when wickedness prevailed among them to an alarming degree. He predicted many great and marvellous events; his nation, however, rejected his testimony, and he lived to behold their utter destruction. We here give the following short extract:
“And now I, Moroni, proceed to finish my record concerning the destruction of the people of whom I have been writing. For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land, it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof; and that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord. Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land: and he [p.115]spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come; after it should be destroyed, it should be built up again a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore it could not be a New Jerusalem, for it had been in a time of old, but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel; and that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type; for as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph, that they should perish not; wherefore the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come, when the earth shall pass away. And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old, save the old have passed away, and all things have become new. And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel. And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb: and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father Abraham. And when these things come, bringeth to pass the Scripture which saith, “there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first.”
The next person of whom we have any knowledge, who, in the order of time, has said anything on the subject of the New Jerusalem, was our Lord Jesus Christ in his personal ministry to the Nephites, after his crucifixion. Jesus, speaking to the remnant of the tribe of Joseph, then inhabiting ancient America, says:
“Behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a NEW JERUSALEM. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.” Jesus informed the Nephites of all things which should befall them down to the great and last day. He told them of the blessings that awaited their posterity in the latter times, when the Gentiles should find their records and should bring forth the same unto them. He predicted the destruction and entire overthrow of the Gentiles, who should reject their records—the Book of [p.116]Mormon after it should be brought forth out of the earth by his power. He left a promise to the Gentiles on condition that they should repent of their sins and embrace the message contained in the records of Joseph. This promise reads as follows:—
“But if they” (the Gentiles) “will repent” (in the day the Book of Mormon is brought forth unto them) “and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant, and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance; and they shall assist my people the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the NEW JERUSALEM; and then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the NEW JERUSALEM. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them: and I also will be in the midst.”
The next writer to which we will refer is John. This apostle, while on the Isle of Patmos, saw Jesus, who commanded him to write to the church of Philadelphia, as follows:—
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is NEW JERUSALEM, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.”
This great apostle looked forward in the visions of God, and saw this same city descending from God out of heaven upon the new earth.—(See Rev. xxi. 2.)
In all the ancient revelations which we have as yet quoted, we have found none who have pointed out the precise spot for the location of this city. We learn positively from the Book of Mormon that it is to be built on the great western continent, but whether in North or South America that invaluable book does not tell us.
In September, 1830, Joseph Smith, that great prophet and seer of the last days, after having a few months previously organized the church of Christ, consisting only of six members,—received a revelation, from which I make the following extract:—”Behold, I say unto you, that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you, that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.” (Doc. and Cov., sec. li, par. 3.)
By this revelation the few members of the Church, then in existence, learned the important fact, that the city was to be built somewhere in the western boundaries of the United States, some fifteen hundred miles west of the State of New York, where the revelation was then given. But as to the particular spot they were still held in igno-[p.117]rance. During the same month the Lord informed the few Saints who had received the Book of Mormon as the word of the Lord, that he had made a certain decree concerning his elect. The revelation was given in the presence of six elders. The Lord said unto them:—
“Ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect, for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; wherefore, the decree hath gone forth from the Father, that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts, and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked; for the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud, and they that do wickedly, shall be as stubble, and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth.”
In December, 1830, the Lord gave commandment unto the Saints in the State of New York, to remove to the State of Ohio.—(Sec. lviii, par. 2.) Shortly after this the church commenced fulfilling this requirement, and within the short space of a few months, the majority of them were comfortably situated in the northern portions of Ohio. In February, 1831, the Saints were commanded to ask the Lord, and he would in due time reveal unto them the place where the New Jerusalem should be built, and where the Saints should eventually be gathered in one.—(Sec. xiii, par. 3, 10, 17, 18.)
On the 7th of March, 1831, the Saints were commanded to gather up their riches with one heart and one mind, to purchase an inheritance which the Lord should point out to them. In this revelation there were many predictions of a very important nature revealed. The inheritance, which was to be pointed out to them, and which they were to purchase, was to be the place of the New Jerusalem or Zion.—(Sec, xv., par. 12, 13, 14; also sec. lxiv. par. 2.)
In June following the Lord commanded between twenty and thirty of the elders to journey westward two by two, preaching the word and building up branches of the church wherever the people would receive their testimony. These elders were to take different routes, and meet together in the capacity of a conference in the western parts of Missouri. In this revelation the Lord said, that inasmuch as his elders were faithful, the land of their inheritance should be made known unto them; and also informed them that it was then in possession of their enemies.—(Sec. lxvi, par. 1, 2, 9.)
In this same month a small branch of the church, called the Colesville branch, who had emigrated from the States of New York to Ohio, where they had been for a few weeks, were commanded to remove to the western borders of Missouri, near the Lamanites.—(Sec. lxviii, par. 2, 3.)
[p.118]Joseph Smith and several of the elders arrived at Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, about the middle of July. Soon after their arrival, a revelation was given pointing out Independence as the central place for the city, and the place for the temple a short distance west of the court house.—(Sec. xxvii, par. 1.)
In this same revelation, the saints were informed that it was wisdom to purchase the land throughout the country, that they might obtain it for an everlasting inheritance. Sidney Gilbert was appointed by revelation as an agent for the church, to receive money to buy land for the benefit of the Saints. Edward Partridge, who had previously been ordained a bishop with the assistance of his two counsellors, was commanded to divide to the Saints their inheritances according to their families. The bishop and the agent were also commanded to make preparations for the Colesville Saints, then on their way from the state of Ohio, that they might, upon their arrival, be planted in their inheritances.—(See the whole of section xxvii.)
The following week the Colesville Saints arrived; and immediately upon their arrival, or on the 1st day of August, 1832, the word of the Lord came unto Joseph the Prophet, saying,—”Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me what I will concerning you, and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you: for verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. For after much tribulation cometh the blessings. Wherefore, the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand. Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which shall follow.”—(See section xviii., par. 1, 2, 3.)
Here it will be seen that immediately upon the arrival of a few of the Saints upon that choice land where the New Jerusalem is to be built, they were informed that the great glory and blessings to be received upon that land were not to be enjoyed until after they should pass through much tribulation. At this time, so far as outward circumstances were manifested, there was not the least appearance of any tribulation. They were about to be located in one of the most beautiful and delightful countries in the world. It was a country, whose richness and fertility of soil far surpassed anything which they had ever before seen. It was a country abounding with springs and rivulets of the purest kind of water, whose crystal streams flowed in luxuriant abundance in almost every grove and prairie. A great variety of the most excellent timber [p.119]bordered upon the rivers and watercourses. These shady and delightful groves were from one to three miles in width, extending many miles in length, while the rich rolling prairies, covered with a gorgeous profusion of wild flowers of every varied hue, lay spread around among the intervening groves. Their grassy surfaces, extending for miles, presented the delightful appearance of a sea of meadows. It was a new country; but a few inhabitants had as yet formed settlements within its borders. These consisted principally of emigrants from the Southern States. The most of this choise land could be purchased of the United States government for about five shillings per acre.
It was here, then, in a country thinly inhabited, and that too by a people who were apparently friendly, that the Lord spake by the mouth of Joseph the Seer, and predicted “much tribulation” upon the Saints, before they could inherit the promised blessings.
The Saints, being inexperienced, could not, at that time, comprehend the nature of the tribulations with which they were to be visited. It was with them, as it was with the ancient apostles; their eyes were not opened to comprehend clearly the word of the Lord. Jesus, at several different times, intimated to his disciples, concerning his death, burial, and resurrection; but so great were their anxieties that he should be crowned king over Israel, and that they should be immediately exalted to high and important stations in his government, that they did not understand his sayings until they came to pass; so with the elders and saints in that glorious country, they saw from the revelations that a great and splendid city was to be built, and that the powers of heaven were to come down and dwell with the Saints; and now that they had learned the very spot where these great events should happen, and that they were the highly favoured people who were the first to receive their inheritance by revelation in the goodly land, they were exceedingly anxious to enter directly, or as soon as possible, into the enjoyment of the promised blessings. Therefore, when the Lord told them that much tribulation awaited them, they did not seem to understand it, or lay it to heart. So eager and intent were they to build the city and enjoy the glory, that the predicted tribulations seem to have almost passed away from their remembrance. They had their eye fixed upon the future glory of Zion, but not on the tribulations which were to precede her exaltation.
The Lord, as if to prepare them to stand steadfast when their tribulations should come, said unto them, “Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which shall follow.”—(Par. 3.) It is well that the Lord did not reveal before hand all the horrible suffering which they were to receive from the hands of their wicked enemies; for it would have been more than they could have well [p.120]endured. Many, no doubt, through their weakness and inexperience, would have shrunk back from the trial, and perhaps might through fear, have left the country, and thus the designs and purposes of God in relation to certain things would have been frustrated. But the Lord foretold enough to encourage and strengthen them when it was fulfilled, and yet not enough to frighten them away from the land. In this thing, then, we can behold the great wisdom of God.
After informing the elders of the great tribulations which should befall the Saints, and the glory that should follow, the Lord continues to instruct them upon the greatness of the work to be performed upon the land. He said—(par. 3.)
“Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come; and also that you might be honoured of laying the foundations, and of bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand; and also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor; yea, a feast of fat things, of wine on the lees well refined, that the earth may know that the mouths of the prophets shall not fail; yea, a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited. Firstly, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble; and after that cometh the day of my power: then shall the poor, the lame, and the blind, and the deaf, come in unto the marriage of the Lamb, and partake of the supper of the Lord, prepared for the great day to come. Behold, I the Lord have spoken it.”
From this paragraph it will be seen that the elders were sent to that land for several purposes.
First, that they might show their obedience to the commandments by performing the mission given them while in the state of Ohio. Second, that they might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which were then in the future pertaining to that land. Third, that they might be honoured in laying the foundation, and of bearing record, as eye witnesses, of the choice “land upon which the Zion of God should stand.” And fourth, that a feast of fat things, or a supper of the house of the Lord, might be well prepared, unto which all nations were to be invited previous to the coming of the bridegroom. O how blessed will be those servants who have kept the faith, who were thus highly honoured with so glorious and important a mission! The future generations of Zion, and all the nations of the righteous, shall call them blessed! They shall sit in the councils of the Holy One of Zion in the day of his power and glory!
In the seventh paragraph of this revelation, it will be perceived that a law was established, that all the Saints who should come to that land, [p.121]should lay their money before the Bishop of the church, that lands might be purchased, and both poor and rich receive an inheritance.
An epistle was commanded to be sent to all the churches in the east, requiring them to appoint an agent to receive subscriptions to purchase land in Zion. And lest the churches should be negligent and slothful upon this subject, the Lord told them that it was his will that the disciples should “purchase the whole region of country, as soon as time would permit.” “Behold here,” saith the Lord, “is wisdom. Let them do this, lest they receive none inheritance save it be by the shedding of blood.” (See paragraph 10 and 11.)
It would appear from this, that unless the “whole region” should be purchased by the Saints they were to receive “none inheritance” there; and at the same time an intimation was given, that unless the Saints were faithful and expeditious to do this there would be a “shedding of blood.” Thus we can perceive, that the Lord saw not as man sees: he saw that the inhabitants of the country, who were then apparently friendly, would become the enemies of the Saints, and shed their blood, and drive them from all their inheritances.
That the Saints might be forewarned, and be on their guard against giving any provocation, the Lord said unto them,
“Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God, hath no need to break the laws of the land; wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet. (Paragraph 5.)
In the 13th paragraph, Sidney Rigdon was commanded to consecrate and dedicate the land and spot of the temple unto the Lord.
On the second day of August, the foundation of the first house for the Colesville Saints, was laid in Kaw township, twelve miles west of Independence. This foundation was laid by twelve men, in honour of the twelve tribes of Israel. At the same time the land of Zion was consecrated and dedicated unto the Lord by prayer.
The next day the temple lot was dedicated unto the Lord, in the presence of eighteen men.
On August 4th the first conference was held in the land of Zion.
August 7th the first funeral was attended, and on the same day another revelation was given through Joseph the prophet, making known still further the duties of the Saints. (See Section xix.)
After receiving several other revelations, Mr. Smith returned to the churches in the east. Towards the last of August, he received another revelation in Kirtland, Ohio, on the great importance of speedily gathering up money to purchase the land in Jackson county. We make the following extract:—
“And now, behold this is the will of the Lord your God concerning [p.122]his Saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence. Behold, the land of Zion, I, the Lord, hold it in mine own hands; nevertheless, I, the Lord, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s: wherefore I, the Lord, will that ye should purchase the lands, that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger; for Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood; wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you. And if by purchase, behold you are blessed; and if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.” (Section xx. paragraph 8.)
This remarkable prophecy, in conjunction with those to which we have before referred, was given, as we have already remarked, at a time when no human sagacity could have foreseen such events. No man, unless he were a prophet, could have so clearly portrayed the subsequent history of the church. Had it not been for these and other predictions of a like nature, no one would for a moment have supposed, that the people of that boasted land of freedom, would shed the blood of the Saints, and drive them from the lands which they had purchased, and persecute them from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue. All other denominations had been tolerated for many years, and no such scenes of persecution had been known in the United States since their constitution was formed. Religious freedom was the boast of the whole nation. Yet in the midst of such universal freedom and religious liberty, the voice of a great prophet is heard, declaring the word of the Lord, and predicting events that no one looked for—events, that to all human appearance, were very unlikely to come to pass—events that have since been fulfilling to the letter, as both America and Great Britain will know.
On the 11th of September, another revelation was given, from which we make the following extract:—
“Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days; and the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land; for, verily, I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out.” (Section xxi. par. 7.)
Here it is again expressly foretold that the rebellious, or those Saints who Should transgress the law of God, were to be cut off out of the land—were to be sent away, and not inherit the land—were to be plucked out. Thus we see that the Lord did not intend to suffer a carelessness, or [p.123]negligence, or wickedness on the part of his Saints who dwelt upon that holy and consecrated land. He had determined as he had expressly told them a few weeks previously that he would be obeyed. “Verily I say unto you, my law shall be kept on this land.” (Section xviii., paragraph 4.) There was no alternative only for the Saints to keep the law of God, or else be “plucked out” of the land, and “be sent away.”
In November, 1831, among the numerous revelations given about those days, the Lord spake the following to the prophet Joseph in the State of Ohio, concerning the Saints on the land of Zion in Missouri.
“Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the Inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them: wherefore let my servant Oliver Cowdery, carry these sayings unto the land of Zion. And a commandment I give unto them, that he that observeth not his prayers before the Lord in the season thereof, let him be had in remembrance before the judge of my people. These things are true and faithful; wherefore transgress them not, neither take therefrom. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, and I come quickly, Amen.” (Section xxii., paragraph 4.)
In the following April, Joseph the seer again visited the land of Zion, and received the word of the Lord in their behalf, and more fully organized them according to the laws of God, after which he returned to his home among the eastern churches.
On the 22nd and 23rd of September, 1832, a revelation was given, informing the Saints that a temple should be built upon the consecrated spot in Jackson county before the generation then living should all pass away, and a cloud of glory should rest upon it. (See Section iv., paragraphs 1, 2.) In this revelation which was given in Ohio, through the prophet, the Saints were sharply reproved, and a judgment predicted upon Zion. The Lord spake thus:—
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received, which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all: and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent, and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have caused to be written, that they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom, otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, nay.”
[p.124]”Verily, I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given, from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works, for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief: and your brethren in Zion, for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you.” (See paragraphs 8 and 12.)
The children of Zion had not harkened diligently to the warnings which the prophet Joseph delivered a few months previously, or at the time he visited them; wherefore the Lord was displeased with them as manifested in the above revelation.
The inhabitants of Zion were faithfully warned of the judgments which awaited them, not only by direct revelation, but by letters. We make the following extracts from a letter written in Ohio, by Joseph Smith, and sent as a warning to the children of Zion in Missouri.
Kirtland, Ohio, January 11th, 1833.
“Brother William W. Phelps,—I send you the olive leaf which we have plucked from the tree of paradise—the Lord’s message of peace tous; (meaning by this, a lengthy revelation which he sent in company with the letter, given December 6th, 1832. See Section vi.,) for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant; yet we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established his name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place, from whence his word will go forth in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in his sight, he will seek another people; for his work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear his voice, must expect to feel his wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and yet, strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of all mankind. I say to you, (and what I say to you I say to all,) hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall, and the Lord swear in his wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into my rest. The brethren in Kirtland pray for you unceasingly, for knowing the terrors of the Lord, they greatly fear for you.”
“Our hearts are greatly grieved at the spirit which is breathed, both in your letter, and that of brother G * * * * * *; the very spirit which is wasting the strength of Zion like a pestilence; and if it is not detected and driven from you, it will ripen Zion for the threatened judgments of [p.125]God. Remember God sees the secret springs of human action, and knows the hearts of all living.”* * * “All we can say by way of conclusion, is, if the fountain of our tears are not dried up, we will still weep for Zion. This from your brother who trembles for Zion, and for the wrath of heaven which awaits her if she repent not.”
P.S. I am not in the habit of crying peace, when there is no peace, and knowing the threatened judgment of God; I say, “Woe unto them who are at ease in Zion; fearfulness will speedily lay hold of the hypocrite.”* * *”We wish you to render the (evening and morning) STAR as interesting as possible, by setting forth the rise, progress, and faith of the church, as well as the doctrine; for if you do not render it more interesting than at present, it will fall, and the church suffer a great loss thereby.”
JOSEPH SMITH, Jun.
That the inhabitants of Zion, in Jackson county, Missouri, were plainly and in the most definite terms forewarned of the judgments of heaven which would speedily over-take them, may be seen from the following letter, written by a council of twelve High Priests, in the state of Ohio, and sent to them.
Kirtland Mills, Geauga County, Ohio, January 14th, 1833.
From a conference of twelve High Priests, to the bishop, his council, and the inhabitants of Zion.
Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith being appointed by the said conference, to write this epistle in obedience to the commandment given the 22nd and 23rd of September last, which says, “But verily I say unto all those that shall repent of their former evil works, for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief: and your brethren in Zion, for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you.”
Brother Joseph, and certain others, have written to you on this all-important subject, but you have never been apprized of these things, by the united voice of a conference of those high priests that were present at the time this commandment was given.
We therefore, Orson and Hyrum, the committee appointed by said conference to write this epistle, having received the prayers of said conference that we might be enabled to write the mind and will of God upon this subject, now take up our pen to address you in the name of the conference, relying upon the arm of the great head of the church.
In the commandment above alluded to, the children of Zion were all, yea, even every one, under condemnation, and were to remain in that state until they repented and remembered the new covenant, even [p.126]the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments, which the Lord had given them, not only to say but to do them, and bring forth fruit meet for the Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion; for shall the children of the kingdom pollute the holyland? I say unto you, nay!
The answers received from those letters, which have been sent to you upon this subject, have failed to bring to us that satisfactory confession and acknowledgment, which the spirit of our Master requires; we, therefore, feeling a deep interest for Zion, and knowing the judgments of God that will come upon her except she repent, resort to these last and most effectual means in our power, to bring her to a sense of her standing before the Most High.
At the time Joseph, Sidney and Newel left Zion, all matters of hardness and misunderstanding were settled and buried, (as they supposed) and you gave them the hand of fellowship; but, afterwards, you brought up all these things again, in a sensorious spirit, accusing Brother Joseph in rather an indirect way of seeking after monarchial power and authority. This came to us in Brother Carroll’s letter of June 2nd. We are sensible that this is not the thing Brother Joseph is seeking after, but to magnify the high office and calling whereunto he has been called and appointed by the command of God and the united voice of this church. It might not be amiss for you to call to mind the circumstances of the Nephites and the children of Israel rising up against their prophets, and accusing them of seeking after kingly power, &c., and see what befel them and take warning before it is too late.
Brother Gilbert’s letter of December 10th, has been received and read attentively, and the low, dark, and blind insinuations, which were in it, were not received by us from the fountain of light, though his claims and pretensions to holiness were great. We are not unwilling to be chastened or rebuked for our faults, but we want to receive it in language that we can understand, as Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man.” We are aware that brother G. is doing much, and a multitude of business on hand; but let him purge out all the old leaven, and do his business in the spirit of the Lord, and then the Lord will bless him, otherwise the frown of the Lord will remain upon him. There is manifestly an uneasiness in Brother Gilbert, and a fearfulness that God will not provide for his saints in these last days, and these fears lead him on to coveteousness. This ought not so to be: but let him do just as the Lord has commanded him, and the Lord will open his coffers, and his wants will be liberally supplied. But if this uneasy, covetous disposition be cherished by him, the Lord will bring him to poverty, shame, and disgrace.
Brother Phelp’s letter is also received of December 15th, and care-[p.127]fully read, and it betrays a lightness of spirit that ill becomes a man placed in the important and responsible station that he is placed in. If you have fat beef and potatoes, eat them in singleness of heart, and boast not yourselves in these things. Think not, brethren, that we make a man an offender for a word; this is not the case; but we want to see a spirit in Zion, by which the Lord will build it up; that is the plain, solemn, and pure spirit in Christ. Brother Phelp’s requested in his last letter that Brother Joseph should come to Zion; but we say that Brother Joseph will not settle in Zion until she repent and purify herself, and abide by the new covenant, and remember the commandments that have been given her, to do them as well as say them.
You may think it strange that we manifest no cheerfulness of heart upon the reception of your letter; you may think that our minds are prejudiced so much that we can see no good that comes from you; but rest assured, brethren, that this is not the case.
We have the best of feelings, and feelings of the greatest anxiety for the welfare of Zion; we feel more like weeping over Zion than we do like rejoicing over her, for we know the judgments of God hang over her, and will fall upon her except she repent, and purify herself before the Lord, and put away from her every foul spirit. We now say to Zion, this once, in the name of the Lord, repent! awake, awake, put on thy beautiful garments, before you are made to feel the chastening rod of him, whose anger is kindled against you. Let not Satan tempt you to think we want to make you bow to us to domineer over you, for God knows this is not the case; our eyes are watered with tears, and our hearts are poured out to God in prayer for you, that he will spare you, and turn away his anger from you.
There are many things in the last letters from Brothers G. and P. that are good and we esteem them much. The idea of having “certain ones appointed to regulate Zion and travelling elders, has nothing to do with this part of the matter;” it is something we highly approbate, and you will doubtless know before this reaches you, why William E. M’Lellin opposed you in this move. We fear there was something in Brother Gilbert, when he returned to this place from New York, last fall, in relation to his Brother William that was not right; for Brother Gilbert was asked two or three times about his Brother William, but gave evasive answers, and at the same time he knew that William was in Cleveland; but the Lord has taken him. We merely mention this, that all may take warning to work in the light, for God will bring every secret thing to light.
We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that he may testify to his Father and our Father—to his God and our God, that [p.128]we are clean from the blood of this generation, and before we could wash our hands and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter. Therefore, with the feelings of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her.
Let the bishop read this to the elders, that they may warn the members of the scourge that is coming, except they repent. Tell them to read the Book of Mormon and obey it; read the commandments that are printed and obey them: yea, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that peradventure he may turn away his anger from you. Tell. them that they have not come up to Zion to sit down in idleness, neglecting the things of God, but they are to be diligent and faithful in obeying the new covenant.
There is one clause in Brother Joseph’s letter which you may not understand; that is this, “if the people of Zion did not repent, the Lord would seek another place and another people.” Zion is the place where the temple will be built, and the people gathered, but all people upon that holy land being under condemnation, the Lord will cut off if they repent not, and bring another race upon it that will serve him. The Lord will seek another place to bring forth and prepare his word to go forth to Zion, except she repent and serve God, and obey the new covenant. With this explanation the conference sanctions Brother Joseph’s letter.
Brethren, the conference meets again this evening to hear this letter read, and if it meets their minds, we have all agreed to kneel down before the Lord and cry unto him with all our hearts that this epistle, and brother Joseph’s, and the revelations also, may have their desired effect, and accomplish the thing whereunto they are sent, and that they may stimulate you to cleanse Zion, that she mourn not. Therefore, when you get this, know ye that a conference of twelve High Priests have cried unto the Lord for you, and are still crying, saying, spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach. We now feel that our garments are clean from you and all men, when we have washed our feet and hands according to the commandments.
We have written plain at this time, but we believe not harsh. Plainness is what the Lord requires, and we should not feel ourselves clear, unless we had done so; and if the things we have told you be not attended to, you will not long have occasion to say, or to think rather, that we may be wrong in what we have stated. Your unworthy brethren are determined to pray unto the Lord for Zion as long as we can shed the sympathetic tear, or feel any spirit to supplicate a throne of grace in her behalf.
The school of the prophets will commence, if the Lord will, in two or three days. It is a general time of health with us. The cause of God [p.129]seems to be rapidly advancing in the eastern country; the gifts are beginning to break forth so as to astonish the world, and even believers marvel at the power and goodness of God. Thanks be rendered to his holy name for what he is doing. We are your unworthy brethren in the Lord, and may the Lord help us to all do his will, that we may at last be saved in his kingdom.
After the inhabitants of Zion had received these numerous and pointed prophetic warnings, some of them began to repent; and in the month of March, 1833, the word of the Lord came unto Joseph the Seer, saying,—
“Behold I say unto you, that your brethren in Zion begin to repent, and the angels rejoice over them; nevertheless, I am not well pleased with many things; and I am not well pleased with my servant William E. M’Lellin, neither with my servant Sidney Gilbert; and the bishop also, and others have many things to repent of; but verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me; for she shall not be removed out of her place. I, the Lord, have spoken it.—Amen.” (Section lxxxv, par. 8.)
Notwithstanding the repentance manifested on the part of some, there were others with whom the Lord was not well pleased; hence they were still threatened with chastisements. In the month of August, 1833, the word of the Lord came again unto his servant Joseph, in the town of Kirtland, in the northern part of Ohio. This revelation seems to have been given in order to prepare the minds of the Saints, that they might know how to act in relation to their enemies who were shortly to fall upon them, as wolves upon their defenseless prey. (See the whole of Section lxxxvi.) In this revelation the Lord said,
“Whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal; therefore be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy; for if you will not abide in my covenant, ye are not worthy of me; therefore renounce war, and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children; and again the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews, lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me.” (Par. 3.)
From this extract it will be seen, that the Lord decreed to try and [p.130]prove the Saints in all things, even unto death. How could this decree be fulfilled unless he suffered their enemies to persecute them unto death?
In the month of November, 1833, our enemies in Jackson County—sectarian priests and people,—professors of religion and non-professors, arose en masse against men, women and children of the Saints, and expelled them from the county. Some of the Saints were shot, some were tied up and whipped until their bowels gushed out; many perished by exposure to hunger and cold, being driven from their own firesides and from all their hard earnings. Over two hundred of their houses were burned, their fences and crops destroyed, their cattle and horses plundered; their household furniture, beds, bedding, goods, chattels, &c., were either destroyed or robbed from them, and they were driven across the Missouri river into a county north, where the most of them found a temporary shelter from the inclemency of the weather. For the particulars concerning this dreadful persecution, and the horrid cruelties inflicted upon the Saints, see P. P. Pratt’s history of the Missouri persecutions, and also many of the periodicals published by the Saints soon afterwards.
Here then was the commencement of our tribulations as foretold by the word of the Lord, months, and years before it came to pass. We ask our readers to reflect for a few moments upon the vast number of prophetic warnings which we have already quoted, and then again reflect upon their literal speedy fulfilment. Is it possible for any honest man, free from bigotry and prejudice, to read these important prophecies and their exact fulfilment, without being irresistibly convinced that Joseph Smith was a great prophet of God?
When the Saints first located upon that land, did not the Lord, by the mouth of Joseph, foretell that they should have “much tribulation” before they should inherit the great blessings promised on that land? Did he not foretell that their enemies should be stirred up to bloodshed against them? Did he not foretell, that unless they did as he commanded they “should be plucked up out of the land and sent away?” Did he not tell them over and over again that “a scourge and a judgment” awaited them? Did he not tell them that he would chasten them, and contend with them, and plead with them until they overcame and were made clean? Did he not decree that he would try them and prove them in all things even unto death? Did he not say that if they would not do as he commanded, they should be “persecuted from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few” of those who were then on that choice land “should stand to receive an inheritance?” Was not letter after letter, as well as revelations sent to them, telling them if they did not repent, that great judgments awaited them? With all these thrilling fearful warnings, the children of Zion only manifested a partial repentance, and the [p.131]predicted scourges and judgments came, and the Saints were made to feel to their sorrow and great distress that the word of the Lord had not been spoken in vain.
When the Saints were driven from their houses and lay in the open prairies, and in the cold dreary wilderness, a remarkable phenomenon appeared in the heavens which was seen by many millions for thousands of miles over our globe, viz., the METEORIC SHOWER, or shooting stars, which created quite a panic among the persecutors of the Saints who were then in the act of driving, plundering and destroying them and their property. This was one of the great signs in the heavens, manifested in the last days. Many others, still more marvellous, are yet to appear.
After the Saints had procured comfortable homes in Clay County, they were again menaced by mobs and forced to leave and form a settlement in a new portion of the state, where they remained until the year 1838, when then they were driven by their merciless persecutors into the State of Illinois, and founded the city called Nauvoo, upon the eastern bank of the Mississippi.
That our readers may form some idea of these cold-blooded persecutions, we here insert a memorial of the city council of the city of Nauvoo to the Congress of the United States.
AMERICAN EXILES’ MEMORIAL TO CONGRESS
To the Honorable Senators and Representatives of the United States
of America, in Congress Assembled.
We, the undersigned members of the city council of the city of Nauvoo, citizens of Hancock county, Illinois, and exiles from the State of Missouri, being in council assembled, unanimously, and respectfully, for ourselves and in behalf of many thousands of other exiles, memorialize the honorable Senators and Representatives of our nation upon our constituents, by the constituted authorities of the State of Missouri, and likewise upon the subject of the present unfortunate circumstances in which we are placed in the land of our exile. As a history of the Missouri outrages has been extensively published, both in this country and in Europe, it is deemed unnecessary to particularize all of the wrongs and grievances inflicted upon us in this memorial, as there is an abundance of well-attested documents to which your honorable body can at any time refer; hence we only embody the following important items for your consideration:—
First. Your memorialists, as free-born citizens of this great Republic, relying with the utmost confidence upon the sacred “Articles of the Constitution” by which the several States are bound together, and considering ourselves entitled to all the privileges and immunities of free citizens in what State soever we desired to locate ourselves, commenced a settlement in the county of Jackson, on the western frontiers of the State of Missouri in the summer of 1831. There we purchased lands from government; erected several hundred houses; made extensive improvements; and shortly the wild and lonely prairies and stately forests were converted into well-cultivated and fruitful fields. There we expected to spend our days in the enjoyment of all rights and liberties bequeathed to us by the sufferings and blood of our noble ancestors. But alas! our expectations were vain. Two years had scarcely elapsed before we were unlawfully and unconstitutionally assailed by an organized mob, consisting of the highest officers in the county, both civil and military, who boldly and openly avowed their determination, in a written circular, to drive us from said county. As a specimen of their treasonable and cruel designs, your honourable body are referred to said circular, of which the following is but a short extract, namely, ‘We, the undersigned citizens of Jackson county, believing that an important crisis is at hand as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled and are still settling in our county, styling themselves Mormons, and intending, as we do, to rid our society, ‘peaceably,’ if we can—’forcibly’ if we must; and believing, as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect, deem it expedient and of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose.’ This document was closed in the following words:—’We therefore agree, after timely warning and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.’
To this unconstitutional document were attached the names of nearly every officer in the county, together with the names of hundreds of others. It was by this band of murderers that your memorialists, in the year 1833, were plundered of their property, and robbed of their peaceable homes. It was by them their fields were laid waste, their houses burned, and their men, women, and children, to the number of about twelve hundred persons, banished as exiles from the county, while others were cruelly murdered by their hands.
[p.133]Second. After our expulsion from Jackson county we settled in Clay county, on the opposite side of the Missouri river, where we purchased lands both from the old settlers and from the land office; but soon we were again violently threatened by mobs, and obliged to leave our homes and seek out a new location.
Third. Our next settlement was in Caldwell county, where we purchased the most of the lands in said county, besides a part of the lands in Davis and Carroll counties. These counties were almost entirely in a wild and uncultivated state, but by the persevering industry of our citizens, large and extensive farms were opened in every direction, well stocked with numerous flocks and herds. We also commenced settlements in several other counties of the State, and once more confidently hoped to enjoy the hard earned fruits of our labour unmolested; but our hopes were soon blasted. The cruel and murderous spirit which first began to manifest itself in the constituted authorities and inhabitants of Jackson county, and afterwards in Clay and the surrounding counties, receiving no check either from the civil or military power of the State, had, in the mean time, taken courage, boldly and fearlessly spread its contaminating and treasonable influence into every department of the government of said State. Lieutenant Governor Boggs, a resident of Jackson county, who acted a conspicuous part in our expulsion from said county, instead of being tried for treason and rebellion against the constitution and suffering the just penalty of his crimes, was actually elected Governor and placed in the executive chair. Thus the inhabitants of the State were greatly encouraged to renew with redoubled fury their unlawful attack upon our defenseless settlements. Men, women, and children were driven in every direction before their merciless persecutors. Robbed of their possessions, their property, their provisions and their all; cast forth upon the bleak snowy prairies, houseless and unprotected, many sunk down and expired under their accumulated sufferings, while others arrived in Caldwell county, to which place they were driven from all the surrounding counties only to witness a still more heart-rending scene. In vain had we appealed to the constituted authorities of Missouri for protection and redress of our former grievances; in vain we now stretched out our hands, and appealed, as the citizens of this great Republic, to the sympathies—to the justice and magnanimity of those in power; in vain we implored, again and again at the feet of Governor Boggs, our former persecutor, aid and protection against the ravages and murders now inflicted upon our defenseless and unoffending citizens. The cry of American citizens, already twice driven and deprived of liberty, could not penetrate their adamantine hearts. The Governor, instead of sending us aid, issued a proclamation for our EXTERMINATION and BANISHMENT; ordered out the forces of the State, placed them under [p.134]the command of General Clarke, who, to execute these exterminating orders, marched several thousand troops into our settlements in Caldwell county, where, unrestrained by fear or law or justice, and urged on by the highest authority of the State, they laid waste our fields of corn, shot down our cattle, and hogs for sport, burned our dwellings, unhumanly butchered some eighteen or twenty defenseless citizens, dragged from their hiding places little children and, placing the muzzles of their guns to their heads, shot them with the most horrid oaths and imprecations. An aged hero and patriot of the revolution, who served under General Washington, while in the act of pleading for quarters, was cruelly murdered and hewed in pieces with an old corn-cutter; and in addition to all these savage acts of barbarity, they forcibly dragged virtuous and inoffensive females from their dwellings bound them upon benches used for public worship, where they, in great numbers ravished them in a most brutal manner. Some fifty or sixty of the citizens were thrust into prisons and dungeons, where, bound in chains, they were fed on human flesh, while their families and some fifteen thousand others, were, at the point of the bayonet, forcibly expelled from the State. In the mean time, to pay the expenses of these horrid outrages, they confiscated our property and robbed us of all our possessions. Before our final expulsion, with a faint and lingering hope we petitioned the State Legislature, then in session. Unwilling to believe that American citizens could appeal in vain for a restoration of liberty, cruelly wrested from them by cruel tyrants. But in the language of our noble ancestors “our repeated petitions were only answered by repeated injuries.” The Legislature, instead of hearing the cries of 15,000 suffering, bleeding, unoffended citizens, sanctioned and sealed the unconstitutional acts of the governor and his troops, by appropriating 200,000 dollars to defray the expenses of exterminating us from the State.
No friendly arm was stretched out to protect us. The last ray of hope for redress in that State was now entirely extinguished. We saw no other alternative but to bow down our necks, and wear the cruel yoke of oppression, and quietly and submissively suffer ourselves to be banished as exiles from our possessions, our property, and our sacred homes; or otherwise, see our wives and children coldly murdered and butchered by tyrants in power.
Fourth. Our next permanent settlement was in the land of our exile, the State of Illinois, in the spring of 1839. But even here we are not secure from our relentless persecutor, the State of Missouri. Not satisfied in having drenched her soil in the blood of innocence, and expelling us from her borders, she pursues her unfortunate victims into banishment, seizing upon and kidnapping them in their defenseless moments, dragging them across the Mississippi river upon their inhos-[p.135]pitable shores, where they are tortured, whipped, immured in dungeons, and hung by the neck without any legal process whatever. We have memorialized the former executive of this state, Governor Carlin, upon these lawless outrages committed upon our citizens, but he rendered us no protection. Missouri, receiving no check in her murderous career, continues her depredation, again and again kidnapping our citizens, and robbing us of our property; while others, who fortunately survived the execution of her bloody edicts, are again and again demanded by the executive of that state, on pretence of some crime, said to have been committed by them during the exterminating expedition against our people. As an instance, General Joseph Smith, one of your memorialists, has been three times demanded, tried, and acquitted by the courts of this state, upon investigation under writs of Habeas Corpus, once by the United States court for the district of Illinois, again by the Circuit court of the State of Illinois, and lastly, by the municipal court of the city of Nauvoo, when at the same time a nulle prosequi had been entered by the courts of Missouri, upon all the cases of that State against Joseph Smith and others. Thus the said Joseph Smith has been several times tried for the same alleged offence, put in jeopardy of life and limb, contrary to the fifth article of the amendments to the Constitution of these United States; and thus we have been continually harassed and robbed of our money to defray the expenses of those vexatious prosecutions. And what at the present time seems to be still more alarming, is the hostility manifested by some of the authorities and citizens of this State. Conventions have been called; inflammatory speeches made; and many unlawful and unconstitutional resolutions adopted, to deprive us of our rights, our liberties, and the peaceable enjoyment of our possessions. From the present hostile aspect, and from bitter experience in the State of Missouri, it is greatly feared that the barbarous scenes acted in that State will be reacted in this. If Missouri goes unpunished, others will be greatly encouraged to follow her murderous examples. The afflictions of your memorialists have already been over-whelming, too much for humanity, too much for American citizens to endure without complaint. We have groaned under the iron hand of tyranny and oppression these many years. We have been robbed of our property to the amount of about two millions of dollars. We have been hunted as the wild beasts of the forest. We have seen our aged fathers who fought in the Revolution, and our innocent children, alike slaughtered by our persecutors. We have seen the fair daughters of American citizens insulted and abused in the most inhuman manner, and finally we have seen fifteen thousand souls, men, women, and children, driven by force of arms, during the severities of winter, from their sacred homes and fire-sides, to a land of strangers, penniless and unprotected. Under all these afflicting circum-[p.136]stances, we imploringly stretch forth our hands towards the highest councils of our nation, and humbly appeal to the illustrious Senators and Representatives of a great and free people for redress and protection.
Hear, O hear the petitioning voice of many thousands of American citizens who now groan in exile on Columbia’s free soil. Hear, O hear, the weeping and bitter lamentations of widows and orphans, whose husbands and fathers have been cruelly martyred in the land where the proud eagle exultingly floats. Let it not be recorded in the archives of the nations, that Columbia’s exiles sought protection and redress at your hands, but sought it in vain. It is in your power to save us, our wives, and our children, from a repetition of the blood-thirsty scenes of Missouri, and thus greatly relieve the fears of a persecuted and injured people, and your petitioners will ever pray.”
The names of the members of the city council, as petitioners, are omitted for want of room.
The foregoing memorial was presented to Congress in the spring of 1844, making the third time that those horrid scenes of murder have been laid before them since the beginning of our exile, but all to no purpose. Our petitions are unheeded or treated with contempt. And thousands of American citizens must linger out a life of wretched exile, deprived of the use of their own lands, and of the sacred rights of American Liberty.
From the year 1839 to 1846 the Saints dwelt in Nauvoo and vicinity. During the latter part of their residence in that country, they were much persecuted by mobs, who destroyed much property and many lives of the Saints, among whom Joseph, the prophet, and his brother Hyrum fell as martyrs. The persecutions at length became so violent, that the Saints were forced to leave their comfortable homes in the cold dreary months of February and March, and seek refuge in the wild desolate prairies of Iowa, which were mostly uninhabited.
Having received nothing but one continued series of persecutions since the rise of the church, the Saints were determined to seek out a location far distant from the inhuman, blood-thirsty savages, who dwelt in the United States under the pious name of Christians. They accordingly sent nearly 200 men to explore the great interior of North America, who, being directed by the spirit of God, found a suitable location in the Great Basin of Upper California, near the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake. In this retired place the Saints began to gather by thousands. This settlement is upwards of one thousand miles from the extreme western frontiers of the United States. It is separated from Western California, or the gold regions, not only by large and extensive deserts, but by the high and lofty range of the Sierra Nevada; while on the east the snow-capped ridge of the Rocky Mountains, forms a natur-[p.137]al boundary between it and the immense plains, bordering, like a vast ocean, upon their eastern base. This is now one of the most wild, romantic and retired countries on the great western hemisphere. It is there that the Saints hope to rest for a season from the fury of the oppressor, and strengthen themselves in the Lord. It is there that they intend gathering from the various nations of the earth, until the Lord, by revelation or his providence, shall direct otherwise.
But where is the spot where the city of Zion or the New Jerusalem shall stand? We answer, in Jackson County, State of Missouri, on the western frontiers of the United States. It is there that the city of Zion shall be built. All the other cities that have been built by the gathering of the Saints are called, not Zion, but “STAKES” of Zion. (See Section lxxxiv. par. 1. Section ciii. par. I. Section xcviii. par. 4.)
The term “zion” in the scriptures is frequently applied to the people of God who should live on the earth in the last days. Isaiah, when beholding the great events which were to precede the coming of the “Lord God with a strong hand,” commands the people of God in the following language:—O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain.” (Isaiah xl. 9.) It will at once be admitted that a city, called Zion, could not fulfil this prophetic command of Isaiah, therefore he must have addressed this prediction to a people instead of a city. The people, called Zion, who were to bring good tidings, were required to “Get up into the high mountain.” This prophecy the Saints are now fulfilling: they are moving by the thousands from various parts of the globe into the “high places of the earth,” among the Rocky Mountains, where they are forming a prosperous settlement, elevated over four thousand feet above the level of the sea. This prediction of Isaiah never has been fulfilled in former days: indeed it is a prediction to be fulfilled immediately before the great day of the coming of the Lord God, as will be seen by the context. “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold his reward is with him and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah xl. 10, 11.)
It may appear strange unto many, that the Saints should go out from the midst of the United States, and settle in the interior wilds of North America, in a country uninhabited except by roving tribes of Indians. But it will be recollected that the church were forced to do this, or else see their wives and children butchered by Gentile christians. But all this has been done that the Book of Mormon might be fulfilled. In that sacred book Jesus utters the following prediction:—
“Wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles, (meaning the people of the United States who should disbelieve in the Book [p.138]of Mormon,) for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people, who are of the house of Israel, (meaning the Indians;) and my people who are of the house of Israel, have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them; and because of the mercies of the Father unto the Gentiles, and also the judgments of the Father upon my people who are of the house of Israel, verily, verily, I say unto you, that after all this, and I have caused my people who are of the house of Israel, to be smitten, and to be afflicted, and to be slain, and to be cast out from among them, and to become hated by them, and to become a hiss and a bye-word among them. And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you, at that day when the Gentiles (the people of the United States) shall sin against my gospel (contained in the Book of Mormon,) and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all abominations; and if they should do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel (meaning the Book of Mormon,) behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them; and then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel (meaning the Indians,) and I will bring my gospel unto them; and I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you, but I will remember my covenant unto you O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.” (Book of Mormon, second English edition, page 466.)
It will be recollected that this prediction was in print in the Book of Mormon before the church of the Saints was organized, and about sixteen years afterwards it began to be fulfilled. The Lord began to bring the fulness of his gospel, which includes the keys, authority, powers, and blessings of the everlasting priesthood. Since that time Zion has located herself according to the prediction of the gospel with its heavenly powers and blessings, is now in the midst of many powerful tribes or nations of Israel or Indians; and thus has the prophecy of Jesus been in part fulfilled. The remainder of this great prophecy will soon come to pass, and then many of the Indian nations will become a civilized and christian people, after which the Indians, who are the remnant of Joseph will build the city called the new Jerusalem or Zion, being assisted by the Gentile Saints.
If the Gentile Saints had built up the city of Zion in Jackson county, Missouri, before the gospel had been taken from among that nation, and before many of the Indian nations became converted, it would have falsified the prediction of Jesus in the Book of Mormon. (Book of Mormon, second English edition, page 479.)
[p.139]The converted remnants of Joseph are to be the principal actors in the great work of the building up of the city of Zion; after which the Indian nations will be gathered in one to the city of Zion and the surrounding country; then the powers of heaven will be revealed, and Jesus will descend in his glory and dwell in the midst of Zion. This is what is predicted in the Book of Mormon, and it will not take place in any other way.
Not only the Book of Mormon predicts the building up of Zion, before the coming of the Lord, but many of the Jewish prophets. The Psalmist says, “When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory.” (Psalm cii. 16.) He appears in his glory “to declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem, when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms to serve the Lord” (Psalm cii. 21, 22.) When the Lord arises, and has mercy upon Zion, and shows favour unto her (see verse 13), then “the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth his glory.” (verse 15.)
“The Redeemer shall come to Zion and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah lix. 20.) Zion must first be built, and Jacob must in some measure be turned from transgression before the Redeemer comes to Zion. Paul says, “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, “there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.” Now unless Zion be built up by a part of Israel, who shall turn from transgression, these prophecies never could be fulfilled. Isaiah says, “the Redeemer shall come to Zion.” Paul says, “the Deliverer shall come out of Zion.” Isaiah says that he shall come to those who “turn from transgression in Jacob.” Paul says, he shall “come out of Zion to turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Both of these writers speak of these events as still in the future. Now, how could “the Deliverer come out of Zion” unless he first “come to Zion?” and how could he come to Zion unless he first built up Zion? and how could he build up Zion unless he gave commandments and revelations to his saints, designating the time when, the place where, and the pattern after which he would have it built?
If the building up of the city of Zion must assuredly take place before the Lord appears in his glory, then there must assuredly be more revelation given to accomplish so important a work. No uninspired man would know when to commence such a work; neither would he know the place where the Most High would have such a city; neither would he know any thing of the order of architecture which would be the most pleasing in the sight of Jehovah; neither would he know any thing of the size or pattern of the sanctuary and tabernacle which, according [p.140]to the scriptures, must be built in Zion. An uninspired man would be in total ignorance in regard to every thing connected with this preparatory city for the coming of the Lord. Hence the great necessity for more revelation and inspired prophets in the last days.
Unless Zion be built up, there can be no salvation for Israel, for the Lord says, “I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” (Isaiah xlvi. 13.) The Psalmist, when contemplating this great work, exclaims, “Oh, that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice and Israel shall be glad.” (Psalm xiv. 7.) Therefore, Israel may look in vain for restoration and salvation only from Zion. It is in Zion that the kingdom of God will exist in its glory and beauty; it is in Zion that salvation and the keys of authority for the deliverance of the Saints and of Israel will be placed. “Saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lords.” (Obadiah 21.)
Because Zion, in ancient times existed at Jerusalem, in Palestine, many have supposed that the Zion of the last days, so frequently the subject of prophecy, will also exist at Jerusalem. But when we compare the events which are to transpire at Jerusalem, with those which will take place in Zion, we are constrained to believe them to be two different places and cities, separated from each other, and inhabited by people in circumstances quite different from each other. It is very evident from the scriptural prophecies, that a large portion of the Jews who assemble at Jerusalem, before the coming of Christ, will be unbelievers in the true Messiah, whom their fathers crucified. They will gather with the expectation that the Messiah is yet to come in great glory with the clouds of heaven, as predicted by Daniel the prophet. Both the Jews and the Christians believe alike in the glory and power of the Messiah which is to come: they both expect him to come as a great king to reign over Israel in great splendor, and that “all people, nations, and languages,” that escape his vengeance, “will serve him,” and that Israel at that time will be delivered from all their enemies, and become the head among the nations; but the Jews do not believe that this glorious personage will be Jesus of Nazareth; whereas the Christians believe that the crucified Messiah will be the great king who will come and reign in glory among Israel. The Jews and Christians only differ as to the personage, and not in relation to the grand events which that personage is to perform. A portion of the Jewish nation will sincerely remain in error in regard to the personage until he descends with all his saints, and stands his feet upon the mount of Olives, and destroys the assembled nations who will, at that time, be in the very act of taking Jerusalem. After this grand and powerful deliverance of their nation, they will look more attentively upon this mighty deliverer, and what will be their astonishment when [p.141]they behold his wounded side and hands! Some of them, not once mistrusting that he is the poor despised Nazarene whom their fathers put to death, will “say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” (Zechariah xiii. 6.) “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon, in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families every family apart, and their wives apart.” (Zechariah xii. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.) This mourning will not be the mourning of despair, but of love and affection which they will have for Jesus when they recognize him by the wounds of his hands and side, and reflect upon their own iniquities in so long rejecting him, and the cruelty of their fathers in putting him to death. That it is not the mourning of despair is evident from the fact, that he then “will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications.” (Verse 10) This mourning is compared to the mourning once manifested in the valley of Megiddon. Josiah, king of Israel, having been slain in that valley, “all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel.” (2 Chron. xxxv. 24, 25.) The mourning and lamentations of the Jews, because their fathers put to death their king, will be, in some respects, of a similar nature.
Not withstanding the stubbornness of the Jews in rejecting Jesus of Nazareth until the very time of his coming, yet, upon their sincere repentance, he will have mercy upon them. They will be brought down very humble, because of the sore judgments and great calamities which will befall them immediately before the coming of the Messiah; for all nations will come against them to battle, and will succeed in taking one half of their city, and half of the Jews will become captives or prisoners,—their houses will be rifled, and their women ravished; (Zechariah xiv. 2.) In the midst of these overwhelming calamities, the Jews will humble themselves Exceedingly, and will call upon the God of their fathers to deliver them, and they will be willing to say, “blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord;” they will be humble enough to receive any deliverer that will come in his name, and extricate them from their sore troubles. At length a deliverer comes, which they afterwards find to their astonishment, is the very Jesus that was crucified: then come [p.142]their great mourning and repentance, immediately after which they will embrace the gospel or the ordinance of baptism “for remission of their sins.” This is evident from the fact, that after Zechariah has described their mourning, he proceeds, in the next verse, to say, that “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness.” (Zechariah xiii. 1.) This fountain is described in the fourteenth chapter. “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem, half of them towards the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.” (Zechariah xiv. 8.) This same fountain will break out from under the threshold of the temple, on its eastern side; and but a short distance from its source, eastward, it becomes a river of considerable magnitude, that cannot be forded. (See Ezekial xlvii. 1-12.; also Joel iii. 18.) As this fountain is opened to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness, it will no doubt be the water in which they will be baptized for remission of sins. “Then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.” (Joel iii. 17.)
We shall now point out some of the peculiarities which will distinguish Zion from Jerusalem.
I.—Zion is called a “WILDERNESS,” but “Jerusalem a DESOLATION.” (Isaiah lxiv. 10.)
2.—Zion is to be called “SOUGHT OUT,” “A CITY NOT FORSAKEN,” (Isaiah lxii. 12.)Jerusalem was not sought out, but was a city inhabited before Israel came out of Egypt. Jerusalem has also been forsaken for many generations.
3.—The light of Zion is to come, and the glory of the Lord is to arise upon her, before wickedness is destroyed from among the nations; whereas Jerusalem is not to become holy, and the glory of God is not to arise upon her, until the Lord comes and destroys wickedness, and converts the Jews. That great darkness will reign among the nations, while Zion will be in the light, is clearly predicted by Isaiah, who addresses her in the following beautiful and prophetic language, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” (Isaiah lx. 1-2.) The nature of the light and glory which will be seen upon Zion, is described as follows:—”And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night.” (Isaiah iv. 5.) When the Lord builds up Zion, and she begins to shine, Isaiah says, “The Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons shall come from far, [p.143]and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” (Isaiah lx. 4-5.) Zion will be distinguished from Jerusalem by her people being all righteous, as Isaiah says, “Thy people shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” (Isaiah lx. 21.)
4.—Zion is to “get up into a high mountain,” before the coming of the Lord, while Jerusalem is required to do no such thing.
5.—”The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion,” (Isaiah li. I). But the Jews will not be redeemed from their sins and uncleanness until after they have rebuilt their city and temple. The first are redeemed before they return to Zion, the latter are redeemed after the Messiah comes.
6.—When the redeemed return to Zion, everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and SORROW and MOURNING shall flee away,” but Jerusalem is to have much SORROW and MOURNING after the Jews return.
7.—”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, (Isaiah li. 3.) but Jerusalem is not called a wilderness, neither a desert.
8.—”Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great king. God is known in her places for a refuge. For, lo! the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled, they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.” (Psalm xlviii. 1-6.) The glory of Zion is to strike terror to the heart of kings, insomuch that when they pass by and see it, they will haste away, but no such terror and fear will seize upon them when they come up to Jerusalem and commence taking it, rifling the houses and ravishing the woman, consequently, the cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of the flaming fire by night, will be for a defence unto Zion, that the kings of the nations will not dare wage war against it, but Jerusalem will not have any such glorious appendage to strike terror to the nations, and to cause their kings to haste away with great fear, like a woman in travail.
9.—”There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that [p.144]RIGHT EARLY. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us.” (Psalm xivi. 4-7.) The city of God or Zion is to be helped right early, notwithstanding the raging of the heathen; but Jerusalem will not be helped and delivered until the Lord comes with all his saints.
10.—”The mighty God, even the Lord hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psalm 1. 1-6.) Zion is represented as “the perfection of beauty,” and God will shine out of it before he comes, and the saints, (not Jews) are to be gathered unto the Lord; for this purpose a proclamation of gathering is to be given both to the heavens and to the earth. All these things are very different from what is to transpire at Jerusalem.
11.—”O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; and gathered them out of the lands from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness, in a solitary way, they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.” “He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into water-springs, and there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation, and sow the fields, and plant vineyards which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly, and suffered not their cattle to decrease.” (Psalm cvii. 1-8; 31-39.) These events cannot have reference to the gathering of the Jews, for they will not wander in a solitary way in the wilderness, being hungry and thirsty, and being led by the Lord to a place where they can prepare a city for habitation. This, therefore, has reference to another people, and to another place separate from Jerusalem. The people who are to “wander in the wilderness in a solitary way,” are to be the “redeemed of the Lord,” gathered from the east, west, north, and south. The Lord himself is to lead them, and perform miracles in causing springs of water to break out in the desert, and in the wilderness, and from the dry ground, for the benefit of his redeemed. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah xxxv. 1-7; xliii. 18, 19, 20.) The Jews will not be thus led when returning to Jerusalem.
[p.145]12.—Even the house of Israel, or the ten tribes, will not return to Jerusalem and permanently inherit the land until the house of Judah have been gathered, and well scourged by the nations who will gather against them. But, instead of going to Jerusalem to be scourged and chastened with the Jews, they will first come to Zion. “For thus saith the Lord, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; publish ye, and praise ye, and say, O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child, and her that travelleth with child together, a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, he that scattereth Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore, they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock, and of the herd; and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.” (Jeremiah xxxi. 7-14.)
Here it will be seen that the house of Israel will be in a very different condition from the Jews. The ten tribes will believe in Christ, so much so, that he will lead them, while on their return from the north country, and they will come and “sing in the height of Zion,” and “they will not sorrow any more at all:” whereas the Jews will have no such favours shown unto them on their return from the nations, but will have great distress and sorrow, and mourning, after they get back to Jerusalem. The ten tribes are redeemed from their afflictions before the Jews, consequently they first come to Zion among the redeemed Saints, and partake with them in all the glory of Zion, until the Jews and Jerusalem shall also be redeemed, when they shall return to Jerusalem, and receive their inheritance in the land of Palestine, according to the divisions of the land in Ezekiel’s prophecy, and become one nation with the Jews, “in the land upon the mountains of Israel.” (See Ezekiel xxxvii. 21, 22, 25—also xlvii. chapter.)
Both Zion and Jerusalem will remain on the earth during the Millennial reign of Christ; both will be preserved when the present heaven and earth pass away: both will come down out of heaven upon the new earth; and both will have place upon the new earth for ever and ever—the eternal abode of the righteous.
[p.146]The Psalmist says, “The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest FOR EVER.” (Psalm cxxxii. 13, 14.) The city of Zion, therefore must remain forever as the Lord’s rest, and will be caught up into heaven and preserved while the earth passes away.
The same is true of old Jerusalem also. Jeremiah says, concerning the city after it is rebuilt by the gathering of the Jews. “It shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down ANY MORE FOR EVER.” (Jeremiah xxxi. 40.) Consequently it also will be taken up into heaven, and preserved while all things are being made new. John saw both of these cities descend upon the New Earth. He saw the New Jerusalem descend first, and afterwards was carried away in the spirit to a high mountain, and saw that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descend. (Revelation xxi. 2-10.) Hence this earth renewed will be the eternal inheritance of the Saints, and the Old and New Jerusalems will for ever remain upon it, as the eternal abode of glorified immortal beings.