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Home Book of Mormon Opinions on Isaiah 18:1

Opinions on Isaiah 18:1

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I will read from the 18th chapter of Isaiah because this has to do with this latter-day work. I think I will present it all. The way it begins in the King James version is: "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." This is a mistranslation. In the Catholic Bible it reads: "Ah, land of the whirring of wings, beyond the rivers of Cush," and in Smith and Goodspeed's translation it reads: "Ah! Land of the buzzing of wings, which lies beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." The chapter shows clearly that no woe was intended, but rather a greeting, as indicated in these other translations. A correct translation would be, "Hail to the land in the shape of wings." Now, do you know of any land in the shape of wings? Think of your map. About twenty-five years ago one of the current magazines printed on the cover the American continents in the shape of wings, with the body of the bird between. I have always regretted that I did not preserve this magazine. Does not this hemisphere take the shape of wings; the spread out wings of a bird?
(Remarks made by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith,
October 28, 1942, in Barratt Hall.)

Joseph Fielding Smith, The Signs of the Times, p.51
I will read from the 18th chapter of Isaiah because this has to do with this latter-day work. I think I will present it all. The way it begins in the King James version is: "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." This is a mistranslation. In the Catholic Bible it reads: "Ah, land of the whirring of wings, beyond the rivers of Cush," and in Smith and Goodspeed's translation it reads: "Ah! Land of the buzzing of wings, which lies beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." The chapter shows clearly that no woe was intended, but rather a greeting, as indicated in these other translations. A correct translation would be, "Hail to the land in the shape of wings." Now, do you know of any land in the shape of wings? Think of your map. About twenty-five years ago one of the current magazines printed on the cover the American continents in the shape of wings, with the body of the bird between. I have always regretted that I did not preserve this magazine. Does not this hemisphere take the shape of wings; the spread out wings of a bird? Now to continue the reading:
Joseph Fielding Smith, The Signs of the Times, p.51
"Hail to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.
Joseph Fielding Smith, The Signs of the Times, p.51
"That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes"—and the word "bulrushes" is also wrong. The meaning is vessels of speed. "That [p.52] sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!"
Journal of Discourses, Vol.14, p.67, Orson Pratt, March 26, 1871
To show still more fully the place where this ensign or standard is to be raised, let me refer you to the 18th chapter of Isaiah, wherein you will find these words, "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." In the 3rd verse of that chapter, after uttering the prediction concerning the judgment to come upon that land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia from Palestine--a land that has the appearance of shadowing with wings, like North and South America, the prophet says, "All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains, and when he bloweth with a trumpet, hear ye"--something that the Lord considered worthy of the attention of all the people of the earth. It was not to be sounded to one nation alone, not a work like that of ancient days--to be done among the Egyptian nation alone, but "all ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifts up an ensign on the mountains, and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye."
Journal of Discourses, Vol.15, p.48 - p.49, Orson Pratt, April 7, 1872
We will pass on to some other prophecies. In the eighteenth chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah we have a prediction about a time when the Lord should make a great destruction upon a certain portion of the earth. The Prophet begins the chapter by saying, "woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. Recollect where the Prophet dwelt when he uttered this prophecy--in Palestine, east of the Mediterranean Sea. Where was Ethiopia? South-west from Palestine. Where was there a land located beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. Every person acquainted with the geography of our globe knows that this American continent was beyond the rivers of Ethiopia from the land of Palestine, where the prophecy was uttered. A woe was pronounced upon that land, and that woe is this: "For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning-hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth. And the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." But first, before this destruction, there is a remarkable prophecy. Says the Prophet: "All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains, and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye." From this we learn that, before this great destruction, there is to be an ensign lifted up on the mountains, and this, too, beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, from Palestine. This is the reason why Zion in the latter days goes up into the mountains, in order that an ensign might be lifted up on the mountains. This prophecy was uttered some twenty-five hundred years ago, and has been fulfilled before the eyes of the people in our day.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.15, p.49, Orson Pratt, April 7, 1872
But more in regard to this ensign; we find that it was not an ensign to be lifted up in Palestine, for in the fifth chapter of his prophecies, Isaiah, speaking of it says--"The Lord shall lift up an ensign for the nations from afar." What does this mean? It means a land far distant from where the Prophet Isaiah lived--the land of Palestine. Now there is no land of magnitude or greatness that is far off from Palestine that would answer the description of this prophecy any better than this great western hemisphere; it is located almost on the opposite side of the globe from Palestine. The Lord, then, was to lift the ensign on a land that was far off from where the Prophet lived; and that ensign, we are told, should be set up on the mountains, and that, too, on a land shadowing with wings. When looking on the map of North and South America it has oftentimes suggested to my own mind the two wings of a great bird. No doubt the Prophet Isaiah saw this great western continent in vision, and recognized the resemblance to the wings of a bird in the general outline of the two branches of the continent. On such a land, on the mountains afar off from Palestine, an ensign was to be raised. But remember another thing in connection with this ensign--See how extensive the proclamation was to be--"All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifts up an ensign on the mountains." It was to be a work that was to attract the attention of all people, unto the ends of the world.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.15, p.49 - p.50, Orson Pratt, April 7, 1872
"But," enquires one, "what do you call an ensign?" Webster gives the definition of an ensign or standard--"Something to which the people gather; a notice for the people to assemble." In other words it is the great standard of the Almighty--the great ensign that he is lifting up in the shape of his Church and kingdom, on the mountains in the latter days, with all the order and form of his ancient system of church government, with its inspired Apostles and Prophets and with all the gifts, powers and blessings characterizing the Christian Church in ancient days. That is an ensign that should attract the people unto the very ends of the world.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.15, p.50, Orson Pratt, April 7, 1872
With the establishment of this ensign God has not only restored the Gospel, but the keys of gathering the people together and building up Zion, and he has also restored other keys and blessings that were to characterize the great and last dispensation of the fullness of times. What are they? The same as predicted in the last chapter of the prophecy of Malachi. That Prophet, speaking of the great day of burning says, "Behold the day shall come that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall become as stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." This is something that has never been fulfilled yet. But mark! Before the Lord burns all the proud and those who do wickedly, he has told us he would send Elijah the Prophet. He says, "Behold, I will send unto you Elijah the Prophet, he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Recollect, this is to be just before the day of burning, before the great and notable day of the Lord should come.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.15, p.50 - p.51, Orson Pratt, April 7, 1872
Elijah, the Prophet, then, must come from heaven--that same man who was translated in a chariot of fire, and who had such power while on the earth that he could fight, as it were, all the enemies of Israel that came against him; he could call down fire from heaven and consume the fifties as they came by companies to take him. That same man was to be sent in the last days, before the great and notable day of the Lord. What for? To restore a very important principle--a principle which will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children. Has that Prophet been sent to the earth, according to the prediction? Yes. When did he come, and to whom did he come? He came to that despised young man, Joseph Smith. According to the testimony of Joseph Smith, the Prophet Elijah stood before him, in the presence of Oliver Cowdery, and gave them these keys. What is included in this turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children? There is included in it a principle for the salvation of the fathers that are dead, as well as for the children who are living. You have heard, Latter-day Saints, for years and years, that God has given keys, by which the living in this Church might do, not only the works necessary for their own salvation, but also certain works necessary to the salvation of their ancestors as far back as they could obtain their genealogies. What can be done by us for our fathers who have lived and died during the last seventeen hundred years, without hearing the Gospel in its fullness and power? Hundreds and thousands, and millions of them were sincere and honest, and served the Lord the best they knew; but they lived in the midst of apostate Christendom, and never heard the Gospel preached by inspired men, neither had they the chance of having its ordinances administered to them by men having authority from God. Must they be shut out from the kingdom of God, and be deprived of the glory, joys and blessings of celestial life because of this? No, God is an impartial being, and when he sent Elijah the Prophet to confer the keys I have referred to upon Joseph Smith, he intended that this people should work for the generations of the dead, as well as for the generations of the living; that these ordinances which pertain to men here in the flesh might be administered in their behalf by those of their kindred living in this day and generation. In this way the Latter-day Saints will be baptized and receive the various ordinances of the Gospel of the Son of God for their forefathers, as far as they can trace them; and when we have traced them as far back as we can possibly go, the Lord God has promised that he will reveal our ancestry back until it shall connect with the ancient priesthood, so that there will be no link wanting in the great chain of redemption.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.83 - p.84 - p.85, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
As this ensign was to be lifted from afar, as is predicted in the 5th chapter of Isaiah's prophecy, let us inquire now where it is to be located, and what kind of a country it is in which it is to be reared. It is a land afar off from Jerusalem recollect, and in order to ascertain something about the character of the country, we will read the first verse of the 18th chapter--"Woe to the land shadowing with wings which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." Where are the rivers of Ethiopia? South-west of Palestine, where Isaiah delivered this prophecy. Supposing that you had the map of North and South America, and of the whole world spread out before you, and then imagine yourself alongside the Prophet, in Palestine, when he said, "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia," and you should cast your eyes, if you had power to do so, beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, what kind of a land would you behold if you could grasp in your vision the land of North and South America? You would see a land that looked like the two wings of a bird. I seldom look at it, as laid down on our maps, without being reminded of the two wings of a great bird. A land shadowing with wings--in other words, having the appearance of wings. A land afar off, away beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, there, in that land, shall the ensign be raised for the nations; not for a few individuals, but for all nations. No wonder that the Prophet said the proclamation should be universal--"All ye inhabitants of the world, all ye dwellers upon the earth, see ye when he lifteth up this ensign."
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.85, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
That the Lord intends it to be for the benefit of the Gentiles as well as of Israel, let me refer you to the 22nd verse of the 49th chapter of Isaiah. "Thus saith the Lord, behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and I will set up my standard to the people, and they shall bring thy sons in their arms and their daughters shall be carried on their shoulders, and kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers," &c.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.85, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
This is a great latter-day work also for the gathering of the house of Israel--a work which shall commence among the Gentiles. In ancient days the Lord commenced his work among Israel. The kingdom of heaven was preached among the Jews, but they proved themselves unworthy, and says Paul, "Lo, we turn to the Gentiles," and the kingdom was taken from the Jews and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. The natural branches of Israel were broken off, and the branches of the wild olive tree--the Gentiles--were grafted in. But the Gentiles, since they were grafted in, 1800 years ago, have fallen after the same example of unbelief that the ancient Jews did, and they have lost the power and authority which they once possessed; and for many centuries they have had no apostles, no prophets, no angels from heaven, no power of godliness made manifest among them, and nothing but the teachings and precepts of men. But in the great latter-day work, the Lord begins where he left off--"the first shall be last, and the last shall be first." As the Jews, in ancient days were first, and the Gentiles last, so in the great latter-day work, the Gentiles will be first and Israel will be last. Hence the Prophet says, "Behold, thus saith the Lord God, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters upon their shoulders, and I will lift up my standard to the Gentiles."
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.85, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
What is a standard? The same as an ensign--an ensign that is to be lifted up upon the mountains, upon a land afar off. It is the standard of the Almighty, the same standard that was spoken of in connection with the great highway that was to be cast up over this continent. I will not turn to it, but I will endeavor to repeat the substance of the prophecy in relation to it. Isaiah in speaking of this great highway, or railway, says, "Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way of the people. Cast up, cast up a highway, gather out the stones, lift up a standard for the people." The same work that God intended to perform in the mountains, and he wanted a highway cast up, that the people might go with speed swiftly to that land.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.85 - p.86, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
But says one, "what does the Prophet mean when he says, `go through the gates?" I think if I had been Isaiah, and had had the vision of my mind opened to see the railroad and the great trains of cars without any apparent animal life attached to them, going with speed swiftly, if I had seen them dart into the mountain and, after watching a few minutes, had seen them come out on the other side, and then wished to describe what I had seen in words, I do not think I could have found any more applicable than those used by the ancient Prophet--"Go through, go through the gates, cast up, cast up a highway, gather out the stones, and lift up a standard for the people." Then, to show that this standard and highway were connected, the Prophet, in the very next verse, says: "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed to the ends of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh, and his reward is with him. Behold, they shall be called a holy people, the redeemed of the Lord; and they shall be called, sought out, a city not forsaken." The people of Zion will not be an unholy people. The world look upon the Latter-day Saints as the most corrupt of all people on the face of the earth. But according to the words of the Prophet, the people who dwell in the mountains where the standard is to be raised, are to be a holy people. "Behold, thy Redeemer cometh, behold, the Lord shall come." This has been the proclamation of the people of Zion, ever since we commenced, about forty years ago, to declare that God was about to come in his glory, power and majesty, in the greatness of his strength, with all his holy angels with him, in the clouds of heaven, to reign upon the earth. This proclamation will go to the ends of the earth, all people will be invited up to these mountains, and they will flock here as clouds, and as doves to their windows.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.86, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
This will fulfill Daniel's prophecy. Read the second chapter of Daniel if you want to know about the latter-day kingdom. Study it thoroughly. I do not know that I have time to dwell upon it, but I will refer you to some few things in relation to the latter-day kingdom. Daniel, in interpreting the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, describes the various kingdoms of the earth from his day down, as long as there should be any human kingdoms on the earth, under the form of a great image, with the head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet part iron and part of potter's clay. They represented the several kingdoms of the world, and more especially the four great kingdoms that should hold universal dominion. After seeing this image in all its completeness, from the gold dawn to the last remnants of the nations of the earth, represented by the feet and toes of the image, he then sees a kingdom and a government entirely distinct from and forming no part or portion of the image, but it was entirely separate therefrom. It was represented as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and it rolled forth, and before the power of this new kingdom all the kingdoms of the earth were broken in pieces by the power of the Almighty. What became of them? They were to be as the chaff of the summer threshing floor--the wind carried them away and there was no place found for them.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.86 - p.87, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
You can draw your own conclusions about all human governments. Daniel says this kingdom that was to come out of the mountain, should be the kingdom of God, which God himself should set up in the latter days, and it should stand for ever and ever, it should never be broken in pieces, neither should it be given to any other people, while all these earthly kingdoms should pass away and be forgotten like the chaff blown away before a tremendous tempest, and no place found for them.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.87, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
The former-day kingdom of God, set up in the days of the Apostles, was overcome, in fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy. He saw that the powers of this world would make war upon and overcome the kingdom that was set up then. John, the Revelator, also predicted that a certain power should arise and make war with the Saints and overcome them. That is the reason that kingdom did not continue on the earth; it was overcome and every vestige of it destroyed. No prophets, revelators or inspired apostles were left to build up the kingdom; not an inspired man among all the nations, but after a long time has passed away, God would send an angel from heaven with the everlasting Gospel. What for? To organize his kingdom again on the earth; and when God should set it up in the latter days, after the toes and feet of the great image were formed, then there should be no breaking in pieces of that little stone, but as it rolled it should gather strength and become greater and greater, as Daniel has said, until it became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. And the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heavens should be given into the hands of the Saints of the Most High God.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.87, Orson Pratt, June 15, 1873
That kingdom is called Zion--the latter-day Zion, about which our choir sang in their first hymn this afternoon. Amen.
There is an indication in prophecy where these mountains, in which this ensign is to be raised, are located; the Lord has not left us in the dark concerning this matter. Let us read the first verse of the chapter from which our text is taken. "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; an when he bloweth a trumpet hear ye." I will also read the fifth and sixth verses--"For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the springs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them."

Site Meter Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.320, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
It seems, then, that the Prophet saw in vision a land that seemed to represent two great wings, and a land, too, that was beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, from where the Prophet delivered this prophecy. Palestine, the land where Isaiah dwelt when he delivered this prophecy, was northeast from Ethiopia, and he speaks of a land shadowing with wings beyond the river of Ethiopia. We have not any map in this room, or we might point out how the two divisions of the continent of North and South America resemble two great wings, connected together at the Isthmus. I scarcely ever look at the outlines of the two divisions of this continent as depicted on a map, without being reminded of the wings of a bird; and I presume that when Isaiah, in vision, saw this western continent, it made the same impression upon his mind, and, as he did not know what name would be given to the continent of America, he had no better way to give expression to his idea, than to call it the land shadowing with wings, in other words, having the appearance of huge wings, and that it would be beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, where could you find a land the outlines of which so much resemble the wings of a bird, as the land of America? I do not know of any. And it seems that this land so described, had a woe pronounced upon it. "For after the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." This is an awful judgment to come upon that land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.320, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
But first, before this judgment is to come upon the wicked of the land, the Prophet speaks of a message or something that should concern all the inhabitants of the world and the dwellers on the earth, showing that the people will, in God's mercy, be warned before these awful judgments come; showing, also, that after the raising of the ensign on the mountains, the inhabitants of this western continent will be among the first to experience these terrible judgments.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.320, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
The harvest is said to be the end of the wicked world; and if it is so, "afore the harvest," that is, before the final end comes he will visit the inhabitants of the land shadowing with wings, beyond the rivers of Ethiopia with judgments that are terribly severe, that will cause them to lie by hundreds and thousands unburied, from one end of the land to the other, to be meat for the fowls of the air and the beasts of the earth. Why? Because the judgments will be swift, giving no time for burial.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.320, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
Inquires one--"Do you really believe that such judgments are coming upon our nation?" I do not merely believe, but I know it, just as well as I knew, twenty-eight years before it commenced, that there would be war between the North and the South. We knew that by a revelation which God gave through his servant Joseph Smith, twenty-eight years before the war of the rebellion commenced; and it was published in the languages of various nations years and years before the war was inaugurated, and it took place precisely according to the words of the Prophet, and it began in the very locality specified in the revelation, namely, South Carolina. We know that these judgments are coming with the same certainty that we knew concerning the war of the rebellion.

Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.320, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
But there will be a chance to escape from these judgments for all who are willing to gather to the place of refuge which God has appointed in the mountains; all people can rally and gather to that place if they wish to do so. This is spoken of in many places. Let us turn to the fifth Chapter of Isaiah, and see what is said there, concerning the ensign. In the 26th verse we read--"And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from afar, and will hiss unto them from the ends of the earth; and behold they shall come with speed swiftly." An ensign for the nations lifted up from afar! Isaiah, where were you when you delivered that prophecy? In Palestine. What land would be far off from Palestine where you resided? I think this American continent would be about as far off as almost any portion of the globe.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.320 - p.321, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
When the Lord commences this message it will be sent from the nation "afar off" to the ends of the earth; and there will be a gathering connected with it, of that people who shall come with speed swiftly. The Prophet probably did not know the nature and power of steam in the days to which he referred, and that the gathering would be effected by means of steamboats and railroads; but he did understand that there would be some very swift method of conveyance. He did not understand the meaning of railroads, and many things connected with them, for they are a modern invention, and the terms used in designating them are also of modern origin. But he saw in vision that people should come with speed swiftly from the ends of the earth, when the Lord should hiss unto them. He, of course, described the events he saw in the best language at his command. In his sixty-second chapter, Isaiah says--"Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his word before him." It seems then that he did describe something about making these railroads. "But," inquires one, "what did he mean by saying 'go through, go through the gates?'" I do not know. Probably he did not understand what a tunnel was in those days, but when he saw in vision a long train of cars, without any animal power to draw them, dart into the mountain, and emerge on the opposite side of the mountain, I do not know that he could describe it in any better language than by saying--"Go through, go through the gates;" and then, when he wanted to represent the smoothness of the railroads, I do not know that he could do it any better than by saying--"Cast up a highway, gather out the stones," etc.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.321, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
With the casting up of this highway a proclamation was to be made. How extensive? In one region of country? Oh, no. Behold, the Lord has proclaimed unto the ends of the world, behold thy salvation cometh, his reward is with him, and his work before him." What else? "They shall call them the holy people." What people? Why, the people that should lift up the standard spoken of in the preceding verse. Lift up a standard for the people, prepare the way for the people; behold they shall call thee the redeemed of the Lord; thou shalt be called, sought out, a city not forsaken. Jerusalem was not sought out, neither has it been a city not forsaken. Every one knows that Jerusalem was in existence before Joshua led the people into the land of Canaan, it was an ancient city among the heathen before it was conquered and taken possession of by the house of Israel. And everyone knows that Jerusalem was to be forsaken for a good many centuries before the generation should come that this proclamation should be made, or this highway should be cast up, or the ensign should be raised upon the mountains, when the people should be called a holy people, the redeemed of the Lord, called, sought out, a city not forsaken, etc.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.321 - p.322, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
I can bear testimony, so can a great many other men, that when we came here in the summer of 1847, and sought out this city, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we sought it out by the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of revelation which rested upon us, and we were guided by that Spirit. We did not lay out a little narrow tract of land, half a mile square, but understanding the purposes of God in some measure, we laid out this city with broad streets, and extended it over an area of several square miles, and as you see it at the present time. Why did we take this course? Because we knew by the Spirit of God that rested upon us, the great work that the Lord our God intended to accomplish here in the midst of the desert. We new that he would gather his people from the various nations and establish them here in Zion, as a standard or ensign to the nations, that as many as would might gather here before the judgments should come. Read the 11th chapter of Isaiah about this same ensign. "It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnants of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth."
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.322, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
Before Judah and the ten tribes of Israel could ever be gathered an ensign has to be lifted up for the nations. Not for Judah and Israel alone, but for the nations afar off, for the Gospel has been restored for the benefit of the Gentiles--every nations, kindred, tongue and people--as well as for the benefit of the dispersed tribes of Israel.
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.322, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
So far the work has progressed, so far the Lord our God has stretched forth his hand to establish his kingdom upon the earth. But what is the destiny of this kingdom? Read the Prophets; hear what Daniel says. He saw the kingdom of the latter days, which, in its commencement was like a stone cut out of the mountains without hands, become a great mountain and fill not only the American continent, but the whole earth. What else does Daniel say? "And the kingdom, and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heavens shall be given into the hands of the Saints of the Most High, for his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and it shall stand forever."
Journal of Discourses, Vol.17, p.322, Orson Pratt, February 28, 1875
It seems then that this is the destiny of this kingdom. If you want to know the destiny of the nations of our globe, it is this--one government, one kingdom, not half a dozen empires, republics, and this, that and the other governments, but one kingdom, everlasting in its nature, will have dominion over the whole of our globe. But are you not committing treason to preach in this way? If such predictions mean treason, perhaps it would be well enough to get out an indictment against the Prophet Daniel and other ancient Prophets, and bring them up and try them, and see if they are treasonable characters or not. We are preaching their words; and if it is treason to preach the Bible, would it not be a good plan to burn it up, and not have such things for the people to read and preach about? But if we have the liberty in this glorious land of ours, to believe the Bible and the prophecies it contains, have we not also the liberty to tell them from that good Book what is going to take place on the face of the earth? I think so. And I have, this afternoon, as simply as I know how, in the simplest language I have at my command, endeavored to convey to your judgments and understandings that which God has spoken by the mouths of his ancient Prophets, that you may know what he is now doing, and what he intends to do until the consummation determined upon is performed upon all the face of the earth, and the elect gathered out from the four winds of heaven. Amen.
Joseph E. Robinson. Conference Report, October 1914, p.58
Just now, almost within the confines of the City of the Angels, in California, is the greatest archaeological find known to modern times. Bones are being disinterred there that, in the mind of the scientist and paleontologist, have determined the fact that here on this western hemisphere life began, both that of the beast of the field, the fowl of the air and of human kind. Elephants of huge and ponderous size, camels, horses, tigers, lions (greater than any known to modern times, and estimated to be 250,000 years old), the greatest bear known to history, the greatest wolf, the greatest bird of prey, have all been disinterred in the oil pits of Lake La Brea, on the western confines or city limits of Los Angeles. The skeleton of a woman head downward, also supposed to be at least ten thousand years old, was found there. Whether she was thrown headlong into the pit of tar by angry spouse or a disgruntled lover, or whether she fell in while plaiting her hair before the lake as a mirror, is not known. But these things have gone to determine in the minds of men that America was the home of the human race, and the home where God first set His creatures free. From this land, Maya tradition tells us, as told by Le Plongeon, in his "Queen Moo" civilization was taken to Egypt. This was possibly by Egyptus--as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price, and the riddle is thus solved where Egypt and Egyptians obtained their civilization, and the wondrous knowledge of astronomy, of surveying, of agriculture, of medicine, etc., it came from America, the land from whence Noah sailed when he with his family embarked in the ark, when the waters of the great deep were broken up and the lands both of the old and the new world, so called, were inundated. This hidden land of Joseph, seen only in transient vision, perchance, sometimes, as by Isaiah, when he looked across the sands of Sahara, beyond the gates of the Mediterranean Sea, and cried out: "Woe! to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia;" and beheld that there should be gathered the elect of God's people in the last days, that there should His house be set up, and here should men learn of His ways and walk in His paths, as has been stated today, that "the law should go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." If we needed evidence of the fulfillment of that part of this prophecy, we only need look at what is done today by the great nations striving for supremacy yet appealing to America for recognition, each one pleading to America to acknowledge the integrity and honor of their purpose in war, and to defend them through public opinion. We find again a testimony in the Monroe doctrine, which determined the policy of the states of America, that there should be no intervention come from abroad, that this land in its autonomy and integrity should be preserved by the government of the United States, founded under God and His inspiration for the establishment of liberty and conserving the rights of men, "nobly defended by the blood of our fathers," and prayed for in the revelation prayer given to the Prophet Joseph Smith for the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, that "it should stand forever."
Joseph E. Robinson. Conference Report, October 1914, p.59
A vindication of the promise that I quoted from the Book of Mormon relative to kings is found in the history, most melancholy, indeed, of Maximilian, one time a prince of Austria, who sought to set himself up as Emperor of Mexico. You know his sad fate (executed at the hands of the native forces of Mexico) perchance better than you do the fate of his loving and charming wife, Carlotta, who after all her vicissitudes of fortune which vainly seeking to bolster up the kingdom of her husband by European powers, is still an inmate of an insane asylum. Louis Napoleon, who refused to withdraw his troops, when England and Spain did upon the protest of the United States. At that time this country was unable to use its forces against those armies for the reason that we were engaged in a fratricidal war, foretold by the Prophet Joseph Smith many years before it came about, and from which time war should be poured out upon all nations. Twas then our country received its baptism of fire. At that time those two nations withdrew their forces. France persisted against our protest. What became of Louis III who sought to establish a king here? He became an exile to England, where he died, and his only son, Prince Bonaparte enlisted in a British regiment was ambushed and killed by the Zulus in South Africa.
Joseph E. Robinson. Conference Report, October 1914, p.59
Again in the house of Portugal, John VI, went to Rio Janeiro with his court and set up his son as emperor of Brazil, from which country he governed Portugal. In the early part of the 19th century, he returned to Portugal in a mad effort to overcome conditions there and establish his house firmly in that land but died broken-hearted. Dom Pedro, of Brazil, found his reign a tempestuous one, and abdicated in favor of his own son, who afterwards himself was glad to flee the land, when a republic was instituted. Portugal has seen, or we have seen, the fulfillment of God's promises relative to the fate of the house of John--the assassination of Don Carlos and his brother and the exile of his brother, Manuelo, who now is a refugee in England, without a country and without a home that he can claim as his own. The same condition obtained when Antone Creile would have set up a kingdom in Chile, and made his daughter the "richest woman of Europe." Put to death, in an uprising of the denizens of that state, he perished, and his daughter, broken-hearted, withdrew herself from the courts that she had graced with her smiles and her riches, and retired to Copenhagen, and three years ago, died in penury and was buried in the Potter's field. God has kept His promise relative to this laud of Zion. And as I recognize that the Lord has kept the other promises He has made, we may read the signs of the times and know that the Lord will fight the battles of this land just so long as the people of this loved country of ours shall acknowledge Christ as Lord and He shall be their king.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 September 2012 10:50  

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