Friday, September 8, 2017

The Land of Promise and to Whom it was Promised – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the land the Lord promised to the Jaredites and then the Nephites, and finally to the Gentiles. 
    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated, “Thus in one final moment worthy men and righteous principles came together for the restoration of heavenly things. With his center stake in America, God began stretching the cords of his tabernacle to all the world. “And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided” (D&C 133:23–24).
    These two cities, Zion (the New Jerusalem) and the ancient city of Jerusalem, will be those capitals out of which both the word and law of the Lord shall go forth and to which all nations shall flow (Isaiah 2:2–3). According to Jeffrey R. Chadwick, an associate professor of Religious Education and Jerusalem Center professor of archaeology and Near Eastern studies at BYU, “This triumphant passage heralding the Jerusalem temple of the last days serves as the lead prophecy for the entire collection of Isaiah’s writings and as the actual beginning of his ancient book."
    Like Jerusalem being the focal point of the Land of Israel and the promised land to the 12 tribes, providing power and protection to all Israel, the United States rose to guarantee the freedoms of all the lands in the Land of Promise of the Western Hemisphere.
    However, Jerusalem is not the only part of the Land of Promise given to Abraham and has flowed down through Isaac and Jacob to the Jews of today (12 Tribes), that Land of Promise involves a very large area:

Middle East with borders in red representing the Royal Land Grant that God gave to Israel through the Abraham Covenant—Joshua narrows it down and tells us that Gaza also was given to  Israel, specifically the tribe of Judah, including Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof (Joshua 15:20, 47), etc.
As this grant includes a much larger region than just the area of present-day Israel, we should recognize that the Land of Promise of the Americas encompassed a much larger area than just the United States, which borders did not exist at the time of the promise, any more than the borders of Israel, Palestine, etc., existed at the time of the Abrahamic Covenant.
    Note that the map shows a natural land distribution from the River Nile to the River Euphrates, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Only the southern border, which is subject to a huge desert area, is undefined.
    Consider, then, that the American continent of 1830 of which Moroni spoke, consisted of the entire Western Hemisphere lands, now divided between many countries and principalities, but after the Flood (Ether 13:1) was one land, “this land” as Moroni called it. According to Joseph Smith, “The heavenly visitor then spoke of the book that Isaiah had seen in a vision, explaining that it contained an account of this continent’s former inhabitants” (JS-H 1:34). As we have pointed out many times, “this continent” in 1820-1830 meant the Western Hemisphere continent, it was all one continent, and in fact remained so until just before World War II.
In this 1690 map by Nicholas Visscher I, a Dutch engraver, cartographer and publisher, the entire Western Hemipshere is labeled as “America”
In fact, the earliest known use of the name America dates to 1507, where it was applied to what is now known as South America. The scholarly consensus is that the name was derived from Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, and in modern English, North and South America are generally considered separate continents, and taken together are called the Americas in the plural, but when conceived as a unitary continent, the form is generally the continent of America in the singular. In some countries of the world, including France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Greece, and the countries of Latin America, America is considered a continent encompassing the North America and South America subcontinents, as well as Central America—in these countries, as well as in the United States prior to the 1940s, world students are taught that there are only six continents, as they combine North America and South America into one continent called the Americas, thus Africa, the Americas, Antarctica, Asia, Australia together with Oceania, and Europe are considered the only Continents.
    It might also be understood, that it was, as Elder Orson Hyde stated: “by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones, and remains of towns, cities, and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth.”
    This is the same angel, Moroni, that “presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings.” As Hyde continued in his talk given in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City July 4, 1854, he, Moroni, ”was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world.”
This is the same angel, of course, that was with Columbus, and “gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammeled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him—was with him on the stormy deep, calmed the troubled elements, and guided his frail vessel to the desired haven—the discoverer who never set foot on North America, let alone the United States, and who touched down on the islands of the Caribbean and South America as well as lower Central America.”
    Over the centuries, the United States “has grown, increased, and flourished,” under the guardianship of this angel. American arms has been directed successfully in every occurrence since the time of the Declaration of our Independence, and proven successful as a result of the promises made to the fathers, and “on account of its being the land where the mustard seed of truth was planted and destined to grow in the last days, accounts for all this good fortune to our beloved America, part of the greater promised land.”
    Indeed, Heaven has a respect for this country on account of the promises made to the fathers, and in a different way, Israelis could say something of the same, specifically pointing out what the area called the nation of Israel has done within the larger area of the promised land, to secure peace and prosperity among its neighbors.
    It is good that the historical celebration of the United States allows us to focus on a land in which God has done so much of his work. It has not always looked the same geographically nor has it always been governed the same politically. But that all seems appropriate since the meaning of America, in its most theological sense, is something more than borders and boundaries, something above nativism and nationalism—it is an ideal, a thing of the spirit. As with temple sites, missionary service, and area general conferences, gospel experience transcends the borders—and, if necessary, the flames of nationalism…” (Selected portions of a talk titled, “A Promised Land,” by Jeffrey R. Holland June 1976 Ensign).
    In Salt Lake City, July 4, 1854 Orson Hyde said, “The progressive spirit of the times, on the one hand, and the chains of cruelty and oppression, on the other, inspired the apostles of American freedom to raise the standard of liberty, and unfurl its banner to the world as a warning to oppressors, and as the star of hope to the oppressed. The very name of America causes a thrill of patriotic devotion to her best interests to quiver in the heart of every citizen…with a zeal and a pride for the welfare of our country that does honor to the memory of those departed heroes whose ashes are mingled in our soil, and made rich and dear to us by their own blood."
"So sure and certain as the great water courses wend their way to the ocean, and there find their level—so sure as the passing thundercloud hovers around yonder peaks and upon the grey and barren rocks pours the fury of its storm, just so sure and certain will the guardian angel of this land fly to a remote distance from their borders, and the anger of the Almighty wax hot against them in causing them to drink from the cup of bitterness and division, and the very dregs, stirred up by the hands of foreign powers, in a manner more cruel and fierce than the enemies of the Saints in the day of their greatest distress and anguish; and all this because they laid not to heart the martyrdom of the Saints and Prophets, avenged not their blood by punishing the murderers, neither succored nor aided the Saints after they were despoiled of their goods and homes."
    Many locations in this land of America have been blessed by its guardian angel. “Moroni had the great privilege, as he walked across this American Continent, of finding a place and designating the place where the St. George temple was to be built. He also designated where the Manti Temple was to be. And it’s been written that he designated Kirtland and Nauvoo and probably others. Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith 22 different times during the life of the Prophet Joseph that we know of” (The Angel Moroni by Elder Glen L. Rudd).
    This United States of America is indeed, “A Land of Promise.” Moroni presides over the destinies of the United States, holds the keys of the Stick of Ephraim (D&C 27: 5), and is the guardian angel of this wonderful land. The Lord has said, “…repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon…” (D&C 84:57). As we study The Book of Mormon, we learn to love even more this blessed America we call “A Promised Land.”

1 comment:

  1. There is a fundamental misunderstanding in the Church today of where the center place of Zion will be located during the Millennium. There is lots of opinions on this subject, but I prefer to stick with strictly the scriptures or revelation on the subject. I know this is a BOM geography blog and so I won't go into too much detail but I want to bring up one point that needs to be addressed, and that is idea that during the Millennium there will be two places that the earth is ruled from, and that is the New Jerusalem and old Jerusalem. This is not correct according to the scriptures, and we need to separate revelation from opinion.

    There are a number of scriptures in the standard works that specifically tell us that Old Jerusalem and specifically the Temple will be destroyed during the Tribulation and Judgment. These are found in Rev 11:13, Dan 8:11-12, and Dan 9:26. In no place in the scriptures does it say that old Jerusalem will be rebuilt nor does it say that the old Jerusalem Temple will be rebuilt. This is the reason for the New Jerusalem - it will replace the Old Jerusalem temple.

    Everything began in Jackson County Missouri because that is where the garden of Eden was located and everything will be brought back to that place in the end.

    I won't go into any further detail about this but when it comes to the land of Promise in the last days the New Jerusalem will be the center and not Old Jerusalem which will be destroyed. Isaiah 2 is speaking as a parallelism Zion=Jerusalem which is the New Jerusalem and not the old Jerusalem with is destroyed. This is clear when all the revelations on the subject are understood.