OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 42
Jeremiah 16; 23; 29; 31
- Jeremiah foresees the latter-day gathering of Israel.
- God will write his law in the hearts of his people.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to participate in God's great
latter-day work and to have his law written in our hearts.
Jeremiah Foresees The Latter-Day Gathering
- READ JEREMIAH 16:14-16. The children of Israel
to again be brought to their land.
READ JEREMIAH 23:3-4. The Lord to set up shepherds
over his flock.
- HOW GREAT OF AN EVENT WAS THE DELIVERANCE OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL
- It is one of the great moments of Hebrew history that continues to
be celebrated by Jews today through Passover.
- WHAT GREAT LATTER-DAY EVENT DID THE LORD SAY WOULD BE AS GREAT AS THE
EXODUS OF ISRAEL FROM EGYPT?
- The gathering of modern Israel and the growth of the Church (see Jeremiah
16:15 & 23:3).
- John Taylor: "There is no man that believes in the literal
fulfilment of the revelations of God through the prophets who does not
believe that the Lord will in the latter days gather a people together
out of every nation under heaven, and that he will also gather the dispersed
of Judah—the Jews—that have been trodden under the feet of the Gentiles
for the last 1,800 years." (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p113)
- President Taylor describes two gatherings. Jeremiah said, "And
I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return,
and will build them, as at the first" (Jeremiah 33:7). It is clear
that the present work of gathering consists of: (1) the gathering of the
lost sheep of Israel to the stakes of Zion; (2) the gathering of the Jews
to their homeland.
- "And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered
also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in
upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ shall
also become a delightsome people" (2 Nephi 30:7).
- HOW ARE THESE PROPHECIES BEING FULFILLED?
- WHO ARE THE FISHERS AND HUNTERS DESCRIBED IN VERSE 16?
- According to Elder LeGrand Richards, they are the missionaries of the
Church (see Ensign, June 1971, p98-99).
- WHAT DO FISHERS AND HUNTERS HAVE IN COMMON WITH MISSIONARIES?
- Over the years I have had the opportunity to go fishing and hunting.
As a kid I went fishing with my dad. He was an avid fisherman who enjoyed
pursuing trout in the streams and lakes of central Utah. Dad was extremely
successful at luring fish on to his hook and many a summer passed with
the freezer full of trout. How did he do it? He worked at it. He learned
to use the right line, the right hook, and the right bait. He learned to
fish in the right spot. Missionaries, like fisherman, use the lure of the
gospel and the hook of the spirit. But it requires diligence.
He wasn't as successful at hunting. Many
an October, dad and I went out deer hunting. We hiked all over the Wasatch
Mountains of Utah County in search of the elusive mule deer. We were usually
unsuccessful in bagging a deer. Some missionaries are like my dad and successful
in fishing for many converts. Others work hard hunting for an occassional
- Orson F. Whitney: "The God of Israel has set his hand to gather
his elect and prepare the world for the sanctifying reign of righteousness.
He will accomplish what he has undertaken, using for that purpose every
means consistent and available. Christ died to save the souls of men, and
save them he will—by mild measures whenever these will avail; but by stern
methods if necessary, after the mild have proved ineffectual. First, the
'fishers,' with gentle, kind persuasion. Then the 'hunters'—war, commotion
and destruction. Such is the divine program." (Saturday Night
READ JEREMIAH 23:8. Israel to be led from the
- WHO ARE THE SHEPHERDS SPOKEN OF IN THIS VERSE?
- Priesthood and Church leaders.
HOW CAN WE ASSIST WITH THIS IMPORTANT GATHERING OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL?
- WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS VERSE?
- In the Kirtland Temple, Moses appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery
"and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from
the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the
land of the north" (D&C 110:11).
- WHO ARE THESE TRIBES?
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Because of their wickedness the ten
tribes in 721 B.C., were carried captive into Assyria by Shalmaneser. Many
years later when freed from their captivity in Assyria, they did not return
to Palestine to the land of their inheritance, but departed into the north
and disappeared. Since that time they have been called the lost ten tribes
of Israel. The promise is made that they shall return, but to this day
they are lost to the world. As they journeyed to the north many of their
number straggled and fell behind and mingled with the peoples in the lands
through which they passed, but the main body continued on their journey
and were hidden by the hand of the Lord." (The Restoration of
All Things, p131)
- Bruce R. McConkie: "In due course the Lost Tribes of Israel
will return and come to the children of Ephraim to receive their blessings.
This great gathering will take place under the direction of the President
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for he holds the keys
of 'the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading
of the ten tribes from the land of the north.' (D. & C. 110:11.) Keys
are the right of presidency the power to direct; and by this power the
Lost Tribes will return, with 'their prophets' and their scriptures to
'be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the
Lord, even the children of Ephraim.' (D. & C. 133:26-35.)"
(Mormon Doctrine, p458)
- Joseph Smith: "All that the prophets that have written, from
the days of righteous Abel, down to the last man that has left any testimony
on record for our consideration, in speaking of the salvation of Israel
in the last days, goes directly to show that it consists in the work of
the gathering." (TPJS, p83)
God Will Write His Law In The Hearts Of His People
- READ JEREMIAH 31:31-34. The Lord to make a new
covenant with Israel.
- WHAT DID THE LORD PROMISE TO DO IN THE LATTER DAYS?
- The Lord would make a new covenant with Israel and Judah (31).
- This covenant would differ from the covenant made with ancient Israel
at the time they were brought out of Egypt (32).
- This is the covenant: "I will put my law in their inward parts,
and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be
my people" (33).
- Those that remember the Lord will be forgiven of their sins (34).
- HOW IS THIS NEW COVENANT DIFFERENT FROM THE COVENANT MADE WITH ANCIENT
- 2 Corinthians 3:2-3: "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts,
known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be
the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with
the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables
of the heart."
- The ancient covenant, or Law of Moses, was a rigid code with specific
laws addressing all sorts of behavior. Living the law became the focus.
The Jews became obsessed with addressing and enforcing the law, rather
than bringing the people to the Lord. But as Paul wrote in to the Corinthians,
this new covenant was not written in "tables of stone, but in fleshy
tables of the heart."
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE GOD'S LAW WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS?
- To have the law written in our hearts indicates that one lives and
obeys the law because of his testimony of the gospel and his love of Jesus
Christ. The ancient law was often obeyed out of fear of the consequences.
- DO WE HAVE THE LAW WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS? WHAT MUST WE DO TO HAVE GOD'S
LAW WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS?
- Consider what happened to the Nephites at the time of King Benjamin's
- The Nephites said, "we believe all the words which thou hast
spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth" (Mosiah
5:2). How did they come to believe and know? They listened to the words
of a prophet, King Benjamin. They planted the seed of faith and nourished
it with their belief. "And it is the faith which we have had on
the things which our king has spoken unto us that has brought us to this
great knowledge" (5:4).
- As a consequence the Spirit of the Lord "wrought a mighty change
in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but
to do good continually" (5:2).
- So great was this change, so deeply was the law etched in the "fleshy
tables of the heart" that "they were willing to enter into
a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments
in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days"
- HOW IS OUR BEHAVIOR AFFECTED WHEN WE HAVE GOD'S LAWS WRITTEN IN OUR
- Returning again to King Benjamin's great sermon, he listed some of
the things people do who have had the law written in their hearts:
HOW DOES HAVING THE LAW WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS HELP US OBEY SPECIFIC
COMMANDMENTS, SUCH AS:
- "...always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God"
- "...humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling
on the name of the Lord daily" (4:11).
- "ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live
- "...render to every man according to that which is his due"
- "...ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or
- Again concerning your children, "neither will ye suffer that
they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another,
and serve the devil, who is the master of sin" (4:14).
- You will also teach your children "to walk in the ways of truth
and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one
- "...ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your
succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in
need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to
you in vain, and turn him out to perish" (4:16).
- "...ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man
according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the
naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually
and temporally, according to their wants" (4:26).
When the law is truly written in our heart, we the Spirit of the Lord
"no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually".
As we review the above list, we see that we keep these commandments because
of our love for the Lord and this mighty change of heart. We desire to
be morally clean because to do otherwise is repulsive. We listen to suitable
music, because the spirit within us cannot tolerate music that glorifies
immorality, drugs, or other evil behavior. We turn off the television when
unappropriate shows come on because we are driven towards that which is
clean and pure. We have no more disposition to do evil. "We believe
in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good
to all men.... If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report
or praiseworthy, we seek after these things" (13th Article of
John Taylor: "What is it that will enable one man to govern
his fellows aright? It is just as Joseph Smith said to a certain man who
asked him, 'How do you govern such a vast people as this?' 'Oh,' says Joseph,
'it is very easy.' 'Why,' says the man 'but we find it very difficult.'
'But,' said Joseph, 'it is very easy, for I teach the people correct principles,
and they govern themselves.' And if correct principles will do this in
one family, they will in ten, in a hundred, and in ten hundred thousand."
(Gospel Kingdom, p323)
- Loving our neighbors.
- Honoring our parents.
- Being morally clean.
- Keeping the Sabbath day holy.
- Choosing appropriate movies, television programs, books, and magazines.
- Wearing modest clothing.
- Selecting suitable music.
READ JEREMIAH 29:10-14. Judah to return from Babylon
to their homeland.
- HOW DOES THIS STATEMENT RELATE TO HAVING GOD'S LAW WRITTEN IN OUR HEARTS?
- Jeremiah prophesied here that after 70 years of captivity in Babylon,
the people of Judah would return to their homeland and live in harmony
- ACCORDING TO VERSES 12-14, WHAT CAN WE DO TO DRAW CLOSE TO GOD?
- Call upon the Lord and pray (12).
- Seek and search for the Lord with all your heart (13).
Jeremiah saw our day and the great gathering of Israel and Judah that
would occur. We are part of that gathering and we can actively participate
as we share the gospel with our neighbors and prepare our children to serve
missions. But first, we must seek to have the law of the Lord written in
our hearts. As we do so, our testimonies will burn brightly and we will
desire to share the great gospel message.
Lesson 43: Ezekiel 13; 34; 37.
Additional Reading: Ezekiel 2.
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Changes last made on: Sat Nov 7 1998