Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Zionists

The old saying “hindsight is 20/20” becomes particularly poignant when it comes to the early saints, and the Lord’s request given to them concerning their job in the establishment of the city of Zion. In July 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith and several other elders of the church had traveled to Jackson County, Missouri, with the purpose in mind of learning the Lords will concerning the location He had chosen to establish His city. In Section 57 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord reveals just exactly where the city of Zion was to be.

Doctrine and Covenants 57:1 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.

2 Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.

3 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 center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse.

This group of Zionists must have been so excited to finally learn where the Lord had chosen to establish His city. They had prayed for this moment fervently and it had finally arrived. The understanding that they had of the Lord’s return, and the part that the building up of Zion played in that, made them yearn for a speedy establishment of the city itself. I believe they thought that His second coming would happen just as soon as they did, but in their zeal they might not have remembered that all things are given in the Lord’s time.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:1 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.

2 For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

3 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.

4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

The hour for them was truly “not yet”. The saints of that time period never did see the blessing of Zion being established in Jackson County, Missouri. They did however see tribulations galore. Although they did not see the fruit of their labors at the time, they did have a particular part to play in the establishment of Zion so that they could be crowned with the glory associated with that job.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:6 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;

7 And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand;

These wonderful Saints truly did bear testimony of Zion and knew the blessings associated with it. As true Zionists, they did their job of laying the foundation thereof as well. They were certainly doers of the word, anxiously engaged in a good cause and their reward is sure.

Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

Today the foundation for Zion that was laid by them is being built upon by us. We have become the builders of the Kingdom, furthering the work that was started. All of the prophets of old, as well as these founding Saints, look to us in anticipation of the great task we have been given, to build up Zion and make ready the return of the Lord. It is with their continued support and help we will be able to complete the job assignment given.

Joseph Smith explained:

The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, "the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth," "even in one," when the Saints of God will be gathered in one from every nation, and kindred, and people, and tongue, when the Jews will be gathered together into one, the wicked will also be gathered together to be destroyed, as spoken of by the prophets; the Spirit of God will also dwell with His people, and be withdrawn from the rest of the nations, and all things whether in heaven or on earth will be in one, even in Christ. The heavenly Priesthood will unite with the earthly, to bring about those great purposes; and whilst we are thus united in one common cause, to roll forth the kingdom of God, the heavenly Priesthood are not idle spectators, the Spirit of God will be showered down from above, and it will dwell in our midst. The blessings of the Most High will rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down to future ages; our children will rise up and call us blessed; and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured; the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the all but insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize; a work that God and angels have contemplated with delight for generations past; that fired the souls of the ancient patriarchs and prophets; a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family. (May 2, 1842.)

(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.231)

We now fondly look back to those who have laid this foundations and call them blessed, for today we do truly realize the blessings of the work they so triumphantly undertook to accomplish. Temples are found throughout the earth, with many more soon to be dedicated and built. The “feast of fat things” is now being eaten by the members of the Church, who have become rich, wise and noble in spiritual things, and is available to be taken to the rest of the world who are poor, lame, blind and deaf, who are in need of the blessings to make them whole.

Do you think we fully realize the job that we have been given? Do we understand we are the ones who were chosen to build upon that foundation that our pioneer ancestors so faithfully sacrificed to build? In what ways do you think we are building upon the work of those who have come before us? What can I do individually to participate in this great work? I ponder questions like these all the time, diligently striving to do my part. Have you considered your job in this vein lately? If not, take some time out to think about it... and strive to make Zion a bigger part of your mind set.

I believe we are truly Zionists. What do you think?

1 comment:

Greg said...

And someday there will be another group of Zionists who will be called upon for the Redemption of Zion.