OT # 42
“I Will Write It in Their Hearts”
Jeremiah 16; 23; 29; 31
Lenet H. Read
(This lesson provides underlying material to help understand Jeremiah’s prophecies. It also adds a special example of how the gathering is actually happening today! To really understand Jeremiah’s writings (and other OT prophets) review the significance of the events between 721 and 600 B.C.)
I. The years between 721 and 600 B.C. are major, watershed events in the history of the Lord’s people.
*About 721 B.C. the northern ten tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria, eventually to be scattered throughout all nations.
* Around 600 B.C., Jeremiah warned all of Judah that they too would go into captivity if unrepentant. He warned they would be gleaned of their treasures like a vine (Ch. 6). His warnings came to pass.
* In 600 B.C. Lehi who was warned of Jerusalem’s imminent destruction led his family and others to safely in the Americas.
II. Jeremiah’s warnings about the impending destruction of Judah had double meaning. He knew this captivity under Babylon was a witness of the final overtaking of Judah by a future Babylon in 70 A.D. To understand this deeper warning, we must remember what really happens.
A. When Christ came to the Jews who had been freed from ancient Babylon, most of them rejected Him. The inheritance of His Gospel and Church thus went to the Gentiles.
B. Due to the deaths of the apostles apostasy began to quickly set in. In its unprotected state, Christ’s church eventually fell into the hands of a new Babylon, or idol worship, as there was a reestablishment of worship of images and relics.
C. The fall of Jerusalem between 65 and 70 A.D. was a repetitive event, also of enormous consequence. All of the House of Israel was now removed from their homeland --- to remain so for centuries.
D. While evidence shows that many of scattered Israel were taught the gospel by Jesus Himself, the apostles or early missionaries and came to believe in Him, eventually apostasy overcame all of Christ’s people worldwide. Among these were Lehi’s descendants in the Americas. (See 3 Nephi , 4 Nephi, Mormon Ch.1).
III. Knowing that Jeremiah was also prophesying that Judah would suffer a similar, even more devastating destruction in 70 A.D. and that apostasy would follow sheds light on much of what he says. Note, eventually apostasy would be overcome.
A. (Jer. 12: 10, 14, 16-17) “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion underfoot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness…. Thus saith the Lord [to those] … that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit… if they will diligently learn the ways of my people… then shall they be built in the midst of my people. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy…”
B. (Jer. 49:12) “Hath Israel no sons? Hath he no heir? … the days come… then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs.”
C. (Jer. 50:11, 17-19, 29, 37-38). “O ye destroyers of mine heritage… Israel is a scattered sheep: the … king of Babylon hath broken his bones. Therefore… I will punish the King of Babylon… and I will bring Israel again to his habitation… Call together the archers against Babylon… for she hath been proud against the Lord…. A sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed. A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images.”
D. Jeremiah’s warnings therefore are to ancient Judah and Babylon, but also to a future Judah and a future Babylon.
IV. Once we understand the full meaning of Jeremiah’s warnings, we can more clearly understand his promises of a Latter-day re-gathered Israel.
A. “… it shall no more be said, The Lord brought up the children of Israel from Egypt… but [He] brought up the children from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them…. I will send for many fishers… and many hunters…. (Jer. 16:14-16).
B. “I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way.” (Jer. 31:9) (The Latter-day Saint pioneers were led to their Promised Land by following six-hundred miles of the North Platte River. See Elder LeGrande Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p. 232).
C. “Behold the days come that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel.” (Jer. 31:31).
V. Some other Protestant groups understood the writings of Jeremiah and other prophets witnessed of a latter-day Israel being re-gathered, and felt that they are that Israel. (Such as the Calvinists who settled in Switzerland’s Mountains and the Pilgrims/Puritans who came to America, etc.). But there are a far, far greater abundance of witnesses that this promise is fulfilled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here are just a few:
A. Like others, they crossed the great oceans and settled in a new Promised Land. But they did this a second time by crossing the Mississippi and settling in the West.
B. They settled in a desert, which they have made to “blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 35:1).
C. They settled in the “tops of the Mountains” as prophesied (Isaiah 2:2). The name “Utah” means “top of the Mountains.”
D. They settled by another great Dead Sea, the Great Salt Lake.
E. Like the Lord’s ancient Israel, they are led by living prophets, by twelve apostles, and by Seventies.
F. The promise of the coming of Elijah has actually been fulfilled (Malachi 4:5-6). And the works that Elijah was promised to do are being in fact done. The hearts of the children have turned to their fathers! All those who died without receiving Jesus Christ’s gospel, both before He came and in lands where they are denied His teachings, can be saved through temple ordinance work.
G. They have rebuilt temples and restored temple ordinances existent in Christ’s time. ( For further explanations and many, many more witnesses, see LeGrande Richards’ A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book).
VI. This latter-day re-gathering of Israel could not have occurred if it had not been for Jesus Christ and His atonement. Because Israel who had been scattered throughout the world came to learn of their Savior, they were more responsive to His calls to re-gather in the Last Days. The Lord had promised of that covenant that He would make with them in the latter-days:
a. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, 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 (Jer. 31:33).
How does the “writing upon our hearts” occur?
b. It occurs as the light of the Restored Gospel truly helps us to understand the atonement of our Savior!
VII. Jeremiah’s promise that the re-gathering of Israel would often be of one or two at a time is constantly being fulfilled. There are multitudes of testimonies of people discovering and accepting the true Gospel. Here is just one shared by Elder Glen L Rudd, in The Church News, April 16, 1994, p. 16. What is striking about this event is how a husband and wife were both converted, in one day, but completely separate from one another.
a. “In 1964, Herbert and Daisy Kincaid visited in Salt Lake City for three days. They intended to leave for home in Utica, N.Y., the morning of the fourth day. But for some reason, he wanted to go back to Temple Square.
“Leaving his wife at their hotel to rest, Mr. Kincaid walked across the street to Temple Square, and saw a bus leaving for Welfare Square. He asked if he could go. Once on Welfare Square, Mr. Kincaid toured the facility with the other tourists.
He afterward went to see the coordinator of Welfare Square, Elder Rudd.
He told Elder Rudd he had been a minister for thirty years and had spent a considerable amount of time helping with welfare problems. He then asked so many questions he missed his bus.
“After about an hour, and after having explained his great joy and happiness in seeing real welfare work being done by welfare workers in and around the storehouse, he said he would like to know more about the Church.
Of course Elder Rudd arranged for him to have missionaries come to his home.
Mr. Kinkaid went back to his hotel. He was very inspired about all he had heard that day, but was worried about what his wife would think. “He planned to say to his wife, ‘Now Daisy, don’t say a word. I want to tell you something.’ But as he opened the door to the hotel room, she said, ‘Herbert, I’ve found the true Church! All morning, I’ve been here in bed reading this book. It’s called The Book of Mormon. I have read it now for three hours, and this book is true. There is a true Church on the earth, and I think at long last we have found it.”
“When he composed himself, he said, ‘Daisy, I too found the true Church today. I have seen the true Church in action, and the Mormon Church is true.”
The Kincaids were in time baptized, were sealed together in the temple, and later served a mission. Interestingly, they were called to serve under Glen L. Rudd who was then a Mission President. As he said, They “never wavered from that marvelous day when the two of them found the Church in exciting and different ways.”
Old Testament Lesson # 42: I Will Write It in their Hearts