Passion Timeline: Passover & The Last Supper

One factor that confuses many people about the Passion timeline is the Last Supper and its relationship with the Passover meal, or seder. The modern LDS church teaches that that the Last Supper was the Passover seder. Here are two chapter headings from the relevant chapters in the New Testament:

Matthew 26
Jesus is anointed—He keeps the Passover and institutes the sacrament—He suffers in Gethsemane, is betrayed by Judas, and is taken before Caiaphas—Peter denies that he knows Jesus.

Mark 14
Jesus is anointed with oil—He eats the Passover, institutes the sacrament, suffers in Gethsemane, and is betrayed by Judas—Jesus is falsely accused, and Peter denies that he knows Him.

The problem is that the scriptures make it clear that the Last Supper and the Passover meal were not on the same evening. Once you have accepted the falsehood that they are on the same evening, you have to start performing mental gymnastics to force all the other scriptural details to fit into your false tradition. It’s so much easier when you just believe what the scriptures say instead of the chapter headings!

Let’s start with a scriptural overview of Passover. Take note of the phrases in bold, they’ll be critical later on.

Exodus 12
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

Keep in mind that the Hewbrew word shabbat (sabbath) does not mean seventh, it means to cease, as in to cease from labor. These other holy days like the first day of Passover can also be called sabbath days because no work is to be done. It does not mean they happened on a Saturday. Which means you usually have two sabbaths, or holy days, in one week during Passover—the first day of Passover and then the weekly sabbath.

Bread at the Last Supper

Luke 22 tells us that the feast of unleavened bread was approaching. In both verses 1 and 7 it uses the Greek word ἀζύμων (azymoon) for unleavened bread. Yet in verse 19 Jesus takes ἄρτον (arton), or leavened bread, and administers the sacrament. If the Passover had already begun and this was the Passover meal, Jesus and all his disciples would have been violating the commandments by having leavened bread. Imagine how foolish Jesus would have felt to have lived a perfect life right up to the end and then thrown it all away by eating the wrong type of bread for his last meal!

Matthew does the same thing in Matthew 26:17 and 26:26. He uses ἀζύμων (azymoon) to the describe unleavened bread but ἄρτον to describe the bread they ate at the Last Supper. Not to be left out, Mark does it also in Mark 14:1 and 14:22. If the Last Supper was the Passover seder, we have three witnesses that Jesus sinned, he was not without blemish when sacrificed, and we are all doomed.

No Manner of Work

When Jesus identified Judas as the one who would betray him and Judas left, some of the disciples thought Jesus had told Judas to go buy things to prepare for the feast.

John 13
26
Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

As they were preparing to head to the Garden, Jesus again suggests they go buy stuff:

Luke 22
35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.
38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

If the Last Supper was the Passover meal, there wouldn’t be a need to buy anything for the feast…they had just finished eating it! More importantly, the Law of Moses required that no manner of work be done on the first day of Passover. If Jesus told the apostles to buy something that night, he would be telling them to sin. I suspect that the disciples would have been shocked by Jesus telling them to violate the Passover sabbath, but they don’t seem to give it any thought here. Furthermore, if they are eating the Passover meal, no merchants would be open to sell food or swords. Everyone else would be eating their Passover meal at home and doing no manner of work.

Scribes and Pharisees

If the Last Supper was the Passover meal, not only was Jesus confused, so were the scribes and pharisees!

John 18
8 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.

Here it is the morning after the Last Supper. The scribes and Pharisees should have already eaten the Passover meal, yet during the trial they are worried about defiling themselves before they could eat the Passover! Throughout the last day of Christ’s life, the Jews were focused on preparing for a meal that they supposedly had already eaten the night before.

For brevity, I’ll just list some of the references that show the Passover meal had not occurred yet.

John 19
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Mark 15
42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
43 Joseph of Arimathæa, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

Luke 23
52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

Everyone involved here, from the disciples to the scribes and Pharisees, knew the crucifixion and burial had to be completed before sunset when Passover, and its high sabbath, began.

Conclusion

It’s important that we understand that the Last Supper occurred 24 hours before the Passover meal. Not only is this important in understanding the timeline of the crucifixion and resurrection, but also to understand the significance of the three spring feasts that were linked to Christ’s Passion: the feast of Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, and the feast of first fruits. These are intimately integrated into the last week of Christ’s life, and we’ll explore them next.

Passion Timeline: The Sign of Jonah

It’s sad how our false traditions cause us to not believe God. We become so convinced that our tradition is correct that even when God speaks the truth plainly and clearly, we set at naught God’s word and trust in our own understanding. We refuse to evaluate the evidence God provides us or question our assumptions. The timing of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection is a prime example of how we ignore scriptural evidence in order to preserve the traditions we have inherited.

Our tradition tells us that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and resurrected on Sunday morning. But that is impossible if we believe what Jesus said about his own death and resurrection. Not only do we have to disbelieve Jesus to believe our tradition, we also have to disbelieve basic arithmetic!

Jesus gave the scribes and Pharisees just one sign about himself, and told them there would be no other. This one sign was the Sign of Jonah (Jonas is the Greek version of Jonah).

Matthew 12
38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Jesus makes it very clear, 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. We have two other references to this sign in the New Testament:

Matthew 16
4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Luke 11
29 ¶ And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.

Jesus said he would spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Let’s see how our tradition holds up to that sign.

Mark says that Christ gave up the ghost shortly after the ninth hour (3:00 PM). Matthew writes that evening was approaching when Nicodemus went to petition Pilate to be able to take Christ’s body. It was a mad dash to get Jesus’ body into the tomb before sunset. If we use the scriptural account that the tomb was sealed up basically at sunset, this is what we have:

Jonas 1

Not even close to 3 days and 3 nights. Now some modern apologists argue that any part of a day counted as a full day, so just one minute in the tomb on Friday afternoon would count as a full day. Let’s pretend that’s true:

Jonas 2

That gets us closer. Let’s apply the same logic to Sunday morning and assume that Christ wasn’t resurrected until one minute after sunrise.

Jonas 3With those leaps of logic, we can finally get to Christ being in the tomb for three “days”. But it is absolutely, positively IMPOSSIBLE for Jesus to spend three nights in the heart of the earth with the timeline we have inherited! There are only two nights between Friday and Sunday, no matter how much you try to fudge it. Yet three nights was the one sign that Jesus gave of himself.

Isn’t is amazing how our traditions can blind us to simple truths? We can’t even count to three when we are blinded by tradition! We’ve even been warned about this:

D&C 123:7-8
…the influence of that spirit which hath so strongly riveted the creeds of the fathers, who have inherited lies, upon the hearts of the children, and filled the world with confusion, and has been growing stronger and stronger, and is now the very mainspring of all corruption, and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity. It is an iron yoke, it is a strong band; they are the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell.

In the next posts I will document other false traditions we have about the last days of Jesus’ life and get us to a much more accurate understanding this timeline.

Old Testament Resources

Many of us are visual learners. If we can see information presented in a clear manner, we can see relationships that we wouldn’t normally see in the raw data. And if anything in the scriptures needs clarity, it’s the Old Testament! So here is some visual information to hopefully help us out.

I saw a version of this first chart a few years ago (I don’t remember where, but credit is due to whoever created the original version). I have recreated the chart with a few changes. Here is the new version of the chart:Fathers

Notice how many of the patriarchs had either a first-hand relationship with Adam or with Noah. Five knew both! Notice how many patriarchs were alive when Enoch was translated. It’s easy to think he was on his own when he was preaching, but even Seth, the son of Adam, was still alive when Enoch and his city were taken up. Why weren’t Seth, Enos, Cainan and the others in the city of Zion with Enoch? Is it just a coincidence that this happened during the brief period when neither Adam and Noah were alive?

Abraham was the first patriarch that didn’t know either Adam or Noah personally. To think that Terah was able to get first-hand accounts from Noah and Shem about the flood and yet still worshiped false gods. Notice how many of the fathers died during Abraham’s lifetime. Noah had just died and there were nine generations of Noah’s offspring alive  before Abraham was born. By the time of Abraham’s death all the fathers had passed away. (And what’s up with Nahor only living to 148?!? His great-great-great-great-great grandfather, Shem, would have been at his funeral!)

I have seen several versions of this next chart (one version is on Wikipedia) and decided to simplify it while adding an approximate time scale.

KingsNotice how the kingdom of Judah had an orderly succession of kings from father to son as the promise to David that his offspring will reign was fulfilled, whereas the kingdom of Israel rarely had a dynasty that lasted more that two generations. Also notice how close Judah came to losing the Davidic dynasty when Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah of Israel. Jehu murdered king Johoram of Israel and king Ahaziah of Judah during a state visit, allowing Jehu to assume the throne in Israel and Athaliah to become the (only) queen of Judah. Although she tried to kill all the heirs to the throne, one grandson was hidden and he eventually regained the throne.

If you’d like a high-resolution copy of these two, here’s a PDF: Old Testament

Things to ponder in the Book of Moroni

The Book of Moroni is an interesting work. Moroni never planned to write it – he  found himself with extra time and space on the gold plates and decided to go for it. Its structure would indicate that Moroni didn’t have a master plan — he documented some practices of the church, included some letters from his father, and wrapped up with some prophetic writing. It jumps from topic to topic without apologies.  It’s a Moroni mishmash, a spiritual smorgasbord, a gospel gumbo. It’s great.

When you examine what Moroni wrote, however, his church functioned differently than the modern church. Below I have listed some of the differences along with some questions. Unlike other posts, there are no explanations or links to other scriptures. Just questions we can all ponder.

Confirmation

Moroni 2
2 And he called them by name, saying: Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles.

Why does Moroni teach that before conferring the Holy Ghost, the disciples must call on the Father in mighty prayer? If that was necessary then, why isn’t it necessary now?

Ordination

Moroni 3
1 The manner which the disciples, who were called the elders of the church, ordained priests and teachers—
2 After they had prayed unto the Father in the name of Christ, they laid their hands upon them, and said:
3 In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest (or if he be a teacher, I ordain you to be a teacher) to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.
4 And after this manner did they ordain priests and teachers, according to the gifts and callings of God unto men; and they ordained them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was in them.

We have the same issue with ordinations to priesthood office. Why does today’s process differ from the scriptures?

Sacrament

Moroni 4
1 The manner of their elders and priests administering the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true; and the elder or priest did minister it—
2 And they did kneel down with the church, and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:
3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Why doesn’t the church kneel down for the sacrament if the Book of Mormon teaches that it is the true manner?

Baptism

Moroni 6
1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

Why were elders, priests and teachers baptized if they had already been baptized before being ordained as elders, priests, and teachers? Why aren’t they baptized today?

Moroni 8
4 And now, my son, I speak unto you concerning that which grieveth me exceedingly; for it grieveth me that there should disputations rise among you.
5 For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.
6 And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.

10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

Why would parents among Moroni’s church group need to be baptized if they were already part of the church? If they were part of Moroni’s church group, shouldn’t they have been baptized at the age of 8 and never again?

Moroni 8
22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing
23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.
24 Behold, my son, this thing ought not to be; for repentance is unto them that are under condemnation and under the curse of a broken law.

If people who have no law are under no condemnation and baptism avails them nothing, why would we need to baptize someone who has died without the gospel? If these deceased people without the gospel are alive in Christ just like little children, why the emphasis on genealogy work and temple baptisms?

Church Meetings

Moroni 6
9 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.

Why aren’t church meetings spontaneous? Doesn’t a printed program and rigid agenda prevent us from letting the Spirit lead?

Moroni’s Promise (Moroni 10:3-5)

Why is Moroni’s promise only unto the Lamanites? Why do we teach that his promise is to everyone?

Moroni 10
1 Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites; and I would that they should know that more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ.
2 And I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you.
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
8 And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

He eventually does talk to everyone, but that’s about twenty verses later in the chapter. And the message is a less cheerful.

24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.
25 And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.
26 And wo unto them who shall do these things away and die, for they die in their sins, and they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God; and I speak it according to the words of Christ; and I lie not.
27 And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?

 

 

 

Jerusalem and Zion

One of Watcher’s recent posts touched on his interpretation of the scriptures that the Jerusalem of the last days is in North America and not the Middle East. Obviously this interpretation flies in the face of the opinions of experts and common sense. Everyone knows where Jerusalem is, just look on a map!

Watcher included this quotation from Joseph Smith:

“You know there has been a great discussion in relation to ZION- where it is, and where the gathering of the dispensation is, and which I am going to tell you. The prophets have spoken and written upon it; But I will make a proclamation that will cover broader ground. The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south and is described by the prophets, that it is the Zion where the Mountain of the Lord should be, and that it is the center of the land. When the Elders take up to examine the old prophecies in the bible they will see it.”

Let’s follow Joseph’s advice and examine the old prophecies while we also measure Watcher’s strange doctrine against the scriptures.

Ezekiel 28
25 Thus saith the Lord God; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.

The house of Israel will be gathered into and dwell in the land given to Jacob. Now remember, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel after his encounter with the angel. So other than the different names this is pretty straight forward. So straightforward that Nephi basically reiterated it:

2 Nephi 24
1 For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.
2 And the people shall take them and bring them to their place; yea, from far unto the ends of the earth; and they shall return to their lands of promise. And the house of Israel shall possess them

Elsewhere, this gathering is discussed. The remnant of the seed of Jacob is gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands.

3 Nephi 5
24 And as surely as the Lord liveth, will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, who are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth.
25 And as he hath covenanted with all the house of Jacob, even so shall the covenant wherewith he hath covenanted with the house of Jacob be fulfilled in his own due time, unto the restoring all the house of Jacob unto the knowledge of the covenant that he hath covenanted with them.
26 And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen.

Everything still seems straightforward. Straightforward, that is, until the resurrected Jesus starts talking:

3 Nephi 21
1 And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;

22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
23 And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.

Jesus is saying that the latter-day members of his church will be numbered among the remnant of Jacob. And that remnant of Jacob has received the land of the Nephites for their inheritance. Furthermore, he says they will build the new Jerusalem in this land, and bring all those Lord’s people who are scattered into the new Jerusalem. And the Lord will establish Zion among these people living in the new Jerusalem.

One historical note to consider: when the printer’s manuscript was delivered to Grandin Press, the Book of Mormon was basically one massive run-on sentence. Every comma, period, and capital was added by John Gilbert, the typesetter. So “the New Jerusalem” could have been intended to read “the new Jerusalem” (which we will soon see is how it is in Revelation). Because we don’t know what was intended, we need to consider both options.

3 Nephi 20
21 And it shall come to pass that I will establish my people, O house of Israel.
22 And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New [new] Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.

The resurrected Jesus makes it clear that his people are the house of Israel and the new Jerusalem will be located on the land of the Nephites, not the Middle East. More significantly, he says that establishing them in North America fulfills the covenant which he made with Jacob. This is where it gets interesting. Jesus is saying that the promise made to Jacob will be fulfilled when the people gather to the new Jerusalem in North America. He says nothing about a restoration of the Jerusalem in the Middle East where Jacob lived.

In the 1830s, the Lord reiterated that North America is a consecrated land according to the covenant.

D&C 52
2 Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.

To summarize, Jesus seems to think that:

  • North America is the land given to the remnant of Jacob.
  • North America is the land where as many of the house of Israel shall come will build the new Jerusalem.
  • North America is the land where the house of Israel will be established according to the covenant made with Jacob.
  • Missouri is part of the land consecrated to the remnant of Jacob.

Let’s see what else the scriptures say:

D&C 109
64 And the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father.
65 And cause that the remnants of Jacob, who have been cursed and smitten because of their transgression, be converted from their wild and savage condition to the fulness of the everlasting gospel;
66 That they may lay down their weapons of bloodshed, and cease their rebellions.
67 And may all the scattered remnants of Israel, who have been driven to the ends of the earth, come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed from oppression, and rejoice before thee.

Judah

The children of Judah are prophesied to return to the lands given to Abraham. Keep in mind, Judah was a son of Jacob, so the remnant of Jacob would seem to include the children of Judah.

Section 133 on the surface seems to contradict the one location theory, as the Lord talks about the Gentiles fleeing unto Zion and Judah fleeing unto Jerusalem.

D&C 133
7 Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
8 Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.
9 And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about.
10 Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.
11 Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.
12 Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion.
13 And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord’s house.
14 Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.

If you believe that the Jerusalem in verse 13 is in the Middle East, then you must also believe that the mountains of the Lord’s house are in the Middle East too. Which means you also must believe this prophecy does not apply to North America:

2 Nephi 12  / Isaiah 2
1 The word that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

If the Jerusalem in the Middle East is the mountain of the Lord’s house, then Jerusalem will be established in the top of the mountains and all nations shall flow unto the Middle East. Not North America (not even Utah). But if you believe that 2 Nephi 12 is talking about North America as the mountain of the Lord’s house that is established in the top of the mountains, then the Jerusalem in D&C 133:13 cannot be in the Middle East. But a new Jerusalem in North America works for both and keeps the prophecies intact.

Zechariah seemed to think that Jerusalem was a suburb of Zion, while also calling Jerusalem the mountain of the Lord.

Zechariah 8
3 Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.

Indeed, if Zion is in North America and Jerusalem in the Middle East, how could the Lord return unto Zion and dwell in Jerusalem? If Jerusalem in the Middle East is the mountain of the Lord, the 2 Nephi 12 prophecy is broken. Not only that, but several others are broken too.

Daniel 9:16,20
16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

Joel 2
1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

Joel 3
16 The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17 So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

Isaiah 66
20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.

If Zion and Jerusalem are on two different continents, these prophets are contradicting each other. Some think that Zion in North America is the mountain of the Lord, while others think Jerusalem in the Middle East is the mountain of the Lord. Isaiah 30:19 simply defies geography and the laws of physics.

Isaiah 30
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.

If Zion and Jerusalem are on two different continents, even the Father himself is confused:

D&C 29
7 And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;
8 Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.

One Gathering Location

The Father doesn’t decree that the elect will be gathered into two places: one in America and one in the Middle East. He wants all the elect gathered into one place, on this land. God repeatedly states he will gather his people into one place, and that North America is where he will gather his people. He repeats is so many times it’s almost overwhelming.

D&C 101
12 And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.
13 And they that have been scattered shall be gathered.
14 And all they who have mourned shall be comforted.
15 And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.
16 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
17 Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.
18 They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—
19 And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.
20 And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints
21 Until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion.
22 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;

D&C 103
22 Therefore let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged—Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me.

D&C 105
13 Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.
14 For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles.
15 Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints.

D&C 42
9 Until the time shall come when it shall be revealed unto you from on high, when the city of the New Jerusalem shall be prepared, that ye may be gathered in one, that ye may be my people and I will be your God.

D&C 45
43 And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place;
44 And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.

D&C 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.

D&C 84
2 Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.

D&C 125
2 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I say unto you, if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, if they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come.

D&C 133
4 Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry.

7 Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
8 Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.
9 And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people: Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about.

This call to Zion is made to all nations, to the Gentiles AND the Jews. The Jews are not told to gather in a different land. They are told to go forth unto the land of Zion. I can find nowhere in the scriptures where God commands that there are two locations for the gathering of his saints. There is just one gathering.

When talking to Enoch in the pre-flood times, God talked about gathering his elect from all over the earth into one location, not two.

Moses 7
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

 

Outcasts

In another Isaiah prophecy, millennial peace, symbolized by the wolf and the lamb dwelling together, occurs in the Lord’s holy mountain.

2 Nephi 21 / Isaiah 11
6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious.
11 And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant 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.
12 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.

Isaiah says the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah will be gathered together. Isaiah talks about this elsewhere.

Isaiah 56
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
8 The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Here he talked about the sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, and they are brought to the Lord’s holy mountain. Nephi talks about these strangers too, and how they will join Israel in their own land (which we already determined is in North America).

2 Nephi 24
1 For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.
2 And the people shall take them and bring them to their place; yea, from far unto the ends of the earth; and they shall return to their lands of promise. And the house of Israel shall possess them

Which means that when Isaiah 56 talks about gathering the strangers and outcasts of Israel to the holy mountain, that must be in North America to be consistent with the house of Israel inheriting North America.

Other tidbits

If there was only one Jerusalem location in all of history, Enoch was probably pretty confused when talking to the Lord.

Moses 7
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.
65 And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;

Here the Lord tells him he will gather out the elect unto a place called Zion, a new Jerusalem. Except Enoch lived before the flood. This conversation happened at least 1,000 years before Jerusalem was established. If the name Jerusalem has and will only be used to refer to the city in the Middle East then why would the Lord talk about it to Enoch? It would be like Jesus telling the Nephites about Helsinki – completely irrelevant to them. Because Enoch’s people were called Zion, I would not be surprised if they called their city Jerusalem. Then, when the Lord talks about a New Jerusalem, Enoch wouldn’t be confused. If the city of Enoch were called Jerusalem, it would also link quite nicely to the prophecies of its return.

Another interesting study is to look at how Jerusalem is used in the Book of Revelation. John uses the name Jerusalem three times, all three times he refers to new Jerusalem, a city of God coming down out of heaven.

Revelation 3
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Revelation 21
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Those references are all to a heavenly new Jerusalem (likely comprising the city of Enoch and others). We know John also talks about the Jerusalem in the Middle East. How does he refer to that location if he doesn’t use the name Jerusalem? When talking about the two prophets who are killed in the last days, John says:

Revelation 11
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

John is saying that the city in the Middle East where Christ was crucified is spiritually bad. But that location can’t possibly be the holy city he refers to in verse 2. The holy city is new Jerusalem. The great city is old Jerusalem. All the righteous things the Lord has planned for his Second Coming are not going to be happening in spiritual Sodom. There are obviously two different cities here: a righteous Jerusalem and a wicked Jerusalem. One is blessed and one is cursed.

I originally included a section talking about Zechariah 14 here. I received some feedback that made me question my analysis. I don’t want to post an analysis that I don’t have confidence in, so I have removed it while I do some more research.

 

Conclusion

When I started working on this post, I had no idea there would be so many scriptures that touched on this topic. It’s been exhausting to capture them all and put them in some sort of order. Once you see them all together, you realize how quickly they all start to fall apart if we try to force a two continent Jerusalem/Zion model onto them. The Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price all support each other on the location of latter-day Jerusalem being in North America.

Joseph Smith was right:

“The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south and is described by the prophets, that it is the Zion where the Mountain of the Lord should be, and that it is the center of the land. When the Elders take up to examine the old prophecies in the bible they will see it.”

Having examined the old prophecies in detail, I can see no other explanation. The latter-day Jerusalem must be in North America. It goes against all our traditions and common sense, but when we weigh in the balances our traditions and common sense against the word of God, our traditions are found wanting. In whom shall we trust?