I think many misunderstand the Gathering and even associate the word Israel with the current State of Israel. I hope people can understand that the State of Israel today has nothing to do with the people of Israel mentioned in the bible, and the gathering of Israel has nothing to do with the Jews going to Palestine.
The word Israel was given to Jacob by God. It means "Triumphant with God" It is actually a good word, even though some try to pollute it.
As I prepared the lesson today I have come to realize two main things:
1. The house of Israel are the covenant people of God. They are those that believe in His son and make covenants with Him and keep His commandments.
2. The main reason for the gathering is to help people come unto Christ, have faith in Him and make covenants with Him. That was why the early members of the church were asked to 'gather' in the US in the early days of the church. Because it was the only place they could have a temple so they could receive ordinances and make covenants with God.
When we follow the savior and are baptized into His church we become part of the house of Israel. We become the people of God.
The gathering happening today is a spiritual gathering...many are coming into the fold of God to be numbered among his people. In the Book of Mormon we read:
"For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel."
Some mistakenly think that the gathering of the Jews to the land of Palestine is a fulfillment of prophecies. It is not! That gathering of the Jews is not the promised gathering of the children of Israel.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: "Let there be no misunderstanding in any discerning mind on this point. This gathering of the Jews to their homeland and their organization into a nation and a kingdom is not the gathering promised by the prophets. It does not fulfill the ancient promises”
When, and only when, they come to the knowledge of their redeemer who is Christ, and follow Him, then they will be gathered and blessed.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “Every person who embraces the gospel becomes of the house of Israel. In other words, they become members of the chosen lineage, or Abraham’s children through Isaac and Jacob unto whom the promises were made. The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph. Those who are not literal descendants of Abraham and Israel must become such, and when they are baptized and confirmed they are grafted into the tree and are entitled to all the rights and privileges as heirs”
I am proud to be of the House of Israel and a descendant of Abraham. I hope we all realize that we can have those blessings given to Abraham. We are His seed and are children of the covenant.
I am amazed at some who think that everyone must support the current State of Israel in order to be a good Christian. Like the lady I met at church one day who seemed so confused when she expressed how much she supports Israel and how we should all support them. The 8.5 million dollars Israel receives from the US EVERY DAY is used to buy weapons to kill my people, or used to build more walls and checkpoints to restrict their movement. I don't support the State of Israel and I don't think anyone should. Not the way they are treating the Palestinians.
Sadly there are US presidential candidates who think most Palestinians are terrorists and that they need to send more weapons to Israel so they can kill us all...I am a Palestinian and I am not a terrorist and I don't appreciate being referred to as such. I wish people could be more understanding and more accepting of others.
I am impressed with the many Palestinian and Israeli women who are marching for peace. I hope we all can realize that we are all brothers and sisters. I know that we all can love one another...As we come unto Christ, and abide in His love, we can develop some of His attributes. Attributes such as forgiveness, tolerance, love, patience, sacrifice...Then will He gather us, as a chicken gathereth her chicks under her wings.
I look forward to the day when the Jews, also, will be gathered into the fold of God; when they will be converted and believe in their Savior, the Holy One of Israel; when they no longer wait for a Messiah, but understand that He actually did come. And then they will be gathered and then will the Lord remember the covenant He has made with them.
The Savior loves each and every one of us. He is the true Messiah, the one who the Jews rejected, the one who the Jews have waited for and continue to wait for. He DID come...He came to His own and His own received Him not. He was rejected, persecuted and crucified. Yet, He lives today...And He will come again in His glory. He will part the clouds and appear from the East...all will see Him, all will recognize Him, and every tongue will confess that He is the Christ...Every knee will bow before Him, who is the King of King and Lord of Lords...the Savior of the world.