Question: In a class discussion, the question arose as to when Gentiles become numbered among those of the house of Israel. Many have the belief that when they are baptized and make a covenant with the Lord they are adopted into the house of Israel. And yet the scriptures indicate that collectively we are a Gentile church and that the Book of Mormon came forth “by way of Gentile.”
If I understand correctly what Dr. Gileadi has written, it is after the great and marvelous work, where a great division occurs and the gospel turns back to the house of Israel, that righteous Gentiles are numbered among the house of Israel.
I think my question then is, can we be a Gentile church at this point (the first shall be last and the last shall be first) and then individually as baptized Gentiles be numbered among the house of Israel? This seems to be really confusing to people, and if I have the correct understanding struggle to explain it to folks.
Answer: According to prophecies by Nephi, Jacob, and Jesus in the Book of Mormon, the time sequence for the Gentiles’ being numbered among the house of Israel happens as follows:
First, there occurs the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel of the Lamb among the Gentiles—when “I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious” (1 Nephi 13:34).
Second, there occurs the going forth of the Bible from the Gentiles to the descendants of Lehi—as when Nephi saw in vision “the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren” (1 Nephi 13:38).
Third, “other books”—called “records”—come forth from among the Gentiles, which books have the power to convince “the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true” (1 Nephi 13:39–40).
Fourth, a great turning point takes place for the Gentiles and the house of Israel, as it is written: “And after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles, then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last” (1 Nephi 13:14).
Fifth, this turning point happens at a great test of the Gentiles, at which some “hearken unto the Lamb of God” and he “manifest[s] himself unto them in word, and also in power,” leading to their being “numbered among the seed of thy father” or “numbered among the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 14:1–2; 3 Nephi 16:13).
Sixth, at that point, on the other hand, most Gentiles “harden their hearts,” “sin against my gospel,” and become “as salt that hath lost its savor,” causing the Lord to remember his covenant with the house of Israel and bring his gospel to them (3 Nephi 16:10–12, 15; cf. 1 Nephi 14:6–8; 2 Nephi 10:15–16; 3 Nephi 20:28–31).
Seventh, then takes place the Lord’s “great and marvelous work,” which, by its scriptural definition, consists of the restoration of the house of Israel to God’s covenants and to lands of inheritance (1 Nephi 14:7; 22:8–9, 12; 2 Nephi 10:18–19; 25:16–18; 28:32–29:1, 14; 3 Nephi 20:21–22; 21:7–9; Ether 13:8–12).
Eighth, those Gentiles who do not harden their hearts but repent of their iniquities, become “like a father” to the house of Israel—they being those same Gentiles who are “numbered among the house of Israel” or “numbered among thy [Nephi’s] seed, forever” (2 Nephi 10:18–19; cf. 3 Nephi 21:3–6, 22–24).
Ninth, the Lord’s servant’s bringing forth the words of Christ on the large plates of Nephi causes many Gentiles to disbelieve them and to “be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant”—that is, from among those Gentiles who serve as fathers or saviors to the house of Israel (3 Nephi 26:1–11; 21:11).
Tenth, (1) the house of Israel’s end-time restoration by the Lord’s servant and the repentant Gentiles’ spiritual kings and queens, and (2) the destruction of the unbelieving Gentiles fulfill the words of Isaiah (1 Nephi 15:13–20; 22:8–12; 2 Nephi 6:4–7, 11–14; 10:7–13; 3 Nephi 16:17–20; 20:11–14, 32–46; 21:29).
From these scriptures it is clear that only the repentant Gentiles are numbered among the house of Israel, and that this happens sometime after an end-time test has occurred—in the form of “records” coming forth—which test causes “a great division” among the Gentiles (2 Nephi 30:1–15; cf. 1 Nephi 14:7–10, 26).
Relevant Isaiah passages that Nephi, Jacob, and Jesus cite directly include Isaiah 11:4–9, 11; 29:7–8, 14; 49:9, 23–23; 52:1–3, 5–15; 57:18; 65:17, each of which forms an integral part of Isaiah’s end-time scenario. These cannot be isolated from all other Isaiah passages, however, as all form one interconnected whole.