Question about the Gentiles’ Being Mistaken about Jesus’ Second Coming


Question: I’m troubled by Brigham Young’s statement that the Gentiles would be just as mistaken about Jesus’ second coming as the Jews were about his first (Journal of Discourses, 8:115). Who was he talking about, members of the church or non-members? And what do you think they would they be mistaken about?

Answer: When Brigham Young made that statement, he may not have used the Book of Mormon’s definition of “Gentiles” as the Ephraimite Gentiles who constitute God’s end-time covenant people. That is, those who are to restore God’s people house of Israel—the Jews, Ten Tribes, and Lamanites of today (1 Nephi 15:13–18; 2 Nephi 10:7–9; 3 Nephi 16:4–7). However, the timeframe Brigham Young intended was indeed the period preceding Jesus’ second coming.

Of that day—which he saw in vision—Nephi predicts, “They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord” (2 Nephi 28:14–15).

As Nephi was addressing the end-time “Gentiles” who were “in Zion” (2 Nephi 28:21, 24, 32)—not non-LDS Gentiles—it appears likely that the subject of his and Brigham Young’s statements is the same. In other words, that a common “error” in understanding end-time prophecies afflicts the Ephraimite Gentiles, regardless of what non-LDS Gentiles believe. That would be a reason for them to reject the Lord’s end-time servant when he comes just as the Jews rejected Jesus.

Each of God’s people thus err on the same messianic expectations applicable to their day. The Jews anticipated a latter-day David—God’s servant who restores all things. But their Messiah was their own God Jehovah. Latter-day Saints, who anticipate Jesus’ second coming, will instead be confronted with the person of the latter-day David, he who prepares the way before him by restoring the house of Israel—the Jews, Ten Tribes, and Lamanites—to God’s covenant.

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