Turning the Hearts of the Jews to the Prophets


To latter-day saints who desire to “live by every word which proceeds forth out of the mouth of God,” how many are keeping the commandment to “seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children; and again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me” (Doctrine & Covenants 98:11, 16–17; cf. Malachi 4:6)?

Perhaps members of the church assume they are filling their entire obligation to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children” by performing family history research and temple work. Indeed, that is an integral part of preparing for Jesus’ second coming. On the other hand, a correct translation of the word translated “children” in Malachi’s prophecy is “sons” (Hebrew banim; Malachi 4:6). Because “fathers” and “sons” are covenantal terms, they take on another meaning, one that relates specifically to Isaiah’s end-time scenario.

The synonymous parallelism of the above two verses—and therefore of the terms “Jews” with “sons” and of “fathers” with “prophets” (Doctrine & Covenants 98:16–17)—moreover, tells us that latter-day saints are commanded to turn the hearts of the Jews to the prophets, their fathers or ancestors; and the prophets, their fathers or ancestors, to the Jews. In other words, members of the church have an obligation to connect with the Jews on a heart level within an Old Testament context that is familiar to them, and to convey to them their testimonies of its prophetic truths.

Of course, in order to communicate with Jews on their own intellectual and spiritual level that would require an approach that incorporates the “manner of the Jews.” Says Nephi, “I know that the Jews do understand the things of the prophets, and there is none other people that understand the things which were spoken unto the Jews like unto them, save it be that they are taught after the manner of the things of the Jews” (2 Nephi 25:5). Lacking that approach, Christians down the generations have been unable to win the Jews’ respect and have thus experienced little success.

Many, including members of the church, have instead despised the Jews: “What thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles? O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people” (2 Nephi 29:4–5).

Isn’t it fitting that the Jews, who brought salvation to the Gentiles, should be reciprocated and “have other witness besides him whom they saw and heard” that Jesus is the Christ, the Holy One of Israel (Mormon 3:21)—and that they be shown these things from the words of their own prophet-ancestors? And isn’t it fitting that the Gentiles, who have received their spiritual heritage from the Jews, should “have care for the house of Israel” (Mormon 5:10)—including the Jews—and “be like unto a father to them” (2 Nephi 10:18). That is, to serve as proxy saviors to them, more especially in this, the end-time hour of their distress?

So said Isaiah of the spiritual and temporal role the Gentiles’ spiritual kings and queens would perform under the terms of the Davidic covenant: “I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, raise my ensign to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in their bosoms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings shall be your foster fathers, queens your nursing mothers” (Isaiah 49:22–23). The alternative to fulfilling this role hardly seems an option: “They were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men; and inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men” (Doctrine & Covenants 103:9–10).

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The Isaiah Institute was created in the year 2000 by the Hebraeus Foundation to disseminate the message of the prophet Isaiah (circa 742–701 B.C.). Avraham Gileadi Ph.D’s groundbreaking research and analysis of the Book of Isaiah provides the ideal medium for publishing Isaiah’s endtime message to the world. No longer can the Book of Isaiah be regarded as an obscure document from a remote age. Its vibrant message, decoded after years of painstaking research by a leading authority in his field, now receives a new application as a sure guide to a rapidly changing world. To those who seek answers to today’s perplexing questions, the Book of Isaiah is God’s gift to humanity.

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