Timeline in 3 Nephi 21


Christ says he’s going to give a sign, that the people may know the time when the things Isaiah says about the gathering are about to take place.

The gathering is also referred to as “the covenant,” because God covenanted to always remember Israel. Gathering them out of the nations after they have been scattered and married into other nations for hundreds (even thousands) of years is a miraculous achievement and proof that God still remembers scattered Israel long after everyone on earth (even Israel itself) has forgotten who they are.

  • v.2-6: The sign happens when the things that Christ is telling the Nephites/Lamanites now (and will continue to tell them by the Holy Ghost) are made known to the Gentiles,
    • And this means the Gentiles are aware of the Nephite/Lamanite descendants as a remnant of Israel
    • And not only that, when these things that are being told now, and will be, and will be written, are then given to them, that is, their descendants
    • Because, well, it is wisdom that Gentiles will be here in this land, so that they can give them to their descendants,
      • And that is because then the Gentiles might see God’s power, and when they see it, they might repent and become numbered as if they were Israel too
  • v.7: This is the sign he gives the Nephites/Lamanites: when these very things that they are hearing and writing down are beginning to be known by their own descendants — that is the sign that things in Isaiah about gathering are already beginning to be fulfilled.
  • v.22-24 If the Gentiles repent, God will establish a Church among them, and the Gentiles will be able to “come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this remnant”
    • Then they will help gather the remnant — and any other members of Israel — in order to build a city — a New Jerusalem.
    • Then, after that, they will help gather Israel into the city.
    • And after that, the power of heaven will be in the city — and then even God will come and dwell in the New Jerusalem
  • v.26-28 And also,* the Father will do an even bigger work: He will begin to gather in “all the dispersed” of Israel, even the tribes which are lost
    • The Father will begin to prepare the way that they will not only be gathered, but will come to Christ so that they can pray to the Father
    •  The Father will begin to work among all nations, so that the way is prepared for him to gather home all Israel to the land of their inheritance

 

*It is unclear to me when the things in v.26-28 are happening in this timeline. (1) The words “and then” could be that these things happen after the city is built and Israel is gathered and Christ has come to be with them. One thing is accomplished, and then the next marvelous work begins. (2) The words “even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people” could mean that we are showing another marvelous work that will begin at the same time as the events in v.22-24. That is, the events in v.26-28 could be happening in parallel with the events in v.22-24. I don’t think that I have a preferred reading as of yet.

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