Monday, September 15, 2008

The Land of Zion- A Land of Inheritance

Land of Zion
There are many descriptions of Zion and it’s people. However, when the Lord refers to the “Land of Zion”, He is referring to the “center place” (D&C 57:3), which is Jackson County and the “region round about” (DC 101:70). Repeatedly, Missouri in general is spoken of as the land of Zion, & Jackson County and the “counties round about” are spoken of more specifically.

D&C 57
2 Wherefore, this is the a land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.
3 And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place;

We also know that Caldwell County (counties round about), which was created by the Missouri State legislature as a place for the saints to settle after being expelled from Jackson County, is included with Jackson county when the Lord speaks of the land of Zion.

D&C 115
6 And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.
7 Let the city, Far West, be a holy and consecrated land unto me; and it shall be called most holy, for the ground upon which thou standest is holy.

An Inheritance
Understanding the location of the land of Zion is important to the saints not only because of future prophesied events, but because it is an inheritance to the members of the church.

D&C 101
1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance

18 They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “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”

Zion is a land of inheritance because the Church, with its large numbers of descendants of Joseph, inherits the blessings promised to Joseph’s posterity (Abraham 2:9–10; D&C 86:8–9). That is why the Lord has promised the latter-day Church an inheritance in the land promised to Joseph’s posterity, with its “center place” in Missouri (D&C 57:3)

Building Up the Waste Places
Although the land of Zion is an inheritance, the Lord has directed the saints to “purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion” (D&C 101:70). It must be purchased, not taken or claimed.

The Lord spoke of two important items having to do with the establishment of Zion: the gathering of the Saints to places appointed, and the purchase of land in the region of Zion. The Lord cautioned in D&C 101:68 & 72 that the work was not to proceed with haste. Part of the difficulty experienced in the original attempt to establish Zion was caused by many Saints’ coming to Zion ill prepared. These instructions were given to the early saints and seem to apply to saints coming to Missouri today.

A Gathering?
There has been no call from the Church for the saints to gather again to Missouri. In fact, the Church’s current focus is in building up and strengthening the Stakes of Zion, which is the Church, organized in any location. But still, as the spirit has prompted many individuals and families, many saints have and are returning to the “Center Place” of Zion in Jackson County Missouri and the “counties round about”. It could be said that the trickle of saints that are returning to Missouri are involved in “building up the waste places of Zion”, preparing for the time when a trickle becomes a flood.

Many people who have moved to Missouri are asked by friends and relatives something like this… “Did I miss a big announcement?” or “Is the Lord telling you something He is not telling me?” The answers are, “No- you did not miss a big announcement but the Lord may prompt my family in a way different than yours”. Heads of families can receive personal revelation for the benefit of their families. If I am prompted to move to a different place, take a different job or pursue other different opportunities, it does not make me more special than another. It merely means what is best for my family is best for my family. What is best for another family may be different.

Be Patient
Joseph Smith said, “I know that Zion, in the due time of the Lord, will be redeemed; but how many will be the days of her purification, tribulation, and affliction, the Lord has kept hid from my eyes and when I inquire concerning this subject, the voice of the Lord is: Be still, and know that I am God….. He will return her back to her inheritance”
We do not know when or even how exactly Zion will be redeemed but we can be still and trust in God and know that Zion has not moved. “Zion shall not be moved out of her place” (D&C 101:17). It is still a place of our inheritance.

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