The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Saturday, August 6, 2016

beyond the rivers of Ethiopia

I've previously discussed Isaiah 18:1, which relates a prophecy about the location of the latter-day Zion, which, from the perspective of Isaiah living in Israel, is beyond the rivers (waters) of Ethiopia. I think that's how Nephi knew he had to sail around Africa to reach the promised land.

Zephaniah, another Old Testament prophet, who was a contemporary of Lehi.

“Zephaniah saw our day and beyond. In it he both suffered and rejoiced. He suffered in spirit because of the desolation and destruction which he saw, but he was able to use this as a warning and threat to his own people. In the redemption and final blessings of Israel he saw a ray of hope to extend to Judah. No prophet has written more clearly or vigorously of the Day of the Lord. Zephaniah must be added to the list of prophets who give us a grave warning of disaster.” (Sidney B. Sperry, The Voice of Israel’s Prophets, p. 388.)

It's significant that like Isaiah, Zephaniah referred to the land "beyond the rivers of Ethiopia" as the place from which "my suppliants" [those who seek the Lord] " even the daughter [descendants] of my dispersed [Lehi was dispersed] shall bring my offering [as one commentator put it, "themselves as an offering to the Lord, souls and bodies, with all other spiritual sacrifices of prayer, praise, and well doing"].

Here is the verse in context:

Zephaniah 3:¶Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.

I won't take the time to go through this in more detail now, but it's something to consider, together with Isaiah 18. The prophets knew where the promised land would be, and where the gathering would begin when the gospel was restored in the last days. 

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