Through all the history we possess of God’s dealings with mankind He has entrusted His priesthood and His gospel to a selected lineage. It has only been recently that these things have been offered to all of the world. This was the case with Adam and on through the great patriarchs to Enoch, whose city was taken up into heaven, to Noah, whose family was spared from the flood on the ark, to Abraham, to Jacob whose name was changed to Israel, and to his twelve sons. The privilege of administering the Gospel remained with the Jews until the times of Christ.
In Christ’s ministry the gospel was preached only to the Jews. Jesus himself never taught a “gentile”, except perhaps the woman at the well. Shortly after His death he commissioned his new apostles to: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, thus commission it to go to those born outside of the Jewish bloodline, whom they called the gentiles. Paul, the great and fearless apostle who wrote so much of the New Testament, was specifically commissioned to take the Gospel to the gentiles of his day.
There were a few defining events that were prophesied to occur during Times of the Gentiles.
- The fullness of the gospel will break forth (D&C 45:28). It will either convince the Gentiles, or condemn them to destruction. (1 Nephi 14:7)
- The Gentiles will not perceive the light, but will turn their hearts away because of the precepts (doctrine) of men. (D&C 45:29)
- Many Gentile nations formed (3 Nephi 21:1)
- The Book of Mormon to come forth (1 Nephi 14:9)
- Wickedness as in the days of Noah (Matthew 24.37)
- Secret works and seeking for power (Moses 6:17)
- In the generation that rejects the fullness of the gospel, shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (D&C 45:30)
- Two churches exist, the Church of Christ, and the Church of the Devil (1 Nephi 14:9)
- Wars and rumors of wars (D&C 45:26, 1 Nephi 14:15)
- The whole earth in commotion (D&C 45:26)
- Men’s hearts shall fail them (D&C 45:26)
- Many will say that Christ delayeth His coming until the end of the earth (or total destruction of the earth) (D&C 45:26)
- The love of men shall wax cold and iniquity abound (D&C 45:26)
- The times of the Gentiles are then Fulfilled (1 Nephi 13:42; Luke 21:24)
It is not difficult to determine that we are even today somewhere within the Times of the Gentiles. It is important to note that the Gentiles are prophesied to reject the “fullness” of the gospel. In other words, they do embrace some portion of it, but not a fullness of what is available to them.
There are two ways to look at this rejection by the Gentiles. The first perspective is that Christianity in general is the lesser portion being embraced, and the Latter-day church is the fullness, and everyone who rejects the Latter-day Church is rejecting the “fullness of the gospel” being spoken of.
The other way to look at it is that the scripture is only speaking of and to we Latter-day saints. This is possibly true because these warnings are only in our latter-day scripture, and we are the only ones who read and believe them. Thus, this warning may only be intended to awaken us, because we are the only ones being addressed. Following this logic to its conclusion would suggest there is a lesser portion, and a greater portion, or “fullness” of the gospel which we must find and fully embrace.
Tomorrow: “The Fullness of the Gospel”
© January 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.