Chapter 8: The Standard of the Land of Zion
D&C 45:2a-2h – … I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me. Wherefore come ye unto it…
Part 1: Joshua’s Standard [pdf version]
As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. With these words, Joshua raised his standard one last time for all Israel to consider. He had pitched by this, his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house as the Lord had instructed each man to do when leading the whole house of Israel out of bondage and to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Numbers 2:1-2,34 – And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch. … And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers.
Jacob’s (Israel’s) household had traveled forty years through the wilderness by the standards of their family groups in keeping with the Lord’s instructions recorded in Numbers 2. Once they arrived at the border of the promised land, God commanded Moses to appoint Joshua to lead the tribes of Israel in settling into their respective lands of inheritance within Abraham’s covenant land.
Joshua’s declaration of his loyalty to God at the end of his work among the children of Israel showed he had remained true to the standard by which he had traveled during their long journey together. His standard stood out for several notable reasons. First, the Lord had chosen Joshua to lead the children of Israel after Moses’ departure. They thus looked to him for guidance and for an example.
Next, the standard Joshua raised agreed with the good report he and Caleb brought back after scouting out the promised land with rulers of the other tribes. Both his report and standard honored God and His covenant promises to Israel’s family. Joshua was therefore welcomed by the Lord into the land along with the rising generation to lead them in their devotion and faithful service to God.
Third, being a ruler of the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua represented the tribe which held the birthright of Jacob’s household. As such, his standard, joined with his father’s ensign, was representative of his lawful right and duty to settle the children of Israel in their respective lands of inheritance. Appropriately, then, his standard represented a standard for all Israel, not just his family or tribe.
Joshua’s name is also significant. His original name was Oshea or Hoshea. Moses, however, named him Joshua, which means the LORD is salvation. By considering a particular prophecy spoken by Moses and the fact that Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua, we learn how Joshua served as a type or sign for Jesus Christ—similar to how his forefather Joseph had typified Jesus.
As recorded in Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Moses pointed the children of Israel to a prophet to come, one who would have ultimate authority. Though Joshua succeeded Moses, he was not that prophet. Nevertheless, the name Moses gave his successor, Joshua, typified the prophet to come—the One everyone must hear in all things or be cut off from God’s presence and His covenant people.
Jesus Christ is the prophet of whom Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 18:15-19. Jesus came in the fullness of time to serve His Heavenly Father through loving obedience to His command to atone for the sins of the world. Those who hear and receive Him as God’s Word will inherit eternal life through being born of His Spirit of light and love. Whereas, all who do not receive Jesus as God’s living and abiding Word, as His Only Begotten Son, will not enter into His rest.
This reveals yet another way Joshua was a sign of the prophet of whom Moses spoke. He typified Jesus Christ when allotting to God’s covenant people their places of inheritance. For it is Jesus who will allot one of four eternal inheritances to everyone born of the family of Adam and Eve.
Revelation 22:11-14 – He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Notice the word let in this passage. It is used here by Jesus Christ as both an allowance and a pronouncement. It is an allowance in that He, as Lord, allots to us—by His wisdom and grace based on His justice and mercy—an estate consistent with our heart’s desires. It is a pronouncement in that Jesus pronounces these final allotments of judgments as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Each of our allotments and Jesus’ pronouncements over us as listed in Revelation 22 will be in keeping with our love, specifically whom we love and what we love. Because God is love, He gave each of us the capacity to love as He loves when creating us in His own image and likeness.
James 1:16,17 – Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
I John 4:16,17 – And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
In turn, the standards we choose on an individual basis come of whom and what we love. Because we are stewards of God’s gift of love to us, our choice of a standard has consequences. Condemnation comes of loving darkness, and those who love darkness rather than light will inherit outer darkness as their eternal reward. Conversely, those who love the light God sent into the world in the person of Jesus Christ will be welcomed into His kingdom of light and love forever.
John 3:19-21 – And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Joshua’s standard revealed his love for God, a love he demonstrated through obedience and devoted service. In this he also typified Christ. Jesus loves His heavenly Father and is devoted to serving Him as evidenced by His prayer, Thy will be done. For this reason Jesus came into the world in the form of a servant to reconcile God and men according to the will and love of the Father.
Philippians 2:5-8 – Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Hebrews 10:5-10 – Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Jesus came as the Good Shepherd to bring Jacob again unto God and to be a light to the Gentiles. He came because God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son to be a covenant of the people and to establish the earth and say to the prisoners, Go forth out of darkness.
Isaiah 49:5-11 – And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places…
As typified by Joshua raising his own standard one last time, Jesus Christ has unfurled the standard of His new covenant one last time, this time on Joseph’s land. This standard is the Book of Mormon, a record of the stick of Joseph. It is a sacred record that was written by descendants of Manasseh, Joseph’s firstborn son.
In revealing it to the world, the Lord placed His standard in the hand of Ephraim, Joseph’s second son—whom Jacob set before Manasseh and his uncles in his household. He did so to place it with the stick of Judah contained in the records of the Bible (when first written).
Ezekiel 37:19 – Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
In their writings, the authors of Mormon’s abridgement raised this standard for the new Jerusalem Joseph’s posterity will build, as described in the previous chapter, Joseph, the Steward of the Land of Zion. It is a standard or title of liberty typified by the one raised by a chief captain of the Nephites named Moroni. Now, as if from the dust, the words penned by these authors are calling God’s covenant people to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
Moroni 10:28-30 – And awake! And arise from the dust, O Jerusalem! Yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion! And strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, That the covenants of the Eternal God which He hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled. Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in Him and deny yourselves of all ungodliness, And if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, Then is His grace sufficient for you, that by His grace ye may be perfect in Christ; And if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in no wise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ and deny not His power, Then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God through the shedding of the blood of Christ, Which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy without spot.
Our Lord’s purpose in raising a standard of liberty in these last days is to prepare the way for His coming in the glory of His Father to establish His kingdom upon the earth—a kingdom that is to be established according to the new covenant He has made with Ephraim and with Judah. Being joined with the stick of Judah, this standard echoes the message of the standard raised by Joshua of Ephraim—whom the Lord called His firstborn when foretelling of this new covenant in Jeremiah 31.
Jeremiah 31:9-11…31-34 – They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. … Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
This first part of Chapter 8, Joshua’s Standard, is meant to serve as an introduction of why the Lord called Ephraim His firstborn in Jeremiah’s prophecy of the new covenant which Jesus Christ mediates. The remaining sections of this chapter discuss how and why the standard of the new covenant has been raised anew in these latter days as described in the prophets.