Saturday, December 1, 2018

Ether on the old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem


2 For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;
3 And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.
4 Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.
5 And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come—after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel—
6 And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.
7 For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
8 Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.
9 And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new.
10 And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.
11 And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.
12 And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first.
13 And I was about to write more, but I am forbidden; but great and marvelous were the prophecies of Ether… (Ether 13:2-13, emphasis added)
As I read these verses, I can’t help but notice:
1)    There are two cities—the old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem.
2)    There also seem to be two versions of each of those two cities. There is old Jerusalem that is “built up again” (v5) and an old Jerusalem that “cometh” (v11).  There is also a New Jerusalem that is “built up” (v6) and a New Jerusalem that “cometh” (v10) “which should come down out of heaven” (v3).
3)    The order that these things happen seems a little muddled. It is unclear which—the old Jerusalem that is “built” or the New Jerusalem that is “built”—comes first, but it does seem clear that the “built” cities both happen before the cities that “cometh.”
4)    It seems unclear whether the old Jerusalem is built holy, or whether it is built and then becomes holy (v5) because both conditions seem to be described in verse 5.
5)    The first mention of building the New Jerusalem doesn’t mention holiness at all (v6), but the second mention of building the New Jerusalem says, “they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord” (v8).

What do you think about this?