"And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." (Moses 7:18)
It happens to all of us as we walk in the course of our everyday lives-working, taking care of kids, doctors appointments, cleaning the house, grocery shopping- that we sometimes find ourselves underestimating the power and gift that we have been given in the Restoration of the Gospel. If we take a moment and think about the great gift of light and truth we have received in The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, we really have been given betrothal gifts whose worth is far greater that the finest rubies and the purest gold.
Like God's judgment upon the generation of Noah, the Tower of Babel, the House of Israel, the Jaredites, and the Nephites we are about to see judgments of like severity poured out upon our Nation. Even in the midst of the darkness of impending judgment there is the possibility of the light of salvation. If our adversaries believe that they are being successful in extinguishing this light, they are grossly mistaken for while the light may be temporarily obscured, the pillar of fire which came from Heaven and dwelt upon a rock can never be extinguished. (1 Nephi 1:6). In fact it is the same fire which enlivens every man, woman, and child within whom burns the Love of God and righteousness.
BECOMING COVENANT INTERCESSORS
The scriptures are filled with example after example of righteous men and women who walked in the Path of Covenant Intercessors like the Messiah. Rather than choosing death, they choose life in taking upon them the name of Christ--they choosing repentance rather than destruction. Make no mistake the judgments are sure, but like Moses and Israel there is an Exodus (both spiritual and physical) under the covering of the God of Israel is still available. Before that day comes though, there must be people like the Nephi who have have walked in the path of God's covenant and obtained the Land of Promise. There must be women like Deborah who rendered righteous judgment for all Israel before God. There must people like the Brother of Jared who drew down the compassion of Heaven in the midst of judgment.
In order to obtain deliverance in times of trial, as a bride of Messiah we must return to our first love. To do this we must identify ourselves as a Zion and become the covenant bride of the Messiah. To do this we must follow the true "protocols" of Zion.
One Heart and One Mind
“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18)
The idea of oneness has been pontificated on and speculated about by many scholars, religious leaders, and theologians. As a result the doctrine of “Oneness” has been taken from its roots and been planted in a foreign soil of Western Greek Culture. Over the years I have heard many proclamations and discourses in my experience in Mormonism about “Being One.” While there are many who cite Moses description of Zion in the Pearl of Great Price wherein he states that the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them they completely ignore the rest of his teachings to Ancient Israel on how to be of one heart and one mind. They ignore the commandments given to Israel on how to dwell in righteousness. They neglect the laws God gave to Moses to establish a society with no poor among them.
It only takes us two seconds to turn on the news and witness with our eyes the reality that we are living in the latter days. We are witnessing curses being poured out and our children being taken over by a foreign culture. We are receiving the curses of the covenant and in our ignorance and blindness we stand bewildered not knowing what to do as the chains of bondage wrap themselves ever tighter around us and our families. The truth is that Zion is not a mystery. God foreknew our situation and preserved his word to us in these latter days:
“In the future (latter days), when you experience all these blessings and curses I have listed for you, and when you are living among the nations (gentiles) to which the LORD your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions.” (Deuteronomy 30:1)
God revealed to Moses that Israel would not be faithful in keeping his instructions. Moses knew that we would be scattered to the ends of the earth. We would be found living among nations that did not know the God of Israel and in conditions where we would forget his covenant instructions that he not only gave to all Israel that stood at the foot of Mount Sinai, but to all their future generations yet unborn. Realizing this predicament God revealed:
“If at that time you and your children return to the LORD your God, and if you obey with all your heart and all your soul all the commands I have given you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30: 2-3)
This promise that God revealed to Moses is the backbone of the Great and Marvelous Work wherein God will remember his promises he made to the Fathers and restore the House of Israel.
“Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the LORD your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The LORD your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors! The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! (Deuteronomy 30:4-6)
Pay close attention to these words because they are the “Heart” of Oneness with God and each other. God is making his case very clear to his people. He is God. We are to follow his instructions. In doing so he will change our hearts (Heb: Thoughts and desires) so that we may be one (echad) and live. To an Israelite, this should cite our minds to the greatest commandment given by God, the Shema:
“Hear (Listen and Obey), O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (echad). You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
DWELLING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS:
For a people to be Zion they must dwell in righteousness. This expression contains a two fold meaning that gives us additional information on how to be Zion. If this characteristic was important enough to be used in Moses’ description of Enoch’s Zion then perhaps it would help us to understand what righteousness is and what it means to dwell in righteousness.
In describing Enoch’s Zion Moses stated:
“And from that time forth there were wars and bloodshed among them; but the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness. The fear of the Lord was upon all nations, so great was the glory of the Lord, which was upon his people. And the Lord blessed the land, and they were blessed upon the mountains, and upon the high places, and did flourish. And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. (Moses 7: 16-18)
The phrase “dwelt in righteousness” although simple is packed with meaning. To understand what it means to dwell in righteousness we must understand what righteousness is from a Hebraic point of view.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word. Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law (Torah).” (Psalms 119: 5-9)
To an Israelite his walk with God is the path. Just as the Hebrew word resha (wicked) carries the meaning of departing from God’s path, the Hebrew word tzadik (righteous) carries of the meaning of walking in God’s path. God’s commandments and instructions are the path of righteousness. To uphold, correctly interpret, protect, and carry out God’s commandments is righteousness.
Righteousness is not some mystical state of bliss but a condition of being where people establish and carry out God’s commandments or laws amongst them. In describing who would dwell in the holy hill and in the presence of God’s tabernacle, King David demonstrates God’s definition of righteousness as condition, attitude, and most importantly actions:
“ LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.” (Psalms 15)
One God, One Law, One People
Unity or Oneness comes from accepting God as our King and his laws as our standard. The people are of one heart because their thoughts are centered on him and the embracing of his instructions given in the commandments on Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount. The people become of one mind because their will is to carry out or implement God's instructions. The oneness comes from the combined oneness of our desire. The success of the Nephites in the Land of Bountiful lay in the unity of desire (kavanah). In offering their desire, Heaven and Earth once again connected.
By returning (teshuvah-repentance) to the God of Israel and his commandments that he delivered to Israel not only to say them, but to do them in the here and now we will obtain the covenant blessings that will overturn the curses coming upon us. Rather than destruction we will have prosperity. Rather than losing our children to a foreign culture we will establish an everlasting inheritance in the land to our God.
“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’
It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’
No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.
For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. (Deuteronomy 30: 10-16)