Chapter 44: The Kingdom of God and the Gathering of Israel

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 323–29


On July 26, 1847, just a few days after the first pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley, President Brigham Young and a small group of priesthood leaders climbed a hill north of the area that would later become Salt Lake City. They named the hill Ensign Peak in remembrance of the prophecy of Isaiah: “He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far … and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly” (Isaiah 5:26). President Young later identified this hill as the place he had seen in a vision, a place where the Saints would flourish, where the kingdom of God could be built and the latter-day Israel gathered. In the years that followed, missionaries took the message of the gospel throughout the world, and thousands of newly converted Saints came to the Salt Lake Valley. Today the building of the kingdom and the gathering of Israel goes on in hundreds of nations. President Young said, “The gathering of Israel is so important a part of the great work in which we are engaged that it occupies much of our thoughts, and we are ever anxious to afford it all just facilities and influence” (BYL).

Teachings of Brigham Young

The people of God seek to build the kingdom of God.

The people that sit before me, in connection with the many thousands that are upon the earth, are the people of God. … Just as fast as we are capable of rightly dispensing the principles of power, of light, of knowledge, of intelligence, of wealth, of heaven, and of earth, just so fast will they be bestowed upon this people (DBY, 438).

Out of this Church will grow the Kingdom which Daniel saw. This is the very people that Daniel saw would continue to grow and spread and prosper [see Daniel 2:44]; and if we are not faithful, others will take our places, for this is the Church and people that will possess the Kingdom for ever and ever (DBY, 438).

Our work is to bring forth Zion, and produce the Kingdom of God in its perfection and beauty upon the earth (DBY, 443).

The Kingdom we are talking about, preaching about and trying to build up is the Kingdom of God on the earth, not in the starry heavens, nor in the sun. We are trying to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth to which really and properly everything that pertains to men—their feelings, their faith, their affections, their desires, and every act of their lives—belong, that they may be ruled by it spiritually and temporally (DBY, 339).

When the Kingdom of God is fully set up and established on the face of the earth, and takes the preeminence over all other nations and kingdoms, it will protect the people in the enjoyment of all their rights, no matter what they believe, what they profess, or what they worship (DBY, 440).

I have learned years ago that the Lord stands at the helm that guides Zion’s ship. … Unless we work exactly to the line that is marked out by him, our works will be in vain. This has been my experience from the beginning. In every branch and avenue of our lives we must learn to work to the line of truth. It is for us to know what ought to be done, and then do it. Though there should be no earthly prospect of accomplishing it, we can certainly try; and if we try with all our might, that act will prove at least a resolute and determined mind, adorned with patience and perseverance. And if, with all our resolute endeavors we are still unable to accomplish our purpose, the Lord will be very likely to stretch forth his hand and give the victory (DBY, 441).

If this people live to the principles they have embraced, they will be capable of counselling the nations; for we build upon a just foundation, and our principles are truth, righteousness, and holiness. Let us stand by those principles until they crush out folly, … and we become teachers of wisdom to the nations (DBY, 441).

What will be the final result of the restoration of the Gospel, and the destiny of the Latter-day Saints? If they are faithful to the Priesthood which God has bestowed upon us, the Gospel will revolutionize the whole world of mankind; the earth will be sanctified, and God will glorify it, and the Saints will dwell upon it in the presence of the Father and the Son (DBY, 438).

Salt Lake Temple in 1892

Photograph of the Salt Lake Temple in 1892. This temple stands as a monument to the faith and commitment of the early Saints.

The work of the kingdom of God includes gathering the house of Israel.

We have an object in view, and that is to gain influence among all the inhabitants of the earth for the purpose of establishing the Kingdom of God in its righteousness, power and glory, and to exalt the name of the Deity, and cause that name by which we live to be revered everywhere that he may be honored, that his works may be honored, that we may be honored ourselves, and deport ourselves worthy of the character of his children (DBY, 438–39).

We are to build up … Zion, gather the House of Israel, and redeem the nations of the earth [see D&C 115:4–6]. This people have this work to do, whether we live to see it or not. This is all in our hands (DBY, 437).

It is obligatory upon us to see that the House of Israel have the Gospel preached to them (DBY, 437).

We are now [1863] gathering the children of Abraham who have come through the loins of Joseph and his sons, more especially through Ephraim, whose children are mixed among all the nations of the earth (DBY, 437).

Who are Israel? They are those who are of the seed of Abraham, who received the promise through their forefathers [see Genesis 22:17–18]; and all the rest of the children of men, who receive the truth, are also Israel. My heart is always drawn out for them, whenever I go to the throne of grace (DBY, 437).

Israel is dispersed among all the nations of the earth; the blood of Ephraim is mixed with the blood of all the earth. Abraham’s seed is mingled with the rebellious seed through the whole world of mankind (DBY, 437).

Those islanders [of the Pacific] and the natives of [America] are of the House of Israel—of the seed of Abraham, and to them pertain the promise; and every soul of them, sooner or later, will be saved in the Kingdom of God, or be destroyed root and branch (DBY, 437).

To possess and retain the spirit of the Gospel, gather Israel, redeem Zion, and save the world must be attended to first and foremost, and should be the prevailing desire in the hearts of the First Presidency, of the Elders of Israel, and of every officer in the Church and Kingdom of God (DBY, 137).

The kingdom of God cannot be destroyed.

God has commenced to set up his Kingdom on the earth, and all hell and its devils are moving against it. Hell is yawning and sending forth its devils and their imps. What for? To destroy the Kingdom of God from the earth. But they cannot do it (DBY, 442).

If there are any hearts or spirits in this city, or elsewhere, that are fearfully wondering whether or not we are going to be destroyed, or whether this Church will endure and become the mighty power in the earth, according to the predictions of the servants of God, I will say to all such trembling souls, you need entertain no such fears. You need have only one fear, and that is with regard to yourselves, lest you should leave the light that the Lord has imparted to you and wander into darkness, returning to the beggarly elements of the world, lusting again after the things of the world in their sinful state (DBY, 442).

When the wicked have power to blow out the sun, that it shines no more; when they have power to bring to a conclusion the operations of the elements, suspend the whole system of nature, and make a footstool of the throne of the Almighty, they may then think to check “Mormonism” in its course, and thwart the unalterable purposes of heaven [see D&C 121:33]. Men may persecute the people who believe its doctrines, report and publish lies to bring tribulation upon their heads, earth and hell may unite in one grand league against it, and exert their malicious powers to the utmost, but it will stand as firm and immovable in the midst of it all as the pillars of eternity. Men may persecute the Prophet, and those who believe and uphold him, they may drive the Saints and kill them, but this does not affect the truths of “Mormonism” one iota, for they will stand when the elements melt with fervent heat, and the heavens are wrapt up like a scroll and the solid earth is dissolved [see Isaiah 34:4; D&C 88:95] (DBY, 442–43).

In that helpless infant upon its mother’s breast we see a man, an Apostle, a Saint—yea, generations of men with kingdoms, thrones, and dominions. Then the life of that little frail mortal is fraught with great and mighty results, and its value is inestimable. If this be true of an infant, what may we expect to grow out of this infant Kingdom? We may look forward to all that belongs to greatness and goodness, to might and power, to dominion and glory. Then how jealously we ought to guard the rights of this infant power? How zealous and constant we should be in maintaining its interests and supporting its laws and sacred institutions! (DBY, 439).

My heart is comforted. I behold the people of God, that they have been hunted, cast out, driven from the face of men. The powers of earth and hell have striven to destroy this Kingdom from the earth. The wicked have succeeded in doing so in former ages; but this Kingdom they cannot destroy (DBY, 442).

“It is the Kingdom of God or nothing.”

The Kingdom of God is all that is real worth [see Matthew 6:33]. All else is not worth possessing, either here or hereafter. Without it, all else would be like a dry tree prepared for the burning—it is all consumed and the ashes are driven to the four winds (DBY, 444).

To me it is the Kingdom of God or nothing upon the earth. Without it I would not give a farthing for the wealth, glory, prestige and power of all the world combined; for like the dew upon the grass, it passeth away and is forgotten, and like the flower of the grass it withereth, and is not. Death levels the most powerful monarch with the poorest starving mendicant [beggar]; and both must stand before the judgment seat of Christ to answer for the deeds done in the body [see Revelation 20:12] (DBY, 444–45).

With us, it is the Kingdom of God, or nothing; and we will maintain it, or die in trying—though we shall not die in trying. It is comforting to many to be assured that we shall not die in trying; but we shall live in trying. We will maintain the Kingdom of God, living; and if we do not maintain it, we shall be found dying not only a temporal, but also an eternal death. Then take a course to live (DBY, 445).

If you give anything for the building up of the Kingdom of God, give the best you have. What is the best thing you have to devote to the Kingdom of God? It is the talents God has given you. How many? Every one of them. What beautiful talents! What a beautiful gift! … Let us devote every qualification we are in possession of to the building up of God’s Kingdom, and you will accomplish the whole of it (DBY, 445).

Suggestions for Study

The people of God seek to build the kingdom of God.

  • How do you feel, knowing that as a member of the Church you are a part of the effort to build up the kingdom of God on the earth? What responsibilities does this involve? What blessings will come when the kingdom of God is fully established on the earth?

  • How can we ensure that our actions are “exactly to the line that is marked out” by the Lord? What will happen if we do this?

  • How can members of the Church become “teachers of wisdom to the nations” individually or collectively?

  • What is “the destiny of the Latter-day Saints” if we are faithful?

The work of the kingdom of God includes gathering the house of Israel.

  • How can we “deport [behave] ourselves worthy” of our position as children of God? How can your actions bring honor and reverence to the Lord and His works?

  • Who belongs to the house of Israel? How can you participate in the gathering of the house of Israel?

The kingdom of God cannot be destroyed.

  • What evidence do you see that Satan and his followers are indeed trying to destroy the kingdom of God today? How can we strengthen our families to resist their efforts? How can the knowledge that the kingdom of God cannot be destroyed give us strength to resist temptations and endure trials?

  • According to President Young, what is the one fear that we must concern ourselves with as members of the Church? What can we do to make sure this fear does not come to pass? How can your faith in God and your study of the gospel help you eliminate other fears you may have?

“It is the Kingdom of God or nothing.”

  • Why do you think President Young said that the kingdom of God is the only thing worth possessing? What does “it is the kingdom of God or nothing” mean for you?

  • What talents or gifts are you willing to dedicate to the building up of the kingdom of God?