2022 Study Summary 43: I Will Turn Their Mourning Into Joy
Jeremiah 30–33; 36; Lamentations 1; 3
“I Will Turn Their Mourning Into Joy”
Jeremiah 30. In the last days, Judah and Israel will be gathered to their own lands—David, their king (the Messiah), will reign over them.
Jeremiah 31. In the last days, Israel will be gathered—The Lord declares that Ephraim has the birthright as the firstborn—The Lord will make a new covenant with Israel, to be inscribed in the heart—Then all Israel will know the Lord.
Jeremiah 32. Jeremiah is imprisoned by Zedekiah—The prophet purchases land to symbolize the return of Israel to their land—The Lord will gather Israel and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Jeremiah 33. Judah and Israel will be gathered—The Branch of Righteousness (the Messiah) is promised—The Seed of David (the Messiah) will reign forever.
Jeremiah 36. Baruch writes the prophecies of Jeremiah and reads them in the house of the Lord—Jehoiakim, the king, burns the book, and judgment comes upon him—Jeremiah dictates the prophecies again and adds many more.
Lamentations 1. Jeremiah laments the miserable condition of Jerusalem—Jerusalem herself complains of her deep sorrow.
Lamentations 3. Jeremiah, speaking for Judah, laments the calamity but trusts in the Lord and prays for deliverance.
What mercy can we derive from the “former-day” David account?
The Jews expect a “latter-day” David. He would be similar to the former David in that he would be militarily, politically and spiritually capable. Jews choose to reflect on David’s good characteristics rather than on his grievous mistakes. His repentance is recognized. Yet, we feel that the payment for his immorality and murderous conspiracy extends into “time without end,” as we know it with our limited “eternal-time” comprehension. In comparing Saul of Tarsus (Paul the Apostle) with (King) David, President Joseph F. Smith said the following. “. . . and yet this man (Saul) committed no unpardonable sin, because he knew not the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:3; 9:1; 22:4; 26:10, 11); while, for the crime of adultery with Bathsheba, and for ordering Uriah to be put in the front of battle in a time of war, where he was slain by the enemy, the Priesthood, and the kingdom were taken from David, the man after God’s own heart, and his soul was thrust into hell. Why? Because “the Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David”—or, in other words, David possessed the gift of the Holy Ghost, and had power to speak by the light thereof. But even David, though guilty of adultery and murder of Uriah, obtained the promise that his soul should not be left in hell, which means, as I understand it, that even he shall escape the second death.” (Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F. Smith, page 433) There is a tradition in anticipation of the expected latter-day David. This is done in joyful singing at a Bar Mitzvah celebration when a boy is thirteen years old. (Some do it at twelve years if the boy has no father.) That is the age Jewish tradition says the ancient David was chosen and ordained by the Prophet Samuel to be the King of Israel. The folk song of David has even become a pop-song: “David, Melech Israel, hai, hai ve kayam.” “It is interesting that in an absolute monarchy such as David’s, Nathan was able to publicly criticize the king without being killed immediately; what is even more remarkable is that David apparently realized his transgression, and repented his act. Nathan subsequently became a partisan of Bath-Sheba, and prophesied that her son Solomon would become king.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What scriptural teachings do we find on a “latter-day” David?
The following selection from the book Israel Revealed includes a scriptural background for this Jewish tradition of a Latter-day Joseph and David: There are rabbinic suggestions of expected heaven-sent visitors that include a latter-day Messiah, Ben-Joseph, who will receive the keys of the gathering of Israel and restore temple worship. This was referred to by the Chief Rabbi Abraham HaCohen Kook when he explained that the temple could not be built right away because there was no priesthood. There are other versions of the tradition of a Joseph of latter days. A latter-day David is also expected. (This is implied at almost every Bar Mitzvah as the congregants sing “David King of Israel” to the young lad.) Their expectation is of a David who will emerge from obscurity to be a great king or leader in these last days. “But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jeremiah 30:9) “And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.” (Ezekiel 34:24) “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:5) Latter-day scripture refers to the Lord, and to the Lord’s servant (possibly a latter-day David), and to another latter-day servant (Joseph Smith). These servants are of dual descendancy. These ideas are seen in the answers given to questions given to the Prophet Joseph Smith about Isaiah chapter 11. “Who is the stem of Jesse? . . . It is Christ. What is the rod? . . . It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim . . . What is the root of Jesse? . . . it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days. (Doctrine & Covenants 113:1-6) There is a suggestion through a subsequent family Patriarchal blessing given by Joseph Smith Sr., that Joseph Smith has an ancient Judah descendance through the Lucy Mack line, as well as the Ephraim line through Joseph Smith Sr. There is no doubt that Joseph Smith received the keys from an angel, John the Baptist, under the direction of Peter, James, and John.
What do those keys do?
The required keys to return to our Heavenly Father’s presence are stated as, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness. (Doctrine and Covenants 13) Then, the promise was given to Joseph and Oliver that a higher priesthood would be conferred upon them. “And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and of the same things which I revealed unto them” (Doctrine and Covenants 27:12)
How do we recognize what God has promised us?
Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, “Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.” (Jeremiah 30:2) The words of the living prophets can be compared and likened to the words of the past prophets. As the man in Jesus’ time pleaded to overcome his unbelief, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24), the Lord has promised, “Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jeremiah 30:10-11) The Lord does not forget His people, even though they often forget Him. “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Jeremiah 30:22) The Lord is merciful, “The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return . . . in the latter days ye shall consider it.” (Jeremiah 30:24)
What is the Lord’s promise to the people He has chosen to represent Him to the rest of the world?
“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.” (Jeremiah31:31-34)
What would it be like to live in a “City of the Lord?”
Before the Jerusalem temple was built, the entire encampment of Israel was a “city temple.” There was an outer ring with 12-tribes (with Ephraim and Manasseh) and their banners on stakes, an inner ring of stakes showing the Levites’s banners, with the Holy of Holies, the tabernacle, in the very center. Apparently, it will be that way again when the Lord returns to Jerusalem. “In Pre-Temple times, in the desert, the whole encampment was considered to be in a state of sanctity, and hence anyone who was tameh (unclean) was forced to go outside the marked boundaries and was forbidden to return until he had completed the purification ritual. With the destruction of the Temple, such sanctions ceased to apply. Nevertheless, the maintenance of ritual impurity has remained an essential aspect of Jewish life. Thus, because all Jews are now assumed to be ritually impure, they are even today forbidden to enter the Temple area in Jerusalem.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The prophet Enoch described a “city dedicated to the Lord, a Temple City, “And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even ZION.” (Moses 7:19) Jeremiah spoke in a similar metaphor, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever.” (Jeremiah 31:38-40) In His mercy, the Lord proclaims, “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 33:8) The pattern of the temple ceremony is reminding us of the creation, it is repeated constantly. The Hebrew word “to repent, to turn, to return,” is “LaShuv.” We are looking forward to the time of return by repenting, by ordinance work in His House.