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Monday, October 24, 2011

Dedication of Palestine for the Return of the Jews

Elder Orson Hyde of the Twelve Apostles

As today marks the 170th anniversary of the dedication of Palestine for the return of the Jews by Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Mormon Eagle feels to give a short history and commentary upon the subject.

Shortly after Elder Hyde's baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Joseph Smith pronounced a blessing upon him, in which the Prophet prophesied, "In due time thou shalt go to Jerusalem, the land of thy fathers, and be a watchman unto the house of Israel; and by thy hands shall the Most High do a great work, which shall prepare the way and greatly facilitate the gathering together of that people" (History of the Church, 4:375).

At the April General Conference of 1840, the Prophet Joseph Smith called both Elder Orson Hyde and Elder John E. Page of the Twelve on a mission to Jerusalem to dedicate the land for the return of the Jews.  Elder Page refused to go, so Orson Hyde went alone, after preaching in the eastern United States (principally New York City).  Elder Hyde left for Europe on 13 February 1841.  He spent three and one-half months in the United Kingdom with the rest of the Twelve, then headed on to the European continent.  On 21 October 1841, Elder Hyde reached Jerusalem, the Holy City.  Three days later on 24 October, he dedicated the land for the return of the Jews.  What was his astonishment when he ascended the Mount of Olives, the place where the Son of God was wont to assemble with His ancient Apostles!  Elder Hyde later wrote of what he felt:  

Is that city which I now look down upon really Jerusalem, whose sins and iniquities swelled the Savior’s heart with grief, and drew so many tears from his pitying eye? Is that small enclosure in the valley of Kidron, where the boughs of those lonely olives are waving their green foliage so gracefully in the soft and gentle breeze, really the garden of Gethsemane, where powers infernal poured the flood of hell’s dark gloom around the princely head of the immortal Redeemer?" (A Sketch of the Travels and Ministry of Elder Orson Hyde, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Office, 1869), p. 13).

While in the spiritually reflective mood, he wrote the prayer of dedication under the direction of the Spirit of the Lord, and then dedicated the land.  He prayed,

Now, O Lord! Thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which Thou gavest him in his native land; and under the shadow of Thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets -- for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of Thy name. . . . Do Thou take from them their stony heart, and give them a heart of flesh; and may the Sun of Thy favor dispel the cold mists of darkness which have beclouded their atmosphere.  Incline them to gather in upon this land according to Thy word.  Let them come like clouds and like doves to their windows.  Let the large ships of the nations bring them from the distant isles; and let kings become their nursing fathers, and queens with motherly fondness wipe the tear of sorrow from their eye. . . . Do Thou now also be pleased to inspire the hearts of kings and the powers of the earth to look with a friendly eye towards this place, and with a desire to see Thy righteous purposes executed in relation thereto.  Let them know that it is Thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel -- raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government. . . . (History of the Church, 4:456–59).

This prophetic prayer was answered in 1948, when the State of Israel was founded as a homeland for all Jews by the victors of World War Two.  Truly as Elder Hyde prayed, "kings [became] their nursing father, and queens with motherly fondness [wiped] the tear of sorrow from [the Jews'] eye".

Thus was the Holy Land dedicated by a true Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, sent by Christ's True Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Only this Church will be able to build up the Temple in Jerusalem.  Watch the President of the Church for the announcement, for only he is Authorized to do so by the Lord.  The Jewish religion will not build a Temple in their Holy City, but rather their Mormon brethren, who have the Authority so to do, and the only religion on Earth that has.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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