13 And then shall the remnants, which shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth, be gathered in from the east and from the west, and from the south and from the north; and they shall be brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God, who hath redeemed them.
(3 Nephi 20:13)
On the second day of the Savior’s visit to the American continent, after praying for the people who had gathered to hear Him, and after administering the sacrament, He began to teach them. Reminding them that the day before he had quoted some of the words of Isaiah, He promised that the fulfillment of those prophecies would coincide with the fulfillment of the covenants the Father had made with the house of Israel. The people of the covenant who had been scattered throughout the world would again be gathered.
What does it mean to be gathered?
Earlier this year, President Russell M. Nelson invited the young people of the Church to participate in “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today.” He testified that “the gathering is now, and it is real.” He defined the gathering of Israel as “offering the gospel of Jesus Christ to God’s children on both sides of the veil” (“Hope of Israel,” Worldwide Youth Devotional, 3 June 2018).
The word “gather” suggests a change of location. But we can “gather” to the gospel of Jesus Christ without moving to a different place. As the Savior indicates in the passage above, to be gathered is to be “brought to the knowledge of the Lord their God” and to receive His redeeming power. As President Nelson has taught:
The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be “brought to the knowledge of the Lord” without leaving their homelands…. The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is “the pure in heart.” Zion is wherever righteous Saints are. Publications, communications, and congregations are now such that nearly all members have access to the doctrines, keys, ordinances, and blessings of the gospel, regardless of their location.
Spiritual security will always depend upon how one lives, not where one lives. Saints in every land have equal claim upon the blessings of the Lord (“The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” General Conference, October 2006).
Today, I will be grateful for the opportunities I have been given to participate in the greatest work on the earth. I will remember that the gathering of Israel is about proximity to God, not necessarily about physical location, and that the blessings of the Lord are available to all people, regardless of where they may live.