Lesson 10: Latter-day Moses – Freeing Enslaved Israel in Modern Egypt (For Our Day)

Set the Course

It is Essential to Recognize Jesus Christ

Nephi repeatedly emphasizes to his children in “plainness” the importance of recognizing and looking to Jesus Christ.

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

Modern society attempts to separate Jesus Christ’s name and character from the teaching of ethics and morality. Is this approach wise? Is it possible to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, divorced from His name?

The movie, Time Changer, explores this question!

Nineteenth-century Bible professor Russell Carlisle's (D. David Morin) new book, which asserts that morality can be taught independent of Christianity, is soon to be published. But a devout colleague (Gavin MacLeod) believes that what Carlisle has written will seriously affect the morals of future generations. To prove his theory, he sends Carlisle more than 100 years into the future, offering him a glimpse of where his writing will lead.

You won’t want to miss this movie, and you can watch it online for free!

Nephi’s Descendants in the Last Days: The Latter-day Nephite Remnant

Throughout 2 Nephi, there are many references to the anxiety that Nephi felt for his descendants in the last days. He speaks often of writing particularly to them, and crying out to them as a voice from the dust. Who are these children?

Am I a Nephite today?

The birthright covenant of the House of Israel was given to Jacob’s son, Joseph—also known as Joseph of Egypt. Joseph’s birthright included the priesthood and inheritance in the promised land of America. This sacred trust was passed down through lineage and inherited by Lehi (2 Nephi chapters 1 and 3, among other passages). 

As an heir of the Josephite covenant, Lehi obtained rights to the land of America and other sacred blessings of the Gospel. Lehi and his righteous descendants were given the unique responsibility of writing and preserving the book of scripture that would bring about the Restoration of the Gospel in the last and greatest dispensation of the history of the earth. Their record, the Book of Mormon, was lauded by Joseph Smith as the “most correct book” and the “keystone of our religion”! Moroni still holds “the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim” (Doctrine and Covenants 27:5). The Nephite forefathers and their covenants are not only relevant, but they are critical to our own salvation and hope today. 

According to Nephi, we are all a part of this sacred Lehite covenant and lineage—literally or adopted—if we humbly accept!

“And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks— And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded.”

Is the Lehite covenant literal? Or am I only adopted?

1 Nephi 14:2 indicates that all Gentiles who will not harden their heart can and will be “numbered among” Lehi’s descendants. In light of the fact that not everyone alive today is a literal descendant of Lehi, this scripture clearly implies that, like the House of Israel, you can be adopted into this family covenant if you desire the terms, conditions, and responsibilities.

With that said, there are many Saints today who are unaware that they may be a literal descendant of Lehi. For over a century and a half, we assumed that the Nephites struggled to utter extinction. But what if remnants escaped to Europe, Japan, New Zealand, Burma, etc.–to become nations, kindreds, tongues, and people? 

In 1901, Elder Heber J. Grant arrived in the “land of the rising sun” to dedicate Japan for the preaching of the gospel. As Elder Grant knelt on Japanese soil, he prayed that the Lord would bless Nephite descendants who he felt migrated to Japan and mixed among the Japanese people. Nineteen-year-old missionary, Elder Alma O. Taylor remembered Heber J. Grant’s prayer for these Japanese Nephites:

[Heber J. Grant’s] tongue was loosed and the Spirit rested mightily upon him; so much so that we felt the angels of God were near for our hearts burned within us as the words fell from his lips. I never experienced such a peaceful influence or heard such a powerful prayer before. Every word penetrated into my very bones and I could [have] wept for joy. . . . [He] request[ed] that the Three Nephites would visit us and assist us in our work. . . . the blood of Lehi and Nephi had been transmitted unto the people of this land, many of whom have the features and manners of the American Indians. [President Grant] asked the Lord that if this were true, that he would not forget the integrity of his servants Lehi and Nephi, and would verify the promises made unto them concerning their descendants in the last days, upon this people, for we felt that they were a worthy nation.”

Similar statements from Presidents of the Church have identified Lehi’s descendants in New Zealand, South America, and North America. Archeological and historical evidence suggests that descendants can also be found in Europe and even Asian nations such as Myanmar!

In the video below, James Stoddard, Hannah Stoddard, and Rod Meldrum discuss scriptures in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants revealing that Nephite families were led out before the final destructions and spread across the world

If you are interested in learning more, see the documentary trailer for “Nephites in Europe”:

Joseph Smith as a Latter-day Moses

When studying prophecy, a common theme in each of the standard works is a latter-day Moses. 

  • A second Moses who will gather Israel by the power of the Lord, just as ancient Israel was gathered by the arm of the Lord. 
  • A second, latter-day, gathering of Israel requires a second, latter-day, Moses. 
  • Just as ancient Israel was set free from bondage in Egypt, latter-day Israel will be delivered from Egypt (an ancient symbol of the world). 
  • Just as ancient Israel was miraculously delivered through plagues, similar tribulation and destruction will be visited upon the enemies of latter-day Israel. 
  • Just as ancient Israel was liberated by Moses, latter-day Israel will be led by another prophet who will be endowed with keys and power to gather Israel and lead them from bondage in Egypt to redemption and freedom, in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

While Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of this passage, how do we know, hear, and heed Jesus Christ’s words in our day? How do we come unto him? According to several teachings and events in our past Church History, Joseph Smith was given specific blessings to lead Israel as a Latter-day Moses—to prepare us for the return of Jesus Christ.

In January 1836, the Prophet Joseph met with the presidency and other leaders of the Church in the soon to be dedicated Kirtland Temple and enjoyed an evening of prayer, blessings and ordinances. Before the night was over, Joseph Smith, Sr. (father of Joseph Smith, Jr. and known affectionately by the Church as “Father Smith”) sealed upon the head of his son the mission to “lead Israel . . . even as Moses led him in days of old  . . .”

...my father anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led him in days of old; also the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All of the Presidency laid their hands upon me, and pronounced upon my head many prophecies and blessings, many of which I shall not notice at this time. But as Paul said, so say I, let us come to visions and revelations.

A few months later, only days after the Kirtland Temple was dedicated and as many Church members were witnessing an outpouring of heavenly manifestations, Moses appeared and the Prophet was officially endowed with the keys to execute his prophetic mission.

. . . the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.

The ancient Prophet Moses held the keys of gathering Israel. No mission can be fulfilled without the associated keys and authority. If Moses had not come, the Prophet would not have been able to begin his work.

All the keys of all dispensations had to be brought in order to fulfill the words of the prophets and the purposes of the Lord in bringing to pass a complete restoration of all things. Therefore the father of the human family, the first man on the earth, Adam, had to come, and he came with his power. Moses came, and others. All who had keys came and bestowed their authorities. . . .We have not the dates when some of these authorities were made manifest, but the Prophet Joseph Smith in writing to the Saints in Nauvoo in regard to the salvation of the dead declared, as we have it recorded in section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants [verses 17–21], that all these prophets came with their keys in the dispensation in which we live.

Moses and his mission was poetically described in the original lyrics of the beloved hymn, “The Spirit of God.” The Saints joyfully sang of latter-day Israel being once again led by “Moses”:

Old Israel that fled from the world for his freedom, Must come with the cloud and the pillar, amain: A Moses, and Aaron, and Joshua lead him, And feed him on manna from heaven again. We’ll sing and we’ll shout &c.

The Lord established Moses as the pattern for Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants, stating:

But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.

Wilford Woodruff referred to Joseph Smith as “Moses” in his journal on January 10, 1837:

Elder Brigham Young one of the twelve gave us an interesting exhortation & warned us not to murmer against Moses (or) Joseph or the heads of the Church.

President George Q. Cannon expressed his own reverence for the work of ancient Moses.  However, he realized that the Latter-day Restoration, the work of Joseph Smith, is a “far greater work”:

We wonder now how it was possible for the Egyptians to reject the testimony of Moses and Aaron. But, to my mind, the great Work in which we are engaged is far greater than the work that was performed by Moses. I reverence the work Moses performed, I look upon it as a great work. But this Work of the last days is a far greater work—the gathering of the Saints together from the various nations, is a far more stupendous work, to my mind, than the gathering of Israel from Egypt to the land of Canaan. I would not be guilty of undervaluing the work Moses performed, or of attaching to it a light importance, for I value it highly; but with Moses it was different to what it has been with the leaders of Israel in these days.

Research demonstrates that the famed plagues poured out upon Egypt by Moses and Aaron are types of destructions which will be poured out in the latter-days. In fact, Joseph Smith’s patriarchal blessing and other priesthood blessings foretell past, present and future responsibilities of the Prophet Joseph Smith in directing these natural disasters.

Some have wondered, however, how Joseph Smith’s mission could include latter-day plagues after the martyrdom of the Prophet in 1844? How could Joseph Smith be directing plagues that will yet come in the future?

First, it is important to remember that Joseph Smith is the head of this dispensation. Keys are delegated for periods of time so that the work of God may continue. Joseph Smith delegated keys to Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve, then to John Taylor and so forth until the present day. Each President of the Church can exercise delegated keys during their particular administration. However, the power and authority over all keys are ultimately held by the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum and will remain throughout the eternities. Therefore, all latter-day plagues, destructions, natural disasters, and prophecy occurring within Joseph’s dispensation are under his direction. He is ultimately directed by the Son of God and His Father. As Joseph of Egypt saved Egypt under the delegated authority of Pharaoh, Joseph Smith will save Israel under the delegated authority of the Father and Son.

Second, as Moses was first rejected and then later returned to enact the redemption of enslaved Israel, inspired leaders have taught that Joseph Smith will return to finish his mission. Joseph Smith’s patriarchal blessings reveal:

His feet shall stand upon the neck of his enemies, and he shall walk upon the ashes of those who seek his destruction . . . Thou shalt like to do the work which the Lord shall command thee: Thou shalt hold the Keys of this ministry, even the presidency of this church, both in time and in eternity. Thy heart shall be enlarged, and thou shalt be able to fill up the measure of thy days according to the will of the Lord. Thou shalt speak the word of the Lord and the earth shall tremble; the mountains shall move and the rivers shall turn out of their course. Thou shalt escape the edge of the sword, and put to flight the armies of the wicked. . .

His blessings also explicitly declare that he holds these keys beyond his mortal life, both “in time and in eternity.” Though he was martyred, he will yet “walk upon the ashes of those who seek his destruction”:

Thou shalt stand upon the earth when it shall reel to and fro as a drunken man, and be removed out of its place: thou shalt stand when the mighty judgments go forth to the destruction of the wicked: thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the north, and with thy brethren, the sons of Ephraim, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ: Thou shalt see thy Redeemer come in the clouds of heaven, and with the just receive the hallowed throng with shouts of hallelujahs, praise the Lord. Amen.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 50 restores fragments of the lost writings of Joseph of Egypt. Throughout the passage, Joseph of Egypt foretells the missions of both Moses and Joseph Smith simultaneously, paralleling their lives and missions. In addition to Joseph’s prophecy, a study of the life of Moses and the past, present and future mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith (as documented in history and foretold in patriarchal blessings) reveals parallels between these two leaders. Moses was supported by his older brother, Aaron; Joseph by his older brother, Hyrum Smith. Moses and Joseph Smith acted as the mouthpiece of God, they were rejected during the initial part of their ministry, they gathered Israel, they were born from a foretold lineage, they revealed higher and lower laws to their people, they were commissioned to prepare Israel to inherit promised lands, and the list goes on.

It was Moses who revealed the scriptures in his day. His successors then echoed and taught his words.

Likewise, on the day the Church was organized, the Lord gave a revelation to stand as the charter of the Church, commanding the members and leaders—both present and future—to “give heed unto all his [Joseph Smith’s] words and commandments which he shall give unto you,” promising that if the counsel was followed, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4-6)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that while we have successive presidents and apostles of the Church, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s words stand preeminent—that we should regard every other leader as a mere echo of Joseph Smith.

Every dispensation head is a revealer of Christ for his day . . . and every other prophet or apostle who comes is a reflection and an echo and an exponent of the dispensation head. All such come to echo to the world and to expound and unfold what God has revealed through the man who was appointed to give his eternal word to the world for that era. Such is the dispensation concept.

Elder McConkie also taught that the great revelations and important doctrines intended for this dispensation have come through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that there will be no great revelations extending beyond the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph.

There are added revelations we could receive, and I hope will receive as we manage to get in tune with the Spirit. But the great reservoir of revelation for our dispensation—meaning the things that we need to know to govern our conduct in order to gain an eternal life—these things have already been given. And there will not be great added reservoirs of substantive revelation that will come before the Second Coming because of the wickedness of the world. Some of that wickedness spills over and prevails among the Latter-day Saints.

In section 5 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord explained that His word for our day will only come through Joseph Smith.

“This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C 5:10). Joseph Smith has given the word, and we echo the message . . .

Does this mean that no revelation has come since 1844 or will come in the future? Absolutely not! We have examples of great revelations received through Brigham Young (currently Doctrine and Covenants 136) and Joseph F. Smith (currently Doctrine and Covenants 138). Joseph Smith is the dispensation head, or priesthood leader, over this last dispensation. Therefore, spiritual communication to any man or woman is directed by the Prophet Joseph.

In an interview with David Ransom on November 9, 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley explained,

. . . we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes . . . we don’t need a lot of continuing revelation. We have a great, basic reservoir of revelation.

During a Christmas devotional on December 7, 2003, he again reiterated,

I look to [Joseph Smith]. I love him. I seek to follow him. I read his words, and they become the standards to be observed in guiding this great Church as it moves forward in fulfilling its eternal destiny.

In section 103 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord uses the exodus led by the prophet Moses to foretell a latter-day exodus—led by a man similar to Moses—to gather and redeem Israel a second time.

Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.

A few verses later, the Lord identified the “man,” who is the leader of this second gathering, the long foretold and sought after Latter-day Moses.

Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you.

The brethren during Joseph Smith’s time understand their connection to Moses and the ancient House of Israel. They studied the history of Israel’s first exodus with “much interest.” Wilford Woodruff recorded in 1839:

We feel & believe that it is the most important period & age of the world of any since man was upon the earth. We read with much interest the history of Israel in travling from Egypt to Canaan & search with Interest the prophesies of Isaiah & all the prophets in the Bible the stick of Judah. But if possible there is feelings of greater interest vibrating our bosoms on reading the Book of Mormon the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim to behold the faith manifest of Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Mormon, & Moroni & many others I might name who obtained a promise of the Lord by faith that blessings should rest upon their seed in the last days.

Clearly, if the latter-day Moses had come and these brethren were involved in the redemption of Israel, they would have looked to this prototype to understand their own missions. Likewise, as latter-day Israel today, if we will give heed to the “Moses” Jesus Christ appointed for us, we will finally be able to find and access redemption, hope, and healing through the Son of God.

Embark on the Journey

Monthly “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” Theme!

I will cherish and rely on the revelations of God in scripture and the inspired words of Latter-day prophets. land.

Remember: While you absolutely may do every activity suggested if you would like, it is certainly not needed, nor are you limited by the ideas given here. Choose one or more that will work with your learning style, available time, or the group that you are working with. Even if you are an adult, don’t hesitate to choose an activity originally aimed at children—those can be the most fun!

Feel free to run with any other ideas that come to your mind! Allow the Lord to guide you in choosing the best activities for you. The ultimate goal is to engage with the material and become a “doer of the word.”

  • If this is your first week here, welcome! Please review our Welcome & How to Join the Quest” for some helpful information on how to use this resource. You may also want to check out the Embark on the Journey section of Lesson 1 for some activities that will be helpful in getting you started on this quest. In particular, you’ll want a journal, and perhaps the “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” resolution and a fun Book of Mormon reading chart. Just start where you are in the year—don’t feel like you have to backtrack and do every lesson, but grab these helpful tools and you’ll be good to go from here!
  • If you choose to download or purchase a designed cardstock version of the “I’m a Latter-day Nephite” resolution, you may want to post it where you will see it every day—on the fridge or your mirror, for example. Ponder on this month’s statement “I will cherish and rely on the revelations of God in scripture and the inspired words of Latter-day prophets.”
  • Watch “Living Scriptures—Moses” as a family or group and discuss together the parallels to our day.
  • As a family or group, dress up and act out the Exodus story. Now change costumes and act out the story of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the church, lining up the parallels.
  • Find a version of “The Spirit of God” that you love and add it to your For Our Day playlist. We love this version from Michael R. Hicks’ “I Know He Lives” album.

  • In the Set the Course section, there is a link to learn more about Joseph Smith’s patriarchal blessings. Read the article and then read his actual blessings. Choose one or more of the following activities to do yourself or with your family or group. 
  • Look up the patriarchal blessing of an ancestor, if available, and read it as a family.

Unless otherwise stated, reference to any products, services, hypertext link to third parties or other information by trade name, trademark, supplier or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement or sponsorship by us. They are for convenience only.

All Hands on Deck

  • Pray each morning this week for the Lord to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts on the Book of Mormon and/or what you’ve learned this week with someone. 
  • Join the For Our Day community on social media for uplifting shareable content, ideas on how to implement For Our Day in your home and classes, and to connect with others on the journey. You can find us here: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Invite some friends over to do one of the activities listed and post some pictures on social media. Be sure to tag us #ForOurDay so we can find you!

Find the Treasure

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