Through an ornate window of the Franciscan church called Dominus Flevit which sits on the Mount of Olives, one can see across the Kidron valley to the Dome of the Rock and the old city Jerusalem.
The name of the church means “The Lord Wept”, and by tradition it is considered to be the place where Christ looked over the city Jerusalem and mourned for her wickedness:
“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.” (Luke 19:41)
In this church sits an altar, and on the front of the altar is a mosaic depicting a hen and her chicks—wings extended, chicks huddled underneath, their mother protecting them. In the ring around the mosaic, are the words:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, quæ occidis prophetas, et lapidas eos, qui ad te missi sunt, quoties volui congregare filios tuos quemadmodum gallina congregai pullos suos sub alas et noluisti.” (Latin)
Translated to English: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)
This vivid imagery of a hen and her chicks appears six times in books considered scripture by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Obviously, the reference above from Matthew is the most well-known, and can be compared to the same event in Luke 13, verse 34. But there are four other instances of when this imagery is used by the Lord. Let’s take a look at them:
Israel will be Gathered
“For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts; Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.” – Doctrine and Covenants 10:65-67
What do we learn? The Lord wants to gather all to Himself. He offers the waters of life free to all who will partake of it. We simply need to not harden our hearts.
Mercy for the Repentant
“Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins; Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time your sins are forgiven you, therefore ye receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you.”—Doctrine and Covenants 29:1-2
What do we learn? The Lord is merciful. He has atoned for our sins, and He invites all to be gathered, but we are to sin no more.
A Warning for the Last Days
“Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words-Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?
“And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you.
“O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not!
“How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
“Behold, the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full.
“Behold, verily I say unto you, that these are the words of the Lord your God.”—Doctrine and Covenants 43:22-27
What do we learn? First of all, this is a last-days prophecy. It reminds us of the judgments foretold in Matthew 24 and the Revelation of St. John. Notice the highlighted phrase in verse 23 . . . it indicates that this declaration will come to pass as part of the Second Coming of the Lord.
Have these words ever been spoken before? Yes . . . as we already indicated, the Lord uttered the prophetic words as He descended the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem. But there is another time when these words were heard from the heavens . . .
The Appearance of Christ to the Nephites after His Resurrection
When Jesus was crucified, numerous scriptural witnesses indicate that there was a great upheaval of nature and the elements in Jerusalem. There were thunderings, lightnings, an earthquake that caused the veil of the temple to be rent, and an unnatural darkness that descended upon the land.
These signs of His death were not limited to the land of His nativity. In the Americas, the Book of Mormon records that many of the same events—some of them far worse—occurred among the Nephites living at the time. Once the general destruction ceased and the people were left to fumble in total darkness, a voice was heard, coming from the heavens. The voice was that of Jesus Christ, declaring His mission as Redeemer, and calling the people to repentance.
Astonished, the people ceased their mourning and there was silence in the land for many hours. But then, they heard the voice from the heavens again. This was the Lord’s declaration:
“O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
“And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
“O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.
“But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become desolate until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers.”—3 Nephi 10:4-7
A Pattern for Our Day
What do we learn? The most striking thing to me is that there is a pattern here. What we read in the Doctrine and Covenants about the Second Coming and the destructions that will occur, and about the words that will be spoken from the heavens . . . shows that the events in the Book of Mormon are a type and shadow for our day.
What will happen, has happened before. What has happened, will happen again with striking similarity to the way in which it occurred the first time.
In other words, the resurrection of the Savior, and His subsequent glorious appearance to His people, both in the old world and the new, is a pattern for what will happen in the last days. Christ will come again. He will make a glorious appearance. And preceding the moment in which He appears, there will be terrifying destructions that will cover the face of the land. Even the darkness is prophesied to happen again.
So if the events of the final appearance of Christ will so closely match what has happened before, even down to there being a voice from heaven declaring us to be His ungathered chickens, then what of the time and events that will happen leading up to the grand event? What happens right before the destructions begin?
Well, that is what should make us all tremble. See if this looks like where we are headed . . .
“And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.”—3 Nephi 6:30 (last verse of the chapter)
“Now behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.
“And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.
“And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.
“Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends; therefore their tribes became exceedingly great.
“Now all this was done, and there were no wars as yet among them; and all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan.
“And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.”—3 Nephi 7:1-6
What am I trying to say?
I think the United States as we know it, may not survive. There are those who are actively trying to destroy America. Many of them, working at her destruction from within.
I think there is a very good possibility that the good people of this country may have to band together, to take care of each other, to support liberty and constitutional principles in as many states and territories that we can, even if it means that much of the country dissolves into anarchy or civil war. Knowing that there are so many God-fearing patriots in America gives me hope.
But that hope is tempered by some doubts . . . I have my doubts that we are going to make it to the Second Coming of the Lord with all fifty stars intact on Old Glory.
I could be wrong. But I believe we have seen a pattern for this. And the pattern doesn’t look good.
What do you think?