I noticed several uses of the word “consecrate” in this week’s reading of 2 Nephi, chapters 1-8. Here are the ways it is used:
“The Lord hath consecrated this land for…thy seed”
“He shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.”
Nephi “did consecrate Jacob and Joseph…[as] priests and teachers”
Jacob speaks of “having been consecrated”
“This land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring”
“May the Lord consecrate also unto thee this land”
Because it jumped out at me, I looked up the definition in the dictionary.
- make or declare (something, typically a church) sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose.
"the present Holy Trinity church was consecrated in 1845"
- (in Christian belief) make (bread or wine) into the body or blood of Christ.
"they received the host but not the consecrated wine"
- ordain (someone) to a sacred office, typically that of bishop.
"in 1969 he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda"
sanctify, bless, make holy, make sacred;
So when the scriptures speak of the land being consecrated, I take that to mean that it is dedicated as sacred, for a divine purpose. And when a person is described as being consecrated, it means he has been set apart, blessed, and made sacred through ordination. The consecration of the American continent for divine purpose is an important historical event. Many current residents of the United States know that it is a special place, but feel that white European-descended Americans ought to feel guilty because of the scourging of the Native American people who were “here before us.” While I sympathize with what those people went through, and I do feel that they were discriminated against, and abused, murdered, and their lands were plundered, it’s equally important to recognize God’s hand in what happened. In order for the Gospel to be restored, Europeans had to settle this land. And in order for that to happen, the native peoples had to either share, or be destroyed. In reading the prophesies of the Book of Mormon, we learn that it was inevitable that they would be moved (or killed), to make room for the “white man” to settle. This is because they had turned away from God, from Jesus Christ, and had fulfilled the prophesies given to Lehi and Nephi so early on in the Book of Mormon. Tragic though it was, it had to happen.
Likewise, in order for the Children of Israel to return home, someone will have to be moved out of Israel, I imagine. More and more, I’ve been thinking about how we are in the end days, and this has yet to happen. The ten tribes are still “lost”, but I think it will be fascinating to learn just where some of our ancient European forbears came from. If some of them started out in Northern Israel, and were carried away and eventually scattered, my Irish ancestors could have descended from ancient Israelites. Maybe. We just don’t know. But I find it intriguing to think about.