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Fulness of the Gentiles
by Monte S. Nyman
The "fulness of the Gentiles" is a term for a doctrine taught in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. It refers to a process whereby, after Jesus' ministry among his Jewish countrymen, the gospel was preached to Gentiles in the meridian of time. Jesus told his Jewish listeners that the kingdom of God would be taken from them "and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (Matt. 21:43). He also said that many Gentiles would sit down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matt. 8:5-12). Paul taught that in his day the Gentiles would be given an opportunity to receive the gospel, be adopted into the house of Israel, and receive the blessings of the covenant people (Rom. 9- 11), concluding that "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25).
Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the people of Judah among all nations "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24; JST Luke 21:24, 32). As latter-day revelation makes clear, "the times" of the Gentiles refers to the time when the fulness of the gospel will come among them (D&C 45:24-28). Latter-day revelation further teaches that in the last days the restored gospel will "go forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews" (D&C 90:9-11), so "that all who will hear may hear" (D&C 1:11) and "all the families of the earth be blessed" (Abr. 2:11). When the Gentiles reject the gospel, "the times of the Gentiles [will] be fulfilled" (D&C 45:29-30).
In 1823 the angel Moroni told Joseph Smith "that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in" (JSH 1:41). During the ministry of the resurrected Jesus among Book of Mormon Peoples, he foretold the coming forth of the restored gospel among the Gentiles and warned that when they reject the fulness of his gospel and are lifted up in pride and all manner of wickedness, he will take his gospel from among them (3 Ne. 16:7-10). After they reject the gospel, it will be offered to the house of Israel (3 Ne. 16:11-12). Thus, Gentiles who have accepted the gospel will be numbered with Israel and escape the judgments that are to come upon the wicked (3 Ne. 16:13-14). In the dispensation of the fulness of times, the Gentiles will have been first to receive the gospel, and the first (Israel) will be the last (cf. 1 Ne. 13:42; MD, pp. 721-22).
(See Basic Beliefs; The Gospel of Jesus Christ home page; The Last Days home page)
Nyman, Monte S. An Ensign to All People, pp. 49-56. Salt Lake City, 1987.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Fulness of the Gentles
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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