When He visited the Nephites in the New World, the Savior told them that He would establish His
people in a place called the New Jerusalem, and that the city would established “in this land”:
And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you. (3 Nephi 20:22; see also 3 Nephi 21:22–25.)
Where is “this land”? We know from modern revelation that the city of New Jerusalem or Zion will be established in the last days on the American continent (see Articles of Faith 1:10). In the Book of Mormon, Moroni spoke of the ancient writings of Ether on the subject (see Ether 13:1–11). He wrote that “that after the waters [of Noah] had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord” (v. 2) and that “a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph” (v. 6).
In the early days of the restored Church, the Lord commanded that the saints gather there at “a land of peace, a city of refuge”:
Wherefore I, the Lord, have said, gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me. And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; and the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. (D&C 45:64–67; emphasis added.)
What did the Lord mean by the “western countries”? Where will this city be? We are told that it will be in Jackson County, Missouri, and in the counties round about.
And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandment which I have given concerning these things—which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints; all the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand. (D&C 101:69–71; see also D&C 42:9, 35, 62–67; D&C 84:2–4; D&C 105:28–32; emphasis added.)
It is near the center of the United States of America—indeed, the Lord calls it “the center place” (see D&C57:3–5)—a place of safety established for and by His saints. It will be during a time of war.
And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand. (D&C 45:68–70.)
The Savior also said that after Zion is established, “then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst” (see 3 Nephi 20:25). The Lord also told Enoch that He would “prepare . . . an Holy City . . . that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem” and that Enoch and “all [his] city [would] meet them there, and . . . receive them into [their] bosom” (see Moses 7:62–64).
The apostle John wrote of the New Jerusalem descending from heaven, apparently after the Millennium:
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:2–3.)
His description of this heavenly city is glorious. Like our father Jacob, we look “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (see Hebrews 11:10).
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrew 11:16.)
Finally, let me note that the prophet Ezekiel also wrote of a holy city with a temple called “The Lord Is There” (see Ezekiel 48:35). This city would be set up after the Lord’s Second Coming (see Ezekiel chapters 36–48), but there are indications that this city may be established after the Millennium. It is also possible that the city he describes is the old Jerusalem, which will also be built up (see Ether 13:11).
(You can also find a list of all Second Coming posts on this blog here.)