Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash

 

“Israel, Israel, God Is Calling”: An Invitation to Come unto Christ

The hymn “Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” is about God’s invitation to “come to Zion.”  

The hymn text was written by Richard Smyth, who served three missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early days of the Church. After serving his first mission in England, he then returned to his native country of Ireland to extend the invitation to rejoice “within Zion’s walls.” The music was from the hymn composed by Charles C. Converse.

“Israel, Israel, God Is Calling” references the LDS Church doctrine of the literal gathering of Israel as described in the Church’s tenth article of faith, which reads:

“We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”

Although the article of faith refers to a physical gathering of Israel, the spiritual gathering of Israel refers to a complete conversion to Jesus Christ. In his talk titled “The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” President Russell M. Nelson explained: “The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be ‘brought to the knowledge of the Lord’ without leaving their homelands. …The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. …The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is ‘the pure in heart.’  Zion is wherever righteous Saints are.”

Israel, Israel, God Is Calling (Lyrics)

 

Israel, Israel, God is calling,
Calling thee from lands of woe.
Babylon the great is falling;
God shall all her tow’rs o’erthrow.
Come to Zion, come to Zion
Ere his floods of anger flow.
Come to Zion, come to Zion
Ere his floods of anger flow.

Israel, Israel, God is speaking.
Hear your great Deliv’rer’s voice!
Now a glorious morn is breaking
For the people of his choice.
Come to Zion, come to Zion,
And within her walls rejoice.
Come to Zion, come to Zion,
And within her walls rejoice.

Israel, angels are descending
From celestial worlds on high,
And to man their pow’r extending,
That the Saints may homeward fly.
Come to Zion, come to Zion,
For your coming Lord is nigh.
Come to Zion, come to Zion,
For your coming Lord is nigh.

Israel! Israel! Canst thou linger
Still in error’s gloomy ways?
Mark how judgment’s pointing finger
Justifies no vain delays.
Come to Zion, come to Zion!
Zion’s walls shall ring with praise.
Come to Zion, come to Zion!
Zion’s walls shall ring with praise.