“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” Psalms 24: 1-10
“Blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; And if they endure unto the end, they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; And whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.” I Nephi 3:187-189
“Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered, they that remain and are pure in heart shall return and come to their inheritances; they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy; to build up the waste places of Zion. And all these things, that the prophets might be fulfilled” (D&C 98:4g)
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isa. 2:2–3.)
Joseph F. Smith
The central goal of the restored church was and remains the building up of the kingdom of God on earth. It is part of the promise God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and which He renewed with ancient Israel. He even called them out of their Egyptian captivity to mold them into a holy nation. Through Moses, He promised, “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation” (Ex 19:5-6).
Unfortunately, people are sinners, even chosen people. A holy kingdom is inhabited by holy people. People must be freed from their sins if they are to be holy. The Mosaic Law contained no power to make the Hebrews holy. In fact, no set of rules or regulations does. Without the means to make the Hebrews holy their entrance into the Promised Land was destined to met set backs, even failure, in their effort to build up the kingdom of God on earth.
The promise of a future holy kingdom included a means to cleanse its inhabitants from sin. Jesus achieved what no law could. He redeemed His people from their sins. God’s justice demands that a penalty be fixed for our transgressions. Jesus mediated a solution that appeased those demands, at least for those who accept His offer. He agreed to bear the consequence of our sins, that is death, and our Heavenly Father agreed to accept His sacrifice on behalf of all those who choose to repent of their sins and submit to Jesus in this life. The Book of Mormon states, “Therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice, that God might be a perfect, just God, and a merciful God also” (Alma 19:97).
The new covenant, for which the restored Church of Jesus Christ is destined to fulfill, is founded on a new testament, which Jesus perfected when he willingly offered himself a sacrifice for our sins. He, who not only created and sustains His creation, bequeathed to all the repentant a portion of His glory when He died on Calvary’s cruel cross. Through the preaching of the Savior’s gospel and the implementation of His ordinances people are made holy. They are divinely empowered to inhabit the holy nation, as long as they keep themselves unspotted from the world. That is why the Restoration also invites people to build up the kingdom of God on earth. Once cleansed from sin through faith in Christ’s redemption, repentance from dead works and baptism of both water and Spirit, they are prepared for residency in Zion.
Shortly after the organization of the church, God commanded His people to begin building up the holy city. That task remains undone.