Ether taught the people "of all things," and made clear all things from the beginning of man (Ether 13:2). He taught the people that after this land had been baptized it became "a choice land above all other lands" (ibid.). The Lord requires the inhabitants of this land to serve him, or be swept off and replaced by another people (ibid.).
What is "this land" from and about which Ether spake and Moroni wrote? These two prophets were separated by over a thousand years and yet appear to be writing from the same land. Where is "this land?"
"And that [this land] was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord" (Ether 13:3).
"This land" is the place of the New Jerusalem. This new Jerusalem is to come down out of heaven. In spite of the meso-American insistence of many scholars and leaders as a setting for the Book of Mormon, where is it that the Lord taught the New Jerusalem is to be built? Why the disparity?
Ether had seen in vision the time of Christ and the Jerusalem from which Lehi came, and a future time when a different, new Jerusalem would be built upon "this land" (Ether 13:4-5). He explained that the Jerusalem of Christ and of Lehi should be built up again, and "become a holy city of the Lord" (ibid.). The New Jerusalem will be built up "upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph" (Ether 13:6).
"For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there, wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
"Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away" (Ether 13:7-8).
The story of Joseph in bringing his father Israel out of Jerusalem into Egypt is a type of that which was to occur in the last days. In mercy, the Lord brought "a remnant of the seed of Joseph" out of the land of Jerusalem to this land (typified by Egypt). They have been scattered and trodden under foot, but not utterly destroyed. It is upon this land that they have been "confounded." They shall yet inherit this land, which is a land of their inheritance. When they do, the Gentiles will be trodden under foot (3 Ne. 16:15). The remnant will begin building the new Jerusalem where they "shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away."
"And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new" (Ether 13:9).
After all things have become new, "then cometh the New Jerusalem" (Ether 13:10). The Lord will bring again Zion, and "blessed are they who dwell therein" (ibid.). Those who are this city's inhabitants are those whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb. Repentant Gentiles will be numbered among the group (3 Ne. 16:13). Then cometh the Jerusalem of old, whose inhabitants are also clean (Ether 13:11).
"And when these things come, bringeth to pass the scripture which saith, there are they who were first, who shall be last; and there are they who were last, who shall be first" (Ether 13:12).
Why is Moroni forbidden to write more at this point (Ether 13:13)? The fact that the Lord instructed Moroni to not go any further than he already had invites inquiry. For, he was "about to write more," but was forbidden.
This indicates that the pattern of successive events laid out by Moroni in Ether 13:1-12 is very much worth our attention. It means that the teachings of this prophet Ether were indeed "great and marvelous" (ibid.). How is it then, that the people "esteemed him as naught, and cast him out"?