Now in the second half of chapter 15, the Savior takes pains to say that this people (the Nephite people) were those that Christ said would hear his voice. He repeats this in such a way as to suggest that this was a literal statement of fact. Clarifying the point further, he goes on to explain how the Gentiles would never hear him, but have an opportunity to receive his word through the testimony of others and to receive a witness through the confirmation of the Holy Ghost.
Then after having established the clarity of this point (that there are others that would literally hear him), in chapter 16, the Savior goes on to say that there are yet even others that he must visit and who shall literally hear Him.
The gentiles shall have their chance, but the Gathering of Israel is much bigger than the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles alone. No prophet like President Nelson has emphasized the gathering of Israel. I feel like we are in a significant transition from what once was (the church of the Gentile saints) to what will now be (the church of the Gathering of Israel), all part of this on-going restoration of the Gospel in the latter-days.
Chapter 16, Verse 4 – We ought to pray to know who those other sheep are of whom the Savior also ministered to. The Savior doesn’t say this explicitly, but his words suggest that that was expected action of those at Jerusalem. Then why not of us?
…If it so be that my people at Jerusalem… do not ask… that they may receive a knowledge of you… and also of the other tribes whom they know not of…
The goal of all this, is that the remnant of their seed may also be gathered in.
A couple of additional thoughts and reminders that were inspired of the text: Other sheep that have already heard his voice causes me to contemplate the strength of the Church in other parts of the world presently. I remember the stories of faithful missionaries from the Philippines told by Elder Echohawk in our stake conference the year after my arrival to Missouri.
In the scripture that the Savior quotes twice from the book of John (John 10:16), the Savior states, “…them also I must bring”. The reminder that this is the Lord’s work and he can do his own work sits poignantly in my mind this morning. (See 2 Nephi 27:20-21)
Re-reading chapter 16, the work of the Gentiles in the latter days is the gathering of Israel. The Savior explains that there are others, whom those at Jerusalem failed to inquire of the Lord to learn about. Christ was to go to them so that they could also hear his voice. The record kept here in the Book of Mormon was for the express purpose of helping the Gentiles to understand the scope of their commission in the latter days. These are the descendants of those to home Christ had ministered in very deed. It is recorded in the Book of Momron because he knew that the Book of Mormon would come first to the gentiles.