“Behold the Man” Free on Kindle from April 18–22, 2019

20190417 Behold the Man Kindle CoverBehold the Man: The Bible’s Story of Jesus’s Last Days Retold is free on Kindle from April 18 until April 22, 2019. Happy Easter!

Here’s what the book is about from the back cover of the paperback edition:

“The Passion of Jesus Christ is the greatest tragedy and triumph in history. I have never found anything to compare with it. This book began over three decades ago as a study of the events surrounding the Passion—the last week of the mortal life of Jesus Christ, as found in the New Testament.

“In 1986, I began to piece together the enormous puzzle of the Passion as told in the gospels. The testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each provide unique details about the events leading to Jesus’ death. My goal in writing this book was to: (1) identify the unique details from each of the accounts relating to the Passion; (2) to unify that material; and (3) to present it in an easy-to-read, narrative or story format.

“The source for this book is simply the Authorized King James Version of the New Testament. While completely based on scripture, I have updated the punctuation and paragraphing in the text, altered some capitalization and pronouns, and added quotation marks where appropriate. I have also added conjunctive or transitional words, without setting them off in brackets, and deleted some words, to help the flow of the narrative.”

You can download your free Kindle copy here.

Second Coming: The Mother of Harlots and Abominations

In the the book of Revelation, an angel shows the apostle John a rather disturbing vision of a woman:

Arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:4–5.)

She’s riding a beast with seven heads and ten horns, sitting upon many waters.

Hans Burgkmair the Elder [Public domain]
“The Whore of Babylon.” Woodcut by Hans Burgkmair the Elder, AD 1523 (1473–1531).

What does all this mean? If you do homework on this, you’ll find many possible interpretations, but by now you’ve probably come to understand that I am not a big fan of controversial interpretations. When things get confusing and complicated, that’s when the Holy Spirit steps out of the picture and I don’t want that.

I’ll do my best to lean on what the scriptures have to say, and you can draw your own conclusions. If you know my other writings on this topic, I make an effort to not draw conclusions, but simply and straightforwardly to be familiar with what the Lord has said on the subject. I want to be ready to finally learn the meaning of the scriptures from Him, when the time is right, when the true meaning is evident. My motto: let’s not get wrapped around an axle of contention.

The Beast, the Horns, and the Waters

The woman is riding on a scarlet-colored beast with seven heads and ten horns. We find similar beasts in chapters 12 (a red dragon) and 13 (a beast with seven heads and ten horns; see Revelation 17:3 and compare Revelation 12:3; 13:1.)

The dragon in chapter 12 represents Satan (see Revelation 12:9; Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 12:8), and we learn in Revelation 13:4 that “the dragon [the devil] gave power unto the beast.” The beast seems to be a symbol of a Satanic order or organization that supports political or governmental leaders or nations.

We also hear from the angel that “the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (see Revelation 17:9), and that the ten horns are ten kings who, at the time of John’s writing, had not yet reigned (see Revelation 17:12).

The seven mountains are commonly attributed to the seven hills of Rome, but we don’t know that the seven mountains are located there. Many cities rest on seven hills. Just a thought: the world has seven continents, each in essence a mountain rising out of an ocean floor.

To me, speculation on who these kings are is not as valuable as just knowing that a succession of political leaders and nations will serve the “great whore,” Babylon the not-so-great.

The water that the woman sits upon represents “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (see Revelation 17:15).

Let me also point out that Daniel had a similar vision. He saw four beasts in Daniel 7, the fourth, having ten horns, was “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly” (see Daniel 7:7). There are many interpretations about what this beast represents. I’ll just point out that it seems related to our beast in Revelation 17, though not strictly so.

Who or What Is the Mother of Harlots and Abominations?

The angel tells John that “the woman [the mother of harlots] which [he saw] is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). A city is “a center of population, commerce, and culture” according the the American Heritage Dictionary.

Nephi also saw a similar vision recorded in chapter 14 of 1 Nephi that identifies the mother of harlots as the “great and abominable church” founded by the devil:

The day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil. . . .(1 Nephi 14:17; see also 1 Nephi 14:9, 10, 13, 16.)

It’s more than just a city in ancient Iraq. It’s not just a place or a congregation of worshipers or a group of citizens. It’s a pervasive socioeconomic, political, governmental, and religious system, founded and supported by and inspired by the devil, that is designed to undermine and destroy souls and the future of God’s kingdom.

In closing, let’s think through the harlot angle for a bit. What does a harlot or prostitute do? (I know, ew, but bear with me.) She or he sells for money one of the most precious gifts we can offer to another human being: our fully trusting, unguarded soul. When we give that away or sell it for money, we in effect deny an ultimate truth of our divinity. (This, of course, doesn’t have a bearing on someone sold into sex slavery.)

Maybe that’s the main business interest of the mother of abominations, the great, abominable church: to steal and destroy the identity of men, women, and children, the essence of their direct connection with God.

I haven’t got adequate words to describe what I think of this deplorable enterprise.

The Lord implores us to “go . . . out of Babylon” (see Doctrine and Covenants 133:5, 7; see also Isaiah 48:20). It’s time we high tailed it out of there.

Valentines Day, 1969: Will Your Kindness Come Back to You?

Circa 1960 Valentine
Valentine Card, circa 1960

The day before Valentines Day in 1969, I went to our local Albertsons and got a box of Valentines cards. Our nanny Agnes took me. We had a nanny and housekeeper because my mother, who had multiple sclerosis, could not walk or cook or drive.

When we got back, I set up the card table in our family room and filled out a card for everyone in my class. I was 11 years old. (By the way, I still have that card table. I inherited it after my parents died. It’s old and worn out, but I can’t seem to let it go.)

The next morning at school, however, I noticed that no one in my fifth grade class was giving out Valentine cards. My school bag was secretly full of them, but they never would see the light of day.

Somehow, I had missed the memo on Valentines Day.

When the chance presented itself, I slipped into the boys bathroom across the hall and threw all my cards in the garbage can. That day, I believe, marked the official end of my childhood.

In retrospect, this experience is funny and a little sad, but at the same time, it was traumatic. That’s why I remember the details so clearly.

It’s been on my mind for several years, and as I’ve thought about it, I’ve wondered about the love and kindness that we all give out that seems to be discarded or falls to the ground unnoticed.

I am sure you can instantly think of experiences in your life when you have shown the tender part of yourself, only to find your kindness unrequited, or worse, rejected and then strewn across your memory like shrapnel from a bomb. It is one of the unavoidable disasters of human life. Everyone seems to go through it, and most of us get over it to a degree. Some of us hold onto those sad feelings and they haunt us throughout our lives.

But we have promises from our Heavenly Father. Here is one that is very powerful:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7.)

Doesn’t that mean that if you sow seeds of kindness and love that you will reap kindness and love again? But notice the analogy of planting and reaping. The harvest takes time. It doesn’t happen immediately. Seeds planted in the spring pass through two or three seasons before they are harvested. And for every seed you plant, you get 50 to 100 seeds back. That is the law of the harvest.

No wonder the Lord says:

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12.)

If we will always reap what we sow, we would be wise to do to others what we would like done to us or for us.

Earlier in that same sermon, Jesus said something similar:

With what measure ye mete [give out], it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2.)

One of my favorite promises of returned blessings is from the apostle Paul:

..Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord. . . . (Ephesians 6:8.)

The Lord’s promises are sure. Whatever good you do, whatever love you show, will come back to you, though the harvest will likely take many seasons to deliver its bounty.

All really good things take time. Fruit takes four or five months before it is ready to harvest. Babies still need nine months to be born. Love may sprout in a few days, but may take many years to reap. Just wait in faith. God will not fail you. The end will be worth the waiting.

Those little Valentine cards will come back to me, though probably not in the same shape or form. I’ll take them in the form of hugs and kisses from my loved ones. That will be payment enough for whatever sorrow lingers from February 14, 1969.

[First posted on November 7, 2009.]

The Girl by the Stream

Painting of a girl by a stream, surrounded by orbs, by Gilbert Williams
Copyright © by Gilbert Williams.

Every morning and
every evening, a girl
sat by a stream that
ran through an
ancient forest.

Alone she came,
morning and evening,
to listen to the quiet
and hear the murmur
of her far-off dreams.

And the girl was
the soul of the forest,
and the stream was
the soul of the girl.

The heavenly trees,
kindest of friends,
whispered to the girl
beneath hovering wings.

Cool water glided over
bare feet as she
wrote what would be in
her radiant world of
tomorrows and dreams.

The trees and the water
taught her the way.
In the quiet of the forest,
she found her way.

Michael James Fitzgerald

Second Coming: The Blood Moon of January 21–22, 2019

Screenshot of a Griffith Observatory video from January 31, 2018
Eclipse of the Blood Moon, January 31, 2018

Tonight and tomorrow morning, Sunday, January 20 and Monday, January 21, 2019, we’ll enjoy yet another sign in the heavens (see Genesis 1:14), the blood moon. A blood moon is a backdrop for the earth’s sunrises and sunsets when it falls within the shadow of the earth.

I’ve written here before about signs in the heaven, noting where Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, and the Savior, during his mortal life and in modern times, have spoken of this phenomena occurring before the great day of Lord’s Second Coming. For example, after the opening of the sixth seal in the Book of Revelation, we read that:

. . . Lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood . . . (Revelation 6:12).

At this same time, the planet Venus is approaching Jupiter and will be the closest on the day following the blood moon, Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Some believe that Venus, the morning and evening star, as it is sometimes called, is a symbol of Jesus Christ. For example, He says of Himself: “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star” (see Revelation 22:16). Jupiter, it is said by some, represents the body or the church of Christ.

Symbolically, the bright, morning Star or the Bridegroom (Venus) has left His throne room (the constellation Libra) and is approaching His church or His Bride (Jupiter).

Finally, consider this verse from Matthew in light of the blood moon reaching its greatest point at midnight (at 12:12 p.m. EST).

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. (Matthew 25:6.)

Truly a wonder in heaven worth wondering about.

Sometimes, we see a sign in the heavens, but nothing happens—at least not that we can tell, readily. Does that mean it’s not a sign? When you see a sign that says, “San Francisco 100 miles,” it doesn’t mean you’ve arrived. It just means, “Get ready. You’ll be there in just over an hour.”

The blood moon eclipse begins 8:34 p.m. MST or 10:34 p.m. EST, and and it will reach its greatest point at 10:12 p.m. MST or 12:12 p.m. EST. You can also see this lunar eclipse from Europe, Greenland, Iceland, northern and western Africa, and in the Arctic. If you aren’t in one of these areas, or you’re socked in by clouds, you can watch the eclipse on the Griffin Observatory YouTube channel.

This is the first full moon of 2019 and is also called a wolf and a super moon. The term wolf moon comes from Native Americans who listened to wolves howling near their camps on winter nights when the moon was full. A super moon is when the moon reaches perigee, that is, when it is closest to the earth, increasing its brightness and apparent size by over 10 percent.

Enjoy. And buckle thou thy seat belt.

A Genealogy of Anger

Anger. You’re aSunrise and clouds in Provo Canyon.
child of frustration,
born of exhaustion,
a sibling of expectation
and disappointment,
cousin to resentment,
swaddled in judgment
fanned by blame,
cheated by shame,
conceived in pride and
self-deception,
utterly devoured
by a careless,
illegitimate, violent
family of lies.

On the other hand,
great secrets
are hidden in the
randomness of life.

Peace. Thou
child of patience,
protected by sacrifice,
sibling of a warm,
childlike acceptance,
cousin to contentment,
fostered by forgiveness,
nurtured kindly and openly,
held with tenderness
and affection,
conceived in truth and
virtue and honesty—
welcome to the reliable
family of unconditional love.

Lord, create in me a new heart.

Michael James Fitzgerald