Second Coming: No Man Knows the Day or the Hour

We often hear that “no man [or woman] knows the day or the hour” of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This phrase comes from Jesus’s Olivet Discourse, recorded by Mark and Matthew:

But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son,1 but the Father. (Mark 13:32; see also Matthew 24:36).

What is less common is a grasp of what this and other phrases reflect about a traditional Jewish wedding.

At the time of Jesus, when a bridegroom legally betrothed a bride, the last thing he would say to her is, “I go to prepare a place for you.”2 Well, that sounds familiar. Jesus echoed these last words of the bridegroom during the Last Supper:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2; emphasis added.)

After the betrothal, the two were legally married but the bridegroom would not see her again until the marriage feast, which would happen immediately after he was finished building a house where the two would live. It often took a year to build the new home and was usually attached to the house of the bridegroom’s father.

It is also commonly understood by Christians that Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church represents His bride. He is already betrothed to His bride but the marriage feast—His Second Coming—has not yet happened, but perhaps soon will.

Back to the marriage tradition. A friend of the bridegroom would often visit the bride and update her on the progress of the couple’s new house. She, her family, and those close to her would then know when the time was short and would be prepared for the announcement of the wedding feast.

The bridegroom’s father would inspect the construction of the new home and once it was completed to his satisfaction, the marriage feast could take place. In this sense, no one knew the day or hour of the wedding feast except the bridegroom’s father, as he was the one to ultimately decide when the house was ready and worthy of the bride. (Reminds me of the parable of the marriage of the king’s son in Matthew 22:1–14.)

Once ready, heralds would shout the good news that the bridegroom’s procession would soon arrive to lead the bride to her new home:

Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord. (Doctrine and Covenants 133:10; see also v. 19.)

The waiting period between the announcement and the procession’s arrival was no later than a half hour.3 This is reminiscent of the silence for half an hour before Christ’s glorious appearance at his coming (see Revelation 8:1; Doctrine and Covenants 88:95). This means that the bride had to be well prepared and ready for the bridegroom shortly after the announcement came to her ears (compare the parable of the ten virgins, Matthew 25:1–13).

Likewise, the time to prepare for the coming of the Bridegroom—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—is now. I believe the time is short. We have had plenty to warn the senses in 2020, have we not? When will the Father declare that His Son’s house is ready?

Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12.)

It is my faith that if we take the Holy Ghost as our guide, and repent of what is keeping us from having the Spirit with us from day to day, we will be prepared:

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. (Doctrine and Covenants 45:56, 57.)

  1. The Joseph Smith Translation deletes the phrase “neither the Son.” The other synoptic gospel, Luke, does not record this verse.
  2. See the Matthew 24 Rapture blog, http://endoftheworld.net/Jesus/2011/06/07/the-day-that-no-man-knows-the-day-or-the-hour-only-the-father-traditional-bible-prophecy-vs-hebraic-roots/. Accessed August 2, 2020.
  3. Donna B. Nielsen, Beloved Bridegroom: Finding Christ in Ancient Jewish and Family Customs, 127.

Second Coming: Brace Yourself

Over the last few months, the Lord’s Spirit has whispered these words to me, “Brace yourself.” These words have been repeated to me many times. I am taking them quite seriously.

In the last two weeks, I’ve encountered videos online where two unrelated people have witnessed that they are hearing the same prophetic words, “Brace yourself.” I can’t help but feel that I must take these words and these times very seriously.

I appreciated very much these two videos by Michal B. Rush which he published earlier this month (July 2020). He briefly puts into clear context the prophecies in 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, and 3 Nephi regarding the last days and what we can expect when the remnant of Israel which will return before Christ’s Second Coming. These are great reminders of how seriously we need to take the scriptures, study them for ourselves, and not put off our devotion to learning and understanding them any longer. The time is short. In my heart I feel that the days of the Lord’s forbearance are few.

Part 1

I am doing my best to be prepared, to brace myself as I have been instructed. I would not be surprised if some of the readers of this blog have heard and are heeding the same or similar words from the Holy Spirit in the last few months.

I cannot speak to your experience, but the sun-bright message of the Lord to me is “the time to prepare is right now.” The season of taking His counsel lightly has passed, but rest assured, we can find protection and peace in His sacred Word and in our covenants with Him.

The intrigues, criminal enterprises, and secret combinations of those we normally would trust at the highest levels of our governments, worldwide are soon to be revealed, much to the shock of the world. As a friend and someone who cares for your spiritual safety, I repeat: Brace yourself.

Second Coming: Grievous Wolves among You

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. If we are discerning, we can see the same breed of wolf lurking among us today that Paul saw in the early church, that is, wolves in sheep’s clothing, tearing apart the flock. He once warned the early saints of Ephesus:

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous [vicious, savage, fierce] wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28–30; emphasis added.)

The Little Girl and the Wolf, book illustration, 1845. (Wikimedia Commons.)

He also spoke of certain characters arising to speak perverse—distorted, twisted—things, seeking to draw away followers after them. The times and technology have changed, but people have not.

The goal of this post is to help free someone, anyone, from the jaws of such wolves in the last days, from those who would lead us away from Jesus Christ.

How can we discern between a true follower of the living Christ and someone who has hidden, dark motives? How can we know when someone is telling us the truth or is not telling the truth? We can know them by their fruits, as Jesus warned.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:15–20.)

I have struggled to discern this dichotomy since my teens. After trial and error, I’ve come up with a chart of “fruits.” Here it is. The characteristics on the left are positive while the ones on the right are the opposite, negative characteristic. An honest, reliable person will show more traits from the left column and a dishonest, unreliable person will hover over the right. None of us will fit perfectly in either column, but it can help us pick up on trustworthy trends.

Are they . . . ?Or are they . . . ?
BelievingUnbelieving, cynical
BuilderWrecker
CalmAgitated
CaringDismissive
CivilProfane
ComplimentaryCritical
ConfidentAggressive, arrogant
Cool-headedBullying
CuriousApathetic
DignifyingHumiliating, degrading
DiligentIdle
ForgivingUnforgiving
EncouragingDiscouraging
GratefulResentful
HonoringShaming, discrediting
HumbleProud, superior
KindCruel
ListeningBelligerent
MeekSelf-congratulating, pompous
ModestImmodest, showing off
No regard for personal gainCovetous, greedy, taking personal gain
OpenDefensive
PatientImpatient or exasperated
Personally responsibleEntitled
Positive biasNegative bias
PraisingMocking
ProactiveCompetitive
RepentantUnrepentant, self-justifying
RespectfulAbusive, insulting, threatening
ReverentIrreverent
Self-restrainedViolent
SensitiveTactless, insensitive
TolerantIntolerant
TrustingSuspicious
UnpretentiousOstentatious
UpliftingBelittling
Well-manneredRude

It’s tricky business. People just don’t fit easily in one column or the other. A wolf may not demonstrate all the characteristics on the right, but he or she will show many of them. We all tend to show up on both sides. I’m talking about spotting trends and tendencies, not putting people in boxes.

This isn’t virtue signaling. I’m not pretending to fit 100 percent in the left column. I am just saying I’ve come to know the difference.

I have met and discerned some wolves over the years. They didn’t know they were wolves, but they were. Some have led people away from the Church, unwittingly or knowingly. Some are in prison.

Earlier, I’ve called anti-Mormon literature, so called, scornograpghy. I believe it is just as damaging as pornography. Does pornography contain elements of beauty? Perhaps it does. But it’s sinister purpose is to pervert human relationships, to conquer, addict, and enslave men and women to be preoccupied with a distorted view of sex. Does scornography contain elements of truth? Perhaps it does. But it’s sinister purpose is to pervert and twist the truth to make something to appear other than it is, to seduce, conquer, and enslave your emotions so that hatred, spite, fear, and unbelief fester where love once flourished.

So stop fooling yourselves! Evil companions will corrupt good morals and character. (1 Corinthians 15:33, TPT.)

Please don’t mistake my intent. Good people make mistakes, sometimes big ones. Good people commit crimes. Every human being is a disappointment, to themselves and others. It’s the nature of mortality. I make it a personal rule to not drink in other people’s vices, to allow the bad behavior of any person, living or dead, to diminish my connection with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I also choose to not judge anyone. Judging another is an arrogant gambit. Assuming that we know enough to judge another is a shallow, conceited act.

Think about it . . .

  • Adam and Eve did something they were forbidden to do, but mankind is on the planet because of it.
  • Noah built an ark and saved a generation, but later he got drunk and lost his clothes in the process.
  • Moses led Israel through the Red Sea, but later gave himself a little too much credit.
  • David slew Goliath but was later slew himself with lust. But he repented and stayed faithful for the remainder of his life.
  • Judas, one of the twelve apostles, turned out to be a thief and betrayed his Master for 30 pieces of silver. He hung himself the next day.
  • Peter denied knowing Christ, but went on to boldly testify of Him and die a martyr’s death.
  • Paul hauled early Christians to prison, some to their deaths, but his New Testament letters have converted millions to Christ.

Blah blah blah. So what? Just because someone does something bad, or something I can’t understand, doesn’t erase the immeasurable good they have done or may do. Our mistakes, our sins, don’t define us. The healing power of Jesus Christ defines us.

Since I was a small child, I have never let other people form my views and opinions for me. Not my parents. Not my friends. Not my closest intimates. I was a subversive kid.

But I do not trust scorners or their writings or their videos, no matter how clever and sophisticated or convincing they are. I have learned, through research and experience, that I cannot trust what they say. I’m not going to buy what they are selling or drink their poison. I sincerely try to listen intently to the voice of the Lord and try my best to trust, understand, and follow that voice.

I am a sinner, but first and foremost, I am a believer. I always have been a believer, in God and in His word. I hope I never stop believing—or trying to move myself into the left column. I have a good ways to go. But at least I know this: “From such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).

Second Coming: We Are in Perilous Times

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the apostle Paul told us “that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1). Other translations render the word perilous as times of stress, hard, grievous, dangerous, distressing, difficult, extremely fierce, terrible, terrifying, and violent. I think it’s evident to any watchful believer in Christ that we are in the last days and that we are currently living through “perilous times.”

Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 29, 2020 (Wiki Media Commons)

In his letter to fellow disciple Timothy, Paul went on to list what to look for in these times (see 2 Timothy 3:2–9). What we are seeing in on our city streets right now—vandalism, rioting, looting, violence, and murder, under the banner of a worthy cause—is a reflection of Paul’s list. We seem to be at a precipice.

The List

Let’s review that list. I’ll add synonyms from other translations (other than the King James version) and my own comments along the way. You can decide for yourself if you are a witness of prophetic times:

  • “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” — selfish, self-absorbed, self-centered, the opposite of the love Christ shows to us
  • “covetous” — obsessed lovers of money, desiring the rightful property or relationships of others
  • “boasters” — pretentious, haughty, stuck up, self-congratulating
  • “proud” — arrogant, not humble, swaggering, ignorant, unwise, self-deceived
  • “blasphemers” — abusive, mocking and speaking evil of sacred things and of God and His Son
  • “disobedient to parents” — not honoring or respectful of parents, disobeying “the first commandment with promise” (Ephesians 6:2)
  • “unthankful” — grumbling, murmuring, ungrateful, unappreciative, lacking self-reflection
  • “unholy” — cursed, crude, profane, willfully self-defiled, ungodly, knowingly walking away from God’s commandments
  • “without natural affection” — cold, unloving, uncaring, unkind, heartless, callous, inhuman, hardhearted
  • “trucebreakers” — promise breakers, implacable, unwilling to reconcile with others, unforgiving
  • “false accusers” — pointing fingers, shaming, accusing, slandering, gossiping, backbiting, lying about others, not taking responsibility for their actions but blaming others
  • “incontinent” — lacking self-control, giving in to pleasure, without restraint, intemperate, dissolute, profligate, unashamedly justifying their giving in to carnal desire
  • “fierce” — mean, untamed, angry, brutal, savage, violent, ruthless, unmerciful, unrelentingly cruel, acting like wild animals
  • “despisers of those that are good” — opposed to and hating those who are good or are trying to be good, calling evil good and good evil
  • “traitors” — without principle, treacherous, turncoats, turning against friends, family, commitments, and allegiances to God, faith, and country
  • “heady” — self-important, conceited, full of themselves, excessive claims about self
  • “highminded” — pretentious, exaggerated, intellectual mocking
  • “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” — self-indulgent, sensual, led away by a variety of lusts, preferring physical pleasure over loving, honoring, and serving their Creator
  • “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” — pretending to be holy, acting like followers of God or higher principles but denying, mocking, and abusing God’s power

Turn Away

Paul advises us “turn away” from such and tells that this “folly shall be manifest unto all men.” I believe Paul meant we should turn away from people who behave and live like this, but I also think it means we must turn away from all these evils ourselves. This isn’t about judging others; it’s about living for Christ.

Turning away, for me, includes turning off the popular media voices who want to flip our world upside down while claiming to be full of virtue. I believe among the politically righteous there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, matching Paul’s descriptions of self-congratulating end-times characters.

We are and have been misled and deceived on a massive scale. Could this current unrest—a good measure of which appears to be legitimate protests co-opted by more nefarious actors—be an attempt to distract a nation from what is really going on behind closed doors? I believe it is.

You may also like: “The Riots and the Danger of False Narratives” from Meridian Magazine online.

The Way Out

If we deny our Creator, we will remain “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Always learning something new but forgetting God. Always seeking “the truth” but coming up unhappy and short. “These also resist the truth” because they are “men of corrupt minds, reprobate [lost] concerning the faith” of Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way [and] the truth” (John 14:6). If we want to find the truth, we have to first find ourselves in Him. There is no other way. Any other path is a false path.

There is hope for all of us through Christ, through humility and faith on His name, the faith to exercise sincere repentance and obedience to Jesus Christ, our Lord, Savior, and God.

I invite you, plead with you, to turn or return your heart to Jesus Christ so you may be led away from the coming calamity. This is not doom and gloom: this is a way out.

Be safe and lean on Jesus. I promise to do my best to follow my own advice.

Second Coming: Comparison of Matthew 24, Joseph Smith—Matthew, and Doctrine and Covenants 45

The Second Coming of Christ with angels by Harry Anderson. Courtesy Gospel Media Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The events of 2020 are creating a growing interest in the signs of the times. Here’s a comparison of Jesus’s Olivet Discourse as given in Matthew 24, the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 24 (including the last verse of chapter 23 in Matthew), plus section 45 of the Doctrine and Covenants. I trust you will find it helpful. You can see a PDF version of this comparison here. If you see anyway to improve this schema, please let me know using the contact form. Stay healthy, be safe, and God bless.

Matthew 23:39–Matthew 24:51 Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–55 Doctrine and Covenants 45
15 Wherefore, hearken and I will reason with you, and I will speak unto you and prophesy, as unto men in days of old.
23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 1 For I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth and know that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, until ye shall say: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him. Then understood his disciples that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God.
16a And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying:
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, shew him show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou hast said—They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate.
16b As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers,
17 For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel.
18 And now ye behold this temple which is in Jerusalem, which ye call the house of God, and your enemies say that this house shall never fall.
19 But, verily I say unto you, that desolation shall come upon this generation as a thief in the night, and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things, and do ye not understand them? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. 20 And this temple which ye now see shall be thrown down that there shall not be left one stone upon another.
3 ¶ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 And Jesus answered, and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you;
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 For many shall come in my name, sayingI am Christand shall deceive many;
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 7 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations, for my name’s sake;
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 8 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another;
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 9 And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 10 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold; 27 And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 11 But he that shall endure unto the end remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 12 When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.
32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
16 Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains: 13 Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains;
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 14 Let him who is on the housetop flee, and not return to take anything out of his house;
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 15 Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes;
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 16 And wo unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck in those days;
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 17 But Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day;
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 18 For then, in those days, shall be great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel, of God, since the beginning of the world their kingdom to until this time; no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 19 All things which have befallen them are only the beginning of the sorrows which shall come upon them.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 20 And except those days should be shortened, there should no none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 21 Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulation of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not;
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
6a And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: 23a Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; 26 And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
34 And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
6b see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 23b see that ye be not troubled, for all these things I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet. 35 And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
25 Behold, I have told you before. 24 Behold, I have told you before;
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 25 Wherefore, if they shall say unto you: Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not;
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 26 For as the lightning of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 27 And now I show unto you a parable. For Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.
28 And they shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars. 63 Ye hear of wars in foreign lands; but, behold, I say unto you, they are nigh, even at your doors, and not many years hence ye shall hear of wars in your own lands.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 29 Behold I speak for mine elect’s sake; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 33 And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
30 And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 31 And again, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked;
32 And again shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled.
29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 33 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. 42 And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.

 

28 And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
29 But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 34 Verily, I say unto you, this generation, in which these things shall be shown forth, shall not pass away until all these things I have told you shall be fulfilled. 21 And it shall come to pass, that this generation of Jews shall not pass away until every desolation which I have told you concerning them shall come to pass.
30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 35a Although, the days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; 22 Ye say that ye know that the end of the world cometh; ye say also that ye know that the heavens and the earth shall pass away;
35b but yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled. 23 And in this ye say truly, for so it is; but these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled.
24 And this I have told you concerning Jerusalem; and when that day shall come, shall a remnant be scattered among all nations;
25 But they shall be gathered again; but they shall remain until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 36 And, as I said before, after the tribulation of those days, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory; 44a And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels;
44b and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.
46 Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace blessed are you; for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected; and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth.
31a And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, 37a And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with a the great sound of a trumpet, 45a But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump,

 

45b and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.
31b and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 37b and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 43 And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place;
36 And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 38 Now learn a parable of the fig treeWhen his its branches is are yet tender, and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh at hand; 37 Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 39 So likewise ye, mine elect, when ye they shall see all these things, they shall know that it is he is near, even at the doors; 38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39 And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
40 And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.
41 And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
47 Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.
48 And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.
49 And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly.
50 And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.
51 And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
52 Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.
53 And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.
54 And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection; and it shall be tolerable for them.
55 And Satan shall be bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.
36 ¶ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 40 But of that day, and hour, no man one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 41 But as it was in the days of Noah were, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 42 For it shall be with them, as it was in the days that which were before the flood; for until that the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 43 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 44 Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 45 Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
42 ¶ Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 46 And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 47 But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 48 Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 49 Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 50a Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing;
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 50b and verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 51 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord delayeth his coming,
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 52 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken,
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 53 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 54 And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
55 And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses, saying: They shall be cut off from among the people; but the end of the earth is not yet, but by and by. 44b and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.
56 And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.
57 For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
58 And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
59 For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.
62 For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;
64 Wherefore I, the Lord, have said, gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me.
65 And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you.
66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
69 And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
70 And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
71 And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.

 

Second Coming: Comparison of Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith—Matthew

Image of Christ's Second Coming. Icon from Greece, circa 1700.
Icon of the Second Coming of Christ. Anonymous, Greece, circa 1700.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of Matthew 23:39–Matthew 24:51 and Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–55. Differences are highlighted in the right column in bold. Subtle changes, such as exchanging the word you for ye, are in bold italics. Words that have been deleted are struck through. I hope this helps you as you seek to discern the signs of the times. They are coming at us pretty fast. (You can download a PDF version of this chart here.)

Matthew 23:39–Matthew 24:51 Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1–55
23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 1 For I say unto you, that ye shall not see me henceforth and know that I am he of whom it is written by the prophets, until ye shall say: Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, in the clouds of heaven, and all the holy angels with him. Then understood his disciples that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God.
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, shew him show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou hast said—They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things, and do ye not understand them? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.
3 ¶ And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 And Jesus answered, and said unto them: Take heed that no man deceive you;
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 For many shall come in my name, sayingI am Christand shall deceive many;
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 7 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations, for my name’s sake;
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 8 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another;
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 9 And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 10 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold;
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 11 But he that shall endure unto the end remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 12 When you, therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, then you shall stand in the holy place; whoso readeth let him understand.
16 Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains: 13 Then let them who are in Judea flee into the mountains;
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 14 Let him who is on the housetop flee, and not return to take anything out of his house;
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 15 Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes;
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 16 And wo unto them that are with child, and unto them that give suck in those days;
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 17 But Therefore, pray ye the Lord that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day;
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 18 For then, in those days, shall be great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel, of God, since the beginning of the world their kingdom to until this time; no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 19 All things which have befallen them are only the beginning of the sorrows which shall come upon them.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 20 And except those days should be shortened, there should no none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the covenant, those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 21 Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews; and again, after the tribulation of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe him not;
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 22 For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 23 Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect’s sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all these things I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet.
25 Behold, I have told you before. 24 Behold, I have told you before;
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 25 Wherefore, if they shall say unto you: Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not;
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 26 For as the lightning of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 27 And now I show unto you a parable. For Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.
28 And they shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 29 Behold I speak for mine elect’s sake; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
30 And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 31 And again, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked;
32 And again shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled.
29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 33 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 34 Verily, I say unto you, this generation, in which these things shall be shown forth, shall not pass away until all these things I have told you shall be fulfilled.
35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 35 Although, the days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; but yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled.
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 36 And, as I said before, after the tribulation of those days, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory;
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 37 And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with a the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 38 Now learn a parable of the fig treeWhen his its branches is are yet tender, and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh at hand;
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 39 So likewise ye, mine elect, when ye they shall see all these things, they shall know that it is he is near, even at the doors;
36 ¶ But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 40 But of that day, and hour, no man one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 41 But as it was in the days of Noah were, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 42 For it shall be with them, as it was in the days that which were before the flood; for until that the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 43 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 44 Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 45 Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
42 ¶ Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 46 And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 47 But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 48 Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 49 Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 50a Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing;
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 50b and verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 51 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord delayeth his coming,
49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 52 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken,
50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 53 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 54 And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
55 And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses, saying: They shall be cut off from among the people; but the end of the earth is not yet, but by and by.

Second Coming: A Desolating Sickness

Painting by Peirart dou Tielt (ca. AD 1353).
Pierart dou Tielt, Tractatus Quartus bu Gilles li Muisit (Tournai, c. 1353). Burying victims of the Black Death.

Before the Second Coming of Christ, we know from scripture that an overflowing scourge or desolating sickness (likely  sicknesses) will be poured out from time to time on the earth.

We can’t know all the whens and wheres and hows of the Second Coming, but we can be aware of the signs so that when they appear, we will be prepared to act. I hope we can notice them early enough to act.

When men or devils boast that they can escape disease, death, or justice by their own power, that they can defeat the purposes of Almighty God, He is obliged to disabuse them of such a notion. For example, on several occasions, such as in 588 B.C. and A.D. 70, He flattened Jerusalem when the people of that city rejected and killed the prophets, including the Son of God. Mormon once asked, “Do ye suppose that ye can get rid of the justice of an offended God, who hath been trampled under feet of men. . . ?” (see 3 Nephi 28:35). The answer is no.

The Overflowing Scourge

Shortly before the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, Isaiah prophesied to scornful men who ruled the once holy city (see Isaiah 28:14):

Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us . . . [not so!] your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. (Isaiah 28:15, 18.)

Among Jesus’s last sermons during His mortal life was the Olivet discourse where He prophesied that pestilences—devastating epidemic diseases—would precede his Second Coming:

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Matthew 24:6–7; emphasis added. Compare Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:10–11.)

A Desolating Sickness

A scourge, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a cause of wide or great affliction,” but it appears from latter-day scripture that this scourge is more than affliction: it will lead to the death of many souls “until the earth is empty”, as written in the Doctrine and Covenants:

For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. (Doctrine and Covenants 5:19; emphasis added.)

Later in that same book of modern scripture we read:

And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. (Doctrine and Covenants 45:31.)

And similarly in the same book:

For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness. And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord . . . (Doctrine and Covenants 84:96–98; emphasis added.)

Here the Lord tells us that the scourge will be a desolating sickness that will cover the land, that plagues that will not be taken from the earth until His work is complete.  It is easy to imagine, given recent news, that a disease or series of diseases could get out of control and take thousands, even millions of lives, in spite of frantic human efforts.

With regard to COVID-19, active in 2020 and declared as a global pandemic, I’ll say it’s a possible candidate as one of these desolating sicknesses. I’ll also go out on a short limb and say we are living in prophetic season.

The knowledge and wisdom of men alone cannot save us from the decrees of God which will remain in force unless the inhabitants of the earth repent and turn to Him. He is both a just and merciful God, but mercy is not plentiful for the non-repentant. Given what we now see with ever-widening eyes, repentance is not always the first thing on people’s minds these days, but one can hope. You’ve heard this good advice which I repeat: hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Those who are sincerely repentant are not doomed to suffer. Quite the contrary. They are promised an escape, but such promises are not extended to those who are too proud to repent or too blind to see a need for humility.

These are the last days. Of this I am certain.

This updated post was first published in October 2014.

Second Coming: Worthy to Escape

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NinthAvStonesWesternWall.JPG
Stones “thrown down” from the wall of the temple in Jerusalem, 70 A.D.

I’ve released a revised and expanded version of my book on the Second Coming, In the Last Days: A Brief Guide to Christ’s Second Coming for Latter-day Saints — Revised and Expanded. I continue to study the topic with great interest. I feel these events are imminent.

I’m watching the behavior of faithful Saints around me. They’re watchful, but not worried. They’re listening to the counsel of inspired leaders, but not overdoing it. They’re quietly and thoughtfully preparing, without fanfare or fear-mongering or by drawing attention to themselves. They have a quiet confidence.

Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land. I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear. (Doctrine and Covenants 38:29, 30.)

They’re spending more time in the temple and in the scriptures, two things they treasure, and they’re repenting and drawing closer to God. They don’t worry so much about public standing as they do kneeling in private. They have confidence and peace in God and in themselves.  They’re not deceived by the mockers who are leaning out the windows of the great and spacious building, accusing and pointing their fingers. Some are leaning out so far they’re about to fall out (see 1 Nephi 8:26, 27).

I was recently struck by this verse in Luke from his chapter reporting Jesus’s Olivet discourse:

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36; emphasis added.)

I see a cross-reference with this verse the great sermon by King Benjamin:

If ye shall keep the commandments . . . ye shall prosper in the land, and your enemies shall have no power over you. (Mosiah 2:31; emphasis added.)

What can we do to be “worthy to escape” the desolations that will precede the Second Coming and live so that our “enemies [will] have not power over” us? Here are a few suggestions that will help:

  • We can strive to do and be our best. We can work on keeping the commandments and correcting ourselves when we mess up. Perfection is not required but persistence in doing what is right is, aka “keep on keeping on.”
  • We can heed good counsel and keep our eyes and ears and heart open to what is right and true though it may be at odds with popular political sentiments. “Watch . . . and pray always” (Luke 21:36).
  • We can treasure up the words of eternal life, for “whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (see Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:37). That’s a great promise from Jesus Christ.
  • We can avoid getting distracted by our devices, the media, and the empty promises of the world that can dull the lines of divine communication. Satan’s spider web is “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things” (see Mark 4:19). We can see it glistening with the dew of pride; we don’t need to walk into it.

When the Romans attacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D, fulfilling Jesus’s Olivet prophecy, tradition holds that the early Christians escaped to a gentile settlement called Pella, having been warned by “an oracle given by revelation” (Eusebius [260–340 A.D.]). May we all likewise be found “worthy to escape.”

This updated post was first published in July 2017.

Second Coming: Three Questions for Truth Seekers

meme-stanfill-light-1578536-tabletIn the spring of 2005, I had a dream. It startled me awake at 4:30 a.m. Right then, I wrote down everything I could remember in my journal. It was a dream about apostasy preceding the Second Coming of Christ. I also saw and entered a desolate temple, one that had not yet been built at the time, but now stands overlooking a valley.

I only speak for myself, but I believe the apostasy I saw in my dream 14 years ago is starting to happen.

If you believe the scriptures are true and of value, this post may help you. That’s my intent.

The Great and Spacious Building

We’re passing through a difficult season for people of faith. Doubts and dissensions are edging friends, family, and other loved ones closer to and into the “great and spacious building,” the building Nephi saw in his dream many centuries ago (1 Nephi 8:26; 11:36).

Don’t get me wrong. Those doubts are normal and valuable. They’re healthy and part of the plan. They help us to find our way when we seek to turn them over and resolve them. They challenge us and help us discover who we are.

We don’t enter the doors of the great and spacious Airbnb because of doubts. We enter it because of the way we handle our doubts, by letting go of the iron rod which is the word of God (1 Nephi 11:25; see also 1 Nephi 15:23–24).

If we don’t believe the scriptures then we have to face moral relativism with its shifting values and rules to suit those who wish to control us. When we rely on this relativism, we can find ourselves controlled by those in positions of power that rarely have our best interests at heart. There are many lessons about this in history—the Soviet Union, communist China, and Nazi Germany to name a few, where upwards of 100 million people lost there lives on the altar of ideology.

Please take a moment to consider a few questions.

1. Have we humbled ourselves as little children?

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:2–4; emphasis added.)

An adult can be childlike if she is open, genuine, sincere, present, and guileless like a little child, or at least trying to be. If not the doors of the kingdom can seem shut against us when we’re the ones actually shutting those doors through our unbelief.

2. Do we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit?

Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. (2 Nephi 2:6–7; emphasis added.)

The grace of Christ’s Atonement is for those who offer broken hearts to Him. The “ends of the law,” the gifts of forgiveness and redemption, can’t be offered to us unless we have a contrite, repentant, willing heart and spirit. If that is missing, pride is likely “the man [or woman] behind the curtain.”

3. Do we bear the fruits of Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22–23.)

The qualities of God’s Spirit show us God’s nature and qualities. If we’re not in love with His qualities, we’re probably not in love with Him. When these qualities are absent, light and truth, or the perception of them, are absent as well.

Different Motives than Advertised

If we don’t have or have lost these Christ-like qualities, there’s a chance we have different motivations than advertised or we may have hidden desires to set aside the truth so we can pursue other paths. I’m not talking about the honest, sincere, open but struggling questioner. I’m speaking of a different type of seeker.

If there are commandments we don’t want to obey or standards we don’t want to uphold, we sometimes find a way to make it okay to not obey. If we’re resolving our doubts with humility, with a willing, open heart, with heaven-searching eyes, and with the guidance of the Spirit, we’ll also be inclined to obey. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s a struggle. But God’s promises are absolutely reliable. His answers are already there. We just have to find out for ourselves how to find and understand them.

The Spirit of the Accuser

I have plenty of weaknesses, but I want to obey and continue to discover truth. One thing I do know for certain is the difference between darkness and light, between those who are Christlike or attempting to be, and those who are not Christlike.

You may know this already: The word devil comes from the Greek diablos which means “slanderer” or “accuser.” The apostle John calls Satan “the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10). In my mind, he’s a disbarred attorney now representing the opposition party. This is not like Christ.

If anyone is coming after you and your faith with a pointed finger, accusations, mockery, and is belittling you and your beliefs, please consider the previous paragraph as a possible source for those behaviors, conscious or not. You have no obligation to listen to or follow someone who is not striving to be like Christ.

Back Pocket Scriptures

Throughout my adult life, I’ve kept a couple of scriptures close at hand. I’ll call them back pocket scriptures. They help me clear my mind, be more discerning, and remain in the light.

And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. (Doctrine and Covenants 50:23.)

God says, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), not “let there be darkness.” He uses light to destroy darkness. Darkness can never overcome light. It never will. Darkness can only creep into places where light is absent.

Darkness and light are not friends. They never shake hands. There are places where God reigns and where his rebellious son Lucifer dwells. They don’t spend much time together anymore.

Here’s another few verses that have stuck with me since the season when I was first assailed by persecution in my youth. They’re from our Savior:

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away. (3 Nephi 11:29–30; emphasis added.)

I try to steer clear of contention because Christ has asked us to to steer clear of it, for “only by pride cometh contention. . . .” (Proverbs 13:10; emphasis added).

Also, I’ve treasured these words since I memorized them when I was teenager:

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36.)

When I remember these words, I know what I need to do to get answers. The Savior will never fail us if we approach Him in the the way He’s asked us to approach Him, looking to Him always and setting our doubts and fears aside.

Finally, let’s end with a few words from Moroni:

And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness. (Ether 12:26; emphasis added.)

If you have mockers on every side but you still long for and seek the meekness of Christ, you’ll have God’s unfailing grace to help you.

You’ll know what to do. You’ll know what to say. You’ll have remarkably clear answers. And, you’ll have peace of mind and heart, in spite of earth and hell.