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.

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.

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.

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.

Second Coming: Iniquity Shall Abound

If you’re watching the signs of the times, here’s one that’s pretty evident:

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12.)

There’s little more iniquity as cold hearted than what I am about to share, a signal that modern civilization is in jeopardy.

This isn’t a topic I want to talk about. It’s so perverse and sickening that I get physically and mentally messed up just thinking about it. It’s hard to imagine crimes worse than these, but in the near future, they will be spoken from the housetops, and we’ll likely be very surprised when we discover the perpetrators.

I am talking about human trafficking, especially child sex trafficking. Although illegal, human slavery is the worst it has ever been in terms of numbers of victims. It’s one of the great blights on our nation and the world.

Let facts be submitted to a candid world:

The statistics are staggering. It’s hard to think about the unbearable human suffering they represent, especially the suffering of innocents. It’s time to face it. This horrible crime is growing.

Okay, now for the hard part. I’ll do this in the form of questions. I’ll let you do your own research. The answers are very controversial which will distract from the message. You may be surprised by what you find with a few Google searches.

  • Given the profit per victim ($21,800), who can actually afford to “purchase” a sex slave?
  • Why are more and more sex crimes in the entertainment industry coming to light?
  • Why do California and Texas account for the largest arrests for trafficking in the United States? Think logically.
  • How could trafficking reach such an astounding rate? Who in the higher spheres of influence has the power to change this? Who has been turning a blind eye to it?
  • Why are the numbers of human trafficking arrests rising in the United States over the last two years?
  • What bill was signed into law in late 2017 that helps bring down human trafficking perpetrators?

There are those who would like to make this go away. Some media outlets don’t give it fair airtime because, well, you decide.

How can you help? You can get involved with or consider a monthly contribution to organizations like Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) or India-based Prajwala. We can all take action, with a simple, daily prayer, or dedicating time to learning more about it, or making others aware of what is going on in our communities. It’s time to wake from the sleep of hell. We can all find ways to speak up and make a difference.

Learn more by watching The Abolitionists or Operation Toussaint. For a shorter introduction, watch Tim Ballard, founder of O.U.R. in this Talk at Google.