Second Coming: Angels Sounding the Trump of God

Courtesy LDS Media Library
Statue of the Angel Moroni atop the Nauvoo Temple

At or just before His Second Coming, seven angels will sound the trump of God to the inhabitants of the earth, preparing them for the appearance of Jesus Christ. All nations on earth will hear these startling messages of judgment and destruction (D&C 88:94) and “fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:91).

Seven is a sacred number representing perfection or completeness. These angels will have a lot to say and do to finish their work of preparation. Following is a recap of some of their messages as recorded in the Book of Revelation, chapter 8 through 18 and in the Doctrine and Covenants chapter 88 verses 87 through 116.

In the Book of Revelation, beginning in chapter 8, John writes of “seven angels which had the seven trumpets [who] prepared themselves to sound” (Revelation 8:6). This chapter reveals that these angels will bring destruction to the earth:

• “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up” (v. 7).

• “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed” (v. 8–9; compare 16:3).

• “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter” (v. 10–11; compare 16:4–7).

• “And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise” (v. 12; compare 16:8–9).

The first 12 verses of chapter 9 speaks of the fifth angel who has the key to the bottomless pit and who will send forth and hurt “those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (v. 4; compare 16:10–11). Verses 13 through 31 talk of the sixth angel. If my math is right, this angel foretells the appearance of 200,000,000 mounted horsemen—when or where was there ever an army to compare—who go forth to destroy many of those who will not repent. (See also chapter 16:12–16).

In chapter 10 of Revelation, the seventh angel (v. 7) comes down from heaven (v. 1) and “in his hand [he has] a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices” (v. 2–3). John was forbidden to write what the seven thunders uttered but upon ingesting the little book in the angel’s hand was promised that he would yet prophesy “before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings (v. 11). (See also chapter 16:17–21).

Then again, in the 14th chapter of Revelation, we read of “another angel fly[ing] in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:6–7).

Then another angel speaks saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (v. 8). Then the third angel speaks: “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb . . .” (v. 9–11).  And several others followed, one saying: “Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe” (v. 15–20).

In Revelation 15, John tells us that the seven angels will pour out the last plagues on the earth.

And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled. (Revelation 15:6–8.)

Chapter 16 recounts the plagues and their effect on those who “repented not of their deeds” (v. 11).

Doctrine and Covenants 88:92–106: also speaks of seven angels, angels crying with a loud voice: “Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (v. 92).

• Though not named, the first angel will sound with these words: “That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned” (v. 94; compare Revelation 17).

• The second angel: “Then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh” (v. 99).

• The third angel: “Then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation; and these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth” (v. 100–101).

• The fourth angel: “There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still” (v. 102).

• The fifth angel: “Committeth the everlasting gospel—flying through the midst of heaven, unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people; and this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth—for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come” (v. 103–104; compare Revelation 14:6–7).

• The sixth angel: “She is fallen who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; she is fallen, is fallen!” (v. 105).

• Finally, the seventh angel: “It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God” (v. 106; compare Revelation 16:17).

Then the first through the seventh angels shall sound again, revealing “the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God” during the first through the seventh thousand-year periods (see D&C 88:108–110).

What are we to learn from these accounts? That God will send seven angels at or near Christ’s coming and these angels will both pronounce and execute secret acts, woes, judgments, and destructions that will come upon the earth at the time of Christ’s Second Coming and also, it seems, at the end of the temporal world, which will occur after the Millennium.

To the faithful, the trump of angels will be welcome, glorious, and joyous; for those who are not faithful, no so much.

Second Coming: "All the Proud . . . Shall Be Stubble"

The Prophet Malachi, by
Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1310

Malachi, who prophesied about 430 years before the first coming of Christ, wrote these words now recorded in the last chapter of the last book of the Old Testament:

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Malachi 4:1; emphasis added.)

The Savior Himself quoted this verse, among others from Malachi, when he visited the Nephites in America after his resurrection (see 3 Nephi 25:1). He also spoke these words in modern times (see D&C 29:9; 64:24).

The prophet Nephi, who lived less than 200 years before Malachi, also invoked the same notion (see 1 Nephi 22:15 and 2 Nephi 26:4), and when the angel Moroni visited 17-year-old Joseph Smith on the night of September 22, 1823, he quoted Malachi’s words a little differently:

For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Joseph Smith-History 1:37; emphasis added.)

Section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the original appendix of the Book of Commandments, also cites the verse (see D&C 133:64).

Who are the proud, why will they burn, and who will burn them up? Why do these words appear eight times in the standard works? Let’s uncover together a few things that the scriptures and modern prophets have to say about this searing subject.

Who Are the Proud?

On the morning of April 3, 1989, I sat in our living room and watched Gordon B. Hinckley on TV read Ezra Taft Benson’s landmark address, “Beware of Pride.” I remember that day well. It was the day of my father’s funeral.

I’ll call out just a few lines of his inspired words. I recommend clicking the link above and reading the whole talk. I believe it’s one of the most important and memorable messages from a modern prophet in my lifetime.

It’s a clear, prophetic standard against which we can measure voices of contention and dissent against the messages of light. If the chatter on the Internet matches President Benson’s description of pride, set it aside and keep searching.

Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance. . . . Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means “hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.” It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.

Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.”

Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled.

It was through pride that Christ was crucified. The Pharisees were wroth because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, which was a threat to their position, and so they plotted His death.

At the end of this world, when God cleanses the earth by fire, the proud will be burned as stubble [but] the meek shall inherit the earth.

These words are humbling. I’m proud and I know it. I struggle with thinking I have answers when all I have is opinions. Sometimes I go a whole day without saying something arrogantly stupid, but most days I don’t. This is on my mind all the time, and I’m working on it every day.

Who Will Burn Them Up?

When the Savior comes again, arrayed “in flaming fire [to take] vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel” (see 2 Thessalonians 1:8), He will not be alone. Jude is among those who told us why. He quoted these words from Enoch in his short but powerful epistle:

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14–15; emphasis added.)

Paul said that “the Lord shall consume [the wicked] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [them] with the brightness of his coming” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8). Christ will return with many thousands of His saints and the truly wicked will not be able withstand their presence. Light will consume all corruption and all arguments against God will be reduced to ashes (see Malachi 4:3 and 3 Nephi 25:3).

Sometimes the Lord doesn’t seem to be very tolerant or politically correct. This is one of those instances. I know some people take issue with that. They have told me so. It doesn’t fit their world view. But if I know anything, I know that God lives and that His words are true. He has told us that He “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance” (D&C 1:31; compare Alma 45:16). When He comes again, we will experience what that means first hand. 

Better Employment

Pride comes in degrees and we all have a degree of it. I certainly have it and I’m not proud of that. But I as I observe, I learn and do better. Awareness and admission are two keys.

In the worst and perhaps most extreme sense, the proud are intellectually arrogant but spiritually ignorant. They think they know it all and imagine that they win all arguments. They set aside the wisdom of the ages, preferring instead a moment of popularity and political righteousness. They can’t ever imagine themselves being wrong or admitting that they are.

They bring spiritual and physical harm to themselves and others while not regretting their words or choices. They see nothing wrong with destroying life so they can selfishly enjoy theirs. Their desires know no bounds and they love to indulge in physical pleasures. Their feel no need to stop their addictions and fixations, which alienate so many. They consider themselves the kings and queens of their own destiny.

They are uninnocently immodest in dress, words, actions, and imagination. They are defensive and refuse to change. They are intentionally deceitful though unintentionally self-deceived. They are willful, unreasonable, and defiant. They set at naught the wisdom and counsel of God and the words of His messengers. They belittle what is pure and mock what is sacred. They call good evil and darkness light.

I cannot judge nor condemn them. It’s not my place. But for my own protection, I need to recognize and discern them—and avoid them. And I do.

Christ has said that He “will not spare any that remain in Babylon” (see D&C 64:24). My advice, to myself and everyone else, is to get out of Babylon and give up the long career of pride. That last, dreadful day will not be a happy one if we don’t. We can find a much better Employer.

Second Coming: September 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse, April 15, 2014, by Robert Jay GaBany (Wikicommons)

September 2015 will be an interesting month. Several astronomical events will fall on the same days as holy days on the Hebrew calendar. I’ll let you decide if these events are significant in regard to the Last Days or not. Let’s take a tour of the month and see what will happen.

Happy New Year!

Rosh Hashanah (ראש השנה) or Jewish New Year is also known as the Feast of the Trumpets. It begins at sundown on Sunday, September 13, 2015. It occurs on the first two days of the month Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. Lenet Hadley Reed wrote an article entitled “The Golden Plates and the Feast of the Trumpets” in the January 2000 Ensign. I recommend it.

The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the Days of Awe. A partial solar eclipse will occur on September 13, 2015, though it will be visible in certain areas of the southern hemisphere.

Shemitah and Jubilee

The shemitah (pronounced schmee-ta) is the seventh or sabbatical year, a year of rest for the land according to Exodus 23:10–11:

And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: but the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.

Some controversy exists about when the next sabbatical year will fall, but according to the Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition ([Thomson Gale, 2006], 623–628), the shemitah began in 2014 and will end this year. (See Leviticus 25:1–7, 18–22; Deuteronomy 15:1–6; also see the entry on the sabbatical year in the Bible Dictionary.)

After seven times seven years comes the fiftieth or jubilee year (see Leviticus 25:8–17; see also the Bible Dictionary entry on the jubilee year). Some believe that 2015/2016 will be the 70th jubilee year since the nation of Israel entered the land of Canaan. However, there is much dissension about calendar dates so I will not go out on a limb here.

The Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur (יום הכיפורים) or the Day of Atonement begins at sundown on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. For Jews, it is the holiest day of the year, a day of fasting, prayer, and repentance.

Joseph Smith received the plates of gold from the angel Moroni 188 years ago on this day; however, September 22, 1827, fell on the same day as the Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets that year.

The Feast of the Tabernacles

Sukkot (סֻכּוֹת) or the Feast of the Tabernacles or Booths begins on sundown on Sunday, September 27, 2015. A total lunar eclipse will occur during the evening of September 27, 2015. If you live in northern Utah, for example, the eclipse will reach its apex at 8:47 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. By the way, September 27, 2015 is important to me personally: I heard the first missionary discussion 40 years ago on this day and it stuck! 

The dates of the holy days and the eclipses are astronomical certainties. The Lord gave the “lights in the firmament . . . for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (see Genesis 1:14) so there may be significance to these phenomena. But the dates for the shemitah and jubilee are not so certain. When someone makes bold claims as to the exact date of a prophesied event, well, I am careful not to board a train for which God has not given me a ticket. But it’s always good to be aware and watching. As the Savior warned, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).

Second Coming: Be Not Moved until the Day of the Lord Come

I recently saw this short video by David Christensen and wanted to pass it on.


Here are the quotes with sources from the video. Ezra Taft Benson said on March 4, 1979 at BYU:

For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the Second Coming of the Lord. Every previous gospel dispensation has drifted into apostasy, but ours will not. True, there will be some individuals who will fall away; but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its head—even Jesus Christ. While our generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time. It is that God has saved for the final inning some of his strongest children, who will help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. And that is where you come in, for you are the generation that must be prepared to meet your God. . . . There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time as there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been as well organized. Now is the great day of the devil’s power, with the greatest mass murderers of all time living among us. But now is also the great day of the Lord’s power, with the greatest number ever of priesthood holders on the earth. And the showdown is fast approaching.

George Q. Cannon said on May 6, 1866 in Salt Lake City in (probably) the Old Tabernacle:

God has reserved spirits for this dispensation who have the courage and determination to face the world, and all the powers of the evil one, visible and invisible, to proclaim the gospel, and maintain the truth, and establish and build up the Zion of our God, fearless of all consequences. He has sent these spirits in this generation to lay the foundation of Zion, never more to be overthrown, and to raise up a seed that will be righteous, and that will honor God, and honor Him supremely, and be obedient to Him under all circumstances.

Henry B. Eyring said on January 5, 2005 at BYU Idaho:

Fear shall come upon all people. But you and I know that the Lord has prepared places of safety to which He is eager to guide us. . . . As the challenges around us increase, we must commit to do more to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Casual prayer won’t be enough. Reading a few verses of the scripture won’t be enough. Doing the minimum of what the Lord asks of us won’t be enough. Hoping that we will have the Atonement work in our lives and that we will perhaps sometimes feel the influence of the Holy Ghost won’t be enough. And one great burst of effort won’t be enough.

Recorded in the May 1982 edition of the New Era magazine are these words from Ezra Taft Benson:

This preparation must consist of more than just casual membership in the Church. You must learn to be guided by personal revelation and the counsel of the living prophet so you will not be deceived. . . . We know not the day nor the hour of His coming, but of this you may feel assured: You stand close to the great day of the Lord! In His words of modern revelation, we say to you, “Seek the face of the Lord, always” (D&C 101:38).

You will live in the midst of economic, political, and spiritual instability. When you see these signs—unmistakable evidences that His coming is nigh—be not troubled, but, “stand … in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come” (D&C 87:8). Holy men [and women] stand in holy places and these holy places include our temples, our chapels, our homes, and the stakes of Zion, which are, as the Lord declares, “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth” (D&C 115:6).

Thomas S. Monson as the new president of the Church said on April 6, 2008 in the Conference Center:

I know without question, my brothers and sisters, that God lives. I testify to you that this is His work. I testify as well that our Savior Jesus Christ is at the head of this Church, which bears His name. I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work. I felt those promptings as a young bishop, guided to the homes where there was spiritual—or perhaps temporal—want. I felt them again as a mission president in Toronto, Canada, working with wonderful missionaries who were a living witness and testimony to the world that this work is divine and that we are led by a prophet. I have felt them throughout my service in the Twelve and in the First Presidency and now as President of the Church. I testify that each one of us can feel the Lord’s inspiration as we live worthily and strive to serve Him.

Second Coming: Secret Combinations

Cain and Abel by Pietro Novelli (1603–1647)

The phrases secret combination or secret combinations appear 20 times in the standard works, mostly in the Book of Mormon. A secret combination is a pact between two or more parties to commit criminal acts, usually violent, under a cloak of secrecy—often involving secret societies and the exchange of oaths and signs—for gain, power, and the glory of this world.

Probably the first secret combination was made between Satan and Cain who slew his brother Abel in order to obtain his flocks. The annihilation of the Jaredite and Nephite peoples who once lived on the American continents were precipitated and accelerated by secret combinations, as Moroni explains:

And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God; for the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man. And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites. And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not. (Ether 8:18–22; emphasis added)

In 1833, the Lord explained that He gave the Word of Wisdom “in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days” (D&C 89:4). This also suggests the possible presence of secret combinations. Let me explain.

In the revelation known as section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord counsels us against using such addictive substances as alcohol and tobacco. It seems that the modern businesses that purvey these and other addictive and harmful substances have likely been cooked up by “conspiring men” for gain, under the protection of local and national laws. I am assured that such businesses will cease to exist when Christ reigns supreme over this earth again.

I am not much on conspiracy theories and I don’t wish to delve into or postulate on them, but I constantly see evidence of coalitions of evil intent which the scriptures describe as secret combinations. I fear they will become so widespread that they will prove the near overthrow or near entire destruction of families, corporations, governments, societies, even civilization itself, before the Lord comes again. But they will not succeed.

Second Coming: Whatsoever Nation Shall Possess This Land Shall Serve God or Be Swept Off

Destruction of Jerusalem by Gary L. Kapp. Courtesy LDS Media Library

The Book of Mormon is a textbook for the latter days. Most everything that happened to the previous nations that possessed the lands that we now call North and South America will happen to us. One of the things that will happen is that the wicked will be swept from the land when the fulness of God’s wrath will be visited upon them.

Near the end of the book, Moroni wrote these words as he related the history of the nation of the Jaredites from the Book of Ether:

And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them. And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. (Ether 2:8–10; emphasis added.)

This seems to apply to any land of promise. For example, when Jerusalem fell into spiritual ruin, the Babylonians (pictured above; see 2 Kings 24, 25) and the Romans destroyed and flattened the city. In the Book of Mormon, insuperable destruction swept the land of wicked inhabitants at the time of the Jaredites, at the time of Christ’s death, and when the Nephites were destroyed by the Lamanites in the early centuries after Christ appeared in America.

I wish to say that there is a difference between the wicked and the righteous. Given the political rhetoric of our day, sometimes we hear evil called good and good called evil (see Isaiah 5:20), but rest assured that there will be a day that will burn as an oven where all the proud and wicked will be as dry stubble in the field and the righteous “shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of [their] feet” (see Malachi 4:1, 3).

We seem to live in the midst of a cyclone of iniquity. The storm could quiet through repentance, through the acceptance of God’s existence and laws, but such will not be the case. Not in this era.

Second Coming: The Same Day Lot Went Out of Sodom It Rained Fire and Brimstone

Sometime before His Olivet discourse, which He gave only days before His death, the Savior prophesied of His Second Coming in Luke chapter 17:

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:26–30; emphasis added.)

As it was in the days of Noah, as it was in the days of Lot, so will it be when the Son of God returns again to earth. It seems that day will be a scene of sudden, mass destruction. Why? I’ll explore what happened to Lot and his family. It’ll give us an idea of what might happen on the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).

Lot Moves into a Bad Neighborhood

Before Sodom was destroyed, Abraham and Lot, Abraham’s nephew, lived near Bethel and Ai, probably about 15 to 20 miles (24 to 32 kilometers) north of Jerusalem. Between them they owned a lot of livestock and they couldn’t live near each other without their herdsmen arguing, so Lot and his family departed to the east, to the fertile, alluvial plain near the city of Sodom. This area was likely just northeast of the Dead Sea (also called the Salt Sea). 

Lot was in for a little trouble though because “the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly” (Genesis 13:13).

In time, holy men came to Abraham and Sarah to tell them of the birth of Isaac, and as the men departed, the Lord revealed his intentions for Sodom to Abraham:

And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. (Genesis 18:20–21; emphasis added.)

Abraham reasoned with the Lord, pleading that He spare the cities if only ten righteous people were there. The Lord promised that He would not destroy them for the sake of ten. Nevertheless, in the end, the cities were not spared.

Lot Warned by Angels

When two angels arrived in Sodom, they stayed in Lot’s house. I’ll rely on the New International Version to tell us clearly what happened next.

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. . . . [can’t bear to leave in the part about Lot’s daughters] Don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Get out of our way,” they replied. “This fellow came here as a foreigner, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.” They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door. But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. (NIV Genesis 19:4–11.)

Jude, who was likely Jesus’s younger brother, wrote in his epistle that:

Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (NIV Jude 1:7.)

But immorality and perversion weren’t Sodom’s only sins. The Lord also condemned Jerusalem by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, comparing her to Sodom:

Thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways. As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread [overeating], and abundance of idleness [unconcerned, perhaps lazy or apathetic] was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. (Ezekiel 16:46–50; emphasis added.)

Lot Escapes, Barely

Lot tried to warn his sons in law, but they thought he was full of beans. When Lot lingered the next morning, the angels took Lot and his family by the hand and (“set”) them outside the walls of the city. After they entered the nearby village of Zoar (Bela), “the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground” (Genesis 19:23–25).

Remember Lot’s Wife

When Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction, which she had been forbidden to do, she was reduced to a pillar of salt.

In his testimony to His disciples, Jesus warned: “Remember Lot’s wife.” What should we remember about her? Against the counsel of angels, she looked back. She chose her own way and suffered the fate of those who remained in the city.

I don’t know precisely what happened to Lot’s wife, but I have a suspicion that she not only looked back, she actually turned back and placed herself within the sulfuric strike zone. What was she after? I don’t know. But this we do know: she brought her punishment upon herself. (Jeffrey R. Holland gave a wonderful devotional at BYU entitled “Remember Lot’s Wife.” Recommended reading.)

What Can We Learn from This Story?

Heed the warnings of the holy prophets, warn others to flee from sin, flee from sin ourselves, and don’t look back.

One Last Word: Where Was Sodom? 

The archeologist Steven Collins believes that Tall el-Hammam, just northeast of the Dead Sea, is a geographical and archeological match for the site of ancient Sodom. He has been excavating the tell since 2005 and has discovered a thick layer of ash and other evidence that the city was exposed to a sudden, intense heat reaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. After the city was destroyed, the location was uninhabited for some 700 years. We can’t be certain that Tall el-Hammam is the same place as Sodom as there are arguments against it, but I believe it might just be the place. 

Why do I write these posts? I know the Lord wants me to write them. I hope they help someone out there to feel better prepared for the Second Coming. Writing them has helped me feel better prepared, that’s for sure.

Second Coming: The Constitution on the Brink of Ruin

National Archives

The Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied that the day would come when the Constitution of the United States would be in great jeopardy. (I am not speaking of the White Horse Prophecy but of other, historically reliable statements made by the Prophet and others.) I see this event as one of the signs of the Second Coming.

I believe that the Constitution of our land is a living document and that it may be adapted and has been adapted according to the voice of the people. There are provisions in the Constitution itself for making such changes. Those kinds of changes—the kind that follow due process—don’t trouble me.

How and in what way the Constitution of the United States will be pushed to the brink, I won’t venture to guess; however, I have watched with interest the administrative and judicial challenges to the Constitution that have arisen in recent years. No doubt we will yet see many tests of the elasticity of this incredibly important document.

Who is the real source of the Constitution? The Lord states in the Doctrine and Covenants that the Constitution was established by Him and “by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up [for] this very purpose”:

The laws and constitution of the people . . . I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. . . . And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (D&C 101:77,78,80.)

I have no doubt that the Constitution made it possible for the gospel to be restored some 40 years after it was accepted by this nation as the supreme law of the land. 

But how or when will the Constitution falter? We have in the handwriting of Martha Jane Knowlton Coray and Larinda Pratt Weihe the following statement uttered by the Prophet Joseph on July 19, 1840, when he was just 34 years old (that’s 175 years ago today):

Even this nation [the United States] will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin this people will be the Staff up[on] which the Nation shall lean and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction. . . . (See also “I Have a Question,” Ensign, June 1976.)

Eliza R. Snow said of this statement or of a similar statement:

I heard the prophet say, ‘The time will come when the government of these United States will be so nearly overthrown through its corruption, that the Constitution will hang as it were by a single hair, and the Latter-day Saints—the Elders of Israel—will step forward to its rescue and save it.’ (From Journal History, MSF 143 #28, July 24, 1871; see also “I Have a Question,” Ensign, June 1976.)

I was sitting in the Marriott Center on the BYU campus on September 16, 1986 and heard these words from the mouth of Ezra Taft Benson with my own ears:

I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. But it will not be saved in Washington. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church—men and women who will subscribe to and abide by the principles of the Constitution.

It’s not my purpose to speculate how this will or could happen. My only hope is that by sharing sturdy and verifiable quotes and facts regarding the last times, readers will feel forearmed and better prepared for the second appearing of Jesus Christ.

But let me say this much: I feel strongly that the Constitution will suffer when the majority of voices in this nation cry out for iniquity. Let me close with these words of Mosiah, warning his people of a day to come:

If the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29:27.) 

Second Coming: The Disintegration of the Family

Courtesy LDS Media Library

Almost 20 years ago, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” President Hinckley shared it for the first time at a general Relief Society meeting on September 23, 1995. He gave it as part of a talk entitled, “Stand Strong against the Wiles of the Devil.” Before he read the proclamation publicly, he introduced it with these words:

With so much of sophistry that is passed off as truth, with so much of deception concerning standards and values, with so much of allurement and enticement to take on the slow stain of the world, we have felt to warn and forewarn. In furtherance of this we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets, seers, and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history.

To me the most chilling sentence in the document is near the end: “Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

How has the traditional family held up in recent years? Here are a few telling indicators. I’ll let you judge and draw your own conclusions about these statistics.

  • In 2013, more than 41 percent of births in the United States were to unmarried women. The number was 5 percent in 1960. The following analyses of this trend comes from the Child Trends data bank and cites 15 studies:

    Children born to unmarried mothers are more likely to grow up in a single-parent household, experience instable living arrangements, live in poverty, and have socio-emotional problems. . . . As these children reach adolescence, they are more likely to have low educational attainment, engage in sex at a younger age, and have a birth outside of marriage. . . .  As young adults, children born outside of marriage are more likely to be idle (neither in school nor employed), have lower occupational status and income, and have more troubled marriages and more divorces than those born to married parents. . . .

  • Between 1973 and 2011, some 53 million legal abortions took place in the United States. In 2011, 85.5 percent of abortions were performed for unmarried women.
  • In spite of some statistics to the contrary, divorce rates have not declined but continue to be high though these rates may have flattened because younger people tend to wait longer to get married and cohabitation is now commonplace. 
  • Last fall (2014), the marriage rate reached a 93-year low with a rate of 50.3 percent for Americans ages 18 and older (this rate includes same-sex couples). The highest marriage rate occurred in 1960 when it reached 72.2 percent. 
  • A synopsis of the book The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (The National Academies Press, 2014) states:
  • The rate of imprisonment in the United States more than quadrupled during the last four decades. The U.S. penal population of 2.2 million adults is by far the largest in the world. Just under one-quarter of the world’s prisoners are held in American prisons. The U.S. rate of incarceration, with nearly 1 out of every 100 adults in prison or jail, is 5 to 10 times higher than the rates in Western Europe and other democracies. The U.S. prison population is largely drawn from the most disadvantaged part of the nation’s population: mostly men under age 40, disproportionately minority, and poorly educated. Prisoners often carry additional deficits of drug and alcohol addictions, mental and physical illnesses, and lack of work preparation or experience.

  • Between 2007 and 2014, a Pew Research report shows that those claiming to be unaffiliated with any religion grew from 16.1 to 22.8 percent, an increase of 6.7 percent, while Catholics and evangelical and mainline Protestants declined in numbers. 

In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ asked, “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (see Matthew 7:16). In other words, “Can you pluck sweet fruit from noxious weeds?” The answer is, of course, no. Weeds prosper when the garden is neglected, and many families in the early 21st century are withering.

Stable families are the foundation of a stable society. Without strong, united families, society will unravel. I believe that, though much of society may unravel, many traditional families from all walks of life will remain intact and strong until the Savior appears, and that those families will be a means of spiritual and physical survival for many who are standing on the earth on that great and dreadful day. 

Second Coming: The New Jerusalem

When He visited the Nephites in the New World, the Savior told them that He would establish His
people in a place called the New Jerusalem, and that the city would established “in this land”:

And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you. (3 Nephi 20:22; see also 3 Nephi 21:22–25.)

Where is “this land”? We know from modern revelation that the city of New Jerusalem or Zion will be established in the last days on the American continent (see Articles of Faith 1:10). In the Book of Mormon, Moroni spoke of the ancient writings of Ether on the subject (see Ether 13:1–11). He wrote that “that after the waters [of Noah] had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord” (v. 2) and that “a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph” (v. 6).

In the early days of the restored Church, the Lord commanded that the saints gather there at “a land of peace, a city of refuge”:

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. 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. 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; 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. (D&C 45:64–67; emphasis added.)

What did the Lord mean by the “western countries”? Where will this city be? We are told that it will be in Jackson County, Missouri, and in the counties round about.

And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandment which I have given concerning these things—which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints; all the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand. (D&C 101:69–71; see also D&C 42:9, 35, 62–67; D&C 84:2–4D&C 105:28–32; emphasis added.)

It is near the center of the United States of America—indeed, the Lord calls it “the center place” (see D&C57:3–5)—a place of safety established for and by His saints. It will be during a time of war.

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. 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. 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. (D&C 45:68–70.)

The Savior also said that after Zion is established, “then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst” (see 3 Nephi 20:25). The Lord also told Enoch that He would “prepare . . . an Holy City . . . that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem” and that Enoch and “all [his] city [would] meet them there, and . . . receive them into [their] bosom” (see Moses 7:62–64).

The apostle John wrote of the New Jerusalem descending from heaven, apparently after the Millennium:

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:2–3.)

His description of this heavenly city is glorious. Like our father Jacob, we look “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (see Hebrews 11:10).

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrew 11:16.)

Finally, let me note that the prophet Ezekiel also wrote of a holy city with a temple called “The Lord Is There” (see Ezekiel 48:35). This city would be set up after the Lord’s Second Coming (see Ezekiel chapters 36–48), but there are indications that this city may be established after the Millennium. It is also possible that the city he describes is the old Jerusalem, which will also be built up (see Ether 13:11).

(You can also find a list of all Second Coming posts on this blog here.)