Come Follow Me with Casey Paul Griffiths (Doctrine and Covenants 45, Apr 26 – May 2)
Come Follow Me with Casey Paul Griffiths (Doctrine and Covenants 45, Apr 26 – May 2) – powered by Happy Scribe
Let’s be honest, things have been a little bit crazy recently, and because things have been a little bit topsy turvy, a lot of people have gotten scared and wondered if we’re seeing the end of the world happening before us now, is it OK for us to wonder a little bit about the end of the world? Yeah, absolutely. Sterling W. Still, who is a general authority, pointed out that the end of the world in the second coming of Jesus Christ are discussed a lot in the scriptures.
For instance, he pointed out that in the Holy Bible, baptism is mentioned fifty two times, repentance is mentioned eighty nine times. But the second coming of Jesus Christ is mentioned over 1500 times in the Old Testament and three hundred times in the New Testament. He went on to say, if God thought this subject that important, he must have wanted us to do something about it. So is it OK to wonder about the Savior second coming and want to know more about it?
Absolutely. Can that get a little bit out of control? Yes. At the same time as well, a warning came from President Herold, Billy Preston on the church in the 1970s who warned there are among us many loose writings predicting the calamities which are about to overtake us. Some of these have been publicized as though they were necessary to wake up the world to the horrors about to overtake us. And many of these are from sources upon which there cannot be unquestioned reliance.
Now, if that was a problem in the 1970s, it’s probably still continuing or maybe even a little bit worse in our time. A lot of us rely on sources that aren’t the best. And the president of the church has asked us to look carefully at where we draw our information from. For instance, after President Lee made that statement, he gave a reading list of the best sources to understand the signs of the times leading up to the savior.
Second coming. And here’s what presently advised us to read. He said first read the twenty fourth chapter of Matthew particularly. That inspired version is contained in the Pearl of Great Price. Then he said, Read the forty fifth section of the doctrine covenants where the Lord not man has documented the signs of the times. Now turn to Section one on one in Section one. Thirty three of the doctrine covenants and here the step by step recounting of events leading up to the coming of the Savior finally turned to the promises the Lord makes those who keep the commandments.
When these judgments descend upon the wicked as set forth in Doctrine Covenant Section thirty eight. So let’s just be absolutely crystal clear. This prophets reading this, he said read Joseph Smith, Matthew read section forty five of the Doctrine Covenants, Section one hundred one, Section one thirty three and Section one thirty eight. Now you might have noticed that four out of those five are in the doctrine and covenants. And if there’s a book that will help you understand the signs of the times and the events leading up to the savior.
Second coming, it’s the doctrine and covenants. It’s the Lord speaking to people in our day about the signs of the times and the things that we should be aware of to be safe and prepared for the savior. Second, coming now, if this is something you’ve wondered about, it’s also something that the ancient Saints and the Saints in Joseph Smith’s day wondered about as well. Section forty five in a lot of ways is a repeat of what we call the Olivet discourse.
In the last few days of the Savior’s life, he took his disciples onto the Mount of Olives and decided to sit down and do a question and answer session with them. Obviously, they asked about the second coming and the end of the world. Flash forward to eighteen thirty one. The disciples in Kirtland, Ohio, were concerned with the same thing. They asked Joseph Smith about the second coming in the signs of the Times and the Savior agreed to give a revelation that in some ways repeats and also adds to the discourse that he gave on the Mount of Olives section.
Forty five goes through the signs of the times, including plagues, famines, pestilence, wars and rumors of wars and the types of things that would lead up to the second coming. These weren’t intended to disturb or scare the disciples. It was intended to prepare them to help them understand exactly what would happen prior to the second coming. It wasn’t to tell them the world was going to be out of control. It was to demonstrate that God was in control by the savior, explaining what would happen prior to the second coming.
Now, what does Section forty five add to that discourse that the Savior originally gave to his disciples? Well, one of the things that the Savior adds is an understanding of not only what was going to happen prior to the second coming in the old world in and around Jerusalem, but also in understanding what would happen prior to the second coming in the New World section. Forty five of the doctrine covenants goes to great lengths to explain to the disciples what they could do to gather to places of safety before the disasters leading up to the second coming occurred.
For instance, you might have noticed if you’ve ever looked at the map in the back of your scriptures, that the movement of the church generally was to the west. There’s a reason for that. The Lord commanded them to gather to Kirtland, but when they were asked to gather to other places, they always looked westward, partially because in Section forty five the Lord told them, you hear of wars and foreign lands. But I say to you, they are not even at your doors, and not many years hence you shall hear of wars in your own lands.
Knowing that wars were about to come to the lands the disciples lived in. The Savior commanded them to gather out from the eastern lands and assemble yourselves together. The elders of my church go forth into the Western countries and call upon the. Habitants repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches under me, so why have we always move west? Because the savior commanded us to move west. The Savior asked the disciples together out of the eastern states and head towards the west.
And we all know that in the decades following these revelations, big wars did happen in the eastern states. The Civil War, the bloodiest war in American history, which was predicted by Joseph Smith, breaks out in the eastern United States. The church is, by and large left untouched during the civil war because they were living in the Western countries when this occurred. Now, there’s a number of analogies we could associate with the second coming of the savior uses and teaches different places.
One is the parable of the Ten Virgins, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. Another is the parable of the fig tree. In Matthew, 24, the savior said Learn the parable of the fig tree when his branch is yet tender and put a fourth leaves. You know that summer is dying. So likewise ye when you see all these things may know that is near even at the doors. This wasn’t a sign of doom and gloom and destruction. The fig tree was the first tree in the Holy Land to sprout leaves prior to the arrival of spring and summer when the winter was about to end.
The fig tree was your first indication that things were about to get better, that the weather was going to get warmer, that the nice season of the year was about to come upon you, and that the time of famine was about to end. The second coming isn’t something that we should dread. It’s something that we should look forward to. The Lord also asked the Saints to play a role in preparing for the second coming the very end of Section forty five towns, the Saints to build the place of refuge, a place of safety where everybody, regardless of whether they’re a latter day saint or not, that has goodwill and good intent, can come and be sheltered and safe.
Joseph Smith explained that this place was called Zion, whether it’s the city that he would later be asked to build or just a gathering of the pure in heart, Zion is a place where in the last days, people can find protection, Joseph Smith explained. We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object. When we first come, we shall have to fully design the Christ to make haste. The last revelation says you shall not have time to have gone over the Earth until these things come.
It will come as did the cholera, war, fires, burning earthquakes and one pestilence after another until the ancient of days come. And then judgment will be given to the Saints. Then Joseph Smith explained in Zion there, should your children be blessed and you, in the midst of friends, you may be blessed the gospel that gathers in people of every kind. So should we be a little bit worried? Yeah, things are a little bit crazy right now.
Did we know that this was going to happen? We also knew that as well. The Savior gave us the signs of the times to gauge where we were prior to us coming. And though he can’t tell us the exact day or hour that would just give us more reason to procrastinate, he’s told us the path to safety in the latter days, and that’s to live the commandments, to gather design both physically and in our hearts, and to do what the Saviors asked us to do.
If we do that, we not only likely receive physical safety, but spiritual safety and assurance that no matter what happens to us, our souls are safe and will be with God, no matter how crazy this world gets.