It is not the purpose of the writer of this booklet to predict the time of the coming of our Lord, but rather to call attention to the many events that Christ and his prophets have said must come to pass before his final coming in glory, that we may not be deceived.
I wish to thank Miss Ruth Killum of Salem, Oregon, who did the final typing of the material. Also, my thanks to Mrs. Janet Goehner; her mother, Mrs. Avis Butterbaugh; and her aunt, Mrs. Frances Hurd; also Mrs. Dessa Shreve; and my wife, Eva, for their work in typing and mimeographing this and other articles, some of which I have used here in their proper sequence.
All Bible references in this book are from the Inspired Version.
I wish to dedicate this booklet to those who long for the day of the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Adolph W. Lundeen
Today, many of the Saints of God are asking, How long will it be before Zion will be redeemed, and when can we expect the return of Christ to rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords? The answer can be found in the three books of the true restored Church of Jesus Christ. Without the Inspired Version of the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, no one can know the sequence of events leading up to the coming of Christ in his glory. But the day or the hour of his coming, no one will know.
God has commanded us to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life and live by every word that comes from his mouth. When Christ was here on earth, he spoke much of his next coming and warned his people to be prepared at all times; not only in good living, but also to be prepared in the knowledge of his word so they would not be misled by the forces of deception which he said would precede his coming. He made such statements as these:
"And whoso treasureth up my words shall not be deceived;" "And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; Watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come." (Matt. 24:39, 49).
The coming of Christ has been misunderstood by most people. We, who are members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are not without light, for we have added revelation which clarifies much of that which is written in the Bible, including our Inspired Version. With all this added light, there are still those who believe we will carry on our present way of life until on a certain day and a certain hour the heavens will be opened and Christ will come to claim his people, while the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming. There are others who think that he will not come until the gospel will have gone into all the world, thus there is no need for haste in making preparation for his return. Such beliefs are only partly true. His coming in glory will not happen until all preparation made for his return is completed, and every soul saved who is willing to repent and be saved. Christ's plans for his coming have been well organized. There will be no confusion among his saints when he comes in his glory with all his celestial hosts.
The Scriptures tell us that Christ will come three times before his final return to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His first appearance was when he came into the world born of the Virgin Mary. It was a non-glory appearance; that is, men could behold him as they could other men. His first coming is well known history. Let us consider, then, his next two appearances and their significance to his final coming. Here are Christ's words:
"Let your loins be girded about, and have your lights burning; that ye yourselves may be like unto men who wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Verily I say unto you, Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; for he shall gird himself and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. For behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night, and he shall also come in the second watch, and again he shall come in the third watch. And verily I say unto you, He hath already come, as it is written of him; and again when he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, blessed are those servants when he cometh, that he shall find so doing; For the Lord of those servants shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And now, verily I say these things unto you, that ye may know this, that the coming of the Lord is as a thief in the night." (Luke 12:38-44 I.V.).
We should observe by the above Scripture that Christ's coming in the first, second and third watches were to be night time or non-glory appearances. They are preparatory comings which precede his coming in glory. They concern his church only. The world will not know about them. According to Smith's Bible Dictionary, the Jews divided the night into three watches: the first was from sunset until 10 o'clock p.m., the second from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., and the third from 2 a.m. until sunrise. Christ evidently had these three watches in mind when he said he would appear in all three watches as a thief in the night, and in an hour when he would come unannounced. His coming in his glory will be a daytime event, which will be after the night watches are over.
"For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth so shall also the coming (glory coming) of the Son of Man be." (Matt. 24:27 I.V.).
There was no announcement to the world of Christ's coming in the first watch except to those who were directly involved. Herod would not have known of the birth of Christ if the wise men had not inquired about him. Before we make an analysis of the importance of Christ's coming in the second and third watches, let us consider a parable that is directly connected with his next two comings:
"And it is like unto a man who is an householder, who, if he watcheth not his goods, the thief cometh in an hour of which he is not aware, and taketh his goods, and divideth them among his fellows. And they (his disciples) said among themselves, If the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through, and the loss of his goods. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speaketh thou this parable unto us, or unto all? And the Lord said, I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household to give his children their portion meat in due season. And they said, Who then is that faithful and wise servant? And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season. Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he cometh, so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But the evil servant is he who is not found watching. And if that servant is not found watching, he will say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming and shall begin to beat the men-servants, and the maidens, and to eat, and drink, and to be drunken. The Lord of that servant will come in a day he looketh not for, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him down, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his Lord's will, and prepared not for his Lord's coming, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who knew not his Lord's will, and did not commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom the Lord has committed much, of him will men ask the more." (Luke 12:45-57 I.V.)
I have quoted at length here because what is written concerns his church only. The world is not involved in the parable whatsoever. The household in this parable represents Christ's church. The householder is the priesthood; the children to be fed meat in due season are the members. The servants whom the Lord will make rulers over his household are priesthood in responsible places in the church. The unfaithful among them will have their portion with unbelievers, or will be cast out.
Let us first consider those who will suffer rebuke when the Lord comes in both the second and third watches, for both will be times of sifting. The Lord has called his coming in the three watches "visitations". He indicated his first coming as a visitation. See Luke 19:43 IV. We read of his visitation to come in these words:
"Hearken, O ye people who profess in name, saith the Lord your God, for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations. And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.... Woe unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the days of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!" (D&C 56:la-b; 5a-b).
The Lord also included with these rich men, the poor whose hearts are not broken and whose spirits are not contrite, and who lust for other men's goods and refuse to labor with their own hands.
There will be two more crises in the church in which men in church leadership will fall. Future times of exigency will exceed that of 1925. It is apparent that when these emergencies come, Christ will come in the second and third watches. The unfaithful servants will not believe there will be a second and third appearance and "will say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the men servants and the maidens, and to eat, and drink, and be drunken."
Christ also warned his future disciples in these words:
"Let my disciples therefore take heed to themselves, lest at any time their hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come upon them unawares." (Luke 21:34. I.V.).
After Christ has sifted his church, he will fulfill the statement when he said he would gird himself and have his faithful servants sit down to meat and he would serve them. It is apparent that after the church is cleansed, Zion will then begin to come into being and we will again have the school of the prophets. Christ will gird himself as stated in Luke 12:43 and D&C 85:45-46, and after serving the Sacrament to his faithful church leadership, he will administer the ordinance of washing of feet. This could either happen in the Kirtland temple, or in the temple yet to be built in Zion. It is quite possible with the return of the school of the prophets there will come the revelation to build the temple in Zion under the same circumstances as is written in Sec. 94:3-5. The ordinance of washing of feet is the only ordinance where the presiding elder is commanded to gird himself. On this occasion it will be Christ who will administer this ordinance. When Christ serves the sacrament he will not partake of it himself. This will be explained later. Those who receive the ordinance of washing of feet must be free from the blood of that generation. This ordinance belongs to the school of the prophets, as indicated in God's word:
"And ye shall not receive any among you unto this school, save he is clean from the blood of this generation; and he shall be received by the ordinance of the washing of feet, for unto this end was the ordinance of the washing of feet instituted. And again, the ordinance of washing of feet is to be administered by the president, or presiding elder of the church. It is to be commenced with prayer; and after partaking of bread and wine, he is to gird himself, according to the pattern given in the thirteenth chapter of John's testimony concerning me."(D&C 85:45-46).
The school of the prophets and the ordinance of washing of feet are very important, for they belong to the order of the house of the Lord (D&C 85:39-46). Joseph Smith speaks of the importance of this order in these words:
"The order of the house of God has been, and ever will be, the same, even after Christ comes; and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same; and we shall finally roll into the celestial Kingdom of God, and enjoy it forever." (Church History, Vol. 1, page 603).
Speaking of the significance of the ordinance of the washing of feet, Joseph remarked:
"We must have all things prepared (for the Kirtland endowment), and call our solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us, that we may be able to accomplish his great work, and it must be done in Gods own way. The house of the Lord must be prepared, and the solemn assembly called and organized in it, according to the order of the house of God; and in it we must attend to the ordinance of washing of feet. It was never intended for any but official members. It is calculated to unite our hearts, that we may be one in feeling and sentiment, and that our faith may be strong, so that Satan cannot overthrow us, nor have any power over us." (Church History, Vol. 1, page 602.)
The ordinance of washing of feet precedes or is connected with endowments which will take place in the house of the Lord. The purpose of Christ's coming in the second watch is not only to cleanse his church but to prepare the ministry to go into all the world to preach the gospel. An endowment will be necessary for this great task.
The gospel will first go to the Gentiles, to fulfill what the Kirtland endowment failed to do; that is, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony against those who will not believe. When the Gentiles have rejected the gospel, the Lord will command it to go to the Jews and the whole house of Israel. However, before that takes place there will again be transgression in the church, and what takes place in the church in the second watch will be repeated in the third watch, except during his third period appearance, Zion's land will be cleansed. I repeat again Luke 12:42:
"...and again when he shall come in the second watch or come in the third watch, blessed are those servants (faithful servants) when he cometh, that he shall find so doing."
Christ likened the conditions in the church in the third watch to that of the second.
When the gospel goes to the Gentiles after Christ's next visitation, the endowment will not be as great as it will be in the third appearance. This is told in latter day revelation:
"... as also through your administration (First Presidency) the keys of the school of the prophets, which I have commanded to be organized, that thereby they (priesthood) may be perfected in their ministry for the salvation of Zion, and of the nations of Israel, and of the Gentiles, as many as will believe, and through your administration, they may receive the word, and through their administration, the word may go forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews; and then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power convincing the nations, the heathen nations, the house of Joseph, of the gospel of their salvation." (D&C 87:3b-d).
The gospel going into all the world under the Gentiles will be a tremendous task in itself. This will take some time. It seems the primary purpose of Christ's coming in the second watch will be to bind up the law and seal the testimony against the unbelieving Gentiles. The Lord wanted this to happen after the Kirtland endowment but because of God's foreknowledge he knew it would not; for this reason the task must yet be fulfilled. God's word never fails, neither does it return to him void. Another important work must be done between Christ's coming in the second and third watches: that is, the saints must be prepared for the judgment which will take place in the third watch, when Zions land shall be cleansed, and the church in general also.
"Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry, to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law, and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment, which is to come; that their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination, which await the wicked, both in this world, and in the world to come." (D&C 85:23a,b).
The Lord also gives us a description of this judgment in the following language:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people, and all flesh has become corrupt before my face. Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth--a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation--and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall if begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord. First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord." (D&C, 105:9,10).
This judgment which will begin in the house of the Lord is what the saints must prepare for while the gospel is going to the Gentiles, that their souls may escape the desolation which will fall upon the wicked. When the gospel goes to the Jews, it will end the Gentiles times.
Let us keep in mind that when the gospel goes to the Jews (D&C 87:3) the arm of the Lord will be revealed in power. This will be the beginning of the fulfillment of God's covenant with the house of Israel which pertains to the gospel. When Christ comes in the third watch he will again serve the sacrament to the church leadership who are faithful and will administer the ordinance of the washing of feet. The endowment which will follow will be wonderful for it will be the beginning of God's revealed Power.
From all indications there will be three missionary endowments during the restoration movement. The first was at Kirtland in 1836. The next two will follow Christ's second and third visitations. Later yet, the great endowment will come which will prepare the saints for the coming of Christ in his glory. When Christ comes in the third watch, he will remain until all preparation is made for the final return.
It seems that when Christ makes his appearance in the second watch or his next visitation it will trigger a series of events which will eventually bring about his final coming. However, it will not be until his third visitation that the great and important events will happen, which have been spoken of by the prophets.
The question may be asked, What will happen when the gospel goes to the Jews? The answer is, Jerusalem must be redeemed as well as Zion. Neither one can fully be redeemed as long as there is sin and inequity within their borders. Therefore, there must be a cleansing in both places before the church can become sanctified. The prophets have written how each of them will be made free of all unrighteousness.
In all ages God has raised up men to perform certain tasks; among these men were Noah, Moses, Elijah, and John the Baptist. God has spoken of men yet to come. There will be raised up one mighty and strong among the Indians, who shall do good both in word and in deed, who shall have exceeding faith (2nd Nephi 2:46, 47). He will also raise up a man, mighty and strong, who will be the leader of the great gathering to come (D&C 100:3 and Isa. 52:13-14). In Jerusalem he will raise up two witnesses who will be mighty and strong, who will bring about the redemption of that city.
First let us consider the Scriptures which speak of Zion's redemption and the evil conditions prevailing among many of her people before the cleansing comes:
"Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed." (Isa. 1:27-28).
The Lord has told us in our day that the redemption of Zion must needs come by power. He continues to inform us that he will raise up a man who shall lead his people out of bondage, like Moses led ancient Israel at first, or before the golden calf incident. In the same revelation we are informed that not only will angels be with this gathering to come, but that God and Christ will also go with them: "...and in time ye shall possess the goodly land." (D&C 100:3).
In the Scripture quoted above from Isaiah, the Lord states that Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and by the righteousness of her converts. The destruction of the sinners of Zion and those who transgressed the gospel law within the church will be together, and those who forsake the Lord (apostates) shall be consumed. This is the judgment the Lord had reference to when he said in D&C 85:23 "... bind up the law, and seal up the testimony, and prepare the saints for the hour of judgment (upon Zion's land), which is to come; that their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination, which await the wicked, both in this world, and in the world to come." Desolation will follow this judgment.
We have further evidence of this judgment:
"Behold, now it is called today (until the coming of the Son of Man), and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned (at his coming); for after today cometh the burning: this is speaking after the manner of the Lord; for verily I say, Tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of hosts; and I will not spare any that remaineth in Babylon. Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today." (D&C 64:5).
As previously indicated, the final cleansing of Zion and Jerusalem will be after Christ comes in the third watch. It seems that the redemption of both places will be about the same time. Isaiah gives us a good description of conditions that will prevail in Zion before the judgment, both in and out of the church:
"Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet; Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery (fine appearance) of tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs,...the rings, and nose jewels,..." (Isa. 3:16-21).
The Lord continues to name other ornaments and overadornment which he will take away from the sinful and heedless women of Zion's land in that day. The Lord speaks of her men who will fall by the sword, so that seven women will take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach." (Isa. 3:25-27).
Isaiah goes on to tell us what will happen in Zion and Jerusalem after their judgment. Keeping the fourth chapter of Isaiah in context with Isaiah 3:16-27, we can see the results of the judgment upon Zion and Jerusalem:
"In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem (survive the judgment), shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem; when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgement, and by the spirit of burning." (Isa. 4:1-3).
Because the Lord speaks of both Zion and Jerusalem here, it is likely that their cleansing will not be far apart. The fourth chapter of Isaiah does not give in detail how Jerusalem will be redeemed, but other Scriptures give us a good account of what will happen. It has been stated in this writing that God will raise up two witnesses who will prophesy in Jerusalem. Joseph Smith said:
"They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish Nation in the last day, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered, and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of fathers." (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, pp. 595-596).
A high priest once asked Joseph Smith III, "Who are the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11th chapter?" He answered about as follows: They will be two converted Jews, born in the city of Jerusalem, who will prophesy to the Jews. These two men will be members of Christ's true church, restored. They are spoken of in Rev. 11, Isa. 51:17-23, and Zech. 4. When they have completed their task, Jerusalem will be free of all her enemies. They will be as a wild bull in a net, full of the fury of God. When Jacob of the Book of Mormon was referring to these two men in Isaiah 51:17-23, he included Isaiah 52:1,2 in the prophecy:
"Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garment, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." (2nd Nephi 5:100-114).
Revelation 11th chapter gives a detailed account of these two prophets. After the gospel goes to the Jews, it appears there will a number of Jews converted to the church, but the nation, Israeli, will not yet have accepted Christ and his gospel. Those who have accepted will build a temple there:
"And there was given me a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple, leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (See Zechariah 4th chapter). And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed." (Rev. 11:1-5).
John the revelator goes on to say that these two Jewish witnesses for Christ among the Jews will be given power to smite the earth with plagues and other curses, and when their testimony is finished, the beast out of the bottomless pit will overcome and kill them. This beast is symbolic of the satanic power of the abominable church, which will wage war against Christ's church as it is recorded in the Book of Mormon. These Gentiles will permit the bodies of these two prophets to lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three days and a half in which time the people of kindreds and tongues will see their bodies lying there, no doubt by means of Telestar, Early Bird, or other electronic means. These wicked people will rejoice and send gifts one to another because their tormentors are now dead. Those days will be full of excitement and amazement:
"And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven." (Rev. 11:11-13).
This will bring about the deliverance of Jerusalem, and confirms what Isaiah said in chapters 51 and 52.
The prophet Zechariah also speaks of the time when the Gentiles shall occupy the city and war against the Jews. During these momentous times Christ will be present during his third visitation. Here is Zechariah's account:
"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations (Gentiles) as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." (Zechariah 14:1-4).
It is obvious that this earthquake is the same great earthquake that is described in Rev. 11:13 when one-tenth of the city fell. Then the Jews will see the wounds in the hands and feet of Christ, and will be convinced that he is the Messiah. "... Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them, These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king." (D&C 45:9).
The 12th chapter of Zechariah tells the same story. After all these events there will be a mass baptismal service take place in Jerusalem (Zech. 13:1). When Christ appears to the Jews on the mount of Olives, it will not be a glory appearance, for the time is not yet, there will yet be many converted.
All the events concerning the redemption of Zion and Jerusalem will not happen in one day. After the redemption of Zion and Jerusalem, the seventh angel, who is Michael, shall say: "... The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." (Rev. 11:15).
This will apparently be a declaration of independence for the nation to become Christ's, for he will no longer recognize their sovereignty: "But verily I say unto you, that, in time, ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be you king and watch over you. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws, when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?" (D&C 38:5a-b). After the judgment of Jerusalem, she shall no longer be possessed by ungodly men and women, but will become one of Christ's holy cities. The city will be rebuilt on the topographical change made by the earthquake, mentioned in Zech. 14:4. Jerusalem will no longer have a water problem, for "... living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea; in summer and in winter shall it be." (Zech. 14:8). This will be the redemption of Jerusalem, a haven for the gathering of the converted Jews.
Some may ask, what will happen in Zion after the redemption? The Scriptures give us a fairly clear picture of events to follow. After Zion has been redeemed she will be called Mount Zion, or the kingdom of the pure in heart. There will come a gathering of Israelites who have prepared and sanctified themselves according to the laws of the Celestial Kingdom. (D&C 108:2 and D&C 102:2). They will be assisted by the Gentile saints who were faithful and survived the judgment of Zion. There is evidence in the word of God that the first to gather will be Ephraim; the first fruits of the gathering of Israel. The purpose of this gathering is to build the city New Jerusalem. This city must be prepared before others are gathered from all the world; for all things must be done in their own order. Those who gather first will, no doubt, come from our own United States, Canada, England, and other nations who are of Ephraim. This first gathering and its purpose is spoken of in D&C 83:1,2 and in the Book of Mormon. Let us consider the former first: "... yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his Saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city New Jerusalem;..." There can be no Mount Zion until Zion is redeemed. The purpose for this gathering is clearly indicated. It is for the construction of the city New Jerusalem, "Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the Saints, beginning at this place (Mount Zion), even the place of the temple,..." It is obvious, after reading the above statement, that the temple will already have been built when the gathering comes to build the city New Jerusalem. In par.1, it says the city shall be built beginning at the temple lot. Par. 2 clarifies this by saying, the place of the temple.
We get a more detailed account of this gathering, and the gathering to follow, from the words of Christ to the Nephites. First let us observe that those who gather to build the New Jerusalem will be of Israel, and also that Christ refers to the descendants of Lehi as "this the remnant of Jacob". "But if they (the Gentiles) will repent, and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come unto the covenant, and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob (the Lamanites), unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance, and they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob; ..." (3rd Nephi 10: 1; see also 9:88).
Now the Lord speaks of those of Israel who will come to build the New Jerusalem:
"And also, as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem; And then shall they (Gentiles who survive the judgment and those of Ephraim) assist my People (Lamanites or remnant of Jacob) that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem, And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst, and then shall the work of the Father commence, at that day even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people (Lamanites or Manasseh.)" (3rd Nephi 10:2-4.)
We see then that first Ephraim must gather to build the New Jerusalem, assisted by the faithful Gentiles. Then Manasseh will be the first to gather into it. This apparently includes others of Manasseh who come from the islands of the sea, for this is Joseph's land: Ephraim and Manasseh, which land was promised them for their inheritance. Let us keep in mind that when all these events happen, the time of the Gentiles will be over. The appearance of Christ among these people confirms what has been said earlier, that in Christ's third visitation he will remain here until all is prepared for his coming in glory. He also mentions this in these words:
"And behold, this people (descendants of Lehi) 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." (3rd Nephi 9:58,59).
The gathering of the Lamanites to the city New Jerusalem will establish the seed of Joseph upon Zion's land. First Ephraim and then Manasseh. This is the order of the gathering, and the way the Lord designated it to be, because they are the rightful heirs to this land.
Jesus now gives the next order of the gathering; they are the lost tribes of Israel:
"Verily I say unto you, At that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people; yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem. Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father, to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name; Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father, among all nations, in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance." (3d Nephi 10:5-8)
The Lord spoke through Joseph the Third in the early reorganization of the church and said:
"... I will that all may be saved, but every man (race) in his own order ..." (D&C 116:4b).
After Christ told the Nephites of the preparation for the gathering of the lost tribes, he began to quote from Isaiah 52:11-15. This will be the third order of the gathering to Zion. They will be led by the man whom the Lord will raise up for this great task. This last gathering will come from all nations. Before more is said of the great demonstration of power that will take place in that gathering, let us clarify the statement made earlier that those of Israel who will gather first and build the city New Jerusalem will be of Ephraim.
Among the lost tribes are the people of the north country. On April 3, 1836, Moses appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. Here is Joseph's testimony of that event:
"After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us, and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the Ten Tribes from the land of the north." (Church History Vol. 2, p. 47)
The Lord tells us in latter day revelation that the people of the north country will bring their rich treasures "... unto the children of Ephriam my servants ... and then shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim; ..." (D&C 108:6). This tells us that when this great gathering takes place, Ephraim will already be there to crown them with glory. The Lord did not say it would be the Lamanites (Manasseh) who would crown them, even though their gathering preceded that of the ten tribes out of the north. The latter will not gather until Ephraim builds the New Jerusalem (3rd Nephi 10:3-5).
We have another witness in Jeremiah the prophet. He speaks of the time when "...there shall be a day that the watchmen upon mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God." (Jeremiah 31:6). A watchman in the Scriptures is a prophet. See Ezekiel 33:1-7. The mount Ephraim here is not the Mount Ephraim near Jerusalem. This mount Ephraim is Mount Zion, and the watchman spoken of here is to be a prophet and leader of the church of Jesus Christ calling for the gathering of the saints, the house of Israel, from all the world. Among them will be the people of the north country mentioned in D&C 108:6.
"Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together; a great company shall return thither.... I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way; wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born." (Jeremiah 31:8,9).
Ephraim is the first-born in the latter day kingdom and the first to gather. (Manasseh was the first-born in the flesh. Gen. 48:18-20 I.V.). It is obvious the reason Ephraim is first is because he was the first to repent. (Jeremiah 31:18-20)
Let us now reflect upon the conditions that will be in the world before the great and last gathering spoken of above in Isaiah 52:11-15. When the gospel goes into all the world, those who have accepted the gospel will be held in bondage by the nations in which they live. The Book of Mormon tells us that in that day the great and abominable church will have dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. It also says that the church of the Lamb of God, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth, but their dominion on the face of the earth was small because of the wickedness of the abominable church.
"And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abomination did gather together in multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb Of God. And...I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; And they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." (1st Nephi 3:224-231).
This will be the condition of the church in all the world before the great gathering to the city New Jerusalem. In that day the borders of Zion will be greatly enlarged and her stakes strengthened to take care of the people who will be gathered in. Not only did Jeremiah speak of the revelation for the gathering of the saints, but Isaiah also tells us there will come a revelation from God, saying:
"Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rearward. Behold, my servant (the man God will raise up to lead them) shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form than the sons of men; So shall he gather many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider."(Isaiah 52:11-15.)
When this future Moses goes before his modern Pharaoh he will not go without suffering violence. When Jesus was explaining Isaiah's words to the Nephites, he said,
"But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." (3rd Nephi 9:96,97).
The power that will be demonstrated in this last gathering will be tremendous, Isaiah said. God himself would go before them and Christ to their rearward. Jesus confirmed this to the Nephites when he was revealing the order of the gathering:
"...I will go before them, saith the Father, and I (Jesus) will be to their rearward." (3rd Nephi 10:8).
At the time of this last gathering"...they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land." (Jeremiah 23:7, 8). The gathering of the Jews will be to Jerusalem.
When the gospel goes to the house of Israel there will be great spiritual activity among those who have accepted the gospel. During this period of time, the church will become sanctified in preparation for Christ's coming in glory. We must become like the church in Enoch's day before they were taken from the earth a perfect people. Before we can reach those spiritual heights we must keep all the commandments of God, including the law of stewardship by covenant; without it Zion cannot become sanctified. (D&C 106:2).
Not until we make our covenant in the order of Enoch (D&C 77) can we receive the Holy Spirit of Promise, which is the greatest promise of all. Not until we are sealed by that Spirit can we become the church of the First-born, neither can we receive the quickening of our bodies necessary to stand in the presence of God and Christ in glory. Therefore, the church must receive the Holy Spirit of Promise before Christ can come in his glory to accept it.
This degree of the spirit was not promised to the church until nearly two years and eight months after the church was organized. Only when a few men had made their covenant in the Order of Enoch did the Lord first mention it, except when the Lord said in D&C 76:5 that it was necessary to receive it before one could receive Celestial Glory.
The Holy Spirit of Promise is the highest of the three degrees of the Spirit given to man. It surpasses the spirit which moves upon all people inviting them to the gospel (D&C 83:7). It exceeds the spirit which we receive by the "laying on of hands" after our baptism, which gives us the spiritual gifts, such as prophecy and tongues. One reason it is called the Holy Spirit of Promise is because those who are sealed by it are given a promise or assurance of receiving Celestial Glory, and also a promise to be of the general assembly of the "church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ, his Son;..." (D&C 85:1,2)
The Lord also called the Holy Spirit of promise "the great and last promise". (D&C 85:19,20). No one can receive celestial glory without it. We must receive it here or in the world to come when the holy order of God is obeyed.
"...They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name, and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given, that by keeping the commandments, they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power; and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true; they are they who are the church of the Firstborn;..."(D&C 76:5b-e).
The Holy Spirit of promise, and the power of godliness belong to the mysteries of the kingdom and its ordinances. Without godliness we cannot receive it. The Scriptures tell us there is a mystery and power connected with godliness (I Timothy 3:16 and D&C 18:2). The Scriptures also tell us that godliness comes by ordinances which belong to the mysteries of the kingdom:
"...And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof (ordinances of the mysteries of the kingdom) the power of godliness is manifest and without the ordinances thereof and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh for without this, no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live." (D&C 83:3b,c).
The Holy Spirit of promise, the power and mystery of godliness, and entering into God's rest are all directly connected. The Book of Mormon states that those who reach this perfect condition can not look upon sin "save it were with abhorrence;" (Alma 10:4).
The Holy Spirit of promise is also called another Comforter. The reason it is called another Comforter is because it is in addition and greater than the Spirit which comes after baptism by laying on of hands. Christ did not promise his disciples this "another Comforter" until after three years of his ministry among them. (John 14:16). To say that his disciples did not have the spirit before this is questionable. His disciples held the Melchisedec priesthood, which holds the keys to the spiritual blessings. They healed the sick, cast out devils and did other deeds by the power of the spirit. The promise of another comforter at Jerusalem was the promise of endowments to come after Christ's death and resurrection. Other Scriptures which speak of the Holy Spirit of promise in the Bible can be found in I John 3:9 and Eph. 1:13. The Holy Spirit of promise belongs to the keys of the presiding patriarch of the church "... to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall, notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you." (D&C 107:38).
When the ordinance of the endowment was administered in the Kirtland temple, it began with the presiding patriarch of the church. (Church History Vol. 2, pp. 16-20). Because the church in the early restoration failed to rise to the standards of righteousness set by the Lord, the Holy Spirit of promise was never granted. This endowment at Kirtland did not reach the heights sufficient to receive the Holy Spirit of promise. The Order of Enoch covenant was also broken by some.
One of the very important events that will happen while Christ is here in his third watch is the sealing of the hundred and forty-four thousand. They will be the first to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. Very little is said of these men in the Scriptures; however, enough has been said that, when connected with other information, it will show that they will have important part in the preparation for Christ's final appearance.
In the seventh chapter of Revelation, it mentions these men standing with Christ on Mount Zion. They have been sealed with God's name written in their foreheads, which means they have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit of promise comes by a sealing ordinance (D&C 76:5):
"These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. (This means they have never been guilty of adultery or fornication. Sex relationship between man and wife is not defilement, except it be abused. The Lord has commanded us 'to multiply and replenish the earth.') These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb." (Rev. 14:4,5 I.V.).
This obviously means the hundred and forty-four thousand will be the first fruits or first men to reach perfection, as did the people in Enoch's day. These men will have reached the high spiritual plane where they will "... have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; to have the heavens opened unto them; to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn; and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant." (D&C 104:9). These two chapters of the Book of Revelation are the only references in the Bible that speak of these men. The Doctrine and Covenants speaks of them once.
When Joseph Smith was translating the Holy Scriptures or Inspired Version, he made these remarks:
"About the first of March (1832) in connection with the translation of the Scriptures, I received the following explanation of St. John." (Times and Seasons Vol. 5, p. 595).
Then Joseph went on to interpret certain parts of the Book of Revelation. Concerning the hundred and forty-four thousand, he said,
"We are to understand those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongues, and people by angels to whom is given power over all nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn." (Times and Seasons Vol. pp. 595-596).
It is obvious after reading Revelation 14 and also what Joseph said, that those men will be the first fruits in our dispensation to reach perfection, having entered into the Order of Enoch covenant (stewardship); sealed by the holy Spirit of promise, and ordained high priests after the order of Melchisedec, which is after the Order of Enoch, which is after the order of the only begotten Son (See D&C 76:5). This is the holy order of God. Melchisedec was ordained after the holy order of God in his day also.
The Scriptures tell us that those who are ordained high priests after the covenant which God made with Enoch will be called by his own voice, and be given great power by faith:
"For God having sworn unto Enoch and unto his seed with an oath by himself; that everyone being ordained after this order and calling should have the power, by faith, to break mountains, to divide the seas, to dry up waters, to turn them out of their course; to put at defiance the armies of nations, to divide the earth, to break every band, to stand in the presence of God; to do all things, according to his will, according to his command, subdue principalities and powers; and this by the will of the Son of God, which was from before the foundation of the world. And men having this faith, coming up unto this order of God, were translated and taken up into heaven." (Gen. 14:30-32 I.V.).
This will be the power of the hundred and forty-four thousand high priests:
"These are they which follow the Lamb (after their sealing) whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Rev. 14:4).
When we consider the sequence of events leading up to the sanctifying of the priesthood, it is clearly manifest that this vast army of high priests will be the first of the Melchisedec priesthood or sons of Moses to be filled with the glory of the Lord on mount Zion:
"...and the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord upon Mount Zion in the Lord's house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church; for whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies; they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron, and the seed of Abraham and the church and kingdom and the elect of God;..." (D&C 83;6b-d).
Let us remember that when Joseph Smith received light and revelation on these men, he said "they were men who were ordained high priests out of every nation, kindred, and tongue." This would indicate that they would not all be seed of Israel by birth. However, when they are filled with the glory of the Lord upon mount Zion in the Lord's house, they will be sanctified by the spirit unto the renewing or quickening of their bodies so they will become the literal seed of Abraham, twelve thousand to each of the tribes of Israel. "God is able of these stones to raise up seed unto Abraham," said John the Baptist. (Luke 3:13 I.V.).
After the sanctification of the sons of Moses and Aaron in the Lord's house, then will come the sanctification of the people so they may receive the renewing of their bodies and be able to stand in the presence of God by entering into God's rest, which rest is the fullness of his glory. (D&C 83:4).
What I have said here concerning the hundred and forty-four thousand is not conjecture, for the Lord has spoken of what will happen in his third visitation. It will be the real time of the marvelous work and a wonder. The Lord has told us of many of the events that will happen while he is preparing us for his final coming in glory. Not only does he speak of the gathering of the people of the north country, his appearance upon the mount of Olives when the Jews will be converted, the great topographical change that will take place on the earth, but other wonders also. In all the activities of Christ, the hundred and forty-four thousand will follow him or be at his service:
"Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths strait, for the hour of his coming is nigh, when the Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having his father's name written in their foreheads; wherefore, prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom; go ye, go ye out to meet him, for behold, he shall stand upon the Mount of Olivet, and upon the mighty ocean, even the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea, and upon the land of Zion; and he shall utter his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem, and his voice shall be heard among all people, and it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found; he shall command the great deep and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land, and the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided. (In the day of Peleg.) And the Lord even the Savior shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord, and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves, and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, and in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And then shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim; and they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows. And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord to dwell in his presence day and night for ever and ever." (D&C 108:5c-6f).
Christ said he would stand upon the mighty ocean, the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea. When he stands upon the ocean he will be there to protect the saints who are gathering by ship. He will stand upon the islands of the sea when the gathering from the islands takes place. In 1950 when President Israel A. Smith was at the high priest's conference at Kirtland, Ohio, he related the following experience. He had then recently returned from the Society Islands. When he arrived in Tahiti, many of the native saints had gathered to see him arrive. All of these saints wanted to gather to Zion. They did not want "no" for an answer. As president and prophet of the church, he sought the Lord about this situation. The Lord answered his prayer and said, "Tell them, I will stand upon the Mount of Olives, upon the great deep, upon the islands of the sea." The Lord told his prophet to tell them to stay where they were, for he would come and visit them (gather them) from the islands of the sea.
In all this activity, Christ will be assisted by the hundred and forty-four thousand. These men, in the hands of God, will help fulfill the word of the Lord to Enoch when he said,
"And righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare; an holy city, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming (in glory); for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion; a New Jerusalem." (Gen. 7:70 I.V.).
Let us consider one more statement which Joseph Smith made about the hundred and forty-four thousand. He had been giving instruction regarding the duties of priesthood. Concerning the office of seventy, he remarked:
"If the first seventy are all employed and there is a call for more laborers, it will be the duty of the seven presidents of seventy to call and ordain other seventy and send them forth to labor in the vineyard, until, if needs be, they set apart seven times seventy..."
Then Joseph added something which has been misunderstood by many people in the church:
"and even unto there are a hundred and forty and four thousand thus set apart for the ministry." (Church History, Vol. 1, p. 561).
It would appear by this statement that Joseph meant that vast army of men would all be seventies. It is doubtful if he would want anyone to interpret his statement that way. He had already stated that the seventy would be limited to 490 men. He did not say that the 144,000 were to be set apart for this ministry (seventy ministry); he said the ministry. It is obvious that Joseph had in mind that which the Lord had revealed to him in March, 1832, saying "these men are to be high priests who will administer the gospel and bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn. It is reasonable to believe when the gospel will go into all the world, the seventy will be assisted by other priesthood. The fact that these men will bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn reveals their part in the converting and gathering of the saints to the New Jerusalem.
The great geographical change mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 108 will take place before Christ comes to reign over his kingdom. The greatest earthquake that has ever happened since man came upon the earth will occur, the earth will be united as it was before it was divided in the days of Peleg. Mountains will vanish and the islands will not be found.
"Behold, I come as a thief (third watch visitation). Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame....And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." (Rev. 16:15, 18-21).
What is said here will not happen in one day. They are part of events which will happen when Christ comes as a thief in the night, in the time of preparation. Modern revelation speaks of this great storm also:
"...and there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men; and there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth; and it shall come to pass, because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon the wicked, for they will not repent;..." (D&C 28:4)
What has been said in this article thus far concerns only Christ's coming in the second and third watches. Before his final coming takes place he will speak with the voice of lightning from east to west, with waves heaving themselves beyond their bounds, and other disasters. All things will be in commotion and men's hearts shall fail them, for fear shall come upon all people. (D&C 43:5-6 and D&C 85:25). Finally, "... angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying, 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." (D&C 85:2-5d).
It appears that these angels are out to make a last appeal to the people of the earth to obey the gospel. We read in the Scriptures that after the city of Enoch was taken from the earth, "... Enoch beheld angels descending out of heaven, bearing testimony of the Father, and of the Son. And the Holy Ghost fell on many, and they were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion."(Gen 7:33,34).
It seems, therefore, that God will send out angels before the final destruction of the wicked, to save all who will repent and be saved. Christ evidently has reference to the ministry of these angels when he said:
"I tell you that in that night there shall be two in bed; and the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord, shall they be taken. And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is gathered; or, in other words, whithersoever the saints are gathered, thither will the eagles be gathered together; or thither will the remainder (stragglers) be gathered together. This he spake, signifying the gathering of his saints; and of angels descending and gathering the remainder unto them; the one from the bed, the other from the grinding, and the other from the field, whithersoever he listeth." (Luke 17:34-38).
Immediately following the mission of these angels, a great sign will appear in heaven, which all men shall see. This will be the sign of Christ's coming in glory. (Matt. 24:37 I.V.). After this sign it will be too late for the wicked to accept the gospel. They are bound in bundles ready for destruction.
"And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together. And another angel (first angel) shall sound his trump, saying, 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. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it." (D&C 85:26).
After the sign is given, which all people shall see, the wicked shall mourn, and be looking forward with fear, knowing the judgment of God is about to be executed; but the saints will be looking forward to Christ's coming in glory. Before more is said of Christ's final coming and the resurrection, let us consider the part that angels will have in the coming of Christ and the authority committed to them.
Associated with the coming of Christ are seven powerful angels. They are mentioned in the Book of Revelation and the Doctrine and Covenants. They are also mentioned in the fourth chapter of Zechariah. Joseph Smith said they are given power over the nations of the earth and will be the angels who will ordain the hundred and forty-four thousand high priests, mentioned earlier. In one of Zechariah's prophecies they are figuratively spoken of as a seven-lamp golden candlestick: "...they are the servants of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth." (Zech. 4:10). They were the angelic power behind Zerubbabel in rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem after the seventy years of captivity.
In Zechariah's vision of the golden candlesticks, he also saw two olive trees. These two olive trees are the two angels who are yet to come to bring about the redemption of Jerusalem after Christ's third-watch appearance, which has already been mentioned in this article. (See Zech. 4:2,3 and Rev. 11:4). It was wisdom in God to associate these two olive trees with the golden candlesticks, for in both events their mission is to restore Jerusalem; as angels in Zerubbabel's time and again in the latter days when they have taken upon them flesh and blood. The elaborate golden candlesticks which Moses was commanded to build were symbolic of these seven angels (See Exodus 25:31-40, and 37-24).
These angels were once prophets of the Lord upon the earth, but before they came here they were prepared in the spirit world for the work they were to do here. Then when they died they resumed their duties as angels. Alma spoke of them and others:
"And this is the manner after which they were ordained; being called and prepared from the foundation of the world, according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil;..." (Alma 9:65).
(Foreknowledge is not predestination.) These seven angels came into the world, each in his designated dispensation. They were the first prophets of their respective dispensations; therefore they became keyholder prophets and are responsible for the dispensation in which they came.
According to the Scriptures and statements made by Joseph Smith, as well as common reasoning, the seven angels were, when on earth, Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peter, and Joseph Smith. Each one of these men were given the keys of the kingdom in his dispensation, which they also retained after death. The Lord said to Joseph Smith, "the keys of the kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in this world, neither in the world to come." This is true of all who are given the keys of the kingdom. Joseph said the following in regard to keys and angels, and their preparation in the spirit world:
"the priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the first presidency and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the creation, before the world was formed (Gen. 1:20-26, 28 K.J.V.); and he had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in Scriptures. Then to Noah, who is Gabriel; he stands next in authority to Adam in the priesthood; he was called of God to this office and was the father of all living in his day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held the keys, first on earth and then in heaven. The priesthood is an everlasting principle, and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven it is by Adam's authority. Daniel, seventh chapter, speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our father Adam, Michael. He will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which is delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family.... The Father called all spirits before him in the creation of man and organized them. He (Adam) is the head, and was told to multiply. The keys were first given to him and by him to others. He will have to give an account of his stewardship, and they to him. The priesthood is everlasting. The Savior, Moses, and Elias, gave the keys to Peter, James, and John on the mount when they were transfigured before him. The priesthood is everlasting without beginning of days or end of years; without father, mother, etc. If there is no change of ordinances, there is no change of priesthood. Wherever the ordinances of the gospel are administered, there is priesthood. How have we come at the priesthood? It came down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them, and they gave it to others. Christ is the great High Priest; Adam next." By Joseph the Martyr, June 1839 (from Exegesis of Priesthood, by Gomer T. Griffith: pp. 104, 105).
What is given above gives us much information on how keys and prophetic priesthood are brought down from dispensation to dispensation. Moses gave the keys to Peter, and Peter to Joseph Smith. This is evidently God's unchangeable rule, by which the keys came down in earlier dispensations, also, beginning with Adam. Further evidence is given us:
"... The keys (keys of the kingdom) of the dispensation which ye have received, have come down from the fathers; and last of all, being sent down from heaven unto you." (D&C 105:12).
Adam was the first prophet, but later became the seventh angel. When Adam was 927 years old, he called his posterity together, who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. This conference was evidently called by God, for he appeared there:
"And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel. And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him, I have set thee to be at the head: a multitude of nations shall come of thee; and thou art a prince over them for ever.... These things were all written in the Book of Enoch, and are to be testified of in due time." (D&C 104:28a-c, 29b).
Because of the nature of Adam's keys (keys of salvation) he was made the seventh angel. He sounds his trump last. He is the greatest angel and supervisor over the others. He is the arch enemy of Satan. It was Adam or Michael who fought against Satan in heaven and cast him out. It was Michael who disputed with Satan over the body of Moses (Jude 9). He is the angel of Revelation 10 who set his right foot on the sea and left foot on the earth, ready to make war with the beast that came out of the sea and will later come out of the earth. This beast represents the abominable church or the church of the devil (spoken of in Rev. 13 and D&C 85:35). He will be sent to defend and save the saints when the enemy comes against them (as written in Daniel 7), and he will evidently lead the army of the Lord, spoken of in Joel 2:1-11. When Adam became the seventh angel, he also became the angel of the seventh dispensation, which is Millennium.
The Lord also spoke of Michael in these important words "...saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion, who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman; Who hath appointed Michael, your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high; and given unto him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days or end of life." (D&C 77:3e,f). Among the high priests who were present with Adam in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman was Enoch. Jared, his father, had taught him all the ways of the Lord.
The righteous of Adam's posterity had moved from a land called Shulon to a land of promise called Canaan. Enoch had found favor in the sight of God because of his faith and righteousness. God had given him power to do great and outstanding miracles (Gen. 7:5-19 I.V.). It is obvious that when Adam called his righteous posterity together in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, he chose Enoch as his successor or keyholder prophet and leader of the new dispensation. Adam was bowed down with age; his work was about over, he had only three more years to live. He prophesied what would befall his posterity unto the latest generation. The fact that all these things are written in the Book of Enoch indicates that they were written in his dispensation, which was between the meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman and Noah's dispensation or about seven hundred years.
During Enoch's time, the people reached perfection and were translated. It was with Enoch that God made the everlasting covenant. This is the promise of the return of the general assembly of the firstborn with Christ at the time of the celestial resurrection. (Gen. 9:22,23 I.V.).
The Lord also made a covenant of the Order of Enoch (with Enoch), which is stewardship. This covenant is celestial law and must be obeyed before the everlasting covenant can be fulfilled. It seems this covenant is included in the fullness of the priesthood covenant, and is the holy order of God, which has already been mentioned. It is a complement of the Melchisedec priesthood. Melchisedec was ordained after this covenant:
"And thus, having been approved of God, he was ordained an high priest after the order of the covenant which God made with Enoch, it being after the order of the Son of God; ..." (Gen. 14:27 I.V.).
Today our priesthood are not ordained after the covenant which God made with Enoch, for we have not yet entered into the stewardship covenant. Noah, who is the angel Gabriel, was Enoch's successor, and a keyholder prophet in his dispensation. He was also ordained to the high priesthood after the covenant which God made with Enoch. In a revelation on Priesthood, the Lord informs us that when Noah was ten years old he was ordained to the high priesthood under the hands of Methuselah (D&C 104:27). Later, when he had grown to maturity, he appears to have been ordained again, obviously under the covenant which God made with Enoch. "... and the Lord ordained Noah after his own order (Holy Order), and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch." (Gen. 8:7 I.V.).
This statement makes known two things: When the Lord said he was to preach the gospel as it was given to Enoch, it would seem there was a dispensation between Adam and Noah, which was Enoch's dispensation; and the fact that Noah was ordained the second time indicates that his last ordination was after the covenant which God made with Enoch, which is God's holy order. This means that the complete power of the Melchisedec priesthood is not given until we make our covenant in the Order of Enoch, or stewardship. We repeat again, "... they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory, and are priests of the Most High after the order of Melchisedec, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the only begotten Son: ..." (D&C 76:5g).
Noah was Enoch's successor to the keys of the kingdom. Included in his keys are the keys of the restoration of all things (D&C 26:2). He was given these keys because he restored the gospel after the flood, which was the first restoration, and through his seed, restored the human race. He also restored the animal kingdom. Noah is the angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. He visited Zechariah and the Virgin Mary. The fullness of the gospel was about to be restored out of the law of Moses. He stands next in authority to Adam. When Adam became the seventh angel, Enoch became the first, and Noah became the second by number.
Following Noah's dispensation came Abraham. He is the third angel. Some believe that he is the angel Raphael. The keys of Abraham's dispensation were committed to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland temple on April 3, 1836. "After this Elias appeared, and committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying "that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed." (C.H. Vol. 2, p.47).
Moses is the fourth angel; his keys included the keys of the gathering of Israel. He also committed his keys in the Kirtland temple: "... and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north." Moses is the angel whom John saw sitting on a cloud: "... one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle." Another angel told him to thrust in his sickle and reap for the harvest of the earth is ripe (Rev. 14:14,15). The harvest of the earth is the gathering of Israel. Moses has these keys. Christ said that Moses was likened unto him, or likened unto the Son of Man (Acts 3:21,22).
Peter is the fifth angel. He is the angel flying through the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel. He was given the keys of the kingdom following the dispensation of Moses. Christ said to Peter, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;..." (Matt. 16:20). Six days later Christ took Peter, James and John upon the mount of transfiguration, where he received the keys of the kingdom from Christ, Moses, and Elias. I repeat here Joseph Smith's words: "The Savior, Moses, and Elias gave the keys to Peter, James, and John on the Mount when they were transfigured before him."
There are many who believe that Moroni is the angel who brought the everlasting gospel. Moroni has the keys of the stick of Ephraim, but did not have the keys of the Kingdom. The keys of the Kingdom were not on this continent and are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The church among the Nephites was subject to the church at Jerusalem (1st Nephi 3:115,116; Mormon 1:83,84; D&C 28:3). Others believe that the fifth angel of Revelation 14:6 and D&C 85:31 is John the Baptist, because he ordained Joseph and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic priesthood. He must be eliminated also because the everlasting gospel is administered by the Melchisedec priesthood (D&C 83:3). John the Baptist was a priest of the Aaronic order. He came under the direction of Peter, James, and John, who later brought the Melchisedec priesthood (C.H. Vol. 1, p.36). The latter had the keys of the kingdom and the authority to administer the gospel:
"And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry; and of the same things which I revealed unto them (on the mount of transfiguration); unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times (plural); and for the fullness of times..."(D&C 26:3a-c).
Let us further consider the word of the Lord in regard to the keys of the kingdom:
"...The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth; ..." (D&C 65:1).
Peter was the prophet, revelator, and seer of the church at Jerusalem (Matt. 16:19-20; John 1:42). Like Joseph Smith and the others who had been given the keys of the kingdom, they were never taken from him in his lifetime, neither after his death, for God is unchangeable. Others have thought that James, the Lord's brother became the prophet of the church, because of the law of lineage. Christ had no successor. He was the son of God. He did not come into the world as a result of human seed. There are some who will contend that James was the prophet of the church because he appears to have rendered a decision concerning whether or not Gentile converts should be circumcised. This account is written in Acts 15. It is obvious that James, as a member of the first presidency, was presiding over this meeting of apostles, elders, and others. After much discussion, Peter arose and really made the decision on this matter. He was supported by the testimony of Paul and Barnabas. This silenced or closed the matter. Because James was presiding, he made the last comment, which was to support what Peter had already said.
Joseph was the next dispensation prophet to hold the keys of the kingdom. He received the keys as already quoted from D&C 26. (See also D&C 80:1).
Let us return to the coming of Christ in his glory and the part the seven angels will have following this wonderful event. After the first angel (Enoch) has sounded, saying, the great mother of abominations is bound in bundles ready to be burned, there will be silence in heaven for a space of one-half hour:
"...and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled; and the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened, and be caught up to meet him. And they who have slept in their graves, shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened, and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven: they are Christ's, the first fruits: they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth, and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel (first angel Enoch) of God." (D&C 85:27).
This will fulfill the everlasting covenant which God made with Enoch when he said, "And this is mine everlasting covenant, that when thy posterity shall embrace the truth, and look upward, then shall Zion look downward, and all the heavens shall shake with gladness, and the earth shall tremble with joy; and the general assembly of the church of the first-born shall come down out of heaven, and possess the earth, and shall have place until the end come. And this is mine everlasting covenant, which I made with thy father Enoch."
The keys and ministry of angels are one of continuity. The assignments or keys which a prophet receives on earth continue with him after his death. The everlasting covenant, which God made with Enoch involves the celestial resurrection. Those who come forth in the first resurrection will then become numbered with the general assembly of the church of the firstborn. Because Enoch holds these keys, he would, therefore, be the first angel to sound. All those who enter into the general assembly of the church of the firstborn are those who have been translated or obtained a celestial resurrection. They are the people of Enoch's day who reached perfection, and those who were resurrected after Christ's resurrection:
"And the graves were opened; and the bodies of the saints which slept, arose, who were many, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, went into the holy city, and appeared unto many." (Matt. 27:56,57).
There is a difference between paradise and the holy city, or general assembly of the church of the firstborn. The saints who die in their imperfections go to paradise, where they become perfect. They are spirits only, having not their bodies. Apostle Paul speaks of them in these words:
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body...." (I Cor. 15:42-44 I.V.).
Before the coming of Christ in glory, those who are alive when he comes must also reach perfection. They will also become the assembly of the church of the firstborn on earth. The Lord tells us this in his revelation on prayer:
"...pray unto the Lord; call upon his holy name; make known his wonderful works among the people, call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth; that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in which the son of Man shall come down in heaven (city of Enoch), clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth; wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, may be glorified in heaven, so on earth, that thy enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power, and glory, for ever and ever." (D&C 65: ld-f)
After Christ has returned to the earth, in his glory, in a pillar of heaven, the twelve apostles of Christ at Jerusalem will give judgment for righteousness:
"... I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand, at the day of my coming, in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else;..."(D&C 28:3).
When Christ comes in his glory the first four angels will reveal the final destiny and segregation of the human race, according to how they served the days of their probation. Enoch, the first angel, sounds for those who are the church of the firstborn or those who will receive celestial glory. The second angel, Noah, or Gabriel will reveal those who did not obey the gospel in this life, but did in the prison house. They are honorable men of the earth, but were blinded by the craftiness of men. They are destined for terrestrial glory.
The third angel is Abraham. He announces for the spirits of men who are to be judged and found under condemnation. They will not be resurrected until after the thousand years are ended. Moses the fourth angel, makes known the filthy still. They are the non-glory people who choose to remain in their sins. The Lord said concerning them; they "... cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, or judgment; therefore, they must remain filthy still." (D&C 85:8b). It appears they will be resurrected at the same time that those of telestial bodies are resurrected. However, after their resurrection they will return to their filthy way of living:
"... to enjoy that which they are willing to receive because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received." (D&C 85:5,6).
The fifth angel is Peter. He will announce the time has come for the judgment of the great abominable church. Before speaking of that judgment, let us consider what the Scriptures say about her and the reason for her particular judgment. Nephi spoke of the time when there will be two churches only. This does not include the heathen. One of these churches will be the church of the Lamb of God, and the other the church of the devil. He said the time will come when both churches will be upon all the face of the earth, but the church of the Lamb of God will have small dominion because the abominable church will fight against her. During this time of persecution "... I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." (1st Nephi 3:229-231).
When they arrive at this righteous condition they will be gathered from all the world. This has already been described. About this time the church of the devil will perform great miracles through his church, going among the nations with the purpose of gathering them to go against the saints who have gathered from all the world. This will be in the period of time when the 14th chapter of Zechariah, the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel, and the 11th chapter of Revelation will be fulfilled.
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world; to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief (third watch period). Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called ... Armageddon." (Rev. 16:13-16).
The miracles that will be performed by the abominable church will be so great that unless God intervenes the whole world will be cursed at the coming of Christ. So God will send Elijah, the prophet, to contest the miracles performed by the abominable church. It will be a contest between the priesthood of God and the priestcraft of the abominable church, as it was between Elijah, the prophet, and Jezebel's priestcraft of Baal on Mount Carmel, which revealed the true priesthood (1st Kings 18). It was at that great demonstration that Elijah received the keys of turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (the prophets).
Because of God's foreknowledge, he inspired Malachi to speak of the coming of Elijah in the latter days or before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5,6). Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple on April 3, 1836, and committed the keys of the dispensation when this would be fulfilled. Before that, Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him the interpretation of Malachi's prophecy:
"Behold, I will reveal unto you the priesthood (true priesthood) by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers (apostles and prophets), and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." (C.H. Vol. 1, p.13).
Let us now return to the wicked army of the abominable church. Ezekiel calls this invading army Gog and Magog. This is the army of the Gentiles which take over Jerusalem when the two prophets of that city will prophesy (Rev. 11) and also when Christ shall appear to the Jews on the Mount of Olives. It will be at that time that Michael, the archangel, who is called the ancient of days, will fight this enemy and overcome them as it is written in Daniel 7. "And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains (kingdom, including Zion) saith the Lord God; every man's sword shall be against his brother.... and I will rain upon him ... an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus ... I will be known in the eyes of many nations, ..." (Ezekiel 38:21-23).
Among the nations to whom God will make himself known are the heathen nations. When they see the destruction of the abominable church, they will be converted to Christ and his church. Ezekiel also speaks of this:
"And thou (abominable church) shall come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes." (Ezekiel 38:16). (Also see D&C 45:10).
There are many who believe this army to be Russian communism. This could be part true. But the Lord said "... and it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up; and the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, which spoke of these things..." (D&C 28:5; see II Nephi 7:23-25).
Ezekiel said he would send fire upon Magog (39:6). Not all of the wicked will be destroyed in that great battle: "And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee ..." (39:2).
Let us now continue with the sounding of the last three angels. The fifth angel sounds for the judgment, and final destruction of the abominable church and Satan's rule over the nations of the earth. His evil church has now come to an end. The hour has arrived for Christ and his kingdom to take over the earth instead. This will be the time of which the prophets have spoken and longed to see; a time when peace shall have finally arrived upon the earth, not only peace among men but among the animal kingdom also. Because this will be such a wonderful occasion, all of God's creation will hear the sound of the fifth angel's trump; people in heaven and on earth and under the earth will 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, for ever and ever: for the hour of his judgment is come." (D&C 85:31).
Our dispensation angel, Joseph Smith, who is the sixth angel, will now sound, announcing the final destruction of the devil's wicked church. He will say:
"She is fallen, who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication: she is fallen! is fallen!" (D&C 85:32).
The account given of the sixth angel in the book of Revelation speaks of it as a city, saying "Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." (Rev. 14:8).
Michael, the seventh angel, the archangel, will sound last; his message shall be:
"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; and then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance, and be made equal with him." (D&C 85:33).
This has been the story of the coming of Christ according to his word. Before leaving the subject of the coming of Christ in his glory, let us ponder on what will happen to the abominable church after her judgment. The sixth, angel does not tell us of the details of her final destruction. Let us consider the following: When Christ will come in glory, he and his hosts will come in the midst of a pillar of heaven. It is conjecture, but reasonable to believe, that the great sign in heaven which all people will see is that pillar of fire. It appears when the heavens are opened as a scroll and the face of the Lord is unveiled. He will not be visible to anyone except the saints who will be caught up to meet him, because of his being in the midst of this pillar of heaven. It seems that it will not be until after the first five angels will sound that he will show his face in glory to the remnant of the abominable church. Her judgment must come before her destruction. Then when Christ unveils his face to her, she will be consumed by his brightness. (2 Thess. 2:3-8).
After the saints had been driven from the land of Zion, the Lord said to the church:
"Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together and stand in holy places, and prepare for the revelation which is to come when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together. And every corruptible thing both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of heaven, or of the fish of the sea, that dwell upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed; and also, that of element shall melt with fervent heat and all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon the earth. And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts; yea, the enmity of all flesh shall cease from before my face." (D&C 98:5).
When Christ comes, the earth will be purified. The water and air will not be contaminated. There will be no more filth nor slums for mankind to live in. The earth will again be as Eden. When that day comes, Christ will fulfill the statement he made when he told his disciples at the last Supper:
"For I say unto you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come." (Luke 22:18).
Then he will fulfill what he says in D&C 26:2. When he served the sacrament to the Nephites he did not partake for the kingdom was not yet on earth (III Nephi 8:28-44).
The visitation of Christ in the second watch is our present concern. Indications are that it is not too far away. We cannot continue our present way of living forever. The signs of the times, the unrest among nations and people should warn us of our need for Zion. What the Lord told us in Doctrine and Covenants 56:1-5 indicates that some of the church who feel secure will suffer loss when he next appears. Let us consider the message therein again: "And he that will not take up his cross and follow me and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved... and this shall be your lamentation in the days of visitation and of judgment (in the church) and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!"
The Lord has warned us that until he comes in his glory, it will be a time of sacrifice and tithing for his people. Many of our people have lived in luxury and failed to give back to the Lord that which is required in his law. Those who obey his law will not be burned by his coming:
"...speaking after the manner of the Lord; ... Verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, I am the Lord of hosts; and I will not spare any that remaineth in Babylon. Wherefore if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today." (D&C 64:5a-b).
We should not regard these words as an idle tale; for if we do it may cost us eternal life. Let us remember that we must go all the way with Christ. To take up our cross and follow him is a sure way to obtain celestial glory.
Let us consider the prophetic words of our late president and prophet of the church, Israel A. Smith:
"The hopes of my people and the goals of my church, while not yet fully realized, and at times and to many seemingly distant, are closer to realization than many recognize. It is yet day when all can work. The night will come when for many of my people, opportunity to assist will have passed." (D&C 142:5).
Does the Lord mean his coming in the second watch? And will that be the time when for many the opportunity to assist will have passed?
The answer is ours to think about.
In addition to what I have written in this booklet I wish to add a supplement concerning the sealed books and other ancient records which are yet to come. It appears that when these records will be available to the church for translation, the task of doing so will be so great that the Lord will name another man besides the prophet to assist in this work. However, it is likely that the prophet, himself, will translate the sealed books. (See D&C 27d and D&C 34:4f.)
Let us consider the Lord's promise of a gift to Oliver Cowdery to translate, and why he was later told he would not be permitted to exercise his gifts. According to the Times and Seasons, Oliver first visited Joseph April 15, 1829. (Vol. 3, page 832.) Two days later he began to act as a scribe for him in translating the Book of Mormon plates. About that time a revelation was given through Joseph, saying to Oliver:
"And behold, I grant unto you a gift, if ye desire of me to translate even as my servant Joseph, verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people; and now I command you, that if you have good desires, a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven, then shall ye assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity. And now, behold I give unto you and also my servant Joseph, the keys to this gift, which shall bring light to the ministry; and in mouth of two or three witnesses, shall all things be established." (D&C 6:11-13).
Shortly after this revelation was given, another message was received through Joseph, giving more information to Oliver concerning old records which had been given by the spirit of the Lord anciently. In this second revelation Oliver was told the means by which he would receive revelation:
"... yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind, and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you, and which shall dwell in your heart. Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation; behold this is the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.... Remember this is thy gift." (D&C 8:1-3).
When this revelation was given, neither Joseph or Oliver had been ordained to the priesthood. The method of translation promised to Oliver was not by the Urim and Thummim but it would come by the spirit direct to his heart and mind. After the Lord had promised Oliver the gift of translating he promised him another gift.
"Now this is not all your gift, for you have another gift which is the gift of Aaron; behold, it has told you many things; behold, there is no other power save the power of God that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you; therefore doubt not, for it is the gift of God, and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power can take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God. And therefore what so ever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that I will grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it; remember, that without faith you can do nothing."(D&C 8:3)
In the same revelation the Lord instructs Oliver to pray that he may know the mysteries of God, and to translate and receive knowledge of God from the ancient records which are sacred. It is evident from what is written above that the gift to translate and the gift of Aaron have a relationship with each other. Let us also note that the gift of Aaron was something which Oliver could hold in his hand and do marvelous works.
After the Lord had promised these two gifts to Oliver Cowdery another revelation was received which has puzzled many of our people.
"Behold, I say unto you my son, that because you did not translate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., even so I would that you should continue until you have finished this record, which I have intrusted unto him; and then, behold other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate. Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph; and, behold it is because you did not continue as you commenced. When you began to translate, that I have taken this privilege from you. Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner." (D&C 9:1-2.)
It seems that Oliver made an attempt to translate by the means which God had instructed him, but he was unsuccessful because he thought the Lord would put words in his mind, without any effort on his part to reason out the inspiration he had received. The Lord wanted him to know that he was not only to know how to receive revelation, but to test it by his own reasoning. Otherwise there was a chance to be deceived. Here are the words of the Lord:
"Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it is right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it is not right, you shall have no such feeling, but you shall have a stupor of thought; that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me. Now, if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless it is not expedient that you should translate now; Behold, it was expedient when you commenced, but you feared, and the time is past, ... for, do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up, and neither of you have I condemned?" (D&C 9:3-4).
Why did the Lord promise Oliver these two gifts, and then not let him exercise them? The reason he was not familiar with receiving revelation was no fault of his. When he was finally instructed the Lord said; "the time is past, and it was not expedient to translate now."
It is obvious that the Lord did not want these ancient records to be revealed at that time. It appears that he gave these promises to Oliver so they would be in the record, or in the Doctrine and Covenants.
It was wisdom in God to do what he did at that time because of his knowledge of things to come. When these ancient records will be translated God will raise up a man with the gift to translate and also the gift of Aaron to do marvelous works.
The Lord again spoke to Oliver through Joseph revealing the close relationship between the prophet of the church and the holder of the gift of Aaron:
"...Verily, verily, I say unto thee (Oliver); no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., for he receiveth them even as Moses, and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron to declare faithfully the commandments and revelations, with power and authority unto the church. And if thou art led at any time, by the comforter, to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandments unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write it by the way of commandment, but by wisdom; and thou shalt not command him who is at thy head and at the head of the church, for I have given him the keys of the mysteries and revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead." (D&C 27:2).
We see here that Joseph Smith was to receive revelations and commandments as Moses, and Oliver was to declare them with power and authority as Aaron. This reveals the power of the gift of Aaron when associated with the prophet of the church. Let us consider here the gift of Aaron. The scriptures do not tell us what the gift of Aaron is but if we compare the work of Aaron, under the direction of Moses, with the promise given to Oliver Cowdery, under the direction of Joseph Smith, we will recognize the authority that goes with the gift of Aaron.
There is no evidence that God took the gift of Aaron from Oliver, he was not allowed to exercise it except as revealed (D&C 27:2). When the Lord commanded Moses to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage Moses said to him:
"But behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, the Lord hath not appeared unto thee. And the Lord said unto him. What is that in thine hand? And he said, a rod. And he said, cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, put forth thine hand and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand." (Exodus 4:1-4 I.V.).
After this incident Moses complained to the Lord that he was not eloquent in speech, but that he was slow of speech and tongue. So the Lord called Aaron to be his spokesman. What the Lord said to Moses reveals the gift of Aaron.
"And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you should do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a month, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs." (Exodus 4:15-17). We note how closely the above words compare with the instructions given to Oliver Cowdery in (D&C 27:2) which say that Joseph Smith would receive revelations as Moses, and Oliver would declare these commandments with power and authority to the church as did Aaron. This is but part of the gift of Aaron. The other part of his gift would be something which he would hold in his hand, and do marvelous works. The gift Aaron had in his hands with which to do marvelous works was the rod which Moses provided but he could only do these great works when commanded by God, through Moses.
Let us see what happened when Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh.
"And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron saying, when Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, show a miracle that I may know you; then thou shalt say unto Aaron, take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded; and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and sorcerers; now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents, but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods." (Exodus 7:9-12 I.V.).
In this contest between the power of God and the satanic power of Pharaoh's magicians, Aaron used the rod that was in his hand, four times. Besides what was quoted, Aaron's rod turned the waters into blood, his rod brought forth frogs and lice upon the Egyptians. The rest of the miracles that were performed before Pharaoh were done by Moses as the Lord commanded. It is obvious that the gift of Aaron was to assist Moses in doing marvelous works by the rod which was in his hand. For this reason the Lord said to Oliver Cowdery concerning the gift of Aaron: "...it is the gift of God and you shall hold it in your hands and do marvelous works, and no power shall take it out of your hands for it is the work of God."
There is no record of Oliver ever receiving anything to hold in his hands by which he would do marvelous works as the rod did in Aaron's hands. The reason for this: the time had not yet come for a demonstration of God's power through this gift.
Anyone who has carefully studied the revelations of the early church will know that God wanted to established Zion at that time. The Fishing River revelation (D&C 102) was the dividing line, in time, between what God wanted his church to do, and what we have today. There is no time limit with the word of God. Man is limited, but not so with God. Had the saints kept all the commandments of God in the early church, Oliver Cowdery's gift would have been fulfilled. Because the newly restored church failed to do God's will, it will be necessary for him to raise up a man who will be given the gift to translate ancient records and also be given the gift of Aaron. It will come in a time when the power of God will be greatly demonstrated before many people.
Let us look into the future and see what the prophets have promised concerning the word of God which is yet to be revealed. The scriptures tells us that there are at least three sealed books that are yet to be translated. Two of these are the sealed portions of the Book of Mormon, and the sealed Book of John. After Nephi had been speaking of what John had written he said:
"And also others(plural) who have been, to them hath he shown all things, and they have written them; and they are sealed up to come forth in their purity according to the truth which is the Lamb, in the own due time of the Lord, unto the house of Israel." (1 Nephi 3:248 250).
Besides these sealed books there are scriptures which have once been open books. The Book of Enoch is also yet to come. (D&C 104:29). Nephi said:
"For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews, and they shall write it: and I shall also speak unto the Nephites, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth, and they shall write it. And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews. And it shall come to pass that my people which are of the house of Israel shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one." (2 Nephi 12:67-73).
When we consider the vast amount of translating that is yet to be done, we can see why God will designate another besides the prophet to assist in this work.
The third chapter of Nephi gives us much light on the word of the Lord that is yet to be revealed. Nephi was visited by an angel who made known to him many things to come. He saw Columbus and other Gentiles come to America. They carried with them a book which was the record of the Jews, of the Bible, as we know it. He was shown that many plain and precious things had been removed from the Book by the abominable church. He also saw the restoration of the gospel in which the Book of Mormon was revealed, and eventually the restoration of the fullness of the Bible as it was before the abominable church had removed many plain and precious parts.
When we realize the great amount of work of translation that is yet to come we can see the wisdom of God in calling a man through a future prophet of the church, who will be given the gift to translate, as well as the gift of Aaron.
It is very obvious that when our missionaries go into the world under the endowment of the Spirit, that we will be better known, as a church, than we are today. The sealed books will be revealed to the Gentiles, who will take them to the Jews and all Israel, about the time of Christ's coming in the third watch.
The Lord has told us that there is a great division coming among the people. (2 Nephi 12:90). There is evidence in the scriptures that when those days come we will see deeds similar to what happened in Egypt, especially when the gathering of Latter Day Israel takes place from all the world.
Let us consider the parallel of events which took place in Moses' day with that which is to come. Moses was a prophet to whom God gave the keys to the gathering of Israel. He was to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage, by power and a stretched out arm. Both Moses and Aaron performed great miracles with a rod while contending with Pharaoh, a king of the earth.
Moses failed to complete the gathering of Israel because of the Golden Calf incident and the rebellion among the people. So God took the Melchisedec priesthood from the people but left the lesser priesthood which held the keys of the ministry of angels. So he sent an angel to go before the people instead of his own presence, "... lest I consume thee in the way." (Exodus 33:1-3).
In February 1844 the Lord gave a message of hope to the saints who had been driven from Jackson County. In this revelation the Lord spoke of a modern prophet, whom he shall raise up among his people:
"Who shall lead them like as Moses ... and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power and with a stretched out arm as your fathers were led at first." (D&C 100:3). This was spoken of earlier.
Because of the great demonstration of God's power which will be exhibited in that day, we see the similarity the Lord makes between this man and Moses. It is therefore likely that God will also raise up a man to assist this prophet with the gift of Aaron. The Lord has not told us who this man will be but there is evidence given us of the probability of this man.
When Lehi was speaking to his son Joseph, he told him of a choice seer whom the Lord would raise up in the last day: "...for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his (the seer's) hand by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation." (see 2 Nephi 2:10-30). Lehi also speaks of another man who will come out of the seed of Lehi through his son Joseph.
"Wherefore, because of this covenant thou (Joseph, son of Lehi) art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed for they shall hearken unto the words of the book." (Book of Mormon).
"And there shall be raised up among them (Lamanites) who shall do much good, both in word and deed being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to do mighty wonders and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren." (Verse 45).
Here we find a man, a descendent of the Book of Mormon people, who will not only do good in word and deed, but he will work mighty wonders. It may be conjecture to say, but not hard to believe, that this man will perform his mighty wonders with the gift of Aaron, which he will hold in his hand. Neither would it be hard to believe that because this man will bring to pass much restoration of Israel; that he will be as Aaron to the prophet whom God shall raise up to gather Israel, as Aaron was to Moses in Egypt.
Let us remember that all these great events will happen in the day of God's power, after Christ's visitation in the third watch.
Joseph Smith was a great prophet. He holds the keys of the kingdom in our dispensation. He was never permitted to do his great work because the saints failed to follow his leadership by not keeping the commandments of God which came through him. If they had entered into the covenant of the Order of Enoch and also obeyed the moral code of the church, the history of the Restoration movement would have read differently. It would also have effected the whole world. The high point in our church history was in the first part of 1836 at Kirtland, Ohio. When the Kirtland apostasy began, the church began to deteriorate and as the spirit withdrew from the church, the blessings also withdrew from Joseph the prophet, until the bottom was reached at Nauvoo in the dark and cloudy day.
Had the Lord permitted Oliver Cowdery to translate ancient convincing records in 1829 and later, they would also have become the property of the Utah church and other factions. Those records would have been as convincing in the hands of apostates as they would in the true church of Jesus Christ. This was not to be, but the Lord wanted us to know what was to come, so he spoke as he did to Oliver.
Moses was also a great prophet, but he was never permitted to do his greatest work either, because the church at that time failed to follow his leadership. He did lead them out of physical bondage, but because of disobedience they came under the spiritual bondage of the Mosaic law.
Today, many of our people are content to remain as we are as long as we prosper materially. This
spirit has also entered among men in church leadership. Some are dangerously making fables out
of God's word. In so doing they will lose the spirit of God. World conditions warn us of the need
for Zion, but unless we do something soon we can only have Zion by our suffering.
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