Lesson 21: “Looking Forth for the Great Day of the Lord to Come”

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 115–20


Purpose

To help class members understand and recognize the signs of the Second Coming and prepare for “the great day of the Lord to come” (D&C 45:39).

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Doctrine and Covenants 29:9–29; 34:5–12; 45:16–75; 88:86–99; 101:22–34; 133; and the other scriptures in the lesson.

  2. 2.

    Review the material for this lesson in the Class Member Study Guide (35686). Plan ways to refer to the material during the lesson.

  3. 3.

    If the picture The Second Coming is available, prepare to use it during the lesson (62562; Gospel Art Picture Kit 238).

  4. 4.

    If you use the attention activity, make the following preparations:

    1. a.

      Prepare to use the following pictures in addition to the picture listed above: The Birth of Jesus (62116; Gospel Art Picture Kit 200); Jesus Praying in Gethsemane (62175; Gospel Art Picture Kit 227); and The Crucifixion (62505; Gospel Art Picture Kit 230).

    2. b.

      Prepare to have class members sing “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth” (Hymns, no. 196). Or ask a class member or a group of class members to prepare to sing it.

Note to the teacher: As you teach this lesson, focus on the Lord’s revealed words in the Doctrine and Covenants. Do not discuss speculative matters such as the timing of the Second Coming.

Suggestions for Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

Display the pictures of Jesus’ birth, Atonement, and Second Coming (see “Preparation,” items 3 and 4a).

Have class members sing “Jesus, Once of Humble Birth,” or ask the assigned class member or group of class members to sing it. Ask class members to look for the relationship between the words of the hymn and the pictures you have displayed.

After the hymn, explain that Jesus Christ’s birth and His Second Coming are two of the most glorious events in the history of the world. When the Savior first came to the earth, He came in humble circumstances and was not generally recognized as the Messiah. However, when He comes the second time, He will come in power and great glory. This lesson is about the Savior’s Second Coming and millennial reign on the earth.

Discussion and Application

This lesson contains more material than is possible to teach in one class period. Prayerfully select the lesson material that will best meet class members’ needs.

1. The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory.

Explain that we are privileged to live in the dispensation of the fulness of times, when latter-day revelation teaches us great truths about the Second Coming, the events that will precede it, and the thousand years of peace that will begin when the Savior comes again. The Doctrine and Covenants provides a wealth of information on these important subjects.

Just as every prophecy relating to the Savior’s birth was fulfilled, so too will every prophecy relating to His Second Coming be fulfilled. Select some of the following prophecies to read with class members. Discuss what each passage teaches about the Savior’s Second Coming. Summarize the information on the chalkboard. You may want to divide the class into small groups and assign each group to study and report on assigned passages. Or you could assign individuals to study and report on the passages.

  1. a.

    D&C 29:9–11; 45:44. (Christ will come to earth in power and glory. The proud and the wicked will be burned, and there will not be wickedness on earth.)

  2. b.

    D&C 34:7, 12; 43:17; 110:16. (The Second Coming is near.)

  3. c.

    D&C 34:8, 11; 63:34. (All nations will tremble when the Savior comes. If we are faithful, His power and influence will be with us until He comes.)

  4. d.

    D&C 45:45–54; 88:96–99. (The Saints who have died will be resurrected and come forth to meet the Savior. The Saints who are alive on the earth will be gathered to meet Him. He will come to the Mount of Olives, and it will divide. The Jews will recognize their Savior and weep because they persecuted Him. Then those who received the gospel in spirit prison will be resurrected.)

  5. e.

    D&C 49:6. (The Savior will put all enemies under His feet.)

  6. f.

    D&C 49:7. (No one, not even the angels, knows the hour or the day when the Savior will come.)

  7. g.

    D&C 133:46–53. (The Savior will come in red apparel. His coming will be a time of vengeance upon the wicked and redemption for the righteous.)

2. The Millennium will be a time of joy and peace.

The Savior’s Second Coming will usher in the thousand-year period called the Millennium. The tenth article of faith declares that during this time, “Christ will reign personally upon the earth,” and “the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.” Doctrine and Covenants 101 provides a description of the beauty and joy we can look forward to during the Millennium.

  • What will life on earth be like during the Millennium?

    To answer this question, select some of the following scripture passages to read with class members. Discuss what each passage teaches about the Millennium. Summarize the information on the chalkboard. You may want to divide the class into small groups and assign each group to study and report on assigned passages. Or you could assign individuals to study and report on the passages.

    1. a.

      D&C 101:23. (Everyone will be able to see the Savior.)

    2. b.

      D&C 101:24. (All the wicked will be destroyed.)

    3. c.

      D&C 101:25. (The earth will become new.)

    4. d.

      D&C 101:26. (People and animals will live in peace.)

    5. e.

      D&C 101:27. (People will be granted what they righteously desire.)

    6. f.

      D&C 101:28; see also D&C 45:55; 88:110. (Satan will be bound and will not have power to tempt anyone.)

    7. g.

      D&C 101:29. (There will be no sorrow or death.)

    8. h.

      D&C 101:30–31. (A person will grow old, then be changed suddenly from mortal to immortal life.)

    9. i.

      D&C 101:32–34. (The Lord will reveal all things about the earth and heaven, including how the earth was created and what will become of it.)

    10. j.

      D&C 45:58. (Children will grow up without sin.)

    11. k.

      D&C 45:59; 133:25. (The Lord will be the king and lawgiver for the whole earth.)

  • How can this knowledge about the Millennium be a blessing in our lives now? How does it help you to know that righteousness will eventually triumph over wickedness?

3. We must prepare for the Second Coming.

The Lord has repeatedly emphasized that we must prepare for His coming (D&C 133:4, 10–11). Some people may feel that they can never do enough or be good enough to prepare adequately. They may become discouraged and feel that such preparation is impossible. However, the Lord has given counsel in the Doctrine and Covenants to teach us that we can prepare for this important event as part of our daily lives.

  • What can we do in our lives now to prepare for the Second Coming? (Use the following information to discuss or add to class members’ responses.)

Watch for the signs of the Savior’s coming

Explain that in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord reveals many of the signs that will precede His Second Coming and encourages us to “be watchful” (D&C 61:38).

  • Why is it important for us to know about the signs that will precede the Savior’s Second Coming? Read D&C 45:36–39 with class members. What can we learn from this parable about why these signs have been given to us?

  • What are some of the signs that have been prophesied to precede the Savior’s Second Coming?

    To answer this question, select some of the following scripture passages to read with class members. Identify the signs that are mentioned in each passage. Summarize them on the chalkboard under the headings Positive Signs and Negative Signs. You may want to divide the class into small groups and assign each group to study and report on assigned passages. Or you could assign individuals to study and report on the passages.

    Positive signs

    1. a.

      D&C 45:9; 133:57–58. (The fulness of the gospel will be restored.)

    2. b.

      D&C 45:66–71. (The New Jerusalem will be built. It will be a place of peace and safety for the righteous in the last days.)

    3. c.

      D&C 65:2–6. (God’s kingdom will be established on the earth.)

    4. d.

      D&C 110:11–16. (Priesthood keys will be restored.)

    5. e.

      D&C 133:8–9, 36–39. (The gospel will be preached throughout the world.)

    Negative signs

    1. a.

      D&C 29:15; 88:91. (There will be great weeping, despair, and fear. Men’s hearts will fail them.)

    2. b.

      D&C 29:16; 45:31; 112:24. (There will be famines, scourges, sickness, and desolation.)

    3. c.

      D&C 34:9; 45:40–42; 88:87. (There will be signs and wonders in the heavens and in the earth.)

    4. d.

      D&C 45:26; 63:33. (There will be wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth will be in commotion.)

    5. e.

      D&C 45:27. (The love of men will become cold, and iniquity will abound.)

    6. f.

      D&C 45:33; 88:89–90. (There will be earthquakes, tempests, and great waves of the sea. Men will harden their hearts against God and fight each other.)

    Point out that some of these prophecies have already been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some await fulfillment.

  • The Lord counseled us to “be not troubled” during the turmoil of the last days (D&C 45:35). How can we maintain hope and avoid feeling distressed when we are surrounded by the wickedness and turmoil of the last days? (See D&C 38:30.)

Stand in holy places

In addition to counseling us to watch for the signs of the Second Coming, the Lord also counsels us to prepare by being righteous. Select some of the following scripture passages to read with class members. Discuss what each passage teaches about preparing for the Savior’s Second Coming. Summarize the information on the chalkboard.

  1. a.

    D&C 27:15; 33:17. (Be steadfast in righteousness.)

  2. b.

    D&C 34:6; 39:19–20; 43:20–23. (Cry repentance and be repentant.) Why is repentance important in preparing for the Second Coming?

  3. c.

    D&C 45:32; 87:8; 101:22–23. (Stand in holy places.) What does it mean to “stand in holy places”? What are some of these holy places? (They could include our temples, our chapels, our homes, and the stakes of Zion.) What can we do to keep ourselves worthy and holy even when we are in worldly environments?

  4. d.

    D&C 45:56–57. (Have the Holy Spirit as our guide.)

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “How do you prepare for the Second Coming? Well, you just do not worry about it. You just live the kind of life that if the Second Coming were to be tomorrow you would be ready. Nobody knows when it is going to happen. … Our responsibility is to prepare ourselves, to live worthy of the association of the Savior, to deport ourselves in such a way that we would not be embarrassed if He were to come among us. That is a challenge in this day and age” (Church News, 2 Jan. 1999, 2).

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve gave the following counsel:

“Teenagers also sometimes think, ‘What’s the use? The world will soon be blown all apart and come to an end.’ That feeling comes from fear, not from faith. No one knows the hour or the day (see D&C 49:7), but the end cannot come until all of the purposes of the Lord are fulfilled. Everything that I have learned from the revelations and from life convinces me that there is time and to spare for you to carefully prepare for a long life.

“One day you will cope with teenage children of your own. That will serve you right. Later, you will spoil your grandchildren, and they in turn spoil theirs. If an earlier end should happen to come to one, that is more reason to do things right” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 72; or Ensign, May 1989, 59).

Conclusion

Point out that the Lord has revealed more information about the Second Coming and the Millennium to us than to any other group in the history of the world. With this information, we can be prepared and steadfast in righteousness as His prophecies are being fulfilled all around us. We should look forward with joy to the time when the Savior will return and usher in the millennial reign of peace and righteousness.

As prompted by the Spirit, testify of the truths discussed during the lesson.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. The parable of the wheat and the tares

Doctrine and Covenants 86 provides further insight into the Second Coming. This section records a revelation that Joseph Smith received to clarify some of the meanings of the parable of the wheat and the tares. The Savior earlier gave this parable during His mortal ministry (Matthew 13:24–30).

  • Review the parable in D&C 86 with class members. What do the elements of this parable represent?

    The Lord’s servants are the sowers of the good seed, and Satan and his followers are the sowers of the tares. The good seed represents the followers of Jesus, and the tares represent those who succumb to evil. The wheat and the tares are allowed to grow together until the end of the world. At that time, the righteous will be gathered out from among the wicked and the wicked will be burned.

  • What does this parable teach us about the events connected with the Second Coming?

2. Video presentations

If the videocassette Teachings from the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History (53933) is available, consider showing one or both of the following segments:

“Be Not Troubled” (five minutes). This presentation can help class members understand that they do not need to be frightened or troubled by the calamities that will come in the last days. If you decide to show it, do so during the third section of the lesson.

“They That Are Wise” (six minutes). This presentation portrays the Savior’s parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1–13; see also D&C 45:56–59). If you decide to show it, do so during the third section of the lesson.

Before showing “They That Are Wise,” explain that the parable of the ten virgins is based on ancient Jewish wedding customs. In Jesus’ time, the bridegroom and his friends would escort the bride from her home to the home of the bridegroom. Along the way, the friends of the bride waited to join them. When they arrived at the bridegroom’s home, they all went inside for the wedding. These weddings usually took place in the evening, so those waiting for the bride carried small lamps fueled by oil. In the parable, the bridegroom represents the Savior. The virgins represent members of the Church. The wedding represents the Savior’s Second Coming. The oil in the lamps represents preparation for the Second Coming.

After showing the presentation, have class members read D&C 45:56–59. Then ask the following question:

  • What do these verses teach about preparing for the Savior’s Second Coming?

You may want to share the following insights from President Spencer W. Kimball:

“In the parable, oil can be purchased at the market. In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living. Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity—these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [1972], 256).