The Church continued to grow in Kirtland. But in the spring of 1831, wrote the Prophet Joseph Smith, “many false reports, lies, and foolish stories, were published in the newspapers, and circulated in every direction, to prevent people from investigating the work, or embracing the faith. … To the joy of the Saints who had to struggle against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received [Doctrine and Covenants 45]” (History of the Church, 1:158). Section 45 is “a repetition to Joseph Smith … of words originally spoken by the Master upon the Mount of Olives, when he was discussing with the disciples the judgment that would come upon Jerusalem, its destruction, the dispersion of the Jews, and then their gathering again, and the coming of the Lord in the last days” (Melvin J. Ballard, in Conference Report, Oct. 1920, 80–81).
“One of the great revelations containing prophecies and promises is D&C Section 45. There is one major conclusion to be drawn from that which is recorded in this revelation. There is sufficient evidence that the signs foretold by Jesus Christ have been, are now being, and will yet be fulfilled. They all bear witness that Jesus lives and He will return to reign upon the earth” (Leaun G. Otten and C. Max Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants, 2 vols. [1982–83], 1:220).
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
The “times of the Gentiles” is the period when the gospel is generally rejected by the Jews and taken to the Gentiles (see D&C 45:24–30).
During the Millennium Satan will be bound, children will grow up without sin, and the Lord will reign personally among the people (see D&C 45:55–59; see also Micah 4:1–7; 1 Nephi 22:26; Articles of Faith 1:10).
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 91–98.
Suggestions for Teaching
Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video presentation 7, “Be Not Troubled” (4:55), can be used in teaching Doctrine and Covenants 45:16–39. Presentation 8, “They That Are Wise” (8:38), can be used in teaching Doctrine and Covenants 45:56–57. (See Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Video Guide for teaching suggestions.)
Doctrine and Covenants 45:1–8. Jesus Christ is the Creator and our advocate with the Father.
Read 2 Nephi 25:23 and ask:
What will save us from the effects of the Fall?
Who could be exalted without the Atonement?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:3–8 and ask:
What is an advocate? (One who pleads another’s cause.)
What did Jesus Christ do that allows Him to be our advocate?
Read Mosiah 3:17. According to this verse, who besides Jesus Christ could be our advocate?
What must we do for Jesus to act as our advocate?
Share the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“[Jesus Christ] intercedes on man’s behalf, advocating his cause in the courts above. … In the atonement that he wrought, he paid the penalty for the sins of men, on conditions of repentance, so that all might escape the judgments decreed for disobedience. …
“… The most perfect summary of this law found anywhere in Holy Writ is given to us in [Doctrine and Covenants 45:3–5]” (The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ , 329–30).
Invite a student to read verses 3–5 and put his or her name in place of “your,” “these my brethren,” and “they.” Ask: How do you imagine it would feel to have the Savior standing by you saying these words at your final judgment? To help answer this question, read and discuss 3 Nephi 17:16–17.
Doctrine and Covenants 45:16–59. The Lord prophesied the events of the last days.
Note: Use the many helps on pages 91–98 of Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 as you teach this section (see also “The Times of the Gentiles” in the appendix, p. 304).
Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 45:16 to find a question that the Savior’s disciples asked Him during His mortal ministry. Ask: Why do you think they asked this question?
Read verse 17 and ask: How is having your spirit separated from your body a type of bondage? Share the following statement by Elder Melvin J. Ballard, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“When we go out of this life, leave this body, we will desire to do many things that we cannot do at all without the body. We will be seriously handicapped, and we will long for the body; we will pray for the early reunion with our bodies. We will know then what advantage it is to have a body” (in Melvin J. Ballard … Crusader for Righteousness , 213).
Write on the board the following heading: Prophecies about Jerusalem (D&C 45:18–24). Invite students to mark these verses in their scriptures and write the heading in the margin. Read the verses and have students list on the board what the Lord said would happen to the Jews in Jerusalem. Ask: Which of these prophecies have been fulfilled? Share the following by President Anthony W. Ivins, who was a counselor in the First Presidency:
“In A.D. 66, … a general revolt against Rome occurred, and the Jews took possession of Jerusalem.
“Vespasian and his son Titus were sent with a Roman army to bring them back into submission, and after a siege which continued about four years, one of the most frightful and atrocious sieges of history, characterized by unspeakable horrors, the city was taken by Titus, who burned the temple, leveled the city to the ground and scattered the Jewish people to the four corners of the earth. …
“… The words uttered by Christ our Lord, in which he declared the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jews have been literally fulfilled” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1930, 121).
Ask: How does the fulfillment of this prophecy relate to the fulfillment of future prophecies?
Write on the board the heading The times of the Gentiles (D&C 45:24–30). Again have students mark these verses and write the heading in the margin. Read the verses. Ask the following questions and have students list the answers on the board:
What events will happen during the “times of the Gentiles”?
How will people act at that time?
When is the “times of the Gentiles”? (The time when the gospel is offered primarily to the Gentiles.)
Share this statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“The times of the Gentiles commenced shortly after the death of our Redeemer. The Jews soon rejected the Gospel and it was then taken to the Gentiles” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:196).
President Smith, when he was a counselor in the First Presidency, taught:
“Jesus said the Jews would be scattered among all nations and Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. (Luke 21:24.) The prophecy in Section 45, verses 24–29, of the Doctrine and Covenants regarding the Jews was literally fulfilled. Jerusalem, which was trodden down by the Gentiles, is no longer trodden down but is made the home for the Jews. They are returning to Palestine, and by this we may know that the times of the Gentiles are near their close” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 13).
Write on the board the heading The Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium (D&C 45:39–59). Have students mark their scriptures as before. Read these verses and have students list on the board how the Second Coming will affect the following: (1) the Saints who have “slept,” (2) those who mocked and scorned the truth, (3) the Jews, (4) the heathen nations, (5) Satan, (6) the wise who take the Holy Spirit as their guide, and (7) children.
Have students list on a piece of paper ways they can prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Doctrine and Covenants 45:11–69. The righteous will recognize the signs of the times and prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming.
Before class, ask a student to prepare a brief overview of the parable of the ten virgins (see Matthew 25:1–13).
Show students the picture of the ten virgins in the student study guide (see the “Studying the Scriptures” section for D&C 45, or use the cover of the October 1999 Ensign). Ask: What scriptural account does this picture represent? Have the student who prepared the report on the ten virgins give it. Write on the board each element of the parable as the student mentions it (such as virgins, wise virgins, foolish virgins, lamps, oil, the bridegroom). Ask the class what they think each element represents. (See the commentary for Matthew 25:1–13 in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles [Religion 211–212 student manual, p. 154] for an explanation of the parable.) Invite students to read what the Lord said about this parable in Doctrine and Covenants 45:56–57. Ask:
How can we receive the truth?
What must we do to take “the Holy Spirit for [our] guide”? (see also D&C 76:116).
How will the righteous abide the day of the Second Coming?
Read verses 37–40 and ask: What does it mean to be prepared for the Second Coming?
Give students copies of the following chart as a handout. Leave the answers in the two right-hand columns blank. Work through the chart as a class, writing in the middle column the signs and wonders described in the verses. Have students indicate in the right-hand column whether they think the fulfillment of each sign is past, present, or future.
Which of these verses describe the feelings of the righteous before the Second Coming?
Which describe the feelings of the wicked?
Why do you think these two groups have such different feelings?
Discuss with students their feelings about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Share the following statement about the Second Coming by President Joseph Fielding Smith, who was then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:
“We are hoping for it; we are praying for it. The righteous will rejoice when he comes, because then peace will come to the earth, righteousness to the people, and [a] spirit of peace and joy and happiness” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:14).
Doctrine and Covenants 45:32, 64–71. The Lord will gather His people to Zion, a place of peace and safety from the wars and destructions of the last days.
Tell students that on August 11, 1999, a tornado struck near Church headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of those injured were hit by flying glass from broken windows or by other debris. Tornadoes are rare in Utah, and many people did not know the best way to protect themselves. Homes or buildings in regions where tornadoes are more common often have storm cellars or reinforced rooms where people can go for safety.
In a world filled with wickedness, the Lord has established a few places of safety to which the righteous can retreat. Have students list some of their own places of safety from the temptations of the world. Ask: Why are those places safe for you? Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 45:32, and ask: What are some additional places of safety from the world? Share the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson: “Holy men and women stand in holy places, and these holy places consist of our temples, our chapels, our homes, and the stakes of Zion” (Come unto Christ , 115).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:62–71 and make two lists. On one list write words and phrases in these verses that describe conditions in the world in the last days. On the second, write words and phrases that describe conditions in Zion. Compare the lists and ask:
How is Zion like a place of shelter in a tornado?
How do the promises in these verses relate to the “holy places” mentioned in verse 32?
Would you like to live in the Zion described in these verses? Why?
Have a student read to the class the following statement by President Brigham Young:
“Where is Zion? Where the organization of the Church of God is. And may it dwell spiritually in every heart; and may we so live as to enjoy the spirit of Zion always!” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 118).
Ask what the spirit of Zion means. Have the class read Doctrine and Covenants 82:14–19; 97:21; Moses 7:18, and list on the board words that define the spirit of Zion. Share the following statement by Bishop Robert D. Hales, who was then Presiding Bishop:
“This promised Zion always seems to be a little beyond our reach. We need to understand that as much virtue can be gained in progressing toward Zion as in dwelling there. It is a process as well as a destination. We approach or withdraw from Zion through the manner in which we conduct our daily dealings, how we live within our families, whether we pay an honest tithe and generous fast offering, how we seize opportunities to serve and do so diligently. Many are perfected upon the road to Zion who will never see the city in mortality” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1986, 38; or Ensign, May 1986, 30).
Invite students to share ideas on how we could use these principles to make our homes, wards, and stakes a refuge from the world and places of peace and safety.