Throughout history, many people have had differing opinions about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This was true in March 1831 when the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 45 was received. In this revelation the Lord gave details about certain events and signs associated with His Second Coming, including the establishment of the New Jerusalem (or Zion). The Lord also directed the Prophet Joseph Smith to begin working on a translation of the New Testament, to prepare the Saints for things to come.
How do you know when a storm is approaching? Why is it helpful to know what those signs are?
Those who know the signs of an approaching event can be prepared for it. What signs are you aware of to alert you that the following events are here or are coming?
The last days
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
As shown in Doctrine and Covenants 45:16, people during Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry, like those during the time of Joseph Smith and today, were interested in knowing more about the events leading up to the Savior’s Second Coming. In Doctrine and Covenants 45 the Lord described signs to alert us of this approaching event. Many of the passages in Doctrine and Covenants 45 are what the Lord revealed to His disciples who lived with Him in His mortal ministry (see Matthew 24).
To identify signs that the Savior said would precede His Second Coming, write the following references in your scripture study journal; write each reference on a separate line and leave some space to write down the signs: D&C 45:18–21; D&C 45:22–27; D&C 45:28–31, 33; D&C 45:40–43. Then read the verses in each reference, looking for signs that precede the Second Coming, and record the signs next to the reference. If you choose to do so, draw pictures of what you read instead of writing the signs.
Some of these signs of the Second Coming have already occurred. For example, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70 (see D&C 45:18–21). The phrase “the times of the Gentiles” in Doctrine and Covenants 45:25 refers to the time when the gospel is offered primarily to the Gentiles, or those of non-Jewish descent, which is the time that we live in today.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:34, looking for how the disciples during the Savior’s mortal ministry felt when He told them these things. Why do you think people today might feel similar feelings regarding the signs of the Savior’s Second Coming?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:38, looking for what we will know when we see the signs coming to pass.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:32, 39. As you study these verses, identify what the followers of Jesus Christ in our day will do to be ready for His Second Coming. Look at verse 39, footnote a to learn of another word for “feareth.”
Based upon what you have studied, what is the Lord’s promise to those who stand in holy places and reverence Him? Complete this principle: If we stand in holy places and watch for the signs, we will .
Often we think of “holy places” as Church sites, like the temples or meetinghouses. As you read the following statement, look for another way we stand in holy places:
“‘Holy places’ may have more to do with how one lives than where one lives. If we live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then we stand in a holy place. …
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can we live in the world today and yet still stand in holy places?
How does a follower of Jesus Christ fear, or revere, Him on a daily basis? Describe a person you know who does this.
When Jesus Christ returns He will make some appearances to specific groups. He will then appear in great power, majesty, and glory, in such a manner that all the world will see Him. During one of His appearances, He will stand on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem as the Jews are being attacked. Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:48, looking for what will happen to this mount and the earth when the Savior stands upon it.
Complete the following chart by reading the verses and answering the questions in your own words:
D&C 45:49–50: What will happen to the nations of the earth at the Second Coming?
D&C 45:51–53: Why will the Jews weep when the Lord returns?
If you are not familiar with the parable of the ten virgins, read Matthew 25:1–13. In what ways were five of the virgins wise? Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:56–57, looking for how to be wise in your preparation for Second Coming. Consider marking what you find.
Write an “If–Then” principle explaining what we must do to be wise and prepare for the Second Coming:
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about this parable and what the ten virgins represent: “The arithmetic of this parable is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came” (“Preparation for the Second Coming,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 8).
President Spencer W. Kimball used the parable of the ten virgins to teach about how we can be ready for the Savior’s Second Coming:
“I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the rank and file of the world. All of the virgins, wise and foolish, had accepted the invitation to the wedding supper; they had knowledge of the program and had been warned of the important day to come. …
“At midnight! Precisely at the darkest hour, when least expected, the bridegroom came. When the world is full of tribulation and help is needed, but it seems the time must be past and hope is vain, then Christ will come. The midnights of life are the times when heaven comes to offer its joy for man’s weariness. But when the cry sounds, there is no time for preparation. …
“The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. The wise had to go, else the bridegroom would have gone unwelcomed. They needed all their oil for themselves; they could not save the foolish. The responsibility was each for himself.
“This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. How can one share obedience to the principle of tithing; a mind at peace from righteous living; an accumulation of knowledge? How can one share faith or testimony? How can one share attitudes or chastity, or the experience of a mission? How can one share temple privileges? Each must obtain that kind of oil for himself.
“The foolish virgins were not averse to buying oil. They knew they should have oil. They merely procrastinated, not knowing when the bridegroom would come.
“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 , 253–56).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How are you preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ by receiving the truth and taking the Holy Spirit as your guide?
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, testified of the importance of having the Spirit in troubled times:
“We live in troubled times—very troubled times. We hope, we pray, for better days. But that is not to be. The prophecies tell us that. We will not as a people, as families, or as individuals be exempt from the trials to come. …
“We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do” (“The Cloven Tongues of Fire,” Ensign, May 2000, 8).
Read or quote the eighth Article of Faith. What does the phrase “as far as it is translated correctly” suggest about the Bible? Joseph Smith turned to passages in the Bible when he sought to know about which church to join. He loved the Bible and found great consolation from its words. However, as he studied it, he noticed errors and contradictions and felt that some information was missing or incomplete, and he explained, “It was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of man had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 217; see also Bible Dictionary, “Bible”).
He also said: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 207; see also 1 Nephi 13:25–29).
Around the fall of 1830, the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to translate the Bible. This “translation” was not from one language to another, nor did the Prophet have an original biblical manuscript to work from. Instead, he would read and study passages from the King James version of the Bible and make corrections and additions as inspired by the Spirit. With its inspired revisions, the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) has blessed the world by clarifying doctrinal content in the Bible, especially concerning the mission of Jesus Christ and the nature of God.
When the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 45 was given on March 7, 1831, Joseph Smith was working on his inspired revision of the Old Testament. The day after Joseph received this revelation, he starting translating the New Testament. Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:60–61 to discover why.
The Lord directed the early Saints to move westward, “out from the eastern lands” (D&C 45:64). Look at the following map to visualize this area.
What did the Lord say was “even at your doors” (D&C 45:63)?
Ponder what you think the imagery of “even at your doors” means.
In 1831 the western border of the United States extended to the western edge of Missouri. The Lord would later guide the Saints even farther west—to a place now known as Utah. As the Saints obeyed the Lord’s counsel, they were guided away from the calamities connected with the Civil War in America (1861–65).
If you could live anywhere, where would you want to live? Why?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:65–67, looking for the name of the Saints’ land of inheritance and reasons why it would be a desirable place for them to live.
In your scripture study journal, list the reasons why the New Jerusalem would be a place you would like to live.
These verses teach that the New Jerusalem will be a place of peace and safety, and the glory of the Lord will be there. In Doctrine and Covenants 45:67, notice what will be there in addition to the glory of the Lord. What did the Lord say was a result of having “the terror of the Lord” also present there?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 45:68–71, looking for who will gather to the New Jerusalem (Zion).
In your scripture study journal, finish this statement: Because of what I have learned today, I will prepare for things to come by …
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 45:16–75 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: