This lesson includes doctrines the Prophet Joseph Smith taught at a Church meeting in Ramus, Illinois, on April 2, 1843. These instructions are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 130. The Prophet taught about future events, including the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He also taught about our ability to retain knowledge and intelligence after we die and explained how we can receive God’s blessings.
Have you ever wanted to know exactly when the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will happen?
Many others have wondered the same thing. In Joseph Smith’s day, a prominent Christian preacher named William Miller claimed the Savior’s Second Coming would happen on April 3, 1843. One day before Miller’s predicted date of the Second Coming, the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke to the Saints in Ramus, Illinois, and mentioned that he had prayed to know the time of the Second Coming.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 130:14–17, looking for what Joseph Smith learned when he prayed about the timing of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Notice that the Lord did not reveal to Joseph Smith the exact date of the Second Coming. Furthermore, He instructed Joseph: “Trouble me no more on this matter” (D&C 130:15). Look at the scripture references in Doctrine and Covenants 130:15, footnote a. These passages further emphasize that no one knows exactly when the Savior will return.
In the following statement, underline what Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said about who knows when the Second Coming will occur:
“I am called as one of the Apostles to be a special witness of Christ in these exciting, trying times, and I do not know when He is going to come again. As far as I know, none of my brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve or even in the First Presidency knows. And I would humbly suggest that if we do not know, then nobody knows, no matter how compelling their arguments or how reasonable their calculations. The Savior said that ‘of that day, and hour, no one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only’ [Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:40].
“I believe that when the Lord says ‘no one’ knows, He really means that no one knows. We should be extremely wary of anyone who claims to be an exception to divine decree” (“When Shall These Things Be?” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 56).
From Doctrine and Covenants 130:14–17 and Elder Ballard’s statement, we learn that only God knows the exact time when the Second Coming will occur.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can remembering this truth help you to not be misled by false claims?
Imagine you are leaving home and going somewhere you have never been before. You are allowed to take only what will fit in one suitcase. What would you pack in your suitcase?
What if your destination is the spirit world (where our spirits go after we die)? Which of the items you chose to pack in your suitcase would you be able to take with you when you die?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 130:18–19, looking for what we can take with us from this life when we die.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles helped us understand the meaning of the word intelligence in these verses: “If we ponder just what it is that will rise with us in the resurrection, it seems clear that our intelligence will rise with us, meaning not simply our IQ, but also our capacity to receive and apply truth. Our talents, attributes, and skills will rise with us; certainly also our capacity to learn, our degree of self-discipline, and our capacity to work” (We Will Prove Them Herewith , 12).
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
According to Doctrine and Covenants 130:19, how can we gain greater knowledge and intelligence?
When have you gained knowledge or intelligence through your diligence and obedience? What did you experience?
Notice that according to verse 19, those who gain more knowledge and intelligence in this life will have an advantage in the world to come. This means that what we learn in this life, both temporally and spiritually, will be helpful to us throughout eternity. We will be able to build upon the knowledge we obtain in this life to become more like Heavenly Father.
In your scripture study journal, write a goal that can help you gain more knowledge and intelligence.
Imagine that you want to improve your penmanship, so you decide to run three miles, five days a week, for one month. How will this training affect your penmanship?
If you want to improve your penmanship, what do you need to do?
Just as we need to understand how to obtain the results we desire, we need to understand how to obtain the blessings Heavenly Father desires to give to us.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21, looking for how we can obtain the blessings Heavenly Father desires to give to us. It may be helpful to know that the word predicated means “based on” and that the phrase “irrevocably decreed” means that a law is permanent and unchangeable.
Based on what you learned in verses 20–21, complete the following principle: If we want to obtain a , then we must .
To help you further understand this principle, complete the following chart. Read the scripture passages, and then identify the law and an associated blessing described in each passage.
Complete the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
Answer the following question: What blessings have you received because you obeyed a law?
Think about blessings you want to obtain. Write what law or laws you will need to obey so you can receive those blessings. (You could use scripture study aids like the Guide to the Scriptures or the Topical Guide to help you find laws that help bring blessings. It is important to remember that some laws and blessings are very specific while others are more general. It is also important to remember that some promised blessings may come after mortality.)
Review the doctrines and principles you have discovered in Doctrine and Covenants 130. Ponder these doctrines and principles as you read the following statement by President Brigham Young concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith’s ability to explain the things of God: “The excellency of the glory of the character of Brother Joseph Smith was that he could reduce heavenly things to the understanding of the finite. When he preached to the people—revealed the things of God, the will of God, the plan of salvation, the purposes of Jehovah, the relation in which we stand to him and all the heavenly beings—he reduced his teachings to the capacity of every man, woman, and child, making them as plain as a well-defined pathway. This should have convinced every person that ever heard him of his divine authority and power, for no other man was able to teach as he could, and no person can reveal the things of God, but by the revelations of Jesus Christ” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 347).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How do the principles in Doctrine and Covenants 129–30 strengthen your testimony of the calling of Joseph Smith?
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 130:12–21 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: