Chapter 36: The Lord’s Second Coming

Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, (2000), 100–103


Introduction

To the Apostles in ancient times, two heavenly messengers in white apparel declared, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The Savior will return as promised to cleanse the earth of its corruption and to reign with His covenant people for a thousand years. These events will be hailed by righteous members of the Church in all ages with excitement and joy.

Doctrinal Outline

Supporting Statements

  • A.

    The Savior’s Second Coming has been prophesied throughout the ages.

    • “The most often mentioned event in the entire Bible is that wonderful, yet awful experience that we will have when Jesus Christ shall come to judge our world. There are many important gospel doctrines mentioned in the Bible only briefly, and some not at all. The new birth is mentioned in the Bible nine times; baptism is mentioned 52 times, repentance is mentioned 89, but the second coming of Christ is mentioned over 1,500 times in the Old Testament and 300 times in the New Testament. If God thought this subject that important, he must have wanted us to do something about it” (Sterling W. Sill, in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 19).

  • B.

    The Savior will make several appearances before His Second Coming to all the world.

    • “Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he [who] 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 was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 157).

    • “Before the Lord Jesus descends openly and publicly in the clouds of glory, attended by all the hosts of heaven; before the great and dreadful day of the Lord sends terror and destruction from one end of the earth to the other; before he stands on Mount Zion, or sets his feet on Olivet, or utters his voice from an American Zion or a Jewish Jerusalem; before all flesh shall see him together; before any of his appearances, which taken together comprise the second coming of the Son of God—before all these, there is to be a secret appearance to selected members of his Church. He will come in private to his prophet and to the apostles then living. Those who have held keys and powers and authorities in all ages from Adam to the present will also be present” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, 578–79).

      Adam-ondi-Ahman is the site of the American Zion.
    • “[Christ’s] next appearance [after his appearance in the New Jerusalem] will be among the distressed and nearly vanquished sons of Judah. At the crisis of their fate, when the hostile troops of several nations are ravaging the city and all the horrors of war are overwhelming the people of Jerusalem, he will set his feet upon the Mount of Olives, which will cleave and part asunder at his touch. Attended by a host from heaven, he will overthrow and destroy the combined armies of the Gentiles, and appear to the worshipping Jews as the mighty Deliverer and Conquerer so long expected by their race; and while love, gratitude, awe, and admiration swell their bosoms, the Deliverer will show them the tokens of his crucifixion and disclose himself as Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had reviled and whom their fathers put to death. Then will unbelief depart from their souls, and ‘the blindness in part which has happened unto Israel’ be removed” (Charles W. Penrose, “The Second Advent,” Millennial Star, 10 Sept. 1859, 583).

    • “The great and crowning advent of the Lord will be subsequent to these two appearances [to the New Jerusalem and to the Jews]; but who can describe it in the language of mortals? The tongue of man falters, and the pen drops from the hand of the writer, as the mind is rapt in contemplation of the sublime and awful majesty of his coming to take vengeance on the ungodly and to reign as King of the whole earth.

      “He comes! The earth shakes, and the tall mountains tremble; the mighty deep rolls back to the north as in fear, and the rent skies glow like molten brass. He comes! The dead Saints burst forth from their tombs, and ‘those who are alive and remain’ are ‘caught up’ with them to meet him. The ungodly rush to hide themselves from his presence, and call upon the quivering rocks to cover them. He comes! with all the hosts of the righteous glorified. The breath of his lips strikes death to the wicked. His glory is a consuming fire. The proud and rebellious are as stubble; they are burned and ‘left neither root nor branch.’ He sweeps the earth ‘as with the besom of destruction.’ He deluges the earth with the fiery floods of his wrath, and the filthiness and abominations of the world are consumed. Satan and his dark hosts are taken and bound—the prince of the power of the air has lost his dominion, for He whose right it is to reign has come, and ‘the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.’” (Penrose, “Second Advent,” 583).

    • “His first appearance will be to the righteous Saints who have gathered to the New Jerusalem. In this place of refuge they will be safe from the wrath of the Lord, which will be poured out without measure on all nations. …

      “The second appearance of the Lord will be to the Jews. To these beleaguered sons of Judah, surrounded by hostile Gentile armies, who again threaten to overrun Jerusalem, the Savior—their Messiah—will appear and set His feet on the Mount of Olives, ‘and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake’ (D&C 45:48).

      “The Lord Himself will then rout the Gentile armies, decimating their forces (see Ezek. 38, 39). Judah will be spared, no longer to be persecuted and scattered. …

      “The third appearance of Christ will be to the rest of the world. …

      “All nations will see Him ‘in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; …

      “‘And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly.

      “‘And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.’ (D&C 45:44, 49–50.)

      “Yes, come He will!” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Five Marks of the Divinity of Jesus Christ,” New Era, Dec. 1980, 49–50).

  • C.

    The Lord has spoken about His final appearance in some detail.

    • “Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers” (Smith, Teachings, 341).

    • “The precise time of Christ’s coming has not been made known to man. By learning to comprehend the signs of the times, by watching the development of the work of God among the nations, and by noting the rapid fulfilment of significant prophecies, we may perceive the progressive evidence of the approaching event: ‘But the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes’ [D&C 49:7]. His coming will be a surprise to those who have ignored His warnings, and who have failed to watch. ‘As a thief in the night’ will be the coming of the day of the Lord unto the wicked [2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2]” (James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 362–63).

    • “The second advent of the Son of God is to be something altogether of a different nature from anything that has hitherto transpired on the face of the earth, accompanied with great power and glory, something that will not be done in a small portion of the earth like Palestine, and seen only by a few; but it will be an event that will be seen by all—all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord; when he reveals himself the second time, every eye, not only those living at that time in the flesh, in mortality on the earth, but also the very dead themselves, they also who pierced him, those who lived eighteen hundred years ago, who were engaged in the cruel act of piercing his hands and his feet and his side, will also see him at that time” (Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 18:170).

    • “At the time appointed by the Father, the Son of Man will come in the clouds of heaven. It is an unknown day in the beginning of the seventh thousand years of the earth’s temporal continuance. War, such as has not been known from the beginning of time, is in progress. All nations are assembled at Armageddon.

      “All things are in commotion. Never has there been such a day as this. The newspapers of the world, as well as radio and television, speak only of war and calamity and the dread that hangs like a millstone around every neck. …

      “And the signs in heaven above are like nothing man has ever seen. Blood is everywhere; fire and vapors of smoke fill the atmospheric heavens. No man has seen a rainbow this year. …

      “And above all are the vexing words of those Mormon Elders! They are everywhere preaching their strange doctrine, saying that the coming of the Lord is near, and that unless men repent and believe the gospel they will be destroyed by the brightness of his coming.

      “In this setting, as these and ten thousand like things are in progress, suddenly, quickly, as from the midst of eternity, He comes! Fire burns before him; tempests spread destruction; the earth trembles and reels to and fro as a drunken man. Every corruptible thing is consumed. He sets his foot on the Mount called Olivet; it cleaves in twain. The Lord has returned and the great millennium is here! The year of his redeemed has arrived!” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 21–22).

    • “When the Lord comes in his glory, in flaming fire, that fire will both cleanse the vineyard and burn the earth. In that day, so intense shall be the heat and so universal the burning, the very elements of which this earth is composed shall melt. The mountains, high and glorious and made of solid rock, shall melt like wax. They shall become molten and flow down into the valleys below. The very earth itself, as now constituted, shall be dissolved. All things shall burn with fervent heat. And out of it all shall come new heavens and a new earth whereon dwelleth righteousness” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 526–27).

    • “Now brethren and sisters, the great day of the Lord is coming. It is going to be a terrible day. The wicked are going to be destroyed, and when I say the wicked I do not mean everybody outside the Mormon Church. There will be countless millions of people not of this Church spared because they are not ripe in iniquity and to them we will preach the everlasting Gospel and bring them unto Christ” (Charles A. Callis, in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 18).

    • “Christ’s, the first fruits—who are they? They are all those who were with him in his resurrection. They are all those of Enoch’s city, a righteous people who first were translated and who then gained full immortality when Christ rose from his tomb. They are all those of ages past who have burst the bands of death. They are the living saints who are quickened by the power of God and are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. They are the righteous dead who shall come forth in this, the morning of the first resurrection, to receive an inheritance of eternal life and to be one with their glorious Lord. All these shall have an inheritance of exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world. All these shall ‘behold’ their Lord’s ‘face in righteousness,’ for they shall ‘awake’ with his ‘likeness.’ (Ps. 17:15.)” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 636).