Looking forward to the Savior’s Second Coming
Forty days after His Resurrection, Jesus and His Apostles were gathered together on the Mount of Olives. The time had come for Jesus to leave the earth. He had completed all the work that He had to do at that time. He was to return to our Heavenly Father until the time of His Second Coming.
After He had instructed His Apostles, Jesus ascended into heaven. While the Apostles looked up into the heavens, two angels stood beside them and said, “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” (Acts 1:11).
From that time until the present day, the followers of Jesus Christ have looked forward to the Second Coming.
What Will Jesus Do When He Comes Again?
For teachers: Consider assigning each class member or family member one of the five numbered items in this chapter. Ask each person to work individually, studying his or her assigned item, including the scripture passages. Then invite everyone to discuss what they have learned.
When Jesus Christ comes again to the earth, He will do the following things:
He will cleanse the earth. When Jesus comes again, He will come in power and great glory. At that time the wicked will be destroyed. All things that are corrupt will be burned, and the earth will be cleansed by fire (see D&C 101:24–25).
He will judge His people. When Jesus comes again, He will judge the nations and will divide the righteous from the wicked (see Matthew 25:31–46; see also chapter 46 in this book). John the Revelator wrote about this judgment: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, … and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” The wicked he saw “lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:4–5; see also D&C 88:95–98).
He will usher in the Millennium. The Millennium is the thousand-year period when Jesus will reign on the earth. The righteous will be caught up to meet Jesus at His coming (see D&C 88:96). His coming will begin the millennial reign. (See chapter 45 in this book.)
President Brigham Young said:
“In the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God [see Revelation 3:12], and they will officiate for their dead. Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here. … And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then [children] will be sealed to [parents] until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of Priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 333–34).
He will complete the First Resurrection. Those who have obtained the privilege of coming forth in the resurrection of the just will rise from their graves. They will be caught up to meet the Savior as He comes down from heaven. (See D&C 88:97–98.)
After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, other righteous people who had died were also resurrected. They appeared in Jerusalem and also on the American continent. (See Matthew 27:52–53; 3 Nephi 23:9–10.) This was the beginning of the First Resurrection. Some people have been resurrected since then. Those who already have been resurrected and those who will be resurrected at the time of His coming will all inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 76:50–70).
After the resurrection of those who will inherit celestial glory, another group will be resurrected: those who will receive a terrestrial glory. When all these people have been resurrected, the First Resurrection will be completed.
The wicked who are living at the time of the Second Coming of the Lord will be destroyed in the flesh. They, along with the wicked who are already dead, will have to wait until the last resurrection. All of the remaining dead will rise to meet God. They will either inherit the telestial kingdom or be cast into outer darkness with Satan (see D&C 76:32–33, 81–112).
He will take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth. When Jesus comes, He will establish His government on the earth. The Church will become part of that kingdom. He will rule all the people of the earth in peace for 1,000 years.
When Jesus Christ first came to the earth, He did not come in glory. He was born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger of hay. He did not come with great armies as the Jews had expected of their Savior. Instead, He came saying, “Love your enemies, … do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). He was rejected and crucified. But He will not be rejected at His Second Coming, “for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 88:104). He will be greeted as “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). He will be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
What are your thoughts and feelings as you contemplate the events of the Second Coming?
How Will We Know When the Savior’s Coming Is Near?
When Jesus Christ was born, very few people knew that the Savior of the world had come. When He comes again, there will be no doubt who He is. No one knows the exact time that the Savior will come again. “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36; see also D&C 49:7).
The Lord used a parable to give us an idea of the time of His coming:
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
“So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors” (Mark 13:28–29).
The Lord has also given us some signs to let us know when His coming is near. After revealing the signs, He cautioned:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. …
“… Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44).
For more information about how we will know when Jesus’s Second Coming is near, see chapter 43 in this book.
How Can We Be Ready When the Savior Comes?
The best way we can prepare for the Savior’s coming is to accept the teachings of the gospel and make them part of our lives. We should live each day the best we can, just as Jesus taught when He was on the earth. We can look to the prophet for guidance and follow his counsel. We can live worthy to have the Holy Ghost guide us. Then we will look forward to the Savior’s coming with happiness and not with fear. The Lord said: “Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen” (D&C 35:27).
Why should we be concerned about our preparedness rather than the exact timing of the Second Coming?
D&C 133:41–51 (wicked to be destroyed)
Matthew 13:40–43 (the Judgment predicted)
Articles of Faith 1:10 (Jesus to reign)
D&C 88:96–98 (the dead to rise)