Some Important Principles, Doctrines, and Events
In the last days the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached throughout the world and the righteous will be gathered into the kingdom of God (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:27, 31, 37; see also D&C 58:64–65; 65:2; 88:84; 133:37–38).
The wicked will be destroyed at Christ’s Second Coming (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:32; see also Isaiah 13:6–11; Malachi 4:1, 3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; 1 Nephi 22:14–16, 23; D&C 29:9, 17; 45:49–50; 133:63–64, 70–71).
Shortly before Christ comes again, great signs and wonders will appear in the heavens (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:33–36; see also Joel 2:30–31; 3:14–16; Revelation 6:12–17; D&C 29:14; 34:9; 45:40–42; Moses 7:61).
Suggestions for Teaching
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–37. Signs Preceding the Second Coming
Have students read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–37and list as many signs of the Second Coming as they can find. Then have them write 1, 2,or 3next to each of the signs on their lists, depending on which of the following categories each sign belongs to: (1) signs that have already been completely fulfilled, (2) signs that are in the process of being fulfilled, and (3) signs that have not yet begun to be fulfilled. Have a few students share their lists with the class. Invite students to share their feelings about living in the last days. Read the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Teenagers also sometimes think, ‘What’s the use? The world will soon be blown all apart and come to an end.’ That feeling comes from fear, not from faith. … Everything that I have learned from the revelations and from life convinces me that there is time and to spare for you to carefully prepare for a long life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 72; or Ensign,May 1989, 59). Invite students to tell what they think makes living on the earth at this time a privilege and an opportunity.
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22, 25. False Prophets
Read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22and the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“What are false prophets? They are teachers and preachers who profess to speak for the Lord when, in fact, they have received no such appointment. …
“False prophets are false teachers; they teach false doctrine; they neither know nor teach the doctrines of salvation. Rather, they have followed cunningly devised fables that they suppose make up the gospel of Christ, and they preach them as such. They are the ministers who proclaim a false way of salvation, the expounders of doctrines that are not of God, and the proclaimers of every man-made system of religion on earth. They are the political leaders … who lead men to accept freedom-destroying systems. They are the philosophers and sages who seek to explain God, existence, right and wrong, agency, immortality, and other religious concepts without reference to revelation. They are all of the political and religious leaders who proclaim philosophies and doctrines that lead men away from God and the salvation he offers to men” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, 70–71).
Ask students how we can know the difference between true and false prophets, and how we can avoid being deceived by false prophets.
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:23, 28–29. “Wars, and Rumors of Wars”
Read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:23, 28–29, and then ask students to make a list of some of the wars that have been fought in the past one hundred years. What rumored or impending wars are there in the world today? Why will wars and rumors of war precede the Second Coming? (see 1 Nephi 22:13–14; 3 Nephi 6:20–30).
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:26, 36. “With Power and Great Glory”
Have students read the following scriptures silently, trying to visualize what the Second Coming will be like: Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:26, 36; Isaiah 40:3–5; Matthew 16:27; Doctrine and Covenants 34:7–8; 45:44; 101:22–25; 133:46–49.
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:27, 31, 37. “Preached in all the World”
Show students a map of the world and have them identify nations and lands where the gospel is currently being preached, and places where the gospel is not yet being taught. Which nations have recently (in the past several years) been opened for the preaching of the gospel? Discuss events that have occurred to prepare the way for these nations to be opened for the preaching of the gospel, and what it may take for all nations to become open.
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31. “The Destruction of the Wicked”
Read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31and discuss with students what they think will make the difference when it is decided who will be saved with the righteous and who will be destroyed with the wicked at the Second Coming. Have students search Isaiah 13:6–11; Malachi 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; 1 Nephi 22:14–16, 23; Doctrine and Covenants 29:9, 17; 45:49–50; 133:63, 71and list what the Lord has said will make the difference. Read 2 Nephi 26:8; 3 Nephi 9:10–13; 10:12, 14. Note how listening to and following the Lord’s living prophets becomes a matter of life and death—physically as well as spiritually. Encourage students to examine their lives and prepare themselves to ensure that they will be among the righteous at the Second Coming.
Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:30, 37. “He That Shall Not Be Overcome”
Read Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:30and ask students what they think it means to be “overcome.” Why does sin cause people to lose their ability to love? Read verse 37 and discuss how treasuring up the word of God will protect us from being deceived and help save us.