In the early days of the LDS church, there was much excitement about the idea of the imminent return of the Savior. The brethren spoke often about the signs of the times and the fulfillment of prophecy in the last days. Those who listened to their speeches would go home to discuss what they had learned, expecting that the second coming would surely be just around the corner now.
For example, on Christmas day in 1832, the prophet Joseph Smith was pondering the troubles facing the nations of the world at that time. Events in the United States were leading toward civil war and outbreaks of deadly diseases were widespread throughout the world. While he was praying earnestly on the subject, the prophet received the following in revelation:
Warning to the world
“…with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightening also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.
“Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord.” Now, that was 176 years ago and the Lord hasn’t come yet. Perhaps the Savior had a different meaning in mind when he expressed through the prophet Joseph that the day of the Lord would come quickly. What is the day of the Lord?
The day of the Lord
This is also known as the great and dreadful day. It will be great for those who are prepared and are looking forward to it. For those who are not prepared and are not pure and worthy before the Lord, it will be a dreadful day. They will wish that the rocks could fall upon them so they can hide from what they see coming towards them. Everyone will see the sign of the Son of Man.
The Savior has always referred to this day as being “at the doors” and that it will come upon us quickly. Even in Old Testament times the Lord places special emphasis on the day of his return as being one that will come suddenly. There will be many; in fact, most of the world will not be prepared for that day. They will not recognize the many warning signs that precede that day.
The sign of the Son of Man
“…then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.” In other words, everyone will see something like a large planet coming towards the earth for many days.
Perhaps this coming planet will come between us and the sun, thus fulfilling the promise that the sun will be darkened just before the return of the Lord. Accompanying this planet will be many other celestial objects, such as comets and meteoroids. They will bring with them much space debris that will reign down upon the wicked. The Lord will fight his own battles in the last days.
Pieces of the earth to return
The Lord revealed in scripture that he took the City of Enoch unto his bosom. The prophets have taught that Zion shall descend from above. The entire city; yes, a physical city, and not just the people of that city, will come down and be joined to the earth once again. There will be some land or earth that will come with that city which will take its place from where it was once taken.
The return of the lost ten tribes is also not symbolic or figurative but a literal event that has yet to transpire. These lost tribes shall come forth from their hiding place. The Rocky Mountains will tremble when the Lord brings the lost tribes back. What could cause mountains to tremble more than the approach of a great planetary body that will come alongside and overtake the earth?
Catastrophic events foretold
The events that are prophesied to occur at the return of the Lord are not without precedent but are hidden in ancient records that most scholars and scientists do not accept. The idea of pieces of the earth being broken off and returning is scoffed at by many. Nevertheless it has been foretold and will take place. That’s why ancient prophets told us to look to the heavens for coming signs.
“The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Look to the heavens for the sign of his coming.
The Battle of Armageddon
One of the events of the very last days is that all nations will be gathered in battle to destroy the people of Israel. Israel will do something that will cause the whole world to hate them and unite in a tremendous battle. Perhaps they will force the people of Palestine out and build the temple as has been foretold. Maybe they will take some sort of action to not allow Iran to go nuclear.
So for some reason, millions of people from all nations will besiege Israel for several years while marvelous and miraculous events occur on both sides. In the end, the two prophets who have been holding their enemies at bay will be killed and it will seem that the destruction of Israel is near. At that moment, the Lord will appear in a great earthquake and provide them an escape.
Several appearances of the Lord
Apparently, when the Lord sets his foot on the Mount of Olives and saves Israel from imminent destruction, this is not his final appearance in which he comes with all the angels and in which the righteous are caught up. Those who have studied out the chronological clues in scripture have concluded that there is some time between this appearance and his final coming in glory.
What many people don’t know is that there is even another prior appearance to the servants of the Lord at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Missouri. This is to be a grand council that is held under the direction of Adam. There will be a vast congregation in attendance, but the majority of them will be from beyond the veil. The Savior will appear and accept the keys of all dispensations.
The Lord will descend
After the resurrection of the Savior, he appeared unto his disciples and many others for many days. He then left them in a miraculous manner. He was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight. Two angels then came and said, “Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” He will descend from above.
We also know that the Lord will come with the angels, who are the faithful who have believed and loved him throughout the history of the world. In addition, those who are alive and are pure shall be caught up to meet him. Why? Because the earth will be burned at his coming when he descends. Those who are not caught up will be destroyed by the fire that descends from heaven.
The Second Advent
“He comes! The earth shakes, and the tall mountains tremble, the mighty deep rolls back to the north 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. He comes! With all the hosts of the righteous glorified.” What a great and dreadful day!
This is the time of the first resurrection and the ushering in of the millennium. The devil will be bound for a thousand years and the great work of the temples will begin in earnest. All families must be linked together through the sealing power of the priesthood back to father Adam. It will be a glorious time when mortals will receive help from beyond the veil like never before.
The end of the world
And yet, even this glorious period will come to an end when Satan gathers his forces for the last great battle of Gog and Magog. This will not be a battle of mortals only but will include all who have ever lived upon this earth. This is the final deciding moment when the fate of the wicked are sealed. Either you fight with Michael and the Lord or you fight as one possessed by Satan.
Once again, the hordes that follow the devil will be vanquished by fire from heaven, which will completely envelop the earth, baptizing it, cleansing it and bringing it into celestial glory. Then comes the second resurrection and the final judgment before Christ. The cities of old and new Jerusalem will descend to the celestial earth which will then be inherited by the righteous saints.
Summary and conclusion
All this may seem incredible and unbelievable if you have never studied it before. But it has all been foretold and will come to pass, some of it in our lifetime. Many people have studied and written about these things and some have tried to place them in chronological order. That is a most difficult prospect and there is much disagreement about which events will occur when.
However, there is no disagreement among those who have studied the words of the prophets that these events will indeed take place. Because they will be so catastrophic, the Lord has given us ample warning and has always been clear that they will come suddenly when most of the world is not expecting them. For those who heed the words of the prophets, we know what to expect.
Illustration of ancient prophet and planets courtesy of Anthony E. Larson. Visit Anthony’s website at MormonProphecy.com or his YouTube channel
For more Information:
1. The Coming of the Lord by Gerald N. Lund
2. Prophecy, Key to the Future by Duane S. Crowther
3. Behold, I come Quickly by Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr.
4. And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood by Anthony E. Larson
5. And the Earth Shall Reel To and Fro by Anthony E. Larson
6. And There Shall be a New Heaven and a New Earth
by Anthony E. Larson
7. The Plainest Book: Revelation by Anthony E. Larson
8. The Millennial Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie
9. The Second Coming and the Millennium, chapter 21,
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith
10. Toward the New Jerusalem by Alma P. Burton
Experimental reading of this essay on YouTube deleted.