When considering the signs of the last days, most people are aware that they are all around us. One of the most obvious today is the sign of wars and rumors of wars. I’m sure it comes up every time a lesson on the last days is taught in a Sunday school class. We will probably not be without wars in the world until the time of the Savior’s return.
So also are Paul’s warnings in chapter three of second Timothy about the general state of human behavior. Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good…the list goes on and on.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences; and earthquakes in divers places. The Lord tells us to not be troubled as these things come to pass. He has told us in advance that these things must all happen. Can anyone doubt that so many prophesied signs of the last days are here?
Dramatic signs are yet to come
And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. All the inhabitants of the earth shall see this great sign. It will be talked about by everyone.
I have written previously about Joel 2:31 where the moon shall be turned to blood. Joel also mentions wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. Earlier in the chapter he describes the coming of a great and strong people that come in the day of the Lord and bring with them destruction unlike any other army.
A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth. 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. This is no mortal army. The Lord fights his battles with his own armies. What shall they be?
The armies of the Lord
Let’s look to the Book of Revelation for a great description of the armies of the Lord. John calls them locusts in chapter 9. These locusts will not hurt the green things of the earth so they are not insects. They swarmed like locusts, or appeared in droves, many hundreds or thousands at a time. When they arrived, the sound would be deafening.
If they are not actual locusts, what could John be describing? They had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. We know that prophets spoke in terms that are both symbolic and metaphoric. They had the appearance of horses prepared for battle and their faces are as the faces of men. And yet, they are not men. What are they?
When the Lord revealed the events of the last days to the ancient prophets, they described what they saw in terms of what they had experienced and seen in their own lifetimes. Perhaps what Joel and John were describing were swarms of meteorites flying in bands and taking various shapes, like horses racing in the sky or hosts of warriors leaping.
Catastrophic events of the last days
We who live in these last days have not yet seen what the prophets of old saw in vision so it seems unimaginable. But in a few short years we will be very familiar with what they were trying to describe. The Lord said that “immediately after those days,” meaning the days in which we now live, shall the prophesied signs of catastrophic proportion begin.
That is why the prophets of old warned us to look to the skies for these signs. We should not doubt or dismiss that the signs will appear. I am convinced that it will not be long before it becomes obvious to all the world that something unusual is about to happen. Then we will see the false prophets come out while the whole world pays attention.
However, the prophets of old and the Savior foretold all these things many, many years ago. The signs of the last days include more than the problems among the people of the earth. The heavens themselves will be in commotion. We will see amazing things that we have never seen before. They will be frightening and yes, some will be catastrophic.
Look to the past to understand the future
Some have interpreted locusts of Joel and John to be descriptions of modern warfare. Perhaps the hair of women they were seeing is really contrails of high altitude jets or ballistic missiles. The sound they described fits perfectly with modern jets and rockets. And yet the Lord says that the coming destructions will be sent by God and not by man.
The Lord said in D&C 29:9 that “the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth.” It is clear that the coming burning of the world will not be caused by man but by God.
The Lord will use what appears to man to be natural events. Oh sure, “A few comets and a few meteorites,” they will say. “It’s no big deal. These things happen all the time.” They also explained away the great fires of Peshtigo in 1871 as being nothing other than just really hot and dry conditions. Falling, burning sand is common? I don’t think so.
Summary and conclusion
I just want to go on record in advance before the heavens start to heat up and then drop burning things on us that the Lord foretold all these catastrophic events in advance. Let’s not act surprised and wonder why the prophets didn’t warn us. They have warned us over and over. Most people are ignorant or have dismissed it as nonsense from fools.
When the Lord speaks of the burning of the earth he is not kidding. The kind of burning we’re talking about is not your Al Gore, politically correct, give me money so we can do something about this man-made global warming. This burning will not be man made and it will not be a slow or gradual thing. It will come upon us suddenly, as if in an instant.
Call me a crackpot but I’m convinced that we are going to see events on a cataclysmic scale in just a few short years. All the signs point to it. The Lord is patient and there is much work to do in taking the gospel to all the world. But the time is not far distant that we will see the hand of the Lord fulfilled as signs in the heavens become frequent again.
Image of ancient comet swarm by permission of Don Dixon
Some of my past essays on Signs of the Times in the Last Days:
1. The Last Days are upon us
2. Signs of the Times and the Second Coming
3. There shall be greater signs in heaven
4. Just where exactly are the lost ten tribes?
5. And the stars shall fall from heaven
6. Has the prophecy in Joel 2:31 been fulfilled?
7. What kind of warnings do we prefer?
8. Eschatology – The study of what?
9. Miracles and natural laws
10. The desolation of abomination
11. Mormon Doctrine – Prophecy and the Last Days