Friday, September 14, 2012

Preparing for the Second Coming

 
"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear"

 I imagine the next few months as we get closer to the Mayan Calendar  "end date"  of December 21, 2012, we are going to see strange documentaries on  television, tabloid magazines, and in the general  media...as they love controversial subjects. 
 
It shouldn't be, but the Second Coming can be a controversial topic in  Church.  Just go to an adult Sunday School class when the topic of study is the Second Coming, and see what an interesting hour that turns out to be. You have a mix of those who believe we shouldn't even talk about it because it because 'no man knows the hour', those who believe it is at least another 100 years away, those who believe it could be in their life-time, and those who are already living in their storm shelters. 
 
 In Elder Dallin H. Oak's talk Preparation for the Second Coming he clarifies four undeniable truths about the Second Coming, regardless of where you find yourself on the above Sunday School list:
 
"Four matters are indisputable to Latter-day Saints: (1) The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory to reign personally during a millennium of righteousness and peace. (2) At the time of His coming there will be a destruction of the wicked and a resurrection of the righteous. (3) No one knows the time of His coming, but (4) the faithful are taught to study the signs of it and to be prepared for it. "
 
 This is  a subject we talk about quite a bit in our home. One of our daughters, who is now, 14, is scared of all the destruction that  has been prophesied. Natural disasters scare her, and so any talk of the Second Coming we do so cautiously.  She is genuinely looking forward to that day, but doesn't want to experience any disasters.  I  think we all feel that way.  As the time comes closer and closer, we must remember it is called "The GREAT and dreadful day of the Lord" Great for those who are prepared, dreadful for those who aren't.  We don't know what we will experience as individuals, families, or nations.  We CAN have faith, trust in God, and know He will take care of His people.
 
Elder Oaks explains, Biblical and modern prophecies give many signs of the Second Coming. These include:
  1. The fulness of the gospel restored and preached in all the world for a witness to all nations.
  2. False Christs and false prophets, deceiving many.
  3. Wars and rumors of wars, with nation rising against nation.
  4. Earthquakes in divers places.
  5. Famine and pestilence.
  6. An overflowing scourge, a desolating sickness covering the land.
  7. Iniquity abounding.
  8. The whole earth in commotion.
  9. Men’s hearts failing them.
 
Matthew Chapter 24 talks about the calamities that will precede the Second Coming. But ends the chapter with this statement:
 
36 ¶But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
 

Although we cannot know the hour or day of His coming, can we know when it is close?  

 
YES!  We can know when The Second Coming is near.  The Savior gave His apostles and us, signs to know, to help us and prepare ourselves and family.  I don't think the Second Coming was meant to be a world-wide blind-side. If it was, then the Lord wouldn't have given us signs to know. 
 
We can know when it is close if we are watching.  I also believe some of these signs will be so subtle and and so natural in their nature, that if we are not vigilantly looking, we may not notice them as prophecy fulfilled.
 

The Savior also taught that His coming will be "as a thief in the night" 

What exactly does that mean? 

 
Let's look at 1Thessalonians 5 :
 
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a bthief in the night.
 
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief.
We are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
 
 Therefore let us not sleep as do others; but let us watch  and be sober.
 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
 
 But let us, who are of the day, be sober putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
 
 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
 
 Wherefore  comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
 
   Here is the list of what we can do to prepare:
  • Rejoice evermore.
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • In every thing give  thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
  • Quench not the Spirit
  • Despise not prophesying.
  • Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
  • Abstain from all appearance of  evil
  • And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  

 

Look for parallels in the Book of Mormon

 
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It contains His covenants, His promises, His teachings, His prophesies, and His coming.  See if you can see the parallels to our day and the Second Coming in   3 Nephi.  It is amazing how similar the Savior's first coming is in comparison to our day while we await His second coming.  Watch how the pages of the Book of Mormon come to life.
 
 

Using the Parable of the Ten Virgins to prepare spiritually

The Parable of the Ten Virgins,  teaches us about how to prepare wisely to meet the Lord at His Second Coming.

Five were wise, five were foolish.  What symbols of this parable compare to our day?
 
 

Be Not Troubled

 
The signs of the Second Coming are all around us and are intensifying in frequency. This can be scarey and nerve-racking, and also faith-filled, as we see  prophecies being fulfilled before our eyes.  We have a front row seat to the signs of the Second Coming.

  We do not know when the Savior will return, but we know He will. While we cannot control these events in our lives, we can work on our own spiritual preparations.
 
 
"Be not troubled, for, when all these things [the signs] shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled."  Those who are righteous will not be destroyed.."but shall abide the day.  And the earth shall be given unto them as an inheritance..and their children shall grow up without sin...For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them..." (vs. 35, 57-59)