By Frank M. Keele
One thing we need to understand about the second coming is that it’s a process and not a singular event. However, there’s also more than one way to look at it or more than one perspective to be considered. For example, we have the rather succinct, simple and straight forward statement given us by Ezra Taft Benson, wherein he said:
“His first appearance will be to the righteous Saints who have gathered to the New Jerusalem. In this place of refuge they will be safe from the wrath of the Lord, which will be poured out without measure on all nations. . . .
The second appearance of the Lord will be to the Jews. To these beleaguered sons of Judah, surrounded by hostile Gentile armies, who again threaten to overrun Jerusalem, the Savior-their Messiah-will appear and set His feet on the Mount of Olives, “and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens shall also shake. (D&C 45:48) The Lord Himself will then rout the Gentile armies, decimating their forces (see Ezek.38,39). Judah will be spared, no longer to be persecuted and scattered. . . .
The third appearance of Christ will be to the rest of the world. . . . All nations will see Him “in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels. . (Ezra Taft Benson, New Era, Dec. 1980, pp. 49-50)
And then we have the much more extensive and complex writings on this topic given to us by Elder Bruce R. McConkie, but fear not, we’re not going to quote The Millenial Messiah from cover to cover in this post. In fact, we’re only going to focus on one appearance, His first. we read:
“Before the Lord Jesus descends openly and publicly in the clouds of glory, attended by all the hosts of heaven; before the great and dreadful day of the Lord sends terror and destruction from one end of the earth to the other; before he… sets his feet on Olivet, or utters his voice from… a Jewish Jerusalem… He will come in private to his prophet and to the apostles then living. Those who have held keys and powers and authorities in all ages from Adam to the present will also be present. And further, all the faithful members of the Church then living and all the faithful saints of all the ages past will be present. It will be the greatest congregation of faithful saints ever assembled on planet earth. It will be a sacrament meeting. It will be a day of judgment for the faithful of all the ages. And it will take place in Daviess County, Missouri, at a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman.” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p.578)
Now, I’m going to say that what Ezra Taft Benson called “his first appearance” is what Elder McConkie characterized more as a prelude to the second coming, he keeps saying before, before, before. So you see the difference between the two approaches. I’m not taking sides here, there are valid scriptural reasons for either approach and we don’t want to get caught up in a debate over semantics, do we?
So, let’s ask ourselves an important question. When President Nelson speaks of the Lord’s second coming, which one of these two perspectives do you think he has in mind? Let’s examine one of his statements. From April conference of 2018 we read:
“Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory.”
Let’s take a minute and compare this statement to what Joseph Smith said about the Lord coming to Adam Ondi Ahman:
“Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael, he [who] will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 157).
So what we understand about this meeting is that all who have held keys are to give a report to father Adam and he in turn “delivers up his stewardship to Christ”. What Daniel says about this is, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom”. So in other words, from this point forward the Lord will then preside on earth, right?
And what was it that President Nelson said above… “We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory.”
So if President Nelson sees these events from Elder McConkie’s perspective, it would only be natural for him to speak of the events at Adam Ondi Ahman as “between now and when He comes again”, right?
Now, assuming that what’s been said above is correct, let’s look at some scriptures. We go to D&C 29 and read:
8 Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place (AOA?) upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.
9 For 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;
10 For the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass;
11 For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.
12 And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else.
Above, the Lord says…
1) “they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land”
2) “I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory”
3) “and dwell in righteousness with men on earth”
4) “the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall… judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else.”
I’m going to say that the above scriptural passage is speaking about events that shall unfold at Adam Ondi Ahman. Elder McConkie says of AOA, “It will be a day of judgment for the faithful of all the ages” which aligns precisely with point number 4 above, right?
So the main points of this exercise, thus far, is to ask whether or not President Nelson sees the events of the second coming from the McConkie perspective and if you believe that he does indeed… is that also how we should be framing what he said recently while in Vietnam? (see video)
If this be the case, then it also follows that Nephi was speaking of AOA when he said:
14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. (1 Nephi 14)
And it also follows that in 3 Nephi 21:25 where the Lord said to the Nephits… “And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst”, He was speaking of this same event!
And last but not least, we go to Moses chapter seven and read:
62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
The above verse gives us yet another perspective on a time (AOA) when “the power of heaven” shall “come down among” us and relates it to the gathering of “mine elect from the four quarters of the earth” as the Lord tells Enoch. They are gathered “unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City”, letting us know that this is not the earthly New Jerusalem yet to be built but “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” of which John spoke. (see Rev. 21:2-3)
And all this, “that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming”. This passage is obviously supportive of Elder McConkie’s belief that AOA would be a preparatory step leading up to the Lord’s coming as the Jewish Messiah.
From my personal perspective, what has been presented above is a foregone conclusion, I believe that we are presently resting upon the very precipice of the greatest and most revolutionary change the world will ever see! However, you as the reader will have to decide for yourselves…
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