By Frank M. Keele
As part of his closing remarks in April conference just past, (2020) Presiden Russell M. Nelson spoke to us about temple closures in terms of President Wilford Woodruff’s prophetic words, said he:
“More than a century ago, President Wilford Woodruff foresaw conditions such as ours today, as recorded in his dedicatory prayer of the Salt Lake Temple, given in 1893. Some of you may have recently seen excerpts from this remarkable prayer on social media.
“Hear these pleadings from a mighty prophet of God: “When Thy people shall not have the opportunity of entering this holy house … and they are oppressed and in trouble, surrounded by difficulties … and shall turn their faces towards this Thy holy house and ask Thee for deliverance, for help, for Thy power to be extended in their behalf, we beseech Thee, to look down from Thy holy habitation in mercy … and listen to their cries. Or when the children of Thy people, in years to come, shall be separated, through any cause, from this place, … and they shall cry unto Thee from the depths of their affliction and sorrow to extend relief and deliverance to them, we humbly entreat Thee to … hearken to their cries, and grant unto them the blessings for which they ask.”
So, we have the words two prophets regarding our present circumstances which Wilford Woodruff characterized as being “oppressed and in trouble” or “surrounded by difficulties” and where President Nelson qualifies his words as “pleadings from a mighty prophet of God” which begs the question… were there other prophets who foresaw our situation? To answer that question, let us consider what the prophet Daniel saw in vision concerning “the saints of the most High” and a “kingdom under the whole heaven” that “shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High”. From Daniel chapter 7 we read:
25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.
27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Daniel tells us that “he shall speak great words… and shall wear out the saints of the most High”. So we have a time of trial which “the saints of the most High” must pass through but we note that it serves only as a segway, because “the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High”.
This “judgment” which “shall sit” is alluded to in earlier verses in this same chapter, we read:
9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened…
13 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.
Joseph Smith gives us the following commentary on Daniels words:
“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 we have President Nelson’s comment pointing to the fact that we are “oppressed and in trouble, surrounded by difficulties” as President Willford said and we have Daniel telling us about a time when a certain entity “shall wear out the saints of the most High”.
Now, are these prophets all pointing us to the same set of circumstances? An intriguing question indeed, but before we address it, let’s read what John had to say, using very similar language as that of Daniel, about a time of trial to come upon the saints, from Rev. 13 we read:
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Some of the interesting elements of John’s prophecy is that…
1- “he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God… and his tabernacle”.
2- “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them”
3- “power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations”.
So how closely does our present circumstances, brought on by what we call COVID-19 match up? Well, temples (tabernacles?) are affected and at one time were shut down completely around the globe. Missionary work around the globe has been choked down to just a trickle of what it was and our weekly worship services were also shut down on a global basis. No event in modern history has been so costly, both on a financial basis and in terms of human freedom as this pandemic!
If you were John and foresaw these events, might you say something like, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them”? And if your answer to this question is yes, then it would necessarily follow that we indeed are in a segway and shall soon be witnesses to a time when “the Ancient of days” shall “sit… thousand thousands” shall minister “unto him” and one like the Son of man” shall ”came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days”… Welcome to the REAL “new normal” brothers and sisters!
This topic and others relating to it are contained in the free and updated PDF download of “The Bridegroom Cometh”. This latest version of the book also contains an addendum that addresses our current circumstances. You are encouraged to share it via email or by other means…