By Frank M. Keele
If you’re a serious student of the Book of Mormon and are one of those who have long been aware of and awake to the plots and plans of the adversary to curtail freedom and agency, (we’ve often been called conspiracy theorists) what we see happening in the world today is no surprise to you.
Those who are serious students of the prophets know that what we are experiencing today was foretold many times, in both scripture and the statements of modern-day prophets.
If you want to understand what the events approaching the second coming look like, just check the news or the fake news as the case may be… our generation is surrounded, or perhaps inundated is a better word, in the signs that just precede the Lord’s first appearance!
We are the generation of the Lord’s second coming and members of the organization that He has restored and established to meet the needs of the coming revolution… even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are to be teachers, mentors, friends, ordinance workers, etc., that will provide a flood of refugees from a failed world, with the blessings of both temporal and spiritual salvation as the millennial day dawns upon the earth. From D&C 45 we read:
56 And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.
57 For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
58 And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
59 For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver…
66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68 And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
69 And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
70 And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
71 And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy…
74 For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble.
75 And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might. Even so. Amen.
In verse 56 the Lord says “I shall come in my glory” when “the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins” and so we conclude that all three of the appearances which constitute the second coming are Christ coming is His glory… it’s a process, not a singular event, get it? And even though the second coming is made up of three appearances according to Ezra Taft Benson, we have been given yet a second model of this sequence by Elder Bruce R. McConkie wherein the Lord’s first appearance (to His saints) is but prelude (part of the continuing process of the restoration) and His second appearance, to the Jews, is THE second coming. It appears that this second model is the one that President Russell M. Nelson is using. It’s not a matter of right or wrong but merely semantics in the final analysis but it is important to understand where Presiden Nelson is coming from and to be on the same page with him, right?
We also learn from the above that this first phase of the second coming will not be the total end of wickedness in the world, it’s more of a separation of the righteous and the wicked, it is to be “a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God” and a place to which “the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy”. This phase can also be characterized as the great millennial gathering of the house of Israel. In 3 Nephi 22 we read:
1 And then shall that which is written come to pass: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
4 Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
5 For thy maker, thy husband, the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel—the God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.
8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
9 For this, the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee.
10 For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.
11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted! Behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
14 In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression for thou shalt not fear, and from terror for it shall not come near thee.
15 Behold, they shall surely gather together against thee, not by me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
And when shall this great gathering of the house of Israel take place? Well, verse 3 gives us the answer, “and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited”… Hmmm… “desolate cities”? Apparently, the great gathering of Israel to which President Nelson has made reference multiple times will not happen until after the cleansing of America and brothers and sisters, that’s what we are about to experience
This gathering of Israel, according to President Russell M. Nelson, is a prelude to the Lord’s second appearance (to the Jews) and part of the continuing restoration of the Church, while in Brazil with Elder Cook he said:
“I want our members to know that the restoration is a continuing process, we have a lot to do before the Lord will come again. He wants Israel to be gathered and the world to be made ready for the second coming of the Lord. So all I know is, that there’s a lot of work to be done, and we”re going to do it.“
What I’m saying is that the Lord’s first appearance, to His saints, will precede the great gathering of Israel and is a part of the “continuing process” of the restoration. As President Nelson said in April conference of 2018:
“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.”
So what are some of the signs around us that indicate just where we are in the timeline of the second coming? We start with a statement from Ezra Taft Benson who said:
“if the gentiles on this land reject the word of God and conspire to overthrow liberty and the Constitution, then their doom is fixed, and they “. . . shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant”. (1 Nephi 14:6; 3 Nephi 21:11, 14, 21; D&C 84:114-115, 117)
“The great destructive force which was to be turned loose on the earth and which the prophets for centuries have been calling the “abomination of desolation” is vividly described by those who saw it in vision. Ours is the first generation to realize how literally these prophecies can be fulfilled now that God, through science, has unlocked the secret to thermonuclear reaction.
“In the light of these prophecies there should be no doubt in the mind of any priesthood holder that the human family is headed for trouble. There are rugged days ahead. It is time for every man who wishes to do his duty to get himself prepared—physically, spiritually, and psychologically—for the task which may come at any time, as suddenly as the whirlwind”…. (Oct. general conference, 1961)
It surely could not be more obvious that the wicked among the Gentiles are conspiring “to overthrow liberty and the Constitution”, could it? And you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that this whole coronavirus thing is a big part of the scheme… This insanity that we see in the land was foreknown by the Lord and revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, from an un-published revelation, we read:
“Verily, I say unto you, that the day of vexation and vengeance is nigh at the doors of this nation, when wicked, ungodly and daring men will rise up in wrath and might, and go forth in anger, like as the dust is driven by a terrible wind; and they will be the means of the destruction of the government and cause the death and misery of many souls; but the faithful among my people shall be preserved in holy places during all these tribulations.” (Letter from W.W. Phelps to Brigham Young, dated August 12, 1861, Joseph Smith Collection, Church Historians Office.)
But let us not be fearful brothers and sisters for the Lord says “but the faithful among my people shall be preserved in holy places during all these tribulations.” We need to keep in mind that the Lord has placed us on the earth at this time because He needs faithful servants who will befriend, mentor, and minister among a flood of new converts while His latter-day kingdom undergoes unprecedented and exponential growth! The laborers in the coming revolution, who are faithful to their covenants, will certainly never be considered “non-essential”, right?
Although I’ve mentioned this before, I feel that we need to be reminded of a statement made by President Russell M. Nelson in the Sunday morning session of April conference (2020) where he said:
“We live in the day that “our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation.” We have front-row seats to witness live what the prophet Nephi saw only in vision, that “the power of the Lamb of God” would descend “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.”
You, my brothers and sisters, are among those men, women, and children whom Nephi saw. Think of that!”
President Nelson was quoting from 1 Nephi 14:14, I think it’s worth quoting in context because Nephi saw our day and President Nelson says “You, my brothers and sisters, are among those men, women, and children whom Nephi saw. Think of that!”. We read:
12 And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.
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.
15 And it came to pass that I beheld that the wrath of God was poured out upon that great and abominable church, insomuch that there were wars and rumors of wars among all the nations and kindreds of the earth.
16 And as there began to be wars and rumors of wars among all the nations which belonged to the mother of abominations, the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold, the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots; and behold, thou seest all these things—
17 And when the day cometh that the wrath of God is poured out upon the mother of harlots, which is the great and abominable church of all the earth, whose founder is the devil, then, at that day, the work of the Father shall commence, in preparing the way for the fulfilling of his covenants, which he hath made to his people who are of the house of Israel.
Nephi had a very clear vision of our day, he saw that “the whore… sat upon many waters” and that “the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth” and that “their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.”
He goes on to tell us that “the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God”, which is to say that Nephi knew that the wicked among the Gentiles would resist the work of the gathering of Israel (which President Nelson tells us applies to both missionary work and temple work) and which is a primary mission of the church. Well, are the Gentiles resisting our efforts to gather Israel? Is missionary work flushing as it once did, is the work for the dead moving forward like it used to? Are meetings and the programs of the church functioning as they once did? Are Nephi’s words not being fulfilled?
The headlines of today, are fulfilling the pronouncements of the prophets and we need to remember that each of us is an important part of the revolutionary future of this church, right? Brigham Young said of our day:
“Do you think there is calamity abroad now among the people? Not much. All we have yet heard and all we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, “Come home; I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth,” (In Bowery, July 15, 1860, JD8:123) TLDP:344-45
Concerning church meetings, Heber C. Kimball said:
“the time would come whan the government would stop the Saints from holding meetings. When this was done, the Lord would pour out His judgments.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball, Pg. 453)
And concerning temples, President Nelson, via an edited quote from Willford Woodruff said:
“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.” (April conference 2020)
So when we consider the combined witness of these three statements and the other quotes above, it serves as evidence that we are in a situation or at a crossroad where we may expect both judgments on the wicked, deliverance for the saints, the Lord’s first appearance and the commencement of the revolution. Are you ready? As President Nelson says “it’s going to be exciting”.