Thursday, February 4, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Will it be Great or Terrible?

What if a young person asked you this question: 

"Does there really have to be a Second Coming? It scares me to think about all the destruction...."

How would you answer them? What could you teach them that would put their fears at ease and help them to look forward to the return of Jesus Christ? The scriptures refer to it as "the great and terrible day of the Lord..' (Joel 2:31)
I would say a little prayer and then I would share this wonderful news with them. 

The Second Coming will be GREAT for the RIGHTEOUS.
The Second Coming will be TERRIBLE for the WICKED.

After Christ had resurrected he walked with two of his apostles on the road to Emmaus. They didn't know who he was. They hadn't understood all the prophecies that had been spoken by the prophets from Moses on up. He opened their understanding and revealed who he was to them while he taught them. 

Do we know the prophecies from the prophets for his Second Coming? What must we do to prepare for it?How could President Hinckley say, "The future is as bright as your faith..." when there are scriptures that say, " The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord..." (Joel 2:31)? 

The more we study, (much like the apostles that Jesus taught on their little walk) the more will be revealed to us. Lets break it down...Hammer time..

Question #1 - Do we know the prophecies for his Second Coming?
There are so many prophecies! Many volumes and books have been written on them, so I won't have time or space to talk about all of them here, but I will highlight some of the biggies...

- The Church would be restored (Ephesians 1:10)
Through all the persecution, the church was restored and continues to grow as the message of hope and salvation continues to spread across the world. Like the rock cut out of the mountain without hands in Daniel's dream. It wasn't made of man...only God could build it.

- Elijah will return (Malachi 3:1-2)
He returned to the Kirkland temple on April 3, 1836. His job would be to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children. Can you imagine how much harder it was in those days to do family history? There were no genealogy websites. Heck, there were no genealogical societies. There were no people doing indexing. 

- Israel would be gathered after 2000 years of being scattered (Isaiah 11:11-12)
This is an incredible subject all in itself. Incredible!!! Here is a tip of the week on this that will further explain what I mean....incredible!!! 

and another...

- Salt Lake Temple would be built (followed by others) (Isaiah 2:3)
Think about the practically destitute pioneers who had been chased, mobbed, and even killed for their religious beliefs and moved to a desert. They would build a temple that Brigham Young said would last through the millennium. When we went to General Conference last year, our tour guide of the Conference Center told us that the Church had been making efforts to "earthquake proof" many of the important buildings in Salt Lake including the Temple. Why would they do that? Because they know of the other prophecies.

War, Rumors of War, Earthquakes, Men's hearts will fail them....and yes destruction.
It would be nice to skip over this part, but we shouldn't. This part is necessary because it will help to cleanse the earth from wickedness.  We have seen some of these. We have yet to see others.It will help to humble the nations of the earth. There is also a prophecy that the crops of the earth will be destroyed with a great hail storm. We have been counseled for over 100 years to get a sufficient supply of food, clothes and every other needful thing. It can be a little overwhelming to think of, but, also remember, Noah and his family were saved through their obedience. Heavenly Father has always made a way for the righteous to be gathered together and protected. We can expect the same protection through obedience. Will it be that way for EVERY righteous person? Probably not, but God is merciful and as we obey, we will receive blessings. 

Is there a way that God would spare the earth if all the wicked would repent? Yep. The Lord did it for Nineveh. Is it likely? Probably not. 

Question #2 - What must we do to prepare for His return?
First, we need to repent and make sure we can have the Holy Ghost with us always. Second we need to know the prophecies. Third, we need to obey what the prophets have told us. I don't think we realize how important Elijah is in all of this. Did you know that Elijah is mentioned in just about every General Conference for at least the last 20 years? He probably saw our day more than he saw his own. I'm sure he saw Gherardelli chocolate...
Here are a few things the church is working on to prepare:

-Hastening the work (on both sides of the veil)
-Emphasizing keeping the Sabbath day holy
- Calling all members to rescue less active members
- Asking members to pray for countries where we cannot teach will be opened up
- Making apostles available to speak "Face to Face" with the youth
- and the like...

Prophets from every dispensation saw our day. They rejoiced in it. They saw the technology we would have. They saw the miracle of this technology. They rejoiced in it. They rejoiced in those who would stay faithful. They rejoiced in those who didn't buy satan's lies. There are great, miraculous, amazing and joyous days ahead. Obedience is key. Faith is key. That is how President Hinckley can say, "The future is as bright as your faith." Let us teach our youth and each other of the incredible things ahead for us. 

This is an amazing talk given by President Ezra Taft Benson during a BYU devotional April 14, 1981 - it is truly worth your time:

This is also a very cool talk by Elder Lagrand Richards in 1977 "God Moves in a Mysterious Way":