Sunday, November 13, 2011
Relief Society lesson "Signs of the Second Coming"
I was the substitute teacher in Relief Society today in my ward. Here is the summary of the lesson.
Relief Society Lesson 43, “Signs of the Second Coming”, a little from Lesson 44, “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ.”
Jesus has told us that certain signs and events will warn us when the time of His Second Coming is near.
I gave the analogy of Google Maps. We can print out the list of directions. Some say “go 82 feet” and some say “go 160 miles” before looking for the next signpost or turn. We cannot see by looking at the list of directions because the words show no sense of scale.
Conversely, if we only print out the map, there could be 10 turns at the beginning, and then a long stretch of 160 miles where we look for the signpost of where to turn but there is nothing. Suddenly we get to the next signpost, and we need to make 5 turns quickly.
We could wake up as a passenger in a car, and have no idea where along the 160 mile stretch we are. Unless we see the signposts we have no idea how much farther we have to go.
I said that this is like the signs of the Second Coming. We don't know the scale between the signs, or how long we have to wait before the next one, or if many signs will happen close together soon. We have to be ready spiritually and temporally at all times.
Before the Savior comes, there will be great trials and calamities.
Heavenly Father wants us to be prepare for these troubles.
Heavenly Father expects us to be spiritually ready.
All faithful followers of Christ will know what the signs are and will be watching for them. D&C 45:39. D&C 39:23. If we are obedient and faithful, we will study scriptures and know of the signs.
Not all events preceding the Second Coming are dreadful. Many will bring joy.
For what purpose does the Lord give us these signs? He gives these signs to help us. First, our Heavenly Father wants us to be prepared for these troubles. Second, he also expects us to be spiritually ready when the Savior comes in his glory.
Some signs have already happened:
The restoration of the gospel.
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
The coming of Elijah. He appeared in the Kirtland Temple in April 1836.
People of Judah have returned to Jerusalem.
Some signs are occurring already or have started. (We can be certain that these calamities will become more severe before the Lord comes.)
Wickedness, war, and turmoil.
Waves of sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
Earthquakes, disease, famines, great storms, lightnings, thunder.
The gospel preached to all the world. (More needs to be done.) The manual says “Before the Second Coming and during the Millenium, the Lord will provide ways to bring the truth to all nations.”
The Lamanites will become a great people.
Some signs are still in the future:
A great hailstorm will destroy the crops of the earth. Hailstones weigh one talent (75.6 lbs) each.
A great burning mountain cast into the sea, a third of the creatures in the sea die
A third of men die..
Jerusalem shall be trodden under foot of men for 3 ½ years.
Two witnesses will serve in Jerusalem for 3 ½ years, then will be killed, then resurrected.
Battle of Armageddon.
Waters will flow out from under the Jerusalem temple, healing the Dead Sea.
Building of the New Jerusalem.
The return of the Lost Ten Tribes and their records.
144,000 missionaries sent out.
The great and abominable church shall be cast down.
Righteous shall be gathered to Zion, the only people who will not be at war with one another.
Great earthquakes, mountains made low,earth reel to and fro as a drunken man.
Oceans will be driven back into north countries, and the islands shall become one land.
Earth will be like as it was in the days before it was divided.
Missionaries called home.
Sun darkened, moon as blood, stars hurled down.
A great sign shall appear in heaven, and all people shall see it together.
Two points to remember as we watch the signs occuring in our lifetimes:
The Lord keeps his promises. As we see the desolating calamities, we need to remember that he has promised they will happen. We should remember that he will also keep all of his comforting promises.
“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.” D&C 45:35.
The Lord is just. He will judge his people. Righteousness will be rewarded. Wickedness will be punished.
How can we remain calm and at peace even when some of the signs are terrifying and dreadful?
We can look to the prophet for guidance and follow his counsel. We can live worthy to have the Holy Ghost guide us. We can look forward to the Savior's coming with happiness and not with fear.
Bruce R. McConkie said:
“We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us as individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. The Lord deliberately withholds from us the day and hour of his coming and of the tribulations which shall precede it---all as part of the testing and probationary experiences of mortality. He simply tells us to watch and be ready.
We can rest assured that if we have done all in our power to prepare for whatever lies ahead, he will then help us with whatever else we need.
We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands..
And so we raise the warning voice and say: Take heed, prepare; watch and be ready. There is no security in any course except the course of obedience and conformity and righteousness.”
Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign May 1979, p. 93 “Stand Independent of all other creatures”