Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Second Coming of Christ

                    The Second Coming of Jesus Christ draws great interest.  We want to know when it will be and how we can know when it is happening.  People have looked forward to the time when Christ would return to earth ever since He ascended into heaven.  The followers of Jesus Christ continue to look forward to His coming back to earth.

                    Jesus Christ and His Apostles gathered together on the Mount of Olives forty days after His Resurrection.  Jesus had completed all of His assignments for that time, and He was ready to leave the earth to return to the presence of Heavenly Father.

Christ instructed His Apostles and then ascended into heaven.  While the Apostles stood there looking heavenward, two angels stood beside them and said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go” (Acts 1:11). 

There are several actions that Jesus Christ will do when He comes back to earth, including the following:  1) He will cleanse the earth from evil and sin.  2) He will judge His people.  3) He will usher in the Millennium.  4) He will complete the First Resurrection.  5) He will take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth.

When Jesus comes again, He will come in power and great glory.  At that time the wicked will be destroyed.  All things that are corrupt will be burned, and the earth will be cleansed by fire (see Doctrine and Covenants 101:24-25).

When Jesus comes again, He will judge all nations and will divide the righteous from the wicked (see Matthew 25:31-46).  John the Revelator wrote about the judgment:  “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:  and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, … and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”  He saw that the wicked “lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:4-5; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:95-98).

When Jesus comes again, He will usher in the Millennium, the thousand-year period of time when Jesus will reign on the earth.  The righteous will be caught up to meet Jesus at His coming (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:96).

President Brigham Young said, “In the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them, becoming, as it were, pillars in the temples of God [see Revelation 3:12], and they will officiate for their dead.  Then we will see our friends come up, and perhaps some that we have been acquainted with here….  And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them.  Then [children] will be sealed to [parents] until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of Priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church:  Brigham Young [1997], 333-34).

When Jesus comes again, He will complete the First Resurrection.  All people who have earned the privilege of coming forth in the resurrection of the just will rise from their graves.  They will be caught up to meet the Savior as He comes down from heaven.  (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:97-98.)

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the beginning of the first resurrection.  His Resurrection was followed by the resurrection of other righteous people who had previously died.  These people appeared in Jerusalem and also on the American continent.  (See Matthew 27:52-53; 3 Nephi 23:9-10.)  Other people have been resurrected since that time.  Those who have already been resurrected and those who will be resurrected at the time of His coming will all inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:50-70).

The candidates for the terrestrial kingdom will be resurrected after the resurrection of all those who will inherit celestial glory.  These two events will complete the First Resurrection.

The wicked people living on earth when the Savior comes will be destroyed in the flesh.   They and all wicked who are already dead will have to wait until the last resurrection.  They will either inherit telestial glory or be cast into outer darkness with Satan (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:32-33, 81-112).

When Jesus comes again, He will establish His government on the earth and take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth.  Christ will rule all the people of the earth in peace for 1,000 years.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will become part of His kingdom.

When Jesus Christ came to earth the first time, He was born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger filled with hay.  He did not come in glory or with great armies as the Jews expected their Messiah to do.  Jesus came humbly and lived humbly.  He said, “Love your enemies,… do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44).  He was despised, rejected, and crucified.  When He comes the second time, He will not be rejected but “every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that Jesus is the Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 88:104).  He will be greeted as “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14).  He will be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

There were only a few people who knew when Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born.  When He returns to earth, everyone will know who He is.  No one knows the exact time of His coming:  “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36; see also Doctrine and Covenants 49:7).

The Lord gave the parable of the fig tree to tell us how we can know when His coming is near.  He taught, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree;  When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
“So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors” (Mark 13:28-29).

After the Lord gave us some signs to let us know when His coming is near, He cautioned:  “Watch therefore:  for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come….
“… Be ye also ready:  for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42, 44).

We can prepare for the Savior’s coming by accepting the teachings of the gospel and making them a part of our lives.  When He was on earth Jesus taught us that we should live each day in the best way we can – better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.  We have a modern-day prophet to whom we can look for guidance and counsel.  We can also have the guidance of the Holy Ghost to guide us if we live worthy of His presence.  As long as we live righteously, we can look forward to the Savior’s return with happiness instead of fear.  The Lord taught:  “Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come.  Behold, I come quickly.  Even so.  Amen” (Doctrine and Covenants 35:27).

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