RS/MP Lesson 21: “The Second Coming and the Millennium” (Joseph Smith Manual)
Posted by joespencer on November 2, 2008
I will begin with a confession: so soon as I saw that this lesson addresses the Second Coming and the Millennium, I began to feel both nervous and excited. Nervous: I find that so much of what we as Latter-day Saints have to say about these two subjects borders on the fanatical, seldom taking the shape of rigorous, careful reading of the scriptures, etc. Excited: I trusted that Joseph would be able to set the record straight it many ways. Having worked through the lesson in some details, I remain nervous and excited. Nervous: Joseph—at least as he has been portrayed in the cut-and-paste work of the committee that put the manual together—is seldom unambiguous, and so I imagine that this lesson will generally be used as a confirmation of everything we think we already know about the Second Coming and the Millennium. Excited: Joseph’s way of dealing with these subjects nonetheless does open up some real possibilities for thinking carefully about what the Second Coming and the Millennium are all about. I hope that the notes that follow, then, will make those reading excited, and not nervous.
From the Life of Joseph Smith
Following right along with the chronologically biographical approach of the introductions to the lessons, this lesson’s “From the Life of Joseph Smith” section draws on the juxtaposition of two of Joseph’s revelations at the end of 1832: sections 87 and 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The connection is not without textual warrant. From the penultimate verse of section 87: “[The destruction of the nations will come so] that the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.” From the second verse of section 88: “Behold, this [your assembling together in prayer] is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels rejoice over you; the alms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded in the book of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.”
Tying these two revelations together is this phrase, “come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth,” though the phrase would appear to have two remarkably different senses in each revelation. Section 87 is, as the section heading explains, a “revelation and prophecy on war.” Section 88, immediately thereafter, is, again in the language of the section heading, “the Lord’s message of peace to us.” War and peace: the Second Coming and the Millennium. Interestingly, the phrase that ties together this pair of opposites—this “come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth” business—fits quite nicely: sabaoth is the Hebrew word generally translated “hosts” in the Isaianic phrase “Lord of Hosts,” and it there has an important double meaning. On the one hand, the hosts are the armies of heaven, the angels gathered in military array. On the other hand, the hosts are those who make up the creative council, the angels gathered in deliberative council. The ears of the Lord of Sabaoth are the ears of Him who both leads His heavenly band into battle and counsels in righteousness to establish peace on the earth.
In a word, then: I think the juxtaposition the lesson employs is quite apt.
I especially, however, find the emphasis on section 87 helpful in thinking about the curious relationship between prophecy (ancient or modern) and the event of the Second Coming or the status of the Millennium. This calls for a bit of explanation. The prophecy on war that makes up section 87 is justly famous: it is Joseph’s prophecy of, as we say, the civil war. But though we as Latter-day Saints often bandy this revelation about as convincing evidence of Joseph Smith’s prophetic ability, we ought to be aware that those less than convinced of Joseph’s divine calling often cite this same revelation as convincing evidence that Joseph’s prophecies failed! How? They point to the fact that there were disturbances in South Carolina in 1832 when the prophecy was first made, and the newspapers were themselves giving predictions of a major conflict occurring.
Lest I be taken as raising inappropriate doubts, let me point out that the manual itself is suggestive in this direction: “The Prophet spent part of this day at home, deep in contemplation about the serious problems facing the nations of the world at that time. ‘Appearance of troubles among the nations became more visible this season than they had previously been since the Church began her journey out of the wilderness,’ the Prophet said. Events in the United States were leading toward civil war, and outbreaks of deadly diseases were widespread throughout the world” (p. 249). Important also is the fact that the lesson never makes mention of this prophecy’s being actually fulfilled during the Civil War itself.
Now, let me not be misunderstood: I entirely believe that this prophecy WAS fulfilled with the outbreak of the Civil War. I am not suggesting that it wasn’t. Rather, I am pointing out that the prophecy’s fulfillment came in an unexpected way, that it wasn’t fulfilled as anyone living in 1832 might have guessed. After things settled down in South Carolina in 1833, the Saints were wont to shelve Joseph’s “failed” prophecy, and it was only brought out of the vault again (by the Saints) in 1861, when it was fulfilled in the unexpected way it actually was fulfilled.
What all of this points to, I think, is a kind of model of prophecy that is a bit different from the one we tend to employ in our discussion of the scriptures. I don’t know that Joseph understood in 1832 what his revelation on war really amounted to. And it could only have seemed to his disciples that it had, somehow, failed. It was only with the prophecy’s fulfillment thirty years after it was given and a decade and a half after Joseph’s death that the material words of the prophecy were recognized as having the genuine force that they should have had all along. This is something Joseph Smith himself recognized, I believe. Section 130 of the Doctrine and Covenants records a few words of Joseph’s 1843 reflections on this prophecy on war, long after things had settled down in South Carolina and the prophecy had “failed”: “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th, 1832″ (D&C 130:12-13). Though all evidence suggested that his prophecy had failed, Joseph, eleven years later, was willing to maintain the truth of the prophecy, even “in the name of the Lord God,” though there now appeared to be little or no reason for anyone to see the possibility of its being fulfilled literally. Joseph seems to have recognized that there was a material truth in the material letters of his prophecy, though its fulfillment might come completely as a surprise.
Now, why bother to unearth all of this in a lesson that is not particularly about the materiality of the prophetic word? Because I think it is necessary, if we are to make sense of what the canonized prophetic words of scripture have to say about the Second Coming and the Millennium, to come to grips with this unexpectedness of the fulfillment of prophecy, this postponement and hence recontextualization of the prophetic word, and this nonetheless literal fulfillment of the genuine prophecy. If we take the words of the prophets without recognition of (1) the immediate circumstances that drew out the prophecy, (2) the unchangeable materiality of the prophecy’s words, (3) the unexpected postponement of the fulfillment of that prophecy, (4) the consequently necessary recontextualization of the unchanged material words of prophecy, (5) the fact that true prophecy nonetheless is fulfilled to the letter, and (6) that the fulfillment makes us reread and reinterpret that literally fulfilled letter in a drastically different way—if we take the words of the prophets with this six-fold recognition, then I think we can begin to see how we ought to read what the prophets have said about the Second Coming and Millennium. If we, however, take up the words of the prophets in an unthinkingly traditional way, demanding that the words of Isaiah or Zechariah or Ezekiel or what have you absolutely must be interpreted in this or that way because these prophets saw events portrayed through the use of a kind of divine film projector, then I think we can never really begin to grapple with what the prophets are really trying to communicate in their written prophecies.
So, at any rate, it seems to me.
With that major caveat, then: on to the actual subject matter at hand!
The signs of the Savior’s coming are being fulfilled; the faithful will recognize these signs and have peace in perilous times.
As the section’s title makes clear, most of the teachings gathered in this section deal with the “signs of the times.” The section itself is more than two pages long, and so it is difficult to summarize. Instead, I’ll offer thoughts on each paragraph in turn.
P. 251, paragraph 1—This short teaching makes a nice introduction: the signs of the times are explicitly connected here (as in scripture) to the thief-like coming of the Savior (cf. Matthew 24). It seems to me that this has a sort of double implication. On the one hand, if one is “waiting” to prepare for the Second Coming, the signs of the times function as a kind of constant (and ever more constant?) reminder that the event is on the horizon, a kind of constant reminder to repent and prepare oneself for the judgment. On the other hand, if one gives oneself to the gospel without reserve, living in grace or consecration, then neither the signs nor the horrors of the great and terrible day have much purchase. In short, the close association of the signs with the judgment aspect of the Second Coming means that there is a kind of “terrestrial” purpose in any following of the signs of the times.
P. 251, paragraph 2—In light of the first, this second teaching makes it clear that those who are waiting for the Second Coming in fearful anticipation should already be making ready: the signs “are already commenced.” Again, the emphasis here is on “looking forth,” though there are still two ways of doing so: we can look forward in anticipation (the “celestial” way), or we can look forward with apprehension (the “terrestrial” way). But the heaviest emphasis here is on the nearness of the event: “the coming of the Son of Man is nigh, even at your doors.” Also worth mentioning from this teaching is the strange list of several ways one looks forth to the coming: we look forward with “our souls” as well as “our bodies”; and we are to look forth even “after we are dead.” The Second Coming is apparently to orient us through and through, in every way. But again, there are always two shapes that such orientation can take place, a celestial and a terrestrial orientation. (I should mention that there is, of course, a telestial orientation as well, though this third might best be labeled a non-orientation, a dismissal of the Second Coming.)
P. 251, paragraphs 3 and 4—Here, interestingly, Joseph privileges two signs in particular, two signs that are privileged, moreover, by Matthew 24 (on a careful reading): the darkening of the son and the turning blood of the moon. Why these two? I find it fascinating that these two “luminaries” are associated with the celestial and terrestrial glories, but I doubt that is the best explanation. What might this emphasis suggest about the relationship between the creation and Second Coming?
P. 251, paragraph 5, and p. 252, paragraph 1—This teaching lays emphasis on “the prophecies of all the holy prophets,” which it mentions twice. (Indeed, this emphasis draws out of the many other teachings in this section a kind of underlying motif: “as was testified of” in 251, paragraph 3; “The scripture” in 252, paragraph 2; “the word” in 252, paragraph 3, etc.) It also introduces the theme of the “short work,” a phrase that will appear in the third paragraph on p. 252 as well. Most importantly, though, it emphasizes that the Second Coming and the signs associated with it need not take a terrestrial tone, but can also be taken in a celestial way: “The day is fast hastening on when the restoration of all things shall be fulfilled,” etc. And so it is that we should “be not discouraged when [they] tell [us] of perilous times,” etc. One could say that there is a sharp turn with this particular two-paragraph teaching from the terrestrial to the celestial interpretation of the signs-coming connection.
P. 252, paragraph 2—There seems little point to having this paragraph here but make quite clear that there is an emphasis on scripture, on this whole affair being a question of texts.
P. 252, paragraph 3—Again with the “word” being “fulfilled,” and again with the theme of the “short work.” Notice also that Joseph quotes Matthew 24 explicitly here. That chapter, carefully read, is perhaps the key to much thinking about the Second Coming.
P. 252, paragraph 4—Now we get on to some really odd and perhaps therefore interesting material. This is Joseph’s relatively famous statement about the rainbow and the Second Coming. The way it is usually explained or summarized is this: There will be no rainbows in the year before the Second Coming. But the teaching is less straightforward than that. First of all, it is worth pointing out that the whole teaching is grounded in an otherwise unrecorded revelation: “I have asked of the Lord concerning His coming; and while asking the Lord, He gave a sign and said….” The remainder of the teaching claims to be a direct quotation of the Lord! This should not be overlooked.
Moreover, it should be noticed that the rainbow business is tied specifically to the events surrounding the flood, and that—especially in light of the discussion later in the lesson of Enoch (see below)—it cannot be disentangled from the entire Enoch-Noah complex, especially as this is articulated in the two OT manuscripts of the JST project. The question, then, is this: What is the bow all about? Why was it taken as a sign, or what did it signify? Given the way that the creation and subsequent events are described and discussed in Genesis, I take it that the bow was a sign of the restoration of the creation as described in Genesis 1. That is, if one reads Genesis 1 carefully, it describes the world as being created in a kind of womb, or as what I have called in my seminary classes an “inverted snowglobe”: it is a kind of globe with all the water on the outside. The earth, on the model of Genesis 1 (and a number of the psalms, and Isaiah, etc.), sits as a kind of circular disc under a massive dome that holds out the waters of chaos. The flood story describe the flood as a rupturing of that dome: the seals that keep the water out below are broken, and the windows are opened that shut out the water above, and the entire snowglobe is suddenly inundated. The flood, in other words, is a kind of letting into the world of complete, watery chaos. For God to place the bow in the sky is to mark that the dome that protects the earth has been put back in place: by looking at the sky and seeing the bow, one sees that the dome is back in place (a rainbow gives one the distinct impression that the sky above is a kind of dome shaped roof). The bow thus serves as a sign that the creation of Genesis 1 has been put back in place.
That said, the removal of the bow (Joseph’s word: withdrawal) amounts to a marking of the withdrawal of protection, of the imminent danger of chaos’s return. Notice that in the words Joseph attributes to the Lord, it is not that the bow will be removed as a sign of the Second Coming, but that its presence is a promise of the orderliness of creation: “in any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come; but there should be seed time and harvest during that year.” Again, the withdrawal of the bow means that chaos is about to rain: “but whenever you see the bow withdrawn, it shall be a token that there shall be famine, pestilence, and great distress among the nations, and that the coming of the Messiah is not far distant.” That the Lord employs the word “whenever” in the phrase “whenever you see the bow withdrawn” would seem to suggest that this is not a singular sign, a once-in-history sort of thing: the bow can be withdrawn in any given year as a token that famine and other destructions are coming, that chaos is being released to some degree. And like any other “sign of the times,” it does not point to a particular hour of the Savior’s coming but serves to remind that “the coming of the Messiah is not far distant.”
I hope that these comments demystify Joseph’s teaching on this point a bit.
P. 252, paragraph 5—Here Joseph provides a rather brief list of the signs of the times, almost as if he wants to pass over them in a relatively hurried fashion so as to get to the one he wants to emphasize: “one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven.” I find this fascinating: it is almost as if Joseph wants to say that the other signs are of relatively little importance, and one ought to get on to the greatest, most convincing sign. And yet, Joseph goes on immediately to say: “But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc.” The point of this entire paragraph, then, it seems to me, is that all of the signs are slippery, that none of them can convince anyone of the Second Coming. The signs are only reminders of judgment for the terrestrial and confirmation of the faith of the celestial—they must not be taken as definitively evidential in any sense. In a word, all signs—even those of the Second Coming—are mere signs.
P. 253, paragraph 1—This last teaching in this first section simply debunks the idea that the righteous will be unharmed by the deleterious effects of the catastrophes during the Second Coming. The point seems to be that the events that lead up to the eschaton are not to be understood as a destruction of the wicked, but the undifferentiated release of chaos. And so, as Joseph explains, “it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death.” This is an important thing for us to recognize.
The Lord will not come until all things are fulfilled in preparation for His coming.
The three, relatively brief teachings that make up this section are, it seems to me, more or less straightforward. They assert that, though “Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come,” yet “it is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets.”
Now there is, of course, a kind of tension here. On the one hand, the fact that there was no revelation about the precise time that Christ would come would seem to suggest that the Father was hoping to catch the people of the world unawares, so as to destroy all who might, if they knew when the end would be, repent in order to escape punishment. On the other hand, Joseph asserts (twice!) in the name of Amos that God will reveal the Second Coming to the prophets. What is behind this tension?
It seems to me that Joseph believed that the prophets would indeed know the time of Christ’s coming (whether with precision or not, I have no idea). His claim that Christ never did reveal the time seems only to be speaking of what is found in scripture: “Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers.”
The point, then, seems to be that the scriptures are not enough, so far as knowing the hour of the Second Coming: the signs of the times are only so many indications, and then only for the faithful. There must be, if one is to know anything about when the Second Coming will take place, a prophet who receives revelation. Joseph was obviously responding in these teachings, at least in part, to the teachings of William Miller, a man who had derived from the scriptures the belief that the Second Coming would happen in 1843 and had built up a rather large following (a faction of which would become the Seventh-day Adventists). Joseph is suggesting, in essence, that all such attempts to calculate the hour of the Second Coming by analyzing scripture are just another manifestation of the spiritualization of scripture, of the refusal to look for modern revelation.
The faithful, Joseph seems to be teaching here, will know of the Second Coming, since they are, as Paul says in the 1 Thessalonians passage Joseph quotes, “the children of light.” But, given what has already been taught in the first section of the lesson, this would seem to need to be qualified: only those who are fully faithful (and not merely obeying for fear of punishment or for desire of reward) will receive the revelation.
Those who are wise and faithful will be prepared when the Lord comes again
This section has, really, two parts. The first four paragraphs (making up all of p. 254 and the first paragraph of p. 255) are individual teachings, drawn from a number of different sources; and the remainder of the section (making up the rest of p. 255 and most of p. 256) is drawn from a single letter Joseph wrote the saints in Colesville in December 1830 (quite early!). The first three of the four teachings that make up the first half of this section deserve, I think, individual attention. I will take them in turn. Then I will take up the whole second half of this section.
P. 254, paragraph 1—What strikes me in this first teaching is the use of the word “rapidity”: “When I contemplate the rapidity with which the great and glorious day of the coming of the Son of Man advances . . . .” The remainder of the paragraph follows quite naturally from this sentiment, and so I will leave it aside in order to look at what this first phrase itself has to teach us. Rapidity: the day of the coming of the Son of Man is coming rapidly. Now, in some sense, this is a strange thing to say: any day appointed for any purpose in the future should, strictly speaking, be coming to us at exactly the same speed at all times. That is, it seems, in all rigor, to be nonsensical to say that any already appointed day is approaching with rapidity, since it will always be approaching with exactly the same speed: time does not speed up or slow down.
One way of dealing with Joseph’s words here, then, is to suggest that there is no particular day that has already been appointed, that the day or hour of the Second Coming has not been revealed because there is no set time for it to happen. Instead, it might be that the hour is moved on whatever absolute timeline exists according to the righteousness of the saints: that the hour comes with rapidity means that the work is going forward with rapidity. The other explanation, of course, is that time suddenly seems to be going faster because we are getting quite close. Given the way that things have played out since Joseph’s time, however, I think I will settle for the former explanation: the Second Coming in some sense depends on us.
P. 254, paragraph 2—The idea expressed, on my reading, in the preceding paragraph is fleshed out in this one: the Second Coming is here attached to the event of Adam-ondi-Ahman, an event that definitely cannot be disconnected from the progress of the saints. This will be clarified further in the letter to the Colesville saints, so I will leave it at this for now.
P. 254, paragraph 3—Joseph here expresses the marvelous idea that the Second Coming, and all that is associated with it, is “generic.” That is, it is indifferent to the differences that human beings find so important to society: it has the very same effect on “the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble” that is has on “the poor and the needy”; it equally demands righteousness and consecration of “the bond and the free, both black and white,” etc. All are to execute justice and judgment upon the earth in righteousness, because the coming of Christ will distract even the distinction between “the quick [that is, the living] and the dead”! The approaching hour will obliterate the distinctions and ways of ordering things that we now think so important (theist vs. atheist, Republican vs. Democrat, rich vs. poor, educated vs. uneducated, etc., etc., etc.).
The Letter to Colesville—The timing of this letter makes all the difference: it was written in December of 1830, very early in the history of the Church. It is thus written when the Church was still in New York. The first converts in Kirtland had only just been baptized, and two of them (Edward Partridge and Sidney Rigdon) had only just come out to visit Joseph for the first time. The prophecies of Enoch in the Book of Moses had just barely been translated, and the two revelations commanding the saints to move to Ohio the next year had just been received. The Book of Mormon was still what defined the nature of Mormonism: everyone looked to that book of scripture as what made all the difference between Mormonism and other religions (it was not yet a question of “doctrinal” differences).
What we have, then, in this letter is a manifestation of how Latter-day Saints understood the Second Coming from the very beginning—specifically of how Joseph understood it. Three points seem vital before turning to a detailed exposition of how all of this bears on the Adam-ondi-Ahman business mentioned before.
First, it should be noticed how biblical the teachings in this letter are: Joseph quotes the Bible over and over again, and there is little that he says that cannot be traced immediately back to passage in the Bible that were understood in Joseph’s day by the broader Christian world to say more or less what Joseph says they say. Second, however, one should also note that the picture presented by the then-current interpretation of the Bible is nonetheless inflected by the Book of Mormon understanding of the last days, a vision that is less concerned with the Second Coming (which is, on my reading, never mentioned in the Book of Mormon at all!) than it is with the gathering of Israel and the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Abrahamic Covenant if they will repent, etc. Third, one should notice that all of this is thus connected with the then-already-formulating doctrine of gathering: “The time is soon at hand that we shall have to flee withersoever the Lord will, for safety.” Persecutions in New York had already begun to make this obvious, and the recent revelations about moving to Kirtland obviously are reflected here, but it should also be pointed out that Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, and a few others were at the very time this letter was written already in Jackson County, Missouri, exploring what would be revealed shortly thereafter to be the place for the New Jerusalem. Mormonism from the very beginning had an undeniably unique take on the Second Coming, one that was much like that of the broader Christian world, but that was inflected by the Book of Mormon’s emphasis on the gathering and the early revelations’ emphasis on a gathering place.
All of that said, Adam-ondi-Ahman deserves a bit of attention. The focus on the New Jerusalem or on Zion was relatively new for the saints in December of 1830 because it was tied to the then barely just received prophecies of Enoch. Importantly, Joseph cites them in the last paragraph on p. 255: “Yea, even Enoch, the seventh from Adam, beheld our day and rejoiced,” etc. Enoch, of course, was present at the first Adam-ondi-Ahman event (described latter in the D&C), where he functioned as scribe. And Enoch then had the marvelous vision of Moses 7 in which he seems to have seen things not seen at all before his time. Note how Joseph describes things: “Enoch . . . beheld our day and rejoiced, and the prophets from that day forth have prophesied of the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior,” and the Millennium (see the continuation of the quotation onto p. 256). It would seem, from Joseph’s wording, that Enoch was the first to have prophesied of a Second Coming and the Millennium: Adam knew of the first and prophesied of it, but Enoch added something new when he spoke of his own visions.
This is, I think, quite significant. Biblical scholars point out that a millennial era is never mentioned anywhere in the Bible except in Revelation. And scholars who deal with the text of the Apocalypse itself point out that this idea of an era of peace is something the author of Revelation drew from apocryphal sources. One source in particular seems to have been of primary importance: the apocryphal Book of Enoch: there scholars find the earliest mention of a millennium.
Interestingly, there is no mention of the Millennium in the Book of Mormon—there are descriptions of an era of peace (especially in the Isaiah quotations, for example), but there is no talk of a thousand years, etc. The D&C does, of course, speak of the Millennium, but it is important, I think, that it does so only in revelations that were received after the translation of the prophecies of Enoch: the first latter-day word on the Millennium, like the first ancient word on the Millennium, seems to have come from Enoch.
It would seem, then, that Adam prophesied of the First Coming, and Enoch of the Second Coming and Millennium. All of this, because of the two roles of Adam and Enoch in the first Adam-ondi-Ahman, cannot be disconnected from the coming event of Adam-ondi-Ahman, which seems to be profoundly connected to (if not identical with!) the Second Coming. How is all of this to be understood?
I have, of course, a few of my own answers, but Joseph provides us (at least, after the editorial work of the creators of the manual) with very little to sort through on the subject here. He only points in the direction of thinking more carefully about the relationship between Adam and Enoch and between Adam-ondi-Ahman and the Second Coming and Millennium. I think I will leave these questions open for purposes of this lesson: let us get to work thinking about how all of these things are connected.
The Millennium will be a time of peace when the Savior will reign over the earth.
After the Millennium, the earth will be changed into a sanctified, celestial state.
The last, relatively short two sections of the lesson are, I think, a bit easier to follow than what precedes them. In fact, the first of the two is mostly made up of an excerpt from an editorial that was not, I believe, actually written by Joseph. Only the tenth article of faith (on p. 256) and the last paragraph of the section (the second paragraph on p. 258) are, I believe, genuinely the words of Joseph Smith. The former seems straightforward enough. The latter is perhaps a bit less familiar to Latter-day Saints, but its point seems relatively clear: Jesus will not simply reside on the earth during the Millennium, but will reign over them, coming down to instruct them, etc. It sounds, then, like things will be more or less like they were in, say, 4 Nephi: Christ will visit and instruct the saints often, but He will not take up His abode here.
The last section of the lesson deals, for the most part, with two connected ideas. First, the “earth will be rolled back into the presence of God” after the Millennium: there it will be “crowned with celestial glory.” Second, that celestializing of the earth will make it a “great urim and thummim,” through which “things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest.” These are, I think, relatively familiar ideas for the saints, and they need little clarification in this lesson.
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