RS/MP Lesson 44: “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ” (Gospel Principles Manual)
Posted by kirkcaudle on October 14, 2011
First off, I would like to echo everything in Joe’s notes for lesson 43 on the signs of the Second Coming. I would recommend reading those before these.
The manual lists five things that Jesus will do when he returns. I will list each of those five things followed by some ideas of my own on the given scripture references.
1. He will cleanse the earth.
And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the seas, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed; And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth. (D&C 101:24-25)
Christ comes to save the earth, not to destroy the earth. When Christ comes it is an act of salvation. Some within the church see the melting of the elements as the conclusion of an apocalyptic war or an atomic bomb. However, I do not think this is the best reading of the text. It appears to me that the fervent heat is cause by nothing more than the appearance fo Christ himself. This heat purifies the earth.
2. He will judge His people.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgement 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 which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (Rev. 20:4-5)
Who exactly are the Lord’s people? It appears from these verses that the Lord’s people are anyone that is ready for a terrestrial or celestial glory. In other words, anyone that is worthy to come forth on the morning of the first resurrection (D&C 88:95-102). Also interesting is that those that are found worthy to enter into the millennium will reign with Christ (the Greek “meta” could also be translated as “after” or “behind”). This seems less like a judgement (which we too often think of as a negative) and more like a blessing.
3. He will usher in the Millennium.
And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him. (D&C 88:96)
I like to call this the LDS “rapture” verse. :) Joseph Smith said of this event that “Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the thousand years. They will not probably dwell on the earth, but will visit it when they please, or when it is necessary to govern it.” (Teachings, 268)
4. He will complete the First Resurrection.
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. (Matt. 27-52-53)
After Christ was resurrected other select individuals followed suit (this is also stated in the BOM; 3 Ne. 23:9-10). When Christ comes again he will continue the work of resurrection that began on the first Easter. “The saints” in Matthew could also be translated as “the holy ones.” Therefore, we must keep ourselves holy in order to be part of this great event.
5. He will take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth.
And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth—for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come. (D&C 88:104)
When Christ first came to earth he did so humbly (see notes here) . The next time Christ comes he will come in all of his glory. At his first appearance many questioned his authority and station within the gospel. The next time he comes there will no longer be any doubt of his divinity.
Question: Why is having a testimony that Christ is coming not enough?
Question: Revelations pertaining to the second coming generally come during particularly stressful times for the saints. I find this to be true in all of the standard works. Why do you think this is the case?