Feast upon the Word Blog

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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?

5 Responses to “RS/MP Lesson 44: “The Second Coming of Jesus Christ” (Gospel Principles Manual)”

  1. Cindy said

    Thanks for this post. Beautiful comments. The first comment about Christ saving the earth. Do you know of any prophet quote to back up your thoughts?

  2. Becky B said

    I was thinking for some time about where we get the the idea of “terrestrial and celestial” and I am happiest with the information I found in Alma 40. I looked in Rev. 20 and in D and C 76 extensively, and D and C 45 (I think) as well; and the best idea for me is that those who have no part with the spirit of God don’t fit, so those who have some part of the Holy Spirit are a match. Unless anyone else has ideas about where to reference this in scripture (or writings of the prophets.

  3. kirkcaudle said

    Oops! I forgot about your question Cindy, sorry about that. Hopefully my comments will speak to both of your (Cindy’s & Becky’s) questions.

    When we look at D&C 101:24-25 (referenced above) it talks about the earth receiving a baptism by fire. In other words, the earth will be sanctified.This baptism will cause the earth to be “re-newed and receive its paradisaical glory’ (Tenth Article of Faith). This is how Christ saves the earth and returns it to a terrestrial state.Therefore, because the earth is then in a terrestrial state those possessing terrestrial and celestial bodies many reside during the Millennium. As the hymn (Now Let us Rejoice) says, “the earth will appear as the Garden of Eden and Jesus will say to all Israel come home.”

    Hopefully this helps

  4. robf said

    We had this lesson today in priesthood, and it got me thinking a lot about fire. I remembered that statement by Joseph Smith that the second coming might appear like a comet or a planet (see sources here . When the asteroid crashed into what is now the Gulf of Mexico at the end of the Cretaceous, it is thought that this triggered global firestorms. I wondered if such a thing were to happen, how we would need faith to make it through such an experience.

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