Gospel Principles #44: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Looking forward to the Savior’s Second Coming
The people at the time of Christ were familiar with prophesies about Christ, but they were sometimes confused, not understanding that He would come in glory and reign on Earth during His Second Coming, not during the first, when He would come in humility and not political power.
“The Jews were looking for a redeemer quite different from the Christ. It was a temporal salvation that they desired. It was an earthly kingdom for which they longed. It was not faith, repentance, and baptism for which they sought, but national vindication, the destruction of gentile oppressors, and the establishment of a kingdom of peace and justice.” (Joseph McConkie, “Messianic Expectations among the Jews,” A Symposium on the New Testament, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1980, p. 128.)
Here is an example of such an Old Testament Prophesy:
Explain Daniel 2:31-45
|Dream||Daniel’s Interpretation||Modern Revelation||History|
|31 ¶Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great aimage. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and bthe form thereof was terrible. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold,||36 ¶This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a akingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this ahead of gold.||“History certifies to the fact that King Nebuchad-nezzar was the head of gold.” (President Rudger Clawson In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 32).||Babylon under Nebuchad-nezzar captured Jerusalem 587 BC|
|his breast and his arms of silver,||39 And after thee shall arise another akingdom inferior to thee,||“The Medes and Persians, an inferior kingdom to Babylon, were the arms and breast of silver.” (President Rudger Clawson In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 32).||Cyrus of Persia overcame Jerusalem 538 BC|
|his belly and his thighs of brass,||and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear brule over all the earth.||“The Macedonian kingdom, under Alexander the Great, was the belly and thighs of brass;” (President Rudger Clawson In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 32).||334 BC (Macadon was in Greece)|
|33 His legs of iron,||40 And the fourth akingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.||“and the Roman kingdom under the Caesars was the legs of iron. For mark you, later on the kingdom, or empire of Rome, was divided. The head of the government in one division was at Rome and the head of the government in the other division was at Constantinople. So these two great divisions represented the legs of iron.” (President Rudger Clawson In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 32).||63 BC Rome conquers Jerusalem. Jerusalem was under Rome’s power during Christ’s life.|
|his feet part of iron and part of clay.||41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the airon, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.||Finally, the Roman empire was broken up into smaller kingdoms, represented by the feet and toes of iron and clay.” (President Rudger Clawson In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 32). “the feet and toes were governments more modern to grow out of the iron kingdom [Roman Empire], after it should lose its strength. These are represented by the ten toes or ten kingdoms which should be partly strong and partly broken. They should not have the strength of the legs of iron, but they should be mixed with miry clay, indicating both strength and weakness.” (Elder Orson Pratt, In Journal of Discourses, 18:337.) “Rome would be replaced by a group of nations of Europe represented by the toes of the image.”( Spencer W. Kimball In Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 10.)|
|34 Thou sawest till that a astone was cut out bwithout hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no aplace was found for them: and the bstone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.||44 And in the adays of these bkings shall the God of heaven cset up a dkingdom, which shall never be edestroyed: and the fkingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall gbreak in pieces and hconsume all these ikingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the astone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made bknown to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.||“And it was in the days of these kings that power would not be given to men, but the God of heaven would set up a kingdom—the kingdom of God upon the earth, which should never be destroyed nor left to other people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored in 1830 after numerous revelations from the divine source; and this is the kingdom, set up by the God of heaven, that would never be destroyed nor superseded, and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would become a great mountain and would fill the whole earth.” (Spencer W Kimball In Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 10.) “During the millennium the kingdom of God will continue on earth, but in that day it will be both an ecclesiastical and a political kingdom. That is, the Church (which is the kingdom) will have the rule and government of the world given to it.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 416.)||1830 AD Restoration of the gospel|
Forty days after His Resurrection, Jesus and His Apostles were gathered together on the Mount of Olives. The apostles questioned Him about when He would deliver the prophesied political restoration.
Acts 1:6-11 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time arestore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the aseasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive apower, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be bwitnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in cSamaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was ataken bup; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into aheaven? this same Jesus, which is btaken up from you into heaven, shall so ccome in like dmanner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
How did Christ answer their question? What did Christ command them to do until he comes again? What did the angels prophesy would happen?
What Will Jesus Do When He Comes Again?
Ask four people to read the following excerpts from the Gospel Principles text. (Note that I have reorganized the text a bit, in a way that makes more sense to me.)
When Jesus comes again, He will come in power and great glory…When Jesus Christ first came to the earth, He did not come in glory. He was born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger of hay. He did not come with great armies as the Jews had expected of their Savior. Instead, He came saying, “Love your enemies, … do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you” (Matthew 5:44). He was rejected and crucified. But He will not be rejected at His Second Coming, “for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess” that Jesus is the Christ (D&C 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).
He will take His rightful place as King of heaven and earth and He will judge His people. When Jesus comes, He will establish His government on the earth. The Church will become part of that kingdom…He will judge the nations and will divide the righteous from the wicked (see Matthew 25:31–46; see also chapter 46 in this book). John the Revelator wrote about this 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.” The wicked he saw “lived not again until the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:4–5; see also D&C 88:95–98).
He will rule all the people of the earth in peace for 1,000 years (the Millennium). “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 , 333–34).
He will complete the First Resurrection. Those who have obtained 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 D&C 88:97–98.) After Jesus Christ rose from the dead, other righteous people who had died were also resurrected. They appeared in Jerusalem and also on the American continent. (See Matthew 27:52–53; 3 Nephi 23:9–10.) This was the beginning of the First Resurrection. Some people have been resurrected since then. Those who already have been resurrected and those who will be resurrected at the time of His coming will all inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 76:50–70). After the resurrection of those who will inherit celestial glory, another group will be resurrected: those who will receive a terrestrial glory. When all these people have been resurrected, the First Resurrection will be completed.
How Can We Be Ready When the Savior Comes?
Musical Number: Children’s Hymnbook 82 When He Comes Again http://broadcast.lds.org/churchmusic/MP3/1/2/words/82.mp3
While this song by Mirla Greenwood Thayne seems whimsical, with its “I wonder…” lyrics, it is apparent that Sister Thayne actually did a great deal of scriptural research to support her speculations. For example, the lyrics, “Will daylight stay the whole night through?” is based on scriptures about the second coming like Isaiah 30:26: ‘Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun…”
Pay particular attention to the second verse of the song, which is sung less often than the first verse, but contains the meat of Sister Thayne’s message:
I wonder, when he comes again, Will I be ready there To look upon his loving face And join with him in prayer? Each day I’ll try to do his will And let my light so shine That others seeing me may seek For greater light divine. Then, when that blessed day is here, He’ll love me and he’ll say, “You’ve served me well, my little child; Come unto my arms to stay.”
Close with a video, “They That Are Wise” (8 minutes)
This video relates the parable of the 10 Virgins to modern preparation for the second coming of Christ, and shows how simple acts of kindness help us prepare to meet the Savior.
This video is available through live Internet streaming, can be purchased from the church distribution center as part of the Doctrine and Covenants Visual Resources DVD set for $4.50, or you can download the last half only at http://broadcast.lds.org/video/DC_Presentations/DCPresentations___11_Lsn21_TheyThatAreWise_71041_eng_300k.wmv
For more ideas, see http://www.the-exponent.com/2011/10/15/9212/
Note: This lesson was originally written for the Relief Society audience in 2010-2011, when the Gospel Principles manual was temporarily used as curriculum for Relief Society, Elders Quorum and High Priest classes. The lesson may require adaptation for Gospel Principles classes, which are mixed gender and primarily serve new members and investigators of the church.