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The Consummation of the Ages
E believe... that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; etc. (Articles of Faith, No. 10). "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 into heaven." (Acts 1:11). So spake the whiterobed angels to the Apostles as the resurrected Christ ascended from their midst on Mount Olivet. The assertion is definite, unambiguous, easy to comprehend. Jesus the Christ is to return to earth "in like manner" as He went, therefore as a material Being, a living Personage, having a tangible immortalized body of flesh and bones.
The actuality of the Lord's future advent is attested by the utterances of holy prophets both before and since the brief period of His ministry in the flesh, and by His own unequivocal avowal. Consider the following:
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matt. 16:27).
"For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26; compare Mark 8:38).
The Master had so effectively instructed the Apostles concerning His assured death and His later return to earth in power and glory, that they eagerly inquired as to the time and signs of His coming. (See Matt. chap. 24).
Though they failed to comprehend the full import of His reply, He told them that many great developments would intervene between His departure and return; but as to the certainty of His advent as Judge, and Lord, and King, Jesus left no excuse for dubiety in their minds. Throughout the apostolic period the Lord's coming was preached with the emphasis of inspired and convicting testimony.
Book of Mormon prophecies concerning the great event are no whit less explicit. To the Nephites the resurrected Christ preached the Gospel of salvation; "And He did expound all things, even from the beginning until the time that He should come in His glory." (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 26:3).
Questions of supreme import to every one of us are these: (1) When will Christ come? (2) What shall be the purpose and attendant conditions of His coming?
The date of the Lord's advent has never been revealed to man, nor shall it be. Prior to His resurrection Jesus Himself did not know it, as witness His words: “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father." (Mark 13:32).
In the present age the Father hath declared: "And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and He has taken His power on the right hand of His glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till He descends on the earth to put all enemies under His feet, which time is nigh at hand. I, the Lord God, have spoken it, but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until He comes." (Doctrine and Covenants 49:6-7).
In the light of such scriptural affirmations we may dismiss as empty conjecture all alleged determinations as to
the precise time of the Lord's appearing. Nevertheless, the specified signs and conditions by which is shown the imminence of the event are definite, and from these we know that the great day of the Lord is very near. So near is the consummation that the intervening period is called "today"; and on the morrow mankind shall rejoice or tremble at the presence of the Lord. (See Doctrines and Covenants 64:23-25).
Christ's advent shall be made with the accompaniment of power and great glory. While in suddenness and unexpectedness to the unobserving it shall be comparable to the coming of a thief in the night, it shall be a manifestation of surpassing glory to all the world: "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:27).
With the Lord's appearing a general resurrection of the righteous dead shall be effected, and many then in the flesh shall be changed from the mortal to the immortal state without the intervening experience of prolonged disembodiment or the sleep of the grave. (See 1 Thess. 4:14-17).
"And the face of the Lord shall be unveiled; And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened, and be caught up to meet Him. And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth; for their graves shall be opened, and they also shall be caught up to meet Him in the midst of the pillar of heaven." (Doctrine and Covenants 88:95-97).
Then shall be established the era of peace, the predicted Millennium, in which Christ shall dwell with men, and shall rule in the earth as Lord and King.
A Thousand Years of Peace
WE believe... that Christ will reign personally upon the earth, and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. (Articles of Faith, No.
Through the lurid gloom of smoke and fire in which the nations have been enshrouded, amidst the awful stench of blood that has sickened the world, mankind has had reason to rejoice in the enlightening beams of comforting assurance that an era of peace is to be established. And this shall be a peace that cannot be broken, for righteousness shall rule, and man's birthright to liberty shall be inviolate.
Of necessity this blessed state shall be attained only after due preparation; for in the economy of God it would be as incongruous to force upon mankind an unappreciated and undesired boon as to arbitrarily afflict with an undeserved
The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to reign personally upon the earth is near at hand, for the Scriptures so attest. Prophecies relating to this impending event specify a period of a thousand years, distinctively known as the Millennium, which in certain conditions shall differ from both preceding and succeeding time. While this period is nowise indicative of a limitation to the Lord's dominion, it specifies the duration of a particular part of His ministry, even as the epoch of His administration in the flesh is measurable in terms of years and days.
Unto righteous Enoch, who walked with God and was
taken bodily from the earth (Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5), the certainty of the millennial reign was revealed over thirty centuries before the Lord's birth in mortality, as is thus recorded: "And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years." (Pearl of Great Price, p. 45).
In glorious vision John, the apostle and revelator, foresaw Christ's personal reign, during which Satan is to be bound:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judg ment 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 worshiped 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." (Rev. 20:4, 5; see also verse 2).
The Millennium is to be a Sabbatical era, when the earth shall rest; and men, relieved from the tyranny of Satan, shall, if they will, live in righteousness and peace. Man, to whom was given dominion over the earth and its creatures, shall rule by love, for enmity between him and the brute creation shall cease, and the ferocity and venom of the beasts shall be done away. So hath the Lord avowed through the prophet Isaiah. (See Isa. ch. 65).
We are definitely assured that the Millennium is to be inaugurated by the advent of Christ, and that Satan's power over men shall be restrained, and further, that after the thousand blessed years are finished, Satan shall be loosed for a season, and such as elect to follow him shall eventually go with him to eternal condemnation. See Rev.