Savior's true followers will 'be not troubled' at his second coming

Near the end of His mortal ministry, Jesus sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Jerusalem. On that occasion they asked Him a question that many of us may be pondering: "what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3.)

The Lord then proceeded to answer this all-important question by describing the many and varied calamities which must take place in the last days. Nevertheless, He admonished His faithful followers "see that ye be not troubled." (Matt. 24:6; compare D&C 45:34-35.)But how can we avoid being troubled in the midst of the difficult times that lie ahead? Some feel that we should not be concerned with the "signs of the times."

In our day, the Savior repeated what He had told His disciples on the Mount of Olives, emphasizing that the faithful "shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man." (D&C 45:39.)

In His preface to the latter-day revelations, the Master explained that they should be regarded as a "voice of warning." "Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh." (D&C 1:4, 12.) This is the key to our not being troubled. The Lord has said "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." (D&C 38:30.) Teachings in the Doctrine and Covenants tell us how this is to be accomplished. For example, Section 45 reminds us that the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) may be likened to our preparing for the Lord's second coming: "For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived - verily, verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day." (D&C 45:57.)

We should also look to our inspired Church leaders who will explain to us the meaning of latter-day developments. After citing an array of calamities that have already taken place, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve concluded "the Lord is in control. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis. . . . Therefore, today we must be careful to not overreact, nor should we be caught up in extreme preparations, but what we must do is keep the commandments of God and never lose hope." (Conference report, Oct. 1992.)

"Church members need not and should not be alarmists," counseled Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve. "They need not be deflected from quietly and righteously pursuing their daily lives." (Conference report, April 1988.)

Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve has assured today's youth that they need not be troubled, thinking that the world is about to end. ". . . but the end cannot come until all the purposes of the Lord are fulfilled. . . there is time and to spare for you to carefully prepare for a long life." (Conference report, April 1989.) - Richard O. Cowan, BYU Professor of Religion and Doctrine

Sanctification - becoming holy

The term sanctification is mentioned many times in the scriptures, but is particularly discussed in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.

That being sanctified is a commandment is emphasized in Section 43, verses 9, 11 and 16.

In verse 9, the saints are instructed to "bind yourselves in all holiness before me" while verse 11 asks them to "Purge ye out the iniquity which is among you . . . ." Verse 16 promises those who comply that "ye shall be endowed with power."

In his famous address to the people from a tower, King Benjamin explained the process of sanctification: "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." (Mosiah 3:19.)

The Nephites were sanctified, under the guidance of Helaman, as they "did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling of their souls with joy and consolations, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." (Hel. 3:35.)

Sanctification is possible through the Atonement, explained the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni.

"Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you . . .

"And again if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot." (Moroni 10:32-33.)

When speaking to the Nephites after His resurrection, the Savior commanded: "Repent, all ye ends of the earth and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day." (3 Ne. 27:20.)

Administering relief to poor: `gospel in action'

The injunction to "visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief. . . " (D&C 44:6) is frequently repeated by leaders in the context of the Church's Welfare Services. However, as President Marion G. Romney explained: "I reiterate that Welfare Services is not just a program; it is the gospel in action. Its principles are the principles of the gospel. It is the Christian rule in temporal affairs. It is my desire that we learn from the scriptures and from the counsel of the living prophets and do our part to sustain ourselves, to care for our families, and with generosity and humility to contribute our share to maintaining those less fortunate than we." (Conference report, April 1981.)

Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.

Information compiled by Richard O. Cowan and John L. Hart

Sources: Conference reports - April 1981, April 1988, April 1989 and October 1992.

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