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Members of Mormon Church have always looked forward to the Second Coming of Jesus. As the true name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suggests, Mormonism proclaims that these are the last days. No Mormon prophet, not even Joseph Smith, has claimed to know when this momentous event will occur. Mormon leaders encourage members to know the signs of His coming and watch for them, but also to live their lives, and prepare for the future with education, vocation, and savings, as though it is still a long way off.
Jesus Christ taught his disciples to look for the signs of his coming. The Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price all record various prophesies about the Second Coming. The following is a brief, incomplete summary of what Mormons believe will be the major events prior to Jesus' return and His ushering in the Millennium, a thousand years of peace and righteousness where Jesus Christ will reign on the earth. As the tenth Article of Faith declares:
- We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.
Mormon Church leaders also consistently teach that each person on earth should live his life as though preparing for the Second Coming right now, and not "wait for the Millennium." (Brigham Young)
Scriptural Passages about the Second Coming
Prophecies about the Second Coming of Jesus can be found in many scriptures. For Mormons, some of the major places where prophecies are recorded in the scriptures are:
- Isaiah 2
- Isaiah 11
- Joel 2
- Malachi 4
- Matthew 24
- 2 Timothy 3
- 2 Thess. 2
- 1 Nephi 14
- Mormon 8
- Section 45
- Section 88
- Section 133
- Moses 6
- Joseph Smith-Matthew
Major Events Preceding the Second Coming
It would be difficult to write something that encapsulates all Mormon beliefs about the Second Coming. This list merely shows some of the major beliefs and significant events, some of which have come to pass and some have not yet, which Mormonism teaches will precede Jesus' return.
1. There will be wickedness, wars and turmoil.
- “Ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. … For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6–7). This is happening now, and will continue until Christ comes and brings with him peace.
2. The Gospel is restored.
- “Light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:28); "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." (Revelation 14:6) This occurred when the Prophet Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830.
3. The Book of Mormon will be brought to the earth.
- In Old Testament times the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel foresaw the coming of the Book of Mormon (see Isaiah 29:4–18; Ezekiel 37:16–20). This is happening now. The Book of Mormon has been translated, and it is being spread abroad to all who live on the earth.
4. The Gospel will be preached to the entire World.
- The “gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matthew 24:14). This prophecy is also already happening. The Church has missionaries in 162 nations.
5. Elijah the prophet is to return to the earth.
- Malachi, who lived after the Babylonian captivity, said:
- “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5–6.)
- This prophecy has already been fulfilled. On April 3, 1836, Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith the prophet and said, “Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” (Doctrine and Covenants 110:13–16.)
6. The descendants of Judah and of all the House of Israel are to gather from the four corners of the earth.
- “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12.)
7. The descendants of Judah will use gold and silver from the nations of the earth to reclaim the land.
- Again Zechariah says: “And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance.” (Zechariah 14:14.)
8. The land of Jerusalem is to be made productive.
- “… the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ezekiel 36:34–36. Italics added.)
9. The descendants of Judah will be attacked by their former conquerors, but they will be delivered.
- “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:6, 9. Italics added.)
- “Behold, they shall surely gather together against thee, not by me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
- “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. …” (3 Nephi 22:15, 17; quoted by the Savior from Isaiah 54:15, 17.)
10. Jerusalem will come under the control of Israel.
- … and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:6.) “And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.” (Zechariah 2:12.)
11. The Jewish people will begin to believe in Jesus Christ and eventually the gospel will be preached to them.
- “… this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14.) “And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them; And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.” (3 Nephi 20: 30–31.)
12. A new temple will be built in Jerusalem.
- “Let your hands be strong, … that the temple might be built.” [Zechariah 8:9] A description of the temple is given in Ezekiel 40–48. President Wilford Woodruff said:
- “… Christ will not come until these things come to pass. Jerusalem has got to be rebuilt. The temple has got to be built.…These things have been revealed by the prophets; they will have their fulfillment.” (Millennial Star, vol. 52 [Oct. 6, 1890], p. 740.)
13. A new leader named David (a descendant of the ancient King David) is to become a great leader in Israel.
- The Prophet Joseph Smith, said: “… the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and will be given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.” (Doctrinal History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 253.) Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Hosea and Zechariah also prophesy of this event.
14. The nations of the earth will gather together against the descendants of Judah, and Judah will be smitten.
- “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zechariah 14:2.)
15. Two prophets are to be raised up to the Jewish nation.
- “Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation? [And the Lord answered:]
- “A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.” (Doctrine and Covenants 77:15.)
16. The Savior is to appear to the descendants of Judah.
- “… they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him. …” (Zechariah 12:10.)
17. The Messiah will lead the people of Israel to victory and later he will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” (Zechariah 14:3, 9.)
18. Two great world capitals are to be established—one in Zion (the New Jerusalem) and one in Jerusalem.
- “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2–3.)