Joseph Smith—Matthew 1; Matthew 24–25; Mark 12–13; Luke 21: “The Son of Man Shall Come” (May 22-28)

Christ in a Red Robe by Minerva Teichert

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, many people welcomed Him joyfully. They shouted the words of a psalm: “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 118:26; see Matthew 21:9, Mark 11:9, Luke 19:38, John 12:13).

Not everyone in Jerusalem was pleased to see Him. The ruling class in particular saw Him as a threat and sought to undermine His authority. He, in turn, lamented their hypocrisy and uttered this cryptic prophecy: “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39; see also Luke 13:35).

According to Joseph Smith, some of Jesus’s disciples understood the implications of this prophecy. They recognized “that he should come again on the earth, after that he was glorified and crowned on the right hand of God” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1). They later asked Him privately, “What is the sign of thy coming?” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4, Matthew 24:3, Mark 13:4, Luke 21:7).

In response, Jesus foretold a time of social unrest, confusion, war, and natural disasters. Many people will be terrified, “for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26, Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:25, Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:33), or at least that’s what it will look like from their perspective. But immediately after that time, the Savior will return “in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27, Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:36), and all will know that He is eternal, more permanent than even the sun, moon, and stars.

The Savior also gave some advice to those who would live in these troubling times:

1. “Be not troubled.”

Easier said than done, to be sure, when the world is collapsing around you, but Jesus wanted His disciples to be firm enough in their faith that terrible things could happen around them without causing them to panic. “When ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars,” He said, “be ye not troubled” (Mark 13:7, Matthew 24:6, Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:23).

Here is a blog post about how we can follow this counsel:

2. “Stand in the holy place.”

Just as a large group of Nephites and Lamanites gathered at the temple in Bountiful after the destruction which coincided with the Savior’s death (3 Nephi 11:1), we can also find comfort and stability by gravitating to holy places. Jesus said that when we see the “abomination of desolation” prophesied by Daniel, we should “stand in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15, Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:12). President Russell M. Nelson has emphasized that an important part of following that counsel is making our homes holy. See the following blog post:

3. “Watch and pray.”

It’s so easy to become complacent, to act as if things will never change or to pretend we know more than we actually do. The Savior warned us against this temptation, reminding us that we don’t know when He will return, so we may be caught by surprise. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always,” He said (Luke 21:34-36), and He added, “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:33; see also Matthew 24:42-44, Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:46-48).

During His visit to the American continent, Jesus gave this same advice. “Ye must watch and pray always,” He said, “lest ye be tempted by the devil…. Ye must always pray unto the Father in my name” (3 Nephi 18:18-19).

Here are two blog posts about this counsel:

Three Parables

Around the same time that He gave these prophecies, Jesus also shared three parables which can help us think about how to prepare for His return. Here is something I’ve learned from each parable, with a blog post for each:

  1. The Parable of the Talents – Put your gifts to good use: Talent.
  2. The Parable of the Ten Virgins – Be conscientious in your preparations: Wedding Garments and Extra Oil.
  3. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats – Treat everyone as you would treat the Savior: Love One Another and Serve One Another.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is also an important theme in the Book of Mormon: What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

Blog Posts: May 23-28

The Sheep and the Wayfaring Man

The hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” elaborates on the types of service described in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. As we serve others and meet their needs, we are blessed immediately, and we become more prepared to return to God’s presence.

Burying My Talent

Loss aversion is the tendency to prioritize what we already have over what we can achieve. The unwise servant in the Parable of the Talents fell into this trap, missing opportunities to expand his resources because he was unwilling to take risks.

What Is the “Abomination of Desolation?”

Jesus instructed His disciples to stand in holy places when they see “the abomination of desolation.” What does that mean? In this post, I trace that concept from its origins in the Old Testament through modern revelation to better understand its meaning

Faithful over a Few Things

God cares more about the way we fulfill our responsibilities than the scope of those responsibilities. In the Parable of the Talents, both servants who did well earned the leader’s praise, even though one had five talents and the other only had two.

“Ye Visited Me”

Jesus taught that we should provide what others lack where possible: food for the hungry, clothing for the naked, etc. When we can’t remove their challenges, such as when they are sick or in prison, we can visit them.

Trimming My Lamp

To “trim” a lamp is to prepare it to be lit. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, even the ten wise virgins had to trim their lamps when the bridegroom came. We need to not only build a reserve of oil but also trim our lamps so that we’re ready to use them.

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