1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“John’s teaching was ‘the preparatory gospel; which gospel is the gospel of repentance and of baptism, and the remission of sins’ (D&C 84:26–27). Without repentance there is neither forgiveness of sin nor salvation in the celestial realms.
“[John the Baptist taught, ‘Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’] That is, the kingdom of God on earth, the one true Church, the sole organization through which salvation is administered, the very Church and kingdom is here. ‘John came preaching the Gospel for the remission of sins,’ the Prophet [Joseph Smith] taught. ‘He had his authority from God, and the oracles of God were with him, and the kingdom of God for a season seemed to rest with John alone. . . . But, says one, the kingdom of God could not be set up in the days of John, for John said the kingdom was at hand. But I would ask if it could be any nearer to them than to be in the hands of John. The people need not wait for the days of Pentecost to find the kingdom of God, for John had it with him, and he came forth from the wilderness crying out, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is nigh at hand” [Matthew 3:2], as much as to say, “Out here I have got the kingdom of God, and you can get it, and I am coming after you; and if you don’t receive it, you will be damned;” and the scriptures represent that all Jerusalem went out unto John’s baptism [see Matthew 3:5–6]. There was a legal administrator, and those that were baptized were subjects for a king; and also the laws and oracles of God were there; therefore the kingdom of God was there; for no man could have better authority to administer than John; and our Savior submitted to that authority Himself, by being baptized by John; therefore the kingdom of God was set up on the earth, even in the days of John’ [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 82, 83].”
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:113–14.)
Randal S. Chase spent his childhood years in Nephi, Utah, where his father was a dry land wheat farmer and a businessman. In 1959 their family moved to Salt Lake City and settled in the Holladay area. He served a full-time mission in the Central British (England Central) Mission from 1968 to 1970. He returned home and married Deborah Johnsen in 1971. They are the parents of six children—two daughters and four sons—and an ever-expanding number of grandchildren.
He was called to serve as a bishop at the age of 27 in the Sandy Crescent South Stake area of the Salt Lake Valley. He served six years in that capacity, and has since served as a high councilor, a stake executive secretary and clerk, and in many other stake and ward callings. Regardless of whatever other callings he has received over the years, one was nearly constant: He has taught Gospel Doctrine classes in every ward he has ever lived in as an adult—a total of 35 years.
Dr. Chase was a well-known media personality on Salt Lake City radio stations in the 1970s. He left on-air broadcasting in 1978 to develop and market a computer-based management, sales, and music programming system to radio and television stations in the United States, Canada, South America, and Australia. After the business was sold in 1984, he supported his family as a media and business consultant in the Salt Lake City area.
Having a great desire to teach young people of college age, he determined in the late 1980s to pursue his doctorate, and received his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Utah in 1997. He has taught communication courses at that institution as well as at Salt Lake Community College and Dixie State University for 21 years. He served as Communication Department chair and is currently a full-time professor at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.
Concurrently with his academic career, Brother Chase has served as a volunteer LDS Institute and Adult Education instructor in the CES system since 1994, both in Salt Lake City and St. George, where he currently teaches a weekly Adult Education class for three stakes in the Washington area. He has also conducted multiple Church History tours and seminars. During these years of gospel teaching, he has developed an extensive library of lesson plans and handouts which are the predecessors to these study guides.
Dr. Chase previously published a thirteen-volume series of study guides on the Book of Mormon, Church History, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The series, titled Making Precious Things Plain, along with four smaller study guides on Isaiah, Jeremiah, the story of the Nativity, and the final week of our Lord’s atoning sacrifice, are designed to assist teachers and students of the gospel, as well as those who simply want to study on their own. Several of these books are also available in the Spanish language.