Church History Lesson 18 (D&C 45)
April 26–May 2
Christ Is Our Advocate with the Father
● D&C 45:1–5 On the coming day of judgment, Christ will be our dearest friend and advocate as we stand before God to be judged.
— vv. 1–2 Christ is the Creator God, by whom all things in heaven and earth were made.
— v. 3 He will plead our cause before the Father on the day of judgment.
— v. 4 He will cite His own sufferings and death for our sakes.
— v. 5 He will ask, “Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”
Preparing for the Second Coming
● D&C 39:19–24 The Second Coming of Christ Is Imminent
— The kingdom of heaven is at hand (v. 19).
— The servants of God are to prepare the way for his coming (v. 20).
— The day and hour of his coming no man knows (v. 21).
— Those who receive the Holy Ghost will be looking for His coming and will know him (v. 23).
— He will come quickly (v. 24).
Bruce R. McConkie said, “We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us as individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. The Lord deliberately withholds from us the day and hour of his coming and of the tribulations which shall precede it—all as part of the testing and probationary experiences of mortality. He simply tells us to watch and be ready.”1
● D&C 43:28–35 The second coming of Christ is anticipated by the righteous with great interest.
— Matthew 24:36 Only God the Father knows when the second coming will occur.
— D&C 49:7 The scriptures only provide a general outline of events, not a chronological list.
President Harold B. Lee said, “There are among us many loose writings predicting the calamities which are about to overtake us. Some of these have been publicized as though they were necessary to wake up the world to the horrors about to overtake us. Many of these are from sources upon which there cannot be unquestioned reliance. “Are you . . . aware of the fact that we need no such publications to be forewarned, if we were only conversant with what the scriptures have already spoken to us in plainness?”2
President Lee also said, “It never ceases to amaze me how gullible some of our Church members are in broadcasting sensational stories, or dreams, or visions, or purported patriarchal blessings, or quotations, or supposedly from some person’s private diary. . . . Brethren of the priesthood, you defenders of the faith, we would wish that you would plead with our Saints to cease promoting the works of the devil. Spend your time promoting the works of the Lord, and don’t allow these things to be found among those under your charge, for they are the works of Satan, and we are playing his game whenever we permit such things to be heralded about and repeated and passed about on every side.”3
● D&C 45:39–40 Because of these warnings some may conclude that it is inappropriate to study the signs of the last days. This scripture corrects this.
Signs that are prophesied:
— D&C 43:25 Judgments
— D&C 45:25 Gathering of Jews
— D&C 45:26 “Wars and rumors of wars”
— D&C 45:27 “Iniquity shall abound”
— D&C 45:31 “Desolating sickness”
— D&C 45:33 “Desolations”
— D&C 45:40–42 Signs in the heavens and in the earth
— D&C 45:16–24 These events occurred in Jerusalem following the Savior’s earthly ministry.
● D&C 45:25–60 Times of the Gentiles. These are events of the last dispensation, our own day when the gospel is taken to the gentiles. It will end when the gentiles refuse the gospel because of the precepts of men (v. 28–29).
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Jesus said the Jews would be scattered among all nations and Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. (Luke 21:24). The prophecy in [D&C 45:24–29] regarding the Jews was literally fulfilled. Jerusalem, which was trodden down by the Gentiles, is no longer trodden down, but is made the home for the Jews. They are returning to Palestine, and by this we may know that the times of the Gentiles are near their close.”4
Great Turmoil and Calamities
“Stand in Holy Places”
● D&C 45:32 Until the great day of the Lord comes, we are counseled to “stand in holy places” and “not be moved” while all around us the wicked will “lift up their voices and curse God and die.”
— The holy places of our lives include but are not limited to: Our homes, our places of worship, and the temples of our God.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “You will live in the midst of economic, political, and spiritual instability. When you see these signs—unmistakable evidences that his coming is nigh—be not troubled, but, ‘stand . . . in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come’ (D&C 87:8). Holy men and holy women stand in holy places, and these holy places include our temples, our chapels, our homes, and the stakes of Zion, which are, as the Lord declares, ‘for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth’ (D&C 115:6).”5
● D&C 45:35 The Lord instructs us to “be not troubled.”
Elder Marion G. Romney said, “Now, the basis for the hope and courage that will keep us from being troubled does not lie in the expectation that enough people will accept and obey the restored gospel to turn aside the oncoming calamities. Nor does it depend upon any such contingency. As already indicated, it lies in the assurance that everyone who will accept and obey the restored gospel of Jesus Christ shall reap the promised rewards, and this regardless of what others do. And certain it is that those who receive the blessings will have to prevail against great opposition, for the world in general is not improving. It is ripening in iniquity.”6
● D&C 45:56–57 The parable of the ten virgins applies to the last days—our day.
President Wilford Woodruff said, “The parable of the ten virgins is intended to represent the second coming of the Son of man, the coming of the bridegroom to meet the bride, the church, the Lamb’s wife, in the last days; and I expect that the Savior was about right when he said, in reference to the members of the Church, that five of them were wise and five were foolish; for when the Lord of heaven comes in power and great glory to reward every man according to the deeds done in the body, if he finds one half of those professing to be members of his Church prepared for salvation, it will be as many as can be expected, judging by the course that many are pursuing.”7
President Harold B. Lee said in his last general conference address, “Brothers and sisters, this is the day the Lord is speaking of. You see the signs are here. Be ye therefore ready. The Brethren have told you in this conference how to prepare to be ready. We have never had a conference where there has been so much direct instruction, so much admonition; when the problems have been defined and also the solution to the problem has been suggested. Let us not turn a deaf ear now, but listen to these as the words that have come from the Lord, inspired of him, and we will be safe on Zion’s hill, until all that the Lord has for his children shall have been accomplished.”8
Christ’s Appearance, the First Resurrection, and the Millennium
● D&C 45: 47–53 Christ’s appearance on the Mount of Olives.
● D&C 29:11–13 The Savior’s Second Coming and the First Resurrection.
● D&C 29:27–30 The judgment that will be rendered to the wicked.
● D&C 45:55 Satan will be bound.
● D&C 45:59 The Lord will dwell among men on earth.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the thousand years. They will not probably dwell upon the earth, but will visit it when they please, or when it is necessary to govern it. There will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years. The heathen nations who will not come up to worship will be visited with the judgments of God, and must eventually be destroyed from the earth.”9
1. In Conference Report, Apr. 1979, 132–33; or Ensign, May 1979, 93.
2. In Conference Report, Oct. 1972, 128; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, 106.
3. In Conference Report, Apr. 1970, 55–56.
4. In Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 13, 15.
5. “Prepare Yourselves for the Great Day of the Lord,” in BYU 1981 Fireside and Devotional Speeches, 68.
6. In Conference Report, Oct. 1966, 53.
7. Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 254.
8. In Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 170.
9. History of the Church, 5:212.