Friday, December 21, 2012

Today The World Does Not End - Decades To Go Before It Does

Parting The Veil - The Second Coming - by Jon McNaughton
Painting titled Parting The Veil (The Second Coming) by Jon McNaughton

December 21, 2012 has been touted as yet another day for the world to end. This day is peculiar because of its correlation with what many believe to be the end of the Mayan Calendar. The Mayan Calendar may not have projected any dates beyond today, but that does not mean the world will end today, or anytime soon.

Don't get me wrong. Just because we're still here is no cause to become complacent and suppose there is no end. There is. But not for several decades.

Elder Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of Jesus Christ, stated the following in a General Conference address titled Counsel to Youth, October 1, 2011:

"I speak to the youth more personally than I usually do, comparing my youth with yours... Sometimes you might be tempted to think as I did from time to time in my youth: 'The way things are going, the world’s going to be over with. The end of the world is going to come before I get to where I should be.' Not so! You can look forward to doing it right — getting married, having a family, seeing your children and grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren."

That single explanation by a living apostle of Jesus Christ debunks every doomsday prediction about the end of the world for at least the next two or three generations. It also suggests an approximate decade in which the Savior will return. Of course, nobody knows exactly when that day will be. Anyone who claims to know the exact date of the Second Coming of Christ, or the exact date of the end of the world, is either lying or ignorant.

To put Elder Packer's remarks in chronological perspective, note the age group to whom he was speaking. While he was speaking to young people in general, he was specifically speaking to the youth.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term "youth" refers to children 12 through 17 years old. Primary children are those younger than 12, and young adults are those 18 through 30 years old.

I am not going to spit out any numbers for you. You can do some math yourself.

Approximately how many years will it take for those who were 12 to 17 years old in 2011 to grow up, get married, and have children?

How many years will it take for those children to grow up, get married and have babies?

And then, how many more years until those babies grow up, get married, and begin having kids?

Jesus Christ will probably return while those kids, the great-grand children of the youth to whom Elder Packer spoke in 2011, are alive.

Read the Bible. There are many prophecies that must be fulfilled before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which is synonymous with what most people consider to be the end of the world. That is to say, the return of Jesus Christ to the Earth will be the end of the wicked upon the earth for a period of a thousand years, but the earth, as a planet, will remain intact.

I believe that those who sincerely watch for the signs of the times and make an honest effort to follow Christ will feel an increasing awareness as the Second Coming approaches. If you do these things, you are among the faithful servants who will not perish when Christ comes as a thief in the night, at a time when the slothful and the unbelieving are not looking for him.

The ongoing fulfillment of prophecies, when viewed in retrospect while simultaneously looking forward with steadfastness, may make it evident when we are in the decade of Christ's return, and then when we are in the year of his return, and then the month, and finally the week of his arrival. But, even in the week of his arrival, no one will know the exact day or hour until he actually arrives.

I cannot list every prophecy yet to be fulfilled, or predict how long it will take to fulfill any particular prophecy, but I will point out that one of the things that must occur before Christ returns is the Battle of Armageddon. As of this writing, that battle has not yet commenced.

The Bible suggests that the Battle of Armageddon will last about 1,260 days, that is three and a half years. During that time, the nations of the world will besiege and do battle against the nation of Israel.

Also, during that time, two prophets will testify. After their three and a half year mission is complete, they will be slaughtered and lay dead in the streets while the wicked inhabitants of the earth celebrate their demise.

Three and a half days after their deaths, these two prophets will be resurrected in plain sight and ascend into the sky before the very eyes of their enemies. This event will be broadcast to the world. As the initial shock and fear of such an astonishing event event fade, political and media efforts will attempt to downplay the truth, explaining it away as some trick or hallucination, or some phenomenon not yet in our vernacular. Some people will repent, but most will not.

After these two prophets are resurrected, Christ himself will end the Battle of Armageddon. The nation of Israel will be on the verge of utter destruction, and Christ will stand on the Mount of Olives and cause it to split, creating a canyon into which the nation of Israel will flee. At this point, Christ will personally defeat the armies of the world and save the nation of Israel.

The citizens of Israel will meet Christ and realize who he is. They will then be given ample years to become converted to Christ and receive the fullness of his gospel. This event is not yet the Second Coming of Christ in his full glory. This is a visitation of Christ to the Jews specifically. The end is not yet.

Ezekiel 39:9-16 describes a period of seven years during which the weapons of war are burned, following the Battle of Armageddon. That seven year period includes a specific seven month period during which the majority of the dead are buried.

There are many more events than these that must transpire before Christ comes in his full glory and burns all evil from the face of the earth. But, these two events alone cover at a least decade that has yet to come and go.

The best strategy is to prepare and live each day as if it is the day you will stand before Christ. Then, it does not matter so much when he comes, or when the end of the world as we know it happens. You will be okay.

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