1.14.2013

Signs of the Times

In light of everything that has happened in this world in the last few years, I have to wonder how much longer we'll actually be on this earth before the Savior comes again. I have especially thought about it today and decided to pull out the book 50 Signs of the Times by David J. Ridges. You can buy the book here.

In this book he lists the signs that are supposed to happen before the Savior's second coming. He also puts them in three categories: fulfilled, being fulfilled, and yet future. I received chills reading many of the things that have happened just in the last couple months. This book was written before 2000 (published 2004), so we've had 13+ years of new development. I'll list all the ones he talks about but I won't go into much detail on most of them, especially the yet future ones. You can read the book if you want more. Many of this is his words. I'll put my own thoughts in italics. Maybe you, too, will get the same chills I did. 

1. The discovery of America and the establishment of the United States of America. Fulfilled.
2.  The coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Fulfilled.
3. The restoration of the priesthood and the priesthood keys. Fulfilled.
4. The restoration of the true church of Jesus Christ. Fulfilled.
5. The church will grow to fill the whole earth. Being fulfilled.
6. Slaves will rise up against their masters. Being fulfilled. This doesn't just mean the slaves of US history. This is anyone who feels oppressed rising up for equal rights. See that much?
7. Scattered Isreal will be gathered. Being fulfilled.
8. The lost ten tribes will return. Yet future.
9. The times of the gentiles will be fulfilled. Being fulfilled. This means the gospel will be taught to anyone who isn't a Jew. 
10. There will be much of despair, depression, gloom and doom and emotional instability. Being fulfilled.
11. There will be extraordinary widespread selfishness and lack of caring for others. Being Fulfilled. I'm seeing a lot of this these days. How about you?
12. The Jews will return to Jerusalem. Fulfilled, being fulfilled.
13. The Jews accept the true gospel. Yet future.
14. The prophet Elijah will come to restore the keys of sealing. Fulfilled.
15. Christ will come to his temple. Fulfilled.
16. Genealogical research and interest in family history will spread as never before. Being fulfilled.
17. Dangers upon the waters. Being Fulfilled.
18. Much ecological damage will occur in the last days. Being Fulfilled. There are obviously many ways in which the damage to the environment indicated in chapter 8 of the Book of Revelations could be inflicted. But there will be prominent ecological damage and disturbance in the last days leading up to the coming of the Lord.
19. The sun will be darkened and the moon will become blood. Fulfilled.
20. Diseases, plagues, and pestilences will sweep the earth in spite of medical advances and technology. Being fulfilled. Cancer, AIDS, swine flu, autism, dimensia, etc. It seems no one dies from old age anymore. No one is safe from disease. 
21. Knowledge, science, and technology will increase dramatically. Being fulfilled. President Hinckley said in General Conference (2001), "There has been more of scientific discovery during these years than during all of the previous history of mankind. Transportation, communication, medicine, public hygiene, the unlocking of the atom, the miracle of the computer, with all of its ramifications, have blossomed forth, particularly in our own era."
22. Wars and rumors of wars will become normal life. Being fulfilled. This prophecy seems to indicate that wars and rumors of impending wars will become so commonplace that people will hardly pay any attention to them in the news. They will go about their daily lives and only particularly notice especially spectacular war news or those incidents which directly affect them. I don't know about you, but I start doing other things when the news turns to national and world news because all they talk about are wars and how many attacks happened that day and how many died. Isn't it sad to live in a world where the news can say 40+ people died just about every day in one bombing or attack or another and we don't even bat an eye? 
23. Famines, earthquakes, tornadoes, and natural disasters will abound. Being fulfilled. Hurricane Sandy, the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, all the earthquakes and tsunami's we've had...
24. Strikes, overthrowing of governments, gang warfare, violence and disrespect for authority will increase. Being fulfilled. Elder Bruce R. McConkie summarized this sign of the last days as follows: "STRIKES, ANARCHY, VIOLENCE TO INCREASE - Not only do disasters and perils abound because of the unsettled conditions of the elements, but that same spirit of unrest is found among men themselves. The Lord's decree for this age is: 'The whole earth shall be in commotion.' Signs of this commotion are seen daily in the untempered strikes and labor troubles that rock the economic world; in violence, compulsion, and destruction of property that attend these strikes; in the unholy plots against our freedoms and free institutions; in the anarchy, rebellion, and crime that flow from great political movements which seek to destroy the agency of man and overthrow the governments of the world by force and violence. Communism and every other brutal and evil association or form of government are signs of times." Here's what really got me given the state of our country these days...
In the book of Helaman, in the Book of Mormon, we find a very straightforward description of how governments, which were set up based on correct principals, can become corrupt which leads to unreasonable strikes, anarchy, disrespect for good and honorable principals (Marriage between man and woman?), and people, and ultimately the destruction of society. Simply put, the steps are as follows:
1. The original government is set up, based on the commandments of God.
2. Moral, righteous citizens endorse and support the government.
3. Over time, citizens become wicked and can't stand righteous laws.
4. The laws of the land are changed to support corrupt lifestyles of citizens.
5. People begin to use corrupt laws to support personal wickedness. They no longer ask, "What does the bible say?" Rather, they ask, "Is it legal?"
6. Thus, corrupt laws corrupt people and corrupt people continually pass additional corrupt laws until society becomes morally bankrupt.
7. People are no longer governed in their own hearts by personal righteousness. Therefore, anarchy, violence, etc., result in the destruction of society.

25. Sexual immorality, homosexuality, lesbianism, and pornography will abound. Being fulfilled. And it's just going to keep getting worse. More and more states will pass laws allowing same-sex marriage. The #24 comes into play. 
26. The spirit will stop working with the wicked. Being fulfilled. When the spirit stops working with the wicked, they lose their ability to understand the need for personal righteousness. Righteous people are seen as their enemies, and a threat to personal freedom and independence, a threat to the exercising of their agency. I get told this all the time, especially by ex members, about how our teachings don't allow people to be themselves and have their agency. It angers me more than I can describe. It's obvious the Spirit doesn't even try with them anymore. They're ridiculing and mocking something that is good. 
27. Peace will be taken from the earth. Being fulfilled.
28. Jerusalem will be a "cup of trembling" to those who attempt to fight against it. Fulfilled, being fulfilled. Jerusalem has fought off countless armies that were bigger than they were and continue to do so with a lot of strength and force.
29. People will refuse to believe obvious truth and will instead adhere to fables and falsehoods. Being fulfilled. This prophecy of conditions shortly preceding the Second Coming of Christ needs little explanation. When people get sufficiently wicked and selfish, they no longer think rationally. Indeed, wickedness does not promote rational thought. In the face of social trends political posturing which, to the rational mind, will obviously lead to the destruction of society as we know it, with its built-in safeguards fir human freedom and use of agency, such people stand aghast as truth and moral principals.
30. False prophets, false churches, and false miracles abound. Being fulfilled. Sometimes we tend to think of these false Christs and false prophets as well as false miracles only in terms of strange people dressed in long robes, or some televangelists, or false healings, etc. While such people and events can certainly fit this prophecy, it may be a little too narrow of an interpretation. Media idols, liberal philosophies, corrupt politicians and business people, and a host of other public and private heroes could well fit into this category. In fact, any in positions of influence who lead others astray could be considered to be in the category of false prophets and false Christs.
31. People refuse to believe the signs of the times. Being fulfilled.
32. There will be signs and wonders on earth and in the heavens. Being fulfilled. Perhaps many of the things we take for granted in our day, such as airplanes, trains, rocket ships, space stations, satellites, automobiles, busses, computers, etc. would serve as astonishing "signs and wonders" to all who have lived on the earth prior to these last days.
33. The Lamanites will blossom as the rose. Being fulfilled. Church membership is growing worldwide. 
34. New Jerusalem will be built. Yet Future. Before the Lord's Second Advent, the city of New Jerusalem will be built in Independence, Jackson Country, Missouri.
35. Many Temples will be built. Being Fulfilled.
36. A temple will be built in Jerusalem. Yet Future. He did emphasize that this will be a working ordinance temple and it will NOT be the BYU Jerusalem Center that will be turned into a temple. 
37. The Rainbow is Withdrawn. 
38. The constitution will hang by a thread. Being Fulfilled. In our day, it seems that we are are watching the Constitution being unraveled. But it is not so much that the actual wording of the Constitution is being changed. Rather, the intent and meaning of the founding fathers is being reinterpreted by the courts of our land, thus rendering their inspired intent and wording ineffective. But it will not fall. Brigham Young did say, "When the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the 'Mormon' elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it." 
39. Destroying angels will be allowed to go forth upon the earth. Being fulfilled.
40. The "abomination of desolation" will happen again. Being fulfilled. This means Jerusalem will be under siege. It has been for years and continues to be so. 
41. Wickedness will be rampant. Being fulfilled.
42. Babylon will fall. Yet future.
43. A great hail storm will destroy the crops of the earth. Yet future.
44. There will be a great earthquake, such a never before. Yet future.
45. The battle of Armageddon. Yet future.
46. The meeting at Adam-ondi-ahman. Yet future.
47. Two prophets will be killed in Jerusalem. Yet future.
48. The Mount of Olives will split in two. Yet future.
49. The righteous will be taken up to meet the coming Lord and the wicked will be burned. Yet future.
50. Everyone will see Christ when he comes. Yet future.

The reason I took the time to basically do an essay on these signs is because there's not very many that we have left to be fulfilled. Just like in the scriptures, we are living the prophecies made by prophets of old and modern day ones. It's coming to pass now, and time is running out. I get scared thinking of how unprepared I am, but then I remember that as long as I'm doing what's right and trying my best, I have no need to fear. He's coming; "even at our doors."
     

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