WHAT TIME IS IT?
No one knows for certain (at least no one who’s talking) the date or time on which any of the forthcoming events prophesied in the scriptures will actually occur. Notwithstanding this, from the signs of the times anyone with eyes to see can see that there is a great need to increase one’s spiritual powers by enjoying the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
About 1988 I reread all of President Benson’s conference addresses from the time he became the prophet. I saw clearly an oft repeated theme to be both temporally (that is food storage and so on) and spiritually prepared to the fullest extent of our capabilities. His messages on spiritual preparation are framed in terms of the instruction to come unto Christ, with a constant repetition of the steps necessary to accomplish that, namely reading the scriptures with emphasis on the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, cleansing the inner vessel (repentance), prayer, and so on.
The phrase “come unto Christ” is simply another one of the many ways of referring to applying the Savior’s atonement to oneself by obtaining a remission of sins through completing the ordinance of baptism by receiving the second half of it in the baptism of fire. Incidentally, starting about 1988 my own awareness of the importance of the baptism of the Spirit was keenly focused by reading the Book of Mormon about four times within twelve months or so, and in particular Third Nephi which contains an extraordinary number of key scriptures on the baptism of the spirit.
Nor is there any great secret about why the urgency. My own best guestimate (and that is ALL this is) is that the sixth thousand year period could close on or about April 5, 2001. The basis for my statement concerning the April 5, 2001 date is based on a three step analysis. First, we know from D&C 20:1 that the Savior was born on April 6, possibly in 1 AD (there is no year designated “0 A.D”) and that our current calendar is correct. [April 6, 1 BC is also a strong candidate but I favor slightly the 1 AD possibility and so have used it for the purposes of suggesting a ballpark date in this discussion. If the Savior was born 4/6 of 1 BC then 4/6/1830 was the first day of the 1831st year after His birth but if He was born 4/6 of 1 AD then 14/6/1830 was the first day of the 1830th year after His birth. For those who wish to review the large volume of work on the Savior’s birthdate I suggest starting with an excellent article by John P. Pratt entitled “Passover, Was It Symbolic Of His Coming?” in the January 1994 Ensign beginning at page 38.]
Second, from D&C 77:7 we learn that each of the seven seals is a precise thousand year period as determined by our present calendar. However, the one missing element is reliable information on the precise date when any of the seals opened or closed. But, it is not unreasonable to assume that the Savior’s birth could well have been the exact day of the beginning of the fifth thousand year period. I wish to emphasize that this assumption is based on Father’s pattern and practice, well documented throughout the scriptures, of giving great significance to many symbols including dates. There is no date more important than April 6. If in fact, the day of the Savior’s birth was the day on which the fifth seal opened then the sixth thousand year period should end on an April 5, possibly in the year 2001. However, if that date is not exactly accurate, it probably is not off the mark by very much. We have already seen extraordinary events and they will certainly increase, to and including massive, even cataclysmic natural disasters. For example, according to Rev. 6:12-16 the awesomely terrifying world wide earthquake there described will yet occur during the sixth seal.
In an earlier version of this Chapter that appeared in the first three printings I stated that the seventh thousand year period opened immediately upon the close of the sixth seal and that the Savior’s return in glory occurred some unknown period of time after the opening of the seventh seal. Although I did not say so, my own private opinion was that the Savior’s return in glory on the Mount of Olives was likely roughly from 20 to 50 years away. However, during July 1993 I learned that there is a substantial scriptural basis for concluding that the Savior’s return in glory may well occur a great deal sooner, even no later than the close of the sixth seal. For whatever it’s worth, perhaps you might be interested in what caused me to rethink my own tentative conclusions on just how close the winding up really is. These ideas quite suddenly came into my mind one day in mid July 1993 when I was pondering where in the scriptures there might be some solid evidence that the seventh seal opened BEFORE the sixth seal closed. Until then I had strongly rejected that possibility, but, I had just finished reading some other material that caused me to reconsider. Anyway, the thoughts that came into my mind as I pondered that question were these.
First, we learn from D&C 77:6 that the duration of the temporal existence of the earth (which is really the duration of fallen man’s existence on the earth) is seven thousand years. Second, we learn from D&C 29:11 that the Savior “will dwell in righteousness with men on earth A THOUSAND YEARS” and in D&C 88:110 that “Satan shall be bound … and shall not be loosed for the space of A THOUSAND YEARS.” Finally, it seems apparent that Christ’s dwelling with man on the earth begins with His return in glory on the Mount of Olives AFTER all of the judgments described in Revelations and that the thousand year period of Satan being bound also begins about, perhaps even exactly at, that same time. Finally, at the close of the sixth seal it would appear that there may only be one thousand years left of the earth ‘s temporal existence. Thus, if these statements in the D&C can be relied on as being precise (I know of no reason why they can ‘t be), then, in the absence of other facts one is led to the conclusion that THE LATEST DATE on which these two separate one thousand year periods COULD BEGIN is the day after the day that the sixth seal closes.
If we assume for the moment that the earlier thoughts about the sixth seal possibly closing on April 5th, 2001, were correct, the next day, April 6, 2001 just happens to be a Friday. Even more interesting is the fact that Passover begins at sundown on Sunday April 8, 2001 and ends at sundown on Sunday, April 15, 2001. Sunday April 15, 2001 is also Easter. I am told that the last time such a concurrence of these two sacred holidays occurred was Sunday, April 3, 1836 when the Savior, Moses, Elias and Elijah all appeared in the Kirtland Temple as recorded in D&C 110. If the general analysis above is sound (for this purpose the exact date is irrelevant) then it also leads to the conclusion that the seventh seal MUST OPEN before the sixth seal closes. If there is such an “overlap” of the sixth and seventh seals then that would likely also mean that the descriptions in the Book of Revelations of events in the sixth seal, such as earthquakes, which then seem to be repeated in the seventh seal could very well be descriptions of one event that occurs during the overlap period. Perhaps this is, at least in part, what Elder Neal A. Maxwell meant when he referred to “a compression of events” in the close of his April 1992 conference talk.
The reason that I emphasized that the day after the close of the sixth seal was the LATEST DATE is because of uncertainty about where the the “little season” falls, D&C 88:111, that follows the thousand years of Satan’s binding. During this little season Satan will “gather together his armies”, D&C 88:111, and “then cometh the battle of the Great God.” D&C 88:113. This little season could occur in the very last part of the seven thousand year period. It could also immediately follow the end of the seven thousand year period which would mean that the total temporal duration of man’s existence would be seven thousand years plus the “little season” period. My own opinion is that the little season follows the full seven thousand year period, but I have no further basis for that personal opinion. The point that I want to make is that if the little season is within the seven thousand year period then both the Savior’s return and the commencement of His thousand year reign and Satan’s thousand years of being bound would have- to happen even sooner.
I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:114-16; 814:149-53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18-25)
I testify that the church and kingdom of God is increasing in strength. Its numbers are growing, as is the faithfulness of its faithful members. It has never been better organized or equipped to perform its divine mission.
I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’ s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath WILL SOON shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. (See JS-H 1:145; D&C 1:9.) But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph. (See 1 Ne. 22:15-23.)
I testify that IT IS TIME for every man to set in order his own house both temporally and spiritually. IT IS TIME for the unbeliever to learn for himself that this work is true, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the kingdom which Daniel prophesied God would set up in the latter days, never to be destroyed, a stone that would eventually fill the whole earth and stand forever. (See Dan. 2:314-145; D&C 65:2.) IT IS TIME for us, as members of the Church to walk in all the ways of the Lord, to use our influence to make popular that which is sound and to make unpopular that which is unsound. We have the scriptures, the prophets, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. NOW WE NEED EYES THAT WILL SEE, EARS THAT WILL HEAR, AND HEARTS THAT WILL HEARKEN TO GOD’S DIRECTION.
Just as one small example of the things that the Prophet has taught us which it would seem that virtually no eyes have seen, no ears have heard and no hearts have hearkened to, consider the following from three consecutive Conferences beginning in October 1987.
Fathers, another vital aspect of providing for the material needs of your family is the provision you should be making for your family in case of an emergency. Family preparedness has been a long established welfare principle. It is even more urgent today.
I ask you earnestly, have you provided for your family a year’s supply of food, clothing, and where possible, fuel? The REVELATION to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. Pres. Benson, “To the Fathers in Israel”, Ensign, Nov. ’87, p. 149.
And again the following Conference in April 1988:
And what about family preparedness? Family preparedness has always been an essential welfare principle in perfecting the Saints. Are each of us and our families following, where permitted, the long standing counsel to have sufficient food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel on hand to last at least one year? Pres. Benson, “Come Unto Christ, and Be Perfected in Him”, Ensign, May “88, pp 84-85.
And finally, this brief reference from “I Testify” in October 1988:
… I testify that it is time for every man to set in order his own house both TEMPORALLY and spiritually.
These three very short and to the point statements in three CONSECUTIVE General Conferences from our Prophet were made beginning with the next General Conference IMMEDIATELY following a special letter from the entire First Presidency dated August 12, 1987 on the subject of “Emergency Response Plans and Family Preparedness” was sent to “General Authorities; and the following Priesthood leaders in the U.S. and Canada: Regional Representatives; Stake, Mission and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents.” Included with that letter was a reprint of a talk given by Pres. Benson in the Welfare session of the October 1980 General conference. Following are a few quotes from that talk. “We encourage you to be more self-reliant so that, as the Lord has declared, “notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, … the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:114). The Lord wants us to be independent and self-reliant because these will be days of tribulation. He has warned and forewarned us of the eventuality. … The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. … I speak with a feeling of great urgency. Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this either are not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.”
What time do you now think that it is? Wouldn’t you agree that it is time to really pay attention and get about doing what the Lord has commanded us to do?
The importance and worth of the baptism of fire is further emphasized by D&C 145:56-57 wherein the Savior gave us the meaning of the parable of the ten virgins thusly:
And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, AND HAVE TAKEN THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR THEIR GUIDE, and have not been deceived – verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
Now how can one “have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide” unless one has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Based on the signs of the times and the statements from our Prophet, does it not appear to you that there is an urgent need for the greatest possible spiritual and temporal preparation for a number of reasons, including loving the Lord, desiring to come unto Him and thereby being spiritually prepared for the unprecedentedly challenging days that are near, even at the door?
ARE YOUR EYES SEEING, YOUR EARS HEARING AND YOUR HEART HEARKENING TO GOD’S DIRECTION THROUGH HIS PROPHET?