“I was once praying earnestly upon this subject, and a voice said unto me, “My son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man.” I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His appearance or I shall go where He is. I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written–the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old. Then read the 14th chapter of Revelation, 6th and 7th verses–“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to Him, for the our of His judgment is come.” And Hosea, 6th chapter, After two days, etc.,–2,520 years; which brings it to 1890. The coming of the Son of Man never will be–never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out: which judgments are commenced. Paul says, “Ye are the children of the light, and not of the darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief in the night.” It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets.”
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 286)
From this we can see that Joseph Smith believed the two days mentioned in Hosea chapter 6 were equal to 2520 years (1 day = 1260 years) and that this period of two days would end in 1890. If we move back 2520 years from 1890 AD we find the starting point of his timeline: 631 BC. Before we get into the significance of this date, we need to determine what this timeline is all about. So let’s take a look at the verses in Hosea that Joseph referred to:
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
From this we can gather that this prophecy is concerned with the division and reunification of the house of Israel (and also about the 1st and 2nd comings of Christ, which we won’t go into here). It is after the two days (631 BC – 1890 AD) that the house of Israel is revived. It is during the third day (1890 AD – 3150 AD) that it is raised up. So what event took place in 631 BC that began the fulfillment of this prophecy? Let’s take a look at what was going on in the house of Israel during this time period.
610 BC31st year: Josiah dies. (2 Chronicles 34:1)
|649 BC||Josiah born. (2 Chronicles 34:1)|
|641 BC||1st year: Josiah becomes king of Judah at 8 years old. (2 Chronicles 34:1)|
|633 BC||8th year: Josiah seeks the Lord. (2 Chronicles 34:3)|
|629 BC||12th year: Josiah begins to purge Jerusalem of idolatry. (2 Chronicles 34:3-7)|
|628 BC||13th year: Jeremiah begins to prophecy. (Jeremiah 1:2)|
|623 BC||18th year: Josiah repairs the Temple, the books are read, and Passover is observed. (2 Chronicles 34:8-33; 35:1-19)|
The dates provided here are primarily based on the Battle of Carchemish which happened about 605 BC. Josiah got killed by an Egyptian archer when he confronted King Necho II of Egypt (who was in the process of moving his armies north to join forces with the Assyrians in preparation for battle against Babylon). 610 BC is an approximate date for the death of King Josiah. Based on my previous studies, I’m convinced that 623 is a Jubilee year, so it would make sense that that would be the year which Jeremiah would have the Temple repaired, the books read, and the Passover observed. That is my reason for choosing these dates, but I’m still willing to believe they may be off by a year or two. Whatever the case, we can see that around 631 BC the Israelites were turning away from idolatry back to the Lord, a repentance process begun by King Josiah. The reading of the books is important, because Israelites were renewing their covenant and that covenant is found in the books. Concerning his covenant, God provided a prophecy in the 26th chapter of Leviticus (one of “the books”).
The covenant starts like this:
“If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.”
If you continue reading in the 26th chapter of Leviticus, you’ll see God promises many more wonderful blessings to the Israelites if they keep all of his commandments, but starting on verse 14 he starts to enumerate the penalties for not keeping his commandments.
“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.”
This is the covenant that King Josiah read in the ears of the Israelites and which they covenanted to abide by. However, as we can see from history, they broke this covenant and we can see that the curses of the covenant came down upon their heads. They were beaten, killed, and taken into captivity and ruled by those who hated them. In captivity they were unable to enjoy the fruits of their harvest, which were consumed by their enemies. However, God in his mercy restored the covenant with the coming of Christ, but again they broke the covenant and again they reaped the cursings.
“And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”
It’s interesting that he says he will punish them “seven times more.” That implies that the first time he punished them was also seven times, but that is a topic for another time.
The time period being described here is the time from the birth of Christ (1 BC) to the uprising of the Muslims (630 AD). Christ’s coming here would be considered the “former rain” spoken of by Hosea. This is also the period of the Great Apostasy (570 AD).
“And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.”
These “wild beasts” can be none other than the Muslims who in 637 AD laid siege to the city of Jerusalem and took control of it. In 688 AD the Muslims began building the Dome of the Rock on the temple mount and finished it a few years later. Thus the “high ways” were made desolate. These are the years during which the Christian Crusades were fought against the Muslims in an effort to regain the Holy Land. The power of the Muslims was punctuated in 1260 AD in the Battle of Ain Jalut in which the Muslim Mamluks drove back the invading Mongols. This was a historically decisive battle which defined the Muslims as a new world power.
“And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.”
The period from 1260 AD to 1890 AD had several severe famines in Europe. The Great Famine of 1315-1317 is reported to have caused millions of deaths in Europe. From 1845 AD to 1849 AD more than a million Irish perished due to a potato blight. This may be considered a form of pestilence, but a more obvious match would be the bubonic plague outbreak in Europe (the Black Death) which started around 1340 AD and continued for many decades. It is estimated to have claimed one third of Europe’s population. This period of time had no shortage of bloody wars either. These include the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) in most of Europe, and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) in France and the American Civil War (1861-1865). Also notice that all these major wars were civil wars.
But we’re not done yet. God has yet one last 630 year period planned after 1890 AD. That’s our day, so listen up! It seems God has much more to say about this period than any of the previous periods.
“And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.”
The tone has seriously changed here. God isn’t just walking contrary to the Israelites now. He’s walking contrary to them in his fury. Certainly many of these prophesied events are still in the future (the desolation of cities and temples and cannibalism). However, we have seen the partial fulfillment of some of these events. You can see that American and European troops are scattered throughout the world (“among the heathen”) and they are dying on foreign soil (“ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up”). This is a very telling verse:
“they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth.”
Does anything better describe the situation of our ever tightening Homeland Security here in America? Americans are so afraid of what the terrorists might do that they’ve really been cracking down on our civil liberties with an insane zeal. Ultimately this situation may very well lead up to another civil war in the United States as well as in other Israelite nations.
If the above passage was all you’d read, you might think the only thing we have to look forward to is doom and gloom. However, this chapter concludes with the Israelites turning back to God and him restoring his covenant with them. Remember after 1890, we’ve entered into the third day: the time of revival, although it appears that revival doesn’t come (at least not fully) until after the wrath of God has been poured out upon the house of Israel.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.”
So it seems the order of major events in this final 630 year period (starting in 1890) are:
1) The house of Israel breaks their covenant with God.
2) The wrath of God is poured out upon the house of Israel in fury.
3) The house of Israel repents and is reconciled with their God.
According to NASA two total solar eclipses are scheduled to entirely shadow the mainland of America. The first is on August 21, 2017 and the second is on April 8, 2024. This is a fairly rare occurrence. The Wikipedia page for the upcoming 2017 eclipse states: “This eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the United States since 1991 (which was seen only from part of Hawaii), and the first visible from the contiguous United States since 1979.” These two upcoming eclipses will be less than seven years apart. Ok, now here’s were it gets interesting. If you take the paths of these two eclipses and overlap them over America, it creates an X. The eclipse2017.org site has images of where the center of this crosshair lies. Take a look at it here. Quoting from the page: “Actually, to be fair, the overlap of the paths of totality of these two eclipses lies in three states: Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky.” Interesting. Joseph Smith was imprisoned in both Missouri and Illinois. He was murdered by a mob in Illinois.
Top selling author Jonathan Cahn released a book titled “The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future” in 2012. In this book he cites Isaiah 9:9-10 “And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.” He convincingly argues that this scripture was fulfilled in the events surrounding the attack on the Twin Towers in NYC. His conclusion is that this attack was a harbinger of things to come to the unrepentant America. It is what he calls a warning shot. (You can listen to his full presentation on the topic here.) What Mr. Cahn fails to do is put any emphasis on who it is that is rebelling and in danger of God’s wrath. Verse 9 tells us plainly that this is Ephraim. Ephraim is America! Many Mormons know this, because this is one of the things which Joseph Smith taught. In fact, Brigham Young is known to have stated that Joseph Smith was “a pure Ephraimite.” America is more precisely composed of the scattered Ephraimites or Gentiles.
Ok, so what do solar eclipses have to do with prophecy? Eclipses in ancient times were often looked at as bad omens. There were a few recorded cases of eclipses happening shortly before earthquakes. These events left an impact on the minds of the people of those times which they no doubt passed onto future generations. Here is one recent example of a lunar eclipse being followed by an earthquake in our time: On September 16, 1978 a total lunar eclipse shadowed the country of Iran and a few hours later a devastating earthquake killed 15,000 people (close to the number of fatalities in the recent Japanese earthquake). There is evidence that lunar eclipses are a bad omen for Israel’s enemies, so there is the possibility that solar eclipses are bad omens for Israel. Ephraim is part of the house of Israel! Could this be God’s way of marking in the heavens his time of wrath for the unrepentant in America? Time will tell.
A research paper titled “The Religiosity of Mormon Men and Women through the Life Cycle” provides a table which compares how men and women rank themselves on several Christian virtues. The virtue men rank themselves lowest on is being humble. For women it’s patience, yet humility is a very close second. Sadly humility is the primary virtue of a saint. Pride (the opposite of humility) “is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others.” Now I don’t know whether the students polled in this survey were just trying to display humility by saying they weren’t humble, but I know for myself it is definitely an area in which I need improvement.
When trying to master a virtue, it is useful to find a role model of that virtue. This not only helps you believe it is possible to master that virtue, but a role model’s example also often provides clues about how mastery is achieved. In my search for a role model for humility, I found it somewhat difficult to think of many examples of humble persons besides Jesus. But even when considering Jesus, can you think of a defining instance where he showed humility? The opposite might be argued in that the Pharisees often accused him of being arrogantly blasphemous because he claimed to be the son of God. You might cite the case where he was approached by a man calling him “Good Master”, where Jesus retorts, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” I suppose that is a decent example, but I wanted to find more of an active example of humility.
After thinking about it for awhile, I realized the action of humility is obedience. There is definitely a connection between the two. The 1st commandment of the Ten Commandments given to Moses was “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” When asked “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” He also said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Putting these ideas together, the 1st commandment both of Moses and Christ is to love God, which is expressed by obedience to God. Not only does God require obedience, but he requires exclusive obedience. As Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Interestingly, each of us has his or her own will which is another master other than God. Jesus expressed it like this, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it well in his sermon “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father” when he stated, “the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. … It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!”
When we realize that acts of obedience to God are acts of humility, we find that many characters in the scriptures show by their works their humility. When Abel made an acceptable sacrifice to God, it was due to humility. Cain on the other hand had a better way of doing things and although he made a sacrifice, it wasn’t the sacrifice God asked for and therefore he wasn’t blessed like his brother Abel. Not being blessed, he fell into the sin of coveting what Abel had and killed him to obtain it.
In a similar vein, when Saul was commanded by God to “utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites,” Saul rationalized that this was a bit too much. After all the Amalekites had some awfully good cows. Maybe he could just kill the Amalekites and keep their cows. If he offered a sacrifice of those cows to God, surely God would be content with his offering. Again, God could not tolerate such an act of disobedience, so he sent his prophet Samuel to Saul. Samuel rebuked Saul in saying, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” For his rebellion Saul was stripped of the kingship which God had given him.
Abraham is yet another fine example of obedience. When God commanded him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham questioned God at first, because God seemed to be contradicting a former commandment (“Thou shalt not kill“). However, Abraham realized that whatever God now commands should be obeyed and so he went about the task of sacrificing his son. Could you be that obedient? Could I? Abraham had waited a very long time for a son. Isaac was his most prized possession. Ultimately God spared him this sacrifice, but Abraham’s willingness to obey was certainly tested. The fact that’s not as well known in this story is that Isaac was a grown man, fully aware of his father’s intent to sacrifice him. So this was not just a test of Abraham’s obedience, but of Isaac’s as well. Would you or I be willing to literally give up our lives in such a fashion to obey God?
The atonement of Christ was the literal fulfillment of the sacrifice which the story of Abraham and Isaac symbolized. In the ultimate act of humility, Christ willingly gave up his life in obedience to God’s command. If Jesus was married, as evidence indicates he was, can you imagine how much more difficult that made the task of leaving his family? As Latter-day Saints, we commit in the temple to be willing to do this very thing and we are reminded by it every time we take the sacrament of our Lord. Do we fully comprehend what we’ve covenanted to do?
As a Mormon most of us are acquainted with the Law of Eternal Progression, although we may not call it that. The basic concept is that we can continue to learn after the death of this mortal body; that in fact even the gods themselves are still growing in knowledge and wisdom. There is also a corollary concept that we are always either growing in knowledge or shrinking in knowledge. There is no middle ground or neutral zone.
Reading from the book of Alma we find the following:
9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.
10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.
11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.
This opened my eyes to something I’d been pondering about in a podcast I’d listened to earlier this week. The podcast is titled “An Objective Approach to Adam-God Teachings” and can be found here. In it, the mormonchronicle producers interview an LDS man who recently wrote a book about the Adam/God theory. He is a lawyer by trade and so took a very objective approach in his research on the topic. His conclusion is that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught that Adam was God. It was a teaching, not a theory. He states that it was removed from LDS teachings nearly a century ago because of its controversial nature. It was creating a divide in the church so the leadership decided it was best to just ignore it and hope it would go away. That policy worked fairly well for many years, however, with the advent of the internet, it has become impossible to ignore all the evidence. He stated that this is a doctrine that the Church as a body rejected at that time.
If it’s true that the Church rejected this doctrine, could that have started them down the road of rejecting other truths? As Alma states, “they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries.” If this is the case, could that mean the Church is even further off the path of truth now and not even realize it? Given the number of years since this doctrine was abandoned, you can only wonder how far off track they might be today.