Joseph Smith-Matthew (Part 3)

This is a continuation of the previous post (Joseph Smith-Matthew part 2).

So far this translation of Matthew 24, had been what the Savior taught his disciples about the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs that would lead up to the Second Coming. These words are meant for us to understand what we should be looking forward to, and preparing for as we live in these latter-days. I know that the Second Coming will occur and I am so glad that we have the gospel of Jesus Christ himself, to teach us how we can live to be excited for that time and the blessings of eternity, rather than to fear the end of our world as we now know it, or rather to fear our own destruction. (Emphasis in the following verses marks the difference in this chapter from the King James version of the Bible.) The Savior continues:

38 Now learn a parable of the fig tree—When its branches are yet tender, and it begins to put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh at hand;
39 So likewise, mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors;
40 But of that day, and hour, no one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only.

The Savior teaches us that when the signs begin to come forth, as the leaves of the fig tree, is when we can be sure that the coming of the Lord is near. These signs began with the restoration of the gospel, when missionary work began to go forth to other nations and when the priesthood was restored to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know that we are living in the last days and that the Second Coming is not far away. We do not know the exact date, and we learn from this scripture that no one knows. When people claim to know the date of the “end of the world”, they are being deceived. Only God knows when the Savior will return again. Because of this, we are expected to rely on our faith and trust in God. We express this faith by preparing ourselves now, even if we will not live to see the day of His coming.

41 But as it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man;
42 For it shall be with them, as it was in the days which were before the flood; for until the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage;
43 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.

We cannot afford to wait until our own floods come to wipe out the wickedness on the earth. We must not procrastinate the day of our own repentance. The story of Noah and the floods should stand as an example and a witness to us, that the plan of God will go forth and it will not wait for us to get our lives in order. We must be actively working to put all things in our lives into their proper order. It is our duty to put away the things of the world, or things like the eating and drinking of the world then. I don’t think that for most of us, it would require some fantastic change of heart. I believe that we each need to try to do the “little things”. These things are not truly little things, but are those things that will save us, such as daily scripture study and prayer, family home evening, going to the temple and church, and performing little acts of service every day. If we do these things, putting away the things of the world, and actively follow the counsel of our prophets, we will be saved when the coming of the Son of God occurs.

44 Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, that in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
45 Two shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left;
46 And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.

Every person will not be saved. There are some who believe that all people will be saved, but we are saved by the choices and actions we make in this life. We are saved through the atonement of our Savior, which means we must repent. The footnote for the word “left” references a scripture which tells us that 2/3 of the people on the earth, will be removed. This is something that is for all people to know and learn, not just those who are living righteously. The separation of the wheat from the tares, will occur to all mankind on the earth and we need to have the desire to be a part of the third that remains after the fire.

47 But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready.
48 Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.
49 Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
50 Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing; and verily I say unto you, he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
51 But if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord delayeth his coming,
52 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken,
53 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
54 And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
55 And thus cometh the end of the wicked, according to the prophecy of Moses, saying: They shall be cut off from among the people; but the end of the earth is not yet, but by and by.

If the time of the Second Coming had been revealed, we all would be ready when the time was there. Those who are faithful, will prepare themselves as if they knew the Lord was coming, even when they do not know. I think that those who are righteous, will actually be able to feel that the time is getting closer. Even now, when I discuss the ways of the world with family and friends, we often talk about how we can feel it growing closer each day. The faithful will be blessed for their preparations. I understand completely the example that the Lord uses for the servant who is not looking. When I was working both for an electrical contractor and a light manufacturer, there were times when management would decide to check on their productivity. The boss would go to a job site, or into the production warehouse at very unexpected times. There were a few occasions when he would catch good workers doing as they had been asked and things were going as expected. Those workers would receive some kind of reward for their good work. At other times, and sadly more often then not, those workers would be seen not doing their jobs and in effect they were caught costing the company time and money. A lot of these workers assumed that as long as they met their quota in the end, it didn’t matter how they did their work. Eventually that kind of attitude leads to a fall in productivity or quality of the product. These workers were reprimanded and sometimes even let go for their choices. This is what the Lord is teaching us here. We have been told that the world will be in the worst kind of wicked times. People will have made the choice to ignore basic gospel truths, and even go so far as to say the Lord is not coming, or the Lord does not exist. It is then, when He is least expected, that the Savior will come. At that time there will be those who are faithful and will be rewarded, but there will be more who will not be expecting it and will be unfaithful and unprepared. Those individuals will receive the reward that awaits those who are living wickedly.

The world is growing darker and people are now accepting more wickedness into their lives. It is hard to hear what our children are being faced with every day. It is difficult to find good, quality entertainment that is not tainted by the temptations and ways of Satan. But through it all, I am filled with hope and excitement for the things that are to come. I find joy in the knowledge of the peace that the Savior will bring. It is difficult to separate our lives from the wickedness of the world, but it is so worth it. I know that if we are faithful, we will truly be blessed. I love the Lord and I love His teachings and His gospel. I love knowing that the reward will be great for doing the right things in this life.


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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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