18: "The Promises … Shall Be Fulfilled" (Doctrine and Covenants 45)
This past year and its countless hardships may have had you wondering, “Is this a sign of the Second Coming? How about this?” Well, Doctrine and Covenants 45 is a revelation that is all about the signs of the Second Coming. But before we begin to wonder if some of those signs were fulfilled this past year, there’s more we need to unravel about what these signs actually mean. So as we dig into this week’s lesson, we’ll discuss the deeper meanings behind some of these signs and how those meanings affect us today.
The setting for Doctrine and Covenants, Section 45 is so interesting, I just have to share this with you. According to Church History, "At this age of the church [in spring of 1831] many false reports, lies, and foolish stories were published in the newspapers, and circulated in every direction, to prevent people from investigating the work, or embracing the faith. A great earthquake in China, which destroyed from one to two hundred thousand inhabitants, was burlesqued in some papers, as "Mormonism in China." But to the joy of the saints who had to struggle against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following. That was Joseph Smith who said that. Isn't that level of persecution crazy? Okay, but just wait a second. Before reacting, before questioning anything, the Lord wants the early Saints and us to . . . Well, we'll find out what it is as we study Doctrine and Covenants section 45. Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ Original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week, and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Okay, now if you're new to our study group, we just want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast so please follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study, just like my sweet friend Fern Goodchild in South Africa. Hi, Fern, we love you. Another awesome thing about our study group is that each week—oh, it's so cool—each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's a little bit different every time. And today I'm so excited to announce that we have Celeste and George Kaka from Hawaii, but really from New Zealand and Australia. Hi, friends!
Oh, okay, so I met you guys through our friend Shiloh. Tell me how you guys met Shiloh.
I actually served my mission in New Zealand and Shiloh was in my ward, and so that's how I got to know her. Then when George and I got married, I introduced George to Shiloh and we've all been friends ever since.
That's fantastic. Now tell me where both of you are from though.
Yeah. So my mother's born and raised here in Hawaii and her family are natives to Hawaii. And so that's my mother's side of the family. And then my dad's family are from New Zealand. So that's where my dad's roots are from. And my parents met at the Brigham Young University here in Hawaii. And so half my life has been spent here in Hawaii. I was born here. And then part of that in New Zealand, and then back here to Hawaii, where I met my wife Celeste.
Oh, wow. And Celeste, you said you're from Australia, right?
Yeah. So I was born and raised in Sydney, but my mom is from the Cook Islands. So I've spent some time there with my family, but predominantly from Sydney.
Excellent. And how did you two meet?
It's a pretty romantic story actually.
Unknown Speaker 3:00
No, I'm just kidding. At the Polynesian Cultural Center was where we met. We both worked there as students as we were attending the University. And I was a musician there at the Polynesian Cultural Center and Celeste worked at a retail store called Hapa Home. And so she would come out, you know, frequently to listen to my music...
Celeste is shaking her head no.
He came to my store is what happened.
Um-hmmm. Course he did.
The music touched her heart and we had a mutual friend that actually introduced us. And we met that way. And then we spent a little more time. And slowly, but surely, I was able to convince her to date me, so.
That is a good story. Well and hats off to you two, because they have three children under the age of two. You adopted twins and then got pregnant during the adoption. Is that right?
Oooh. I mean, we're praying for a miracle that they stay asleep because we're recording this at night. So send good vibes to those children. Well, if you'd like to learn more about my guests and see pictures of them and their cute family, you can find those in our show notes which are at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Okay, you two. So here's what we want to look at. Go to Section 45, verse 1. The very first thing that the Lord tells the Saints—and us—to do before doing anything else, before reacting, before worrying, I just think it's so interesting that the time that Joseph Smith was speaking of, it was tough times. People were not liking who the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were. And what is the first word that the Lord tells the people to do in Section 45, verse 1.
Hearken. Exactly. Now, last week, our guest Ashlie brought this word up because she said it's so interesting how often it is used at the beginning of all of these sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. But what's so cool is how many times it's used in Section 45. And we've learned in Hebrew that the word "hearken" means to not just listen, but it also means to obey. So today we are going to study what the Lord wants us to hear and obey. What He wants us to hearken to? So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in. Here's a fun fact about me. I married into a family of lawyers. My father-in-law's a lawyer, my brother-in-law's a lawyer, my oldest daughter is going to law school now. And, for all intents and purposes, my husband should have been a lawyer because he just thinks like one. Here's what I want to know. If you guys needed a lawyer, what qualities would you look for in a lawyer?
Are they getting us out of prison? What's the—
Yes, he's getting you off of death row. For sure.
Okay, I definitely want someone who's experienced, I wouldn't want it to be their first rodeo, for sure.
I think someone who really believes in me, and you know, and would take my side and just look into all the different avenues, have all the evidence ready. Someone who has my back is what I would be looking for.
Oh, my gosh, those were great answers. Okay. Let's look at section 45, verse 3. Who is our lawyer in this verse?
Yeah, it's Christ, the best lawyer. He's experienced, He has your back 100%. Celeste, will you read verse three for us?
"Listen to him who is an advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—"
That word "advocate" is an old-fashioned word for lawyer. And there's beauty that he's pleading your cause for you. I'm going to read verses 1 through 5, and, as I do, highlight, or mark what you think, "Yeah, this would make Him a really good lawyer or advocate." Okay, here we go. "Hearken, O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given; hearken ye and give ear to him who laid the foundation of the earth, who made the heavens and all the hosts thereof, and by whom all things were made which live, and move, and have a being. And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved. Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him— Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." Okay, what did you guys mark? What were some attributes that you were like, "Oh, yeah, that would, I would want him to have that."
Something that really stood out to me was in verse 1: He "who made the heavens and all the hosts thereof." I mean, just that alone. Someone who is all-knowing. You can put your trust in someone who has that type of perspective.
Definitely, that's a great example, George. Thank you. How about you, Celeste?
I'm still stuck on the "advocate means lawyer." That is kind of like a game changer for these verses for me.
Tell me why.
Because I just kind of think about, um, I've just really never read it with that context in mind. I envisioned like say if I was going to be in a courtroom. And the Savior standing next to me and I have a perfect recollection of all the good and bad I've done and Christ is just saying, like, "Heavenly Father, she really tried her best. I know she messed up a lot, but it's okay. Like, I've paid the price for her. And please, just like, please let her be worthy enough to return to you" or something like that. Just made me like really emotional thinking about it in that way. I didn't know that before. So that was pretty cool.
Thank you, Celeste. I love how you just put that, Celeste. That's beautiful. Here's a pretty cool quote. This is by Elder D. Todd Christofferson from the Quorum of the Twelve. And this is what he had to say about Christ as our advocate. George, will you please read this quote for us?
"it is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause."
I want you to think about this for a minute because we've talked about how He'll advocate for us at the end, at the judgment bar, but I love that this quote means that this can happen now in our lives, that the Savior can do this for us today. It's why we end our prayers "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." It's the Savior who will make us worthy to even approach the bench of the Great Judge, of God. And so I just was wondering, do either of you have an experience or a time in your life where you petitioned the father like that quote said, and you felt like Christ advocated for your cause?
There's been a few times in my life where I've petitioned the Lord throughout my journey. And when I served my mission, I served in Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission. For me, that was a very fun place. To leave paradise to go to Wisconsin, which is also a beautiful place.
Hey, they have cheese.
Yeah, they have cheese.
That's my paradise.
It was very, very brutal in the winter.
Oh, so cold.
There came a time in my mission where I really took a step back and questioned if what I had been sharing up and to that point, if it all really was true. We had met with Bible scholars and all sorts of knowledgeable people that I felt knew more about, I guess, religion and the scriptures than I did. I remember wanting to know, and I wanted to have that promise in Moroni 10:5 fulfilled. I didn't have that, for almost the first whole year of my mission, I was uncertain of that. Heavenly Father answered my prayer at a General Conference, when in the talk it said to everyone God gives gifts. And then, at that point, Elder Eyring invited everyone to pray to know what their gifts were. And so I did that. I received an answer, and it was one that I will never go back on. And every experience that I've had since then, I will never question all the things that I've come to know for myself. And every hardship we've had following my mission, I always go back to that time that I had first pleaded to Heavenly Father to know if all of this was true. And I know for myself now that it is true, and it's changed everything that I've done.
I was wondering, George, would you tell us what your answer was?
Yeah. So I prayed to Heavenly Father and asked him what my gifts were. And in an instant, I had like this slideshow play through my head of all the experiences throughout my life when I've felt the Spirit through music. My family are very musically inclined. Music is always involved. It's something that makes us happy. It's something that helps us mourn. It's something that's been able to help us find joy. Heavenly Father confirmed that to me, then and there, and then straight after that talk, there was a song that played and it was "Abide with Me; 'Tis Eventide." I remember writing in my missionary journal afterwards, "I've literally felt like I was lifted into Heaven." Is that not a confirmation enough to the question that I had previously asked? That was kind of my experience in a nutshell.
Wow, thank you, George. It's amazing how the Spirit can witness to you and what you said is true. I believe that. So, thank you. Celeste, what about you?
A time for me where I feel like I really petitioned the Lord was after George and I got married, I got sick. I was diagnosed with cancer. And prior to doing chemotherapy, I had to do IVF cycle, just in case we couldn't have children naturally. And during my IVF cycle, I had some complications and ended up in the hospital. And while I was in hospital, they gave me some medication that my body rejected. And so I had a really severe allergic reaction to the medication they'd given me. My eyes started rolling back. So I had no control over what my body was doing, which is really scary, because I'm mentally there. Physically, I'm trapped. Literally, George and I had been married for about three and a half months at that time. And so I just remember, like, being in that moment, and I was like, "Of course, I'm gonna say a prayer." And I said a prayer. And it's like, "You know, I'm ready to be healed!" You know, "Help me out!" And then like, nothing happened. And I was like, "What the heck?" and I'm like trying to say some positive affirmations. And trying to tell myself, "Okay, come on, you can do this!" Like, tell my jaw to like straighten up or do this or whatever. And nothing, nothing was really working. And the more that my muscles were clenching, the more pain that I was in, and one of the brethren from our Ward came and gave me a blessing with my dad and George. And I was like, "Oh, yes, great. Priesthood blessing." Like, "This is it. This is going to help me." And nothing happened, you know. And so I didn't receive any counter medication to reverse what had happened to my body for six hours. So for six hours to be in a state of like, excruciating pain, I was getting very frustrated and really, really sad. And I just remember like, like, "Why are you making me wait so long?" You know, like, "I prayed. I got a blessing." Like, "What's happening?" And, you know, I can George like, halfway through, he just left the room because he's like, "Oh my gosh, like, is she gonna die?" And it was just like really hard time. And I remember when the nurse finally came, they gave me the injection to reverse everything. I just felt like just like, "Ahhh." Like, "Finally." Like, so grateful and I remember, like, just offering a prayer of gratitude and like half repenting as well, because, you know, I didn't have like, the best attitude through it all. I was like, "Sorry about that. But thanks again." And the medication I needed was the floor below where I was. And I'm like, "Why can't you just go down there and get the medication?" And they're, you know, they're telling me "Oh, there's so many sick people and heaps of nurses." I'm like, "Well, send someone else." Like, you know, I was just like, in a state of confusion, I feel like, that's what led me to really petition more, because I just couldn't comprehend like, "What am I supposed to get out of this? You know, it has been a huge lesson for me that just because you pray, it's not a guarantee that it's immediately going to come. You know, and I learned a good lesson about that. Like, sometimes you just gotta wait. And, you know, the Lord comes through, but it's in His timing, right? Not in yours.
Can I say something, Tammy?
Yeah, George, please.
And this is just a realization I had listening to Celeste share the story. Just kind of connecting the dots, looking back. I think that blessing was kind of for me. I was really angry with Heavenly Father, from when Celeste got diagnosed all the way up until when that happened. And it was just one thing after another. And as a husband, I felt like it was my job to protect her. And from up until that point I had done, I felt like I'd really failed at that. And when that blessing happened, I actually got a strong response from Heavenly Father and all of that. And, like in there, I felt like everything was going to be okay. I also felt prompted that, up until that point in our cancer journey, I hadn't exercised my priesthood power. I had not exercised it once, to bless my wife, and to be that priesthood holder in the home. And so maybe Celeste didn't get her, her answers then and there, but I felt like I got mine. I'm just kind of catching this now, because I've never heard her actually share that part of our experience.
Wow, that was good. Again, the Spirit is so strong. I feel like I just say "in the name of Jesus Christ, amen." And just go home. And we're done for the podcast. That was so good. I loved what you guys shared. Thank you. Because I'm thinking about the Saints at this time, and kind of pulling off what you both shared, this is tough times for them. I mean, Joseph is saying, "People don't like us," and "We're getting enemies." And they're petitioning the Lord. They are asking to save them and make things easier. And He's not going to do it immediately, Celeste, just like your experience. And he could. He could go down to the next floor and get the you know, get the medicine, he could easily make this easy for him. And it's so interesting to me that the Lord takes the time then to say, "You know what, here's what you need to know in Section 45. It's really powerful, because he's going to talk about a topic that many of the Saints had been talking about, there was a lot of speculation, also at this time about one specific topic. So the Lord is going to take this opportunity now to say "And you know what, let me talk to you a little bit about what you are all speculating on. And so we are going to discover what that topic is in the next segment.
Okay, so given the chaos of this past year, has it had you and your friends thinking about Second Coming stuff? Or maybe asking, Is this it? Is this it?
Some of my friends, we've talked about this, like, "Oh, He better come soon, you know." I want to skip over some of this stuff. Take me to home base.
"Jesus take the wheel." I'm ready. Absolutely. Well, this is what's so cool about Section 45 is the title for Section 45 is called "The Second Coming." And in Section 45, verse 16, we just have to go there to verse 16. So I know you're probably thinking, Oh my gosh, we skipped all these verses, go ahead and read verses 6 through 16. Because there's so many good things there. But we just don't have the time to cover all of it. So we're just going to dive into Second Coming stuff. Celeste, will you just read the very beginning of 16 until you get to the colon?
"And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples, as I stood before them in the flesh and spake unto them saying:"
Okay, so right here He is saying, "I'm going to show it to you plainly. I'm going to teach you the signs of the Second Coming, just like I told my apostles." And this is what I love about this, is that Jesus is basically saying, "Look, I'm going to show you the signs, just like I showed my apostles. It's perfectly consistent. I showed them. I'm going to show you. Everyone's gonna know it so we're all on the same page. So that little colon there, it's important to circle that in verse 16, because I'm gonna tell you what this colon means. From here in verse 16, all the way until verse 59, if you want to mark this in your scriptures, these are the Savior's words, pretty much verbatim that he gives to his disciples on the Mount of Olives, in Matthew chapter 24 and 25. You can compare it, but really what you want to compare it with is the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew, chapter 1, verses 4 through 55. That's where we get this from. So it's really cool, how He's so consistent that He's going to tell us the same signs that He told them. And so we're going to jump into some of these signs. We're going to go into verses 18 through 24. And here's what I want you to do, bracket verses 18 through 24. And write to the outside of those verses "fulfilled." Like, we are not waiting for those verses to happen. So if you read those and you're like, "Wait, what are we talking about here?" Here's what you need to know about those verses. They are specific to the Jews at Christ's time. Jesus described to His disciples the tribulations that fell upon Jerusalem and its people in first century AD. When I discovered this, I'm like, "fulfilled, we're not even waiting for any of that to happen." And so it's done. Okay, whew. So you need to know that. I want us to look at verse 9. So if everyone's going to have a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have to look at the way the gospel of Jesus Christ is described in Section 45. So Celeste, will you read verse 9 for us?
"And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me."
When you see "everlasting covenant" in that verse, it means the "restored gospel of Jesus Christ." Now look back at that verse and what you just read, Celeste. What did the Lord just compare the everlasting covenant to? To be a what?
To be a light to the world.
Yes. Now you guys have lived in many different places and served missions. Is the gospel of Jesus Christ a light?
Absolutely! I remember having investigators, like, "Why is everyone so happy?" You know, like, "What's going on here?" You know, it's a great segue for us to explain more about, you know, the peace and happiness that comes from the Gospel. But then Sydney, Australia, where I live, there was maybe four members at my school, and half of them were my siblings. And so people always knew that was like something different. And it also just the differing values now in the world, it's very easy to see the difference between those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ and live a certain life and those who, for whatever reason, haven't. But there is a definite peace that comes in. It's not it's not to elevate yourself above anyone else, even if they don't believe in Christ. It's purely a natural reaction to what happens when you get to develop a relationship with Christ.
Okay, okay, Celeste. I really like how you just said and taught us that the light is a natural reaction to what happens when you develop a relationship with Christ. That was so good. Thank you for saying that. What's so beautiful about this is here, the Lord's comparing it to light, he's calling it the light of the world. We're going to read verses 27 through 32. And we're going to reframe these verses with the idea that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the light. George, we're gonna start with you, and have George, Celeste, me, we'll each take a turn reading a verse, and will you please start in verse 27?
"And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound."
"And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fullness of my gospel;"
"But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men."
"And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
"And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing surge; for desolating sickness shall cover the land."
Okay, we've got to just define a couple of words in this because this is so cool. "Times of the Gentiles" is a broad term, meaning those who are not Jewish descent will now have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Jesus came back, he said to his apostles, "We're done teaching the Jews, now teach the Gentiles." So the times of the Gentiles is right now. Missionaries everywhere teaching everybody about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Okay, now that we know what that means. Let's go into more of this. In verse 29, it says "they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men." The word "precepts" is defined as "any commandment or order that's intended, given from man, not from God." So he's talking right here, the precepts of men. This is a commandment or an order that's intended as some sort of authoritative ruler action, and it's given by men. So people are not turning to the light because they're following the precepts of men. But now look at 31. "And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness." So I just have to tell you about an interesting experience I had studying this verse with my Hebrew teacher. You know, coming off of COVID and 2020, it would be totally normal to assume what that scourge is, like, we can just say, "Oh, it's COVID." But there's been plenty of scourges throughout history where everybody could have assumed this verse meant their scourge for their time. But when you take a look at this verse, and the verses that come before, I think the scourge is something different. And I think what the Lord is trying to teach us with this verse is that the scourge he's talking about is almost more devastating than a physical sickness. So let's look at some of these words here. Okay, in Hebrew, this is cool. The word "scourge" in Hebrew means "a whip that extends far and wide." So think when you are like doing a whip around your head, right? And it's just "whoo, whoo," and it just reaches out as far as it can. So it's talking about how there will be an overflowing scourge covering everybody, reaching to everybody. And the word "sickness" in Hebrew, and in this context, means "affliction of weakness of the mind or the spirit." Not a physical sickness, but a sickness of our minds and our spirit. And what causes that? The cause is verse 29, well and verse 27. "The love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound." And we will not perceive the light because we've turned our hearts from Him, we've turned our hearts from God. The thing I love about this is the verse 32. It says, "But my disciples..." That word connects us to verse 31. And so, if it was a real scourge, like if we're talking about COVID, it's interesting because why would the Lord then say, "But my disciples shall stand in holy places"? How does standing in a holy place not make you sick? So standing in holy places won't keep us from getting physically sick. There are plenty of good people who get sick. This verse is just connecting us back to the scourge. And so he's saying here, "but my disciples shall stand in holy places" so we will not become sick in our mind or in our spirit. Does that make sense?
Here's a cool quote. I want us to read this because this is talking about these holy places that we're asked to stand in. Highlight verse 32. This is in the Doctrine and Covenants student manual, which I just love, and we have to just know what holy places means. Celeste, will you read this quote for us, please?
“‘Holy places’ may have more to do with how one lives than where one lives. If we live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then we stand in a holy place. … A holy place is any place where a person enjoys the Spirit of God.”
So this is kind of cool. It's basically I mean, you will, by letting the light in your life, you're going to be standing in holy places. I want to know what are some ways that you guys have stood in holy places?
Having lived in different parts of the world, I'd have to say that most of my employment settings have been with people that have different values, that speak differently, and live a different standard than I. But some of the ways in which we've, like strive to stay in holy places, or to be careful of the way that we live is just by the way I speak, for example. A common comment that I got from a lot of my associates were they noticed that I didn't swear. Every time there was like an inappropriate conversation going on, I'd always leave. I wouldn't say, "Hey, guys, we shouldn't be talking about that." I'd just kind of step away and let them do their thing. And, and I wouldn't judge them or anything like that. And when I was at work or when I was in that shift, they would talk differently around me, and I really appreciated that. That's just one way that I've tried to be a light, is just in the way that I speak.
Something that came to mind was in Young Women's, I remember the phrase "to be in the world, but not of the world." That's kind of always stuck with me, because growing up around a lot of people who didn't even know who Christ is, let alone have some sort of faith. It's important to treat everyone with respect and to love them, but you don't have to agree with what they're doing. But they're still my friends, you know, and we'd still hang out when we go to school. And so I feel like "to be in the world, but not of the world" is to be true to yourself, to have integrity with the covenants that you've made, and to own them, like to not be ashamed. You know, I had some friends before I left on my mission, um, two of my really close guy friends who ended up coming to my farewell talk in sacrament meeting. They asked me like, "Oh, what do I wear to church? Like, I don't know what to wear." And just joking, I was like, "Well, you have to wear a suit, obviously." And so before they came to church, they bought themselves new suits, came to church. And it was a really humbling experience for me, because these are my friends who go to nightclubs. I'm not saying, I mean, if you go to nightclubs, good for you, but, you know, not a personal preference for myself. They just lived in a totally different world to me. But I felt like because I could just be true to who I am and not be ashamed, they appreciate it and respected that too, and could come to church. Yeah, I feel like integrity is a big part of being able to be a light unto others.
I mean, is it too late for me to add one more thing to Celeste's?
No, George, go ahead.
I was thinking about this, as Celeste was talking, and thanks for sharing that, Celeste. It's nice to hear your experiences. I know I'm your husband, but—
Nice to meet you. [laughter]
Yeah, no, I was just thinking, you know, since Celeste and I have been married, I feel like we've always felt a strong urge to live a vigorous life in the home in regards to living the Gospel. And little did we know it was going to be preparing us for certain experiences that we would have shortly in the future. And in turn, He strengthened us through our hard times. And the hard times were still hard, but our faith remained. And I attribute that to the things that we'd done before we left the home.
Wow, absolutely. Well, and as both of you were talking, all I kept thinking of was, what you're describing is exactly how we will avoid the scourge of sickness that the verse previous talked about. It's by integrity, it's by being a light, it's by accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ, and just everything you guys just said. That's how we're going to do it. That's how we'll keep our hearts from waxing cold, like that verse said. Standing in holy places is how you can avoid that scourge of sickness that we just described. Everywhere you look in the world, you can see men's hearts that are waxing cold, and how they're not grabbing on to the light because of the precepts of men. So thank you for everything you shared. What a setup to talk about the Second Coming of Christ. So stand, be ready, all of these great things, and in the next segment, we're going to see why we have been instructed to stand in holy places, and why sitting just really isn't going to be an option.
Alright, you two, I'm going to say two words to you. And I want you just to say immediately what comes to mind when you hear these two words, okay? It's so random. I feel like we're on we're on that word game. The secret word is... No, just kidding. Here are the two words. The words are summer and figs. Go. What do you think of?
Yeah, I thought of beach too. And when you said figs, I thought of a fig. [laughter]
Just thought of a fig. No thoughts about figs?
Oh, like fig pie? Fig cobbler? But my initial reaction was just a picture of a fig. That was it.
Great. What did you think George? When you heard fig?
I thought, "What is a fig?" [laughter]
And some people are thinking that. Or, some people, if you were me, I was like "old people fruit" that they eat so they can stay regular. And apparently I'm in the old people age because I saw some figs in my friend's pantry, and you know who you are Sarah. So I was like, "Oh boy. We're that age? We're eating figs and prunes?" A fig is a fruit. Yes, it's a fruit. And, Celeste, you've eaten figs before?
Yes, they had a bunch of my mission. Good snacks.
Very good. I love it. You thought of summer, beach. For me, I thought of summer and I kind of dread summer. I don't like being hot or sweating. So I was like, "Ugh." So both the words I dreaded. That's really "Debbie Downer." Sorry about that. But the reason why I wanted you to think about the word summer and figs is because the Lord uses these two words to teach us an important principle and parable in Section 45. We're gonna go back to Section 45 verse 2. Very interesting. And I'll just read this real quick. It says, "And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past." Highlight "in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past." That's an interesting phrase right there. Like, "Why would the Lord bring that up about the Second Coming, the idea of a summer?" I'm going to give you a cross-reference for that. Put Jeremiah chapter 8, verse 20. Because in Jeremiah, chapter 8, verse 20, he uses the same analogy, and he says, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended." And he's talking about the Second Coming. At the end of the summer, when the harvest is past and the summer is ended, there's nothing left to go out and get, because Jesus is coming, like this is the end, end, end. So this is what, that's what that phrase means when you read about summer in scriptures. But the fig is really cool. And I'm going to show you where the fig is written about. Celeste, will you read the parable of the fig tree in Doctrine and Covenants section 45, verse 36 through 38?
"And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you— Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand; Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh."
So he uses this parable of fig tree to talk to us about his Second Coming. And here's something unique about a fig tree. So a fig tree, the fruit is the first thing to bud, not a leaf. So the fruit comes on the tree and it starts to grow, and it starts to develop. Then summer comes and in the middle, like right when summer comes through the middle of the summer, the leaves start to show. In fact, fig trees are one of the last trees to get their leaves, after all the other trees are full, then the fig leaf gets its tree. Did I just say "fig leaf gets its tree"? Okay, I totally meant, the tree gets its leaves. Okay, okay, let's go back to the verse now. And the leaf is a sign that the fruit is ready to be picked. It's that now we're getting to the end of the summer. And so why would the Lord use this analogy to teach us about the Second Coming?
I think it's, well it's signs, right? He's taught us through signs and those changes are very obvious, like a sign would be obvious.
That is perfect, George. That's exactly it. And so he's saying the leaves are on the tree. Here are the signs I'm going to show you. Now I've already talked to my apostles about these. And now I'm going to show them to you. And so I asked you guys to help me find what some of the leaves are in Section 45, and I gave you the verses. Tell me what you guys marked, what are some of the leaves that He wants us to be aware of? When you read those verses, were there any signs of the Second Coming that stood out to you?
One of the signs that really stood out to me was in verse 29. It says, "But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men." And when I read that, I just thought of all the distractions in the world today that turn our hearts away from the Lord. I think of social media. And every time I've viewed any sort of social media, which is very infrequent, I don't feel better about myself, I feel like "I lack this" or "I'm not as good as these type of people." Those aren't fruits of the Spirit, by any means. Anytime we come closer to Heavenly Father, we feel good, it encourages us to want to do better. And not that social media doesn't do that as well. But I feel like that's one way. It's just, it's blown up. It's all over the world and can be such a powerful tool, but it also can be such a distraction, too.
It's a great description of that verse, George. Thank you. What else did you guys mark that were signs?
Some of the signs that stood out to me was in verse 40, just where Christ prefaces that the signs are going to be showing both in heaven and in earth. So you really can't miss it. You know, like, if you're an astronaut, you're gonna know.
Oh, I like that.
And then in verse 42, it just gives like, a lot of good imagery, where it says, "And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven." I don't know if this is just straight literal. Or if this is really also metaphor, but visually that's really intense.
It gets you, doesn't it?
Well, and a lot of scholars believe that it's very literal, because when the sun is darkened, and the moon turned to blood, if you've ever seen a moon at fire times, and in verse 41, where it says that there will be "blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke," kind of why it will look that way. And a lot of people interpret that the stars will shake is that because of earthquakes. It will look like the stars falling from heaven because the earth is reeling to and fro with earthquakes. So it's crazy, isn't it?
I want to read this really cool quote, talking about these leaves. And this is from Neal A. Maxwell and George, can you read this quote for us, please?
"How much time before the Second Coming? Since the angels, otherwise well-informed individuals, do not know the day or the hour (how about the year?), certainly none of us does. Even so, though we are deprived of precision, we can still observe the leaves on the fig tree and the prophesied signs of the times. On the one hand, clearly there is so much which is yet to come to pass: first, the gospel shall be preached to every nation for a witness. But on the other hand, many events can be compressed into a short space of time (for instance, the opening of doors to nations that are now shut).”
Thank you. And so we're looking for these leaves on the fig tree and they're here in Section 45. So in the next segment, I want to show you what leaves stood out to me, and how Hebrew has made them more beautiful than I even ever imagined.
So I want you, before we can get into this, because we just have to think about it in this context. I want you to think about who your friends are. I mean, Celeste, you just got done telling us about some of the friends you grew up with. But think about who your very best friends are. How do you feel about them? Like not acquaintances, but your just your people, your group? How do you feel about your friends?
I can't say I have like heaps of friends. But the few friends that I do have, I always feel uplifted. After spending time with them, I feel encouraged, motivated. Heavenly Father blessed me with a couple of good ones.
Very good. I like that. What about you, George? How do you feel toward your friends?
To be honest, I've learned a lot from my wife about choosing friends. And I feel, in the past, I wasn't as wise as choosing the greatest of friends. In recent times, the friends that I'm thinking of now, the people that I'm happy for when they're successful, when they're, when things are happening for them, I'm just stoked for them. And when I'm around them, they pull out the good in me. I feel like I'm a better person being around them. Just from being married to Celeste, I've been able to focus on finding friends like that and keeping them close. And I'm blessed to say that, that we do have a few of those in our life.
And from what I gather, you just love your friends, right? Like they're just good people.
They really are.
Yeah. And for those of you listening, think about how you feel about your friends, just how much you love them, like I love friends, friends are so important. So you need to think about that going into these next few verses in Section 45. Let's find out what the word friends has to do with one of these leaves. This is so cool. Verse 43 says, "And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place." Highlight the word "remnant" because that means "Jews." "The Jews will be gathered unto this place." You kind of take a little break in this idea because 44, 45, and 46 are speaking more about when He comes and the order of resurrections and everything, which we'll get to when we study section 88. So the remnant will be unto this place. And this place is found in verse 48: "And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount..." And this mount, we have to look at what this mount is. This is so cool. I'll keep reading the verse, and we'll come back to that. "... and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake." Okay, highlight the word "mount" in there, because it's a very specific place. And if you go to the map section in your scriptures, you want to find the map section that has to do with the, it's the physical map of the Holy Land. It's called Map #1 in your Bible. Find Jerusalem and right next to it, you're going to see Mount of Olives. That's what this verse is talking about, that the Savior will come back to the Mount of Olives. He will stand on that mountain and we believe that it will "cleave in twain" meaning it will literally break in half. And all the Jews are going to be there when this moment happens. But here's what's so interesting about these verses. This is a quote from Robert Millet. And he talks about the moment when the Savior steps foot on this Mount of Olives. And I'm gonna read this quote. It says, "Perhaps the great conversion of the Jews as a people to Christ and his gospel will await his appearance on the Mount of Olives, one of several appearances collectively referred to as his second coming. That event at the Mount of Olives will take place either during "the times of the Gentiles" or after that time is fulfilled. What a tender scene will there take place between the Savior and the Jews!" The idea is that Christ is going to come and step foot on that mount and that mount is going to break into half, and Jews are going to be all around this mount. And as the Jews are standing there, they're going to see this man, Jesus Christ, standing on the Mount of Olives. And then we have these incredible and beautiful verses about what that moment's gonna look like, which sometimes we read as almost anti-Semitic, but it's not! It's not at all and I can't wait, you guys are gonna love this. And so let's just read these out loud. Celeste, will you please read verses 51 through 53 for us?
"And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king."
Okay, you guys, look at verse 52. What did the Savior call the Jews?
His friends. I got so excited when I was studying these, especially because of Hebrew. The beauty of these verses is God and Christ knew how everything was gonna play out. In fact, in 2 Nephi, you can cross reference these verses right here, in 2 Nephi, chapter 10, verse 3, Jacob actually says, the Jews are going to crucify Him. Before it even ever happened. And what I love about this is because they knew that, and because they're Jesus Christ's friends, he's thinking, "I've got to find a way to make sure my friends return to me." Like, think about how much you love your friends. Don't you want them with you? I just want my friends to be with me. And so here's the Savior thinking, "We've got to find a way to make sure that they are going to be able to return, that there's got to be a plan set in place." And so because they are so brilliant, I believe they came up with the most incredible way for the Jews, for Jesus Christ's friends, to recognizing when He comes. Because verses 51 through 53 are not Jesus's way of saying, "Ha, ha! I told you so! And you guys didn't believe me!" I just can't believe that Jesus would be vindictive, right? Like, "You should've believed me the first time!" That's not what these verses are about. So here's what I want to show you in Hebrew. So in Hebrew, the way they spell his name, the letters are very, very specific. The letters mean things. It's, and I've talked about this before, but our alphabet, if I say, "What does the letter A mean?" You're like, "It's just an A." But in Hebrew, their letters mean things. So the letter Aleph, or A in Hebrew means an ox, or the head, or the beginning. So it's really pretty incredible when you consider in the Old Testament, the most important sacred name to Jews is this name, it is "Yahweh." Or it's what we know as Jehovah. Oh, and in fact, this name is so significant and so sacred to the Jews, that they won't even say it out loud. Instead, they say "Adonai." In fact, out of reverence, my Hebrew teacher, she won't even say this name. She will not say "Yahweh." And I'm saying that in a very sacred way, I'm not blaspheming at all. But even in the 10 commandments, that's the name they won't say. When it says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain," it's Yahweh in there. They will not say that name. So I'm just thinking that here's God and Jesus thinking, "I know, let's write your name in a way that when you come again, they will not be able to doubt or deny it's you, because they've been calling you this your whole existence, their whole belief." Here's what his name spells in Hebrew. Yahweh is spelled by the letters Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey, and it reads from right to left. So the first letter is the letter Yod. And we read right to left, so it's Yod, which is a hand closed or closing upon. So it's a hand, like this, like a cup. The Hey means "to behold or to show". So He's going to show a hand. The Vav, the letter in the middle, is the symbol of a nail. And then the last letter is "to show or reveal." So the name they've been calling him forever, literally is showing a hand, showing a nail. And when the Jews see the hands, they will go, "That's your name." We've been believing that this whole time. And the Savior will say, "Yeah, you're my friends." I love the beauty in this. And I love how in 2 Nephi chapter 6, verse 11, the Lord says that when He comes again, He will show the Jews great mercy. And I think the mercy is seen right here in this name. It's how they'll recognize him. So, tell me, is there anything you guys are thinking? Anything right now that you're processing?
The image that comes to mind is when Christ, you know, his arms are stretched out with the clouds and the angels round about him. That's just so cool to learn about the Hebrew language and how, how intimate they are in his name, in Christ's name. And I just like what you're saying how there's going to be no misconceptions with who He is. They'll immediately identify Him as their Savior. And it's cool to think about how that reunion will be.
When you were reading that, I was kind of just visualizing it all happen. And it's going to be a cool time, you know, to meet the person who was willing to suffer for everything that we would ever go through. And just recently, I felt prompted to put a picture of the Savior on my dashboard in my truck. I've just been really trying to work on having positive thoughts, and, you know, just keeping a pure mind. And I put a little picture of Him on the dashboard. But the one I put on there was the one where He's calming the sea. And every time I'm just going through a hard time, or maybe I'm falling short in different areas of my life, I'm always reminded that He's really the one in control. He's already gone through everything. And, you know, in your mind He says, "Hey, I'm the one who suffered for you," it's gonna be a really intimate moment. And I love the lyrics to the song where it says, you know, and we'll fall at his feet and wash his feet in tears. Because if there's anyone that can really relate to everything that we've ever thought, heard, seen, and felt in our lives, it's going to be Him. And I think we'll really feel that when that day happens. And I look forward to that.
Beautiful, George. Thank you, George and Celeste, for sharing your thoughts. Absolutely. So go back into this section then, and I want you to draw a line between verses 53 and 54. Because verse 54, says, "And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed." We're not talking about the Jews in that verse. It's so important for us to know that, because what that really is talking about is the "heathen" there means the Gentile nations. And you can cross-reference that to Psalms chapter 2, verse 8. And it is so cool because the heathen means the Gentile nations, "then the Gentile nations will be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection; and it shall be tolerable for them." Verses 51 through 53, to me, are a testimony of God's and Christ's tender mercies. That is a tender mercy right there, truly. And one of the words we talked about with tender mercy in Hebrew is "hesed," which is a love that we can't even really describe in our own life, because it's a love that God has for his people. That's what tender mercy means in Hebrew: "hesed." This love that only He can have. And I think 51 through 53 is "hesed." He loves his friends, He wants them to be with Him so He provided a way for them where they will absolutely recognize Him. And then it kind of just made me think like, "How will I recognize him? How will I know him when He comes? Will I know him? Have I prepared myself? Am I standing in holy places? Am I doing the things? Am I petitioning the Lord, rather than, you know the precepts of men when times get hard?" And I think it's all of those things that kind of just help us prepare for Him to come. And like you both shared, George and Celeste, I just appreciate your words. It sums all of this up so beautifully. So thank you so much. So in the next segment, we're going to learn about another parable that the Lord said would be fulfilled at his Second Coming and this will be really fun because it's so familiar to a lot of us.
How would you describe someone who is wise? What does it mean to you to be wise?
So I did a study once before on wisdom and I really wanted to know what it meant. In Mosiah 13, I believe it is, it's Abinadi and he's saying, he's telling them, and this is before they burn him at the stake, but he's saying, "You know, you guys are saying that you you're wise men, but you know these commandments, you know all these things." And he says, "You have not applied your hearts to understanding, therefore you have not been wise." From that I learned that wisdom is not about having all of this knowledge because they had all that knowledge. But in there he taught that it's someone who can apply that knowledge is where the wisdom comes. In a recent study that I heard, a personal study, it was talking about wise people, or people that have had a big impact on the world and it mentioned people like Thomas Edison and Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and to think of the time period that they lived in, they had very small access to libraries in comparison to the type of access we have now today. Like compared to them, I have access to way more information than they ever did. But I would never consider myself more wise than any of those men. And the difference between them and another people that aren't so wise is they were able to apply their hearts to understanding. Although they had a small amount of information, they were able to live and apply that information. And so when I think of someone that's wise, it's not someone who just has all this information in their head, but it's someone who's able to apply that, that knowledge into their daily life.
Excellent description of that, George. Thank you. I had no idea you had done a study on that. That's pretty cool. Celeste, anything you want to add to that?
No, I feel like George summed that up really well. It's someone who does apply things, applies that knowledge.
That's awesome. Let's jump into section 45. And let's apply what George just said to what God decides what is wise, His description of wise. Now, here's what you need to know. So verse 55 is the beginning of the millennium because Satan is going to be bound, he has no more place in the hearts of the children of men. Hallelujah, can't wait for that day. And then the Lord teaches us in verse 56 and 57, a parable which we've heard in the New Testament before, but he applies it now to us. And this is so cool, because when the Millennium starts, here's who's going to be a part of this really great moment. George, will you read 56 and 57, but just to that dash?
"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—"
Okay, look back at that first 57. There are three things that qualify us to be wise. And we're going to mark these and highlight them. It says, "they that are wise have"— George, will you read those again, three things?
Well, "they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived."
Thank you. Did you see those three things right there? Receive the truth,
Taking the Holy Spirit for their guide, and not been deceived.
Yeah, perfect. George, this is so great going on what you said, applying your heart to understanding. Let's talk about these things: to receive the truth, to have the Holy Spirit for your guide, and to not be deceived. What do those mean to you?
I think receiving the truth is us opening ourselves up to what the Lord wants us to know. He's giving and we're receiving. That's how I see that. And it's taking the Holy Spirit as their guide. I think sometimes we can look at philosophies of men, and it's very inspiring. So we take that to be something of God, and sometimes it is consistent, but we should never let that replace what directly comes from God through you know, either scripture reading and through prayer directly to Him and then receiving that revelation.
Let me ask you, this, you and Celeste, what is it about the word "taken"? They have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide? What does that tell us?
To me, it means that they grasped the Holy Spirit for their guide. They're all in, they're really engaged, they're willing to listen and to follow as well. Because I think we all have experiences where we felt the Holy Ghost and then like, "Yeah, do it later." You know, and then we hear something like, "Oh, I should have acted on that prompting." But I feel like to really take the Holy Ghost as your guide is to be intentional with acting upon the promptings that you receive.
Great example. I like that. Thank you. Good one. And then the last one is, they won't be deceived. Tell me about that one.
I feel like to not be deceived is that sense of clarity, which you really have to work on every day to decipher because the world is seriously so confusing now. Like there's just so much stuff out there. But there's a beautiful simplicity with the Gospel. You know, Heavenly Father, that there's no, He doesn't confuse us and He testifies that confusion is like author of the devil, right? I love that about the Gospel. Like, I can't say I'm super educated in the context of scriptures and like all of these deep things, I just do the basics. And so far, it's gotten me into a pretty good place. So I'm just going to keep going like that, you know. And so I feel like that's where the beauty of the Gospel comes through, that if we really do those simple things that are consistent daily with trying to strengthen our relationship with Christ, that helps us find that clarity so that we won't be deceived. I think this was before George and I got married, but I did a study about how to develop understanding. And I think it was a scripture in Doctrine and Covenants, I can't remember off the top of my head, but it talked about how, when you learn a truth, like it says something along the lines of being in your mind, and then it dwells into your heart. And then after being in your heart, that's what develops an understanding. And I think that's what allows you to find that clarity, and to not be deceived. But if you think about, like, what are the things that I hold in my heart, it's super simple: Heavenly Father, family, whatever your values are, and elements of testimony that you've gained. So that sense of clarity and a way to avoid being deceived is, you know, allowing the Spirit to take the thoughts that really matter and the understanding that you need to know to your heart. I feel like that's what allows you to progress and develop and strengthen that relationship with Christ.
Wow, Celeste, thank you for sharing that. In fact, as you were sharing that, I'm like everything you just described is the reason to be wise. Let's go back to that dash in verse 57. Because after that dash until the end of verse 59, basically is what you said, Celeste, these are all the blessings we get for being wise. So grab your highlighters or your pens, I'm going to read from the dash to the end of verse 59. As I do, I want you to just to underline what the blessings are for being wise, and see how many there are in these verses, okay? So here we go: "Verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver." I mean, this is so cool, because this is talking about living during the millennium, and what we will experience. What did you underline?
The part that really stood out to me was "and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation." You know, just thinking of our kids. And as parents, we're really trying hard to have the balance between educating them about the world. I mean, they're only like, two and 15 months, but you know, I'm just trying to be prepared.
Well, you do. Yeah.
We have conversations about what it's going to be like when they're teenagers, and how do we want to prepare them for the realities of life? But at the same time, like, keeping them away from such negativity. So to read this and to learn that they can grow up without any of those distractions, and just enjoy their life the way that they should, like that's really motivating towards me as a mother to like, be consistent with their daily prayers and read the scriptures even when they're screaming their heads off and they're not interested, you know, like, it's all worth it.
Great example, I like that. You think of that scripture in Jacob when he says, "O be wise; what can I say more?"
This is what wise is. You're like, "Yeah, you really can't say much after that." Alright, I'll go with that. I like that. That's awesome. So George, I want you to read a quote, because here's what I do love about these verses, especially when we talk about the context of Millennium, because I think there'd be a lot of surprised Mormons, as I like to say, or a lot of surprised members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because it will not just be members of the Church who will be living on the earth during the Millennium. They're not just members of the church who are wise. So this is a fun quote by Joseph Fielding Smith telling us who's going to make it or who the wise will be. So George, will you read this for us?
"Some members of the church have an erroneous idea that when the millennium comes all of the people are going to be swept off the face of the earth except righteous members of the Church. That is not so. There will be millions of people—Catholics, Protestants, Mohammedans, people of all classes and of all beliefs—still permitted to remain upon the face of the earth, but they will be those who have lived clean lives, those who have been free from wickedness and corruption. All who belong by virtue of their good lives, to the terrestrial order as well as those who have kept the celestial law will remain upon the face of the earth during the millennium.”
Thank you. I like that. Like there's just gonna be so many good people on the earth living in this millennium. Good people who are wise. So that is awesome.
I just thought that was really cool, but it totally makes sense. I think I was one of those members who's like, "Alright, just us members going to be hanging out here for a while." But, yeah, that makes sense. Truth is truth, period. And so you know, Heavenly Father has given a lot of avenues for people to receive truth. And yeah, that makes sense that if they've lived a good life and done the best of what they've been given, and yeah, of course, they would still be here.
I think that's pretty cool. This impresses me all the time, when I meet people that live righteous lives and live such a high standard. And yet, they're not members of the Church. Like, that's pretty cool. They don't even have the fullness of the gospel, yet they're able to sometimes live more righteous lives than many of us members. That's awesome that they've been able to receive guidance, despite, you know, not having all the pieces. That'd be cool to kind of congregate and work on next steps.
Yeah, absolutely. I love that both of you. Very cool. Okay. So at the end of verse 59, you can just put end of the colon. Remember, we marked that colon. This is what the end of what the Lord had to say to his people. So now we have verse 60. But it's not all that the Lord had to say to us, or the Saints. So in the next segment, we're going to see what else the Lord wanted to teach us and get us prepared for.
So we didn't get to this question. I want to know why you guys live in Hawaii. What are the pros for living there? Because if we're being totally honest, you're from New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii, which basically is paradise for a lot of us. Like, if we could live anywhere, we'd pick where you're living. So why did you choose to live there?
Maybe I'll start because I'm the one keeping us here. [laughter]
Celeste is like, "I'd rather live in Wisconsin," right?
I mean, this so many beautiful places all around the world. But what keeps bringing me back home here to Hawaii is just the community that we live in. Everyone's very much connected, we can let our kids run around. And we know every single one of our neighbors and I've grown up with them from a young age, and so there's just a sense of trust. I mean, it's not fun when you're a mischievous kid, you know, you get caught pretty quick.
He's speaking from personal experience, by the way.
I was gonna ask.
People do change, Celeste. Yeah, so that's why, that's why I left, so I can clear the slate, come back and be a new man. But no, that's, there's a few things that bring us back. And these are my roots here. My, all my mother's upline, my great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents were pioneers to the church and so my roots here in Hawaii, and I want my kids definitely know their culture and their identity. And that's one reason why we're still here.
That's great. Celeste, do you want to add anything? Pros to living where you live?
Yeah, well, I mean, we live in the shadow of the temple. All of my immediate family lives in Australia. I'm literally out here by myself. Sometimes I feel sad for myself about that. But what I love about where we live is that we're so close to the temple. And that's one place that I've always feel like "This is my home, too." Yeah, I feel like it's the right place for me to be and I always feel welcome there and loved and that's a huge, huge pro for me. Like we literally just right down the street from temple and I love that.
Wow. Well, the reason that I asked you that question is in Doctrine and Covenants section 45, the Lord, in verse 66, He talks to us about where we will all live when He comes again. And if you just look at verse 66, what is the place called where we will all live?
Yeah, the New Jerusalem. And what is so cool about this is that the Lord then lays out all of the pros for living in New Jerusalem, just like you told me why you live in Hawaii. The Lord is telling us here, "Let me tell you why you're gonna want to live here." And so I asked you guys ahead of time to read these verses and just mark and tell us what are the pros to living in Zion when Christ comes again? Tell us what you found, and let's mark those in these verses.
For me, just immediately, the place of peace, refuge, and safety. Just like I shared before, that's what the temple is to me. I really want to work as hard as I can to be in the New Jerusalem, to be in a place like that. Peace, refuge, and safety translates to me to happiness, like true happiness, really being fulfilled, having a full heart. Those are the things that yeah, that really, really stood out to me.
Great ones. I like that. What'd you find, George?
I agree with everything Celeste has already shared. Just to add one more thing, something that kind of resonated with me was the safety, but not the physical aspect of safety, but more so the the spiritual sense of safety. Life can just be so hectic and busy and on the move. And it just seems like you never catch a break. When Celeste and I aren't on the same page, I feel very vulnerable when it comes to the different weaknesses that I have that requires us to be one. And I shared this with Celeste the other night when we were reading this, but I told her that when when we aren't on the same page, and I don't know where she's at, she doesn't know where I'm at, and our communication isn't that well. And we have these arguments that just come about and we're distant from each other. I feel vulnerable and insecure. Man, to think about New Jerusalem being a place of safety, I just think of her and I being one and just being unified, and not feeling vulnerable and feeling safe.
George, I feel like you just described verse 69 at the very end where it says, "it shall be only people that shall not be at war one with another." We're just one with each other. And then we're not at war with each other. And I think you just perfectly described that. That's awesome. It's just really cool as you read verses 66 through 71, and for those of you listening, read it and highlight all the pros for living in Zion. And I think that'll be a fun question to ask on social media: "What are the pros to living in Zion?" And then He ends this whole discussion on the Second Coming, and on everything that's going to happen with verses 74 and 75. And these are scary verses. And so we have to read them. And then read a great quote about these two verses. Celeste, will you please read verses 74 and 75 for us?
"For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble. And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might. Even so. Amen."
Now as futile as that sounds, let's read this quote by Elder Boyd K. Packer. I just think it's a great way to sort of end our discussion of Section 45. And, George, can you please read this for us?
"We live in troubled times—very troubled times. We hope, we pray, for better days. But that is not to be. The prophecies tell us that. We will not as a people, as families, or as individuals be exempt from the trials to come. … We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do."
So looking at that quote that we just read, I think both of you in your lives are a testament of trials and troubling times. And so I'm just curious to know, from your own experience, how can you rejoice when there is fear, and know that you'll still be safe, whatever the future holds?
Something that I've learned from my experiences, particularly after being diagnosed with cancer and having to go through 18 months of chemotherapy. At the beginning of that whole process, I didn't really know the prognosis of what was going to happen. So I didn't know if I was going to make it through my treatments or not. And I was amazed to see that even though I was going through such a hard time mentally, emotionally, and spiritually that I could also feel peace. I didn't realize that those two feelings could really coincide. But it makes sense. You know, like, we're all going to have really hard times in life, but we can still have peace amongst it. That's what allowed me to have faith in the future. Like, if it really is my time to go like, I know, or I hope I know where I'm going. You know, like, if I'm worthy enough to be with Christ again like that brings me peace. If Christ is with you, it's gonna be fine. Like it's not like we're gonna get blindsided by the Second Coming. It's been prophesied for since from the beginning, you know, if we keep the covenants that we've made then we'll be okay.
Thank you, Celeste. I loved everything you just said. That was powerful. What about you, George?
I think, well, I know that I have many, many weaknesses and now talking about our experience, it sounds like we were just amazing, strong couple but man, we had so many falling outs and doubts and fears and you know, just seeing everything in a negative way before we turned around and you know, was reminded of the things that we're supposed to be doing and things like that. And so I should just speak for myself because Celeste is pretty spot on. But um, for me, it was a battle every day. I think a lot of times we look at our weak areas, but Heavenly Father gave us strengths as well, and he gave us gifts and we should be using those gifts, especially in times of hardship. One of my gifts is that I can feel the spirit through music. I hear the Lord. And just during our cancer experience, there were so many low times, and in those moments, I remember just going to a corner somewhere in work and just putting my headphones in and listening to a church hymn. And just one of the songs that come to mind immediately of one of my experiences was listening to the song by the Tabernacle Choir, "Consider the Lilies." In the first verse, it says, "Consider the lilies, how they grow. Consider the birds in the sky, how they fly." There's so many things that go on on this earth, and someone's got to take care of all of us, you know, and it's Heavenly Father, and if He's going to take care of all these small and simple things that seem insignificant, wouldn't he take care of his most prized position, his children? Those reminders through the music, it really helped me. And I remember bawling my eyes out, I worked in security, and I'm this guy, and I'm just in my security clothes. I'm crying like a little baby. You know, but it was those moments. And then I was like, "Okay, yep, I can do this." Moving forward, you know, just trying to get to the next day, trying to get to the next day. I think sometimes we look so far ahead, it gives us anxiety. For me, it's just man, all I need is a light right in front of me. And I feel like Heavenly Father has really given us the next step. Not always, all the way down the future. But he's always given us peace, right, Celeste? That everything was going to be okay.
Well, thank you. Thank you, both of you for sharing your experiences today. And I truly feel like I have been in this hour of wisdom with the both of you. That definition of wisdom, where you have taken the Spirit to be your guide, and you have received the truth, and you are not being deceived. So thank you for being an example of that word to us. This has been a great discussion of Section 45. So just take a minute now and think over everything we discussed. And I want you to kind of think about what was your takeaway? What's something that you learned today, you're like, "Oh, okay, I like that," or anything that you will just take with you.
I think for myself, just go back to the, you know, the knowledge that our Savior's our advocate. You know, he's our lawyer, the middleman between us and Heavenly Father, and I want to value Him in a more personal way. I just want to strengthen that relationship with Him and continue to develop that friendship where He's not only my brother, but He becomes like a true best friend. I think I just want to get to know Him more.
That's a powerful takeaway. Thank you, Celeste. George?
For me, two of the takeaways for me were just the power of being prepared, and any thing that's of worth and of value, there's some work that goes into it, you know, anything. The Savior suffered for everything, every detail of our lives, so that when we were ready to turn back towards Him, He could relate to us in a perfect way. And like Celeste said, and there's nothing more intimate than that, someone who knows your ins and outs. I'm grateful for that. And that was my big takeaway, just being reminded of who the Savior is, and staying close to Him.
Thank you, George. That was a beautiful takeaway. My takeaway was your story that you both shared at the very beginning about petitioning the Lord. And what I loved about that was when Celeste was telling her story, and then we heard George's take on the story. And here's Celeste petitioning the Lord that He would heal her immediately. But what came of that was George getting this experience with the Lord, who taught him about the power of the priesthood. And I just think, how amazing that is: He's our advocate, that not only is He advocating for our cause, He's advocating for us to grow. And sometimes He's not going to give us exactly what we asked because He knows what's best. And that's a good lawyer who can petition before the Lord and say, "This is the best thing for them." And so I thought that was a beautiful example of you both having that experience and that story. So thank you. Thanks for sharing that. Thanks for being willing to share that. I didn't even know that about you, which is kind of cool. So thank you. Thanks for being on the podcast. You guys are the best! We're done! That was fun.
Thank you, Tammy.
We're so grateful to always be able to just share our testimonies. And Celeste and I are very passionate about being able to share our testimonies.
Thank you, thank you, you guys. We would love to hear what your big takeaway was for this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or on Instagram, just go join. It's so much fun. You could ask questions throughout the week, we answer them, other people answer them. And then the cool thing is is at the end of the week, on a Sunday, we do a post asking for what your big takeaway was, and go and comment on it because I really love reading what everybody's taking away and what you've learned. And it's fun because everybody reads everyone's takeaways. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, and it's not a bad idea to go there because you're going to find all the references that we used in this episode as well as a complete transcript of this discussion, which I think you're going to want because it was so good. I wasn't so good, our guests were. The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshop PLUS+ Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall. And today our incredible study group participants were Celeste and George Kaka, and you can find more information about these friends at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me, and it's recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember, He is your advocate and you are His favorite.
Title for Section 45: Second Coming
Background for Section 45:
"At this age of the Church in spring of 1831, many false reports, lies and foolish stories, were published in the newspapers, and circulated in every direction, to prevent people from investigating the work, or embracing the faith. A great earthquake in China, which destroyed from one to two thousand inhabitants, was burlesqued in some papers as 'Mormonism in China' But to the joy of the Saints who had to struggle against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following" ("History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]," p. 104, The Joseph Smith Papers)
What was the first thing the Lord told the Saints to do?
1 Hearken, O ye people of my achurch, to whom the bkingdom has been given; hearken ye and give ear to him who laid the foundation of the earth, who cmade the heavens and all the dhosts thereof, and by whom all things were made which elive, and move, and have a being.
- Hearken = Listen and Obey
- Advocate = Lawyer
4 Saying: Father, behold the asufferings and bdeath of him who did no csin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be dglorified;
Quote: "It is of great significance to me, that I may at any moment and in any circumstance approach through prayer the throne of grace, that my Heavenly Father will hear my petition, that my Advocate, him who did no sin, whose blood was shed, will plead my cause" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "I Know in Whom I Have Trusted” April 1993 general conference).
Quote: "Every person is different and has a different contribution to make. No one is destined to fail. As you seek revelation to see gifts God sees in those you lead in the priesthood—particularly the young—you will be blessed to lift their sights to the service they can perform" (President Henry B. Eyring, "Help Them Aim High," October 2012 general conference).
Title for Section 45: Second Coming
16 And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my adisciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying: As ye have asked of me concerning the bsigns of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my cglory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers, (Doctrine and Covenants 45:16).
- From the colon until verse 59 are the Savior's words from Matthew 24–25. You can also compare these verses to the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 1:4–55.
How God prepares us for the second coming:
9 And even so I have sent mine aeverlasting bcovenant into the world, to be a clight to the world, and to be a dstandard for my people, and for the eGentiles to seek to it, and to be a fmessenger before my face to prepare the way before me (Doctrine and Covenants 45:9).
- Everlasting covenant = the gospel of Jesus Christ and a light to the world
Signs in Doctrine and Covenants 45:18–24 are fulfilled
- Precepts of men = "In a general sense, any commandment or order intended as an authoritative rule of action; but applied particularly to commands respecting moral conduct. The ten commandments are so many precepts for the regulation of our moral conduct" (Websters 1828 Dictionary).
- Times of the Gentiles = Right now, everyone is being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Hebrew: Scourge = whip
- Scourge = Not COVID, more of a spiritual sickness
- Sickness = illness of mind and spirit
- Saints will still get sick physically, but standing in holy places keeps our mind and spirit clean
Quote: "'Holy places' may have more to do with how one lives than where one lives. If we live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then we stand in a holy place. ... A holy place is any place where a person enjoys the Spirit of God" (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 196).
The meaning of summer
2 And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest adeath shall overtake you; in an bhour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the charvest ended, and your souls not saved (Doctrine and Covenants 45:2).
- An hour when ye think not the summer shall be past: Cross reference with Jeremiah 8:20.
- Harvest is past, the summer is ended = The second coming
Parable of the fig tree:
- On a fig tree, the fruit comes first and then the leaves. Leaves on a fig tree is a sign that summer has come.
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh (Doctrine and Covenants 45:36–38).
Where these signs will take place:
"1. The heavens will be darkened so that the sun, moon, and stars do not give their light to the earth (see Matthew 24:29; 22 Nephi 15:30; Moses 7:61). This does not imply that these heavenly bodies will be destroyed, only that their light is diminished here on earth. This could be caused by several things happening on the earth such as widespread fires, massive dust storms, volcanic eruptions, nuclear explosions, or even severe air pollution.
"2. The moon shall be turned to blood (see D&C 29:14; 34:9; 45:42; 88:87). This is not likely literal, but it will appear as if the moon were made of blood. Though not a common occurrence, neither is it unusual for the moon to turn a blood red. It happens naturally from time to time. For example, astronomers speak of a “blood moon,” a phenomenon that occurs during an eclipse or when there is heavy air pollution" (Gerald N. Lund, The Second Coming of the Lord, "14. Natural Disasters, Famine, Plague, Pestilence," Deseret Book).
Quote: “How much time before the Second Coming? Since the angels, otherwise well-informed individuals, do not know the day or the hour (how about the year?), certainly none of us does. Even so, though we are deprived of precision, we can still observe the leaves on the fig tree and the prophesied signs of the times. On the one hand, clearly there is so much which is yet to come to pass: first, the gospel shall be preached to every nation for a witness (see Matthew 24:14). But on the other hand, many events can be compressed into a short space of time (for instance, the opening of doors to nations that are now shut)” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe , 7).
What the Jews will witness during the Second Coming:
- Remnant = The Jews
48 And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this amount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall btremble, and reel to and fro, and the cheavens also dshall shake (Doctrine and Covenants 45:48).
- Mount = Mount of Olives
Quote: Perhaps the great conversion of the Jews as a people to Christ and his gospel will await his appearance on the Mount of Olives, one of several appearances collectively referred to as his second coming. That event at the Mount of Olives will take place either during "the times of the Gentiles" or after that time is fulfilled. What a tender scene will there take place between the Savior and the Jews! (Robert Millet, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary).
Verses 51–53 are a witness of God's love or hesed.
52 Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was awounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was bcrucified. I am the cSon of God.
- Cross reference with 2 Nephi 10:3
The meaning of Christ's name in Hebrew:
Yahweh or Jehovah
(a name so sacred to the Jews they will not say it out loud. They will use Adonai instead.)
Yod = hand closed or closing upon
Heh = behold, show, reveal
Vav = a nail
Heh = behold show reveal
Showing a hand, showing a nail.
- Heathen nations = Gentiles, not Jews (Psalms 2:8).
26 I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord.
The three things we need to be wise:
57 For they that are wise and have received the atruth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their bguide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the cfire, but shall abide the day (Doctrine and Covenants 45:55–57).
- Receive truth
- Take the Holy Spirit as a guide
- Don't be deceived
Blessings for being wise
People of all beliefs will live during the millennium
Quote: "Some members of the church have an erroneous idea that when the millennium comes all of the people are going to be swept off the face of the earth except righteous members of the Church. That is not so. There will be millions of people—Catholics, Protestants, Mohammedans, people of all classes and of all beliefs—still permitted to remain upon the face of the earth, but they will be those who have lived clean lives, those who have been free from wickedness and corruption. All who belong by virtue of their good lives, to the terrestrial order as well as those who have kept the celestial law will remain upon the face of the earth during the millennium" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:86).
Where people live during the Second Coming?
Who will live there?
What are the pros of living in Zion?
75 And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might. Even so. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 45:74–75).
Quote: "We live in troubled times—very troubled times. We hope, we pray, for better days. But that is not to be. The prophecies tell us that. We will not as a people, as families, or as individuals be exempt from the trials to come. …
"We need not live in fear of the future. We have every reason to rejoice and little reason to fear. If we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we will be safe, whatever the future holds. We will be shown what to do" (Elder Boyd K. Packer, "The Cloven Tongues of Fire,” Ensign, May 2000, 8).