Eric Richards discussed the signs and symbolism of the Second Coming in the Book of Revelation during a session at BYU Education Week on Monday, Aug. 19.
Richards shared insights from John’s descriptions of what will happen in the seventh seal before Savior’s Second Coming in Revelation 9:21, “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Richards talked about four main things John addresses in this verse: murder, theft, sorceries and fornication.
He noted the prevalence of murder in the world today, and different forms of theft, like robbery, identity theft and stealing one’s reputation. He also said the Greek word of sorcery means “pharmacy” in modern English.
“I wonder if he saw a day of drug use,” Richards said, referring to issues like the opioid epidemic.
Richards then said the Greek word “fornication” shares the same root word as the English word “pornographic.”
“Can you think of a more concise list of the major sins and crimes that are being committed today in our latter days?” Richards said. “It looks like he saw it all.”
Richards taught from other chapters in Revelation that address events like the gathering and scattering of the House of Israel, Adam Ondi Ahman and the two prophets in chapter 11 who will be slain in Jerusalem but will be given the power to preach until their mission is over.
Richards stressed that members of the Church do not know who these two prophets are, but they are followers of Joseph Smith and will no doubt be members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or of the First Presidency of the Church.
Richards talked about other symbolism found in Revelation chapters 12 and 13, which discusses the dragon, the anti-Christ and the beast.
In Revelation chapter 12, Satan is compared to a dragon. Richards said the Greek word for dragon is “drákon,” which means “to see” or “seeing one” — he is accomplishing agendas behind the scenes.
Richards said chapter 13 discusses the anti-Christ, who impersonates Christ. Richards quoted Elder Hales, who said, “The Family: Proclamation to the World was given long before we experienced the challenges now facing the family. The Living Christ was prepared in advance of when we will need it the most.”
“You think about how often we refer to the Family Proclamation today because of what’s happening in our society in terms of family and marriage,” Richards said. “I wonder when the day will come when we refer to The Living Christ more and more based on what Elder Hales taught us.”
Richards also quoted Sister Julie B. Beck, who said there are media messages everywhere which are anti-family and many youth don’t see the importance of getting married and having a family. “Anti-family is anti-Christ,” she said.
“Consequently, we have the dragon, the anti-Christ and the beast trying to remove the Godhead from our lives, removing God from His throne, removing Christ in His role as our Savior, and removing the gifts of the Spirit and the sentiments of the Holy Ghost through wickedness,” Richards said.
Richards closed with insights from Revelation chapter 19, which describes the “marriage supper of the Lamb” and the marriage rituals. He compared this chapter and the parable of the 10 virgins found in Matthew 25 — how they had to be prepared at a moment’s notice — to one’s personal relationship with Christ.
“You think about our relationship with Christ, He being the bridegroom, the Church or us being the bride, and you take upon yourself the name of the Christ and you have to be prepared; you have to be cleansed through that ceremony. We have that spiritual intimacy with our Savior. The way they set up their rituals is symbolic of our relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ,” he said.