During an Education Week session on Tuesday, August 20, Randall C. Bird discussed the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, saying many people fear the Second Coming because it means they need to repent — and fast. “But we do not want to be troubled,” he said, “We want to be excited.”
Though the prophets and apostles have counseled Latter-day Saints to prepare, not even they know the exact date and hour of the Second Coming, Bird said.
Bird quoted President Russell M. Nelson, who said people often ask when it will happen, and his answer is simply, “I don’t know. It won’t be today or tomorrow because there’s much work that needs to be done before that can come. All I know for sure is that we are a day closer today than we were yesterday.”
Bird talked about what the times will be like by sharing Matthew 24:10-11, which reads, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
Bird quoted M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who during a 1996 BYU devotional, said the leadership of the Church does not know when the Second Coming will occur, so Latter-day Saints should be wary of those who claim they know otherwise.
“There are false prophets rising within and without the Church. They believe they have had revelations, that they know something the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles don’t know. You need to be very careful of such people,” Elder Ballard said. “We’ve had some false prophets arise right here in the state of Utah.”
Bird echoed the words of the apostles, saying there will still be trials and difficulties as the world becomes increasingly evil. He also noted the false ideas people have surrounding the Second Coming.
He related the country-wide event which occurred on August 21, 2017 — the solar eclipse. Bird said he saw headlines in newspapers following the experience claiming that the solar eclipse denoted the end of the world was near.
“We need to teach the truth,” Bird exclaimed.
Bird related a survey that was done by Latter-day Saint author and former general authority Gerald N. Lund. According to the results, the three main questions asked about the Second Coming of the Savior are when will it be, what’s life going to be like before and when Christ comes, and how do I prepare myself so I’ll be ready?
Bird said Latter-day Saints tend to get caught up on the first question — when Christ will come? — that they lose focus on how they should prepare personally.
Bird said he researched and compiled a top-ten list of General Conference themes from 1830 to 2009. They ranged from missionary work to prophets to Jesus Christ, but he couldn’t find any conference that focused on the Second Coming. He suggested that Latter-day Saints focus on topics that have been and are taught in General Conference, like service and obedience to the commandments, rather than those that are not — because ultimately, that will help prepare them for what is to come.
Bird closed his remarks by quoting Doctrine and Covenants 45:56-57, which says that when Christ comes in His glory, those that are wise, have received the truth, have taken the Holy Spirit as their guide and who have not been deceived shall “abide the day.”
“And as the Book of Revelation teaches at the end, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come.’
Look forward to that day,” Bird encouraged.