As I sat in Sunday school, I reflected on the lesson about “Looking forth for the great day of the Lord come.” The teacher asked, “how can we prepare for the Millennium?”
We skipped the part leading up to the Millennium — the dreadful day of the Lord — the destructions, the chaos, the extreme trials. We jumped to the time after Christ comes to earth during the Millennial Era. We didn’t talk about how we establish Zion or how we become worthy of Zion. In fact no one brought up Zion. We talked about how wonderful it will be, and that we should just live our lives each day, as if it were our last day. That was the consensus from the class.
I don’t readily share my ideas about Zion with others. The people in class are all great people, kind people. But I didn’t think they would be receptive to anything I might share about preparing for the great and dreadful day of the Lord. I’m nobody.
I don’t presume to know when “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” will arrive. Some people have timelines, some people focus on trying to know when society will fall apart (that’s the dreadful part.) Some people prepare by “prepping” — preparing physically for any form of destruction.
It’s always good to be prepared for disaster. I grew up with that in the church — family preparedness was a big deal when I was raising a family. I still have five-gallon buckets of wheat lining my garage and 50-gallon water barrels in my backyard. I had backpacks for my kids filled with 3-day survival supplies and drove around with a 5-gallon water bottle in the back of my road-worthy Suburban. (My kids would get into the snacks I had stored there.)
I would never predict when events will happen with regard to Zion. If the Lord would not reveal it to brother Joseph Smith, I firmly believe God will not reveal it to anyone. “Spencer,” of the book Visions of Glory does not reveal a time. God has said, no one knows.
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.(Matt 24:36-37)
However, I think we need to prepare spiritually. I believe the scriptures give us more details about becoming the type of person that will live in Zion. That’s what the second coming of Christ is all about. He comes when Zion is built. That’s what Joseph Smith was trying to build. He was trying to prepare a people for Zion.
Many Christians believe in the rapture which is similar to the time before the flood, when people worthy of the City of Enoch (Zion) were translated and taken from this telestial earth. The City of Enoch and Zion are the next level up from this kingdom in which we live. The earth as we know it, is a telestial kingdom, and it will be cleansed and “pass on” to the next level which is the terrestrial level — the level where the City of Enoch was lifted up to. It’s the state of Zion. And it’s the state of the earth when the Millennium begins.
But the transition from telestial earth to terrestrial earth will be chaotic. I think of past cataclysmic events that shaped the earth as we know it today. I’m always intrigued by the geological history of the earth as I drive across country. The mountains that have pushed up, the water that has forged through areas such as the Bonneville Lake creating the Columbia River. As much as people try to control the earth and climate — the earth has a destiny not to remain as it is today. It will come about through upheavals. It receives a baptism of fire and will be cleansed of sin.
It’s rather exciting to see the path unfold. I’ve learned a lot from studying Isaiah as translated by Gileadi. He clearly defines spiritual levels of people. I believe that we will need to receive the baptism of fire to stay with the earth as it transitions to the state we call Zion. Then, the earth will enter it’s terrestrial – paradise state.
I think that’s what we need to do to prepare for the great and dreadful day. We need to understand the doctrine of Christ (in the Book of Mormon) which gives us the steps: to exercise faith, repent, and take Christ’s name, showing our desire to follow Him by entering the waters of baptism. Then we must repent repent repent, staying faithful through trials and descents, awaiting our baptism of fire wherein our sins are forgiven (which I believe is an event, not a slow pickling, and you will know when it happens — it’s a birth.) Then you will be prepared for Zion.
I believe that is our exciting step.
Just a note — the baptism of fire is when your sins our burned out and you are purified — this comes before seeing Christ and receiving your calling and election made sure — the baptism of fire is first and marks your progression from telestial to terrestrial, the calling and election made sure is a progression from terrestrial to celestial. So, before wanting to see Christ and receive your calling and election made sure, we should be hoping and enduring our trials and asking God for our baptism of fire and to be cleansed of our sins so that we can participate in Zion.
Then we can be looking forth for the great and dreadful day of the Lord, knowing full well the destructions and trials ahead, but armed with the comfort of having received our baptism of fire.
I think some people have qualified for the baptism of fire, but just don’t know to ask God to be cleansed of all their sins and receive the experience. The Lord is merciful and responds to your desires in a way unique to you.
*There are exceptions of times when people have seen Christ at the time of their baptism of fire — I think this is true for Joseph Smith. He went out to the clearing of trees to ask God for forgiveness of his sins on that first vision experience.
And that’s what I did not share in class.