“The Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord”

Lesson 48 – Zechariah 10-14; Malachi

 

Introduction

The scriptures refer to the Second Coming as a “great and dreadful day” (Malachi 4:5).  President Ezra Taft Benson explained how it can be both, “[The Savior’s] coming will be both glorious and terrible, depending on the spiritual condition of those who remain” (New Era, May 1982, 49).

This lesson includes discussions about (1) the prophecies that Zechariah and Malachi made about the last days and (2) our preparation for the Second Coming.  Sincerely considering these teachings should encourage us to (1) prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, (2) pay an honest tithe and generous offerings, and (3) experience blessings that come because of the priesthood’s sealing power.

 

Zechariah and Malachi prophesied of many events of the last days.

 

1. Prophecies that have been fulfilled in preparation for the Second Coming

·         Malachi 3:1 - Malachi prophesied that a messenger wwould prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord’s mortal ministry, and Joseph Smith is the messenger who prepared the way for the Second Coming (see Matthew 11:10; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 1:193-95, 3:10-14).

·         Malachi 4:5-6 - Malachi prophesied that the prophet EElijah would return before the Second Coming to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. This prophecy was fulfilled when Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, restoring the keys of the sealing power (D&C 110:13-16).

 

2. Prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled before the Savior comes

·         Zechariah 10:6-8 - The people of Judah and Joseph will bbe gathered, and the people of Ephraim will become mighty. The Lord will “hiss,” or call, for his people and gather them.

·         Zechariah 12:2-3, Zechariah 12:8-9 - A great war will be fought in and aroound Jerusalem, but the Lord will intervene and save the inhabitants of Jerusalem from destruction.

·         Zechariah 14:8. Living waters will flow from the temple in Jerusalem and will heal the Dead Sea and the Judean wilderness (see also Ezekiel 47:1, Ezekiel 47:8-9).

Many of the prophecies of the last days include tragedies such as war, natural disasters, and widespread wickedness.

 

3. Prophecies that will be fulfilled when the Savior comes

·         Zechariah 14:3-4 - The Savior will stand on the Mount off Olives, and the mount will be divided in half (see also D&C 45:48).

·         Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:6 - The Jewish people living at the time of Jerusalem’s deliverance will see Jesus Christ and will mourn because they as a people have rejected him as the Messiah (see also D&C 45:51-53).

·         Zechariah 13:2 - False idols, unclean spirits, and fallse prophets will be destroyed.

·         Zechariah 14:5 - The righteous who are alive on the eaarth will be caught up to meet the Savior. The righteous who have died will be resurrected and will also be caught up to meet him (see also D&C 88:96-98).

·         Zechariah 14:9 - The Lord will be king over all the eaarth and will rule during the Millennium.

·         Zechariah 14:12-13; Malachi 3:13-18; Malachi 4:1-3 - The wicked will be destroyed, and thee righteous will be spared (see also 1 Nephi 22:15-17, 1 Nephi 22:19).

 

D&C 45:56-57 - We can be prepared for the Second Comming of the Savior by being wise, receiving the truth, having the Holy Spirit for our guide, and guarding against being deceived.

 

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “As we live the commandments of God, we can look forward with joyful anticipation to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and know that through our efforts we are worthy, with our loved ones, to dwell in His presence for all eternity. Surely nothing is too hard to gain this great goal. We cannot let down for a moment. We must prove, every day of our lives, that we are willing to do the will of the Lord—to spread the restored gospel, to bear testimony to the world, to share the gospel with others” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 341).

 

Malachi taught about the blessings that come to those who pay tithes and offerings.

 

People “rob God” by not paying tithes and offerings. 

The meaning of a full tithe has been defined for us by the First Presidency: “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this” (First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 1970; see also D&C 119:1-4).

 

Malachi 3:10-12 - Blessings the Lord has promised us iff we pay tithing include pouring out a blessing such that there will not be room to receive it, rebuking the devourer for our sakes, protecting our crops (or livelihood), and giving us a delightsome land. 

 

Should the promise of extensive blessings be our motivation for paying tithes and offerings?  After referring to the blessings the Lord gives to tithe payers, President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Now, do not get me wrong. I am not here to say that if you pay an honest tithing you will realize your dream of a fine house, a Rolls Royce, and a condominium in Hawaii. The Lord will open the windows of heaven according to our need, and not according to our greed. If we are paying tithing to get rich, we are doing it for the wrong reason. The basic purpose for tithing is to provide the Church with the means needed to carry on His work” (Ensign, May 1982, 40).

 

Malachi prophesied of Elijah’s return to the earth to restore the keys of the sealing power.

 

Malachi 4:6 - Malachi prophesied that the prophet EElijah would come to the earth before the Lord’s Second Coming.

This prophecy was fulfilled as recorded in D&C 110:13-16.  Elijah appeared in the Kirtland Temple and restored to Joseph Smith the keys of the sealing power.

To “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” means to be sealed to all our ancestors—our “fathers”—and to all our posterity—our “children”—forever. Because of the sealing power of the priesthood and the temple ordinances for the living and the dead, families can be bound together for eternity.

Many of us have felt our heart turn to our ancestors as we have done family history and temple work for them.

The message in Malachi 4:5-6 is repeated quite often and is taught in each of the standard works (Luke 1:17; 3 Nephi 25:5-6; D&C 2:1-3; Joseph Smith—History 1:37-39).

 

When will the Second Coming occur?

 

D&C 39:20-21; D&C 49:7 - The Lord has made clear that while hee will surely come again, no person knows the exact time.

 

Elder Richard L. Evans said: “Some of the brethren … approached [President Wilford Woodruff] and … inquired of him as to when he felt the end would be—when would be the coming of the Master? These, I think, are not his exact words, but they convey the spirit of his reported reply: ‘I would live as if it were to be tomorrow—but I am still planting cherry trees!’ I think we may well take this as a page for our own book and live as if the end might be tomorrow—and still plant cherry trees! In worrying about things that are beyond our reach, we should not overlook our opportunities with our own families and friends; in worrying about possible eventualities we should not neglect the things that need to be done here and now, and that are within our reach” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, 105-6).

 

Conclusion

At the conclusion to this year’s course of study, w should be grateful for the teachings in the Old Testament that we have been privileged to study during 2002.  Next year’s course of study is the New Testament with emphasis on the Savior’s mortal ministry and his teachings.

 

These lessons are posted on the Internet at www.neumanninstitute.org