Since the first dispensation of this earth prophets have been warning man of the "Great and Terrible" day of the Lord" when the Anti-Christ will be lifted up to power and will reign for a season. Here are a few thoughts jotted down during conference, and after having also watched the recent Sept 2012 CES Fireside by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, given at Dixie college in St. George, Utah. In that fireside he gave an interesting 4000-year history of covenant Israel's pattern of fleeing into the wilderness to escape Babylon and to build Zion. He gave many examples of this repeated pattern, including Latter-Day Saints who fled Nauvoo and came to the Rocky Mountains, and even the early colonizers who fled the Godless Old World to establish a new home in America.
He said that this has been the oft-repeated pattern until today. Today fleeing stops and we are commanded that we are not to seek Zion as a destination, and that we will never again "flee" Babylon. Today we are not to seek Zion as a place, but as a condition of the heart. He then instructed on how to be a Christian and a true witness and disciple of Christ and left an apostolic blessing of hope, strength, and love that those listening would become true disciples of Christ, which is to become a Zion people. Many of the "Preppers" have expressed excitement, but some disappointment, as some believe that the literal gathering of Israel refers to a migration to Jackson County Missouri, rather than the literal gathering that is occurring through missionary work into the Stakes of Zion at this very moment. But Elder Holland made it clear that the literal gathering of Israel is occurring now wherever foundations of the church exist or have been laid upon the earth, and that these are the places of Zion wherein the saints are being gathered and where they are to build Zion. (Watch Jeffrey R. Holland 2012 CES Fireside Here
Moreover, in a recent ward conference, our Bishop gave a list of things to do to begin our "flee" from Babylon right here, right now, and while keeping our feet and families firmly planted where we now stand. His instructions included turning off all forms of non temple-worthy recreation and to allow the doctrines of Christ to be made fully alive within each of us today. In all of holy writ, every Zion people has made alive each of the Doctrines of Christ
within them, for it is the only way to fill one's lamp with sufficient oil unto becoming sanctified and made perfect, holy, and without spots of darkness in Christ.
Now, let's examine the long awaited Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. Let's dissect it so that we may understand the difference between how to be a part of the Great Day of the Lord, rather than a part of the Terrible and Dreadful Day of the Lord.
Great Day of the Lord!
Keepers of God's covenant with Israel will enjoy the Lord's "great covenant promises" in that day, which include a promise that food and clothing will never depart from them, that their children will grow up unto the Lord in righteousness, and that they will be protected from their enemies forever. What are the signs of covenant keepers? They forsake sin, come unto the Lord, call upon his name, obey his voice, and keep his commandments. These are described in holy writ as repentant Israel or keepers of God's covenants. My brother baptized the first several hundred members of the church in a far away country. When apostles came and stayed in his home they left the blessing of Elijah upon him. This same promise is made available to all true disciples of Christ who consecrate their all to do the Lord's will.
Christ, while giving the Sermon on the Mount to the people of ancient America, at one point turns to his disciples and teaches that they are not to worry about what they need. He reminds them of the fowls of the air, the lilies of the field and promises that God will similarly provide for them their every need as they serve him. He will be their paymaster. Then he turns back to the multitude to continue what is intended for everyone and not just his true and consecrated disciples. We have all been invited to be his disciples and to thereby not only engage in pollinating the world with God's love, but to secure for ourselves in the process, God's covenant promises to repentant Israel. When our prophet declares that our future is as bright as our faith, in part he is declaring that the faith to consecrate all that we have and are to do the Lord's will daily entitles us to great optimism. It also qualifies us to participate in the "great" half of the great and terrible day of the Lord. So how do we miss out on the great and end up participating in the "terrible and dreadful" half of the Lord's great and terrible day?
Terrible and Dreadful Day of the Lord
By comparison, non-repentant Israel or breakers of God's covenants who do not make alive each of the primary the doctrines of Christ within them will experience "terrible or dreadful" covenant curses in the Lord's Dreadful Day. These curses are detailed by Isaiah and include a lack of food and clothing (sackcloth and ashes), men dying in the wars, baldness and stench among women, vain and unruly children and adolescents who behave themselves proudly against the Elderly, and enemies that will drive, scatter, smite, and carry away the unrepentant into captivity and bondage.
Unrepentant Israel are those who are so busily engaged in the cares of the world and the honors of man that they do not devote themselves to forsaking all manner of darkness and sin. They do not call upon the Lord to understand how to fill the void of forsaken darkness with his redeeming light. Nor do they ask for forgiveness and for God's redeeming grace and charity, but they continue in their foolish traditions and never receive a remission of weaknesses and sin. They are too distracted to hear and obey God's voice daily and therefore never lay hold upon the redeeming light and knowledge required to utterly fill their lamps and the void of forsaken darkness unto sanctification.
They are not fully or actively engaged in the process of being made perfect, holy, and without spot in Christ. The laws of holiness have not taken root within them (obedience, sacrifice, gospel, chastity, and consecration). Rather, they remain distracted by the cares of the world and the honors of men to such an extent that they never fill their lamps with the oil of redeeming knowledge, a knowledge that enables man to receive and retain heaven's continuing influence and power. The Lord's great day will be truly terrible for them as they realize they have no power in their lamps to assist them to overcome the great storms in that day. Isaiah says they will not be able to hide anywhere, not in the earth, not in caves, not in holes in the rocks. So no matter how much such a person spends on his/her bunker, guns, ammo, and food, these will each fall to thieves who will break through and steal and to moth and rust that doth corrupt, for such a person has placed their security in "stuff" rather than in the almighty God of Israel. While we must be strictly obedient to the counsels of the Brethren with regards to emergency preparedness, according to Isaiah, squirreling away provisions will be of little use to non-repentant Israel. Gloom and Doom versus Optimism
Note how often we see what is written today in the media that underscores and falsely predicts the worst continually. Elder Bednar gave us the secret as to why our future is as bright as our faith, and what the oil is that fills the lamps of those who make the leap from testimony to conversion, and from conversion to true discipleship. He said that it is knowledge, a knowledge that is only received (as dews from heaven) as we act in obedience to the Lord's will. The prophet Ether called it redeeming knowledge and went so far as to promise that as we render our veil of unbelief with this redeeming knowledge, that we will be shown great knowledge, even hidden treasures of knowledge, and that which has been hidden since the foundation of the world will be shown unto us. Sounds a bit like the great and hidden treasures of knowledge promised in the Word of Wisdom
True disciples come to know personally, as they act in faith to God's voice, that God's covenant promise of power is extended to us only as we are engaged in doing his will daily. As we exercise faith as a principle of action by acting in obedience to his voice, we discover herein is also the secret to exercising faith as a principle of power, because all who act in faith "know or learn" that as you do whatsoever the Lord asks, you are entitled to ask for and to receive all that is needed that you cannot do for yourself while doing his will.
For example, God asks the mustard seed to follow the plan of operation that exists in the DNA of the seed and to grow into a great tree. This plan calls for taking the elements of the earth and arranging them such and such. But the poor mustard seed cannot possibly do this without power or energy required to cause each of these chemical reactions of plant metabolism to take place. So God gives to the mustard seed the sun, which enables the mustard seed to be fueled with sufficient power to enable metabolism. He sends the rain that carries the elements of the earth into the mustard seed that it may arrange those elements according to instructions given in the DNA of the seed. The mustard seed exercises faith as a principle of action, and discovers that such faith enables faith as a principle of power, meaning that we receive all things it needs in order to grow into a great tree, as it acts in faith. It has the power to act, but God gives it all else it needs.
So too, as we follow the Lord's instructions to us with exactness, we are "commanded" to ask for whatsoever we need (See Ether 3) and whatsoever we desire in order that we may accomplish the thing that we are commanded. Daily acts of obedience therefore fill our lamps with a knowledge of these very literal and real operations of the Lord, or as scriptures teach us, as we exercise faith as a principle of "action" we gain redeeming knowledge of how to exercise faith as a principle of power, or how to receive from heaven that which we cannot do for ourselves. How would you like such power in the great and terrible day of the Lord?
The brother of Jared laid hold upon such knowledge. Did he not pray and thank the Lord for his many tender mercies to them while in the wilderness? He "knew" that as they acted in obedience while wandering in the wilderness, the Lord helped them to receive all that they needed. He also asked for forgiveness for his weakness and exclaimed that he and his people were frightened to cross the mighty deep in darkness. Previously we learned that they were commanded to build ships like unto the ones they had built before. Which ships? Ones that were used to cross smaller bodies of water wherein they crossed in darkness. But now they knew they were up against the "mighty deep" and that they would be above and below the water for great lengths of time.
The Brother of Jared knew because of former obedience to act according to God's commands, from a knowledge he had gained thereby, that we are commanded to ask for that which we desire and need, and that all desires given to us by the Holy Ghost are received as we ask for them. He knew the difference between asking in vain and asking to fulfill a commandment of the Lord, and what a desire from the Holy Ghost feels like. Therefore, he asked for light and was given also instruction in how to maintain sufficient oxygen at all times so that they could breathe at all times, something that perhaps hadn't occurred to him, but that the Lord foresaw.
After obtaining the molten stones from the mountain, he then asked in faith for the Lord to cause the stones to shine with light. He prefaced the request with an apology for their weakness and fear of darkness. They surely did not want to cross the mighty deep in darkness and felt a great desire that was given to them by the Holy Ghost to ask for light. Because he had gained the knowledge through experience that God always answers these kinds of desires and that we are commanded to ask for all such desires (see prayer pattern taught by Christ in ancient America), he asked in faith, nothing wavering.
This very moment was choreographed by the Lord. Note that the Brother of Jared did not ask to "see" the Lord, but simply asked for that which he desired, light for their ships. Because Jared had overcome the veil of unbelief (that God might not answer his prayers) through redeeming knowledge that came to him through prior acts of obedience, he did not hesitate to ask rightly of the Lord, but asked with unwavering faith. And then as the Lord extended his hand to touch the rocks, the veil of unbelief was overcome and he saw the Lord's hand.
Covenant keepers similarly know exactly why they will remain optimistic, even as the worst of times are unleashed upon the world. For at the same time hell rears its ugly head to overflowing to destroy the wicked, those of the covenant will establish Zion quietly and powerfully and will dwell under God's protection, just as ancient Israel did at the time of Moses. Unlike Moses, Elder Holland recently stated that modern Israel will not be called to flee, nor will they perish, but with heaven's influence and power they will establish that which will grow to cover the whole earth, even Zion. The process has already begun and will become perfected as we are sanctified and are made perfect, holy, and without spot in Christ. This occurs only in the path of true discipleship. True discipleship is only enabled as each of the Doctrines of Christ
are made fully alive within us.
Study these Doctrines of Christ
carefully. Determine if each is made alive and active within you at all times. Repent of any slothfulness you may currently experience toward Christ's pure doctrines of the priesthood, that you might repent sufficient that the drops by which your lamp is filled may be made plentiful insomuch that in that Great day you will have no problem exercising faith as both a principle of action and power, which will be needed to protect you and yours.
When are we to flee Babylon? Right now! Turn off all entertainment that is not temple worthy. Begin today to go about doing good and lifting your neighbor the way you too would be lifted, according to the Lord loving and daily will for you. Consecrate all that you have and build God's Kingdom and Zion today. Cease to be preoccupied with the cares of the world; rather, learn and do God's will daily and ask him for whatsoever you need so that you do not grow weary, tired, and faint in the way as you do his will. Remember that as you so act, you are his disciple and his promises that he made to his disciples during the Sermon on the Mount apply directly to you.
As you give your all in true discipleship you will discover the law by which the irrevocable blessing of Elijah rested upon my brother and the widow of Zarephath, wherein her cruise of oil and barrel of flour were continually renewed and replenished. Would you rather obey the basic counsels of the Brethren regarding preparedness and receive all else you need as did the widow of Zarephath; or, would you prefer to stockpile that which thieves may very well break through and steal or moth and doth will corrupt? Take a lesson from Jacob and do not seek for riches or to stockpile away vast emergency preparedness items that exceeds that which you have been commanded to store up unto yourself until you first receive a perfect hope in Christ (your calling and election are made sure), and then if you seek riches or greater stockpiles of stuff, it will be with the intent to bless as many others as possible; it will not be to securitize your life, and you will not therein practice Idolatry. Why? Because as one of repentant Israel, your life is already secured by God almighty in whom you trust, and anything you stockpile will be for the express purpose of helping those in need in that day, and not as a backup plan to secure your covenant promises. Isaiah calls all in Israel who would create backup plans because they do not trust in the Lord's covenant promises, abominable miscreants.
How can we be anything but optimistic as are lamps are filled with the oil of redeeming knowledge, wherein we come to know the ways and promises of the Lord, which are unchanging from generation to generation? And we thereby come to know how to operate the laws upon which these blessing become irrevocable to us. And through daily acts of obedient discipleship, the knowledge received enables us to call down heaven's power; we fill our lamps with greater faith and trust to do God's will with exactness, as did the sons of Helaman, whose mothers taught them the laws by which they secured these blessings. And we grow in this path until we at length also lay hold upon perfect hope and optimism that all who have their exaltation sealed upon them enjoy. And as we continue to dwell in the flesh amid our various life circumstances we press forward knowing that God cannot and does not lie, therefore his promises of covenant blessings and covenant curses, and our own exaltation are made sure.
To all who exercise faith to forsake sin, to come unto Christ, to call upon his name, to obey his voice, and to keep his commandments, the future truly is bright! To all such people, they have already fled Babylon and do not look for a future exodus, for they have fled already and live today under God's watchful and loving protection and the build Zion where they are planted. And such a message has always been and always will be free to the world, without money or price. Establish Zion in your home, neighborhood and community today and go about continually pollinating the world with our Master's love, according to his perfect will, one day at a time.