Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Blogging "65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming" - Part 2

This is part 2 of my review of 65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming. Part 1 is here.

In chapter 2 of his book, David Ridges sets out some general cautions and observations. First, he cautions that Satan knows his time is short, and is intensifying his efforts. (See Rev. 12:12). He notes a couple (but certainly not all!) of the tactics that Satan is using:

(a)  Destroying Valid Heroes: Ridges notes that "one of the devil's effective approaches for deceiving is to attempt to do away with decent heroes." This includes efforts to undermine and question the greatness of America's Founding Fathers. "When we encounter such tearing down of the founders of our nation, we would do well to study what the Lord says about these great individuals." For instance, in D&C 101:77-80:

77 According to the laws and aconstitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the brights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles; 
 78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. 
 79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. 
 80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
(Underline added). Ridges then discusses the temple work performed for many of the founders, and quotes statements from Wilford Woodruff in this regard, including:
I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.
(b) Pitting Men Against Women. Ridges writes that "[a]nother all-out effort on Lucifer's part to deceive and destroy in our last days is his evil effort to pit men against women. This is an obvious and overt attempt at the destruction of families.... Pitting men against women and women against men destroys unity and teamwork. It destroys the very finest of feelings and relationships. The debate rages on as to who is most important, man or woman." He then discusses both modern revelation and scripture that note that men and women are to be equal partners in the family--"one flesh" as it says in Genesis. He also notes that marriage is necessary to enter into the highest kingdom in the after-life--no man can get there without his wife; and no woman can get there without her husband. Quoting Bruce R. McConkie, "Exaltation grows out of the eternal union of a man and his wife."

Second, Ridges cautions that we should avoid using the signs of the times to frighten or spread panic. "It is very significant that the Savior instructed His loyal followers [in Matthew 23] not to allow the signs of the times to promote fear and trouble in their own hearts." As Christ goes on to explain, the signs of the times are given to the faithful so that they can know that the Second Coming is near--i.e., the signs are not meant to frighten the faithful, but instead to build their faith and act as a testimony. The fulfillment of the signs acts as "proof" of God's existence to the faithful.

Third, Ridges cautions that no everyone will be subject to the "mark of the beast" or under the rule of the Beast's kingdom. He notes that other portions of Revelation specifically mention that there will be those that oppose the Beast and his power. See Rev. 14:9 and 20:4. "We [must] conclude that only the wicked and those who foolishly ignore the counsel of the prophets to live the gospel, to live within their means, and so forth, will fall under the control of the 'beast' in the last days before the coming of the Lord." He explains the mark on the forehead:

Simply put, symbolically, those who are loyal to wickedness, financial greed, and so forth, are depicted as having the mark of the beast on their foreheads. Whereas, those who are loyal to God and to righteousness, are depicted in the revelation, according to the Jewish cultural symbolism of John's day, as having the name of God on their foreheads." Thus, it is a misconception to belief that the "mark of the beast" will be a literal tatoo or barcode or implanted chip.

Fourth, he warns (and as I have discussed before) that no one--not even Christ, Himself--knows the timing of the Second Coming. It cannot be calculated or extrapolated, and obsession with trying to calculate the time of the Second Coming can be harmful and lead some astray.

Fifth, Ridges advises that we should not put our lives on hold because of the closeness of the Second Coming. As noted, we do not and cannot know the timing. We must go on with our lives, get an education and develop a career, save for retirement, raise families, and so on.

Sixth, only those caught up in the ways of the world will be caught off-guard by the Second Coming. This may seem to contradict the prior point, but it does not. The signs will compound so that the faithful will get a better and better sense of the general timing, if not the specific time. See D&C 106:4-5.

Seventh, he advises us to avoid trying to develop an exact sequence of the final signs of the times. I won't go into detail here, suffice to say that as you read different scriptures from the Old Testiment, Revelations, and other scripture, there is not discernable sequence. As above, we are not meant to know the exact time of the Second Coming.

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