Saturday, October 19, 2013

Blogging "65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming" - Part 5.

This is part 5 of my review of David Ridges, 65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second ComingPart 1 is herePart 2 is herePart 3 is here. Part 4 is here.

In earlier installments, I had made it through Ridges introductory comments and discussion, and the first 20 signs. This time, I will move on to the 21st through 30th signs:

(21)  The prophet Elija will come to restore the keys of sealing. The reason for this sign is given in Malachi 4:5-6. Turning the hearts of the father to the children and vice versa is in reference to the sealing of families together in the eternities--that is, creating links between not only living members of our families, but our ancestors who have passed on and accepted the gospel through Christ's (and others) teaching the Spirits in prison (i.e., in the after life). The fulfillment of this sign is recorded in D&C 110:13-16, which happened to be Easter Sunday, or the time of the Passover.

(22)  The Saints will be few in number, but the power of God will be with them. This sign is being fulfilled. It was given in 1 Nephi 14-12-14. The comforting thought in that scripture is that even though all the powers of Satan are turned against the Saints and the true Church, the Lord will be with the Church and protect us. Thus, members have the right to be protected from the harrowing perils of the last days, which blessing will not necessarily accorded to those outside the Church.

(23) Christ will come to his temple. The source of this sign is Malachi 3:1. Ridges contends that this prophecy was fulfilled when Christ appeared at the Kirtland Temple (D&C 110:1-10). However, while recognizing that the Kirtland visitation satisfies the prophecy, I suspect that it has a dualistic meaning, also referring to Christ's Second Coming when he comes to the temple to be build in the New Jerusalem and inaugurate his reign here on Earth.

(24) Genealogical research and interest in family history will spread as never before. This sign is derived from Malachi 4:5-6. Obviously, in order to seal together our families, we must first know or identify our families and ancestors, which requires genealogical research. And, of course, the interest in genealogy has literally exploded as a hobby not only in the Church but outside as well. Ridges indicates in his book that genealogy has become the number one hobby in the U.S.; and he notes that over half of the visitors to the LDS genealogy center in Salt Lake are not members of the Church. Accordingly, this sign has been fulfilled and continues to be fulfilled.

(25) Dangers upon the water. Ridges notes several scriptures as sources of this sign, but the most relevant to us is probably D&C 61:13-19. Versus 15 and 16, in particular, note:

15 Wherefore, the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters.
 16 And it shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the land of Zion upon the waters, but he that is upright in heart.

As Ridges notes, some of the prophecies and guidance concerning travelling on the waters appears to be related to the specific time and travel upon the primary water ways in America at that time (the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio Rivers). The versus above, however, appear to refer to some future day where troubles upon the water (or perhaps weapons) will make travelling by sea to be highly dangerous. 

(26) Much ecological damage will occur in the last days. Ridges cites, for instance, Rev: 8:7-12 which describes great natural disasters. Verse 7 seems to describe many small meteorites ("hail and fire mingled with blood"); The second verse describes "a great mountain burning with fire [that] was cast into the sea," which could be a large meteor, or a volcano collapsing into the sea. Whatever it describes, it results or proceeds one third of the life of the sea perishing and one-third of ships being destroyed.

(27) The sun will be darkened and the moon will become as blood. Ridges suggests that this sign has already been fulfilled. The primary reference Ridges relies on is Joel 2:28-32. (But see also Matt. 24:29 and Revelation 6:12). Ridges notes that in October 2001 general conference, President Hinckley indicated that Joel's vision had been fulfilled. Ridges notes that this imagery could be literal or figurative. For instance, in its figurative sense, we use the Sun and the Moon to represent the Celestial and Terrestrial glories. Ridges suggests that "[i]t could mean that throughout this world there will be an overflowing flood indulging in filth and spiritual pollution, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, pornography, dishonesty, crudeness, selfishness and so," so that it become difficult for anyone to life a Celestial or Terrestrial life. It could have a literal fulfillment, in pollutions or emissions in the air literally dimming the Sun and the Moon or, I would add, even the dimming of the light of the sun due to changes in the sun or intersteller dust. For instance, the sun currently produces far fewer sunspots than normal, indicting reduced steller activity.. Ridges acknowledges that Pres. Hinkley may have been speaking that the conditions for fulfillment had occurred. I would suggest that these may refer to different events. 

(28) Diseases, plagues and pestilence will sweep the earth in spite of medical advances and technology. This is being fulfilled. Ridges cites to numerous scriptures warning of plagues and pestilence (as well as other calamities  prior to the Second Coming:  D&C 109:30; 2 Nephi 6:14-15; D&C 84:97; D&C 87:6; and in a portion of Joseph Smith's translation of Matthew. Consider that with air travel, diseases can now more freely and quickly spread than before; and biotechnology opens the way for tailored diseases and plagues. I would also note that this is not necessarily limited to just humans. We see wheat rust threatening wheat production in much of the third world; we see diseases destroying trees and wild animal populations; even diseases sweeping through certain areas of livestock production and disease spreading and killing off bee colonies.

(29) Knowledge, science and technology will increase dramatically. One of the sources for this sign is Daniel 12:4. I would note the following from an article at Industry Tap (IT) News:

Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months.  According to IBM, the build out of  the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.
(30) Wars and rumors of wars will become normal life. Ridges cites several scriptures for this point, as well: Matt. 24:6, Joseph Smith Translation Matthew 1:23, D&C 45:26. Like most people, Ridges interprets this solely as a result of an increased number of wars. However, researchers have shown that fewer people are dying of organized violence (war) now than ever before in the past--even considering the hundreds of millions killed under the direction of atheist regimes (fascists and communists) in just the past 100 years. (See also here and here). This is where I believe that the "rumors of wars" becomes significant. Even though violence is declining, overall, we hear more about it through the media than ever before. Thus, the "rumors of war."

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