Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blogging "65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming" - Part 6

This is part 6 of my review of David Ridges, 65 Signs of the Times Leading Up to the Second Coming. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here.

In earlier installments, I had made it through Ridges introductory comments and discussion, and the first 30 signs. This time, I will summarize the 31st through 40th signs:

(31)  Famines, earthquakes, tornadoes, and natural disasters will abound. Ridges lists this sign as one currently being fulfilled. He notes, for instance, D&C 45:33 which states:

And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
Other scriptures he mentions are D&C 88:88-91 which also discusses earthquakes, thunderings and lightening, tempests, etc. I would also noted Matt. 24:7, Luke 21:11, Rev. 8:5, Rev. 11:13, and Rev. 16:18. Ridges takes the position that there has been increase in both frequency and intensity of these natural disasters. I actually have not seen anything other than anecdotal evidence to suggest an increase in natural disasters. In fact, it appears that the last couple of decades have been relatively benign, notwithstanding some disasters such as Fukushima, Katrina, and the tsunami in Indonesia. Some of the strongest earthquakes, volcanic explosions, and other natural disasters actually occurred in the 1800s and early 1900s. I've noted in a prior post that the deadliest earthquake recorded (actually a series of quakes) was in the 12th Century. What this indicates to me is that we are right now in a lull--a time I believe is intended as a last chance to turn from our (speaking of the world at large) ways--and that this lull will probably end soon, and suddenly.

(32)  Strikes, overthrowing of governments, gang warfare, violence, and disrespect for authority will increase. Ridges categorizes this as being fulfilled. Ridges notes for this a passage by Bruce R. McConkie explaining what "the whole earth will be in commotion" (D&C 45:26), and other scripture such as Isaiah 3:5, and 2 Tim. 3:1-4. This is one that has been happening for a long time. Socialism and progressivism is based on the basic premise that traditional culture, society, government, institutions, believes, etc., should be discarded as a matter of course, to be replaced by rule by an expert elite (essentially, philosopher kings). Because of strict government controls on drugs and alcohol, powerful black markets have arisen that have enabled the growth and spread of organized crime. In the past short time, we are even seeing normally respectful groups in society (conservatives) exhibiting increasing disdain toward government (and, vice versa). Native kingdoms and powers were overthrown by the great colonial powers, which, after exhausting themselves in world wars, were replaced by various tyrants, which are yet again cycling through more changes in the Middle-East and Africa. Thus, we are well and deep into this sign ... and it will only get worse.

(33)  Sexual immorality, homosexuality, lesbianism, and pornography will abound. Being fulfilled and, in fact, has greatly accelerated since Ridges penned his book in 2009. See, e.g., 2 Tim. 3:6, and Romans 1:24-31. Ridges notes that these sins, and many others, will be softened by use of political correct speech, noting this 1996 General Conference talk by Neal A. Maxwell. I would also note the October 2013 General Conference talk by Dallin H. Oaks, in which Elder Oaks stated:

There are many political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and contrary to the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and childbearing. These pressures have already authorized same-gender marriages in various states and nations. Other pressures would confuse gender or homogenize those differences between men and women that are essential to accomplish God’s great plan of happiness. 
Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them. And, unlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies are determined by the truths God has identified as unchangeable. 
Our twelfth article of faith states our belief in being subject to civil authority and “in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Commitment to our highest priority—to love and serve God—requires that we look to His law for our standard of behavior. For example, we remain under divine command not to commit adultery or fornication even when those acts are no longer crimes under the laws of the states or countries where we reside. Similarly, laws legalizing so-called “same-sex marriage” do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it. We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from serving other gods and priorities—even those becoming popular in our particular time and place. 
In this determination we may be misunderstood, and we may incur accusations of bigotry, suffer discrimination, or have to withstand invasions of our free exercise of religion. If so, I think we should remember our first priority—to serve God—and, like our pioneer predecessors, push our personal handcarts forward with the same fortitude they exhibited.
(34)  The disintegration of the family will bring prophesied calamities in the last days. Being fulfilled. Ridges notes the proclamation issued about the family, and in particular, the following:
Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
 I would also refer you back to the scriptures and talks cited as to Sign No. 33. I've written on this topic before, such as here and here. In December of last year, I quoted the following from an article written by Jonathan Last:

As Robert George put it after the election, limited government “cannot be maintained where the marriage culture collapses and families fail to form or easily dissolve. Where these things happen, the health, education, and welfare functions of the family will have to be undertaken by someone, or some institution, and that will sooner or later be the government.” Marriage is what makes the entire Western project​—​liberalism, the dignity of the human person, the free market, and the limited, democratic state​—​possible. George continues, “The two greatest institutions ever devised for lifting people out of poverty and enabling them to live in dignity are the market economy and the institution of marriage. These institutions will, in the end, stand or fall together.”
And this from Paul Rahe:
... Liberty requires a responsible citizenry, and the sexual revolution (very much like the drug culture, which was and is its Doppelgänger) promotes irresponsibility of every kind. It promotes dependence, and it fosters an ethos in which those who exercise the virtues fostered by the market are punished for doing so and in which those who live for present pleasure are rewarded.
 I've also previously noted the deleterious effects on children and society of families where the father is absent.

See also this article by David Goldman.

(35)  The Spirit will stop working with the wicked. Being fulfilled. I would have preferred the wording that the Spirit will stop striving with the World. Ridges writes that the substance of this sign is "[t]hat in the last days, because of gross wickedness, great numbers of people will cease to feel the natural righteous emotions, feelings, common sense, wisdom, appreciation of beauty, nature, environment, worth of humans, and so forth, which are instilled and nourished by the Spirit." See 2 Tim. 3:1-7 and Romans 1:29-32.

(36)  Peace will be taken from the Earth. Being fulfilled. See D&C 1:35-36, D&C 115:6.

(37)  Jerusalem will be a "cup of trembling" to those who attempt to fight against it. Ridges lists this as both fulfilled and being fulfilled. This is in reference to Zechariah 12:2:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
Ridges cautions, though, that although all nations will be involved with Israel, it is only those nations that fight against Israel that will be broken in pieces upon Israel.

(38) The righteous will be alerted by the signs of the times. Being fulfilled. This is less a "sign of the times," than a promise to the righteous. Ridges notes that:

[O]ne of the many good reasons for studying and becoming familiar with the signs of the times [is that] [n]ot only do they provide testimony that the scriptures are true, but they also provide strength and spiritual stamina for us against deception, discouragement, and despair as the prophesied punishments of God descend upon the inhabitants of the earth ....
(39) People will refuse to believe obvious truths and will instead adhere to fables and falsehoods. Being fulfilled. From 2 Timothy 4:3-4:

 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 
 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Ridges comments that the absence of sound doctrine, or turning to "fables" is not only applicable to religious doctrine, but also to politics, business practices, and, in general, the philosophies of men.

(40) False prophets, false churches, and false miracles will abound. Being fulfilled. See Matt. 24:24 and Mark 13:22. Again, Ridges warns that this is not necessarily limited to just religious cults:

Media idols, liberal [i.e., socialist/progressive] philosophers, corrupt politicians and business people, and a host of other public and private "heroes" could well fit into this category. In fact, any in positions of influence who lead others astray could be considered to be in the category of false prophets and false Christs.

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