After Jesus teaches the Pharisees at the temple, He goes with His apostles to the Mount of Olives. They are wondering what He means by the destruction of the temple, the destruction of the Jews, His coming, and the end of the world.
I’m not a bible scholar, so I don’t understand everything that the apostles know or understand, but it seems to me that they are still having a hard time grasping the fact that He will be dying a few days later; that His life with them was His coming to the earth where He would overcome sin and death through the atonement and resurrection, but that it wouldn’t be the end of the world or righteousness. That would happen later.
I have a feeling that they were aware of some of the prophecies, but it is important to remember that Christ – dying and then being resurrected – was unprecedented. I can’t see why they would understand it perfectly.
Signs of Christ’s Coming
Throughout Matthew 24 (or Joseph Smith—Matthew) the Lord gives various signs of what the world will be like before and when He comes.
One of them sticks out to me. He talks a lot about being deceived:
“…Take heed that no man deceive you;” – Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:5
“For many shall come in my name, saying—I am Christ—and shall deceive many;” – Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:6
“And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many;” – Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:9
“For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.” – Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22
The part of the warning that really stands out to me is the idea of being deceived. Have you ever been lied to? I have. Sometimes the lies are little – no big deal. Other times, they are big and I end up believing…There are lies that I’ve believed for years. So, when I see this warning: not to be deceived, I feel a little puzzled at first. How?
Jesus tells us the answer:
“And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived,…” – Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37
We need to treasure the word of God. Not only that, but we need to be sure that when we do treasure up His word, we let it infuse our lives with the Spirit. It is through the Holy Ghost that we will know truth. We can also rest assured that the Holy Ghost will not testify to something meant to deceive us because the Holy Ghost cannot bear false witness. So…in order to have the Holy Ghost in our lives, we need to treasure the word of God: learn it, know it, and live it.
I’m not going to reiterate these parables here, but I will say that you should check out this post about the ten virgins.
In parables of the virgins, the talents, and the sheep and the goats, there are examples of people who were prepared for the coming of the Lord and those who weren’t prepared for it. None of the people knew when their master would return. They just knew that one day the bridegroom would come, there would be a reckoning of talents, or the sheep would be divided from the goats. Those who were prepared for the coming of the Lord had done work in one way or another. They were wise. They may not have had as much fun, but they were ready when it mattered. None of them were deceived.
As Easter nears, I hope to do a better job remembering that not only did Christ live, die, and then live again for me, but that He will return. The time before His return will be trying. Many people will try to deceive (and may even accomplish this) the very elect. I don’t want to be deceived. I want to keep my eye on the Savior – the Word, and let His Spirit infuse my life, so that I will understand, recognize, and rejoice in truth and be ready when He comes again.