— Daniel 4:1 RE
I started this series of posts to discuss the fervent desire we all have, to see the Lord’s work progressing and the prophecies fulfilled. In this series, we’ve considered things that may be holding back our progress, and we’ve discussed important things we need to do.
To wrap up this series, I want to take a look at where we are, what’s going on, and what we should expect. In doing so, I hope to perhaps offer a better perspective so that we, individually and as a community, can exercise greater faith.
In part one of this series, I said the following:
Tremendous things have happened, and many of us hope more will happen soon. Look at all that has come in a few short years: The gospel taught with clarity and power; a new dispensation with renewal of baptism and worship; new scripture giving us the most accurate accumulation of Christ’s words to date; a covenant established by God; new words from Jesus Christ and John; incredible light and knowledge pouring forth; thousands awakening and arising. These are tremendous blessings, which ought to fill us with gratitude.I want to add one more bit of clarity to the above thought. This from Denver Snuffer:
Mankind is approaching the moment in which the Lord is about to return (see Matthew 11). All of the signs that He speaks of will occur in one single generation, and the signs have begun to appear. This means those now alive are living within a generation in which a great deal is to occur. As it was in the days of Noah, so is it about to be — on the one hand, dreadful things are coming; but it also means that prophets are again going to be among man, people with messages that come from the Lord. (500th Year Reformation Talk One, 9, Los Angeles, CA, Sept. 21, 2017, emphasis mine.) See also “Signs of the Times” in the Glossary of Terms
|Total Solar Eclipse 21 August, 2017
Signs, you say?
Given that the signs have begun, it’s reasonable to ask, “What signs?” Here are a few I’ve mentioned over the years:
Show of Force
Here’s a must-read from John Pratt:
Kingdom of God Born
And here are a few more great reads over at Bare Record of Truth:
Great American Eclipse
Four Destructive Forces
Return to Light
Super Full Blue and Blood Moon
3rd Month, 3rd Day, 3rd Hour and 3 Birds
I’ve found all these signs absolutely delightful and awe inspiring. But amazing as they have been, perhaps the most cosmically significant event that has taken place thus far in the ongoing restoration, is the Lord’s offer of a covenant and its acceptance by several hundred willing souls. This event is a milestone in the Father’s marvelous work, as outlined by Jesus Christ:
But if they will repent, and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance. (3 Nephi 10:1 RE)This last labor in the vineyard, this marvelous work now underway, has begun among the gentiles, just as prophesied:
The Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the gentiles which shall be of great worth unto our seed…And it shall also be of worth unto the gentiles, and not only unto the gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of Heaven unto Abraham, saying, In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed…wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel. (1 Nephi 7:3 RE)The restoration of this covenant and its acceptance by some few gentiles means the Lord now has an active, living covenant people again on the earth. This milestone of the marvelous work was heralded by signs in the heavens above and in the earth beneath. Take a look at this remarkable timeline put together by Vaughn Hughes.
As impressive as these signs are, though, it’s important to remember that signs follow faith, but do not produce it. I think the fact that signs come by faith is best illustrated by the chain of events leading up to the covenant.
The process started many years ago with the beginning of the Joseph Smith papers project, but we’ll pick it up more recently, when a few independent individuals and small groups recognized the need for a more accurate collection of scripture and began working toward that end without knowledge of each others’ efforts. These individuals and groups worked for months, even years, before two groups finally announced their work within a week of one another in December, 2016.
When these two groups found they had been working on parallel projects, they decided to join forces and compare notes. Soon others joined, and what had been a small, private effort turned into a much more extensive group effort to recover the most correct collection of scripture possible.
This effort caught the attention of heaven, and rightly so. Such a thing had not happened since the days of Joseph Smith, and not on this scale since the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon. Heaven took notice when believers on earth valued scripture enough to act in faith and sacrifice, to seek to recover what was lost.
The effort, of course, encountered opposition from fools and knaves, but it also found support among believers who valued the Lord’s words enough to seek all of them that could be obtained—including a wholesale recovery of the written testimony of John the Beloved. The work continued for many months, encompassing many thousands of hours of combined effort.
Meanwhile, another man had listened to the voice of inspiration years before and secured the scriptures.info web domain, thus providing a suitable location for the new scriptures to find their electronic home.
As all this activity, effort, and sacrifice drew toward completion, Denver Snuffer came to realize a prayer for acceptance of the effort by the Lord would be necessary. He attempted to write such a prayer, but ultimately the Lord gave the revelation known as the “Prayer for Covenant.”
Shortly thereafter, the Lord answered the prayer and offered his covenant to the body of believers. Some labored together to organize a conference for the purpose of accepting and canonizing the new scripture effort, and enter into the covenant with the Lord. This occasion would also mark the first time any body of believers accepted the Book of Mormon by covenant. The scripture project itself is a sign that the Lord is again laboring in the vineyard.
The day the scriptures were canonized, a different kind of labor began, 260 miles to the East, as the earth shook, touching off a swarm of earthquakes leading up to a great sign in the heavens, 20 days later.
And the woman, being with child, cried, travailing in birth and pained to be delivered. And she brought forth a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God and his throne…the woman—who was the church of God—who had been delivered of her pains and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ. (Revelation 4:1, 3 RE)These immense signs, signifying events prophesied for thousands of years, came AFTER all the required faith, labor and sacrifice were present and completed. They confirmed the faith of those who paid attention, and meant nothing to those who did not.
Signs, wonders, types, and shadows are nothing if they fail to get mankind to look at the underlying reasons for them. They are not the real thing. They merely point to the real thing; for that, it is left between each individual and the Lord. Some few will see it as it really is. They will not be limited by the failures of the generation they live in. (Glossary: Law of Moses)What About Now?
And now, this brings us back to current events, and what is now happening. My purpose isn’t merely to draw your attention to past signs. Rather, I hope to draw your attention to the LACK of signs in the current, day-to-day labor of seeking to become fit for a new kind of civilization. It’s possible—even tempting—to find discouragement in the apparent lack of new signs and wonders as we all labor to do and be what is required. Some have, and some yet will, conclude this effort is not the Lord’s, and will not lead to the hoped-for conclusion. Faith and patience are difficult, whereas our worldly culture has taught us to seek immediate gratification.
Remember, faithful labor and sacrifice took place for YEARS—unheralded, unrecognized, quietly and in private, among numerous believers—before public signs and wonders confirmed the outcome of all that faithful labor, culminating in the covenant. Some concluded, during the intervening years, that nothing was happening, and that whatever efforts took place must therefore be misguided. They insisted on signs before they would believe. They were wrong.
So Here’s my Point:
Much more is coming, and is, in fact, now underway. Just like the events leading up to the covenant, things are now happening behind the scenes—unheralded, unrecognized, unknown to nearly all, but privately recorded in journals and in the hearts of believers. The Lord’s work continues at an astonishing pace. It WILL all happen in this very generation. Signs have, do, and will follow these efforts, many of which are, and will remain, unknown to the general body of believers, but are most certainly directed by the Lord, whose timing is exquisite and perfect. Therefore, when the time is right, some things will be more public. But until then, we must continue in faith and patience, trusting the Lord is able to do his work and knows precisely how to do it.
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming “nothing is happening,” but instead rejoice at all that has happened thus far, and practice faith in the Lord that he will yet fulfill all his promises. If we wish to witness the ongoing marvelous work, the most important things we can do are humble ourselves, repent, faithfully do what the Lord has asked, and continually ask “What lack I yet?”
Consider where you were and what you believed ten years ago. And five years ago. And even last year. Could you have ever anticipated this? By small and simple means are great things brought to pass. Expect the unexpected.
Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel.
—1 Nephi 7:3 RE