THE GOSPEL DOCTRINE CLASS
Special Lesson - December 26 1999
"The Saturday Night of Time"

Introductory Comments

As many of you are aware, I have a tradition of using the last class period of each year for what I have come to title, the Annual Quiz.  As I have contemplated the last Sunday of 1999, I have felt impressed to do something more.  Not only is it the end of a year, but it is also the end of a century and the end of a millennium.  A millennium that began in the dark ages, now comes to a conclusion with a world that has made tremendous progress in science, technology, and knowledge.  The space age has opened.  Communication throughout the world can now be conducted in seconds.  The glorious light of the gospel now shines throughout many nations of the world.  And yet, we end a century that has been among the most horrible in history.  Wars of unprecedented magnitude have been waged.  Weapons capable of destroying life on the planet have been deployed.  As we look to the future, one cannot help but wonder what is next.

Fortunately, we have not been left in the dark.  The voice of the Lord has been heard through his prophets.  In this final lesson of the current millennium, I would like to examine the word of the Lord as revealed through his servants and review some of the prophesied events leading up to the Second Coming of the Savior.  I would like to consider the following words a theme for this lesson.  They come from that beloved apostle and scriptorian, Bruce R. McConkie:

"We are now living in the Saturday night of time; the millennial morning will soon dawn. This is the end of the sixth seal, and the seventh seal will soon be opened. Our modern revelation tells us plainly that Christ will come sometime after the opening of seventh seal; it will be during the seventh thousand years and after the events listed in the eighth chapter of John's writings. The plagues and woes there recited shall all take place during the seventh seal, and they are 'the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.' (D&C 77:12.) Will he come ten or fifty or a hundred years after the opening of the seventh seal? Or will his various appearances be interspersed with the signs of the times that are reserved for that future day? Answers to these and like questions have been withheld from us and will be known only as the various events transpire." (The Millennial Messiah, pp381-382)
In presenting this lesson, I do not necessarily wish to set any time frames or portray any particular sequence of events.  Except for the quotations, the words and thoughts are mine.  I pray that what I write or speak is doctrinally correct, but you must be guided by the Holy Spirit as you study this lesson.

My hope in presenting this lesson, is that you will be inspired to better prepare yourself for that which is about to unfold.  When the Lord spoke to his ancient apostles about our day he said, "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).  We must be prepare ourselves.  Our testimonies must shine bright.  As Heber C. Kimball stated, "The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself. If you do not have it, how can you stand?" (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p450).


Be Ye Ready

  1. It is natural for us to be curious about the events leading up to the Second Coming.  When I was growing up, I found a book in our bookcase entitled The Last Days.  It contained prophecies about our time and events yet to transpire before the coming of the Lord.  I was fascinated with the book and what it foretold about the future.  I wondered if I would live to see some of the events prophesied by the Lord's servants including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other latter-day apostles and prophets.
  2. During the last week of his life, Jesus discussed future events with his apostles.  "And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?" (Joseph Smith Matthew 1:4).  The Lord then went on to teach his curious disciples about the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the latter-day events leading up to his Millennial reign.
  3. WHY DID THE LORD TAKE TIME TO INSTRUCT HIS APOSTLES ABOUT THE GREAT EVENTS OF THE FUTURE?

The Saturday Evening Of Time

  1. When I began this lesson, I was not sure what course it would take.  The prophecies that seemed to grab my attention were those that spoke of turbulent times ahead.  There are many wonderful things that have occurred and will occur in the latter days.  But it seems there is an unparalleled deterioration in society that will lead to the difficulties described by many latter day prophets and apostles.  Jedediah M. Grant relates the following incident, graphically illustrating the grimness of some of the prophecies:
  2. Difficulties to Be Faced By the Saints:
  3. Events in America:
  4. Difficulties Throughout The Earth:
  5. Destiny of the Saints:

If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear

  1. D&C 38:28-30: "And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.

  2.      "Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
        "I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."
  3. How can we prepare?

Summary & Testimony

We stand on the edge of time as we approach the Year 2000.  I don't know that the date of January 1, 2000 is overly significant (except for potential computer problems), but it is a reminder that the seventh seal is about to be opened.  It is a reminder that we are on the eve, the Saturday night of time, when great prophesied events leading up to the Second Coming will be manifest.  These events will occur.  Are we preparing?  Are we standing in holy places?  In the remaining days of this year, we ought to take the time to review our personal and family spiritual preparation.  In what areas do we need to repent?  Let us begin the Year 2000 with a firm resolve to commit ourselves to spiritual preparation.  Let us move from the tide of popular thought and remind ourselves that the Lord's prophets have spoken, that His will shall be manifest, and now is the time to prepare.

My Brothers and Sisters, let me conclude this lesson with my personal testimony.  It has been my privilege for many years to teach the Gospel Doctrine class.  Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of Saints throughout the United States, Canada, and across the world through my webpage.  What a unique and blessed privilege this has been.  I love to discuss and share the gospel and this has been a wonderful forum and the response has been incredible.  Thank you for your love and support.

This past week, my son entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo.  I am moved and touched by his willingness to give up two years of his life to serve the Lord.  What is it that motivates young men and women to sacrifice two years of their life in service to the Lord?  We are blessed to have the Restored Gospel.  This is the work of eternity.  The things of this world pale in comparison.  How blessed we are to have found the truth and to be associated with this Church.  I bear solemn witness that this is, indeed, the work of the Lord.  Joseph Smith was the Lord's instrument in restoring the gospel.  We have the unique opportunity, beginning next week, to spend twelve months studying the Book of Mormon.  My testimony of Joseph Smith is based on my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I love that book, for it brought me out of a time of spiritual darkness.  May we all go forward in this great cause.  Though many of the prophecies of the future are grim, their fulfillment paves the way for the Second Coming and Millennial reign of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  Let us look forward to that day and prepare ourselves accordingly.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Brother Bill Beardall
December 18, 1999
Auburn, Washington


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