(taken at SCTEX near Clark Exit)
Scripture Block: Joseph Smith—Matthew (Matthew 24)
Source of Texts:New Testament Teachers Manual, Lesson 21,Pages 86-89
This was how the sky looked like yesterday during our drive to Manaoag, Pangasinan. Just looking at the sky,we know that it will rain so we made sure we have food and water in my "72 hours kit",umbrella and jacket.
Predicting the weather is one situation in which we rely on signs to help us prepare for upcoming events. If we watch the signs, we reduce our chances of being caught unprepared. Similarly watching for the signs of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ can help us prepare for that great event. While the prediction about the weather may turn out to be wrong,but the prophecies about the Second Coming will all be fulfilled.
In teaching today's lesson, I used the texts in Joseph Smith - Matthew account as suggested in the New Testament Teachers Manual, to understand the events described in Matthew 24.
I learned that the prophecies in Matthew 24 were answers of Jesus Christ to the two-fold questions of his disciples who accompanied Him to the Mount of Olives: (i) impending destruction of Jerusalem and (ii) signs that will precede the Second Coming.
Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:5-20 is the Savior's answers to the first question while Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:21-55 is His answers to the second question.
1. Jesus foretells the impending destruction of Jerusalem (JSM 1:5-20)and warnings for the Jews.
Signs that the destruction of Jerusalem is near:
(taken at the Carancho House in Urdaneta,Pangasinan)
-Many shall come saying "I am Christ and shall deceive many.
-Jews shall be delivered to be afflicted,be killed and be hated of ALL nations
-Many false prophets shall come and deceive many
-Iniquity shall abound and love of many shall wax cold
-Abomination of Desolation speaking of by Daniel in the New Testament about the destruction of Jerusalem
Savior's Counsel for the Jews:
-STAND in holy places
-Those in Judea, FLEE into the mountains
-Those in the housetop, FLEE and NOT RETURN to take anything
-Those in the field, NOT RETURN to take his clothes
Although many Jews did not believe their great city and temple could be destroyed,the Lord prophecies were fulfilled in A.D. 70.Believing that the Messiah would come and help them in battle, the Jews revolted against the Romans in A.D. 66.Four years later the Romans had destroyed the entire city. Those who listened to the Savior and fled to the mountains were spared.Those who did not heed the Savior's counsel were scattered and destroyed.
2.Jesus describes the signs of the Second Coming
(taken at Hundred Islands, Alaminos City, Pangasinan)
- Arise false Christ and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders,that even the elect shall be deceived
- Hear wars and rumors of wars
- Gathering of the elect from the four corners of the earth and this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world
-There will be famines,pestilences,earthquakes in divers places
-Fulfillment of the abomination of desolation being spoken of by Daniel in the New Testament
-sun shall be darkened, moon shall not give light, stars shall fall from heaven abd powers of heavens shall be shaken
The Lord's Counsels:
(taken at my room in Nova Romania, Valenzuela City)
-Be Not DECEIVED
By treasuring up the Lord's word (JSM 1:37) through a daily reading of the scriptures and following the counsels of the living prophet.
-Be NOT TROUBLED
"The Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that,if followed,will see us safely through any crisis. His purposes will all be fulfilled,and someday we will understand the eternal reasons for all of these events.Therefore,we must be careful not to overreact,nor should we caught up in extreme preparations; but what we must do is to keep the commandments of God and never lose hope." - Elder M.Russel Ballard,Ensign Nov. 1992)
(taken at the Manila Philippines Temple in Whiteplains, Quezon City)
-STAND in Holy Places (D&C 87:8; 101:22)
"Holy men and Holy women stand in holy places,and these holy places include our temples,our chapels,our homes,and the stakes in Zion,which are ,as the Lord declares, "for a defense ,for a refuge from storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth" -President Ezra Taft Benson