Joseph Smith Helps Us Learn About Jesus Christ
Michael is a BYU student and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as the “Mormon Church” by the media). He is currently taking a religion course at Brigham Young, where he is learning about the Joseph Smith-Matthew (JSM) which is the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 23:39–24:51. Below are his thoughts and feelings concerning this book and how it applies to our lives today:
In Joseph Smith – Matthew, Jesus tells of the impending destruction of Jerusalem. He also prophecies of the events preceding the 2nd Coming, using language similar to that he used to describe events of his time. The parallels he draws help us to understand what we need to do to prepare for the 2nd Coming.
There are very specific parallels between the Lord’s day and our own. Jesus Christ highlights these similarities. He says that, “in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets” (JSM 1:22, emphasis added). He mentions that some aspects will specifically be repeated “again”: “because of iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold, …(and) shall the abomination of desolation …be fulfilled” (JSM 1:30, 32). The evils that were the cause of destruction in Christ’s day are the same evils that we face in the Last Days.
Even though there are dire results prophesied for the wicked, the Lord tells us to “see that ye be not troubled” (JSM 1:23). If we are watching, we can (as the Christians at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem) escape the vengeance that is coming. We simply need to be ready – and we can be. Jesus said “behold, I have told you before” (JSM 1:24) – he has warned us beforehand so that we can prepare ourselves and be ready.
The advice for surviving (physically and spiritually) is the same. Twice, the Lord says that “he that remaineth steadfast, and is not overcome, the same shall be saved” (JSM 1:11, 30). How are the Saints to avoid being overcome? We are to “watch” for the prophesied signs (JSM 1:46), and when we see them to “stand in the holy place” where Zion is gathered (JSM 1:12). We need to listen to the prophets who warn us, and faithfully gather with the saints where we will be safe.
By understanding the similarities between the Meridian of Time and the Last Days, we can be forewarned and prepared for the evils that are coming. We are better able to notice the deceptions and wickedness around us, because we can look at history and see that which was around the Jews and notice the pattern. We can look at the strategies the early Christians used to survive (following their inspired leaders), and do the same to ensure that we too can escape the spiritual and physical danger. Because we know the prophecies, even though we “do not know the hour”, we can still be “ready” for the events prior to the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ (JSM 1:46-47).