(H-10) Christ’s Appearance to Mankind
When the Lord returns He will make some appearances to specific groups and then culminate His return by His appearance in great power, majesty, and glory, in such a manner that all the world will see Him (see D&C 133:17–22 and 101:22–23). Four appearances of the Lord have had particular mention by the prophets: two of these appearances will be to the Saints; one appearance will be to the Jews; and the fourth will be His final coming to the world.
The appearance at the city of New Jerusalem. The Lord “shall suddenly come to his temple” (D&C 133:2), a temple yet to be built in Jackson County, Missouri (see D&C 84:1–5; 97:10, 15–16). Elder Charles W. Penrose said that the Lord would make His appearance first among the Saints and “that appearance will be unknown to the rest of mankind. He will come to the Temple prepared for him, and his faithful people will behold his face, hear his voice, and gaze upon his glory. From his own lips they will receive further instructions for the development and beautifying of Zion and for the extension and sure stability of his Kingdom.” (Millennial Star, 10 Sept. 1859, pp. 582–83.)
The appearance at Adam-ondi-Ahman. The Lord will appear to the Saints at a great sacrament meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Daviess County, Missouri, attended by those who have held the keys of the priesthood during all the gospel dispensations and by faithful Saints from all ages. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “Daniel in his seventh chapter speaks of the Ancient of Days; he means the oldest man, our father Adam, Michael, he will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council.” (History of the Church, 3:386–87; see also D&C 116.)The appearance at the Mount of Olives. The Savior’s appearance to the Jews will occur when Jerusalem and its environs are besieged by many nations. At the close of a long and costly war, known as the battle of Armageddon, the Jews will flee for safety to the Mount of Olives. There the Savior will make His appearance. (See D&C 45:48–53; 77:15; 133:35; Revelation 11:1–13; Zechariah 14:1–9).
The Second Coming: the appearance to the whole world. As the Lord’s Second Coming approaches, signs will mark this epochal event. One of the last of these signs is the sign of the Son of Man (see D&C 88:93; JS—M 1:36). The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “Then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, &c. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man, which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.” (History of the Church, 5:337.)
Following the sign there will be “silence in heaven for the space of half an hour, and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded” and the Lord will make His appearance (D&C 88:95). So great will be the glory and power of His coming that the earth will tremble, the sun shall hide his face in shame, the mountains will melt and flow down, and the waters of the seas will boil (see D&C 133:40–42, 49; 101:25). All that is corruptible will be consumed and destroyed by the brightness of His presence (see D&C 5:19; 101:24–25). The Lord will wear red clothing, signifying His great atoning sacrifice and also His judgments upon the wicked (see D&C 133:48–51).
At this long-awaited day the Lord’s people will receive the reward for their faithfulness and endurance (see D&C 54:10; 133:52–53). Both the righteous living and the celestial dead will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air to be rewarded according to their deeds while the wicked are destroyed and cast into outer darkness (see D&C 88:96–97; 101:89–91). This will be the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (D&C 110:14, 16).