Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Transition Into The Millennium

 In our Thursday night Doctrine and Covenants class we will be covering D&C 101.  In this revelation the Lord describes the transition into the Millennium in verses 23-34.  The Institute Student Manual of the Doctrine and Covenants has some excellent material on Millennial life:

What Will Millennial Conditions Be Like?

Five features of the Millennium, the thousand-year personal reign of Christ on earth, are as follows:

1. “The enmity of all flesh, shall cease” ( D&C 101:26 ). Elder Orson Pratt said that “the enmity of the beasts of the field as well as that of all flesh will cease; no more one beast of prey devouring and feasting upon another that is more harmless in its nature; no more will this enmity be found in the fish of the sea, or in the birds of the air. This change will be wrought upon all flesh when Jesus comes; not a change to immortality, but a change sufficient to alter the ferocious nature of beasts, birds and fishes. . . . gentleness, will characterize all the wild and ferocious animals, as well as the venomous serpents, so much so that the little child might lead them and play with them, and nothing shall hurt or destroy in all the holy mountain of the Lord, all things becoming, in some measure, as when they were first created.” (Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 20:18.)

2. “Whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him” ( D&C 101:27 ). People sometimes pray for things they should not have. The Millennium will change that. People will ask only for righteous things, and all requests will be honored by Heavenly Father.

3. “Satan shall not have power to tempt any man” ( v. 28 ). See Notes and Commentary on Doctrine and Covenants 43:31 for an explanation of how Satan’s power to tempt will be limited.

4. “Death will vanish from the earth” ( D&C 101:29–31 ). During the Millennium, death will cease among the righteous inhabitants of the earth. They will live to be very old, and when the time for the change known as death arrives, they will “be changed in the twinkling of an eye” from mortality to immortality and their “rest shall be glorious” ( v. 31 ). Among those that have “kept the faith” ( D&C 63:50 ), there will not be a separation of the spirit and body where the spirit passes into the spirit world and the body is laid in the ground to await the Resurrection. Instead, at the appropriate time, there will be an instantaneous change from a mortal to a resurrected, immortal condition.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said: “When Christ comes the saints who are on the earth will be quickened and caught up to meet him. This does not mean that those who are living in mortality at that time will be changed and pass through the resurrection, for mortals must remain on the earth until after the thousand years are ended. A change, nevertheless, will come over all who remain on the earth; they will be quickened so that they will not be subject unto death until they are old. Men shall die when they are one hundred years of age, and the change shall be made suddenly to the immortal state. Graves will not be made during this thousand years. . . . death shall come as a peaceful transition from the mortal to the immortal state.” ( Way to Perfection, pp. 298–99, 311.)

The scriptures and the writings of the prophets indicate that during the Millennium people living a terrestrial level of righteousness will be on the earth, but eventually all will have the opportunity to receive the gospel (see Isaiah 11:9 ; Habakkuk 2:14 ; Jeremiah 31:34 ). Those who do not receive the gospel will be swept off the earth (see Isaiah 65:20 ).

Isaiah taught that during the Millennium “the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” ( Isaiah 65:20 ). Zechariah taught that at that time the heathen nations who will not come to worship in Jerusalem will be visited with the Lord’s judgments and eventually destroyed from the earth (see Zechariah 14:16–19 ; see also Smith, Teachings, pp. 268–69).

The contrast between these statements and those of the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 101:30–31 and 63:50–51 indicates a difference between the condition of the righteous and the condition of the unrighteous during the early period of the Millennium. Elder Erastus Snow said that during the Millennium “the children that shall grow up unto the Lord shall not taste of death; that is, they shall not sleep in the earth, but they shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and they shall be caught up, and their rest shall be glorious” (in Journal of Discourses, 7:355–56; italics added).

5. “In that day . . . the Lord . . . shall reveal all things” ( D&C 101:32 ). The Millennium is the time when the Savior will personally work with the faithful, obedient members of His Church who have lived on the earth since the days of Adam. One can only imagine the blessings that are in store for those who have been faithful. For example, the first ten chapters (about fifteen pages) in the book of Genesis cover approximately two thousand years of history. The amount of knowledge that has been lost concerning just this period is astounding. In the Millennium all that knowledge, and more, will be restored. It is of little wonder, then, that Saints have longed for the day when Christ would be in their midst, a day in which He will make all things known.
D&C 101:35–38 . “In Patience . . . Possess Your Souls, and Ye Shall Have Eternal Life”

The Lord urged the Saints in these verses to place more attention on eternal life than on the pursuits of mortal life. He indicates that those who had lost their lives in Jackson County (there were some), and those who would do so in future persecutions (six thousand lost their lives while crossing the plains to Utah) need not fear. Those who are faithful have the hope of a glorious resurrection and the blessings of eternal life with God.

President Heber C. Kimball said: “Have I not told you often that the separation of body and spirit makes no difference in the moral and intellectual condition of the spirit? When a person, who has always been good and faithful to his God, lays down his body in the dust, his spirit will remain the same in the spirit world. It is not the body that has control over the spirit, as to its disposition, but it is the spirit that controls the body. When the spirit leaves the body the body becomes lifeless. The spirit has not changed one single particle of itself by leaving the body.” (In Journal of Discourses, 3:108.) 
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (Religion 324-325) pp. 241-242.