Title: The Millennial Reign of Christ on the Earth
By: Robert J. Norman
Latter-day scriptures teach us that the earth was designed to become our Celestial Kingdom and the ultimate place of our land of inheritance as promised in the Abrahamic Covenant. (D&C 88:17-20)
We are also taught that we, as children of God, have the potential of becoming like Him. (D&C 132:20) In order for this to happen both the earth and mankind need to be cleansed and made pure and holy. The Millennial reign of Christ is an important step to this end. Significant changes need to take place on the earth and in man so that they both may reach their divine potential.
In order for the Abrahamic covenant to be fulfilled the earth must fill the measure of its creation and be sanctified and be prepared for its Celestial glory. God’s children also need to be sanctified and be made holy to fill the measure of their creation to be exalted and enthroned in the Celestial Kingdom.
The Millennial reign of Christ on the earth is an important part of this preparation for the earth and man.
MILLENNIUM CANNOT BE COMPREHENDED AT THIS TIME
Isaiah declares that we cannot fully comprehend the glory of the Millennial reign of Christ.
4 For since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
However, both ancient and latter day prophets have blest us by giving descriptions of this holy and very essential period of the earth’s history. We are then better able to understand how the Lord will bring to pass his purposes for both the earth and his children.
ALL TO BE MEMBERS
Just as the Books of Helaman and Third Nephi in the Book of Mormon are a pattern for the second coming of Christ, so does 4 Nephi point us to some of the great blessings that await the faithful in the millennium. We will look at these changes a little later in this presentation. It is important to note that when the Lord visited the Nephites and Lamanites there were both covenant members of his kingdom and those who had not yet entered into the covenant. However, in a very short time all were converted to the Lord. There appears to be a transitional period of missionary work until all are converted.
4 Ne 1:2
2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
When the Lord comes again there will be both members and non-members on the earth. They will all be worthy of being on the earth at his coming. There appears to be a transitional period of missionary work in which the inhabitants of the earth will decide whether or not to follow Christ. However, eventually all will enter into the covenant and become members. Here is what the Prophet Joseph Smith had to say about the matter:
While in conversation at Judge Adams' during the evening, I said, Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the thousand years. They will not probably dwell upon the earth, but will visit it when they please, or when it is necessary to govern it. There will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years. The heathen nations who will not come up to worship will be visited with the judgments of God, and must eventually be destroyed from the earth. (Dec. 30, 1842.)
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.268)
We know that the wicked will be destroyed at the coming of Christ so in what context must the term “wicked” be understood? While an apostle Elder Joseph Fielding Smith had this to say about the wicked during the millennium,
The Prophet's statement that there will be wicked men on the earth during the millennium has caused considerable confusion in the minds of many who have read in the Scripture in many places that when Christ comes the earth shall be cleansed from its wickedness, and that the wicked shall not stand, but shall be consumed. See D&C 5:18-19, 29:8-10, 101:23-25; Isaiah 24:1-3; Malachi 4:1. The evil-minded inhabitants, those "who love and make a lie" and are guilty of all manner of corruption, will be consumed and pass away when Christ comes. In using the term "wicked men" in this instruction at the home of Judge Adams, the Prophet did so in the same sense in which the Lord uses it in the eighty-fourth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, 49-53. The Lord in this scripture speaks of those who have not received the Gospel as being under the bondage of sin, and hence "wicked." However, many of these people are honorable, clean living men, but they have not embraced the Gospel. The inhabitants of the terrestrial order will remain on the earth during the millennium, and this class are without the Gospel ordinances. See D&C 76:73-76.
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.269)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie discusses this concept further,
. . . wickedness is a matter of degree, and even those who are upright and decent by worldly standards but who reject the gospel and do not worship the true God are considered to be wicked by gospel standards. They are "under the bondage of sin." They do not accept the message of the restoration and gain a remission of their sins in the waters of baptism. "And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now." (D&C 84:49-53.) Thus the divine word, as given by Zechariah, says that "it shall come to pass"-in the millennial day-"that every one that is left [after Armageddon] of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not to keep the feast of tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles." (Zech. 14:16-19.) Thus there will be many churches on earth when the millennium begins. False worship will continue among those whose desires are good, "who are honorable men of the earth," but who have been "blinded by the craftiness of men." (D&C 76:75.) Plagues will rest upon them until they repent and believe the gospel or are destroyed, as the Prophet said. It follows that missionary work will continue into the Millennium until all who remain are converted. Then "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9.) Then every living soul on earth will belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
(The Millennial Messiah, p.651)
Jeremiah further teaches us that in the millennium all will know the Lord and no longer need to be taught about him,
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
MISSIONARY WORK AND TEMPLE/FAMILY HISTORY WORK IN THE MILLENNIUM
Both missionary work and temple and family history work will be a critical part of the millennium. As already pointed out, the time will come in the millennium when all will be members. Temple and family history work will continue until we present in the Lord’s holy temple a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation. (D&C 121:24)
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught,
The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. The Apostle (Paul) says, "They without us cannot be made perfect;" (Hebrews 11:40) for it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times-a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man.
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.356)
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith explained,
President Brigham Young has said that during the millennium those on the other side will work hand in hand with those in mortality and will furnish the names of the dead which we are unable to obtain through our research, and thus every soul that is entitled to these blessings shall be ferreted out and his work done for him.
(Doctrines of Salvation, 2:, p.120)
THE IMPACT OF THE LORD’S VISIT TO THE NEPHITES AND LAMANITES
The Lord’s visit to the Nephites and Lamanites had a powerful affect on their civilization for almost two hundred years. There were many changes in their civilization because of the Savior’s influence and teachings to them. These changes give us an insight into some of the conditions of millennial life. Some of the changes recorded in 4 Nephi were as follows:
· There were no contentions or disputations – v. 2
· They had all things in common and there were no rich or poor – v. 3
· They were all partakers of the heavenly gift – v. 3
· Many miracles were wrought by the disciples of Jesus – v. 5
· They did prosper exceedingly – v. 7
· The birthrate significantly increased – v. 10
· They were blessed in their marriages – v. 11
· There were never a happier people among God’s children – v. 16
· There were no robbers, no murderers, no discrimination or class distinction – v. 17
· They were blessed and prospered by God in all that they did – v. 18
TWO CAPTALS DURING THE MILLENNIUM
When the Savior returns in glory to reign over the whole earth, he will have two capitals. His political capital shall be the New Jerusalem which is now located in Missouri. This was the location of the fall of Adam. His ecclesiastical capital will be in Old Jerusalem where he worked out the atonement. (see A New Witness For The Articles Of Faith, p. 641)
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE EARTH DURING THE MILLENNIUM
There are to be many significant changes to the earth during Christ’s Millennial reign.
In the D&C 101:23-36 the Lord tells us to prepare ourselves for the revelation that is to take place at his coming. The scripture then proceeds to list many of the changes to expect. Let us first look at this descriptive scripture:
23 And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.
24 And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed;
25 And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth.
26 And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.
27 And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him.
28 And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man.
29 And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.
30 In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree;
31 And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious.
32 Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things--
33 Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof--
34 Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.
35 And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
36 Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
VEIL COVERING THE EARTH SHALL BE TAKEN OFF
In verse 23 we discover that the earth is covered by a veil that will be lifted at the Lord’s coming, which will allow all flesh to see the Lord together. We also learn that the Lord considers the earth which is covered by this veil as his temple.
The Prophet Joseph Smith was very descriptive of the day when the Lord comes and the veil is lifted,
When I contemplate the rapidity with which the great and glorious day of the coming of the Son of Man advances, when He shall come to receive His Saints unto Himself, where they shall dwell in His presence, and be crowned with glory and immortality: when I consider that soon the heavens are to be shaken, and the earth tremble and reel to and fro; and that the heavens are to be unfolded as a scroll when it is rolled up; and that every mountain and island are to flee away, I cry out in my heart, What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness!
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.29)
The Prophet also taught that we must be able to endure persecution in order to stand in the day when the Lord shall come,
Those who cannot endure persecution, and stand in the day of affliction, cannot stand in the day when the Son of God shall burst the veil, and appear in all the glory of His Father, with all the holy angels.
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.42)
EVERY CORRUPTIBLE THING BOTH OF MAN AND BEAST CONSUMED AND EARTH IS TRANSFIGURED
Verse 24 declares that every corruptible thing both of man, beast, and fowl will be consumed.
From D&C 5:18 and JS-H 1:37 we learn that this cleansing destruction comes from the brightness and glory of the Savior and those heavenly hosts who are with him. This is the time that has been spoken of by the prophets when the earth will be baptized with fire and the Holy Ghost.
This is also the time of the transfiguration of the earth as shown to Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration.
It is impossible for this mortal earth to endure the presence of the Savior and the righteous ones that he brings with him without the earth and all things on it being transfigured. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “God Almighty Himself dwells in eternal fire; flesh and blood cannot go there, for all corruption is devoured by the fire.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 367)
In D&C 63:20-21 we read:
20 Nevertheless, he that endureth in faith and doeth my will, the same shall overcome, and shall receive an inheritance upon the earth when the day of transfiguration shall come;
21 When the earth shall be transfigured, even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount; of which account the fulness ye have not yet received.
This baptism and transfiguration will have a powerful affect on the earth and all that inhabits it.
Elder Orson Pratt taught:
. . . the earth will be baptized with fire, and wickedness swept away from its face, so that the glory of God shall cover it. As the waters cover the great deep, so will the earth be overwhelmed and immersed in the glory of God, and His Spirit be poured out upon all flesh, before the earth dies. After this purifying ordinance, there will be a thousand years of rest, during which righteousness shall abound upon the face of the earth; . . .
(Journal of Discourses, 1:, p.292)
At another time Elder Orson Pratt elaborated,
So must this earth be baptized by fire, it must be cleansed from all sin and impurity. Will it be filled with the Holy Ghost? Yes. These elements that melt like wax before the presence of the Lord will again be filled with his Spirit and will be renewed, and the earth itself will be full of the knowledge of God as the waters cover the channels of the great deep.
(Journal of Discourses,16:, p.319)
Nephi tells us that he, on occasion, felt the powerful spirit of the Lord and his love, “even unto the consuming of my flesh” he said. (2 Nephi 4:21) Can we imagine being transfigured so that we could endure even greater portions of this spirit. Our spiritual growth and development would be exponential compared to the progress that we make at this Telestial level. Under these circumstances we are told in D&C 45:58 that children will grow up without sin unto salvation. It is readily apparent how essential this Millennial period is to help us in our quest to become like our God. Under these circumstances, I believe, we will better understand this promise made in,
30 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name.
Under these Millennial conditions we will become more familiar with the great power that the Lord has to save and exalt his children.
As just pointed out in D&C 101:23, all things become new, that the Lord’s knowledge and glory may dwell upon the earth. As we view these marvelous changes we gain a greater understanding of what the new heavens and the new earth are like. (Isaiah 65:17).
This is the world that Peter referenced when he wrote,
2 Pet 3:13
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
INCREASE OF KNOWLEDGE TO COVER THE EARTH
Let us take a moment to look at the increase of knowledge that is associated with the glory of the new earth. In another prophecy, Isaiah spoke of the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9) That is an interesting metaphor especially if you have flown across the great deep. You become quickly aware of how much water covers our globe, it goes on for miles in each direction.
In 2 Nephi 30:16-18 we learn:
2 Ne 30:16-18
16 Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men.
17 There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.
18 Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; . . .
The sealed portion of the Book of Mormon will be made available in which Moroni declares,
“… there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.” (Ether 4:4)
Again, from D&C 121:26-32 we learn:
26 God shall give unto you knowledge by his holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
27 Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory;
28 A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest.
29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
30 And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars--
31 All the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times--
32 According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.
And finally it is declared in D&C 101:32 “that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things.”
The Millennial reign of Christ on the earth is truly designed to help us to know what he knows and to become like he is.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT
The next thing that we learn from the revelation in section 101 is the powerful affect that the pouring out of the Spirit will have upon all flesh that is allowed to stay on the earth. In verse 26 we learn that all enmity will cease both of man and the beasts. The earth becomes a true safe haven for all. There will be nothing to threaten the peace and security of all creatures.
Our level of spirituality appears to increase significantly so that whatever we ask in prayer it will be given to us as mentioned in verse 27.
Isaiah says that the Lord will answer even before we call upon him and while we are yet speaking he will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)
In verse 28 we are told that “Satan shall not have power to tempt any man.” Nephi teaches us this in 1 Nephi 22:26,
1 Ne 22:26
26 And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.
DEATH AND RESURRECTION TO TAKE PLACE IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE
The sorrow from death will be eliminated as death and the resurrection take place in the twinkling of an eye. (D&C 101:31)
THE LAND MASSES TO BECOME ONE
There are structural changes to the earth when the Lord comes.
As previously mentioned, the veil will be lifted from the earth, we get new heavens and a new earth, and the earth will be transfigured.
The Lord challenges us to be one and if we are not one we will not belong to him. (D&C 38:26) One of the events that will happen and contribute to our ability to become one as a people, all of the land masses will be united. In D&C 133:23-25, we learn,
23 He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land;
24 And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.
25 And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh.
A PURE LANGUAGE TO BE RESTORED
The scriptures tell us that we will have a pure language during the millennium,
9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
The Prophet Brigham Young taught,
In my reflections I foresee a time, when we shall be able to communicate with each other easier and with much more pleasure and satisfaction than we now do; but we will then use a different language. Although the language that we now speak is as good as any language that has yet come to our knowledge, still it is very meager, and limited in its range and power, and though it is a good medium at ordinary times, yet it comes very far short of being such a medium, as man needs to convey thoughts, when he is inspired by the power of God, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, and is full of the revelations of Jesus. It is written "Therefore, wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." When a man rises up to speak in the name of the Lord, and is filled with the light, and the intelligence and power which cometh from God, his countenance alone will convey more, to those who are inspired by the same spirit, than can possibly be conveyed, by the words of any language now used by mankind.
(Journal of Discourses,10:, p.354)
Elder Matthew F. Cowley commented on the pure language that was lost anciently and will yet be restored,
Paul says, "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (I Cor. xiii.) Prophecy and tongues and the gifts of the Gospel imperfectly enjoyed by man in his weakness were never designed to be done away until we come to enjoy a more perfect fullness, "when we see as we are seen and know as we are known." Zephaniah says: "For then will I turn to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." (Zeph. iii: 9.) The pure language was confounded at the tower of Babel, because men sought to thwart the purposes of Jehovah. When the time comes that the wicked who will not obey are swept from the earth, the Lord will restore to His children the language which they learned from their mother tongue and which was spoken from Adam to the time of the tower of Babel. He will also unite the great bodies of water into a mighty ocean and roll it back to its place in the North, while the lands of the earth will be reunited and become one vast continent.
(Cowley's Talks on Doctrine , p.194)
THE LAW OF CONSECRATION TO BE LIVED
When the Lord asks the saints to be one and if they are not one they are not his, it was in context of introducing them to the law of consecration. The question is, “will the saints live the law of consecration during the millennium?”
President Marion G. Romney answered this question in the New Era, May 1979, pp. 38-39
I have been asked to respond to the question, “Will the righteous members of the Church be asked to live the law of consecration?”
I shall make my response in light of the following three premises that I accept as ultimate truth.
1. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the divine program for bringing mortals back into the presence of God where they can enjoy eternal life.
2. The Church is the organization through which its members put into practice the principles and teachings of the gospel.
3. Foremost among gospel teachings is unity. “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:27.)
. . .
The scriptures speak of several occasions on which the law of consecration in some form has been implemented.
The first was in the days of Enoch when “the Lord came and dwelt with his people, and they dwelt in righteousness.
“And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:16, 18.)
Another occasion occurred among the Nephites immediately following the ministry among them of the resurrected Christ, concerning whom the record says:
“And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.
“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
“And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.” (4 Ne. 1:2–3, 15.)
The Saints who went to Missouri in the early 1830s were commissioned to live the law of consecration, but they failed to do so.
. . .
In the 1930s our present welfare program, which embodies some phases of the law of consecration, was inaugurated.
As to the question, “Will the righteous members of the Church be asked to live the law of consecration?”—my answer is yes. I believe that the righteous members of the Church will, in time, become “united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom” and that the law of consecration will be lived by them during the millennium.
Part of the requirement to live the law of consecration is to “esteem his brother as himself, and to practice virtue and holiness before (the Lord). (D&C 38:24-25) As previously pointed out the Lord will have done several things to help us to be one and to esteem our neighbor as ourselves.
· He pours out his Spirit on the earth and baptizes it by the Holy Ghost and all enmity disappears.
· All the land masses become one.
· He restores to us a pure language so that we can serve him with one consent.
The Lord prayed for our oneness in his great intercessory prayer in John 17:21-23,
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
During the millennium this oneness becomes a reality. We will esteem our neighbor as ourselves and practice virtue and holiness. We will unite with each other in the law of consecration and move closer to the Celestial realms which is our ultimate destiny.
CITY OF ENOCH TO RETURN
The City of Enoch will return to the earth for the Millennial reign of Christ. Anciently Enoch was given the following scenario by the Lord concerning the city of Enoch coming to dwell on the earth,
63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.
65 And it came to pass that Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, in the last days, to dwell on the earth in righteousness for the space of a thousand years;
THE LORD WILL BE OUR LIGHT
Our Savior who is brighter than noonday sun will come to govern the earth. The effect of his presence will be a resplendent light,
20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
21 Thy people also [shall be] all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
Elder Alvin R. Dyer comments,
The countenance of the glorified Christ at his majestic second coming, will shine beyond the light and brilliance of the sun, so that: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory."
(Who Am I?, p.474)
THE EARTH WILL BE FRUITFUL AND PRODUCTIVE
Isaiah tells us that there will be no crop failures during the millennium,
23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
President John Taylor had this to say about the glorious state of the millennium and it productivity,
"Having restored the earth to the same glorious state in which it first existed; leveling the mountains, exalting the valleys, smoothing the rough places, making the deserts fruitful, and bringing all the continents and islands together, causing the curse to be taken off, that it shall no longer produce noxious weeds, and thorns, and thistles; the next thing is to regulate and restore the brute creation to their former state of peace and glory, causing all enmity to cease from off the earth. . . .
"Thus, having cleansed the earth, and glorified it with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea, and having poured out his Spirit upon all flesh, both man and beast becoming perfectly harmless, as they were in the beginning, and feeding on vegetable food only, while nothing is left to hurt or destroy in all the vast creation, the prophets then proceed to give us many glorious descriptions of the enjoyments of its inhabitants. 'They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine of them; they shall plant gardens and eat the fruit of them; they shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth in trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them; and it shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.'
(The Government of God, pp.114-115)
As we think of the earth as it now stands with millions of acres that are desert, dry, and unproductive as well as uninhabitable, can we imagine the productive and habitable space that will be created when all becomes watered? The Sahara Deseret in Africa, the world’s largest hot desert, covers 1,791,500 square miles. Just imagine all of that region being fruitful and productive. President Taylor mentioned the deserts becoming fruitful. Isaiah also gives us this same picture,
1 THE wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing . . .
What our pioneer forefathers accomplished here in what was once called “The Great American Desert” is just a type and a shadow of that which is to come to all of the deserts of the earth.
BODIES NOT SUBJECT TO SICKNESS AND DISEASE
Our bodies during the millennium will be living in a paradisiacal, transfigured state. They appear to be akin to the bodies of the three Nephites. We are told that they would not taste of death until they were changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality. They were also told that they would have no pain except for sorrow for the sins of the world. (3 Nephi 28:37-39) Sickness and disease will also be done away with in the millennium. Elder Bruce R. McConkie points out,
During the millennium however, disease will be utterly banned from the earth; man's body will then be changed so that no germ or plague can affect it; and there will be no death as we now know it. (D. & C. 101:23-31.)
(Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.198; see also, The Millennial Messiah pp. 644-647)
THE MILLENNIUM IS A TIME OF REGENERATION
The Savior taught his twelve apostles that his coming was a time of regeneration,
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Also, in the sermon at the temple in the Americas, the Savior challenged the saints to be perfect even as he and our Father in heaven are perfect. (3 Nephi 12:48)
Elder James E. Talmage addresses this regeneration and perfection,
The millennium, with all its splendor, is but a more advanced stage of preparation, by which the earth and its inhabitants will approach foreordained perfection.
The term regeneration translated from the Greek palingenesia, and signifying a new birth, or, more literally, one who is born again, occurs twice in the New Testament; while other expressions of equivalent meaning are found. However, the terms are usually applied to the renewal of the soul of man through spiritual birth, by which salvation is made obtainable; though our Lord's use of the term, in the promise of future glory which He confirmed upon the apostles, has probable reference to the rejuvenation of the earth, its inhabitants and their institutions, in connection with the millennial era: "I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." . . .
That the change to a state more nearly approaching perfection is to affect both nature and man is evident from the teachings of Paul, as recorded in his letter to the Romans: "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:21-23)
Throughout the Millennium, the process of regeneration will continue. Society shall be purified; nations shall exist in peace; wars shall cease; the ferocity of beasts shall be subdued; the earth, relieved in great measure from the curse of the fall, shall yield bounteously to the husbandman; and the planet shall be redeemed.
(Articles of Faith, p.339-340)
One of the great events associated with the Second Coming and the Millennial reign of Christ is found in D&C 88:108-110,
108 And then shall the first angel again sound his trump in the ears of all living, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God in the first thousand years.
109 And then shall the second angel sound his trump, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the thoughts and intents of their hearts, and the mighty works of God in the second thousand years--
110 And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer; and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.
For the want of a better term, I refer to this as the event of full disclosure. The Lord will reveal the whole history of the earth as seen from both sides of the veil. He will reveal his great work with all of its righteousness and also how men reacted to his great plan including their secret acts and thoughts.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks in his book, Pure In heart, pp. 11-12, made comment on this event,
As we learn in modern scripture, during the events connected with the Second Coming, God will "reveal the secret acts of men, and the thoughts and intents of their hearts" (D&C 88:109).
Brigham Young taught: "We shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body and according to the thoughts and intents of the heart" (John A. Widtsoe, ed., Discourses of Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 382).
Karl G. Maeser, the great leader of Brigham Young Academy, told his students: "Not only will you be held accountable for the things you do, but you will be held responsible for the very thoughts you think." For a time that teaching troubled his young student George Albert Smith. Then he understood. As he said later :
Why, of course you will be held accountable for your thoughts, because when your life is completed in mortality, it will be the sum of your thoughts. That one suggestion has been a great blessing to me all my life, and it has enabled me upon many occasions to avoid thinking improperly, because I realize that I will be, when my life's labor is complete, the product of my thoughts. End quote
All men will be evaluated in relationship to the backdrop of the work of God. Whatever kingdom each person is assigned they will know perfectly well why they are there. Everyone will have a perfect perspective of the plan of God and their relationship to it.
This may be what contributes to all men declaring that the judgments of God are just, Alma pointed this out by viewing it from the eyes of the wicked,
14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.
15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.
In the end both the righteous and the wicked declare that the judgments of God are just. When one contemplates the vast history of the earth and the myriads of conditions under which God’s children were tested, this is a great miracle.
There is a song that the Lord has revealed to us that will be sung in the millennium. It heralds a description of the new earth and the changes effected by the coming of our Savior. It is found in D&C 84:95-102,
95 Wo, I say again, unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony of me;
96 For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
97 And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness--
98 Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
99 The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
100 The Lord hath redeemed his people;
And Satan is bound and time is no longer.
The Lord hath gathered all things in one.
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
101 The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength;
And truth is established in her bowels;
And the heavens have smiled upon her;
And she is clothed with the glory of her God;
For he stands in the midst of his people.
102 Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
Forever and ever, Amen.
I will conclude with a quote from Elder Bruce R. McConkie describing Millennial worship,
How and in what manner will men worship their God during the Millennium? In answer, we can only call attention to the pure and perfect worship ordained to be in that blessed age. We cannot find language-nor does such exist-that will define and describe the spiritual feelings or make known the holy peace that will then fill the hearts of worshipping saints. This we know: the Millennium is designed to save souls; Satan will be bound, and sin as we know it will cease; all false religions and every rite and practice that is not of God will go the way of all the earth; and true worship, untainted, unalloyed, unabridged, will fill the hearts of all men. The gospel in its fulness and perfection will fill every heart; all people will be baptized; all shall glory in the gift of the Holy Ghost; all men will hold the priesthood and magnify their callings; and there will be no marriage but eternal marriage. It will be a day of personal revelation, a day when the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, a day when no man need say to his neighbor, "Know the Lord," for all shall know him from the greatest to the least. In that day the blessings of the Second Comforter will be poured out upon the saints, and every man will be his own king and his own priest, and the will of God shall be done on earth as it is in heaven. What more need we say?
(A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.643)