The Essential Orson Pratt
Foreword by David J. Whittaker
“Latter-day Kingdom, or the Preparations for the Second Advent”
(from A Series of Pamphlets [Liverpool: Published by Franklin D. Richards, 1852])
[p.218]THE SETTING UP OF THE LATTER-DAY KINGDOM—ITS LOCATION IN THE MOUNTAINS—RESTORATION OF THE GOSPEL BY AN ANGEL—ITS UNIVERSAL PROCLAMATION—THE GATHERING OF THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM— DOWNFALL OF THE APOSTATE NATIONS OF CHRISTENDOM, UNDER THE NAME OF GREAT BABYLON.
1.—There is no event that has ever transpired in our world, of such magnitude and importance as the coming of Christ to reign on earth. And as such, it has commanded the attention of the Saints of all ages. All have looked forward to that day as a full consummation of all their hopes. It is the happy period when the righteous shall receive their full reward; it is the time of the resurrection of the righteous dead; it is the day when sin and sorrow shall cease; it is the day of rest—the Millennium of peace—the opening of an entirely new era upon our fallen world.
2.—Is it reasonable to suppose that Christ will return to the earth to reign upon it for a thousand years without preparing the way beforehand, for this most wonderful of all eras? What will be the nature of this preparation? Can there be any preparation whatsoever, short of restoring to the earth a Gospel Church? As there has been no true Church on the earth for some twelve or fifteen centuries, one of the first steps towards preparing for the second advent would be to restore to the earth the Christian Church. Now a work of this kind, and of so great importance, would most likely be the subject of prophecy among ancient prophets, which we find to be the case. Daniel, in his second chapter, speaks expressly of the setting up of this Latter-Day Church, or as he very appropriately calls it, the kingdom of God, represented by a stone.
3.—”And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: [p.219]and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (Daniel ii. 44, 45.)
4.—This same great event is also mentioned in the 34th and 35th verses of the same chapter as follows:—
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
5.—The kingdom which the God of heaven was to set up, has, by many, been supposed to refer to the Church or kingdom which was established on the earth at the first advent of the Messiah, but this idea is altogether erroneous, as we shall now proceed to show.
6.—The time of the organization of the ancient Church does not agree with the period announced in the prophecy. “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom.” In the days of what kings? We reply, in the days of the kings or kingdoms, represented by the feet and toes of the great image, shown in dream to Nebuchadnezzar. This is evident from the 34th verse, “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” Nebuchadnezzar saw a succession of kingdoms, each represented by different parts of the image. His own kingdom was represented by the head of gold. Next in succession was that of the Medes and Persians: the third was the Macedonian under Alexander: the fourth was the Roman. These four kingdoms were represented by the head of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, and the legs of iron: and in order that the image might be complete, the feet and toes had to be formed: these were constructed from the divided state of the Roman empire, the ten toes represented the ten kingdoms, growing out of the iron legs, or the eastern and western empire of the Romans: or, in other words, the feet and toes of the image represent all the broken fragments of the once powerful empire of Rome, which have existed, or shall exist, until the whole image is entirely destroyed. All the European kingdoms, together with the nations of European extraction, now inhabiting America, are the feet and toes of the great image shown to the king of Babylon.
7.—The Roman monarchy was the last which ruled over the eastern continent with almost universal dominion: all kingdoms and governments, growing out of it since that day, have been comparatively feeble, which is literally foretold in the prophecy.
[p.220]8.—Many centuries before these feet and toes were formed, the Saviour established His Church on the earth at His first advent. This occurred in the days of the iron legs; and so strong and powerful was the iron kingdom, that in time it “made war with the Saints, and prevailed against them.” (Daniel vii. 21.) “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” (Daniel viii. 24) “And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries; but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help; but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.” (Daniel xi. 32-34.)
9.—This same wicked power is described by John the Revelator, under the name of the beast with seven heads and ten horns: he says—
“And all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation xiii. 3-7.)
10.—In these quotations it is clearly predicted that the Saints, composing the Church and kingdom of Christ, were to have war made against them; and that the beast, assisted by the dragon or devil, would prevail against, overcome, and destroy them; and that they were to fall by the sword, by flame, and by captivity; and that many should forsake the holy covenant, and many should cleave to them by flatteries; and so complete was to be the triumph of the beast, that all the world should wonder after him, and worship the dragon that gave him power; “and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
II.—What then became of the kingdom of Christ, established at his first advent? It was caught up unto God and to His throne, having passed through great tribulation, while it tarried on the earth; the world being unworthy of so glorious a kingdom, it fled from earth to heaven; and all kindreds, and tongues, and nations were left without the least vestige of the kingdom among them, except its ancient history, called the New Testament.
12.—As the powers of the earth have driven the ancient kingdom of Christ from among men, and entirely banished it from the earth, it is [p.221]evident that it was not the Latter-Day Kingdom of God which Daniel predicted should totally destroy the image. The first advent, therefore, was not the time for the stone to be cut from the mountain without hands. The great image made war upon the former-day kingdom, and overcame it, while the Latter-Day Kingdom will smite the feet and toes of the image, and the whole mixed and corrupt mass will be dashed to pieces. The former-day kingdom of Christ was set up in the days of the iron legs of the image; the Latter-Day Kingdom of God is set up after the feet and toes have been formed. The former-day kingdom was itself to be destroyed from the earth; the Latter-Day Kingdom should never be destroyed, but should stand for ever, and become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth.
13.—It should be borne in mind that Nebuchadnezzar saw successive portions of the image formed, until it was completed in all its parts, from the head of gold to the feet and toes of iron and clay; and it was not till after the image stood complete in all its parts before him, in a form majestic and terrible, that he saw the stone rolling from the mountains. Hence Daniel, after having described to the king the vision of the whole image, even to the toes, says, “Thou sawest TILL that a stone was cut out without hands which smote the image upon his feet.” This expression most clearly shows that the cutting of the stone from the mountain was a work of a later period than the formation of the feet and toes. The king of Babylon saw kingdom succeeding kingdom, and his vision extended in the future till he saw something entirely distinct from the image—a something that had no connection whatever with the corrupt powers and kingdoms of man’s formation—a something cut from a mountain without hands, that is, not founded by the hands of man—a something in a mountain or high place—a something that had no fellowship for the iron and clay toes and feet, but immediately smote them, and they had no power to stand before it, but were broken to pieces, and all the powers included in the image were utterly destroyed, and no place was found for them; while that victorious stone increased till it filled the whole earth. This Latter-Day Kingdom, then, was the last thing seen in the grand panorama of kingdoms that passed before him. And it was not to be set up at the first advent, but as Daniel said to the king, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter-days.” It was a prophetic scenery, reaching to the latter times, showing him how man-made governments should be destroyed, and how the divine government should succeed and triumph, and have universal and everlasting dominion on the earth.
14.—It has been supposed by some that the kingdom, represented by the stone, was not to be set up by the God of heaven until the second [p.222]advent, when Christ comes to reign on the earth. But this view of the prophecy is no less erroneous than the supposition of its being set up eighteen hundred years ago. If Christ should not set up his kingdom until he comes in his glory, there would be no Saints on the earth ready to be caught up to meet him; for we have already shown that the former-day kingdom no where exists on the earth, but has been prevailed against and overcome, and nothing is left but man-made churches and governments among all kindreds, tongues, and nations. If this had not been the case—if the kingdom had continued on the earth during the last eighteen centuries, there would have been no necessity for its being set up. It would be folly to say that the kingdom of England should be set up, if it were already in existence; so likewise it would be an absurdity to prophesy that the kingdom of God should be set up to destroy the powers represented by the great image, if such kingdom had already been on the earth for eighteen centuries. But from the fact that it was to be set up after the feet and toes of the image had been formed, it is demonstrated that the earth at that time had no such kingdom, the God of heaven was under the necessity of cutting it out of the mountain without hands, and of setting it up by His own power.
15.—That this kingdom is to be set up before the second advent, is still further evident from the prediction that “the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” About the time of its first origin it is “cut out of the mountain;” from which fact it must be much smaller than the mountain from which it is taken; and while of this diminutive size, it smites the image upon the feet and toes; but it rapidly increases in magnitude till it becomes a mountain, not a small one, but a great mountain, and fills the whole earth. In this prophecy it is clearly expressed that at the period of the origin of this kingdom, it is very small, not a mighty rock or a mountain, but a stone cut from a mountain, and that it rapidly grows to an exceedingly great magnitude, till the whole earth is filled by it.
16.—Now, if the kingdom were not to be set up till the second advent, it would at once appear in its full size and grandeur; for when Christ comes, he brings all his Saints and holy angels with him, and instead of being a stone from the mountain, the kingdom would at once fill the whole heavens, and then the earth.
17.—The cutting of the stone from the mountain shows also that the kingdom is not first seen in the clouds of heaven in all its glorious majesty, but that it is a kingdom set up on the earth in a high place or mountainous region. Its location must evidently be near the extremities of the feet and toes of the image.
18.—The locality of the powers, forming the image, are known. The first two great monarchies, forming the head, breast, and arms, are found [p.223]in the western parts of Asia: the third, in the eastern borders of Europe, extending into Asia; the fourth, including the feet and toes, are found in Europe, the United States, and other nations of America of European origin. Remnants of all the nations, forming the image, are still in existence, though not in their former grandeur and greatness. The head, breast and arms, belly and thighs, and iron legs still exist, as well as the feet and toes, though in a weak and feeble condition; and they will all continue to exist until a kingdom of divine origin shall come down from the mountains upon the feet and toes; and then comes the mighty crash of republics, kingdoms, thrones, and empires, all desolated—all destroyed, no more to rise again; no more place on earth can be found for them. In their place Saints will live and reign, governed, not by human, but by divine laws; and this universal kingdom will not, like the former ones, be taken from one people and transferred to another; but the people of the Saints of the most High will possess it for ever and ever, and God Himself will be their King and their Law Giver.
19.—Having learned from Daniel’s prophecy, that “in the latter-days,” God’s kingdom is to be set up to abolish all other kingdoms, and that it will be located in a mountain, and that the subjects of this kingdom will be called the Saints of the Most High, let us next inquire into the manner of setting up this kingdom. It might be expected, that a work of such great magnitude, involving the interests of all the world, would be a subject frequently referred to by inspired writers. We find, accordingly, that many have spoken of it, and predicted many events in relation to it.
20.—To set up the kingdom of God on the earth would require a restoration of authority to minister the principles, ordinances, and laws of that kingdom; or, in other words, authority to preach the Gospel of the kingdom and minister its ordinances. In what manner is it predicted that this authority is to be restored to the earth?
21.—The Revelator, John, in his great vision on Patmos, was permitted to behold the restoration of the Gospel to our fallen world. He says—
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. xiv. 6) This prophetic vision most clearly shows, that when the “everlasting Gospel” is restored to our earth, an angel is to be the important personage who will fly from heaven to earth with the glad tidings. We furthermore learn that when the angel brings this Gospel, “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” are to have it preached to them. Will this angel himself, come down on the face of the earth, and travel about from place to place, from city to city, from nation to nation, preaching, baptizing, [p.224]confirming, and ministering the Lord’s supper? No; if one angel, alone, should undertake to attend to all these matters, it would take many thousand years for him to fulfil his mission. Will he merely fly over the various nations, proclaiming, as with a voice of thunder, the Gospel in their ears, and commanding them to obey all the sacred ordinances of the same? No; for this would be of no benefit to the nations, unless they had an authorized ministry on the earth who could baptize the penitent for the remission of sins, and confirm the Holy Ghost upon them by the laying on of hands. Therefore, we are compelled to believe, that when this angel comes from heaven to restore the gospel, God will restore the authority also to preach it; and that chosen vessels, being ordained by an angel, will be commanded to preach the gospel, and baptize, and ordain others, and thus reorganize the kingdom of God on the earth, according to the prediction of Daniel. When the kingdom of Christ was organized on the earth, eighteen centuries ago, it was by calling Apostles, Prophets, and other officers, and inspiring them with the gifts or revelations, visions, and prophecy, and with all other supernatural gifts, requisite to preach the Gospel and build up the kingdom among men. And when the kingdom of God is restored to the earth in the latter-days, it is to be expected that it will resemble the one of former days.
22.—At the time the angel comes with the everlasting Gospel in order to set up God’s kingdom on the earth, he finds the people of the whole earth destitute of these glad tidings. He finds not even one, among all the unnumbered millions, who has received the Gospel. It is true, they have the history of others’ receiving it in ancient times, recorded in the New Testament; but what benefit is the history of others’ enjoyments, unless they themselves can be baptized and receive the same gifts, powers, and blessings? What benefit to a hungry man would it be to read the history of the people anciently feasting upon the loaves and fishes, unless he himself could partake and eat? Though the nations can read the history of the three thousand being baptized on the day of Pentecost for the remission of their sins, this will do them no good, as they have killed off the ancient Saints, and destroyed every vestige of divine authority from the earth, and there is no one left to baptize them for the remission of their sins. Though they can read the history of Peter and John laying their hands upon baptized believers, and confirming upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, yet they are left with the sad reflection, that there are no authorized Apostles to confirm this great gift upon them; though they can read the history of the Saints’ partaking of bread and wine to commemorate the death and sufferings of Christ, yet there is no authorized minister to officiate in giving them these sacred emblems: and to receive any of these holy ordinances from authorized men would prove a curse to them instead of a blessing. In this sad, be-[p.225]nighted, and forlorn condition, they can read what the Gospel is—what authority is necessary to minister its ordinances—and what its gifts, powers, and blessings are: but alas! there is no one to minister it to them.
23.—The Lord, beholding the wretched condition of all nations, determined to send an angel from heaven to restore the everlasting Gospel, and give all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, one more opportunity to come into His kingdom, decreeing that if they would not obey it, the kingdom should roll upon them and break them to pieces, and blot out their very names from under heaven. Connected with the message of the Gospel was another proclamation of a most fearful nature. The same angel was to cry, “Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” (Verse 7.)
24.—The period when the angel commits this Gospel to man on earth, is peculiarly characterized as “the hour of His judgment.” In order to understand more clearly what is meant by “the hour of His judgment,” we are told in the following verses, that, “There followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Verses 8-11.)
25.—To read these passages, and contemplate the fearful doom of all the apostate nations that live on the earth at the time the angel restores the message of the Gospel, and reflect upon the awful and most terrible judgments denounced against them, is truly calculated to make one shudder. From these passages, it is certain that the great mass of the apostate Christian nations, under the name of “the beast and his image,” will reject the “everlasting Gospel,” that the angel brings, which ripens them for the sore judgments that are immediately to follow. They are the ones who are to “be tormented with fire and brimstone;” they are the ones who are to “have no rest day nor night,” but “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever;” they are the ones who constitute the old worn-out corrupt image of Nebuchadnezzar; they are the ones whom the Lord designates great Babylon, of whom the angel is to proclaim the downfall; they are the ones who have corrupted all kindreds, tongues, and nations, with their false doctrines, their whoredoms, and with “the wine of the wrath of their fornications;” they are the ones [p.226]who shall be made “to drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation.” But first, in order that God may be just in inflicting these severe judgments, He offers them His Gospel which He has sent His angel to restore to the earth; but they will close their eyes, ears, and hearts against it: they will reject it, as Pharaoh and the Egyptians rejected the proclamation of Moses and Aaron; they will scorn it as the antediluvians scorned the message of Noah; they will treat it with the same contempt that the Sodomites did the message of the angels to Lot. And as the cites of the plain were punished with the vengeance of eternal fire, so shall these be punished with fire and brimstone, where their worm dieth not, neither is their fire quenched.
26.—Having learned from the Scriptures the exact way in which the Gospel is to be restored, and God’s kingdom to be set up; and having also learned that these marvelous events are immediately to precede the downfall of Babylon or the great image of Nebuchadnezzar; or, in other words, the utter destruction and abolishment of the apostate Christian nations inhabiting Europe, Western Asia, and America, let us next inquire if there are any indications of the angel having come with the Gospel.
27.—First, we know no reason why the angel may not come in our day. There are no prophecies, that we are aware of, that need fulfilling, before he comes. The whole political organization of the nations corresponds, in every particular, with the predicted state of society, as it should exist at the time of this memorable event. The feet and toes of the image have been long in existence; Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, has been indefatigable in spreading her corrupt principles among all the nations and kindreds of the earth; the nations have greedily swallowed the filthiness and abominations of her golden cup, by which they have been made drunken with the wine of her fornications. All things, according to the prophecies, seem to be in the most perfect readiness for the angel to descend from heaven with the message of the Gospel, connected with a message of judgment.
28.—But has the angel yet come? Go to the Roman Catholics and ask them. They will tell you that they are the Church and kingdom of God—that their authority has been transferred direct from the Apostles —and that there is no need of an angel coming with the everlasting Gospel; for they have it already; and it would be superfluous for an angel to bring something that they have had since long before John saw his vision on Patmos. Next go to the Greek church, among the Russians and other nations, and ask them if an angel has lately come from heaven with a message of the everlasting Gospel, intended for all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, and they will be ready to put you in [p.227]prison for daring to ask such a question. They will consider it the highest blasphemy, for you to dare to call in question their ancient and venerated religion: they will inform you that their church has had the everlasting Gospel among them ever since the first advent of the Messiah. Last of all go to the Protestants—to every name, and sect, and denomination, from those established by law to the dissenter of yesterday; ask them all if an angel has made his appearance from heaven to any of them, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to all people upon the face of the whole earth; and you will hear a united voice, ascending from all their ranks and grades, saying, “We have the everlasting Gospel in the New Testament—we have the kingdom of God among us and in our hearts; and this everlasting Gospel and kingdom have been on the earth ever since the first advent; and we have authorized ministers to administer all the ordinances of the Gospel; and there is no need of an angel coming from heaven with the Gospel, when we already have it; there is no need of God setting up His kingdom on the earth, when it is already on the earth, and has been on it for more than eighteen centuries.”
29.—Thus, after you have inquired of the Catholics, Greeks, and Protestants in vain; and can get no information of the appearance of the angel; but learn from all of them, that such an event is wholly unnecessary, you will, perhaps, conclude that Daniel and John were mistaken; or, if not mistaken, that they had reference to some mystery, not for man to know: thus you may endeavour to hush your fears, and to quiet your minds, and to think that all is well, and that the true Church is indeed on the earth, and is greatly flourishing, according to the united testimony of the whole of Christendom.
30.—But stop! Do not be too hasty in your conclusion. This is a subject of too great importance to pass over with some few slight inquiries. Remember that your inquiries have been limited to those very powers who are to be destroyed, because they reject the Gospel message of the angel—to the very powers, called Babylon—the most corrupt and soul-destroying of all powers: it is not, therefore, to be expected, that you will find them rejoicing in anticipation of the angel; it is not to be supposed, that an event so opposed to their views, would find any favour among them. Go, now, to some people entirely disconnected with them, and make your inquiries. If you go to the heathen nations of Asia, Africa, or the Islands of the sea, they will tell that they know nothing about Christ, angels, or the Gospel: therefore, you can obtain no information from them upon this subject.
31.—There remains one more people, gathered out of the nations, and isolated, dwelling far up in the sequestered vales of the Rocky mountains; go and inquire of them if an angel has come with the everlasting Gospel to preach to all people, tongues, and nations: they will with one [p.228]united voice answer, yes: they will tell you that in the year 1827, God sent an holy angel from heaven, and committed into the hands of Joseph Smith, the sacred records of ancient America, containing the fulness of the everlasting Gospel: they will tell you that after the Prophet Joseph translated these records by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, the angel appeared unto three others, and showed them the plates of gold, containing this everlasting Gospel, at the same time, commanding them to bear their testimony to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to whom the record should be sent: they will tell you that on the sixth day of April, in the year 1830, God set up His kingdom by giving written commandments and revelations: they will tell you, that chosen men were ordained under the hands of angels to preach this gospel, and that God commanded His servants by His own voice and by the voice of angels to preach this Gospel to every nation, kindred, and tongue: they will tell you, that through the preaching of this Gospel, and by the commandment of the Most High, the children of the kingdom are being gathered from the nations unto the peaceful vales of the great Rocky mountains, which form the dividing ridge between the great Atlantic and Pacific oceans: they will tell you that God has, indeed, set up His kingdom as a stone upon the mountains: they will tell you that it will roll forth from the mountain tops, increasing in greatness, in power, in majesty, and in dominion: they will tell you that it is destined to fill the whole earth, and to continue for ever and ever.
32.—Here then, dear reader, you find a people which answer every description, pointed out by the Prophets; not one feature is lacking. Did John testify that an angel should fly, having the everlasting Gospel? this people testify of its fulfillment, and present you with the Book of Mormon, containing it, already translated into many foreign languages. Did Daniel testify that God should set up His kingdom in the latter-days? This people testify that they were set up by special commandments and revelations, and present you with the books containing them. Did Daniel prophesy that the Latter-Day Kingdom should be “cut from the mountain without hands?” this people are being gathered to the mountains, as the appropriate position of the stone. Did the former-day kingdom have inspired Apostles and Prophets? The latter-day one has the same. Did signs follow the believers in the former-day kingdom? the same is true of this people. Did the former-day kingdom receive their laws and commandments by revelation from the great King? The Latter-Day Kingdom are governed by new revelation in the same manner. Not one ordinance, commandment, law, gift, or blessing, pertaining to the kingdom of God, is lacking: not one item of prophecy, pertaining to the setting up of this kingdom, has failed. Yet, with all this overwhelming testimony, apostate Christendom will reject it, and perish; and their nations [p.229]and kingdoms be blotted out of existence; for the kingdom of God shall smite them, and they shall crumble to pieces and be known no more. This is the decree of heaven from ancient times, and no nation can thwart the purposes of Jehovah.
33.—If any should feel disposed to admit the truth of Daniel and John’s prophecies, but yet be unwilling to believe that the Church of the Latter-day Saints is the kingdom predicted: we would ask such the following questions—Where else will you go to find a people who fulfil the terms of the prophecy? Where else will you go to find a people which even believe that an angel must come with the Gospel? Where else can you find a people that even profess that they have been set up, by express revelation, as a kingdom, representing the stone cut out of the mountains? Where else do you find a people claiming that God has by an angel restored the authority and ordained Apostles? As you can find no other people, professing to have all these characteristics are you not compelled to admit that these prophecies have not been fulfilled, unless in the setting up of the Church of the Latter-day Saints? If you reject them, as not being the kingdom predicted, on what grounds do you reject them? Is there any discrepancy or imperfection in their doctrines? Is there anything which you can prove to be false or contrary to the Gospel taught by our Saviour and his Apostles? Is there any office lacking, which was in the ancient Church? Is there anything in the Book of Mormon, or in any of their books of revelation, that is contrary to sound doctrine? If, then, you cannot reject them upon any of these grounds, do you not run a fearful hazard by rejecting them as not being the kingdom predicted? Do you say, that though you can find no other people that answer the terms of the prophecy, yet you look for such a people hereafter to arise? What assurances have you that you would believe in their testimony, any more than you do in the Latter-day Saints? In what respects would they differ from this Church? Would they have any doctrine, or ordinance, or principle, or office, or power, or gift which this Church have not got? Would there be any mark or sign by which you could distinguish a people whom you expect to arise, from this people? If you believe this is not the predicted kingdom, must you not look for another precisely like it? Must you not look for one which will testify that an angel has come with a message of the Gospel, connected with a proclamation of Judgment? If it did not testify of this, would you believe it to be the Latter-Day Kingdom predicted? Oh, then, when you see all these predicted characteristics connected with this people, why will you doubt? Why will you join with apostate Christendom in condemning them? Why follow popular opinion and pursue the broad road, thronged by the multitude? Why not realize and lay it to heart that the [p.230]gate is strait and the way narrow that leads to truth, happiness, and eternal life?
34.—We commenced this chapter with the intention of pointing out some of the great leading events that are to take place, prior to the second advent. We have already pointed out several, namely, the coming of the angel—the restoration of the Gospel—the preaching of the same to all nations—the setting up of the kingdom of God—and the breaking to pieces of the great image, or in other words, the down fill of Babylon. To show still more clearly, that these are events immediately preceding the glorious appearing of our Lord, the Revelator John, after seeing the angel fly with the Gospel, says—
“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine press of the wrath of God. And the wine press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine press, even unto the horse-bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred ilarlongs.” (Rev. xiv. 14-20)
35.—Thus it will be perceived that shortly after the angelic message of the Gospel is revealed, the Son of man is beheld sitting upon a white cloud, with a sharp sickle; and the harvest of the earth is reaped: that is, the wheat is cut and lifted up into the cloud, and the vine of the earth is gathered into the great wine press of the wrath of God, and trodden without the city. The Gospel message, then, brought by the angel is the great preparatory message for the second advent of the Son of man in a cloud.
36.—This kingdom which the God of heaven was to set up, is frequently mentioned in the prophecies, under the name of Zion. Hence the Psalmist says—
“When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory.” (Psalm cii. 16.) This is an additional evidence that Zion nowhere existed on the earth—that the Catholics, Greeks, and Protestants, who call themselves Zion, are assuming a name that in nowise belongs to them; for Zion was not to be built up, until immediately prior to the Lord’s ap-[p.231]pearing in His glory. If it had already existed for upwards of eighteen centuries, there would be no necessity for building it up; but inasmuch as the Lord has not yet appeared in His glory, we know that Zion could not have existed on the earth for so many centuries, as the most of religious societies have the presumption to assert. It is a latter-day work; it is a people especially prepared for the coming of the Lord in His glory; it is not a work brought about by human wisdom; but, it is the Lord, Himself, who is to build up Zion.
37.—Perhaps some may object to this Church being the kingdom of God, from the fact that its first origin was not in the mountains, whereas Daniel says, that the stone shall be cut out of the mountain without hands. But we ask, does Daniel say, that the first origin of the stone was in the mountain? Or does he not rather say, that it was to be taken from the mountain about the time that it should smite the feet of the image? We answer, that it is very evident, that the mountain is the place from which it is taken when the full time shall arrive for the image to be smitten.
38.—In order to show that a mountain is not the place of the first origin of Zion, we will quote a prophetic exhortation of Isaiah in relation to it. “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain.” (Isaiah xl. 9.) That this prophetic exhortation was addressed to the latter-day Zion is evident from the next verse. “Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him: behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” (Verse 10.) Before the Lord God comes with a strong hand, to rule in great glory, He will, as the Psalmist says, “build up Zion:” and this people, called Zion, will bring glad tidings, and be commanded, as Isaiah says, to “get up into the high mountain.” It is certain, then, that Zion, or the kingdom, does not take its first origin in the mountains; but after having been built up, it is commanded to take its journey up to the mountains and to be located in its appropriate position, against the time when it shall roll, as a stone, to smash the old Babylonish image. Consequently, the very fact, that the Church of Latter-day Saints did not originate in a mountainous country, but are now going up by thousands annually “into the high mountain,” is an additional evidence of no small importance that they are, in very deed, the real Zion of the latter days, built up by the Lord’s own hand, preparatory to His coming.
39.—It will be noticed that the people whom Isaiah addresses as Zion, and whom he exhorts to “Get up into the high mountain,” are those who bring “good tidings.” Now what tidings could be more joyful than those of the fulness of the everlasting Gospel? The Gospel is frequently defined to be glad tidings. Indeed, without the Gospel, Zion could not be built up. And as this work does not take place until just [p.232]before the coming of the Lord, it is evident that prior to that all people must have been, for a long time, without the Gospel: but being restored to the earth by an angel, Zion are the people who receive it; they are the ones who bring good tidings. When Isaiah, enrapt in prophetic vision, saw Zion in the high mountains, and saw them sending forth hundreds of missionaries to the nations afar off, with the good tidings of the Gospel, he exclaimed—
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” (Isaiah lii. 7, 8.)
40.—Beautiful, indeed, upon the mountains, are the messengers of Zion! they go forth to the nations, with a proclamation to all people, “That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it.” As an evidence that the poor trust in Zion for a place of deliverance, see them come from the islands and from the nations afar off! see mighty ships spread forth their sails to the winds of heaven, filled with Zion’s children! hear their cheerful songs, as they are swiftly carried up the rolling current of the broad majestic rivers of Zion’s land! see them launch forth upon the almost boundless prairies that lie stretched out like a vast sea of meadows before them! These are the pastures of the Lord, covered with a luxuriant growth of grass, and bespangled with the flowers of Eden! Here, week after week, and month after month the joyful camps of Zion move slowly on! Here they gradually ascend the great highway of the redeemed, till they gain the mountain tops, and descending into the lovely vales of Ephraim, they greet their friends, and shout aloud for joy! How beautifully has Isaiah described this great highway of the Saints.
41.—”They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold these shall come from far: and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens: and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted.” (Isaiah xlix. 9-13.)
42.—Throughout this long journey, springs of water abound in every direction; and the Lord truly has made His “mountains a way,” and exalted His highways upon them, and spread out His “pastures in all [p.233]high places,” where the flocks of His people feed, among the wild buffalo, the deer, and the elk.
43.—Behold the children of Zion spread forth upon the mountains, upon the hills, and in the vales, surrounded with their numerous flocks and herds! see their granaries and storehouses full to overflowing with the rich products of the earth! see her children and the rising generation flocking by thousands to her schools, her academies, and her numerous institutions of learning! look at her manufacturers, her mechanics, and her artists, all industriously engaged to produce from the raw material everything necessary for the comfort and well-being of the people! Behold her borders enlarged by the emigrating thousands that annually pour in upon them from many nations! and then read the prophecy of Isaiah concerning her prosperity, and rejoice. “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” (Isaiah li. 3.)
44.—From the passages which we have already quoted, it will be perceived that the Latter-Day Kingdom or Zion is to be formed by the gathering of those who receive the Gospel. That instead of remaining scattered abroad, they will be required to gather in one. This feature of the Latter-Day Kingdom is one dwelt upon largely by the inspired writers. Jesus said—”The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. xiii. 47-50.)
45.—The kingdom here spoken of is not the one then built up, but the one that was to be set up just before “the end of the world,” not the end of the earth, but the end of the wicked world. Both good and bad are gathered into the kingdom; both good and bad are drawn to the shore—all professing to be the children of the kingdom. This has no reference to any, but those who are called the children of the kingdom. The final separation of these wicked characters does not take place till after they are gathered out from the nations: and then it will be done by angels who will sever them from among the just. The same thing is represented in the parable of the wheat and tares; “the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall [p.234]cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. xiii. 39-43.)
46.—Tares or bad fish will be found in the kingdom, as well as out of it: through fear of judgments, or for some other cause, they will even go so far as to gather out of the nations with the children of the kingdom, and both will grow together until the harvest is fully ripe, and the angels pluck them out, bind them in bundles, and cast them into the fire.
47.—That the children of the Latter-Day Kingdom will be gathered out, preparatory to the second advent, is clearly foretold in the parable of the ten virgins. When speaking of the day of his coming, Jesus said—
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” (Matt. xxv. 1.) It should be particularly noticed that the former-day kingdom was not likened to ten virgins; but Jesus spake of the future—of the time when he should come in his glory: “THEN” should be the period, when the children of the kingdom should take their lamps and go “forth to meet the bridegroom.” But to what part of the earth do they go? We answer, they “get up into the high mountain.” But will they find the bridegroom in the mountains? No: they only go forth to the mountains in order to be more thoroughly prepared for the time when the bridegroom shall come in the clouds of heaven. And even after they have taken all this trouble, it seems that those represented by the foolish virgins will merely take their lamps, but take no oil with them. And after they have all gathered out from the ends of the earth, the wise and foolish will both become rather careless: or as Jesus says, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” (Verse 5.) Although they are all expecting the bridegroom, yet it seems that after they have gathered themselves out from the nations of the wicked, they will feel apparently secure, and become rather inclined to be off from their watch tower; but “at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” What a startling cry! How it must thrill through the hearts of those who are thus suddenly awakened from their slumbers! “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.” (Verses 7, 8.)
48.—What a fearful condition the foolish virgins will be in! Fancy to yourself, dear reader, the earth trembling, reeling to and fro—the mountains sinking, the valleys rising, the heavens shaking, the trump of God sounding, the curtains of heaven parting asunder, and all nature in tremendous convulsions; and then depict upon your mind the de-[p.235]spair, the fearful agony of those whose lamps have gone out! hear them plead with the wise to give them oil! But their petition is in vain! “The wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily, I say unto you, I know you not.” (Verses 9-12.)
49.—In this parable, as well as in the others which we have quoted, it is most definitely stated that the children of the kingdom will be gathered in one; and that among them there will gather some who are represented by the bad fish or tares; and others who will become apostates—whose lamps will only burn long enough for them to gather out with the righteous to the mountains, and there they will go entirely out, and they will carelessly fall into a deep sleep, from which nothing can awake them, but the midnight cry; but, alas! they awake too late! the door is shut against them, and they will perish with the rest of the wicked.
50.—This is also represented by the parable of the Supper: “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee to have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry, said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” (Luke xiv. 16-24.)
51.—The supper, or the marriage feast, had no reference whatever to the first advent, but to the great day of his second coming. And the sending of “his servant at supper time,” was a latter-day message, showing that the Lord would again speak to his servants, and give them a mission to invite the rich and wealthy of the Gentiles to come to his supper; that is, to leave their fine habitations, and farms, and merchandise, and gather to the mountains to prepare a feast of fat things—of wines on the lees well refined—to prepare for the supper of the great [p.236]bridegroom. But Jesus says, that all these wealthy people would with one accord excuse themselves from going, on account of their property or some other worldly consideration. The language of the parable clearly shows, that the invitation to come to the supper, required them to go to some place. And because of their excuses the Lord was to be sorely displeased; and then his servants are commanded to gather “the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” And this being done, they were to be sent forth on a third mission, with power to compel those in the highways and hedges to come in. In all three of these missions the Lord was to speak to his servants; that is, give them new revelation, pointing out the duties of each mission; and also in all three of the missions there is a gathering implied.
52.—Only one people upon the whole earth, are crying to the Saints among all nations, saying, “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” A voice has come from heaven as John the revelator predicted saying, “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered their iniquities.”
53.—This voice from heaven was to follow the proclamation of the Gospel brought by the angel. Two causes are here assigned, why the people of the Lord—the Latter-day Saints, should come out of Babylon: one is that they might not partake of her sins; and the other is that they might not receive of her plagues. The judgments which are to befall the apostate nations of Christendom, under the name of great Babylon, are of the most fearful and terrible nature. And Lot was saved by literally fleeing out of Sodom into the mountains, so will the Latter-day Saints be saved from the most dreadful plagues of Babylon, by fleeing to the mountains.
54.—This latter-day Zion is to be like a city set upon a high hill, and lighted with the glory of God: she will give light to all the surrounding nations. This will be, not only an intellectual, spiritual light, enlightening the mind, but a light that will be seen with the natural eyes: Hence Isaiah says, that “The Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night.” (Isaiah iv. 5.) That this literal manifestation of the glory of the Lord in a cloud, and smoke, and fire, is to take place while yet the wicked nations are on the earth, is evident from the following prediction of the same prophet—”Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” (Isaiah lx. 1, 2.) Thus, while darkness covers the earth, and [p.237]gross darkness the people, the glory of the Lord will be literally seen in the form of a cloud and smoke by day, and a flaming fire by night, not merely upon the temple, but upon all the dwelling places of the city, and upon all her assemblies.
55.—Reader, contemplate for a moment this grand and magnificent scenery. Contemplate a great and extended city, with a dazzling and glorious light, enveloping every habitation, and filling all the heavens above it. Would not such a wonderful phenomenon attract the attention of all nations? Supposing that the newspapers and periodicals of the day should actually publish the news that a whole city was enveloped in the brightness of a flaming fire, night after night, month after month, and year after year; and that the buildings remained unconsumed, would it not create the most intense excitement? Would it not be the great topic of conversation? Would not thousands and millions come from the most distant nations to gaze upon so strange and unexpected a scenery? Hear what Isaiah further says, “The Gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” “Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be bought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah lx. 3-5, 11, 12, 14.)
56.—Such a scene as this the earth has never realized, but it must come to pass before the Saviour appears. And there will be great multitudes from all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, who will come with their gold and silver as an offering unto the name of the Lord of Hosts. But after a while the excitement will gradually subside, and the nations will be enveloped in a seven-fold greater darkness than they were in before; and when this takes place they will be speedily ripened for the burning, and be consumed from the earth by the coming of the Lord. Then shall the glorious reign of peace commence, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.