Week 18 is scheduled for study April 26-May 2, 2021. Christ has promised us many blessings that will be poured out upon the Saints before his coming. As we further our preparations for this event, we have much that we need to change within ourselves, and much to look forward to for having made those changes.

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 45:1-5 – Jesus Christ is our Advocate with the Father.

President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.”

As soon as I read the title of today’s lesson, my mind started to race with ideas, and I knew that what I needed to say wouldn’t fit in this lesson. I recommend you read the article I recently published on the website on the power of the advocate, as a title and a position in the plan of salvation.

I have no idea why some of my images are no longer displaying. If you are savvy about such things, I invite you to please contact me and help me fix this little display problem. Thanks.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 45:9-10 – The gospel is a standard to the nations.

President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.”

We used to have a Church magazine called the Ensign (pronounced en-sign). An ensign is a standard, a flag that bears the markings of the army which it represents, usually the symbols of the royal house that leads the army. Unfortunately, the English language continually evolves, and the word ensign began to be referred to as ensign (en-suhn), which refers to the lowest military officer rank in the Navy. This persistent change in the language may have been part of the reason the Church changed the name of the magazine to the Liahona, which represents the same guiding idea as the original ensign (en-sign).

Here are some things for you to consider as you compare how the gospel is a standard to the nations.

  • What standard (banner) is being held up by the Lord’s servants to the people of the world?
  • How can the people of the world look at the members of the Church and recognize that they follow Christ?
  • How does the gospel we teach act as the standard (the unit of comparison or measurement by which all other teachings are compared) for Christ’s words?
  • What can I do each day to help myself remember that I have the standard, in both senses of the word, and that I am commissioned by Christ to carry it and demonstrate it to those around me?

Days 3&4

Doctrine and Covenants 45:11-75 – The Lord’s promises will be fulfilled.

President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.”

This topic is a sensitive one. The manual specifically lists verses 54-59 as something to look forward to, and something in which we can derive hope. But these verses also speak only of those who are still alive when the Savior comes. That is only one generation of people. How many generations may there be before he comes again? How many of us will need to live in a world steadily choking itself on its own wickedness in the meantime? What kinds of evil will we have to endure while we wait for his ultimate promises to be fulfilled?

That last paragraph was a real downer, wasn’t it? When we only look at what we have to endure and suffer, life can look pretty bleak. May I suggest that as you review verses 11-75, you look for the present promises of the Lord. For example, in verse 32 we are told that if we stand in holy places, we shall not be moved.

32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.

This fills my soul with hope for my own spiritual safety. Physically we will probably still have difficulties. I don’t think that is avoidable, but spiritually, since our joy and happiness comes from our dealings with the Spirit, we will always have our source of happiness around us. What are our holy places? The prophets teach us that these are our homes, wards/branches, stakes, and the temples. This begs the question then—how much time are we spending in our holy places? Do we look for opportunities to be in our home (for example) or do we look for reasons to be outside of our home? Do we love to serve and participate in our ward/branch or stake, or do we look for reasons to not have to participate in the service that is always taking place in our places of worship? When the temples are available to us, do we frequent them or do we only visit them once or twice in the two years that our recommend is good?

The point about the holy places is that we control how long and how often we are in our places of refuge and safety. The Lord’s word is always fulfilled. His power is in His spoken word. He speaks and worlds form at His command. Why should we doubt when He promises us safety to our souls if we stand in our holy places? Those who are alive at Christ’s coming will certainly be blessed, and well they should be, since they will be living at the absolute worst time in the world’s history. But for those of us who are living just before this time, we will still be seeing our share of wickedness in our societies. If we look to the teachings of the scriptures and the prophets I believe we will find a bounty of blessings promised to us as we stand in the holy places God has given us and taught us to create.

Below is an article written several years ago on councils and their place in the Church. It also talks to some extent about coming out of Babylon and establishing Zion in our lives. I highly recommend you take some time to look it over. This is a long article, so don’t be surprised if it takes some time to study all of it.

Day 5

Doctrine and Covenants 45:11-15, 66-71 – Zion is a place of safety for the Saints of God.

President Russell M. Nelson taught: “Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.”

I don’t know if the manual writers are playing with their words, or if they are only referring to Zion as the actual city of refuge. In April 2021 General Conference in the first session, one of the speakers talked about how Zion is a state of being, as well as a place of refuge.

When we create Zion in our life, or in other words, when we purify our own heart, we create our own place of refuge from the sins of the world. Our habitat begins to be more and more a state where we live and work with the Holy Ghost, who teaches us, protects us, and warns us of dangers and things we need to do to experience greater happiness. Our personal place of Zion has to be built before we can begin to experience the outward manifestation of Zion. Our own mind becomes a greater and greater safe place for us to be when we draw close to the Spirit.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 45:39-44 – Watch for the Savior’s Second Coming

Too often when we think of building Zion we think of only putting one brick on top of another in the physical building of a place. Zion, the city, will be such a place, but we have the privilege of building Zion wherever we live today. Zion, as discussed in the manual, is wherever the Saints are located. When we build up our branch or our ward, we are contributing to the building of Zion.

Remember that Zion isn’t something that is built in one push. It isn’t a project with a start date and an end date. Zion is a state of being that we grow and mature into on a personal level first. Each of us must first become more pure in heart, more kind and loving, and more eager to share the blessings of God with those around us. We build Zion each and every day we strive to more successfully love our family, our neighbors, and the strangers we meet. When we learn to forgive freely the hurts and wrongs done to us, and we learn not to inflict hurts and wrongs on others, either intentionally or accidentally, we draw closer to experiencing the full might of being in Zion.

Is it any wonder that those who live outside the wicked ways of the world will be afraid of those who live in a Zion state? God protects those who come to Zion. And it is in this spirit that we watch for Christ’s coming. To watch for the Second Coming in any other way will be to have to watch in dread, for only those living in Zion will be living without the curse God is going to send upon all the wicked before his coming. He has promised that the only place of safety will be among those who have come to Zion. And I believe that there will be those who come to Zion of other faiths as well as our own, for there will be those faithful to the cause of Jesus besides those who walk the covenant path.

How can you better watch for the Savior’s return? What can you do today, better or different from yesterday that will help you be better prepared or more excited about witnessing the outpouring of blessings Christ has promised to those who come to Zion in the last days?

Click the link below to

print a PDF copy of the file.

The Promises … Shall Be Fulfilled

Week 18