During a fast and testimony meeting held on Sunday, January 1, 1961, I remember my bishop beginning his testimony by saying, “I don’t know when the Savior will come again, but I know that it is one day closer than it was yesterday.” Since I had turned 12 a few days earlier and was preparing to be ordained a deacon, his words helped teach me that I needed to understand a marvelous gospel doctrine: “Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord. Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour” (Doctrine and Covenants 133:10-11).
One of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021, November 15-21 outline asks us to reflect on the following questions: “What invitations or commands does the Lord want you to hearken to in Doctrine and Covenants 133:1-19? What are you inspired to do to better prepare for His coming? How will you help those around you to prepare?” These questions invite Latter-day Saints to get ready for the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Invitations and Commands to Live Better
My mind is impressed by the powerful verbs within the opening verses of Doctrine and Covenants 133, and what those action words both invite and command members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to do. As the Savior taught the Saints during His mortal ministry on earth, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20).
What follows is a highlighted summary of the verbs in 15 verses in Doctrine and Covenants 133:1-19 that can help us prepare for Christ to come again (emphasis added):
“Hearken” (verse 1): suggests that we not only listen (hear) what God says but also do it.
“Shall see the salvation of their God” (verse 3): declares that both the righteous and the wicked will witness Christ’s Second Coming.
“Prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together” (verse 4): emphasizes the importance of getting ready, being spiritually and physically worthy, and joining together as Christ’s followers.
“Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (verse 5): we are to leave worldly things behind and live righteously in performing God’s ordinances.
“Call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another … call upon the name of the Lord” (verse 6): we are to meet fervently together and listen to each other often as we also pray for guidance in the name of Jesus.
“Send forth the elders … call upon all nations” (verse 8): missionaries are to share Christ’s gospel with everyone around the world.
“Go ye forth … that the borders of my people may be enlarged … that her stakes may be strengthened” (verse 9): all members are to reach out in expanding and fortifying the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
“Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom” (verse 10): we are to be spiritually aware and physically ready to see Jesus each day.
“Gentiles flee unto Zion … Judah flee unto Jerusalem” (verses 12-13): Latter-day Saints are to gather throughout the world as well as in the Holy Land of Israel.
“Go ye out … from the midst of wickedness” (verse 14): leave unrighteousness behind.
“Let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back” (verse 15): all things should be done in an orderly manner and moving forward with optimism.
- “Listen ye elders … hear the voice of the Lord; for he calleth upon all men, and he commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (verse 16): we are to seek personal revelation and listen to the Lord’s prophets, for Jesus commands all to repent.
- “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of his coming is nigh” (verse 17): by sharing the gospel, we are helping to prepare the earth for Christ’s Second Coming.
- “Prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom … go ye out to meet him” (verse 19): we are to be ready for Jesus to come again and do all that we can to greet Christ.
Each day we need to strive consistently to apply God’s invitations and commandments in our lives. We need to live in ways that the doctrines of Christ’s gospel are active in us. They need to become an integral part of what we think, what we do, and who we are.
Expanding Our Vision for Truly Helping Others
One of the most important lessons of the gospel is that we need to reach out and minister to others. Invitations for salvation and exaltation are to be extended to everyone on both sides of the veil—for the living and the dead. We can only truly learn to follow Christ by learning to become wise in how to serve others.
Lifting people in poverty and relieving the suffering of the oppressed is only one very important part of truly helping others. After attending an inter-faith humanitarian conference in Buenos Ares, Argentina, Elder D. Todd Christofferson realized: “Let us do all we can to relieve suffering and sorrow now, and let us devote ourselves more diligently to the preparations needed for the day when pain and evil are ended altogether, when ‘Christ [shall] reign personally upon the earth; and … the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (Articles of Faith 1:10). It will be a day of redemption and judgment” (“Preparing for the Lord’s Return,” Ensign, May 2019, 81-82).
After reflecting on Doctrine and Covenants 133, I look forward, as my bishop did many years ago, to that great day when “The Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh” (Doctrine and Covenants 133:25).