New Testament
Lesson 21
What Is the Sign of Thy Coming?

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us recognize the signs that will precede the Savior’s Second Coming and to encourage us to prepare ourselves for this great event.

Scripture references for study:  Joseph Smith—Matthew (Matthew 24)
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window.

Lesson 21 Handout (PDF format)

The Impending Destruction of Jerusalem

Jesus' final teaching in the temple.

"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to hear him, saying: Master, show us concerning the buildings of the temple, as thou hast said--They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate. And Jesus said unto them: See ye not all these things, and do ye not understand them? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here, upon this temple, one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. And Jesus left them, and went upon the Mount of Olives. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying: Tell us when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews; and what is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world, or the destruction of the wicked, which is the end of the world?" (JS-Matthew 1:2-4)

The Dispensation of Persecution & Martyrdom


READ JS-MATTHEW 1:5-10. Signs to precede the destruction of Jerusalem.

READ JS-MATTHEW 1:11-15. How to avoid destruction.

Jerusalem and the Abomination of Desolation.

Signs To Precede The Second Coming

After teaching of the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus turns the subject of his discourse from ancient times to the Last Days, the time preceding the Second Coming (see v21).

"For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant." (v22)

"Behold, I speak these things unto you for the elect's sake; and you also shall hear of wars, and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all I have told you must come to pass; but the end is not yet." (v23)

"And now I show unto you a parable. Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth." (v27)

"Behold I speak for mine elect's sake; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold; but he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved." (v29-30)

The Second Coming

The abomination of desolation at the Second Coming.

The glories attending our Lord's return.

When will the Son of Man come?

Watch, Pray, Take Heed, Be Ready!

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

While living in the Pacific Northwest, I enjoyed many sunny and beautiful days during the spring of the year. It was easy on such a day to forget that in the Northwest, the rain will return. Inhabitants of this region must pay attention to the weather forecast and keep an eye on the sky or they might be caught unprepared in a rainstorm.
     Several years ago, I took my daughter and a friend on a bicycle ride of about 50 miles in preparation for riding in the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. When we left home, the sky was overcast, not untypical for late spring and early summer. Those overcast days did not necessarily mean rain. We left home without preparing sufficiently for rainy weather. Less than halfway into the ride it started to drizzle. We continued on and so did the rain. Eventually, we became so cold that we had to call home for a ride.
     Another time, my son and I were preparing for a cross-country bicycle ride and set out on a 100 miler. It had been raining that morning, but the rain had stopped and the sky was starting to clear. The forecast was for improved weather. What we failed to check was the weather for the entire route. We ended up riding into a cold spring rain and we were woefully unprepared. We thought we could ride through it. Not so. Unfortunately, we became so cold that we dared not continue further. In fact, we were so cold that we did not dare wait for a ride from home (at least a couple hours) so we returned to the nearest town and checked into a motel for the night. Fortunately, the weather did clear and we continued our ride the following day.
     Most of us have had experiences of getting caught in inclement weather unprepared because we either failed to check the forecast or we failed to heed it. In the Olivet Discourse, the Savior has given us the forecast. We need to, from time to time, compare the forecast to current conditions and make adjustments in our preparation. It is one thing to get caught unprepared in the rain, it will be quite another if we are caught unprepared as the events of the last days continue to unfold. While making the above bicycle trips we were seeking out dry places to give us shelter from the storm. The great storm described by the Master has started and we need to seek out "holy places" to give us refuge from the latter-day storm.

Record your thoughts on the signs leading up the the second coming. What can you do to be better prepared for the difficult times that will precede the return of the Savior?

Resources Used In This Lesson

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by Bruce R. McConkie.

Come Unto Christ by Ezra Taft Benson.


Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.

Journal of Discourses (JD).

The Millennial Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.

The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume 3, by Bruce R. McConkie.

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Changes last made on:  12 April 2015