Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord”
Zechariah and Malachi prophesy of many events of the last days.
Malachi teaches about the blessings that come to those who pay tithes and
Malachi prophesies of Elijah's return to the earth to restore the keys
of the sealing power.
A study of this lesson will encourage us to (1) prepare for the Second Coming
of the Lord Jesus Christ, (2) pay an honest tithe and generous offerings, and
(3) experience the blessings that come because of the sealing power of the
Scripture references for study: Zechariah
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 48 Handout (PDF
Who Was Zechariah?
Son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.
Zechariah was called to minister to the Jews that King Cyrus had allowed
to return to Jerusalem from exile.
Iddo returned from exile with Zerubbabel.
Date of his mission: about 520-518 B.C.
They had started to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, but the work lagged
for several years because of difficulties with the Samaritans.
Zechariah and Haggai came along about 520 BC and inspired them to finish
Judah = Zerubbabel. He was first governor appointed by the Persians to
lead the Jews in their return to their homeland. He had governed
for about eighteen years by the time of Zechariah's mission.
Persia = Darius. It was under his rule that the Persian Empire reached
its greatest extent.
Judah was still a vassal state to Persia.
The Jews were unable to claim more than about one-quarter of their original
territory. Other groups, such as the Samaritans, had occupied their
Those who had returned to Judah were primarily the devout men of Judah,
who had come back to establish religious life and rebuild the temple.
Their failure to rebuild the temple had brought about a spirit of religious
indifference which was retarding the progress of the people.
Who Was Malachi?
Nothing is known about this prophet. The name Malachi is not used elsewhere
in the Old Testament.
Date of his mission: about 460 B.C.
He ministered at a time when Judah was ruled by a governor.
Judah was a vassal state to Persia.
A spirit of discontent existed among the people. They had come to
realize that theirs was not the glorious return of which the prophets had
A spirit of religious indifference and moral laxity existed.
People had come to doubt the divine justice of the Lord.
Priests and temple workers performed their rites in a disinterested, ineffective
manner. Improper sacrifices were being offered.
(Source for historical data: Prophets & Prophecies of the Old Testament)
Events Of The Last Days
Prophecies That Have Been Fulfilled In Preparation For The Second
MALACHI 3:1. The Lord's messenger to prepare
the way for his coming.
MALACHI 4:5-6. Elijah to return before
the second coming of the Lord.
HOW WAS THIS PROPHECY FULFILLED?
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Malachi
speaks of the Lord sending his messenger to prepare the way before him,
and while that does have reference to the coming of John the Baptist, it
is one of those prophecies in the scriptures that has a double fulfilment.
It has reference also to the coming of the Prophet Joseph Smith, because
that messenger which was to come and prepare the way before him, was to
come in this day." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:193)
WHY DOES THE LORD NEED A MESSENGER TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIM?
I think the key lies in the next verse where it asks, "But
who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?"
(Malachi 3:2). If the Lord were not to prepare a people for his coming, who would "stand
when he appeareth?"
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "I can
testify that when the Lord will come, he will, find faith upon the earth.
That faith, however, which he will find, shall be limited to a very small
portion of the inhabitants of the earth, He will not find faith in the
nations abroad to any noticeable extent; he will not find faith among the
peoples of the earth who have not received the gospel as it has been restored.
But there will be faith among those of the house of Israel who have been
gathered out from the nations and who have repented of their sins and received
the message that came through the Prophet Joseph Smith." (Doctrines
of Salvation, 3:10)
HOW WAS THIS PROPHECY FULFILLED?
Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple
on April 3, 1836 (see
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF ELIJAH'S RETURN?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "No tradition was more
firmly planted in the hearts of Jewish Israel in Jesus' day than the firm
belief that Elijah the prophet would come again to prepare the way before
the expected Messiah. Both John and Jesus were assumed by some to be this
ancient prophet come again. To this day devout Jews set a vacant chair
at their table for Elijah when they celebrate the feast of the Passover.
In part, at least, this universal belief grew out of Jehovah's promise
given by the mouth of Malachi" (The Millennial Messiah, p265).
Joseph Smith: "The spirit, power, and calling
of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances,
oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood
and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform
all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning
of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children
unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven....
"Now comes the point.
What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most
important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal
the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children....
"I wish you to understand
this subject, for it is important; and if you will receive it, this is
the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with
our fathers which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in
the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those
who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah
and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah....
"We cannot be perfect
without the fathers, &c. We must have revelation from them, and we
can see that the doctrine of revelation far transcends the doctrine of
no revelation; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian
notions in existence." (HC, 6:251-252)
WHY IS IT HELPFUL TO KNOW THAT SOME OF THE PROPHECIES PRECEDING THE
SECOND COMING HAVE ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED?
It enables us to see that the Lord is in the process of carrying out his
plan. It motivates us to do our best in keeping the commandments
and preparing for his coming.
Most mornings, before heading off to work,
I like to check the weather to see what the coming day will bring. Satellite photos,
Doppler radar, and observation stations let me know if
a storm is coming. Based on what the weather forecast tells me, I
make appropriate preparations for the day. The fulfillment of prophecy
tells me that the Lord is continuing to move forward with his eternal plan. Knowledge of their fulfillment motivates me to better live my life and
spiritually prepare, just as I might prepare for the weather events of
a particular day.
Prophecies That Are Yet To Be Fulfilled Before The Savior Comes
ZECHARIAH 10:6-8. Judah and Joseph to be
ZECHARIAH 12:2-3, 8-9. A great war in Jerusalem
- the Lord to intervene.
The gathering of Judah and Joseph is being fulfilled in our day.
Elder B.H. Roberts: "Summarizing these prophetic
blessings we may say, that to the tribe of Ephraim is given the place and
honor of the first born in Israel; that to him pertains the 'pushing of
the people together'--Ephraim's part in the gathering of Israel in the
last days; that the seed of Manasseh is to become a great people, while
Ephraim is to become a multitude of nations--greater than Manasseh, as
is becoming to the tribe of the first born--'they are the ten thousands
of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh;' that the land possessed
by Joseph's posterity is to be peculiarly great and fruitful, blessed with
the precious things of heaven, with the precious fruits brought forth by
the sun, for the chief things of the ancient mountains, for the precious
things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and
the fullness thereof; that Joseph is as a fruitful bough whose branches
run over the wall (i. e. his possessions extend in some way beyond the
recognized boundaries of Israel's Palestine inheritance); that Joseph's
arms and hands shall be made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob;
that the God of Israel shall help Joseph and bless him with the blessings
of heaven above, of the deep, of the breasts, and of the womb (i.e., he
shall be blessed in his posterity); that the blessings of Jacob had prevailed
above the blessings of his progenitors, 'unto the utmost bounds of the
everlasting hills,' (perhaps a greater territorial inheritance); that these
blessings of Jacob which had 'prevailed' above (i.e., exceeded) the blessings
of his progenitors, should be realized by Joseph." (New Witnesses
for God, 3:98)
ZECHARIAH 14:8. Living waters to go out
WHAT IS THIS WAR?
The Battle of Armageddon. The events described in these verses precede
the Lord's return to earth in glory.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "All the desolation
and waste which attended the former destruction of Jerusalem is but prelude
to the coming siege. Titus and his legions slaughtered 1,100,000 Jews,
destroyed the temple, and ploughed the city. In the coming reenactment
of this 'abomination of desolation,' the whole world will be at war, Jerusalem
will be the center of the conflict, every modern weapon will be used, and
in the midst of the siege the Son of Man shall come, setting his foot upon
the mount of Olives and fighting the battle of his saints. (Zech. 12:1-9.)"
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:659)
Many of the prophecies of the last days include tragedies such as war,
natural disasters, and widespread wickedness.
See the discussion of Ezekiel's vision of a river flowing from the temple
in Lesson 44.
HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN HOPE WHEN WE HEAR OF THESE PROPHECIES AND WITNESS THEIR
If we have studied the scriptures and the words of the prophets, we know
that difficult times are ahead. Brothers Blaine and Brenton Yorgason
wrote a wonderful book entitled Spiritual Survival In The Last Days. In the first section of the book the Yorgason brothers outline some of
the difficulties that will challenge us as we approach the time of the
Second Coming. They then list some practices that will enable us
to spiritually survive through these difficult times. These include:
Gaining a personal testimony and what we need to do to accomplish that.
Sincere and humble repentance.
Following the Lord's living prophets, which includes:
President Wilford Woodruff: "Lay up your
wheat and other provisions against a day of need, for the day will come
when they will be wanted and no mistake about it. We shall want bread,
and the Gentiles will want bread, and if we are wise we shall have something
to feed them and ourselves when famine comes." (JD, 18:121)
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Brethren,
I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every
individual Church member and family.
"None of us knows when
a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any
"We have a great welfare
program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas.
It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some
food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings.
The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of
wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary."
(CR, Oct 2002)
President Hinckley: "I am suggesting that
the time has come to get our houses in order....
"I urge you, brethren,
to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your
expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to
the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves
from bondage." (Ensign, Nov 1998, pp53-54)
President Hinckley: "Get out of debt and
rid yourself of the terrible bondage that debt brings.
"We hear much about second mortgages.
Now I am told there are third mortgages.
"Discipline yourselves in matters
of spending, in matters of borrowing, in practices that lead to bankruptcy
and the agony that comes therewith." (CR, Oct 2002)
Living the Word of Wisdom.
President Hinckley: "Too many are being
caught in the web of immorality and all of the bitter fruit that flows
from it. To the boys who are here tonight—the young men—I wish to say in
the strongest language of which I am capable, stay away from moral iniquity.
You know what is right and wrong. You cannot use ignorance as an excuse
for unacceptable behavior.
"How can you possibly think
that you can become involved in immoral practices and then go into the
mission field as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you suppose
that you can be worthy to go to the house of the Lord, there to be married
for time and eternity, if you have indulged in such practices?
"I beg of you, my dear
young friends, to avoid such behavior. It will not be easy. It will require
self-discipline. The forces you confront are powerful and inviting. They
are the forces of a clever adversary. You need the strength that comes
"Stay away from the erotic
stuff of the Internet. It can only pull you down. It can lead to your destruction....
"To you mature men I extend
the same plea and the same warning. Small beginnings lead to great tragedies.
We deal with them constantly. There is so much of heartache, resentment,
disillusionment, and divorce among us." (CR, Oct 2002)
Receive personal revelation.
Strive to rear spiritually unified families.
"And again, I say unto
you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
"Ye hear of wars
in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far
countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
"I tell you these
things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms,
lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness,
in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that
which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear."
Prophecies That Will Be Fulfilled When The Savior Comes
ZECHARIAH 14:3-4. The Savior will stand
on the Mount of Olives.
ZECHARIAH 12:10 &
ZECHARIAH 13:6. The Jews to
"And it shall come to pass
in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of
the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also
I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land."
"And then shall the Jews
look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
"Then shall they
know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the
wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who
was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.
"And then shall they
weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted
their king." (D&C 45:51-53)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "After his resurrection
our Lord showed his disciples in Jerusalem and the host of Nephite Saints
on this continent the nail marks in his hands and in his feet. (Luke 24:36-43;
3 Ne. 11:14-19.) At the Second Coming these same wounds will stand as a
witness to the Jews that he is the Crucified One, their King whom they
rejected in the meridian of time. (D. & C. 45:51-52; Zech. 12: 10;
13:6.)" (Mormon Doctrine, p174)
ZECHARIAH 14:5. The righteous to be caught
up to meet the Savior.
False idols, unclean spirits and false prophets will be destroyed.
"And the LORD shall be king
over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one."
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PROPHECY?
"And the saints that are upon the earth, who are
alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
"And they who have
slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened;
and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar
"They are Christ's,
the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are
on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him;
and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of
God." (D&C 88:96:98)
MALACHI 4:1-3. The wicked will be destroyed
and the righteous spared.
The Lord will be king over all the earth and will rule during the Millennium.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The keys of the
kingdom -- the right and power to govern the Lord's affairs for and on
his behalf -- have been held by prophets in all ages, but when the Lord
comes to reign personally upon the earth during the millennial era, he
will take back the keys. Those who have held them will make an accounting
to him of their stewardships at the place called Adam-ondi-Ahman at which
gathering Christ will receive 'dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that
all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.' (Dan. 7:13-14.)
Eventually in the celestial day, 'the keys of the kingdom shall be delivered
up again unto the Father'." (Mormon Doctrine, p413)
WHY DO YOU THINK THE LORD HAS REVEALED THESE PROPHECIES ABOUT THE LATTER
DAYS, THE SECOND COMING, AND THE MILLENNIUM?
See also Zechariah 14:12-13 and
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "It will
be impossible for the people of this class to remain on the earth during
the Millennium, for they would be as much out of their element as a fish
out of water. The changed condition of the earth, which will be of a terrestrial
order during this thousand years, will be suited to the capacity of those
of the terrestrial world as well as those who have kept the celestial law,
and they shall have part in the first resurrection. 'And then shall the
heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part
in the first resurrection, And it shall be tolerable for them.' (D.C. 45:54.)
But with those of the telestial order, this will not be so. These are they
who are as stubble who shall be consumed when Christ comes, according to
the words of Malachi." (Way to Perfection, pp302-303)
HOW CAN WE PREPARE FOR THE SECOND COMING OF THE SAVIOR?
"Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall
come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you
shall be fulfilled." (D&C 45:34)
"For they that are wise and have received the
truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been
deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into
the fire, but shall abide the day." (D&C 45:57)
President Ezra Taft Benson: "As we live
the commandments of God, we can look forward with joyful anticipation to
the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and know that through our efforts
we are worthy, with our loved ones, to dwell in His presence for all eternity.
Surely nothing is too hard to gain this great goal. We cannot let down
for a moment. We must prove, every day of our lives, that we are willing
to do the will of the Lord—to spread the restored gospel, to bear testimony
to the world, to share the gospel with others." (Teachings of
Ezra Taft Benson, p341)
Malachi: Blessings That Come To Those Who Pay Tithes
"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But
ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings."
MALACHI 3:10-12. Bring your tithes into the storehouse.
HOW DO PEOPLE "ROB GOD" BY NOT PAYING TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
Brigham Young: "There is any amount of property,
and gold and silver in the earth and on the earth, and the Lord gives to
this one and that one—the wicked as well as the righteous—to see what they
will do with it, but it all belongs to him. He has handed over a goodly
portion to this people, and, through our faith, patience and industry,
we have made us good, comfortable homes here, and there are many who are
tolerably well off, and if they were in many parts of the world they would
be called wealthy. But it is not ours, and all we have to do is to try
and find out what the Lord wants us to do with what we have in our possession,
and then go and do it. If we step beyond this, or to the right or to the
left, we step into an illegitimate train of business. Our legitimate business
is to do what the Lord wants us to do with that which he bestows upon us,
and dispose of it just as he dictates, whether it is to give all, one-tenth,
or the surplus." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p305)
Since all that we have belongs to the Lord, for us to not return whatever
portion he requests is robbery. It belongs to the Lord.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PAY A FULL TITHE?
"The simplest statement we know of is the statement
of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay
'one-tenth of all their interest annually,' which is understood to mean
income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this."
(First Presidency letter to stake presidents and bishops, Mar 19, 1970
quoted in A Companion To Your Study of the New Testament, p308)
WHAT BLESSINGS HAS THE LORD PROMISED US IF WE PAY TITHING?
The blessings will be so great that there will not be room enough for them.
The Lord will "rebuke the devourer" and preserve the fruit of the field.
All nations will call us blessed.
WHAT BLESSINGS HAVE YOU RECEIVED AS YOU HAVE PAID TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
Often we focus on the blessings to us individually and as families. We have all been blessed as tithing has enabled the Church to carry forth
its mission. As millions pay their tithing, there are sufficient
funds to build temples and chapels, aid the missionary work, and pay for
the other temporal needs of the kingdom. Compare the current status
of the Church to the way things were at the time President Snow reemphasized the law of
WHAT SHOULD BE OUR MOTIVATION FOR PAYING TITHES AND OFFERINGS?
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Now, do not
get me wrong. I am not here to say that if you pay an honest tithing you
will realize your dream of a fine house, a Rolls Royce, and a condominium
in Hawaii. The Lord will open the windows of heaven according to our need,
and not according to our greed. If we are paying tithing to get rich, we
are doing it for the wrong reason. The basic purpose for tithing is to
provide the Church with the means needed to carry on His work."
(Ensign, May 1982, p40)
Living the law of tithing helps us to prepare for actively living the greater
law of consecration.
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
It is appropriate to end our study of the Old Testament with this lesson. The events of the Old Testament lead up to the time of the Savior's life
upon the earth. Like the people of Old Testament times, we also look
forward to the coming of the Savior, his return to earth. As we have
seen, many of the ancient prophets saw our time and prophesied in great
detail about the events that would precede the second coming. We are
privileged to live in a time when we can see prophecy fulfilled. If we live righteously, we can aid in the fulfillment of these prophecies.
The study of the Old Testament has not been one of just looking at ancient
peoples in their ancient settings. The stories and principles that
rang true thousands of years ago, still ring true today. This makes
an ongoing study of this marvelous book important in our lives. All
of the Standard Works make frequent reference to the Old Testament. We should keep this in mind as we continue in our gospel study.
Record your thoughts on the prophecies of Malachi and Zechariah. Do those
prophecies encourage you to prepare yourself as the second coming approaches.
In what ways can you better prepare?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A Companion To Your Study of the New Testament by Daniel H. Ludlow.
Conference Reports (CR).
Discourses of Brigham Young edited by John A. Widtsoe.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie.
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
History of the Church by Joseph Smith.
Journal of Discourses (JD).
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
New Witnesses For God by B.H. Roberts.
Prophets & Prophecies of the Old Testament by Duane S. Crowther.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
The Millennial Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.
The Way To Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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