If “end times” means the prophesied events that will occur preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the inauguration of his millennial reign on the earth, yes indeed, Mormons believe in the “end times.” In fact, God restored His ancient church because we are in the end times right now. He has established His kingdom once again on the earth in preparation for the Second Coming.
It is interesting to note that the term “end times” is not found in the King James translation of the Bible. Rather, the period preceding the return of the Savior is most often referred to as either the “last times” (1 Timothy 4:1;), “last days” (Genesis 49:1; Isaiah 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3–4), or “latter days” (Deuteronomy 4:30; Job 19:25). So significant and pivotal are the times and events that precede His Second Coming that the Lord chose to designate His restored Church as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thus distinguishing it from his former-day Church and the Saints who lived in that time period.
The Lord has revealed to his prophets, both ancient and modern, that the “end times” or “end of the world” (Matthew 24:3) does not mean the physical end of the planet Earth nor the extinction of human life upon the earth. rather, “end of the world” refers to the end of wickedness (ungodliness, “worldliness”) on the earth for the space of a thousand years—the Millennium—thereby permitting peace, health, and happiness to flourish. While Joseph Smith and subsequent latter-day prophets have confirmed and clarified various “end time” doctrines, three of the most pivotal “end time” scriptural prophecies have continued to be over- looked by mainstream Christianity:
1. The coming of Elijah: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4:5).
2. The establishment of Zion (Isaiah 52:1–2; Joel 2:32).
3. The coming of Christ to his temple: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple” (Malachi 3:1).
Yet the Lord has revealed to his latter-day prophets when these key “end time” prophecies will be fulfilled:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5–6)
The fulfillment of this prophecy took place on Sunday April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland (Ohio) temple. It was one of four separate visitations by four separate heavenly beings that afternoon: the Lord Jesus Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 110: 1–10); the prophet Moses (D&C 110:11); the prophet Elias (D&C 110:12); then the prophet Elijah. Joseph Smith wrote vividly of each visitation, but only Joseph’s description of the visit of Elijah will be included here.
After this vision [of Elias] had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said: Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come. . . . Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors (D&C 110:13–16).
There is one doctrine commonly held by Evangelicals which is not biblical, is of recent origin, and which members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reject. That is the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture. The Bible says that the righteous will be caught up to meet Christ, and that of two in a field, one will be taken and one left. The Bible also speaks of those who teach in the name of Christ, whom the Savior will disown, and five virgins who will be unprepared. Visions of the future offered by John the Beloved in the Book of Revelation, and other portrayals of the end days are frightening, it is true, but the Lord has promised to protect those who wait upon Him. The following are scriptures regarding the end times:
Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh; And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people (Doctrine and Covenants 1:12-14)….
For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world (Doctrine and Covenants 1:35, 36).
I have sworn in my wrath, and decreed wars upon the face of the earth, and the wicked shall slaythe wicked, and fear shall come upon every man; And the saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them, and will come down in heaven from the presence of my Father and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire. And behold, this is not yet, but by and by (Doctrine and Covenants 63:33-35).
For this is a day of warning, and not a day of many words. For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in the last days. Behold, I am from above, and my power lieth beneath. I am over all, and in all, and through all, and search all things, and the day cometh that all things shall be subject unto me. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 63:58-60).
And if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day. Amen (D&C 5:35).
*This article was adapted from Mormons Under a Microscope, by D. Lauritsen, Cove Fort, Inc., Springville, Utah: 2010, pp. 131, 132.