Some time ago, I posted my witness that the Savior Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah promised to ancient prophets, and my personal Redeemer. Today, I would like to reiterate that witness.
For thousands of years, it had been prophesied that God Himself would one day visit the earth and walk among men. Around two thousand years ago, in fulfillment of these prophecies, a man whom the Hebrews called Jeshua declared that He was the great Jehovah whom the Israelites had worshipped for millennia, the Son of the Living God, and the rightful heir to the throne of Israel (today, we know this man as Jesus Christ, an anglicized form of “Jeshua, the Anointed One”). In evidence of this remarkable claim, He did things that no ordinary man can do. He healed the sick, raised the dead, made blind men see, made lame men walk. He taught people to love each other and to serve God. He taught as one having authority from God.
Jeshua was assassinated by men who feared his message, his authority, and his followers. He defied death itself, and continued to walk among his followers for a time, teaching them as he had before. He declared that His mortal life and death had made it possible for everyone who ever lived could also, eventually, defy death and live again. He appointed messengers, and commissioned them to tell the world what they had seen and heard. As he left the earth (returning to heaven), a messenger from God told those who lingered, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Jesus Christ then visited a branch of the Israelites on the other side of the world, to declare to them as well that the ancient prophecies had been fulfilled, that Jehovah Himself had walked the earth in mortal form as a man, and that they too could be redeemed from death and sin. He taught them new rituals to express their faith, and ended the symbolic sacrifices that they had diligently made to that time. In doing so, he said, “I am He who gave the law, and I am He who covenanted with my people Israel. Therefore, the law in me is fulfilled.” He then added a qualifier—he spake concerning prophecies that had not yet been fulfilled. He continued, “Because I said unto you that old things have passed away, I do not destroy that which hath been spoken concerning things which are to come. For behold, the covenant which I have made with my people is not all fulfilled.”
As we read the ancient scriptures (the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Book of Mormon), we find pages upon pages of prophecy that have not yet been fulfilled. The promised Messiah came and God walked among men for a time, and in so doing fulfilled many of the ancient prophesies; but His work on the earth is not finished yet. The rest of the ancient prophesies (and, in fact, some of the most anticipated prophesies) will be fulfilled in the events surrounding the Savior’s second coming.
Indeed, we are approaching a long-anticipated moment in history, when the age of this fallen world will come to an end, and a new Millennial age will begin. In fact, the prophecy the angel made to the Savior’s followers after His departure has already begun to be fulfilled. In 1820, in a small grove of trees in New York, Jesus Christ descended from heaven and spoke to a man named Joseph Smith. This was the first of a number of recorded visits, in preparation for his appearance to the entire world in the Second Coming.
A few years later, a messenger from God named Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and told him where to find a book of ancient scripture which contains an additional witness of the Savior Jesus Christ. The messenger also told Joseph Smith that many of the ancient prophecies of the Old Testament are about to be fulfilled. Among the soon-to-be-fulfilled prophecies was a passage in Isaiah, which declares that God “shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” The Book of Mormon has been instrumental in gathering the “outcasts of Israel” and the “dispersed of Judah” for the past 180 years. In the growth and expansion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are witnessing a fulfillment of a 2,700 year old prophecy.
The messenger quoted many other prophesies, each of them regarding the restoration of Israel, the end of death, sin, and enmity on the earth, the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the destruction of the wicked, and the Second Coming of the Savior. In summary, the messenger was announcing that the great prophecies of ancient times regarding the end of this fallen world were about to be fulfilled, and that the book he would soon present to Joseph Smith would be instrumental both in fulfillment of some of those prophecies, and in guiding the faithful to safety amidst the fulfillment of others.
Many of these prophecies were made hundreds of years before Christ. Some of them have to do with the ending of death, sickness, and sin in the world. Others have to do with the dividing of the righteous and the wicked. Others have to do with the rescue of Israel from its political enemies. Others have to do with the calamities that will befall the world just prior to the Savior’s second appearance.
Every experience I have had with the Holy Scriptures, history, and the Spirit tells me that the Savior Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose from the dead as Christianity claims He did. Everything I see in the world tells me that He will soon visit the earth again, and that the rest of the ancient prophesies are about to be fulfilled.