Mormons believe that Jesus will one day return to the Earth, as do most Christians. However, there are some differences between what Mormons believe will happen and what many other religions believe.
The Bible teaches that no one will know the exact moment Jesus will return. That is known only to God. For that reason, it is important that we always be prepared for that return. If we are prepared, we have no reason to be concerned about it and no need to know the exact date. Knowing the exact date would only encourage us to procrastinate our repentance.
However, God has promised to give us signs of the Savior’s coming. Many of those signs are occurring today, telling us the time is approaching. Some of the signs are sad ones and we will need faith to endure them.
The Old Testament prophet Daniel said the last days would be a time of trouble greater than any the world had seen. People would be unkind to one another, wickedness will increase, there would be an increase in disease and in famines. Great storms would occur. Matthew 24:6–7 warns us that there will be many wars.
However, Mormons also believe God will temper those unhappy signs with joyous ones. As the last days approach the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached to the entire world in its own languages. Mormons send missionaries everywhere they are legally allowed to do so and the Bible and the Book of Mormon are increasingly available in a wide range of languages. Technology has made it possible even for some in countries where freedom of religion is restricted to learn about Jesus Christ. Malachi said:
5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 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 (Malachi4).
Mormons believe this refers to temple work. Mormons teach that marriage and families were never expected to end at death and that God’s plan was for families to be together forever. This can take place when marriages are performed in the Mormon temples, keeping the hearts of parents and children together forever.
Mormons also believe that when the time for the Savior’s return is near, they will build a city called New Jerusalem, located in Missouri in the United States. This city is one of the places, in addition to Jerusalem, from which the Savior will rule after His return.
When Jesus returns he will cleanse the earth by destroying the wicked, burning corrupt things, and cleansing the earth by fire.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25).
This scripture in the New Testament tells us that at the Second Coming, we will be judged. John the Revelator spoke of this also, telling us there will be a thousand year period in which Jesus Christ will rule.
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection (Revelation 20).
This thousand years is called the Millennium. The righteous will be caught up to meet Jesus at this time. This will be a time of joy for the righteous, who will live on Earth under the Savior’s reign, carrying out God’s work. This time is for all who are righteous, not just those who belong to a specific church, since righteous people are found in many faiths. There will continue to be many different faiths for a time, but eventually everyone will acknowledge Jesus Christ and His Church.
The First Resurrection, begun when Jesus was resurrected, will be completed at this time. Satan will be bound and have no influence over the people during that 1000 years. There will, as a result, be complete peace on Earth. Wars will end and government will be righteous. There will be no death. We will have the opportunity to receive complete truth.
Mormons, while recognizing the trials people will face prior to the return of the Savior, are not afraid of the Second Coming. Each day, they try to live as Christ-like a life as possible and so they look forward to the day of the Lord Jesus Christ’s coming.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.