In section 101 and 103, after giving the parable of how Zion would be redeemed and promising that Joseph Smith would be the one to lead Israel in the last days and to avenge the Lord of his enemies and tear down their tower, the Lord said:
“And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me..”
There are about four different revelations in the D&C wherein the Lord promised to visit judgment upon the heads of those who hate him and who hindered his work unto the third and fourth generation” (See D&C 98:46, 103:26, 105:30, 124:50,52)
I suppose this should have been a key to the Saints that there was going to be a significant period of time between the beginning of the foundation movement and the start of the Marvelous Work
I would submit that these scriptures do in fact provide a great key to us in revealing the time frame between the start of the foundation movement and the start of the Marvelous Work. They also possibly help in identifying the approximate time that the Marvelous Work might begin.
In posts #34 we discussed the 400 year prophecy and how it may be pointing to this very time period when the Marvelous Work could possibly begin… well, it is interesting to note that if the generation that Joseph Smith lived in came to an end in April of 1848 or within a year of that time, which is when the LDS Church officially sustained a first Presidency to replace the previous one, four generations later (160 years) would also fall in this time period.
I find it interesting that those two timelines correspond with each other and that we just happen to be on the verge of an economic meltdown and war in the year that these two time lines coincide… but the main purpose of this blog is not to speculate on dates.. although I firmly believe that is a part of having the “Spirit of Watching”.
During the time of the LDS foundation movement there were several groups who felt the second coming in glory was very near. The Millerites were one of these groups. Their biblical calculations of Daniels time line indicated that 1843-4 was going to be the time of the Lords return. (Miller was the original inspiration behind the 7th Day Adventist Movement, not Ellen white, she was originally a follower of his]
Many Latter Day Saints also thought the time was near.. and for good reason. Modern revelation was also warning them to be prepared for the Lords return… warning them that it was nigh at hand
“And the poor #and the meek# shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand—“ (D&C:35 15)
Punch in the word “quickly” in the LDS search engine or your own LDS Scripture software if you have some. You will see that the Lord promised the Saints back at that time that he would come quickly at least 13 times.
“Wherefore, stand #ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly#, saith the Lord. Amen.” D&C 87:8
In hind sight, it becomes apparent that from Gods perspective, four generations is a very short period of time.
Other statements were made indicating that the time was near
On two different occasions the Lord promised that he would come “suddenly” to his Temple.
"I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God; wherefore, gird up your loins and I will suddenly come# to my temple#. Even so. Amen." D&C 36:8
"The Lord who shall suddenly come #to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment#; yea, upon all the nations that forget #God, and upon all the ungodly among you." 133:2
Since virtually all prophecies have a dual fulfillment, it is fascinating to learn that the visit of Christ to the Kirtland Temple in 1836 was in deed a sudden occurrence… one where he came quickly, one where the delivery of additional priesthood keys was not expected by the Saints.
It was also a secret appearance.. one that the Saints living at that time would not know about for a long time… in fact section 110 was published for the first time in the D&C in 1876… a full generation after the event occurred. I suspect the Lord had his reasons for keeping that event a secret from the Saints of that generation.
Nevertheless, it appears when reading these verses in context that the second literal fulfillment of the prophecy about the Lord coming suddenly to his temple will take place in the third watch, at the time of the Marvelous Work.
It must have been surprising to some of the Saints when Joseph Smith promised the Saints that the second coming in glory was not eminent.. and that it was many years away.…
Did Joseph Smith know something that others did not know? I believe he understood several things back then that we are beginning to see four generations later… among them, he understood that there would be a period of time between the foundation work and the Marvelous Work.
Gods statements about the four generations of time needing to transpire prior to many other prophetic events not only shows his infinite foreknowledge of future events, but it also provides another evidence that the Marvelous Work did not take place during the LDS foundation movement. Rather, it takes place four generations later…