One of the best definitions pertaining to the distinction between the preparatory foundation work of the 2nd watch that was laid in the 1800's and the Marvelous Work that is about to take place in the 3rd watch, is found in st Nephi 14-
"And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks— And harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever; they shall be no more brought down into captivity; and the house of Israel shall no more be confounded. And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end." (1st Nephi 14)
When the first portion of the unsealed plates were translated and published back in the 1820-30's it was the time when God manifested himself in WORD.
However, according to the above passages, in the 3rd watch he will manifest himself in both WORD and POWER resulting in the taking away of our stumbling blocks.
3rd Nephi 26 elaborates on this distinction between the foundation work and the marvelous work pointing out that the LESSOR portion of Gods word came forth first to the gentiles for the purpose of trying their faith.
Those that believe the lesser portion of Gods word will eventually be given the greater things.
"But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation." 3rd Nephi 26
The greater things come forth at a later time.
Those that reject the greater things when they come forth, either by refusing to read them when they come forth, or by rejecting them after reading them, will be condemned.
3rd Nephi 29 reveals one of the most important signs that we need to be looking for pertaining to the beginning of the Marvelous Work.
Yes it is true that there are signs in the heavens and the earth that pertain to the beginning of the Marvelous Work. In previous posts we have discussed these signs and noted that they appear to be in place.
Additionally we have been told about the wickedness of the human race at the time when the marvelous work takes place as well, but there is another great sign that is mentioned.
"And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled." (3rd nephi 29)
Some people assume that "these saying" in the above passage is referring to the Book of Mormon that we currently have to day, and therefore they assume that the marvelous work began about a few hundred years ago. However, if you go back a few chapters and read forward until you get to these verses to get context, you will find that it is speaking about the sayings that contain the greater things.
The sayings that contain the greater things which were withheld during the foundation movement are what come forth at the time of the Marvelous Work in the 3rd watch. That is when Israel is gathered and restored to the lands of their inheritance for the final time!
That is when the great whore of the earth will have digged a pitt for the saints of God but will end up falling into it themselves.
Obviously, if the coming forth of the sayings containing the greater things is a great sign that the final work has commenced, then the servants who have been commissioned to bring the greater things forth must also return so they can bring these words forth. The return of the servants is also a sign that the work has commenced.
We need to be watching for the records that come forth and for the servants that bring them.