One of the challenges of scriptures about the tribulation and Second Coming, is that they are not sequential. They will speak of one event, then remind us of something that must happen before “those days” and then jump to an unknown timeframe to speak of another event. This leaves us without a sequential calendar of events.
However, the Prophet Joseph left us half of the key to preparing for the Second Coming in JS Matthew 1:41-43:
“But as it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be also at the coming of the Son of Man; For it shall be with them, as it was in the days which were before the flood; for until the day that Noah entered into the ark they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”
The other half of the key is found in D&C 115:5-6:
“Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations; And that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.”
In other words, Zion is to be our ark. Just as the people of Noah’s time who stupidly married and gave in marriage were unaware of the coming flood and were not even aware of the true power of the ark, we of this dispensation will only be in the latter-day ark if we are inside the safety of Zion.
Joseph Smith said:
“Without Zion, and a place of deliverance, we must fall: because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, and the moon turn to blood, and the stars fall from heaven, and the earth reel to and fro. Then, if this is the case, and if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places God hath appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fall; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved; for God will gather out His Saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction, and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered.” (DHC 2:52)
Notice that Joseph gives two steps to be gathered to Zion. First, we must be sanctified, and second, we will be gathered. It must happen in that order; sanctification first, then physical safety. He says we must be the “pure in heart” to be gathered. Why? Because only “the pure in heart shall see God”.
The reason sanctification must proceed gathering is because Jesus Christ will dwell in Zion just prior to the Second Coming. This means that each of us must have qualified to be in His presence before we will be admitted.
The process of sanctification is the very process of the gospel. It is the same process we have been pursuing all of our gospel lives. The difference may only be that we may not have had our eye upon the ark of Zion. If we are only trying to qualify our lives for church callings and temple service, then we may find that the door of the ark will be closing when we arrive to pound upon it.
The reason is the same as it was in the days of Noah. If someone was not preparing for the ark, helping build the ark and with Noah, gathering the animals two-by-two, then they were oblivious of the true purpose of the ark and had not qualified to enter.
With an eye upon the Zion-Ark, and the supreme blessings promised in the Temple, we can seek the face of God and qualify ourselves for the promise and safety of Zion.
Right now, today, we can fill our lives with His voice, and become his sheep and take Him as our Shepherd. We can qualify ourselves for a berth in Zion long before a single brick or stone is laid in the actual real estate of Zion. Then, when the call comes by the living prophet, or by the voice of God we have learned to obey, we will be involved, sanctified, pure in heart, and welcome in the ark.
© July 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.