So let’s dive into some of these prophecies that he gives them regarding the destruction of Jerusalem. Starting in verse 5, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” There’s an implication here that there will be many who are going to try to tell you things that they’re not true. Now, could this be likened to things like the CES Letter? I love how our prophets and apostles have taught so clearly that truth is truth. President Nelson has made that statement multiple times, and others have said it’s not an Apostle’s job to make up doctrine just because people want to hear it that way. They are only allowed to teach what God authorizes them and asks them to teach, and they’re not going to deceive you.
Verse 6 says, “For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall receive many.” So there are going to be false Christs. I can tell you a brief story; I’m going to get my details a little bit off, but back during the Ottoman Empire a couple of hundred years ago in what is now Turkey, there was a Jewish person who rose up and said, “I am the Messiah” and convinced a lot of Jews who were still waiting for the Messiah to come to deliver them. The Ottoman authorities were not super pleased with this guy; they captured him, brought him in, and gave him a choice: either convert to our religion or lose your life. It’s interesting; he didn’t die; he converted and was essentially lost to history after that. But you had all these people who had been following him kind of get left out in the cold, realizing he had been a false Messiah. Now, that’s an extreme example, but we have teachers sent from heaven, apostles and prophets; they teach us to follow Jesus Christ. We live in a world awash in chaos, and there’s safety in knowing what the truth is by listening to the prophets. We don’t have to be led astray by the whims of men.
So let’s just pick up a couple more of these verses. Verse 9: “And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Did you notice the cause and effect that Jesus used there? Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Iniquity leads to a decrease in love; it waxes cold. If you’re lacking love, increase righteousness, increase your faith in God, turn to Him more completely, give your life more fully to Him, listen to His prophets, and love will wax warmer in your life. Turn to divinely appointed sources when questions arrive, like those posed in the CES Letter. If you turn to Him, He will deliver on His promises and teachings. That’s the unwritten implication here.
Then he describes in verse 13 through 17 the actual destruction and what you should do—flee, run. Verse 18: “For then in those days shall be great tribulation on the Jews and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel of God since the beginning of their Kingdom until this time, no, nor ever shall be sent again upon Israel—three Roman Legions unleashing the might and power of Rome on this little outpost of the Roman Empire, the 5th, the 12th, and 15th Legions.” You can just imagine the terror that these people are going through.
Verse 20: “And except those days should be shortened, there should none of their flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake, according to the Covenant, those days shall be shortened.” The covenant we’re talking about goes back to Genesis chapter 12, 15, 18. It’s the Abrahamic Covenant where God has promised Abraham posterity, prosperity, and land. God is saying because I’ve made a covenant to offer that to His children, I am not going to allow all these people to be cut off and destroyed. Interestingly, you could connect this similarly to the Lamanites; they are children of Abraham, and that is one of the reasons why God did not allow the entire nation of Lamanites to die off. But like He’s doing for everyone today, inviting them back in, reminding them, “Here’s the covenant I’ve made; you all have access to it. Please be loyal to me.” And he extends that invitation to all His children, the faithful, those that have fallen away due to things like the CES Letter, etc. So that’s kind of the background of what’s going on here.
By Dr. Tyler Griffin, Source Expert
Dr. Tyler Griffin embarked on his professional journey by teaching seminary courses for a span of six years in Brigham City, Utah. Following that, he dedicated the subsequent seven years to lecturing at the Logan LDS Institute, located adjacent to Utah State University. Alongside his participation in the Seminary Preservice program, he spearheaded and supervised the implementation of the online seminary program. Dr. Griffin has been an educator at BYU for well over a decade and holds a co-founding position within the BYU Virtual Scriptures Group. His bachelor’s degree is in Electrical Engineering, while both his master’s and doctoral degrees revolve around Instructional Technology. Dr. Griffin serves as the singular author of “When Heaven Appears Distant,” co-author of “Come Unto Me: Illuminating the Savior’s Life, Mission, Parables, and Miracles,” and co-editor of “Millions Shall Rediscover Brother Joseph.”
Fact Checked by Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert
Kevin Prince functions as a religious expert and YouTube presenter for the Gospel Learning YouTube Channel. The channel has garnered a subscriber count surpassing 41,000 and has amassed more than 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince is additionally the innovator behind the Gospel Learning App, a trustworthy tool delivering readily available responses to religious questions from esteemed educators globally for those in search of truth.
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