First off, EXCELLENT site! Long overdue!
Anyway, my question is: How can anyone think the millenium is soon at hand given the following:
1). The Lord came in the “meridian” of time. That means the Lord came into the world in the year 3,500 of 7,000 years. Here we are, 2014 years later, making it the year 5,514 (or there about, +- 4 years)… Nowhere near the 6,000 year mark. Now, I’m assuming that the year 3,500 IS the meridian of time.
2) Unless the post-millennial time is 500 years (which would make for a very, very long “season”) or the definition of “meridian” has another meaning, time frames don’t appear to match up.
Also, I heard that Wilford Woodruff or another Apostle or prophet stated something like the rising generation would not altogether pass away before the Lord returns.
Please help me understand my miscalculation.
Thank you so much.
Meridian has more than one definition, as such, there may be more than one way to interpret “meridian of times” meaning. As we consider the timeline you have provided, then it would appear, assuming we only interpret “meridian” as “the middle”, that the Lord’s birth did not occur at the meridian of time. However, meridian has other definitions which you can look up also from dictionaries: Webster, dictionary reference, and free dictionary online. These sources provide a different outlook when meridian is also defined as:
1. A high point
2. A point or period of highest development, greatest prosperity, or the like
3. The highest point or stage of development; peak: “Men come to their meridian at various periods of their lives.” (Sentence given as an example).
In light of these definitions, the meridian of time could possibly mean the birth of Christ as the highest point or stage since the creation of Adam and Eve. In view of these definitions, and the timeline you have provided, then we can agree and verify that Joseph Smith may have meant the highest point, or period, in human history. However, let us take another view as given by Joseph Fielding Smith with regard to a different timeline:
“[O]ur Savior came in the meridian of time. That dispensation is called the dispensation of the meridian of time. This means that it was about halfway from the beginning of “time” to the end of “time.”. Anyone who desires can figure it for himself that our Lord came about 4,000 years from the time of the fall. The millennium is to come some time following the 2,000 years after his coming. Then there is to be the millennium for 1,000 years, and following that a “little season,” the length of which is not revealed, but which may bring “time” to its end about 8,000 years from the beginning.”(Doctrines of Salvation 1:81, emphasis in original)
As we consider the words of Joseph Fielding Smith, then the Savior’s birth was literally around, or at, the “meridian of time.”
With regard to Wilford Woodruff, after reading his biography, he strongly felt and wouldn’t have been surprised if the Lord returned during the life of those who were still living. Other prophets have spoken the same thing, example, Joseph Fielding Smith, who once declared:
“Some Now Living May See Second Coming The day of the coming of the Lord is near. I do not know when. I am not looking, however, upon the coming of the Son of Man as I looked once upon the day when men would speak from city to city and throughout the land without the aid of wires, and would be heard – as some – thing that may come in some far distant time – because I sincerely believe it will come in the very day when some of us who are here today [April 5, 1936] will be living upon the face of the earth. That day is close at hand.” (Doctrines of Salvation 3:2)
However, these were their opinions in light of their studies and what prophecies were being fulfilled. If Joseph Fielding Smith is correct the millennium will begin in less than 30 years, as he mentioned at this conference that he felt some in the audience would be alive when the Savior comes. Yet, we know this may not be the case because it was his personal opinion.
With regard to the Savior’s coming, I agree with Joseph Smith, it will be no later or earlier than the day he arrives.