Good morning, and thank you in advance for your help. In reading the Doctrine & Covenants, how are we to understand the predictions of the second coming at the beginning of the 7th thousand years…particularly in light of the biblical statements that not even the Son knows the time or day?
You are probably referring to the scripture in Mark, which says,
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory….
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:26,32)
In the succeeding verses, the disciples are commanded to watch for the coming, i.e., to be ready when the Lord comes even though they do not know specifically when it will be.
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning:
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.(Mark 13:34-37)
However, signs of the coming of the Lord are given so that we may know when the time is near, even at the doors, as recorded in Matt 24:32-33–
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it the coming of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
There are many references in the Doctrine and Covenants that say that the coming of the Lord is “nigh at hand,” But the D&C also says that we do not know either the day or the hour—
For the time is at hand; the day or the hour no man knoweth; but it surely shall come. (D&C 39:21)
So while the predictions only state the time is near, the references to the Second Coming given in the Doctrine and Covenants are in perfect harmony with those recorded in the Bible. Although we do not know the day or the hour of His coming, we do know for a certainty by reason of the many signs recorded in the scriptures that have already been given that the coming of the Savior to initiate His great Millennial reign is indeed very near, even at the doors! Therefore, we would all do well to live as circumspectly as possible in anticipation of that great day.