Did Joseph Smith predict the second coming
In the history of the church, you can find a certain passage which if taken out of context may seem as though the Prophet Joseph Smith was predicting the second coming of Jesus Christ. It reads;
"it was the will of God that those who went Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene" this quote was made in february of 1835
Now this might lead one to believe that Joseph was telling the people that the second coming of Jesus Christ would occur in the year 1891, which obviously did not happen.The church is still here and has not made any claims that anything of that nature happened even in the least degree, not a word. Then comes along the usual shocking accusations that supposedly prove to the public once and for all that the restored gospel is false.
Keep in mind also that these false accusations are always leveled against us by another ministry, who goes on the offensive to create an agenda against an otherwise Christ centered community of believers.
First lets have a look at something he said
- D&C 130: 14-17 14 I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: 15 Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. 16 I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face. 17 I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.
So lets take a close look at Joseph's thoughts on the issue; I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face.
Notice also that a big part of the Lords response was, "If" he reaches the age of eighty five and not "when" he reaches the age of eight five. And since he never even came close to seeing eighty five years of age the statement held true. From that sentance one can conclude that If the Prophet Joseph would have reached that age then certainly the promise of the Lord would have been fufilled.
One of the aspects of this conversation that I have personally zeroed in on is the overtone of the Lords council to Joseph. "therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter" We know from the scriptures that No being in Heaven or on Earth will know the exact time of the coming of the Lord, so the fact that Joseph seemed unaware of this scripture or without understanding, he once again did the simplest thing which he knew to do which was to pray about it. And a few years later he made this declaration; "Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers."
Joseph Smith Did believe that the second coming of Christ would happen no earlier than his eighty fifth birthday, and there was nothing stated that shows Christ was supposed to return on that precise year. The fact that he later declared that no man knows the precise time of the second coming shows that just like the rest of the world we gain a deeper understanding of the doctrine of Christ line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little.