Doctrine and Covenants 45:23–26 —What Periods of History Are Discussed in This Prophecy?
What Jesus Christ taught in Doctrine and Covenants 45:16–59 is more clearly understood when we are aware of the two questions Jesus’s ancient disciples asked. First, they wanted to know about the time when the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed. Second, they wanted to know about Jesus’s Second Coming, when the wicked would be destroyed and Christ would reign as the King of Kings (see Matthew 24:3 ; Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:4 ). His disciples thought that those two events would occur during the same time period, but Jesus taught them that they would happen at different times. In Doctrine and Covenants 45:18–21 , the Savior generally taught about the destruction of the temple. In verses22–24 He explained the relationship between the two questions. Verses25 to 53 deal with the prophecies about the last days and the Second Coming, and verses54–59 are about the Millennium, or the thousand-year period of time in which Christ will rule on earth.
Doctrine and Covenants 45:25–31 —“The Times of the Gentiles”
President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
“The Lord has designated these days in which we live as the ‘times of the Gentiles.’ The Gentile nations are the so-called Christian nations—North and South America and the European nations from which we came. The ‘times of the Gentiles’ refers to that period of time extending from when the gospel was restored to the world (1830) to when the gospel will again be preached to the Jews—after the Gentiles have rejected it. This is how the Lord explained it:
“‘And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
“‘ But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
“‘And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.’ ( D&C 45:28–30 ; italics added.)
“We will know when the times of the Gentiles are approaching fulfillment by these signs:
“‘And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
“‘And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.’ ( D&C 45:26–27 .)
“‘And again, this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked’ ( JST, Matt. 24:32 ).
“Are we not witnessing the fulfillment of these signs today? The gospel is being extended to all nations which permit our missionaries to penetrate their countries. The Church is prospering and growing. Yet in undiminished fury, and with an anxiety that his time is short—and it is—Satan, that great adversary to all men, is attempting to destroy all we hold dear” ( “Prepare Yourself for the Great Day of the Lord,” New Era, May 1982, 47 ).