Joseph Smith—Matthew: Profiting from Prophecy

George A. Horton Jr.

George A. Horton Jr., “Joseph Smith—Matthew: Profiting from Prophecy,” in The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations from God, ed. H. Donl Peterson and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1989), 197–212.

George A. Horton Jr. was an associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.

In “The Excursion,” Wordsworth says,

Ah! what a warning for a thoughtless man , . . . [if] field or grove, . . . [or] any spot of earth, Show to his eye an image of the pangs Which it hath witnessed, . . . [send] back an echo Of the sad steps by which it hath been trod!

There is no spot on earth that has witnessed such pangs or been the scene of so much carnage, bloodshed, and sorrow, as Jerusalem—the Holy City. Ironically, it was anciently called Salem—city of peace. It is the city of prophets, priests, and kings, and will yet be the city of the Great King, the King of Kings. If its ruins could speak, or send back an echo, they would tell a heart-rending story of “the sad steps by which it hath been trod.” The Lord chose it “out of all [the] tribes,” where his house was to be built; and where he said “. . . [there] will I put my name forever” (2 Kings 21:7) in “a land which . . . [I] careth for: . . . [mine] eyes. . . are always upon it” (Deut. 11:12). But many who trod there also plundered and ploughed during many bitter sieges, two of which occurred as recently as 1948 and 1967. Should this not be a warning to thoughtful men?

Within the walls of today’s old city is the original site of the temple of Solomon—a building rebuilt by Zerubbabel and later by Herod. This holy sanctuary and the prophecy that it will yet be rebuilt has been the center of attention to more people past and present than any other structure in history. Both Jerusalem and the temple were highlighted in Jesus’ Olivet passion week prophecy.

On one of our visits to Jerusalem, our family obtained an audience with Benjamin Mazar, a premier Israeli archaeologist and chief of excavations around the temple mount. At the end of a short walking tour through the excavations, we received permission to go back to these ruins. We climbed over and around the huge, carefully cut Herodian stones, many tipped on side or end, others broken, some uncovered twenty to thirty feet below the present ground level. We saw the base platform where Robinson’s Arch stairway once began its ascent, now included in the remains of destroyed buildings that have been covered with silt and debris for centuries.

With pen flashlights, we ventured down a hole under the stone roadway near the Southwest corner of the temple mount retaining wall, holding tightly to a crude ladder. About thirty feet below was a rock-walled channel, which we followed approximately three hundred feet north to a point we estimated to be directly under the wailing wall platform. Retracing our steps, we noticed a beautiful piece of marble with Hebrew writing near the entrance to the hole. Later we learned that this piece of marble had been broken from the parapet of the Southwest corner of the wall. It read, “To the Place of Trumpeting . . . to herald” (Mazar 138) and had marked the place where a priest stood to sound his shofar proclaiming the advent and subsequent end of each Sabbath.

We yearned to hear the ancient echoes. Had Jesus, Peter, Paul, Andrew, James and John, Matthew and Thomas, or Mary and Joseph trod these paths? Had Annas, Caiaphas, or Pontius Pilate walked on these same flat-fitted stones? Had they run their hands over the rough-hewn surfaces of these giant blocks? What would these stones cry out if they could speak?

Viewing the disheveled stones, we had one paramount thought. Many of these stones in the lower part of the excavation lay right where they had crashed down when the walls were pushed over by the battering rams and siege machines of General Titus and his Roman legions in AD. 70. Three decades earlier, Jesus had said, “Seest thou these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Mark 13:2). We had now become living witnesses to the fulfillment of the prophesy, ‘They shall be thrown down, and left unto you desolate” (JS—M 1:2).

Earlier, as Jesus gazed at the city, he wept . . . saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another (Luke 19:41–44).

It happened! There is not one stone of the temple left upon another. People walk on the temple mount or gaze upon the city from the Mount of Olives, but the magnificent building the Lord called “my house” (Matthew 21:13) is no longer there. While it stood, it was the focal point both of Jerusalem and of all Palestine. It stood on a foundation of white marble stones overlaid with gold. The foundation stones are said to have measured 67 1/2 feet long by 9 feet thick. Some rabbis, when thinking of their city in her glory, would say: ‘The world is like unto an eye. The ocean surrounding the world is the white of the eye; its black is the world itself; the pupil is Jerusalem; but the image within the pupil is the [temple]” (Edersheim 39). Sadly, it is now lost from our view.

Why was JS—M added to the Pearl of Great Price?

This temple did not stand long. Jesus warned the disciples of the coming destruction of the city and temple. Matthew 24 records Jesus’ discourse on the consequences of wickedness that would come upon this city. Why was Matthew 24, known as the Olivet Prophecy, the only chapter from the Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament included in our Pearl of Great Price? Perhaps the content provides a clue:

  1. Part of the Olivet Prophecy pertains directly to us in the latter days—it is a voice of warning.
  2. It describes a dramatic increase in wickedness.
  3. It identifies the coming of more calamities.
  4. The prophecy states that the Son of Man will return in glory.
  5. With his return, the righteous will be saved.
  6. And thus, instructions outline how to avoid the impending calamities.

For scholars of the world, Matthew 24 is one of the most difficult parts of the New Testament. It “has attracted as much opinion and as much confusion as any chapter in the entire New Testament” (Anderson 51). In light of this confusion, the inspired version in Joseph Smith—Matthew throws a welcome ray of light upon its full meaning. Indeed, only the inspired version adds the clarity necessary to fully understand the prophecy’s fulfillment.

To Whom Do the Prophecies Apply?

In this discourse, Jesus mentioned events that would take place, including some that clearly relate to the last days,

the sun [shall] be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matthew 24:29).

All of these conditions will take place just prior to the Second Coming. With this in mind, consider Matthew 24:34 that stumps scholars. Jesus says to the disciples standing before him,

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled (34).

The problem is explicit—that ancient generation has long since passed and some of these things (prophecies) have not yet come to pass. Some have tried to explain the apparent discrepancy by saying that John the Beloved has not yet died, or that the word ‘generation’ in this case refers to a thousand-year period or dispensation. The puzzling problem is easily clarified, however, by the Joseph Smith—Matthew rendition of this verse:

“Verily I say unto you, this generation, in which these things shall be shown forth, shall not pass away until all I have told you shall be fulfilled” (1:34; emphasis added).

This clearly indicates that “this generation” refers to the generation in which the particular events are to transpire, i.e., the last days. This clarification is also one of the great contributions of Joseph Smith—Matthew.

The Multiple Nature of Its Prophetic Fulfillment

A modern witness of Jesus Christ said, “. . . the key to understanding the whole discourse is to know which statements of our Lord pertain to the day of the ancient apostles and which to those ages following their ministries” (McConkie, New Testament Commentary, 1:640). Determining this condition from the King James Matthew is nearly impossible; however, in the Joseph Smith—Matthew all becomes clear.

The Joseph Smith—Matthew account reveals two distinct periods of time being that are not recognized in the King James edition of Matthew. In the King James Version, Matthew’s account appears slightly out of sequence. In the Joseph Smith Translation, most of the things prophesied occur twice—first in the meridian dispensation and again in the latter days.

The account in Joseph Smith—Matthew makes it abundantly clear that the events noted through verse 20 relate to the early apostolic dispensation. The rest of the chapter refers to latter-day happenings. Events common to both periods include the coming of false Christs, persecution of the disciples, increasing iniquity, the love of many waxing cold, and the occurrence of the “abomination of desolation” [1] as prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 9:27; 11:31). The Lord states, “Behold, these things I have spoken unto you concerning the Jews” (JS—M 1:21). As if that statement were not clear enough, he notes clearly that what is to come is about the latter days:

. . . and again, after the tribulation of those days which shall come upon Jerusalem, if any man shall say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there, believe him not; For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect (JS—M 1:21–22; emphasis added).

Clearly differentiating latter-day prophecies from those pertaining to the meridian of time, the Lord then says,

And again, because iniquity shall abound, the love of men shall wax cold . . . And again, this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world . . . And again shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled (JS—M 1:30–32; emphasis added.)

Joseph Smith—Matthew clearly implies that some events mentioned will take place both in the meridian of time and again in the latter-day dispensation, thus revealing the dual nature of the prophecy. This prophecy is actually part of the multiple fulfillment of the “abomination of desolation.” Two of these fulfillments are:

  1. In 170 B.C, the Syrian King (Antiochus IV) ordered a massacre in Jerusalem that resulted in the desecration of the temple altar and the stealing of temple treasures (Josephus, War 1:1:1 and 5:9:4).
  2. As mentioned previously, the Romans, under Titus, attacked Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and destroyed the temple (Josephus, War 6:10:1).

Further, Joseph Smith—Matthew says that there will yet be another destruction in the latter days. Jesus himself prophesied, “And again, shall the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, be fulfilled” (JS—M 1:32; emphasis added). A revelation to Joseph Smith on 27 December 1832 reinforced this event’s significance.

. . . . Tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time . . . to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come; that their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked, both in this world and in the world to come (D&C 88:84–85; cf. 84:117; emphasis added).

The Conditional Nature of Prophecy

Before considering specific elements of the Olivet prophecy, we should ask whether all of the foretold calamities have come or inevitably will come to pass. The answer to this question lies in the nature of the prophecy. Prophecies relating to human nature are conditional. In other words, there is always a condition in the prophecy, either stated or implied, which releases men from the prophesied consequences of their evil behavior if they repent and become obedient. An Israeli correspondent reinforced this idea as he responded to a worried president of the United States who thought that Middle East conditions were ripening toward the prophesied Battle of Armageddon. The writer stated:

Prophecy is not synonymous with prediction. When the future is foreseen and foretold, it is not an unconditional, inevitable future. The outcome, whether redemptive or destructive, is always conditional—for it is dependent on human behavior in response to God’s word (Landau).

From this perspective, it is possible, then, that the foretold calamities in the last days can be avoided.

However, President Ezra Taft Benson has commented on this idea by saying, “These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional” (69). Does this pose a contradiction? How can President Benson’s comment be reconciled with the notion that almost all prophecy is conditional? He clarifies his point by continuing, “The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain” (69). Inevitability then grows out of man’s failing to keep the commandments and willingly persisting in spiritual rebellion against the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Lord, then, can categorically declare that these calamities will come because he knows the disposition of worldly men.

Examples of the Conditional Nature of Prophecy

We are familiar with the classic example of the city of Nineveh. Prophets predicted its coming destruction:

. . . And Jonah said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he . . . proclaimed . . . Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn . . . away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way . . . and he did it not (Jonah 3:4–10; emphasis added).

The Lord, recognizing their repentance, withheld the calamity. By comparison, did any of the disciples in the meridian dispensation hear and heed the prophecies given on the Mount of Olives?

The early historian Eusebius wrote:

The whole body, however, of the Church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella.[2] Here those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles, finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of those evildoers from the earth (3:5:3; p. 201).

Because of its emphasis on “divine justice,” the credibility of the foregoing statement is questionable; however, Epiphanius also addresses it thus:

It is very remarkable that not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, though there were many there when Cestius Gallus invested the city; and, had he persevered in the siege, he would soon have rendered himself master of it; but, when he unexpectedly and unaccountably raised the siege, the Christians took that opportunity to escape. . . . and [as] Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of their country: not one of them perished (Clarke 5:228–29).

Believed to have taken place in A.D. 66, the move to Pella occurred almost four years before the fall of Jerusalem. Jesus had given adequate warning permitting believers to flee. Pella serves as a symbol for those who hear and heed prophetic warnings. The message is plain—every believer today who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has been warned. The prophecies are clear. We have heard the warnings. The real issue is whether we will heed the warnings given by Jesus over 1900 years ago, which also apply to us. Lest we should miss the point, he repeated it through the prophet Joseph Smith in a revelation on 7 March 1831 (see D&C 45:16–59).

Can We Escape the Calamities?

Joseph Smith—Matthew reveals a few clues that suggest the possibility that believers will be able to avoid the destructions although calamities will occur:

He that remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved (1:11; emphasis added).

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 (1:20; emphasis added).

He shall send his angels before him . . . and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (1:37; emphasis added).

These statements imply that the elect may be spared the destruction.

What If We Disregard Prophecy?

What is the penalty for failing to heed the prophecies? Israel heard the prophets pleadings for the people to repent for generations; what happened to the inhabitants of Jerusalem who failed to repent and flee? According to Josephus, over a million perished during the siege, and another 97,000 were taken captive (War 6:9:3). A lower number is given by others (Draper 292). Today, any tourist walking through the ancient Roman forum views a tragic scene engraved on the inner walls of the Arch of Titus, a grim reminder of the menorah from the temple and the captive Jews being taken to Rome in chains. What if these Jews had listened, heard, heeded, and fled to Pella when there was still time?

The Purpose of Prophecy

The foregoing point to the purpose of prophecy. Discussing spiritual gifts, Paul wrote, “he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:3; emphasis added). Surely a careful study of the Olivet Prophecy in Joseph Smith—Matthew brings great spiritual insights, provides comfort in showing the Lord’s concern for his faithful children, and gives guidance on how to prepare for the future. Its assurance that the Lord will come again, that God knows the beginning from the end and can reveal it to the faithful certainly blesses all who listen.

Here we emphasize the exhortive value of prophecy. The Lord warns and exhorts us repeatedly about the things we must do in order to avoid calamities. He never allows a major calamity to come upon his children without a forewarning. His warnings thus become our opportunity to make changes and preparations so that coming events are, if not blessings, at least only minor obstacles.

Personal preparedness should include repentance from our sins and spiritual strengthening of our lives. By so doing, we keep the commandments and become worthy of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Prophecy. Its guidance directs our actions so that we profit from prophecy, realizing that what the Lord has said will come to pass. Thereafter, we must seek to understand our responsibilities, and, finally, to act in harmony with that knowledge. Thus, we profit from prophecy.

How We Can Profit from the Olivet Prophecy

The Lord has strongly emphasized the prophecies in Matthew 24. When he repeated them to Joseph Smith in March of 1831, it was in even greater detail than we have them in the Bible (see D&C 45:16–59). Within several weeks of receiving this revelation, Joseph worked on the 24th chapter of Matthew. His inspired version is known as Joseph Smith—Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price.

As much as, or more than any other single chapter of ancient scripture, Joseph Smith—Matthew gives a very clear voice of warning to Latter-day Saints. To humble disciples, its message is thus:

  1. Calamities will come.
  2. The Savior will return.
  3. We do not know the day or hour of these occurrences.
  4. We must prepare.
  5. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived.
  6. We must guard against complacency.

These warnings are interlaced with messages of hope. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will return victorious. Such knowledge causes us to contemplate the glorious event and wonder when he will come. Yet a better question might be “When am I going?” “When will I pass beyond the veil and stand before him?”

Life is sometimes very fragile. Not long ago, while we were living in Laie, Hawaii, a young man came to visit his sister at her place of work. Because it was the busiest time of the tourist season, the sister sent a message that she was too busy to see him. Early the next morning he knocked on the door of her apartment, but she was in a rush to get to work, and had her roommate tell him that she could not see him until later. The boy went diving for lobsters at a nearby beach. He had tied a nylon rope to his swimming trunks and somehow the rope got entangled in the coral and he could not dislodge it before it was too late. She never saw her brother alive again.

We hardly know what each day will bring. We have no idea when the Savior will come, nor do we have any idea when we will go. Jesus advised, “Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh” (JS—M 1:48).

How Do We Stand in Holy Places?

What preparations must we make? Jesus said that whoso “remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved” (JS—M 1:11) and shall “stand in the holy place” (JS—M 1:12). In our day he proclaimed to the persecuted saints, “Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places” (D&C 101:22; emphasis added). He had preceded this injunction by saying, “I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes” (D&C 101:21).

Holy places include wards, stakes, temples, and the sanctity of our own homes, if we make them such. We can provide refuge from the world, and if we study diligently, serve willingly, and sanctify our lives, we will be found standing in holy places. It matters little whether those places are in Salt Lake or Samoa, Okinawa or Auckland, Australia or Argentina, Provo or Paris, Laie or Los Angeles; holy places are found wherever righteous saints gather together. In the words of the prophecy, “wheresoever the carcase [the church] is, there will the eagles [the saints] be gathered together” (Matthew 24:28; cf. JS—M 1:27). But the holiest of all—our personal holy of holies—is to be found inside our own souls.

We make the places we stand in holy when we live the commandments, attend to our responsibilities, when we are true to our covenants, and utilize all of our gifts and talents in service to others. We hallow places when we seek and obtain the spirit, living in humility with unbounded gratitude.

A Voice of Warning

By letter and by Spirit we have been warned. The Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24 notes—”there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (v. 24). Joseph Smith—Matthew identifies the elect as those “according to the covenant” (1:22). The adversary’s greatest efforts are directed towards those called and elected in premortal councils to come forth in the lineage of Israel to carry on the great latter-day work. Indeed, foreordained, dedicated disciples, having been called and elected, are now in mortality, striving to make their calling and election sure.

But what protection do disciples have against being deceived? Jesus said, “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (JS—M 1:37). We must “treasure up in [our] minds continually the words of life” (D&C 84:85). Searching, savoring, pondering, and praying about the holy scriptures and teachings of the living prophets increases our desire to live the commandments. Then we avoid the fiery darts of temptation and can properly prepare for the coming of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Devout disciples seek to have their lives in order to oppose and be equal to every effort of the adversary to steal their hearts away from the simple truths of the restored gospel.

The Lord’s Olivet Prophecy ends with the parabolic warning:

And what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready. Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh. Who, then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing; and verily I say unto you, he shall make him ruler over all his goods (JS—M 1:46–50; emphasis added).

Do we allow ourselves a mistaken luxury, thinking there is plenty of time to put our lives in order? Do we rationalize that there is still so much to do before the Savior’s Second Coming that we feel no need to rush? After all, the Gospel must be preached to all nations, the gathering must continue, the ten tribes must return, temples must yet be built in Jerusalem and Jackson County, and a host of other things must be fulfilled. It certainly sounds as if there is plenty of time. Perhaps we have even heard a modern prophet say Jesus would not likely come in his lifetime, the lifetime of his children, and maybe not even in the lifetime of his grandchildren. So why worry? Alas, this is the point of the parable.

. . . if that evil servant shall say in his heart: My lord delayeth his coming . . . The Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his portion with the hypocrites; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And thus cometh the end of the wicked . . . (JS—M 1:51–55).

Thank the Lord for this marvelous prophecy, for this latter-day voice of warning! We must not delay our preparation. We must be less concerned about when the Lord will come, and more about being prepared to go.

In a revelation related to this prophecy, the Lord reminds us of the parable of the ten virgins who represent members of the Church. The Lord said:

. . . at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them . . . (D&C 45:56–59).

These things are given “. . . that ye may be prepared for the things to come. For verily I say unto you, that great things await you” (D&C 45:61–62).

Who will heed the warning voice lest an echo be sent back from the sad steps by which we have trod? Let us stand in holy places. Let our performances put us in our personal Pella. Let us make sure we profit from the prophecies.


Anderson, Richard L. “Joseph Smith’s Insights into the Olivet Prophecy: Joseph Smith and Matthew 24.” Pearl of Great Price Symposium. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1976, pp. 48–61.

Benson, Ezra Taft. “Prepare Ye.” Ensign (January 1974) 4:68+.

Clarke, Adam. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments with a Commentary and Critical Notes. 6 Vols. Nashville: Abingdon Press, n.d.

Draper, Richard. “Joseph Smith—Matthew and the Signs of the Times.” Studies in Scripture. Vol. 2, Millet and Jackson, eds. Salt Lake City: Randall Book Co., 1985.

Edersheim, Alfred. The Temple—Its Ministry and Services. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1985.

Eusebius. Ecclesiastical History, Trans, by Kirsopp Lake. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1965.

Josephus. Wars of the Jews. Trans, by William Whiston. Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, n.d.

Khouri, Rami. ‘The Decapolis of Jordan.” Aramco World Magazine. (Nov.–Dec. 1985) 36:28–35.

Landau, Yehezkiel. “Presidents and Prophets.” Jerusalem Post. 4 November 1983.

McConkie, Bruce R. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary. 3 Vols. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973.

______. Mormon Doctrine. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966.

Mazar, Benjamin. The Mountain of the Lord. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1975.


[1] To better understand what the “abomination of desolation” is, refer to Daniel’s expression wherein he calls it “the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Daniel 11:31) The abomination consists of the conditions of moral corruption and brutal conflict bringing death and destruction to much of the city of Jerusalem. This will occur in the last days during the great siege spoken of in Zechariah, wherein the Lord says, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech. 14:2). “It will be during this seige that Christ will come, the wicked will be destroyed, and the millennial era commenced. In a general sense, this expressive designation, abomination of desolation, also describes the latter-day terrors to be poured out upon the wicked wherever they may be” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine 12).

[2] “The extensive ruins of Pella lie near the modern village of Tabaqat Fahl in the Northern foothills of the Jordan Valley, . . . 53 miles from Amman” (“The Decapolis of Jordan” 32).