----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 5/22/2020
Preparation of the Bride
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, write, blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, these are the true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:7-9).
Jesus was asked, “. . . Master, tell us concerning thy coming? And he answered them . . . upon the earth [there shall be] distress of nations with perplexity, . . . men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth . . . And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads for the day of your redemption draweth nigh. And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory” (Luke 21:24-27).
“For behold, he cometh in the clouds with ten thousands of his saints in the kingdom, clothed with the glory of his Father. And every eye shall see him; and they who pierced him, and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Revelation 1:7).
The day of the Lord’s coming will be a day of great joy for those who “hath made herself [himself] ready” (Revelation 19:7). But for many others it will be a day of great sadness.
Jesus taught the necessity of our preparedness in the parable of the marriage supper. An understanding of this teaching, will encourage us to prepare ourselves for this joyous occasion. “When the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who had not a wedding garment. And he said unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment. Then said the king unto his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take and cast him away into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen; wherefore all do not have on the wedding garment” (Mathew 22:11-14).
The Lord’s teaching in the parable of the virgins is a warning to members of the church who are not remembering the Lord and keeping his commandments “that they may always have his Spirit to be with them” (Doctrine and Covenants 17:22-23).
The wise virgins who were filled with the Spirit were ready when the Bridegroom came; “and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not. Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh” (Matthew 25:9-12).
The door is still open but we must know Jesus, intimately! Are we one with him and one with each other, as Jesus prayed. See John 17:21-23. We need to remember the Lord’s words: “Be one, and if ye are not one, ye are not mine” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:6-a).
The foolish virgins thought they knew Jesus. They only knew about him. They cried out to him, Lord, Lord, but he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not” (Matthew 25:11 IV). You could say, the foolish were not “on the same page” with the Lord. Knowing the Lord is being one with the Lord, in our heart, might, mind, and strength. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Jesus said: “Verily, I say unto you, it is not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven . . . and many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name; and in thy name cast out devils; and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I say, ye never knew me . . .” (Matthew 7:30, 32-33). Do we know Jesus, or are we like the foolish virgins who only knew about him??
Those at the marriage of the Lamb will “be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white [washed in the blood of the Lamb]; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:8). “. . . for I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance, nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven . . .” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:5-f).
I believe the consensus of the Restoration Saints is that Jesus will be returning soon, perhaps within the next ten years. I agree with this sentiment. Jesus said, “. . . of that day and hour no one knoweth; no, not the angels of God in heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:43 IV, 24:36 KJV). Even though the day and hour of the Lord’s coming will not be made known, Jesus commanded his disciples to watch for the signs of his coming and said, “mine elect when they shall see all these things [fulfilled], they shall know that he is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:42 IV; 24:33 KJV).
Jesus said, “. . . the evil servant is he who is not found watching, and if that servant is not found watching, he will say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming . . . And that servant who knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not for his Lord’s coming, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes . . . For unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:54-57 IV; 12:47-48 KJV).
Saints of God, we have been given much. The signs of his coming have been fulfilled. His coming is near, even at the doors, as he said. Much will be required of us who have been so abundantly blessed. Are we the faithful and wise servants who are “watching to impart his portion of meat in due season” (Luke 12:51 IV)? The Lord promised: “Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he cometh, so doing” (Luke 12:52 IV; 12:43 KJV). What will he find us doing when he comes?
A word of warning is in order for the bride of the Bridegroom; the church. When Jesus taught the Parable of the Virgins, he was describing the condition of the church in the day of his coming in glory. He is speaking to us: “Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh” (Matthew 24:51 IV; 24:44 KJV).
I received a call this week from a brother of the church, who was speaking of the troubled and uncertain times in which we live. I reminded him that we who know Jesus are not without hope. Jesus gives us hope. I reminded him of the words of Paul to Titus: We are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, jealous of good works” (Titus 2:13-14).
Ether was a prophet of the Lord . . . and he could not be restrained because of the Spirit of the Lord which was in him; For he did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance . . . saying . . . whoso believeth in God, might with surety [with much assurance] hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 5:2-4).
Our hope is that we will be worthy to dwell with the Lord and the Saints in Zion, even as Enoch was translated with the saints of his day. “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death . . . before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God. Without faith it is impossible to please God . . .” (Hebrews 11:5-6). Jesus said: “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29). Let us seek a testimony that we please God.
“The redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away . . . for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion” (Isaiah 51:11 IV; 52:8). And the Lord called his people, Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there were no poor among them (Genesis 7:23). This will be happening soon. What a glorious future it will be for those who are prepared!
My Love to All,
High Priest Francis Harper