“Will wickedness exist on the earth when Satan is bound during the Millennium?” Ensign, Nov. 1973, 16
Will wickedness exist on the earth when Satan is bound during the Millennium?
Men of God in the past have desired to participate in a righteous society and the Lord has said they will eventually find it, but, because of wickedness and abominations, it would not be in their day. (D&C 45:11–14.) Latter-day Saints also look forward to the fulfillment of the promises made in the scriptures that with the second coming of Christ, the earth will be restored to its paradisiacal condition when a reign of justice, peace, and prosperity will prevail. (A of F 1:10.)
The second coming of Christ will also bring the destruction of the many armies at war against the Jewish nation, as well as the destruction of the corrupt nations who have rejected the light of the gospel. (2 Thes. 1:7–9; D&C 29:9; D&C 63:34, 54; D&C 101:23–24.) Some people have assumed that because Jesus predicted “the end of the world” that he meant the end of the earth. (Matt. 24:3.) This idea, however, was dispelled by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he interpreted through inspiration this phrase to mean “the destruction of the wicked.” (JS—M 1:4, 31.)
Yet Joseph Smith has indicated that “there will be wicked men on the earth during the thousand years” of the Millennium. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 268–69.) But the Lord has revealed that the wicked are also those who have not come unto him by accepting the fulness of the gospel. (D&C 29:16; D&C 76:50–53; D&C 84:49–53.)
Therefore, although the morally wicked will be destroyed at the Lord’s coming, honorable men who have not accepted the fulness of the gospel will live during the Millennium.
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that the Lord will come suddenly, but all the conditions predicted for the Millennium will not be ushered in suddenly. The traditions of the centuries will continue to influence men; and since they have their free agency, they will be able to act for themselves even though Satan is bound. President Smith concludes his writings with these words regarding the coming of the Savior:
“Corruption and vice shall be done away, those who indulge in such practices shall be swept off from the face of the earth, and it shall be as it was in the days of the great Nephite destruction at the time of the crucifixion, that only the more righteous or the better class of mankind, including the heathen, shall be left.” (“Concerning the Millennium,” Improvement Era, vol. 23 , p. 113.)