“The Leaves Are Commencing to Show on the Fig Tree,” Ensign, May 1976, 74
Before the second coming of Jesus Christ, certain promised signs and wonders are to take place, making it possible for his Saints to know the approximate time of his coming. Jesus said: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matt. 24:32–33.)
President Kimball gave this counsel, “The leaves are commencing to show on the fig tree.” That is prophetic.
“What are some of these signs and wonders that shall take place in the last days, prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ?”
“There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets,” the Lord said, “and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24.)
“Many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matt. 24:5.)
The Lord said: “Peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” (D&C 1:35.)
Many scriptures summarize the signs and world conditions, the wars, perils, and commotions of the last days. The prophetic words tell of plagues, scourges, tribulations, calamities, and disasters without parallel; of strife, rumors of wars, wars, “nation shall rise against nation, … kingdom against kingdom.” (Matt. 24:7.) There will be blood, carnage, and desolation. The scriptures speak of the elements being in commotion with floods, storms, fires, whirlwinds, and earthquakes with intensity unknown to men in former times, of evil, iniquity, wickedness, turmoil, murder, crime, and commotion among men beyond comprehension.
“For in those days,” saith the Lord, “shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation.” (Mark 13:19.)
“All things shall be in commotion; … men’s hearts shall fail them; … fear shall come upon all people.” (D&C 88:91.)
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
“They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded”—the times were lush—
“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
“Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26–30.)
The apostle Paul was inspired to give the following summary on the status of man and the world in the last days. He wrote:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unholy,
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”; and then he warned, “from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:1–5.)
Speaking of these perilous times, Jesus said, “The saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them.” (D&C 63:34.)
However, in the last days the Saints have very important promises from the Lord. He said: “[I], the Lord shall have power over [my] saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world.” (D&C 1:36.)
He said, “Unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.” (D&C 68:11.)
“And, as I, the Lord, in the beginning cursed the land, even so in the last days have I blessed it, in its time, for the use of my saints, that they may partake the fatness thereof.” (D&C 61:17.)
The Church of Jesus Christ is never again to be taken from the earth. This is one of the great signs of the times—it shall continue to grow and flourish and cover the earth.
The Holy Ghost and the priesthood of God will continue to be on the earth. There shall be in the last days living prophets and living apostles chosen and called by Jesus Christ. The Lord promised, “My disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved.” (D&C 45:32.)
This is one of the most important signs of our time: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14.)
The devil is doing all that he can to hinder the progress of the message going to all the world.
Jesus commanded his disciples: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matt. 28:19–20.)
Of Judah and Jerusalem in the last days the Lord promised, “Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance.
“Then shall they break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Father has comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
“The Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations [We have witnessed part of this.], and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father.” (3 Ne. 20:33–35.)
“And it shall come to pass that the time cometh, when the fulness of my gospel shall be preached unto them;
“And they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ the Son of God.” (3 Ne. 20:30–31.)
“Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.
“Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.” (D&C 49:24–25.)
“The poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand,
“And they shall learn the parable of the fig tree, for even now already summer is nigh.” (D&C 35:15–16.)
Now is the time every Latter-day Saint is urgently needed to be one with Jesus Christ and to be saviors of men. Of his Latter-day Saints, Jesus gave this counsel, “For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men.” (D&C 103:9.) I repeat, “For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men.” The Lord then added this warning, “And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.” (D&C 103:9–10.)
The Lord has spoken! Every Latter-day Saint is to be a light unto the world and is to be savior of men; and if they fail in this sacred, soul-saving assignment, they will be trodden under the foot of men.
And again the Lord counseled his Saints: “I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded.
“And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.
“And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” (D&C 38:40–42.)
President Kimball has called our attention recently to an ancient prophecy recorded in the Holy Bible that tells of conditions that will exist among the people in the last days. The prophet Joel said, “Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:13–14.)
Today in most areas people have more than they have ever had. Their press is full, their fats overflow, wickedness is great, and there are multitudes of good, honest-in-heart people looking for a sacred purpose and way of life. This is true in the British Isles, contrary to what we sometimes read. It has never been better for most of the people than it is today.
It seems reasonable and possible that one percent of the Lord’s children now living on this earth would accept his way of life and join his church if they were shown his way by his Saints.
One percent would be approximately 36,000,000 and that is a multitude of potential Saints. Yes, there are multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision waiting to see the saintly light that leads to divine perfection. Every possible missionary that is in harmony with the Holy Spirit is urgently needed. We have many that could still be called. May we that are privileged to live in the last days be valiant and let our light shine and may we be one with Jesus Christ in helping bring salvation to all mankind. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.