Hymn text by Douglas W. Stott, 1925-1985. View the full text of this hymn.

One of the passages of scripture I find most interesting is 2 Nephi, 25:24-27. In it we see  Nephi so thrilled about Christ’s upcoming birth that he’s gushing like a twitterpated teenager. Since for me, Christ’s life is ancient history, it’s not always easy to imagine a world where that wasn’t the case. But Nephi isn’t reciting dry facts about times gone by, he’s talking so fast about the good times to come that he almost trips over his own words trying to work the word “Christ” in there so often.

He’s so excited about Christ and the new law that his current time seems pale and flat in comparison. He tells us that even though they’re pumped for Christ’s coming, they do still keep the law of Moses, but man! it’s kind of a chore, isn’t it, when you know there’s something so much better in the works? When you know how great the future is going to be, it’s hard to wait. But we have to wait, because Christ won’t come for another 600 years, but guys! It’s going to be so good when he arrives! I wish I could live under Christ’s law instead of the law of Moses! So we teach our kids the law of Moses but we also teach them about how it’s just a temporary thing because we want them to be ready when Christ comes–we want them to be prepared to live in that society, and not to stay foolishly dedicated to a dead law.

24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

 25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

 26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

 27 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away.

And seeing that excitement, that joy, that longing for a law he will never get to live, I kick myself a little. We live in an exciting time! We have so much to be grateful for, so much information that we can use to make ourselves better, and we often forget what a gift that is. We forget what other people would have given to have what we have. But look! Look what we have!

Saints, behold how great Jehovah
Hath his blessings on you shed.
Zion ev’rywhere is growing
As the gospel light is spread!

To add to the excitement of having what we have, we find ourselves in a situation similar to Nephi’s. He was looking forward to Christ’s First Coming, and we look forward to his Second Coming, because we are in the last days. We don’t know the day or the hour when Christ will come again. But we do know some of the signs and prophecies that have been given throughout time, and we know it’s closer now than it’s ever been.

 Out of all past dispensations,
God is bringing into one
Ev’ry truth by prophets spoken,
For the last days have begun.
Now that we recognize the marvelous things that are happening, the signs that point to Christ’s return, our duty in these exciting times is to prepare ourselves and others. We don’t want to be caught clinging to old ways and old sins when Christ comes again. And so we tell ourselves and we tell our brothers and sisters:
Rise and lift up Zion’s standard;
Tell our Father’s children now:
Heaven’s blessed King approaches;
All men must before him bow.

Many people say the world is falling apart, and of course there are horrible things happening. Those horrible things are signs of the last days. But there are also great things happening, and not least among those are the blessings God gives us, many of which are also precursors to Christ’s glorious Second Coming. It’s a thrilling, anticipatory time to be alive! Let’s be grateful! But let’s also remember what the purpose of the advance warning is for: not just to get us excited, but also to give us time to get ready. Hosanna!

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