Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, December 29, 2018

“The Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord”

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As we come to the end of the Old Testament, I feel that it is not really an end at all.  Rather than being filled with only destruction, and an ending it is yet a beginning.  The end of the Old Testament is full of foretelling of the future and the Great and Dreadful day of the Lord.  So let me ask you this; what feelings do you have when you hear phrases like Second Coming, last days, or signs of the times?

When I've asked this question in general out in the world I hear things like fear, end of the world, war, hell, sadness, desperation, fire and brimstone.  And then I also here things like; it will never happen, its just a story made up to control the people.

The Second Coming, last days and signs of the times, are not something we have to be afraid of or sad about, they will not bring an end but a new beginning, and with the history we have to back their reality we can rest assured it is not just a fairy tale.

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “[The Savior’s] coming will be both glorious and terrible, depending on the spiritual condition of those who remain” (“Prepare Yourself for the Great Day of the Lord,” New Era, May 1982, 49). 

With it being our choice for the Second Coming to be either glorious or terrible don't you think the best thing to do would be to prepare and be ready so that its the glorious we see?

This week's Gospel Doctrine Blog and the last for 2018 will discuss the prophecies that Zechariah and Malachi made about the last days and how our preparation for the Second Coming is significant and one of the most important things we can focus on in the coming new year.

Who Was Zechariah?
Little is known about Zechariah. His grandfather was presumably the Iddo who was the head of a priestly family that came out of Babylon with Zerubbabel the governor and Joshua (called Jeshua in Ezra 3-5) the high priest about 537 B.C. (Ezra 5:1, 6:14; Neh. 12:4, 16). If that is the case, then Zechariah was both priest and prophet. He was called to declare God's word and assist Haggai around 520 B.C. in motivating the Jews to rebuild the temple. 

The prophet's name means "Jehovah remembers," a fitting appellation for the one through whom these prophecies came. 1 The content of his writings reveals that Jehovah's word is ever before his eyes and that his purposes cannot be frustrated.  (Studies in Scripture Vol 4  Kent P Jackson)

Zechariah might well be called Judah's "prophet of hope."

Though he was surrounded by despair and discouragement, Zechariah delivered a message of hope, delivering a cheering prophecy of a glorious future for Jerusalem.

"There is not a sad note in all the prophecies attributed to Zechariah," wrote Ezra C. Dalby in Land and Leaders of Israel. "This is unusual among the prophets of Israel, for most of them came with a message of doom and destruction.

"Beginning in the very first chapter, the prophet seeks to encourage his people from history with which they were familiar. 'Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?' But the word and will of God have not died, but are still living and active. God's workers may have disappeared, but not God's work. Kingdoms come and go, but God's truth is everlasting; the Spirit of the Lord goes on conquering and to conquer. Zechariah saw God standing in the field of human history, and with his word ever leading men upward and onward.

"Moral advancement leaves the past behind. 'They must upward still and onward who would keep abreast of truth.' 'Lay hold on God's word,' said the prophet to his discouraged countrymen, 'and it will bring you into the promised land of all your hopes.' That, indeed, is the best way.

"In chapter seven, we have an account of some priests coming to Zechariah to inquire if they should keep up their fasting and weeping, as they had done in Babylon. He reminds them that even in Babylon their fasting and their mourning were not done in a religious sense. The thing for them to do now was to forget fasting and mourning, and turn to God in penitence and confidence. Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassion every man to his brother.'

"What sound advice this is, even for our day!" Dalby continued. "No good comes from mourning or worrying over our troubles. The thing to do is to right-about-face, lay hold of the duties we have neglected, practice the virtues enumerated by Zechariah, and put in operation the principles that make for prosperity and happiness. That is the way, and the only way, that we can overcome trouble and discouragement."  (LDS Church News Oct 6 1990)

The Book of Zechariah
With its fourteen chapters and 211 verses, Zechariah is the largest book among the twelve "minor" prophets (Hosea through Malachi). With visions, symbolic messianic prophecies, judgments upon nations, and signs of the last days, Zechariah is the most detailed book of the prophets who spoke after the Babylonian captivity.

 Zechariah is an important book for Latter-day Saints for three reasons. First, Zechariah prophesied after the return from Babylonia. He began his prophetic service shortly after Haggai in 520 B.C. (Earlier he had served as a priest at the altar.) Since he prophesied after the Babylonian exile, his prophecies of a scattering and gathering of Israel (especially the Jews) were to be fulfilled in later times. One problem with understanding many Old Testament prophets was that when they foretold a scattering and gathering of the Jews, one cannot be sure if they were talking about the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C. or the dispersion after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. With Zechariah, this ambiguity is removed, as he only refers to the later events.

A second reason for the significance of his writings is that there are more prophecies about Christ in his book than in any other prophetic book except Isaiah. These are listed here with at least one other biblical reference to the same prophecy:

Zechariah Prophecy or Sign of Christ 1Fulfillment
1:11; Return to Zion Rev. 11:15;

14:5, 9 21:27

3:8 The servant Mark 10:45

3:8; The branch Rom. 15:12;

6:13 Priest—king Heb. 6:20-7:1

9:9-10 Riding a donkey Matt. 21:4-5;

9:11 Atonement Luke 22:19,


9:11 Work in the spirit world 1 Pet. 3:19;


10:4 The cornerstone Matt. 21:42

11:12-13 Betrayal Matt. 27:9-10

12:10 Hands pierced John 19:37

13:1 Cleansing waters Rev. 1:5

13:7 Persecution John 8:40

13:7 Smitten shepherd Matt. 26:31;

13:9 Lord's people Rom. 9:25

14:4 On the Mount of Olives D&C 45:48;

14:5 Resurrected Saints 1 Thes. 4:14

return with Christ

14:9 King of the earth Rev. 11:15

A third reason why Zechariah is important to Latter-day Saints is because of his many other prophecies of the last days. The Bible footnotes highlight and cross-reference these prophecies.
Zechariah's writings are difficult to understand. If one will carefully study Zechariah and ponder and pray, greater understanding and appreciation of his words will come to him. As suggested by his name, Zechariah (the Lord remembers), God has remembered his children through the ages, and the Lord of this earth will return and personally rule as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  (Unlocking the Old Testament Victor Ludlow)

Of all the Minor Prophets, Zechariah is perhaps the most difficult to read. Following in the footsteps of Ezekiel and Daniel, he couched much of his teaching in apocalyptic style, thereby hiding his message in dramatic symbols. Out of that style has grown one major question that confronts any careful reader of this book: are the images Zechariah used reflections on his own day, or are they types of later events? When he described the activities of the high priest Joshua, was he referring to his contemporary, or to a latter-day counterpart, or to both? History would suggest that Zechariah was using objects and people from his own day as types to represent millennial counterparts.  But though there are problems with understanding the writing, the broad outline of his message is plain and the breadth of his vision, clear. (Studies in Scripture Vol 4  Kent P Jackson) 

Who Was Malachi?
The name Malachi means "my errand-bearer" or "my messenger." It is such an appropriate label for a prophet that some have wondered whether it could be his title and not his name. It makes no difference, but it is quite common in the Old Testament for a proper name to have meaning related to the work of the one who bears it.  Neither the time and place of Malachi's work nor his origin and background are known. He was aware of priestly duties, and his first two chapters concern unacceptable offerings, unacceptable priests, and unacceptable behavior of the Lord's people. But those are all topics appropriate to many a prophet's mission and do not necessarily suggest his time as a prophet. It is commonly assumed that his work was after the time of Haggai and Zechariah, after the second temple had been built and some malpractices had again set in (Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis T Rasmussen)

The Book of Malachi

Among the twelve books of the minor prophets, Malachi is probably the favorite among Latter-day Saints. They are especially familiar with the last two chapters (3-4) because they were quoted by Christ in the Book of Mormon (3 Ne. 24-25) and by Moroni to Joseph Smith (JS-H 1:36-39). They also identify with the teachings on tithing (3:8-12), a book of remembrance (3:16-18), and the coming of Elijah to turn the hearts of parents and children to each other (4:5-6).

Malachi spoke to the Jews during a period of religious decline. Seventy years after the spiritual emphasis of Haggai and Zechariah, the people were neglecting their religious duties and criticizing God for their problems. The appointment of a zealous Jewish governor, Nehemiah, had recently resulted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls and the institution of some religious reforms (compare Neh. 7-13 for more details on the religious problems of the period). But the people were discouraged and disappointed. Malachi came to them as a messenger of hope. He promised them immediate blessings if they properly served the Lord and a future glory after the Lord had purged the wicked from the earth in his great and dreadful day.

The people wanted the blessings without having to reform themselves. They criticized Malachi's accusations and doubted whether God would ever show his power. These attitudes were demonstrated in a repeated rhetorical pattern of teaching that Malachi had to use with the people. It involved three steps, as seen in Malachi 3:8:

1. Accusation by the Lord through Malachi: "You have robbed me!"

2. Question by the people in their defense: "Wherein have we robbed thee?"

3. Answer by Malachi proving their guilt: "In tithes and offerings."

The key element in this pattern was the phrase "And (yet, but) ye say . . .," which would introduce the question or statement by which the Jews tried to defend or justify themselves. This phrase was repeated eight times in Malachi's short book: 1:2, 6, 7; 2:14, 17; 3:7, 8, 13.

The book of Malachi can be divided into seven main sections. In each of the first six sections, Malachi addresses a particular unrighteous group and their problems. He usually gives them some hope or promises them a blessing if they will correct their weakness. These sections are outlined as follows:

Verses Problem Promise

1:2-5 People questioning God will destroy Edom

God's love. (the wicked).

1:6-2:9 Sins of the priests. Covenant of peace

with the Levites.

2:10-16 Adultery and God wants a godly

idolatry. people.

2:17-3:6 Doubting God's God will be pleased

justice. with Judah (after

a purging).

3:7-12 Withholding tithes, Windows of heaven

offerings (sins will be opened.

of the people).

3:13-18 Sceptics wonder why Righteous people will

they should keep be God's jewels.

the commandments.

The last section (and chapter) of Malachi talks about the coming great and dreadful day of the Lord. It is organized into a weak chiastic pattern:

(a) The day of the Lord is coming; the wicked will be burned as stubble (1).

(b) Those who fear (revere) the Lord will have power over the wicked (2, 3).

(c) Remember (and keep) the laws and the commandments (4).

(b1) Those parents and children who remember each other will be preserved (5, 6).

(a1) The great and dreadful day of the Lord is coming; the earth will almost be destroyed (5, 6).

Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets, literally and symbolically. Between his ministry (about 450-430 B.C.) and the time of the New Testament there were no prophets among the Jews. Indeed, the Jews still consider Malachi as their last prophet, since they do not accept the prophets and apostles of Jesus or the living prophets of today.

Symbolically Malachi was the last prophet to a dispensation that began with a great prophet, Moses, and many miracles and teachings. But a thousand years later the people were still slaves, not to Egypt, but to worldliness, pride, and their physical appetites. What good had the centuries of preaching, teaching, and prophesying done for the Israelites? Only a few of them followed the Lord. As Malachi reviewed their sins and problems, he warned them of the Lord's final judgments and refining fires. There would come a time when the wicked would be consumed and the Lord would finally rule over his children on a world of righteousness. Malachi's witness of this coming judgment and day of the Lord is an appropriate conclusion to the witness of the Old Testament. (See BD "Malachi.")  (Unlocking the Old Testament Victor Ludlow)

Part 1: Zechariah and Malachi prophesy of many events of the last days  Zechariah 10–14; Malachi

Some of the following prophecies from Zechariah and Malachi, which describe events of the last days.
1.  Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

How was this prophecy fulfilled?  Malachi prophesied that a messenger would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.  John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord’s mortal ministry, and Joseph Smith is the messenger who prepared the way for the Second Coming Matthew 11:10; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:193–95, 3:10–14).  This also can refer to all messengers whom God may send to restore blessings and authority lost through apostasy.   Most messengers who have assisted in establishing the latter-day kingdom of God have bestowed priesthood powers and keys vital to the authoritative performance of saving ordinances (D&C 1:17-18; 128:20-21).

Malachi prophesied that the Lord would come suddenly to his temple (Mal. 3:1). Latter-day Saints believe that one such appearance occurred in the Kirtland Temple when Jesus appeared there in 1836.

President Joseph Fielding Smith:  "Malachi speaks of the Lord sending his messenger to prepare the way before him, and while that does have reference to the coming of John the Baptist, it is one of those prophecies in the scriptures that has a double fulfilment. It has reference also to the coming of the Prophet Joseph Smith, because that messenger which was to come and prepare the way before him, was to come in this day." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:193)

2. Malachi 4:5–6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord

6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Malachi prophesied that the prophet Elijah would return before the Second Coming to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

How was this prophecy fulfilled?  This prophecy was fulfilled when Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple, restoring the keys of the sealing power (D&C 110:13–16).

Speaking of Malachi 4:5-6, Joseph Smith asked, "How is [this prophecy] to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion. But how? By building their temples …and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them;  …and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah" (HC 6:184). If this eternal goal could not be achieved, one of the major purposes of the plan of redemption would fail.
An integral part of this plan is to "further the work of turning the hearts of the children to the fathers by getting …sacred family records in order. These records, including especially the "book containing the records of our dead' (D&C 128:24), are a portion of the "offering in righteousness' referred to by Malachi (3:3), which we are to present in His holy temple, and without which we shall not abide the day of His coming" (Kimball, pp. 542-43; see also Genealogy).

Our Application of the prophecy: We should search out the names of our ancestors and perform ordinances for them in the temple

Joseph Smith: "The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelation, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven....

"Now comes the point. What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children....

"I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important; and if you will receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah....

"We cannot be perfect without the fathers, &c. We must have revelation from them, and we can see that the doctrine of revelation far transcends the doctrine of no revelation; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in existence."
(History of the Church, 6:251-252) 

Why is it helpful to know that some of the prophecies of the Second Coming have already been fulfilled?  It allows us to see that these things are real and not a fairy tale, it gives us strength, hope and direction in preparing, it allows us to do all we can do both here and across the veil to be ready when He comes.  It shows us that the Lord is moving forward with the plan and that should motivate us to live as he wants to live.

Prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled before the Savior comes

1.  Zechariah 10:6–8.
6 And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them.

7 And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord.

8 I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them: and they shall increase as they have increased.

The meaning:  In chapter 10 the Lord reflects upon his covenant with Judah and how he will bless the Gentiles when Judah breaks that covenant. He is willing to bless his people (give them rain), but their leaders have pursued vanity and false dreams and left the people without guidance. The Lord was angry with the shepherds (leaders), and the goats (people) were punished. The cornerstone (RSV Christ) came out of Judah, and the political leadership through others; but they shall be overcome by mighty men (the Romans) because the Lord will be with them (Zechariah 10:1-5). The Lord will punish the wicked with the wicked (Mormon 4:5). Although Judah will be overcome, she will be strengthened or gathered again. The Lord will also save and gather the house of Joseph, making them as though they had never been cast off (scattered). Although they were sown among the people (scattered), he shall gather them from the various countries and make them strong in the Lord (Zechariah 10:6-12). Perhaps the Lord turns to Joseph (Ephraim) as his subject because it is through him that Judah will be blessed.

The main theme however is that the people of Judah and Joseph will be gathered, and the people of Ephraim will become mighty. The Lord will “hiss,” or call, for his people and gather them.

Application for us: We can assist in this gathering by sharing the gospel with others.

2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.

9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

A great war will be fought in and around Jerusalem, but the Lord will intervene and save the inhabitants of Jerusalem from destruction.  

A burden or message of doom to Israel opens this last section of Zechariah. The Lord promises to make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. All of the people of the earth will be gathered against Jerusalem. The governors or leaders of Judah are to devour the people round about, and the Lord will defend Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-8). This is another description of the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16) or the valley of decision (Joel 3). At the conclusion of the battle, the Lord will appear to his people, the embattled Jews; they will recognize him as their messiah and "will look upon me whom they have pierced" (Zechariah 12:10). There is a dual fulfillment or application of this prophecy. It was quoted by John in his gospel as being fulfilled while Christ was on the cross (John 19:37). However, the same author spoke of his coming in the clouds of heaven when "every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him" (Revelation 1:7). The context of Zechariah supports the latter fulfillment. The text continues with a declaration that there would be great mourning in Jerusalem in that day (Zechariah 12:11-14).  (Words of the Twelve Prophets Monty S Nyman) 
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "All the desolation and waste which attended the former destruction of Jerusalem is but prelude to the coming siege. Titus and his legions slaughtered 1,100,000 Jews, destroyed the temple, and ploughed the city. In the coming reenactment of this 'abomination of desolation,' the whole world will be at war, Jerusalem will be the center of the conflict, every modern weapon will be used, and in the midst of the siege the Son of Man shall come, setting his foot upon the mount of Olives and fighting the battle of his saints. (Zech. 12:1-9.)" (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:659)

Application for us: We should trust God to defend his people during the difficulties of the last days.

3.  Zechariah 14:8. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

Living waters will flow from the temple in Jerusalem and will heal the Dead Sea and the Judean wilderness (Ezekiel 47:1, 8–9).

Zechariah speaks of living water coming out from Jerusalem, half toward the former sea (Mediterranean) and half toward the hinder sea (Dead Sea). This water was to run in the winter as well as the summer (Zechariah 14:8). The living water is symbolic of Christ (compare John 4:10-15; 7:37). However, the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke of the actual water that would come from under the temple that was to be built in Jerusalem (TPJS, pp. 286-87; Joel 3:18). Following the above events, the Lord will be king over all the earth, and Jerusalem shall be inhabited safely (Zechariah 14:9-11). The Doctrine and Covenants repeatedly speaks of Jesus' reign as the king (D&C 38:21; 41:4; 45:59; 58:22; 65:5-6). Other Old Testament prophets have also prophesied of his role as king (Jeremiah 23:5; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-27).  (Words of the Twelve Prophets Monty S Nyman) 

Many of the prophecies of the last days include tragedies such as war, natural disasters, and widespread wickedness.

How can we maintain hope when we hear of these prophecies and witness their fulfillment? D&C 38:28–30.
28 And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.

29 Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.

30 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.

Prophecies that will be fulfilled when the Savior comes

1.  Zechariah 14:3–4.
3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

The Savior will stand on the Mount of Olives, and the mount will be divided in half  D&C 45:48

2.  Zechariah 12:10; 13:6.
10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

The Jewish people living at the time of Jerusalem’s deliverance will see Jesus Christ and will mourn because they as a people have rejected him as the Messiah D&C 45:51–53.

There is a dual fulfillment or application of this prophecy. It was quoted by John in his gospel as being fulfilled while Christ was on the cross (John 19:37). However, the same author spoke of his coming in the clouds of heaven when "every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him" (Revelation 1:7). The context of Zechariah supports the latter fulfillment. The text continues with a declaration that there would be great mourning in Jerusalem in that day. 
(Words of the Twelve Prophets Monty S Nyman) 

 3.  Zechariah 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

False idols, unclean spirits, and false prophets will be destroyed. 

Zechariah continues with a prophecy of idols and false prophets being cut off in the land (Zechariah 13:2-5). This prophecy must be read in its context carefully to note that it is speaking of false prophets

4.  Zechariah 14:5.   And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

The righteous who are alive on the earth will be caught up to meet the Savior. The righteous who have died will be resurrected and will also be caught up to meet him   D&C 88:96–98

 5.   Zechariah 14:9  And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.

The Lord will be king over all the earth and will rule during the Millennium.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie:  "The keys of the kingdom -- the right and power to govern the Lord's affairs for and on his behalf -- have been held by prophets in all ages, but when the Lord comes to reign personally upon the earth during the millennial era, he will take back the keys. Those who have held them will make an accounting to him of their stewardships at the place called Adam-ondi-Ahman at which gathering Christ will receive 'dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.' (Dan. 7:13-14.) Eventually in the celestial day, 'the keys of the kingdom shall be delivered up again unto the Father'." (Mormon Doctrine, p413)

6.  Zechariah 14:12–13; Malachi 3:13–18

The wicked will be destroyed, and the righteous will be spared 

12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.

13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?

15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.

18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

3 And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.

Prophesied appearances of the Savior 

At least seven latter-day appearances of the Savior have been foretold in the scriptures. First, without reading below, how many of them can you identify?   Now take a look...

To the Prophet Joseph Smith in the First Vision (Acts 3:19–21; Joseph Smith—History 1:15–17). 
19 ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 

21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

16 But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

In his latter-day temples (Malachi 3:1; D&C 133:1–2). 
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

1 Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you—
2 The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you.

In the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman (D&C 116; Daniel 7:13–14, 22; see also D&C 107:53–56, which describes a past meeting at Adam-ondi-Ahman that is similar to the meeting that will take place there).
13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

In Jerusalem during a worldwide conflict known as the battle of Armageddon (Ezekiel 38–39; Zechariah 12–14; Revelation 11; D&C 45:47–53). 
47 Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.
48 And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.
49 And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly.
50 And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.
51 And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
52 Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God. 

53 And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.

In the city of New Jerusalem, at Independence, Missouri (3 Nephi 21:24–26). 
24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst. 

26 And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.

To the righteous at the time of his Second Coming (Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17; D&C 88:96–98). 
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

96 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.

97 And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—

98 They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.

To the wicked (D&C 133:42–51).
42 O Lord, thou shalt come down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence—
43 When thou doest terrible things, things they look not for;
44 Yea, when thou comest down, and the mountains flow down at thy presence, thou shalt meet him who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth thee in thy ways.
45 For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee.
46 And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47 And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48 And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
49 And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.
50 And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the wine-press alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;
51 And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.
Why do you think the Lord has revealed these prophecies about the latter days, the Second Coming, and the Millennium? D&C 45:34–44.

34 And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
35 And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
36 And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—
37 Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38 Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39 And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
40 And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.
41 And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
42 And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.
43 And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place;
44 And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.

How can we prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior?  D&C 45:56–57.
56 And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.
57 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.

President Ezra Taft Benson said: “As we live the commandments of God, we can look forward with joyful anticipation to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and know that through our efforts we are worthy, with our loved ones, to dwell in His presence for all eternity. Surely nothing is too hard to gain this great goal. We cannot let down for a moment. We must prove, every day of our lives, that we are willing to do the will of the Lord—to spread the restored gospel, to bear testimony to the world, to share the gospel with others” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 341). 

How does it help you to know that righteousness will eventually triumph over wickedness?

2. Malachi teaches about the blessings that come to those who pay tithes and offerings 
Malachi 3:8–12 
Malachi 3:8–12  reads: 
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
The Lord, through Malachi, engaged Judah in a series of questions and answers. He said they have strayed from His ordinances, and He begs them to return. “Wherein shall we return?” they ask (v. 7). He replies that they have robbed Him, even God. Again they question, “Wherein have we robbed thee?” to which He replies, “In tithes and offerings” (v. 8). Therefore, He says, they “are cursed with a curse” (v. 9).   Elder LeGrand Richards said:

“In addition to giving ourselves, and giving our services, the Lord has asked us to give of our means and our substance. We have men in the Church who give their time, they will go when they are asked to preach, they will perform a public duty, but it is hard to do the little duty that is seen in secret by them and God alone and their presiding officers. And so we are asked to contribute our tithes and offerings, not only because the Church needs money to build itself, for before there was an organization of the Church, God introduced the principle of sacrifice in order that his servants and his children might be tested, that they should bring the best of their lands and of their herds. … They were burned upon the altar of sacrifice; but the giving sanctified the souls of those who gave. …

“The prophet Malachi declared that in the last days the Lord should send his messenger to prepared the way before him, and he called upon Israel, and I interpret that to mean latter-day Israel, to return unto him and promised that he would return unto them, and they said: “Wherein shall we return unto Thee?” And he said: ‘In your tithes and offerings … for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.’

“And I want to say to you, my brethren and sisters, that we need the tithes of the Saints in order that the kingdom might go on, for it shall be builded just as rapidly as the faith of the Saints can build it, and it is retarded when there is a lack of faith.”
(Conference Report, Apr. 1939, pp. 44–45.)
To Israel, ancient and modern, the Lord promised to “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (v. 10). All material and spiritual things are His to give as He sees fit. Included in His “blessings from heaven” are revelations from Him in one’s personal life. All blessings are, of course, conditional (D&C 82:10; 130:21; 132:5).  
He desires to bless His faithful children abundantly (1 Corinthians 2:9).

“The devourer” may mean locusts and other pests to agriculture, but it may refer to Satan as well. The Lord promised that the fruits of the ground and vine will not come forth ahead of their time when they would be of little or no value. The implication is that our efforts to provide for ourselves would be blessed and bear fruit in their season.

Because of the blessings that will come to the faithful, they will be recognized by the world around them, both individually and as a people.

Malachi emphasizes tithing. Indicting those who have "gone away" by failing to pay tithes and offerings, the Lord promises that if they will return, "I will return" (Mal. 3:7). The principle of tithing, which was practiced as early as Abraham (cf. Gen. 14:20; 28:22), has been renewed in the latter days (D&C 119:4), and blessings are assured for those who give tithes and offerings. The "windows of heaven will be opened," including the pouring out of "revelations" as a reward for such sacrifice (Lee, p. 16).  (Encyclopedia of Mormonism Daniel H Ludlow)
How do people “rob God” by not paying tithes and offerings? Brigham Young: "There is any amount of property, and gold and silver in the earth and on the earth, and the Lord gives to this one and that one—the wicked as well as the righteous—to see what they will do with it, but it all belongs to him. He has handed over a goodly portion to this people, and, through our faith, patience and industry, we have made us good, comfortable homes here, and there are many who are tolerably well off, and if they were in many parts of the world they would be called wealthy. But it is not ours, and all we have to do is to try and find out what the Lord wants us to do with what we have in our possession, and then go and do it. If we step beyond this, or to the right or to the left, we step into an illegitimate train of business. Our legitimate business is to do what the Lord wants us to do with that which he bestows upon us, and dispose of it just as he dictates, whether it is to give all, one-tenth, or the surplus." (Discourses of Brigham Young, p305)
What does it mean to pay a full tithe?   The First Presidency has stated: “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this” (First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 1970; see also D&C 119:1–4).

What blessings has the Lord promised us if we pay tithing? Malachi 3:10–12.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.
How has the Lord blessed you as you have paid tithes and offerings?

What should be our motivation for paying tithes and offerings?   After referring to the blessings the Lord gives to tithe payers, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:   “Now, do not get me wrong. I am not here to say that if you pay an honest tithing you will realize your dream of a fine house, a Rolls Royce, and a condominium in Hawaii. The Lord will open the windows of heaven according to our need, and not according to our greed. If we are paying tithing to get rich, we are doing it for the wrong reason. The basic purpose for tithing is to provide the Church with the means needed to carry on His work” (Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 60; or Ensign, May 1982, 40).

Why is it sometimes a challenge to obey the law of tithing? 
What can be done to overcome that challenge?

Does the Lord ever declare that there is more expected of us in financial obligations than the payment of tithing? What of budget contributions, building fund, missionary fund, temple fund, and fast offerings? President Spencer W. Kimball said: 

“Sometimes we have been a bit penurious and figured that we had for breakfast one egg and that cost so many cents and then we give that to the Lord. I think that when we are affluent, as many of us are, that we ought to be very, very generous. …

“I think we should … give, instead of the amount saved by our two meals of fasting, perhaps much, much more—ten times more when we are in a position to do it.”
(Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 184.)

“Fast offerings have long constituted the means from which the needs of the Lord’s poor have been provided. It has been, and now is, the desire and objective of the Church to obtain from fast offerings the necessary funds to meet the cash needs of the welfare program; and to obtain from welfare production projects the commodity needs. If we give a generous fast offering, we shall increase our own prosperity both spiritually and temporally.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1977, p. 126.)


. Malachi prophesies of Elijah’s return to the earth to restore the keys of the sealing power  
Malachi 4:5–6.

These verses of this chapter read:  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

What Is the Great Work Elijah Commenced?

This earth has a destiny. Its purpose is to provide a place for people to work out their eternal salvation before the Lord. Part of that salvation depends on their acquiring the necessary ordinances, in righteousness, that will seal them to God and to each other for time and all eternity. But the ordinances are not for the living only. Otherwise, billions would have been denied these blessings simply because the necessary priesthood power was not available in the time or place they lived.

Joseph Smith was told by Moroni that Elijah would come. Moroni mentioned the “promises made to the fathers” (JS—H 1:39) in ancient times. These promises, Moroni said, would assist in turning the hearts of the children to their fathers. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “What was the promise made to the fathers that was to be fulfilled in the latter-days by the turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers? It was the promise of the Lord made through Enoch, Isaiah, and the prophets, to the nations of the earth, that the time should come when the dead should be redeemed. And the turning of the hearts of the children is fulfilled in the performing of the vicarious temple work and in the preparation of their genealogies.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:154.)

Elijah came to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise recorded by Malachi. His visit occurred on 3 April 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. The priesthood keys Elijah brought were the sealing powers of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the means whereby that which is bound and sealed on the earth is also bound and sealed in the heavens. D&C 110:13–16. 
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet” (Malachi 4:5).
Commenting on the meaning of turning hearts, Joseph Smith said: “Now, the word turn here should be translated bind, or seal. But what is the object of this important mission? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion.” (Teachings, p. 330.)

Elder Theodore M. Burton said: “This turning of hearts to family relationships means establishing and sealing patriarchal lineage within the sacred confines of the temple and carrying that family inheritance into our daily lives. That is why, even if we do build temples, if we do not keep the covenants made in them, we will be rejected as a people.” (Conference Report, Oct. 1967, p. 81.)
Malachi prophesied that the prophet Elijah would come to the earth before the Lord’s Second Coming (Malachi 4:6). How was this prophecy fulfilled?  D&C 110:13–16

Elijah appeared in the Kirtland Temple and restored to Joseph Smith the keys of the sealing power.

What does it mean to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers”?  It means to be sealed to all our ancestors—our “fathers”—and to all our posterity—our “children”—forever. Because of the sealing power of the priesthood and the temple ordinances for the living and the dead, families can be bound together for eternity.

How have you felt your heart turn to your ancestors as you have done family history and temple work for them?

How do the promises of temple covenants turn your heart to your parents, spouse, and children?

The message in Malachi 4:5–6 is taught in each of the standard works (Luke 1:17; 3 Nephi 25:5–6; D&C 2:1–3; Joseph Smith—History 1:37–39). Why do you think this message is repeated so often?


When will the Second Coming Be? The Lord has made it clear that while He will surely come again, no person knows the exact time (D&C 39:20–21; 49:7). Until that time though it is our duty, obligation and if we love the Lord, it should be our joy to prepare and be ready when he does come. Zechariah and Malachi not only tell us of prophecies to come but teach us how to prepare and how to become better eternal beings not just people here on earth.

As well through out this years study of The Old Testament, we have found it contains a record of God’s dealings with His children over a period of approximately four thousand years. It has hundreds of examples of the application of principles that govern and dictate the well-being or the adversity of humankind. All these principles are based on the use of agency by individuals to accept and follow or to reject and disregard the Lord’s counsels given through His servants the prophets. The Lord’s ever-present interest for the welfare of His children is manifest throughout the Old Testament. Those who are guided by the spirit of revelation and who have an understanding of the true gospel, which has been the same from the time of Adam to the present, are best prepared to see that interest and understand the message of the Old Testament. The Lord’s interest in the welfare of His children is amply attested to by the record of His dealings with the Old Testament peoples.

Have you had difficulty this year understanding the Old Testament? During your study of the Old Testament have you paid the price required to gain the understanding and inspiration that is available from it? Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

“We would like all Latter-day Saint[s] … to read all of the Standard Works, to ponder in their hearts the eternal truths that are found in them, and to get on their knees and ask the Lord in sincerity and in faith for understanding and comprehension and guidance. We would like each of you to read them, either by yourself … or with your families, and not simply read the words but ponder and pray about their content so that there will come into your lives the desires for righteousness that grow out of the study of the pure, perfect word of God. We would like the Church to start drinking at the fountain—undiluted—the pure, perfect message that the Lord has given by the mouths of his prophets, the message found in the Standard Works of the Church. …

“… It is not reading alone; it is reading, pondering, and praying so that the Spirit of the Almighty gets involved in the study and gives understanding.”
(“Drink from the Fountain,” Ensign, Apr. 1975, pp. 70–71).

President Marion G. Romney talked of the cycle of learning that enables us to grow in understanding of the gospel. The concept he taught certainly applies to the Old Testament, as it does to all scripture: “A knowledge of the gospel comes by degrees: one learns a little, obeys what he learns; learns a little more and obeys that. This cycle continues in an endless round. Such is the pattern by which one can move on to a full knowledge of the gospel.” (“Records of Great Worth,” p. 4.)

If we continue in this cycle as taught we will be prepared, we will know the signs, we will be strong, we will be ready when He comes and he will say to us; well done good and faithful servant...

Conference Reports
Old Testament Student Manual
Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson
Latter-day Saint commentary on the Old Testament Ellis T Rasmussen
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Doctrines of Salvation Joseph Fielding Smith
Discourses of Brigham Young 
Church News
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson
Mormon Doctrine Bruce R McConkie
Encyclopedia of Mormonism Daniel Ludlow
Words of the Twelve Prophets Monty S Nyman
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Bruce R McConkie
History of the Church
Unlocking the Old Testament Victor Ludlow
Records of Great Worth Marion G Romney

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The Fall of Adam and Eve

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