When we study the Old Testament we come across several stories that pertain to the earth and its role in the salvation of mankind: The Creation, the Fall, the City of Zion at the time of Enoch, the Flood, and many others. In addition to events that have already occurred, there are prophecies remaining to be fulfilled that are part of the destiny of the earth. Let’s take a look at a graphical representation of the timeline:
For the most part, I tried to provide references for major parts of the diagram, working from left to right:
- Abraham 3:22-28 – Pre-mortal life; Plans for creating an earth; A Savior is chosen
- Journal of Discourses, 17:143, Moses 7:48-62 – The earth fell and became a telestial sphere when Adam fell, but will be cleansed in the last day
- Moses 7:69 – Zion is Fled (taken up to heaven)
- Genesis chapters 6-8 – Account of the Flood
- Genesis 10:25 – The earth divided in the days of Peleg
- Moses 5:57, 6:62, 7:46 – Christ to come in the meridian of time
- Acts 26:23 – Christ the first to rise from the dead in the resurrection
- Matthew 27:52-53 – Saints resurrected with Christ appear to many
- Intro to the Book of Mormon, D&C 128:20 – Peter, James, Moroni: Examples of saints resurrected long after Christ (resurrection continues as God wills until the morning of the first resurrection)
- Revelation 20:6 – Those of the first resurrection will reign with Christ in Millennium
- 3 Nephi 5:25, Acts 3:19-21, Ephesians 1:10 – Restoration of the Gospel
- Revelation 16:16, Joel 3:2, Zephaniah 3:8 – Armageddon, all nations gathered to battle
- Malachi 4:1, Joseph Smith History 1:37 – First burning
- John 5:29, D&C 76:17,50,65 – Two resurrections: just and unjust
- D&C 88:110, 1 Nephi 22:26 – Satan bound during Millennium
- Revelation 20:7-9, D&C 43:30-32 – Satan loosed at end of Millennium, final great battle, final burning
- Revelation 4:6, D&C 77:1, D&C 88:25-26 – Earth to be a sanctified celestial sphere where the righteous shall dwell, Earth follows celestial law
- Alma 41:1-15 – All things restored to their proper state (resurrection the accompanying judgment is a restoration)
- D&C 76:25-49, Alma 40:13 – Satan is Lucifer and a Son of Perdition, will be cast out with his followers
- 1 Corinthians 15:40-41, D&C 76 – bodies Celestial, Terrestrial, Telestial
- D&C 133:21-24 – Waters driven back, continents and islands become one land on the Earth at beginning of Millennium
You will notice that I use the word “Final Restoration” in place of “Final Judgment”. Also on the chart, at the beginning of the Millennium, you will see “Resurrection of the Just”, which is in reality both the First Resurrection and the Great Day of Judgment for those who are resurrected at that time.
In Alma chapters 39-42, Alma teaches his son Corianton about justice, mercy, the resurrection, and judgment. He uses the word RESTORE (or variants of the word), 25 times. If you study those chapters closely, you come to realize that our personal Great Day of Judgment which will occur when we are resurrected is really a day of Restoration—we are restored to exactly what we have become. If we are good and clean, we will be restored to that which is good and clean, and not only will our own body be raised again as a celestialized tabernacle, but we will regain the presence of the Father, a place where the clean and pure will dwell. That is our final judgment: To be restored to who we have become. That is why I chose to use the word Restoration instead of Judgment.
In the diagram you will also notice arrows which carry the earth from state to state. Earth starts out near to God at its creation. Then, with the Fall of Man, the earth also falls and spends over 6,000 years as a Telestial world. When the Millennium arrives, the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory (Article of Faith 10). When that happens, the earth will be lifted to a Terrestrial state of glory. At the end of the Millennium, the earth will be transformed once again, through burning, and become the Celestial Kingdom for those who are worthy of it.
On the far right, I mention a Terrestrial Sphere and a Telestial Sphere. We have no written record that teaches us where those kingdoms will be, but we do know that it won’t be this earth.
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