"...in the examination of that great event, the second coming of Christ, to refer to some of the predictions of inspired writers in regard to the time of our Savior's revelation from the heavens. I do not mean to say the day nor the hour of his coming, for that is unknown, no man that lives on the face of the earth knows anything about the day or the hour; neither will there be any man on the earth prior to the coming of the Lord who will know the day and the hour, for it is hidden from mortal man. However, the age in which that great event will take place is very clearly revealed in both the Old and the New Testament. That age is to be characterized by certain events, predicted by the inspired writers, which are unmistakable in their nature, and which can be easily understood by all, both learned and unlearned. These events are to be so conspicuous that I presume there will not be a nation, people, kindred or tongue upon the face of the whole earth but what will know that, according to the Scriptures, some great event is about to take place, for every people in that day will be more or less enlightened in the Scriptures, for before that great day shall come, missionaries will be sent to the uttermost parts of the earth, to testify to all people concerning the Gospel of the Son of God, and they will cry in the ears of all living, saying unto them-"Prepare ye, prepare ye, for the great and coming day of the Bridegroom." They will have a preparatory message to deliver to all nations.
When the Lord, in the meridian of time, came and took upon himself a mortal body, he saw proper to send as his forerunner one of the greatest Prophets that ever was born into our world-John the Baptist, and he went, announcing, by the inspiration of the Spirit and by the power of his holy calling, that there was one to come after him who was mightier than he, whose shoe latchet he was not worthy to unloose; and that when he should come he would thoroughly purge his floor, and that he would baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. Said John-"I merely come to prepare the way. I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord and make his paths straight. I come preaching unto you repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, but he who comes after me, holding higher authority and a greater Priesthood, shall baptize you with a baptism that is greater than that of water-the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost."
Now, if the Lord, when he came the first time, in his humility and meekness, born in a manger, of parents of low estate, saw that it was necessary to prepare the way before him by raising up one of the greatest Prophets that ever came into the world, why should it be thought unreasonable that he should also raise up a latter-day Prophet to prepare the way before one of the mightiest and grandest events that ever has taken place, or that ever will take place on our earth in its temporal condition? If the heavens are to be revealed; if the face of the Son of God is to be unvailed; if the glory of his countenance is to outshine the sun in his strength; if he is to come in flaming fire, while the very heavens themselves shall shake by his power, and the earth reel to and fro like a drunken man, the mountain themselves, feeling his power, are sunk and the valleys are raised up; if all these grand events are to attend the second advent of the Son of God, is it unreasonable that he should raise up a great Prophet in the latter days to make preparations for so great an event? Or will he let the world pass on in blindness and darkness without any signs of the times, without any warning voice, without any inspired man sent of God to wake them up from their condition, and to prepare the way for his coming? To me it looks consistent and reasonable that such a preparatory work should be sent forth among the children of men, and it looked consistent to the ancient inspired writers, hence they have left an abundance of testimony on record in this good book (the Bible) concerning this preparatory work.
One of the means which God will use to prepare the way before his second coming, is to send angels from heaven with a proclamation, not to benefit a few individuals, not for one nation alone, but to all the inhabitants of our globe, and that too before he comes. Do you want to know where this prediction is recorded? Let me refer you to the fourteenth chapter of the revelations given to St. John on Patmos. Did St. John behold, in vision, the coming of the Son of God? He did. How does he describe it in that fourteenth chapter? He said, as you will find by reading the chapter through, that he saw one sitting on a white cloud, having a sharp sickle in his hand. He had reference to the time when Jesus should come in the clouds of heaven; however, before John saw the personage sitting on the cloud, he saw a preparatory work commence, as it is declared in the sixth verse, in which the Prophet says-"I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, unto every nation and kindred and tongue and people," declaring that the hour of God's judgment was come.
Now if that angel does not come and bring the Gospel, then the Son of Man will not come; no trumpet will sound and call forth the nations of the righteous from their sleeping tombs; there will be no destroying the wicked as stubble from the face of the earth; no shaking of the heavens and causing the earth to tremble and to remove to and fro. None of these events will transpire if no angel comes, for one is just as certain as the other; and to show that one is to precede the other, there must be a time for this everlasting Gospel to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue and people after the angel appears with it. That will take some length of time, however rapidly it may go forth, for the mere preaching of the Gospel would be of no benefit, unless there were persons authorized to administer its ordinances. The angel might preach, but who could obey it? No one. It is true that we might repent if we heard the angel proclaim it by his own voice, as he flew from nation to nation and from kingdom to kingdom; and we might also believe in Jesus Christ, but how could we be baptized for the remission of our sins? Would the angel come down from heaven and take every believing penitent person and baptize him himself? How long would it take an angel to go over all the nations and baptize all the penitent believers? It would take ages and ages for him to do it personally. But it is very evident to every one who reflects upon these passages, that when that angel comes with the everlasting Gospel, there will be authority given to man on the earth to administer the ordinances of that Gospel, to build up the Christian Church again on the earth as it was built in ancient times, a Christian Church organized according to the pattern that God has given in the New Testament; a Christian Church having Apostles inspired from heaven; a Christian Church with Prophets called of God to prophesy future events; a Christian Church possessing the gifts and graces of the ancient Gospel in all their beauty, power and fulness, as they were possessed in ancient times. These works and these ordinances must be administered by man, and not by the angel who brings the Gospel. Will that be a preparatory work?
What a magnificent privilege it is to live in this great land where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth and to see the fulfillment of so many prophetic events. To even be a part of this "errand of angels" is so humbling.