The End of the World
(Are We There Yet?)
From the time I was young, I had the idea that the end of the world (as we know it), the Second Coming of Christ, would come around the year 2000. Lots of people have presented persuasive reasons for specific dates that we have already passed. I have none. Jesus said,
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
In Mark 13:32, Jesus adds, neither the Son. He had not yet ascended to His Father and may since share the knowledge of that day and hour, for in latter-day revelation (Doctrine & Covenants 49:7) He omits that latter phrase. It is clear that that day has not yet been revealed to us, and if we are to know it before it happens, it will have to come to us through revelation and not through present scripture, though we may recognize it when it happens by being familiar with scripture.
I believe, because of Amos 3:7, which says: Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets, that to some, at least, the exact time will be revealed before that day. The time of the birth of Jesus Christ was known to faithful Nephites in the Americas, to the Magi in the Orient, and of course to Mary and Joseph and Miriam and Zechariah. Noah was warned of the flood and warned others to prepare (2 Peter 2:5).
In any case, our job is to be ready. To do that, we must follow Christ and live as He did. We have to quit living for ourselves alone. Even with a warning of a specific day, it will likely not be enough time to turn our lives around if we knew what we should do all along and didn't do it.
As to the general time of the Second Coming, we have signs all around us, and they tell us that it can't delay very long. Earthquakes, Windstorms, Floods, Famine, War, and Disease (in spite of our technological and medical advances) are all increasing in intensity. We are constantly hearing how this earth may end by natural means (asteroids, for instance), perhaps causing people to think more seriously about their lives. I recently saw a lecture on how our increasing need for oil has already begun to outpace the discovered (and even possibly discoverable) resources. According to that presentation, more and more of us will have to get by with less and less. Isaac Asimov is said to have compared the situation to a bathroom:
If two people share a house with two bathrooms, they have Freedom of the Bathroom. If the same two people have to share a single bathroom, or ten people have to share two, then they no longer have the same freedom.
We can already see how we have lost some liberties or rights to privacy when some group or groups want to have the world to themselves. At some point, our needs will make life unbearable if population continues to increase. Whether all the spirits of men will have been born on earth before the Second Coming or not, I do not know. One way or another, the population problem will solve itself, with or without wars, of which we still have plenty.