Are the troubled times we keep seeing in the world today necessary or inevitable? Are they all part of God’s plan to disprove and push aside the things of the world so that Zion may rise for Christ’s 1000 year reign on earth?
The fall of Babylon the great has been foretold:
“Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” – Revelation 18:21
“. . . which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.” – D & C 1:16
However, as Babylon ripens in iniquity, a great latter-day Zion will be established:
“And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.” – D & C 45:68–70
“. . . and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.” – Moses 7:64
There are certainly governments and nations that seek to destroy individual freedoms and each other, but the fall of Babylon can also been seen spiritual as a destruction of our personal desires for wickedness and earthly possessions. Such wickedness is certain to cause hardship and destruction:
“In prophetic imagery, Babylon is the world with all its carnality and wickedness. Babylon is the degenerate social order created by lustful men who love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Babylon is the almighty governmental power that takes the saints of God into captivity; it is the false churches that build false temples and worship false gods; it is every false philosophy . . . that leads men away from God and salvation. Babylon is false and degenerate religion in all its forms and branches. Babylon is the communistic system that seeks to destroy the freedom of people in all nations and kingdoms; it is the Mafia and crime syndicates that murder and rob and steal; it is the secret combinations that seek for power and unrighteous dominion over the souls of men. Babylon is the promoter of pornography; it is organized crime and prostitution; it is every evil and wicked and ungodly thing in our whole social structure” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 424).
In Revelation Chapter 8, we begin to read of the seventh seal, or the seventh thousand years of the earth’s temporal existence; known to most christian scholars as approximately starting around the 2000 A.D. Millennium. During the early part of this period is when judgments come upon the earth in a final attempt to turn mankind’s heart to God. The earth will then be cleansed, Christ will return, and his reign will begin. (see D & C 77:12–13 for further explanation).
One interesting part from Rev. 6:12–17 is the Great Earthquake that John sees. The sun also darkens and the moon turns to blood. Stars appears to fall and the Wicked Mistake these signs for the end of the world. (See also JS—M 1:33; D & C 29:14; D & C 88:87.) Considering the order in which it appears in the book of Revelation, this all happens before the coming of Christ; possibly as a way to help prepare the world for his coming by striping it of worldly concerns to encourage people to focus more on one’s fellow men. The Book Visions of Glory has a more graphic explanation of how these events may play out.
Regardless of what may come, the righteous should not fear: “see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6). It is true that we live in a glorious time, greater then any other time in earth’s history, and “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D & C 38: 30), but “Woe unto wicked! it shall be ill with him” (Isa. 3: 11).
For more study references on this topic see: Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Chapter 35, and “Book of Revelation Overview,” Ensign, Oct 1983, 50.