…who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? (Malachi 3:2)
To abide means to remain. It means to endure without yielding. “The day of his coming” refers to the second coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. So to paraphrase Malachi’s question:
Who will be able to endure without yielding until the Savior comes?
This is not an idle question. We live in the last days (as the name given to His church by Jesus Christ Himself indicates. See D&C 115). And one of the more unnerving signs that Jesus is close to returning is indicated in His Olivet discourse:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
Abiding the day will require not just faith, but an ability to discern between truth and error. Between what is of God, and what is of Satan. And Satan is the great counterfeiter which makes it possible for him to deceive even the very elect. He takes something that is true (but difficult or sensitive or complex), something that will take sincere seeking, and asking, and soul searching, and he exploits our very natural tendency to create a worst case scenario. He magnifies our doubts and expands our fears.
Let me illustrate with a famous experience related in John’s gospel. The day after Jesus performed the miracle where he fed the 5000 with a few loves and fishes, he was again surrounded by a multitude. He said it how it was:
Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled (John 6:26)
Then He proceeds to draw a very hard line:
Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed…
I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst…
I am that bread of life.
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:27, 35, 48-51)
His message is clear to the Jews in His audience, “you must choose between Me and the Pharisees, between the Living bread and the bread of tradition.” The reaction of His audience was doubt:
Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? (John 6:42)
They even, ridiculously, ask for a sign. Clearly, they don’t want to wholly commit to Him. Some even try to cast doubt in others by making His words sound weird or crazy.
How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (John 6:52)
And Jesus offers no apology for the line He drew, nor does He feel to defend His words:
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
Many call these words “hard sayings” and Jesus even asks if this offends them. The result is that “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (Vs. 66)”
Jesus then asks His Apostles if they will also leave Him. Peter’s response is inspiring:
Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
Our choice today is equally clear. We have the Living Bread vs. the secular (politically correct, modern social agenda) bread. We have to choose. Some will shirk this choice and content themselves with making the words of Jesus Christ through His modern Apostles sound weird or crazy. They might chose to give church history or church policy the “worst case scenario” treatment to justify their decision. But the true disciples will honestly acknowledge that they don’t understand everything, but they “believe and are sure” that this is the church of Jesus Christ, and the words of life are found in His Apostles and prophets. And it is these who will abide the day of His coming.