Luke 17:3 If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him
This counsel from the Lord is rarely followed. The Lord's way is to approach those who have offended us and openly discuss the conflict. All too often, the Mormon way is to get offended, sulk in a corner, brood over the injustice, put on a fake smile every time we see the offending brother, and then talk about him behind his back. Some have even left the church after such trivial trespasses. The advice of the Lord is as follows, 'if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled' (DC 42:88). It is a difficult thing to say to someone, "I'm not happy about this or that," but the quickest way to gain a friend is to be open and honest with him.
Elder Brigham Young, Jr.
"There is...a great evil among some of the people, and that is moral cowardice. A brother offends, and they have not the moral courage to go to him and say: 'You have offended me; let us make it right, brother, so that we can live in harmony.' Brethren and sisters, make up your minds to take the Doctrine and Covenants and study what God says upon this subject; when you go to your homes, read it; and with the help of God keep enmity and jealousy out of your hearts. God has commanded it and He demands it at our hands that we have no such feelings. He demands it this day, because they are evils in our midst. Let me have the moral courage, and instead of saying as I have heard men say: 'I will get even with him,' let me go to the man if I have got anything to say to him and say it in as mild a spirit as I can command under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and say to him: 'Let us heal these differences' That brings peace, that brings love and joy, and the love of God will increase in the midst of the people." (Conference Report, October 1898, Third Day-Morning Session)
Luke 17:4 if he trespass against thee seven times in a day...thou shalt forgive him
Often, these scriptures regarding forgiveness are misunderstood. The scriptures do not require us to forever forgive those who have trespassed against us. The great distinction, rarely made, depends on the attitude of the offending party. Peter asked the Lord, 'how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?' The Lord answered, 'Until seventy times seven' (Matt. 18:22). Implied in this narrative is that Peter's brother has come to ask his forgiveness. This important element is explicitly stated in the Luke account for seven times in that day, the offender replied, 'I repent.' The distinction is important because the Lord does not expect us to forgive our enemies seven times in a day and 490 times in a lifetime unless they ask for our forgiveness. The Lord does not expect us to be a doormat for our unrepentant enemies. Rather, he expects us to forgive those who ask for our forgiveness. For those individuals which despitefully use and persecute us, the law is that we should forgive them three times. Upon the fourth offence, we are not required to forgive them.
Luke 17:5 Lord, increase our faith
Neal A. Maxwell
"It is significant that this poignant apostolic request came from the Twelve after they had already seen Jesus heal Peter's mother-in-law, a leper, a paralytic, a withered hand, and the centurion's servant. They had observed Him cast out devils; raise from the dead a widow's son and Jairus's daughter; still the tempest; cast out a legion of devils; feed the five thousand; and be transfigured on the Mount. Yet they still asked!
"Clearly, if seeing such multiple miracles had produced sustained faith, the apostolic plea would never have been made... As we inventory whatever our personal hesitations, reservations, or equivocations are, it is better to acknowledge them honestly while meekly indicating to God that, though we understand somewhat the doctrine of faith, we need help in practicing it. 'Lord, help thou my unbelief' (Mark 9:24). It is better to acknowledge too that comparatively we understand more about why faith is important than how to increase faith." (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 1-7.)
Luke 17:6 if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed
Henry B. Eyring
"You will not be surprised that the Lord responded by speaking of a seed. The first thing to know about how faith in him increases is to think of its growth like that of a tree. You remember how Alma used that illustration. The seed is the word of God. It must be planted in the heart of the person you serve and whose faith you want to see increase. He described what must happen this way:
'Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves-It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
'Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea' (Alma 32:28-29)." ("To Touch a Life with Faith," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 38)
Gene R. Cook
"Alma explains beautifully some of the characteristics of faith. As we study these characteristics, we need to remember that faith is something we know very little about. The Lord says that if we have the faith of a mustard seed, we can say to a mountain, 'Remove hence to yonder place,' and it would remove. (Matthew 17:20.) This teaches me that I must have something less than that, perhaps, and that I know very little about it. Thus, I continue the search to understand what it means to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I hope that you, too, will take this as a beginning point to greater study, meditation, and prayer to understand faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As you do so, the Lord will reveal to you further knowledge about these important principles, for he has promised, 'If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things-that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.' (D&C 42:61.)" (Living by the Power of Faith, 28.)
"Again, he says, 'For verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you.' What does this mean? I have exercised all the faith, seemingly, that is in my power, and could hardly heal the sick, let alone remove a mountain, or pluck up a sycamore tree, or any other tree. What does it mean? I begin to discover that the Devil comes along when I get my mind set, and throws some object in view to divert it from the thing before me.
"'If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.' I have an idea that the Devil comes and catches away the word that is sown in our hearts, to defeat the designs the Lord has in sowing it. Whereas, if we could control our minds, and not allow them to be caught away, then our eye would be single, and the whole body would be full of light...The mind is armed with almighty power; and if we could concentrate its powers, and overcome the power of the Devil, we could remove that mountain as easily as to heal a sick person. It requires only faith as a grain of mustard-seed, or a concentrated effort of mind." (Journal of Discourses, 7: 152-53.)
Luke 17:9 doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him?
Orson F. Whitney
"Many years ago, when I was a Ward Bishop, and was engaged one evening in settling tithing, a good brother came forward who seemed more or less reluctant to be present for the purpose indicated. Almost ill-naturedly he tossed a roll of bills upon the table, and in response to the usual question put to tithepayers at such times-'Is this a full tithing?' he replied: 'No-but you may be thankful to get that much.'
"'Thankful?' I echoed. 'Why should I be thankful for it? You are not paying this money to me. I am only an agent, appointed by the Church to receive it for the Lord, to whom it rightfully belongs. You make a big mistake in supposing this to be a personal matter between you and me...as your bishop, I am pleased to know that you are honoring the law of tithing even in part, I am under no obligation to thank you for so doing. Nobody thanks me for paying my tithing. Nor do I expect it. I pay it in order to be obedient to the law of the Lord, and esteem it a privilege, one that I would not willingly forego."
"...My point is simply this: A stake president, a bishop, or any other presiding officer in the Church, should miss no opportunity to speak comforting words to the people, especially the flock of which he is the shepherd. He should do everything in his power to encourage them, and on every proper occasion commend them for their faithfulness. But he should not, by word or deed cause them to think that they are doing the Lord a favor by keeping his commandments, and that his servants ought to thank them for it.
"We get far more out of our religion than we put into it. Redemption, salvation, exaltation, eternal life-these are the incomparable rewards for the service that we render to our heavenly Father; and unceasing gratitude and thanksgiving are due, not from him to us, but from us to him, for the countless blessings showered upon us by his all-bountiful hand. Thanks be to Him forevermore!" (Improvement Era, 1926, Vol. Xxix. February, 1926 No. 4)
Luke 17:10 We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do
Long before Christ taught this parable, King Benjamin understood and taught the same doctrine:
'O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!
"In this life we are all unprofitable servants, or to use a more modern term, we are all bad investments. (See, for example, Luke 17:10; Mosiah 2:21.) From the Savior's perspective, even the most righteous among us cost more to save and maintain than we can produce in return. So if we're looking for the Lord to say, 'OK, you've done enough. Your obligation is fulfilled. You've made it, now relax,' we're going to be disappointed. We need to accept the fact that we will never in this life, even through our most valiant efforts, reach the break-even point. We are all unprofitable servants being carried along on the Savior's back by his good will-by his grace." (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ: The Parable of the Bicycle and Other Good News [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992], 93.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Our Redeemer has done everything that is essential for our salvation, and he has taught us that if we serve him with all our soul, and all our days, yet we are unprofitable servants and have done only that which it was our duty to do. Paul says we were bought with a price, and we are not our own. Our Redeemer has a perfect right to command us, and all that we do is for our own sakes. He can do without us, but we cannot do without him. We are told that we are unprofitable servants, and so we are, if we think of trying to pay our Savior back for what he has done for us, for that we never can do; and we cannot by any number of acts, or a full life of faithful service, place our Savior in our debt." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 1: 15.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"We can contemplate how far we have already come in the climb along the pathway to perfection; it is usually much farther than we acknowledge. True, we are 'unprofitable servants,' but partly because when 'we have done that which was our duty to do' (Luke 17:10), with every ounce of such obedience comes a bushel of blessings." (Deposition of a Disciple [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 29.)
Luke 17:13 Jesus, Master, have mercy on us
James E. Faust
"Leprosy was so loathsome a disease that those afflicted were not permitted under the law to come close to Jesus. Those suffering from this terrible disease were required to agonize together, sharing their common misery (see Leviticus 13:45-46). Their forlorn cry, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us' must have touched the Savior's heart. When they were healed and when they had received priestly approval that they were clean and acceptable in society, they must have been overcome with joy and amazement. Having received so great a miracle, they seemed completely satisfied. But they forgot their benefactor.
"It is difficult to understand why the nine lepers were so lacking in gratitude. Such ingratitude is self-centered. It is a form of pride. What is the significance of the fact that the one who returned to give thanks was a Samaritan? As in the story of the good Samaritan, the point seems to be that those of lesser social or economic status often rise to a greater duty and nobility.
"In addition to personal gratitude as a saving principle, I should like to express a feeling for the gratitude we ought to have for the many blessings we enjoy." (Finding Light in a Dark World [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 81.)
Luke 17:15-16 one of them...fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks
Thomas S. Monson
"Robert W. Woodruff, a prominent business leader of a former time...said that the two most important words in the English language are these: 'Thank you.'
"Gracias, danke, merci-whatever language is spoken, 'thank you' frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey toward perfection. There is a simplicity-even a sincerity-when 'thank you' is spoken.
"The beauty and eloquence of an expression of gratitude is reflected in a newspaper story of some years ago:
The District of Columbia police auctioned off about 100 unclaimed bicycles Friday. 'One dollar,' said an 11-year-old boy as the bidding opened on the first bike. The bidding, however, went much higher. 'One dollar,' the boy repeated hopefully each time another bike came up.
The auctioneer, who had been auctioning stolen or lost bikes for 43 years, noticed that the boy's hopes seemed to soar higher whenever a racer-type bicycle was put up.
Then there was just one racer left. The bidding went to eight dollars. 'Sold to that boy over there for nine dollars!' said the auctioneer. He took eight dollars from his own pocket and asked the boy for his dollar. The youngster turned it over in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters-took his bike, and started to leave. But he went only a few feet. Carefully parking his new possession, he went back, gratefully threw his arms around the auctioneer's neck, and cried.
"When was the last time we felt gratitude as deeply as did this boy? The deeds others perform in our behalf might not be as poignant, but certainly there are kind acts that warrant our expressions of gratitude." ("Think to Thank," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 17-18)
Luke 17:17 Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?
David B. Haight
"As I've read that story again and again, it's made a great impression upon me. How would you like to be part of the 'nine society'? Wouldn't that be something-to be numbered among those who failed to return and acknowledge the Savior for the blessings He had given them? Only one returned.
"It's so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted, and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted. How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our hearts and souls." (Ensign, Nov. 2002, 25)
Joseph F. Smith
"I believe that one of the greatest sins of which the inhabitants of the earth are guilty today is the sin of ingratitude, the want of acknowledgment, on their part, of God and His right to govern and control. We see a man raised up with extraordinary gifts, or with great intelligence, and he is instrumental in developing some great principle. He and the world ascribe this great genius and wisdom to himself. He attributes his success to his own energies, labor and mental capacity. He does not acknowledge the hand of God in anything connected with his success, but ignores him altogether and takes the honor to himself; this will apply to almost all the world.
"In all great modern discoveries in science, in the arts, in mechanics, and in all the material advancement of our age, the world says, 'We have done it.' The individual says, 'I have done it,' and he gives no honor and credit to God. Now, I read in the revelations through Joseph Smith, the prophet, that because of this, God is not pleased with the inhabitants of the earth but is angry with them because they will not acknowledge His hand in all things." (Gospel Doctrine, 5th edition.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"The sin of ingratitude, how common it is! As Jesus cleansed ten lepers physically, so he cleanses all his saints spiritually from the leprosy of sin. Are we more grateful for our blessings than were the healed lepers who hastened on their ways, heedless of the beneficent goodness of the One whose words had made them new creatures?
"Well might we remember that he, who in his life healed men physically, is the one who, in his death, made it possible for all men to be healed spiritually. Well might we rejoice because he who cleansed the lepers, when he dwelt on earth, is the one who, through his atoning sacrifice, enables all men to cast off their leprous bodies of corruption, exchanging them for those glorious bodies which are refreshed and renewed in immortality." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 3: 285.)
George Albert Smith
"Now, my brethren and sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which of these would we be? Shall we not be numbered among those who recognize the gifts of God and the mercy extended to us? Or will we be among the nine, and take the blessings as they come, and accept them as belonging to us-with very little gratitude? I am grateful to my Father in heaven. I know that I have been healed by the power of God, and received all my blessings by that power." (Sharing the Gospel with Others, selected and compiled by Preston Nibley [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1948], 94 - 95.)
Luke 17:20 The kingdom of God cometh not with observation
"What did Jesus mean, then, when he said, 'The kingdom of Heaven is within you,' or 'among you' (marginal reading.) There certainly must be some mistake here, for Jesus was speaking to Pharisees, whom he had denounced as corrupt men, hypocrites, whited walls, painted sepulchres, etc. Now, who will say they had the kingdom of God within them? The kingdom of God was among them. And it did not come with observation, nor with ostentation or pomp; they might have seen it, but their eyes were blinded, that they could not see; their ears were stopped that they could not hear. Many of us suppose that if we had lived in their day, we should have recognized it among the miracles, signs, and powers that were manifested by him. But Jesus said, 'My sheep hear my voice, and know me, and follow me, but others do not.' If any man do his will, says Jesus, 'he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.' John 7:17. But if they do not, what then? They have eyes, but see not; ears, but hear not. The God of this world blinds their eyes, lest the light of the gospel should shine in upon them. Jesus says, 'Except a man be born again; he cannot see the kingdom of God.' And 'except he is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into it.' John 3:3 and 5. It therefore cometh not with observation; the Scriptures are clear on the point, and show to the last that when God's kingdom shall be more fully established on the earth, the inhabitants of the earth will be as ignorant of it as the Jews were, that Jesus was the Messiah; for the nations of the earth, with their kings, will yet be gathered together against the people of the Lord, to battle, when the Lord himself will go and fight against them, and there will be one of the most terrible slaughters that ever took place on the earth. It cometh not with observation. It is a righteous kingdom, and righteous men can see it, and appreciate it, and those only." (The Government of God [Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1852], 86 - 87.)
Luke 17:21 the kingdom of God is within you
Bruce R. McConkie
"One of the heresies which prevails in a large part of modern Christendom is the concept that Jesus did not organize a Church or set up a formal kingdom through which salvation might be offered to men. This poorly translated verse is one of those used to support the erroneous concept that the kingdom of God is wholly spiritual; that it is made up of those who confess Jesus with their lips, regardless of what church affiliation they may have; that the kingdom of God is within every person in the sense that all have the potential of attaining the highest spiritual goals; and that baptism, the laying on of hands, celestial marriage, and other ordinances and laws are not essential to the attainment of salvation." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 540.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"This should be 'the kingdom of God is among you.' This is the marginal reading in most copies of the Bible and this is the interpretation the Prophet Joseph Smith has placed upon it. The kingdom of God was among them from the time John went forth proclaiming the coming of Jesus Christ and baptizing for the remission of sins." (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 2: 24.)
Harold B. Lee
"' . . . the kingdom of God is within you.' (Luke 17:21.) A more correct translation probably would have said, 'The kingdom of God is among you or in your midst,' but as I thought of that other statement, 'The kingdom of God is within you,' I recalled an experience that we had with a group of students from Brigham Young University, who were gracious enough to come under the leadership of President Wilkinson to a little group over in the Lion House, and there sixteen, representing sixteen foreign countries, were asked to stand and tell how they came to know about the gospel and accept it, why they were at Brigham Young University, and to bear their testimonies. It was a most intensely interesting evening. We heard from young men and women from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, the Scandinavian countries, France, and England. The story was the same. When they began to relate how they came to find the gospel, it was this: They were yearning for truth. They were seeking for it. They were not satisfied, and in the midst of their search, someone came to them with the truths of the gospel. They prayed about it and sought the Lord intensely, intently, with all their hearts, and came to receive a divine testimony by which they knew that this is the gospel of Jesus Christ. One woman said, 'I had been studying the gospel, and this night I came to a meeting and I heard them sing, Joseph Smith's First Prayer, which gave in song the story of the first vision, and before they had finished that song, into my heart the Spirit bore testimony that this is the Church and kingdom of God.' So within the heart of everyone, every honest seeker after truth, if he has the desire to know, and studies with real intent and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God may be within him, or in other words, the power to receive it is his." (Conference Report, October 1953, Afternoon Meeting 26 - 27)
James E. Faust
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in our hearts, and when it is in our hearts as individuals, it will also be in our great buildings of worship, in our great educational institutions, in our magnificent temples, and in our homes and families.
"Paul's prayer was that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. (See Eph. 3:13-19.) That is my prayer also." ("Where Is the Church?" Ensign, Aug. 1990, 67)
Dean L. Larsen
"On one occasion a group of Pharisees confronted the Savior and demanded to know when the kingdom of God would come upon the earth. (See Luke 17:20.) Their tradition had taught them that God's kingdom would be impressive in its demonstration of power and in its earthly dominion...The Savior attempted to impress his questioners with the fact that the real power in the kingdom of God is not represented in outwardly observable things. Its strength is in the quality of the lives of its members. It is in the depth of their purity, their charity, their faith, their integrity, and their devotion to truth. This great lesson escaped the perception of the Pharisees. It has significance for us today.
"Today our chapels and congregations dot almost every land in the free world. Our temples will soon be within easy traveling distance of almost every member. The percentage of members who attend meetings and activities is at an all-time high. These are encouraging signs. We hope that they are indicators of inward strength. We rejoice in the growth that has marked the development of the Church in this century, and particularly in the last decade or two. We take encouragement from our missionary successes, as rightly we should, but in all of this outward manifestation of increasing strength, we cannot forget the Savior's injunction to those who looked for the kingdom of God to manifest itself in ways that would be impressive by earthly standards. 'Behold,' he said, 'the kingdom of God is within you.'" ("The Strength of the Kingdom Is Within," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 25)
Luke 17:26 as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man
Spencer W. Kimball
"Through the scriptures we have a fairly clear picture of the fate of the people of Noah's day who, like many people today, ignored the testimonies of written scripture and of living prophets. Luke records the words of the Savior:
'And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.' (Luke 17:26-27.)
"They were drowned in their sins. Their marriages were for time. They reveled in worldliness. They were possibly like many in the world today who place no curb upon their eating, drinking and licentiousness. Their ignoring the laws of God and the warning of the prophets continued until the very day when Noah and his family entered the ark. Then it was too late. Too late! What finality in that phrase! Following their eternal history, we find Peter telling of them more than two millennia later:
'For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.' (1 Pet. 3:18-20.)
"At last, they had a chance in the spirit world to hear the voice of missionaries and prophets again. But so late! What sad words! ...The same lamentable cry of 'Too late!' will apply to many of today's Church members who did not heed the warning but who proceeded-sometimes carelessly, sometimes defiantly-to bind themselves through mortality to those who could not or would not prepare for the blessings which were in reserve for them." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, chap. 17)
Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot
Bruce R. McConkie
"When Lot and his loved ones left Sodom, all who remained were carnal, sensual, and devilish; all were ripened in iniquity; all were ready for the burning. Among them there was not the slightest intimation of the destructions that lay ahead. As they continued the normal activities of life reveling in their evil ways, of a sudden, coming as it were from the midst of eternity, fire and brimstone destroyed them and their cities. As for Lot's wife, she looked back; that is, she turned again to the things of the world, and she too was destroyed with the wicked. So also shall it be at the end of the world.
"Even now the generality of men love Satan more than God; even now sodomic practices-immorality, homosexuality, and all manner of perversions-are found among great segments of our society; even now the righteous are leaving the world and finding place in the stakes of Zion. And as the residue of men go forward in their normal activities, reveling in their wickedness as did they of old, the day of burning, coming, as it were, from the midst of eternity, shall come upon them. And should any of the saints look back as did Lot's wife, they will be burned with the wicked." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 362.)
Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's wife
Neal A. Maxwell
"The reasons prompting Lot's wife to take one more tempting look back at Sodom and Gomorrah, instead of being obedient to the command she and Lot had received, were inconsequential in comparison with the consequences of her disobedience. Looking back, said Jesus, will not do for us either. Wistfulness or uncertainty over leaving the ways of the world brought the Master's stern advice to 'Remember Lot's wife.' (Luke 17:32.)
"While our temptations or difficulties are very real, we can pass such breaking points without actually breaking if we keep our perspective!" (We Will Prove Them Herewith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 27.)
Luke 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it
"He says they were buying and selling; they were giving in marriage; they were eating and drinking. All the normal activities of life were going on; it was business as usual. Then the Flood came and hit them...so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then shall be fulfilled that which is written...What do we do now? How do you prepare for this? Do you hide in a cave? Do you build yourself shelter? The Lord says it's not going to do you any good at all. That is not the way you prepare this time, he says...Don't prepare ahead of time and say, I'm going to be perfectly safe. I've got a plan that will make me perfectly safe. No, two can be together in the same situation. One is taken and the other is spared, and there is no way they can calculate which one it will be.
"But there is a way. He says, I'm going to tell you what you should do. This is the plan of procedure. This is the direction. No strategies for survival. They are not going to do you any good, but from [Joseph Smith Matthew 1:46-54] he is going to tell us what should be done. Instructions for the Saints here: First of all, you watch. You act as if the Lord were coming all the time. If the barracks are in spic and span condition all the time, then you don't worry about inspection. '...watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.' There is nothing you can do about that. 'But know this, if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready.'
"All right, if you knew when the Lord was coming (you had been watching), you would make special preparations to receive him. But since you don't know, the only thing to do is to be prepared all the time as if he were coming any moment, tomorrow. That's what he says because he will come as a thief in the night. 'Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.' The only answer is to be ready all the time." (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe, 12-13)
Luke 17:33 whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it
Gordon B. Hinckley
"...the Lord is saying to each of us that unless we lose ourselves in the service of others, our lives are largely lived to no real purpose, for he went on to say, 'He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.' (John 12:25.) Or, as recorded in Luke, 'Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.' (Luke 17:33.) In other words, he who lives only unto himself withers and dies, while he who forgets himself in the service of others grows and blossoms in this life and in eternity.
"[One] morning in stake conference, the president with whom I had stayed was released after thirteen years of faithful service. There was a great outpouring of love and appreciation, not because of his wealth, not because of his stature in the business community, but because of the great service he had unselfishly given. Without thought of personal interest, he had driven tens of thousands of miles in all kinds of weather. He had spent literally thousands of hours in the interest of others. He had neglected his personal affairs to assist those who needed his help. And in so doing he had come alive and had become great in the eyes of those he had served." (Faith: The Essence of True Religion [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 36.)
Luke 17:35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left
Bruce R. McConkie
"...'in the last days, two shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left; two shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left; and what I say unto one, I say unto all men; watch, therefore, for you know not at what hour your Lord doth come.' (JS-M 1:44-46.) These words can be used in a dual way. They can be applied to the destruction of the wicked in the day of burning, when only the righteous abide the day, or they can be applied to the gathering of the remainder of the elect by the angels, when they are caught up to meet their Lord, with those who are unworthy of such a quickening being left on earth." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 686.)
Luke 17:37 Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together
The Joseph Smith Translation gives the meaning of this passage:
"What happens when there is a carcass in the desert, or anywhere else? The eagles come, or the vultures, or the buzzards (whatever they are going to be) from all directions. All of a sudden they appear out of nowhere. It's quite miraculous to see. How do they know? How can they see? Their eyesight is absolutely fabulous. From miles away you see the specks coming, and where the carcass is they gather in a mysterious way from all directions (in a way that can't be explained). This is the way the Saints are going to be gathered in the last days." (Ancient Documents and the Pearl of Great Price, edited by Robert Smith and Robert Smythe, 9.)
JST Luke 17:39-40 there shall be new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness
Bruce R. McConkie
"According to the divine program, as long as the earth remains in its telestial or fallen state, men who are living a telestial law-the law of wickedness and carnality-can dwell on its surface. When the earth becomes a terrestrial or millennial globe, then none can remain on its surface unless they conform to at least a terrestrial law...Luke 17 34-37,Matt 24: 40-41Thus those who shall abide the day, who shall remain on the earth when it is transfigured (D&C 63:20-21), are those who are honest and upright and who are living at least that law which would take them to a terrestrial kingdom of glory in the resurrection. Anyone living by telestial standards can no longer remain on earth and so cannot abide the day." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 669)