What does the word “Latter-days” mean?
by Jared Angle
The meaning of the word “latter-day” refers to scriptural accounts of apostles and prophets that spoke of the “last days.” The time in which we now live is the “latter-days”; the days (or dispensation of time) just before the Second Coming of the Lord. Job, a prophet in the Old Testament, and many others spoke of the latter-days saying, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25; see also Genesis 49:1; Isaiah 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Peter 3:3-7).
How do we know that we are in the “Latter-days”?
Prophets throughout the scriptures prophesied that after the death of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, there would be a time of great apostasy or turning away from truth. For Paul, an apostle of the Lord said, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20: 29-30). Amos, another prophet, spoke concerning the apostasy of the Church of Jesus Christ saying, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11; see also Isaiah 29: 10,13; 60:2; Matthew 24:24; Galatians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Timothy 2:18; 3:2-5; 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:1; Jude 1:4; Revelations 2:2). In due time, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes to Church organization and priesthood ordinances. As a result of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth.
But Jesus Christ promised that in the latter-days he would restore all things and bring forth the fulness of times and Gospel again. Peter taught how “the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” would come in the latter-days (Acts 3:21). Paul taught “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Ephesians 1:10).
Latter-day Saints believe that in 1820, a young boy named Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees to pray to know which church to join. In response to this prayer, Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared unto him and said that the fullness of the Gospel would be restored back to the earth again in due time. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, our Father in Heaven and His Son Jesus Christ restored the fullness of the Gospel. The true Church of Jesus Christ is once again on the earth and these are the latter-days which have been spoken of by all God’s holy prophets since the world began.
What does “Latter-day Saints” mean?
In the New Testament, the saints are all those who, by baptism, have entered into a covenant with Jesus Christ becoming members of His Church. Today, saints are still considered those that are faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Paul the Apostle taught that through these covenants with God we “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20). Just as there are “ancient-day saints” who were members of the Church of Jesus Christ in ancient times, so it is with “latter-day saints” who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter-days. For the Lord, Jesus Christ, said that He will come again in these latter-days. In this dispensation of the fullness of times, He will dwell with his Saints from every period of time, ancient days and latter-days, once again upon the Earth. For the Apostle Paul taught that Jesus Christ “shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (2 Thessalonians 1:10). For this purpose, the name of the church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Jesus Christ, is at the head of the Church and those that follow Him are His saints.