D&C 45 For Our Joy
Section 45 is one of our most precious revelations. A major portion covers the Savior’s discourse given to His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, during the last week of His life. These teachings are so significant that we have three narrations of the Savior’s words on that occasion; found in Matthew 24:1-51; Doctrine and Covenants 45:15-59; and Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:1-55.
The section heading recounts that this revelation was received with joy, and the fuller quote is, “… to the joy of the saints, who had to struggle against everything that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following” (History of the Church, 1:158). As you study Section 45, look for things that bring you joy and help you in your struggle against wickedness.
D&C 45:1-11 Come Unto Me
These verses confirm that it is Jesus Christ who is speaking in these revelations. Note the verbs the Lord uses as He pleads with us to receive and obey His words: Hearken (five times), give ear, listen (two times), believe (two times), come (three times), hear, harden not, seek, prepare.
D&C 45:3-5 “Spare These My Brethren”
These verses give us tremendous insight into the Atonement and the Judgment. Consider what the Savior says about us—and about Himself and the Father:
- Christ is our Advocate, meaning that if we come unto Him, He will represent, uphold, defend, support, and plea for us.
- The Father is our Judge, meaning He will consider, evaluate, decide, and declare our final state.
- When the time comes for each of us to be judged, Jesus will speak in our behalf.
- Jesus’s case before the Father will not be based on our own works, for we have all sinned and are unworthy to dwell in the presence of God.
- However, Jesus is willing to plead that the Father will “spare” us and not give us that which we deserve, but instead allow us to join Him in His kingdom and “have everlasting life.”
- Jesus will make this plea in our behalf based on two things: His sufferings, blood, and death; and our belief in Him. Nothing else is mentioned! (and of course, true belief in Christ means to accept and obey Him with all our hearts).
- We may conclude that our only hope is to have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, make and keep covenants, receive and follow the influence of the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end. We cannot “earn” our way into Their presence; we can only rely on Him and His merits and on the Father’s mercy (see 2 Nephi 2:8; Alma 22:14; Moroni 6:4).
D&C 45:11-14 “Sought for by All Holy Men”
In these verses the Lord speaks of “Enoch, and his brethren, who were separated from the earth, and were received unto [God]” (verses 11-12). The city of Enoch is one of the few scriptural examples of a people who attained a “Zion” status, and the Lord took them all directly into His presence (see Moses 7:12-13, 16-20, 23). Then the Lord mentions others who also sought to build Zion but were unsuccessful “because of wickedness and abominations” (D&C 45:12). Thus, they came to realize that in this life—like us—they “were strangers [sojourners] and pilgrims on the earth” (verse 13; see also Jacob 7:26). However, these righteous people had “obtained a promise that they should find it [Zion] and see it in their flesh” (verse 14; see also Hebrews 11:8-13; Moses 7:62-65). How can we live today in a way that prepares us and others for a future Zion society?
D&C 45:15-59 Jesus’s Prophecies
Three days before His Friday crucifixion, Jesus taught and prophesied many things to His disciples, and these teachings are also recorded (with variations) in Matthew 24 and in Joseph Smith—Matthew.
Key to understanding these verses are the Savior’s introductory statements in verses 16-17: “As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory…. [And also,] I will show unto you … the restoration of the scattered Israel.”
Use the following as a guide to your study:
- Verses 18-24 What things did Jesus say would happen in the decades after His death?
- Verses 25-33, 41-43 Make a list of the events and conditions that Jesus prophesied will prevail in the last days. Which of these things do you see in today’s world?
- Verses 44-57 Make a list of the events to occur shortly before, during, and immediately after the Second Coming. Which of these things do you most look forward to?
- Verses 32, 34-35, 39-40, 46, 57-59 What things did the Lord say that can help and comfort His followers as they live through times of trouble? Is there something in these verses that seems most helpful for you? What does it mean to you to “stand in holy places” (verse 32)?
D&C 45:62-75 “Great Things Await You”
After citing His words which were originally spoken to His disciples in the meridian days, in these verses the Lord gives Joseph Smith more prophecies and instructions for the latter days. It is unclear if these prophecies are to be fulfilled before or after the Second Coming, but they are to be looked forward to with great anticipation.
After warning of “wars at your doors” (verse 63) and giving commandments regarding gathering, building up the Church, and calling upon all to repent, the Lord instructed the Saints regarding the building of “New Jerusalem” or “Zion” (verses 66-67).
- Find in verses 66-71 what the Lord said about Zion and those who will be there.
- Find in verses 67-70, 74-75 what He said about those who will not be in Zion.
Although we do not know when or how these prophecies will be fulfilled, we are called upon to live so that we are able to contribute and participate in any way. Going back to Joseph Smith’s statement in the section heading, what things in D&C 45 cause you to feel joy?