D&C 77 The Book of Revelation
It is March 1832 and Joseph Smith is 26 years old. He and Emma have an adopted child (Julia Murdock), but all four of their other children have died. They are living in the home of John and Elsa Johnson in Hiram, Ohio—the same location where Doctrine and Covenants 76 (“The Vision”) was received. As Joseph continued his work on the Joseph Smith Translation, the Lord revealed fifteen explanations for various verses in the book of Revelation, chapters 4-5, 7-11.
The Revelation of St. John, or the book of Revelation, is “apocalyptic” scripture, meaning “to uncover” or “to reveal.” Apocalyptic literature has come to be identified with the end of the world. Consider the following study helps:
- Read Revelation 4:1-9, then D&C 77:1-4; see also D&C 130:9. We learn of the earth’s future as well as the future of animals, who have spirits and will resurrect and dwell in happiness and glory forever.
- Read Revelation 4:10-11, then D&C 77:5. The elders mentioned were leaders in the church’s branches, to whom the apostle John had written the book of Revelation.
- Read Revelation 5:1-5, then D&C 77:6-7. The earth’s “temporal existence” is the period from the Fall of Adam and Eve to the end of the Millennium; or about 7,000 years.
- Read Revelation 7:1-2, then D&C 77:8-9. The angels have power and responsibility to both save and destroy, as they participate in the Lord’s latter-day work. Joseph Smith taught that the angels’ work to “seal the servants of our God in their foreheads” means to have one’s calling and election made sure (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 321).
- Read Revelation 7:3-17, then D&C 77:10-11. Besides the clarification regarding “the one hundred and forty-four thousand,” we also learn that the things spoken of in Revelation 7 are to be “accomplished” during the sixth thousand-year period of earth’s temporal existence—the last full thousand-year period before the Second Coming.
- Read Revelation 8:1-13, then D&C 77:12. Now we learn that the Second Coming will occur some time in “the beginning of the seventh thousand years.”
- Read Revelation, 9:1-21, then D&C 77:13. Again, many of the horrible wars, plagues, and so forth that are prophesied for the latter days will occur during the early part of the seventh thousand years, yet still before the Second Coming of Christ.
- Read Revelation 10:1-2, 8-11, then D&C 77:14. Among others, John the Beloved is one of those known as “Elias” (meaning one who prepares or restores), involved in carrying out important roles in the Lord’s work of the last days (see also D&C 7).
- Read Revelation 11:3-13, then D&C 77:15; see also Isaiah 51:17-20. Regarding these two “witnesses” or “prophets,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Twelve said that they will be “followers of that humble man Joseph Smith…. No doubt they will be members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the Church” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:509).
The final events leading up to Christ’s coming are described as “dreadful” (Malachi 4:5) and “terrible” (Joel 2:31). Surely John the Revelator foresaw and described many sad and horrific things which would occur in our day. But there will be an end to Satan and his works, and there are sufficient prophecies of all the glorious good—even the eventual triumph of God’s kingdom—which we must keep in mind, look forward to, and participate in. We should choose not to fear nor be troubled, and to be of good cheer (see 2 Kings 6:16; D&C 6:34; 10:55; 45:35; 61:36; 68:6; 78:18).
D&C 78:3-11 All Things Are to Be Done to His Glory
This revelation provided the Saints with further instructions regarding the law of consecration:
- The Lord speaks of a Church storehouse of surplus goods. According to verses 3-4, what are the purposes for the storehouse and the rest of the Lord’s “establishment and order”?
- In verses 5-7, what did the Lord say would be the benefits and blessings that would result?
- What does verse 8 say is the only proper approach for carrying out the Lord’s instructions? How can this apply to your service and other efforts in your church calling or other assignments and opportunities?
- In verse 9 the Lord charges Joseph Smith and others to “sit in council” with the Church members in Missouri. What does verse 10 say could happen without the leadership of a prophet?
- Verse 11 certifies that our entrance into and participation in the law of consecration is a “bond or everlasting covenant.” Consider the things you have covenanted to do, and not to do.
D&C 78:14-22 “I Will Lead You Along”
Verse 14 is one of the most powerful promises given to the early Saints. As we live in the Lord’s way, the Church and its members may arrive at a point of living “independent above” all other peoples and organizations—temporally, spiritually, and so forth. Consider all the things the Lord says He wants to give us (verses 5, 7, 15-19, 22).
Read verses 15-22 carefully. How do these promises make you feel? What do you think it means to receive “all things with thankfulness” (verse 19). Does that include the “bad” things in your life? If you were to choose one of these verses to write down and put where you would see it every day, which verse would it be? Why?
D&C 79 Jared Carter
In this section the Lord teaches us what missionaries are to do (verse 1), how they are to do it (verses 2, 4) and what will be their reward (verse 3). In January 1831 Jared Carter was traveling in New York and learned of the Book of Mormon. He obtained a copy and read it “with astonishment,” prayed to God and received a spiritual witness of its truth. He moved his family to Kirtland, Ohio and within a few months was on the first of several missions in the eastern United States. This would be his pattern for the next three years, including the mission to which he was called in Section 79. The Lord calls him to go “in the power of his ordination … proclaiming glad tidings of great joy” (verse 1). In his home town of Benson, Vermont, he was able to baptize a number of people who then converted their Free Will Baptist stone meetinghouse into an LDS meeting place. What other inspired instructions and promises do you see in verses 1-4? How can you apply these in your life?
D&C 80 Two More Missionaries
In this revelation Stephen Burnett and Eden Smith—both of whom had recently returned from missions (see D&C 75:35-36)—are once again called to preach the gospel, but not to any specific location. They began in July 1832 and found some success in villages south of Kirtland, Ohio and in parts of the eastern U.S. Read D&C 80:1-5 and consider:
- Should missionaries wait until they feel inspired before deciding where to go and whom to contact?
- How would you like to receive a mission call like the one in verse 3? (It is interesting that sometimes the Lord is very specific, and sometimes not.) Do you think it would be easier for you to serve in a calling such as this, or more difficult? How would you get started? Are there ways you can think of to improve in your role of a member-missionary?