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Come, Follow Me — New Testament Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 51, December 11 — 17
Revelation 6–14 — “They Overcame … by the Blood of the Lamb”

Revelation 6-7 The Opening of the Seals

We now move into the next portion of John’s visions. A significant help for understanding comes from two of Joseph Smith’s questions about the book of Revelation—and the Lord’s answers—as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77:6-7:

Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals? A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence. Q. What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed? A. We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.”

The seven thousand-year periods of our earth’s “temporal existence” cannot be precisely identified. We do not know the true number of years between the Fall of Adam and the birth of Christ; nor between Jesus’s birth and our day, but it is reasonable to conclude that we are now living in the beginning of the seventh seal.

Additionally, we do not know the exact meanings of things recorded in the book of Revelation, but it is clear that there has been and will be much evil and destruction in this world. But John also saw that the righteous would be spared many of the destructions and would ultimately enter into God’s eternal presence. Consider the following:

  • Revelation 6:1-13. These verses address the opening of the first six seals. Without attempting to identify the various beasts, colors, actions, and other symbols, it is clear that the history of this earth has been a history of conflict, evil, trials, and persecution. (The events described in verses 14-17 appear to fit better within the seventh seal.)
  • Revelation 7:2-4. Read D&C 77:11 (although we are not given to know more specifics regarding who these 144,000 will be; nor when, where, or how this will happen).
  • Revelation 7:9-17. Clearly these are scenes from the celestial kingdom.

Revelation 8-11 Angels and Trumpets

Read Doctrine and Covenants 77:12-13, which are part of the basis for the chapter headings for Revelation 8-9; both highlighting events that are to occur during the seventh seal, yet before the Second Coming and the beginning of the Millennium. Consider:

  • Revelation 8:7-12. As a succession of angels sound their trumps, what kinds of things did John see taking place during the beginning of the seventh thousand-year period?
  • Revelation 8:13; 9:1-21. It is difficult to determine exactly what these verses are referring to, but look for the obvious themes of the “woes” (meaning intense hardship or distress; curse, sorrow, calamity or indignation; see 8:13). The three woes appear to be associated with the fifth, sixth, and seventh angels, as follows:

  1. The first “wo” is described in Revelation 9:1-11.
  2. The second “wo” is described in Revelation 9:12-21; 11:1-14 (plus perhaps some elements in chapter 10).
  3. The exact verses addressing the third “wo” are difficult to pinpoint, but may be Revelation 12:12-17; 13:1-18; and may likely include Revelation 16, wherein elements of “Armageddon” are described.

  • Revelation 10:9-10. These verses may indicate that John’s ministry involved the sweetness of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, accompanied by the bitterness of seeing the suffering of the Saints.
  • Revelation 10:11. Read also John 21:22; D&C 77:14; and D&C 7.
  • Revelation 11:1-13. Again, the key to understanding the events prophesied in these verses is given in the chapter heading: “In the last days two prophets shall be slain in Jerusalem—After three and one-half days they shall be resurrected.” Read also D&C 77:15. For prophecies of subsequent events, read D&C 45:47-53 and chapters 12-14 of Zechariah.
  • Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve wrote of the two prophets in Revelation 11:3-12, saying, “No doubt they will be members of the council of the Twelve or the First Presidency of the Church” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:509).
  • Revelation 11:15-19. These verses are a glorious foretaste of things we will see in subsequent chapters of Revelation.

Revelation 12-14 We Worship and Follow the Lamb

These chapters describe wars waged by Satan and his followers against the Church and its members, beginning in the pre-mortal existence. But great hope is also highlighted. Look for key points of the following topics:

  • What do you learn about Satan and about the “war in heaven” in Revelation 12:3-5, 7-10, 12, 17?
  • What do you learn about overcoming Satan in 12:11; 13:8-10? Are you willing to follow the Savior even “unto the death”? Read also Revelation 7:13-14; 14:12-13; Isaiah 25:9.
  • What else do you learn about Satan and his followers in 13:4-18?
  • Regarding verse 18’s “666,” we haven’t been given any substantive interpretation. Elder Bruce R. McConkie commented, “It will be interesting … fascinating! – to see what the future holds as the full meaning of this passage unfolds and the identity of the actual ‘beast’ is revealed” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:524).
  • What do you learn about the Lord’s latter-day work and his latter-day Saints in Revelation 14:1-7?
  • What do you learn about the destruction of the wicked in 14:8-11?

As an apostle, Elder Heber J. Grant declared in the 1909 general conference, “Our enemies have never done anything that has injured this work of God, and they never will” (Conference Report, April 1909, p. 110).

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