Day 39 September 17 - Revelation 8-15

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Rev. 8 The Seventh Seal

Rev. 8:1 there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour

The Doctrine and Covenants speaks of this same silence in heaven. Interestingly, in that account, we are told that the face of the Lord is unveiled immediately after the silence. This chronology is not apparent from the Revelation which rather gives the impression that the desolations poured out upon mankind begin at the end of the silent period.

And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;

And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him. (D&C 88:95-96)

Orson Pratt

Whether the half hour here spoken of is according to our reckoning—thirty minutes, or whether it be according to the reckoning of the Lord (21 years) we do not know. We know that the word hour is used in some portions of the Scriptures to represent quite a lengthy period of time. For instance, we, the Latter-day Saints, are living in the eleventh period of time; and for aught we know the half hour during which silence is to prevail in heaven may be quite an extensive period of time. During the period of silence all things are perfectly still; no angels flying during that half hour; no trumpets sounding; no noise in the heavens above; but immediately after this great silence the curtain of heaven shall be unfolded as a scroll is unfolded. School children, who are in the habit of seeing maps hung up on the wall, know that they have rollers upon which they are rolled up, and that to expose the face of the maps they are let down. So will the curtain of heaven be unrolled so that the people may gaze upon those celestial beings who will make their appearance in the clouds. The face of the Lord will be unveiled, and those who are alive will be quickened, and they will be caught up; and the Saints who are in their graves, will come forth and be caught up, together with those who are quickened, and they will be taken into the heavens into the midst of those celestial beings who will make their appearance at that time. These are the ones who are the first fruits, that is, the first fruits at the time of his coming. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 16: 328.)


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Rev. 8:5 and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake

These destructions come upon the wicked for persecuting the saints and for rejecting their testimony. They are a belated answer to the prayers of the saints.

And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.

For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people. (D&C 88:88-91)

Gerald N. Lund

The plagues, the famines, the thunderings and lightnings, the hail and the earthquakes are all necessary, for the children of men will not otherwise heed the warning voice of the Lord. In these times of chaos and catastrophes which are coming, the missionaries of the Church will be called home, and the Lord will preach his own sermons to the people. (The Coming of the Lord [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971], 42.)

Brigham Young

All we have heard and we have experienced is scarcely a preface to the sermon that is going to be preached. When the testimony of the Elders ceases to be given, and the Lord says to them, "Come home: I will now preach my own sermons to the nations of the earth," all you now know can scarcely be called a preface to the sermon that will be preached with fire and sword, tempests, earthquakes, hail, rain, thunders and lightnings, and fearful destruction. What matters the destruction of a few railway cars? You will hear of magnificent cities, now idolized by the people, sinking in the earth, entombing the inhabitants. The sea will heave itself beyond its bounds, engulfing mighty cities. Famine will spread over the nations and nation will rise up against nation, kingdom against kingdom and states against states, in our own country and in foreign lands; and they will destroy each other, caring not for blood and lives of their neighbors, of their families, or for their own lives. (Rulon T.Burton, We Believe [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], The Last Days, #401)

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Rev. 9:1 to him was given the key of he bottomless pit

“John witnesses Satan turn the key to unleash the very powers of hell upon an unsuspecting world. The predator's intent is to destroy the earth. From the onset of this millennial battle, John shows that Satan leads the hosts forth upon the earth. Before this, God overmastered the plagues through the destroying angels. From this point on, Satan personally directs the operations bringing the misery that fuels hell to the surface of the earth. The Seer reveals the Adversary at his worst—venting anger, frustration, and rage. The world will feel the full thrust of his fury.

“John sees the evil pour out of the pit in the abyss. Ancient writings show this place to be the abode of Jehovah's enemy and a kind of holding tank for fallen angels or even Satan himself. The key Satan uses to open the pit symbolizes power, authority, and ownership. But note, Satan does not own the key. He receives it. Once again, John reveals that someone acts behind the scenes, controlling and directing even the machinations of the Evil One. Ironically this potent one, for all his flaunted authority, cannot free the might of hell until God gives him the key. In this way John shows that Perdition's dominion starts and ends where the Lord dictates. Satan's limits are firm—he cannot go beyond them (Richard D. Draper, Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 101.)

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Rev. 9:5-11 they should not kill them, but… be tormented five months

Orson Pratt

The fifth angel will sound his trump, and an angel will descend holding the key of what is termed the bottomless pit, and he will open the door of this pit, and there shall issue therefrom certain terrible creatures called locusts. And it will be given unto them to torment men five months—the time which is to intervene between the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets, and during that time these awful creatures, such as neither we nor our forefathers, in all the generations before us, have ever seen on the earth, will torment the wicked. These creatures have wings, hair like women, teeth like lions, tails like scorpions, and with their stings they will torment the wicked for five months. But it will not be given unto them to destroy men, only to torment them. That will be a terrible judgment. They will have a king over them, whose name in the Greek tongue is “Apollyon,” in other words the devil. He has power over them and with them, and commands these awful beings, and they go forth and torment the inhabitants of the earth, but are not permitted to kill them. Men in those days will seek for death, but it will flee from them, although they will greatly desire it on account of the terrible torment they endure.

When the Lord permits the devil to go forth and torment people he has considerable power. You can see this in the case of Job. When the devil stirred up the Lord to torment Job, the devil was permitted to go and strike Job with pestilence, with sore boils, and to make him feel sorrow, pain and distress. Said the devil to the Lord, “He will curse you to your face,” and to prove whether he would or not Job was sorely smitten and afflicted; and so will men be afflicted by these awful creatures which will issue from the bottomless pit, and are under his command. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 15: 339 - 340.)

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Rev. 9:20-21 the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues… repented not

“As amazing as it seems, those that are not killed continue to worship the very forces that worked for their destruction. They refuse to give up their materialistic idolatry. Their hearts continue to crave gold, silver, brass, and other material objects that, as John points out, ‘neither can see, nor hear, nor walk’ (v. 20, KJV). Though their world is collapsing because of it, these wicked souls sell themselves as the lackeys of the Never-living and the Destroyer-doomed-to-destruction. Thievery, murder, and fornication, specifically prohibited in the ten commandments, all continue apace.” (Richard D. Draper, Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 109.)

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Rev. 10:7 in the days of the… seventh angel… the mystery of God should be finished

What is the mystery of God? What work is it that He must accomplish? First of all, the 144,000 must be sealed (Rev. 7), but secondly John’s mission must be accomplished—to gather Israel and restore all things (D&C 77:14). The latter two have been a particular focus of all the prophets. Christ can’t come “until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21)

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Rev. 10:8-9 Go and take the little book… and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey

Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation?

A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things. (D&C 77:14)

Perhaps it seems strange to eat a book. The imagery is symbolic of accepting an assignment from the Lord. Ezekiel was also asked to eat a book. His mission was the same as John’s, “when I looked, behold… and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and… said… eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll.” (Ezek. 2:3) The roll is both bitter and sweet—sweet because so many souls will be saved by his ministry among the house of Israel—and bitter because many others would reject the gospel of Christ and suffer the judgments of God.

What was John’s mission? It was to gather the twelve tribes of Israel. This began with his mortal ministry and continued with his appearance to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to restore the Melchizedek Priesthood. Furthermore, he has worked as a translated being among the lost ten tribes—preparing them for the Second Coming of Christ. His mission has been to restore the priesthood to the earth and to restore the House of Israel according to the great promises made to their fathers.

John Whitmer

The spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner. And prophesied that John the Revelator was then (June 1831) among the ten tribes of Israel who had been led away by Salmanasar King of [Assyria], to prepare them for their return, from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers. (The Book of John Whitmer, typescript, [Provo: BYU Archives and Manuscripts], chap. 7)

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Rev. 11 Introduction

Parley P. Pratt

Suffice it to say, the Jews gather home, and rebuild Jerusalem. The nations gather against them in battle. Their armies encompass the city, and have more or less power over it for three years and a half. A couple of Jewish Prophets… are slain, and the city is left in a great measure to the mercy of their enemies for three days and a half, the two Prophets rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. The Messiah comes, convulses the earth, overthrows the army of the Gentiles, delivers the Jews, cleanses Jerusalem, cuts off all wickedness from the earth, raises the Saints from the dead, brings them with Him and commences His reign of a thousand years. (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 536)

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Rev. 11:1 the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God

The command to measure the temple must have brought to John’s mind the writings of Ezekiel. Ezekiel saw an angel with a measuring reed. In a grand display, Ezekiel was shown the Jerusalem temple to be built in the last days. For nine chapters, Ezekiel explains in vivid detail, the Temple, its dimensions, some of its ordinances, the temple workers, the feasts to be re-instated, and Jerusalem itself (Ezek. 40-48). John sees the same temple already built before the Second Coming.

Just who is going to build this temple is not clear. Certainly, the Jewish people would be the most interested, but one would think they would need help from the most experienced group of temple builders—the LDS church.

“A yeshiva (school) in Jerusalem called Ateret Cohanim concentrates on studies pertaining to Temple service and ritual to ‘enable their students to step in the moment a Temple is erected.’ The dean of the yeshiva, Matityahu Hacohen, maintained that ‘we are ready to begin building the Temple the minute we get the go-ahead from the Chief Rabbinate and the Israeli government.’ His enthusiasm was tempered by the former Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, one of the country’s foremost experts on the Temple and its religious meaning to the Jews. Goren warned that ‘one of the greatest Jews who ever lived, King David, lost the privilege of building the First Temple simply because he did not enjoy the proper guidance by a prophet.’

“…An organization called the Temple Institute has reconstructed thirty-eight ritual implements required for temple service. The Institute hopes to finish the remaining sixty-five items as funds become available. Small shops, such as Beged Ivri, create clothing; Harrari Harps make musical instruments. The Institute spokesman, Zev Golan, said, ‘If we do not prepare and show God that we want a temple, then God won’t give it to us.’ Accordingly, the Institute is using a computer to draw up blueprints for rebuilding the Temple.

“The objective of those physically preparing for a future Temple is to be ready when the time comes. Without exception, those preoccupied with studying or actually preparing for the Temple concede that they do not know when it will come about, but they all share a common goal: to be ready when the time does come.” (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 478-479)

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Rev. 11:3 my two witnesses… shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days

Amidst this violence and destruction upon Jerusalem from without, two prophets from within will spend the same 3.5 years (1,260 days) preaching to the Jews. Like Samuel the Lamanite, they will be preserved until their message is delivered.

Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation?

A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers. (D&C 77:15)

The Lord’s answer to Joseph Smith, reveals that these two prophets were “raised up to the Jewish nation.” Isaiah says they were sons of Jerusalem (Isa. 51:20), implying that they were Jewish natives and perhaps separate from the organizational structure of the church. However, Elder Bruce McConkie has commented that they will likely be apostles. For sure, they are prophets.

Bruce R. McConkie

These two shall be followers of that humble man, Joseph Smith, through whom the Lord of Heaven restored the fulness of his everlasting gospel in this final dispensation of grace. 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 vols. [salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 510.)

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Rev. 11:15 The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord

Ezra Taft Benson

The kingdom of God will not fail; it shall not be destroyed; it will not be left to other people; it will stand forever until “the kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.” (Rev. 11:15.)

Hear the prophecy of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” (HC, 4:540.)

Christian denominations the world over have prayed for centuries for the kingdom of God to come. We earnestly and publicly declare: that day is now here! (“May the Kingdom of God Go Forth,” Ensign, May 1978, 33-34)

Bruce R. McConkie

The eventual triumph of the Lord's people is assured; there is to be a millennial day of glory and honor and peace; the fulness of the earth shall be theirs in that day, and all nations and kingdoms shall serve and obey them. But all the promised rewards need not be deferred until that day. Even now the saints can begin the process of inheriting the kingdom. They have power to begin to reap some of the millennial rewards. “I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize,” the Lord said in the early days of this dispensation, “inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them. Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour. And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.” (D&C 103:5-7.)

LeGrand Richards

Can any man read these things and not want to prepare to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, rather than have to remain in his grave for a thousand years while the Savior is completing and preparing his kingdom to be delivered up unto the Father, as a bride prepared for her bridegroom, during which time the righteous are to serve as priests and kings unto the Most High God to help him in the preparation of his kingdom? (“The Righteous Shall Come Forth,” Ensign, Apr. 1981, 11)

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Rev. 12 Introduction

The winding up scenes must be understood in the context of the history of the conflict between good and evil. The last several chapters have been describing apocalyptic events, mostly plagues and destructions. One of the greatest events associated with the Second Coming is the destruction of Satan’s kingdom and the Fall of Babylon. Before we can appreciate the greatness of Satan’s fall, we must understand the history of the war which has waged since before man inhabited the earth.

Thanks to Joseph Smith, we understand that chapter 12 is a flashback. Flashbacks are great literary and theatrical devices which give perspective to the present. Sectarian commentators will inevitably and erroneously place the events of this chapter in the latter-days, but the things we are about to study are almost exclusively events from the past.

Durrel A. Woolsey

In the book of Revelation we are told of a war in heaven (see Rev. 12:7). What kind of battle? What kind of war?

The war is for the souls of men. The battle lines have been drawn since Adam: evil versus righteousness. In this the final dispensation and in preparation for the Millennium, the forces of evil have intensified and united under the powerful influences of Satan. On the opposite side of the line, the kingdom of God is clearly sounding the trumpet of righteousness, as perhaps never before. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on the offensive in the declaration of good to be good and evil to be evil. (“A Strategy for War,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 84)

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Rev. 12:9 Satan…deceiveth the whole world

LeGrand Richards

Just think of that statement for a moment, that he “deceiveth the whole world.” I am sure the world does not know how often they listen to his deceptive voice in the things that they do and in the decisions that they make. At this particular point, when we look back over the history of Christianity, we ask ourselves, "How could they have crucified our Lord, the one great example unto all men?" The only answer is because they were deceived by this power of darkness. It is not only those who are wicked who listen to his voice, but also many righteous people who mean to be doing God's service… Take the history of all of the apostles. Why were they put to death? Why did the world hate them? Because they were not of the world, and the world could not fellowship these apostles.

I was in Mexico a few weeks ago, where I saw oil paintings of all of the apostles and how they were put to death. Peter, as you know, was hanged with his head downward. James was beheaded at Jerusalem, and Paul, as I have told you, was beheaded at Rome. John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. Through the power of God his life was saved, and all of the apostles were put to death save John. Why? Because this power of the evil one “deceiveth the whole world,” according to the word of John.

Those of us who have had considerable missionary experience know how literally that is true. (Conference Report, April 1957, First Day—Morning Meeting 15.)

Gordon B. Hinckley

That war, so bitter, so intense, has gone on, and it has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him. His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They've indulged in lying and deceit. They've employed money and wealth. They've tricked the minds of men. They've murdered and destroyed and engaged in every other unholy and impure practice to thwart the work of Christ. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 408.)

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Rev. 13 Introduction

If the book of Revelation has not been hard enough to understand so far, the next few chapters should be a sufficient challenge. While it is possible to understand the scriptural imagery and meaning of these chapters, such study is not as edifying or useful as many other subjects. The beasts are not nearly as important as justice and mercy; they are trivial compared to the gospel of Christ’s atonement; they are barely more pertinent than fictional tails of dragons and dragon slayers. For years, they have been omitted from the Sunday School curriculum because of their potentially controversial and unedifying content. Nonetheless, we will use what tricks the prophet Joseph Smith and Daniel have left us to understand this chapter. In doing so, we will be wary of the Prophet’s warning regarding the beasts.

Joseph Smith

Oh, ye elders of Israel, hearken to my voice; and when you are sent into the world to preach, tell those things you are sent to tell; preach and cry aloud, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” Declare the first principles, and let mysteries alone, lest ye be overthrown. Never meddle with the visions of beasts and subjects you do not understand. Elder Brown, when you go to Palmyra, say nothing about the four beasts, but preach those things the Lord has told you to preach about—repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 292.)

Joseph Smith

I have seldom spoken from the revelations; but as my subject is a constant source of speculation amongst the elders, causing a division of sentiment and opinion in relation to it, I now do it in order that division and differences of opinion may be done away with, and not that correct knowledge on the subject is so much needed at the present time.

It is not very essential for the elders to have knowledge in relation to the meaning of beasts, and heads and horns, and other figures made use of in the revelations; still, it may be necessary, to prevent contention and division and do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 287.)

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Rev. 13:7 it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them

Speaking of things temporally and spiritually, Satan has been making war with the saints in an attempt to overcome them since Eve first partook of the forbidden fruit. Unfortunately, he has overcome some of the greatest spirits that have come to the earth.

Ezra Taft Benson

We live in a day of great challenge. We live in that time of which the Lord spoke when he said, “Peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.” (D&C 1:35.) We live in that day which John the Revelator foresaw when “the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17.) The dragon is Satan; the woman represents the Church of Jesus Christ. Satan is waging war against the members of the Church who have testimonies and are trying to keep the commandments. And while many of our members are remaining faithful and strong, some are wavering. Some are falling. Some are fulfilling John’s prophecy that in the war with Satan, some Saints would be overcome. (See Rev. 13:7.) (“The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 79)

Gerald N. Lund

John wrote that Satan will "make war with the remnant of her [the Church's] seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17).

Then in Rev. 13:7, John said, "And it was given unto him [a wicked beast that serves Satan] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them." I do not think he means to overcome the Church, but to overcome some of the Saints. I think we see that spiritual disaster happening in the lives of many around us—youth, adults, and others. (Selected Writings of Gerald N. Lund: Gospel Scholars Series [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1999], 365.)

Speaking of temporal things and earthly conquests, the king described in verses 5 and 6, will make war with the saints and overcome them. Are we to understand that the latter-day saints going to be destroyed in an apocalyptic war? This passage requires some explanation.

At the same time as the events of Revelation 13, most the latter-day saints will be gathered to the lands of Zion, headquartered in Jackson County. They will have built a great city and named it New Jerusalem. They are not overcome by any opposing army. Rather, the scriptures promise that the Lord will protect them.

…it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;

And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.

And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.

And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.

And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand. (D&C 45:66-70)

We are accustomed to using the word saints to refer to members of the Church, but this is not how John uses the term. Both John and Daniel use the term saints and the holy people in referring to the covenant keeping Jews who have established the temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 7:21; 8:24; 11:30-35; 12:7). They are not promised the same protection as their New Jerusalem counterparts. Describing events to take place during the 3.5 year siege of Jerusalem, Daniel prophesies what will happen to the righteous Jews:

…the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many [wicked] shall cleave to them with flatteries (encouraging them to forsake the holy covenant)

And some of them of understanding shall fall, [the Lord shall allow this] to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Dan 11:32-35, see also verse 30)

Joseph Smith

The “Horn” made war with the Saints and overcame them, until the Ancient of Days came; judgment was given to the Saints of the Most High from the Ancient of Days; the time came that the Saints possessed the kingdom. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976], 159.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

Daniel and John each saw the opposition the little horn made against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This opposition will continue until the grand council is held at Adam-ondi-Ahman. This “little horn” (Dan. 7:20-22; Rev. 13) is making a renewed and determined effort today to destroy the Church. The Lord has decreed otherwise and while its power will last until Michael comes and the Son of Man receives his rightful place, this great power will endure. It must, however, fall, and according to the scriptures its end will come rather suddenly. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 4: 44.)

Wilford Woodruff

We have not altogether traveled on beds of ease, we have had warfare and opposition from the commencement until this day; but we and the world may set our hearts at rest concerning “Mormonism,” for it will never cease until the Lord Jesus Christ comes in the clouds of heaven. This nations and other nations will war with the Saints of God until their cup is full; and when they become ripened in iniquity the Lord Almighty will cut them off, and the judgments of the Most High God will follow the testimony of the Elders of Israel. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 17: 246.)

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Rev. 14 Introduction

“Chapter fourteen serves as yet another interlude. It presents a message of hope and encouragement just before vivid descriptions of destruction. Here it is sandwiched between the great persecutions carried on by the two beasts and the judgment of God upon both them and the world they have created.” (Richard D. Draper, Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 154.)

Section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants parallels in many ways chapter 14 of Revelation. However, it is more descriptive, comprehensive, and easier to understand. If the reader is confused by this chapter, try reading D&C 133 first.

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Rev. 14:6 I saw another angel flying the mist of heaven, having the everlasting gospel

Gerald N. Lund

The basic structure of the [John’s] vision is chronological…Not everything fits quite so neatly into this chronological line, however. For example, the war in heaven, which took place before the earth was formed, is shown among the events of the seventh seal. (See Rev. 12:7–9.) Also among the events of the seventh seal is a passage that Latter-day Saints have interpreted to refer to the restoration of the gospel, which actually took place in the sixth seal. (See Rev. 14:6–7.) How do we explain these seeming anachronisms?

As one studies the book, it becomes clear that there are places in the chronological flow where the Lord pauses to teach us important information before moving on. A teacher may do this as he moves through a lecture, pausing in his logical development to say, “Now, before we go further, I need to make sure you understand something.” Such teaching interludes seem to apply to John’s vision. (“Seeing the Book of Revelation As a Book of Revelation,” Ensign, Dec. 1987, 52)

Gordon B. Hinckley

That angel has come. His name is Moroni. His is a voice speaking from the dust, bringing another witness of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have not as yet carried the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. But we have made great strides. We have gone wherever we are permitted to go. God is at the helm and doors will be opened by His power according to His divine will. Of that I am confident. Of that I am certain.

I cannot understand those of small vision, who regard this work as limited and provincial. They have no expanding view of it. As certainly as there is an Almighty Father in Heaven, as surely as there is His Son, our Divine Redeemer, so certainly is this work destined to reach out to people everywhere. (“Stay the Course—Keep the Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 70–71)

Mark E. Petersen

Moroni fulfilled two biblical prophecies in coming to Joseph Smith: the fourteenth chapter of Revelation and the twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah. He did come to earth as an angel. He did deliver to Joseph Smith the golden record which had been prepared under the direction of Almighty God. It is a new witness for the Lord Jesus Christ; it declares, as does the Bible, that Jesus of Nazareth indeed is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. That book is available to all mankind. A million copies are published each year, in more than a score of languages.

So, again, we testify that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of Almighty God, restored in this day by angelic ministry and by the direction of God himself. We testify that Moroni came as an angel on September 21 , 1823, revealing his ancient record and that he did so as a servant of Jesus Christ. (“The Angel Moroni Came!” Ensign, Nov. 1983, 31)

Howard W. Hunter

We testify to all the world that heavenly ministers have already appeared in our age, bringing authority from heaven and restoring truths lost through corrupted teachings and practices. God has spoken anew and continues to provide guidance for all his children through a living prophet today. We declare that he, as promised, is with his servants always and directs the affairs of his Church throughout the world. As in times past, revelation directs missionary labors, the building of temples, the calling of priesthood officers, and warns against the evils of society that may deny salvation to our Father’s children. (“No Man Shall Add to or Take Away,” Ensign, May 1981, 65)

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Rev 15:1 the seven last plagues

Chapters 8 through 13 catalogue seven plagues as pronounced by seven angels sounding seven trumpets. The “seven last plagues” are very similar to the seven first plagues. Both sets of plagues are similar to the plagues of Egypt. Whether the seven last plagues are distinguished from the first because they involve different continents, peoples, or are different only in time is not clear. What is clear is that the judgments will come from the Lord. They will be recognized as judgments from God. And that the pattern of plagues established with the fulfillment of chapters 8-13 will be repeated again with the “seven last plagues.”

“The number seven, for example, which represents wholeness or perfection in Greek, occurs 52 times in Revelation; everything in Revelation seems to be done in sevens—seven seals (chapters 5-8), seven significant signs (chapters 12-14); and seven last plagues (chapters 15-16).” (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 88.)

Bruce R. McConkie

We have already shown that the seven last plagues shall be poured out after the opening of the seventh seal, and thus in the beginning of the seventh thousand years. It is then that Armageddon shall be fought; it is then that Jerusalem shall again reap the fate that once was hers; it is then that the abomination that maketh desolate shall utterly destroy the wicked within her walls. All this, of course, will come after Judah returns, after the Jerusalem temple is built, after the Jews have begun to believe in their true Messiah. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 417.)

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Rev 15:3 they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb

What is this song of Moses? Why not sing the song of Noah, the song of Enoch, or the song of Abraham? Why the song of Moses?

Again, it is to remind the reader that the apocalyptic plagues are a repetition of the plagues on Egypt. Even in the scriptures history repeats itself. The destruction of Egypt in Moses’ day is a type for the destruction of Babylon. God’s demonstration of power before Pharaoh is a type for his demonstration of divine power over the beast and his minions. Moses ministry, in delivering the children of Israel from a formidable enemy, is a type for the Savior’s mission at His Second Coming. Then will the scripture be fulfilled which states, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me (Moses); him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22; Deut 18:15-20)

The mortal mission of Moses parallels the Second Advent of the Lamb. The song of Moses and the song of the Lamb may have different words and music but the harmonies are the same. As in the day of their first deliverance, the children of Israel will finally have something to sing about.

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.

The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.

The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.

Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

(Ex. 15:1-6, see also verses 7-19)

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The Testimony of the Two Witnesses

D&C 77:15
15 Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation?
A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.

Scripture Reference: Revelation 11:1-7

1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Cross References Concerning the Two Witnesses:

Isaiah 51:19

19 These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?

Zechariah 4:14

14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

2 Nephi 8:19

19 These two sons are come unto thee, who shall be sorry for thee—thy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword—and by whom shall I comfort thee?

Bruce R. McConkie, The Millenial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man

The Two Prophets: Martyred in Jerusalem

Our setting for the slaughter of the two prophets in Jerusalem and for the seven last plagues is not only in the seventh seal, but also just before and during the time when the seventh angel is announcing the plague of burning and destruction that will usher in the Second Coming. "In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound," John tells us, "the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." (Rev. 10:7) That is, the great winding-up scene will come to pass during the time the plagues and events pronounced by this angel are occurring. These events are heralded by the ministry and death of the two witnesses in Jerusalem; then the seventh angel will sound his trump to proclaim the outpouring of the seven last plagues, the battle of Armageddon, the fall of Babylon, and the burning of the vineyard with fire.

In this setting, however, the word that comes from the Lord is: "I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth." Who are these witnesses, and when will they prophesy? "They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers." (D&C 77:15) Their ministry will take place after the latter-day temple has been built in Old Jerusalem, after some of the Jews who dwell there have been converted, and just before Armageddon and the return of the Lord Jesus. How long will they minister in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land? For three and a half years, the precise time spent by the Lord in his ministry to the ancient Jews. The Jews, as an assembled people, will hear again the testimony of legal administrators bearing record that salvation is in Christ and in his gospel. Who will these witnesses be? We do not know, except that they will be followers of Joseph Smith; they will hold the holy Melchizedek Priesthood; they will be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is reasonable to suppose, knowing how the Lord has always dealt with his people in all ages, that they will be two members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the Church.

How will their witness be received by the people? This we do know. It will be with these two witnesses as it was with their Lord some two millenniums before. The righteous will believe their words, and the wicked will thirst for their blood. "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will." It will be with them as it was with Elijah, who both called down fire from heaven to consume his enemies and sealed the heavens that there was neither dew nor rain for three and a half years. And it will be with them as it was with Moses, who turned the rivers and waters of Egypt into blood and who smote the Egyptians with many plagues.

Donald W. Parry and Jay A. Parry, Understanding the Signs of the Times

Rev. 11:3 I will give power unto my two witnesses. The word power does not belong in the text; it is not found in the original Greek (see note a to this verse in the LDS edition of the KJV); nevertheless, the verses that follow establish that the two witnesses will have great power indeed. With the number two, the law of witnesses is in effect: there are two witnesses so that God's word will be established (2 Cor. 13:1). The law of witnesses continues in our dispensation (D&C 6:28; 42:80). In Isa. 51:20 the two prophets are called "sons," perhaps suggesting that they are sons of Abraham, either literally or by covenant; Zech. 4:3 calls them "two olive trees," indicating that they possess oil and light. The two will bear witness to the people that Jesus is their Messiah, Savior, and God.

They shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days. The period of the two prophets' ministry in Jerusalem will be the same as that of Jesus Christ, three and one-half years. Perhaps significantly, the length of their ministry corresponds to the length of time that the Gentiles will "tread [Jerusalem] under foot" (Rev. 11:2) The number three and one-half, forty-two months, or 1,260 days (three and one-half years) occurs several times in Daniel and Revelation (Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 12:7; Rev. 11:2, 3, 11; 12:14; 13:5). Edited by KeithLBrown
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