Doctrine and Covenants Study
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 77
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“Doctrine and Covenants 77,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 77,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 77

Answers to Questions, between circa 4 and circa 20 March 1832

Source Note

Answers to Questions, [Hiram Township, OH, ca. Mar. 1832]. Featured version, titled “Revelation Explained,” copied [between 26 Apr. and ca. Aug. 1832] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 141–144; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Historical Introduction

As JS continued his revision of the New Testament in February and March 1832, he reached the book of Revelation with its abundance of symbolic language. “About the first of march, in connection with the translation of the scriptures,” a later JS history explains, “I received the following explanation of the Revelations of Saint John.”1 Given that JS was in Kirtland, Ohio, and was not working on the New Testament revisions between 29 February and 4 March 1832, this document was likely written sometime between 4 March and 20 March, when another revelation told JS and Sidney Rigdon (who was serving as JS’s scribe) to “omit the translation for the present time” so that they could travel to Missouri.2 By the night of 24–25 March 1832, when the pair was attacked by a group of men in Hiram, Ohio, JS and Rigdon were working on the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation, the last chapter mentioned in the explanation.3

Because he was inscribing the New Testament revision, Rigdon probably served as the original scribe for the explanation, but Jesse Gause could have been the scribe instead.4 The earliest surviving copy is an undated one made by John Whitmer in Revelation Book 1, where it is identified only as “Revelation Explained.” Whitmer, who was residing in Missouri at the time, probably made the copy sometime after April 1832, when JS likely brought a copy of the original document to Missouri along with copies of revelations dictated in March.5


Revelation Explained6

[1]What is the Sea of Glass spoken of by John 4 Chap. and sixth verse of revelations?7

Ans

It is the Earth in its sanctified immortal and eternal state

[2]Q

What are we to understand by the four beasts spoken of by John in the 4 Chapt. & 6 verse of Revelations?8

A

They are figurative Expressions used by the revelator John in disscribing heaven the paradise of God the hapiness of men and of beasts and of creeping things and of the fowls of the air that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual9 the Spirit of man in the likeness of his person as also the spirit of the beast and every other creature which God has created

[3]Q

Are the four beasts limited to individual Beasts or do they represent classes or orders?

Ans

They are limited to four individual beasts which were shewn to John to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.

[4]Q

What are we to understand the Eyes and wings which the beasts had?10

A

They Their eyes are a representation of light and knowledge that is they are full of knowledge and their wings are a representation of power to move to act &c.

[5]Q

What are we to understand by the four and twenty Elders spoken of by John?11

A

We are to understand that these Elders whom John saw were Elders who had been faithful in the work of the ministry and were dead who belonged to the Seven Churches12 and were then in the paradise of God.

[6]Q

What are we to understand by the Book which John saw which was sealed <on the back> with seven Seals13 which John? [p. 141]

Ans.

We are to understand that it contains the revealed will. mystery mysteries and works of God. the hidden things of his economy concerning this Earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance or its temporal existence.

[7]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.

[8]Q

What are we to understand by the four Angels spoken of by John 7 Chap & first verse of Rev.14

A

We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God to whom is given power over the four parts of the Earth to save life and to destroy[.] these are they who have the everlasting Gospel to commit to every Nation kindred tongue and people having power to shut up the heavens to seal up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness.15

[9]Q

What are we to understand by the angels ascending from the east Rev 7. Chap. & 2 verse?16

A

We are to understand that the angel ascended from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the tweleve tribes of Israel wherefore he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting Gospel to preach saying hurt not the earth neither the Sea nor the trees till we have sealed the Servants of our God in their foreheads and if you will receive it this is the Elias which was to come to gether to gether the tribes of Israel and restore all things.17

[10]Q

What time are things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished? [p. 142]

A

They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousandth year or the opening of the Sixth seal.

[11]Q

What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty four thousand out of all the tribes of Israel twelve thousand out of every tribe?18

A

We are to understand that those who are sealed are high Priests ordained unto the holy order of God to administer the everlasting Gospel for they are they who are ordained out of every Nation kindred tongue and people by the angels to whom is given power over the Nations of the earth to bring as many as will come to the church of the first born.19

[12]Q

What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets mentioned in the 8th. Chap. of Rev.20

A

We are to understand that <as> God made the world in six days and on the seventh day he finished his work and sanctified it and also formed man out of the dust of the earth evens so in the begining of the seven thousandth year will the Lord God Sanctify the earth and to complete the Salvation of man and Judge all things and shall redeem all things except that which he hath not put into his power when he shall have sealed all things unto the end of all things and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work in the begining of the seven thousandth year the preparing of the way before the time of his coming21

[13]Q

When are the things to be accomplished which are written in the ninth Chap. of Rev.22

A

They are to be accomplished after the opening of the seventh seal before the coming of Christ

[14]Q

What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John as mentioned in the 10th. Chapt. of Rev.23

A

We are to undeerstand that it was a Mission and an ordinance for him to gather the tribes of Israel24 Behold this is Elias who as it is written must come and restore all things. [p. 143]

[15]Q

What is to be understood by the two witnesses in the eleventh Chapt. of Rev.?25

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