“Chapter 53: Doctrine and Covenants 133,” Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (2017)
“Chapter 53,” Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual
Following a two-day conference held November 1–2, 1831, in Hiram, Ohio, which focused on the publication of the Book of Commandments, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133. This revelation came in answer to questions “the Elders desired to know relative to preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering [of Israel]” (D&C 133, section heading). In the revelation, the Lord commanded Church members and all people to “go ye out of Babylon” and to “go ye forth unto the land of Zion” (D&C 133:7, 9) in preparation for His Second Coming. He also revealed some of the events that would attend His Second Coming and millennial reign, and He taught that His restored gospel would prepare the earth for His Second Coming.
- November 1–2, 1831
At a conference of the Church held in Hiram, Ohio, Joseph Smith and a group of elders decided to publish the revelations received to that point and call it the Book of Commandments.
- November 1, 1831
Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 1, which the Lord identified as the “preface” to the Book of Commandments.
- Early November 1831
Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 67, in which the Lord testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Commandments.
- November 3, 1831
Doctrine and Covenants 133 was received.
On November 1–2, 1831, a conference of the Church was held in Hiram, Ohio. The Prophet Joseph Smith had received many revelations from the Lord before that time, and the conference focused on the publication of these revelations (see the “Additional Historical Background” for Doctrine and Covenants 1 in this manual). It appears that the Prophet dictated the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133 on November 3, 1831, the day after the conference concluded. A later history of Joseph Smith described the context for receiving this revelation: “At this time there were many things which the elders desired to know relative to preaching the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering: and, in order to walk by the true light, and be instructed from on high, … I enquired of the Lord and received the following Revelation, which from its importance, and for distinction has Since been added to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and called the Appendix” (in Manuscript History of the Church, vol. A-1, page 166, josephsmithpapers.org).
Because this revelation was originally designated as an appendix to the Doctrine and Covenants, it is out of chronological order with the other sections. This revelation and the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 1, which “constitutes the Lord’s preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation” (D&C 1, section heading), form bookends for the revelations recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. Early editions of the Doctrine and Covenants have the revelations to Joseph Smith grouped between the designated preface (D&C 1) and appendix (D&C 133).
Elder John A. Widtsoe (1872–1952) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how Doctrine and Covenants 133 functions as an appendix to the revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith had received:
“An appendix is something which the writer thinks should be added to amplify that which is in the book, to emphasize it, to make it stronger or to explain the contents a little more completely. The Appendix, divinely given, Section 133, serves this purpose” (The Message of the Doctrine and Covenants, ed. G. Homer Durham , 17).
President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) also spoke about Doctrine and Covenants 133 and its relationship to Doctrine and Covenants 1: “The tenor of this section is very similar to that of [Doctrine and Covenants 1], in fact, is largely a continuation of the same theme” (Church History and Modern Revelation , 1:263).
Speaking of latter-day events, the Old Testament prophet Malachi prophesied, “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple” (Malachi 3:1). In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133, the Savior reaffirmed this prophecy (see D&C 133:2). Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “his temple” in this prophecy could refer to a number of temples: “This sudden latter-day appearance in the temple does not have reference to his appearance at the great and dreadful day, for that coming will be when he sets his foot upon the Mount of Olivet in the midst of the final great war. The temple appearance was fulfilled, in part at least, by his return to the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836; and it may well be that he will come again, suddenly, to others of his temples, more particularly that which will be erected in Jackson County, Missouri” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 693–94; see also D&C 84:1–5; 97:15–16; 110:1–4).
When the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133 speaks of the Lord “com[ing] down upon the world with a curse to judgment” (D&C 133:2), it is referring to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. At His Second Coming the Savior will pour out His judgments and justice not only “upon all the nations that forget God” but also “upon all the ungodly among [the Saints]” (D&C 133:2).
Using imagery from the writings of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord stated that He would “make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations” (D&C 133:3; see also Isaiah 52:10). In scripture the arm can be a symbol of strength and power. To “make bare his holy arm” is to reveal His strength and power. While this prophecy may refer to the power and glory that will be manifested at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, it may also refer to the Lord’s great latter-day work of gathering Israel in preparation for His Second Coming. Referring to Isaiah’s prophecy recorded in Isaiah 52:10, the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi taught that in the latter days “the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 22:11; see 1 Nephi 22:8–11). Through the Restoration of the gospel, the Lord will bring His people “again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel” (1 Nephi 22:12). Thus, through the Restoration and preaching of the gospel, “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God” (D&C 133:3).
The Lord commanded Church members to prepare for His Second Coming: “Prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion” (D&C 133:4). To become sanctified is to become “free from sin, pure, clean, and holy through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Moses 6:59–60)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Sanctification,” scriptures.lds.org; see also D&C 20:30–31). Sanctification is a lifelong process that requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. The scriptures teach that Zion can be built up only among those who are striving to become sanctified and “pure in heart” (D&C 97:21).
Speaking of our duty to help gather scattered Israel, President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“The choice to come unto Christ is not a matter of physical location; it is a matter of individual commitment. People can be ‘brought to the knowledge of the Lord’ [3 Nephi 20:13] without leaving their homelands. True, in the early days of the Church, conversion often meant emigration as well. But now the gathering takes place in each nation. The Lord has decreed the establishment of Zion [see D&C 6:6; 11:6; 12:6; 14:6] in each realm where He has given His Saints their birth and nationality. Scripture foretells that the people ‘shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise’ [2 Nephi 9:2]. ‘Every nation is the gathering place for its own people’ [Bruce R. McConkie, in Conference Report, Mexico City Mexico Area Conference 1972, 45]. The place of gathering for Brazilian Saints is in Brazil; the place of gathering for Nigerian Saints is in Nigeria; the place of gathering for Korean Saints is in Korea; and so forth. Zion is ‘the pure in heart’ [D&C 97:21]. Zion is wherever righteous Saints are. Publications, communications, and congregations are now such that nearly all members have access to the doctrines, keys, ordinances, and blessings of the gospel, regardless of their location.
“Spiritual security will always depend upon how one lives, not where one lives. Saints in every land have equal claim upon the blessings of the Lord” (“The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 81).
In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133, the Lord alluded to the Old Testament account of the ancient Jews leaving Babylonian captivity when He instructed Church members to “go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon” (D&C 133:14; see also D&C 1:16). In Doctrine and Covenants 133, Babylon symbolizes the wickedness of the world. The Lord also instructed “the elders of [His] Church” to raise a similar voice of warning “unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; … unto foreign lands” (D&C 133:8). He commanded these elders to tell all people, “Gather ye out from among the nations” and “go ye forth unto the land of Zion” (D&C 133:7, 9). Speaking of what it means in our day to leave Babylon and gather to Zion, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“Zion is both a place and a people. Zion was the name given to the ancient city of Enoch in the days before the Flood. … Later, Jerusalem and its temple were called Mount Zion, and the scriptures prophesy of a future New Jerusalem where Christ shall reign as ‘King of Zion,’ when ‘for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest’ (Moses 7:53, 64). …
“The antithesis and antagonist of Zion is Babylon. The city of Babylon was originally Babel, of Tower of Babel fame, and later became the capital of the Babylonian empire. Its principal edifice was the temple of Bel, or Baal, the idol referred to by Old Testament prophets as ‘The Shame,’ given the sexual perversions that were associated with its worship. (See Bible Dictionary, ‘Assyria and Babylonia,’ 615–16; ‘Baal,’ 617–18; ‘Babylon, or Babel,’ 618.) Its worldliness, its worship of evil, and the captivity of Judah there following the conquest of 587 B.C. all combine to make Babylon the symbol of decadent societies and spiritual bondage.
“It is with this backdrop that the Lord said to the members of His Church, ‘Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other’ (D&C 133:7). He called for the elders of His Church to be sent forth across the world to accomplish this gathering, commencing an effort that continues in full vigor today. …
“And so today the Lord’s people are gathering ‘out from among the nations’ as they gather into the congregations and stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that are scattered throughout the nations” (“Come to Zion,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 37).
For more information regarding the meaning of the phrase “be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (D&C 133:5), see the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 38:42 in this manual.
For an explanation of solemn assemblies, see the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–76 in this manual.
Just as the Lord instructed His ancient Apostles, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19), He also commanded Church leaders in our dispensation to send missionaries to carry the gospel message “unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; … unto foreign lands” (D&C 133:8). In New Testament times the gospel of Jesus Christ was first taught to the Jews, and then it was taken to the Gentiles (see Acts 10; 13:45–46; Romans 1:16). In our dispensation the Lord commanded Church members to “call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews” (D&C 133:8; see also 1 Nephi 13:42). “As used in the scriptures, Gentiles has several meanings. Sometimes it designates people of non-Israelite lineage, sometimes people of non-Jewish lineage, and sometimes nations that are without the gospel, even though there may be some Israelite blood among the people” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Gentiles,” scriptures.lds.org). In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133, Gentiles refers to nations that are without the gospel.
By preaching the gospel to both Gentiles and Jews, Church members help prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified:
“The priesthood of God has been restored to the earth, and the Lord has set His hand to prepare the world for His glorious return. These are days of great opportunity and important responsibilities. These are your days. …
“Your mission will be a sacred opportunity to bring others to Christ and help prepare for the Second Coming of the Savior. …
“… The world is being prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior in large measure because of the Lord’s work through His missionaries” (“Preparing the World for the Second Coming,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 49–51).
In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133, the Lord used language and imagery from the parable of the ten virgins (see Matthew 25:1–13) as He instructed His servants to warn others about His Second Coming (see D&C 133:10). According to Jewish wedding custom in Jesus Christ’s day, the bridegroom, accompanied by close family and friends, went at night to the bride’s home for the marriage ceremony. Afterward, the wedding party proceeded to the groom’s home for a feast. Other guests joined them along the way. Those joining the wedding procession were expected to carry their own light, such as a torch or lamp.
In the parable of the ten virgins, ten women waited for the bridegroom and his party to pass so that they could accompany the procession to the marriage feast. But because “the bridegroom tarried,” or was delayed, “they all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:5). They awoke “at midnight [when] there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). However, only five of the women were prepared with enough oil for their lamps so that they could join the wedding procession and participate in the marriage feast. The other five had to go buy more oil and were shut out of the feast (see Matthew 25:7–12).
Commenting on the meaning of the parable of the ten virgins, Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “The Bridegroom is the Lord Jesus; the marriage feast symbolizes His coming in glory, to receive unto Himself the Church on earth as His bride” (Jesus the Christ , 578). Since no one knows “the day nor the hour” of the Savior’s coming, the warning to all people is to “awake and arise” from their spiritual slumber and to be vigilant in preparing and watching for His return (see D&C 133:10–11).
Just as Zion is both a place and a spiritual condition (see Moses 7:18–21), the same is true of Babylon. Though there was an ancient city known as Babylon, in the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133 the Lord described the condition of wickedness as “spiritual Babylon” (D&C 133:14). The Lord warned those fleeing “spiritual Babylon” and gathering to Zion to “not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon [them]” (D&C 133:15). This instruction alluded to the Old Testament account of Lot and his family fleeing the wicked city of Sodom. Though warned not to look back, Lot’s wife did, and she turned into a pillar of salt (see Genesis 19:17–26). The description of her turning to salt may suggest that not only did she look back, but she also remained where it was not safe and was destroyed with the city and its people (see Luke 17:30–33). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained what we can learn from the account of Lot’s wife:
“Just what did Lot’s wife do that was so wrong? As a student of history, I have thought about that and offer a partial answer. Apparently, what was wrong with Lot’s wife was that she wasn’t just looking back; in her heart she wanted to go back. It would appear that even before she was past the city limits, she was already missing what Sodom and Gomorrah had offered her. …
“It is possible that Lot’s wife looked back with resentment toward the Lord for what He was asking her to leave behind. … So it isn’t just that she looked back; she looked back longingly. In short, her attachment to the past outweighed her confidence in the future. That, apparently, was at least part of her sin” (“The Best Is Yet to Be,” Ensign, Jan. 2010, 24).
The phrase “prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight” in Doctrine and Covenants 133:17 comes from the writings of the prophet Isaiah, who said, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3). Isaiah’s words were also used to describe the ministry of John the Baptist: “As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Luke 3:4; see also John 1:23). John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord and made His paths straight by preaching the gospel of repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. In this way he prepared people for the ministry and teachings of the Savior.
The restored gospel is also a messenger sent to prepare the way for the Savior’s Second Coming. In a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith on March 7, 1831, the Lord taught, “I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, … and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me” (D&C 45:9). Church members can “prepare … the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight” (D&C 133:17) by repenting, obeying His commandments, seeking to do His will, and sharing the gospel with others so they can repent and receive the covenants and saving ordinances of the gospel (see D&C 133:16). In this way we help prepare ourselves and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
For an explanation of the angel referred to in Doctrine and Covenants 133:17, see the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 133:36–39 in this chapter.
The scriptures refer to several appearances Jesus Christ will make before He appears to all people at His Second Coming. The revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133 mentions two “mounts” upon which the Savior will appear when He comes again. The first is “Mount Zion” (D&C 133:18), which refers to the city of New Jerusalem that will be built in Jackson County, Missouri (see D&C 84:2). The second is “the mount of Olivet” (D&C 133:20), or “the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:4; see Zechariah 14:2–5), where the Savior will come to deliver the Jewish people from their enemies (see D&C 45:48–53).
As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133, the Lord also reaffirmed the prophecy of Isaiah that “out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3) when He said, “And he shall utter his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem, and his voice shall be heard among all people” (D&C 133:21). Referring to this prophecy, President Joseph Fielding Smith taught, “These two cities, one in the land of Zion and one in Palestine, are to become capitals for the kingdom of God during the millennium” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 3:71).
In addition to “stand[ing] upon Mount Zion” and “upon the mount of Olivet,” (D&C 133:18, 20), the Savior will also “stand … upon the mighty ocean, even the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea” (D&C 133:20). Speaking of the many appearances the Savior will make at His Second Coming, Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
“The second coming of the Son of Man consists not of one but of many appearances. Our blessed Lord will come—attended by all the hosts of heaven, and in all the glory of his Father’s kingdom—not to one but to many places. He will stand on one continent after another, speak to one great assemblage after another, and work his will among succeeding groups of mortals. …
“… His feet will stand on Olivet on the east of Jerusalem, and he will come with the 144,000 high priests to Mount Zion in America. And where else? Upon the oceans and the islands and the continents, in the land of Zion and elsewhere. The clear meaning is that there will be many appearances, in many places, to many people” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man , 575, 578).
For an explanation regarding the “hundred and forty-four thousand” mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants 133:18, see the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 77:11 in this manual.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be accompanied by great upheaval and transformations of the earth (see D&C 133:22–24, 41, 44). This will likely be part of the earth’s renewal when it receives its “paradisiacal glory” in preparation for the Savior’s millennial reign (see Articles of Faith 1:10). The revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133 states that during this period “the Lord … shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh” (D&C 133:25).
Speaking of the Lord’s millennial reign, the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–1844) taught: “That Jesus will be a resident on the earth a thousand [years] with the Saints is not the case, but will reign over the Saints and come down and instruct, as he did the five hundred brethren [see 1 Corinthians 15:6], and those of the first resurrection will also reign with him over the Saints” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 258).
The phrase “they who are in the north countries” (D&C 133:26) has reference to the ten lost tribes of Israel. Anciently, these “ten tribes … made up the northern kingdom of Israel and were carried away captive into Assyria in 721 B.C. At that time, they went to the ‘north countries’ and became lost to the knowledge of others” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Israel,” scriptures.lds.org). The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi explained: “There are many who are … lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes [of Israel] have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away” (1 Nephi 22:4). Thus, the ten lost tribes of Israel have been scattered throughout the earth.
On April 3, 1836, the prophet Moses appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple and “committed unto [them] the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north” (D&C 110:11). Elder Bruce R. McConkie cited this passage and suggested how the ten lost tribes of Israel will be gathered and led “from the land of the north”:
“Two things are involved in this commission. First, Israel—all Israel, the Ten Tribes included—is to be gathered ‘from the four parts of the earth,’ out of every nation and from among every people. They are to be gathered into the true church and fold of the God of Israel. This gathering is primarily spiritual, but it is also temporal in that the gathered sheep are assembled into the stakes of Zion where the living waters flow. But next, this commission directs the one who holds the keys of the gathering, meaning the President of the Church, to lead the Ten Tribes from the land of the north to their destined … homeland. They will be led to their promised inheritances after they join the Church, after they return unto the Lord, after they believe in Christ and accept his gospel, after they receive, individually and collectively, the Abrahamic covenant again. This part of the gathering of Israel is Millennial, for that is the assigned period in which the Ten Tribes are to come forth; that is the day in which the kingdom will be restored to Israel in the political as well as the ecclesiastical sense. …
“… After the Lord returns, a highway shall be cast up—Isaiah calls it the way of holiness where none of the unclean can pass, meaning that it is the strait and narrow path leading to eternal life—and upon this highway the Ten Tribes shall return. They shall once again believe the gospel and receive the blessings of baptism, even as these were theirs in the day when the Risen Lord ministered among them [see 3 Nephi 16:1–3]. These blessings and the blessings of the temple will be administered to them by the hands of Ephraim [the servants of the Lord who are descendants of Ephraim]. And then, at the appointed time and at the direction of the President of the Church, who holds the keys of the gathering of Israel and the leading of the Ten Tribes from the land of the north, at least representative and appointed portions of the Kingdom of Israel shall go from the lands north of Palestine back to their ancient inheritance, to the very soil promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an everlasting inheritance” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 529–30, 642).
One of Jacob’s, or Israel’s, twelve sons was named Joseph, the same Joseph who was sold by his brothers as a slave into Egypt. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Although Ephraim was the younger son, he received the birthright blessing from Jacob in place of his older brother Manasseh (see Genesis 46:20; 48:13–20). “In the last days it has been the tribe of Ephraim’s privilege first to bear the message of the Restoration of the gospel to the world and to gather scattered Israel (Deut. 33:13–17; D&C 64:36; 133:26–34)” (Bible Dictionary, “Ephraim”). Many latter-day Saints have learned through receiving their patriarchal blessings that they are of the tribe of Ephraim and are responsible to help gather Israel.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “The Lord called upon the descendants of Ephraim to commence his work in the earth in these last days. … The keys are with Ephraim. It is Ephraim who is to be endowed with power to bless and give to the other tribes … their blessings” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:250–51; see also D&C 113:5–6).
An Old Testament account foreshadowed the latter-day work of Ephraim. Years after Joseph’s brothers sold him into Egypt, the land of Canaan suffered a serious drought. Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to purchase food for their survival (see Genesis 41:56–42:3). Joseph had become a ruler in Egypt, and he oversaw the distribution of grain to the people. At one point in the biblical account, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. Seeing their “troubled” reaction (Genesis 45:3), he comforted them with these words: “Be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. … And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:5, 7). In the last days the descendants of Joseph, primarily those through his son Ephraim, will once again help bring salvation to members of the other tribes of Israel (see Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 48:10–11 [in the Bible appendix]; 2 Nephi 3:4–8, 11–15).
Because of their rejection of “the Holy One of Israel,” the tribe of Judah has repeatedly been scattered and abused as a people and has become “a hiss and a byword, and … hated among all nations” (1 Nephi 19:14; see also 3 Nephi 16:9). In the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith pleaded with the Lord “to have mercy upon the children of Jacob, that Jerusalem, from this hour, may begin to be redeemed; and the yoke of bondage may begin to be broken off from the house of David; and the children of Judah may begin to return to the lands which thou didst give to Abraham, their father” (D&C 109:62–64). Little by little this prophetic prayer is being fulfilled. The fulness of the gospel will be taught to the descendants of Judah and, in time, many Jews “shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God” (2 Nephi 25:16; see also 3 Nephi 20:30–31). As they accept the Savior and His gospel, “they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord, to dwell in his presence day and night, forever and ever” (D&C 133:35; see also D&C 45:51–53).
In his vision of the last days, the Apostle John “saw [an] angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133, the Lord affirmed that John’s vision or prophecy had been fulfilled: “I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man” (D&C 133:36). After quoting Revelation 14:6, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught: “That angel has come. His name is Moroni” (“Stay the Course—Keep the Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 70). The angel Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and delivered to him an ancient record containing “the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” from which the Prophet translated the Book of Mormon (see D&C 20:6–12).
Speaking of the role of the Book of Mormon in preaching the gospel and gathering Israel, President Russell M. Nelson taught:
“The Book of Mormon declares the advent of the gathering and is God’s instrument to bring about that gathering. Without the Book of Mormon, there would be no gathering of Israel.
“The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel. Without the Book of Mormon, we would know little about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because it teaches of the Atonement, the Book of Mormon helps us to repent, make and keep sacred covenants, and merit the ordinances of salvation and exaltation. It leads us to the temple, where we can qualify for eternal life” (“The Book of Mormon, the Gathering of Israel, and the Second Coming,” Ensign, July 2014, 31).
The angel Moroni helped restore the fulness of the gospel as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: “The angel Moroni brought the message, that is, the word; but other angels brought the keys and priesthood, the power. And in the final analysis the fulness of the everlasting gospel consists of all of the truths and powers needed to enable men to gain a fulness of salvation in the celestial heaven” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary , 3:530). Thus, the angel referred to in Doctrine and Covenants 133:36 may also represent a composite of the many angels, including Moroni, who assisted in the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s words recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133:40–45 reiterate the teachings of the ancient prophet Isaiah, who taught that the Lord’s people will pray for His Second Coming and for the salvation that will be theirs when He comes again (see Isaiah 64:1–4). The imagery of “melting fire,” “fire which causeth the waters to boil,” and “mountains flow[ing] down” (D&C 133:41, 44; see also Isaiah 64:2–3) may illustrate the tremendous changes that will occur to the earth when the Savior comes in glory. At that time “every corruptible thing … that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed; and also that of element shall melt with fervent heat.” The earth will be cleansed by fire, “and all things shall become new” (D&C 101:24–25). The phrase “terrible things” in Doctrine and Covenants 133:43 has reference to mighty works and wonders, similar perhaps to those the Lord performed when delivering the children of Israel from Egypt (see Exodus 34:10; Deuteronomy 10:21–22). For the wicked, such demonstrations of divine power may seem “terrible,” or horrifying. While the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be a “dreadful day” for the wicked, it will be a blessed day for the righteous (see Malachi 4:5). When He comes again, the Savior will “meet [those] who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth [Him] in [His] ways” (D&C 133:44). And those who have faithfully “wait[ed] for [Him]” will experience “great things” that have not been “heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen” (D&C 133:45). These “great things” include the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, celestial glory, and exaltation.
To wait for the Lord means more than merely passing the time until He comes. It means to be vigilant in watching and preparing for His coming. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland suggested what we can do to faithfully prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
“We should watch for the signs and read the meaning of the seasons, we should live as faithfully as we possibly can, and we should share the gospel with everyone so that blessings and protections will be available to all. But we cannot and must not be paralyzed just because [the Second Coming] and the events surrounding it are out there ahead of us somewhere. We cannot stop living life. Indeed, we should live life more fully than we have ever lived it before. After all, this is the dispensation of the fulness of times. …
“God expects you to have enough faith and determination and enough trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. In fact, He expects you not simply to face the future (that sounds pretty grim and stoic); He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it and rejoice in it and delight in your opportunities.
“God is anxiously waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe” (“Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast” [Brigham Young University fireside, Sept. 12, 2004], 2–3, speeches.byu.edu).
The Lord’s words recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 133:46–51 reaffirm the teachings of Isaiah, who prophesied that when Jesus Christ comes again, He will be “red in [His] apparel,” or clothing, “hav[ing] trodden the winepress alone” (Isaiah 63:2–3; see also Revelation 19:13). Anciently, a winepress or wine vat was a large basin that was filled with grapes. To extract the grape juice, several laborers would stand in the basin and stomp on the grapes. The juices released from the grapes would stain their feet and clothing a deep red color. The Savior’s red clothing at His Second Coming will have several meanings. It will represent “God’s judgments upon the wicked and the destruction that will come upon them when they, like grapes on the vine, are fully ripe in iniquity and are trodden in the ‘winepress of the wrath of God’ [Revelation 14:19]” at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 556).
The Savior’s being clothed in red will also “[call] to mind the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane, when His atoning blood was pressed from His body just as juice is pressed from grapes in a winepress” (New Testament Student Manual, 563). While speaking of the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane, Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Savior’s red clothing at His Second Coming will remind the righteous of the blood He shed on their behalf:
“Having bled at every pore, how red [the Savior’s] raiment must have been in Gethsemane, how crimson that cloak!
“No wonder, when Christ comes in power and glory, that He will come in reminding red attire (see D&C 133:48), signifying not only the winepress of wrath, but also to bring to our remembrance how He suffered for each of us in Gethsemane and on Calvary!” (“Overcome … Even As I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, 72).
“The day of [the Lord’s] vengeance” (D&C 133:51)—which refers to the destruction of the wicked at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ—will usher in “the year of [the Lord’s] redeemed” (D&C 133:52). These phrases “may refer to the jubilee year” celebrated in ancient Israel, when all Israelites in bondage or slavery were redeemed, or set free (Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry, and Tina M. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah , 555; see also Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:9–10, 39–40). Similarly, at the Lord’s Second Coming “we will be freed from all the bonds of our enemies and oppressors” (Parry, Parry, and Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, 555). At that day the righteous will praise the Lord for “all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever” (D&C 133:52). They will remember that “in all their afflictions He was afflicted” and that “in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them” through the trials of mortality (D&C 133:53; see also Alma 7:11–13).
Speaking of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified: “The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. … And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying only upon our own power” (“The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 47).
For an explanation of “the weak things of the earth” and the meaning of the phrase “the Lord shall thresh the nations by the power of his Spirit” (D&C 133:59), see the commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 35:13 in this manual.
Those who “repenteth and sanctifieth [themselves] before the Lord shall be given eternal life” (D&C 133:62), which the scriptures teach “is the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency explained what it means to receive eternal life: “That gift is to live in the presence of God the Father and His Beloved Son forever in families. Only in the highest of the kingdoms of God, the celestial, will the loving bonds of family life continue” (“The Hope of Eternal Family Love,” Ensign, Aug. 2016, 4).
In contrast to those who will receive this gift of eternal life, those who refuse to obey the voice of the Lord will “be cut off from among the [Lord’s covenant] people” (D&C 133:63). Those who are “cut off,” or separated, from the Lord’s people through disobedience and wickedness “shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (D&C 133:64; see also Malachi 4:1). Elder Theodore M. Burton (1907–1989) of the Seventy explained the meaning of the phrase “that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” in Malachi 4:1: “This expression simply means that wicked and indifferent persons who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ will have no family inheritance or patriarchal lineage—neither root (ancestors or progenitors) nor branch (children or posterity). Such persons cannot be received into the celestial kingdom of glory of resurrected beings, but must be content with a lesser blessing” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, 81).