Archive | November, 2014

War Will Be Poured Out

20 Nov

I have been thinking a great deal on the many prophecies that have been given and recorded in the scriptures; particularly those that deal with the last days. So I have decided to write some short posts addressing a few of these prophecies. Some have been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some we are still waiting to see. I will draw from all the standard works, and in each post I will address only one prophesy.

Doctrine and Covenants 87: 1-5

I thought I would now turn to modern prophecy and take a look at something that Joseph Smith wrote. In section 87 of the Doctrine and Covenants is recorded the following prophecy.

Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.

I have found this to be a very misunderstood prophecy. People want it all to be about the American Civil War, but there is no much more going on here. Let us break it down, with emphasis.

“thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass”

This is the first clue that this is about more than just the American Civil War. It states directly that this is talking about more than one war.

“beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina

Now, this is a clear reference to the Civil War, which began with the rebellion of South Carolina. Now, just a month before Joseph received this revelation, in December of 1832, South Carolina had issued it Ordinance of Nullification, declared federal tariffs to be null and void in the State, and threatening to secede from the union if the government tried to enforce them. Because of this many want to say that this isn’t a real prophecy, just a good guess at the time. Of course, this idea only works if the prophecy was about the Civil War and nothing else, which we have seen is not the case.

“the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations

Many claim this as an inaccuracy, as the Civil War did not involve ‘all nations.’ This claim also falls apart when we realize that more is involved here.

“the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States”

We know this happened, and we don’t need any explanation.

” the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain”

We also know this happened.

“[Great Britain] shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations

Many also want to claim that this is inaccurate because England did not call on other nations during the Civil War. But, when we look closer we that this is not talking about the Civil War. Other nations, meaning nations that are not the United States, are going to attack England, and so England will have to call on various alliances to defend itself (again, not the United States). Now, the question here is whether this includes the British Colonies as part of Great Britain or not. Regardless, this is clearly talking about a war that was to happen after the Civil War, in which England would be attacked.

“then war shall be poured out upon all nations”

I am sure we have all heard of the two world wars.

“after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters”

The slave rebellions continued in the Caribbeans and South America well after the American Civil War had ended it here; and slavery was not abolished in Saudi Arabia until 1962.

“the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation”

It was not until well after the Civil War that native peoples began to rise up against European dominance. (In this part please note that the original meaning of the word Gentile was the descendents of Japheth, who settled in Europe.) India revolted in the 1930’s. While most of Latin America were independent nations, they were still heavily influenced by Europe until the mid 1900’s when, almost as one people, all the nations went through a series of cultural revolutions in which the Indian peoples and their descendents were viewed as the superior. These were movements to do away with European, or Gentile, influence (or at least reduce it significantly). Actually, for most of the twentieth century the world has seen the remnants (or natives) rise up in anger and vex the gentiles (Europeans).

And so, Joseph Smith’s prophecy was about a great deal more than the American Civil War. While it began with that war, it foretold the world wars, the ending of slavery throughout the world, and conflicts between Europeans and native groups. It is truly one of the greatest prophecies in the scriptures.

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The Ten Kingdoms and the Great Horn

10 Nov

This continues a series on end-time prophecies. In this series I am making comments as to the meaning of various prophecies that have been recorded, and trying to be as brief as possible. I have focused mainly in the Old Testament so far, but will soon post on prophecies from the other standard works of the LDS church. 

The last few posts I have made have been concerning the prophecies in Daniel, mainly those in chapters 2, 7 and 8. I have addressed the Ancient of Days in chapter seven; spoken of the beasts that Daniel saw; and address the stone cut without hands. I continue with this focus on Daniel for one more post before moving on to another prophecy. I said I would address the fourth beast in chapter seven and the ten horns, and I make a few comments regarding this now.

Daniel 7

…behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth…it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns…behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up…in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things…I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

This is the vision that Daniel saw. He tells that “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others… (verse 19)” and gives the following interpretation.

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (verse 21-25)

We know the fourth kingdom is Rome (see my post “The Beast of Daniel”) which was diverse from the others in that it at least stated as a republic, and in the amount of area it covered (thus having a more diverse population). The ten horns, as Daniel records, are ten kings that rise out of Rome. This is commonly believed to be the ten Germanic Kingdoms of Europe that rose up at the fall of the Western Roman Empire. They are the Visigoths, the Ostrogoths, the Vandals, the Burgundians, the Lombards, the Franks, the Saxons, the Alemanni, the Thuringians, and the Rugians.  I am not fully familiar with the history of these ten kingdoms. However, I am pretty sure that three were completely destroyed, ceasing to exists as ethics groups. The Ostrogoths, who had been in Italy; the Thuringians, who had been in Germany; and the Rugians, who had been in modern Hungary. All three disappear by the 700’s. The other groups continued to exist, though most were conquered by the Franks. Some would later form the Holy Roman Empire.

So the next question is, what Kingdom is the little Horn supposed to represent. If these Germanic kingdoms are the ten horns, and the Ostrogoths, Thuringians, and Rugians are the three that were plucked up, then who did the plucking? Honestly, I don’t really know. I have heard some theories that I find interesting, but I have not been able to truly satisfy myself as to this point.

There are two theories that I will mention. The first places the Holy Roman Empire as this little horn. This empire covered most of Northern Italy, Austria, Germany, and most of central Europe. You may notice that the three kingdoms that appear to have been completely wiped out were all in this area. However, all three were destroyed before the Holy Roman Empire was actually established. Following the prophecy, the little horn makes war on the saints, and, according to this theory, the Holy Roman Empire did this when they tried to suppress the Protestant movements, which started in this Empire with Martin Luther. This also follows with the speaking out against the Most High and wearing out the saints. Yet, it is a little hazy as to the changing of times and laws.

The second theory places the Catholic church as this little horn. It points out that Roman was Catholic, and when the Western Roman Empire collapsed the Catholic church remained the political power in Italy. It even commanded armies and fought wars. The Holy Roman Empire was set up by the church, as it was the Pope who approved and crowned the first emperor, and one could be emperor after being so crowned. This also solves the problem of when the three kingdoms were destroyed, as they were destroyed fighting in Italy where the Catholic church was the main power. However, this theory must also make the claim that the Catholic church was in opposition to the saints of God and made war against God.

As this post is already getting fairly long I will leave it at this, without getting into the controversies that both these theories can generate. If you want to discuss either further, let me know.

Cut Without Hands

8 Nov

I have been thinking a great deal on the many prophecies that have been given and recorded in the scriptures; particularly those that deal with the last days. So I have decided to write some short posts addressing a few of these prophecies. Some have been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some we are still waiting to see. I will draw from all the standard works, and in each post I will address only one prophesy.

Daniel 2: 34-45

In my last post I spoke of the Beasts of Daniel. I pointed out the similarities between three different visions recorded in the Book of Daniel and how the three speak to the same chain of events. Here I would like to address the extra details of the first that are not shared by the others. In Daniel chapter 2 we read of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and then we read the interpretation of it.

Now, we know that the various parts of the statue represent kingdoms. Daniel tells us this in verses 37-43. Babylon is the head of gold; Persia the arms of silver; Greece the brass torso; Rome the ron legs. The feet and toes were part Iron and Part clay, which Daniel interprets as the Roman Empire being divided. This is the time of the Germanic tribes that rose up after Rome fell; ten tribes in all, for the ten toes. However, we are concerned with what is written after the statue, so let us read that.

Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2: 34-35)

This is what was seen in the dream. Daniel gives the following interpretation.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. (Daniel 2: 44-45)

So, a sixth kingdom will be raised up. It is cut out of the mountain without hands, indicating it is of God and not man. It breaks in pieces the other kingdoms, as no other people will ever conquer it. Now, it is commonly believed among Christians that this last kingdom refers to the Christian church that Jesus organized while on the Earth. The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, however, interpret this as referring to the restoration through Joseph Smith. Why the disagreement?

From what I understand most Christians do not believe the gospel was lost, as is taught in the doctrine of the Great Apostasy in the LDS church. As such, the church that Jesus organized was the last time the Kingdom of God was brought to the Earth, and thus the stone spoken of in Daniel has to refer to that church, because nothing came after it.

To the LDS the stone cannot refer to that church. The reason for this being that the church set up by Christ was established during the peak of Roman power. In the dream the stone came in the time of the divided kingdoms that followed Rome. We say this for two reasons; (1)  the stone struck the feet of the statue, and (2) in his interpretation Daniel explains the divided kingdom and then says “In the days of these kings.” This would indicate that it would be during the time of the divided kingdom.

Just one last note on all these kingdoms. At the time of Babylon that was the only real world power. There were always other kings and kingdoms, but none that rivaled Babylon. That is until Persia came and conquered, at which point there was no other power except Persia. They were replaced by the Greeks, who were replaced by the Romans. During all this period it can be said that there was only one real super power in the world. After Rome fell that never happened again. The world became divided and there were always multiple superpowers that struggled and mingled together. England, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, the Holy Roman Empire; all these would dominate the known world at one time or another, but none would control it as the ancient Empires had. The dominant power was constantly changing.

So, what does this dream mean? If means that after the four great empires of the ancient world, during a time when the world was divided between many kings, the Lord would raise up his Kingdom that would never be destroyed, but fill the whole earth. This was fulfilled when the gospel was restored at a time when the power of the world was divided among many nations.

The Beasts of Daniel

6 Nov

Recently I have been thinking a great deal on the many prophecies that have been given and recorded in the scriptures; particularly those that deal with the last days. So I have decided to write some short posts addressing a few of these prophecies. Some have been fulfilled, some are in the process of being fulfilled, and some we are still waiting to see. I will draw from all the standard works, and in each post I will address only one prophesy.

Daniel 2: 31-33, 38-41; 7: 3-8, 17-24; 8: 3-9, 20-23

In my last post I spoke of the prophecy concerning the Ancient of Days in Daniel chapter seven. I will now address three different prophecies in Daniel. In chapter two there is the all too familiar statue that Kind Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream. In chapter seven we read of four beasts. In chapter eight there is a ram and a goat. Each of these prophecies contain similar elements, and it is those elements I will be focusing on.

So, let us look at the prophecies themselves.

“This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.” (Daniel 2: 31-33)

“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings…a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side…another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings…and behold a fourth beast…strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth…it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns…there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots…” (Daniel 7: 3-8)

“…a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last…behold, an he goat…and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram…and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him…Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” (Daniel 8: 3-9)

In the above quotes the boldface is what I consider the important elements of each, and if we look closely we see some similarities. For instance, the two arms of the statue are mentioned, the bear raised up on one side (having two), and the ram had two horns (one larger than the other). Also note that the Leopard in the second had four wings and the goats horn split into four parts. Note also the iron legs of the statue and the iron teeth of the fourth beast. When we look at the interpretation of these we will see the reason for these similarities.

Now, Daniel actually gives us an interpretation of all three of these, but only uses names in the third, so let us start with that one.

The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. (Daniel 8: 20-23)

So, the ram represents the Media-Persia empire and the two kings. History tells us that these two kings formed an alliance, but that the Persians were the more powerful. Thus we have two horns, one larger than the other, which came up last, because the Persian came after the Medes. The goat represents Greece, which was the nation to conquer the Persians under the great king Alexander. However, when he died his kingdom became divided between his four generals. Thus we have the great horn (Alexander) splitting into four which did not have the power of the first. When they became weak a new king arose; but let us look at the other interpretations.

“These great beasts…are four kings…The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms…And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” (Daniel 7: 17-24)

Now we are speaking of four kingdoms, but let us not forget the similarities that we saw. The repeating pattern of four tells us that the leopard with its four wings represents Greece. Thus the bear, which raised one side, is Media-Persia. The lion then must be the kingdom that was before Persia, or Babylon, whose symbol in ancient days was the lion. Moving forward the fourth beast is then the kingdom that came after Greece, or Rome. This is in agreement with the statue, whose interpretation is as follows.

“Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass…And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron…the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron…” (Daniel 2: 38-41)

Remember that Daniel was interpreting the dream of the king of Babylon, and thus the first Kingdom is Babylon, the second Media-Persia (the arms), the third Greece, and the fourth Rome. Of course, in this one we are taken past Rome with the ten horns. These ten kings represent the European kings that would rise up after the fall of Rome. I will speak more on them and the little horn in a following post.

In three different visions that Daniel recorded the future Kingdoms were laid out. History has already proven the accuracy of these visions as concerns these visions.