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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2 Responses to “War Will Be Poured Out”

  1. BJJLawKate November 21, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    “Poured” out, not “poored” out. I was actually hoping this was intentional and that you had some thoughts on our neglect of the poor. You seem to spell it correctly in your post. Just thought you might want to correct the title.

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

    • shematwater November 21, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks for noticing that. I don’t think this prophecy has anything to do with the poor, but I know a few that do. If you want I could about that.

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