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The Revelation of John – chapter 18: Babylon Is Fallen, Is Fallen

19 Jan

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues, Whore, Kings

Chapter 18

Chapter 17 described Babylon. This chapter now describes the judgments that God has decreed against her.

Verse 1 

I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

John sees another angel. Honestly, I have lost count as to how many angels John has seen in his vision. Obviously the events of the last days will bring all of God’s servants into the actions. While we are given no indication as to who this new angel is, their power and glory indicates one who holds a very high position of authority in heaven.

Verses 2-3

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication…

The angel announces the fall of Babylon, and explains the reason for it. The final fate of Babylon is to be a foul and evil place, where only devils dwell. The reason for this is the corruption that was described in chapter 17. Verse three is very reminiscent of that chapter. Notice here that Kings, and merchants have partaken of this corruption, meaning political and economic groups.

Verses 4-6

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins…For her sins have reached unto heaven…Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works…

I believe the voice is the voice of God, though it is not identified as such. God issued a similar call to the saints today. “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean…gather ye out from among the nations…from one end of heaven to the other…Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness…” (D&C 133: 5, 7, 14)

The admonition to double unto her according to her works rinds me of the Law of Moses and the restitution that it required for many crimes. This could be God calling his people, not only to abandon the evil of Babylon, but to condemn it in others.

Verses 7-8

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously…for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day…and she shall be utterly burned with fire… 

The pride of Babylon, or the culture of corruption, will cause the judgments to come swiftly against her. In one day does not literally mean 24 hours, but rather a very brief period of time. Notice also that Babylon will be burned. This is common imagery for the events of the last days. In the parable of the Wheat and Tares the tares are burned. In D&C 64: 24 the Lord says that all the proud and those who remain in Babylon will be burned. And of course, the wicked will be burned at the second coming.

Verses 9-19

And the kings of the earth…shall bewail her, and lament for her…Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!…And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more…The merchants of these things…and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning…weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city…for in one hour is she made desolate.

Here we read that all those who partook of the wickedness of Babylon and supported the culture of corruption will mourn its destruction. Both the kings and the merchants mourn (including seafaring merchants), again showing how pervasive the culture had become. Verses 12-14 give a long list of merchandise that is basically all encompassing of every fine thing that could represent the pride of the world.

President Harold B. Lee warned “we are going through some of the severest tests today and we don’t realize perhaps the severity of the tests that we’re going through. … Today we are basking in the lap of luxury, the like of which we’ve never seen before in the history of the world. It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any test that we’ve ever had” (“First Presidency Devotional” [unpublished Christmas devotional for Church employees, Dec. 13, 1973], 4–5

Among the list of goods included are “slaves and the souls of men.” If we take this literally we see a reference to human trafficking (slavery). We also see an allusion to the practice in many religions of promising salvation for money, or the trafficking in souls. This reference can also be seen as a symbol of the addictive nature of the corruption of Babylon, causing men to be slaves to it, both body and soul.

Verse 20

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 

Those who are aligned with God and heaven has suffered greatly at the hands of Babylon, but now they can rejoice, for God has brought vengeance against her.

Verses 21-23

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down…And the voice of…musicians…shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman…And the light of a candle…and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more…for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Another angel, this one of great strength, now declares that all those things that made Babylon enticing no longer exist. The culture, the industry, community, the families; all are gone.

Verse 24 

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The only thing that is now found in Babylon is the guilt that she carries for the death and persecutions of the saints and the prophets.

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The Revelation of John – chapter 17: The Kings of the Earth

9 Dec

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues, Whore

Chapter 17

Verse 9

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Most take this to refer to Rome, which was known as the city built on seven hills. I think that God was drawing on this imagery when the Angel gave this interpretation, but I think there is more to the meaning. In other prophecies the Lord uses the idea of a mountain to mean governments, or organizations (see Isaiah 2: 2, Ezekiel 17: 22, Micah 4: 1, and 2 Nephi 12: 2), and I think the same thing is being done here. The heads are seven kingdoms, or nations, that have been the center for this culture of corruption throughout the earth’s history.

 

Verse 10

And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

Verse nine told us there were seven kingdoms, which is confirmed here in that there are seven kings. Those who see this as Rome see these kings are Roman emperors, but let us take a wider view, as we did in verse nine.

Let us consider that at the time that John is writing five of these kingdoms have already fallen, and John is living in the time of the sixth. John lived during the Roman empire, so we can conclude that Rome is the sixth kingdom, and the Emperor (as a title and position) is the ‘one that is.’

So, what are the five that have fallen? Looking back in history, there are five great empires that have basically ruled the known world, and each was a seat of great corruption. These five, in chronological order, are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. So, these are the five that are fallen.

However, the seventh had not yet come when John wrote this vision. Here there is no real indication of what it is, except that it would “continue a short space.” To make any comment as to what or who this seventh kingdom is would be pure speculation.

I am inclined to think it is the Holy Roman Empire which held power for only a brief time, and was a center for all forms of corruption. This could also represent the entire feudal state of the middle ages. This is just my opinion, however.

 

Verse 11

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Now we see that there are actually eight kings. The seven heads represent seven kings, but the beast itself is an eighth, which comes out of the seven, or is born of them. Again, to try and say what this king is would be speculation.

In my opinion it does not represent a political kingdom, or nation, but a worldwide organization the works within many governments. It comes out of the other seven, as it is conceived and born as a reaction to the feudal state. It is the beast because it is inspired and directed by Satan. It is the final great secret combination that Moroni warned us of in Ether chapter 8. It seeks to overthrow the freedom of all people. It does so, not by conquest and subjugation, but through temptation and corruption, and so it supports the great whore Babylon.

 

Verses 12-13

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

What these kings are is again a matter of speculation. I believe they are organizations that either have, or will join with the beast. These are groups that formed for their own ends, but to increase their power and influence they seek out the eighth king and support him in his wickedness and partake of the cup that Babylon carries, full of abominations and filthiness. I will not speculate as to what these organizations are; only that by themselves they never grew powerful enough to be likened unto kingdoms.

 

Verse 14

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Besides the general corruption and wickedness associated with Babylon the ten kings without kingdoms will actively fight against God, against the church of God, and against the people of God. They will specifically target the saints in an attempt to destroy them and drive Christ and the gospel from the earth.

But there is comfort here, for God will overcome. Christ is Lord of lords, and King of kings. He will overcome all his enemies. Those who follow him and called and chosen, and so will triumph with Christ.

 

Verse 15

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

This shows that the entire world has taken part in the corruptions and wickedness of Babylon, to the point that the people themselves support the culture.

 

Verse 16-17

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

These verses explain the self destructive nature of the culture of violence and corruption. They support the culture of corruption, but will eventually turn on it as such a culture cannot be sustained. I do not believe that this has happened yet, but will soon. When it does the ten kings will become fully aligned with the great organization that is the beast. This is the final judgment against the corruption of the last days.

This gathering of the evil organizations into the beast sounds very much like the gathering of armies and the wars that John spoke of in chapter 9 and chapter 11.

 

Verse 18

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

This last verse merely reinforces the identity of the woman as the culture of corruption that holds power over all the governments of the earth.

The Revelation of John Chapter 17: The Great Whore

9 Dec

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues

Chapter 17

Chapters 17 and 18 describe the downfall of Babylon. This was listed as part of the seventh plague in chapter 16, but is given greater detail here.

Chapter 17 gives a fair description of Babylon, using some great imagery and symbolism. I will present this chapter in two parts, as my comments are rather extensive.

 

Verses 1-2 tell us what John is about to see. One of the seven angels from chapter 16 comes to John and says he will show John “the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

In this there are a few things to note. Babylon is the great whore, or the most corrupt of the earth. This also establishes Babylon as a woman. She sitteth on many waters, or is supported by all the peoples of the earth (see verse 15). Kings have had relationships with her, and the people are intoxicated with the corruption that she represents; this is a testament to the great social and political power the whore has over people.

This is to set up what comes next, so keep it in mind.

 

Verse 3

…I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

There is some dispute as to the meaning of the beast in this verse. It is reminiscent of the beast in chapter 13 of revelation, as both have seven heads and ten horns. As that beast represents a number of earthly kingdoms this beast may also represent those same kingdoms, and their moral corruption. However, there is also some speculation that it represents only Rome, which was built on seven hills, and certain emperors of the first century AD. In either case it is likely also a general commentary on all corrupt governments and organizations. However, just as verse 15 gives an interpretation of the water in verse 1, there is an interpretation of this beast later in the chapter. When we get to that I will explain what my belief is regarding the beast.

 

Verse 4

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

This verse describes the woman. Her clothes show her to be wealthy and powerful. The cup conveys the idea that all the wickedness that she represents is internalized, or becomes a part of those who partake. This is the wine on which the people are drunk (verse 2).

 

Verse 5

And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.

The names here written show the various corruptions and immoralities that Babylon engages in.

  • Mystery speaks of secret combinations, such as the drug lords, mafia, and even local gangs.
  • Babylon the Great refers to the corruptions of governments and political organizations.
  • Mother of Harlots shows that this great wickedness is the source of other organizations and corruptions around the world.
  • Abominations of the Earth refers to a general culture that embraces evil and wickedness.

 

Verse 6

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

The corrupt of the earth have always been hostile to the saints of God, and John is here seeing that this pervasive culture of corruption is responsible for the deaths of many of the saints. Babylon the great will always thirst for the blood of the righteous.

It also says here that John ‘wondered with great admiration.’ An alternate Greek translation renders the word admiration as astonishment. John sees the power and influence of Babylon and is amazed at just how far the people have fallen into wickedness and how this culture of sex, greed, and violence has gotten such a hold on the hearts of men.

 

Verse 7

…Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her…

Here the angel begins to explain the meaning of the images John has seen.

 

Verse 8

The beast that thou sawest…shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life…when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

There are a few things to note here.

  1. The beast comes from the bottomless pit, or has its origin in Hell. This indicates that the power that upholds the beast is Satan.
  2. The beast goes into perdition, which tells us of the eventual triumph of God over Satan, who is cast into hell.
  3. Note the description that it was, is not, and yet is. This shows us two things. That this culture of evil is a reoccurring thing throughout the earth’s history, and that it is a temporary influence on men. There have been cities and nations that have embodied the decadence of Babylon in all eras, but all have fallen to the judgments of God. The great Babylon of the last days will suffer the same fate.

This concludes the first half of the chapter. The rest of the chapter continues the interpretation of the symbols.

The Revelation of John: Chapter 16 – Seven Plagues

10 Nov

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous

Chapter 16

As I said in the last post, this chapter is a review of what will happen to the wicked when they are harvested in the second harvest. As chapter fifteen showed the fate of the righteous to be glorious, this chapter shows how the wicked will suffer. This suffering comes in the form of seven plagues.

At the end of chapter 15 the angels were given the vials that hold the plagues. In the first verse of this chapter the angels are commanded to “Go your ways, and pour out the vials…upon the earth.”

 

First Plague (verse 2)

“…a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

We can get a better idea of this plague if we read in Exodus 9: 8-12, “…it shall become… a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast…” We can also read of such a plague in Zechariah 14: 12. “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand…and their eyes…in their holes, and their tongue…in their mouth.” Regardless of which verse we read, this plague is not pleasant.

 

Second Plague (verse 3)

“…the sea…became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.”

Third Plague (verse 4)

“…the rivers and fountains of waters…became blood.”

These plagues are very similar to Moses turning the Nile to Blood (Exodus 7: 19-21). The putrefying of the water is another very unpleasant experience.

 

God’s Justice (verses 5-7)

“…Thou art righteous, O Lord…because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink…true and righteous are thy judgments.”

Here we have angels proclaiming the justice of God. Because the wicked rejected the prophets and killed the saints of God they are plagued with blood. See also 2 Kings 9:7; Luke 11:50–51; Revelation 18:24; 2 Nephi 26:3; Alma 37:30; 3 Nephi 9:5–11; 3 Nephi 10:12; D&C 136:36.

 

Fourth Plague (verses 8-9)

“…power was given…to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat…”

Besides describing this plague verse 9 also speaks of the peoples’ reaction to the plagues thus far. They “blasphemed the name of God…and they repented not to give him glory.” So, even after the festering sores, the putrefying of the dead animals in the water, and then the scorching heat the people still refuse to repent and instead revile God.

 

Fifth Plague (verse 10-11)

“…and [the beast’s] kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain”

Again we see similarities to the plagues of Egypt, as God caused darkness to fill the land. This also happened in the America’s when Christ died. The pain that is described here could be a reference to the mental and emotional anguish that comes with such a complete darkness. It could also refer to actual physical pain that is to accompany the darkness.

In either case, verse 11 tells us that because of this pain they “blasphemed the God of heaven…and repented not of their deeds.”

 

Sixth Plague (verses 12-16)

“…the water [of the great river Euphrates] was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean…For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth…to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty…into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.”

This plague is the preparation for the battle of Armageddon. This is very similar to the second woe mentioned in chapter nine. If we look at a map of the modern day this includes Iran, whose stated goal is the destruction of Israel. Also note that the armies are gathered together under the leadership and with the power of Satan.

For those who don’t know, Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew Har Megiddon, or mountain of Megiddo. The mountain and valley are about 50 miles north of Jerusalem, and this is where this last great battle will begin.

 

Watchfulness of the People (verse 15)

“…Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

In a literal sense this is warning those in the area to always be ready so that when the time comes they can flee from the destruction of this army. To be naked at this time is to not be prepared. This also applies spiritually, to those who are not yet prepared through the ordinances and spirit of God for the second coming.

 

Seventh Plague (17-21)

“…And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth…and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon [drank] the cup of the wine of the fierceness of [God’s] wrath…And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent…”

Here we have a general upheaval of nature and a destruction of the wicked and corrupt governments and cultures.

Note also that even after all the great destructions that come the people still blaspheme God and refuse to repent (verse 21). Like the ancient Nephites at the time of Mormon, they are beyond reclamation.

 

Also note that in verse 20 we read “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” This is in reference to the earth being restored to its original state (see D&C 133: 23-24). The natural upheaval we read of here is a result of the continents rejoining into a single land mass, and the water gathering in the North. For the continents to move that far that fast it will take a massive earthquake; and the change will mess with the magnetic fields causing weather changes. All this will be part of the last plague just before the second coming.

The Revelation of John: Chapter 15 – The Righteous

14 Oct

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests

Revelation 15

This chapter is probably the shortest chapter, but it has many important concepts presented in it. Remember that in chapter 14 we saw a great deal of what will happen just prior to the second coming. In the second half we read of two harvests, one of the righteous the other of the wicked. The main theme of chapter 15 is what the righteous will experience in the harvesting. This theme runs throughout the chapter and should be remembered when reading it.

 

Verse 1

“And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.”

This verse is a preview of chapter 16. The seven plagues mentioned are described in that chapter, and are what the wicked will experience when they are harvested. The two chapters go together and should be understood together.

 

Verse 2

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”

This verse tells us two different things.

First, the righteous will be victorious over all the cunning plans and seductions of Satan, as seen in their victory over every aspect of the Beast. This is an important message, and is the primary message of the entire book of Revelation. There will be an eventual victory of God over Satan and good over evil. In the past several posts I have delved into the details of this revelation, but none of it is as important as this. God will win and the righteous will be justified. If we don’t understand this message than the rest of it is basically meaningless.

The second aspect of this verse is the sea of glass mingled with fire. This was mentioned in chapter four as well. In my commentary on that chapter I mentioned that D&C 77:1 we read that it “is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.” That it is seen as a sea of glass because “This earth…will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim…” (D&C 130: 9). However, in this we also see it mingled with fire. This is because, as Joseph Smith says, those who inherit the Celestial Glory will dwell in everlasting burnings; a description of the glory and light of God.

 

Verses 3-4

“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

The song of Moses in recorded in Exodus 15: 1-19. It was song by Israel after the Lord had destroyed the Egyptians in the Red Sea. Its main theme is praise to God for deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The saints in the Celestial Glory will again sing this song in praise of Christ delivering them from the bondage of sin.

 

Verses 5-8

“And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”

We again see a preview of what is to come. These verses show the preparation for the harvest and destruction of the wicked. As we read we see the process.

The seven angels come out of the temple, or from the presence of God. They are clean of all sin, as seen in the whiteness of their garments. Also, they have glory and authority, as seen in the golden girdles.

Then, one of the four beasts (which one is not specified) gives the angels the vials that actually contain the plagues. It was said in verse one that the angels had the plagues, but here we see them being given the vials. So, the first statement meant that they had the authority to pour out the plagues, and now the time has come to do so.

Lastly the temple is filled with smoke from the God’s glory, preventing anyone from entering it until the angels have poured out the plagues. Heaven and the world are not ready for the destructions and plagues to happen just before the second coming.

 

On a final note the plagues are full of the wrath of God. Also, there are seven plagues. This number is important. Seven is a number of completion, or finishing. So, these plagues represent the completion or finishing of the Lord’s judgments against the wicked.

The Revelation of John: Chapter 14 – Two Harvests

6 Oct

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels

Revelation 14: 14-20

In this last half of the fourteen chapter we read of a very interesting event. I say this because it parallels other passages in the scriptures that also speak of the last day. But, before we look at these other passages, let us look at Revelation.

Verse 14

At this time John saw upon a white cloud “one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” This is Christ, sitting on his throne in heaven. The sickle was tool for harvesting grain, and thus we see Christ ready to harvest the world.

Verses 15-16

An “angel came out of the temple, crying…Thrust in thy sickle, and reap…for…earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle…and the earth was reaped.”

This angel comes from out of the Temple; or, in other words, is sent by God the Father. Also, without hesitation, Christ reaps, or harvests the earth. At this time we are not told what, or who is being reaped, only that Christ is the one reaping.

Verse 17

An “angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.”

Again, this angel is sent from God, but he comes with his own sickle prepared to reap.

Verse 18

An “angel came out from the altar…and cried…Thrust in thy sharp sickle…for her grapes are fully ripe.”

Note here that the angel comes from the altar. This is significant. He is still sent from God, but comes from an area that is open to the general members. In the modern day it would be like the first two coming from the temple while the third comes from the chapel (or church headquarters).

Verses 19-20

“And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth…and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

This is the wicked, as they suffer the wrath of God. Notice that this happens outside the city of God, not just outside the temple. Also, the blood represents the suffering of these people. A horse’s bridle is usually about six feet up, and a furlong is 660 feet. So, the blood will be six feet deep for 200 miles. This is some suffering.

Now, if this second harvest is the wicked, than can we not conclude that the first harvest is the righteous?

 

These harvests occur at the end of the world, for that is the period of time that John is now seeing. So, let us look at a few other passages that seem to parallel John’s vision.

 

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

In the parable of the Wheat and Tares we read how the world was sown with good seed by God, than the devil came and sowed tares. At the end of the world there would be a harvest. In explaining the meaning of this parable Jesus said

“For in that day, before the Son of man shall come, he shall send forth his angels…And they shall gather out of his kingdom all…them which do iniquity, and shall cast them out…For the world shall be burned with fire.” (verses 41-43)

Remember that the wheat is gathered first (verse 30, JST footnote a). Again we see two harvests; the first is the righteous which is done by Christ, and the second the wicked who are destroyed by angels.

 

D&C 86: 1-7

This also speaks to the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, but gives a more definite explanation. It also speaks of two harvests, but it states that the field, or the earth, will be burnt, not just the tares. Thus we see that this second harvest is a time of cleansing for the earth.

 

D&C 88: 95-102

This is the passage that I was reminded of first while reading in revelation. I have quoted portions of it in my analysis of the first half of chapter fourteen, and here again we see parallel passages. We see in this passage a literal rendering of the two harvests, heralded by four angels.

The first angel heralds Christ’s return, at which time all those who have inherited a Celestial glory are caught up to him (verses 95-98). The second angel heralds the rising of those who inherit Terrestrial glory (verse 99). And thus we see the end of the first harvest.

The third angel declares the judgments against the wicked, who inherit the telestial, who do not live again until the end of the world, but are cast out, as it says in Matthew 13: 42 (verses 100-101). The fourth declares that among the wicked are the Sons of Perdition (verse 102). And thus we have the end of the second harvest.

 

As all these passages testify, there shall be a time of gathering, when the righteous will be gathered out of the wicked and preserved by God. There will then be a time of cleansing, when the wicked are destroyed and the earth is cleansed with fire, which will burn away all the filth of the wicked.

The first gathering has already begun (see Doctrine and Covenants 33), but it will be completed in an awesome and dramatic way when Christ returns. The second awaits the completion of the first, but will be no less awesome of dramatic.

 

I love it when scriptures come together so beautifully in a unified message. To me this is confirmation that all these scriptures were inspired by God.

The Revelation of John: Chapter 14 – Three Angels

28 Sep

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark

Revelation 14: 1-13

It has been a while since I posted on Revelation. My last posts dealt with chapter 13, concerning the Beast, the False Prophet, the Mark, and the number 666. these chapters were not too uplifting. After the warnings and woes of chapter thirteen, chapter 14 is one of hope and comfort for the faithful.

 

Verse 1

John sees Christ (the lamb) with 144,000 sitting on mount Zion. This event has yet to take place, as we read in D&C 33: 17-18 that it is about to be fulfilled. These are the same 144,000 that are recorded in chapter seven.

Verses 2-3

John now hears the voices of the 144,000 singing a new song that only they know. They are singing it to the four beasts, the 24 elders, and the throne of God. This song may be the same one recorded in D&C 84: 98-102.

Verses 4-5

These verses describe the 144,000. They are sexually pure and follow Christ in all things. They are without guile, or deceit. They are redeemed from among men and without fault before God. They are also the “firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” In D&C 88: 98 we read that the firstfruits are those who are caught up to meet Christ at his coming, and are thus inheritors of the Celestial Glory.

 

In the next few verses we read of three angels that come to the earth to deliver messages.

Verses 6-7

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel…Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Many equate this angel with Moroni, partly because of D&C 27:5 and 133:36–39. However, others see this as a composite of all those who participated in the restoration of the gospel. In either case it may appear that this event has already occurred. However, I am reminded on D&C 88, where we are told what will happen at the second coming. In verses 103-104 we read

“…the fifth angel who committeth the a everlasting gospel—flying through the midst of heaven…And this shall be the sound of his trump…saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come.”

Verse 8

“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Babylon symbolizes the wicked and apostate world. The angel is declaring that wickedness will cease on the earth. The sin of fornication indicates that the wickedness is unfaithfulness to God. Drinking the wine means that this wickedness is internalized, or made a part or the people. The wickedness that has become part of the culture, which has resulted in the people being unfaithful to God, will end.

Again, this is very similar to D&C 88: 105

“…another angel shall sound his trump…saying: She is fallen who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; she is fallen, is fallen!”

Verses 9-11

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image…The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb…”

The judgment to come on those who worship the beast does not seem to be pleasant. The wine of the wrath of God is not poured out until after all else fails (D&C 43:25–26). For it to be without mixture means that it will not be diluted or lessened, but will come in full force on those who worship the beast.

Again, we turn to D&C 88: 106

“…, another angel shall sound his trump…saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the winepress alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.”

 

In the last three sections I have given almost parallel verses from D&C 88, which talk of the second coming. This leads me to believe that these verses also speak of the second coming, or at least the time just prior to it. In my next post I will be discussing the rest of chapter 14 and you will more clearly why I think this is the case.

However, I want to include verses 12-13 in this post, so I will leave this question of timing for now.

 

Verse 12

The patience of the saints, which we read about in chapter 13, has been rewarded.

Verse 13

Some among the faithful will die in the final tribulations. However, their death is a blessing as it brings rest from those tribulations.