Doctrine and Covenants 133: Prepare the Way for the Savior's Coming

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 151–152

The revelation inDoctrine and Covenants 133was received much earlier than many of the sections placed before it in the Doctrine and Covenants. On November 1, 1831, a conference of the Church was held to decide on whether to publish the revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith had received. At that conference the Lord approved of the decision to publish “The Book of Commandments” and revealed the “preface” to this book—which is nowDoctrine and Covenants 1. As the conference closed, those who had gathered took the opportunity to ask the Prophet Joseph Smith questions regarding the great work of the latter days. The Prophet inquired of the Lord in their behalf and received the revelation found in section 133. In the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, this revelation was called the Appendix. Elder John A. Widtsoe, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote that it was an appropriate title because it “supplements the introduction [or preface—D&C 1]. The two sections together encompass the contents of the book in a condensed form. …“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 Message of the Doctrine and Covenants,ed. G. Homer Durham [1969], 17).In other words, we can learn much about the purposes of the Restoration by readingDoctrine and Covenants 1and 133. Each has a special focus on what must occur before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 133

Prefacing(section heading)A short written explanation of something that follows 
Relative to(section heading)About 
Subsequently(section heading)Later 
Make bare his holy arm(v. 3)Show His power 
Tarry(v. 4)Stay, wait 
Bear the vessels of the Lord(v. 5)Are assigned to do the Lord’s work (in Old Testament times, those who held the priesthood took care of the tabernacle and carried the vessels, or sacred items, of the Lord’s house) 
Four winds(v. 7)Every direction 
They who are in the north countries(v. 26)Those of the “lost tribes” of the house of Israel 
Stay themselves(v. 26)Hold themselves back 
Prey(v. 28)Something that is captured 
Rend(v. 40)Tear open 
Errand(v. 58)Work 
Thrash(v. 59)Separate (it refers to the process of separating grain from its stalks and husks and has come to symbolize how the Lord’s servants will gather the “wheat” of the earth into safety, while the “chaff” that remains will be burned) 

Doctrine and Covenants 133:5–14—Babylon

In ancient times, Babylon was the capital city of the territory called Babylonia. It may have been one of the largest cities in the world. The various rulers of Babylon built it into a showplace of their worldly success during a time of great wickedness and idolatry. When the children of Israel became worldly, wicked, and idolatrous, the Lord allowed the Babylonians to enslave many Israelites. This serves as a symbolic lesson to all members of the family of Israel: If we try to become like the world, we will be enslaved by it. For all these reasons, Babylon has come to symbolize worldliness and wickedness and their consequences. It is the opposite of the city of Zion, which represents the peace and righteousness of communion with the Lord.

Doctrine and Covenants 133:26–35—The “Richer Blessing” Given to the Children of Ephraim

Anciently, a birthright son received a double portion of his father’s inheritance. The extra portion was to be used to take care of the rest of the family who were in need. The Lord has applied this to spiritual blessings as well. Ephraim was the birthright son of Joseph (who was the birthright son of Jacob, or Israel), and the Lord made his posterity the birthright family in the house of Israel (Genesis 48:13–20;Deuteronomy 33:13–17;1 Chronicles 5:1–2).

In the last days, the descendants of Ephraim were to be gathered first. The Lord has entrusted to them the “richer blessing” of the restored gospel (such as restored truths, priesthood authority and keys, additional scripture, and temples) so that they might be the means of saving the rest of the family of Israel—even the whole family of God. These blessings and responsibilities are related to the covenant God made with Abraham and are reflected in what is spoken of inDoctrine and Covenants 133:26–35.

This “richer blessing” does not mean that the children of Ephraim are better than any other group—all who receive and keep the gospel covenants will inherit celestial glory. Like the Savior, they are to use their knowledge and privileges to help all of God’s children attain the same glory they desire for themselves.

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–F) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 133.

Activity A iconWhat Shall We Do?

InDoctrine and Covenants 133:1–3, the Lord told the members of the Church to listen and He would tell them what they needed to do to prepare for His coming. Then, in verses 4–14, He told them how they should do it.

  1. 1.

    List at least five commands the Lord gave in verses 4–14.

  2. 2.

    What command did the Lord repeat three times in those verses? (You may want to highlight it in your scriptures.)

  3. 3.

    Elder Stephen L. Richards, who was then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “To be of Zion,—the pure in heart—one must come ‘out of the world.’ This does not mean necessarily a change of residence; it means a change of heart. To come out of the world, one must forsake the philosophy of the world and to come into Zion one must adopt the philosophy of Zion” (“Building Zion Today,”Improvement Era,Apr. 1935, 231). What can you do now to obey the Lord’s commandment to leave Babylon? As you listen to the whisperings of the Spirit, you will know what the Lord wants you to do.

  4. 4.

    The Lord knows how difficult it can be for some to leave Babylon. InDoctrine and Covenants 133:5, 14–15, what important counsel did He give to help us successfully complete our journey to Zion? (Genesis 19:17–26tells about Lot and his family fleeing a wicked city and the consequence of looking back. You may want to use it as a cross-reference forD&C 133:5.)

Activity B iconThe Lord’s Appearances during the Second Coming

The 2nd Coming

There will be several appearances of Jesus Christ that will lead to the time when “all flesh shall [Him] together” (Isaiah 40:5). From what you learn inDoctrine and Covenants 133:2–3, 17–25, list the ways and places He will be heard and n as part of the Second Coming. (D&C 45:48–53;77:11;84:2for further insights about some of the events referred to inD&C 133.)

Activity C iconHelp Them Understand

From what you learn inDoctrine and Covenants 133, write what it means to be of the tribe of Ephraim ( also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 133:26–35for help, if needed).

Activity D iconThe Second Coming of Jesus Christ

  1. 1.

    List some of the truths related to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ that are found inDoctrine and Covenants 133:44–56.

  2. 2.

    Write about two of these truths and explain why they are of interest to you.

Activity E iconCompare

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ will be wonderful for the righteous but dreadful for the wicked. It is important to carefully read the scriptures about the Second Coming so that we do not apply what is said about the wicked to those who are righteous (or the other way around). In your notebook, make two lists from what is written inDoctrine and Covenants 133:52–74. In the first list, write what those verses say will happen to the righteous at the Savior’s Second Coming. In the other list, write what they say will happen to the wicked.

Activity F iconCounsel for Missionaries

The revelation inDoctrine and Covenants 133was received when the Prophet Joseph Smith asked the Lord for greater understanding about the preaching of the gospel and the gathering of Israel. In your notebook, write two teachings from this section that you believe would be important for a missionary to know, and explain why you think a missionary should know each one.