Doctrine and Covenants 63: Preparing for Zion

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 73–75

The section heading toDoctrine and Covenants 63mentions the great interest the Saints had concerning the building of Zion. In this revelation the Lord explained many things about how Zion would be established and who would be qualified to go there. As you study this section, think about what you would like best about living in Zion. What were some of those early Saints doing that the Lord condemned?

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 63

Preserve(v. 3)Save, protect 
Snare(v. 15)Trap 
Whoremonger(v. 17)One who participates in immoral practices 
Pestilence(v. 24)Trouble, destruction 
Unquenchable(v. 34)Never ending 
Discern(v. 41)Know 
Impart(v. 43)Give 
Constraint(v. 64)Prompting, direction 

Doctrine and Covenants 63:20–21—“The Day of Transfiguration”

When Jesus took His Apostles Peter, James, and John up on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–3), they were shown what the earth will become after the Second Coming of Christ.Doctrine and Covenants 63:21indicates that we have not yet received a complete account of all they saw. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained:

“Peter spoke of thetimes of refreshingwhich should come from the presence of the Lord at the Second Coming of Christ. (Acts 3:19–21.) His statement has the same meaning as the one in theTenth Article of Faithwhich records that ‘the earth will berenewedand receive itsparadisiacal glory.’ This occurrence is ‘theregeneration’ which shall take place ‘when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory.’ (Matt. 19:28.) It is also ‘the day oftransfiguration… When the earth shall betransfigured.’ (D. & C. 63:20–21.)

“This earth was created in a new or paradisiacal state; then, incident to Adam’s transgression, it fell to its present telestial state. At the Second Coming of our Lord, it will berenewed, regenerated, refreshed, transfigured,become againa new earth, a paradisiacal earth.Its millennial status will be areturnto its pristine state of beauty and glory, the state that existed before the fall” (Mormon Doctrine,795–96; italics in original).

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “all of this is to take place in the Dispensation of the Fulness of times, in which we live. When this is accomplished this earth will again appear as it did in the beginning. The sea will be driven back to the north; the islands will be joined to the mainland and the lands will be brought together as they were before the earth was divided. (D. & C. 133:22–24.)” (Church History and Modern Revelation,1:231).

This “day of transfiguration” is different from the time when “there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.” President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that after the Millennium “will come the death of the earth, its resurrection, its glorification, as the abode of the righteous or they who belong to the celestial kingdom, and they only shall dwell upon the face of it” (Doctrines of Salvation,3:282).

Doctrine and Covenants 63:25–27—“I, the Lord, Render unto Caesar the Things Which Are Caesar’s”

Caesar's coin

InLuke 20:19–26we read about how the chief priests and the scribes tried to set a trap for Jesus by asking Him if it was legal for the Jews to pay tribute to the Roman emperor, Caesar. They knew that if He said yes, the Jews would reject Him because they hated the Romans who had conquered them. If Jesus said no, they could report Him to the Romans, who would arrest Him for treason against Roman rule. Jesus showed them a coin with Caesar’s image stamped on it and said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (v. 25).

The Lord used that story to teach the Saints in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s day that even though the whole earth is the Lord’s, the Saints will still have to buy the lands on which the Lord has commanded them to build the city of Zion in Missouri.

Doctrine and Covenants 63:34—“The Saints Also Shall Hardly Escape”

While speaking about the Second Coming of the Savior, the Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and ‘the righteous shall hardly escape;’ still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God. So that it is an unhallowed principle to say that such and such have transgressed because they have been preyed upon by disease or death, for all flesh is subject to death; and the Savior has said, ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’” (History of the Church,4:11).

Doctrine and Covenants 63:50—What Is “the Age of a Man”?

From the Lord’s promise to the Nephite disciples, it appears that the age of a man in our present mortal state is 72 years (3 Nephi 28:1–3). That will not be the case during the Millennium, however.

“Speaking of this time period, the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed: ‘There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall diean hundred years old’ (Isa. 65:20; italics added).

“Commenting on this condition, President Joseph Fielding Smith said: ‘Men on the earth will still be mortal, but a change shall come over them so that they will have power over sickness, disease and death. Death shall all but be banished from the earth, formen shall live until they are the age of a tree or one hundred years old( [D&C] 63:50–51),and then shall die at the age of man,but this death shall come in the twinkling of an eye and mortality shall give way to immortality suddenly. There shall be no graves, and the righteous shall be caught up to a glorious resurrection.’ ([Church History and Modern Revelation,]1:461; italics added)” (Brewster,Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia,10).

Doctrine and Covenants 63:61–64—“Let All Men Beware How They Take My Name in Their Lips”

Elder James E. Talmage, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught:

“To take the name of God in vain … is to use that name lightly, to use it emptily, to use it without effect, as far as the intent is concerned. …

“By way of summary:

“1. We may take the name of God in vain by profane speech.

“2. We take it in vain when we swear falsely, not being true to our oaths and promises.

“3. We take it in vain in a blasphemous sense when we presume to speak in that name without authority.

“4. And we take his name in vain whenever we wilfully do aught [anything] that is in defiance of his commandments, since we have taken his name upon ourselves” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1931, 50, 53).

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–F) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 63.

Activity A iconWarning Signs and a Proverb

The Lord gave some strong words of warning for the rebellious who k for signs and wonders before they will believe.

  1. 1.

    StudyDoctrine and Covenants 63:1–12and explain the type of “signs” the wicked will receive.

  2. 2.

    Using what you learn in verses 5–12, list what you would write on several signs to warn those with whom the Lord is displeased.

  3. 3.

    Write a proverb, or easily remembered saying, that expresses the Lord’s warning to sign-kers.

Activity B iconIdentify the Consequences

Everything we do has its consequences—our good deeds as well as our sins.

  1. 1.

    Make four columns in your notebook. Label them “Sins,” “Consequences of Sin,” “Alternative to Sin,” and “Consequences of Alternative.”

  2. 2.

    ReadDoctrine and Covenants 63:13–19and list in the first column the sins mentioned there; list in the second column the consequences for each sin.

  3. 3.

    Read verses 20–21 and, in the appropriate columns, fill in information about the alternative to sinning and the consequences of the alternative.

  4. 4.

    Why do you think some people choose to sin rather than to obey? Why is obedience the better choice?

Activity C iconA Key to Knowledge

ReadDoctrine and Covenants 63:22–23andAlma 12:9–11. Summarize what we are told is the key to understanding the “mysteries” of the kingdom. Why do you think the Lord requires that?

Activity D iconAre You Concerned or Comforted?

Review what the Lord taught about the last days inDoctrine and Covenants 63:32–37.

  1. 1.

    Select one prophecy that might cause some people to be concerned about the Second Coming and explain why.

  2. 2.

    Select another prophecy that might bring some people comfort and explain why.

  3. 3.

    Ponder how you feel about living in the last days and write a paragraph describing how you can prepare to face the Second Coming with faith instead of fear ( the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed).

Activity E iconWhat Will the Millennium Be Like?

From your study ofDoctrine and Covenants 63:47–54, write a description of what life will be like in Zion during the Millennium. Be sure to include in your description the following key ideas: inheritance, death, age of a man, changed in the twinkling of an eye, and separation ( the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed).

Activity F iconGive Modern Examples

When we think of someone taking the name of the Lord in vain, we usually think of profanity.Doctrine and Covenants 63:60–64explains that there are other ways of committing that sin. Study those verses and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forDoctrine and Covenants 63:61–64and write several modern examples of how we can avoid taking the name of the Lord in vain.