Doctrine and Covenants 77: Questions about the Revelation of John

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 89–90

The Prophet Joseph Smith once declared: “The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 290). Many members of the Church find the Apostle John’s book a bit more difficult, and the Christian world has been debating about what it means for centuries.Doctrine and Covenants 77supplies some keys to understanding the book of Revelation that can unlock it for us and help us begin to understand it the way Joseph Smith did. Look also at the book of Revelation to help you understand the context for the Lord’s answers in section 77.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 77

Figurative(v. 2)Symbolic 
Temporal(v. 2, 6)Pertaining to the physical world and earth life 
Felicity(v. 3)Happiness 
Economy(v. 6)Efficient management 
Elias(v. 9)A title for a messenger of God 

Doctrine and Covenants 77:2–3—What Do We Know about the Beasts That John Saw?

John saw glorified life forms that, though unfamiliar to us, are an important part of Heavenly Father’s creations. The Prophet Joseph Smith said of these creations: “I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be n in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,291). At another time he said: “The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were n and heard by John praising and glorifying God” (History of the Church,5:343–44). Certainly this revelation opens our eyes to a universe much more complex and grand than we often suppose.

Doctrine and Covenants 77:15—What Do We Know about the “Two Witnesses”?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “These two shall be followers of that humble man, Joseph Smith, through whom the Lord of Heaven restored the fulness of his everlasting gospel in this final dispensation of grace. No doubt they will be members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the Church” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,3:509).

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 77.

Activity A iconUse the Topical Guide

In the footnotes forDoctrine and Covenants 77:1is a Topical Guide reference to “Earth, Destiny of.” Find this entry in the Topical Guide in your Bible (p. 115) and read several of the references listed to learn more about the topic. List three ideas you find that help you better understand what will happen to the planet earth in the future.

Activity B iconA Book with Seven Seals

  1. 1.

    What do we learn inDoctrine and Covenants 77:6–7about the book “sealed on the back with seven seals” and the seals that John saw inRevelation 5:1?

  2. 2.

    How comforting is it to you to know that God knew from the beginning what would happen on this earth?

Activity C iconExplain a Term

  1. 1.

    Doctrine and Covenants 77:9–11contains the Lord’s answers to Joseph Smith’s questions about the faithful being sealed in their foreheads. Read alsoRevelation 7:1–4and 14:1 and explain what you think this “sealing” reveals about these people.

  2. 2.

    Do you think this is happening to people today or something that will happen in the future?