Section 133 The Lord's Appendix to the Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, (2002), 335–343


Historical Background

On 1 November 1831, a year and a half after the Church was organized, a special conference of the Church was held at Hiram, Ohio. Many revelations had been received from the Lord prior to that time, and the compiling of these revelations for publication was one of the principal subjects passed on at the conference (see Historical Background to D&C 1). The compilation was to be entitled the Book of Commandments; however, all but a few copies of the Book of Commandments were destroyed by the mobs in Jackson County (see Historical Background for D&C 98). Since additional revelations were subsequently received, a new collection was published in Ohio and called the Doctrine and Covenants.

The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded: “It had been decided by the conference that Elder Oliver Cowdery should carry the commandments and revelations to Independence, Missouri, for printing, and that I should arrange and get them in readiness by the time that he left, which was to be by—or, if possible, before—the 15th of the month [November]. At this time there were many things which the Elders desired to know relative to preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering; and in order to walk by the true light, and be instructed from on high, on the 3rd of November, 1831, I inquired of the Lord and received the following important revelation, which has since been added to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and called the Appendix: [D&C 133].” (History of the Church, 1:229.)

Elder John A. Widtsoe explained that “the ‘Appendix’ [D&C 133], supplements the introduction [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.” (Message of the Doctrine and Covenants, p. 17.)

Some of the major themes presented by the Lord in this revelation are summarized in the tenth article of faith.

Notes and Commentary

D&C 133. A Collection of Key Concepts

The scriptures form a great latticework of gospel concepts. Rather than collect gospel concepts by topic, the Lord chose to scatter them throughout the sacred writings, here a little and there a little. Only by diligent searching and studying can we come to a fulness of understanding. The more we immerse ourself in the scriptures, the more familiar we become with language and concepts that trigger a host of associations.

Section 133 contains an unusual number of such concepts that presuppose a knowledge of other scriptures. If one is not familiar with such principles as the Lord coming to His temple (see D&C 133:2), Babylon (see vv. 4–7, 14), the parable of the ten virgins (see v. 10), the story of Lot’s wife (see v. 15), the Lamb standing on Mount Zion (see v. 18), or the time when Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives (see v. 20), one will miss significant insights into what the Lord says in this section. The commentary on this section will focus on the background of these key scriptures.

D&C 133:1, 16. To Whom Does the Lord Direct This Revelation?

The revelation is directed to members of the Church (see D&C 133:1) and to the inhabitants of the earth (see v. 16). Compare these verses with the preface given at the same conference (see D&C 1:1–4).

D&C 133:2. Has the Lord Suddenly Come to His Temple?

The verb tense used in verse 2 indicates that the Lord’s appearance was still in the future as of November 1831.

Elder Orson Pratt said: “We read in the scriptures of divine truth that the Lord our God is to come to his temple in the last days. … It is recorded in the 3rd chapter of Malachi that ‘the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple.’ This had no reference to the first coming of the Messiah, to the day when he appeared in the flesh; but it has reference to that glorious period termed the last days, when the Lord will again have a house, or a temple reared up on the earth to his holy name.” (In Journal of Discourses, 14:274.)

Smith and Sjodahl pointed out: “This prediction has in part been fulfilled, for the Lord appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple and there ministered to them in 1836; but this prophecy has a broader meaning, and the Lord shall come, without a doubt, to His Temple, where He will sit as ‘a refiner and purifier of silver,’ purging the house of Israel and ministering to His people. This appearing will be separate and distinct from the great coming in the clouds of heaven, when He will appear with power and great glory (Matt. 24:30) with a curse to judgment (v. 2) upon all the nations that forget God. This coming will be for the blessing and benefit of the most faithful of His saints, and when He comes to take final vengeance on the world, He will be preceded by a sign (Matt. 24:30; Sec. 88:93), that all peoples shall see and judgment shall be poured out upon the wicked.” (Commentary, p. 840.)

D&C 133:3. “Make Bare His Holy Arm”

The arm is a symbol of strength and power. For the Lord to make bare His arm is to reveal His strength and power before the eyes of the world. (See Exodus 15:1–18 where an example of this is given; see also Notes and Commentary on D&C 15:2; 35:8–10.)

D&C 133:3. What Does It Mean That “All Nations … Shall See the Salvation of Their God”?

“By ‘see the salvation of their God’ is meant that all peoples shall see the victory or deliverance which the Almighty shall bring about in favor of His people [see Isaiah 12:2; 52:10]” (Sperry, Compendium, p. 300).

D&C 133:4. “Wherefore, Prepare Ye, Prepare Ye”

The scriptures and the living prophets teach that the Saints must strive for three important things as they ready themselves for the Second Coming:

1. Preparation. Elder Harold B. Lee said of preparing for the Second Coming:

“This preparation demands first that a people, to receive the coming of the Lord, must be taught the personality and the nature of God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

“… How can one meet a person whose identity is unknown? How can one be prepared to meet a person about whom he has no knowledge? How can one be prepared to meet a being whose personality he cannot comprehend? …

“To my thinking, another requisite of that preparation to receive the Lord at the beginning of his millennial reign demands that the people be taught to accept the divinity of the mission of Jesus as the Savior of the world [see Alma 11:37, 40]. …

“… We must accept the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith as the instrumentality through which the restoration of the gospel and the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ was accomplished. Each member of the Church, to be prepared for the millennial reign, must receive a testimony, each for himself, of the divinity of the work established by Joseph Smith. … [As Heber C. Kimball said,] ‘The time will come when no man nor woman will be able to endure on borrowed light. Each will have to be guided by the light within himself.’” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1956, pp. 61–62.)

2. Sanctification. Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained:

“To be sanctified is to become clean, pure, and spotless; to be free from the blood and sins of the world; to become a new creature of the Holy Ghost, one whose body has been renewed by the rebirth of the Spirit. Sanctification is a state of saintliness, a state attained only by conformity to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. The plan of salvation is the system and means provided whereby men may sanctify their souls and thereby become worthy of a celestial inheritance.

“Sanctification is a basic doctrine of the gospel (D. & C. 20:31–34); indeed, the very reason men are commanded to believe, repent, and be baptized is so they ‘may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost,’ and thereby be enabled to stand spotless before the judgment bar of Christ. (2 Ne. 27:19–21.)” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 675.)

Since the scriptures teach that no unclean thing can dwell in His presence (see Moses 6:57), it is clear that the Saints who are caught up to meet Him must be sanctified.

3. Gathering. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

“Two things are accomplished by the gathering of Israel: First, those who have thus chosen Christ as their Shepherd; those who have taken upon themselves his name in the waters of baptism; those who are seeking to enjoy his Spirit here and now and to be inheritors of eternal life hereafter—such people need to be gathered together to strengthen each other and to help one another perfect their lives.

“And second, those who are seeking the highest rewards in eternity need to be where they can receive the blessings of the house of the Lord, both for themselves and for their ancestors in Israel who died without a knowledge of the gospel, but who would have received it with all their heart had opportunity afforded.

“Manifestly in the early days of this dispensation, this meant gathering to the mountain of the Lord’s house in the tops of the mountains of North America. There alone were congregations strong enough for the Saints to strengthen each other. There alone were the temples of the Most High where the fulness of the ordinances of exaltation are performed.

“However, in the providences of Him who knoweth all things, in the providences of Him who scattered Israel and who is now gathering that favored people again, the day has now come when the fold of Christ is reaching out to the ends of the earth. We are not established in all nations, but we surely shall be before the second coming of the Son of Man.

“As the Book of Mormon says, in the last days, ‘the saints of God’ shall be found ‘upon all the face of the earth.’ Also: ‘The saints of the church of the Lamb and … the covenant people of the Lord’—scattered as they are ‘upon all the face of the earth’—shall be ‘armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.’ (1 Ne. 14:12, 14.)

“We are living in a new day. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fast becoming a worldwide church. Congregations of Saints are now, or soon will be, strong enough to support and sustain their members no matter where they reside. Temples are being built wherever the need justifies.” (“Come: Let Israel Build Zion,” Ensign, May 1977, p. 117.)

D&C 133:5, 14. Babylon

In Old Testament days, Babylon was a city and empire of great wickedness and worldly glory that enslaved Israel. Because of that historical fact, Babylon became a symbol of physical and spiritual enslavement, a representation of sin, wickedness, ungodliness, evil, and worldliness. The followers of Christ are commanded to come out of Babylon and flee spiritually to Zion, which is the pure in heart. (See Notes and Commentary on D&C 35:11; 86:1–7; Enrichment B in the Appendix.)

D&C 133:5. What Is Meant by the “Vessels of the Lord”?

Vessels used in the temple by the ancient Israelites were handled only by authorized priesthood holders who were worthy. The phrase “be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord” (D&C 133:5) has since been used to mean that priesthood bearers should be worthy and righteous.

Christ sending the Twelve to all nations

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

D&C 133:8, 16, 37. What Did the Lord Mean When He Said to “Call upon All Nations”?

President Spencer W. Kimball said:

“I ask you, what did he mean when the Lord took his Twelve Apostles to the top of the Mount of Olives and said:

“… And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8.)

“These were his last words on earth before he went to his heavenly home.

“What is the significance of the phrase ‘uttermost part of the earth’? He had already covered the area known to the apostles. Was it the people in Judea? Or those in Samaria? Or the few millions in the Near East? Where were the ‘uttermost parts of the earth’? Did he mean the millions in what is now America? Did he include the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, in Greece, Italy, around the Mediterranean, the inhabitants of central Europe? What did he mean? Or did he mean all the living people of all the world and those spirits assigned to this world to come in centuries ahead? Have we underestimated his language or its meaning? How can we be satisfied with 100,000 converts out of nearly four billion people in the world who need the gospel? …

“It seems to me that the Lord chose his words when he said ‘every nation,’ ‘every land,’ ‘uttermost bounds of the earth,’ ‘every tongue,’ ‘every people,’ every soul,’ ‘all the world,’ ‘many lands.’

“Surely there is significance in these words!

“Certainly his sheep were not limited to the thousands about him and with whom he rubbed shoulders each day. A universal family! A universal command!

“My brethren, I wonder if we are doing all we can. Are we complacent in our approach to teaching all the world? We have been proselyting now 144 years. Are we prepared to lengthen our stride? To enlarge our vision?

“Remember, our ally is our God. He is our commander. He made the plans. He gave the commandment. …

“Somehow, brethren, I feel that when we have done all in our power that the Lord will find a way to open doors. That is my faith. …

“I believe the Lord can do anything he sets his mind to do.

“But I can see no good reason why the Lord would open doors that we are not prepared to enter. Why should he break down the Iron Curtain or the Bamboo Curtain or any other curtain if we are still unprepared to enter?” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, pp. 4–5, 7.)

D&C 133:8. Why Are the Jews Last When They Are the Blood of Israel?

From the twelve tribes of Israel, it was the privilege of Judah to be the host tribe when the Son of God was born into mortality. One of the saddest accounts recorded in scripture is the rejection by the majority of the Jews (who are the of tribe of Judah) of their King. Because the Jews as a nation would not accept the King of Israel, the gospel was taken from them and given to the Gentiles. Because of the love the Savior has for all of Israel, the gospel will again be taken to the tribe of Judah before the Second Coming of the Savior (see 1 Nephi 13:42; Ether 13:12). They who first received the Master shall receive Him again, but this time they will be the last to do so.

ancient oil lamp

Personal righteousness adds oil to one’s lamp.

D&C 133:10, 19. “The Bridegroom Cometh. … Prepare Yourselves”

Doctrine and Covenants 133:10 refers to the parable of the ten virgins (see Matthew 25:1–13), of which Elder James E. Talmage said: “The story itself is based on oriental marriage customs, with which the Lord’s attentive listeners were familiar. It was and yet is common in those lands, particularly in connection with marriage festivities among the wealthy classes, for the bridegroom to go to the home of the bride, accompanied by his friends in processional array, and later to conduct the bride to her new home with a larger body of attendants composed of groomsmen, bridesmaids, relatives and friends. As the bridal party progressed, to the accompaniment of gladsome music, it was increased by little groups who had gathered in waiting at convenient places along the route, and particularly near the end of the course where organized companies came forth to meet the advancing procession. Wedding ceremonies were appointed for the evening and night hours; and the necessary use of torches and lamps gave brilliancy and added beauty to the scene.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 577.)

Often at such wedding processions, the appearance of the groom came after a long wait. Bridesmaids carried a small lamp and a supply of oil to help light the way when the wedding party appeared.

President Kimball taught that the oil that the wise virgins had and the foolish did not have represents individual righteousness (see Notes and Commentary for D&C 45:56–57).

The following scriptures relate the parable to the Second Coming: Doctrine and Covenants 45:56–59; 63:53–54.

D&C 133:11. When Will Christ Come to Usher in His Millennial Reign?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“Question: Does or will anyone know when the Lord will come? Answer: As to the day and hour, No; as to the generation, Yes.

“Question: Who shall know the generation? Answer: The saints, the children of light, those who can read the signs of the times, those who treasure up the Lord’s word so they will not be deceived.

“Paul told the Thessalonians that ‘the coming of the Lord’ would be ‘as travail upon a woman with child’; that where people of the world are concerned Jesus would come ‘as a thief in the night,’ that is unexpectedly and without warning; but that where ‘the children of light’ are concerned, the Lord would not come as ‘a thief in the night,’ for they are aware of the ‘times and seasons’ connected with his return. (1 Thess. 4:13–18; 5:1–7.) Thus, though the saints do not know the day, they are aware of the season. As a woman in travail feels the pains of the approaching birth, so the saints read the signs of the times; neither knows the exact moment of the anticipated happening, but both know the approximate time.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:665–66; see also Matthew 24:36, 42; D&C 45:39; 49:7; 77:6, 12; 130:14–17.)

D&C 133:12–13. Zion and Jerusalem As Places of Gathering

“The Gentiles who obeyed the Gospel were commanded (v. 12) to gather in Zion, and those of the house of Judah were to flee to Jerusalem (v. 13). This is in harmony with the prediction of Isaiah and Micah, that out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. For from both these centers the Lord shall judge. Jerusalem shall be re-built and become a holy city, the capital for Judah, and Zion shall be the capital and city of our God, for Ephraim and his fellows. Both shall be seats of government in unison with each other, and the Lord shall dwell in both.” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 841.)

D&C 133:13. What Does the Phrase “Mountains of the Lord’s House” Mean?

With reference to a similar statement in Micah 4:1, President Harold B. Lee explained: “The expression ‘the mountain of the Lord’s house,’ as here indicated, was undoubtedly to be referred to as a place as well as a definition of a righteous people” (“The Way to Eternal Life,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, p. 15).

Elder Erastus Snow said: “‘The mountain of the Lord’s house’—this is a peculiar phrase, and was probably used by the Prophet because it was a common mode of expression in Israel in the days of David and many of the Prophets several hundred years after him, for, in speaking of Mount Moriah, on which the Temple of Solomon was built, they spoke of it as the mountain of the Lord’s house. Moriah is a hill in the city of Jerusalem, on which David located the site of the Temple, and on which his son Solomon built it, and it was called the mountain of the house of the Lord.” (In Journal of Discourses, 16:202.)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that the phrase has more than one meaning:

“The mountain of the Lord’s house is the mountain where the temple of God is built. [Isaiah 2:2–3 quoted; see also Micah 4:1–2; 2 Nephi 12:2–3.]

“This great prophecy, as is often the case, is subject to the law of multiple fulfilment. 1. In Salt Lake City and other mountain locations temples, in the full and true sense of the word, have been erected, and representatives of all nations are flowing unto them to learn of God and his ways. … 2. But the day is yet future when the Lord’s house is to be built on that ‘Mount Zion’ which is ‘the city of New Jerusalem’ in Jackson County, Missouri. (D. & C. 84:2–4.) Mount Zion, itself, will be the mountain of the Lord’s house in the day when that glorious temple is erected. 3. When the Jews flee unto Jerusalem, it will be ‘unto the mountains of the Lord’s house’ (D. & C. 133:13), for a holy temple is to be built there also as part of the work of the great era of restoration. (Ezek. 37:24–28.)

“The law cannot go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, in the full millennial sense that Isaiah foresaw and specified, until these two great future temples are constructed in the old and new Jerusalems.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 517–18.)

President Gordon B. Hinckley gave an additional application of the phrase mountain of the Lord’s house. Speaking at the dedication of the newly-completed Conference Center on 8 October 2000, President Hinckley said: “I believe [Isaiah 2:2–3] applies to the historic and wonderful Salt Lake Temple. But I believe also that it is related to this magnificent hall. For it is from this pulpit that the law of God shall go forth, together with the word and testimony of the Lord.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 69.)

D&C 133:14–15. “He That Goeth, Let Him Not Look Back”

Lot, the nephew of Abraham, lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, another place of such gross wickedness that it has become a symbol of the world and its evil. Lot was told to take his family and flee. As they did so, Lot’s wife looked back (she probably returned to Sodom and Gomorrah; see Luke 17:31–32) and was destroyed. (See Genesis 19:15–26.) In context this reference is clear. Once we forsake the world, we cannot turn back, or we too may get caught in the destruction that awaits Babylon.

D&C 133:17, 36. Who Was “the Angel Crying through the Midst of Heaven”?

The language of this verse is similar to the language of Revelation 14:6–7. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“Now, as to the actual work of restoration—what angel performed this mighty deed, this work which involves the salvation of all men on earth in these latter-days? Who restored the everlasting gospel? Was it one angel or many?

“It is traditional (and true!) to reply: ‘Moroni, son of Mormon, the now resurrected Nephite prophet, who holds the keys of “the stick of Ephraim” (D. & C. 27:5), the one through whose ministry the Book of Mormon was again brought to light.’ The reasoning is that the Book of Mormon contains ‘the fulness of the everlasting gospel’ (D. & C. 135:3); that therein is God’s message of salvation for all of earth’s inhabitants; and that this gospel message is now being taken by the Lord’s witnesses to one nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people after another. …

“But other angels were yet to come—Moses, Elias, Elijah, Gabriel, Raphael, and ‘divers angels, … all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little.’ (D. & C. 128:21.)

“Thus the angel Moroni brought the message, that is, the word; but other angels brought the keys and priesthood, the power. And in the final analysis the fulness of the everlasting gospel consists of all of the truths and powers needed to enable men to gain a fulness of salvation in the celestial heaven.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:528–30.)

D&C 133:20–22. What Appearances Will the Lord Make?

Elder Charles W. Penrose explained that Christ will make several appearances, namely, to the Saints gathered to Zion, to the Jews gathered back to their homeland, and to the rest of the world:

“Among the first-mentioned of these three classes of men [that is, among the Saints in Zion] the Lord will make his appearance first; and that appearance will be unknown to the rest of mankind. He will come to the Temple prepared for him, and his faithful people will behold his face, hear his voice, and gaze upon his glory. From his own lips they will receive further instructions for the development and beautifying of Zion and for the extension and sure stability of his kingdom.

“His next appearance will be among the distressed and nearly vanquished sons of Judah. At the crisis of their fate, when the hostile troops of several nations are ravaging the city and all the horrors of war are overwhelming the people of Jerusalem, he will set his feet upon the Mount of Olives, which will cleave and part asunder at his touch. Attended by a host from heaven, he will overthrow and destroy the combined armies of the Gentiles, and appear to the worshipping Jews as the mighty Deliverer and Conqueror so long expected by their race; and while love, gratitude, awe, and admiration swell their bosoms, the Deliverer will show them the tokens of his crucifixion and disclose himself as Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had reviled and whom their fathers put to death. Then will unbelief part from their souls, and ‘the blindness in part which has happened unto Israel’ be removed. ‘A fountain for sin and uncleanness shall be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,’ and ‘a nation will be born’ unto God ‘in a day.’ They will be baptized for the remission of their sins, and will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the government of God as established in Zion will be set up among them, no more to be thrown down for ever.

“The great and crowning advent of the Lord will be subsequent to these two appearances; but who can describe it in the language of mortals? The tongue of man falters, and the pen drops from the hand of the writer, as the mind is rapt in contemplation of the sublime and awful majesty of his coming to take vengeance on the ungodly and to reign as King of the whole earth.” (“The Second Advent,” Millennial Star, 10 Sept. 1859, pp. 582–83.)

Other scriptures show that besides Christ’s appearance in Zion, He will appear at the council held at Adam-ondi-Ahman (see Notes and Commentary for D&C 116:1).

D&C 133:23–24. Will the Continents Be Rejoined?

Genesis indicates that in the early history of the world the land masses were united. Moses recorded that one of the great-great-grandsons of Shem was named Peleg (a Hebrew word meaning division) because “in his days was the earth divided” (Genesis 10:25). Many scholars have passed this reference off as meaning some sort of cultural or political division, but modern prophets have taught that this statement should be taken literally.

An article published early in the history of the Church under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith stated: “The Eternal God hath declared that the great deep shall roll back into the north countries and that the land of Zion and the land of Jerusalem shall be joined together, as they were before they were divided in the days of Peleg. No wonder the mind starts at the sound of the last days!” (“The Last Days,” Evening and Morning Star, Feb. 1833, p. 1.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “If … the earth is to be restored as it was in the beginning, then all the land surface will again be in one place as it was before the days of Peleg, when this great division was accomplished. Europe, Africa, and the islands of the sea including Australia, New Zealand, and other places in the Pacific must be brought back and joined together as they were in the beginning.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5:74.)

In an introduction to a book on continental drift, a scientist writes:

“Formerly, most scientists regarded the earth as rigid and the continents as fixed, but now the surface of the earth is seen as slowly deformable and the continents as ‘rafts’ floating on a ‘sea’ of denser rock. The continents have repeatedly collided and joined, repeatedly broken and separated in different patterns, and, very likely, they have grown larger in the process.

“This scientific revolution, as others before it, was long in the making, but it was not until the late 1960s that it began to succeed. At a meeting of the world’s geophysicists in August of 1971, it was made clear that the notion of continental drift, which had been heresy only a few years before, had become the orthodoxy of the great majority.” (Continents Adrift, preface.)

Though the time of this division of the land is placed much earlier by scientists than by the biblical chronology, the idea of one land mass is widely accepted. This revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 133 declares that sometime in the future that geographical unity will be restored.

D&C 133:26–34. What Do the Saints Know about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“When Shalmanezer overran the Kingdom of Israel (about 721 B.C.), he carried the Ten Tribes comprising that kingdom captive into Assyria. From thence they were led into the lands of the north and have been called the Lost Tribes because they are lost to the knowledge of other people. (1 Ne. 22:4.) ‘We have no knowledge of the location or condition of that part of the Ten Tribes who went into the north country.’ (Compendium. p. 88.)

“Esdras, an apocryphal writer, records this version of their escape from Assyria: ‘Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passage of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter times; and now when they shall begin to come, The Highest shall stay the stream again, that they may go through.’ (Apocrypha, 2 Esdras 13:40–47.)

“Commenting on this, Elder George Reynolds has written: …

“‘Is it altogether improbable that in that long journey of one and a half years, as Esdras states it, from Media the land of their captivity to the frozen north, some of the backsliding Israel rebelled, turned aside from the main body, forgot their God, by and by mingled with the Gentiles and became the leaven to leaven with the promised seed all the nations of the earth? The account given in the Book of Mormon of a single family of this same house, its waywardness, its stiffneckedness before God, its internal quarrels and family feuds are, we fear, an example on a small scale of what most probably happened in the vast bodies of Israelites who for so many months wended their tedious way northward. …’ (Are We of Israel, pp. 10–11.)

The Lost Tribes are not lost unto the Lord. In their northward journeyings they were led by prophets and inspired leaders. They had their Moses and their Lehi, were guided by the spirit of revelation, kept the law of Moses, and carried with them the statutes and judgments which the Lord had given them in ages past. They were still a distinct people many hundreds of years later, for the resurrected Lord visited and ministered among them following his ministry on this continent among the Nephites. (3 Ne. 16:1–4; 17:4.) Obviously he taught them in the same way and gave them the same truths which he gave his followers in Jerusalem and on the American continent; and obviously they recorded his teachings, thus creating volumes of scripture comparable to the Bible and Book of Mormon. (2 Ne. 29:12–14.)

“In due course the Lost Tribes of Israel will return and come to the children of Ephraim to receive their blessings. This great gathering will take place under the direction of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for he holds the keys. … Keys are the right of presidency, the power to direct; and by this power the Lost Tribes will return, with ‘their prophets’ and their scriptures to ‘be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.’ (D. & C. 133:26–35.)

“At the October, 1916, general conference of the Church, Elder James E. Talmage made this prediction: ‘The tribes shall come; they are not lost unto the Lord; they shall be brought forth as hath been predicted; and I say unto you there are those now living—aye, some here present—who shall live to read the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel, which shall be made one with the record of the Jews, or the Holy Bible, and the record of the Nephites, or the Book of Mormon, even as the Lord hath predicted; and those records, which the tribes lost to man but yet to be found again shall bring, shall tell of the visit of the resurrected Christ to them, after he had manifested himself to the Nephites upon this continent.’ (Articles of Faith, p. 513.)” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 455–58.)

For a discussion of the role of John the Beloved with the ten lost tribes, see Notes and Commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 7:3–6.

D&C 133:27. What Is the Highway That Shall Be Cast Up in the Midst of the Great Deep?

The “great deep” means the ocean or a body of water (see Genesis 7:11; Isaiah 51:10).

The scriptures do not explain how a highway will be cast up in the midst of the deep for the ten lost tribes to come to Zion. But the language of this prophecy is related to the account of how Moses parted the Red Sea. With Pharaoh and his army at their backs and the Red Sea in front of them, Israel had come to an impasse. Then a miracle took place: a highway was cast up in the midst of the deep, and Israel crossed over on dry ground. (See Exodus 14; Isaiah 11:15–16.)

D&C 133:35. How Will the Jews Become Sanctified?

See Notes and Commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 45:48–53.

D&C 133:46–51. Why Will the Lord Wear Red Clothing at the Second Coming?

“In ancient times in some parts of the world, people used to squeeze the juice out of the grapes by placing the grapes in a wine vat and then stomping on them. Naturally, the clothes of those persons who ‘treadeth in the wine-vat’ were soon stained with the grape juice and became the same color. When the Savior appears in the last days, his garments will be red ‘like him that treadeth in the wine-vat’ (D&C 133:48), and ‘his voice shall be heard: I have trodden in the wine-press alone’ (D&C 133:50).” (Ludlow, Companion, 1:678.)

Wine in Doctrine and Covenants 133:48–51, as in the sacrament, suggests blood, both Christ’s blood when He worked out the Atonement alone, and the blood of vengeance on the wicked at the Second Coming (see Isaiah 64:1–6). President Joseph Fielding Smith said that “Isaiah has pictured this great day when the Lord shall come with his garments, or apparel, red and glorious, to take vengeance on the ungodly. (Isa. 64:1–6.) This will be a day of mourning to the wicked, but a day of gladness to all who have kept his commandments. Do not let anyone think that this is merely figurative language, it is literal, and as surely as we live that day of wrath will come when the cup of iniquity is full. We have received a great many warnings. The great day of the Millennium will come in; the wicked will be consumed and peace and righteousness will dwell upon all the face of the earth for one thousand years.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:191–92.)

D&C 133:49. How Great Is the Glory of God?

Christ coming in glory

Coming in the clouds of glory

When the Lord comes the second time, He will come in the fulness of His glory. The scriptures explain the effect of the fulness of God’s glory on the earth and its inhabitants when the Lord returns:

  1. 1.

    Mountains will flow down at His presence (see D&C 133:40, 44; Micah 1:4).

  2. 2.

    The waters on the earth will boil (see D&C 133:41).

  3. 3.

    All nations will tremble at His presence (see D&C 133:42).

  4. 4.

    The sun will hide, the moon will withhold its light, and the stars will be hurled from their places (see D&C 133:49).

  5. 5.

    The wicked will be burned by the brightness or fire of the glory of the Lord (see Malachi 4:1–3; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

D&C 133:54–55. Who Was Resurrected at the Time the Savior Was?

“Not only did Christ rise from the dead at that time, but others were seen who had risen from their graves—righteous men and women who died before Christ, and who had the privilege of rising with him. I do not believe that the resurrection then was a general one; I believe it extended to those only who, while upon earth, had proved themselves willing to do all for the kingdom of God, and to whom neither property, honor, nor life itself had been too dear to keep them from carrying out the purposes of God.” (Anthon H. Lund, in Conference Report, Apr. 1904, p. 6.)

D&C 133:56. Graves of the Saints Will Be Opened

Elder James E. Talmage commented: “It is expressly asserted that many graves shall yield up their dead at the time of Christ’s advent in glory, and the just who have slept, together with many who have not died, will be caught up to meet the Lord [see 1 Thessalonians 4:14–16].” (Articles of Faith, p. 388.)

D&C 133:57–60. The Gospel Is Sent through Those the World Considers Weak

See Notes and Commentary on Doctrine and Covenants 1:17–20, 23.

D&C 133:59. “Thrash the Nations”

“This expression [thrash or thresh the nations] is found in Habakkuk 3:12. Threshing, in olden times, was done by treading out the grain on a threshing-floor. The going forth of the messengers of the gospel among the nations is like trampling the wheat sheaves on the hard floor. The valuable kernels are carefully gathered up; the straw is left.” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 186.)

D&C 133:63–74. What Is the Consequence for Those Who “Hearken Not to the Voice of the Lord”?

The day will come when the wicked will see their folly and the judgments of God will come upon them. Moroni said, “Fools mock, but they shall mourn” (Ether 12:26). The Lord will not suffer the unrighteous to join in the inheritance of the righteous. (See D&C 1:14; 63:54, 1 Nephi 14:7; 22:15–21; Acts 3:22–23; JS—H 1:40.)

D&C 133:64. What Is Meant by the Expression “That It Shall Leave Them Neither Root nor Branch”?

“This expression simply means that wicked and indifferent persons who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ will have no family inheritance or patriarchal lineage—neither root (ancestors or progenitors) nor branch (children or posterity). Such persons cannot be received into the celestial kingdom of glory of resurrected beings, but must be content with a lesser blessing.” (Theodore M. Burton, in Conference Report, Oct. 1967, p. 81.)

D&C 133:71. Why Are the Prophets Rejected?

President Spencer W. Kimball commented:

“Various excuses have been used over the centuries to dismiss these divine messengers. There has been denial because the prophet came from an obscure place. ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ (John 1:46.) Jesus was also met with the question, ‘Is not this the carpenter’s son?’ (Matt. 13:55.) By one means or another, the swiftest method of rejection of the holy prophets has been to find a pretext, however false or absurd, to dismiss the man so that his message could also be dismissed. Prophets who were not glib, but slow of speech, were esteemed as naught. …

“We wonder how often hearers first rejected the prophets because they despised them, and finally despised the prophets even more because they had rejected them. Even so, why else is the record of rejection so complete? The cares of the world are so many and so entangling, even very good people are diverted from following the truth because they care too much for the things of the world. …

“Sometimes people let their hearts get so set upon things and the honors of this world that they cannot learn the lessons they most need to learn. Simple truths are often rejected in favor of the much less-demanding philosophies of men, and this is another cause for the rejection of the prophets.

“But while there are various excuses for rejection, there’s a certain cause for this sad record. It must not be passed over: the cares of the world, the honors of the world, and looking beyond the mark are all determined by a persuasive few who presume to speak for all. …

“The holy prophets have not only refused to follow erroneous human trends, but have pointed out these errors. No wonder the response to the prophets has not always been one of indifference. So often the prophets have been rejected because they first rejected the wrong ways of their own society.

“These excuses for rejection of the prophets are poor excuses. The trouble with using obscurity as a test of validity is that God has so often chosen to bring forth his work out of obscurity. He has even said it would be so. (See D&C 1:30.) Christianity did not go from Rome to Galilee; it was the other way around. In our day the routing is from Palmyra to Paris, not the reverse. Just because something is in our midst does not mean that we have been in the midst of it. We can daily drive by a museum or an art gallery but know nothing of what is inside.

“The trouble with rejection because of personal familiarity with the prophets is that the prophets are always somebody’s son or somebody’s neighbor. They are chosen from among the people, not transported from another planet, dramatic as that would be! …

“Of course, rejection of the holy prophets comes because the hearts of people are hardened, as people are shaped by their society. Yet even when the hardening is swift, it can also be subtle. Who, for instance, a scant twenty years ago would have foreseen the massive use of abortion in society today, like all the diseased doctrines of the devil. The practice is pleasing unto the carnal mind.

“Prophets have a way of jarring the carnal mind. Too often the holy prophets are wrongly perceived as harsh and as anxious to make a record in order to say, ‘I told you so.’ Those prophets I have known are the most loving of men. It is because of their love and integrity that they cannot modify the Lord’s message merely to make people feel comfortable. They are too kind to be so cruel. I am so grateful that prophets do not crave popularity.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1978, pp. 115–16; or Ensign, May 1978, pp. 76–77.)

D&C 133:73. Unrighteous Go Away into Outer Darkness

Elder Bruce R. McConkie described outer darkness as hell: “So complete is the darkness prevailing in the minds of these spirits, so wholly has gospel light been shut out of their consciences, that they know little or nothing of the plan of salvation, and have little hope within themselves of advancement and progression through the saving grace of Christ. Hell is literally a place of outer darkness, darkness that hates light, buries truth, and revels in iniquity.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 551–52.)