Lesson 157: Revelation 14–16

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

In a vision, the Apostle John saw an angel restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in the latter days. He also heard a voice from heaven describing the blessings that come to those who die having been faithful to the Lord. John saw the gathering of the righteous and the gathering of the wicked in the latter days and the judgments of God being poured out upon the wicked.

Suggestions for Teaching

Revelation 14

John sees the Restoration of the gospel and the gathering of the righteous and wicked

Write the following question on the board: Is it possible to enjoy peace even when the world is filled with wickedness, calamities, and violence?

Invite several students to respond to this question and explain their responses.

Invite students to look for truths as they study Revelation 14–16 that can bring them peace while living in a wicked and tumultuous world prior to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming.

Explain that as recorded in Revelation 14:1–13, the Apostle John saw a vision of the latter days. In his vision he saw the calamities that would come upon the wicked. He also saw what would bring peace to the righteous.

Invite a student to read Revelation 14:1–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what John saw happening in the latter days.

  • What did John see happening in the latter days?

Remind students that the 144,000 are high priests of the twelve tribes of Israel who will be ordained from every nation to administer the gospel and bring people to the Church (see Revelation 7:4–8; D&C 77:11).

  • According to verses 4–5, how did John describe the 144,000 high priests who would administer the gospel throughout the earth? (Explain that the phrase “not defiled with women” [verse 4] means they were chaste, the phrase “in their mouth was found no guile” [verse 5] means they were honest and sincere, and the phrase “without fault” [verse 5] means they were clean from sin.)

  • Why do you think being chaste, honest, and clean from sin would help the 144,000 high priests take the gospel to others?

Explain that during John’s vision of the latter days he saw three angels. Invite three students to represent the three angels (these students may remain in their seats). Invite the student who represents the first angel to read Revelation 14:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the angel had.

  • What did the angel have?

Invite the student representing the first angel to read Doctrine and Covenants 133:36–37 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the angel did with the everlasting gospel.

  • What did the angel do with the everlasting gospel?

Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith in His Room

Display the picture Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith in His Room (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 91; see also LDS.org). Ask a student to recount what happened during Moroni’s first visit to Joseph Smith. (If students need reminding of these events, you could invite a student to read Joseph Smith—History 1:29–35 aloud.)

  • Under God’s direction, what did Moroni give to Joseph Smith that helped restore the gospel to the earth? (The record containing the Book of Mormon.)

Salt Lake Temple

Display a picture of a temple that has a statue of the angel Moroni on top, such as the picture of the Salt Lake Temple found in the Gospel Art Book (no. 119; see also LDS.org).

  • Why do you think a statue of the angel Moroni is placed on top of many of our temples?

Explain that in a conference talk, President Gordon B. Hinckley quoted Revelation 14:6 and then declared, “That angel has come. His name is Moroni” (“Stay the Course—Keep the Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 70). The angel may also represent a composite of the many heavenly messengers, including Moroni, who have assisted in the latter-day Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:529–31; see also D&C 13; 110:11–16; 128:20–21).

Invite the student representing the first angel to read Revelation 14:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the angel said.

  • What did the angel say?

  • What is the meaning of the phrase “the hour of his judgment is come”? (The time will come when Jesus Christ will judge all the people of the earth. His judgments will occur both at the Second Coming [see Malachi 3:1–5] and at the Final Judgment [see 2 Nephi 9:15].)

  • Based on what we have learned, what is one reason God restored the gospel of Jesus Christ? (Students should identify the following truth: God restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to prepare the earth’s inhabitants for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.)

  • In what ways does the gospel of Jesus Christ prepare people for His Second Coming?

Invite students to ponder how the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has helped bring them peace while living in a wicked and tumultuous world. Ask a few students to share their thoughts with the class.

Invite the student representing the second angel to read Revelation 14:8 aloud and the student representing the third angel to read Revelation 14:9–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the angels said.

  • According to verse 8, what did the second angel say? (Explain that one meaning of the phrase “Babylon is fallen” is that the day will come when the wickedness of the world will end.)

  • How might it bring us peace to know that the wickedness of the world will end?

  • According to verses 9–11, what did the third angel say would happen to those who chose to follow “the beast” (verse 9), or Satan?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statements by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Ask the class to listen for how the Prophet explained the torment the wicked would experience after they die.

Prophet Joseph Smith

“The great misery of departed spirits in the world of spirits, where they go after death, is to know that they come short of the glory that others enjoy and that they might have enjoyed themselves, and they are their own accusers” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 224).

“A man is his own tormentor and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone [see Revelation 21:8]. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 224).

  • According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, what will be part of the torment the wicked will experience after they die?

Point out that after learning what the wicked will experience after they die, John heard a voice from heaven describing what the righteous will experience after they die.

Invite a student to read Revelation 14:12–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the righteous will experience after they die.

  • What will the righteous experience after they die?

  • What do you think it means that they will “rest from their labours”? (verse 13).

  • How would you summarize John’s teachings in verses 12–13 as a principle? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify a principle similar to the following: If we live righteously, then we will be blessed for our works and rest from our labors after we die.)

  • How might this principle bring us peace even when we are surrounded by wickedness?

Consider sharing your testimony of the importance of choosing to live righteously in a wicked world. Invite students to ponder what they can do in their lives to make sure they will not suffer the torment of the wicked but instead enjoy the peace of the righteous. Invite them to act on any impressions they receive.

Summarize Revelation 14:14–20 by explaining that John described two harvests. In his vision, John saw that during the first harvest the righteous would be gathered from the wicked (see verses 14–16) and that during the second harvest the wicked would be gathered and ultimately destroyed (see verses 17–20).

Revelation 15–16

John sees the righteous in the celestial kingdom and seven plagues in the latter days

Invite a student to read Revelation 15:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else John saw occurring in the last days. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that as recorded in Revelation 15–16, John described seven plagues that would torment the wicked in the last days. However, before he described these plagues, John paused to reiterate the blessings that the righteous would receive. Summarize Revelation 15:2–4 by explaining that John saw a vision of those who would overcome Satan and praise God in the celestial kingdom.

Draw seven vials or bowls on the board, and number them 1 through 7 (or simply write the numbers on the board). Explain that in his vision John saw seven vials, or bowls, that contained the seven plagues.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Revelation 16:2–4, 8–12, 16–21. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how John described the seven plagues. Pause after each plague is described, and invite a student to write the plague on the board under the corresponding vial (or number) on the board.

After a student reads John’s description of the third plague, invite a student to read Revelation 16:6 aloud. Ask the class to look for one reason people will suffer this plague in the last days.

  • What is one reason people will suffer this plague?

After a student reads the description of the sixth plague, explain that during this plague the Euphrates River will dry up to prepare for the gathering of the world’s kings for the battle at Armageddon (see Revelation 16:12–16; see also Zechariah 12:11). At the end of this battle, the Savior will appear to the people in Jerusalem (see D&C 45:47–53) and to all the people of the earth (see Matthew 24:30; D&C 101:23).

Invite a student to read Revelation 16:15 aloud, and ask the class to look for what we can do to be prepared for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. Explain that the phrase “keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked” refers to being spiritually ready.

  • According to verse 15, what can we do to be prepared for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming? (Students should identify the following principle: If we are watchful and spiritually ready, then we will be prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.)

  • What are some ways we can become spiritually ready?

Testify that the Lord loves His people and desires that we prepare for His Second Coming. Encourage students to be watchful and spiritually ready so they can receive the Lord’s blessings.

Commentary and Background Information

Revelation 14:8. “Babylon … , that great city”

“Babel was founded by Nimrod and was one of the oldest cities in the land of Mesopotamia, or Shinar (Gen. 10:8–10). The Lord confounded the languages at the time the people were building the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9; Ether 1:3–5, 33–35). Babylon later became Nebuchadnezzar’s capital. He built an enormous city of which the ruins still remain. Babylon became a very wicked city and has since come to symbolize the wickedness of the world” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Babel, Babylon,” scriptures.lds.org).

Revelation 16:15. “Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles applied the phrase “keepeth his garments” (Revelation 16:15) to “temple garments, garments of the holy priesthood, symbolical of the robes of righteousness with which the saints must clothe themselves if they are to gain eternal life.” He then taught the following concerning this phrase:

“Both literally and figuratively, to defile one’s garments is to disobey the Lord’s law, and to keep one’s garments (Rev. 16:15) is to keep the commandments and qualify for the robes of righteousness that clothe celestial beings” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:454–55; see also Revelation 3:3–5).

Revelation 16:16. Gathering in Armageddon

“The name Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew Har Megiddon, meaning the ‘mountain of Megiddo.’ The valley of Megiddo is in the western portion of the plain of Esdraelon, fifty miles (eighty kilometers) north of Jerusalem, and is the site of several crucial battles in Old Testament times. A great and final conflict that will take place near the time of the Second Coming of the Lord is called the battle of Armageddon because it will begin in the same locale. (See Ezek. 39:11; Zech. 12–14, especially 12:11; Rev. 16:14–21.)” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Armageddon,” scriptures.lds.org). The battle that will begin at Har Megiddon will spread to Jerusalem.