Revelation 12–14

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 256–58


Introduction

Revelation 12–14represents a pause in the unfolding vision of the seventh seal. Before revealing the final victory of Jesus Christ over the kingdom of the devil, the Lord shows John the history of the war between good and evil that leads to the culminating events in the seventh seal. In chapter 12, John sees the War in Heaven, the casting out of a third part of Heavenly Father’s spirit children who had followed Lucifer, and the continuation of the war on earth. In chapter 13, John witnesses the worldwide rise of evil-inspired political and religious kingdoms (see vv. 7–8), increasing Satan’s control over the children of men. Finally, in chapter 14, he sees truth and priesthood power restored to the earth (see vv. 6–7) to prepare believers for the destruction of the wicked.

Prayerfully study Revelation 12–14and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 462–63.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Revelation 12–14.

Revelation 12:3–13. The war that began in heaven is still being fought today. The Lord has provided the means for us to keep from being a casualty in this war.

(30–35 minutes)

Write War on the board. Help students understand that they are in the midst of a spiritual war by discussing some of the following questions:

  • Do you know someone who has been in a war? If so, what was that person’s experience like?

  • How might a person going to war feel?

  • Read Ephesians 6:12. According to this verse, what battle are we a part of?

  • What do you think is the hardest part of being in this spiritual war?

Explain to students that in Revelation 12–14, the Lord pauses in His explanation of the events of the latter days. Before revealing His final victory over the kingdom of the devil, the Lord shows John the history of the war between good and evil that leads to the culminating events in the seventh seal. Explain that knowing the meaning of some symbols helps us understand these chapters. Give students copies of the accompanying chart as a handout or draw it on the board, leaving the “Meanings” column blank. Work through it as a class, allowing students to discover possible meanings for the symbols from the cross-references.

Read with students Revelation 12:1–6and discuss the following points:

  • The mission of the early Church was to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God in which Jesus Christ would reign (see vv. 1–2).

  • Satan and his followers sought to destroy that kingdom (see vv. 3–4).

  • The kingdom of God was taken to heaven as the Church fell into apostasy (see vv. 5–6).

Read Revelation 12:7–9and ask: What war do these verses refer to? (The War in Heaven.) Tell students that they were part of that war as spirit children of God in the premortal world. Invite them to read Revelation 12:11, and ask: What enabled those on the Lord’s side to win that war? Write their responses on the board and discuss them. Possible answers include:

  • Our faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ (“the blood of the Lamb”).

  • Our willingness to testify of our beliefs (“the word of their testimony”).

  • Our willingness to live our mortal lives and in some cases even die for the cause of righteousness (“they loved not their lives unto the death”).

Tell students that the conflict that began with the War in Heaven and continued with the persecution of the early Church continues today. Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:28–29and ask:

  • How can the principles that helped us in the War in Heaven help us today?

  • What can we do to strengthen our testimony of Jesus Christ?

To help students understand how we can strengthen our testimonies and overcome Satan, read and discuss the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales:

“Testimonies often come when there is willingness to serve where we are called. They come when a decision is made to strive to be obedient. Testimonies come during efforts to help, lift, and strengthen others. They come from prayer and from studying the scriptures and applying them in our lives. Whatever our circumstances, there seem to be moments in each of our lives when we can be given the knowledge that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. There is no greater search in life that we can embark upon than the quest to gain a testimony of the truth” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 27; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 22).

Revelation 13. Satan has power to deceive people through miracles and signs.

(20–25 minutes)

Ask students:

  • Of all the children of God, which one would have the greatest desire to appear righteous but teach falsehoods?

  • Why does Satan want to mislead us?

Read the following statement or write it on the board:

“In relation to the kingdom of God, the devil always sets up his kingdom at the very same time in opposition to God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 365).

Tell students that Satan’s mission is to destroy God’s work by leading His children away from the truth. By studying John’s vision, we can learn how Satan works so we can resist his deceptions. Have students read Revelation 13:1–4, including the Joseph Smith Translation changes in footnote 1a. Ask:

  • What is the beast in verse 1 “in the likeness of”?

  • From whom do these kingdoms receive their power and authority? (The dragon, or Satan; see Revelation 12:9).

  • Why do the people worship the dragon and the beast?

Explain that the beast will have great power in the world. Read Revelation 13:7–8.

  • According to these verses, who will the beast overcome?

  • Who are the only ones who will not worship the beast?

  • What does it mean to have your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? How do you get your name written there? (see Alma 5:57–58).

To see why Satan has so much power over the people of the earth, read aloud Revelation 13:11–18, discussing the following questions with students as you read:

  • In verse 11, what might we conclude from the fact that the second beast had “horns like a lamb” but “spake as a dragon”? (It was not what it appeared to be.)

  • In what way does this beast imitate God’s power?

  • What effect do these miracles have on those dwelling on earth? (The miracles deceive them; see v. 14.)

  • In verse 14, what does making an image of the first beast represent? (Worshiping the beast.)

  • What was required in order to “buy or sell” in the kingdoms of the beast?

Note: The identity of the beast has not been revealed, so a discussion about the number 666 would be speculative and of little value. Instead discuss questions like the following:

Consider reading the following statement by Elder Marvin J. Ashton:

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s pattern for righteous living and eternal life. It makes possible goal-setting and lofty priorities. Satan and his advocates will constantly try to deceive and entice us into following their patterns. If we are to achieve daily safety, exaltation, and eternal happiness, we need to live by the light and truth of our Savior’s plan. All salvation revolves around our Savior” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1990, 24; or Ensign, Nov. 1990, 20).

Testify that, though Satan has great power, the Lord’s power is greater.

Revelation 14:6–7(Scripture Mastery). The gospel was restored in the last days through God’s angels to prepare the inhabitants of the earth for the coming of the Lord.

(15–20 minutes)

Show students a picture of a temple, preferably one in your area, with an angel Moroni statue. Read Revelation 14:6–7and ask: Who do you think the angel spoken of in these verses is? Point to the statue in the picture, and ask: Why do you think the angel Moroni is placed on the top of many of our temples?

Have a student read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“John the Revelator ‘saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people’ (Revelation 14:6). That angel has come. His name is Moroni. His is a voice speaking from the dust, bringing another witness of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 93; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 70).

Show students the picture Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith in His Room (Joseph Smith History 1:29–47) (item no. 62492). Recount the story of Moroni’s visits from Joseph Smith—History 1:29–34, and then discuss the following questions:

  • What was Moroni to bring to the earth? (see D&C 27:5; 133:36–37).

  • What instruments did the Lord prepare that would help Joseph Smith fulfill this mission? (The Urim and Thummim; see D&C 20:8–10; Joseph Smith—History 1:35.)

  • Why is it important that the message of the gospel be delivered? (The hour of God’s judgment has come; see D&C 133:38–40.)

  • How does the gospel prepare people for the judgments of God that will take place before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

  • In what way did Moroni help to save the world from destruction?

  • What can we do today to help fulfill the mission that Moroni began?

Explain that the gospel must be preached “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). Ask:

  • Where have your friends and family members preached the gospel? (List places and languages on the board.)

  • Has the gospel been preached in every tongue and in every nation?

Have a student read the following statement by President Hinckley:

“We have not as yet carried the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. But we have made great strides. We have gone wherever we are permitted to go. God is at the helm, and doors will be opened by His power according to His divine will. Of that I am confident. Of that I am certain” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 93; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 70–71).

Encourage students to remember the meaning of the statue of the angel Moroni and to prepare themselves to fill missions when the time comes.

Revelation 14:8–13. Faithful followers of Jesus Christ will one day rest from their labors, and their righteous works will be remembered.

(10–15 minutes)

Write the word rest on the board and ask one or two students to describe what they do to rest when they get home from a difficult day of school. Ask: What words would you use to describe how that rest feels to you?

Have students read Revelation 14:8–13and mark each occurrence of the word rest. Ask:

  • How many times is the word rest used? (Twice; see vv. 11, 13.)

  • How does rest for the wicked compare with rest for the Saints?

  • What would you be willing to do to receive the rest that the Saints obtain?

Invite students to read Alma 34:34–35and Mosiah 5:15. Ask:

  • What do you have to do to be “sealed” to the devil?

  • What do you have to do to be “sealed” to the Lord?

Testify that we determine our eternal reward with every choice we make. Challenge students to make the choices that will eventually bring them rest from all their labors. Have a student read the following statement by President Joseph F. Smith:

“The ancient prophets speak of ‘entering into God’s rest’; what does it mean? To my mind, it means entering into the knowledge and love of God, having faith in his purpose and in his plan, to such an extent that we know we are right, and that we are not hunting for something else. … The man who has reached that degree of faith in God that all doubt and fear have been cast from him, he has entered into ‘God’s rest,’ … rest from doubt, from fear, from apprehension of danger, rest from the religious turmoil of the world; from the cry that is going forth, here and there” (Gospel Doctrine, 58).