Doctrine and Covenants 77

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 129–31


Introduction

Many people consider the book of Revelation one of the most difficult of all the books of scripture. Yet the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (History of the Church, 5:342). One reason for the Prophet’s confidence in John’s revelation might be his inspired revision of the Bible. Joseph Smith worked on the New Testament between March 1831 and February 1833. In March 1832 the Prophet took questions concerning the book of Revelation to the Lord and received section 77 in response.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • The scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets provide helpful commentary on difficult passages of scripture (see D&C 77; see also D&C 74).

  • The spirits of humans and animals are in the likeness of their earthly bodies (see D&C 77:2).

  • When the righteous die, they enter paradise (see D&C 77:5; see also Alma 40:11–12).

  • The earth will have a temporal existence of 7,000 years (see D&C 77:6–7).

  • To help us prepare for the Second Coming, the Lord has prophesied many events that will precede it (see D&C 77:6–15).

  • During the seventh thousand years of the earth’s temporal existence, God will finish His work for the salvation of His children (see D&C 77:12).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 117–19.

  • Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 167–71.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 77. The scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets provide helpful commentary on difficult passages of scripture.

(35–40 minutes)

Write on the board the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith, leaving a blank in place of the word in italics: “The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (History of the Church, 5:342; italics added). Ask students what book of scripture they think the Prophet Joseph Smith was referring to. Let them make a few guesses before telling them the answer.

Have a student read the introduction to section 77 above. Ask:

  • What helped make the book of Revelation plain to Joseph Smith?

  • How can the Prophet’s experience help the book of Revelation become more plain to you?

  • What does the Prophet Joseph Smith’s experience teach you about how to get answers to scriptural questions?

Have students read Revelation 4:4–8; 5:1 and write any questions that come to mind. Have them read Doctrine and Covenants 77:1–7 looking for answers to their questions. Encourage students to highlight the inspired interpretations and to write cross-references in the margins (or circle the relevant footnotes) in their Bibles.

Explain that the rest of Doctrine and Covenants 77 deals with Revelation 7–11. Write the accompanying chart on the board. Have students compare the verses in Revelation with those in the Doctrine and Covenants and again write cross-references (or circle footnotes) in their Bibles.

Revelation

Help students recognize that modern scripture often provides interpretations for confusing passages of ancient scripture. Testify that we can also receive help understanding the scriptures through the influence of the Holy Ghost.

Doctrine and Covenants 77:6–15. To help us prepare for the Second Coming, the Lord has prophesied many events that will precede it.

(20–25 minutes)

Invite a student to read the first paragraph of the historical background for section 77 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 167). Ask the class:

  • What prompted the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77?

  • If you could ask the Savior any question, what would it be?

  • What future event are people today most concerned about?

  • What questions would you like to ask the Savior about the Second Coming?

Explain that many of the questions the Prophet asked regarding the book of Revelation deal with the age of the earth and events that will precede the Second Coming. Separate the class into groups and divide the following questions among them. Provide the material listed below from Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 as needed. Invite the groups to use this material and Doctrine and Covenants 77:6–15 to find answers to the questions. Have them report what they learned.

  • How long will the earth exist in a temporal state? (see vv. 6–7).

  • What thousand-year period do you think we are in now? (The sixth.)

  • What is the mission of the four angels sent from God? (see v. 8; see also the commentary for D&C 77:8 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 169).

  • What is the mission of the angel with the seal of God? (see v. 9; see also the commentary for D&C 77:9 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 169–70).

  • What is the mission of the 144,000? (see v. 11; see also the commentary for D&C 77:11 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 170).

  • What work will take place during the seventh thousand years of the earth’s temporal existence, or the Millennium? (see v. 12).

  • When will the events recorded in Revelation 9 take place? (see v. 13).

  • Who is the Elias spoken of in Doctrine and Covenants 77:9, 14?

  • What mission is John the Revelator fulfilling today? (see v. 14; see also the commentary for D&C 77:14 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, p. 170).

  • What will the two prophets in verse 15 do before Christ comes again? (see the commentary for D&C 77:15 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 170–71).

  • How can knowing these things help prepare the Saints for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

Read 2 Nephi 26:24. Testify that the Lord loves His children and reveals truths that will benefit us and help us obtain eternal life.