Chapter 35: The Fall of Babylon and the Establishment of Zion

Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, (2000), 97–99


Introduction

The future is bright, and Latter-day Saints have every reason to be optimistic about the establishment of Zion. It might be well to remind ourselves that Enoch and his people established Zion in their day, also a time of great wickedness. We will do the same. Babylon will yet fall, and Zion will be established by the Lord’s covenant people in this dispensation, the last dispensation before the Second Coming of the Lord.

Doctrinal Outline

Supporting Statements

  • A.

    Babylon symbolizes evil.

    • “Anciently Babylon was the chief and capital city of the Babylonian empire. …

      “… To the Lord’s people anciently, Babylon was known as the center of iniquity, carnality, and worldliness. Everything connected with it was in opposition to all righteousness and had the effect of leading men downward to the destruction of their souls” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 68–69).

    • “Babylon was also destroyed by Xerxes in 478 B.C. and again after Alexander the Great overran the Persian empire in 330 B.C. A rival city was soon built on the Tigris, and Babylon never recovered. Today the greatest world city of antiquity is a mound of desert earth that will not rise again. Babylon the great has fallen forever” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, 423–24).

    • “In prophetic imagery, Babylon is the world with all its carnality and wickedness. Babylon is the degenerate social order created by lustful men who love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Babylon is the almighty governmental power that takes the saints of God into captivity; it is the false churches that build false temples and worship false gods; it is every false philosophy … that leads men away from God and salvation. Babylon is false and degenerate religion in all its forms and branches. Babylon is the communistic system that seeks to destroy the freedom of people in all nations and kingdoms; it is the Mafia and crime syndicates that murder and rob and steal; it is the secret combinations that seek for power and unrighteous dominion over the souls of men. Babylon is the promoter of pornography; it is organized crime and prostitution; it is every evil and wicked and ungodly thing in our whole social structure” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 424).

  • B.

    Spiritual Babylon will fall in utter ruin.

    • “Alas! the nations are in a deep sleep! They are drunken with the abominations of great Babylon! Their cup of wickedness is nearly full! It will soon overflow! Then shall the day of their visitation come—a day of sorrow and mourning—a day of great distress—a day of peril and war! The hosts of the mighty shall fall! The strength of the nations shall cease, and their glory shall pass away! … Then shall the remnant of the heathen know that the Lord is God, for they shall see and hear of his judgments, which he shall execute upon the corrupt powers of the earth. … O Babylon! thou hast decked thyself with costly ornaments! Thou hast clothed thyself with the most gaudy apparel! … Thine external appearance has excited the admiration of all nations. But internally thou art rotten. … Thou hast gathered the tares of the earth, and bound them in bundles, and made their bands strong, that they may be ready for the burning. O Babylon, thy cup is nearly full! Thine hour is close at hand! Thou shalt fall and not rise again!” (Orson Pratt, Masterful Discourses and Writings of Orson Pratt, 86–87).

    • “Here is a truism that all men should hear: Babylon fell, and her gods with her; and Babylon shall fall, and her gods with her. False gods create an evil society. The world is the world, and Babylon is Babylon, because they worship false gods. When men worship the true God according to gospel standards, their social conditions rival those in Enoch’s city; when men worship false gods, they fall into the ways of the world, and their social conditions become as those in Babylon. When we view the fall of Babylon anciently, what we see is the destruction of her idols and ways of worship; and we shall come to the fall of Babylon in the last days, it will be—oh blessed day—the destruction of false worship. … The great and abominable church shall tumble to the dust. False worship shall cease” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 429–30).

  • C.

    Zion is the name given by the Lord to His righteous Saints.

    • There are several meanings of the word Zion.

      “It may have reference to the hill named Mt. Zion or by extension in the land of Jerusalem.

      “It has sometimes been used, as by the prophet Micah, to refer to the location of ‘the mountain of the house of the Lord’—as some place apart from Jerusalem. [See Micah 4:2.]

      “Zion was so called by Enoch in reference to the ‘City of Holiness,’ or the ‘City of Enoch.’ [See Moses 7:18–19.] The Land of Zion has been used to refer, in some connotations, to the Western Hemisphere.

      “But there is another most significant use of the term by which the Church of God is called Zion, comprising, according to the Lord’s own definition, ‘the pure in heart.’ (D&C 97:21.)” (Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, 61–62).

    • “Zion is ‘every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.’ (D&C 82:19.) As I understand these matters, Zion can be established only by who are pure in heart, and who labor for Zion, for ‘the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.’ (2 Ne. 26:31.)” (Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, 122; or Ensign, May 1978, 81).

    • “When Zion is established in her beauty and honor and glory, the kings and princes of the earth will come, in order that they may get information and teach the same to their people. They will come as they came to learn the wisdom of Solomon” (John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, 216).

    • “We are here to build up the church of God, the Zion of God, and the kingdom of God, and to be on hand to do whatever God requires—first to purge ourselves from all iniquity, from covetousness and evil of every kind, to forsake sin of every sort, cultivate the Spirit of God, and help to build up his kingdom; to beautify Zion and have pleasant habitations, and pleasant gardens and orchards, until Zion shall be the most beautiful place there is on the earth. … Zion shall yet become the praise and the glory of the whole earth” (Taylor, Gospel Kingdom, 221).

    • “The people of the city of Enoch, because of their integrity and faithfulness, were as pilgrims and strangers on the earth. This is due to the fact that they were living the celestial law in a telestial world, and all were of one mind, perfectly obedient to all commandments of the Lord. When Christ comes, these people will be returned to the earth again, for this is their eternal abode” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:195).

  • D.

    As spiritual Babylon ripens in iniquity, a great latter-day Zion will be established.

    • “In the day of regeneration, when all things are made new, there will be three great cities that will be holy. One will be the Jerusalem of old which shall be rebuilt according to the prophecy of Ezekiel. One will be the city of Zion, or of Enoch, which was taken from the earth when Enoch was translated and which will be restored; and the city Zion, or New Jerusalem, which is to be built by the seed of Joseph on this the American continent” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 2:105).

    • “[The Lord] has told us in great plainness that the world will be in distress, that there will be warfare from one end of the world to the other, that the wicked shall slay the wicked and that peace shall be taken from the earth. And He has said, too, that the only place where there will be safety will be in Zion. Will we make this Zion? Will we keep it to be Zion, because Zion means the pure in heart?” (George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1941, 99).

    • “Jesus will never receive the Zion of God unless its people are united according to celestial law, for all who go into the presence of God have to go there by this law. Enoch had to practice this law, and we shall have to do the same if we are ever accepted of God as he was. It has been promised that the New Jerusalem will be built up in our day and generation, and it will have to be done by the United Order of Zion and according to celestial law” (Wilford Woodruff, in Journal of Discourses, 17:250).

    • “When Zion descends from above, Zion will also ascend from beneath, and be prepared to associate with those from above. The people will be so perfected and purified, ennobled, exalted, and dignified in their feelings and so truly humble and most worthy, virtuous and intelligent that they will be fit, when caught up, to associate with that Zion that shall come down from God out of heaven” (John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 10:147).

    • “We live in a day when the whole social structure is dividing itself into two camps. This is a day of the polarization of all people. In the Church the faithful members are perfecting their lives and drawing nearer to the Lord and his way of life. In the world wickedness is increasing and the rebellious and carnal among men are sinking to lower levels of evil and depravity than has been the case in any past days. These trends will continue unabated until the Lord comes. When he arrives there will be, on the one hand, a people prepared to meet him, and, on the other hand, there will be greater wickedness and carnality than has ever before been known. As time goes on, fewer and fewer among men will remain aloof from one or the other of these camps.

      “Then when the Lord comes, he himself will both cause and complete the division among the people. Then there will be a great day of separation in which the wicked will be consumed and the righteous will be rewarded. …

      “… The Lord does not delight in the destruction of the wicked. His bounteous mercy and grace and goodness are available for all men in all ages, but they are poured out only upon those whose works merit the receipt of such a wondrous boon. ‘For behold, the righteous shall not perish; for the time surely must come that all they who fight against Zion shall be cut off.’” (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 554–55, 560).