The righteous saints will be a part of the kingdom of Christ when Babylon the great will fall.
In a vision of the celestial kingdom, John was shown the Father and the Son and those who dwell with them.
John described his vision of the future celestialized earth.
This vision of heaven would have been highly encouraging to the saints of the seven churches of Asia.
The Father had a book that only the Lamb of God was able to open.
The book John saw in the right hand of God symbolized the earth’s temporal existence.
The seals with which the book was sealed symbolized the seven “days” of the earth’s temporal existence.
In the first five seals only the highlights are given.
The great powers of evil were revealed in the opening of the sixth and seventh seals.
With the opening of the sixth seal, which is the time in which we live, great calamities were seen.
The angels of destruction are held back while the gospel is restored and the righteous are sealed unto God.
Though great evil and destruction reign in the last days, John is shown clearly that God is in control of events and brings about his own purposes.
New Testament Reading Assignment
Chapter 55, “The Kingdoms of This World Are Become the Kingdoms of Our Lord”
D&C 77. Why is this section sometimes called the key to understanding John’s revelation?
D&C 88:89-116. What do these verses add to our understanding of the seven seals?
Revelation 12. (See Inspired Version.) What significant changes does the Inspired Version make to this chapter?
Teachings, p. 291-92. Are the beasts in heaven as seen by John in Revelation 5:13 literal or figurative?
Teachings, p. 293. How should the word dragon (as found in Revelation 12:9) be translated?
DS, 3:38, 42-54. Will the saints escape the judgments of the sixth seal?
DS, 3:55-79. What will be the conditions during the millennium?
Discourses, pp. 111-23. What are some of the characteristics of the last days?
Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:474-85. Commentary on the years of war, death, and martyrdom.
Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1961, p. 30-31. What is the cure for our ailing world?
Joseph Fielding Smith in CR, Apr. 1952, p. 28. What can the saints do to prepare for that which is to come?
Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1945, pp. 123-24. How did Babylon of old fall?
Joseph Fielding Smith, Signs of the Times. An overview of the last days.
Some Suggestions for Presentation
The Seven Seals (A Chalkboard Illustration)
The instructor could emphasize with the students that D&C 77:6, 7 and 2 Peter 3:8 provide us with the major key for the interpretation of the seven seals. They provide the insight as to what time the events are to take place and therefore give us the structure of the entire book. The teacher may also want to make certain that the students understand the concept of “days” in the Lord’s definition. Then show them that using this terminology, the last 1,000-year “day” is the earth’s Sabbath, the Millennium, a day when there will be rest from all wickedness. In the discussion of the seven seals and the seven “days” of the earth’s history, the following diagram could be used. (Note: The dates are only approximate. No one knows exactly how many years elapsed between the fall of Adam and the birth of Christ. Also, scholars believe that in the numerous changes from one calendaring system to another down through the centuries, many years have been either added or lost. Therefore, we cannot say that the seventh thousand years will begin in the year A.D. 2,000. This is only a rough approximation.)
As the instructor begins to discuss each seal, or “day,” he may wish to write John’s brief description underneath the line on the chart. The students could be asked to respond as to what great historical events were taking place during that thousand years. These major events could be written beneath John’s headings. See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:463-562. Also, to learn more about the seals, the teacher could thoroughly acquaint himself with the information found in chapter 55 of the course manual. (The listings are only suggestions. You may also wish to add significant events from secular history.)
The instructor may wish to point out to the students that just as only one significant aspect of each thousand-year period was highlighted in the first five seals, so it is with the sixth. While many significant events have taken place during this thousand-year period, only the great calamities of the last days are emphasized.
With regard to the seventh seal, it is important that the students realize that the second coming of Christ does not take place immediately in the beginning of the seventh thousand years. The instructor might read D&C 77:12, 13 with the students and discuss the following points:
In the beginning of the seventh thousand years, the Lord will finish his work of sanctifying the earth and bringing about the salvation of men.
The sounding of the trumpets of judgment is the thing which prepares the world for the coming of the Lord.
The great battle known as the battle of Armageddon takes place under the seventh seal, before the coming of Christ. (Caution should be used in this area of the presentation. It will very likely be of great interest to the students, and it has been a subject of much speculation. In the scriptures and through living prophets, the Lord has revealed much about the last days. The teacher should avoid sources which speculate on these matters, and he should seek inspiration in what he gives to his students.
This lesson could be closed by asking the students these questions:
How do the chapters just studied show that God is in control of the destiny of the world?
What comfort can modern Saints derive from the assurances of God’s overriding power?