Chapter 55: “The Kingdoms of This World Are Become the Kingdoms of Our Lord”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, (1979), 456–65


Map Chp. 55

The Book of Revelation (the Revelation of John) to Seven Branches of the Church

Written by the Apostle John, Exiled on the Island of Patmos, ca. A.D. 95

 

Revelation

All Created Things Worship the Lord

4:1–11

The Book of Seven Seals

5:1–14

First Seal:

Enoch Ministered

6:1, 2

Second Seal:

War Raged

6:3, 4

Third Seal:

Famine Stalked the Earth

6:5, 6

Fourth Seal:

Death, Hell, War, Famine

6:7, 8

Fifth Seal:

Christian Martyrs Slain

6:9–11

Sixth Seal:

Signs of the Times

6:12–17

Gospel Restored

7:1

Elias to Seal 144,000

7:2–8

The Righteous Saints Exalted from All Nations

7:9–17

Seventh Seal:

Fire and Desolation

8:1–13

War and Plagues

9:1–21

John to Help Restore All Things

10:1–11

Jerusalem:

Two Prophets to Be Slain

11:1–14

Christ Shall Reign over All the Earth

11:15–19

Satan Makes War in Heaven and Earth

12:1–17

Satan Governs Earthly Kingdoms

13:1–10

Church of Devil Works Miracles

13:11–18

“The Lamb Shall Stand upon Mount Zion”

14:1–5

Gospel Restored by Angelic Ministers

14:6, 7

Eternal Torment Awaits the Wicked

14:8–11

Righteous Saints Who Die Shall Rest

14:12, 13

Son of Man Harvests the Earth

14:14–20

Exalted Saints Praise God Forever

15:1–4

God Pours Out Plagues upon the Wicked

15:5–8; 16:1–12

Nations Assemble for Armageddon

16:13–16

Christ Comes, Islands Flee, Mountains Cease to Exist

16:17–21

The Great and Abominable Church

17:1–18

“Babylon the Great Is Fallen”

18:1–24

Interpretive Commentary

(55-1) Revelation 4:4. Who Were the Twenty-Four Elders Surrounding the Throne of God?

Read D&C 77:5.

(55-2) Revelation 4:6. What Is the Meaning of the Sea of Glass?

Read D&C 77:1 and 130:6–9.

(55-3) Revelation 4:8. What Is the Meaning of the Wings and Eyes of the Beasts?

Read D&C 77:4.

(55-4) Revelation 5:1. What Is the Meaning of the Book Sealed with Seven Seals?

“‘The book which John saw’ represented the real history of the world—what the eye of God has seen, what the recording angel has written; and the seven thousand years, corresponding to the seven seals of the Apocalyptic volume, are as seven great days during which Mother Earth will fulfill her mortal mission, laboring six days and resting upon the seventh, her period of sanctification. These seven days do not include the period of our planet’s creation and preparation as a dwelling place for man. They are limited to Earth’s ‘temporal existence,’ that is, to Time, considered as distinct from Eternity. …

“… According to received chronology—admittedly imperfect, yet approximately correct—four thousand years, or four of the seven great days given to this planet as the period of its ‘temporal existence,’ had passed before Christ was crucified; while nearly two thousand years have gone by since. Consequently, Earth’s long week is now drawing to a close, and we stand at the present moment in the Saturday Evening of Time, at or near the end of the sixth day of human history. Is it not a time of thought, a season for solemn meditation? Morning will break upon the Millennium, the thousand years of peace, the Sabbath of the World!” (Whitney, Saturday Night Thoughts, p. 12.)

(55-5) Revelation 5:13. How Literally Should We Interpret the Phrase “Every Creature”?

“John saw curious looking beasts in heaven; he saw every creature that was in heaven,—all the beasts, fowls and fish in heaven,—actually there, giving glory to God. How do you prove it? (See Rev. 5:13.) ‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’

“I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them.

“Says one, ‘I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.’ Any man who would tell you that this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect; they were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God.” (Smith, Teachings, pp. 291–92. Compare D&C 77:2, 3.)

(55-6) Revelation 6:2. What Is the Interpretation of the Opening of the First Seal?

“Such of these events as John saw pertained to someone on a white horse (the emblem of victory); who had a bow (weapons of war); wore a crown (the garland or wreath of a conqueror); and who went forth conquering and to conquer (that is, was victorious in war). …

“… it is clear that the most transcendent happenings involved Enoch and his ministry. And it is interesting to note that what John saw was not the establishment of Zion and its removal to heavenly spheres, but the unparalleled wars in which Enoch, as a general over the armies of the saints, ‘went forth conquering and to conquer.’ Of these wars our revelations recite: [Read Moses 7:13–17.]

“Truly, never was there a ministry such as Enoch’s, and never a conqueror and general who was his equal! How appropriate that he should ride the white horse of victory in John’s apocalyptic vision!” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:476–78.)

(55-7) Revelation 6:3, 4. What Is the Interpretation of the Opening of the Second Seal?

“Who rode the red horse, the red horse of war and bloodshed and a sword, during the second seal? Perhaps it was the devil himself, for surely that was the great day of his power, a day of such gross wickedness that every living soul (save eight only) was found worthy of death by drowning, which wickedness caused the Lord God of Heaven to bring in the floods upon them.

“Or if it was not Lucifer, perhaps it was a man of blood, or a person representing many murdering warriors, of whom we have no record. Suffice it to say that the era from 3000 B.C., to 2000 B.C., was one of war and destruction, these being the favorite weapons of Satan for creating those social conditions in which men lose their souls.

“Of the wickedness and abominations of Noah’s day, the revealed word says: [Read Moses 8:22, 28, 29.]” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:478.)

(55-8) Revelation 6:4, 5. What Is the Interpretation of the Opening of the Third Seal?

“As famine follows the sword, so the pangs of hunger gnawed in the bellies of the Lord’s people during the third seal. From 2000 B.C. to 1000 B.C., as never in any other age of the earth’s history, the black horse of hunger influenced the whole history of God’s dealings with his people.

“In the beginning years of this seal, the famine in Ur of the Chaldees was so severe that Abraham’s brother, Haran, starved to death, while the father of the faithful was commanded by God to take his family to Canaan. (Abra. 1:29–30; 2:15.) Of his struggle to gain sufficient food to keep alive, Abraham said: [Read Abraham 2:17, 21.]

“This search for sustenance was yet burdening the Lord’s people in the days of Jacob, who sent his sons to Egypt to buy corn from the granaries of Joseph his son. In that day ‘the famine was over all the face of the earth,’ and it was only through divine intervention that Jacob and the beginning members of the house of Israel were saved from the fate of Haran. (Gen. 41:53–57; 42; 43; and 44.) And in the days of their sojourn in the wilderness, the millions of Jacob’s seed who had followed Moses out of Egyptian bondage, lest they perish for want of bread, were fed for forty years with manna from heaven. [Ex. 16.] …

“… Truly the third seal was a millennium in which hunger among men affected the whole course of God’s dealings with his people.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:479–80.)

(55-9) Revelation 6:6. “A Measure of Wheat for a Penny”

This strange accounting of the price of wheat and barley seems baffling to us today, but knowledge of the monetary units and customs of John’s time helps us to better understand what the voice declared. John’s readers would have clearly understood it. A measure (Greek choenix) was approximately the same volume as our own quart and was the usual amount of a day’s allowance or ration. The penny (denarius) was a small silver coin of Roman mintage. Although it is hard to determine the equivalent value in today’s inflated economy, it is known that a denarius was the typical wage for a day’s work in those times. Thus, to spend one day’s wages to buy only enough food for one person for one day clearly points out that these were famine prices. Three measures of barley could be purchased for a penny, but barley was a much inferior grain for human consumption and was generally used only in times of great hunger.

The fact that the rider had balances in his hand suggests that the scarcity of food was such that it had to be doled out with exactness. Elder McConkie has suggested that the phrase “hurt not the oil and the wine” meant that enough food should be preserved so that man would not utterly perish in the famine conditions of that time. (See McConkie DNTC, 3:480.)

(55-10) Revelation 6:7, 8. What Is the Interpretation of the Opening of the Fourth Seal?

“During the fourth seal, from 1000 B.C. to the coming of our Lord, death rode roughshod through the nations of men, and hell was at his heels. Thus, the slain among the ungodly in this age of bloodshed—whether by sword or by famine or by pestilence or by wild beasts—were, at their death, cast down to hell. This is the millennium of those great kingdoms and nations whose wars and treacheries tormented and overran, again and again, the people whom Jehovah had chosen to bear his name. This is also the general era in which the Lord’s own people warred among themselves and sent countless numbers of their own brethren to untimely graves.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:481.)

(55-11) Revelation 6:9–11. What Is the Interpretation of the Opening of the Fifth Seal?

“Where the Lord’s people are concerned, the events of the fifth seal, that period from our Lord’s birth down to 1000 A.D., which are of unspeakable worth are:

“1. The birth into mortality of God’s only Son; his ministry among men and the atoning sacrifice which he wrought by the shedding of his own blood.

“2. The spread and perfection of the Church which was set up by Him whose Church it is, and the unbelievable fanaticism among unbelievers that made acceptance of martyrdom almost synonymous with acceptance of the gospel.

“3. And then, of course, the complete falling away from true and perfect Christianity, which sad eventuality ushered in the long night of apostate darkness on all the face of the earth.

“Our Lord’s work and ministry are everywhere taught in holy writ; the facts relative to the post-meridian apostasy and the perversion of the saving truths and powers are also abundantly taught in other sacred writings. And so what is more natural than to find the Lord revealing here, that portion of the sealed book which deals with the doctrine of martyrdom. Among the ancient saints martyrdom was an ever present possibility, one which completely occupied their thoughts and feelings. They knew that by forsaking all to follow Christ, they might, if fate so decreed, be called to lay down their lives for Him who had laid down his life for them. In an almost death-inviting sense, the meridian of time was the dispensation of martyrdom.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:482–83.)

(55-12) Revelation 6:12–17. What Is the Interpretation of the Opening of the Sixth Seal?

“We are now living during the final years of the sixth seal, that thousand year period which began in 1000 A.D. and will continue through the Saturday night of time and until just before the Sabbatical era when Christ shall reign personally on earth, when all of the blessings of the Great Millennium shall be poured out upon this planet. This, accordingly, is the era when the signs of the times shall be shown forth, and they are in fact everywhere to be seen.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:485–86.)

For other references concerning the signs of the times which shall affect the earth during the sixth seal, see D&C 88:87–91; 29:14–21; Isaiah 13:9–11; Isaiah 24:20; Matthew 24:29, 30.

(55-13) Revelation 7:1–3. The Four Angels of the Sixth Seal

“Can you tell me where the people are who will be shielded and protected from these calamities and judgments which are even now at our doors? I’ll tell you. The Priesthood of God who honor their priesthood, and who are worthy of their blessings are the only ones who shall have this safety and protection. No other people have a right to be shielded from these judgments. They are at our very doors; not even this people will escape them entirely. They will come down like the judgments of Sodom and Gomorrah. And none but the priesthood will be safe from their fury. God has held the angels of destruction for many years, lest they should reap down the wheat with the tares. But I want to tell you now, that those angels have left the portals of heaven, and they stand over the earth waiting to pour out the judgments. And from this very day they shall be poured out. Calamities and troubles are increasing in the earth, and there is a meaning to these things. Remember this, and reflect upon these matters. If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we’ll have the protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and in safety. Read the scriptures and the revelations. They will tell you about these things.” (Wilford Woodruff in The Young Woman’s Journal, 5:512–13.)

(55-14) Revelation 7:2. Who Is Elias, and How Is He Related to the Angel from the East?

Read D&C 77:9.

“As previously stated, the restoration of the Gospel did not come through just one messenger, but there are several who came and bestowed their keys of authority and power. The name Elias is a title. This we have been taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Teachings, p. 335.) Is it not possible, therefore, since so many ancient prophets had a hand in the restoration, that in speaking of the Elias who was to come and restore all things, do we not have a composite picture of several Eliases, rather than one single individual? The angel with the seal directs the four angels holding the destiny of the world in their hands, not to hurt the earth until the servants of the Lord have been sealed. This could not be accomplished until the Gospel was restored and proclaimed to the nations of the earth.” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:301–2.)

(55-15) Revelation 7:3. What Is the Interpretation of the Sealing of the Lord’s Servants?

It was a common practice in John’s day for devotees of the various heathen gods to mark their foreheads with the name or symbol of their god. Thus followers of Zeus would mark their foreheads with the thunderbolt; those of Poseidon, the trident, and so on. John’s imagery would have had a powerful impact on the readers of his day. Being sealed or marked in the forehead would be a vivid metaphor of devotion and servitude to God—whether that god was the true God or the evil beast worshipped as a god. (See Revelation 13.)

As to the actual meaning of the sealing itself, Joseph Smith said: “Four destroying angels holding power over the four quarters of the earth until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads, which signifies sealing the blessing upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure. When a seal is put upon the father and mother, it secures their posterity, so that they cannot be lost, but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father and mother.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 321.)

(55-16) Revelation 7:4–8. Who Are the One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand of Whom John Speaks?

Read D&C 77:11.

(55-17) Revelation 7:4–8. The Washing of Our Robes in the Blood of the Lamb

The symbolic meaning here is that one accepts the atonement of Christ and keeps his commandments, thus cleansing himself through divine power from the sins of the world (Alma 13:11, 12).

(55-18) Revelation 8:10. Who Fell from Heaven?

A star is sometimes used in the scriptures as a symbol of a great and important person. One star that fell from heaven is Satan, or Lucifer, as he was known in the premortal existence. (Read Isaiah 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.)

(55-19) Revelation 8:10. What Is the Significance of Wormwood as It Relates to the Star That Fell from Heaven?

The wormwood associated with the star that fell from heaven is a symbol of the bitterness and awfulness which comes to all who follow the devil. Wormwood was a plant with an extremely bitter taste. To use it for food or drink was to eat that which brought about death. In the case of Satan, all who follow his evil ways perish in spiritual death.

(55-20) Revelation 9:4–10. A Time of Great Warfare

“During this particular period of the war and desolation the evil forces will be directed against all men, save those sealed up unto eternal life, for those in Zion shall be preserved. The plagues and torments of this era shall so afflict men that they shall desire to die rather than to suffer more.

“In prophetic imagery John here seeks to describe a war fought with weapons and under circumstances entirely foreign to any experience of his own or of the people of that day. Joel, subject to the same limitations of descriptive ability, attempted to portray the same scenes in these words: [Read Joel 2:1–11.]

“It is not improbable that these ancient prophets were seeing such things as men wearing or protected by strong armor; as troops of cavalry and companies of tanks and flame throwers; as airplanes and airborne missiles which explode, fire shells and drop bombs; and even other weapons yet to be devised in an age when warfare is the desire and love of wicked men.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:502–3.)

(55-21) Revelation 9:11. Who Is Abaddon, or Apollyon?

John tells us that this is the angel of the bottomless pit. He gives his name in Hebrew and Greek. Both the Hebrew and the Greek words come from the roots meaning “to destroy” or “destruction.” Thus the name signifies “the Destroyer,” an appropriate title for Satan. There is yet another word which is related to these two names and which serves as one of the devil’s names. It is Perdition (see Moses 5:24), and it means “utter loss” or “destruction.”

(55-22) Revelation 10:10, 11. What Was the Little Book John Ate?

“A great mission was given unto John because of his desire, and he is even now laboring as ‘a flaming fire and a ministering angel, for those who are heirs of salvation.’ In the tenth chapter of Revelation we read that John was given a little book by the angel and commanded to eat it up, which he did, and he said ‘it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.’ And the angel said by way of interpretation of this act: ‘Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.’ When this mission was given, John was an old man far beyond the allotted years of three score and ten. In answer to a question as to the meaning of this vision of the book, the Prophet Joseph Smith said: It was a mission and an ordinance for John to gather the tribes of Israel. (D. & C. 77:14.) At a conference of the Church, held June, 1831, Joseph Smith said ‘that John the Revelator was then among the ten tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion.’ (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 1:176; Essentials in Church History, p. 126.)” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:48.)

(55-23) Revelation 11:3–13. The Two Witnesses Who Prophesy at Jerusalem

Read D&C 77:15.

“Suffice it to say, the Jews gather home, and rebuild Jerusalem. The nations gather against them in battle. Their armies encompass the city, and have more or less power over it for three years and a half. A couple of Jewish prophets, by their mighty miracles, keep them from utterly over-coming the Jews; until at length they are slain, and the city is left in a great measure to the mercy of their enemies for three days and a half. The two prophets then rise from the dead and ascend up into heaven.

The Messiah comes, convulses the earth, overthrows the army of the Gentiles, delivers the Jews, cleanses Jerusalem, cuts off all wickedness from the earth, raises the Saints from the dead, brings them with him, and commences his reign of a thousand years; during which time his Spirit will be poured out upon flesh; men and beasts, birds and serpents, will be perfectly harmless, and peace and the knowledge and glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea; and the kingdom and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High.” (Pratt, A Voice of Warning and Instruction to All People, pp. 49–50.)

(55-24) Revelation 12:1, 7. Important Insights from the Inspired Version

Joseph Smith made many significant changes in the book of Revelation as he worked on the Inspired Version. Of the many chapters in which changes were made, chapter twelve was the most revised. Every verse, with the exception of verse 12, received some change. Two verses were changed in such a manner that the meaning of the entire chapter was significantly altered. Those verses are 1 and 7:

“And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”

“And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman which was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains, and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ.”

(55-25) Revelation 12:1, 4, 15. Who Are the Woman and the Manchild Mentioned by John?

“A woman (‘the church of God’!) gives birth to a man child (‘the kingdom of our God and his Christ’ which shall hold sway during the Millennial Era, the kingdom John has just seen in vision!). See Rev. 11:14–19. Such is the Prophet’s inspired interpretation. Among Biblical scholars of the world, the man child is presumed to be Christ, a speculative conclusion which, though seemingly persuasive, is refuted by the obvious fact that the Church did not bring forth Christ; he the Creator of the Church. Among Latter-day Saint scriptural exegetes, it is not uncommon to say that the man child is the priesthood, a seemingly persuasive speculation, which again however must be rejected by the same line of reasoning. The Church did not bring forth the priesthood, but the priesthood is the power that brought the Church into being.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:511.)

Though at first it may seem confusing to speak of the Church and the kingdom as separate entities, the one giving birth to the other, this in fact is the condition to exist in the Millennium. The Church is a spiritual organization governed by priesthood and revelation. Only those who have covenanted with Christ in the waters of baptism hold membership therein. The kingdom of God is a product of the Church. It is a political organization in which all men who live in the millennial era will belong.

“After Christ comes, all the peoples of the earth will be subject to him, but there will be multitudes of people on the face of the earth who will not be members of the Church; yet all will have to be obedient to the laws of the kingdom of God, for it will have dominion upon the whole face of the earth. These people will be subject to the political government, even though they are not members of the ecclesiastical kingdom which is the Church.

“This government which embraces all the peoples of the earth, both in and out of the Church, is also sometimes spoken of as the kingdom of God, because the people are subject to the kingdom of God which Christ will set up; but they have their agency and thousands will not be members of the Church until they are converted; yet at the same time they will be subject to the theocratic rule.” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:229.)

(55-26) Revelation 12:4. Who Are the Stars of Heaven That Were Cast to the Earth?

These are the Father’s spirit children who rejected the plan of salvation and followed Lucifer in the premortal life.

(55-27) Revelation 12:7–9. “And There Was War in Heaven”

Lucifer and his followers waged a war in heaven against our Father in heaven and his faithful children. “The contention in heaven was—Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ. So the devil rose up in rebellion against God, and was cast down, with all who put up their heads for him.” (Smith, Teachings, p. 357.)

Read D&C 29:36, 37; Moses 4:1–3; Abraham 3:24, 28.

(55-28) Revelation 12:14. What Is the Meaning of the Woman Going into the Wilderness?

The woman is symbolic of the church of Jesus Christ, and we learn in verse 13 that the dragon (Satan) persecuted the woman. The woman fleeing into the wilderness is the symbolic driving of the church into the wilderness of apostasy.

Read D&C 86:3.

(55-29) Revelation 14:6, 7. “And I Saw Another Angel … Having the Everlasting Gospel”

“Now, as to the actual work of restoration—what angel performed this mighty deed, this work which involves the salvation of all men on earth in these latter-days? Who restored the everlasting gospel? Was it one angel or many?

“It is traditional (and true!) to reply: ‘Moroni, son of Mormon, the now resurrected Nephite prophet, who holds the keys of “the stick of Ephraim” (D. & C. 27:5), the one through whose ministry the Book of Mormon was again brought to light.’ The reasoning that the Book of Mormon contains ‘the fulness of the everlasting gospel’ (D. & C. 135:3); that therein is God’s message of salvation for all of the earth’s inhabitants; and that this gospel message is now being taken by the Lord’s witnesses to one nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people after another. …

“… But other angels were yet to come—Moses, Elias, Elijah, Gabriel, Raphael, and ‘divers angels. … all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little.’ (D. & C. 128:21.)

“Thus the angel Moroni brought the message, that is, the word; but other angels brought the keys and priesthood, the power. And in the final analysis the fulness of the everlasting gospel consists of all of the truths and powers needed to enable men to gain a fulness of salvation in the celestial heaven.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:528–30.)

(55-30) Revelation 16:1–21. The Seven Last Plagues

“God in his mercy shall pour out destructive plagues upon the wicked and ungodly in the last days. These diseases and calamities shall sweep great hosts of men from the face of the earth, preparatory to that final Millennial cleansing which shall prepare our planet as an abode for the righteous.” (McConkie, DNTC, 3:359.)

(55-31) Revelation 16:16. “A Place Called in the Hebrew Tongue Armageddon”

Lying about sixty miles north of Jerusalem is the site of Megiddo, a great mound or hill commanding the northern entrance to the broad plain called the valley of Esdraelon. The mountain or hill of Megiddo (Har Meggido in Hebrew, of which Armageddon is the Greek transliteration) guarded the strategic pass that cuts through the mountain range separating the coastal plains from the inland plains and hill country of Galilee. Because of this fortress or Mount of Megiddo, the valley and surrounding areas have also come to be known as Armageddon.

One of the most important highways of the ancient world—the main link between Egypt and Asia—ran through this valley and near the fortress of Megiddo. Because of that strategic location, Megiddo and the valley of Esdraelon have seen some of history’s bloodiest battles. Egyptian pharaohs, Roman legions, British troops, and Israeli tanks all have struggled in the valley of Megiddo. Prior to the second coming of Christ, all nations of the earth shall be gathered together to battle against Jerusalem. This tremendous war, one of the final great events prior to the Savior’s second coming, has been foreseen and described in detail by many of the Lord’s ancient prophets. (See, for example, Ezekiel 38, 39; Joel 2, 3; Isaiah 34; Jeremiah 25; Daniel 11, 12; Zechariah 12–14.) Jerusalem will be under siege and great suffering will be the lot of her inhabitants. Evidently, Armageddon, which is north of Jerusalem, will be the site of the great decisive battle of this war. “During this siege, when the nations are gathered and the Lord comes, there will be great destruction. The armies will become so confused they will fight among themselves. There will be great slaughter. Then the Lord comes to the Jews. He shows Himself. He calls upon them to come and examine His hands and His feet, and they say, ‘What are these wounds?’ And He answers them, ‘These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am Jesus Christ.’

“Then they will accept Him as their Redeemer, which they have never been willing to do.” (Smith, Signs of the Times, p. 171.)

(55-32) Revelation 16:20. “And Every Island Fled Away”

“When that day comes great changes shall take place upon the earth. We believe this is a day of restoration, and that the earth is to be renewed. (Tenth Article of Faith; Lesson 40.) In this renewal we are informed that the Lord ‘shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north country, and the islands shall become one land; and the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.’ (Gen. 10:25.) The notion prevails quite generally that the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg was a division politically among the people, but from this word of the Lord we gain the idea that the earth itself was divided and that when Christ comes it will again be brought back to the same conditions physically as prevailed before this division took place. The sea is to be driven back into the north. The land is to be brought back as it was originally and the lands of Zion ‘America’ and Jerusalem (Palestine and all the land pertaining unto it) will be restored to their own place as they were in the beginning. The Savior will stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh. We have discovered in our study that the wicked, or all things that are corruptible (Section 101:23–35), will be consumed and therefore will not be permitted to be on the earth when this time comes.” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:264.)

(55-33) Revelation 17:1. The Imagery of the Great Whore of the Earth

One of the most indisputable things about the Apocalypse is the vividness of the symbolism and imagery used by John. The kingdom of Satan, in all its opulent and wicked splendor, is depicted as a harlot, lavishly dressed and riding on a beast. The obvious representation is that of impurity, evil, wickedness. But the symbolism goes much deeper than that. The figure of a harlot as a metaphor for Satan’s dominions is appropriate, for Satan prostitutes all that is noble and good.

The ideal relationship between man and God has often been symbolized in scripture as a marriage. In the Old Testament, Jehovah is the husband and Israel the bride. In the New Testament Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride (Matthew 25:1–13; Revelation 19:7–9). Whenever his people prove unfaithful to their covenants, they can be likened to a faithless woman who has sold herself to immorality and sin.

(55-34) Revelation 17:1–6. The Church of the Devil

“The titles church of the devil and great and abominable church are used to identify all churches or organizations of whatever name or nature—whether political, philosophical, educational, economic, social, fraternal, civic, or religious—which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God.” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 137–38.)

(55-35) Revelation 17:14. “And the Lamb Shall Overcome”

After painting the picture of the harlot and the beast in all of their power and wickedness, John testifies that they shall be conquered by the superior power of the Lamb of God. Latter-day revelation confirms this. Just before the organization of the Church in this dispensation, the Lord said that because of his obedience to the Father’s will he had subdued all things, including “retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world.” (D&C 19:3.)

Points to Ponder

As you have read, John described in graphic words the efforts Satan would make in the latter day to thwart the kingdom of God. How would you respond to someone who said this: “The world isn’t so bad today. In fact, with all of the new social and scientific advancements, we’re living in a virtual Garden of Eden”?

(55-36) There Is Greater Wickedness in the World Now Than at Any Time Since the Flood

“There is more sin and evil in the world now than there has been at any time since the day of Noah, when the Lord felt disposed to destroy the world by a flood so that He could send His spirit children to earth in a better and more righteous environment. …

“… There is some degree of worldliness in all of us, and we overcome the world by degrees.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Ricks College Baccalaureate Services, 7 May 1971, as cited in Church News, 15 May 1971, p. 3.)

(55-37) The Prophets Have Recommended the Only Cure for an Ailing World, but the Cure Has Been Rejected

“Our world is in turmoil. It is aging toward senility. It is very ill. Long ago it was born with brilliant prospects. It was baptized by water, and its sins were washed away. It was never baptized by fire, for that is still to come. It has had shorter periods of good health, but longer ones of ailing. Most of the time there have been pains and aches in some parts of its anatomy, but now that it is growing old, complications have set in, and all the ailments seem to be everywhere.

“The world has been ‘cliniced,’ and the complex diseases have been catalogued. The physicians have had summit consultations, and temporary salve has been rubbed on afflicted parts, but it has only postponed the fatal day and never cured it. It seems that while remedies have been applied, staph infection has set in, and the patient’s suffering intensified. His mind is wandering. It cannot remember its previous illnesses nor the cure which was applied. The political physicians through the ages have rejected suggested remedies as unprofessional since they came from lowly prophets. Man being what he is with tendencies such as he has, results can be prognosticated with some degree of accuracy.” (Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1961, p. 30.)

(55-38) Satan Has Control of Most of the World

“Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, and confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the president of the United States; it is not Hitler; it is not Mussolini; it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself.” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:315.)

What, then, is the hope of today’s generation, those who live in the Saturday night of time? What did John see? Review Revelation 17:14. What will be the fate of Satan and his followers? Who will be with Christ?

The Most Significant Thing We Can Do Is to Overcome the World by Keeping the Commandments and Covenants of God

What can the Saints do to be a part of that kingdom that will be here when Satan and his hosts are defeated? (See Revelation 18:1–4.) What does it mean to “come out of her, my people”? (See D&C 133:14.) How will the righteous Saints be protected in the period of time when Babylon the great will fall? (See 1 Nephi 14:14, 15.)

(55-39) Our Part in the World Should Be to Build the Kingdom and Keep the Commandments

“If we are living the religion which the Lord has revealed and which we have received, we do not belong to the world. We should have no part in all its foolishness. We should not partake of its sins and its errors—errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be—we have no part in it.

“The only part we have is the keeping of the commandments of God. That is all, being true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves. …

“If I sometimes, and once in a while I do, go to a football game or a baseball game or some other place of amusement, invariably I will be surrounded by men and women who are puffing on cigarets or cigars or dirty pipes. It gets very annoying, and I get a little disturbed. I will turn to Sister Smith, and I will say something to her, and she will say, ‘Well, now, you know what you have taught me. You are in their world. This is their world.’ And that sort of brings me back to my senses. Yes, we are in their world, but we do not have to be of it.

“So, as this is their world we are living in, they prosper, but, my good brethren and sisters, their world is coming to its end. It will not be many years. I can say that. …

“The day will come when we will not have this world. It will be changed. We will get a better world. We will get one that is righteous, because when Christ comes, he will cleanse the earth.” (Joseph Fielding Smith in CR, Apr. 1952, p. 28.)

(55-40) The World Is Kept from Destruction by the Righteous Saints

“Our world is now much the same as it was in the days of the Nephite prophet who said: ‘… if it were not for the prayers of the righteous … ye would even now be visited with utter destruction.’ (Al. 10:22.) Of course, there are many many upright and faithful who live all the commandments and whose lives and prayers keep the world from destruction.

We are living in the last days, and they are precarious and frightening. The shadows are deepening, and the night creeps in to envelop us.” (Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Apr. 1971, p. 7.)

What Can This Mean to You?

Are you living in such a way that the Lord can bless you with his power? Are you one of the righteous who is helping to keep the world from destruction? What promise and challenge has the Lord given you? Read D&C 103:5–10.

“Our challenge today … is to be a light unto the world. … If the three million members of the church would live the gospel principles all errors of the world would evaporate. The world would come to us, and we would change the frustration of the world to the peace of the gospel.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Church News, 26 Feb. 1972, p. 13.)