Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Verses about the Last Days

87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree.
88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.
89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.
90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.
91 And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.
92 And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
93 And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.
94 And another angel shall sound his trump, saying: That great church, the mother of abominations, that made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, that persecuteth the saints of God, that shed their blood—she who sitteth upon many waters, and upon the islands of the sea—behold, she is the tares of the earth; she is bound in bundles; her bands are made strong, no man can loose them; therefore, she is ready to be burned. And he shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it.
95 And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled;
96 And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
97 And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—
98 They are Christ’s, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God.
99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his coming; who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be judged according to men in the flesh.
100 And again, another trump shall sound, which is the third trump; and then come the spirits of men who are to be judged, and are found under condemnation;
101 And these are the rest of the dead; and they live not again until the thousand years are ended, neither again, until the end of the earth.
102 And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall remain filthy still.
103 And another trump shall sound, which is the fifth trump, which is the fifth angel who committeth the everlasting gospel—flying through the midst of heaven, unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people;
104 And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth—for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: Fear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, forever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come.
105 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the sixth angel, saying: She is fallen who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; she is fallen, is fallen!
106 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.
107 And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him.
108 And then shall the first angel again sound his trump in the ears of all living, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God in the first thousand years.
109 And then shall the second angel sound his trump, and reveal the secret acts of men, and the thoughts and intents of their hearts, and the mighty works of God in the second thousand years—
110 And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be time no longer; and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years.
111 And then he shall be loosed for a little season, that he may gather together his armies.
112 And Michael, the seventh angel, even the archangel, shall gather together his armies, even the hosts of heaven.
113 And the devil shall gather together his armies; even the hosts of hell, and shall come up to battle against Michael and his armies.
114 And then cometh the battle of the great God; and the devil and his armies shall be cast away into their own place, that they shall not have power over the saints any more at all.
115 For Michael shall fight their battles, and shall overcome him who seeketh the throne of him who sitteth upon the throne, even the Lamb.
116 This is the glory of God, and the sanctified; and they shall not any more see death. (D&C 88:87-116)

In these verses are a whole bunch of prophesies about the last days, about calamities to come on the earth, and then v94-106 tells of seven angels sounding their trumpets to announce the fall of Babylon and the progressive resurrection of various parties based on their level of righteousness. After that comes v108-110 telling of another seven angels sounding their trumps to tell of the secret acts of men in the various thousand-year eras of history. Then the binding of Satan and his loosing after another thousand years, with the final fight of Michael against the devil and armies.

Before I studied the Book of Revelation in depth, it seemed like these verses were a sort of translation of Revelation into a simpler form. I thought it was supposed to overlay the top of Revelation and readers were supposed to find corresponding points.

But after having studied Revelation a lot more, I now read this and I can see it is a mishmash of a bunch of different elements of Revelation, but they are all out of order. The Book of Revelation only has one sequence of angels sounding their trumpets, but these verses have two. These verses have all the dead resurrected before the final battle when Satan is bound, but Revelation has it the other way around.  Revelation has the angel warning there will be time no longer in the sixth trumpet, but these verses have him doing that in the second set of seven trumpets, in the last trumpet, just before Satan is bound (v110).

So what are we to make of this? Unbelievers might say Joseph Smith was making it up, but we who believe he was a prophet know differently. We dare not say he didn’t know what he was doing, especially since he said the Book of Revelation is the plainest of all books. And if it is plain, then he wouldn’t have then gone and “messed it up” like this, if this is supposed to be an improvement.  I am personally forced to conclude that he was using the imagery of Revelation to reveal additional things.

V92-106 tells of a sequence of different groups of people who are resurrected at different times based on their level of righteousness. We may think this is obvious now, but it would not have been so in Joseph Smith’s day. Also, the Book of Revelation only says the righteous are raised at Christ’s coming and then the rest later after the final battle against Satan. The trumpet sequence of seven here shows us the resurrection is a sequential process.

V108-110 has yet another sequence of angelic trumpets sounding to announce the secret things of the various thousand years of history that will be revealed. This is another thing that is probably obvious to us now, but again, it may not have been obvious before. The Bible is pretty clear about the doctrine that God sees all and knows our doings, our words, our thoughts, our intents, and our desires. But it is not clear on the doctrine that all these things will eventually be revealed to everyone else as well. The Book of Revelation only says the books will be opened and everyone will be judged according to what is written in the books concerning their works. But these verses tell us all will be revealed to everyone. And if so, then we need to be especially careful about everything we do, say, think, intend, and want. Sooner or later, everyone will know all the secrets of everyone on the planet who has ever lived, whether good or bad. We will be very happy if we have repented of all our sins and if all we have done, said, or thought is beyond reproach.