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A Closer Glance....

Book of Revelation Overview

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord has given us vital keys to understanding the book of Revelation, particularly the meaning of the seven seals.

When we come to Revelation 8, we begin to read of the seventh seal, or the seventh thousand years of the earth’s temporal existence. During the early part of this period is when judgments come upon the earth in a final attempt to turn mankind’s heart to God; it will be sometime early in this period—how early is unspecified—when at last the earth will be cleansed, Christ will return, and the Millennium will begin. (D&C 77:12–13; note the clear reference to both a time period and events to occur after the opening of the seventh seal butbefore the time of the Second Coming.) The description of those seventh seal events fills most of the remainder of the book.
Following is a discussion of the main events of John’s revelation, in the order in which John describes them. We should note that we do not know if John saw certain of the events in the exact order in which they will occur, or if some events will overlap or occur simultaneously. We purposely give very little interpretation of John’s metaphors, except as is made available in the Book of Revelation. But the presentation, added to the explanations from D&C 77, should help clarify the central scope and message of the book of Revelation.
The information is based upon a Church Education System chart and was adapted for Ensign use by Jay A. Parry.

Revelation’s Seven Seals

John’s seven seals give an overview of the seven thousand years of earth’s “temporal existence,” as follows:
1. (Rev. 6:1–2—about 4000 B.C. to 3000 B.C.) John sees a warrior, conquering.
2. (Rev. 6:3–4—about 3000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.) John sees a representation of human contention and death.
3. (Rev. 6:5–6—about 2000 B.C. to 1000 B.C.) John sees images of famine.
4. (Rev. 6:7–8—about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1) John sees death by war, famine, beasts.
5. (Rev. 6:9–11—about A.D. 1 to A.D. 1000) John sees the martyrs for Christ of the early Christian era.
6. (About A.D. 1000 to A.D. 2000)
Great Earthquake (Rev. 6:12–17)
John sees a great earthquake; the sun darkens, the moon turns to blood, stars appear to fall; the wicked mistakenly fear that it is the end of the world. (See alsoJS—M 1:33D&C 29:14D&C 88:87.)
144,000 Sealed (Rev. 7:1–8)
A scene shows that angels are held back from sending further judgment until 144,000 high priests can be “sealed” and called to “administer the everlasting gospel.” (See D&C 77:9–11.)
Rewards for Those Who Endure Tribulations (Rev. 7:9–17)
A heavenly scene, “before the throne”; John sees that a “great multitude, which no man could number” will obtain the rewards of the faithful through righteously enduring “tribulation.”
7. (About A.D. 2000 to A.D. 3000)
Six Judgments (Rev. 8 and Rev. 9)
Six of seven trumps now sound, signaling six coming judgments on the earth: (1) hail and fire mingled with blood are cast upon the earth (cf. Ex. 9:22–26Ezek. 38:22); (2) a great burning mountain is cast into the sea (cf. Ex. 7:19–25); (3) a great star falls, affecting 1/3 of fresh water; (4) 1/3 of heavenly bodies turn dark (cf. Ex. 10:21–23); (5) sun is darkened by smoke; 5-month battle plagues mankind, of such extent it is called a “woe”; (6) a 13-month war plagues mankind, but men still don’t repent, suggesting clearly the purposes for the “judgments of God.”
An Assignment to John (Rev. 10)
At this point, an angel informs John of a “sweet” but “bitter” assignment for him to gather Israel “before the time of [Christ’s] coming .” (See D&C 77:12, 14.)
Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:1–14)
John sees the gentiles “tread” Jerusalem “under foot” for 42 months. During that same period two witnesses of the Lord testify with great power. The period ends with an earthquake. Conditions now are such that the period is called a second “woe.” (See D&C 77:15.)
Seventh Judgment (Rev. 11:14–19)
The seventh angel trumps, and voices in heaven proclaim the coming earthly reign of Christ; lightnings, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail follow—a “third woe” of mankind.

The Opposition Between Satan’s Kingdom and the Kingdom of God. (Rev. 12–14)

To prepare John to understand the final events that are to occur, he is given an overview of the opposition between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The voices in heaven announce the coming triumph of the kingdom of God. This kingdom and its great Satanic counterpart are shown to John in some detail. (Rev. 12,Rev. 13Rev. 14)
The Church and Kingdom of God
1. John sees a woman, the church (the ecclesiastical aspect of the kingdom), bring forth the kingdom over which Christ reigns as king (the political aspect of the kingdom). (See JST, Rev. 12:1–3, 7.)
2. John sees that the church and kingdom of God are opposed by the great dragon (Satan) and are taken away for many years. (JST, Rev. 12:4–5.)
3. John sees that this opposition actually began in the premortal existence and caused war in heaven. (JST, Rev. 12:6–12.)
4. John sees that the church of his time would not bring forth the kingdom but would be driven into the wilderness (apostasy) by the dragon. (JST, Rev. 12:13–17; see also D&C 5:14D&C 33:5D&C 86:1–3.)
The Church and Kingdom of Satan
1. John sees a beast “in the likeness of the kingdoms of the earth” (JST, Rev. 13:1) come from the sea. He is shown that Satan has power over earthly kingdoms (the political aspects of his kingdom) and that this beast made war with the Saints and overcame them, referring to the events of the Great Apostasy. (Rev. 13:1–10.)
2. John sees another beast, one that exercises great evil through religious power (the ecclesiastical aspects of his kingdom). The followers of this beast are sealed in their foreheads to mark their allegiance. Satan works many miracles and deceives much of mankind. (Rev. 13:11–18.)
The Victory
1. Having been shown Satan’s power on earth, John is now shown the power that will overthrow it. He sees the Lamb on Mount Zion with 144,000 special ministers of the gospel. (Rev. 14:1–5.)
2. John sees the angelic ministration of the gospel, which has the power to end Satan’s dominion. (Rev. 14:6–7.)
3. John sees the Son of Man in heaven with the sickle and winepress. The great harvest (judgment) of the wicked is soon to begin. (Rev. 14:8–20.)
Rewards for Those Who Are Victorious over Satan (Rev. 15:1–4)
Before the final judgments—designed to produce repentance among mankind—John is again shown the state of the righteous who are victorious over the powers of Satan.
Final Judgments (Rev. 15:5–8Rev. 16)
Seven angels pour forth judgments, as follows:
(1) A sore on the wicked (cf. Zech. 14:12D&C 29:19); (2) sea becomes as blood; (3) fresh waters become as blood; (4) sun scorches men with great heat; (5) the Beast’s kingdom fills with darkness, and men gnaw tongues for pain and blaspheme God because of sores; (6) three great evil spirits influence men to battle at Armageddon (see also Ezek. 38–39Joel 3:12–14Zech. 12–14); (7) a voice from heaven says “It is done.” There are voices, thunders, lightnings, and the greatest earthquake in earth’s history; cities of nations fall; islands flee, and mountains are leveled; a great plague of hail.
Further Background on Satan’s Kingdom (Rev. 17)
At this point, John is once again given additional background on Satan’s kingdom which puts into perspective the next events he will be shown. An angel describes a great whore, with whom people of the earth have committed spiritual fornication. This whore is the Satanic counterpart of the woman in chapter 12, which is the church of Christ. John learns that this great whore sits on many waters, which represent the peoples of the earth (see Rev. 17:1, 15); sits on the head of a beast, or earthly kingdom which is full of “names of blasphemy” (see Rev. 17:3); and is “drunken with the blood of the saints” (see Rev. 17:6). Many earthly kingdoms are associated with her and will give their power to the beast and “make war with the Lamb.” (See Rev. 17:7–18.) NOTE: Nephi had a similar vision. See 1 Ne. 13:4–9, 24–29, 341 Ne. 14:9–17.
Satan’s Kingdom Destroyed (Rev. 18)
An angel proclaims the fall of Babylon (which symbolizes the sin and wickedness of the world, as well as those who partake of it). Babylon is to be destroyed by plagues, famine, and fire; her wicked supporters will mourn her loss. The Saints are called “out” of Babylon, that they might “receive not of her plagues.”
The Lord’s Second Coming (Rev. 19)
Christ returns in power and glory, and the angels of heaven come with him. The “kings of the earth, and their armies” gather to make war with him, but they are overcome.


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