Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 29 (D&C 77–80)
THE REVELATION OF JOHN THE BELOVED
D&C 77 comments on only 8 of the 22 chapters in the New Testament book of Revelation. The New Translation itself clarifies some other chapters of Revelation, but not all.
● D&C 77:1 (Revelation 4:6) The “sea of glass” is the earth in its sanctified and transfigured state.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “While at dinner, I remarked to my family and friends present, that when the earth was sanctified and became like a sea of glass, it would be one great Urim and Thummim, and the Saints could look in it and see as they are seen.”1
President Brigham Young said, “This Earth will become a celestial body—be like a sea of glass, or like a Urim and Thummim; and when you wish to know anything, you can look in this Earth and see all the eternities of God.”2
● D&C 77:2–3 (Revelation 4:7) Beasts have spirits, just as men do, and God loves and saves them all.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “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.”3
● D&C 77:4 (Revelation 4:8) The strange imagery of the beasts is symbolic—the eyes represent light and knowledge, the wings represent power and mobility.
● D&C 77:6–7 This earth has a temporal existence of 7,000 years.
● D&C 77:12–14 Christ will come at the beginning of the seventh thousand years.
● D&C 77:8–10 Angels are appointed to restore the gospel and minister on earth, and eventually to destroy it at the command of God.
● D&C 77:11 (Revelation 7:4) Revelation to Joseph Smith disclosed that the 144,000 designated in Revelation would be high priests “ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, & people.”
Elder Orson Pratt said, “Before the Lord shall come . . . there is to be a great work among the nations. . . . The ten tribes will have to come forth and come to this land, to be crowned with glory in the midst of Zion by the hands of the servants of God, even the Children of Ephraim; and twelve thousand High Priests will be elected from each of these ten tribes, as well as from the scattered tribes, and sealed in their foreheads, and will be ordained and receive power to gather out of all nations, kindreds, tongues and people as many as will come unto the general assemblage of the Church of the first-born.”4
● D&C 77:15 Two prophets (special witnesses) will be raised up to teach the gospel to the Jews.
— They will be slain in Jerusalem.
— While they are raised up “to the Jewish nation” they are not necessarily from the Jewish nation.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “[These two prophets are] followers of that humble man Joseph Smith, through whom the Lord of Heaven restored the fulness of his everlasting gospel in this final dispensation of grace. No doubt they will be members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the Church.”5
THE UNITED ORDER
D&C 78 is a “revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, March 1, 1832. On that day, the Prophet and other leaders had assembled to discuss Church business. This revelation originally instructed the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon, and Newel K. Whitney to travel to Missouri and organize the Church’s mercantile and publishing endeavors by creating a ‘firm’ that would oversee these efforts, generating funds for the establishment of Zion and for the benefit of the poor. This firm, known as the United Firm, was organized in April 1832 and disbanded in 1834 (see section 82). Sometime after its dissolution, under the direction of Joseph Smith, the phrase ‘the affairs of the storehouse for the poor’ replaced ‘mercantile and publishing establishments’ in the revelation, and the word ‘order’ replaced the word ‘firm.’”6
● D&C 78:1–4 The Saints should organize and establish a storehouse.
● D&C 78:5–12 If the Lord’s people are equal in “earthly things” it will help them obtain “heavenly things” (v. 5)—receive a place in the celestial kingdom.
● D&C 78:13–14 The Church should “stand independent above all other creatures.”
AS HIS CHILDREN, THE LORD WILL LEAD US ALONG
● D&C 78:17 In the Lord’s eyes, we are “little children” who cannot know and understand all the blessings He has prepared for us.
● D&C 78:18–19 The Lord will “lead us along” as His children. He promises us the blessings of His kingdom and the riches of eternity.
President Henry B. Eyring shared an experience wherein he learned to be led by the Lord:
“I prayed, but for hours there seemed to be no answer. Just before dawn, a feeling came over me. More than at any time since I had been a child, I felt like one. My heart and my mind seemed to grow very quiet. There was a peace in that inner stillness.
“Somewhat to my surprise, I found myself praying, ‘Heavenly Father, it doesn’t matter what I want. I don’t care anymore what I want. I only want that Thy will be done. That is all that I want. Please tell me what to do.’
“In that moment I felt as quiet inside as I had every felt. And the message came, and I was sure who it was from. It was clear what I was to do. I received no promise of the outcome. There was only the assurance that I was a child who had been told what path led to whatever He wanted for me.”7
OUR FATHER’S NAME IS AHMAN, AND THE SAVIOR IS SON AHMAN
● D&C 78:15–16 Michael (Adam) serves under the direction of the Holy One (Christ).
● D&C 78:20 The Savior identifies Himself as the “Son Ahman” (one of His names). (See also D&C 95:17). Our Father in Heaven’s name in the Adamic language is Ahman, which means “Man of Holiness.” And the name of our Savior is Son of the Man of Holiness or “Son of Man” (capitalized to distinguish it from earthly sons of men) (Moses 6:57; 7:35).
MISSIONARIES CALLED TO SERVE
● D&C 79 A missionary call for Jared Carter. His area of service is identified. He is promised the guidance of the Comforter as to where to go and what to say. If he is faithful in his service he will be “crown[ed] . . . with sheaves” (v. 3).
● D&C 80 A missionary call for Stephen Burnett. He will receive Eden Smith as his companion. It does not matter where he goes, but he is to “preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice” (v.1). He is to “declare the things which ye have heard” of which he has received a personal testimony (v. 4).
● From these missionary calls, we learn that it matters more that we serve than where we serve. The Lord says “it mattereth not” where we serve “for ye cannot go amiss.”
1. History of the Church, 5:279.
2. Journal of Discourses, 8:200.
3. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 291.
4. Journal of Discourses, 16:325.
5. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:509.
6. Doctrine and Covenants section 78 header.
7. “As a Child,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 16.