Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Thursday, December 12, 2019

“Glory, and Power, Be unto … the Lamb for Ever”



Scripture links are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org
Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

As we have studied in the New Testament this year we have seen that the Lord used symbols in his teaching during his earthly ministry. Many of those included things like salt, wheat and tares, bread, and olive trees.  Why are symbols useful in teaching?  They can help the learner understand and remember by comparing unfamiliar ideas or things to those that are more familiar; they can have different levels of meaning; they can encourage the learner to think more deeply about what is being taught.

Symbols are used throughout the scriptures, but especially in the book of Revelation.  The Apostle John, author of the book of Revelation, came out of a culture that used symbolism extensively in its language and literature. Readers today often have difficulty with the symbolism in John’s writings. If we interpret the images literally, the book of Revelation can seem strange and confusing. If we remember that many of the images are symbolic and represent people, things, or concepts with which we are already familiar, the book becomes easier to understand.

So, as we come to the book of Revelations focusing this week on Chapters 1-11, let us remember to take on this study prayerfully asking for and being prepared to receive inspiration and revelation.   Receiving spiritual impressions helps you recognize that the Holy Ghost wants to teach you.  Recording and following those impressions demonstrates that you value them and desire to receive more.

History and Background.  
A short distance off the coast of present-day Turkey lies a tiny island called Patmos, where just over 1,900 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to John the Beloved and instructed him to write an account of the visions and revelations he was about to be given.  In Revelation 1–3, John introduced themes that run throughout the book. Revelation 1 describes a vision of the Lord Jesus Christ, unveiling aspects of the Savior’s power and eternal mission, including the reassuring truth that the Lord labors among and with His faithful servants. In Revelation 2–3, John’s letters to seven branches of the Church convey counsel and correction from the Lord to help His followers receive the blessings of exaltation. The messages in these chapters showed the Saints in John’s day that Christ will help His followers overcome even as He overcame, and these messages teach the same thing to us today.

Following his vision of the Savior and his letters to the seven churches, John wrote about his visions concerning “things which must be hereafter”. In the first of John’s visions that are recorded in Revelation 4–11, he saw God the Father enthroned in heaven, exalted beings who worship Him, and a book sealed with seven seals. John saw that the One who could open the book was Jesus Christ. John saw visions associated with the opening of the first six seals of the book, which symbolize the earth’s first six thousand years of temporal existence.

In spite of the plagues and judgments that would come upon the earth’s inhabitants in the last days, John saw that those who were washed clean through the blood of the Lamb would be spared many of the destructions. John also recorded that prior to Christ’s Second Coming, two prophets would be slain in Jerusalem and then resurrected after three and a half days. Doctrine and Covenants 77 records the Lord’s answers to 15 key questions that help unlock some of the symbolism in chapters 4–11 of Revelation.


About The Book
What is the meaning of the word apocalypse? The word comes from the Greek preposition apo, meaning “away from” or “remove,” and the verb kalyptō, meaning to “cover,” “hide,” or “veil.” Tell students that the original Greek title of the book of Revelation is Apocalypsis, or “the Apocalypse.” 
What does the title “the Apocalypse” suggest will take place in this book of scripture? There will be an uncovering, a removal of a veil, or a revelation. The book of Revelation unveils God’s dealings with men throughout the ages and His triumph over evil in the last days.

The book of Revelation encourages followers of Jesus Christ to remain faithful in the midst of persecution and trials. This book is also known as the Apocalypse, which in Greek means a revelation, uncovering, or unveiling of that which is hidden. As “the Revelation of Jesus Christ”, this book is both an unveiling of the Lord Jesus Christ and an uncovering of Jesus Christ’s authority and power and His role in the Father’s plan of salvation. The book also reveals much important information about the events leading up to the Second Coming and the Millennium. Prayerful study of this book can bring you a deeper understanding of the resurrected and glorified Son of God and His dealings with God’s children throughout the ages of earth’s history, particularly in the last days.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “The book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (in History of the Church, 5:342). Though it is rich with imagery and symbols that are not always easy for readers in modern times to understand, the themes of the book are simple and inspiring. “The message of Revelation is the same as that of all scripture: there will be an eventual triumph on this earth of God over the devil; a permanent victory of good over evil, of the Saints over their persecutors, of the kingdom of God over the kingdoms of men and of Satan” (Bible Dictionary, “Revelation of John”). Thus, the book of Revelation extends a message of hope to all the faithful.

John wrote a message of hope and encouragement to those in his day who still adhered to the teachings of Jesus Christ. The first three chapters of the book of Revelation were specifically addressed to seven branches of the Church in Asia Minor. It is unclear why these particular churches were singled out. While other branches of the Church had been established in Asia (such as at Pisidian Antioch), these seven may represent the Church as a whole (the number seven being symbolic of completeness). Historical sources indicate that John lived at Ephesus near the close of the first century, so he would have had close connections with the seven churches before his exile to Patmos, and he would have visited them as he ministered in Asia Minor. They may also have been among only a few branches that were still faithful and had not succumbed to apostasy and persecution.

The faithful members of the Church lived in times of intense persecution, with all the Apostles gone except John, who was now in exile, and with many factions and problems in the Church. As a result, the Saints were in great need of the encouraging message found in Revelation. John reassured them that God was in control, Jesus Christ’s ultimate triumph over evil would be complete, and the hopes of all Christians would ultimately be realized.

John wrote about the things he had seen, the vision of Jesus Christ, “the things which are” (conditions in the Church of his day), and “the things which shall be hereafter”. The book of Revelation, understood with the aid of latter-day revelation, presents an inspired overview of the history of the world, concentrating particularly on the time preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the great millennial era of peace.

The book contains promises to faithful Saints who overcome evil. It contains numerous symbolic images, including dragons and beasts. It contains one of the few scriptural passages describing the premortal war in heaven. Its major themes include Jesus Christ’s role in carrying out God’s plan, the hand of God in earth’s history, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the destruction of evil, the spiritual protection promised to the righteous in the last days, the Millennium, and the promise that the earth will eventually become celestial.

In 1 Nephi 14:24–29, we learn that about 600 years before John’s birth, the prophet Nephi saw a vision similar to John’s and learned John’s name. The Lord instructed both Nephi and John to write only a portion of their visions.  Nephi wrote of the first coming of Christ and some of the events of the last days, and John wrote of Christ’s Second Coming, the Millennium, and the completion of God’s work on the earth. Other prophets have also seen similar events in vision  Ether 3:25–28; Moses 7:59–67.

Chapter Summaries

Revelation 1
While on the island of Patmos, John received a “revelation of Jesus Christ” and learned that those who read and keep this revelation will be blessed. John testified that Jesus Christ is resurrected and is the “prince of the kings of the earth,” that His blood cleanses from sin, and that He will come again. In the midst of the faithful Saints, John saw the glorified Savior holding the keys of death and hell. 

Revelation 2
Through John, the Lord Jesus Christ gave messages to the churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, and Thyatira. These messages contained praise, correction, counsel, and promises of exaltation to those who overcome. The Lord told each congregation, “I know thy works.” 

Revelation 3
Through John, the Lord Jesus Christ continued to give messages, now addressing the churches in the cities of Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. He gave praise, correction, counsel, and promises to Church members.

Revelation 4
John saw a vision of God the Father sitting upon His throne surrounded by 24 elders and 4 beasts. John also saw the celestialized earth and all of God’s exalted creations worshipping Him. 

Revelation 5
John saw in God’s right hand a book sealed with seven seals, and he wept because no man was found worthy to open the sealed book. The heavenly hosts sang praises to the Lamb of God because He is worthy to open the sealed book. 

Revelation 6
John saw a vision of the Lamb of God opening the first six seals of the sealed book. John saw events after the opening of each of the first six seals. 

Revelation 7
Continuing his vision of the opening of the sixth seal, John saw 144,000 servants of God who had the seal of God in their foreheads. The innumerable multitude surrounding God’s throne had come out of great tribulation, having washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. 

Revelation 8
The seventh seal was opened, there was silence in heaven, and the prayers of the Saints ascended to heaven. Angels poured out plagues upon the earth, resulting in the destruction of one-third part of the earth’s vegetation, its sea creatures, and its rivers and waters. 

Revelation 9
John saw more wars and plagues poured out after the seventh seal was opened, including the destruction of one-third of mankind. These events will occur before the Second Coming. The wicked will still refuse to repent. 

Revelation 10
John saw many things relative to the events of the last days. He was given a book to eat, which symbolizes his acceptance of a divine mission. He was told that he will prophesy before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. 

Revelation 11
Prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, two prophets in Jerusalem will exercise great power and be slain in the streets of Jerusalem. Those who kill the prophets will refuse to allow them to be buried. After three and a half days, the two prophets will be resurrected and will ascend into heaven. Voices in heaven will proclaim the reign of Jesus Christ on the earth.

The book of Revelation is written primarily in symbolic language. Its theme is that “there will be an eventual triumph on this earth of God over the devil; a permanent victory of good over evil, of the saints over their persecutors, of the kingdom of God over the kingdoms of men and of Satan. … The details about the beasts, the wars, the angels, the men, etc., contribute to the development of this theme. By a little study, the theme can be perceived even if the details are not completely identified” (Bible Dictionary, “Revelation of John,” 762)

Part 1: Revelation 1 Jesus Christ is the Living Son of the Living God.
John was one of the Savior’s original Apostles. He had been banished by the Roman government to Patmos for bearing testimony of Jesus Christ. While there, John was visited by an angel and given a revelation that he recorded in letters to the seven branches of the Church in Asia (Revelation 1:1, 9–11). These letters became the book of Revelation.

John saw a vision of Jesus Christ. He wrote individual messages to the seven churches in Asia; these messages included praise, admonitions, and promises to the faithful Saints in each branch.  John was instructed to record the revelation he receives.  John also sees in revelation several symbols representing parts of the Church of Jesus Christ.  He taught the Church members that Jesus Christ watches over and cares for His faithful followers and that He is a glorified resurrected being who has power over death and hell. Students also learned that as we open the door to the Savior, He will come in to us and sup with us.

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
 

The following chart summarizes prominent symbols found in Revelation 1 and some possible interpretations:
Symbolism in Revelation 1
Verse
Symbol
Possible Interpretation
References
4
Seven spirits
Servants or leaders over the seven churches in Asia
6
Kings and priests
Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom
8
Alpha and Omega
First and last letters of the Greek alphabet, representing Christ’s eternal role in God’s work
Revelation 1:4; Bible Dictionary, “Alpha”
Seven candlesticks
The seven churches that are to hold up the light of the gospel (see Revelation 2–3)
Right hand
Covenant hand and symbol of power; Christ holds the seven churches in His right hand
Seven stars
Another image representing the servants or leaders over the seven churches
Revelation 1:20; Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 1:20 (in footnote b)
Sharp, two-edged sword
The word of God, pronouncing judgment on the wicked and freeing the innocent
Keys of hell and of death
Keys that unlock the doors of (overcome) spiritual and physical death
What truths about Jesus Christ do you find in this verse Revelation 1:5 A faithful witness of the Father. The first person to be resurrected. The prince of the kings of the earth. His blood washed us from our sins.

Why do you think it is important to know that Jesus Christ is the living Son of the living God? Revelation 1:5–20  The title “Almighty” is the English translation of the Greek word Pantokrator, which suggests one who rules and regulates all things. One theme of the book of Revelation is that even though God’s people in all ages face persecution and trouble, God does indeed govern all things and will one day put an end to all evil. Several images from the first chapters of Revelation reinforce the Savior’s role as “the Almighty” Revelation 1:8: His word is represented as “a sharp twoedged sword” Revelation 1:16, He holds “the keys of hell and of death” Revelation 1:18, and He knows people’s works  Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19.

What was the first image, or symbol, John saw in this revelation? Revelation 1:12. Seven Candlesticks

What did the candlesticks represent? Revelation 1:20.  The seven churches that are to hold up the light of the gospel

Why are candlesticks an appropriate symbol for branches of the Church?  The imagery of the “seven golden candlesticks” recalls the seven-branched menorah found in the Jerusalem temple. These candlesticks represented the seven churches. They were established to give light to the world, just as the Savior had commanded His disciples to do  Matthew 5:15–16.

How can wards and branches today act as candlesticks? Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “Candlesticks carry light; they do not create it. Their function is to make it available, not to bring it into being. So by using seven candlesticks to portray the seven churches to whom John is now to give counsel, the Lord is showing that his congregations on earth are to carry his light to the world” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 3:442). 

Where was the Savior in relation to the seven candlesticks?  Revelation 1:13  In John’s vision, he saw Jesus Christ “in the midst of the seven candlesticks,” showing symbolically that He was with or among the seven ancient churches

How is the Savior in the midst of his Church today? 

Why is it important for us to know that he is in the midst of his people?

What was the Savior holding in his right hand when he stood in the midst of the seven candlesticks? Revelation 1:16.  Seven stars

What did the seven stars represent? Revelation 1:20  Note: Throughout the Joseph Smith Translation of Revelation 1–3, the word angels is changed to servants, making it clear that the stars represent the leaders of the seven branches of the Church. 

How are Church leaders like the stars? They are constant and give direction to those who look for it.

What came out of the Savior’s mouth in this vision? Revelation 1:16
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

What did this sword represent? D&C 6:2.
2 Behold, I am God; give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my words.

In what ways is the word of the Lord like a sword? Hebrews 4:12; Helaman 3:29 
12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked

What other symbol did the Lord possess in this revelation?  Revelation 1:18. Keys of hell and of death.  

What will the Savior do with these keys? He will deliver all people from physical death, and he will deliver the righteous from spiritual death. 2 Nephi 9:10–13.

10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.

What do you learn about the eternal mission of Jesus Christ from Revelation 1:12–13, 20?  
Jesus Christ is the living Son of God and Continues to watch over and care for his faithful servants.

Part 2: Revelation 2–3; 7:13–17 We can overcome challenges through Jesus Christ

We’re like the Saints John wrote to in at least one way: we face adversity. But what we learn through these chapters is that we can absolutely overcome.

Chapter 2 and 3 contain the words of the Lord to each of the seven branches of the Church in Asia. The Lord reviewed some of the strengths and weaknesses in each branch and warned the Saints to correct their weaknesses.  Just as the Lord commended and corrected the Church members in Asia, he commends and corrects us today. 

What might the Lord commend us for? What has the Lord told us to correct?

Inhis instructions to the branches of the Church in Asia, the Lord also promised great blessings to those who would overcome the trials and temptations of mortality. Following is a summary of the instructions to the seven churches, see how they also fit into our day.  

Revelation 2:1–7  To Ephesus
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The Lord warned the Ephesians of their need to repent, but he also promised, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life.” 

What does the tree of life represent?  1 Nephi 11:21–22 Why is this the most desirable of all blessings? 

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

The Lord warned the Saints in Smyrna that they would suffer tribulation, but he also promised, “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” 

What is the second death?  Alma 12:16, 32; Helaman 14:18.

How can the Lord’s promise to the Saints in Smyrna help us see our tribulations in the proper perspective? 

Revelation 2:12–17To Pergamos 
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The Lord criticized some of the people in Pergamos for following the doctrine of Balaam, an Old Testament prophet who desired earthly honors and rewards more than he desired to follow the Lord’s will. 

What earthly honors and rewards might we have to give up to obey the Lord’s will?

To the Saints in Pergamos the Lord promised, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” The word hidden in this context means sacred, or not evident to everyone.

What could hidden manna represent?  John 6:35, 49–51.

Revelation 2:18–29To Thyatira 
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star.
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

In his words to the Saints in Thyatira, what did the Lord promise to those who overcome? Revelation 2:26–28.

These promises refer to the blessings of exaltation nad eternal life, when the righteous, will rule over heavenly kingdoms.  

What is the rod of iron with wich the righteous will rule over nations?1 Nephi 11:25; Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 2:27.

How can we use the word of God to rule our own lives?

Who is the morning star mentioned in Revelation 2:28? Revelation 22:16?

What might it mean to be given the morning star?  to receive Christ into our lives and to receive the blessings of his Atonement.
 
Revelation 3:1–6To Sardis 
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

What blessings did the Lord promise to the Saints in Sardis? Revelation 3:5.

How does participation in temple ordinances prepare us to be “clothed in white” eternally?

What is the book of life?  D&C 128:7; see also Exodus 32:33; Alma 5:58; Bible Dictionary, “Book of Life,” 626–27.

What will happen to those whose names are written in the book and are not blotted out because of wickedness?  Revelation 21:10, 23–27; Alma 5:58; D&C 88:2.

Revelation 3:7–13To Philadelphia 
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

What did the Lord say he would do for the Saints in Philadelphia because they had “kept [his] word, and … not denied [his] name”?  Revelation 3:10.) 

How does righteous living make it easier to resist temptation?

The Lord promised to those who overcome, “I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God.” 

What does it mean to have the name of God and the name of his city written on us? We become like God and become citizens of his eternal kingdom.
 
Revelation 3:14–22To Laodicea

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The Lord condemned the Saints in Laodicea who were “lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot” Revelation 3:15–16

How might we sometimes be spiritually “lukewarm”? How can we increase our commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Lord promised the Laodiceans, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” Revelation 3:21

What blessings are symbolized by the promise of sitting with the Lord on his throne? Romans 8:16–17

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

When all these promises from the seven churches are considered together they describe the eternal destiny of the righteous Doctrine and Covenants 132:20 provides a summary: 
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

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Part 3: Revelation 5 Jesus Christ was the only one who could make Heavenly Father’s plan possible

As John’s vision continued, he saw “a book written within on the backside, sealed with seven seals”“The first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh” D&C 77:7. In ancient times imortant documents were sealed iwth clay or wax seals. Only the owner of the document and those he authorized were allowed to break the seals and read the text.

So Why did John begin to weep? Because no one was worthy to open the book.

Why do you think that the opening and reading of this book mattered so much to John? The book contained God’s will and works regarding the earth, so when it appeared that no man was worthy to open the book, John may have thought that God’s will and works would not be revealed or carried out.

The center of God's will and works is the saving mission of His Son Jesus Christ. If there had been no Savior, there would have been great cause to mourn 2 Nephi 9:8–9. Jesus Christ is the center of God’s plan of salvation.

Why was Jesus Christ the only One who could open the seals?  Describing events in the premortal life, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught:  “Christ volunteered to honor the moral agency of all humankind even as He atoned for their sins. In the process, He would return to the Father all glory for such redemptive love.  This infinite Atonement of Christ was possible because (1) He was the only sinless man ever to live on this earth and therefore was not subject to the spiritual death resulting from sin, (2) He was the Only Begotten of the Father and therefore possessed the attributes of godhood that gave Him power over physical death, and (3) He was apparently the only one sufficiently humble and willing in the premortal council to be foreordained to that service” (“The Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign Mar. 2008, 35).

What do the names and titles of Jesus Christ recorded in these verses reveal about Him? Revelation 5:5–6
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

The names and titles emphasize Jesus Christ’s role as the only One who could open the sealed book. He has a position of unique authority in God’s plan.  And Jesus Christ is the only One who is able to put into effect all terms and conditions of the Father’s plan of salvation.

What do you learn from verses 9–11 about how many people will be exalted in God’s kingdom? Those redeemed of God will come from every nation, and the number will be too large to count.

9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

How does this teaching make you feel?

As you study how would you state the doctrine taught in Revelation  5 All of God’s creations should worship the Lamb of God, who worthily redeems us with His blood. Only the Savior Jesus Christ is worthy to redeem us.

How in your life do you worship Jesus Christ, the worthy Lamb of God?   

Are your efforts to praise  Christ adequate for this time in you lives? 

What more could you reasonably be doing? 

Part 4: Before the Second Coming, the Lord will gather the righteous and prepare them to dwell with Him Revelation 7

Revelation 7 describes events of the “sixth seal,” some of which represent our day. It also answers the question at the end of chapter 6: “The great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

Revelation 7:1 what is the meaning of some of the phrases of this verse? “After these things” means after the sixth seal is opened and before the seventh seal is opened. The phrase “four angels” is explained in Doctrine and Covenants 77:8. In scripture, the number four often suggests a wholeness or fulness—as in the four directions on a compass—so the phrases “four corners of the earth” and “four winds of the earth” suggest that what John described next would affect the whole earth. 

InRevelation 7:1–4, what did John see in the sixth seal?  
1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that the word Elias, as found in Doctrine and Covenants 77:9, is “a name and a title for those whose mission it was to commit keys and powers to men in this final dispensation” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966] 221).

Some of the men who came to commit keys and powers were Adam; Moroni; John the Baptist; Peter, James, and John; Moses; and Elijah.  

 What does it mean for someone to have “the seal of God” in his or her forehead?Revelation 7:3The sealing or marking of “the servants of our God in their foreheads” is a metaphor for their devotion, service, and belonging to God.

How would you state as a principle the importance of obtaining the seal of God?  If we faithfully keep the covenants we have made with God, we can receive spiritual protection amid the destructions that will be poured out upon the wicked in the last days.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the sealing of the faithful in their foreheads “signifies sealing the blessings upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure” (History of the Church, 5:530).

What is the meaning of Revelation 7:4?  The number 144,000 mentioned “is the number of representatives out of the twelve tribes of Israel who will be ordained to assist others in their quest for exaltation. … It is not, as some believe, the total number of people who will be exalted” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System Manual, 2014], 544).

What does Revelation 7:9 teach about how many people will enter the celestial kingdom? 
John saw that the multitude of exalted people clothed in white robes was too large to count and came from all nations of the earth. The image of the righteous with palm branches in their hands recalls the Savior’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem Palm branches can symbolize victory and joy The image of robes washed and made “white in the blood of the Lamb” Revelation 7:14 refers to our being purified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ  Alma 5:21; 13:11–12; 3 Nephi 27:19.

While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen taught: “The Savior stands at the door and knocks; He is ready to receive us immediately [see Revelation 3:20]. Our responsibility is to do the work of repentance. We must abandon our sins so the cleansing can begin. The promise of the Lord is that He will cleanse our garments with His blood [see Revelation 7:14]. He gave His life and suffered for all our sins. He can redeem us from our personal fall. Through the Atonement of the Savior, giving Himself as the ransom for our sins, He authorizes the Holy Ghost to cleanse us in a baptism of fire” (“The Atonement, Repentance, and Dirty Linen,” Ensign Nov. 2003, 12)

Remember: all baptized members of the Church who are striving to keep their covenants are on the right path.

How does Revelation 7:3, 14 answer the question found in Revelation 6:17 about who will be able to stand in the great day of God’s wrath?  If we are cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will be able to faithfully endure the tribulations of the last days.

How do ordinances and covenants “seal [us] up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out”? D&C 1:9

What is our work in preparing the world for the Second Coming? Doctrine and Covenants 1:4–23; 77:8–11 

The events of the seventh seal include events that will occur preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 

Part 5: Revelation 1–11 John’s vision teaches how Heavenly Father saves His children

Most of us find the book of Revelation difficult to understand.  It may be helpful if we consider John's writings in the context of Heavenly Father's plan to exalt His children.  

As you read Revelation 1–11 at home, what truths did you find that helped you understand Heavenly Father's plan for His children?  

It may help you to know that in general:

Much of chapter 12 deals with events in the premortal life (see also “Premortality,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org).

Chapters 6–11, 13–14, 16–19 describe mortal life and events in the history of the earth (see also “Mortality,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org).

Chapters 2–3, 15, 20–22 describe the Final Judgment and the glory that awaits the faithful in the eternal realms (see also “Postmortality,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org).

Scriptures about the plan of salvation 

Atonement of Jesus Christ

Premortal life

Mortal life

Postmortal life

Conclusion
Those who overcome the temptations and trials of the world will inherit the blessings of eternal life.  Difficult as it may seem, the book of Revelations is an excellent resource for helping us to do this.  It will take a bit of effort on our part, some real study, not just a read, but when we do tackle this beautiful writing we can find peace, safety, guidance, instruction, and a way to be prepared for what is to come.  Don't be afraid of Revelations, embrace it.  As you do, you will see your life change.  

Resources: 
New Testament Student Manual
Seminary Manual
History of the Church
Ensign
Conference Reports 
Mormon Doctrine Bruce R McConkie
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary Bruce R McConkie
Bible Dictionary LDS King James Version
Joseph Smith Translation Bible
Gospel Topics ChruchofJesusChrist.org
Book of Mormon
Doctrine and Covenants

The Fall of Adam and Eve

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