D&C 76 – Celestial

Verse 50 begins the vision that explains the qualifications of the celestial category of people who come forth in the resurrection of the just.

51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.

John the Revelator tells us a bit about this testimony of Jesus.

Revelation 19:10
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Revelation 12:17
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

As with the criteria for being just, those who have the testimony of Jesus keep the commandments. And they have the spirit of prophecy. Alma supports the link between the testimony of Christ and the spirit of prophecy.

Alma 6:8
And Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established in the valley of Gideon, according to the revelation of the truth of the word which had been spoken by his fathers, and according to the spirit of prophecy which was in him, according to the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who should come to redeem his people from their sins, and the holy order by which he was called. And thus it is written. Amen.

Verses 51 and 52 focus on the commandment to be baptized by water and to receive the Holy Spirit. The scriptures abound with that commandment. But verse 53 takes it up a notch – they need to overcome by faith and be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. Notice that the Father sheds forth this Spirit upon all those who are just and true…and we learned in the last post that the just obey the commandments and the word of God. When you see the scriptures all supporting each other, you know you’re onto something.

JST 1 John 3:9
Whosoever is born of God doth not continue in sin; for the Spirit of God remaineth in him; and he cannot continue in sin, because he is born of God, having received that holy Spirit of promise.

Those who receive the holy Spirit of promise are born of God and do not continue in sin. They can’t continue in sin because the Spirit of God remains in them. That corroborates the earlier definition of just. Which means that before we are born of God and receive the Holy Spirit of promise, we are not just and we are continuing in sin!

Verse 53 says that these people are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. That’s means polygamy temple marriage, right? No.

D&C 124:124
First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you, to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.

Mosiah 5:15
15 Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.

We are sealed unto Christ, not to a spouse. When we are sealed to Christ, we can be brought to heaven and have eternal life.

54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.

Who is the church of the Firstborn?

D&C 76:94
They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fulness and of his grace;

D&C 93:22
And all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same, and are the church of the Firstborn.

D&C 107:18-19
The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church—
To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.

D&C 88:3-5
Wherefore, I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—

Those who have been spiritually born of God receive the Holy Spirit of Promise and are the church of the Firstborn. They are sealed unto Christ and eligible to enjoy the presence of God. The next several verses give more details about these people and the rewards they receive. We could spend a lot of time diving into each one, but we’ll refrain so we can stay somewhat on topic. But pay attention to bolded elements – they will keep popping up.

55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.

These next verses begin to paint a radically different view of the plan of salvation than what is taught in the modern LDS church.

63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.

Christ will be accompanied by these celestial category people when he comes in the clouds of heaven to the earth. The first thing to note is that this group of people will be comprised of those who have already died as well as those still alive at the time of Christ’s coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

D&C 88:96-98
And the saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.
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—
They are Christ’s [see 76:59], 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.

Jacob 4:11
Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.

D&C 45:45-47
But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.
Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace blessed are you; for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected; and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth.
Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.

2 Nephi 9:18
But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

An interesting thing to note is the timing of this. These people are quickened and caught up to meet Christ immediately BEFORE he returns to the earth. There are still wicked people living on the earth when these people are caught up to dwell with Christ.

D&C 45:16
And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying: As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers,

D&C 109:75
That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord;

D&C 29:12-13
And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, and it hath gone forth in a firm decree, by the will of the Father, that mine apostles, the Twelve which were with me in my ministry at Jerusalem, shall stand at my right hand at the day of my coming in a pillar of fire, being clothed with robes of righteousness, with crowns upon their heads, in glory even as I am, to judge the whole house of Israel, even as many as have loved me and kept my commandments, and none else.
For a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth—yea, even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.

The apostles will have already received crowns upon their heads and be clothed with robes of righteousness when Christ returns. And they will stand in glory even as Christ! They will have already received their judgement and reward before descending with Christ. And verse 13 tells us those that died in Christ will receive the same and be even as Christ is. The celestial category of people receive their judgement and reward just before Christ returns!

JST Mark 8:43
For verily I say unto you, That he shall come; and he that layeth down his life for my sake and the gospel’s, shall come with him, and shall be clothed with his glory in the cloud, on the right hand of the Son of man.

64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.

The book of Revelation links this first resurrection to those who come with Christ and reign with him.

Revelation 20:4, 6
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Note that these people come in glory BEFORE the beginning of the millennium. We will see in the next post that the terrestrial category also have part in the first resurrection, so it’s important to remember that there is a difference between the resurrection of the just and the first resurrection. All those in the resurrection of the just are part of the first resurrection, but not everyone in the first resurrection is part of the resurrection of the just.

66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.

Obadiah 1:21
And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

D&C 133:56
And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.

D&C 63:49
Yea, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth, when the Lord shall come, and old things shall pass away, and all things become new, they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after, and shall receive an inheritance before the Lord, in the holy city.

Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

 

67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.

D&C 78:21-22
For ye are the church of the Firstborn, and he will take you up in a cloud, and appoint every man his portion.
And he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things. Amen.

You can see how quickly these things start referring back to each other: church of the Firstborn, cloud,  Mt. Zion, holy city, reigning with Christ, inheriting all things, etc. It gets to the point that it’s difficult to discuss in a linear fashion because there are so many cross-references. That’s an indication that you have a solid truth, when there are so many cross-references and facets that it’s difficult to describe in human language.

68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.

Revelation 3:5
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.

Alma 5:58
For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. [refer back to D&C 133:56].

69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.

70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

 

D&C 88

Now that we have really scratched the surface of Section 76, we are prepared to look at Section 88, where the term celestial kingdom is used.

D&C 88:4-5
This Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom;
Which glory is that of the church of the Firstborn, even of God, the holiest of all, through Jesus Christ his Son—

Romans 8:17
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.

The glory that members of the church of the Firstborn receive is the glory of God. That’s the glory of the celestial kingdom. Everyone gets God’s glory here. This is eternal life.

When talking about the earth, Section 88 says:

18 Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.

Isn’t it interesting that Section 88 talks about bodies who are of the celestial kingdom.

28 They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.
29 Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.

JST 1 Corinthians 15:40
Also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; but the glory of the celestial, one; and the terrestrial, another; and the telestial, another.

This is some deep stuff. If only those of a celestial spirit receive the same body which was a natural body, what kind of body do terrestrial and telestial spirits receive? The glory we have is determined by the body we have…not vice versa. Consider the ramifications. Perhaps in a future post we can pursue that further.

Summary

The people in the celestial category are caught up to meet Christ in the clouds before he returns to earth. Before Christ has stepped foot on this earth, these people have already received the glory of the Father. In order to receive that glory, these people have already overcome the world and become perfect in Christ. This is not an event that happens after the millennium, when all the wicked are judged. A significant departure from the time frame I was taught growing up.

Concluding thoughts

D&C 78:7
For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.

D&C 105:5
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

Are we currently living the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom? If not, how can we possibly expect Zion to be built up? And are we deluding ourselves into thinking we can earn a place in the celestial world without doing the things God requires of us? Do we even know what he requires of us?

 

 

14 thoughts on “D&C 76 – Celestial

  1. Great article. I too have spent a lot of time in section 88/76 trying to parse this out. I really now believe this is a rapture/resurrection type event of those individuals of the celestial level BEFORE the tribulation period starts. (Can you believe the Mormons have all these rapture scriptures!) One question I have had to answer over and over is this…Is the book of Revelation written in chronological order? Yes, I believe it is. Do a bit of research and I think you will find the same answer. If that is the case then what in the hell is happening at the end of Cpt 7? All the bad things happen in cpt 8-11 with the 7th seal. But look at these verses:

    9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood BEFORE THE THRONE, and BEFORE THE LAMB, clothed with WHITE ROBES, and palms in their hands; (Why are they before the throne? White robes? Sounds like these people are finished and getting their reward)
    10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
    11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
    12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
    13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
    14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
    16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
    17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

    So, I would expect verses like this at the end of the book of Revelation when all is done and the enemy is put away, but why in Cpt 7?

    I believe this is the same event discussed in Sect 88 when the living are caught up and the dead are resurrected to a celestial level…then to DESCEND back to the earth. Take a guess in what Cpt of Revelation? Cpt 14. Tie these keywords together and you will see there is no other place to the events of cpt 7 but the first resurrection/catching up of celestial beings. Firstfruits, white robes, tribulation, caught up, first resurrection. So what then is happening in Revelation Cpt 14…I believe this is the re-establishment of Zion and Christ taking back the earth.

    Thoughts?

    1. That’s an interesting observation about the people dressed in white before the opening of the seventh seal. I’m not convinced, however, of the interpretation.

      The scriptures state that the righteous living on earth will be caught up at the time of Christ’s coming. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17and D&C 88:96-98 are two examples. If a rapture were to occur before the tribulations of the last days, there would be no saints left on the earth to be caught up when Christ comes…they’d already be in heaven. D&C 88:95-96 says that these people are only caught up to heaven after there has been silence in heaven for 30 minutes AND the face of the Lord is unveiled. That comes after verse 94, wherein the great and abominable church that persecutes the saints is bound. According to this chronology, the people are caught up to heaven only after the persecutor is defeated. There is nothing to save the raptured people from at this point. Indeed, if a rapture were to remove the righteous before the tribulation begins, how would the great and abominable church have any saints to persecute and kill?

      The scriptures also talk about how during the last days Zion will be the only place of refuge from death and destruction while God pours his wrath out on the earth (D&C 115:6). The only people who can live in Zion are the pure in heart who have been cleaned. 2 Nephi 14:3-6. If a rapture were to occur, there would be no one to populate Zion. Many of the righteous will be spared the tribulation of the last days, but not by a rapture, but by fleeing to Zion.

      The word translated as tribulation in Revelation 7:14 is θλίψεως (thlipseōs). That same word is used by Christ in the parable of the sower. The seeds that fall on rough ground have no root. When tribulation comes, they fall away quickly. That same word is used in Acts 11:19 and several times in 2 Corinthians (1:8, 2:14, 4:17, 8:2) to describe general religious persecution in that day, not a last day tribulation. Anyone who is seriously committed to Christ will face tribulation. So anyone who makes it to heaven will have come out of tribulation. It doesn’t mean just the troubles in the last days.

      I suspect that this group of people in Revelation Chapter 7 are the saints who lived and died before Christ’s ministry, and who were resurrected after his resurrection. They came out of the tribulation of their life. People like Enoch who were persecuted for Christ’s sake yet persevered nevertheless and earned their reward. They have already been resurrected and are dressed in white and worship at the throne while we on the earth await the opening of the seventh seal.

  2. Roughly ending of 6th beginning of 7th. The 30 min of silence is difficult to really pin down because D&C 88 does not exactly sync up with Revelation.

    I most definitely see your point. I have struggled with this interpretation and do go back and forth. So, who are they in Revelation 7? You say, “I suspect that this group of people in Revelation Chapter 7 are the saints who lived and died before Christ’s ministry, and who were resurrected after his resurrection.” But this definitely is spoken against IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES YOU HAVE ALREADY REFERENCED ABOVE:

    15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, WILL NOT PRECEDE THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN ASLEEP.
    1 Thes 4:15

    The resurrection/catching away CANNOT take place for the DEAD ONLY. Same in D&C 88. We also get the keyword “FIRSTFRUITS” which connects with Revelation 14.

    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 FIRSTFRUITS 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.
    Doctrine and Covenants 88:95-98

    From these verses, the resurrection/catching away CANNOT take place for the DEAD ONLY… The resurrection MUST occur at the SAME TIME the living are caught up.

    We also get the keyword “FIRSTFRUITS” which connects with Revelation 14. But before we get to Revelation 14, tell me, what trumpet does the above event occur? I think you will find that it happens at THE FIRST TRUMPET! Now, I must admit we run into a bit of trouble trying to mesh the 7 trumpets of D&C 88 and the seven trumpets of Rev 7. There are glaring similarities, but also glaring differences. We should discuss this another day.

    So, if we look at Rev 14, we notice the 144 have ALREADY BEEN REDEEMED. Are the 144k only composed of the dead? Most likely no, it’s probably a combination group of those living that were caught up and the dead resurrected.

    4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
    Revelation 14:4

    There’s the word firstfruits connecting this verse with D&C 88. However, in this Chpt,
    Zion and the 144k have already seemed to be established. At least begun to be among this group.

    1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
    Revelation 14:1

    Last thought, we have a strange group of people getting white robes in Cpt 7 and the 144k. Then, we have the 144k having already been redeemed in Cpt 14. So where have they been for the last 3.5 tribulation years? At first thought, I would think they have been preaching to the wicked inhabitants of our planet, but I can’t agree with that because the great gathering of Israel doesn’t seem to happen until the ANGEL COMES TO PREACH THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL TO EVER NATION! Is this the great missionary gathering? It sure sounds like it.

    6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
    7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the HOUR OF HIS JUDGEMENT IS COME (SO, REV CPT 7-14 WERE NOT THE LORDS JUDGEMENTS?) and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters
    Revelation 14:6-7

    Final thought, did the resurrection/catching up constitute the CELESTIAL BEINGS happen in cpt 7 and the ones left to be gathered in cpt 14…TERRESTRIAL BEINGS who have repented after the 3.5 year tribulation period now able inherit the earth?

    (not completely confident on this last thought.)

    From JS…

    The servants of God will not have gone over the nations of the Gentiles, with a warning voice, until the destroying angel will COMMENCE TO LAY WASTE (are these the angels with the 7 trumpets of Rev cpt 7-9?) the inhabitants of the earth; and as the prophet hath said, “It shall be a vexation to hear the report.” I speak because I feel for my fellow-men; I do it in the name of the Lord, being moved upon by the Holy Ghost Spirit. O that I could snatch them from the vortex of misery, into which I behold them plunging themselves, by their sins; that I may be enabled, by the warning voice, to be an instrument of bringing them to unfeigned repentance,http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-b-1-1-september-1834-2-november-1838/79

    Revelation 14

    Much for us to discover I imagine.

    1. This is forcing me to question one of the traditions of my fathers. I was taught that some people were resurrected at Christ’s resurrection (and it has continued for others like Moroni). But when I look at the three places I know of that talk about this, the word resurrection is never used.

      Matthew 27
      52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
      53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

      Helaman 14
      25 And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many.

      3 Nephi 23
      9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?

      The language used there is similar to what is used to describe Lazarus, who was not resurrected but “only” brought back to life.
      John 12
      1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.

      So unless someone can provide a scripture that says people were RESURRECTED after Christ’s resurrection, I may have to shift my perspective a bit. I’ll need to chew on this a while before I can go process the rest of your comments.

      1. As I have been researching this further this week, I’m surprised how much is pinned to the *fact* that Moroni was a resurrected being when he visited Joseph Smith. The only problem is, I can’t find any authoritative reference to Moroni being resurrected at that time. Joseph Smith History refers to him as simply a messenger, and there is no physical interaction ever mentioned, he just delivers a message. The closest to a resurrected being declaration that I can find is D&C 128:20 that says Moroni was an angel from heaven. Combine that with D&C 129:1 (if you think it is accurate) and you could try to claim that proves he was a resurrected personage…except then you have to also admit that the angels of the Old Testament were resurrected personages before Christ was even born, and that Satan (DC 76:25) and his angels (Matt 25:41) are also already resurrected beings.

        Similarly, Peter, James, Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist are all stated as fact to be resurrected beings, but I can find no authoritative source for those assertions. Does anyone know of any authoritative basis for these assertions?

  3. Very interesting discussion going here.

    I have two thoughts to share that may be of help

    One has to do with a quote by Joseph Smith about the rapture. It is as follows:

    “..all will be raised to meet him [Christ] but the righteous will remain with him in the cloud whilst all the proud and all that do wickedly will have to return to the earth, and suffer his vengeance which he will take upon them, this is the second death..”

    The concept of coming out of tribulation may simply be referring to the saints being caught up at the time of the lords vengeance to be saved from the wrath of God which is known as the second death. There are differing groups of the non-righteous that will have a “part” in that experience while only the SofP will actually receive the fulness and be totally overcome by that “second death”

    While it is true that the righteous first flee to Zion to avoid the wars and tribulations, that first physical gathering appears to be followed by a catching up to meet Christ in the cloud.

    The second thought growing out of the above quote where Joseph Smith states that the wicked and proud will have to “return to the earth” to experience the “second death” is that you can make a strong argument that all of the dead that are not raptured up in the morning of the first resurrection, must return to the earth in the flesh, in their mortal bodies BEFORE receiving their glorified and final resurrection.

    I did a search on this topic somewhere and I will try to find it..

  4. I’m not sure if this helps, but Ezra touches upon this topic:

    2nd Esdras 13:
    15 Shew me now yet the interpretation of this dream.
    16 For as I conceive in mine understanding, woe unto them that shall be left in those days and much more woe unto them that are not left behind!
    17 For they that were not left were in heaviness.
    18 Now understand I the things that are laid up in the latter days, which shall happen unto them, and to those that are left behind.
    19 Therefore are they come into great perils and many necessities, like as these dreams declare.
    20 Yet is it easier for him that is in danger to come into these things, than to pass away as a cloud out of the world, and not to see the things that happen in the last days. And he answered unto me, and said,
    21 The interpretation of the vision shall I shew thee, and I will open unto thee the thing that thou hast required.
    22 Whereas thou hast spoken of them that are left behind, this is the interpretation:
    23 He that shall endure the peril in that time hath kept himself: they that be fallen into danger are such as have works, and faith toward the Almighty.
    24 Know this therefore, that they which be left behind are more blessed than they that be dead.

    This is the dream Ezra has that I believe relates to Revelations 5, with the man from the sea (I believe this man is Joseph Smith) opening the sealed book.

    I’m not able to get the timings of all these events to really line up, but I wonder if Ezra’s dream might be taking place after that quote by Joseph Smith? Is Ezra seeing the wrath of God being poured out upon those that must return to earth and suffer? Could it be that those who die (a literal second death) are the Sons of Perdition and other unrighteous souls that must remain as spirits during the millennium? Those telestial souls will then receive a second resurrection after the millennium? Those who remain on earth are celestial and terrestrial souls (see verse 13 below)?

    Here’s part of Ezra’s original dream:
    5 And after this I beheld, and, lo, there was gathered together a multitude of men, out of number, from the four winds of the heaven, to subdue the man that came out of the sea

    11 And they were all mixed together; the blast of fire, the flaming breath, and the great tempest; and fell with violence upon the multitude which was prepared to fight, and burned them up every one, so that upon a sudden of an innumerable multitude nothing was to be perceived, but only dust and smell of smoke: when I saw this I was afraid.
    12 Afterward saw I the same man come down from the mountain, and call unto him another peaceable Multitude.
    13 And there came much people unto him, whereof some were glad, some were sorry, and some of them were bound, and other some brought of them that were offered…

    I still need to ponder and study this idea. I really appreciate this interesting discussion.

    Mike

  5. I can’t make sense of Watcher’s quote by JS stating that they will be taken up into the cloud and then returned to the earth to suffer his vengeance.

    We know from Section 88:98
    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.

    This seems to be directly referring to those of the terrestrial kingdom, keyword “prison.”

    71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fulness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.
    72 Behold, these are they who died without law;
    73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;

    Now, where in the book of Revelation do we have “Christ at his coming?” I believe it’s in Revelation 19. This is most likely to fit “Christ at his coming.” It would also, therefore, signify the “redemption” of those in “prison” also known as those of the terrestrial kingdom.

    11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
    12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
    13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
    14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
    15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
    16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
    17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
    18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
    19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
    20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
    21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
    Revelation 19:11-21

    Now, the hundred dollar question is if this event above is the resurrection of those in the terrestrial kingdom, then the first resurrection, resurrection of the just, those of the church of the firstborn, bodies celestial ( V 66 – THESE ARE THEY WHOM HE SHALL BRING WITH HIM , WHEN HE SHALL COME IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN TO REIGN ON THE EARTH OVER HIS PEOPLE)
    happens where in the book of Revelation?

    54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
    55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
    56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;
    57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
    58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
    59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
    60 And they shall overcome all things.
    61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
    62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
    63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
    64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
    65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
    66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
    67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
    68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
    69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
    70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.

    I submit that’s it’s Revelation 7. The Celestial beings are raptured/resurrected (living are raptured/dead are resurrected.) They leave before the tribulation period. I believe this is the same event talked about here:

    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.

    Can anyone place it elsewhere?

    1. First of all, I want to make it clear that I love this type of discussion. I don’t want to discourage it. I want people to challenge my assumptions as much as I challenge theirs.

      That being said, I am still not convinced that Revelation is in chronological order. Your argument hinges upon that assertion. What evidence do you have to support it? I see too many contradictions and discrepancies.

      We have D&C 88:95-96 that appears to put the saints on earth being caught up to heaven after the 30 minutes of silence. Revelation places the half hour of silence in Chapter 8, after the events of Chapter 7.

      Revelation 14:8 says “Babylon is fallen, is fallen”. Yet Revelation 18:2 says “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”. Are you saying that Babylon falls in chapter 14, then somehow rises up so it can once again fall in chapter 18? I’m not aware of any place in scripture that supports a double fall of Babylon.

      Chapter 9 talks about the bottomless pit being opened and locusts coming to afflict men. “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.” Are you saying that the 144,000 who were sealed in the foreheads in Rev 7:3 are still on the earth after the rapture? Because Revelation 14:4 says the 144,000 “are they which follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” If the 144,000 are not on the earth but with Jesus in heaven, who are the people in Rev 9:4 that are on the earth, have the seal of God in their foreheads, and need to be protected from the locusts?

      In Chapter 11, who inhabits the holy city if the righteous are all gone?

      The celestial people have already been raptured but Revelation 12:17 states that the dragon “went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Who are these people that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, yet weren’t raptured in Chapter 7?

      Chapter 13:7 talks about the beast and “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” Who are these saints? Revelation 14:12 says “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

      Keep in mind how the scriptures define who are the saints:
      1 Nephi 14:12 – “the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God”
      2 Nephi 9: 18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

      Revelation 20:4 talks about those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and had not received his mark in their forehead. Those are events that happen in Chapter 13, after your rapture. Yet 20:4-6 says these people shall be priests of God and shall reign with him. D&C 76:55 says the celestial people are “priests and kings…priests of the Most High” and “these are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth” . D&C 76 says the terrestrial people were not valiant in the testimony of Jesus and they obtain not a crown. These people who lived (and died) from Chapter 8-19 are celestial people according the scriptures.

      Please help me with these discrepancies.

      1. The question still at hand is this: When does the first resurrection occur?

        If you do not agree that the Book of Revelation is presented in a chronological order from pre-tribulation to tribulation to millennium to the celestialization of the earth, well…that’s probably a good sign there is not much left here to discuss.

        1. You continue to state that the Book of Revelation is presented in a strict chronological order, but you have given no evidence other than your own opinion to support that position. While I agree that there is a general chronological order to the events, and the events in chapter 7 merit more study, I see too many discrepancies to state definitively that it is 100% chronological and that we can therefore build significant doctrinal beliefs based on that chronology alone.

          I have shown you several places in the scriptures that question that chronological order. If your position is correct and mine is wrong, use the scriptures to prove me wrong! If your position is correct, there should be multiple scriptures co-witnessing to that truth. I have shown you multiple scriptures that seem to indicate otherwise, but you have not addressed those. If you choose to not respond to evidence that contradicts your position, I agree that there is not much left to discuss here.

  6. Have you read Steven Fisher’s blog? He goes over his interpretation of the Book of Revelations and he does not consider it entirely chronological.

    http://the3rdwatchmarvelouswork.com/blog/revelation-chronology

    He groups the chapters like this:
    1-3 together
    4-10 as a full chronology of the 3rd watch to the 2nd coming
    11 stand alone, opening of 7th seal
    12-13 timeline from Meridian (1st watch) to opening of 7th seal
    14 stand alone
    15-16 together
    17-22 goes from the rise and fall of Babylon through to the end of the final day (the post-millennial little season)

    He’s done a great amount of work on it. I still have trouble comprehending it all. For example, I think the Watcher has a great discovery about how Daniel’s prophecies were fulfilled during the 1830s. Are Daniel’s prophecies also fulfilled a second time in these last days?

    Mike

    1. There are, of course, pauses in the vision with commentary given by the angel, and separate visions that act like parenthetical explanations but, I assumed that is understood by most from a baseline perspective when discussing the book of revelation. Besides those narrative like chapters, I belive the events happen in sequence from beginning to end. I think one can find much information online to support this and I think it makes the most sense.

      Yes, I think some of Daniel’s prophecies were fulfilled during the restoration movement as documented by watcher but may again play themselves out. For example,

      43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, THEY SHALL MINGLE THEMSELVES WITH THE SEED OF MEN: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

      Daniel 2:43-44

      Who is “they” and why are they mingling themselves “with the seed of men?” Would this imply they are NOT of the seed of men if they are mingling their seed with mankind?

      then verse 44

      44 And in the days of THESE KINGS shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever

      Who are “these kings?” Are “these kings” the “they” from verse 44?

      Whatever is being suggested in verse 43 and 44 it must happen BEFORE “God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.”

      I don’t believe we have seen this yet happen…

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