Scheduled for study December 9-15, 2019. This study of the Revelation of John is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation of the symbols of his vision. Instead, we will be looking at what we can learn about God’s love for us, and our responsibilities for making and keeping our families safe as we approach the coming of the Savior.

Day 1

Revelation – How can I make sense of the book of Revelation?

Consider writing down questions you have about what you read in Revelation. You can then search for answers to your questions or discuss them with a family member or in Church classes.

The most important thing to remember about the book of Revelation, written by John the Beloved, is that the symbolism he used to teach about the vision was readily understandable to the people of his day. That doesn’t make it any easier for us, being so far removed from his references. But at least we know that those who read it when it was first published had a clear understanding of what it was trying to convey.

The overall theme of the book is that Christ will triumph over evil in the end. Those who are obedient and faithful will be saved, and the wicked will be punished. Here is a quote from the Bible Dictionary about the Revelation of John.

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. It may be in this sense that the Prophet Joseph Smith said that Revelation was “one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (HC 5:342). However, the more fully the details are understood, the greater will be the appreciation of the theme. If we fail to catch a glimpse of the theme, we fail in our comprehension, no matter how many details we are able to understand.

We can fill in some of the details through study and historical documents that talk about this book. But as stated in the quote, no amount of details can make up for missing the theme. As you read and pray about the book of Revelation, focus on ways in which good triumphs over evil. If you do that you won’t miss the main purpose of reading the book.

In this week’s reading the first three chapters are focused on the seven congregations of the Church and the various states of well being and apostasy that they are each experiencing. It is important to remember that the Apostles all knew they were fighting a losing battle. There was no way to regulate the Church sufficiently in their day to keep everyone on task and believing in correct doctrine. They all knew the apostasy would settle in over the whole Church and stay that way until the Restoration that Jesus promised them would come. Their job was to keep the saints spiritually well and organized as long as possible.

From chapter 4 -22 John saw what is sometimes referred to as “the vision.” The vision refers to the future of the world up to and including the Savior’s return. Many prophets have had this very vision, but Nephi told us that it was John’s responsibility to record it for all mankind, so Nephi was not allowed to share it with us. But he did see it. In every case, the message the prophets take away from this vision is one of hope and triumph of good over evil. It won’t happen in their lifetime, but it will happen, and that gives them hope to soldier on in their work.

It is important to remember that the apostasy did not happen as a one-time event. Neither is the restoration a one-time event. Both took a long time to happen fully.

Two important things found in the first 11 chapters of Revelation include (chapter 5) the resurrection of animals. Believe it or not, the description of the animals, as fantastic as they are, are animals who filled the measure of their creation and were living in the celestial kingdom. They obviously are not from our world, but lived elsewhere. This is a source of great comfort for those who have animals they love deeply, for we know they will be in heaven with us.

The second big part of this week’s reading is the accounting of the two Apostles the Lord will send to Jerusalem to preach repentance to the people. They will preach to them for years, and no weapon formed against them will be able to kill them. In fact, it is promised that those who even want to kill them will be killed by the Lord. After their preaching has reached an end, and the people have rejected their message, the wicked will finally be able to kill them. As an insult to them they will allow their bodies to lie in the street for days, unburied. But the Lord will resurrect them and catch them up in a cloud and return them to heaven. It is shortly after this event that the final destruction of the wicked will begin in earnest. But that is the subject for the second half of the book.

Note: The December, 2019 Ensign has an excellent article on John’s Revelation with a table explaining many of the symbols.

Day 2

Revelation – John’s vision teaches how Heavenly Father saves His children.

Consider writing down questions you have about what you read in Revelation. You can then search for answers to your questions or discuss them with a family member or in Church classes.

Today’s topic cannot be fully answered just by reading the first eleven chapters of Revelation. The answer to today’s question is found throughout the entire revelation. I suggest reading the whole book in order to answer the question. As you read, please, please, please look carefully at the Joseph Smith Translations (JST). They don’t always make everything crystal clear, but often they do make things better.

An example of a JST clarification happens in chapter 5. John has described the throne of God, surrounded by 24 thrones given to righteous individuals who have been exalted, and around those thrones stood 4 beasts with various faces, eyes, and wings, etc. Joseph Smith taught that these four beasts were actual beasts who had lived on a world somewhere – obviously not this one – and had filled the measure of their creation and were celestial beings. They had great knowledge (the eyes) and great power (the wings). In the midst of this assembly John was shown God, our Father, holding a book bound with seven seals. John wept much because there could not be found anyone worthy enough to open the book and read from it. We don’t know the exact contents of the book or its purpose, but it was crucial that someone be able to read from that book. An angel assures John that there is someone who is worthy to read from it and shows him to John.

Without naming Jesus specifically, John tells us that the Savior stood there with his apostles. The King James Version of the Bible says there were only 4 horns and eyes, but Joseph Smith corrects this and points out that these 12 are the servants Jesus chose to go into all the earth.

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 twelve horns and twelve eyes, which are the twelve servants of God, sent forth into all the earth.

With just this one clarification we learn much. We know that horns represent power, and eyes knowledge. We learn that crowns represent dominion, so when you see someone with many crowns on their head, they rule over many kingdoms. Another thing this portion of the record shows us is that there is no one else who can do what Jesus has done for us. Only he was worthy and capable of being able to loose the seals of the book God required to be read for the good of His children.

John is not spelling out details, but describing events. Even when he speaks of the two Apostles whom God raised up for the salvation of Jerusalem, he doesn’t name them or describe them, but discusses their mission and their purpose. He goes on to describe the reaction of the wicked, and the subsequent punishment that is inflicted upon them because they refuse to heed the Apostle’s warnings and invitations to repent. It is only when these two are finally killed and left in the street of Jerusalem to rot for multiple days then resurrected and taken into heaven that the final punishments are unleashed upon the world in full measure.

As you read the book of Revelation, be looking not for details, but for indicators. How many ways does God give His children to repent? How many times does He call us to come unto Him? He punishes and hopes that will soften our hearts, but the world continues to harden their hearts. He opens seals and sends more destruction, the voices of thunder and lightning, the seas heaving themselves beyond their bounds, plagues, etc. And still, the people refuse to repent. The righteous He seals up to Himself and protects them, but the wicked he continues to punish in the hopes they will turn from their rebellions and let Him heal them. Finally, when all else has been done that can be done, the graves are opened, the righteous are resurrected and caught up to meet Jesus, and the Lord returns to rule and reign on the earth. The earth is cleansed, and the millenial reign commences. It is a beautiful story of sorrow and triumph, this revelation. Always keep in mind that the message of Revelation is the eventual, yet absolute triumph of good over evil. God will win this battle. He has seen every step of the conflict, and has prepared his messengers and his plan of salvation to accommodate the needs of His saints. Those who are faithful will be rewarded for their righteousness and obedience.

Day 3

Revelation 2-3 – Jesus Christ knows me personally and will help me overcome my challenges.

Consider writing down questions you have about what you read in Revelation. You can then search for answers to your questions or discuss them with a family member or in Church classes.

Go back and reread these two chapters. Try to count all the times and enumerate all the good things the Lord tells John these congregations were doing. There were many good things to say about them. But the apostasy was in full swing, and there were many who were deliberately seeking to throw the Church off track so they could gain power over the people. There were also many who were good people, but were being fooled by those who were pretending to speak for God or for the Church, but had no authority whatever. These congregations were many days journey from the center of the Church, and they rarely saw the Brethren, so the occasional letter was the only thing helping them stay on task. It was all too easy for people to deliberately or even mistakenly interpret doctrine falsely, and teach it as truth.

The statement for today’s lesson is that “Jesus Christ knows me personally and will help me overcome my challenges.” As you read these two chapters, feel free to marvel at how intimately Jesus knew what the strengths and weaknesses of individual congregations were. And he couldn’t have know that if he didn’t also fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals who made up those congregations.

As we seek the Lord for strength, knowledge, and guidance, it is important to remember that he knows us every bit as well as he knew these people in the early Church. If we are wandering off the covenant path he is all too aware of it. Just as he gave guidance for each congregation to get back on the right road, based on their unique circumstances, so too can he give us specific counsel to help us get back on the right road in our unique circumstances.

Just a note on the things Christ was condemning about the different congregations: the doctrine of Balaam was a snare a prophet who was more concerned with worldly enrichment than the blessings of the Lord laid for the children of Israel. The kings who wanted him to curse Israel couldn’t get him to curse the children of Israel, but with enough money as an inducement, they convinced him to get the children of Israel to curse themselves by committing fornication and eating food offered to idols. The Nicolaitans the Lord condemns promoted every worldly pleasure, reasoning that the law of Moses, which was so restrictive, had been fulfilled, so the Lord had now released his people to enjoy all the world had to offer. Their sins were worse than those of the followers of Balaam!

The point today is that the Lord knows us individually. He has given us directions for how to repent and improve. We need not feel like we are left alone to figure out how to behave and act each day. The Lord has taught us through his servants what is needed from us in order to receive the Lord’s blessings. We may need to do some study and prayer, but the information is available, and the Spirit is always available to answer our prayers.

Day 4

Revelation 5 – Only Jesus Christ could make Heavenly Father’s plan possible.

Consider writing down questions you have about what you read in Revelation. You can then search for answers to your questions or discuss them with a family member or in Church classes.

Here are the first four verses of Revelation 5.

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Note in verse four that John was perfectly aware than there wasn’t anyone worthy of opening or reading that book. What was so important about that book that only someone of such extreme worthiness would be able to open it and read from it? Joseph Smith asked the Lord what this passage meant, and the answer is found in Doctrine and Covenants 77:6.

Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.

What the Lord is describing here is the plan of salvation. This book detailed our earth and its temporal existence. This is a figurative way of saying that Jesus was the only one in all of heaven powerful enough, and worthy enough to put into effect the Father’s plan for our salvation. Only he was worthy enough to open the seals of the book and read what was contained therein.

In Revelation 5:13 John hears all who are in heaven burst into praise of him who was to be the lamb of God. If you remember, this was the same event that was referenced in the book of Job (Job 38:7) where God asks Job where he (Job) was “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.

13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and powerbe unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Day 5

Revelation 6-11 – The Restoration preceded the destruction that will take place before the Second coming of Jesus Christ.

Consider writing down questions you have about what you read in Revelation. You can then search for answers to your questions or discuss them with a family member or in Church classes.

Much of earth’s time has been spent just processing God’s children in one door and out the other. But once Jesus was resurrected, things began to happen faster. I don’t think time has changed, but the number of significant events is increasing at a faster and faster pace. John prophesies of the apostasy and persecution of the saints before the Restoration of the gospel in the last days. Then he goes on to explain an ever expanding list of dreadful events as the Lord prepares for his second coming.

The Lord is inviting all to come and be healed through repentance and baptism. But once the world has been given a sufficient opportunity to accept his gospel, and they have rejected it then he will start to use more stern methods to try to get their attention. He will use the voice of thunders, the voice of lightnings, and the voice of the seas heaving themselves beyond their bounds. There will be plagues, pestilence, and all manner of commotion as the world sinks into greater and greater wickedness. As we transition from one phase into the next phase of trying to gather Israel from among the nations of the earth, we need to fortify our homes and our personal lives against the wickedness of the world.

The world is becoming, and will become even more so, pushier and pushier about pressuring people to participate in their wickedness. And the world’s wickedness will come in a dizzying array of choices. If we don’t want to fall to the pressures of the world, we will have to make our homes the sacred places the Lord intends for them to be. Only by standing in holy places, our home, church, and Temples can we remain spiritually safe from the downward pull of the world about us.

Scripture Study and Home Evening

The power of questions

What can you learn from someone else’s questions? How does questioning open a window to a person’s soul? How can we teach without questions? The answer to that last question is – we can’t, for we cannot assess what they understand without questions. Questions are the lifeblood of learning. Even when we seek for knowledge on our own, it is going to either generate questions, answer questions, or both.


It is difficult to ask a question without betraying your perspective. What you ask about, how you ask it, and what you include in your question, tells others what you think about. When someone asks you a question you just might get a glimpse into their assumptions or background on that subject. What we know about a subject colors the questions we can ask. Have you ever been too new to a subject to even know what questions to ask?

Listen to what is being asked when someone starts to question about a doctrine, idea, or practice, and you might just get some insight into what they already know. Some questions are a sign of being new to a subject. Some questions show that the person has some history with the ideas behind what is being questioned. Having some idea as to how much someone knows about a particular subject can heavily influence the kind of answer we give.

Have you ever seen someone ask a question, and immediately you suspect they are just wasting time, because you are pretty sure they already know the answer? They might be trying to use up time by asking something rhetorical. But they might also be asking something that opens the door for you to come back with a question to learn more about what they really understand. This is why answering a question with a question is a good way to search for more understanding behind the question they asked.

Questions fuel learning

Questions drive most learning in the gospel. Whether it starts the search for answers or comes as a result of information already learned, questions show that thinking is taking place. What we need to remember is that we should always be careful about judging the kind of question someone else asks. We have no window into their soul, no way to tell if they are truly asking for guidance, seeking understanding, or just clarification. Unless we are sure they are just wasting time with their question, we have the opportunity to spark genuine learning and desire for knowledge if we handle questions skillfully.

Many discourage questioning what they consider the core subjects or assumptions in the gospel of Christ. If someone doesn’t understand a point of the gospel, basic or otherwise, and they are censured or socially punished for asking about it, or challenging the principle in question then that person may never again feel safe asking for clarification of that principle. So anyone willing to risk public exposure by asking a question, whether or not is sounds legitimate, should be treated with respect. If you want a good example of how important the Lord views the willingness to ask him questions, do a brief review of the Doctrine and Covenants. Count how many of the revelations came as a result of Joseph Smith asking the Lord a question.

Most of Joseph’s revelations came as the result of him seeking clarification or asking about a subject. What is interesting is that many of the revelations Joseph received came because he asked about one thing, but the Lord wanted him to know about something else. He was able to reveal new information to Joseph because Joseph was willing to expose his own ignorance before the Lord and ask for more knowledge. This is the power of questioning. Too often in the Church we discourage people from asking sincere questions. Often we are just assuming the questions can’t possibly be sincere, or we openly question their faithfulness for asking the question at all. But if we don’t answer any and all questions with love and respect then how can we expect people to learn and to grow in the gospel?

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

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