I made this handout to help out in my teaching of Revelation chapters 1-7. I’m hoping it will help answer student questions that may come up. This handout is geared for teenagers, and all the sources are LDS.
Revelation 1:13 – One like unto the Son of Man
This is Christ. The Book of Revelation Made Easier by David J. Ridges says this phrase was used to keep from saying the name of God or Christ too frequently. The Savior identifies himself in verses 16-17.
Revelation 1:13 – Girt about the paps
“Girt about the paps” means wrapped around the chest.
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 1
Revelation 2:10 – Crown of Life
As sons and daughters of God we have not received the commandments, which show us the way to return to him on a conditional basis, to fulfill only if it seems possible or if ideal circumstances permit.
To be obedient, to do that which the Lord requires of us, has been and always will be a constant principle in the lives of those whom the Lord has called to be his prophets. As an example, we might mention that at one time the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I made this my rule, ‘When the Lord commands, do it.’” (History of the Church, 2:170.)
Without any doubt, Joseph Smith was a prophet with a great spirit of accomplishment and tenacity. On one occasion he said to his cousin, George A. Smith: “Never be discouraged. If I were sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top.” (John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith, an American Prophet, New York: MacMillan Co., 1946, p. 9.)
The life of the prophet of whom I bear testimony was an example of that which he proclaimed, having always given a clear message of his convictions and testimony.
This kind of determination, an exemplary way of life, is not reserved for only a small minority, as some would believe, but rather it should be the constant attitude of those who desire to follow the Lord’s counsel in order to attain the promised blessings: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” ( Rev. 2:10.)
The Sure Sound of the Trumpet, Elder Angel Abrea, 1984
Revelation 2:11 – The Second Death
The second death is to be shut out from the Lord forever.
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 2-3
Revelation 2:14 – Balak and Balaam
Among other things in verse 14, next, you will see a reference to a man named Balaam in the Old Testament. You may remember that Balaam’s donkey refused to go where he wanted to ride, crushed his foot against the wall (Numbers 22:25), lay down with him still still trying to ride her, and started talking to him (Numbers 22:26-34).
It helps here to know that Moab was a nation located east of the Dead Sea and was in the path of the children of Israel as they journey to the promised land. Balak, king of Moab (spelled “BALAC” here in Revelation in the New Testament), attempted several times to hire or bribe Balaam to use his priesthood to curse the approaching children of Israel to prevent them from destroying Moab. Balaam knew that the priesthood should not be used this way (in fact, it cannot be used this way. See D&C 121:36-37.), especially to curse the people of the Lord, but he was sorely tempted to endeavor to use his priesthood for the wealth, potential honor, and fame offered him by the king of Moab (numbers 22-24).
Ultimately, Balaam tried to do an end run around the instructions of the Lord. He told Balak , king of Moab, that he could not curse the Israelites because of the word of the Lord to him, but if Balak would get his people to entice the Israelites to get involved with idol worship and the accompanying sexual immorality, they would lose the blessings of the Lord and thus would no longer be a threat to the Moabites (see Numbers 31:16). This misguided and wicked counsel of Balaam to Balak is referred to next in verse 14.
The Book of Revelation Made Easier, David J Ridges. pps 18-19
Revelation 2:28 – The morning star
The “morning star” is a reference to Jesus Christ. (Rev22:16)
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 2-3
Revelation 3:1 – Thou Livest, and Art Dead
There are many people in this Church today who think they live, but they are dead to the spiritual things. … Their service is much of the letter and less of the spirit.
Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 105
Revelation 3:20 – Behold I stand at the door and knock
Prayer is the key which unlocks the door and lets Christ into our lives.
Prayer and Revelation, President Marion G. Romney, 1978
Prayer begins with individual initiative. “Behold,” saith the Lord, “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.” (Rev 3:20). That door is opened when we pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ.
Russell M Nelson, Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers, 2009
I testify that our Heavenly Father loves each one of us. He hears the prayers of humble hearts; He hears our cries for help…. His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, speaks to each of us today: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” Revelation 3:20.
Will we listen for that knock? Will we hear that voice? Will we open that door to the Lord, that we may receive the help He is so ready to provide?
Mrs. Patton—the Story Continues, President Thomas S. Monson, 2007
Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil.
Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise, President Boyd K. Packer, 1994
Our Heavenly Father desires that all mankind be led by the light, but that blessing will not be imposed upon anyone. Christ stands at the door and knocks; those who wish to have him enter and sup with them must hear his voice and “open the door.” ( Rev. 3:20.) Thus two great principles on which the gospel is centered, love and agency, are plainly taught. Each of us is here to learn to love and give and hearken to the Spirit and choose to do the will of the Father. God wants his offspring and heirs to become all that we can be, to qualify for our inheritance. But we must choose; we are the decision makers, and he will not relieve that responsibility.
A Loving, Communicating God, Elder Marion D. Hanks, 1992
This concept of asking for information and help is a fundamental method of obtaining knowledge. Although the Lord warns us of impending dangers, he doesn’t give information to us until we ask for it. “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” (Rev. 3:20).
It is expressed even more clearly in Matthew: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).
This whole dispensation of the fulness of times began when a youth asked a question of the Lord as a result of reading this scripture: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:5-6).
The book of Doctrine and Covenants may be regarded as a prime example of this principle. Revelations were given as a result of questions asked. When the Lord saw the willingness of the Prophet Joseph and his associates to receive instruction, he gave them additional principles and revelations much beyond the original questions asked.
The GIANT System, Elder Theodore M. Burton,1969
Note the use of the term “hereafter” in Revelation 4:1 as opposed to “shortly” in Revelation 1:1. The events foretold in Revelation 1-3 occur in John’s near future, while most of the events in chapters 4-22 occur much later.
Joseph Fielding McConkie, as recorded by Jenny Smith
John 4:1 – Sea of Glass
Q. What is the sea of glass spoken of by John, 4th chapter, and 6th verse of the Revelation?
A. It is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.
Revelation 4:4 – Crown
What did Paul say upon this subject? He said, “I have fought a good fight,” “I have kept the faith; (2 Tim. 4:7) henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.” (2 Tim. 4:8) Do you understand this passage? Remember that this crown that Paul speaks of, was not to be given in the day we die; but it is to be given in “that day”—the day of the Lord’s appearing; it is to be given to all those that love his appearing; (2 Tim. 4:8) then is the time that Paul will get his crown; then is the time that the Saints who fall asleep in our day, will receive their crowns—crowns of rejoicing—kingly crowns. … But what are we to understand by this crown of righteousness, which is to be given to the Saints? We understand that it is actually to be a crown of glory; that they are to be kings in reality. John speaks in the first chapter of his Revelation to the Churches in his day, and represents the Saints to be Kings and Priests; he says, Christ “hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father;” (Rev. 1:6) and this too, while in this life.
A General Funeral Sermon of All Saints and Sinners; Elder Orson Pratt, at the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 25, 1852., Journal of Discourses, 1:280
Revelation 4:4,7; 5:9 – Elders, Beasts
The four beasts and twenty-four elders were out of every nation; for they sang a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seal thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (See Rev. 5:9.)
Joseph Smith, TPJS, p 290
Q. What are we to understand by the four and twenty elders, spoken of by John?
A. We are to understand that these elders whom John saw, were elders who had been faithful in the work of the ministry and were dead; who belonged to the seven churches, and were then in the paradise of God.
John saw the actual beast in heaven, showing to John that beasts did actually exist there, and not to represent figures of things on the earth. When the prophets speak of seeing beasts in their visions, they mean that they saw the images, they being types to represent certain things. At the same time they received the interpretation as to what those images or types were designed to represent.
I make this broad declaration, that whenever God gives a vision of an image, or beast, or figure of any kind, He always holds Himself responsible to give a revelation or interpretation of the meaning thereof, otherwise we are not responsible or accountable for our belief in it. Don’t be afraid of being damned for not knowing the meaning of a vision or figure, if God has not given a revelation or interpretation of the subject.
… I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them.
… The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God. …
Oh, ye elders of Israel, harken to my voice; and when you are sent into the world to preach, tell those things you are sent to tell; preach and cry aloud, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” Declare the first principles, and let mysteries alone, lest ye be overthrown. Never meddle with the visions of beasts and subjects you do not understand. … but preach those things the Lord has told you to preach about—repentance and baptism for the remission of sins.
Joseph Smith, TPJS, @ p290
Q. What are we to understand by the four beasts, spoken of in the same verse?
A. They are figurative expressions, used by the Revelator, John, in describing heaven, the paradise of God, the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air; that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.
Q. Are the four beasts limited to individual beasts, or do they represent classes or orders?
A. They are limited to four individual beasts, which were shown to John, to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.
Q. What are we to understand by the eyes and wings, which the beasts had?
A. Their eyes are a representation of light and knowledge, that is, they are full of knowledge; and their wings are a representation of power, to move, to act, etc.
Revelation 5:1 – The Number 7, Seals
The number seven occurs throughout the book of Revelation. For example, John wrote to seven branches of the Church (see Revelation 2–3). He saw a book with seven seals (see Revelation 5), seven trumpets announced judgments upon the earth (see Revelation 8–9; 11), and seven vials of wrath were poured upon the earth (see Revelation 16). The Hebrew word for the number seven, sheva, is a word that represents the idea of fulness or perfection and may be part of the symbolism in John’s account of his vision. His writing to seven churches may be a symbolic way of speaking to the whole Church.
In ancient times, official documents, scrolls, and records were closed shut with a seal of wax that usually had an imprint signifying the one who sealed it. Documents thus sealed were only to be opened by one with authority and in the presence of witnesses. In this case, the “will, mysteries, and works of God” (D&C 77:6) were recorded in the book John saw. Only Christ had authority and was worthy to open it. The same is true of eternal life. “He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in” (“There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” Hymns, no. 194; italics added).
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 5-7
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.
Q. What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?
A. We are to understand that 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.
Revelation 5:5- The lion
The Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David is Christ.
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 5-7
Revelation 6–7—Symbolism in the Six Seals
Modern revelation teaches us that each of the seals represents a thousand-year period of history.
When the first seal was opened, John saw a man with a crown riding a white horse and conquering. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that this represents Enoch, who helped his people conquer their enemies—including Satan—and establish a city of purity and righteousness symbolized by the white horse (see Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:476–78). The opening of the second seal revealed the violence, death, and destruction that occurred in the time of Noah and the Flood.
The opening of the third seal represented a time when God’s people were affected by famines. Abraham moved because of a famine, and the history of Jacob’s (Israel’s) family was very much affected by famines. The opening of the fourth seal reminds us that the time between 1000 B.C. and Christ’s birth was a time of warfare among the covenant people. It was a time when they were conquered, taken captive, and scattered throughout the world by foreigners. The fifth seal revealed what faithful Saints of John’s day were then encountering—giving their lives for their testimony.
Events depicted in the opening of the sixth seal are more detailed. They pertain to the dispensation in preparation for the Savior’s Second Coming.
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 5-7
Revelation 6:6—What Is the Significance of the Price of Wheat and Barley?
A measure of wheat was enough to feed one man for a day. A penny was the wage for a day’s work in those times. This shows that food was expensive because of the famine. Barley was cheaper, but it was of lesser quality and only used by man in times of famine. The image of the man carrying the balances in Revelation 6:5 suggests that food was given out in precise amounts—again suggesting a time of famine.
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 5-7
Revelation 6:12 – Sackcloth of hair
In ancient Israel, when people were or wanted to show they were repentant they put on as clothing the hair, or hide, of a black goat.
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 5-7
Revelation 7:3–8—Sealing the Servants of God in Their Foreheads
It was a common practice in John’s day for people who worshiped false gods to mark their foreheads (or sometimes their hands) with the name or symbol of their god. Those who believed in the Savior’s teachings did not mark themselves. From Revelation 3:12 and 22:1–5 we learn that the righteous are given the name of God. This indicates that they are god-like themselves and receive “his image in [their] countenances” (Alma 5:14). The symbol might signify to us that their thoughts are always upon their God—that they “always remember him” (see D&C 20:77, 79).
Seminary Student Study Guide, Rev 5-7
Revelation 7 – Four Angels, Angel from East, 144,000 sealed
Q. What are we to understand by the four angels, spoken of in the 7th chapter and 1st verse of Revelation?.
A. We are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God, to whom is given power over the four parts of the earth, to save life and to destroy; these are they who have the everlasting gospel to commit to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; having power to shut up the heavens, to seal up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness.
Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse?
A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things.
Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?
A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal.
Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?
A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.
Revelation’s Seven Seals
John’s seven seals give an overview of the seven thousand years of earth’s “temporal existence,” as follows:
1. (Rev. 6:1–2—about 4000 B.C. to 3000 B.C.) John sees a warrior, conquering.
2. (Rev. 6:3–4—about 3000 B.C. to 2000 B.C.) John sees a representation of human contention and death.
3. (Rev. 6:5–6—about 2000 B.C. to 1000 B.C.) John sees images of famine.
4. (Rev. 6:7–8—about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1) John sees death by war, famine, beasts.
5. (Rev. 6:9–11—about A.D. 1 to A.D. 1000) John sees the martyrs for Christ of the early Christian era.
6. (About A.D. 1000 to A.D. 2000)
Great Earthquake (Rev. 6:12–17) – John sees a great earthquake; the sun darkens, the moon turns to blood, stars appear to fall; the wicked mistakenly fear that it is the end of the world. (See also JS—M 1:33; D&C 29:14; D&C 88:87.)
144,000 Sealed (Rev. 7:1–8) – A scene shows that angels are held back from sending further judgment until 144,000 high priests can be “sealed” and called to “administer the everlasting gospel.” (See D&C 77:9–11.)
Rewards for Those Who Endure Tribulations (Rev. 7:9–17) – A heavenly scene, “before the throne”; John sees that a “great multitude, which no man could number” will obtain the rewards of the faithful through righteously enduring “tribulation.”
7. (About A.D. 2000 to A.D. 3000)
Six Judgments (Rev. 8 and Rev. 9) – Six of seven trumps now sound, signaling six coming judgments on the earth: (1) hail and fire mingled with blood are cast upon the earth (cf. Ex. 9:22–26; Ezek. 38:22); (2) a great burning mountain is cast into the sea (cf. Ex. 7:19–25); (3) a great star falls, affecting 1/3 of fresh water; (4) 1/3 of heavenly bodies turn dark (cf. Ex. 10:21–23); (5) sun is darkened by smoke; 5-month battle plagues mankind, of such extent it is called a “woe”; (6) a 13-month war plagues mankind, but men still don’t repent, suggesting clearly the purposes for the “judgments of God.”
An Assignment to John (Rev. 10) – At this point, an angel informs John of a “sweet” but “bitter” assignment for him to gather Israel “before the time of [Christ’s] coming .” (See D&C 77:12, 14.)
Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:1–14) – John sees the gentiles “tread” Jerusalem “under foot” for 42 months. During that same period two witnesses of the Lord testify with great power. The period ends with an earthquake. Conditions now are such that the period is called a second “woe.” (See D&C 77:15.)
Seventh Judgment (Rev. 11:14–19) – The seventh angel trumps, and voices in heaven proclaim the coming earthly reign of Christ; lightnings, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail follow—a “third woe” of mankind.
Book of Revelation Overview , Ensign, October 1983