2477609

Revelation, 6 December 1832 [D&C 86]

A Revelation explaining the parable of the wheet & the Tears tares1

This heading may have been part of the original inscription. John Whitmer’s copy of the revelation in Revelation Book 1 contains a similar heading: “Revelation given December 6, 1832 Kirtland Ohio explaining the parable of the Wheat & Tears.” (Revelation, 6 Dec. 1832, in Revelation Book 1, p. 117 [D&C 86].)  


Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servants concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tears,2

See Matthew 13:36–43.  


Behold verily I say that the field was the world and the Apostles were the sowers of the seed and after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the Church the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy even Satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

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sitteth to reign,3

See Revelation 17:1–6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 28–29, 33 [1 Nephi 13:5–9; 14:10].  


behold he soweth the tears, wherefore the tears choke the wheet4

See Matthew 13:7, 22; Mark 4:7, 19; and Luke 8:7, 14.  


and drive the church in to the wilderness,5

Revelation 12:1–6 recounts John’s vision of a woman crowned with twelve stars who “fled into the wilderness” because she was persecuted by the dragon. JS’s revision of that passage stated that “the woman . . . was the church of God.” An October 1830 revelation used the same imagery of the church being in the wilderness. (New Testament Revision 2, part 2, p. 152 [Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 12:7]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–B [D&C 33:5].)  


but behold in the last days, even now while the Lord is begining to bring forth the word, and the blade is springing up and is yet tender, behold verily I say unto you the angels are crying unto the Lord, day and night who are ready, and waiting to be sent forth [p. 31]
A Revelation explaining the parable of the wheet & <the> Tears [tares]1

This heading may have been part of the original inscription. John Whitmer’s copy of the revelation in Revelation Book 1 contains a similar heading: “Revelation given December 6, 1832 Kirtland Ohio explaining the parable of the Wheat & Tears.” (Revelation, 6 Dec. 1832, in Revelation Book 1, p. 117 [D&C 86].)  


Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servants  concerning the parable of the wheat and of the  tears,2

See Matthew 13:36–43.  


Behold verily I say that the field was the world  and the Apostles were the sowers of the seed and after  they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the Church  the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh  all nations <to> drunk drink of her cup, in whose hearts the  enemy even Satan

A fallen angel, or son of God, known by many names, including Lucifer, the devil, the father of lies, the prince of darkness, perdition, and the adversary. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s Bible revisions, Satan was described as a tempter of men...

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sitteth to reign,3

See Revelation 17:1–6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 28–29, 33 [1 Nephi 13:5–9; 14:10].  


behold he soweth  the tears, wherefore the tears choke the wheet4

See Matthew 13:7, 22; Mark 4:7, 19; and Luke 8:7, 14.  


and drive  the church in to the wilderness,5

Revelation 12:1–6 recounts John’s vision of a woman crowned with twelve stars who “fled into the wilderness” because she was persecuted by the dragon. JS’s revision of that passage stated that “the woman . . . was the church of God.” An October 1830 revelation used the same imagery of the church being in the wilderness. (New Testament Revision 2, part 2, p. 152 [Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 12:7]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–B [D&C 33:5].)  


but behold in the  last days, even now while the Lord is begining to  bring forth his <the> word, and the blade is springing  up and is yet tender, behold verily I say unto  you the angels are crying unto the Lord, day and  night who are ready, and waiting to be sent forth [p. 31]
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JS wrote in his journal that on 6 December 1832, he spent part of the day “translating

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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,” or working on his revision of the Bible. It is not known whether he was working that day on the New Testament revision or the Old Testament revision. But on that same day, he “received a Revelation explaining the Parable [of] the wheat and the tears [tares],” found in Matthew 13, suggesting that he may have been working on the New Testament.1

JS, Journal, 6 Dec. 1832; see also JS History, vol. A-1, 243.  


When JS worked on that parable more than a year earlier while revising the New Testament,2

JS originally worked on Matthew 13 sometime between 7 April and 19 June 1831. (New Testament Revision 1, pp. 21, 63 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 9:1; 26:63–71]; see also New Testament Revision 1, pp. 34–35 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:15–46].)  


he made few significant changes.3

See New Testament Revision 1, p. 35 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:31–46]; New Testament Revision 2, part 1, p. 26 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:31–50]; and Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 65.  


Between late July 1832 and early February 1833, however, he apparently spent time reviewing his revisions to the New Testament.4

Frederick G. Williams served as scribe as JS finished his revisions to the book of Revelation between 20 and 31 July 1832. On 2 February 1833, Williams wrote that JS finished the “translation and the reviewing of the New testament.” (See Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 70; Frederick G. Williams, Statement, no date, Frederick G. Williams Papers, CHL; Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; and Minute Book 1, 2 Feb. 1833.)  


At some point, JS and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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changed the text of Matthew 13:30 (which JS had originally left intact) from “I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares” to “gather ye together first the wheat into my barn, and the tares are bound in bundles to be burned.”5

New Testament Revision 1, p. 34 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:30]; New Testament Revision 2, part 1, p. 25 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:30]. An August 1831 revelation maintained the original order, with the tares first being gathered and then the wheat. That revelation explained that the wicked would be plucked out when Christ returned, implying that the righteous would remain. (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:54]).  


This inverted order followed the eschatological sequence of events outlined in a November 1831 revelation: the righteous were to “flee unto Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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” and Jerusalem, leaving the wicked nations behind.6

Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:12–14].  


This 6 December revelation, which has the Lord telling the angels to “first gather out the wheat,” goes in the same direction as that revision, changing the wording slightly regarding the disposition of the tares. Whether the revelation was dictated before or after the revision was made is unclear, as the revision could have been made anywhere within a roughly six-month window of time.7

See New Testament Revision 2, part 1, pp. 25–26 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 13:30–50].  


It is also possible that the “translating” JS mentioned in his 6 December journal entry referred not to his review of his earlier New Testament revisions but to his work of revising the Old Testament, which he was engaged in at the same time. Between July 1832, when Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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became the principal scribe for JS’s revision of the Old Testament, and July 1833, when JS and Williams completed that work, Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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filled in as scribe only once—for the revision of Jeremiah 18–24.8

Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832; see also Old Testament Revision 2, p. 119 [Joseph Smith Translation, Malachi]; Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 70–72; and Old Testament Revision 2, pp. 111–112 [Joseph Smith Translation, Jeremiah 18:18–24].)  


Since an extant copy of the 6 December revelation attests that Rigdon wrote the revelation as JS dictated it, Rigdon may have helped JS with the Bible revision that day, in which case JS may have been revising those chapters in Jeremiah on 6 December. The chapters include passages on the scattering and gathering of Israel, including verses explaining that the Lord would “gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them” and “set up shepherds over them which shall feed them.”9

Jeremiah 23:3–4.  


The revelation on the wheat and the tares emphasizes the gathering of the righteous in the last days. It incorporates elements of the book of Revelation to recast the parable as a history of Christianity from the days of the apostles to the world’s end. The description of a second sowing in the last days clearly depicts Mormonism as a restoration of primitive Christianity. Likewise, the end of the revelation expounds on the idea of priesthood

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

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, addressing those in “whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers.” The revelation seems to indicate that those ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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to the priesthood are essential to the gathering of Israel, as it counsels them to be a “light unto the Gentiles

Those who were not members of the House of Israel. More specifically, members of the church identified gentiles as those whose lineage was not of the Jews or Lamanites (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day). Certain prophecies indicated that ...

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” and a “savior” to Israel. The priesthood component of the revelation was apparently perceived as its key aspect: upon its publication in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the revelation bore the heading “On Priesthood.”10
The original manuscript of this revelation is no longer extant. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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copied it into Revelation Book 2, probably between late January and late February 1833.11

Williams noted on the Revelation Book 2 copy that he was JS’s “assistant scribe and councellor”; he was designated as a counselor and scribe to JS in a 5 January 1833 revelation, so this 6 December 1832 revelation may have been copied as early as 5 January.a However, it is uncertain when Williams was formally appointed to his office. Such formal appointments usually occurred in a conference. Williams had apparently been appointed by 22 January because he is listed as “assistant scribe and counselor” in the minutes of a conference held that day.b In Revelation Book 2, Williams signed two of the three revelations immediately following the one dated 6 December 1832—revelations of 27–28 December 1832 and 3 January 1833—in the same way.c The five items that immediately follow Revelation, 3 January 1833, appear to have been copied soon after the dates they bear. The first is dated 27 February, suggesting that the previous revelations had been copied by around this time.d However, the December 1832 and January 1833 revelations in Revelation Book 2 could have been copied anytime up to 18 March 1833, when Williams was ordained “to be equal with him [JS] in holding the Keys of the Kingdom and also to the Presidency of the high Priesthood.”e At some point—probably while preparing revelations for the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants—JS wrote “To go into the covenants” at the head of the copy in Revelation Book 2.  


aRevelation Book 2, p. 32; Revelation, 5 Jan. 1833.

bMinute Book 1, 22–23 Jan. 1833.

cRevelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126]; Revelation, 3 Jan. 1833 [D&C 88:127–137].

dSee Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 2.

eMinute Book 1, 18 Mar. 1833.

Facts