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Answers to Questions, between circa 4 and circa 20 March 1832 [D&C 77]

Answers to Questions, between circa 4 and circa 20 March 1832 [D&C 77]

Revelation Explained1

That is, the book of Revelation. It is unclear whether this title appeared in the original manuscript.  

 
What is the Sea of Glass spoken of by John 4 Chap. and  sixth verse of revelations?2

The sea of glass described in Revelation 4:6 lay before a throne in heaven on which sat a being—apparently God—and from which “proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices.” (Revelation 4:5.)  

 
AnsIt is the Earth in its sanctified immortal and eternal  state
QWhat are we to understand by the four beasts spoken of  by John in the 4 Chapt. & 6 verse of Revelations?3

The four beasts were “in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne.” The beasts were “full of eyes before and behind.” The first one was described as “like a lion,” the second as “like a calf,” the third as having “a face as a man,” and the fourth as “like a flying eagle.” Each beast had six wings. (Revelation 4:6–8.)  

 
AThey are figurative Expressions used by the revelator  John in disscribing heaven the paradise of God the  hapiness of men 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 spirit ual4

In JS’s revision of the Bible, the two creation accounts in Genesis 1–2 are cast as an initial “spiritual” creation in heaven followed by a “natural” creation on earth. An 1830 revelation explained that God created “all things both Spiritual & Temperal firstly spiritual secondly temporal which is the Begining of my work & again firstly temporal & secondly spiritual which is the last of my work.” (Old Testament Revision 1, pp. 3–5 [Moses chap. 2; 3:5, 9]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:31–32].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Old Testament Revision 1 / “A Revelation Given to Joseph the Revelator June 1830,” 1830–1831. CCLA. Also available in Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 75–152.

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
QAre the four beasts limited to individual Beasts or do  they represent classes or orders?
AnsThey are limited to four individual beasts which were  shewn 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.
QWhat are we to understand the Eyes and wings which the  beasts had?5

See Revelation 4:8.  

 
AThey 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 &c.
QWhat are we to understand by the four and twenty Elders  spoken of by John?6

The twenty-four elders sat on seats “round about the throne.” They wore white clothing and had gold crowns on their heads. (Revelation 4:4, 10–11.)  

 
AWe are to understand that these Elders whom John saw  were Elders who had been faithful in the work of the mini stry and were dead who belonged to the Seven Churches7

See Revelation 1:4.  

 
 and were then in the paradise of God.
QWhat are we to understand by the Book which John saw  which was sealed <on the back> with seven Seals8

The book was “in the right hand of him that sat on the throne.” (Revelation 5:1.)  

 
which John?
[p. 141]
Next
As JS continued his revision of the New Testament in February and March 1832, he reached the book of Revelation with its abundance of symbolic language. “About the first of march, in connection with the translation of the scriptures,” a later JS history explains, “I received the following explanation of the Revelations of Saint John.”1 Given that JS was in Kirtland, Ohio, and was not working on the New Testament revisions between 29 February and 4 March 1832, this document was likely written sometime between 4 March and 20 March, when another revelation told JS and Sidney Rigdon (who was serving as JS’s scribe) to “omit the translation for the present time” so that they could travel to Missouri.2 By the night of 24–25 March 1832, when the pair was attacked by a group of men in Hiram, Ohio, JS and Rigdon were working on the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation, the last chapter mentioned in the explanation.3

Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 422.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Because he was inscribing the New Testament revision, Rigdon probably served as the original scribe for the explanation, but Jesse Gause could have been the scribe instead.4

Gause apparently served as scribe for some of the Bible revisions between 8 March and 20 March, including those involving the first and second chapters of the book of Revelation. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 70; Jennings, “Consequential Counselor,” 183.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

Jennings, Erin B. “The Consequential Counselor: Restoring the Root(s) of Jesse Gause.” Journal of Mormon History 34 (Spring 2008): 182–227.

The earliest surviving copy is an undated one made by John Whitmer in Revelation Book 1, where it is identified only as “Revelation Explained.” Whitmer, who was residing in Missouri at the time, probably made the copy sometime after April 1832, when JS likely brought the original document to Missouri along with copies of revelations dictated in March.5

See Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 1, in JSP, MRB:5.  

 

Facts