Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Brisk Jog Through D&C 77, 86, 91 and 113

After surveying the length of these sections, I have high hopes that this posted reading response will be much shorter than the first. The cumulative topic issued by my teacher for these chapters is "Truths Restored".

Doctrine and Covenants 77
The chapter heading tells me this is a series of questions referring to the symbolism in the Book of Revelations, written by John the Beloved. It's been a while since I read it straight through (probably my freshman year of high school), if I ever did read the whole thing, so I may do some cross-referencing to refresh my memory.
Verse 1, Q and A: Well, there's a question as to the symbolism and there's an answer. Reading the preceding verses in the Book of Revelations makes me think that John is not only seeing the earth itself in its physical "sanctified, immortal, and eternal state", but also seeing the Savior reigning as King in glory, with 24 priesthood leaders also seated with Him.
Verses 2 and 3, Q and A: So, I still don't quite understand what exactly the four beasts are supposed to represent (as far as understanding the punctuation goes, it's not really helping me). Perhaps one is heaven, second is the paradise of God, third is the happiness of man, and fourth is lumping together all beasts (beasts, creeping things, fowls of the air)? My problem is that more than four things are listed, and some of seem to be synonymous to me, like heaven and the paradise of God. I can probably shelve those questions for another time.
Verse 4, Q and A: I just assumed that the eyes meant something along the lines of being able to see everything, but I guess there's more to it (naturally). Eyes = light and knowledge makes sense to me, as does wings = power to move and act. Applying that to the four beasts though... Does that mean that heaven can move and act? I'm gonna need a bit more time and revelation to understand these beasts. Should be a fun learning experience.
Verse 5, Q and A: Ah, so the interpretation of this one includes a bit of past and future. Yes, the 24 elders were faithful leaders, but they were also more specifically leaders contemporary with the early Church (even though the scene is taking place in our future, when the earth is glorified), after Christ's death ("seven churches" reference, and apparently those leaders had all died when John beheld this vision).
Verse 6 and 7, Q and A: This makes a lot more sense to me, about the book with the seven seals. I can visualize and understand it a lot better. Book = mind and will of God concerning the earth; a seal = 1000 years covered in the book.
Verse 8, Q and A: Ok, so each angel has authority over a part of the earth. Pretty straightforward. If you're talking about the number four and the earth, it seems to refer to "the four corners of the earth", so that every part of the earth is covered.
Verse 9, Q and A: An angel ascending from the east... So this is a fifth angel, coming from the east (same direction the sun rises and that Christ will appear from in the Second Coming). Hmm... with guardianship over the 12 (scattered) tribes of Israel, he's telling the four angels not to wreak destruction until he has gathered Israel and sealed them up unto the Lord (Elias).
Verse 10, Q and A: I think we're in the sixth seal now, when this gathering is happening, and that (if I remember correctly) the seventh seal is the Second Coming.
Verse 11, Q and A: Ooh... This 144,000 makes me excited. Again, this is priesthood leaders (high priests - not that only 144,000 people in the whole earth will be saved or anything like that) who are called to minister and to bring the gospel to people of every nation, tribe and kindred (and they will be representative of all those nations).
Verse 12, Q and A: My guess is that each of the trumpets represents a different plague or disaster to hit the earth before the Second Coming, and my understanding is that these plagues are both the punish the wicked and (mostly) to call men everywhere to repentance before worse plagues come and/or they die. This verse clarifies that yes, I am kinda right, but it's also to purify and sanctify the earth before the coming of the Son of God. One way that it can be sanctified is to make sure that anyone left on it is righteous I guess, but there's more to it than that.
Verse 13, Q and A: Another clarification - the seventh seal will be opened before Christ's Second Coming.
Verse 14, Q and A: John eating the book was a way to symbolically show him internalizing and accepting his mission? I guess John is one of the many Elias'es (because Elias is more than just a person, it's a title for "messenger", I think).
Verse 15, Q and A: Truth will be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses, is the Lord's way of doing things. And although there is only one authorized President of the Church at a time, all of the Apostles have the same prophetic keys, their keys just aren't activated until they become the President of the Church (and most aren't called to become the President, just as apostles). What I've been taught is that the two prophets are probably apostles (rather than Presidents of the Church) who will be called to protect Jerusalem.

That's one section down! On to section 86!

Doctrine and Covenants, section 86 (only 11 verses)
An explanation of the parable of wheat and tares. Field = world; apostles = sowers of seed; Satan = sower of tares/weeds; church = wheat; tender blades of wheat = fragile faith of growing church; burning field = end of the world (or the wicked). God will let the wicked and the righteous grow together until they are fully ripe (otherwise you might kill the wheat with the tares), then He will harvest them, cause them to be sifted, and the wicked will be consumed at His coming. A bit about the priesthood: the priesthood will never be taken again from the earth, so Joseph was preserved until after all the priesthood keys had been restored and given to others, so that it would go on after his martyrdom. Verse 11 highlights that the priesthood is to serve and help others (as opposed to any suppositions of superiority on account of possessing the priesthood). Serving = humble and good; superiority = prideful and bad.

Doctrine and Covenants, section 91 (even shorter!)
Joseph was wondering about the Apocrypha, whether he should translate that the same way he had gone over the Bible to find errors or gaps in translation. The answer was that there's some good stuff in there, but there's some not-so-good stuff in there; the Spirit of God is needed to discern it, so Joseph was told to leave it up to the reader to rely on the Spirit, and that he didn't need to worry about translating it himself.

Doctrine and Covenants, section 113 (last one!! and relatively short)
Ooh, fun - this section is answering some questions about Isaiah's writings. I really like them personally, but it can be difficult sometimes to understand what exactly he's talking about. It seems that the imagery being referred to (I'm not looking at the actual text in Isaiah at the moment) is Vine imagery. We know that Christ is the true vine, and that unless a branch is connected to the vine, it will wither and die (we are dependent on Christ for everything - we can't sustain ourselves). Stem of Jesse = Christ (Christ was a literal descendant of Jesse through King David, but spiritually, he's also the root from which Jesse sprang). Rod that comes from the stem of Jesse = servant of Christ ("who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim" = Joseph Smith?). Root of Jesse = descendant of Jesse and Joseph unto whom belongs priesthood keys of kingdom and of gathering in the last days (...Joseph Smith? Not sure if I got one or both wrong there). Ooh, wow - reading verses 7 and 8 with this understanding makes it a lot cooler. Not only are modern prophets saying "raise the bar" and "stand a little taller", but ancient prophets like Isaiah saw our day and said the same thing! Zion, you bearers of the priesthood of God!- Put on your strength, arise and be men (2 Nephi 1:21), take your calling, gird up your strength, and go forth serving the Lord! Do not be afraid to do His will - He will strengthen and support you in doing His work; we will not fail. Take the gospel to every land, to every person, and show them how to come to their God. Of course, women are included in that as well, operating underneath the direction of the priesthood, using their gifts as only women can serve. Verses 9 and 10 make total sense too, if captive Zion is "the scattered remnants" of Israel, repenting and removing the curses of God that have been upon her; coming to God truly makes you free. I know that; I've experienced it.

Hurray! That's one class I'm finally caught up in!  And this assignment only took an hour and a half :P

1 comment:

  1. Posted at 1:08 am? When do you sleep? :)Love reading your posts and the questions that arise as you ponder the sections. You are making great connections and that shows that you are actively reading--the sign of a great reader is the ability to ask questions! Excellent insights. p.s. A good book to read on Isaiah is by Don Parry, "Understanding Isaiah." He is a brilliant and world renowned scholar of the Old Testament at BYU.