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How did Joseph Smith read the Book of Revelation?


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As I've been reading the book of revelation, as well as various sources of scholarship on the book, it's made me wonder how Joseph read it. A common quote we hear is how he said it was an easy to read book. I know that a lot of scholarship today focuses on the book in its ancient context, rather than as a guidebook for the future, so I was wondering if anyone knows if Joseph read it that way or he read it in a more conservative manner like many evangelical fundamentalists.

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Joseph Smith gave one discourse on the Book of Revelation, during which he made the famous comment that "It don't prove that a man is not a good man because he believes false doctrine."   That passage should be where there are four asterisks in TJPS.  And there is the message to preach repentance and not worry about the mysteries.   Look to Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p 287-294.  

Or use the JSP cross index to look at the original sources.

https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/articles/sources-for-teachings-of-js-by-joseph-fielding-smith

Note in particular page 289:

Quote

There is a grand difference and distinction between the visions and figures spoken of by the ancient prophets, and those spoken of in the revelations of John. The things which John saw had no allusion to the scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham and or Jesus only so far as plainly represented by John and clearly set forth by him. John saw only that which was lying in futurity and which was shortly to come to pass. See Rev 1:1-3 which is the key to the whole subject: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show  unto his servants things which shortly must come to pass:...:

  I find it interesting that the one time Joseph Smith spoke on Revelation he did not make any use of or reference to D&C 77.  Personally I have doubts about whether D&C 77 is a revelation.  I think it just may be some 1832 opinions from someone, and which was taken for more than that later.  The ms has no contextual indications.

In general, I think that Joseph's discourse resonates quite nicely with Margaret Barker's approach in her book The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which also takes its cue from the first verses.

1 Nephi 14:20-27 has some additional hints about Revelation.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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4 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

As I've been reading the book of revelation, as well as various sources of scholarship on the book, it's made me wonder how Joseph read it. A common quote we hear is how he said it was an easy to read book. I know that a lot of scholarship today focuses on the book in its ancient context, rather than as a guidebook for the future, so I was wondering if anyone knows if Joseph read it that way or he read it in a more conservative manner like many evangelical fundamentalists.

According to D&C 77, Joseph revealed each of the 7 seals represented 1,000 years of earth's temporal
existence.

Regards,
Jim

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4 hours ago, boblloyd91 said:

As I've been reading the book of revelation, as well as various sources of scholarship on the book, it's made me wonder how Joseph read it. A common quote we hear is how he said it was an easy to read book. I know that a lot of scholarship today focuses on the book in its ancient context, rather than as a guidebook for the future, so I was wondering if anyone knows if Joseph read it that way or he read it in a more conservative manner like many evangelical fundamentalists.

Nicholas J. Frederick discusses what he perceives Joseph's view on Revelation to be in Episode 113 of the LDS Perspectives Podcasts, located here:  https://ldsperspectives.com/2019/11/13/book-of-revelation-nicholas-j-frederick/   There is a transcript of the podcast on that page too.  I found his ideas interesting.

He also gives his thoughts on D&C 77, and they are similar to what Kevin Christensen said above. 

 

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I agree that D&C 77:2-4 helps us understand what is meant by “figurative expression” (Revelation 4:6), since so much of LDS liturgy and biblical exegesis must be taken figuratively.  Unlike evangelical eisegesis, LDS theology doesn't suffer literal interpretation very well in such cases.

Same applies to the Second Death, which one finds in the BofM, BofRevelation (Jacob 3:11, Alma 12:16-17,32, 13:30, Helaman 14:18-19; Rev 2:11, 20:6,14, 21:8), and in ancient Egypt (mt m wḥm, or mwt.f m wḥm),[1] but not in the OT.  See, for example, Book of Mormon Central, “Why Does Jacob Choose a ‘Monster’ as a Symbol for Death and Hell? (2 Nephi 9:10),” KnoWhy #34, Feb 16, 2016, online at https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/why-does-jacob-choose-a-“monster”-as-a-symbol-for-death-and-hell .  See also file:///E:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Words and phrases (2).pdf , which however leaves out the Egyptian illustration of the Last Judgment (Book of the Dead 125).

[1] Budge, Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, 177a.  Sahidic Coptic ⲡⲙⲟⲩ ⲙⲙⲉϩⲥⲛⲁⲩ.

Image result for egyptian judgment of the dead

 

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On 12/28/2019 at 8:45 AM, boblloyd91 said:

As I've been reading the book of revelation, as well as various sources of scholarship on the book, it's made me wonder how Joseph read it. A common quote we hear is how he said it was an easy to read book. I know that a lot of scholarship today focuses on the book in its ancient context, rather than as a guidebook for the future, so I was wondering if anyone knows if Joseph read it that way or he read it in a more conservative manner like many evangelical fundamentalists.

My guess, well really not a guess. Prophets are endowed with gifts, given by God, where the greatest scholars on earth could not, would, ever possess. They can write, or read anything concerning scripture, that no amount of education could approach. Then there is “Revelation”, that God has given them, for the benefit of all mankind. At least for those who are willing to hear, or willing to read. Another factor, is that 98% of all Prophets who have ever lived, only receive their revelations, or callings with no witnesses. But Joseph Smith had many witnesses to many things. Also, our God can reveal his word and will in anyway he wishes, Moses on the mount was taught, and as the Bible states, he received the stone tables, written by the hand of God himself. Joseph had many witnesses, and more that one scribe, including Emma Smith. Also the three witnesses, despite all three being excommunicated, two returned to follow the Saints West, and if memory serves, are buried in Salt Lake. The third, David Witmar, went to great lengths to bear witness, oh his testimony for fear of his own soul. Each took their testimonies to the grave, as an “Angel of God”, promised that if they stayed true to it, their “election would be made sure”. We also had many of the Saints, witness (via D&C 101) see the Savior, and ancient Prophets, during the dedication of the Kirkland Temple. Joseph was not alone, when John the Baptist give the, Arronic Priesthood, nor when Peter, James and John administer the Melchizedek Priesthood. 
 

Brigham Young, took on the look and voice to many, which is why the Saints followed him and the other Apostles, burying their dead along the way. Many died in the process, they did not do it because Joseph or Brigham tricked or coned them, they did so, because of what they have witnessed, and believed. There is also Larezo Snow, who saw, and spoke to the Savior in the Salt Lake Temple. Joseph F Smith, had a vision which is now canonized, great read, See D&C 138. Spencer W. Kimball, prayed and received a revelation, that has blessed the lives of 10,000’s, living and dead. So how did Joseph do it, by divine right, given him by God.  

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2 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Also the three witnesses, despite all three being excommunicated, two returned to follow the Saints West, and if memory serves, are buried in Salt Lake.

Just Harris made it out.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/oliver-cowdery?lang=eng

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12062/oliver-cowdery

It never registered with me before that Cowdery died so young (43).

https://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Harris,_Martin

Buried in Clarkston, Cache County

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6269419/martin-harris

Edited by Calm
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Given the choice between reading the text with vast historical and cultural knowledge aware of parallels and meanings and reading with the spirit of prophecy used by the author I will take the latter. I just wish I could make the latter happen more often.

I had an experience once reading a chapter of Isaiah where it was as if the writer’s every meaning and allusion were clear. I started frantically writing notes but looking at it later some of what I wrote was gibberish trying to describe things words have a hard time conveying. Some of what I learned that day has served me well throughout my life.

Not only is it more enlightening than traditional scholarship it is also much more fun. Of course it is possible to pursue both methods but I think some imagine they are using both while only trusting scholarship.

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