‘Come, Follow Me’ for Dec. 11-17: What have Church leaders and scholars said about Revelation 6-14?

This week’s study guide continues the apostle John’s prophecies about the latter days

This week’s “Come, Follow Me” study guide covers Revelation 6-14, which continues the apostle John’s prophecies about the latter days.

Church News recently searched the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn what leaders and scholars have said about these chapters.

Revelation 6

“Knowing the chronology of the seals helps us see that John’s emphasis is primarily the future. He spends only two verses apiece on each of the first four seals, or periods of a thousand years each. Obviously, that constitutes the briefest of historical highlights. For the fifth seal, which was very likely the time in which John himself lived, the Apostle took only three verses! (See Revelation 6:1-11.) ...

“After seeing the Father and the Son in heaven (Revelation 4-5), the vision of the history and destiny of the world begin to unfold for John. He sees the first five seals (or first five thousand years of history) in rapid-fire, encapsulated form. Then he sees the opening of the sixth seal, which includes the restoration of the gospel. (See Revelation 6:12-7:17.)”

—Gerald N. Lund in the December 1987 Ensign article, “Seeing the Book of Revelation As a Book of Revelation”

Revelation 7

“In Revelation 7, the scene shifts to a group of 144,000 (12,000 from each tribe of Israel) who are ‘sealed’ in their foreheads. In conjunction with this scene, John also sees a crowd of people, so many that ‘no man could number’ them (verse 9). This group, clothed in white, stands before the Lamb and collectively praises the Lamb. John is then told that these people represent those ‘which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ (verse 14). Here in Revelation 7 John learns that the blood of the Lamb plays a further important function — namely, to cleanse the innumerable host who stand before the Lamb.

“John’s vision again presents its readers with a riddle. When blood touches clothing, the blood typically stains it. An article of clothing that is ‘washed’ in blood should turn red. But, in this case, the blood of the Lamb turns a stained article of clothing white, signifying the redemptive power of the Lamb. This serves as an inspiring and hopeful symbol of Jesus’s Atonement; He is able to take those who repent and transform them into something that they never could be on their own.”

— Nicholas J. Frederick, associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the December 2019 Ensign article, “The Book of Revelation: A Testament to the Lamb of God”

“The house of the Lord is a house of purity. Those who serve therein dress in spotless white. They participate in sacred ordinances. They are instructed in the eternal plan of the Lord. They make covenants enjoining personal morality and rectitude, unselfishness and service. Their activities are anticipatory of that scene described by John the Revelator: ‘What are these which are arrayed in white robes? …

“‘Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

“‘They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

“‘For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’ (Revelation 7:13, 15-17).”

— President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1985 general conference, “Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building”

Revelation 10

“Of particular interest is [Revelation 10], which contains a prophecy of John’s mission in the restoration of all things. In Doctrine and Covenants 7:5, Joseph Smith indicates that John has a greater work to do in the last days than that which he had done previously. That work included helping to restore the Melchizedek Priesthood and transferring special priesthood keys. (See headings of Doctrine and Covenants 13 and Doctrine and Covenants 18; see also Doctrine and Covenants 27:12; Doctrine and Covenants 128:20.) John’s greatest latter-day work may be his efforts to prepare the tribes of Israel for their gathering (Doctrine and Covenants 77:14).”

— Victor L. Ludlow, former Brigham Young University professor of ancient scripture, in the December 1991 Ensign article “John: The Once and Future Witness”

A man flips through a Bible on a table.
“Come, Follow Me” for Dec. 11-17 continues the apostle John’s prophecies about the latter days. | The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints

Revelation 11

“The kingdom of God will not fail; it shall not be destroyed; it will not be left to other people; it will stand forever until ‘the kingdoms of this world [will] become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ’ (Revelation 11:15).”

— President Ezra Taft Benson, April 1978 general conference, “‘May the Kingdom of God Go Forth’”

“[Through the Melchizedek Priesthood] we have power to govern all things, both temporal and spiritual, both the kingdoms of the world, and the elements and storms and powers of the earth. …

“Indeed, the Melchizedek Priesthood is the very power that Christ Himself will use to govern the nations in that day when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Revelation 11:15).”

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie, October 1977 general conference, “The Ten Blessings of the Priesthood”

Revelation 12

“Satan’s proposal would have ensured perfect equality: it would ‘redeem all mankind,’ that not one soul would be lost. There would be no agency or choice by anyone and, therefore, no need for opposition. There would be no test, no failure and no success. There would be no growth to attain the purpose the Father desired for His children. The scriptures record that Satan’s opposition resulted in a ‘war in heaven’ (Revelation 12:7), in which two-thirds of the children of God earned the right to experience mortal life by choosing the Father’s plan and rejecting Satan’s rebellion. …

“Cast down as unembodied spirits in mortality, Satan and his followers tempt and seek to deceive and captivate the children of God. So it is that the evil one, who opposed and sought to destroy the Father’s plan, actually facilitated it, because it is opposition that enables choice and it is the opportunity of making the right choices that leads to the growth that is the purpose of the Father’s plan.”

— Then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks, April 2016 general conference, “Opposition in All Things”

“A word of caution: Satan wants to stop you. He will try to distract, deceive and weaken your desire, your righteous works, your sincere prayers and your trust in the Lord. Do not be afraid. We have already overcome the evil one at another time and place. We are told that in the great premortal war, ‘[we] overcame [Lucifer] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [our] testimony’ (Revelation 12:11). We had a valiant testimony in our preexistent state, and we can resist Satan and awaken that testimony again today.”

— Elder Robert K. Dellenbach, October 1990 general conference, “Hour of Conversion”

“We live in that day which John the Revelator foresaw when ‘the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ’ (Revelation 12:17). The dragon is Satan; the woman represents the Church of Jesus Christ. Satan is waging war against the members of the Church who have testimonies and are trying to keep the commandments. And while many of our members are remaining faithful and strong, some are wavering. Some are falling. Some are fulfilling John’s prophecy that in the war with Satan, some Saints would be overcome.”

— President Ezra Taft Benson, April 1986 general conference, “The Power of the Word”

Revelation 13

“In Revelation 12, John sees a dragon cast out from heaven. The dragon, he learns, is ‘that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan’ (verse 9). In the next chapter, John learns that this dragon is associated with two beasts, one from the sea and one from the earth (see 13:1, 11). John describes the first beast in terms that are eerily similar to the conquering and redemptive Lamb that John has witnessed thus far:

“‘And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

“‘And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

“‘And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast’ (verses 2-4).

“What John witnesses here is a parody or counterfeit of the true Lamb. Like the true Lamb, this beast was critically wounded and should be dead yet isn’t, and like the true Lamb who serves at the behest of God sitting upon His throne, this beast serves the dragon.

“With this scene, John’s vision warns readers that they have reached a crisis of decision — each of us must choose which being, the beast or the Lamb, we will align ourselves with. The adversary is quite adept at taking truth and reconstructing it in a way that serves his needs while still appearing to be true. Only by a close examination, only through additional witnesses, can we be confident that we have chosen wisely.”

— Nicholas J. Frederick, associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the December 2019 Ensign article, “The Book of Revelation: A Testament to the Lamb of God”

“[Jesus Christ’s] atonement was the most important event that ever happened. The creation of this earth, the establishment of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the labors of the great patriarchs and prophets — all were prelude to His achievement on Calvary.

“Offerings were burned on the altars of Israel throughout Old Testament times in symbolic anticipation of the great sacrifice of Him who was called the ‘Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:8).”

— Elder Mark E. Petersen, April 1983 general conference, “Creator and Savior”

A young woman sits at a table while studying the scriptures.
“Come, Follow Me” for Dec. 11-17 continues the apostle John’s prophecies about the latter days. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Revelation 14

“In describing conditions of the last days incident to the second coming of Jesus Christ, John prophesied in the New Testament that before the Savior’s return, the world would receive a warning that the hour of God’s judgment was near. That warning would come by an angel from heaven declaring an ‘everlasting gospel.’ Hear his words:

“‘I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

“‘Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters’ (Revelation 14:6-7).

“If one accepts the testimony of John the Revelator, new revelation and a visitation by a heavenly messenger to earth should be expected.

“Our solemn testimony is that this angelic messenger appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early nineteenth century. This announcement that an angel from God appeared to a prophet in our times is entirely consistent with the prophecies of the New Testament and should therefore command the interest of every earnest seeker after truth.”

— President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1981 general conference, “Joseph Smith: Prophet to Our Generation”

“Is it any wonder that the scriptures say: ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord,’ for they shall ‘rest from their labours; and their works do follow them’ (Revelation 14:13). Truly it is a blessed occasion, for the faithful saints have filled the full measure of their creation, and a gracious God will give them all things in due course.”

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie, October 1976 general conference, “The Dead Who Die in the Lord”

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