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The Book of Mormon and the Revelation of John


Introduction

The Revelation of John, the last book of the Christian New Testament, has long fired the imagination of mystics everywhere. The book belongs to the class of writings known as apocalyptic, those which attempt to reveal some of the mysteries of God. Other examples of books in this class would be the Old Testament book of Daniel, and the apocryphal book of Enoch, both of which furnished much material for the author of Revelations.

The book of Revelations, like the others in it's class, makes heavy use of symbolic and figurative language. This means that the book can be interpreted in many different ways. Every generation of the Christian era has seen something in the book that could be applied to their own circumstances, and thus there have been elements in every age who view themselves as the last generation before the end of all things. It is almost impossible to say, at this stage, what the author intended his book to represent (if anything at all).

Joseph Smith was no less immune to the allure of the book of Revelations, and he made frequent use of it's phrases, symbols and visions, often interpeting them according to the beliefs popular during his time.

Lehi's Vision

In I Nephi 1:7-15, Nephi records a vision that his father, Lehi, received while still in Jerusalem. The language that he uses to describe this vision is somewhat similar to the opening of John's vision in the Book of Revelations (chapters 4 and 5).

Lehi's vision begins with him being 'overcome by the Spirit', just as John was 'in the spirit' (Rev 4:2). This is followed by a vision of God on his throne, surrounded by a large number of angels. In Rev 4:2-4, in John's vision, we find a description of God's throne, surrounded by numberless angels.

Lehi then describes a figure, 'desecnding out of the midst of heaven'. This figure is presumably Christ. John's vision of God's throne is also followed by a vision of Christ. (Rev 5:6). The language that Lehi uses to describe Christ is very similar to that found in the Book of Revelations. The phrase 'midst of heaven' is used three times in the Book of Revelations. Lehi says of the figure that his 'luster was above that of the sun at noon-day'. In Rev 1:16, John, describing Christ, says that 'his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength'.

In Lehi's vision, Christ hands him a book to read. John describes a book that no man could open in his vision (Rev 5:1). Later in the Book of revelations, an angel hands John a book that he is required to eat (Rev 10:2). Lehi's book foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, using the phrase 'wo, wo, unto Jerusalem'. In Rev 8:13, and angel proclaims 'Woe, woe, woe to the inhabiters of the earth'. (Notice the similarity with the phrase 'inhabitants of the earth' later in Lehi's vision.)

In I Nephi 1:14, Lehi utters the words 'Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty!'. This is very similar to a phrase found in Rev 15:3 'Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty'.

One of the opening lines of John's vision seems to have inspired a phrase in the Book of Mormon, outside of the context of Lehi's vision.

Revelation 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; II Nephi 6:4 And now, behold, I would speak unto you concerning things which are, and which are to come...

Blotted Out

Revelation 3:5 ...and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life... Mosiah 1:12 And I give unto them a name that never shall be blotted out, except it be through transgression.
Mosiah 5:11 ...this is the name that I said I should give unto you that never should be blotted out...that the name be not blotted out of your hearts.
Mosiah 26:36 ...the same were not numbered among the people of the church, and their names were blotted out.
Alma 1:24 ...and their names were blotted out...
Alma 5:57 ...and behold, their names shall be blotted out...
Alma 5:58 For the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life...
Alma 6:3 ...and their names were blotted out...
Alma 7:13 ...that he might blot out their transgressions...
Moroni 6:7 ...their names were blotted out...

The word 'blot' (and 'blotted') is used nine times in the Book of Mormon. Every time it appears with the word 'name', and eight times it is used in the phrase 'blotted out'.

Nations, Tongues and Peoples

The phrase 'kindred, tongue, people and nation' appears, with some variations, a number of times in the Book of Revelations. It appears a large number of times in the Book of Mormon.

Revelation 7:9 ...of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues... I Nephi 5:18 ...these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people...
I Nephi 11:36 ...Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people...
I Nephi 13:40 ...and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people...
I Nephi 14:15 ...among all the nations and kindreds of the earth.
I Nephi 22:28 ...all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely...
II Nephi 26:13 ...unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people...
II Nephi 30:8 ...among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people...
Mosiah 27:25 ...yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again...
III Nephi 26:4 ...all people, and all kindreds, and all nations and tongues shall stand before God...
III Nephi 28:29 ...unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls...
Revelation 14:6 ...to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people... I Nephi 19:17 ...every nation, kindred, tongue and people shall be blessed.
Mosiah 3:13 ...to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue...
Mosiah 3:20 ...the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
Mosiah 15:28 ...the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
Mosiah 16:1 ...every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see eye to eye...
Alma 9:20 ...having been favored above every other nation, kindred, tongue, or people...
Alma 37:4 ...they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people...
Alma 45:16 ...Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people...

White Robes

Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. I Nephi 12:10 ...because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood.
Alma 5:21 ...for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white...through the blood of him...who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
Alma 5:27 ...That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ...
Alma 13:11 ...their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.
Alma 34:36 ...but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.
Ether 13:10 ...for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb...

The Old Serpent and the Judgment

The Book of Revelations records the final end of Satan, Christianity's perennial adversary. The Book of Mormon also refers to Satan, and the final judgement of mankind in very similar language.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. II Nephi 2:18 And because he had fallen from heaven...even that old serpent, who is the devil...
Mosiah 16:3 ...even that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall...
Revelation 20:2,3 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, ...and after that he must be loosed a little season. I Nephi 22:26 ...Satan...cannot be loosed for the space of many years..
Revelation 14:4 ...These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. II Nephi 2:9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God...
Revelation 20:10,12,13,14 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, ...and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever...And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 14:10,11 ...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night...
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
I Nephi 15:30 ...and the brightness thereof was like unto the brightness of a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever...
II Nephi 9:12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead...
II Nephi 9:16 ...they who are filthy are the devil and his angels...and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.
II Nephi 28:23 ...and death, and hell, and the devil...must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
II Nephi 29:11 ...for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works...
Jacob 3:11 ...loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.
Jacob 6:10 ...ye must go away into that lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever, which lake of fire and brimstone is endless torment.
Mosiah 2:38 ...which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever.
Mosiah 3:27 And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever...
Alma 12:16 ...then cometh a death, even a second death, which is a spiritual death...
Alma 12:17 ...their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever...
Mormon 9:13 ...and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar...
III Nephi 27:25 For behold, out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged, for by them shall their works be known unto men.
Revelation 14:15 ...Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. Alma 26:5 Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might...
Revelation 6:14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. III Nephi 26:3 ...and the earth should be wrapt together as a scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away...
Revelation 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: Alma 12:14 ...and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.

The Great and Abominable Church

In I Nephi 13, Nephi records a vision of a great Church, opposed to the true Church of God. The description that he gives of this church is very similar to the vision of Babylon the Great, recorded in the Book of Revelations.

I Nephi 13:7 And I also saw gold, and silver, and silks, and scarlets, and fine-twined linen, and all manner of precious clothing; and I saw many harlots. Revelation 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones...and silk, and scarlet...
I Nephi 13:9 And also for the praise of the world do they destroy the saints of God, and bring them down into captivity. Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus...
I Nephi 13:10 ...I looked and beheld many waters... Revelation 17:1 ...I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
I Nephi 13:34 ...that abominable church, which is the mother of harlots...
I Nephi 14:10 ...that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
Revelation 17:5 ...The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.
I Nephi 14:11 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. Revelation 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
I Nephi 14:13 ...the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them...
I Nephi 22:14 ...that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it. Revelation 18:2 ...Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen...

The Lord God Omnipotent

Revelation 19:6 ...Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Mosiah 3:5 ...the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity...
Mosiah 3:17 ...Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
Mosiah 3:18 ...Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
Mosiah 3:21 ...the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.
Mosiah 5:2 ...the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent...
Mosiah 5:15 ...Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent...

The word 'omnipotent' appears six times in the Book of Mormon, four times with the word 'Lord', and twice with the phrase 'Lord God'.

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Revelation 21:1,2,5 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away...And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem...Behold, I make all things new... III Nephi 26:3 ...and the heavens and the earth should pass away...
Ether 13:9,10 And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new. And then cometh the New Jerusalem...

Filthy Still

Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. II Nephi 9:16 ...they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still...
Alma 7:21 ...he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness.
Mormon 9:14 ...and then cometh the time that he that is filthy shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous shall be righteous still...

Alpha and Omega

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Alma 11:39 ...he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last...
III Nephi 9:18 ...I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

'Alpha' and 'Omega' are, of course, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The Lehites supposedly left Palestine in 600 BC, about 300 years before Alexander the Great conquered Jerusalem. At the time that Jesus spoke these words to them, they had not heard the Greek language (assuming that they ever had in the first place) for over 600 years. It is highly unlikely that they would have had any idea what the words meant.

The Waters of Life

Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Alma 5:34 ...Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely...
Alma 42:27 ...whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely...

The Twelve Apostles

Revelation 21:14 ...and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. I Nephi 11:34 ...they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb; for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord.
I Nephi 11:35 ...behold the house of Israel hath gathered together to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I Nephi 11:36 ...that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I Nephi 12:9 ...Thou rememberest the twelve apostles of the Lamb?...
I Nephi 13:24 ...of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.
I Nephi 13:26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb...
I Nephi 13:39 ...that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true.
I Nephi 13:40 ...which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb...
I Nephi 13:41 ...in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb...
I Nephi 14:20 ...Behold one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
I Nephi 14:24 ...this apostle of the Lamb...
I Nephi 14:25 ...the apostle of the Lamb of God...
I Nephi 14:27 ...the name of the apostle of the Lamb was John...

The word 'apostle' is used three times, every time in the phrase 'apostle of the Lamb'. The plural word 'apostles' is used thirteen times, every time with the number 'twelve' and in conjunction with the word 'Lamb'.

Conclusion

Joseph Smith appeared to be heavily inspired ny the Book of Revelations. It's symbols and imagery appear scattered throughout the Book of Mormon. In at least one place, Smith used a phrase ('alpha and omega') which, while it appears in the Book of Revelations, would definitely not have meant anything to a Nephite. We have seen too how Smith repeated phrases over and over again, sometimes using words which appear only in a KJV context in the Book of Mormon.


Contents Copyright 1997 Curt van den Heuvel

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