D&C 85: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, November 27, 1832. This section is an extract from a letter of the Prophet to William W. Phelps, who was living in Independence, Missouri. It answers questions about those Saints who had moved to Zion but who had not followed the commandment to consecrate their properties and had thus not received their inheritances according to the established order in the Church.
D&C 86: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, December 6, 1832. This revelation was received while the Prophet was reviewing and editing the manuscript of the translation of the Bible.
D&C 87: Revelation and prophecy on war, given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at or near Kirtland, Ohio, December 25, 1832. At this time disputes in the United States over slavery and South Carolina’s nullification of federal tariffs were prevalent. Joseph Smith’s history states that “appearances of troubles among the nations” were becoming “more visible” to the Prophet “than they had previously been since the Church began her journey out of the wilderness.”
Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 85-87, Aug 2-8) – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Taylor and I’m Taylor, this is Book of Mormon Central’s Come, Follow Me Insights today, Doctrine and Covenants sections eighty five through eighty seven as we dove into sections eighty five, eighty six and eighty seven. It’s kind of significant to note that section eighty five and eighty seven are a bit of an outlier compared to some of these other sections around them.
Yeah. So it turns out that these revelations are given at the time indicated, but they actually don’t get put into the canon until under the direction of Brigham Young. Awesome. Pratt is making they’re making inspired updates of the doctor covenants in 1876. So section portions of section eighty five and section eighty seven get included in 1876. And we should just point out that we have these canonize revelations from Joseph Smith. And you actually just received lots of revelations, some that never even got canonized.
Yeah. If for those of you who want to dig deeper along that line, go to Joseph Smith papers, Doug, and start looking at some of the references under the revelations received. And you’ll notice if you go by year eighteen, thirty, eighteen, thirty one, thirty two, thirty three.
You’ll notice the long list of documents and letters and papers that we have access to and then they’ll have the section number attached if it ended up in the doctrine and covenants. And there are many of those revelations that come that never, never made it into our canon of scripture. So just because we only have these sections as recorded here doesn’t mean that Joseph isn’t receiving all kinds of answers to his questions and directions and revelations. And again, we would encourage you if you’re if you’re interested in that, to just start looking around at some of those additional site additional sources.
And it’s interesting because there’s so much going on, but you have this emerging restoration going on in. Joseph Smith is learning line upon line that he’s a human just like the rest of us. And it’s not like God tells them everything at once and says, here’s all the answers to anything you’d ever need to know it. Just look it up. He has to he has to return to God again and again as situations arise and he continues to engage in the scriptures and we’ll see this in Section eighty six where he’s going back into Matthew 13 with all these incredible parallel parables.
And he’s receiving inspired interpretation about how do these parables help us understand the restoration. So these are great sections to to get into today.
Yes. So to begin with, section eighty five, it’s it’s significant to note the date of section eighty five, that it’s November twenty seventh. Eighteen thirty two. When this section is is received. And it’s not as if section eighty five is one big revelation. In fact most of this section is simply Joseph writing a letter to W.W. Phelps in response to some things that the Holy Ghost has impressed upon his mind. But he’s writing a letter.
It feels a little bit different in places than perhaps some of the other revelations in the doctrine and covenants because of the fact that that he is writing this letter and parts of it are the Lord’s speaking to be felt. Some part of it is Joseph speaking to him. The thing that is interesting about the actual date. Is if you go once again to the Joseph Smith Papers Dog website and you look up or click on journals that entry, and then you click on the very first entry there.
Lo and behold, you’re going to find that the very first time that Joseph Smith puts ink on paper for himself in a journal sort of capacity is that day, this very day right here.
He makes his first entry. Now you have to you have to look at this.
It’s it’s kind of fascinating.
The Journal, this actual 18, 30 two journal is in Salt Lake City, in the the church history library.
It’s quite small. You can see it pictured there on the screen.
It it looks like a big book, but in reality, it’s a really small book, physically speaking. And then if you click and look at the very first page, let’s look at his his. His first journal entry ever on November twenty seventh, eighteen thirty two, now you’ll notice it’s kind of hard to read the the cursive text there but they have the the transcription here.
Joseph Smith Junior’s record book bought for to note all the minut circumstances. That comes under my observation. Now you’ll notice what happened. Isn’t it fascinating that Joseph didn’t like his first attempt, so he simply crossed it out because he doesn’t have a Backspacer or an eraser, so he crossed it out and he says, let’s try again. Here’s attempt number two to write his own story. Joseph Smith, Jr.’s book for record, bought on the twenty seventh of November.
Eighteen thirty two for the purpose to keep a minor account of all things that come under my observation, etc.. Oh, may God grant that I may be directed in all my thoughts. Oh, bless thy servant. Amen. What do you think?
I think he did a much better job the second time around. But here’s the fascinating thing. What you’re looking at there on that page is Joseph’s first effort to keep his own journal, so noticing the significance of the date here, this is 18, 30 to November. We’re almost finished with eighteen thirty to keep in mind, The Book of Mormon was the manuscript was was finished.
They they were complete by June of eighteen, twenty nine.
So that was June. This is more than three years ago when The Book of Mormon is complete. I don’t know about you, but there’s a significant difference between reading Joseph Smith’s journal when he should have been more polished, more refined, more eloquent, more filled with great phrases. Three years later, compared to when he had finished The Book of Mormon. But there’s a noticeable difference from my view between Joseph Smith, the man, or Joseph Smith, the farm boy, and Joseph Smith, the prophet and the seer of our Lord.
In fact, a researcher, Brian Heils, has done a lot of work on this topic, this disparity between Joseph’s innate intellectual and cognitive abilities and ability to speak and to be a writer compared to what we see recorded in scripture and in the revelations that come. And there is a noticeable difference.
If you put Joseph Smith’s journal entry side by side with any passage out of the Book of Mormon, you can see a noticeable you can feel a noticeable difference here. The grand irony to me.
Is if you look at pages of scripture in our canon. And you can you can do your own research on this if you prefer, but if you add up all the pages of our book Mormon and all the pages of the doctrine and covenants minus those sections that didn’t come to us through Joseph Smith or the official declarations, and then you add the pearl of great price. You come up with about eight hundred and seventy seven pages of scripture. Now if you add the lost manuscript, the lost one hundred and sixteen pages of The Book of Mormon and those are on foolscap pages, they’re bigger than our scripture pages.
It would come out to be roughly one hundred and forty five of our pages here. Once you add that Joseph is well over a thousand pages of scripture. You’ll notice if you start looking through the Bible The Book of Mormon the doctrine of covenants. Your next closest is Mormon, who produced three hundred and thirty nine pages of scripture. By my count, Moses would be number three, three hundred and eight, and then Paul at one twenty two and then Nephi at one twelfth.
You have to add those four prophets together to finally get up to eight hundred and seventy seven pages like Joseph did all by himself. Isn’t that interesting that here’s this farm boy, a poor farm boy in Frontier America in those eighteen late twenties when he first begins his work on The Book of Mormon? And something else that Brian Hills’s pointed out is most famous authors.
Produce their big work, they’re their best work closer towards the end of their life. Isn’t it interesting that Joseph is producing most of his incredible work very early in life as far as the canon of scripture is concerned? And then it it peters out from there as far as the canon is concerned, because he’s doing other things in building up the kingdom of God.
If you add this all up, what we currently have in our Scripture’s. Page Count Weisse Joseph Smith is responsible for over thirty five percent of of our current canon of scripture.
This is a fascinating insight that you’ve brought up, Tyler, and just shows that God specifically chose Joseph Smith as the vessel to reveal all this truth. And it wasn’t like Joseph woke up one morning and decided, I want to go launch a church. I want to go become a famous scriptorium. God chose him. And it’s evident to us that God can do his work with the weak things of the Earth. And I love the fact that there’s all this beautiful truth like that.
God was willing to give us so much and that we are invited now to use these tremendous resources to find peace and comfort and guidance perspective in the latter days. And we should expect to receive more now.
I love that, Taylor. So to me, there is a there is a distinct difference between Joseph the man and Joseph the Seer.
And when when I open The Book of Mormon, I, I feel connected to heaven, I feel connected to the Lord Jesus Christ and I I am so grateful that he used that farm boy as his instrument to produce this work.
So as we look at the historical context that produced DNA, eighty five, we’re looking at late November, eighteen thirty two. And Joseph Smith had been off on a mission. Just briefly out to Albany, New York City, Boston, and gotten back on November six. And then he’s getting all these letters from Missouri, from Zion. Now, remember, there are two church centers. There’s Kirtland, Ohio, and then there’s Zion or Independence, Missouri.
And the intention is to build up Zion, to live in this society where everyone has consecrated everything they have. And then the bishop, who’s Edward Partridge, is supposed to deliver back to people their needs and some other wants. And earlier, there have been revelations that only those who have been called and chosen were supposed to go to Zion. Not everybody’s supposed to gather there. And you realize most of us get excited about, like new things. We want to go see all the great stuff.
And unfortunately, some members of the church went without being called and they were actually quite destitute and they had nothing to consecrate. So suddenly the storehouse was being called upon to give out far beyond it had means. And not everybody was consecrated as much as they were supposed to. And and, you know, we’re human. People are like, well, let me give this much or maybe I’ll hide this over here and nobody will know. And there’s all this conflict.
And so, Joseph, he didn’t have the Internet and email and phones. So he’s getting these letters now weeks and weeks after the fact and hearing about the very normal chaos that happens in human relationships as they try to pursue truth and live design lifestyle. And so he has to continue to address the problems of how do we live in design society. It’s a great question.
Part of part of the other issue there is you do have some people who have means that they could have helped greatly.
They went early. William MacLellan is a classic example of this.
He’s he’s pretty wealthy, but he shows up in independence. He hadn’t been called to go there, but instead of consecrating, he goes and he buys two lots right on Main Street in independence in his own name. It isn’t consecrate any of it.
So you’ve got you’ve got all of these issues that are all coming together in section eighty five in Joseph. Is in part trying to. Well, he’s trying to address these issues, and we also get the message to Ed Partridge’s that you need to step up your game like you’ve committed sin. Now, sometimes we think sin is this terrible things to keep you out of the kingdom of God. It is true. Any sin can. But Edward Partridge is just one of these people.
You really want him as a neighbor. You’d want him in your ward. He’s an incredible guy. And yet here he is just struggling with how do I manage all these people and competing interests? And we’re out on the frontier. And he’s basically Edward gets called to repentance, a pretty stern warning. And we get this phrase that shows up about if he doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, it will be replaced by a mighty and strong one. And we here later in a couple of years later that actually God had fully forgiven Edward.
And so it seems that Edward actually had resolved some of the core issues that he was working through. But it turns out that the people struggle to actually live this full law of consecration and eventually was abandoned. They tried later at other times to do it, even when they moved out to Utah. But you have some towns here that actually have the name like Circleville, where they won Waterville in order ville. And it’s been very hard for humans to live God’s full law of consecration.
So it’s it’s no surprise that God was addressing the needs. So let’s take a look at what we learned here from from God’s inspiration to Joseph Smith about how to build up Zion in the latter days.
So you’ll notice that he begins with with kind of this rebuke voice, because there had been so many people who had not kept the commandments or gotten their their direction from the Lord through the appointed means of the Lord.
They they became disorderly, disorderly.
They didn’t follow the order that God had revealed. There you go. And so he describes what will happen to them in verse two, three, four and five, where he says, we’re not going to keep their geneology, their names aren’t going to be found. Names of their fathers. They’re going to be taken out of the Book of the Law of God. Now, this is this is a fascinating concept that comes up in a in a couple of instances here in this section.
The Book of the Law of God is something that Joseph takes.
He lets this kind of distill on his soul and in eighteen forty one. So this is nine years later, Joseph was going to buy an additional book, a journal, and he’s going to start writing down names of people in that book. It’s in other places in scriptures. It would be called the Book of the Lamb, or it’s this book with all of the names of the faithful that will be presented.
So, Joseph, at least in eighteen forty one, he takes Section Eighty Five’s description. He takes it literally and he starts writing in this book. He writes an entry for Emma, his wife, and extolls some of her virtues for Newark, Whitney, for Hiram Smith, for others. And you can tell that he gets to a point where he’s thinking, wow, I, I can’t write everybody’s name. And so he just kind of does a generic and many others whose names also belong in here.
So you get this contrast of those whose names should be in the book and those whose names should not be recorded and their names kind of blotted out.
And part of it’s a practical measure. So if you look at first one, it talks about it is a duty. The Lord’s clerk whom he is appointed, we’re actually talking to church historian here, John Whooper, and it is like let’s keep regular church records. So, for example, if you move from ward toward, there’s actually a transfer of records and your membership clerk. And one of those words will make sure that those records end up on the right books, on the right in the right ward.
And this is actually part of the starting of that, where before that there wasn’t the full understanding of how to keep those records. So, again, if you have a group of members who come down to Zion and they actually weren’t called to go to that ward and they show up and there’s not like a record that they were supposed to be there and now they’re calling upon the bishop storehouse. So imagine if you’re a bishop and somebody moves in and they say, hey, I need support from the ward and I need support from the bishop storehouse.
Now, a good bishop would say, let’s consider your circumstances. But if they’re not a member of that war, but a different word, you might say, well, actually, your records are in this other ward. We should have that bishop make sure that storehouse. So it’s mostly just in addition to the very spiritual lessons here, there’s a deep practicality and pragmatism. Let’s keep order. And there have been quite a bit of disorder in trying to build up Zion.
And, of course, God uses some pretty strident language about here’s what’s going to happen if you hurt her in Zion, are not consecrating your properties and receiving in return. You don’t get to participate in this grand dream of Zion. And so, yeah, you won’t be on the rolls of the church if you choose to leave your off. You don’t get access to all the resources that I have to offer. So as we look at it, if you can have peel back some of the language, you look at just the historical circumstance, that makes a lot of sense why God is organizing things in this way.
A house of order. Now, look, five or six, you can you can sense a little bit of a shifting of gears here.
Thus saith the still small voice.
So Joseph is making something clear here that, look, this isn’t just Joseph Smith writing in this personal letter to you, W.W. Phelps. This is the still small voice whispering through and piercing all things, which, by the way, I think it’s worth noting here yet again, because it comes up in the text, it is a still and a small voice. I believe that there are many members of the church who sit in congregations and listen to people speak from the pulpit or in classrooms and listen to lessons and stories told where people talk about fantastic experiences they’ve had with with an outpouring of the spirit guiding them or directing them.
And I believe there are far too many members of the church who sit there and think, huh, I guess I don’t receive the Holy Ghost because I don’t have those kinds of experiences the way that you’re describing. I love this word in here. It is a still small voice.
It it will come through your own thoughts using using your own thought patterns in your own vocabulary, in your own words most of the time and your own feelings. And instead of waiting for some huge, angelic manifestation kind of revelation, expect that God is speaking to you.
If you’re trying your hardest to be on the covenant path and striving to keep the covenants that you’ve made, trust that he is speaking to you and pay more attention to those thoughts and feelings that come in those still small moments instead of expecting these big, huge moments to come.
And I do like how it says the still small voice that causes his bones to quake. So you kind of have this paradox that it is so quiet and so beautiful and piercing. And yet when you know it’s there, it’s it’s undeniable, even if it’s not like this overwhelming outpouring that just shatters windows or whatever it might be, all of it.
Now, verse seven is the verse that Taylor spoke about earlier. Is shall come to pass that I, Lord God, will send one mighty and strong holding a separate scepter of power in his hand close to his life, recovering.
Why will this person be sent? This one, mighty and strong, will only be sent if Edward Partridge doesn’t fix his his struggle in independence.
Well, the fact is, is Edward did fix his struggle.
So the conclusion doesn’t need to happen. The consequence in that if then doesn’t need to become a reality. There have been people in the history of our church who have set themselves up as the fulfillment of verse seven, trying to call people to themselves, saying, I am the one mighty and strong come I will now lead you is a fulfillment of this prophecy.
That just strikes me as really odd because of what comes in verse eight. Right after it, you’ll notice while that man who is called of God, an appointed that puts forth his hand to steady the arc of all of God shall fall by the shaft of death. He’s referring to that story out of Second Samuel six and First Chronicles thirteen, where it describes David, who is now moving the Ark of the Covenant that contains the two tablets of stones with the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God as well as Erens Rod and a part of Mana this this most sacred artifact of the of the ancient Israelites.
David has it on an oxcart and they’re now moving it. He’s going to be taking it to his house in the city of David in Jerusalem. And along the way, the ox cart starts to tip. And what happens to us is like, I’m going to help. But he just puts his hand out to study the ark. And, you know, he’s thinking, I could do God’s work, I could do it for him without being asked to do it.
I’m just gonna go jump in and do God’s work for himself. But God. It actually already made it pretty clear like this ark is mine. My presence is here and I own it. And there’s only a few people that I have ordained to actually touch this. And it wasn’t one of them. It was outside of the orders, outside of his obligation.
And this story doesn’t end well. And it’s for twenty first century sensitivities. That story doesn’t it’s not usually people’s favorite story because it’s that it’s a god of justice and a feeling of wrath, teaching a lesson. And perhaps we don’t have the full story and all of the background information.
But the principle is clear. When God authorizes servants to do something, he doesn’t want other people that aren’t authorized to come in and say, no, I can do it better, which is what some people, ironically, have done with verse seven saying I’m not authorized by God, but I’m going to step forward and I’m going to be the one, the mighty and great one and the strong one to to fulfill this this promise in section eighty five, which to me, I would say to any of those individuals in history or currently who who have that feeling of I’m going to be that guy or the future or the future, I’d say keep reading, read one more verse, because God has an order with which she does these things and we we sustain our first presidency and our common, the twelve apostles as prophets, Sears and regulators and the president of the church as the only person on the Earth who is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.
There’s there’s an order to that that I don’t need to I don’t need to wonder if I should go to Google, because I don’t think the Bible tells me surely the Lord God will do nothing except he reveals his secrets until his servants, the bloggers, the Facebook ers, the YouTube’s, it is say that his his order is authorized channel is through the prophets.
And unfortunately, in our world today, it’s that there are so many competing voices stepping up, trying to say in one form or another, one form or another, look at me, I’ve got these answers and I’ve got some things figured out that the prophets and apostles haven’t yet taught us about. That’s that’s a red flag of warning, I.
I think. This is my personal opinion about the mighty and strong, and it’s based on the Hebrew. Many of you are familiar with the word Elohim, this nice Hebrew word, the base word in Hebrew is actually él and it means God. Oops. And it turns out that this is the plural of of God. But this word in its most ancient Hebrew meaning literally means. Mighty and strong. So if we wanted to actually read this in Hebrew, it would say, and it should come to pass, that I, the Lord God will send God like I’m sending myself.
Holding the scepter of power in my hand, close with light, first covering, I cannot think of any human I’ve ever known who actually fits this reference. And so now, again, this is just my personal opinion, I think God’s basically saying to Edward Partridge, I need my work done well and I will come and replace you. If you don’t do it well, and frankly, that’s how God always does his work, he invites all of us.
We are all called to the work, but only those who actually are diligently involved and purposely repenting and changing through the atonement Jesus Christ are chosen. That’s how I understand my and strong.
That’s beautiful because I like this concept that even if it is a human being who ends up doing the work in your ward or in your steak or in the church. That human being, as we’ve demonstrated earlier with Joseph Smith, the farm boy. That that human being isn’t the one actually doing the work, that human being is an instrument in the hands of he who is mighty and strong to do all these things, we simply become instruments for him to do his work, which is kind of liberating when you get a church calling.
It’s not this feeling of the god in heaven who has all this power saying, go, good luck, I hope. But I hope you you accomplish what I asked you to do. Our God never does that with callings, whether they be in the church or whether they be in the family setting.
Our God is a God of come walk with me, assist me in my work and helping me to build the glory of the Kingdom of God assist me. It’s my work, but I’m inviting you to help me with it, whether it be in the church or in the home. And that’s liberating that we don’t have to own it in its entirety. We can let the ultimate mighty and strong one own it and just walk with him and and labor with him in the vineyard.
That’s that’s liberating for me. OK, now, as we shift gears into section eighty six, this is where Joseph Smith in the spring of eighteen thirty one. So so look at the timeline here sometime in spring. Eighteen thirty one.
He has gone through the what he calls once again the new translation of the Bible, the NTE, but we call it the GST, the Joe Smith translation. So in spring of eighteen thirty one he’s already come through the book of Matthew specifically today, section or Chapter 13. So he’s already he’s already done that. But notice the date on the page, it’s December 6th, eighteen thirty two now, so some time has passed and we’re now in December of eighteen thirty two.
And Joseph has experienced some things that he sees as connected.
Back to those parables in Matthew Thirteen. There are eight of them.
So eight parables here. Now he asks the Lord some specific questions about some of those parables gets an answer. And because of this answer, which is section eighty six, Joseph now goes back to his Joseph Smith or the new translation manuscript, and he’s going to make some adjustments in the Matthew 13 section.
So here we are a year and a half later and he’s tweaking it now. Some people would say, well, some prophet he is, he should have gotten it right the first time he went through or he’s not really a prophet. I love the fact that God is a patient and merciful and long suffering God, that he allows us to learn lessons line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.
And that in in the beginning of the restoration, he doesn’t have to give this huge, exhaustive blueprint to the Prophet Joseph from from day one. I love the fact that he’s letting Joseph learn from his own experience and by default letting us learn along with the prophet as these revelations come out, that he got some adjustments back in eighteen, thirty one. But now he gets additional ones. And what a beautiful thing to have a living prophet, seer and revelator or in the plural, 15 of them on the earth today whose right it is to be able to help us understand scriptures at home, in this case, deeper and deeper levels of meaning.
So let’s talk about this just briefly. The word parable. Actually, another word related to this is the word problem. You might not imagine these two words are connected. It actually comes from the word that forms the word problem and parable actually comes from the word ball. Imagine a game. Purple means in front of. So if you want to throw a ball in front of somebody, a problem is something you put in front of somebody, a situation they have to resolve.
PEMRA means alongside. So what you’re doing is putting two ideas side by side to compare and contrast. So again, it’s almost like you’re throwing something like that’s what the word ball comes from. That same we’re throwing it out there so you can see and learn. And God is a great teacher. And it’s beautiful how Jesus uses comparison and contrast to teach people. And that was a very common tactic anciently. And we’re going to see some interesting things about what Joseph learned from these parables, particularly the one about the wheat and terrors that actually is relevant to the restoration today.
So Joseph Smith is fascinated with with these eight parables in Matthew Thirteen, possibly because of the fact that he says that there is no better place in the entire Bible than Matthew 13, these eight parables to describe the gathering.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I read Matthew 13 from start to finish on my own, I don’t know that on on my own learning. I would come away from that chapter with these eight parables saying, wow, this is the most incredible description of the gathering of Israel anywhere in all of the Bible. But Joseph Smith read it and studied it and says these parables are all related.
So he then in this letter that you can go and read in greater detail, he’s going to show you that that first parable of the sower and those seeds and the soils, the different types of soils. He shows how this is a description of Jesus and his apostles spreading the gospel and the different responses that people have to those seeds of the gospel that get planted by by the Lord and the Apostles. Then you get into the second parable of Matthew 13 of the wheat and the tares.
So this is Joseph’s description of this is given here in section eighty six by the Lord, telling him exactly how to interpret it, which if you open up Matthew 13, the parable of the Sower will start at verse three and end in verse eight. And then it’s afterwards that those apostles come to him.
Kind of like Taylor’s description of what the word parable means. This the sitting side by side, this comparison and their understanding, what he said in the parable. But they’re not making the connection to what the lesson was. So they come to him and say, what did you mean by that?
The parable becomes a problem for their understanding. And it’s not supposed to be a problem for those who who have eyes to see and ears to hear, as he describes it in verse nine, I love the disciples. Joseph Smith does the same thing. Seek understanding. We should all. I love that lesson that it’s OK if you feel confused, seek understanding from the Lord, from from the right source, from the Lord. So notice what he does.
Verse 18 of Matthew 13. He says here, therefore, the parable of the sower and then starting in verse 19 all the way down through twenty three, Jesus himself gives them the interpretation of what he meant by it. We don’t have to guess. We don’t have to speculate.
He told us exactly what that parable means from his perspective. Then he started into the parable of the wheat and the tears. And so what Section eighty six becomes is this prophetic insert back into Matthew thirteen, very similar to what Jesus did with his apostles in verse nineteen through twenty three, where he’s giving the interpretation of that first parable. Well, here’s the interpretation of the second parable, the wheat and the tears.
And there’s some interesting things that are different or changed or updated that should help us to understand the restoration, which is why God gave Joseph this inspired interpretation, because back in the time the disciples two thousand years ago, they wouldn’t need to understand the intricacies of the restoration that was going to happen eighteen or nineteen hundred years into the future. But today, this inspired interpretation from Jesus helps us see the context for why this parable helps us to see what his work is today with us.
So if you combine this so the sower has planted these seeds and any farmer, any any good sower doesn’t go out and throw out weeds seed, they throw out seed that will produce fruit, food, sustenance. Life-Giving And so the wheat has been planted by the Lord Jesus Christ and all of those whom he has called to assist him in his work.
So that part’s very clear here.
But then an enemy comes along and actually turns out in the ancient world, we have stories of farmers getting in fights with each other and one farmer goes out at night and literally throws weed seed into his neighbor’s yard or into his farm. The problem with terrorism, Reed, is that early on you cannot distinguish between what is what now when they’re fully ripe, it is absolutely clear which is which. But when they’re young, you can’t. And so if you want to survive as a farmer, the only way to do it is to let both develop at the same time.
Exactly. And so section eighty six, he the Lord tells Joseph first one really does say to you, my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and tares, behold, verily. I say the field was the world. The apostles were the source of the seed.
And after they have fallen asleep, the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon.
Behold, he saw the tears were for the tears, choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness. Joseph is giving us this beautiful analogy in eighteen thirty five in the letter that he writes out to the elders, he takes this one step further and he says, This parable clearly teaches this great apostasy where the church is driven into the wilderness by the enemy who had done this. So notice first for but behold in the last days, even now, while the Lord is beginning to bring forth the word and the blade is springing up and is yet tender.
And the angels are crying into the Lord day and night, they’re ready to come down to to reap the fildes. As Taylor said, verse six, the Lord says, under them pluck, not up the tears, while the blade is yet tender for Verilli, your faith is weak lest you destroy the weak.
Also interesting, this section eighty six analogy between the wheat and the tares that the saints and the servants of the enemy are going to grow side by side, seemingly independent of each other, competing for the light and the soil and the moisture and the nutrients in the soil. They’re going to grow independent because you can’t pull up the one without negatively affecting the other. Now, you’ll notice a major change in verse seven.
This is this is a significant adjustment from what you read in the biblical account in Matthew 13.
Therefore, let the wheat and the trees grow together until the harvest is fully ripe.
And then you shall first gather out the wheat from among the terrors. And after the gathering, the wheat behold and low, the terrors are bound in bundles and the fields remain to be burned. Did you notice the order of operations there?
If you read in the Mathew account of this parable, it says in verse 30 of Matthew 13, let both grow together until the harvest. And in the time of harvest, I will say to the Reapers, Gather you together first the terrors.
And bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn. Now, this isn’t a huge difference as far as the words. They’re just switched the order of operations.
But if you think about it in the context of the building up of the kingdom of God on the Earth in the latter days, the gathering of Israel. This is profound. The gathering first, the correction that comes from the Lord in Section eighty six is no, we’re going to first gather out the wheat now when wheat is growing, like Taylor said, you can’t tell the difference between wheat and the tares.
They look similar. It’s only once the wheat finally starts ripening and those grains of wheat start getting more and more full that this whole plant, the heads of the wheat weigh down. They are bowed down with the weight of all of that that fruit that’s inside of the grain. Right. Not the tears.
The tears are still very hearty, so to speak. Very, very. Lift it up.
There’s no there’s nothing weighing them down, nothing that we can benefit from.
So the gatherers, the people who God has asked to assist him in this work are supposed to go out into the field, out into the world and find the wheat, find the humble, the receptive, the ones who who have taken in the nutrients that God has provided for them and turned them into a fruitful production. Find those gather those out first into the barns, we could say into the covenant, fold into the temple, into these eternal family relationships that are so significant.
Gather those first, leave the tears out in the field. And then at that point they can be gathered in bundles. And we know that at the Lord’s coming, the earth will be burned if whatever hasn’t been gathered into the barns is going to be burned, which is a very typical first century practice at the end of the harvest. You want to burn and destroy any of those seeds so that are bad so they don’t ruin your fields. Next year.
I find a personal application here that in our own lives there are wheat and tears. We have difficulty and at some point God will gather the good and burn the bad in our own lives, and that then becomes the nutrients for the next season of planting. So all of us are going to experience weeds in our lives and we can’t complain about them, or we can see them as the opportunity for those to be the nourishment for future experiences of growth. Because the very next year when you plant the wheat, all the ash is left over from these dead weeds makes it possible for the next crop to grow.
So just the perspective in our suffering that good can come of what’s hard.
Love that of that personal application.
Now look at verse seven in the context of living in the world that we have today, let the wheat and tears grow together until the harvest is fully ripe.
We live in the dispensation of fullness of times. It’s not just a fullness of times for the wheat, it’s a former of times for the tears as well.
There was never a better day to be on the covenant path, that there were never more resources given to disciples of Christ than right now to be good and to be able to do temple and family history work, to be able to do missionary work, to be able to gather Israel, to be able to connect with loved ones.
There was never a better day where that fullness of times is is fuller than ever before. But at the same time, there was never an easier time to engage in sinful behavior and deceptive practices and in terrible things that that exist in this world.
It is truly a fullness of times and they’re growing together. I believe it was elder Maxwell who said something along the lines of we shouldn’t be surprised as time goes on that the tears start looking more and more like tears with each passing day. Now, this ties back into the the previous sections we’ve talked about of signs of the times and and looking towards the second coming. When Jesus comes, he won’t come into a period of great peace and contentment for the world, he’ll come when there’s great turmoil and great wickedness abounding on the Earth and hence our urgency to accelerate our gathering efforts.
And it’s not the terrors we’re trying to gather. As we would read in Matthew 13, it’s the wheat that we’re trying to find and seek and gather safely into the barns in preparation for that day.
So it seems we talk about this earlier as we were preparing, we were talking about there’s so much misinformation and falsehood in the world on many different topics. And in some ways, it’s almost like people are consuming tears and becoming addicted to this and feeling like this is what I need for my regular diet. And they’re misunderstanding what it feels like to taste the wheat of God. And there’s such a need for us to be grounded in truth, both the truth of God and also the truth about the world.
Because there’s there’s salvific truth, right? Faith, repentance, baptism, Holy Ghost. There’s also truth about how the world works and how science works. And God is a god of total truth that ultimately it’s only the salvific truth that will save you. But I think God also loves that embraces actually, I know he loves and embraces all truth. And we should do the same and learn to distinguish. We shouldn’t be planting weeds. We shouldn’t becoming addicted to the taste of the terrors.
Yeah, there is no there is no benefit in leaving a place in your heart or in your soul for falsehoods or for lies or deceptions or for even half truths that aren’t ultimately going to produce fruit for us. That’s why I love.
I love the concept, we think the oh, God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days to help distinguish, especially in the salvific things, but also in scripture and and personal revelation ways to start distinguishing between truth and error, between wheat and tares when it comes to things that don’t have to do with our salvation, that have to do with the physical world in which we live. There’s no benefit that comes from believing a falsehood or from following a half truth or some made up theory that turns out to be wrong or some prediction that doesn’t happen.
And we could actually use the example of the enemy who sows tares. We live in a world where it’s easier than ever for any one of us to have a voice that gets amplified to the world and all of us are spreading seeds of information. And are we planting wheat or planting tears? And so before you click a like or click share, I know I’ve struggled with this, I, I see something like, oh I got to share that without even making sure I understand what even what seed I’m casting out to the world.
So it’s a real opportunity for us to understand the wheat and only be sharing that and to not be sharing the tears or to encourage people. Here’s the wheat that makes a difference.
Since Joseph Smith made the statement in that 18, 30, five letter to the elders of the church that there is no better place in all of the Bible that describes the gathering than these eight parables of Matthew 13. We’ve already covered the first two. Let me just very, very quickly walk you through the rest of some of the things that he shared in that letter. And you can read that letter yourself on the paper’s website. So the next parable is the grain of the mustard seed, which is the smallest of seed that when you planted, then it becomes this this biggest of herbs, as it’s described here, where the birds of the air can come and lodge.
Joseph Smith compared that to The Book of Mormon. This little tiny thing that was planted by a man named Moroni in a hill, and it germinates symbolically and eventually it comes out of the hill and it grows and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And this is the means whereby the angels, the birds can come down and manifest truth to to the world. The church could also apply to that little grain of mustard seed, this little teeny insignificant seed being planted and then growing to become the largest and the greatest.
The next parable is the parable of the leaven, where a woman took three measures of meal and she leavens the whole lump with with these three three parts of Leverne.
Joseph Smith compared that to the three witnesses in this letter. I would have never made that connection. But it’s beautiful there. Their testimony leavening, the whole lump being spread to the whole world. And keep in mind, it’s the three witnesses who are going to be tasked with the job of calling our original twelve apostles. That’s going to have this global effect that will affect the whole world moving forward for the rest of history and are moving forward into the future.
The next parable is the treasure hidden in a field. Joseph Smith compared that to discovering the Land of Zion and then the man merchantmen seeking good Lehi pearls. And he talks about finding the gospel, this greatest pearl of great price, and then the parable of the net, talking about how it’s not the missionaries job to decide who is worthy of of being saved and who isn’t. We cast out the gospel net. We bring in all kinds and judgment rests with the Lord.
And then the last parable, the the scribe who brings out of the treasure things new and old compared to Joseph Smith himself bringing scriptures and and scriptural truth, spiritual truth, both old and new. You’ve got The Book of Mormon the pearl, great price and the doctrine and covenants. Of course, Pearl Price isn’t going to be a canon of scripture until the late 70s, but you’ve got the Book of Mormon, the doctrine and covenants and then old treasures as well.
The Joseph Smith translation, this new translation, some additional treasures coming out. So just wanted to to walk through some of those. You see this unfolding gathering effort and what is required for that work to actually be accomplished coming through those those parables in Matthew Thirteen. Now let’s finish with section eighty seven. It’s Christmas Day in eighteen thirty two and there is a lot happening in the world near the end of eighteen thirty two. So in eighteen, thirty two there’s, there’s been this huge outbreak of, of cholera I believe, and it’s, it’s catching the global attention even in that day the word is spreading across the globe and great concern.
There are major struggles in those young United States at the time where the federal government had been making some passing some decrees, some laws, some tariffs that were very negatively affecting the southern states from their perspective. And they were starting to really ramp up in their opposition, especially South Carolina. Notice section eighty seven, verse one.
Verilli thus says the Lord, concerning the wars. Notice that’s plural. That will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls. Steve Harper pointed out in his book Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants, that. Nobody, this revelation that Joseph Smith received about the war, the civil war, as this beginning point of multiple wars, that because it wasn’t put in the doctrine and covenants.
It it wasn’t completely known to everybody, but there were copies of it that were spread around and Steve Harper points out that it was a newspaper in Philadelphia after the war breaks out. Those first shots are fired in April, early in April of eighteen sixty one. So if you do the math, we’re talking twenty nine years later when the war actually does break out.
And Steve Harper points out, this newspaper in Philadelphia says, is there not a profit among us? And then they include Joseph Smith’s prophecy to say this. This war was prophesied very clearly and why it would happen and where look at verse two and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations beginning at this place. Now, I am not an expert in war history, and I’ve I’ve not mapped this out. But based on this revelation, the way the wording comes out is there will have been many conflicts in many wars previous to to the US civil war beginning in eighteen sixty one.
But the way this is described here is that war is going to be poured out upon all nations that’s worldwide.
Beginning at this place for behold, the southern states shall be divided against the northern states in the southern states will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall call upon other nations in order to defend themselves against other nations. And then war shall be poured out upon all nations. It seems like there’s this prediction of an increasing wars and rumors of wars that really starts ramping up, beginning with this civil war, with some very specific prophecies coming from Joseph Smith on this Christmas Day, 18 30 to.
He’s also describing the slaves rising up against their masters and verse five, it shall come to pass that also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves and shall become exceedingly angry and shall vex the gentiles with the sword vexation.
So there’s going to be this turmoil in this conflict. Wow. Merry Christmas. Indeed.
Right. This is this is not a joyous thing. And you thought it was bad up to that point over six.
Thus, with the sword and by bloodshed, the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn. And with famine and plague and earthquake and the thunder of heaven and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath and indignation and chastening hand of an Almighty God until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all nations? Now, at this point you’re thinking, my goodness, this is really a downer. Look over seven.
That the cry of the Saints and of the blood of the Saints shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath from the Earth to be avenged of their enemies, he’s saying, I’m not going to let these injustices, whether they be because of racism or because of domination and domineering of of rich and ruling classes, of the people grinding upon the faces of the poor classes of the people.
Over time, he’s he’s not going to keep letting these injustices happen.
This is a really powerful verse for a couple of reasons. If you think back to the time of Noah, it was actually the blood of the righteous that are crying. And to God, because there’s so much violence going on and people are killing one another and God’s like people have lost their humanity. And he decides to reset creation and make Noah a new Adam. He’s like, let’s just start over. This is Flood the Earth and let’s start with kind of a blank slate and start over.
Noah, also the phrase the lord of oath, the word the oath is actually a transliteration of a Hebrew word that literally means hosts. So you’ll see this phrase throughout scripture, either Lord of Sabbath or Lord of Hosts. They both mean the same thing. This one is the Hebrew version. This is the English translation. What are we talking about? In the ancient Israelite worldview and what they taught in the Bible is that God, the God of heavens, has all these angelic hosts.
It’s actually it’s a military host that will do God’s bidding to cleanse the earth of wickedness. And in the context of what’s going on here is that there’s all this war among humans and gods like, listen, ultimately I’m the god of war now. He’s the god of love. He’s the God of many things. These, like humans, should not be war and against one another. If there’s a need to cleanse the earth through war, only God should be doing it.
And it’s to cleanse out the wicked. And that’s what we see going on here, is to try the saints. The righteous are saying, Lord, it is time for justice and the real war. Then God brings upon all of those who will not be humble, all of those who refuse to love their neighbor. Again, I think most of us would say, yeah, I can love God because he’s so good to me in my own life.
I think the most difficult challenge I face in the two great commandments, loving, God, loving my neighbor is probably loving my neighbor. And this prophecy lays out how difficult has been for humans to do this. So when you see this phrase in scripture, we just all hope that we can be on the side of the Saints and not on the side of the tears. They’re going to be mowed down by the the military hosts of heaven.
Isn’t isn’t it remarkable to picture in your mind’s eye these hosts of heaven marshaled in their strength, ready to bring the battle against ultimate evil, whether it be in a pre mortal context or in a mortal context or a post mortal setting? Fascinating to me that the civil war that’s being prophesied here for the United States of America as the beginning point of all of these wars being poured out as we pull in this this war analogy from heaven as well.
That war is fought with the essence being centered on agency. Hmm, I wonder if there’s any connection to the war in heaven, Satan, who sought to destroy the agency of all of us.
And so we were willing to stand up and fight against that before we came to the earth. Now you see these attacks on agency in our world, whether it be over race, whether it be over gender, whether it be over political differences or all of the ideologies that exist out there, you peel back enough of the layers on on war and you’re going to find somewhere down there at the very core, the root is somebody is trying to take away agency to one degree or another on on one side or another, or maybe both parties are trying to do that.
But it’s usually a war of agency. Which brings us back to the original war that Satan started or one group trying to create more agency for themselves and for others versus what God did Jesus he comes down and says, I want to help more people have more agency. Think about that. What is Amando does? And go in like a typical Nephi like let’s go war against the laminates and take away their agency. No, let me go in and serve them according to their needs.
Now the closing verse of eighty seven is receipt’s, which after all these difficult protheses and painful things that are being laid out in their future. Look a verse eight. Where for. Notice the word wherefore is a cause and effect qualifier, so because of everything that I’ve just told you both one three seven, because of all of that, here’s the outcome. Here’s the effect. Stand ye in holy places and be not moved until the day of the Lord come for behold.
It comes quickly, saith the Lord. Amen. I love the insight that Steve Harper also shared where he said the Lord didn’t say stand by. He said, stand ye in holy places, it’s not this passive sit back and let the world do whatever the world’s going to do, it’s no, we take a proactive stand and we stand in holy places, places where wheat can grow beautifully and freely and we be not moved. Those holy places like the temple, like a Christ centered home, like a stake of Zion that we’re seeking to establish and strengthen and build up those around us, that we don’t we don’t just dress in the armor of God and then go whimper over in the corner, hoping that that nothing bad happens to us.
We stand up in these holy places and we don’t need to be afraid of all of these prophecies that have been given. So as we finish off section eighty five, eighty six and eighty seven.
It’s these sections about gathering to Zion, consecrating our lives to him, and in spite of prophets looking down the road and saying, whoa, there are a lot of bad things that are going to happen and that are going to come our way, we don’t need to be moved. We can stand in holy places.
There are safe places that God has given us in this earth where where we don’t need to feel terror and and fear about what’s going to happen in destructive ways. God is the Lord of the outstretched arms.
And there is nothing happening on this earth right now that is causing the heavens or the angels to to panic and to wring their hands in fear and and anxiety, wondering, oh, no, what are we going to do now? Everything that you see happening has long been foretold and foreseen and prepared for far in advance and part of the solution for all of the struggles you see out there. Happens to be you happens to be us collectively working together, tzion be part of the solution rather than sitting back passively looking at all of the problems, let’s stand in holy places and assist the Lord in his greatest of all works, the gathering of the elect out of the four corners of the Earth.
In these the latter days, nobody lives. This is his work that we do have prophets, Sears and Rev leaders who stand at the head of the church today, guiding us as the Lord guides them, to move forward and to know how to to build up the kingdom. And we read that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Know that your loved spread, light and goodness.