Come Follow Me: D&C 29
This revelation was given almost six months after the Church was founded in 1830. A conference would soon be held in Fayette, New York, where a branch of the Church was quickly growing.
Perils follow after sins
We begin to see Joseph's revelations become more complex, often covering several issues, but also discussing new doctrines and ideas in preparation for the Second Coming.
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that at this time yourare you, therefore ye receive these things; but remember to sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you." (vs 3)
Here is a forewarning that will plague the young Church for the next several decades: "sin no more, lest perils shall come upon you." Within a year, most of the saints will be forced from New York to Kirtland. Then, driven from Kirtland by apostates to Missouri. From Missouri, mobs will imprison Joseph Smith for six months and drive the members out of the state. In Nauvoo, they would soon experience the martyrdom of the Prophet, and expulsion from the United States. In Utah, they would struggle with locusts, famine, and military invasion. Much of the perils would come at least partially due to their own sins. Arguments, contention and apostasy from the Church would suffer one privation after another - usually because the saints were not yet ready to be Saints of God. They would not be united in all things, and so the Destroyer was able to tear them apart.
The 2nd Coming and Unity
In this revelation, the Lord shows important concepts regarding the 2nd Coming. More would follow in other revelations (including D&C 45, 87, 133).
"And, as it is written—Whatsoever ye shall in , being in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive..
"And ye are called to bring to pass the of mine ; for mine elect my voice and not their ;
"Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be in unto one place upon the face of this land, to their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked." (D&C 29:6-8)
Again, we are to be united. United in prayer, united in desire, united in effort, united in Christ. If we are not united, then Satan's doctrine of contention can overtake the Saints and destroy them.
Here, though the Church isn't quite 6 months old, it is given a very huge responsibility: to find the elect in the world and bring them to build Zion. This is the same work Enoch was called to do in his day, though he had more time to accomplish it. He was to gather the elect out from among the wicked and perfect them prior to the end of the world (in Enoch's case, the Flood of Noah).
They are to be prepared (their hearts and in all things) prior to the coming tribulations and desolations. If we do not prepare ourselves, are we not ourselves among the wicked? Whether the great tribulations predicted are the American Civil War, world wars, plagues, Covid 19, or other greater disasters, the only escape is to build Zion and a perfected people. No other place will be safe.
"For I will reveal from heaven with power and great glory, with all the thereof, and in with men on earth a years, and the wicked shall not stand."(vs 11)
"For a shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the shall quake, and they shall forth—yea, even the which died in me, to receive a of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, as I am, to be with me, that we may be one." (vs 13)
There are some religions that believe Jesus already came in the form of a man/woman. Others that believe Jesus doesn't have a 2nd Coming. This clearly states, as does the New Testament that Jesus' Second Coming will be in power and great glory. It will be a day when the wicked are destroyed. It is a thrilling thought to have the Lord dwell with us on earth for a thousand years. However, first comes the times of great tribulations. As noted above, if we are not united and righteous, the plagues and disasters will overcome all the members of the Church. Only in establishing a Zion people will we be able to have a holy place, a safe place, to withstand the great destructions of the last days.
The righteous dead will be resurrected. They will be clothed in holiness, so that they may be one with Jesus. Only in unity, in this At One Ment (of one mind), in Oneness, can Zion endure the last days and be ready to be presented to Christ as the jewel it needs to be.
Great Destruction prior to the Coming of Christ
While the great earthquake will bring for the dead, imagine the destruction to the world....
Prior to the glorious day of the Lord's coming, there will be signs in the heavens and on earth. The Sun and Moon will stop shining. Huge meteor storms will seem like the stars are all falling from the sky. All that the wicked can do is weep and wail. It will be even like the weeping and wailing of the Jaredites, just prior to their final destruction.
A great hailstorm will destroy the earth's crops (vs 16). Do you have your food storage and more to spare?
In verse 17, the Lord will take his vengeance upon the wicked "for they will not repent." They choose wickedness and destruction over salvation. Pride will destroy the wicked. There will be no salvation, because they refuse to accept the salvation that Christ offers.
Flies will come forth and eat men's flesh, leaving maggots to feed on them. Is this literal? Metaphor? Or is it both literal and metaphor? Plagues of flies often follow mass death, disease, and bloody wars. Thnk about the next description. Such will be the disease and plagues that their tongues will be stopped, flesh fall from their bones, and eyes from their sockets (vs 18). This has reference to Zechariah 14:12, which states:
"And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth."
The New Living Translation calls them "walking corpses." Here is your Zombie Apocalypse.
In the previous verse in Zechariah, the Lord proclaimed that Jerusalem would be a safe place:
"And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." (Zech 14:11)So, as we compare this with D&C 29, we can see the true importance in building up a Zion that the Lord will see fit to protect.
Whore of all the Earth
Verse 21 tells us that "the great andchurch, which is the of all the earth," will be cast down and destroyed. Some Protestants and Latter-day Saints think this is the Catholic Church, but in the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells us that this wicked church fights against Jesus and his apostles. The Catholic Church may have problems, but it is not the "whore of all the earth." Instead, when the apostle John spoke of the whore of the earth, he was referring to the Roman Empire of his day, probably under Nero (who wore the mark of the beast, 666). In our day, it would be an Empire that fights against Christ, the agency of man (vs 35}, and righteousness. Will this empire include churches? Probably. Any group or organization that will embrace the "abominable church" or empire will be part and parcel of its wickedness.
After the Millennium
D&C 29 jumps forward then, beginning in verse 22.
"And again, verily, verily, I say unto you that when the years are ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but for a ;
"And the shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and , and there shall be a new heaven and a ." (vs 22-23)
At the end of the Millennium, a period of peace, love and unity, Satan will be loosed again. He will tempt the Saints, leading many to believe in him and reject the Savior. They will become Sons of Perdition, knowing the resurrected Christ, but choosing the dark instead. There will be one final battle of good versus evil, where the wicked will be finally destroyed off the earth. Then the consumed earth will be changed from its Terrestrial to a Celestial state: a new heaven and earth.
"But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, , mine archangel, shall sound his , and then shall all the dead , for their graves shall be opened, and they shall forth—yea, even all.
"And the shall be gathered on my unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father;
"Wherefore I will say unto them— from me, ye cursed, into everlasting , prepared for the and his angels." (vs 26-28)
Michael is noted as an archangel. Michael is the heavenly name for Adam. An archangel is an angel of high rank. It comes from Greek, meaning "chief angel." They are a key part of God's divine council. We read about them in Isaiah 6,
" the year that king Uzziah died I also the sitting upon a , high and lifted up, and filled the temple.
"Above it stood the : each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
"And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the : the whole earth is full of his .
"And the of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with ." (Isa 6:1-4)
In this instance, the seraphim are (or include) the archangels. We also see the "holy angels" in the Vision, D&C 76,
"And while we upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the of the Lord shone round about.
"And we beheld the of the Son, on the of the , and received of his fulness;
"And saw the holy , and them who are before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who him forever and ever." (D&C 76:19-21)
The sanctified are the martyrs from all ages, those who have died for the cause of Christ. Again, the holy angels are those before God's throne as part of his divine council.
By tradition, there are usually seven archangels. Seven is a number meaning completeness, and is important in the Bible and in the Restored Church today. Seven days in the week, Seventh day is the Sabbath, Quorum of Seventy, etc.
Today, most religions definitely recognize three of the archangels:
Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Michael and Gabriel are noted in the Bible, while Raphael is found in the Apocrypha. Other possible archangels include: Metatron (often identified as Enoch), Uriel, Raguel, and Remiel. Some groups have 10 archangels, some less.
Sons of Perdition
We get almost a comparison between the holy angels and the sons of Perdition, those who decide to be the enemies of Christ.
"And the shall be gathered on my unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand will I be ashamed to own before the Father;
"Wherefore I will say unto them— from me, ye cursed, into everlasting , prepared for the and his angels.
"And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for I am they cannot come, for they have no power.
"But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men; and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth even so shall they be fulfilled, that the shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my ." (vs 27-30)
Remember, the Lord has yet to reveal to Joseph Smith his teachings on the Three Degrees of Glory. It is still a concept of heaven and hell. Those on his right hand, do they include telestial beings who will receive a level of salvation? Yes, but only because they barely repent and accept the atonement. It seems strange to include them on Christ's right hand. But where else would we put them? All those on the left are sons of Perdition.
"Everlasting fire" as we learned in D&C 19 is not fire that lasts forever. "Everlasting" is one of God's names. "Everlasting fire" is God's fire. The Lord leaves us wondering in these verses about the long term final fate of the wicked. They cannot come to the Lord's kingdom, "for they have no power." Only Christ has such power for any of us. Only through repentance, faith in Christ, and changing to a level of righteousness, can the power of Christ ransom any of us from everlasting fire. The only question is: do sons of Perdition have the ability to repent and believe in Christ? Can they, worlds down the road, soften their hearts and believe enough to merit a kingdom of glory? God does not reveal this to us. Instead, we are left to speculate. We simply do not knowgod's. Saying they can never repent and be saved is as much a speculation and saying they can. Again, "all [God's] judgments are not given unto men."
The Fall and Redemption
Beginning in verse 34, the Lord discusses the Premortal Existence, Adam, the Creation, agency and the Fall. Lucifer used his agency to rebel against God. After being thrust down, Satan used his agency to destroy God's plan, first in the Garden with Adam, and later with all mortals. He is the one that God allows to bring much terror and tragedy into the world.
God lays out for us two choices: Zion or the wicked world, Christ or Lucifer. We are agents to ourselves to decide what we will become and whom we will follow.