Revelation, [, OH], 27– Dec. 1832. Featured version copied [between 22 Jan. and ca. 27 Feb. 1833] in Revelation Book 2, pp. 33–46; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2.
JS dictated a lengthy revelation at a of in , Ohio, on 27–28 December 1832. The revelation’s heading, which was probably provided by , states that the revelation was addressed to the “first ” of the church. The text of the revelation describes its audience as those who had congregated at the conference in Kirtland “to receive his [God’s] will concerning you.” Although in later years the term “first Elders” generally referred to the leading elders of the church, here it appears to have a less hierarchical meaning, equating the elders to whom the revelation was addressed with “the first Elders labourers, in this last kingdom” who were referenced in a parable presented in this revelation. A later JS history emphasizes that the revelation came two days after a revelation describing an outbreak of wars and slave rebellions that would precede Christ’s second coming.
JS called this revelation “the Olieve leaf which we have plucked from the tree of Paradise” and “the Lords message of peace to us.” Perhaps JS described the revelation in this way because it offset the stark apocalyptic imagery of the 25 December revelation or perhaps because he saw its messages regarding the conduct of church members and the need for unity as a way to heal ongoing difficulties with church leaders. Like the 25 December prophecy of war, the 27–28 December revelation discusses eschatological events, but interspersed throughout the revelation are explanations of the requirements to enter the , , and in the life to come and an exposition on light and its relation to Jesus Christ.
Much like the first chapter of the book of John (which JS revised in late 1831 or early 1832 as part of his Bible revision), the first part of this revelation connects Christ with light and the creative process. This explanation expanded on ideas expressed in earlier revelations. Revelations in 1829, for example, generally used the concept of light to represent Jesus Christ. By 1831, revelations were also using light as a metaphor for the gospel and as a more abstract representation of truth and knowledge. The 27–28 December revelation brings such ideas together by explaining that Christ’s light, which the revelation defines as truth and knowledge, is in all things, is the power by which they were created, and is the law governing them. Such concepts were not entirely novel; in the 1700s, Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg, for example, argued that “the light which proceeds from the Lord as a sun is Divine Truth, from which the angels derive all their wisdom and intelligence,” but this revelation goes further in its connection of light to the creative and governing processes.
While it explored theological themes, the revelation also issued concrete directives, instructing the elders to sanctify themselves at a “solemn assembly,” to construct a , and to be taught there in both spiritual and temporal matters before embarking on their missions to the “for the last time.” These instructions came in response to specific prayers that God show “his will . . . concerning the upbuilding of ,” which suggests that the revelation would apply only to church members in . Saints in , Ohio, however, took the direction as a call to action. Just two weeks after JS dictated this revelation, he informed church leaders in Missouri that the revelation provided a from God “to build an house of God, & establish a school for the Prophets” in Kirtland. Regarding the direction as “the word of the Lord to us,” JS and the Saints in Kirtland promptly began to organize the “.” A revelation dictated less than a week after the 27–28 December revelation, which would later become associated with it, provided more instructions on establishing the school. Over the next several months, church leaders in Kirtland took steps to construct a for “the Elders who should come in to receive ther education for the ministry” and broke ground for the building they called the .
Many Saints focused more on the revelation’s immediate directives than on its metaphysical aspects. , for example, wrote in his journal that the revelation instructed “the first labourers in this last vinyard” to “call a sollem assembly” where they could “sanctify themselves & wash their hands & feet for a testimony” against an unbelieving generation. He also highlighted the revelation’s requirement to “appoint a teacher among” the elders so that they could obtain “knowledge of countries & languages.” Nowhere in his journal did Samuel Smith refer to the eschatology of the revelation or its other doctrinal points. Likewise, when printed part of the revelation in the February 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, he chose portions explaining the and the construction of the .
As the note at the end of the inscription indicates, wrote this revelation as JS dictated it. The original manuscript is not extant; Williams copied the revelation into Revelation Book 2, probably between late January and late February 1833. Soon after dictating the revelation, JS transmitted it to the Saints in by enclosing a copy of the text in a letter to , explaining that its contents showed “that the Lord approves of us & has accepted us, & established his name in for the salvation of the nations.” This revelation was first published in its entirety on a broadside in late 1833 or early 1834. It was later combined and printed with the revelation of 3 January 1833.
Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 69.
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, who have assembled yourselves together, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 88–89]. A portion of the revelation was published earlier, in The Evening and the Morning Star. (“Revelation,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1833, .)
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, who have assembled yourselves together [D&C 88–89]. [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834]. Copy at BYU.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
procedeth forth from the presence of God; to fill the emencity of space; the light which is in all things which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are govorned, even the power of God, who sitteth upon his throne; who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things Now verily I say unto you, that through the redemption, which is made for you; is brought to pass the resurection from the dead; (and the spirit, and the body is the soul of man) and the resurection from the dead, is the redemption of the soul; and the redemption of the soul, is through him, who quickneth all things, in whose bosom, it is decreed, that the poor, and the meek of the earth, shall inherit it; therefore it must needs be sanctified, from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the glory; for after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with the glory, even with the presence of God the father; that bodies, who are of the celestial kingdom may posses it, for ever, & ever; for, for this intent was it made, and created, and for this intent, are they sanctified, and they who are not sanctified, through the law which I have given unto you; even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom even that of a , or that of a , for he that is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory, and he who cannot abide, the law of a Terestrial kingdom cannot, abide a Terestrial glory, he who cannot abide the law of a Telestial kingdom [p. 35]
Emanuel Swedenborg connected the soul with the body, stating that “the body is the effigy, or form, of its soul”; nevertheless, defining “soul” as consisting of both spirit and body was uncommon. Compare, for example, the definition in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary of American English: “the spiritual, rational and immortal substance in man, which distinguishes him from brutes.” (Miscellaneous Theological Works, 148; “Soul,” in American Dictionary .)
Miscellaneous Theological Works of Emanuel Swedenborg, Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Volume the First. New York: American Swedenborg Printing and Publishing Society, 1892.
An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.