Revelation, , Susquehanna Co., PA, to , Apr. 1829. Featured version, titled “Chapter V,” typeset [between 1 Nov. and 31 Dec. 1832] for Book of Commandments, 14–17. copied this revelation [ca. Mar. 1831] into Revelation Book 1, but the page or pages on which it was copied were removed at some point from that volume and are no longer extant. The version found in the Book of Commandments and featured below is the earliest complete, extant version. For more complete source information, see the source note for the Book of Commandments.
This revelation was dictated for soon after he arrived in , Pennsylvania, and began serving as JS’s scribe for the of the . JS’s history stated, “Two days after the arrival of Mr Cowdery (being the seventh of April) I commenced to translate the book of Mormon and he commenced to write for me, which having continued for some time I enquired of the Lord through the and obtained the following revelation.” The exact date this text was dictated is unknown. The revelation apparently answered questions Cowdery had contemplated but not expressed to JS. According to Cowdery’s friend , “Soon after Oliver’s arrival in Harmony, he wrote to me and said that Joseph had envuired [inquired] of the Lord concerning him, and had told him secrets of his life that he knew could not be known to any person but himself, in any other way than by revelation from the Almighty.”
JS’s history recounted, “After we had received this revelation he () stated to me that after he had gone to my ’s to board, and after the family communicated to him concerning my having got the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed, he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so, and that the Lord had manifested to him that they were true.” JS also explained that Cowdery had seen the Lord and the plates in a vision and “was desiorous to come and write” for JS in . The revelation featured below built on that experience by announcing that if Cowdery desired, the Lord would grant him a gift “to translate even as my servant Joseph.”
1 A Revelation to , given in , Pennsylvania, April, 1829, when employed a scribe for Joseph, while the book of Mormon.
A GREAT and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow:— Therefore give heed unto my words.
2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God: Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God; therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.
3 Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my , and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of : seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold he that hath eternal life is rich.
4 Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed. [p. 14]
The editors of the Book of Commandments composed revelation headings loosely based on John Whitmer’s headings found in Revelation Book 1. Because the page or pages in Revelation Book 1 that contained this revelation are missing, it is unknown whose work is reflected in this heading. Regardless, it was most likely not part of the original revelation text.
Some of the phrases in this revelation, particularly in the second paragraph, are similar to language used in Revelation, Feb. 1829 [D&C 4], which was dictated by JS for his father in Harmony, likely during the time that Cowdery was boarding with the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family near Palmyra, New York.