And there appeared a great wonder in heaven…

 

Frank M. Keele

In the recent past there has been a great deal of discussion and promotion of theories surrounding the meaning and fulfillment of Rev 12:1-2 and Sept. 23, 2017. From what I’ve been able to gather, these theories started with our Christian friends who do not believe in the restoration or latter day scripture as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith. They therefore have less to go on than we who are members of the restored church.

In brief, the claim is that the recent alignment of stars and planets in Virgo constitutes the fulfilling of Rev. 12:1-2. If you need more background, the Internet is flooded with information regarding this subject…

These theories have even garnered the attention of some members of the LDS Church who insisted that something significant was going to unfold on the above stated date. As we look back at Sept. 23 it’s now quite apparent that it was pretty much just another day like any other.

So in today’s blog we are going to view Rev. 12 in the light of restored truth, holding fast to the revelations as delivered through Joseph Smith.

We start with the heading to chapter 12, as contained in the LDS version of the New Testament where we pick up three key points pertaining to its contents…

So we have the “apostasy of the meridian Church”, the pre-mortal War in Heaven and “the continuation of that war on earth”. For our analysis of this chapter we shall draw exclusively from Joseph Smith’s translation of the same, we read:

JST Rev 12
1 And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
2 And the woman being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God and his throne.
4 And there appeared another sign in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman which was delivered, ready to devour her child after it was born.
5 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore years.
6 And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael;
7 And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman which was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains, and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ.
8 Neither was there place found in heaven for the great dragon, who was cast out; that old serpent called the devil, and also called Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth; and his angels were cast out with him.
9 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ;
10 For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 For they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death. Therefore, rejoice O heavens, and ye that dwell in them.
12 And after these things I heard another voice saying, Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, yea, and they who dwell upon the islands of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 For when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child.
14 Therefore, to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent casteth out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helpeth the woman, and the earth openeth her mouth, and swalloweth up the flood which the dragon casteth out of his mouth.
17 Therefore, the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

In verse 7 we learn that the “the woman… was the church of God” and that she (the church) “brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ” which identifies “her child” for us. So let us ask the question… What happens or happened to the meridian church that could be symbolized by the phrase “the woman fled into the wilderness”? Could it be “the imminent apostasy of the Church” as suggested in the heading above?

Another question… Did the prophet, who gave us this translation of Rev. 12 above produce anything more on this topic?….. We go the D&C section 5 and read:

10 But this shall have my word through you;
11 And in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you.
12 Yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true, for from heaven will I declare it unto them.
13 I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are;
14 And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.
15 And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word.

This revelation was given in March of 1829, before the actual organization of the Church. In instructing Joseph on the topic of additional witnesses, the Lord says “in this the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” So we see that “the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness” is associated with the restoration and establishment of the church in 1830, which is a pretty clear indication that the church going “into the wilderness” had to do with the apostasy…

Also, we might suppose that the Lord knows the meaning of his “church” going “in to” and “coming… out of the wilderness”, don’t you think? After all, it was he who gave John this revelation in the first place!

From D&C 109, which was a prayer offered at the dedication of the Kirtland temple, we read:

72 Remember all thy church, O Lord, with all their families, and all their immediate connections, with all their sick and afflicted ones, with all the poor and meek of the earth; that the kingdom, which thou hast set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth;
73 That thy church may come forth out of the wilderness of darkness, and shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners;
74 And be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth;
75 That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord;

Again we learn that the “church” is to “come forth out of the wilderness”, it is also to “shine forth fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners”, which may be an illusion to the time when the church shall trek back to Jackson County and shortly thereafter “be adorned as a bride for that day when thou shalt unveil the heavens, and cause the mountains to flow down at thy presence, and the valleys to be exalted, the rough places made smooth; that thy glory may fill the earth; That when the trump shall sound for the dead, we shall be caught up in the cloud to meet thee, that we may ever be with the Lord”.

At any rate, its not hard to see a sequence here. 1- The church of Christ comes out of the wilderness, the restoration. 2- The Lord’s millennial kingdom (man child) grows out of the restored church…

In D&C 86 we have a nice summation of the apostasy, we read:

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and of the tares:
2 Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;
3 And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.

So “After they (the apostles) have fallen asleep… even Satan… soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.” This is not nearly as dramatic as John’s vision but does put the apostasy in plain language that we can all understand…

Finally, we go to D&C 33 and read:

5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.

That’s plain enough and it’s the Lord speaking, so…. End of argument!

We shall now double back to JST Rev. 12 and pick up yet another interesting point. In verse 5 we read:

5 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore years.

Here we learn that “the woman” (the church) was to be in the wilderness for 1260 years. For some reason we have this tendency to be New Testament centrist when dealing with the math of the apostasy but let us not make that mistake here. We need to keep in mind that the apostasy was not just something that happened in the Old World but in the New World as well, as we learn from the Book of Mormon.

Taking this reasoning a step further, we consider that the Lord also ministered among the ten tribes after his resurrection (see 3 Nephi 17:4) as well as his “other sheep” (see 3 Nephi 15:17, 21). We presently have no record of when or how the apostasy came upon these groups but we do have a supposed date. By subtracting 1260 years form the year 1830, we come up with 570 A.D.

In summery, we as Latter Day Saints have been blessed with a rich abundance of additional scripture which our Christian friends do not enjoy… So it’s always a good idea to take the time and effort to search and understand what we’ve been given before following others off the deep end, though their intentions may be good.

Need I point out that we have nothing in modern day revelation pointing us to an alignment of stars or planets in regards to Rev. 12. Additionally, the spread of years between 570 A.D. and Sept. 23, 2017 (1447) is huge, making any time frame connection between “the woman” which “fled into the wilderness” and Sept. 23, 2017 non-existent to say the least. Especially when you consider the “the woman” has been “out of the wilderness” for the better part of two centuries!

Hope you have found this blog to be enlightening and edifying. If so, please take a minute to post a link on Facebook or share in some other fashion. You might also subscribe to the blog or just like us on Facebook. Please help to spread the word. Until next time, may God bless and be with you!

2 thoughts on “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven…”

  1. Thank you Frank for your comments and sharing of scriptures. I must say I have never known you to criticise other people and make comments to bring other people down. However, I have noticed other people making comments towards you (on your own blog as well). I find it distasteful, un-Christlike and also helps me to judge (Moroni 7) by their fruits.
    We all have access to the same spirit of revelations if we are prayerful and with humble hearts go to our Father in heaven and ask to have revealed to us that which we need to know at this time in out lives. So that we might receive the specific revelations we need for or own lives, family and those we are privileged to be serving, in whatever current calling or capacity we have.
    Thank you to all that take the time to share, I hope it can just be more encouraging and we can all have greater charity; long suffering, brotherly kindness ….

    1. Fiona, thanks for your comments. In this particular blog there were some folks (mostly from a forum that I participate on) that didn’t like the fact that I thought this Sept 23 thing was way out in left field. I think some of them thought it was rude of me not to validate their views.

      However, I’m a scripture guy, that’s my primary focus and I’m not going to pretend to agree with anyone’s views if they are unable to make a strong argument based on scripture.

      The comments you mentioned are gone. I’ve decided that since this is my blog (my house), I don’t have to tolerate rudeness or arrogance of any kind. Thanks again for stopping by Fiona, have a great day!

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