“He That Overcometh Shall Inherit All
John sees several symbols representing parts of the Church of Jesus Christ.
The Lord tells the seven branches in Asia about the blessings promised
to those who overcome.
John learns that the Saints overcome Satan through the Atonement of Jesus
Christ and their testimonies.
A study of this lesson will help us understand some of the blessings that
will come to those who overcome the trials of mortality through their testimony
of Jesus Christ.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 45 Handout (PDF)
Introduction To The Book Of Revelation
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, WHEN YOU THINK OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION?
Bruce R. McConkie: "The issue, thus, in delving
into the doctrines and truths of this great repository of revealed writ
is to rightly divide the word of truth; it is to learn what God has revealed
and unfolded in these apocalyptic writings and to lay the remainder aside,
knowing that in our present state of understanding any speculation is worse
than useless; such speculation not only leads to misunderstanding but so
often becomes the basis of gospel hobbies which lead away from that sound
view and perspective of all eternal truths which is an essential part of
working out one's salvation." (DNTC 3:430)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "But let us remember
that the book of Revelation was written to be understood; true, there are
many things in it which we cannot now comprehend; but its true and full
meaning will someday be revealed to the faithful and obedient saints; and
the more we can learn now, with the interpretive insight already available
to us, the better off we are. It was to people in our day that Moroni wrote
these prophetic words: 'Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief
which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and
hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous
things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you
-- yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart
and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered
the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. And then
shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John
be unfolded in the eyes all the people.' (Ether 4:15-16.)" (DNTC
WHO IS THE AUTHOR?
John, brother of James and son of Zebedee, the same as John the Beloved.
Member of First Presidency under Peter.
Author of the Book of John.
He was given the special privilege of being allowed to live on the earth
as a translated being until the Savior's second coming. (John 21:21-23,
He was probably banished to the Isle of Patmos during the wave of Christian
persecution under the emperor Domitian, about. A.D. 95.
Patmos = a small, rocky island off the coast of present day Turkey in the
Aegean Sea. During Roman times, its barren isolation made it ideal
as a site for the banishment of political prisoners, ambitious enemies,
or others considered undesirable by the imperial state.
In 1831 the Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that John was then laboring
among the lost ten tribes (HC, 1:176).
WHAT IS THE THEME OF REVELATION?
"The theme of this work is very simple and is
stated by John in the first verse: it is a revelation of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation presents a picture of Christ's dealings with men
throughout the ages of earth's history. In particular, for modern
man it mirrors the second coming of Jesus, the judgment of mankind, the
destruction of the wicked, the Millennium, and the ultimate celestialization
of the world." (Life & Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles,
Bible Dictionary: "There will be an eventual
triumph on this earth of God over the devil; a permanent victory of good
over evil, of the saints over their persecutors, of the kingdom of God
over the kingdoms of men and of Satan.... The details about the beasts,
the wars, the angels, the men, etc., contribute to the development of this
theme. By a little study, the theme can be perceived even if the
details are not completely identified" (p762).
TO WHOM WAS THIS BOOK WRITTEN?
It was written to the seven churches in Asia (1:4).
"What thou seest, write in a
book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus,
and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis,
and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea." (Revelation 1:11)
It was also written for the Saints in the Dispensation of the Fulness of
Outline of the Book (see Life & Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles,
Introduction to the Revelation.
John bears witness of the truthfulness of the revelation (1:1-8).
Christ gives special instructions to John (1:9-20).
Saints are admonished and counseled by the Savior (2:1-29; 3:1-22).
Vision of heaven (4:1-11).
John sees the Father and the Son in the celestial kingdom.
Vision of the triumphant destiny of God's kingdom.
The book with seven seals (chapters 5-11).
The kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan (chapters 12-14).
The destruction of Satan's kingdom (chapters 15-18).
Final scenes of the world's history (chapters 19-20).
Vision of heaven.
John sees the new heavens and the new earth--the world in its celestialized
Conclusion of the Revelation.
Angel bears witness of the truthfulness of the revelation (22:6-7).
Special instructions from Christ given to John (22:8-15).
Saints are given final admonishment and counsel by the Savior (22:16-21).
A note on the symbolism found within the Book of Revelation.
It is important to understand that the culture of John's time was more
artistic in its language.
Jewish culture of that day was more a part of the Oriental than the Occidental
or Western culture.
The Oriental is more concerned with effect than form and detail.
We would say the sun is rising. An Arab might say that it leaps from
its bed of sleeping.
We cannot read the symbols and images of John's writings as literal. Such
an interpretation will lead to baffling pictures and images.
Revelation 1 - Symbols
Representing Parts of The Church of Jesus Christ
"The Revelation of Jesus
Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which
must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto
his servant John: Who bare record of the
word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that
he saw. Blessed is he that readeth,
and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which
are written therein: for the time is at hand." (Revelation 1:1-3)
Hyrum M. Smith and J.M. Sjodahl, in their Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,
made reference to this verse in regards to a study of the revelations in
the Doctrine and Covenants. It certainly applies to a study of any
revelations from God.
"Reading is not sufficient. We must KEEP THE REVELATIONS
in our memories and meditate upon them; we must keep them in our affection,
so that we love them, as we would a message from our dearest friends; we
must put their teachings into practice. If we are weary and exhausted,
hungry and thirsty, it is no satisfaction to sit down to a table laden
with food and pure water, and to admire the things provided; we must partake
thereof, until our wants are supplied, and we must do so every day. It
is the same with the spiritual nourishment. We must make it part of ourselves
by putting into practice the truths revealed" (p863).
REVELATION 1:12-20. John sees seven candlesticks.
WHAT DID THE CANDLESTICKS REPRESENT?
"...and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest
are the seven churches" (v20).
The seven churches are referenced in v11: "What
thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which
are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto
Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea."
WHY ARE CANDLESTICKS AN APPROPRIATE SYMBOL FOR BRANCHES OF THE CHURCH?
"Therefore, hold up your
light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye
shall hold up--that which ye have seen me do." (3 Nephi 18:24)
Bruce R. McConkie: "Candlesticks carry light;
they do not create it. Their function is to make it available, not
to bring it into being. So by using seven candlesticks to portray
the seven churches to whom John is now to give counsel, the Lord is showing
that his congregations on earth are to carry his light to the world."
HOW CAN WARDS AND BRANCHES TODAY ACT AS CANDLESTICKS?
One of the unique things about the Church is the geographical nature of
wards and branches. I am assigned to a ward based on my place of residence. The ward or branch is as a candlestick planted within a community, designed
to not only serve that membership, but to give light to all who live within
the ward or branch boundaries. It is done as we share our testimonies
with our neighbors. It is done as we perform service. It is
done as we carry out our civic duties through participation in our schools,
serving on school boards and city councils, and assisting with worthy community
projects. It is done as we give our voice at public hearings. President Kimball admonished us to keep our homes and yards in order. Everything we do as ward and branch members reflects on the Church.
WHERE WAS THE SAVIOR IN RELATION TO THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS?
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like
unto the Son of man" (v13).
HOW IS THE SAVIOR IN THE MIDST OF HIS CHURCH TODAY?
"Wherefore, I now send upon
you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your
hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; which other Comforter is the same
that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John."
"And, behold, and lo, this
is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose
mission is appointed unto them to go forth-- And this is the ensample
unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And whatsoever they shall
speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the
will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the
Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR US TO KNOW THAT THE SAVIOR IS IN THE MIDST OF HIS PEOPLE?
WHAT WAS THE SAVIOR HOLDING IN HIS RIGHT HAND WHEN HE STOOD IN THE MIDST
OF THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS?
"And he had in his right hand seven stars"
WHAT DID THE SEVEN STARS REPRESENT?
"The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches"
"The seven stars are the servants of the seven
churches" (JST Revelation 1:20)
"Throughout the Joseph Smith Translation of Revelation
1-3, the word angels is changed to servants, making it clear that the stars
represent the leaders of the seven branches of the Church."
(Teacher's Manual, p188)
HOW ARE CHURCH LEADERS LIKE THE STARS?
Up until modern times, stars were essential in aiding one in navigation,
particularly upon the sea. Our Church leaders serve much the same
purpose, they give spiritual direction to those who look for it. If the ancient mariners turned away from the stars, they were sure to be
lost. We must look to, sustain, and support our Church leaders, or
we too will be lost.
Elder George F. Richards: "I want to give you
a guide that is sure and safe. If you will be one with the Presidency of
this Church, and with the twelve apostles, you will never go astray. You
will be on firm footing. There has never been a moment since the organization
of this Church when the President of the Church and the Twelve Apostles
or a majority of the Twelve Apostles have gone astray. You are safe to
follow their lead." (CR, Oct 1929)
WHAT CAME OUT OF THE SAVIOR'S MOUTH IN THIS VISION?
"...and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged
WHAT DID THIS SWORD REPRESENT?
"Behold, I am God; 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." (D&C 6:2)
IN WHAT WAYS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD LIKE A SWORD?
"For the word of God is quick,
and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews
"Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the
word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the
cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in
a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is
prepared to engulf the wicked." (Helaman 3:29)
As I read the above verse, I see a picture in my
mind of one struggling through an overgrown forest or jungle path
(a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery) towards
a desirable destination. While living in the Pacific Northwest I found that
often overgrown with blackberry vines which which snag and discourage one's
forward progress. Though the path clearly lies below the vines, one
cannot move forward without a machete or other cutting tool because of
the prickly nature of the vines (the cunning and the snares and the wiles of
the devil). Without the word of God, it is as impossible to cut through
the snares and wiles of the devil as it is to go through a forest overgrown
with blackberry vines without a cutting tool.
Recall the words from Lehi's dream: "And
it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly
great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path
did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that
I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of
the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist
of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth
and partake of the fruit of the tree"
(1 Nephi 8:23-24).
When Laman and Lemuel asked
the meaning of the rod of iron, Nephi responded, "...that
it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and
would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations
and the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to
lead them away to destruction" (1 Nephi
WHAT OTHER SYMBOL DID THE LORD POSSESS IN THIS REVELATION?
- "I am
he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death"
WHAT WILL THE SAVIOR DO WITH THESE KEYS?
He will deliver all people from physical death, and
he will deliver the righteous from spiritual death.
2 Nephi 9:10-13.
Revelation 2 & 3 -
Blessings Promised To Those Who Overcome
"Chapters 2 and 3 contain the words of the Lord
to each of the seven branches of the Church in Asia. The Lord reviewed
some of the strengths and weaknesses in each branch and warned the Saints
to correct their weaknesses." (Teacher's Manual, p188)
As you review the admonitions of the Lord to the seven churches, consider what
actions the Lord suggests for us.
To Ephesus - Revelation 2:1-7.
The Lord warned the Ephesians of their need to repent (v5), but he also
promised, "To him that overcometh will I give
to eat of the tree of life" (v7).
"And the angel said unto
me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest
thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying:
Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts
of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things."
(1 Nephi 11:21-22)
WHY IS THIS THE MOST DESIRABLE OF ALL BLESSINGS?
To Smyrna - Revelation 2:8-11.
A word of warning was given to the Saints in Smyrna that they would suffer
tribulation, but they were also promised, "He
that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death" (v11).
WHAT IS THE LORD TELLING THESE SAINTS?
Keep the eternal perspective. Though we may suffer tribulation during
this mortal probation, by remaining true and faithful, one will obtain
Though the Lord was speaking to the ancient Saints, the promise remains
in force for us today. When we become discouraged as we continue
our "course across that everlasting gulf of misery"
dealing with "the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil," we
should be strengthened by the Lord's promise to the saints at Smyrna (Helaman
To Pergamos -
"But I have a few things against thee, because
thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac
to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed
unto idols, and to commit fornication"
Balaam was an Old Testament prophet who desired earthly
honors and rewards more than he desired to follow the Lord's will.
WHAT EARTHLY HONORS AND REWARDS MIGHT WE HAVE TO
GIVE UP TO OBEY THE LORD'S WILL?
"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of
the hidden manna" (v17).
"The word hidden in this context means sacred,
or not evident to everyone." (Teacher's
WHAT COULD HIDDEN MANNA REPRESENT?
Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall
never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
To Thyatira -
REVELATION 2:26-28. Promises to those who overcome.
WHAT DID THE LORD PROMISE TO THOSE WHO OVERCOME?
HAT DOES THIS MEAN?
"These promises refer to the blessings of exaltation
and eternal life, when the righteous will rule over heavenly kingdoms."
(Teacher's Manual, p189)
WHAT IS THE ROD OF IRON WITH WHICH THE RIGHTEOUS
WILL RULE OVER NATIONS?
"And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod
of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God"
(1 Nephi 11:25).
shall rule them with the word of God; and they shall be in his hands
as the vessels of clay in the hands of a potter, and he shall govern them
by faith, with equity and justice, even as I received of my Father." (JST
HOW CAN WE USE THE WORD OF GOD TO RULE OUR OWN LIVES?
The "word of God" - the scriptures and those things
spoken by the prophets, serve as our road map along the "strait and
narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery." A few years ago
took a work related trip to San Francisco. Since I was doing this
on a budget, I used public transportation to get between the Oakland Airport,
my hotel near Fisherman's wharf, and the place of my appointment in downtown
San Francisco. I obtained a map and transportation guides to aid
me in my travel between my various destinations.
I took a bus from the airport
to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit train) station near the Oakland Coliseum. I got on the first train heading north. I soon discovered I was on
the wrong train by consulting the map and BART guide. I switched
trains at the next station, paying attention to see that I was taking the
correct train. Once in San Francisco, I started walking in the direction
I thought I should be going. I found, after consulting my map, that
I was completely turned around. By using the map, I reoriented myself
and found my way to the appropriate bus stop where I caught a bus to my hotel. In the morning, I utilized the map to find my destination through
The "word of God" is more
essential as a road map in life than my guides through San Francisco. When we fall on to a wrong path, or get turned around in life, the scriptures
and counsel from the Brethren can guide us back to the correct course. In time, I probably could have found my way around San Francisco without
the use of maps and guides. Such is not the case in our eternal quest. It is essential to depend on "the word of God" if we are to be eternally
WHAT IS THE MORNING STAR MENTIONED IN VERSE 28?
Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.
I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
WHAT MIGHT IT MEAN TO BE GIVEN THE MORNING STAR?
To receive Christ into our lives.
To receive the blessings of the Atonement.
To Sardis -
overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not
blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name
before my Father, and before his angels." (v5)
WHAT IS THE BOOK OF LIFE?
will discover in this quotation that the books were opened; and another
book was opened, which was the book of life; but the dead were judged out
of those things which were written in the books, according to their works;
consequently, the books spoken of must be the books which contained the
record of their works, and refer to the records which are kept on the earth.
And the book which was the book of life is the record which is kept in
heaven." (D&C 128:7)
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE WRITTEN
IN THE BOOK AND ARE NOT BLOTTED OUT BECAUSE OF WICKEDNESS?
REVELATION 21:10, 23-27. They shall be part of the great city of God.
the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto
them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand."
To Philadelphia -
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience,
I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon
all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth"
WHAT DID THE LORD SAY HE WOULD DO FOR THE SAINTS
IN PHILADELPHIA BECAUSE THEY HAD "KEPT" HIS WORD?
HOW DOES RIGHTEOUS LIVING MAKE IT EASIER TO RESIST
Anything we do on a regular basis, including righteous
living, becomes a habit. Righteous living becomes a way of life and temptation
may only be given a glance in passing. More important than that, by keeping
and living the commandments we invite the Spirit into our life. Like
a highly sensitive motion detector, the Spirit can warn us off when temptation
comes lurking around.
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the
temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him
the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem,
which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him
my new name" (v12).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THE NAME OF GOD AND THE
NAME OF HIS CITY WRITTEN ON US?
"We become like God and become citizens in his
eternal kingdom." (Teacher's Manual, p189)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "God's
name is God. To have his name written on a person is to identify that person
as a god. How can it be said more plainly? Those who gain eternal life
become gods! Their inheritance is both a fulness of the glory of
the Father and 'a continuation of the seed forever and ever. Then shall
they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting
to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because
all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they
have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.' (D. & C. 132:19-20.)"
To Laodicea -
REVELATION 3:15-16. Those that are lukewarm are unacceptable.
HOW MIGHT WE SOMETIMES BE SPIRITUALLY LUKEWARM?
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "This
means responsibility. Now, it is a self-evident truth, that if we do not
use the talents given us now and do not exercise the responsibility we
have received in this life, that we will not be prepared or worthy to exercise
authority and have responsibility there. If such authority is given us
here and we have refused to use it, then we surely could have no right
to the reward and cannot receive responsibility and power there, for responsibilities
then will be many times greater than now. Here we prove ourselves through
service as well as through obedience to the law of the Gospel. It is not
sufficient that we be good, that is, that we do not violate the law, and
only observe the regulations required of laymen in the Church. He that
does nothing is good for nothing, and there should be no laymen in the
Church." (The Way to Perfection, p221-222)
HOW CAN WE INCREASE OUR COMMITMENT TO THE GOSPEL
OF JESUS CHRIST?
Revelation 12 - How The
Saints Overcome Satan
As part of his revelation, John saw a symbolic version of the War in Heaven
and its continuation on earth.
REVELATION 12:1-2, 5. A great wonder in
heaven, a woman clothed with the sun.
Chapter 12 refers to a dragon.
"The woman...represents the Church of God. The child she brought forth represents the kingdom of God--the government
that will exist on the earth during Jesus Christ's millennial reign."
(Lesson Manual, p190)
Joseph Fielding Smith: "When our Savior
comes to rule in the millennium, all governments will become subject unto
his government, and this has been referred to as the kingdom of God, which
it is; but this is the political kingdom which will embrace all people
whether they are in the Church or not. Of course, when every kindred, tongue
and people become subject to the rule of Jesus Christ such will be in that
political kingdom. We must keep these two thoughts in mind. But the kingdom
of God is the Church of Jesus Christ, and it is the kingdom that shall
endure forever." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:229)
WHAT DOES THE DRAGON REPRESENT?
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast
out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (v9).
WHAT DID THE DRAGON DO AFTER HE WAS CAST OUT?
"And 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" (v17).
Wilford Woodruff: "There are two powers
on the earth and in the midst of the inhabitants of the earth--the power
of God and the power of the devil.... When God has had a people on
the earth, it matters not in what age, Lucifer, the son of the morning,
and the millions of fallen spirits that were cast out of heaven, have warred
against God, against Christ, against the work of God, and against the people
of God. And they are not backward in doing it in our day and generation. Whenever the Lord set His hand to perform any work, those powers labored
to overthrow it." (Collected Discourses, Vol.5, October 5, 1896)
HOW WILL THE CHURCH AND KINGDOM OF GOD FINALLY OVERCOME SATAN?
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto
the death" (v11).
HOW CAN THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST AND OUR TESTIMONIES OF THAT GREAT SACRIFICE HELP US IN OUR
INDIVIDUAL STRUGGLES AGAINST SATAN?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings from the Book of Revelation as
discussed in this lesson. What teachings addressed to the seven branches of
the church in Asia might you better incorporate into your life?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Doctrine and Covenants Commentary by Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl.
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie.
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith.
History of the Church by Joseph Smith.
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles.
The Way to Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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