Thunker’s Weblog


Revelation 21-22 (Part 6)

Robert Wheadon-126x150

Here is the final installment of my review of “Apocalypse – Revelation 21-22.”  The last lecture is by Dr. Adam Miller, a professor of philosophy at Collin College, currently teaching in McKinney, Texas.

Dr. Miller focuses on two points in his paper:  “1) having the name of God written on one’s forehead and 2) having one’s own name written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

In Revelation 22:3-4 we read:

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”

There are several citations in scripture where God has inscribed his name.  Aaron, of the Old Testament, is described as wearing as part of his priestly garments a plate on his forehead inscribed with the name of God.  Exodus 28:36-38 reads:

36 ¶And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.

 37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.

38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.”

The phrase, “that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things,” indicates Aaron’s responsibility and accountability for Israel’s guilt, that was then expiated through the annual sin offering, or the goat driven into the wilderness.

In D&C 77:9-11, we gain insight into the 144,000 who are sealed in the forehead in Revelation chapter 7.  In D&C 77:9-11, we are informed that the sealing is a calling for a group of high priests from all of the twelve tribes to administer the gospel across the earth.

 So, we have Old Testament symbolism and a specific calling for a chosen group to share the gospel.  But what about the rest of us?  Are not the followers of God receive His name, as well?  Well in Revelation 22:3-4 we read:

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”

Aha!  Revelation 22 is a continuation of John’s vision of the celestial New Jerusalem, with the tree(s) of life and the eternal temple and the river of pure water flowing through the city.

The the city is populated with people serving God and the Lamb, who have his name written upon them.  These are people who are saved to live in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  These are the true saints of God.  The question then is asked: “What did these people do to inherit such blessings?”

I believe the clearest direction and description comes from the Book of Mormon prophet, Alma the Younger.  In Alma 5 we read:

“14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?

16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?

19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?

27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?

28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.

29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.

30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?”

Alma uses a wonderful phrase, of us “having the image of God engraven upon (our) countenances.”  We receive this image or mark by trying to become like our Savior every day.  We do this through expressing faith in God in our righteous acts, in being humble, in having a clear understanding that pride and envy should not find a place in our hearts.  With God we are everything, relying solely on ourselves we are nothing.  Are task in this mortal life is to lift those around us, make the lives of others better rather than worse.  It is our daily striving for this heartfelt re-orientation of our desires that will gain us God’s image/name in our faces.

Now, on to the second part of Dr. Miller’s paper.  Throughout the book of Revelation there are references to the Lamb’s book of life, (see Rev. 3:5, Rev. 13.8, Rev. 20: 12, 15, Rev. 21:27, Rev. 22:19.)  This book of life is also mentioned by the apostle Paul, in Philippians 4:3, and by Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon, (Alma 5:58.)  All of the verses stress the importance of having one’s name written in the book of life or in the obverse negative connotation of being cast out, or hit by plagues, if one’s name is not found in the book.

There is also the mention of the book of life being used in the final judgement of humanity.

In Revelation 20:12-15 John writes:

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The clearest definition we have is from the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He wrote a letter to the Saints, addressing Revelation 20:12.  In September 1842 he wrote:

You 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; the principle agreeing precisely with the doctrine which is commanded you in the revelation contained in the letter which I wrote to you previous to my leaving my place—that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven,” (D&C 128:7).

Our acts, whether they be righteous or not, are recorded both on earth and in heaven.  The heavenly book is the book of life.  John records that those whose name is not found in that heavenly volume, are not included as residents of the New Jerusalem.  It seems of all the millions of books available, the one of most worth, and worth working towards, is the Lamb’s book of life.

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1 Comment so far
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Thanks, Robert, for these wonderful thoughts. Love, Mom

Comment by Sydney Wheadon




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