The Keys to Prophecy VII: A New Heaven, a New Earth

721 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2005

The Keys to Prophecy VII:

A New Heaven, a New Earth

Our culture knows nothing of the incredible changes wrought in the heavens anciently.  This is so because of our ‘scientific’ view that there have been no significant changes in the solar system’s arrangement during recorded history.

But the scriptures and the prophets are insistent, in spite of our ‘scientific’ beliefs:  The heavens have repeatedly changed throughout ancient history.  This is a primary message the ancients and the prophets sought to convey to us across the millennia.

The result: Our modern ignorance of the true past blinds us to the unanimous declarations of our distant ancestors.

The concept of sweeping changes in the sky and the earth are found everywhere in the scriptures.  For example, in the Doctrine & Covenants we read: “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.

“For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fullness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea.” (D&C 29:23, 24.)

Also, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1.)

Perhaps the apostle Peter said it best when he spoke of the Deluge, explaining that it was the defining event that changed the ‘old heavens’ into the sky we see today.  “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”  (2 Peter 3:5-7.)

Then, he went on to further explain that a similar change was in store for us in the last days.  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”  (Ibid. 3:10.)

We read the same sort of language in the texts of all ancient cultures, where we find the pervasive, ever-present fear that something terrible that happened in the past would repeat itself in the future.  Indeed, all ancient cultures relate that there have been dramatic changes in the heavens, calling the epochs in between “ages” or “suns.”  The Greek philosopher Hesiod associates these ages with various metals, as does Daniel in his Old Testament vision of the statue with a head of gold, a torso of silver, belly and thighs of brass and legs of iron.

These fearsome changes were universally attributed to stars or planets in the form of gods, goddesses, beasts or serpents.  Surely, then, Joseph Smith was correct to call these images of the ancients “stars” and “planets,” as we have seen.

Even our language retains this key.  The words for world-changing cataclysms are catastrophe (cat-astro-phe) and disaster (dis-aster).  Both bear the same ‘astr’ root as the goddess-stars of antiquity: Aster, Astarte, Ashtoreth or Hathor.  In fact, one interpretation of the word “disaster” is literally “from the star.”

This the ancients feared above all: destruction from the stars that changed everything.

No wonder they were fiercely dedicated sky watchers, including prophets like Abraham, preoccupied with the motions of planets and stars.  No wonder they endlessly adorned their texts, temples and tombs with symbols and metaphors of star gods, goddesses and beasts derived from the appearance of those planets.

But because our culture and science turn a blind eye to these declarations, Latter-day Saints frequently fail to appreciate the many statements by Joseph Smith that echo the beliefs of the ancients: Planets and stars are the origins of almost all scriptural and prophetic imagery.

 Stars and planets on the Salt Lake Temple reflect an ancient, customary obsession with the heavens.  On the west wall buttresses, near the bottom of the photo are Sun Stones.  In the middle are the stars of the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper.  Immediately above those is a repeated pattern of circles within a ring, called Saturn Stones by Brigham Young.

That’s why those images dominate the exterior of LDS temples, just as they did their ancient counterparts.  Our temples reflect both realities, the past and the present heavens.

The prophets, both ancient and modern, understood this key.  So should we.




  1. Are you saying we have the new heaven and new earth right now?

    Or are you simply saying the new heaven and new earth will come about by another catastrophe?

  2. Peter said that we got the heaven and earth we have now only after the flood, and that the heavens we see now will be changed yet again in the events of the last days. Only a major planetary catastrophe could alter our heavens and our earth sufficiently to call them “new.” The world we know now is dramatically different–and I emphasize DRAMATICALLY–than the one known by our forefathers. Elder Parley Pratt said that if we had a map of the world from the Patriarchal Age, it would exactly match the world after the events of the last days. Only a major upheaval could accomplish that.

  3. Incorrect in a portion. While Saturn Stones were in the original plans for the temple, they were never actually included.

  4. Yes they were. The Saturn stones are on the temple, just in a more subdued way. They are the ones mentioned and shown above. The circles in a square which form a band above the big dipper. Brigham Young is the one in 1870 who had them revised from the original drawing. The earth stones were revised and placed differently as well, so the Saturn stones weren’t the only ones.

  5. In referencing having a new heaven… This seems to fit in very closely with the Plasma theories posted in a few other articles. Coincidence? Or something you didn’t link on purpose?

  6. Oh, it’s all very purposeful. The electrical force, which is a million, billion, billion, billion times more powerful than gravity, is the only power capable of creating the prodigeous displays the ancients saw and heard. Such things are not possible in a gravity-only universe. You may wish to read more on my blog ( and my website ( There are links on both to you You Tube videos. Enjoy! (grin)

  7. Check your facts, Cal. While the original concepts presented in the architectural elevations were discarded, a new set of symbols, called a frieze in architecture, were employed–the classic icon for Saturn, a circle with a ring around it. Pres. Brigham Young, the prophet, and Truman O. Angel, the temple architect, both designated that circle frieze as Saturn Stones. Moreover, many of the rituals within are connected traditionally to Saturn. This is no coincidence. Read my articles on the subject at

  8. The flood could be seen as the baptism of the earth…the baptism of fire that is to come would be like a burning of the gift of the Holy Spirit. IMHO of course.

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