D&C 87, expounded


This is my understanding of this section.

The section heading

Revelation and prophecy on war, given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, December 25, 1832. HC 1: 301–302. This section was received at a time when the brethren were reflecting and reasoning upon African slavery on the American continent and the slavery of the children of men throughout the world.

D&C 87, as currently written

1. Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

2. And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

3. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

4. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

5. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.

6. And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;

7. That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

8. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.  (D&C 87)

In order to expound this prophecy, I will render a plainer translation.

TAV D&C 87; (TAV=The Anarchist Version)

Truly, this is what the Lord says concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many soulsand the time will come that war will be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States), beginning at South Carolina, for see, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other non-Israelite tribes (States), even the non-Israelite tribe (State) of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other non-Israelite tribes (States), in order to defend themselves against other non-Israelite tribes (States); and then war shall be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States)—and it shall come to pass, after many days, those who are ruled shall violently overthrow their rulers, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

And it shall also come to pass that the Israelite remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the non-Israelite tribes (in tribal anarchies) with a sore vexation.

And in this way, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and also the fierce and vivid lightning, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all non-Israelite tribes;  that the cry of the set-apart ones, and of the blood of the set-apart ones, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Armies, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

Wherefore, stand, all of you, in set-apart places, and do not allow yourselves to be moved, until the day of the Lord come; for see, it comes quickly, says the Lord. Amen.  (TAV D&C 87, changes in italics)

TAV D&C 87, in verses

1. Truly, this is what the Lord says concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls

2. and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States), beginning at South Carolina, for see, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other non-Israelite tribes (States), even the non-Israelite tribe (State) of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other non-Israelite tribes (States), in order to defend themselves against other non-Israelite tribes (States); and then war shall be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States)

3. and it shall come to pass, after many days, those who are ruled shall violently overthrow their rulers, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

4. And it shall also come to pass that the Israelite remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the non-Israelite tribes (in tribal anarchies) with a sore vexation.

5. And in this way, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and also the fierce and vivid lightning, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all non-Israelite tribes;  that the cry of the set-apart ones, and of the blood of the set-apart ones, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Armies, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

6. Wherefore, stand, all of you, in set-apart places, and do not allow yourselves to be moved, until the day of the Lord come; for see, it comes quickly, says the Lord. Amen.  (TAV D&C 87, changes in italics)

D&C 87: 1 and TAV D&C 87: 1—The War Between The States

1. Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;  (D&C 87: 1)

1. Truly, this is what the Lord says concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls (TAV D&C 87: 1)

This seems to me to be fairly self-explanatory, but taking this single verse alone might confuse the matter.  D&C 87: 1-4 (which is paragraph 1 of TAV D&C 87 or, if you prefer, TAV D&C 87: 1-3) is a complete prophetic thought. Although verse 1 is mentioning The War Between The States (known to Northerners as The Civil War and to some Southerners as The War of Northern Aggression), the whole prophetic message is that The War Between The States is the beginning of the end of all States.  The War Between The States was fought over the rights of man, and more specifically over the right of secession, but only started the struggle that would ultimately end in tribal anarchy (freedom) for humanity in D&C 87: 4. (See Abraham Lincoln for more information about The War Between The States.)

D&C 87: 2 and TAV D&C 87: 2 — The War Between The States Begins

2. And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. (D&C 87: 2)

2. and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States), beginning at South Carolina, (TAV D&C 87: 2)

“nations” — The words “nations” and “Gentiles” are synonymous to the prophetic mind.  Originally, the word “Gentiles” simply meant “nations,” regardless of which one, but later it referred only to non-Israelite nations.  To the ancients, though, a “nation” wasn’t the modern State we think of.  Nations were tribes.  The prophets of all ages, who have prophesied of the Gentiles, have always referred to non-Israelite tribes.  Joseph, however, being both a true prophet of God who understood the ancient use of the terms, and a citizen of a modern State who understood the modern use of the terms, choose his words carefully, when using “nation” and “Gentile” in this prophecy, to key us in as to what this prophecy was talking about.  “Nations,” therefore, in this verse is referring to non-Israelite tribes that are established (or tied to the land) under (or by) State governments.

“this place” — The place being referred to is the place mentioned in verse 1, namely, South Carolina.  The Prophet is associating South Carolina with the nations that would have war poured out upon them, because, to the prophetic mind, South Carolina is a nation. In other words, the State of South Carolina is really a non-Israelite tribe established (meaning they are land-owners, or tied to the land, which is why they are also known as a place) as a State government.  The Prophet could have worded it as follows and it would have retained the same meaning:

“and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at the nation of South Carolina

D&C 87: 3 and TAV D&C 87: 2—The War Between The States Morphs into World Wars Between The States

3. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. (D&C 87: 3)

2. for see, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other non-Israelite tribes (States), even the non-Israelite tribe (State) of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other non-Israelite tribes (States), in order to defend themselves against other non-Israelite tribes (States); and then war shall be poured out upon all non-Israelite tribes (States) (TAV D&C 87: 2)

“nations” — Like the previous verse, all uses of the word “nation” or “nations” here are referring to State governments, meaning non-Israelite tribes established (as landowners) under State governments.

“war shall be poured out upon all nations” — Eventually, all these State governments will be fighting amongst themselves.  In other words, this is World War but still among the States.  To be clearer still, all of this is but an extension of The War Between The States, as the World Wars will still be Wars Between States.

D&C 87: 4 and TAV D&C 87: 3—The End of the States and Beginning of Tribal Anarchy

4. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. (D&C 87: 4)

3. and it shall come to pass, after many days, those who are ruled shall violently overthrow their rulers, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. (TAV D&C 87: 3)

“slaves” — This refers to those who are ruled in the States.

“rise up against” — Although the prophecy only states that the slaves will openly oppose the masters, as in armed conflict, my understanding is that the slaves, which vastly outnumber the masters, will defeat them, therefore I have rendered this saying as “violently overthrow,” to indicate the result of this revolution.

“masters” — This refers to those who rule the States.

“who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war” — The armies of the States will be overcome by the people themselves and these many (oppressive) State governments and military dictatorships will topple, bringing about a new world order of tribal anarchies.

D&C 87: 5 and TAV D&C 87: 4—The Indians Get Their Revenge

5. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation. (D&C 87: 5)

4. And it shall also come to pass that the Israelite remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the non-Israelite tribes (in tribal anarchies) with a sore vexation.  (TAV D&C 87: 4)

“remnants” — This refers to the descendants of the Nephite/Lamanite civilizations.

“shall become exceedingly angry” — The Gentiles, now living in tribal anarchy, are going to do something so exceedingly bad to the Indians, that the Indians will be fairly berserk with anger towards them.

“shall vex” — Once the non-Israelite tribes destroy the States which held them captive, they will no longer have the protection afforded them by the military might of the State.   As a result, when the Indians decide to repay them for the wrongs done to them by the white man, wrongs committed both in the present and the past, the Gentiles will fall before them.  This verse speaks of the same event recorded in 3 Nephi 21:  12-13.

“the Gentiles” — The phrase “the Gentiles” is synonymous with “the nations,” but Joseph used Gentiles here instead of “nations” to indicate that the Gentiles would be in tribal anarchies when this part of the prophecy was fulfilled.  Joseph walked a fine line between what the modern man understood and what the ancient man understood by the terms “Gentiles” and “nations” and the wording is, I believe, sufficiently clear, but I’ve rendered it plainer still.

D&C 87: 6 and TAV D&C 87: 5—The End of the Gentile Tribes

6. And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations; (D&C 87: 6)

5. And in this way, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and also the fierce and vivid lightning, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed has made a full end of all non-Israelite tribes;  (TAV D&C 87: 5)

“sword…bloodshed” — Although there will be bloodshed on both sides, Gentiles killing Israelites, Israelites killing Gentiles, the lion’s share of bloodshed will be Gentiles killing Gentiles.  These wicked tribes will kill each other off.  This will be one of the ways that the Lord will use to protect his people from destruction.

“famine” — There will be famine caused by man, and also famine caused by God (the hailstorms.)

“plague” — There will be plague caused by man, and also plague (the scourge) caused by God.

“earthquake…thunder…lightning” — With plasma discharges, both planetary and interplanetary, the Lord will first chasten the Gentiles, to perhaps cause some to repent, and then destroy them off the face of the earth.

“wrath” — The Lord’s wrath will be kindled against the wicked, unrepentant Gentiles because they fight against and seek the destruction of his people.

“indignation” — The Lord will be indignant because the Gentiles will refuse to repent and accept the sacrifice of God’s Only Begotten Son, making a mockery of God’s plan to save them.  Despite the mighty words of God brought forth to the Gentiles in the new records, the wicked Gentiles will reject them.

“chastening” — In spite of their obstinancy, the Lord will do all things he can to get them to repent, until he can no longer stay his hand and must return to Earth at the appointed time, meaning that those who are not in the proper (safe) places, and in the proper spiritual state, will be burnt up at the brightness of his coming.

“consumption decreed” — This is talking about the Second Coming, which will consume many people.

“nations” — This refers to the non-Israelite tribes who refuse to repent and gather to Zion.  Those that repent will be numbered with the tribes of Israel.  You could substitute the word “Gentiles” here so that it reads, “a full end of all Gentiles.”  It means the same thing.  Joseph probably chose the word “nations” instead of Gentiles because it sounds pretty harsh that the Gentiles will be consumed.  But, the meaning is not that the Gentiles will be destroyed, but that all unrepentant people will be destroyed, while all repentant people will live.  The unrepentant are not numbered with the house of Israel, and in fact, they fight the house of Israel and Zion, therefore these people are Gentiles; while the repentant people become Israelites and thus cease to be Gentiles.

Again, it sounds harsh, this repent or die doctrine, but that is only because we do not, yet, have the full Nephite record, which will cause a great division among the people.  When that record is revealed, no man will be left without excuse.  They will either reject the Lord openly, calling the Sun at noonday darkness, or accept Him with full purpose of heart.  There will be no middle ground.  It will polarize everyone.

D&C 87: 7 and TAV D&C 87: 5—The Reason the Gentiles will be Destroyed

7. That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies. (D&C 87: 7)

5. that the cry of the set-apart ones, and of the blood of the set-apart ones, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Armies, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.  (TAV D&C 87: 5)

“saint” — The term “saint” signifies one who is set apart for a sacred purpose.  The term “holy” also means the same thing.

“cry…blood” — The Gentiles, living in tribal anarchy after the end of their State governments, and after the Nephite record is revealed, who reject the message, shall fight against the people of the Lord, spilling their blood and causing the people to call upon the Lord for vengeance.  This is the reason why they are destroyed.  Had they merely left Zion alone, the Lord would have left them alone.  But as the Nephite record will be polarizing in its effect, those who reject it will desire and seek the destruction of those who accept it, necessitating the intervention of the Lord of Armies.

“Lord of Sabaoth” — This is a title of Jehovah that means Lord of Hosts, hosts meaning armies, as in both the armies of Israel and the angelic armies of heaven.  The Lord, acting as the Lord of Armies, will utilize both the mortal Israelite armies to afflict the unrepentant Gentiles, as well as the angelic armies of heaven, in the last days.  (See 3 Nephi 20: 16-17 for the work the angelic armies will do.)

D&C 87: 8 and TAV D&C 87: 6—Establishment of Zion and Her Stakes is Our Only Hope

8. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen. (D&C 87: 8)

6. Wherefore, stand, all of you, in set-apart places, and do not allow yourselves to be moved, until the day of the Lord come; for see, it comes quickly, says the Lord. Amen.  (TAV D&C 87: 6)

“holy places” — This is referring to Zion and her stakes, which are places set apart for sacred purposes.  Temples also fall into this category, as temples are at the heart of any stake of Zion.

“be not moved” — This is the same as saying, “become established” or “fixed.”  It is referring to land ownership.  It is referring to the gathering of Israel and the restoration of them to the lands of their inheritance.

Okay, I think that I’ve expounded enough for today.

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