Here’s the latest breaking news:  The major war that was going on in the pre-mortal world between the forces of Lucifer and the forces of Michael has continued-but it has changed locations.  All of Lucifer’s forces have been moved to this earth and continue to wage war against the Saints and the followers of Christ and His Gospel.

Scot

Here’s the latest breaking news:  The major war that was going on in the pre-mortal world between the forces of Lucifer and the forces of Michael has continued-but it has changed locations.  All of Lucifer’s forces have been moved to this earth and continue to wage war against the Saints and the followers of Christ and His Gospel.

Maurine

Hello dear friends and listeners—We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and this is Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast—this week we will be sharing some thoughts about Revelation Chapters 12 – 22—which takes us right to page 1,590 of the Bible—the very last page and the end of our Come Follow Me studies of the New Testament this year.

Scot

Of course, our scripture studies never end—thank goodness for that!  And I’m so grateful that many of you have made the commitment to read and study the scriptures every day of your life—never miss—all the rest of your life.  That commitment will change your life and enrich your life as never before.  If you haven’t made that commitment, TODAY is the very best day to do so.

Maurine

Now remember—next week’s podcast will begin our studies together of the Book of Mormon and we are so excited to share our thoughts, our feelings, our enthusiasm and our testimonies of the Book of Mormon for another 50 podcasts this coming year.  In the mean time, let’s get back to the Book of Revelation and see if we can learn a few things.

Scot

First of all, one of the most common mistakes we make is calling this book, the Book of Revelations—plural—it’s just Revelation.  John the Beloved, as you remember, was banished to the Isle of Patmos, and this was a great vision given to him that showed him the history of the world—but specifically a vision of the future and the winding up scenes as the earth approaches that great Millennial Era.

Maurine

If we turn to Revelation chapter 12, beginning in verse 7, you’ll see a depiction of the war in heaven:

7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.

Let’s stop there for a moment.  Let’s be clear:  Michael is the same person as Adam who would be the first son of our Heavenly Father sent to the earth to have his mortal sojourn.  His name, Michael, means, “one who is like unto God.”

Scot

That’s right—you can see that he has a theophoric name—a name that has the name of God in it—so there is “el” at the end—Micha – el—One who is like unto God.  And there is Lucifer—a bright son of the morning—whose name means “bringer of light” and he waged war against the plan of God—and against the Father Himself.  You have to remember that Lucifer came before Adam—he was an elder son of our Heavenly Father—Maurine, let’s read that from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 29, verse 36:

Maurine

36 And it came to pass that Adam, being tempted of the devil—for behold, the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me, saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power; and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency;

37 And they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels.

So, does this found familiar?  An older son rebels and a younger son is absolutely obedient and is given the blessings of leadership and priesthood power?  Lucifer was the older spirit-son of our Heavenly Father and Michael was chosen to be the first one sent to earth.

Scot

And so that you can see this with perfect clarity, let’s go back to Revelation, chapter 12 and start in verse 9:

9 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.

I want to make a comment here—Lucifer took with him “a third part” of the hosts of heaven.  That does not mean one-third—it infers there were at least three parts—a first part, a second part and a third part.  We do not know what percentage of all of our Heavenly Father’s children that entailed.

Maurine

And Scot, I love this next verse because it will teach us so much about Christ and about His arch enemy—Satan.

Verse 10:  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: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Oh my, that is one of the most descriptive and accurate names of Satan:  The Accuser!

Scot

And before you talk further about the Accuser—I want to read verse 11—then we’ll go into more details about the Accuser.

11  And they overcame him (in other words—they overcame the Accuser—Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…

Remember:  At this point, this is a vision of the pre-mortal world—the pre-earth life—and that’s particularly significant because that tells us that the Atonement of Jesus Christ was in full force then, long before the actual event of the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God had taken place!

Maurine

That’s right—the Atonement played a saving role in the war in heaven and in overcoming Satan in that pre-mortal realm!

Now, most of us walk around with a critic on our shoulder–Some of us have that critic in our heads, an evaluator who whisks through our lives with white gloves, running a disapproving finger over the dust that seems to settle everywhere, taking notes of the ways we don’t quite measure up, and scolding us, invisibly, for our failings.

It’s not surprising that we should have this voice, this souvenir of a fallen world.  We’ve been evaluated since first breath.  We’ve been graded in school, lined up according to achievement, having every part of us poked and prodded for vulnerabilities.  We know that some attributes like wealth and visible position add to our social standing, but all this seems terribly precarious.  We’re too much of this and too little of that, too fat, too tall, too thin, too short.  We can sense when people don’t regard us.

Scot

But the question is:  Who IS the Accuser? This critic that seems to constantly be with us?

It is another name for Satan.  His very name is the Accuser.  We just read in Revelation how “the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10).

This does, indeed, sound like a description of that interior critic.  He accuses us day and night until we cry out in exhaustion and pain.’

Maurine

In the scriptures, it is clear, Scot, who does the accusation, and it is NOT the Lord!

The Pharisees and Chief Priests accuse Christ when he heals on the Sabbath.

The scribes and Pharisees, who cast the woman taken in adultery at the feet of the Savior, are the accusers. After Christ tells them that he who is without sin should cast the first stone, they each skulk away, “convicted by their own conscience.”  Then the Lord says to her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?

She said, No man, Lord.  And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee:  go, and sin no more” (John 8: 7, 10, 11).

Scot

We can tell the source of our interior critic because it pains and diminishes us. It beats us up and leaves us ragged. In contrast, the Lord’s voice is encouraging and expanding, teaching and urging us to press forward, but in a way that makes us believe it is possible because we are leaning on him.

How do we obliterate this other accusatory voice that is so mean to us?  How do we quiet it, invite it out, banish it from our souls?  If such a voice ever hurts us or claims us, we must not set up dinner for it and invite it to stay.  We must not pull up an easy chair for it, thinking it is our friend.

We must consciously determine, as Nephi of old, that we will give place no more for the enemy of our soul.

Maurine

The way to silence this accuser is not found in a technique or a set of self-help rules.  It is something far more profound than that.  Instead we must truly come to know the Lord and recognize His voice.  When God’s love washes over us through the Spirit, and we feel His encouragement, then the critic or accuser who sometimes resides inside us is shown up for the puny imposter he is.  The contrast is marked.  The contrast is huge.

This critic does not love us.  This critic cannot help us.  Its only purpose is to diminish us and teach us to resist the real God.

Scot

The critic rants that we are not enough.  The Lord’s voice gives us hope starting where we are. The critic’s voice tells us that life is a race marked by a scarcity of rewards.  The Lord tells us he has enough for all.

The critic’s voice is harsh. We see a description of the voice of the Lord in third Nephi.  “It was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice, it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake” (3 Nephi 11:3).

Maurine

I have to say I’m so grateful to John for preserving this name “The Accuser.” It’s such a descriptive title.

We all could do better at discerning the voice of the accuser and knowing the voice of the Spirit of God.  Again, the war in heaven continues here on earth and the weapons used are powerful words and compelling ideas that can either lead us astray or, if from the Spirit, lead us to the great Redeemer.

In the coming year we will talk about many of Satan’s tactics during our Book of Mormon studies together—but suffice it to say that The Accuser is alive and well and is working among us night and day.  And it’s comforting to know that the Lord is also working with us night and day. I have to say, Scot, I can feel when the voice of the accuser is in my head because I hear, “Do this. Do more Run harder. Run faster. You are not enough.” I become discouraged. The voice of the Lord says, “Let’s do this together. I will strengthen you. I will help you.”  I feel hopeful.

Scot

Let’s talk briefly about the angel flying in the midst of heaven as outline in Revelation chapter 14.

Let’s look at verses 6 and 7—you’re all familiar with these:

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.

7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgement is come and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

“Now, as to the actual work of restoration—what angel performed this mighty deed, this work which involves the salvation of all men on earth in these latter-days? Who restored the everlasting gospel? Was it one angel or many?

Maurine

“It is traditional (and true!) to reply,” Elder McConkie writes the answer: “’Moroni, son of Mormon, the now resurrected Nephite prophet, who holds the keys of “the stick of Ephraim” ( D. & C. 27:5), the one through whose ministry the Book of Mormon was again brought to light.’ The reasoning is that the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of the everlasting gospel” (D. & C. 135:3); that therein is God’s message of salvation for all of earth’s inhabitants; and that this gospel message is now being taken by the Lord’s witnesses to one nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people after another.

The Book of Mormon, revealed to man by angelic ministration, was first published to the world in 1830; thereafter, on November 3, 1831, the Lord himself both confirmed and expanded the interpretation of the vision seen by John. On that day he revealed to Joseph Smith a number of great truths about his Second Coming which are not found in the Book of Mormon.
(D&C 133:1-35.) Then came this pronouncement:

Scot

“And now, verily saith the Lord, that these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth. And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. And the servants of God shall go forth, saying with a loud voice: Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come; And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters—Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.” (D. & C. 133:36-40.)

Maurine

“From this revelation we learn two things relative to the identity of the angel John saw “fly in the midst of heaven”:

1. The angel (Moroni) had by that date already come, and the gospel message in the Book of Mormon was then on earth and would without fail go forth to all of its inhabitants; and

2. The angel of the restoration was yet, in the future, to “appear unto many that dwell on the earth.”

“Paul makes the apt statement that the gospel consists of two parts: the word and the power. (1 Thess. 1:5.) Thus Moroni brought the word, or at least that portion found in the Book of Mormon, for that record summarizes and teaches, in large part, what men must do to be saved. It records the terms and conditions of the plan of salvation. Also, before November 3, 1831, John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John, as angelic ministrants, had brought keys and powers.

Scot

“But other angels were yet to come—Moses, Elias, Elijah, Gabriel, Raphael, and “divers angels,—all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little.” (D. & C. 128:21.)

“Thus the angel Moroni brought the message, that is, the word; but other angels brought the keys and priesthood, the power. And in the final analysis the fulness of the everlasting gospel consists of all of the truths and powers needed to enable men to gain a fulness of salvation in the celestial heaven.”[i]

Maurine

So, in summary:  Moroni is certainly a fulfillment of the prophecy of John’s vision about another angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel—but we also see other angels bringing various keys and knowledge to the Prophet Joseph to bring about the restoration of all truths and keys in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times.

Scot

Maurine, let’s not forget the fact that every head of a former dispensation came to the Prophet Joseph with his keys and knowledge, including Michael (who is Adam); Enoch; Noah; Abraham; Moses and John the Baptist.

Maurine

In fact, Scot, we have identified no less than 56 heavenly visitors to the Prophet Joseph with no less than 85 visits that we can find in the historical records.  And I’m sure this is not a full view of all the visitors and visitations the Prophet received in his lifetime.  We truly do live in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Time—the Restitution of all things.  What an exciting time to live!

Scot

It truly is exciting and I know sometimes we think we can’t take too much more excitement—especially if you carefully study the plagues and the winding up scenes described by John in Revelation chapter 16.  It’s so important that we read and study this very carefully because each of these cataclysmic plagues is poured out upon the wicked and the righteous will be spared.  For example, the first plague—and by the way—these are very familiar plagues, like unto the ancient times in Egypt—again, that first plague is poured out upon “the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” (Revelation 16:2)

Maurine

And the third plague, which turns the rivers and fountains of waters to blood—is against those who “have shed the blood of saints and prophets.”  We see those same class of people being destroyed at the time of the crucifixion in the Americas—13 of the 16 cities that were reported by the voice of the Lord as being destroyed suffered this destruction so that “the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them.” (See 3 Nephi 9: 5, 7-11)

The key for each of us in the last days (as in any other day and age) is to stay close to the Lord, keep His commandments, receive His truth, take the Spirit to be our guide and not be deceived.  (See D&C 45:56-57)

Scot

You know Maurine, as we studied Revelation chapters 17 and 18 there’s a clear message of distinguishing ourselves from the world—from Babylon—and being all-in to the Lord’s kingdom.  This is not a game—this is our mortal experience that we agreed delightfully to come to and I believe the biggest deception in this life is to think that the world—or Babylon—has something worthwhile to offer—something that could possibly overshadow the joy and peace and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Great Plan of Happiness.

Maurine

In verse 4 of Chapter 18 we are commanded:

“Come out of her (that means of Babylon or the harlot), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  It all comes back to what we talked about a few podcasts ago—about becoming the Lord’s Segullah—his treasured possession.  And the only way we become His Segullah is by separating ourselves from the things of the world—not being a part of Babylon whatsoever.  In three weeks we will be talking about Lehi’s vision of the tree of life and we remember what he saw on the other side of the river—that depiction of the great and spacious building that represented Babylon.

Scot

Dr. Hugh Nibley summarizes the description of Babylon given in Revelation chapter 18:

“Babylon’s economy is built on deceptions…She is rich, luxurious, immoral, full of fornications, merchants, riches, delicacies, sins, merchandise, gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linens, purples, silks, scarlets, thyine wood, all manner of vessels, ivory, precious wood, brass, iron, marble, and so on. She is a giant delicatessen, full of wine, oil, fine flour, wheat; a perfume counter with cinnamon, odors, ointments, and frankincense; a market with beasts and sheep.

Maurine

“It reads like a savings stamp catalog or a guide to a modern supermarket or department store,” Nibley continues. “Horses and chariots and all manner of services are available; slaves in the souls of men. These are “the fruits thy soul lusted after . . . and all things which were dainty and goodly” (Revelation 18:14). And it is all for sale… Babylon is number one. She dominates the world. Her king is equated to Lucifer, who says, “I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). And all the nations are weakened at her expense.”[ii]

Scot

“The Bible [on the other hand] contains a fairly complete description of Zion, but there is one aspect of it that only the Latter-day Saints have taken to heart…and it is that doctrine that sets them off most sharply from all of the other religions,” Dr. Nibley continues, “namely, the belief that Zion is possible on the earth, that men possess the capacity to receive it right here and are therefore under obligation to waste no time moving in the direction of Zion…’When we conclude to make a Zion,’ said Brigham Young, ‘we will make it, and this work commences in the heart of each person.’ ‘I have Zion in my view constantly,’ said Brother Brigham, making it clear that Zion for this earth is still an unrealized ideal of perfection. ‘We are not going to wait for angels, or for Enoch and his company to come and build up Zion, but we are going to build it.’”[iii]

Maurine

We see a true picture of Babylon not only from the scriptures, but from the world we currently live in.  In Babylon people are angry, self-serving, driven by ego and a need to be admired, to achieve their ends—they’ll use any means no matter how deceitful.  In the name of power they’ll spin any story—unrighteous dominion is their mode of operation.  In Babylon there are secret combinations, just as we see in the Book of Mormon.  There is instant gratification and an inability to have true compassion.  Instead of virtue, people of Babylon pretend to virtue and call evil good and good evil.  They consider God and His commandments an oppression and seek to destroy any form of religion.  They believe in forcing people to a certain point of view.  Tyranny reigns. And people are unhappy, sometimes miserably so and they don’t know why.  And Satan is god.

Scot

In Zion, people have learned that God’s commandments are light and truth and they are illuminated with joy as they align themselves with God.  Relationships are built on compassion, oneness, a willingness to sacrifice for other’s well being which only rebounds to their own well being.  Instead of emptiness there is wholeness.  Instead of self-serving there is striving to serve the Lord.  People are filled with goodness because the Lord has transformed them and has aided them in chasing darkness from their lives.  They have learned that lights cleaves to light and virtue cleaves to virtue.  They are humble, meek, submissive and teachable and therefore have become wise. They are led by the Spirit in all things instead of by their will and blind narrative.  They are full of joy and happiness.  They are resilient because their strength comes from God. God dwells among them.

Maurine

In fact, John teaches us these things in Revelation as well as Peter and Paul in their epistles, and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in their discourses, and all the modern-day Prophets.

And the Prophets have warned us—and we are warned in John’s Revelation—that Babylon the great will fall and great will be the fall thereof.  And the Lord’s Kingdom will triumph and will be eternal.

So, we see the great city of Babylon all around us—it is our world.

And we see the City of our God being built—the Kingdom of God on the earth, someday the New Jerusalem.  And seeing these and all these contrasts, which will we choose?

Scot

And we have to remember that this is a daily choice.  “Choose ye THIS day whom ye will serve,” said Joshua of old.  Remember, what we said at the beginning of this session together—the war in heaven has been moved to earth?  Well, the war is all about ideas—and the weapons are words—and the casualties are the souls of men and women who fall prey to the enticements and the glitter and advertisements of Babylon—the things of this world.  That’s really what the Book of Revelation is all about:  Showing the contrast between light and darkness, between good and evil, between the city of our God and the world’s Babylon the great.

Maurine

And I can hardly read the last part of the Book of Revelation, especially Chapter 21, without weeping for joy as the contrast is made clear and the rewards of the righteous are carefully laid out:

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away…

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem (this is the City of Enoch), coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Scot

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven  saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Don’t those verses just make you so happy?!  These are in such contrast to the plagues and the destructions and the wickedness and the sorrow and the darkness of this world.

Maurine

And sometimes I think one of the reasons why every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, is because of that contrast.  There will be such darkness—there IS such darkness in Babylon—and His, the Lord’s Kingdom is such the opposite.  It is the source of true light for the whole world.

Scot

What a glorious and wonderful year of study we’ve had together in these 50 podcasts on the New Testament.  I’ve loved every minute of it.

Maurine

We’ve truly loved being a part of your study in your homes and cars and offices and to be a part of your lives this year.  It has been humbling to be with you.  We’ve loved the New Testament and we look forward to starting the Book of Mormon together.  This will be another year of great fun, wonderful stories and great learning.

Scot

Thanks for joining us.  And a special thanks to our friend Paul Cardall who has so generously provided the music for the opening and closing of each podcast this year!  Next week we will start into our Book of Mormon studies with the Introductory Pages of the Book of Mormon and the lesson titled “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

Maurine

And will you do one last favor for us?  Will you please spread the word about the Podcast—send your family and friends to latterdaysaintmag.com/podcast or just tell them to go to their favorite Podcast platform and search for Meridian Magazine Come Follow Me.  This is a great time to set New Year’s resolutions—to begin again an earnest study of the Book of Mormon and to draw closer to Jesus Christ in this coming year.

Scot

See you next week!  Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


[i] McConkie, Bruce R., Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 Volumes, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1973, Volume 3, pp. 529-52.

[ii] Hugh Nibley and Don E. Norton, Approaching Zion, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1989, p. 15.

[iii] Ibid, pp 28-29.