This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
THINGS AS THEY ARE, WERE ARE TO COME Understanding Section 133
ANTHONY E. LARSON
latter-day revelations about future events given to the prophet. We are about to be told of events that will transpire immediately prior to the second coming. we now . Brown of his grandparents’ encounter with Joseph Smith one evening in Nauvoo now allow us to turn our attention to one of the more symbol-laden. along with our Christian cousins will continue to misunderstand these remarkable events.) This verse sets the scene. Larson THINGS AS THEY ARE. T he acquisition of vital information from catastrophists and comparative mythologists about the traditional. In Doctrine and Covenants. Section 133. we. Thus.” (Doctrine & Covenants 133:17. A new reading We turn our attention to the verses in Section 133 that focus on a series of events seen to occur prior to the second coming. the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven. “For behold. the Lord reveals much about the changes in the heavens and the earth that will be seen one day. WERE AND ARE TO COME Section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants describes events immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ. But in order to fully understand what is recorded there. we must combine our understanding of the Saturn traditions and the concepts Joseph Smith communicated to Benjamin Brown. Without a grounding in the ancient imagery on which the prophecy is made. cultural archetypes that dominate our scriptures and the information contained in an anecdotal story related by Patriarch Homer M. and make his paths straight. however. for the hour of his coming is nigh—. saying: Prepare ye the way of the Lord.Understanding Section 133 Copyright © 2004 Anthony E.
In the next verse.. became the symbol for the sacred cow or bull. was characterized as a ram due to the similarity in appearance of the planet’s inverted crescent with the horns of a male sheep.) For a full interpretation of these allusions used in the prophetic language in verse 18.. and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand. v. . so the same crescent when located in the superior position .3 have at hand a method of understanding more clearly the nature and impact of those things that will be seen in the very last days.” (Ibid.... 18.. astral imagery.. . ... “When the Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion. The Lamb of God Just as the crescent in its inferior position on the limb of Saturn .. having his Father’s name written on their foreheads. we are immediately immersed in traditional. . we must turn to the Saturn traditions. ....
if at all. the prophets would immediately see the symbolic value of referring to the Savior.4 The “lamb” in the polar configuration was the small. False prophets in this day and age have no grasp of such idiographic relationships and thus fail to use them properly. or set on top of one or next to one.” Once made in antiquity. of course. we see that Mount Zion mentioned in verse 18 is. as a lamb. Jerusalem’s Mt. Moriah in the Israelite culture—where temples are often either designed to resemble a mountain. the temple or city of god. Mount Zion Looking further. right down into New Testament times. the Son of God. the axis mundi. the connection would persist to become part of the language of the prophets and the scriptures. the son of the “sire. The use of this imagery became highly anthropomorphisized in Egyptian art and was rendered accordingly. It was an association that anyone steeped in ancient symbolism would easily understand. mound or pyramid.” Saturn. It is also the basis for a similar allusion in the scriptures where the temple is described as “the mountain of the Lord’s house. Naturally. answering to the this archetypical image.” .” the “ram. Mars.” an often-used allusion in ancient symbolism. The fact that revelations produced by Joseph Smith display the proper use of such ancient iconography speaks eloquently for their authenticity. it is iconographically correct to refer to the son of the ram god as a “lamb. red planet. as seen above. So. This “mountain” is the basis for temple imagery the world over— Olympus in the Greek culture. the phrase “Son of God” became the “Lamb of God. the world or cosmic mountain upon which the polar configuration. Given that imagery. appeared to stand.
) While the reference to the “Bridegroom. this reference goes back to a more ancient. go ye.5 The 144. The returning hero weds The next verses introduce a new dimension to our investigation.” Joseph Smith and the scriptures depict them in symbolic terms. too. servants of God or priesthood holders. as though they were individuals. as John and Joseph Smith explained..” It was never meant to express a fixed number. They were characterized in tradition and mythology as the inhabitants of the celestial city. allowing us to see the origins of Christian symbolism in the more ancient cultural and religious usages. In doing so. is the “hundred and forty-four thousand” named in verse 18. they were based in the thousands of illuminated prominences that radiated outward from the edge of the celestial planet/god/city. go ye out to meet him. as seen in this exploded view. These ‘individuals’ are also prominently mentioned in Revelation where they stand with a “Lamb” and are part of mount “Sion. (Ibid. 19. Mars was seen to move away from the center.000 So. “Wherefore. as it is so often misinterpreted in modern prophetic schemes. Originally. is clearly an allusion to Christ’s role as husband to the church. v. cosmological tradition. prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom. . it seemed to the ancients to “wander” about heaven and grow much larger as it engaged in a variety of metamorphoses in a planetary ‘dance’ that engaged both Venus and the Earth. That symbolically derived number (12 x 12 x 1000) is simply a metaphoric means of saying “more than you can count.” as every Christian knows. During the evolution of the polar configuration. and as such are iconographically useful in depicting those saved or exalted souls who will stand with Christ at the final judgment.
were ‘joined’ or ‘wed’ after the wanderer’s long absence from the center place or home. coming to initiate the Millennium after his long absence from the Earth. as used by the Lord and Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants. the warrior/hero Mars and the goddess/queen Venus. This return was seen as a marriage ceremony wherein the two planets. in recent incarnations such as the story of Aladdin. “For behold. Eventually. Hence.20.) . and upon the islands of the sea. challenges or contests in which they performed miraculously and then finally returned home to discover their heritage. the Prince and the Pauper. the Christian imagery of the bridegroom and the bride. orphaned or dispossessed. So the early Christian church adopted this cultural tradition to describe the returning Christ.6 These phases of the planetary epic spawned a multitude of myths and traditions about cultural heroes who wandered away from home. Bigger than life The next verse leaves the impression that the Lord’s return will see him as a giant standing on the Earth.” (Ibid. find their roots in ancient planetary imagery. v. These mythical archetypes are recognizable to modern eyes.. roots or exalted station in life. with one foot on the Asian continent and the other on the American continent. and upon the land of Zion. he shall stand upon the mount of Olivet. Mars returned to the center place after several eventful excursions. who then engaged in a series of misadventures. for example. the story of King Arthur or the tales of Hercules. and great deep.
If we return to the first verse quoted in this monograph. is perhaps the best example of the heaven man archetype and a reminder that the primary symbols were occasionally portrayed most precisely in ancient art. just as it was when he descended from heaven after his resurrection to appear before the Nephites. this icon is likely the origin of the “angel” image of prophecy. Saturn’s crescent formed the outstretched arms. In this instance. as it is commonly supposed. While it is symbolically correct to apply these metaphors to his advent. . as seen in this illustration. used by so many prophets. the planet Venus. this example approaches an accurate portrayal of the archetypical symbol derived from the polar configuration and serves as strong evidence that this symbol was the origin of much biblical imagery. his stature will not assume epic proportions as this verse implies. This Egyptian glyph. Thus. Mars at the top of the column became the chest or torso and the pillar the legs of the heaven man or angel archetype. below.” Ironically. was considered the head. it is the thesis of this presentation that these verses are not at all meant to be descriptive of the Savior’s coming. A celestial metaphor Indeed. we find that we were introduced to an angel “crying through the midst of heaven. the imagery tells us more.7 Once again. While the return of the Savior will undoubtedly be a magnificent manifestation. such imagery is based on ancient symbolism spawned in the Saturn configuration of planets when it assumed the prototypical image of the “heaven man” with its ‘arms’ stretched heavenward and its ‘feet’ planted on the limb of the Earth. it is the very “heaven man” image from which the ancients derived the “angel” icon. seen to sit in the center of Saturn. It betrays a celestial scene based in cosmological origins. More than most.
89. after reading the 31st verse. let me ask you what would cause the everlasting hills to tremble with more violence than the coming together of the two planets? (Scriptural and Secular Prophecies Pertaining to The Last Days. comet”—is a planetary display akin to that seen anciently. we find immediate clarification of the imagery. I noticed when I came in that you were reading the Doctrine and Covenants. he spoke plainly of a planetary encounter. that is what we see done in these once enigmatic verses. It is the concept that what is described here is not Christ’s advent at all. indeed. pp. And. using the imagery known in the times of the ancient prophets who spoke these words.) What better way to impress on the reader the planetary nature of the events described in these verses than to couch them in symbolic terms reminiscent of ancient times when Earth was a satellite of a gas giant and a companion to other planets? If what will be seen in Earth’s heavens just prior to the Savior’s advent—Joseph’s “planet. the Prophet said. approaching these verses with this in mind. we find that.8 This opens the door to a more meaningful or amplified reading of these verses. “Now. who esteem this imagery as ‘myth. He said. And. but a planetary encounter between the Earth and another planetary body — the harbinger of the second coming or last “grand sign” of the Savior’s advent. All that is needed is knowledge of how these icons were employed anciently and we have the proper interpretation. Or as Peter put it.’ that . 90. After re-entering the house. why not use all the traditional metaphors to memorialize that fact? To do otherwise would be inconsistent with prophetic convention. It is we moderns. Anyone well versed in the ancient traditions. T125he Prophet turned to Section 133 and read. in fact. indeed. Moreover. Will you kindly get it?” He did so. commencing at the 26th verse and throughout to the 34th verse. “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. such as a prophet. when we consult Joseph Smith’s pronouncements as recorded in the Brown account regarding these very verses. “Brother Brown. would be inclined to use the ‘proper’ and ‘correct’ symbolism and metaphor.” Prophecy is meant to be interpreted systematically. imagery common to all ancient cultures.
which shall break down the mountains. and the islands shall become one land. Returning planet imagery Looking back at the verses examined thus far from Section 133. all the imagery has its basis in ancient planetary imagery. and it shall be driven back into the north countries. Electrically energetic planets in close proximity were easily capable of generating a multitude of electromagnetic oscillations that became audible in Earth’s atmosphere. it is appropriate to connect these colossal sounds with the transformation of Earth’s topography — “which shall break down the mountains. and as the voice of a great thunder. and the valleys shall not be found” — because they likely went hand in hand. (op. and he shall speak from Jerusalem.) Let’s learn what this means in Joseph’s own words from the Patriarch Brown account. 22. .. 21. The next verse further confirms our thesis. as alluded to in these verses. v. and his voice shall be heard among all people. indeed. we find that. It is proper to refer to the sounds as coming from a geographical location — “he shall utter his voice out of Zion.” (op. “And he shall utter his voice out of Zion. cit. if you take a vessel of water and swing it rapidly around your head.9 have stripped it from our culture and our traditions. Thunder and crashing water are probably only somewhat reminiscent of those sounds since they were heard to accompany the tremendous shaking of the ground. “He shall command the great deep. oscillating in response to electromagnetic waves propagated by nearby planets. it will begin to pour out. Furthermore.) Sound was an integral part of the ancient events.. cit. and the valleys shall not be found. leaving us unable to grasp its meaning when we encounter it. And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters. from the most subtle to excruciatingly loud. just as the following verses. vs. and he shall speak from Jerusalem” — because the sound or voice would seen to emanate from there since the entire Earth would become a planet-sized transducer or speaker. 23. you won’t spill any. But if you stop the motion gradually. “Relative to the waters rolling back to the north.
thus “receding from the Earth. and it will then revolve slower. That will account for the waters receding from the Earth for a great while.” (op. When this planet returns it will make the Earth that much heavier. Thus. larger body. even greater reason for this oceanic migration that may not have occurred to Joseph: tremendous tidal action due to gravity. 91. worldwide tsunamis as the oceans raced to the poles.. cit.” he said. . But there would be another. “… the great deep … shall be driven back into the north countries.” A planetary “docking maneuver” Having introduced the concept of intersecting planets. p. the primary one centered on the North Pole and the secondary or reflexive tide on the South Pole. This would have the effect of raising the ocean levels at the poles and diminishing or depressing those around the equator. but it has now turned and is proceeding rapidly eastward.10 “Now. “the coming together of the two planets. at the present time this earth is rotating very rapidly. Water levels in some places might subside hundreds of feet in great. thus significantly diminishing the centrifugal forces that maintain an equatorial bulge at the equator. joining all the continents.” Joseph next refers to a circumstance that has no meaning except in a universe governed by electromagnetic forces. we would see the literal fulfillment of verse 23. Joseph was exactly right in assessing that our planet’s rotation might slow when electromagnetically joined with a new neighbor. and the islands shall become one land. “Brother Brown.) Here we see yet another anticipated effect of the Earth joining in a polar orbit with another. A consequence of such permanent polar tides would be the appearance of Tidal Bulges heretofore submerged land bridges between many of the continents — especially at the equatorial latitudes where the effect would be the most dramatic. which would also serve to draw Earth’s oceans into gigantic tides.” Imagine a ring of dry ground girding the equator.
” he seems to understand what orthodox science denies to this day: There are greater forces at work in such a scenario than gravity. then the two would electromagnetically couple. their approach would eventually bring them within the Roche limit. they would be insufficient to destroy either planet. lock the two planets together in a tandem orbit. as Joseph said. Joseph’s scenario sees no such outcome. “disastrous. as Joseph proposed. neither drifting apart nor colliding. of such events as collisions. when two planets or other objects are traveling in the same direction and one of them with a little greater velocity than the other. proponents of the electric universe theory insist that electromagnetic plasma layers — once called VanAllen belts but now called Langmuir sheaths — surrounding both approaching planets would pull the planets together at a distance. that two planets coming together would be disastrous to both. yet also prevent them from colliding by holding them apart as the distance between them diminished. Even if. And while the tidal effects would be tremendous. the planets were traveling in the same direction or sharing a similar orbit as one gradually overtook the other. the perception by science of such an event has not changed since Joseph’s day. These electromotive forces would serve to both prevent an outright collision or dismemberment and. In effect. . insisting that they would be. hypothetically. “scientists will tell you that it is not scientific. electricity was only a novelty in that day. the two planets’ approach would first be cushioned.” In fact. how could he know of this? Even today science denies such a possibility. Saying emphatically that “it would not be disastrous.” The Roche limit is the orbital distance at which the gravity of the larger planet will begin to tidally tear apart the smaller planet as they approach one another. suggests just such a circumstance. pulling the oceans to the poles. it would not be disastrous because the one traveling faster would overtake the other.11 “Now. at the same time. held in stasis at a distance from one another. Yet. But. Yet. It would be summarily sundered into so many chunks. In fact. Joseph’s prophetic insight Joseph Smith’s scenario. as we have read. Indeed. Scientists still speak.” he said. which would be utterly disastrous to the smaller orb.
More significant still is the reference to Jerusalem and Zion being “turned back into their own place. when seen in the context of the Saturn traditions and the electric universe. And this is the point: In the context of modern “scientific” notions. For this reason he speaks of it “returning” in conjunction with the events described in Section 133. However. for so it is used in modern parlance.. the Brown account allows a much more meaningful interpretation of Section 133. thus reversing the “division” of the Earth in Peleg’s day.” While such a statement might be construed to be an indication of continents in motion to our ears. and Zion (Sion) was the name of the heaven-spanning mountain that both held up . Jerusalem was the Saturn configuration. Joseph’s statements in the Brown account sound like the fanciful inventions of a fertile imagination. We also think of Jerusalem as an earthly city in the Middle East. Moreover. we can see that the next verse from the 133rd Section has been grossly misconstrued by Latter-day Saints. cit. However. Joseph does not speak of shifting landmasses in his interpretation of Section 133. Clearly. anciently this was not so. The archetype of the holy city. this is the only context in which these statements have any meaning. and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided. Seen in the light of our new perspective on ancient history. v. Joseph had learned through revelation that Earth was once held in juxtaposition with another planet anciently before being separated. seen through the lenses of ancient tradition. Indeed. he does speak of shifting oceans that will permanently reveal great tracts of land. it tells a very different story. However. its role in creating electromagnetic effects was virtually unknown. even if he did not completely understand the mechanics of such a coupling.) Continents do not drift This verse does not describe the popular geologic notion of continental drift. 24.” (op. In fact it still has no acknowledged role in planetary science even today. Latter-day Saints tend to think of Zion as a people. it is a stunningly accurate depiction and a testament to the prophetic prowess of Joseph Smith. As we have seen. “And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place.12 Thus.
if the heavenly city and its sacred mountain are “turned back in their own place. in fact. an allegory based in celestial constructs. This verse. “Now. as to their coming back from the northern waters. and their prophets shall hear his voice. p. we also a reiteration of the joining planets theme. cit. we see an explanation that not only supports the contention that Joseph viewed these prophesied events as planetary catastrophes. lending further credibility to this idea.” (op. as is consistently done in these verses. p.13 the celestial city and connected it to the Earth. “And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord.” modern Saints have interpreted this verse to refer to those Ten Lost Tribes because of the identical reference. And. however. they will return from the north because their planet will return to the place from whence it was taken.) . and they shall smite the rocks. we come to one of the most misunderstood prophecies in all scripture in that many claim the “they” in this verse means the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. we get the picture of a returning planet. cit. Also. then. the return of a planet is what Joseph’s instruction to the Browns was all about. It is..” Joseph’s explanation of the melting ice is as follows: “Now.) Once again. Once again. what would cause the mountains of ice to melt quicker than the heat caused by the friction of the two planets coming together?” And then he asked the question.. 91. is not about earthly cities. The proposed explanation of these verses extends to yet another verse in the 133rd Section. that would cause the mountains of ice to melt. He continued. in this same passage.” the phrase refers to the return of that grouping of planets that gave rise to that imagery anciently. 91. (op. and the ice shall flow down at their presence. and shall no longer stay themselves. Thus. “Did you ever see a meteor falling that was not red hot? So. Not about the Lost Tribes of Israel Because ancient tradition connected to the disappearance of the Lost Tribes tells of them disappearing into “the north countries. when we look at Joseph’s statement.
A more sensible approach would seem to be to allow the verse to be seen as complementary to the rest of the passage rather than interpreting it as a parenthetical comment. such a circumstance would seem to be patently impossible. the two planets most proximate to Earth in the Polar Configuration. is impossible to verify since there is no direct statement to that effect recorded by the Prophet. of course. From the standpoint of the polar configuration of planets illustrated above. In fact.14 That is.” This. Since Joseph attributes all the other phenomena in this account to effects generated by the return of the old celestial or heavenly order. it seems likely that he meant to convey that same point in this instance rather than referring to the return of any group of people. the distances were similar to those that separate the Earth and its moon today. Bridging such a hostile gap would appear to be even more of an impossibility. Note that nowhere in the Brown account does the Prophet suggest that the Ten Tribes would come from that planet. It bears mention at this point that many early Saints attribute to Joseph Smith the belief that the Lost Tribes inhabited another planet. only that it was thought to be “their” planet or the one that was connected to them by tradition. traditional position in “the north. The natural forces unleashed in those events would have been too traumatic to humans to see the Lost Tribes survive the transit—even if a transport mechanism could be identified. their planet will once again take up its historic. placing the Ten Tribes interpretation on this solitary verse in an entire sequence dedicated to planetary symbolism seems completely out of place. First of all. no known mechanism would allow people to relocate from Earth to Mars or Venus. of course is indicative of the unique polar orbit posited by Talbott and illustrated in the Dibble facsimile. This. as drawn by Joseph Smith. . Secondly.
Indeed. the environments on Mars and Venus today could not support human beings. the pillar or mountain could easily be construed as a road or path. Even if these two planets were to return to their former location near the Earth. It is the origin of the symbolic notion that the streets of heaven are paved with gold.” This “highway” was also Mt. Furthermore. the two are closely connected in prophecy and easily mistaken one for the other. Therefore.” (op. the interpretation of these verses as the return of an inhabited planet also fails. The most likely explanation for the belief of many early Saints that Joseph taught such an idea can only be considered a uniform misinterpretation based on the way the prophet explained the concept. 27. Sion supporting the holy city at its apex where it appears to split into twin peaks.) Once again. “And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. Joseph clarifies the revelation. we see another. cit. it will form a highway and waters will recede and roll back. It is the reason many ancient temples were accessible . the Lost Tribes interpretation of this verse fails. A celestial highway Moving on. In this phase of the configuration’s career. traditional aspect of the polar configuration reused in the description of the coming event as recorded in Section 133. “And relative to the great highway which should be cast up when the planet returns to its place in the great northern waters. vs. there could be no people living there to return. except one imagines some supernatural intervention to miraculously preserve them alive..15 Since the traditions tell of no other. space probes to those two planets have returned no evidence that they are inhabited. Indeed. habitable planets parking in a polar orbit above the Earth anciently that might have served as a refuge for migrating Israelites. since the return of the Lost Tribes will coincide with these latter-day catastrophes.
cit. re-establishing the ancient heavenly order. The “everlasting hills” do not tremble at the “presence” of any people. then these verses simply continue the same planetary metaphor. 28-31. So it is that the powerful imagery of these verses from Section 133 are easily interpreted. The final verses we will consider here from the 133rd Section follow the returning planet imagery. (op.com/ For online classes. If one reads “them” to mean the returning 144. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.com . but they do tremble at the return of a planet to Earth’s northern skies. consider the third verse.mormonprophecy. and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. a more consistent interpretation with internal themes.blogspot. my servants.16 only via a lengthy causeway or avenue leading up to the gates. And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephriam. For more essays from this series: http://mormonprophecy. newsletters and published books exploring this material in depth: http://www. vs. thanks to the Brown account of Joseph’s teachings about the last days and the pivotal research of modern catastrophists and comparative mythologists.. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them.) Lest the reader lapse into interpreting these verses as applying to the Lost Tribes. videos.000 or “servants” that stood about the polar configuration.com/ Your questions or comments are welcome: anthonyelarson@gmail.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.