This series constitutes a leisurely stroll through the halls of Doctrine and Covenants section 77. I don’t have any particular schedule in mind, future posts will appear as seemeth me good. Parts 1 and 2 of the series are here and here.
One of the interesting textual mysteries about D&C 77 concerns the interpretation of the book of Revelation timeline. Some relevant passages:
|Revelation Book 1 Text||The 1921 Edition Text|
|Q What time are things of this chapter to be accomplished?
A They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousandth year or the opening of the Sixth seal.
|Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?
A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal.
|Q What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets mentioned in the 8th Chap.of Rev.
A We are to understand that <as> God made the world in six days and on the seventh day he finished his work and sanctified it and also formed man out of the dust of the earth even so in the begining of the seven thousandth year will the Lord God Sanctify the earth and to comp lete the Salvation of man and Judge all things and shall redeem all things except that which he hath not put into his power when he shall have sealed all things unto the end of all things and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work in the begining of the seven thousandth year the preparing of the way before the time of his coming
|Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?
A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it and also formed man out of the dust of earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the seventh thousand years–the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.
The text highlighted in red demonstrates a possible difference in meaning. For example, sixth thousandth year may mean sometime between 5000-5999. The reading sixth thousand years may suggest the period 6000-6999. The RB1 reading seems to reflect all readings up to the printing of section 77 in the 1852 Franklin D. Richards edited Millennial Star, when the alternate reading prevailed (Richards produced his Pearl of Great Price in 1851, and included D&C 77 in the compilation). The Star reading was repeated in B. H. Roberts’ edition of the History of the Church (1902). When the next major edition of the Doctrine and Covenants went to press in 1921, the revelations were edited to match the readings in the History, since alterations found in the History were approved by the church presidency. The current editon (2013) has the Star reading in the two instances above.
It seems obvious that the revelation takes for granted a cosmology prefigured by a more or less literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2. That internal logic is both important and perhaps paradoxically, unnecessary. I don’t think Joseph Smith ever moved beyond the Genesis picture as the real physics of the universe. It is clear however that he believed the seven 24 hour day creation was outside reality. The Book of Abraham suggests this, but it also suggests a creation that is something akin to an engineering problem. Joseph put forth the idea that the earth was built from chunks and detritus of (other) broken worlds, a theme championed in some Protestant circles of the day.
By 1835, Joseph is beginning to suggest that God is an inhabitant of the very same physical universe as man (such as it was understood at the time), and this thread is expanded in several ways in the 1840s. I’ll talk more about the connections between D&C 77 and Joseph’s later theologies in another post in this series.
 The subject of the question is Revelation chapter 7.