Commentary on Doctrine & Covenants 65

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Find helpful commentary on the verses below to better understand the message of this revelation.

Verses 1-2

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)


This brief revelation makes two important connections to earlier dispensations. First, Joseph Smith is told that he has been given the “keys of the kingdom,” a reference to a similar incident in the New Testament in which Peter was told he would receive “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19). A revelation given just a few months later in March 1832 confirmed that Joseph was given the “keys of the kingdom which belong always to the Presidency of the High Priesthood” (D&C 81:2). In a history written in the summer of 1832, Joseph Smith also wrote of “the keys of the Kingdom of God” being conferred upon him (Joseph Smith—History, circa Summer 1832, 1, JSP).


Second, this revelation declares that a prophecy made by the prophet Daniel is about to be fulfilled in the restoration of the kingdom of God in the latter days through the work of Joseph Smith and others. This prophecy of Daniel came when King Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of Babylon, received a dream that greatly troubled him. In the dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a “great image” with a head made of gold, breast and arms made of silver, a belly and thighs made of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. Then the king saw a stone “cut out without hands” that “smote the image upon his feet that were iron and clay, and brake them to pieces,” destroying rest of the image. The stone the grew in size to become “a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:31–35).


In interpretation of this dream, Daniel explained to the king that the image represented different kingdoms of the earth. The head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, while the parts of the statue made of silver, brass, iron, and clay represented inferior kingdoms that were to follow. As for the stone that destroyed the image, Daniel declared that in the days of the kingdoms of iron and clay “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:37–44). This stone is the restored gospel.


While Daniel only makes known the identity of the golden head as the Babylonian Empire, Elder Orson Pratt interpreted the dream to include successive empires. He taught that the silver breast and arms represented the Medo-Persian Empire and that the belly of Brass represented the Macedonian Empire built by Alexander the Great. The legs of iron represented the Roman Empire, which was eventually split into two divisions, and in turn succeeded by the feet of clay and iron, representing the European kingdoms that ruled over much of the earth when the Restoration of the gospel began. Lastly, Elder Pratt taught that the “kingdom or stone cut out of the mountain without hands is a power superior to that of carnal weapons—the power of truth, for the kingdom of God cannot be organized on the earth without truth being sent down from heaven, without authority being given from the Most High” (Journal of Discourses, 15:72).


(Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 3-6

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)


The final verses of this revelation connect the coming of the kingdom of God to two New Testament passages, the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1–13) and the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13). Making reference to these two passages, the Lord invites His disciples not only to pray for his coming but to “make known his wonderful works among the people” (D&C 65:4). In issuing this invitation, the Savior invites us to be active participants in preparing the world for His coming. The Saints are not to sit back and wait for a rapture to remove them from the ills of the world but to actively work to build the kingdom and end the ills of the world.


The Savior will rule over the earth when He comes, but in the meantime the Church is instructed to do all it can to bring forth the kingdom of God on the earth. In many ways the Church is the mother of the coming kingdom. This connection was made literal through a passage Joseph Smith was directed to restore in the book of Revelation. In the original reading of the passage, John sees a woman in childbirth who was assailed by a dragon attempting to consume her child. The dragon represents Satan and his followers. The Joseph Smith Translation clarifies that “the woman . . . was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains and brought forth the kingdom of God and his Christ” (Joseph Smith Translation, Revelation 12:7). Therefore, the best thing a person can do to bring about the coming kingdom of God is to serve, support, and uplift the Church, the mother of the coming kingdom.


(Doctrine and Covenants Minute)