All Things to Be Revealed
John A. Tvedtnes
In 1839, Joseph Smith gave this divinely-inspired promise to the restored Church:
“God shall give unto you knowledge by his holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now; Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory; A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest. All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars-All the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times-According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.” (D&C 121:26-32)
Origen, a second-century AD Christian theologian, expressed the same view in much the same detail, believing that
“All the saints who depart from this life will remain . . . in some place of instruction, and, so to speak, class-room or school of souls, in which they are to be instructed regarding all the things which they had seen on earth, and are to receive also some information respecting things that are to follow in the future . . . If any one indeed be pure in heart, and holy in mind, and more practised in perception, he will, by making more rapid progress, quickly . . . reach the kingdom of heaven, through those mansions . . . in each of which he will first see clearly what is done there, and in the second place, will discover the reason why things are so done . . . When, then, the saints shall have reached the celestial abode, they will clearly see the nature of the stars one by one, and will understand whether they are endued with life, or their condition, whatever it is. And they will comprehend also the other reasons for the works of God, which He Himself will reveal to them. For he will show to them, as to children, the causes of things and the power of His creation, and will explain why that star was placed in that particular quarter of the sky, and why it was separated from another by so great an intervening space; what, e.g., would have been the consequence if it had been nearer or more remote; or if that star had been larger than this, how the totality of things would not have remained the same, but all would have been transformed into a different condition of being. And so, when they have finished all those matters which are connected with the stars, and with the heavenly revolutions, they will come to those which are not seen, or to those whose names only we have heard, and to things which are invisible, which the Apostle Paul has informed us are numerous.” (De Principiis 2.11.6-7) [i]
Origen believed that just as the law brought by Christ during his mortal ministry surpassed the one given to Moses, so, too, an even higher law would be revealed at his second coming. He wrote that “in the kingdom of heaven all the saints shall live according to the laws of the everlasting Gospel; and as in His coming now He fulfilled that law which has a shadow of good things to come, so also by that (future) glorious advent will be fulfilled and brought to perfection the shadows of the present advent. For thus spake the prophet regarding it: “The breath of our countenance, Christ the Lord, to whom we said, that under Thy shadow we shall live among the nations;” at the time, viz., when He will more worthily transfer all the saints from a temporal to an everlasting Gospel, according to the designation, employed by John in the Apocalypse, of ‘an everlasting Gospel.'” (De Principiis 4.1.25)[ii]
Two centuries later, St. Jerome summed up Origen’s teaching on this subject, writing “that according to the apocalypse of John ‘the everlasting gospel’ which shall be revealed in heaven [Revelation 14:6] as much surpasses our gospel as Christ’s preaching does the sacraments of the ancient law” of Moses (Letter 124:13).[iii] This concept agrees with what Joseph Smith taught when he declared that “the dispensation of the fullness of times will bring to light the things that have been revealed in all former dispensations; also other things that have not been before revealed” (History of the Church 4:426).
[i] Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers (reprint Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994),, 4:299-300.
[ii] Ibid., 4:375.
[iii] Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series (reprint, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), 6:243.