Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator

by Richard D. Draper


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Do you feel lost when you read the book of Revelation? Do the images and actions seem bewildering and the meaning confusing?

Richard D Draper, assistant professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, clearly and understandably examine this crucial scripture. Opening the Seven Seals: The Visions of John the Revelator combines the best of LDS and biblical scholarship.

The author writes: “To fill the need of a clear analysis of revelation, I have. . . translated the document paying close attention to variations found in the different preserved manuscripts, including the Joseph Smith Translation; studied the most important Jewish and Christian apocalypses. . . ; consulted the studies of scholars both within and without the church; and. . . pulled together those insights gained from the standard works and the teachings of the modern prophets. Further, I have not ignored the historical setting.”

Dr. Draper discusses the purposes and themes of revelation and examines the book section by section. He also gives keen insight into the apocalyptic visions of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, and Lehi. Some questions he addresses are these:

  • What is Apocalyptic literature, and why did John choose this form to write in?
  • Why did John report the entire history of the earth twice?
  • What do the various beasts represent?
  • What is the significance of numbers and their use?
  • What are the differences and purposes of the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls?
  • How does the book testify of Jesus Christ and warn against Satan?
  • How are the principles of agency and God's control of history reconciled?
  • What does the book say about the last days, the millennium, and final judgment?
  • How do the mercy and judgment of the lamb work together?

Opening the Seven Seals will help the reader find fulfillment of this promise: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Rev.1:3)

About the Author

Richard D. Draper

Dr. Richard D. Draper is an Emeritus Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU. He earned a PhD from BYU University in History in 1988 focusing on Near Eastern, Roman, and Early Christian History, with a minor in ancient Greek philosophy and literature. He was Associate Dean of Religious Education at BYU, 2004-2007 and Managing Director of Publications, 2001-2004.

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Average rating:

(based upon 2 reviews)

Very Helpful
By , Submitted on 2015-12-15

I like the author's style of quoting the verses and then providing commentary. The commentary is clear and easy to understand and follow and provides insight and clarity I haven't found in other sources.

By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This book is awesome... Full of insights of the symbolism of John's glorious vision. It breaks down lots of the barriers that stand as you read through it.. and how the book of Revelation points towards the latter days.
This book really helps me and brings enlightenment to my mind... and shows the true symbols that John was wanting us latter saints to truly know.

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