D&C 133 was revealed just after D&C 1 in November 1831, and it was to be the closing or the appendix of the Book of Commandments. It tells how and why Saints need to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming by gathering the house of Israel and fleeing to Zion. D&C 134 is a declaration written by Church leaders, possibly primarily by Oliver Cowdery, and presented to the Saints in Kirtland in August 1835. It teaches respect for governments, religions, and individual rights, in harmony with American values of the time.
The Lord encourages and commands, “Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord” (D&C 133:10) because of the challenges associated with that day. If we study how the word “great” is used throughout the scriptures, it usually means extraordinary, not happy. The joy of the righteous at Jesus’ return will come not only from greeting Jesus but also from relief that they are delivered from the terrible events of the last days.
“The most apparent motive for the declaration was the expulsion of church members from Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833. The first eleven of the declarations’ twelve articles address the role and duty of government in protecting and ensuring the free exercise of religion and could be read as an indictment of local, state, and national governments for failing to fulfill their duties in protecting the church of persecution.”
“Of Governments and Laws,” Spencer W. McBride, Revelations in Context
The Saints felt that the governments of Missouri and the United States failed to protect the citizenship rights of the Missouri Saints. They began to make legal and political appeals for the restoration of their property and citizenship rights in Jackson County. The declaration in D&C 134 sought to address these concerns.
“Historical Context of D&C 133,” Steven C. Harper and Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Central
“Section 133 continues and even escalates the apocalyptic tone of section 1. It announces that Christ will dramatically come soon…. So the Saints should prepare for his coming by sanctifying their lives and becoming Zion.”
“Historical Context and Background of D&C 134,” Steven C. Harper and Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Central
“Of Governments and Laws in General,” now D&C 134, was primarily written by Oliver Cowdery. “Section 134 mixes republican principles of constitutional government and individual liberties, emphatically including the right of religious conscience, with the Church’s concern for its ecclesiastical rights.”