When the Church was barely 19 months old, the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders laid out ambitious plans to compile God’s latter-day revelations into one volume and print 10,000 copies—double the first print run of the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, high costs tempered these plans, and mobs attacked the Church’s press while printing was in progress. They scattered the unbound pages, and although courageous Saints preserved some of them, no complete copies of the Book of Commandments are known to have survived.
What we now know as section 133 of the Doctrine and Covenants was meant to be the appendix to the Book of Commandments, like an exclamation point at the end of the Lord’s published revelations. It warns of a coming day of judgment and reechos the call found throughout modern revelation: flee worldliness, as symbolized by Babylon; build Zion; prepare for the Second Coming; and spread this message “unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (verse 37). While the original plans for the Book of Commandments were not fulfilled, this revelation is a reminder and a witness that the Lord’s work cannot be thwarted, “for he shall make bare his holy arm … , and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God” (verse 3).