Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sharing the Gospel with the World






*Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window. Please click to read!  
  Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.



As latter-day Israel it is our responsibility to love all the people of the world and share the blessings of the gospel with them. Now think about that statement for just a minute and ask yourself, do we  love ALL the people of the world?  Or do we perhaps pick and choose whom to love based on our feelings and judgments?  Are we willing to share the gospel with ALL the people of the world?  Or is it that maybe sometimes we decide who is ready to hear and who is not.  Have we been guilty of teaching the gospel on our terms without relying on the spirit to guide us with Gods terms?

These are tough questions to ask ourselves and even harder to teach.  Thank goodness we have the Old Testament as well as the other scriptures to keep us on the straight and narrow of where we should be and what we should be doing.  

This particular subject as stated is a hard subject, hard to hear and hard to teach as well as learn. But Jonah and Micah from the Old Testament can tell us all about it for their stories teaches us exactly what God wants and how he wants it in regards to our responsibility as latter-day Saints.  

Who Was Jonah
The prophet Jonah was an unusual servant of the Lord who was called on a mission in about 788 BC. He lived during the early reign of Jereboam II of Israel and prophesied to the nation of Assyria as well as ancient Israel.  Like others called before him he was to cry repentance to a people ripening in iniquity. Unlike other prophets, however, Jonah responded by attempting to flee from his assignment. Had his reason been cowardice, though still wrong, it would have been understandable. The brutality of the Assyrians in the treatment of their enemies was well known  But Jonah’s problem does not seem to be cowardice. Rather, it seems to have been resentment against the Lord for giving the hated enemy a chance to repent  Jonah 4:1–2.

As we begin a study of Jonah; to someone who has been taught to have Christian love for all men, Jonah’s attitude may seem almost unbelievable. But to an Israelite who had been taught that he was of the chosen people and that the Gentiles were corrupt and therefore not acceptable to God, Jonah’s attitude was more understandable. Though surprising because we expect a different response from the Lord’s prophets, Jonah’s response was very human. As we discover Jonah’s story, lets see if we can understand what made him respond as he did. 

“We know little of the life of Jonah, but that little is more than we know about some of the other prophets.  In the first verse of the book under his name he is said to be ‘the son of Amittai.  The book of Jonah is not so much a book of prophecy as it is a book about a prophet, but one experience of that prophet symbolizes the most important event in the history of the world since the fall of Adam.

The book tells of a prophet who was a reluctant missionary, sent to warn the Assyrian enemy. His call was not unique. Several of the prophetic books have messages to and about other nations: Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Nahum. Furthermore, Ezekiel worked in Babylon, and Daniel prophetically advised some of the Babylonian and Medo-Persian kings. But Jonah's origins were in Gath-hepher, three miles northeast of what would later be Nazareth. According to a note in the book of Kings, Jonah was a prophet in the time of King Jeroboam before being called on a foreign mission 2 Kgs. 14:25. The way he responded to the mission call and the way the Lord responded to him brought about the lessons for which this book is greatly valued.

The time was probably around 790 B.C.  That was halfway between the time of Assyrian empire builders and the Assyrians who conquered Syria and Israel between 732 and 722 B.C., and threatened Judah in 701 B.C. This could have been in a time between periods of great power, when an Assyrian king was insecure enough to listen to a strange, foreign prophet and take his advice to avoid being destroyed.



Part 1:  Jonah is called to preach to Nineveh, but he runs away Jonah 1–2.


Beginning the story of Jonah, the Lord calls Jonah to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh.  Jonah tries to flee from the Lord on a ship then is swallowed by a great fish, prays and is delivered from the belly of the fish. 

Both Jonah and Jesus were from the Galilee area. That Jonah’s story is a true one, and not an allegory as some scholars maintain, is evidenced by 2 Kings 14:25 and three New Testament references. ‘The story of Jonah was referred to by our Lord on two occasions when he was asked for a sign from heaven. In each case he gave ‘the sign of the prophet Jonah,’ the event in that prophet’s life being a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death and resurrection (Matt. 12:39–41; 16:4; Luke 11:29–30).” (Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Jonah.”(Sidney B. Sperry,  quoted in the Old Testament Student Manual)  

 Why did the Lord want Jonah to go to Nineveh? Jonah 1:2.
 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

Why might Jonah have been reluctant to accept a mission call to Nineveh?  Nahum 3:1–5
The people of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, were enemies to Israel and it was full of wickedness and violence.  
 
1 Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;

2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.

3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:

4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.


What did Jonah choose to do when called?  Jonah 1:3
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Why Did Jonah Flee to Tarshish?   “A call on a mission and direct from the Lord! But it was no surprise to the prophet to be called, for he had probably carried out many missions for the Lord in Israel before. His surprise lay not in the fact of the call but in the kind of call, and rebellion arose in his heart. It was a call to go to Nineveh, ‘the great city’ of Assyria, and preach to its heathen inhabitants, for their wickedness had come up before the Lord. …“Jonah was torn between his loyalty to God and the whip of his emotions. The latter were at a fever pitch and in the end determined his actions. Because he couldn’t face the mission call, he determined to flee the country and get away from the unpleasant responsibility. He did not intend to lay down his prophetic office; he merely wanted to absent himself without leave for a time until an unpleasant situation adjusted itself. (Voice of Israel’s Prophets, pp. 328–29.) 


In what ways do we sometimes try to escape from the presence of the Lord or from callings extended to us by his representatives? Consider these possibilities: A person who refuses to accept a call in the Primary because she would not be able to attend Relief Society meetings, A young man who turns down a mission call so he can accept a scholarship from a university, A family who does not hold regular family home evenings, A person who gets behind on his bills and does not pay his tithing, A young woman too shy to accept a call as a Relief Society teacher.

What are the results of such efforts in rejecting the Lord when he has asked for us to serve?  (record your thoughts in your journal!)


While Jonah was sailing to Tarshish a great tempest came up and threatened the ship.  All those in the ship gathered to cast lots to find who it was that brought evil upon the ship.

Jonah 1:4–7. What Was the Practice of Casting Lots?  In ancient times lots were cast when an impartial decision was desired. The character and shape of the objects used in biblical times are not known, nor is the precise method by which they were cast, although some scholars suggest that smooth stones or sticks distinguished by colors or symbols were used. The heathens cast lots because, they believed, the gods would guide what happened. In Jonah’s case, the Lord seems to have guided the outcome as the lot fell upon Jonah.  (Old Testament Student Manual)
 

Jonah then explained the reason for the tempest and said, "Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you"  The crew of the ship was hesitant to throw Jonah overboard, but eventually were forced to take action because of the continuing tempest. When they did so, "the sea ceased from her raging"   So it was made clear that Jonah in his actions had sinned against the Lord.   

How did the Lord show mercy and help Jonah repent? Jonah 1:4, 17–2:10 "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights"

What did Jonah learn while he was inside the great fish? Jonah 2:1–9 
 1 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,

2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.

7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.

Jonah, in his extremity, finally turned back to God. His prayer was one of sincere and meaningful repentance. 


How does the Lord help us repent and return to his ways?


During his earthly ministry, the Savior spoke about the “sign of the prophet Jonas [Jonah]” Matthew 12:39. What did this sign mean? 

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:   

Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish and then was brought forth alive. The Savior would spend three days and nights buried in the earth and then would come forth resurrected   Jonah was a type of Christ in that he was in the belly of the whale—in “hell,” in his own words Jonah 2:2 just as Jesus was in the grave for three days, and then came forth again. 


Through his prophets, such as Jonah, the Lord has repeatedly commanded every worthy, able young man to serve a full-time mission. He has also encouraged senior couples to serve as full-time missionaries if they are able.


“The mission of Jonah was a fact of symbolical and typical importance, which was intended not only to enlighten Israel as to the position of the Gentile world in relation to the kingdom of God, but also to typify the future adoption of such of the heathen, as should observe the word of God, into the fellowship of the salvation prepared in Israel for all nations.C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch


What are some reasons why some able young men and senior couples choose not to serve missions?  Lack of commitment and faith, unworthiness, unwillingness to leave the comforts of home and family, fear of what might be expected of them.


What can we learn from the story of Jonah that can help us be more valiant in obeying the Lord and sharing the gospel?   

The object of Jonah’s mission to Nineveh was to combat in the most energetic manner, and practically to overthrow, a delusion which had a seeming support in the election of Israel to be the vehicle of salvation, and which stimulated the inclination to pharisaical reliance upon an outward connection with the chosen nation and a lineal descent from Abraham. … The attitude of Israel towards the design of God to show mercy to the Gentiles and grant them salvation, is depicted in the way in which Jonah acts, when he receives the divine command, and when he goes to carry it out. Jonah tries to escape from the command to proclaim the word of God in Nineveh by flight to Tarshish, because he is displeased with the display of divine mercy to the great heathen world, and because, according to ch. iv. 2, he is afraid lest the preaching of repentance should avert from Nineveh the destruction with which it is threatened. In this state of mind on the part of the prophet, there are reflected the feelings and the general state of mind of the Israelitish nation towards the Gentiles. According to his natural man, Jonah shares in this, and is thereby fitted to be the representative of Israel in its pride at its own election. … The infliction of this punishment, which falls upon him on account of his obstinate resistance to the will of God, typifies that rejection and banishment from the face of God which Israel will assuredly bring upon itself by its obstinate resistance to the divine call. But Jonah, when cast into the sea, is swallowed up by a great fish; and when he prays to the Lord in the fish’s belly, he is vomited upon the land unhurt. This miracle has also a symbolical meaning for Israel. It shows that if the carnal nation, with its ungodly mind, should turn to the Lord even in the last extremity, it will be raised up again by a divine miracle from destruction to newness of life. And lastly, the manner in which God reproves the prophet, when he is angry because Nineveh has been spared (ch. iv.), is intended to set forth as in a mirror before all Israel the greatness of the divine compassion, which embraces all mankind, in order that it may reflect upon it and lay it to heart.” (Old Testament Student Manual)

Part 2: The people of Nineveh respond to Jonah’s message and repent Jonah 3–4

Jonah 3–4. Jonah prophesies the downfall of Nineveh and is angry when the people of Nineveh repent and the Lord spares the city (the Joseph Smith Translation of Jonah 3:9–10 explains that the people, not God, repented). The Lord uses a gourd and a worm to teach Jonah that he should love all people.

After Jonah repented, the Lord called him again to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Nineveh was a well-known trade center in Jonah’s day. It had terraces, arsenals, barracks, libraries, and temples. The walls were so broad that chariots could drive abreast on them. Beyond the walls were great suburbs, towns, and villages. The circumference of the great city was about sixty miles, or three days’ journey. ( Voice of Israel’s Prophets, pp. 331–32n.)  

Jonah having learned his lesson " went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD" preaching repentance and warned the people of their destruction.

How did the people of Nineveh respond to Jonah’s message?  Jonah 3:5–9 and footnote 9a.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

 Footnote 9 a God: JST Jonah 3:9 … we will repent, and turn unto God, but he will turn away from us his fierce anger …

Jonah’s words appear to have had an immediate and very positive effect upon the Ninevites. Why a non-Hebrew people would believe a Hebrew prophet one can only imagine. Perhaps they were shocked into repentance by the appearance of a foreigner who, apparently without thought of personal safety, would come such a distance to unveil the sins of a people he did not know. At any rate, his mission had the intended result: Nineveh repented in “sackcloth and ashes.” Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“A coarse, dark cloth made of hair of camels and goats and used anciently for making sacks and bags was called sackcloth. It was also used for making the rough garments worn by mourners, and so it became fixed in the prophetic mind as a symbol for sorrow and mourning. It was the custom for mourners, garbed in sackcloth, either to sprinkle ashes upon themselves or to sit in piles of ashes, thereby showing their joy had perished or been destroyed. (Gen. 37:34; Esther 4:1–3; Isa. 61:3; Jer. 6:26.)

“The use of sackcloth and ashes anciently was also a token of humility and penitence. When righteous persons used the covering of sackcloth and the sprinkling of ashes to aid them in attaining the spiritual strength to commune with Deity, their usage was always accompanied by fasting and prayer. Daniel, for instance, prefaced the record of one of his great petitions to the throne of grace with this explanation: ‘I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession.’ (Dan. 9:3–4; Isa. 58:5; 1 Kings 21:17–29.)

“Sackcloth and ashes (accompanied by the fasting, prayer, and turning to the Lord that attended their use) became a symbol of the most sincere and humble repentance.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 659.)
 
How did God respond to the change in the people?  Jonah 3:10 and footnote 10c.
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. 

footnote 10 c evil: JST Jonah 3:10 … evil way and repented; and God turned away the evil that he had said he would bring upon them.  The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible renders this verse as follows: “And God saw their works that they turned from their evil way and repented; and God turned away the evil that he had said he would bring upon them” (JST, Jonah 3:10).

Jonah had prophesied the downfall of Nineveh Jonah 3:4 
And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

How did Jonah respond when the Lord forgave the people of Nineveh? Jonah 4:1–3.
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and amerciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and brepentest thee of the evil.

3 Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. 

Here Jonah demonstrated a second weakness:he pouted because the people did repent and God turned His wrath away. Jonah was so upset that he wished he were dead. Though he had repented of his desire to escape the call of the Lord and went to Nineveh, Jonah had not substantially changed his attitude toward the Gentiles.

What did the Lord teach Jonah by the growth of the gourd that gave shade and comfort and then died?  Jonah 4:4–11   He teaches us that God loves all his children. Just as he showed mercy to Jonah, he desired to show mercy to the repentant people of Nineveh.

4 Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?

5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a abooth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

6 And the Lord God prepared a agourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement aeast wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be aangry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I aspare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand bpersons that cannot cdiscern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

What can Jonah’s experience teach us about loving other people?  The Lord taught Jonah in a way that he could understand that all things are in His hand—the gourd, the worm, even life itself. First, the Lord sent the dreaded east wind, which was very destructive, for it blew off the hot, dry Arabian Desert. Then the Lord caused the sun to beat upon Jonah, making him so uncomfortable that he wished for death. Once Jonah was in that position, the Lord was able to teach him the worth of souls in Nineveh. Because the thousands who lived in Nineveh were ignorant of the saving gospel principles, they could not fully “discern between their right hand and their left hand” (Jonah 4:11). Surely the Lord felt more pity for them than Jonah felt for the gourd (see Alma 26:27, 37). By means of this simple plant, the Lord taught Jonah about the way in which God loves all of His children.  (Old Testament Student Manual)

What do you think of the message of the book of Jonah? How do you feel about Jonah’s running away from a call to serve?  It is apparent throughout the story that Jonah could not stand to see God’s love, so often promised to Israel and cherished by her, bestowed on others, particularly her heathen oppressors. Have you ever known anyone who has tended to resent someone newly baptized or recently activated and the attention and favor they received in the Church? Is there not a parallel here?  Though most Latter-day Saints may never be called to do anything as dramatic as calling on a whole city to repent or be destroyed, we receive numerous calls of our own from the Lord. Sometimes, like Jonah, we seem to run away or at least to escape our responsibility.(Old Testament Student Manual) 
What can Jonah’s experience teach us about loving other people?
 

Part 3: Micah prophesies of the mission of latter-day Israel Micah

In Micah 2:12–13; 4:1–7, 11–13; 5:2–4, 7–8; 6:6–8; 7:18–20. Micah prophesies of the mission of Israel in the last days.

 

Who was Micah?


Micah's ministry was during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezikiah,  kings of Judah.  His preaching took place during the years from 740 B,C. to697 B.C. His name is a short for of Micayah, a phrase asking "who is like Jehovah?"  Like the names of some of the other prophets it is appropriate to the lifes' work of this man who prophetically demonstrated in manyways that no one indeed is like Him, and everyone should strive to live His ways.  No other power is like His power, and no kink like his king. 

The prophet Micah called on the people of Israel to repent of their wickedness and return to the Lord. He prophesied of the destruction of Jacob (Israel) and Judah. He also prophesied that latter-day Israel (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) would accomplish the purposes of the Lord with great power. 

 Brother Duane S. Crowther:  "Micah is a product of the open hills and shows dislike for the cities. As a member of the oppressed peasantry he speaks for the common people and defends them against the nobles and rich landlords of Judah. He is primarily an ethical and religious teacher and shows little knowledge or interest in political matters." (Prophets & Prophecies of The Old Testament, p282)

What promises did the Lord give in Micah 2:12–13 ?   He promised that he would gather the remnant of Israel, that they would become a great multitude, and that he would lead them.
 
12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.

13 The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.

Micah prophesied salvation. This prophecy concerns a people who had been scourged because of iniquity, and only a remnant remained of the once mighty house of Israel. Micah foretold a miraculous growth as the people were gathered. He used the illustration of the sheep-rich area of Bozrah to illustrate how the people will become mighty. He compared their scattered condition to a form of imprisonment and foretold a Savior and Redeemer who would break the prison walls and lead the people to the promised land.  (Old Testament Student Manual)

 
How are these promises being fulfilled today? 

Some of Micah’s great prophecies about the latter days are recorded in Micah 4:1–7
1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.

5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

6 In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;

7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

 What did Micah prophesy about the latter-day temple?  People will go up to the Lord's house in the top of mountains.  

1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

The first prophecy of the latter days is one almost identical to Isaiah's prophecy of the building of a temple in the top of the mountains. The difference in the two prophecies is that Isaiah uses it as a time frame for the work of God to commence among the people of Judah in Jerusalem, 2 while Micah uses it as an event to precede the great gathering to Zion from among the Gentiles in the latter days. Of course both usages are related.
As referred to by both Micah and Isaiah, the temple to be built in the top of the mountains has reference to the temple to be built in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri (preface to Doctrine and Covenants 57; 3 Nephi 21:11-23). The top of the mountains is undoubtedly a synonym for "the everlasting hills," as prophesied by Jacob, father of the twelve tribes (Genesis 49:26; see also Deuteronomy 33:13-17). This conclusion is drawn from Jacob's knowledge of the New Jerusalem being built upon this continent, which knowledge he obtained through a covenant with the Lord (3 Nephi 20:22). The law going forth from Zion, stated by both prophets, was identified by President George Albert Smith as the principles of freedom established under the United States Constitution. 3 The word of the Lord coming from Jerusalem is a prophetic declaration that the gospel will someday be preached in Jerusalem. 4 The following verses of the Micah prophecy (4:3-5) describe the ushering in of the Millennium, which will follow shortly after the building of the New Jerusalem. Joseph Smith paraphrased part of verse 4 in support of the gathering of Israel and the Mil-lennium, "when every man may sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there will be none to molest or make afraid" (TPJS, p. 93). Isaiah's prophecy also includes the millennial description in almost verbatim language (Isaiah 2:4). In the "Second General Epistle of the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from the Great Salt Lake Valley, to the Saints Scattered Throughout the Earth," the First Presidency refers to "the dawning of the day when the children of the Kingdom can sit under their own vines and fig-tree and inhabit their own houses, having none to make them afraid." 5 Both Isaiah and Micah then treat the gathering of Israel, but Micah's account is quite different than Isaiah's(Words of the Twelve Prophets Monte S Nyman)

What did he prophesy about the Millennium?  A World at peace 

3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.

5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.

6 In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;

7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.

Why are these prophecies important to us? 

  
What can we learn from Micah 4:11–13 about the latter-day destiny of Israel? In the ancient world, oxen were often used to thresh grain. They would walk over the grain, separating the chaff from the kernel. The chaff was blown away and the kernel saved. The nations that oppose Zion will be gathered as sheaves and then be threshed by Israel
 
11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.

12 But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.

13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

How might this separation of the chaff from the kernel be compared to latter-day Israel’s responsibility to do missionary work throughout the world?  D&C 29:7; 33:5–7

 7 And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;

 5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.

6 And even so will I gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in me, and hearken unto my voice.

7 Yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, that the field is white already to harvest; wherefore, thrust in your sickles, and reap with all your might, mind, and strength.

Of whom did Micah prophesy in Micah 5:2–4Micah prophesied the birth of our Savior.

2 But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

4 And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

This is one of the best-known messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. It is, in fact, the one quoted by Matthew in the New Testament as having been fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Ephratah is simply an additional name to distinguish the Bethlehem in Judah from another Bethlehem in the land assigned to the tribe of Zebulun (see Joshua 19:15). The prophecy was fulfilled, of course, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king (see Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:1–20).

Ironically, this prophecy was used by some of the Jews to try to disprove that Jesus was the Messiah. Not knowing that he was born in Bethlehem but thinking he was from Nazareth, these people cited Micah to show that Jesus could not be the Messiah (see John 7:40–43).(Old Testament Student Manual)


What are the Lord’s people compared to in Micah 5:7?
 7 And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.

How can the image of dew or showers on the grass be compared to the effect of Church members on the people of the world? 

What do you think Micah meant by saying that these showers will not wait “for the sons of men”? Just as mortals cannot stop dew from forming or showers from falling, nothing can stop the Lord’s work from progressing throughout the world.

What are the Lord’s people compared to in Micah 5:8  
Jacob" (or the chosen) will be a blessing to all peoples. "Israel," meaning the Messiah's latter-day people from whatever lineage they come, will be leaders in the midst of other peoples "as a lion among the beasts of the forest.

 8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
 
What does this image suggest about the strength and power of the Lord’s work? Just as a flock of sheep have no power to stop a young lion, no power on earth will be able to hinder the work of the Lord.

In 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540)

How can Micah 6:6–8 help us when we feel overwhelmed by all that is expected of us?
6 Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah posed some rhetorical questions about what the Lord really required of true followers: would it be burnt offerings, calves, great numbers of animals, great amounts of oil, even their firstborn children? After all those hyperbolic questions, his answer was one of pure peace and the essence of true religion: What is good in the eyes of the Lord? What is required by him? "To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." That is a classic, succinct summary of good religion  (Latter-day Saint Commentary of the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen)

After prophesying of the Lord’s work in the latter days, what conclusion did Micah come to about God’s nature?  Micah 7:18–20
18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

Micah uttered his own words of praise and gratitude for the Lord's mercy shown through His forgiveness and redemption, assuring the people of the Lord's compassion in subduing their iniquities and casting their sins into the sea (Micah 7:18-19). He closed his work with the assurance that the Lord will implement truth and loving kindness to "Jacob" and "Abraham" (the people of His covenant), according to His promises (Micah 7:20a-b) (Latter-day Saint Commentary of the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen)


Conclusion


The Lord loves all his children and we as latter-day Israel, have the great responsibility to share his love and the truths of the gospel with all people. The lives and writings of Jonah and Micah can help us understand responsibility to love ALL people and share the blessings of the gospel with them.  

 

They can also help us understand the need for righteous missionaries.  in 1979 President Spencer W Kimball spoke of the need for more missionaries who could preach the gospel to people in all parts of the world he declared:  “I believe the Lord can do anything he sets his mind to do. But I can see no good reason why the Lord would open doors that we are not prepared to enter” (“The Uttermost Parts of the Earth,” Ensign, July 1979, 9)  

 

In knowing this it is of great importance, even eternal importance that we accept the callings extended to us whether it be serving a mission, serving in the temple, church callings, or being asked to pray to know whom we should share the gospel with.  What ever the calling or service may be we must magnify and fulfill them to our greatest extent.  for they are each an individual part of Heavenly Father's plan to show ALL his children of the world his love for them and if we as latter-day Israel love him, we must love all, and if we love all we must serve righteously. 

    


The Book of Jonah BYU Religious Studies

 

Resources: 
Sidney B. Sperry Voice of Israel's Prophets
Mormon Doctrine
Old Testament Student Manual 
Latter-day Saint Commentary of the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen
Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson
Unlocking the Old Testament Victor Ludlow
Prophets & Prophecies of The Old Testament
Ensign 1979
History of the Church

The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...