Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, September 22, 2018

God Reveals His Secrets to His Prophets

*Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at 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 a latter-day Saint, we believe that the current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Prophet called of God, in the same way that others from the Old and New Testaments were called of God to preach, teach and exhort.  We believe, as in times of old that he is not only called to lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but to lead the World.  When he speaks he doesn't just speak to guide and direct members of the church, he speaks for the entire population of the world.  Now keeping this in mind, as a Latter-day Saint, if someone asked you what the prophet has most recently stated to the world would you be able to answer? The following story tells how when we think about answering that question, we might be surprised.  
 “When I was a young wife and mother, my husband spent two years in the air force. We lived in military housing on Long Island, New York. While tending our young children, I often visited with neighbors who had come from all over the country. One day as a neighbor and I were talking about our beliefs, she became curious about what was different about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I told her briefly about the Restoration, and I explained that the restored Church of Jesus Christ has a living prophet today. This really seemed to pique her interest, and she wanted to know what the prophet had said. As I started to tell her about the Doctrine and Covenants and modern revelation, she said, ‘But what has he said lately?’ I told her about general conference and that the Church had a monthly publication with a message from the prophet. Then she got really interested. I was so embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t read the current message. She concluded our conversation by saying, ‘You mean you have a living prophet and you don’t know what he said?’” (Janette Hales Beckham, “Sustaining the Living Prophets,” Ensign, May 1996, 84).
Why a Prophet?  According to the testimony of the Scriptures in all ages of the world, whenever God was about to bring a judgment upon the world or accomplish any great work, the first thing he did was to raise up a Prophet, and reveal unto him the secret, and send him to warn the people, so that they may be left without excuse. This was the case in the days of Noah and Lot. God was about to bring judgments upon the people, and he raised up those Prophets who warned the people, but who rejected their testimony; therefore the judgments came upon the people.  The same holds true for us today, we have been given a Prophet from God to guide and direct us that in the end we be saved and not suffer eternal consequences.  
George Albert Smith stated that this principle operated to help bring forth the United States and also the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:  I believe that all down through the ages, as recorded in holy writ, the Lord has vindicated that statement. [Amos 3:7.] The preparation for the ushering in of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this latter dispensation was indicated in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, and repeated again in the days of the Apostles, and then the foundation was laid for the organization of the government of the United States by men and women who believed in the divine mission of Jesus Christ. The stage was not set hastily; it was preparing through hundreds of years. We who live in this marvelous age may look back and see that throughout the centuries our Heavenly Father has fulfilled his promises to his children, and the people or nation that has observed the laws of God and honored his commandments has been blessed; while those who have been recreant to their opportunity have suffered calamity and in many cases entire destruction. Our Heavenly Father prepared the way for the coming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which was to precede the second coming of our Lord (Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 65.)
Spencer W. Kimball, has taught that the principle of a living Prophet on the earth is always in force; furthermore, each individual is entitled to receive guidance from the Lord based on personal righteousness:  This postulation to the prophet Amos [3:7] has come down from antiquity. . . .Many people of our own day expect that revelations will come only in spectacular vision on Sinais accompanied with lightnings and thunderings. . . . . For many it is hard to accept as revelation those numerous ones in Moses' time, in Joseph's time, and in our own year—those revelations which come to prophets as deep, unassailable impressions settling down on the prophet's mind and heart as dew from heaven or as the dawn dissipates the darkness of night.  The burning bushes, the smoking mountains, the sheets of four-footed beasts, the Cumorahs, and the Kirtlands were realities; but they were the exceptions. The great volume of revelation came to Moses and to Joseph and comes to today's prophet in the less spectacular way—that of deep impressions, without spectacle or glamour or dramatic events.  Always expecting the spectacular, many will miss entirely the constant flow of revealed communication.  When in a Thursday temple meeting, after sacred prayer and fasting, important decisions are made: new missions and new stakes created, new patterns and policies initiated, a new temple approved, new officials called to fill vital vacancies in leadership; the information is often taken for granted and possibly thought of as mere human calculations. But to those who sit in the intimate circles and hear the solemn prayers of the prophet and the testimony of this man of God; to those who see the astuteness of his deliberations and the sagacity of his decisions and pronouncements, to them he is verily a prophet. To hear him conclude important new developments with such solemn expressions as "The Lord is pleased," "Our Heavenly Father has spoken" is to know it positively.  (Germany Area Conference Report, 1973, pp. 74-77.)

From the prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith, to the prophet of our own year, President Russell M Nelson, the communication line is unbroken, the authority is continuous; The voice of the Lord is continuous for the world and it is imperative that we listen, study and live the direction we are given.   
The importance of listening to and following the living prophet has a magnitude greater than we sometimes comprehend.  We believe, we listen, but sometimes we can become complacent. Fortunately we have the scriptures to remind us of our responsibilities as Gods people and Amos and Joel from the Old Testament help us to understand the importance of truly following THE Prophet of God as well as teach us what to expect in the coming days.    
Who was the Prophet Amos?   He was a shepherd from Tekoa, a small village in the hill country of Judah. The Hebrew name Amos means “bearer” or “burden” and refers to the weighty warning that the Lord commissioned Amos to carry to the kingdom of Israel. 
Amos was a shepherd from a city called Tekoa, now a hilltop of ancient ruins about six miles south of Bethlehem, away from the normal trade routes. Although small and obscure, Tekoa was strategic enough that Rehoboam fortified it as a southern city of defense for Jerusalem (see 2 Chronicles 11:6). Amos was an alert observer of people and nations, and scholars agree that he was far from being an untutored rustic, even though he described himself as a simple herdsman (see 1:1; 7:14–15).  Since the contemporaneous reigns of Judah’s Uzziah and Israel’s Jeroboam II are specifically mentioned in the scripture, the ministry of Amos has been estimated to have been about B.C. 750. If so, he may have been contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea.  (Old Testament Student Manual) 
He ministered to the people of the kingdom of Israel from about 800 to 750 B.C. Most of these people were in apostasy. They loved riches and oppressed the poor, and they were so hardened that not even famine or pestilence humbled them. As Amos confronted the people with their sins, he prophesied even more dire penalties. Nevertheless, he emphasized that God was eager to cleanse anyone who would repent, exhorting, “Seek the Lord, and ye shall live” (Amos 5:6). Amos also prophesied about the latter days.
 Who was the Prophet Joel?   There is little information about Joel but we do know that he was the son of Pethuel.  His name Joel or the Hebrew, Yo'el, would seem to mean "Jehovah is God," and its safe to say that the prophet's parents were devotees of the true Hebrew religion.  
Joel was a native of the kingdom of Judah, and called as a prophet called to preach to Judah.  His ministry came before Uzziah’s reign but after the rule of the infamous Athaliah, the queen who tried to exterminate the Davidic line. 
Prophets of the Lord were called to labor among people whose lives remained in spiritual darkness. Joel was one of these prophets called to minister to a people who refused to repent. His prophecies have a common theme with those of Isaiah, Jonah, Amos, and others: repent or face destruction.  Joel is particularly significant to us because he prophesied of our day. 
Biblical scholars do not agree on when Joel lived. Some think he preceded Amos and Hosea because both men quoted him (compare Amos 1:2with Joel 3:16), but it is also possible that Joel quoted them.  Joel may have served before the time of Isaiah, for Isaiah quoted one of Joel’s prophecies (compare Isaiah 13:6with Joel 1:15), but it may be that Joel quoted Isaiah. 

Joel's prophecies are important to us because many of them concern the latter days.  He used the powerful image of a devouring host of locusts to symbolize the devastation that armies and God’s judgments would bring in the latter days and is also a major source of information on the battle of Armageddon, one of the momentous events in the coming history of the world.  Joel also prophesied great blessings in the latter days, foreseeing that the Lord would “pour out his spirit upon all flesh”  So, although the book of Joel is a short work, it is full of valuable insights and information. 

Part 1: Amos teaches that the Lord reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets. Amos 3:6–7.

How do we hear the word of the Lord in our day?  He does so through his chosen Prophet.  In the book of Amos; Amos spoke to the whole of Israel, all twelve families or tribes. Using the metaphor of a husband in the same way as our previous reading from Hosea.  Here again the Lord reminded Israel that He had chosen no other. Amos 3:2   
He spoke of Himself as a faithful husband and reminded Israel of her covenant relationship with Him.  He asked Israel to remember the need for unity in her relationship with Him. It is necessary, if they are to walk together, for them to be in agreement. The images are all chosen to express the same thing: God, has foreknowledge of all calamities but He never sends a calamity unless He first notifies His prophet of it.  

What did the prophet Amos teach about the importance of prophets? Amos 3:7
 7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

 Amos 3:7 is a clear statement concerning the role of prophets. President N. Eldon Tanner said: “There are many scriptures which assure us that God is as interested in us today as he has been in all his children from the beginning, and thus we believe in continuous revelation from God through his prophets to guide us in these latter days. The Prophet Amos said, ‘Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.’” (Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 52.)
What two words were changed in the Joseph Smith Translation of Amos 3:6–7? footnotes 6b and 7a; in verse 6 the word known is used instead of done, and in verse 7 the word until is used instead of but. 
6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be aevil in a city, and the Lord hath not bdone (Known) it?
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, abut( until)  he brevealeth his csecret unto his servants the dprophets.
How do these changes clarify the meaning of the passage?  The Joseph Smith Translation itself is an example of the Lord’s secrets being made known to a prophet for our benefit.  

What does Doctrine and Covenants 1:37–38 teach about the respect we should have for the messages of the prophets?  The voice of the Prophet is the same as the Lord.
37 Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
38 What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
As recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 21:4–5, what counsel and commandment did the Lord give the Saints on the day the Church was organized?  Listen and give head to the words of the Prophet for it is the same as if we had heard the voice of God. 
4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
What blessings did he promise if the Saints would do this? D&C 21:6.
6 For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.
How have you seen this promise fulfilled in your own life as you have obeyed the counsel of the prophets?

Becoming at ease in Zion
Amos warned the people about becoming “at ease in Zion” Amos 6:1
1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
What does it mean to become at ease in Zion?  2 Nephi 28:19–24, 27, 29–30.
19 For the kingdom of the devil must shake, and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance, or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger, and perish;
20 For behold, at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.
21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.
24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!
27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!
29 Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
In what ways might we be at ease in Zion today? 
How can we guard against this?

2. Amos prophesies of ancient and latter-day Israel  Amos 7:10–17; 8:11–13; 9:8–15.

Amos 7–9 deals with five visions Amos received from the Lord. Each vision showed that the Lord intended to completely destroy the kingdom of Israel if the people did not repent. The first two visions were of destructions that were avoided because Israel repented.
A swarm of locusts (Amos 7:1–3). “The king, who has had the early grass mown, is Jehovah; and the mowing of the grass denotes the judgments which Jehovah has already executed upon Israel. The growing of the second crop is a figurative representation of the prosperity which flourished again after those judgments; in actual fact, therefore, it denotes the time when the dawn had risen again for Israel ” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 10:1:306–7.)
Devouring fire (Amos 7:4–6). The fire that devoured the great deep (presumably the ocean) is symbolic of the partially destructive wars that Israel was later involved in. Like the fire which “did eat up a part” of the great deep, Israel’s land was partly despoiled and many of its people led away
The next three visions revealed ways Israel had not repented (Amos 7:7–9; 8:1–3; 9:1–4). 
The master builder with the plumbline (Amos 7:7–9). A plumbline is used to obtain exactness and accuracy in construction work. Here it seems to symbolize that God’s strict justice will prevail in judging Israel for her evil ways. All wickedness will be sought out, measured (judged), and destroyed.
The basket of summer fruit (Amos 8:1–9). The harvest of summer fruit symbolized the ripening of Israel. Just as summer fruit must be eaten when picked or it will spoil, Israel was ripe for picking and spoiling by enemies.
The sun going down at noon (Amos 8:9–14). A man’s sun can be said to set at noon if he is taken by death during the prime of his life. A nation’s sun figuratively sets at noon when the country is destroyed in the midst of prosperity. But Amos’ dual prophecy is also a reminder that before the Second Coming of the Lord, the sun will be darkened and refuse to give her light. Indeed, it will be a sign for the wicked of the latter days that their sun is about to set at noon. (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 10:1:317.)
The smitten sanctuary (Amos 9:1–6). From His dwelling place, the Lord will smite the wicked. There is none to escape, hide where they may. Only the Second Coming of the Lord fulfills such a description, for when the Lord comes in His glory, the rewards of justice will be met. No mountain is high enough, no sea so deep that the unrepentant sinner can hide from the judgments of a just God.
The result of these sins would be that the Northern Kingdom of Israel would be conquered and taken captive. God, however, would not allow Israel to be utterly destroyed. In chapter 9, the Lord promised them that although they would be scattered among all nations, in the last days they would be gathered again to their lands of promise. 
Amos 7:10–17 Deals with Amos, as the called Prophet of God, and the delivery of these Visions: Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee.
In this autobiographical segment, the prophet related his confrontation with Amaziah, a court "priest." Presumably it was over the prophet's frank statement that the Lord himself would "rise against" the king:
10 ¶ Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.
12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
13 But prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.
14 ¶ Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
15 And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
16 ¶ Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
17 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
Why did Amaziah, a priest in the kingdom of Israel, ask Amos to leave the land? Amos had prophesied that evil would come to the people and their king. Amaziah and his people did not want to hear the truth about their evil doings.
What do verses Amos 7: 14-17 teach us about the prophet Amos?  He had integrity and courage. He would not change what the Lord told him to say but continued to prophesy that evil would come to the people if they did not repent.  
14 ¶ Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
15 And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
16 ¶ Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
17 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
In all ages of time, why have so many people rejected or ignored prophets’ messages?  They just don't want to hear or accept the truth about their lives.  Usually what the Lord says through the Prophet doesn't fit in lifestyles, so the words are rejected. 
What did Amos prophesy would be the result if Israel rejected the counsel of the prophets? Amos 8:11–13  Spiritual famine, or apostasy, would result.
11 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
Here again one finds a clear case of prophetic dualism. Amos predicted a famine of the word of the Lord, which famine certainly occurred during the period of apostasy in Israel and Judah. The hardness of their hearts reached such a state that from 400 B.C. until the ministry of John the Baptist, which began in A.D. 30, as far as we know there were no prophets in Israel.  After the death of the Apostles, there was famine once again until the restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith, the first later-day Prophet.  
The prophet then foresaw a long-range spiritual famine of "the word of the Lord." That famine continued from the last of the Old Testament prophets on, except for the period of the Savior's ministry, until the latter-day restoration. In Amos's application of this prophecy to his own times, he voiced a warning from the Lord that the spiritual thirst felt by the young people of the time was already at hand in Samaria, in Dan, the location of one of the golden calves of the first King Jeroboam (Amos 8:14b), and in Beer-sheba, known as a shrine for idolatrous worship in Amos's time.  (Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis T Rasmussen) 
What are the results for us personally if we reject the counsel of the prophets?  Spiritual famine in our lives, apostasy, we will be left to our own devices and consequences. 
Elder Neal A. Maxwell:  "Those who have lived in the midst of the famine foreseen by Amos, one of not hearing the full word of God (Amos 8:11-12), have never known the taste and nourishment of the whole-grain gospel. Instead, some have subsisted on the fast foods of philosophy." (Men and Women of Christ, p39)
As stated; Amos’s prophecy of a spiritual famine was fulfilled among the children of Israel after the time of Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet. This period ended approximately 400 years later when John the Baptist was called to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Amos’s prophecy also applies to the Great Apostasy, the centuries of spiritual darkness that followed the death of the Savior’s Apostles and ended with the restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith.
In what ways can the absence of the word of the Lord be compared to a famine? Without the word of the Lord we spiritually starve.  There is no guidance, people seek other ways to find peace but nothing can bring peace save only the word of the Lord.  
What evidence do you see that people today are wandering “from sea to sea” seeking for the word of the Lord?  Amos was a discerning observer of the religious and social conditions of his times. The kingdom of Israel to the north was prosperous. Greed, corruption, and vice were common among the wealthy. The condition of the poor was pitiful. Religion had lost its vitality. Morals seemed forgotten.  Is it not the same today?  In addition there are many different churches, all teaching a different doctrine and its confusing for the commentary is that of man and not the word of God, many look to the world and accept political correct ways, some seek divination through astrologers and card readers...
When called by the Lord, Amos was a herdsman, one who kept flocks and tended vineyards. Yet he rose fearlessly to the occasion and worked among the people, prophesying of their future as individuals and as a nation. The same counsel was given to other generations in similar words, it is given to us as well in our day.  
How can having the blessings of the restored gospel be compared to a feast?  Through the true restored gospel we are fed, our hearts and minds are nourished, there is order and completeness, there is no confusion, or crafty ways, only the world of God that is plan to the understanding. 
What message of hope concludes the book of Amos? Amos 9:8–15  The children of Israel would not be completely destroyed, they would be scattered among all the nations, and in the last days they would be reestablished as a great and prosperous people. Note that at the end of verse 9, the Lord makes clear that he is concerned about each member of the house of Israel.
8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord.
9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
11 ¶ In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this.
13 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.
Amos told Israel that they could not expect deliverance simply because they were the chosen people (see Amos 9:7). The kingdom of Israel, he said, would be destroyed, except for a remnant of Jacob whom the Lord would preserve because of His mercy (see v. 8). The gathering of the righteous remnant will be such that not one worthy soul will be unnoticed (see v. 9), and the Lord will establish His work, even to the raising of the temple in Jerusalem to its proper place (see v. 11a).
Every righteous soul who has taken upon himself the name of the Lord—be he Israelite or Gentile—will be brought into the kingdom (see Amos 9:12). And the lands of the earth will shed forth their riches. The promises to scattered Israel are secure, for they will be gathered back into the kingdom of God, inheriting every blessing promised to the righteous with no fear of losing them evermore (see vv. 14–15).  (Old Testament Student Manual)

3. Joel prophesies that God will bless his people in the latter days and pour out his Spirit upon them Joel 2; 3:16–17
This short, powerful book warns Judah of a mighty invasion and highlights some events of the last days.  The prophet Joel described some of the events of the latter days that would precede the Second Coming. He described the march of a great army that would cause great destruction because of the wickedness of the people Joel 2:1–11. He called on Israel to repent and turn to the Lord, promised that God would be in their midst, and described the eventual triumph and redemption of Israel Joel 2:12–32.

Joel 2:12–32 and Joel 3:16–17 read as follows: 
12 ¶ Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?
15 ¶ Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
18 ¶ Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
19 Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.
21 ¶ Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.
22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
28 ¶ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
16 The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
17 So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

What invitations has the Lord given to those living in the latter days?  The Lord calls to His children in all ages: “Turn ye unto me with all your heart” (v. 12). He desires them to become His people so that He can be their God. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith commented on the Lord’s powerful intervention and redemption in the latter days: “You know, they used to rend their garments and sit in sack cloth when they were repentant. So the Lord says, ‘Rend your heart and not your garments.’ Humble yourselves. Prepare yourselves, oh Israel, that you may receive My blessings, that you might be protected from this condition that is going to come. And then the last words that I have read from this part of this chapter, the Lord says that He will take that great army in hand, that He also has an army. His army is terrible, just as terrible as the other army, and He will take things in hand. When I say the other army, the Lord’s army, do not get an idea He is thinking about England or the United States. He is not. He is not thinking about any earthly army. The Lord’s army is not an earthly army, but He has a terrible army; and when that army marches, it will put an end to other armies, no matter how terrible they may be; and so He says in these closing words I have read to you that He would do this thing. He would drive this terrible northern army into the wilderness, barren and desolate, with his face towards the east sea and his hinder part towards the utmost sea. He would do that, and then He would bless His people—having references, of course, to Israel.” (Signs of the Times, pp. 160–61.)

Invitations From The Lord to Us in Joel 2:12–32 and Joel 3:16–17 

1.      “Turn ye even to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).
2.      “Rend your heart” (Joel 2:13, meaning to break your heart or be humble).
3.      “Turn unto the Lord your God” (Joel 2:13).
4.      “Sanctify the congregation” (Joel 2:16).
5.      “Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice” (Joel 2:21).

What blessings has the Lord promised to those who follow him in the latter days? Joel 2:12–32 and Joel 3:16–17

He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and he will turn away the evil from you” (Joseph Smith Translation, Joel 2:13; see footnote 13b).  
 The Lord will “pity his people” (Joel 2:18).  
The Lord will drive the northern army (described in verses 1–11) into a barren place (Joel 2:20). 
“Ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied” (Joel 2:26).
“I am in the midst of Israel, … and my people shall never be ashamed” (Joel 2:27).

“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28; see also verse 29).

Young and old will prophesy, dream dreams, and see visions (Joel 2:28).

“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32).

“The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem” (Joel 3:16).

“The Lord will be the hope of his people” (Joel 3:16).

“The Lord will be the … strength of the children of Israel” (Joel 3:16).

“So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion”
(Joel 3:17).

What do these blessings teach about the Lord’s commitment to his covenant people? about his power in behalf of his Saints? about his mercy and love? about our opportunities in the last days? 
“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh”Joel 2:28

28 ¶ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 
When Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith he quoted these verses, saying that they were not yet fulfilled but soon would be. Moroni also explained that the “fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in” (Joseph Smith—History 1:41). These statements clearly put the fulfillment of this part of Joel’s prophecy after A .D. 1823. It obviously applies to the latter days in its language and content, although it has also been fulfilled previously. Verse 32 is a reference to Jesus Christ (see Romans 10:13).
Sidney B. Sperry added: “In the mind of the writer no doubt remains that Joel foresaw the dispensation in which we live and God’s judgments upon the world. This he expressed in figures that would be easily understood by his people. So acutely and painfully were the judgments that Joel saw impressed upon his mind that he cried out in anguish—as if he were present—to the people of our day to repent and escape God’s wrath.” (The Voice of Israel’s Prophets, p. 297.)
The last days are to be characterized by the pouring out of the Spirit upon all flesh. Peter, experiencing a rich and wonderful outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, quoted Joel (see Acts 2:17–21), who spoke of the latter days, the time just before the Lord’s Second Coming when He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. That Spirit is not only the Holy Ghost but also the Spirit of Christ, that Spirit which enlightens everyone (see Moroni 7:16; D&C 93:2). Sons and daughters will prophesy—preach, exhort, pray, and instruct so as to benefit the Church. Direct revelation will be given. Young men and women who are representatives of the Lord will be inspired. The gifts of teaching and inspiration will be given to all classes and levels of people. The Lord will call and qualify those He chooses. He will pour out His Spirit upon them, and they will be endowed with the gifts necessary to convert sinners and to build up the Church. Certainly this prophecy is now beginning to be fulfilled.
The message of this passage is fourfold: (1) there will be a rich outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord in the latter days; (2) certain signs will be fulfilled before Christ’s Second Coming in the clouds of heaven; (3) His coming will be great for the righteous and terrible for the wicked; and (4) the “remnant” (v. 32), Israel of the latter days, will be those who are left after the period of tribulation and scattering is over. (Old Testament Student Manual) 
All the modern inventions of travel and communication have come since the gospel was restored. 
 How do these developments help fulfill Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:28–29

How do these developments help further the work of the Lord in our day?

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith taught:  
“I maintain that had there been no restoration of the gospel, and no organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there would have been no radio; there would have been no airplane, and there would not have been the wonderful discoveries in medicine, chemistry, electricity, and the many other things wherein the world has been benefited by such discoveries. Under such conditions these blessings would have been withheld, for they belong to the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times of which the restoration of the gospel and the organization of the Church constitute the central point, from which radiates the Spirit of the Lord throughout the world. The inspiration of the Lord has gone out and takes hold of the minds of men, though they know it not, and they are directed by the Lord. In this manner he brings them into his service that his purposes and his righteousness, in due time, may be supreme on the earth.
“… I do not believe for one moment that these discoveries have come by chance, or that they have come because of superior intelligence possessed by men today over those who lived in ages that are past. They have come and are coming because the time is ripe, because the Lord has willed it, and because he has poured out his Spirit on all flesh”  (Conference Report, Oct. 1926, 117)
God raised up prophets in ancient Israel for the same reasons He raises up prophets today. They are to teach the people the laws of God and how to live them, call the people to repentance when necessary, and bear witness of Jesus Christ. The work of all true prophets of all ages is to act as God’s messenger and make known God’s will.
Amos and Joel warned of calamity to come upon Judah and Israel because they had forsaken the Lord and trodden down the poor. Their words describe the destructive power of God and the mercy that could come to the humble and pure.  One of the main values in having the scriptures and reading them is that we can become acquainted with the Lord and with His ways; we can then transfer the principles we learn to our own lives. This generation is under a greater obligation to live His commandments, for greater light and knowledge have been given to us.  We have again been given a Prophet.  
Elder John A. Widtsoe explained that “a prophet is a teacher. That is the essential meaning of the word. He teaches the body of truth, the gospel, revealed by the Lord to man; and under inspiration explains it to the understanding of the people. He is an expounder of truth. Moreover, he shows that the way to human happiness is through obedience to God’s law. He calls to repentance those who wander away from the truth. He becomes a warrior for the consummation of the Lord’s purposes with respect to the human family. The purpose of his life is to uphold the Lord’s plan of salvation. All this he does by close communion with the Lord, until he is ‘full of power by the spirit of the Lord.’ (Micah 3:8; see also D. & C. 20:26; 34:10; 43:16
What qualifies a man to be a prophet? Elder A. Theodore Tuttle answered that question by saying: “Foremost, God must choose him as his prophet! This is entirely different than for man to choose God. The Savior, speaking to his apostles, said, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit. …’ (John 15:16.)
“‘We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.’ (Article of Faith 5.)
“A prophet, then, is the authorized representative of the Lord. While the world may not recognize him, the important requirement is that God speaks through him.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 11; or Ensign, July 1973, p. 18; emphasis added.)
Unfortunately, many people in the world today believe just that; that Heavenly Father no longer speaks to His children through prophets.  However, Amos 3 records and teaches us what Amos said about the Lord and prophets then and now.  
It is a great blessing to live in the latter days, when many prophecies are being fulfilled and when we truly do, once again, have the guidance of a living prophet.  It is our responsibility as His children and particularly as Latter-day Saints, to listen, to learn of, study, and follow his called Prophet.  
Conference reports
Old Testament Student Manual
BYU Religious Studies Quarterly 
Old Testament Seminary Manual
Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson
Companion to your study of the OId Testament Daniel Ludlow
Words of the Twelve Prophets Monte S Nyman 
Voice of Israel's Prophets Sidney Sperry
Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen
Unlocking the Old Testament Victor Ludlow
Signs of the Times
Men and Women of Christ
Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary

The Fall of Adam and Eve

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