Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
Old Testament, The Books of Jonah and Micah
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #33
"Sharing the Gospel with the World"
Book Reference: The Words of the Twelve Prophets, Monte S. Nyman, Farres H. Nyman, pp. 35-46.
Book Reference: The Old Testament Made Easier, Part Three, David J. Ridges

The Book of Jonah
            Almost everyone knows the story of Jonah and the whale.  It is written in the fifth book of the Old Testament prophets known as "minor prophets."  Although the majority of the narrative is about Jonah's experience with the "big fish," there is more that is not usually told. 
            Jonah, the son of Amittai from the tribe of Zebulun, was a prophet of God.  Jonah’s name means dove and his father's name means truthful.  He was from a small town called Gath-hepher in Galilee, about three miles northeast of Nazareth.  Jonah was a prophet in Israel at a time in history almost eight hundred years before the birth of Christ (788 B.C.).  This was just prior to and during the reign of Jeroboam (II) the son of Joash, the evil king of Israel who was king for thirty-one years.
            It has long been argued whether or not Jonah was a real person who actually lived and prophesied in Israel or was Jonah just an allegorical figure designed to teach  gospel principles?  The best evidence of an actual person came when Jesus on two occasions referred to "the sign of the prophet Jonah"―as a foreshadowing of Jesus' own death and resurrection (see Matthew 12: 39-41; 16:4; and Luke 11-29-30).  It is doubtful that he actually wrote this book.  It was probably written later by one who was directed by the Lord.
            His name is also found in 2 Kings 14:25. "According to the word of the Lord God of Israel," the king, Jeroboam II, "restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, which was spoken by the hand of his servant Jonah." This is the only scripture in the Old Testament that refers to Jonah other than the book by his name.
            This story is written as a sequence of events from sources including scriptures, book references, Internet information etc., that apply or add to our narrative of the book of Jonah.  The quoted passages are not referenced to make it easier to read. 

Chapter 1―Jonah Flees From the Lord
            Jonah awoke from the silence of his sleep when the Lord came to him saying: "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city," and cry repentance to the people of the city as I am concerned about their wickedness.
            Everyone of Jonah's time knew of the terror of the Assyrian army in warfare (see Nahum 3:1-5).  Their gross practices in the treatment of their captives was savage and brutal. Most were beheaded immediately; however those of power or wealth were tortured by cutting off noses, ears, hands, feet, or skinned alive, and even roasted alive over a fire. 
            And, Nineveh was the capital of Assyria.
            Now, Jonah knew he was one of the children of Israel.  He knew of the Lord's covenant promises and blessings given to them as his beloved people.  How could the Lord command him to go to Nineveh?  Wasn't Nineveh a place of heathens who worship idols?  This command from the Lord not only filled him with fear of their brutality, but he questioned the Lord's judgment in wanting him to preach repentance and salvation to the Gentiles who are taken in iniquity. And, besides, weren't they beyond saving? Instead of obeying, Jonah immediately decided to rise up and flee from the Lord to Tarshish which was the opposite direction from Nineveh.   He journeyed to the seaport of Joppa [modern Tel Aviv] and boarded a ship bound for the coast of Spain. 
            While he was sleeping in a lower level of the boat, the Lord sent a mighty wind into the sea and the waves began to batter the sides of the ship. The sailors were so afraid they began to pray, each one to his own god.  And they cast their cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.  But Jonah was unaware as he was fast asleep in the bottom of the boat.  The shipmaster woke him and told him to pray to his god to bless them so they wouldn't perish. 
            It was the custom of that day to cast lots to settle a question whose answer was unknown, for they wondered "who caused this evil to come upon them."  And, the lot fell upon Jonah.  They questioned him about where he came from, who his people were, what his occupation was, and why he caused this evil to come upon them.  And he told them, "I am Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land."  And he told them he had fled from the presence of the Lord.  Now, all were exceedingly afraid and they wondered what to do to calm the tempestuous sea.
            Jonah said to them, "Take me, and cast me forth into the sea" for he knew he was the cause of the tempest. The men tried to row the boat to land, but the sea was too strong against them.  Now, they cried to the Lord, "Let us not perish for this man's life."  So they took Jonah and threw him into the sea and immediately the sea was calmed.  Now the men feared the Lord and offered a sacrifice and made vows to the Lord.
            As for Jonah, the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow him, and he was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Chapter 2―Jonah's Prayer in the Belly of the Fish
            Jonah cried to the Lord in the belly of the fish. "For thou hadest 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.  Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head."
            Jonah had been tested, but when he was most distressed in the belly of the fish, he prayed mightily and the Lord heard him in his temple in heaven.  Jonah repented and gave thanksgiving to the Lord.  He vowed to do what the Lord ask of him for he knows salvation comes only from the Lord.
            Then, the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out on to the dry land.

Chapter 3―Jonah Goes to Nineveh
            And the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, "Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee."  This time Jonah was filled with faith and he knew the Lord would be with him and help him. 
            So, Jonah did as the Lord told him and journeyed to Nineveh.  Nineveh was a  great city to God as Jonah was soon to find out.  It was a prosperous well-know trade center with terraces, libraries, and temples.  The walls of the city were broad enough that chariots could drive side-by side on them.  Outside the walls were towns and villages.  "The circumference of the great city was about sixty miles, or three days' journey. (See Sperry, Voice of Israel’s Prophets, pp. 331–32; quoted in Student Manual.)
            At one day's journey into the city, Jonah stopped and cried to the people, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown."  When the people heard Jonah preach, they believed his sayings and proclaimed a fast. And, everyone from the greatest to the least of them put on sackcloth and sat in ashes to humble themselves. 
            When the king of Nineveh heard of Jonah's sayings, he also laid aside his royal robes and dressed in sackcloth and sat in ashes.  And the king and his nobles published a decree throughout Nineveh that no man nor beast would eat food nor drink water during the fast.  All were to clothe themselves in sackcloth and cry mightily to God.  And they  repented of their evil and violent ways, and turned to God.  But they wondered if God would turn away from his fierce anger towards them.
            And, God saw that they had repented; that they turned away from their evil. And God turned away from the evil that he said he would bring upon them. 

Chapter 4―Jonah Learns a Final Lesson
            But, Jonah was displeased with the Lord, and was very angry.  He prayed to the Lord saying, "I knew [when I fled to Tarshish] that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness."  Jonah "knew that God could revoke the calamity decreed, but expected he would do so even without the repentance of the people" (see footnote 4:2b).  Jonah seemed to be jealous that God would also love the heathen oppressors when Israel was his cherished people.  Jonah prayed "O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live."  And the Lord ask Jonah, "Doest thou well to be angry?"
            So, Jonah went outside the city and made a covering to sit under so he could watch what would become of the city.  And that day, the Lord caused a gourd to grow over his head "to deliver him from his grief."  The shade and coolness of the gourd made Jonah happy.  It wasn't to last, as the next day the Lord caused a worm to eat the gourd and it withered.  And the Lord caused a hot wind with the heat of the sun to beat down on Jonah and he fainted and wished himself once again to die.
            Now the Lord teaches Jonah a lesson.  God said to Jonah, "Are you angry because of the gourd"―[it's planting, growing, or withering in one day that Jonah had nothing to do with?]  And Jonah answered; "I do well to be angry, even unto death."  And the Lord answers Jonah: "And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city wherein are more than six score thousand persons that did not know the difference between right and wrong?"  And Jonah learned that if he could be so grieved over a plant, how much more pity and compassion the Lord felt for the lost souls of Nineveh.

What We Learned From the story of the Prophet Jonah
1.    Don't' question the Lord's judgment.
2.    You can't run away from the Lord.  He knows you and will always be with you if you will seek him.
3.    Do not be afraid.  Always do what the Lord or his servants ask of you.  He will watch over and help you.
4.    Don't be prideful about your station in life.  Even the lowliest is still a child of God.
5.    Jonah's burial in the belly of the fish was a type and shadow of the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 12:39-41).
6.    Humble prayer can help you overcome your problems and difficulties.
7.    Unrighteous anger is not helpful.
8.    To the Lord the worth of souls is great.
The Holy Bible, King James Version, Old Testament, Book of Jonah, pp. 1147-1150.
Old Testament Student Manual―1 Kings-Malachi, pp. 97-100.
The Words of the Twelve Prophets, Monte S. Nyman, Farres H. Nyman, pp. 35-46.
The Fourth Thousand Years, W. Cleon Skousen, pp. 448-468.
Internet; Wikipedia; Nineveh; Zebulun; Hamath .

The Book of Micah
            Micah was a prophet from a small town of Moresheth-Gath which is believed to have been located in the low hills of Judea, about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem.  He prophesied during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (v. 1).  The dates of these kings indicate that Micah's preaching took place from about 740-697 B.C.  This dating places Micah as a contemporary of Isaiah and possibly of Hosea and Amos. (Old Testament Student Manual―1Kings-Malachi, p. 119.)
            The Book of Micah is the sixth book of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. The Student Manual (SM) tells us the name Micah is an abbreviation of Micaiah as found in Jeremiah 26:18, and is probably a contraction of Mikayahu, which means "who is like unto Jehovah?"  This Micah has to be distinguished from eleven other Micah's of the same name in the Old Testament (SM, p.119).
            Nyman and Nyman call Micah, "the second Witness to Isaiah."  They list twenty places in Micah that are similar to Isaiah. The authors describe this as the Lord's law of witnesses (see Deuteronomy 19:15) (The Words of the Twelve Prophets, pp. 89-90).
            Micah was called as a prophet specifically to warn the people of Israel and Judah of their future destruction if they refuse to repent.  This was nothing new.  The Lord always sends his prophets to foretell of catastrophic events if the people turn away from him.  We have already seen this pattern in the words of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah and even Jonah as we continue our study of the words of the "minor" prophets of the Old Testament.

Chapter 2―The Remnant of Israel will Return to the Church
            The Lord will not leave his people forever.  Micah prophesies that the Lord will gather the remnant of Israel back "as the sheep of Bozrah" into the fold of the church [in the latter days].  "They shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men"―the church will grow rapidly.  "They have broken up, and passed through the gate." And "the breaker" [leader] will lead the way, "and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD [Christ] on the head of them" (vv. 12-13).
Compare Isaiah 10: 21: "The remnant shall return , even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God."

Chapter 4―The Mountain of the Lord Shall be Established
            As Micah states in verse one, this is a prophecy for the last days.  He writes of two centers in this day where the "word of the Lord" will go out.  By modern revelation we know  the mountain of the Lord in the tops of the mountain, the New Jerusalem, is where the temple will be built in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri; also, the remnant of Israel will be gathered from throughout the world and will return and restore the temple to Zion in Jerusalem. "But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD [church and temple] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it" (v. 1).
Compare Isaiah 2:2:  "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house  shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."
Both Isaiah and Micah refer to the time right before the Millennium when the temple will be built both in Jerusalem and in the New Jerusalem in Missouri.
 Nyman and Nyman suggest that "the top of the mountains is undoubtedly a synonym for 'the everlasting hills,' as prophesied by Jacob, father of the twelve tribes" (see Genesis 49:26) (The Words of the Twelve Prophets; pp. 79-80). 
            Many nations [converts] will come to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob to learn in the temples and walk in his paths―keep his commandments.  For the law shall go forth of Zion [New Jerusalem] and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (v. 2). President Harold B. Lee gave the following commentary on the law that shall go forth, quoted from the Idaho Falls Temple dedicatory prayer:
"We pray that kings and rulers and the peoples of all nations under heaven may be persuaded of the blessings enjoyed by the people of this land by reason of their freedom under thy guidance and be constrained to adopt similar governmental systems, thus to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Isaiah and Micah that “… out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Improvement Era, Oct. 1945, p. 504; quoted in Old Testament Student Manual (SM) 1 Kings-Malachi, p.121.)
"And he [Christ] shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off" and the wicked will be destroyed at the Second Coming. During the Millennium "nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (v. 3).  And there will be peace when "all will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever." The Lord will gather all those who are lame and those who have been "driven out" and those whom he has afflicted [Israel].  And he will make them "a remnant" [part of the covenant people], " and he that was cast far off" [Israel] a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion…for ever" (vv. 4-7).
            Now, Micah foretells of the Battle of Armageddon: "many nations are gathered against thee [Israel], that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they [the nations of the world] know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel [plans]: for he shall gather them [Israel] as the sheaves into the [threshing] floor" (vv. 11-12).
Compare Isaiah 55:8:  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."
Finally, Micah exhorts us, "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion [people of the Church]: for 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" (v. 13).
Compare D&C 133:59: "And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit."

Chapter 5―Micah's Messianic Prophecies
            Micah 5:2 is perhaps the most well-known prophecy in this book.  It is relevant to the birth of Jesus.  "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."
"[This scripture] 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 Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:1–20) (SM, p. 122). 
"Therefore will he give them up [the Lord will reject Israel for a time because of apostasy, Ridges, p. 454], until the time that she which travalleth hath brought forth"―the restoration of the gospel; "then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel."  And when Israel is restored in the latter days, they will "stand and feed in the strength of the LORD," and they will abide [remain]; for the majesty of the Lord's name will be great "unto the ends of the earth" (vv. 3-4).
            Micah prophesies of the final war between good and evil when the man of peace [Christ] will deliver them "from the Assyrians" and the land of Nimrod―symbolic of the armies of many nations. "And the remnant of Jacob" [members of the Church] "shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass"―a metaphor for missionary work [dew] among the spiritually thirsty [showers upon the grass] "that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men" (vv. 5-7).
            "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"―a symbol of strength throughout the world ; "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"―none can stop the growth of the Church in the last days (Ridges, p. 454). And, "thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off" (vv. 8-9).
Nyman and Nyman explain:  "Those who do not repent and accept the gospel will be cut off from among the house of Israel and will then be trodden down by the house of Israel.  Those who do repent will have the Church established among them, be numbered among the remnant of Jacob to whom this land was given, and assist …in building the New Jerusalem (3 Nephi 15: 12-13).  Thus the house of Israel will eventually tread down the rebellious Gentiles, but those who repent can escape this treading down if they accept the gospel and are numbered with Israel" (Twelve Prophets, p. 84).

Chapter 6―What Doth the Lord Require of Thee
            And a man asks: "wherewith shall I come [what offering should I bring] before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  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?"―like they offered to Baal?
            Now, Micah answers:  "He hath shewed [shown] thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly [justice], and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (vv. 6-8). 
"The laws of God can all be summarized, as Micah did in verses 6–8, in three words: keep the commandments! Micah said in these verses that sin is the breaking of a divine law and that the offering of blood sacrifices could have no effect in remitting sin unless there was also a change of heart" (SM, p. 122).

Chapter 7―Micah's Hymn of Praise to the Lord
            Micah ends with a hymn of praise to the Lord: "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by [forgives] the transgressions of the remnant of his heritage [Israel; his covenant people]?  he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy (Ridges, p. 455) (v. 18).
            "He will turn again [welcome us back with outstretched arms], he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities [he will pay the price for our sins]; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Ridges, p. 455) (v. 19).
            "Thou will perform the truth [covenants made] to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn [promised] unto our fathers from the days of old" [from the beginning] (v. 20) (Ridges, The Old Testament Made Easier, pt. 3, p. 455, vv. 18-20).

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review by Sue Averett also found on Amazon.com
America—imagine a world without her
by Dinesh D'Souza

I first heard about this book because of the movie by the same name which was released on July 4, 2014 (this year).  When I told my brother-in-law I was planning to go see the movie and about Dinesh D'Souza, the author and producer, he had never heard of him even though it is a follow-up to America 2016 which has become a best seller for documentaries (see Dinesh D'Souza's Biography).  I was not surprised as my brother-in-law is a liberal Democrat.

After viewing the movie, I knew I needed to get the book which I did at Costco a couple of weeks later.  I have read it as I have the Bible, devouring every word.  D'Sousa is an immigrant—originally born in Mumbai, India.  His biography states he "came to the U.S. as an exchange student and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983."  After a generation in this country he is a filmmaker par excellence, a New York Times best-selling author, a former policy analyst for President Reagan, and a self-described "part-time Christian apologist" (p. 126). 

In this book he writes about the "Suicide of a Nation" meaning our nation of America.  He methodically lays out the reasons behind his fears.  He believes the "American era is ending in part because a powerful group of Americans wants it to end" (p. 3).  He believes it has become a "policy objective" of the current administration (he calls progressives) in its "foreign and domestic policy."  He states, "it is widely taught in our schools and universities and accepted as valid by the ruling powers in Washington, D.C." (p. 4).  He outlines three primary reasons for our current decline: (1) "The American economy is stagnant and shrinking relative to the growing economies of China, Russia, India, and Brazil" (p. 5); (2) "America is drowning in debt;" and (3) "America is losing its position in the world" (p. 6).  He believes this is all intentional on the part of the progressives who accept as truth that America's "wealth is at best appropriated or at worst stolen rather than earned" (p. 17). 

D'Souza writes that the progressives believe "America's abundance is the product of theft."  If so "then America as a nation is indefensible, inexcusable, and under obligation to undo the crimes she has committed and continues to perpetrate on her own citizens and on the rest of the world." This is the crux of the argument for "Undoing America" (p. 18).

So what are the crimes against America according to the progressives?  D'Souza meticulously enumerates the crimes and guilt blamed on America.  First, Columbus (who never set foot on our land) is accused of stealing the land from the "native Indians;" second, the Founding Fathers permitted slavery and later segregation mostly in the south; and third, by stealing land from the Mexicans—after we won the Mexican war and planted our flag on the soil of Mexico City, the United States only gave back half of the land they had won.  All these claims are silly and can easily be refuted by the facts written in this book. 

But the biggest theft according to the progressives is the theft of capitalists entrepreneurs and innovators who are guilty of "wealth creation" found in America created in part because of our liberty and our freedom.  (Remember Obama saying about your business "you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen?"). If somebody else really did make that happen, then consider— everyone uses the roads and bridges, and there are lots of smart, hard working people in our midst.  Why isn't everyone a rich wealth creator?

Dinesh defines the capitalist system in his chapter called "The Virtue of Prosperity."  He writes, we have led the world in "making things that didn't exist before" (p. 154).  Especially in the fields of "medicine, recreation, work efficiency, home life" and of course technology.  This is NOT theft.  This book explains that progressives are trying "to detach effort from reward" (p. 156).  He states it is "pure stupidity" to  think that achievement is unearned (p. 157).  However, he believes "The premise of the progressive argument is that wealth and profits in today's economy are being appropriated by greedy, selfish people who are taking more than their 'fair share'" (p. 158).  Inequality is a progressives byword.  He writes, "Obama seems to say that some people are getting too much for what they do and others too little. Consequently, the pie must be carved differently not just to equalize outcomes but to give people what they truly deserve" (p. 170). Put it this way: "the people at the top seem to be ripping off the people at the bottom."  The author believes "this is the moral force behind Obama's success" (p. 173).

However, when D'Souza looks at the taxation system in America today, he sees "the top 1 percent of Americans pays more than one-third of all federal income taxes, and the next 9 percent pays another third, the bottom 50 percent of Americans pays no federal income taxes at all.  This is grossly unfair" (p. 226). He states, "the only truly just form of taxation is proportional taxation" where everyone "pays at the same rate."

 He believes "the problem with progressivism has to do with its utter inability to identify who the good guys are." He uses the metaphor of "society as a bandwagon, with working Americans pulling the bandwagon." Through progressive policies, those sitting on the bandwagon are to be praised, while those pulling the bandwagon are accused of being "greedy, selfish, and materialistic" (p. 221).  Those pulling the bandwagon are the thieves and deserve punishment.  If this metaphor is true "our federal government, far from being an instrument of justice, now becomes an instrument of plunder" (p. 222).

This is a book about the history of America.  It shows the morals and motives of the Founders and contrasts it with the motives of the protesters of the 1960's.  It describes the goodness of America in contrast to the "theft critique" put forth by progressives.  It describes how our economic strength has been the source of America's real power in the world although we have never used conquest to gain land or wealth only to establish freedom and liberty.  It explains what is at risk if we choose our decline.  D'Souza describes the rising power and influence of China and other countries in the world and what will happen if they fill the vacuum created by our decline.  In conclusion, he unequivocally states, " Obama is the architect of American decline, and progressivism is the ideology of American suicide." But, he believes we are up to the task of restoration.  In the end, he writes, "Decline is a choice, but so is liberty.  Let us resolve as Americans to make liberty our choice" (p. 257.)  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
Old Testament The Book of Job
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #32
"I Know That My Redeemer Liveth " (Job:19:25)
Reference cited: Sixth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium held at Brigham Young University, January 1978, “Job: ‘Yet Will I Trust in Him,” by Keith H. Meservy, associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University; quoted in Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi, (1982), 23–30.

To declare that all questions can be answered through diligent study of the scriptures, prayer, and pondering the words, is a bold statement.  Yet I believe it is true.  The book of Job is an example of scripture meant to answer some of life's most difficult questions.  It is possible that we will discover some answers we are seeking and some answers we might not want to hear. The objective of this summary is to attempt to answer some of the questions asked in the Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2001), 157–61.

Keith H. Meservy (cited above) states, "many superlative statements have been made about it [Job].…Victor Hugo notes, ‘The book of Job is perhaps the greatest masterpiece of the human mind’ (Henry H. Halley, Pocket Bible Handbook, Chicago, 1946, p. 232). Thomas Carlyle says, ‘I call this book apart from all theories about it, one of the grandest things ever written. Our first, oldest statement of the never ending problem—Man’s Destiny, and God’s ways with him in the earth [emphasis added]. There is nothing written, I think of equal literary merit’ (ibid). An Old Testament scholar, H. H. Rowley, reflects, ‘The book of Job is the greatest work of genius in the Old Testament, and one of the world’s artistic masterpieces’ (H. H. Rowley, The Growth of the Old Testament,1966, p. 143). …"

Meservy further confirms: “I’m impressed that the book of Job vividly illustrates a teaching from the [the prophet Joseph Smith's] Lectures on Faith, that if anyone is to endure in faithfulness in his life, he must know three things: (1) that God exists, (2) that he is perfect in his character and in his attributes, and (3) that the course of life which one pursues is pleasing to the Lord. If any one of these elements is missing then the full basis for faith is missing [emphasis added].

Job  1 - "What kind of a man was Job." 
Job was a man who lived in Uz [probably somewhere to the east or south-east of Palestine and north of Edom; biblehub.com].  He is said to be a man who "was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" (1:1).  He was the father of seven sons and three daughters.  He was also a man of substance with many thousands of sheep and camels; 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 she asses.  He "was the greatest of all the men of the east" (1:2-3).
Here the scene changes and the scripture states: "Now there was a day when the sons of God [meaning those who have covenanted to serve the Lord and are willing to take his name upon them by baptism and are born again, and are then led by the Spirit of God , OT Student Manual, p. 24] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came among them."  And the Lord ask Satan where he came from.  And Satan answered, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."  We don't know all the conversation that took place between the Lord and Satan, but the Lord singled out Job and said, "there is none like him in the earth."  And Satan accused the Lord of protecting and blessing Job "on every side."  So Satan said if the Lord put forth his hand and touched all that Job had, "he [Job] will curse thee to thy face."  And the Lord gave Satan power over all that Job had but he was not to put a hand on his person (1:6-12).
"Satan is permitted by the Lord to afflict and torment man until Lucifer’s allotted time on earth is done. Thus, Job’s trials would be consistent with the concept that Satan was allowed by God to bring the afflictions upon Job, not because of a bargain God made with Satan, but because it fit God’s purposes for Job" (OT Student Manual, p. 29).
(Trial number one) - "And there was a day" when a messenger came to Job to tell him that the Sabeans came and took away the oxen, and she asses and killed his servants who were plowing and tending them.  Then a second messenger came and said that his servants and his sheep were burned up by "the fire of God." The next moment a third messenger came and told him that the Chaldeans had taken the camels and slain the servants. Finally, Job was told by a fourth messenger that all his sons and daughters were eating and drinking at their oldest brothers house when a "great wind" came from the wilderness that caused the house to fall on them and they were all dead (1:13-19).   
"[Then] in one day, Job was impoverished—all the bases of his wealth—oxen, asses, servants, sheep, camels, even his posterity, were obliterated.  Job’s submissive response to such a negating blow was as complete as Jesus’,  ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord’ (1:21). ‘In all this,’ says the record, ‘Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly’ (1:22)" (Meservy, quoted in OT Student Manual, p. 24).

Job 2 - Satan afflicts Job with "sore boils"
And again, Satan comes among the sons of God; and again the Lord speaks to Satan about Job.  He said to Satan, "and still he [Job] holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause."  And Satan answered, "Skin for skin, yea all that a man hath will he give for his life," and Satan told the Lord if he "put forth his hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he [Job] will curse thee to thy face."  So Satan was given permission to afflict Job physically but not to take his life (2:1-6). 
(Trial number two) - And Satan afflicts Job with sore boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.  He was so miserable that his wife said to him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die."  Job accuses her of speaking foolishly, and said, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" And no evil words passed his lips.  "Thus, Satan’s contention was demonstrably wrong, Job’s faith had not and did not fail and the Lord was vindicated" (Meservy, p. 24).

Job 4 - Job's friend Eliphaz praises then reproves him
(Trial number three) - Eliphaz the Temanite [an Edomite clan or place in Edom] came to comfort Job.  In their conversation, Eliphaz praises Job saying, "Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.  Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees" (4:1-4).  So Job has been a righteous teacher, help, and example to others; and his words have strengthened the weak and falling; but now adversity has come upon Job and Eliphaz inquires: shouldn't you be thinking about the "uprightness" of your own ways?  And Eliphaz asks Job to remember "who ever perished, being innocent or where were the righteous cut off?  Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same" (4:5-8).  Eliphaz obviously believes Job's sins have caused his suffering.

Job 7 - Job's torment and despair
(Trial number four) - Job laments that his nights are the worst, and he asks, "when I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full or tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day."  His flesh is "clothed" with worms and clods of dust; his skin is broken and loathsome.  His days are spent without hope (7:4-6).  "When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions, So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life" (7:13-15). 
Meservy comments: " Time’s leavening must sharpen his pain, deepen his disappointment and intensify his discouragement, to see if heightened tension would break his spirit and drive him from the Lord. Job had well sustained the initial shock but when successive waves engulfed the total reality of his daily life, would he still endure? This question neither he nor the devil could answer initially. Thus, time was assigned to chew away at Job’s inner strength until he became miserable—miserable in spirit and body, so miserable in fact, that death appeared in his mind as a coveted, comforting, liberating friend."

Job 8; and 11; 10 - Bildad's (8) and Zophar's (11) accusations; Job's confusion (10)
(8) (More loss of support from friends) - Job's friend Bildad, the Shulhite, asks him: "Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice" (8:3).  Now comes the accusation, "If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he [God] would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous" (8:6).  Bildad is assuming that Job is at fault and has sinned because of his afflictions.
(11) Job's friend Zophar, the Naamathite, accuses Job of lying and mocking God with his profession of innocence and he said to him, "For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes."  And Zophar said, "oh that God would speak and open his lips against thee; And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth" (11:1-6). 
 (10) (Trial number five - confusion) - Job asks the Lord, "Are thy days as the days of man are thy years as man's days, That thou enquirest after mine iniquity; and searchest after my sin?" And he again tells the Lord, "Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand."  And he tells him he knows "thou hast made me as the clay;" and asks "wilt thou bring me into dust again?" (10:5-8).  "If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head.  I am full of confusion therefore see thou mine affliction" (10:15).  Job asks God, "Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb?" And he desires that he "had not been" (10:18-19).

Job 13; 16 - Job testifies of his faith in the Lord (13); The wicked persecute Job (16)
Job's faith has not faltered under his afflictions and he testifies: "Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.…Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him; but I will maintain mine own ways before him; [I will keep my faith]; He also shall be my salvation; for an hypocrite shall not come before him" (13:13-16). 
(Trial number six) - And Job laments against the wicked and his friends who mock and torment him: "They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.  God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked" (16:10-11). And finally, "My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death:…My friends scorn [mock] me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God" (16:16, 20).

Job 19 - "For I know that my redeemer liveth"
 Bildad, Job's friend, has just finished speaking to him about the wicked who "know not God" (see Job 18).  And Job rebukes him  for his accusations and "that ye make yourselves strange to me." Job tells of his afflictions; then after all his "ills that have befallen him," he affirms his faith, trust, and belief in his Redeemer (19:1-5). 
(Trial number seven) - Job has cried out to the Lord but has not been heard or received judgment [justice].  His way is "fenced up"  that he cannot pass, and darkness is his path.  He has been stripped of his "glory" and the "crown" has been taken from his head.  He is destroyed "on every side" and his hope is removed "like a tree."  Job feels that the Lord's wrath has been kindled against him "as one of his enemies." And all those around him [the Lord's troops] have come against him at his tent (see footnote 12a).  His friends and acquaintances have become "estranged" from him. 
(Trial number eight) - Even his "kinsfolk" and "familiar" friends have failed him.  Those maids in his house treat him as an alien in their sight."  His servant does not answer his call.  His breath is "strange" to his wife; and young children despise and speak against him.  His "inward" friends abhor him and all those he loved have turned against him.  His skin sticks to his bones and he is barely still alive [by the skin of his teeth] (19:6-20). And Job pleads, "Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me" (19:21).
And Job wonders why he is being persecuted and why his friends "are not satisfied with my flesh?" (footnote 22a-"the state of my body, or suffering).  And he cries for his words to be written in a book or graven with an iron pen in the rock forever: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh [immortality] shall I see God" (19:22-26).  Job continues to testify that he knows he will see God with his own eyes [resurrection] though his reins [the seat of the feelings or affections, Internet] have been consumed within him [in death] (19:27).

Job 21; 23; 27 - The wicked will be judged (21); Job has kept the Lord's way (23); (27)
(21) Job's friend, Zophar, has been speaking to him of "the state and portion of the wicked" (see heading of Job 20, OT, p. 694).  Now Job admits that the wicked sometimes prosper in this life (see heading Job 21, OT, p. 695).  He speaks of the wicked who become old, and "are mighty in power."  And he knows many wicked who live with their families, their houses "safe from fear," their cattle and flocks prosper, they rejoice with music and "they spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave" (21:7-13).  Now Job teaches his friend about the fate of the wicked: "His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty" (21:20). Job tells Zophar, [do you not know] "That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath" (21:29-30)—all with be judged by the Lord and receive their proper judgment.
(23) (Trial number nine) - After speaking with Eliphaz who tells Job he must repent of his sins, (see Job 22), he answers:  "Oh that I knew where I might find him [the Lord]! that I might come even to his seat."  There Job would plead his cause, and hear the Lord's answers.  He is confident that the Lord would strengthen him but the Lord has hidden himself from him.  And Job said, "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (23:10).  Job has kept the Lord's commandments and "esteemed his words." And Job knows that the Lord has performed the thing that was appointed for him, but it troubles him (23:12, 14-15).
Meservy comments: One… suspects that in the long run his [Job's] greatest loss and deepest need came when he finally realized that the Lord was not responding to his heart-felt cries (quoted in OT Student manual). 
(27) Here again, Job asserts his righteousness.  He said, "As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment [justice]; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul; All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.…till I die I will not remove mine integrity [perseverance] from me.  My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live" (27:2-6).

Job 29; 30; 31 - Job recalls his former life (29); The children deride him (30); Job invites judgment (31)
(29) Job speaks of his former life "when God preserved me."  I helped the poor and the fatherless who had no one to help them; I blessed the dying and comforted "the widow's heart." I was clothed in righteousness, my judgment "was as a robe and a diadem" [crown].  And I "was eyes to the blind," and feet to the lame; I was a father to the poor, and helped the cause of those I "knew not" (29:12-16).
(30) (Trial number ten) - Now in his miserable state, the children deride him; whose fathers are fools, and "viler than the earth," not fit to sit with the dogs of his flocks.  And he is their byword [example of something negative] and their "song" [those who speak against him, see Psalms 69:12].  They abhor him and spare not to spit in his face, and flee from him (30:1, 8-10).
(31) Job asks, If I have "walked with vanity" let me be judged.  If I have turned away and followed my own way, let me reap what I sow.  If my heart has been deceived by a woman; or if I have "laid wait at my neighbour's door," let my wife go unto another and let others serve her.  If I did scorn the cause of my servants, let God judge me.  If I have withheld from the poor or "caused the eyes of the widow to fail;" if I have "seen any perish for want of clothing;" if I have "lifted up my hand against the fatherless," let my destruction come from God. If I have made gold my hope, if I have rejoiced because of my wealth; if I have been "secretly enticed" by the sun or the moon, let me be punished by the judge. "If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him;" but I have not "suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul" [I have forgiven him]. "If I covered my transgressions as Adam [or as some men do, footnote 33b] by hiding my iniquity,…Oh that one [the Lord] would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me…I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him" (31: 5-37).

Job 42 - The Lord heals Job and gives him twice that he had before
In Job 38, the Lord speaks to Job out of the whirlwind.  And he asks Job: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.…When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for Joy?" (38:4, 7).  And he tells of all the wonders he created in and on the earth and contrasts it with the weakness of man (see Job 38, OT, p. 709).  
Now Job answers the Lord: He tells him he knows the Lord "canst do everything," and that no thought can be withheld from him (42:2). And Job has heard the Lord: "but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (42:4-5).  And the Lord turned the "captivity" of Job when he prayed for [forgave] his friends and gave him twice as much as he had before.  Then all his brethren and sisters, and all his previous acquaintances, came bringing gifts and ate bread with him in his house.  They bemoaned and comforted him "over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him." And the Lord blessed Job "the latter end" more than his beginning.  And he had seven more sons and three more daughters [not double the children as those who died are still his in heaven].  Job lived to be 140 years old and died knowing his posterity for four generations (42:10-17).

Meservy comments: “Satan had erred in concluding that goods, wealth and even posterity, were the essence of Job’s life, since the meaning of life for him transcended the loss of all of these things."

“In the fiery furnace, Job had shown not only the Adversary but also himself that the correct knowledge about God and a right relationship with him were of more value than anything he had obtained out of life—including length of days, offspring, friends, and loved ones, even wealth and health." 

Prayer and prophecies written by Joseph Smith the Prophet in an epistle to the Church while he was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, dated March 20, 1839. 

D&C 121:1-10
"O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?  O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol—stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us.  Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and, in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs.  Remember thy suffering saints, O our God; and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever.  
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job."