Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
Old Testament,  The Book of Isaiah Chapters 1-6
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #36
The Glory of Zion Will Be a Defense
Book Reference: The Old Testament Made Easier, Part Three, David J. Ridges, p. 449
Book Reference: The Fourth Thousand Years, W. Cleon Skousen, p. 737-8;

The Book of Isaiah
            Isaiah is one of the most important prophets who ever lived.  His mission began approximately 750 B.C. and lasted until at least 700 B.C.  He was quoted in the Book of Mormon, the New Testament, and by other prophets in the Old Testament.  His name means “Jehovah saves” and his mission was to proclaim that message to the children of Israel, to their neighboring states and countries, and to the world in the latter days.  His words are filled with metaphors, similes, analogies, parables, and types and shadows (meaning something that is symbolic of something else).  Joseph (sold into slavery in Egypt) and Isaac (the son of Abraham) were both “types”—many things that happened to them were symbolic of Christ.  For Isaiah (and all of the rest of us), everything points to Christ.
 Note: - Like other Old Testament scripture, Isaiah contains dualistic messages both for his time and ours.  And, within chapters, the verses skip around from his time, to the future destruction of Judah and Israel, to the time of Christ, and then to the latter days and the Millennium.

Isaiah 1- Isaiah's mission to preach repentance
            Isaiah is given a vision from the Lord concerning his mission to Judah and Jerusalem during the reign of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, all kings of Judah. The Lord told him that even though he had nourished and cared for the children of Israel, “they have rebelled against me.” He calls Judah a sinful nation. The people are filled with wickedness and have forsaken the Lord, and “they have provoked the Holy One of Israel [the Savior] to anger” (Student Manual, II, p. 137).  Isaiah warns the people that the whole head [all the leaders] are sick and the whole heart [the people] are faint [spiritually sick] (vv. 1-5).
            Now Isaiah lists some of the false worship by the people of Judah in his day that are abominations and hated by the Lord:  (1) their insincere sacrifices and burnt offerings when they go to the temple [this is a theme throughout the book of Isaiah]; (2) their “vain oblations” [offerings] such as burning incense, the new moon Sabbath ritual,  appointed feasts, and the calling of assemblies, and (3) “when ye spread forth your hands, [to pray] I will not hear: your hands are full of blood [bloodshed, murder]” (vv. 11-15). 
            Isaiah exhorts the people, "Wash you, make you clean [through baptism];…cease to do evil; Learn to do well [footnote 17b good works], seek judgment [footnote 17c, HEB justice], relieve the oppressed [footnote 17d, charity], judge the fatherless [footnote 17e, give a just verdict to], plead for the widow" (vv. 16-17). And Isaiah preaches the power of the Atonement to the wicked people.  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (v. 18).

Isaiah 2:1-4 - Isaiah prophesies of the last days
            Isaiah’s words from the Lord: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house [the church] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it” (v. 2).  “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house [temples] of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”  Then, out of Zion [the kingdom of God on earth, New Jerusalem] and Jerusalem will go the law [footnote 4f, HEB teaching or doctrine] and the word of the Lord from these two places during the Millennium (v. 3).  And when the Millennium comes, Christ will judge the wicked among the nations and cleanse the earth.  All instruments of war will be destroyed by the people; “they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (v. 4).

Continuing Isaiah 2 - verses 5-8; 11-12 - More of Israel's sins and pride           
            To the Israelites of his day Isaiah implores the people, “O house of Jacob [Israel] come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (v. 5).  And he tells them why the Lord has forsaken them.  It is because “they be replenished from the east” [adopting false religions], are soothsayers [with witchcraft and sorcery, etc.], and are marrying foreigners not of the covenant [children of strangers].  They have become wealthy with gold and silver, they have horses and chariots [armaments of war instead of relying on the Lord], and "they worship the work of their own hands" [idols] (vv. 6-8).
            The prideful and haughty will be humbled [bowed down], and only the Lord who has power over all things will be exalted in that day. Isaiah warns the people of their pride, "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down."  All the "proud and lofty" and those who are "lifted up" shall be "brought low" (vv. 11-12).

Isaiah 3- More of Israel's sins
            "And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient [elderly], and the base [crude] against the honourable" (v. 5).  Isaiah describes the countenance [faces] of the wicked of Judah as a witness against them in their “sin as Sodom” [homosexuality] which they don’t attempt to hide.  “Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves” (v. 9).  But the Lord will “enter into judgment” and judge the sins of his people.  The Lord accuses the princes [political leaders] and the “ancients” [apostate priests], who have joined together to take the "spoil of the poor" instead of helping them (vv. 13-15). 
            The next eight verses tell how the “daughters of Zion” have become prideful and full of lust.  Isaiah describes the tinkling of the ornaments on their feet; their “cauls, and their round tires like the moon;” their chains, bracelets, earrings, rings and nose jewels; their “changeable suits of apparel,” glasses [see-through clothing, see footnote 23a], mantles and wimples [shawls], headbands, mufflers [veils], and hoods [turbans]; their tablets [perfume boxes] and crisping pins [for curling hair].  In the future destruction ahead, for all their sin and worldliness, their beauty will be taken away, their heads will be shaved [baldness] by the invaders, they will no longer smell sweet but stink, and their clothing will be rent [as rags] (vv. 16-24).
           
Isaiah 4 - The glory of Zion will be a defense
            Again, Isaiah skips to scenes of the Millennium. "And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and…a flaming fire by night:"— representing the presence of the Lord [see Exodus 19: 16-18] and the glory of the Lord will be a “defence” [defense meaning protection]. And there will be a tabernacle in the daytime for a place of refuge from the heat, and for a "covert" [cover, shelter] from rain and storms (see Skousen, p. 174-5) (vv. 5-6).

Isaiah 5:8-29 - Isaiah pronounces many woes and prophesies of the future
            "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place,  [take the land from the poor] that they [the poor] may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!"  Said the Lord of hosts, "many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant" (v. 9).  "Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath [8½ gallons of wine], and the seed of an homer [6½ bushel of seed] shall yield an ephah” [½ bushel] (v. 10).  “In other words, the harvest will be only one-tenth of the seed which the farmer originally planted!” (Skousen, p. 181).  This is foretelling of the coming famine
          “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! (v. 11).  And the harp, and the viol [lyre], the tabret [drums], and pipe [worship instruments], and wine are their feasts; but they regard not the work of the LORD, neither consider the operation of his hands” (v. 12).
            Now Isaiah prophesies of the future as if it has already happened.  “My people are gone into captivity because they have no knowledge [of the words of the Lord]: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up [drought and famine].  Therefore, hell hath enlarged herself and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth [in wickedness] shall descend into it.  Then, [after the destruction] shall the lambs feed [in the deserted vineyard] and the waste places shall strangers [foreigners] eat [take over the land]” (vv. 13-19).
             “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (v. 20).  Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight! (v. 21). Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine (v. 22).…[And those] which justify the wicked for reward [bribes], and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him” [their good reputation] (v. 23). Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people "because they have cast away the law of the LORD" and despised his word (v. 24). The anger of the LORD is kindled against his people and "he hath stretched forth his hand against them and has smitten them.…For all this [wickedness] his anger is not turned away but his hand is stretched out still.”—if the people will repent and come unto him (v. 25).
            Next Isaiah prophesies of the gathering of Israel in the last days.  The Lord will lift up an ensign [the gospel] to the nations, and will signal for them to be gathered from the ends of the earth.  They will come with speed; they won’t be weary or stumble; they won’t slumber or sleep or change their clothes.  They will travel in “whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent [airplanes], their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint [trains] and their wheels like a whirlwind:" Their roaring shall be like a lion [noise of trains and airplanes], "they shall roar like young lions…and lay hold of the prey [those being gathered], and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it"—"none will stop the gathering of Israel in the last days" (Ridges, pg. 41).  “And in that day [the last days] they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea; and if one look unto the land, light is darkened in the heavens thereof"—"war, smoke, pollution, and spiritual darkness?" (Ridges, p. 41) (vv. 26-30).

Isaiah 6:1-8 Isaiah's call from the Lord
            Isaiah had a vision from the Lord in the year that king Uzziah died [about 740 B.C.].  He saw the Lord [Jehovah-Jesus Christ] sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, surrounded by "his train" [skirts of his garment] which filled the temple [with light].  Seraphims [angels] stood above the throne and one cried to another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.  And the posts of the door moved [shook] at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke" [symbolic of God’s presence] (vv. 1-4). 
            And Isaiah said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; [overwhelmed] for I am a man of unclean lips…for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Then an angel flew [moved rapidly] to Isaiah with a live coal from the altar in his hand [symbolic of cleansing].  And the angel laid it on Isaiah’s mouth and said, “Lo, this hath touched thy lips; thy iniquity is taken away [forgiven] and thy sin purged" [as a result of the Atonement] (vv. 6-7) (Ridges, III, p. 42).  And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  Then Isaiah said, “Here am I; send me” (v. 8). 
           
Pearl of Great Price: Abraham 2:27 And the Lord [God the Father] said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another [Lucifer] answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. (See also Moses 4:1-2.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Old Testament Scriptural Summaries and Commentary
Old Testament,  Amos and Joel selected sections
Gospel Doctrine Class, Sunday School Lesson #35
God Reveals His Secrets to His Prophets
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, p. 449
Book Reference: The Fourth Thousand Years, W. Cleon Skousen, p. 737-8;

Book of Amos
            Amos was another humble prophet called by God to warn the people of both the kingdom of Israel and Judah, and to prophesy of events to come.  His words tell us he was a "herdman [shepherd] of Tekoa," a small village just south of Bethlehem in Judah.  We are not given the exact dates of his prophecies, but he tells us it was "in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam [II] king of Israel" (v. 1).  "Amos can only be dated somewhere within the fifteen-year period between 791 and 777 B.C.…  [preceding] the prophet Isaiah for thirty-five to fifty years" (The Words of the Twelve Prophets, Monte S. Nyman and Farres H. Nyman, p. 47).  His prophecies were very similar to Hosea's and Joel's―the people must repent of their sins or suffer the consequences.
            In chapter one, Amos uses a device to describe the sins of Israel's enemies:
"The expression 'for three transgressions … and for four' indicates that the sins alluded to have been exceedingly abundant (emphasis added). The same style is used in Proverbs 6:16, 'these six things … yea, seven,' and in Matthew 18:21–22, 'seventy times seven,' referring to an infinite number.…The implication of the idiom is that three transgressions are too many, and you have even exceeded that." (Old Testament Student Manual (SM) 1 Kings to Malachi,  p. 90.)
            The message given by Amos is as relevant to our day as it was to his.  The words almost seem to describe our time.  This is undoubtedly intentional―the Lord knows when we study these chapters we will again understand the need for repentance.

"[The] way is always open to the penitent and obedient, but to the impenitent, those who harden their hearts against the Lord, the way is shut. In the place of life there is death; in the place of joy there is sorrow; punishments replace blessing; judgments and destruction replace protection and power" (SM, p. 89).

Amos chapter 3 - "Surely, the LORD GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets"
            Amos begins by telling all the tribes of Israel that the Lord has spoken "this word" against them.  And the Lord reminds them that he brought them "up from the land of Egypt,"―and, of all the "families" of the earth, "you only have I known"―(see footnote 2a; TG: Peculiar People) (3:1-2).  Then, he asks: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (3:3).―unified in their relationship (SM, p. 91) 
            The Lord uses images to tell the people that he already knows what is going to happen.  He asks, "will the lion roar in the forest when he has no prey?  Can a bird fall in a snare"  if there is no trap?  Shall the people in a city not be afraid when a trumpet is blown?  "shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath done [JST known] it?" (3:4-6).
"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. Prophecy comes by direct revelation. God has knowledge of all His children and their doings and justly warns and threatens with His judgments" (SM, p. 91).
Amos has already given us the answer which is the same today as it was in the days of old: "Surely, the LORD GOD will do nothing, but [JST until] he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (3:7). The Lord loves us and he will continue to lead and direct us through the prophets if we will but listen. We again see the comparison of the lion's roar and the Lord's voice, when "the lion hath roared" who will not fear?  And, when the Lord God speaks to his prophets "who can but prophesy?" (3:8).
            Amos again uses a metaphor for the unrighteous and ungodly; the heathens of Ashdod, a city of the Philistines, and of Egypt, to be assembled "upon the mountains of Samaria" to observe the great tumults [iniquity] and oppression [of the poor] in the midst of the  children of Israel. The heathens are uncircumcised [not the covenant people] who think nothing of violence and robbery (3:9-10).
 "If therefore such heathen as these are called to behold the unrighteous and dissolute conduct to be seen in the places [in Israel], it must have been great indeed.”
(Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 10:1:262–63; SM, p. 91-92.)
"Therefore thus saith the LORD" and we know he doesn't lie.  All things he declares through the prophets WILL happen.  Now, he assures the wicked Israelites there will be an "adversary" [enemy, foe] against them in the land who will take down their strength and spoil the palaces (3:11). 
“‘[An] adversary there shall be,’ which means there should be no escape. Wherever the people turn they will meet a foe, for God’s judgments and retributions are sure” (SM, p. 92).
Again, Amos uses imagery that the people understood by referring to the shepherd who takes from the mouth of a lion only two of the sheep's legs and an ear--almost nothing is left―"so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed"―a supposed safe and desirable place; and in Damascus on a couch in the corner of a room―a place of distinction.  In other words, no one will escape the Lord's judgment (3:12). 
            The "horns of the alter in Bethel" [Judea's religious center] will be cut off [destroyed] and fall to the ground.  Between the horns of the alter was traditionally a place of power and safety.  And, the Lord will smite the houses, including the many houses of the rich; and all shall perish and have an end  (3:14-15). 
Note: For an explanation of the horns as a symbol of power, see Old Testament Student Manual: Genesis–2 Samuel, pp. 166–67.
The prophet Amos has revealed the Lord's word so the people will know that all that has been spoken will happen: " Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob saith the LORD GOD, the God of hosts" (3:13).
D&C 1:37-38 -  "Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
" 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."
D&C 21:4-6 - "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;
"For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
"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."

Amos Chapter 7: 10-17 - Amos is called by the Lord to speak truth to the people
            The Lord tells Amos that Israel will be desolate and laid waste and that he will "rise" against the house of Jeroboam [the king] with the sword and the people will be led away captive out of their land (vv. 9, 11).  For this Amaziah, the priest of Beth-el, sent word to the king that Amos was conspiring against him [the king] and "the land is not able to bear all his words"―he is causing trouble (v.10).  Amaziah tells Amos to go back to Judah "and prophesy there" but no more in Beth-el for it belongs to the king of Israel [the Northern Kingdom] (vv. 12-13).
            Amos responds to Amaziah: "I was no prophet neither was I a prophet's son, but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit."  But, he testifies that when he was with his flock in Judah, the Lord said to him, "Go, prophesy unto my people Israel" and he obeyed (vv. 14-15).  
             And Amos prophesies a final judgment from the Lord to Amaziah: "thus sayeth 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" (v.17).
"Amaziah was one of many in Old Testament times who preached for hire. They taught what the people wanted to hear and belittled the Lord’s authorized servants" (SM, p. 94).

Amos Chapter 8:11-13 - A different kind of famine
            The Lord reveals to Amos a different kind of famine.  This is an often quoted scripture that applies to both the Israelites of Amos' day and the years of apostasy after Christ came and reestablished his church on earth.  "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:  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" (vv.11-12).
"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" (SM, p. 94).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin speaks of the latter days:
"With the restoration of the gospel, the famine came to an end, not for every individual at once, but for the earth in general. Elder Spencer W. Kimball said, “After centuries of spiritual darkness, … we solemnly announce to all the world that the spiritual famine is ended, the spiritual drought is spent, the word of the Lord in its purity and totalness is available to all men. One needs not wander from sea to sea nor from the north to the east, seeking the true gospel, as Amos predicted, for the everlasting truth is available.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1964; quoted in SM, p. 94.)

Amos Chapter 9 - The Lord will sift Israel among all nations
            Amos begins: "I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake" (v. 1).
"The smitten sanctuary (vv. 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" (SM, p. 93-94).
Amos tells Israel: "the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom."  And the Lord vows to "destroy [the kingdom of Israel] from off the face of the earth."  But, the Lord promises not to destroy all the house of Jacob. He will "sift the house of Israel among all nations." Thus, a remnant will be preserved (vv.7-10).
"Every righteous soul who has taken upon himself the name of the Lord…will be brought into the kingdom (v.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" (vv.14-15) (SM, p.  94).
According to Nyman and Nyman the scattering of Israel had two purposes: " to benefit Israel and for the benefit of all the nations of the world."
 "It is often assumed that those who are members of the church today have been adopted into the house of Israel.  This is not a correct assumption. The majority of the members, whether born into the Church or converted, are literal descendants of Jacob" (Twelve Prophets, p. 58). 
After analyzing the sins and evil that existed in the kingdom of Israel in the days when Amos was prophesying, we see greed, corruption, immorality, worship of other gods, mistreatment of the poor by the rich, and a loss of dependence on and faith in God.  If all this sounds familiar, it is.  As we learned in Amos, our only protection and salvation is in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
            As Amos concludes his book, he prophesies of the time when the Lord will end "the captivity of my people Israel."  Israel will again re-build and live in "waste" cities; they will plant and drink the wine of the vineyards; and they will eat the fruit of the gardens.  And the Lord said, "I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them" (vv. 14-15).

The Book of Joel
Joel was a prophet in Judah.  The exact time period when God revealed his word to him is not known.  David J. Ridges states, "It could have been as early as 850 B.C. or as late as the return of the Jews from Babylon, in 537 B.C." (Old Testament Made Easier, Pt. 3, p. 449).  For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Joel is important scripture because on the morning of September 22, 1823, the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and quoted Joel 2:28-32:  This portion of Joel's scripture has been summed up in the OT Student Manual as follows:
"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" (SM, p. 86).
Joel wrote only three chapters and is included with the other "minor" prophets of the Old Testament (The Words of the Twelve Prophets, Monte S. Nyman and Farres H. Nyman, inside jacket cover).  Scholars believe it is a dualistic writing. 
"As is typical of Old Testament prophecies, Joel's prophecies are dualistic: They warn of an immediate and impending destruction (through the conquests of Assyria and Babylonia), but they also refer directly to the last days and the destruction that will again threaten Israel just before the Millennium."  (See Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings―Malachi, SM, p. 83.)
As I studied these chapters, I was almost overwhelmed with the huge amount of doctrinal scripture and information contained in them.  Nearly every verse has something important for us to understand and to learn.  The theme of repent or else, and the prophecies relating to the latter days and the Second Coming, bring it all down to our time.  I pray I can give these summaries the substance and meaning that Joel received from the Lord and wrote for us so long ago―now when it is needed most.

Joel Chapter 1― Repent "for the day of the LORD is at hand" (v. 15)
            "The word of the LORD that came to Joel son of Pethuel " (v. 1).  We don't have any other information about Joel or his father, Pethuel.  We are told this word will be repeated to all the "inhabitants of the land,"  and to all the "children" of generations to come (vv. 2-3). "In other words, his prophecy will be fulfilled far in the future" (Nyman & Nyman, p. 36).
            The fourth verse uses the imagery of the stages of development in the life of the locust as a reference for Judah's future famine.  (See footnote 4a: "The invading or conquering armies are compared to four varieties [or stages of growth] of locusts").  Joel writes of the "palmerworm," the "locust," the "cankerworm," and the "caterpillar."  The Student Manual explains:
"[Many] scholars feel that the palmerworm was a metaphor [symbolic] for the Assyrian-Babylonian invasions of the Holy Land. What these two empires left, the Medes and Persians 'ate' during their invasions. … [The] cankerworm could also represent the invasions and suppression of the Holy Land by Greece under Alexander the Great and his successors. Then the caterpillar would represent the invasion that consumed Judah when she was overrun by Rome and eventually destroyed by Titus" (SM, p. 83).
Joel  calls to "all ye drinkers of wine" [of iniquity] to "awake"  and "weep and howl" and "lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth" (vv. 5, 8).  And he prophesies that a nation with a strong army of endless numbers will come upon the land "whose teeth are the teeth of a lion" [symbolic of machines of warsee Rev. 9:16].  And all the vines and fig trees will be made bare (vv. 6-7).  The priests and ministers will mourn, lament and howl when the meat offering and drink offering is "cut off" from the house of the Lord.  The fields are "wasted" so there is no grain, wine, or oil.  Nothing is left in the field to harvest.  All trees including the pomegranate, palm, and apple trees are "withered."  Joy is gone away from the "sons of men" (vv. 9-13).
The prophet urges the people to "sanctify [devote yourself to] a fast" and "call a solemn assembly" of elders and all inhabitants into the house of the Lord and "cry" unto him.  "For the day of the LORD is at hand" when the Almighty shall cause a destruction to come upon the people (vv. 14-15).
            Famine is in the land as the "seed is rotten under their clods"―meaning the sprouts have been eaten by the locust (symbolic of  Judah  being devoured by invaders).  The garners [storehouses; see footnote 17a] are empty and the barns are broken down; "for the corn is withered" (v. 16).  The cattle and sheep have no feed or water.  The pastures and trees have been burned by fire and rivers of water have dried up (vv 18-20).

Joel Chapter 2―I will yet redeem my people, Israel
            In chapter 2, Joel is writing mostly to us in the latter days although the call to return to the Lord is for people of all dispensations.  
            "Blow ye the trumpet [ram's horn; see footnote 2a] in Zion and sound an alarm in my holy mountain;" and again Joel warns "for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand" (v. 1).  "The Lord’s holy mountain is the place where His temple is, or the place from which He speaks to the people. Sometimes it is the temple (see Isaiah 2:1–3) or the New Jerusalem" (see D&C 84:2) (Student Manual, p. 84).
            Before Christ comes for the second time to redeem Israel there will be "a day of darkness," of gloominess and clouds "as the morning spread upon the mountains."  This is a description of the Battle of Armageddon.  Joel prophesies of a great and strong people [army] like there has never been before or ever will be after for "many generations."  They find the land [in the latter days] like the Garden of Eden but everything before them is devoured with fire and behind they leave desolation.  Joel describes their machinery "like chariots on the tops of mountains" [modern war machines] leaping about with noise of flame and fire.  The men  are dressed in "battle array."  They run and climb walls like "mighty men."  They walk without breaking their ranks and [because of their armor], "when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded"― this phrase (v. 8) "may simply be a way of saying that the armaments used against the invaders will be ineffectual" (SM, p. 85).  And they will overrun the walls and enter every house "like a thief" (vv. 2-9).
            "The earth shall quake before them" so mighty are their numbers and war machines; "the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark and the stars shall withdraw their shining" (v. 10).  But the Lord will speak from heaven "before his [heavenly] army: for his camp is very great."  The Lord is strong and will always keep his word and by this scripture Joel makes it known that the day of the Lord is "great and very terrible"―for the wicked (vv. 10-11).
            The Battle of Armageddon Is described by the Apostle John, the Revelator, in The Book of Revelation.  The following is from my summary of this scripture:
 “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall [Lucifer] from heaven unto the earth; and to the angel was given the key of the bottomless pit” (JST Rev. 9:1).  And he [the angel] opened the bottomless pit [and the forces of hell were unleashed]; and there arose smoke [darkness from Satan] out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.  And there came out of the smoke locusts [symbolic of countless numbers of the wicked in the last days] upon the earth; and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power [to cause much suffering because of wickedness] (Rev. 9:1-3). 
            "And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses [horse is symbolic of military victory of Satan’s army] prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold [Satan’s reward of temporary power and glory] and their faces were as the faces of [wicked] men.  And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [like] the teeth of lions [symbolic of machines of war].  And they had breastplates as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings [airplanes, etc.] was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.  And they had tails like unto scorpions [think helicopters], and there were stings in their tails" (Rev. 9:7-10).
And Joel asks, "who can abide it?" (v. 11). 
Malachi also writes: "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap" (see footnote: Malachi 3f, Earth: cleansing of; World: end of). 
Joel continues, "Now saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping and with mourning: And rend your heart, [be humble] and not your garments [JST and repent] and turn unto the LORD your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness [JST and he will turn away the evil from you] (vv. 12-13).  Again [in the latter days] the people are urged, "Gather the people, sanctify the congregation,…let the bridegroom [Jehovah-Jesus Christ] go forth of his chamber, and the bride [his people Israel] out of her closet"― Israel was married to the Lord in the Abrahamic covenant (see Jeremiah 3:14) (SM, p. 85).
"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."   (Signs of the Times, pp. 160; quoted in the Student Manual.) (See vv. 17-19.)
            "Then will the LORD be jealous [HEB zealous] for his land, and pity [have compassion on] his people" (see footnotes 18a and 18b) (v. 18).  The Lord and his army will drive the "northern army" [the great and strong (Gentile) army] into a barren and desolate land with their face to the east sea [Dead Sea] and the hinder [rear] part toward the utmost sea [Mediterranean Sea] (v. 20).  Ezekiel states that the Lord will use his power in "divine judgments"  to keep His people from being immediately conquered.  These judgments include earthquakes, pestilence, hailstones, fire and brimstone (W. Cleon Skousen, The Fourth Thousand Years, p. 737-8; Ezekiel 38:19-22.) Isaiah further writes: "Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood" (Isaiah 34:3).
The Lord tells righteous Israel: "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things" (v. 21).  " Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God" (v. 22). 
            He will send the former and latter rain in the first month to restore the pastures and the wilderness, the fig trees and the vines.  The grain floors will be full of wheat;, they will have oil from the olives and wine from the grapes.  Now the famine is over, and the Lord said, "ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied" (vv. 23-26). 
"After a punishing drought, these rains returned, a symbol of God’s acceptance of His people, who had been chastened and redeemed" (SM, p. 85).  
“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” (v. 27)―all will know in the millennium that Jesus is the Christ (see Philippians 2:10-11). 
The angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and quoted Joel 2:28-32:
"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: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.  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."
Joseph Smith History 1:41:   "He [Angel Moroni] also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here."

Joel Chapter 3:16-17 - The Lord appears
At the end of the battle or Armageddon when the wicked have been destroyed, Joel writes, "The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem;" and a great earthquake will shake the earth as the Lord appears. The righteous who are left will know that he is "the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel" (v. 16).  And they will know that he is the LORD their God who dwells in Zion, his holy mountain.  And Jerusalem will be a holy place where no "strangers" [impure persons, SM, p. 86] will be allowed (v. 17).  And, in the millennium the mountains and hills will flow again with milk and the vines will be fruitful again; the waters will flow again and a fountain will come forth from under the house of the Lord (v. 18). 
"This imagery implies more than just an abundance of tangible fruits. Judah will know her God, and He will own His people; they will build their Jerusalem and inhabit it in peace thereafter. (See Smith, Signs of the Times, pp. 171–72; quoted in the Student Manual.)
And the Lord will cleanse the blood [sins] of Judah that have not yet been cleansed, for he will dwell with them in Zion (v. 21). (Zion, the pure in heart; see D&C 97:21.)