God Reveals His Secrets to His
Amos teaches that the Lord reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets.
Amos prophesies of ancient and latter-day Israel.
Joel prophecies that God will bless his people in the latter days and pour
out his Spirit upon them.
A study of this lesson teaches us that in the latter days, the Lord reveals
his secrets to his prophets and pours out his Spirit on all people.
Scripture references for study: Amos 3;
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 35 Handout (PDF
Janette Hales Beckham shares the following story: "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?'"
(Ensign, May 1996, p84)
If someone asked you what the prophet has recently stated, would you
be able to answer the question? Do we appreciate the blessing of
a living prophet?
In his famous talk, Profile of A Prophet, Hugh B. Brown described his conversation
with a "very prominent English gentleman, a member
of the House of Commons and formerly one of the justices of the supreme
court of Britain." President Brown had this conversation
in England prior to the outbreak of World War II.
In his discussion, President Brown made an argument for
God speaking through living prophets. After discussing ancient prophets,
President Brown said to the Englishman, "'Then,
my Lord' -- that is the way we address judges in the British commonwealth
-- 'my Lord, I am submitting to you in all seriousness that it was standard
procedure in Bible times for God to talk to men'."
think I will admit that, but it stopped shortly after the first century
of the Christian era."
President Brown: "Why
do you think it stopped?"
President Brown: "You
think that God hasn't spoken since then?"
to my knowledge."
President Brown: "May
I suggest some possible reasons why he has not spoken. Perhaps it is because
he cannot. He has lost the power."
course that would be blasphemous."
President Brown: "Well,
then, if you don't accept that, perhaps he doesn't speak to men because
he doesn't love us anymore. He is no longer interested in the affairs of
God loves all men, and he is no respecter of persons."
President Brown: "Well,
then, if you accept that he loves us, then the only other possible answer
as I see it is that we don't need him. We have made such rapid strides
in education and science that we don't need God any more."
President Brown said that the Englishman responded
in a trembling voice as he thought of the impending war, "Mr.
Brown, there never was a time in the history of the world when the voice
of God was needed as it is needed now. Perhaps you can tell me why he doesn't
President Brown responded, "He
does speak, he has spoken; but men need faith to hear him."
(CR, Oct 1967)
To restate my previous question: Do we appreciate the blessing
of a living prophet?
Amos: God Speaks To Prophets
AMOS 3:6-7. God reveals his secrets to
Time frame: Amos' mission took place about 750 BC (may have preached prior to this year).
Amos had a short ministry during the later portion of the reign of Jeroboam
II, king of Israel.
Conditions during this period:
The nations of Israel and Judah had risen to positions of power and wealth.
The worship of Jehovah had degenerated into a religion of form: the people
offered sacrifices, paid tithes, and carefully observed the laws of the
Sabbath; yet their lives showed little evidence of true social morality
and love for their neighbors.
The pagan rites and idolatry of the fertility cults were still common in
Israel and Judah.
Contemporary prophet: Hosea.
The Prophet Amos:
He was a shepherd from Tekoa, a small village in the hill country of Judah.
His message was for all Israel.
He spoke of the judgments which were about to descend on the nations surrounding
Israel and on the two kingdoms of the house of Israel.
- Source for historical background - Prophets & Prophecies of the Old
WHAT KIND OF RESPECT AND ATTITUDE SHOULD WE HAVE TOWARDS THE MESSAGES SPOKEN
BY THE LORD'S PROPHETS?
JST: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, until he revealeth
the secret unto his servants the prophets."
Joseph Smith: "...the grand rule of heaven
was that nothing should ever be done on earth without revealing the secret
to his servants the prophets." (TPJS, p264)
WHAT DID THE PROPHET AMOS TEACH ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPHETS?
One who believes that the Bible is the word of God, must believe this statement
spoken by Amos. He clarifies the fact that God works through his
servants, the prophets, before he does anything related to this world. He spoke to Noah and had him warn the people before the world was destroyed
by the flood. He spoke through John the Baptist to prepare the people
for the coming of the Lord. He spoke to Joseph Smith and the gospel
was restored to the earth. If we believe that God remains active
in the affairs of the world, then we must believe that he is communicating
through a prophet. Amos made this principle clear and nowhere in the Bible did the
Lord rescind that message.
President Harold B. Lee: "Way back in the
time of President Wilford Woodruff someone was 'prophesying' about the
end of the world, and President Woodruff was being asked when the world
was coming to an end. He said, 'Well, I don't know, but I am still planting
cherry trees.' He was that unconcerned, as he knew that if the Lord wanted
to tell anybody, he would be the first one to know. We must understand
this." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p160)
Elder Matthias F. Cowley: "From this we
learn that if there are no prophets of the Lord, then our Heavenly Father
is doing nothing in a religious sense among the people of this earth; but
if He is doing a work among them for their redemption, then there must
be prophets." (Cowley's Talks on Doctrine, p23)
Elder Orson F. Whitney: "The need for prophecy
must be evident to any pious and reflective mind. Prophets are as watchmen
on the tower, noting the time of night, telling of the approaching dawn.
'Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto
his servants the prophets.' This means, as I interpret it, that the allwise
Dispenser of human affairs will neither cause nor permit any event to take
place, concerning which the world need to have fore-knowledge, until he
has communicated with his chosen servants, his oracles among men, and has
given them due notice of its approach." (Saturday Night Thoughts,
"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
I am extremely careful with items such as my wallet or my set of keys. I rarely, if ever, misplace them. I recall
a time when I did misplace
my set of keys. On that ring there were important keys including
house keys, car keys, and keys to a variety of other important locks. When I discovered the loss, I began a diligent search. I searched
high and low for about an hour before leaving for another commitment. When I returned home, I continued the search for
most of the
evening. I was unable to rest until those keys were located.
The Lord said for us to "search" the words
which he has spoken to his prophets. Are we as anxiously engaged
in a "search" of the scriptures and the words of his living prophets as
I was in my search for the keys? Are we restless to learn the truth
and anxious to do the will of the Lord?
My keys are important because they enable
me to have access to my home, transportation, and a variety of other things. The words of the Lord through his prophets contain "keys" that enable us
to unlock the mysteries of heaven. "Search
the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life" (John
On the day the Church was organized, the Lord gave the Saints the following
counsel concerning his prophet, "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" (D&C 21:4-5).
The Lord goes on and gives us a promise if we are
diligent in keeping this commandment, "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?
In my own life, the greatest blessings and joy I have received have come
as I have been diligent in obeying the counsel of the prophets. Spencer
W. Kimball was the prophet at the time my wife and I were married. I remember attending a fireside at BYU
where he taught that young couples
should not postpone having children, not even because of education or finances
or convenience. We felt that it was important to have children and
I graduated from BYU with a degree and two daughters. Those two daughters
have grown into wonderful, young women and have given me seven beautiful
grandchildren. We have been blessed for years by that decision to
not wait and those blessings continue to expand.
There is a reverse side to the promise in
D&C 21:6. When we fail
to obey the commandments of the Lord given through his prophets, we are
not entitled to the blessing. The darkest times in my life have
resulted because I failed to heed the counsel given through the Lord's
Amos Prophecies of Ancient & Latter-day Israel
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel,
"Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst
of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. For
thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely
be led away captive out of their own land" (Amos 7:10-11).
AMOS 8:11-12. Amos prophecies of the consequences
for rejecting the prophets.
Because of what Amos prophesied, "Amaziah
said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah,
and there eat bread, and prophesy there" (Amos 7:12). Amaziah
did not like what Amos was preaching and told Amos to get out of town and
do his prophesying elsewhere.
AMOS 7:14-17. Amos responds to Amaziah.
WHAT DO THESE VERSES TEACH US ABOUT THE PROPHET AMOS?
He was a man of courage. Like Abinadi in the Book of Mormon, he was
not afraid of teaching the truth.
He was faithful to his calling from the Lord. Amos did as he was
commanded when the Lord said, "Go, prophesy unto my people Israel."
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE, IN ALL AGES OF TIME, HAVE REJECTED
OR IGNORED THE MESSAGES OF THE LORD'S PROPHETS?
They are comfortable in their sins and unwilling to change.
They did not exercise sufficient faith in the teachings of the prophets.
AMOS 9:8-15. Israel to be brought from
captivity after their destruction.
WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES FOR ISRAEL WHEN THEY REJECTED THE COUNSEL OF
"...a famine in the land, not a famine of bread,
nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD"
Elder Matthias F. Cowley: "We learn from
this that the time was coming when men should seek to the four points of
the compass, and in all directions, and yet fail to find the word of God;
but we find the Bible in every direction, and that is said to contain the
word of the Lord." (Cowley's Talks on Doctrine, p23)
After the time of Malachi, the words of Amos were fulfilled, as Israel
no longer had a prophet in their midst. This famine lasted until
John the Baptist prophesied of the coming Messiah. "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"
(Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual, p172).
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS FOR US PERSONALLY IF WE REJECT THE COUNSEL OF THE
Consider this analogy from 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,
It is interesting to observe those around us who are suffering from a spiritual
famine. Their life seems to have little or no meaning. They are missing
so many of the blessings of life and eternity that come from knowing and
doing the will of God.
WHAT EVIDENCE DO YOU SEE TODAY THAT PEOPLE ARE WANDERING "FROM SEA TO SEA"
SEEKING FOR THE WORD OF THE LORD?
In today's world we see a plethora of people caught up in this spiritual
"famine" wandering and searching for some kind of spiritual guidance. They seek for answers from astrologers, tarot card readers, or others that
prophesy of the future from a variety of sources. They seem to be
literally running "to and fro."
"Woe to them that are at
ease in Zion." (Amos 6:1)
WHAT IS AMOS'S CONCLUDING MESSAGE?
Israel shall not be completely destroyed, but will be sifted among the
Israel shall once again be restored as a great and prosperous people (v14-15).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BECOME AT EASE IN ZION?
See verses Amos 6:3-6.
I believe it means that one is failing to be diligent in growing in the faith, serving
others, sharing the gospel, and contributing to our communities and nation.
President Ezra Taft Benson: "It is not going
to be enough just to accept the teachings, standards, and ideals of the
Church passively. It will require real activity, real dedication to the
principles of righteousness if we are to face the future unafraid. But
if we have the courage, sound judgment, and the faith so to do, then no
matter what happens we will be able to face any situation with courage
and with faith and with the assurance that God will sustain us. I know
that now is the time probably more than any other time in our lives to
live the gospel. We should not be lulled away into false security as Nephi
said many would be in the last days. We should not be pacified and feel
in our hearts that we can sin a little, that we can attend to our meetings
part of the time, that we can pay a token tithing, that we can live the
gospel when it is convenient, and all will be well. We must not be 'at
ease in Zion' and say 'Zion prospers, all is well' (2 Nephi 28:21, 24).
But we must live the gospel plan in its fulness every day of our lives.
Therein is safety. Therein will come a satisfaction which comes from righteous
living which will enter our hearts, give us the courage and the strength
that we need. There is no security in unrighteousness. The sinful always
live in despair (see Moroni 10:22)." (Teachings of Ezra Taft
Joel's Prophecies About The Latter Days
Through Joel, the Lord issued several invitations to those living
in the latter days. Consider what these invitations mean to you.
Time frame: There is disagreement among scholars as to the time in
which Joel lived. Some date it earlier, during the reigns of the
Jewish kings Joash (c. 837-797 BC) or Uzziah (c. 792-740 BC). Others
date it late, after the time of Nehemiah, from 400 to 350 BC.
The major lesson of the book: God will judge the heathen in the Battle
Joel also prophesied of the blessings which the Lord has promised
to those who follow him in the latter days.
"Turn ye even to me with all your heart"
As we turn towards something, we must also turn away from something else. The Lord is asking us to turn away from the things of the world, but he
says to do it "with all your heart." We cannot turn part way
and look both directions. The Lord is telling us to turn a full 180
degrees and focus our efforts on him and his ways.
"Rend your heart, and not your garments"
The Hebrew word for "rend" is qara', meaning to "tear,
tear in pieces."
It was the ancient custom to tear one's garments as a token of great sorrow
or abject humility. The Lord is inviting us to "rend" our
heart or humble ourselves before him.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "As to the cares
of the world and the things of the world, it seems that if our hearts are
so set upon the things of this world, they must be broken before they can
be set upon the things of God." (We Talk of Christ, p133)
"Turn unto the Lord your God" (Joel 2:13).
"Sanctify the congregation" (Joel 2:16).
This appears to be an invitation to assist others in turning to Christ. We do this through teaching in our families, fulfilling our Church callings,
and sharing the good news of the gospel.
"Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice"
If we turn to the Lord, rend our hearts, and assist in sanctifying the
congregation, we need not fear. We are following the path the Lord
has set us. That path leads to happiness in this life and joy throughout
the eternities. Indeed, we have reason to "be glad and rejoice."
"...he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger,
and of great kindness, and he will turn away the evil from you"
(JST Joel 2:13).
The Lord will "pity his people" (Joel 2:18).
The Hebrew word for pity is chamal, meaning to spare or have compassion
The northern army described in
Joel 2:1-11 will be driven into a barren
place (Joel 2:20). Much of Chapter 2 refers to the Battle of Armageddon.
"Ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied"
In contrast to the spiritual famine described by Amos, the righteous in
the latter days will have a spiritual feast.
"I am in the midst of Israel,...and my people
shall never be ashamed" (Joel 2:27).
"I will pour my spirit upon all flesh"
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "This promise,
as pertaining to the last days, was made by Joel and renewed by Moroni
when he appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith on Sept. 21, 1823. (Joel 2:28-32;
Jos. Smith 2:41.) It has reference, not to the Holy Ghost, but to the pouring
out of the Spirit of Christ, the spirit or light which enlighteneth every
man born into the world. Those who hearken to this spirit and are led by
its strivings come to the knowledge of the truth, accept the gospel, and
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (D. & C. 84:44-48)."
(Mormon Doctrine, p716)
President Joseph Fielding Smith discussed the great discoveries and inventions
of our modern age and then states, "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." (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:183)
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).
We live in a time when the word of the Lord goes forth to the world from
his prophets. In the Millennium, we shall hear the voice of the Lord
issued forth from Zion and Jerusalem (see also
"The Lord will be the hope of his people"
The Lord is our hope in a day of worldwide despair.
"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).
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- Over 2700 years ago, the prophet Amos issued forth a clear statement that
rings throughout all the ages of time on this earth, "Surely the Lord
God will do nothing, until he revealeth the secret unto his servants the
prophets" (JST Amos 3:7). We are living in the last days prior
to the Lord's reign on earth. There will yet be many challenges and
difficulties, but the Lord has sent forth his prophets to guide us through
these tumultuous times. If we are to spiritually survive, we must
heed the words of the Lord's servants. Consider the words from a
favorite hymn (Hymn No. 21):
Record your thoughts on the value of living prophets. What role does the
living prophet have in your life?
Come, listen to a prophet's voice,
And hear the word of God,
And in the way of truth rejoice,
And sing for joy aloud.
We've found the way the prophets went
Who lived in days of yore;
Another prophet now is sent
This knowledge to restore.
Resources Used In This Lesson
Conference Reports (CR).
Cowley's Talks on Doctrine by Matthias F. Cowley.
Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 1, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Men and Women of Christ by Neal A. Maxwell.
Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie.
Prophets & Prophecies of the Old Testament by Duane S. Crowther.
Saturday Night Thoughts by Orson F. Whitney.
Stand Ye In Holy Places by Harold B. Lee.
Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
We Talk of Christ by Neal A. Maxwell.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
26 August 2014