Scripture Thought (What I Learned):
Today, we see wars and hear of rumors of wars just as the Bible predicted. However we see so many people turn away from the scriptures and turn to other methods of finding truth, wisdom and knowledge. I have spoken to many people throughout my life in school, work, strangers in the store, etc. A majority of the people I have spoken to, regarding religious or spiritual matters are looking for the truth, but have expressed to me that they know not where to find the truth.
I can’t count the times that I have heard something to the effect as; “I just hate religions, because they all fight. I just believe in God and that is all that is needed”. God never intended for people to fight over His gospel, I am sure He knew it would happen, but it is NOT His desire for it to happen. With the dozens, maybe even hundreds of religions out there it is no wonder people wander “… to and fro…” (Amos 8:12) There is a spiritual famine today, which was caused by an Apostasy, where people turned away from the Lord.
The Lord, however, has promised to RESTORE His church and His people. This Restoration occurred in 1820, when young Joseph Smith was praying about which church to join, God and His son Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him, that none of the churches were correct. He was guided through the Lord to restore GOD’s Church on the earth. From then on, we have had modern day prophets who lead and guide the Lord’s church in Modern days. The fruit and evidence of this Restoration is the Book of Mormon, which would come forth at a time of great ‘Spiritual Famine’.
Let me be clear that the Book of Mormon, does NOT discredit or disregard the Bible in anyway, instead it acts as a companion to the Bible. We have the Old and New Testaments written in the ‘Old World’ (Middle East) and we now have Another Testament of Jesus Christ (The Book of Mormon) which was written in ancient times in the ‘New World’ (the Americas).
The Book of Mormon explains and builds upon what we already know of the Bible and goes into more detail about;
• The purpose of mortal life and death (See 2 Ne. 2:21; 2 Ne. 33:9; Alma 12:24; Alma 34:32; Alma 42:4)
• The certainty of life after death (See 2 Ne. 9:3–7; Mosiah 16:8; 3 Ne. 11)
• What happens when the spirit leaves the body (See Alma 34:34; Alma 40:11–14, 21)
• The description of the Resurrection (See 2 Ne. 9:12; Alma 40:23; Alma 41:2; 3 Ne. 11:1–16)
• How to receive and retain a remission of your sins (See Mosiah 4:1–3, 12, 26; Alma 4:14)
• What hold justice or mercy may have on you, (See Alma 34:15–16; Alma 41:14; Alma 42:15–16, 22–25)
• What to pray for (See 2 Ne. 4:35; 2 Ne. 32:8–9; Enos 1:9; Alma 13:28; Alma 34:17–27; Alma 37:36–37; 3 Ne. 18:19–21; Moro. 7:26)
• Priesthood (See 2 Ne. 6:2; Mosiah 18:18; Alma 6:1; Alma 13; 3 Ne. 11:21; 3 Ne. 18:37; Moro. 2:2; Moro. 3:4)
• Covenants and ordinances (See 2 Ne. 11:5; Mosiah 5:5; Mosiah 18:13; Alma 13:8, 16)
• The office and ministry of angels (See 2 Ne. 32:2–3; Omni 1:25; Moro. 7:25, 37)
• The still, small voice of personal revelation (See 1 Ne. 16:9; 1 Ne. 17:44–45; Enos 1:10; Alma 32:23; Hel. 5:30; 3 Ne. 11:3)
• The mission of Jesus Christ (See 1 Ne. 11:13–33; 2 Ne. 2:6–10; Mosiah 3:5–12; Alma 7:7–13; 3 Ne. 27:13–16)
The Book of Mormon quenches the spiritual hunger and thirst that was described by Amos of old. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints…
“We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)
Chapter 7: Amos, a prophet of God
In this chapter we learn about how Amos became a prophet of God. Amos explains that he saw a vision of locusts, and a vision of fire; in both instances, the Lord is deaf to Amos’ petitions that Jacob may be spared. There is a further vision of a plumb line (to see if Israel is ‘straight’ or rather ‘righteous’ on the Lord’s path). Amaziah, a priest of Bethel, speaks against Amos. Amos replies;
“…I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but was an herman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.” (Amos 7:14-15).
Here we learn something VERY important. Prophets are not born of a special family bloodline, nor are they educated in a formal setting to become a prophet. The Lord choses His prophets by his own means, including finding un-educated herders, farmers, etc. and then slowly teaching them throughout their lives to become a prophet. They are not paid, nor do they work their way to the top. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is the same. Prophets are selected by the Lord, not by man. They are sculpted throughout their lives, while living their lives and working in their respective careers.
The Lord decrees Amaziah’s punishment – his wife shall be a harlot, your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword, you shall die in a defiled land.
Chapter 8: A time of famine: The Great Apostasy
Amos has a vision of summer fruit; which signifies the end has come on Israel. Dishonesty and cheating the poor is disapproved of. In that day of Apostasy (a falling away from the Lord’s teachings), when the world will no longer turn to God “… the sun shall go down at noon…” (Amos 8:9), which will cause the sky to be darkened.
Amos also speaks of a famine; this famine will afflict the entire earth. However, this famine is not a famine of food and water, but of the word of GOD! “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.” (Amos 8:11-12)
This ‘spiritual’ famine will occur on the earth, just as it has in the past. People want to know the truth, the desire and rather long for the opportunity of knowledge and wisdom. Some of the most basic desires of the human experience are to know; where we came from, and why we are here on the earth. What purpose do we have? Amos described a time when people would go to the ends of the earth to find this truth, to find anything to fill that spiritual void in their lives, but sadly, they would not find it during that time of Apostasy.
Chapter 9: The Restoration
Amos has a vision of the Lord at the temple, seeing the work of destruction. The Lord will sift the house of Israel, as grain is sifted in a sieve. Those who think they will be unaffected by the calamity will die by the sword. With all this destruction the Lord promises to raise the tabernacle of David.
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” (Amos 9:11). Israel shall be restored, and fruit and wine shall be abundant. Israel will be planted in the land, and no longer pulled up.