Amos 7-9

Amos 7-9

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. 2:212 Ne. 33:9Alma 12:24Alma 34:32Alma 42:4)

• The certainty of life after death (See 2 Ne. 9:3–7Mosiah 16:83 Ne. 11)

• What happens when the spirit leaves the body (See Alma 34:34Alma 40:11–14, 21)

• The description of the Resurrection (See 2 Ne. 9:12Alma 40:23Alma 41:23 Ne. 11:1–16)

• How to receive and retain a remission of your sins (See Mosiah 4:1–3, 12, 26Alma 4:14)

• What hold justice or mercy may have on you, (See Alma 34:15–16Alma 41:14Alma 42:15–16, 22–25)

• What to pray for (See 2 Ne. 4:352 Ne. 32:8–9Enos 1:9Alma 13:28Alma 34:17–27Alma 37:36–373 Ne. 18:19–21Moro. 7:26)

• Priesthood (See 2 Ne. 6:2Mosiah 18:18Alma 6:1Alma 133 Ne. 11:213 Ne. 18:37Moro. 2:2Moro. 3:4)

• Covenants and ordinances (See 2 Ne. 11:5Mosiah 5:5Mosiah 18:13Alma 13:8, 16)

• The office and ministry of angels (See 2 Ne. 32:2–3Omni 1:25Moro. 7:25, 37)

• The still, small voice of personal revelation (See 1 Ne. 16:91 Ne. 17:44–45Enos 1:10Alma 32:23Hel. 5:303 Ne. 11:3)

• The mission of Jesus Christ (See 1 Ne. 11:13–332 Ne. 2:6–10Mosiah 3:5–12Alma 7:7–133 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.

 

Daniel 1-2

Daniel 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

There is a lot I have learned from these two chapters. First is the character of Daniel, who refused the kings meat and wine. Can you imagine doing that? Having the audacity to challenge the king? Daniel was brave and because he was brave he earned the trust of the king! We learn that by not taking the kings meat and wine that Daniel and those who participated in eating grains and water were better off. Why is that? God has a commandment on our health, for our own benefit. He knows what our bodies need to survive. This is one of the earlier examples of the Lord telling his people about eating healthy.

In the LDS Church we have a strict commandment on what we can and cannot consume. This commandment was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833, which is known as the “Word of Wisdom” and is the 89th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants (a canonized book of LDS Scripture); “…strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies…. Tobaccos is not for our bod, neither for your belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill…. Hot drinks are not for the body or belly… all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly… all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience… shall receive health in their navel and marrow in their bones… shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint…” (Doctrine and Covenants 89: 7-12, 18, 20)

                Besides eating healthy and learning of the brave nature of Daniel, we learn about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of that dream. Why is this dream important? Because the last kingdom, the one that shall never be destroyed… is now! That kingdom is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ that is on the earth now!

In Doctrine and Covenants we also read what Joseph F Smith wrote about all of the prophets of ancient times and the events leading to the latter days; “Noah, who gave warning of the flood… Isaiah who declared by prophecy that the Redeemer was anointed to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound…Ezekiel, who was shown in vision the great valley of dry bones, which were to be clothed upon with flesh, to come forth again in the resurrection of the dead, living souls; Daniel who foresaw and foretold of God in the latter days, never again to be destroyed nor given to other people… The Prophet Joseph Smith… Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fullness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work, Including the building of the temples…” (Doctrine and Covenants 138: 41-44, 53-54)

latter-day-saints-temple-building-projects-8

Chapter 1: Daniel

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, who was the king of Judah, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to siege Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, certain Hebrew including Daniel are trained in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. These children are “…skillful in all wisdom… cunning in knowledge, and understanding science…” (Daniel 1:4) The children are all given meat and wine, but David did not want the kings meat or wine; “…Daniel proposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Daniel 1:8)

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                Daniel then goes to Melzar (who was basically over the children) and asks him to only feed the children “pulse” which are foods made of seeds and grains. Daniel says; “…I beseech thee, ten days; let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee… at the end of the ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did ear the portion of the kings meat.” (Daniel 12-13, 15)

                Daniel and the fourt other children with him are given “…knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17). These gifts came from God.

Chapter 2: Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles his spirit, so he calls all the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers to help interpret his dream. When the “wise” men come before Nebuchadnezzar they tell him that they can interpret the dream, if Nebuchadnezzar will explain his dream to them. Well Nebuchadnezzar explains that he can no longer remember the dream and that anyone who is unable to tell of the dream and its interpretation will be destroyed!

The wise men all tell Nebuchadnezzar that this task is impossible and only the gods would be able to tell of his dream. This angers Nebuchadnezzar and he commands that all the wise men through the land be killed, this of course would include Daniel and his peers to be killed.

Daniel goes to Arioch (the kings captain) and ask for a little of King Nebuchadnezzars time to interpret his dream. Before going to the king, Daniel stops off at his house and explains to his companions that they need to ask God for help to be saved from death. With their prayers the secret of Nebuchadnezzars dream is revealed to Daniel. Daniel praises the Lord; “…Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his… he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings and sitteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Daniel 2:20-21).

Daniel goes before the king and explains that only God in heaven can reveal his dream and for that purpose Daniel was sent before Nebuchadnezzar, to explain his dream:

“Thou , O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the ion, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:31-35)

Daniel then goes on to explain the interpretation of the dream:

Nebuchadnezzar is the golden head, and the other parts of the image’s body are subsequent kingdoms (Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman). When the fourth kingdom, represented by the feet, is destroyed all other kingdoms will be destroyed along with it. The iron and clay of the feet indicates that the kingdom is partly strong, and partly weak. The fourth kingdom will be divided into ten smaller kingdoms, each represented by a toe. Daniel explains that the kingdoms reprented as “half iron and half clay” will be kingdoms whoe mingle the seed of men to the point where they don’t mix, like Iron and Clay do not mix. At that time God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed (represented by the stone).

                “…in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

Upon hearing Daniels interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar fell down and worshiped Daniel and gave him whatsoever he wanted. Daniel is appointed as ruler over all the province of Babylon and sets Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego over the affairs of Babylon.

 

Numbers 11-12

Numbers 11-12

                I learned two major things through today’s reading:

  1. God HEARS and ANSWERS Prayer.
    1. When Moses was in probably one of his darkest hours, pleading with God to send him help, or kill him. The Lord responded with the help he needed. I think that sometimes the Lord will try us, until we can no longer take it anymore. I know in my own life that it is in those darkest hours, the time when you think nothing can go right, when everything that normally makes you happy, just makes you sad. We as humans, have all experienced this loneliness or a feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed out. But if we remember to put God first and pray to him. Talk to him. Then he will listen and answer.
    2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ONLY true church on the EARTH!
      1. There are many reasons why the LDS church (more commonly known as the Mormons) is the only true church on earth. But from just two simple verses (6 and 8) we read that the Lord can manifest himself to people through dreams and visions, but through the Prophet (appointed by God himself), God will actually speak to him, “mouth to mouth” or in person. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is that same church that existed in the time of Moses, only restored in these latter (end) days. In 1820 the Lord answered a young boys prayer about which church he should join. This boy, was Joseph Smith and through him, Jesus RESTORED HIS CHURCH! Today the church has a Modern Prophet and a Quorum of the Seventy. Just as in the days of Moses.

Chapter 11: The 70 Elders of Israel

We learn that the Lord can get very angry with those who chose to disobey him. It says that when people complained, the Lord would cause a fire to burn among them, but when the people complained to Moses and Moses prayed for them, the fire was quenched.

After some time though, the congregation of Israel gets upset with only eating Manna. They start complaining about not having meat and demanding it. Moses prays to God and asks for help, saying that he is unable to “…bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy…” (Numbers 11:14) for him, even asking God to kill him, if he did not send help. (See Numbers 11:15)

But the Lord sends help to Moses, he asks Moses to gather 70 men of the Elders of Israel to be Elders and Officers over the people.

The first Quorum of the Seventy is organized in the church of Jesus Christ, the Lord appoints these men and gives them authority so that Moses (who acts as the Prophet and President of the Church) can have people to delegate some of the tasks that the Lord would have him complete.

The Lord tells Moses that he will let the children of Israel eat meat, even providing a whole month of meat. A wind brings in quails from the sea, the Israelites gather them and begin to eat. The Lord however is displeased.

Chapter 12: Speaking to Moses; Mouth to Mouth

Miriam and Aaron speak to Moses, with discontent over the fact that the Lord only usually speaks to Moses. The Lord hears this and immediately calls all three of them to come to the front of the tabernacle for a talk. The Lord tells them that if he calls a prophet, he will make himself known to them through dreams and visions. This goes for most of his children, but he says with Moses (the prophet) it is different, with him he says, he speaks to Moses MOUTH TO MOUTH. In other words, person to person just like a father speaks to his children and vice versa.