Lesson 35

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God Reveals his secrets to His Prophets (Amos 3; Amos 7–9; Joel 2–3)

Church Cirriculum

The official church guide can be seen at Lesson 35 of Official LDS Church site for Gospel Doctrine

We encourage you to make sure you are familiar with the official church curriculum as the first step in your lesson preparation, as this is the material recommended by the General Authorities of the church.

Supplementary material here is not intended to substitute for lesson preparation, but hopefully it will enhance your preparations for Sunday School.

Background of Amos

The name Amos means "burden" in Hebrew. Amos 1:1 says he was "among the shepherds of Tekoa", this is likely to refer to modern Tekua, about 12 miles south-east of Bethlehem. He is often assumed to have been a rich shepherd. He was (according to 7:14) neither a "prophet nor a prophet's son" but "a herdsman and a dresser of sycomore trees," R.V. However, the Hebrew words used in 1:1 and 7:14 suggest the proprietor of flocks rather than a shepherd. However, some scholars, John Calvin among them, believe that in this particular case it is unlikely that Amos would be a wealthy person due to the geographical attributes of the land surrounding Tekoa.

He prophesied in the days of Jeroboam II of Israel, while Uzziah was king of Judah. The writer of the book remembers that two years after he spoke an earthquake struck the area (1:1). Josephus, the Jewish historian, believed that the earthquake happened at the same time as Uzziah's seizure of the role of High Priest and his subsequent bout with leprosy. Amos was contemporary with Isaiah, Micah and Hosea. Under Jeroboam II, the kingdom of Israel rose to the zenith of its prosperity. The gulf between rich and poor widened at this time.

Like Micah, Amos was called from his rural home to remind the rich and powerful of God's requirement for justice (e.g. 2:6-16). He claimed that religion that is not accompanied by right action is anathema to God (5:21ff.), and that the kingdom of Israel would be destroyed (e.g. 5:1-2; 8:2).

Book of Joel

  1. A prophecy of a great public calamity then impending over the land, consisting of a want of water and an extraordinary plague of locusts (1:1-2:11).
  2. The prophet then calls on his countrymen to repent and to turn to God, assuring them of his readiness to forgive (2:12-17), and foretelling the restoration of the land to its accustomed fruitfulness (18-26).
  3. Then follows a prophecy which is interpreted as Messianic within Christian tradition.
  4. Finally, the prophet foretells portents and judgments as destined to fall on the enemies of God (ch. 3, but in the Hebrew text 4).

Joel was probably a contemporary of Jeremiah, as they both served under King Josiah in the southern Kingdom of Judah.

Additional Teaching Materials

  • Prophets. A&E Home video. Chapter 3. 1994. ISBN 0-7670-8501-9.
  • Old Testament Institute Manual
  • The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3. David J Ridges, 2006. ISBN 1-55517-957-6