Unit 30: Day 3

Joel

“Unit 30: Day 3, Joel,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)


Introduction

Joel prophesied of impending destruction and devastation and counseled the people to gather to the house of the Lord. He further prophesied of latter-day calamities upon the wicked and of the Spirit of the Lord being poured out upon all flesh. Joel foretold of a great battle that will happen in the last days.

Joel 1

Joel calls the people to the temple to pray for deliverance from approaching disaster

Sister Patricia T. Holland, the wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote about an experience she had during a severe windstorm:

Patricia T. Holland

“Recently we experienced the worst windstorm Bountiful [a city in Utah] has seen in several decades. The wind on the freeway was gauged at 113 miles an hour. … Just as I was hearing news reports of semi trucks—twenty of them—being blown over on the roadside, I looked out my lovely back window down toward our creek and saw one of our large trees go down with a crash. …

“For a moment, I confess, I was truly fearful. It was very early in the morning, and Jeff was just leaving for the office. I said to him, ‘Do you think this is the end? Is it all over—or about to be?’” (A Quiet Heart [2000], 129).

When you hear discussions about the signs and events that will accompany the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, do you feel afraid? Why or why not?

Look for Elder Holland’s response to his wife as you read more of Sister Holland’s account: “My husband, who has deep faith and endless optimism, took me in his arms and said, ‘No, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Christ really did come and his children really were ready for him? Wouldn’t it be terrific if evil was finally conquered, once and for all, and the Savior of the world came down in the midst of the New Jerusalem to wipe away every tear from every eye? Yes,’ my husband said, ‘in lots of ways I wish it were the end, but it’s not. It is just a stiff windstorm in Bountiful. We have got more work to do’” (A Quiet Heart, 129–30).

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. What stands out to you about Elder Holland’s feelings and thoughts concerning the Savior’s Second Coming?

    2. Why do you think Elder Holland could respond in such an optimistic way about the Second Coming?

Today you will study the prophecies of the prophet Joel. While we do not know for certain when Joel lived, we know that he prophesied to the people of Judah at a time when they were facing natural disasters and invading armies. Many of Joel’s prophecies relate to the time preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which will also be filled with natural disasters and wars. Although people may feel afraid because of some of the events associated with the Second Coming, Joel’s prophecies contain principles that can help us prepare for them. As you study the book of Joel today, look for these principles so that you, like Elder Holland, can be optimistic and look forward to the Second Coming of the Savior with joy and confidence.

As recorded in Joel 1:1–13, Joel recounted the devastation brought on by a plague of locusts. One interpretation of this passage is that it symbolizes the destruction that would come from invading armies if the people did not repent.

Read Joel 1:14–15, looking for what Joel counseled his people to do. You may want to mark what you find. The phrase “day of the Lord” in verse 15 refers to a time when the Lord administers rewards and penalties.

Why do you think Joel wanted the people to gather to the temple when they were faced with danger?

List a few examples of the kinds of danger young people face today:

Just as Joel counseled the people in his day to gather to the temple for safety, if we gather to the temple, we can receive protection from spiritual danger.

It may be difficult for some to attend the temple regularly. However, such individuals can also receive protection from spiritual danger by choosing to live worthy to enter the temple.

Elder Richard G. Scott

In the following statement, underline the ways Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said we can gather to the temple in our day and one of the blessings he said we can receive for doing so: “Do you young people want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. As you grow older, you will be able to participate in receiving the other ordinances as well. I can think of no greater protection from the influence of the adversary in your life” (“The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 94).

Even if you live far from a temple, you can still participate in temple work by searching for your ancestors and preparing their names for temple ordinances.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. In what ways have you felt blessed and protected from spiritual danger as you have participated in family history and temple work? (If you have not yet participated in family history and temple work, write down a goal to do so, and include a specific time frame.)

    2. What can you do in the future to participate more in family history and temple work?

Joel 2

Joel prophesies of latter-day calamities and of the Spirit of the Lord being poured out upon all flesh

In Joel 2, Joel used the phrase “day of the Lord” to refer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and events preceding it. Read Joel 2:1–2, looking for how Joel described the day of the Lord.

In Joel 2:3–10 we read Joel’s description of the war and destruction that will occur, as well as the sadness that some people will experience, before the Savior’s Second Coming.

Read Joel 2:11, looking for words that describe the day of the Lord.

Consider marking the question at the end of verse 11. The word abide means to endure or survive.

Joel 2:12–16 contains truths that can help us know who will endure or survive the Savior’s Second Coming. Read Joel 2:12, and consider marking what the Lord asked the people to do.

People in Old Testament times would often rend, or tear, their clothing as a symbol of their grief and sorrow.

Read Joel 2:13–14, looking for what Joel taught the people to rend instead of their clothes. To better understand these verses, look at Joseph Smith Translation, Joel 2:13 (in Joel 2:13, footnote b) and Joseph Smith Translation, Joel 2:14 (in Joel 2:14, footnote a).

Joel taught the people that they should feel sorrow for what they had done wrong and feel a desire to repent.

From these verses we learn the following principle: As we turn to the Lord with all our hearts by sincerely repenting, He will show mercy and kindness to us.

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. How can we show God that our repentance is sincere?

    2. Why do you suppose that some people hesitate or fail to repent, even when they have been taught that God shows mercy and kindness to those who repent? What might help them overcome barriers that prevent repentance?

Ponder whether there are sins you need to repent of so you can more fully experience the Lord’s mercy and kindness in your life and be better prepared for the Second Coming. Make a goal to identify, through prayer, those sins and shortcomings that are affecting your spiritual welfare and keeping you from feeling close to God and steps you will begin to take immediately to repent and improve.

In Joel 2:15–32 we read about some of the blessings that the righteous will enjoy as they await and prepare for the day of the Lord.

Read Joel 2:27–29, looking for the kindness the Lord said He would show in the latter days.

This prophecy has a dual fulfillment. It was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost just after the Ascension of the Savior into heaven (see Acts 2). It also refers to what will happen in the last days. On September 21, 1823, Moroni came to Joseph Smith and quoted from Joel 2:28 to the end of the chapter. Joseph was told that this prophecy of Joel was not yet fulfilled but soon would be. (See Joseph Smith—History 1:41.)

In Joel 2:28 we read that in the latter days the Lord will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught the following about Joel 2:27–29:

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“The inspiration which was promised to all flesh by the Lord through the prophecy of Joel, is not the promise of the Holy Ghost, but the promise of the guidance of the Light of Christ, or Spirit of Truth, which is given to every man who comes into the world” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., comp. Bruce R. McConkie [1954–56], 1:53).

“I am not going to confine this prophecy to the members of the Church. The Lord said he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh. That does not mean that upon all flesh the Holy Ghost should be sent, … but the Lord would pour out his blessings and his Spirit upon all people and use them to accomplish his purposes” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:176).

“There has never been a step taken … , in discovery or invention, where the Spirit of the Lord (that is, the spirit of which Joel spoke, the Light of Christ, not the Holy Ghost) was not the prevailing force, resting upon the individual, which caused him to make the discovery or the invention. … The Lord [did not] always use those who have faith, nor does he always do so today. He uses such minds as are pliable and can be turned in certain directions to accomplish his work, whether they believe in him or not” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:178).

  1. journal iconAnswer the following question in your scripture study journal: What evidence have you seen that the Lord is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh?

Signs and wonders will precede and accompany the day of the Lord. Read Joel 2:30–31, looking for some of these signs.

Ponder whether you feel afraid or concerned about any of these signs or wonders.

Read Joel 2:32, looking for what Joel taught that can help us when we feel afraid or concerned about signs of the Second Coming.

What can we do if we are fearful or concerned about the signs and events of the last days?

What can Heavenly Father do for those who call on His name?

Joel 3

Joel prophesies of a great battle that will happen in the last days

Joel 3 contains a prophecy of the battle of Armageddon that will occur just before the Second Coming, in which all the nations of the earth will fight against the Lord’s people (see also Ezekiel 38–39; Zechariah 11–14; Revelation 16:14–21).

Read Joel 3:16, looking for who will help the righteous. You may want to mark why the Lord’s people should be hopeful during this challenging time.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, record your feelings about what you learned as you studied the book of Joel and how the truths you learned can help prepare you to abide the day of the Lord with joy and optimism.

  2. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Joel and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: