“Unit 30: Day 4, Amos,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 30: Day 4,” Old Testament Study Guide
Amos was a shepherd from the kingdom of Judah. He was called by the Lord to warn the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel that they would be destroyed if they did not repent. He prophesied that because the Israelites had rejected the Lord’s prophets, the Lord would remove the prophets from among them. Amos also warned the nations bordering Israel and Judah that they would be destroyed as well.
- Have you ever tried to warn someone who did not heed your warning? Has someone ever tried to warn you, but you did not heed the warning? Write about one of these experiences in your scripture study journal, and briefly explain what happened to you or someone else as a result of not heeding a warning.
As you study the book of Amos, look for truths that might help you understand the importance of heeding the warnings that the Lord gives us through His prophets.
As recorded in Amos 1–2, Amos prophesied that destruction would come upon many nations for their wickedness. Read Amos 2:4–6, looking for two kingdoms the Lord said would be destroyed and why. The phrase “for three transgressions … and for four” does not refer to a specific number of sins but suggests that the wickedness of these nations was very great; a certain level of wickedness would have justified their destruction, but they had sinned above and beyond that level (see Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, 3rd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 90).
What sins had the people of Judah and Israel committed?
Read Amos 2:10–11, looking for what the Lord reminded the Israelites that He had done for them.
Notice that the Lord had raised up prophets and Nazarites to help the people of Israel (see Amos 2:11). Remember that Nazarites were Israelites who made a vow to wholly dedicate themselves to the Lord for a certain period of their life. As part of this vow, they did not drink wine. (See Bible Dictionary, “Nazarite.”)
Read Amos 2:12, looking for how the people responded to the Nazarites and prophets.
Encouraging Nazarites to drink wine was similar to encouraging Church members today to break their covenants. By saying “prophesy not,” the Israelites told the prophets to stop warning them about the consequences of sin and the coming destruction of Israel and Judah. Amos later personally experienced this rejection when Amaziah, a wicked priest of the King Jeroboam, told Amos to return to Judah and stop prophesying to the people of Israel that they would be destroyed (see Amos 7:10–13).
Why would someone want the prophets to “prophesy not”?
As recorded in Amos 2:13–3:2, the Lord expressed sorrow for Israel’s rejection of Him and His servants and warned the people that they would not be able to save themselves from destruction.
Amos 3:3–8 contains the Lord’s response to the people who wanted Amos and the other prophets to stop prophesying. Read Amos 3:7–8, looking for what the Lord inspired Amos to teach to the people who demanded that the prophets stop prophesying about the destruction of Israel.
Verses 7–8 indicate that the Lord would not destroy His people unless He first warned them through His prophets. As recorded in verse 8, Amos declared that just as the roar of a lion naturally instills fear in those who hear it, so also a prophet is bound to represent the Lord when God speaks to him. Amos understood this concept and would not allow the complaints of the people to stop him from fulfilling his sacred duty as a prophet.
Amos 3:7 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way so you can locate it easily in the future. The Joseph Smith Translation of Amos 3:7 replaces the word but with until (see Joseph Smith Translation, Amos 3:7 [in Amos 3:7, footnote a]). You may want to write this change in the margin next to verse 7. We learn from this verse that the Lord reveals truth through His prophets.
- Answer two or all of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
In Amos’s day the people did not want the prophets to speak about the consequences of sin. In what ways might people oppose or ignore the teachings of prophets today?
What has the Lord revealed to latter-day prophets that shows how vital prophets are today?
How have you come to know (or how can you come to know) that the Lord reveals truth through His prophets?
The Lord reveals what we need to know through prophets. Remember to always look to the latter-day prophets for direction and follow them.
As recorded in Amos 3:9–6:14, Amos continued to warn the people of the coming destruction. The Lord, through Amos, explained that He had used famines, droughts, pestilences, and war to teach His people the error of their sinful ways but they still would not return to Him. They continued to be “at ease” (Amos 6:1), assuming that nothing bad would happen to them. Even though destruction loomed, Amos shared his message of the Lord’s mercy with the people.
Read Amos 5:4, 6, looking for the promise that is repeated.
Consider marking the phrases “seek ye me” and “seek the Lord” in these verses.
Read Amos 5:14–15, looking for additional counsel that Amos gave to those who seek the Lord.
Finish the following phrases with your own words:
I can show that I “hate the evil” (Amos 5:15) by .
I can show that I “love the good” (Amos 5:15) by .
In Amos 5:15 the Lord promised to be “gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” One way the Lord fulfilled this promise was by leading Lehi and his family out of Jerusalem to the American continent (see 2 Nephi 3:4; Jacob 2:25).
- To help you memorize Amos 3:7, write the first letter of each word in this verse on a piece of paper. Using the letters as a reference, practice reciting the verse aloud while referring to your scriptures when necessary. Repeat this process until you can say the verse without any help from the scripture or the letters you wrote. Recite the scripture mastery from memory to a friend or a family member. Record your completion of this assignment in the scripture study journal.
In spite of the prophets’ warnings, the Israelites continued to sin. As recorded in Amos 7:1–8:10, Amos repeated his duty to declare God’s word, and he described another consequence of Israel’s rejection of the prophets.
Read Amos 8:11–12, looking for what Amos prophesied would happen.
You may want to mark the answers to the following questions in verses 11–12:
What type of famine did Amos prophesy of?
What did Amos prophesy that the people would do during this famine?
From these verses we learn that when people reject the Lord’s prophets, they lose the blessing of hearing the words of the Lord. Hearing the words of the Lord brings the strength and nourishment we need while living in a spiritually famished world.
Consider examples of times when people lost the blessing of hearing the words of the Lord because they rejected His prophets.
The prophecy in Amos 8:11–12 has been fulfilled during several different periods in history (see Amos 8:11, footnote a). One important fulfillment of the prophecy is the Great Apostasy. You may want to write Great Apostasy in the margin of your scriptures next to Amos 8:11–12. To better understand the Great Apostasy, read the following explanation:
“The Great Apostasy … occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread wickedness, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth.
“During the Great Apostasy, people were without divine direction from living prophets. Many churches were established, but they did not have priesthood power to lead people to the true knowledge of God the Father and Jesus Christ. … This apostasy lasted until Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and initiated the restoration of the fulness of the gospel” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 13).
- In your scripture study journal, summarize what happened during the Great Apostasy.
According to Amos 9, Amos saw the latter days when Israel would be gathered again and restored to their promised land.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Amos 1–9 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: