Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

What Is the Role of Prophets?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Amos and Obadiah in a lesson titled “Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live.” The lesson was introduced by the following paragraphs:

God chose Abraham’s seed to be His covenant people so that they would “be a blessing” to all people (see Genesis 12:2-3). But instead, by the time of Amos’s ministry, many of the covenant people were oppressing the poor and ignoring the prophets, making their acts of worship empty and meaningless (see Amos 2:6-16). True, the nations surrounding them were also guilty of great sins (see Amos 1; 2:1-5), but that has never been an excuse for God’s people (see Amos 3:2). So God sent a herdsman from Judah named Amos to preach repentance to the Kingdom of Israel.

Later, God also declared through the prophet Obadiah that although the Kingdom of Judah had been destroyed, the Lord would gather and bless His people again. The covenant people had strayed from the Lord, both prophets testified, but they would not be cast off forever. When God reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets (see Amos 3:7), we can take it as a sign that He still wants to help us live up to the covenants we made with Him. 

The topic of this essay is the principle just mentioned: The Lord reveals truth through His prophets. Amos introduced the principle by giving several examples of cause and effect:

4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?

5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?

6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?

7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:4-8)

Amos spoke to the entire house of Israel, all twelve tribes, and he used the metaphor of a husband and wife. The Lord reminded Israel that He had chosen no other (see Amos 3:2; Deuteronomy 7:6). He spoke of Himself as faithful husband and reminded Israel of her covenant relationship with Him (see Jeremiah 3:19-20). The images used by Amos were chosen to express this message: God knows about calamities before they happen, but He never sends a calamity unless He first notifies His prophet that it is coming. Amos 3:7 is a clear statement of the role of prophets: they are spokesmen for the Lord. President N. Eldon Tanner said the following:

There are many scriptures which assure us that God is as interested in us today as he has been in all his children from the beginning, and thus we believe in continuous revelation from God through his prophets to guide us in these latter days. The Prophet Amos said, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p.52, as quoted in Old Testament Student Manual – Kings through Malachi, 2003). 

I know that God still speaks to us through His prophets. His prophet today is Russell M. Nelson, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am grateful to live in a day when living prophets are upon the earth to guide us in the ways of God.

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