Chapter 22 – Moroni and Joel

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From Joseph Smith, we know that Moroni also quoted from the second chapter of Joel in the Old Testament. This chapter is directly related to the chapters of Malachi that have been reviewed. For purposes of context, we will review the entire chapter. Joel opens with a dire warning to latter-day America.  He says:

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion [America], and sound an alarm in my holy mountain [the church]: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.[i]

Joel is warning of the coming of the mighty Remnant of Jacob. He highlights the fact that nothing like their coming has ever occurred before. This is very similar to Joel’s previous chapter where he was speaking on the same subject.

Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.[ii]

Clearly the coming of this Remnant will be the stuff of legends. America has the most powerful military force on the planet. There is no other country that has weapon systems as advanced, or to the scope and scale as those found within the American arsenal. However, despite the unmatched military might of the American armed forces, Joel clearly states that the world will have never seen a host such as this. Joel continues:

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.[iii]

This brings to mind the warnings of Malachi and Moroni that “the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall burn as stubble: for they that come shall burn them”.[iv] Joel continues:

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.

This last description sounds incredibly similar to that put forth by Isaiah, as if they were both describing the same vision, just using their own words.

The noise of the multitude in the mountains like as of a great people, a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together, the Lord of Hosts mustereth the hosts of the battle. Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, every man’s heart shall melt; And they shall be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.[v]

Joel continues with his horrifying description of the coming of this magnificent host:

They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.[vi]

This last portion of Joel’s prophecy brings to mind another of Isaiah’s prophecies regarding this same group:

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.[vii]

It appears that the technology available among the Remnant of Jacob will negate the military might that the world currently possesses. The casualties of friendly fire that plague even the most advanced of our armies will not be an issue for the Remnant of Jacob. They will neither break their ranks, nor “thrust each other through”. When this host is confronted with the swords of their enemy they suffer no injury. Literally no weapon on earth will prosper against them. Joel continues:

They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.[viii]

Notice how many signs typically associated with the Second Coming are linked to the arrival and activities of this mighty host – earthquakes, heavens trembling, stars falling from the sky, and darkness. Joel continues:

And the Lord shall utter his voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?[ix]

Joel clearly states here that this is the Lord’s army doing the Lord’s will. As John the Baptist was the Lord’s forerunner when the Lord came to earth in meekness and humility, so the Remnant of Jacob will be His forerunner in the day that He comes in power and great glory. The prophet Jeremiah also spoke concerning the Lord’s army.  The following is a witness from this Old Testament prophet, one of Lehi’s contemporaries:

The portion of Jacob [Remnant of Jacob] is not like them [the vain of the earth]; for He [The Lord] is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name. Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.[x]

Having prophesied of the destruction that will fall upon the proud and wicked, Joel calls upon the world in general to repent, but also the members of the church specifically. The inward vessel must be cleansed, not just the outward parts.

Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?[xi]

These references to fasting, weeping, mourning and a broken heart are all signs of humility and sincere repentance, and are easily understood as such. The latter reference to the meat and drink offering may be less easily understood by modern day readers. To obtain the context of these offerings we look to the books of Moses. In them the Lord commanded Israel to offer a meat and a drink offering once the Lord had delivered them into the land of promise. This is reflected in the following verses:

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, when ye be come into the land of your habitations [the Promised Land], which I give unto you, and will make an offering by fire unto the Lord… then shall he that offereth his offering unto the Lord bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil. And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.[xii]

The meat and drink offerings were the Old Testament forerunners to the sacrament. As noted in the above reference meat consists not of flesh, but of the ingredients for bread – flour and oil. The flour and oil requirement, rather than actual bread, may be symbolic of the fact that the Bread of Life had yet to be physically embodied at that point. The flour, oil and wine as well as the sacrifice of one lamb were all symbols of Christ’s atonement, and are associated with the New Covenant- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who would participate in this covenant are those who would claim to be His disciples. It is to them that Joel is speaking as he continues:

Blow the trumpet in Zion [America], sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen [those that do not acknowledge the God of Israel] should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:[xiii]

These constitute clear references to the chastening of the Lord’s people. Solemn assemblies, Elders, and fasts are all terms with which Latter-Day Saints are familiar. These verses are reminiscent of those we have heard before, from the Doctrine and Covenants.  Reconsider the following verses:

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord. And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord; first among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.[xiv]

After the Remnant of Jacob has come to the everlasting hills in America,[xv] and the Lord’s church and land have been purified, Zion can be truly established for the first time since Enoch’s city was taken from the earth. The Lord will then send His army to the rest of the world, ultimately liberating the Jews.  Keep that in mind as you read the following verses as Joel continues:

But I will remove far off from you the Northern army [the Remnant of Jacob is associated with the lands of the North], and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea [the rest of the world is to the east of America], and his hinder part toward the utmost sea [the utmost sea is in the west. Thus the army will move from west to east], and his stink shall come up [Just as you can smell a carcass before you can see it, the report and fear of this army shall precede it as a stench precedes a carcass.], and his ill savor shall come up, because he hath done great things. Fear not, O land [America]; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.[xvi]

The day of the Lord is referred to as being great and terrible. It will be a “great” day because of the scope, magnitude and resulting Zion that the Lord will cause to be brought to pass at the hands of His army. It will be a “terrible” day because of the unimaginable destruction and death that will be wrought upon the proud and wicked. As Christ described to his apostles regarding this time period, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”[xvii] Once America is purified, the rest of the world will descend into war and bloodshed, but the Lord will open the windows of Heaven upon America, and His blessings will flow out upon its hallowed shores, so that all that was lost will be abundantly restored. Joel continues:

Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. [The aforementioned references to insect infestations are references to the damage that will be done by the Remnant of Jacob.] And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.[xviii]

The above verses describe the temporal blessings that will be poured out upon the heads of the righteous after the days of purification. These blessings are reminiscent of those promised to them that pay their tithes and offerings – those for whose sake the Lord rebukes the devourer. According to modern revelation, at lease some of these blessings will be brought to the righteous from the Remnant of Jacob themselves as noted in the Doctrine and Covenants, “And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.”[xix]

Apart from the temporal blessings that will be poured out upon Ephraim, the Lord will shower down spiritual blessings without measure as well. Consider the following:

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.[xx]

The Lord will pour out a portion of His spirit upon His people such as was had on the day of Pentecost. This will not be a fleeting experience, lasting hours or days, but such will become the status quo in Zion. Joel, having shown how things will be in the end, returns to the signs preceding these events, so that we might discern when these days are drawing near. Contemplate the following verses:

And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant [The Remnant of Jacob] whom the Lord shall call.[xxi]

It is interesting to note that in the General Conference of the church held the month following the 9/11 attacks on the world trade center, President Hinckley pronounced the fulfillment of the above verses.[xxii] Anyone who recalls the events of those days, can certainly understand the parallels between the burning and collapsing of the twin towers, and the pillars of smoke foreseen by Joel. The great rolling cloud of debris blocked out the sun and covered the city in darkness. That is not to say that this prophecy will not be fulfilled again and again in the days and years to come. However, if you are checking boxes, according to a latter-day prophet of the Lord, this box is checked.

This passage concludes the chapter of Joel that Moroni quoted to Joseph Smith. Rather than covering a sweeping vision over a lengthy period of time, as seen by Isaiah, Joel’s vision is laser focused on the events of the great and terrible day of the Lord. Joel described the unstoppable force of the Remnant of Jacob moving through America. He described the purification process, and how the Church must humble itself and center itself upon Christ, as symbolized by the bread, wine and lamb offerings that were to be made by the children of Israel when they were finally gathered into their promised land. Lastly, he discussed the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the saints during the millennium.

The consistency of Joel’s message with that of the other sections and chapters we have discussed should be cause for serious contemplation. We have been both warned and forewarned regarding these events. Not by one lone testimony, but by many corroborating testimonies. Ponder on the significance of these things.

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[i] Joel 2:1-2

[ii] Joel 1:2-3

[iii] Joel 2:3

[iv] JSH 1:37

[v] Isaiah 13:5-9

[vi] Joel 2:4-8

[vii] Isaiah 54:17

[viii] Joel 2:9-10

[ix] Joel 2:11

[x] Jeremiah 51:19-20

[xi] Joel 2:12-14

[xii] Numbers 15:1-5

[xiii] Joel 2:15-19

[xiv] D&C 112:24-26

[xv] D&C 133:26-33

[xvi] Joel 2:20-21

[xvii] Mathew 24:22

[xviii] Joel 2:22-27

[xix] D&C 133:30

[xx] Joel 2:28-29

[xxi] Joel 2:30-32

[xxii] Living in the Fullness of Times – Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001 General Conference, Saturday afternoon session.