Lesson 41: The Books of Zechariah and Joel

Reading Preperation:
  • Zechariah 7; 12-14
  • Joel
Lesson Notes:
1. The Latter Days and the Events of the Lord’s Second Coming
Many prophets of the Old Testament including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel have addressed the winding-up scenes of the earth’s existence. Zechariah and Joel are two of those prophets.
Each of the succeeding dispensations have ended in apostasy and destruction. How were the prophets then able to continue in their assignment from the Lord when they knew that ultimately their efforts would end in failure?
Jeffrey R. Holland states,
“My theory is that those great men and women, the leaders in those ages past, were able to keep going, to keep testifying, to keep trying to do their best, not because they knew that they would succeed, but because they knew that you [those of the last dispensation] would. I believe that they took courage and hope not so much from their own circumstances as from yours [when] the gospel [would] prevail and triumph” (“Terror, Triumph, and a Wedding Feast.” CES Fireside for Young Adults, September 12, 2004, Brigham Young University).
Zechariah and Joel are two prophets who specifically address the final war that will usher in the Millennium, referred to as Megiddo or as rendered in the English translation, Armageddon (see Revelations 16:16).
Joseph Fielding Smith stated,
“Don’t you think the Lord has given us [this information so] that we might know and we might prepare ourselves through humility, through repentance, through faith, that we might escape from these dreadful conditions that are portrayed by these ancient prophets” (Signs of the Times. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1964, 155).
The purpose of understanding the prophecies of the last days is for us to be better prepare for the events that will proceed the Lord’s second coming.
2. The Book of Zechariah (Mission: 520-518 B.C.)
We learn early in Zechariah’s writings his ancestry.
Zechariah 1:7
7 Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zehariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet,…
Zechariah is the son of Berechiah, and the grandson of Iddo the prophet whom we learned had returned from the exile with Zerubbabel (see Nehemiah 12:4).
Nyman and Nyman state,
“The prophet Zechariah was raised up as a second witness to accompany Haggai in encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem about 520 B.C. Compared to Haggai’s first witness, Zechariah’s writings are extensive and cover subjects beyond the building of the temple. In fact, the primary subject of his message is Jesus Christ. His prophecies about Christ relate to both his ministry in the meridian of time and his second coming. The Jews’ confusion over these two periods was probably a major reason for many of them rejecting Jesus as the Christ” (The Words of the Twelve Prophets. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990, 121).
2.1. Division of the book of Zechariah
“Chapters 1-8
The first eight chapters cover the return of the Jews to Jerusalem from Babylon and their rebuilding of the city and the temple. Although there are allusions to future events, the basic message is about Zechariah’s time.
“Chapters 9-14
Prophecies of both appearances of Jesus Christ—his ministry in the flesh and his coming in glory in the last days” (The Words of the Twelve Prophets. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990, 122-123).
2.2. Chart of prophecies about Christ from the book of Zechariah
Zechariah Prophecy or Sign of Christ Fulfillment
1:11; 14:5, 9 Return to Zion Revelation 11:15; 21:27
3:8 The servant Mark 10:45
3:8; 6:12 The branch Romans 15:12; Revelation 22:16
6:13 Priest – king Hebrews 6:20-7:1
9:9-10 Riding a donkey Matthew 21:4-5; John 12:14-15
9:11 Atonement Luke 22:19, 44
9:11 Work in the spirit world 1 Peter 3:19; 4:6
10:4 The cornerstone Matthew 21:42
11:12-13 Betrayal Matthew 27:9-10
12:10 Hand pierced John 19:37
13:1 Cleansing waters Revelation 1:5
13:7 Persecution John 8:40
13:7 Smitten shepherd Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27
13:9 Lord’s people Romans 9:25
14:4 On the Mount of Olives D&C 45:48; Acts 1:11
14:5 Resurrected saints return with Christ 1 Thessalonians 4:14
14:9 King of the earth Revelation 11:15
Reference: Ludlow, Victor L. Unlocking the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981, 229).
2.3. Zechariah called to Jerusalem
According to Bible Hub,
The King of Persia who stopped the work on the Temple as referenced in Ezra 4:17-23, is believed to be Pseudo-Smerdis (LDS Bible Dictionary, 1979, 640), “He reigned in Persia for approximately ten months prior to his being slain by Darius Hystaspes. Darius Hystaspes was one of the seven princes. Following the death of Smerdis, Darius then ascended the throne in Persia, A.M. and became the new king. A superfluous attachment to [the prior name] … and title of a monarch is common throughout the Old Testament and generally marks a distinct intention to do the individual honor (see Genesis 41:46; 1 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 9:11, 16; 1 Kings 11:18; 2 Chronicles 36:22, etc.” (biblehub.com/ezra/4-24.htm.)
Jesse Lyman Hurlbut states,
“the foundations of the Temple lay unfinished through several years. But after a time two prophets arose in the land of Judea. They were Haggai and Zechariah;” (Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible. Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Co., 1947, New and Revised Edition, 447).
It was during this time that “the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the [grand]son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews” (Ezra 5:1).
Jessie Lynn Hurlbut continues,
“they [Haggai and Zechariah] spoke the word of the Lord to the people, telling them to go forward with the building. Haggai said, ‘Is it a time for you to dwell in richly finished houses of your own while the Lord’s house lies waste? Go up to the mountain and bring wood, and build; and I will be pleased with you and will bless you, saith the Lord. The glory of this house shall be greater than the glory of the other house and in this place I will give peace, said the Lord of hosts.’ [see Haggai 1:4-8].
“And Zechariah, the other prophet, said, ‘It shall not be by my might nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord. The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands shall finish it. He shall lay the headstone with shoutings of ‘Grace, grace unto it!’ [see Zechariah 4:6-7].
“Then Zerubbabel and Joshua and the rest of the Jews began again and went on with the work. Soon after this a new king began to reign in Persia. His name was Darius, [the son of Hystaspes].
“King Darius looked in the records of Persia and found it written that Cyrus, the king, commanded the Temple to be built. He wrote a letter to the rulers in all the lands around Judea no longer to hind the work, but to help it and to give what was needed for it. Then the Jews went on with the building in great joy; and it was finished at last, twenty-one years after it had been begun,… ” (Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible. Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Co, 1947, 447-448).
2.4. Three Reasons the book of Zechariah is Important
Victor L. Ludlow states,
“Zechariah is an important book… for three reasons. (1) Zechariah prophesied after the return from Babylonia. He began his prophetic service shortly after Haggai in 520 B.C. (Earlier he had served as a priest at the altar.) Since he prophesied after the Babylonian exile, his prophecies of a scattering and gathering of Israel (especially the Jews) were to be fulfilled in latter times… (2) There are more prophecies about Christ in [the book of Zechariah] than in any other prophetic book except Isaiah, [and] (3) His prophecies are important… because of his many other prophecies of the last days” (Unlocking the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981, 228-229, numbers added).
3. The Nature of True Religion (Zechariah 7)
Ellis T. Rasmussen states,
“About two years after the prophet’s first revelation came this revelation in response to the inquiries by a delegation who wanted to know about continuing the annual fasts in the fifth month to commemorate the destruction of the first temple and in the seventh month to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah. [He as the last governor of Judah, appointed by King Nebuchadnezzar following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.] The question may have arisen because the return and the rebuilding of the city an temple were underway” (A Latter-Day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 685-686).
Zechariah responded.
Zechariah 7:5-7
5 … did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
6 And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?
7 Should ye not hear the words which the Lord hath cried by the former prophets…
Unless fasting were a function of worship and had a purpose, not merely a time of hunger followed by eating and drinking of their own satisfaction, the value of their fast was questionable. The Lord now provides a purpose for their fast.
Zechariah 7:9-10
9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassions every man to his brother:
10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Zachariah reminded them that the former prophets had taught Judah regarding the purpose of fasting, but they had not followed the Lord’s counsel. Recall the words of Isaiah regarding the importance of fasting.
Isaiah 58:6-7
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
The failure of Judah to follow the counsel of the prophets, including the law of the fast, had great consequences for Judah.
Zechariah 7:11-12, 14, 13
11 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.
12 Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his sprit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.
14 But I scattered them with whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.
13 Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; as they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts.
When we fail to heed the word of the Lord, as given through his prophets, and are insensitive and do not hear the cries of others in need, we offend the Lord. If we do not make changes in our response to the needs of others, we reach a point when the Lord withdraws from us and no longer responds to our cries to Him. Our disobedience does have consequences for a nation or for individuals.
All of Israel, not just Judah, was scattered and will in the latter days be gathered. Having now repented, she will again receive the blessings the Lord has for his chosen children.
4. The Book of Joel
Little is known regarding the prophet Joel or even when the book was written.
Kent P. Jackson notes,
“its opening verses lack the customary reference to the ruling monarch, and its contents provide no information about Joel’s time” (“The Book of Joel” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 359).
Sidney B. Sperry notes,
“Few books in the Old Testament have been assigned to as many different dates as has the Book of Joel. It has been dated from before 900 B.C. to 400 B.C., and some parts of it later still. Most writers are agreed that the prophecy should be dated either very early or very late” (Voice of Israel’s Prophets. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1952, 288).
It is interesting that Sideny B. Sperry dates Joel’s writings at 800 B.C. or a little earlier (see Voices of Israel’s Prophets, 1952, 288); while Kent P. Jackson dates the book of Joel at 500 B.C (see Studies in Scripture 4. Salt Lake City, 1993, 359).
Kent P. Jackson states,
“it is as though Joel wanted us to leave behind all thoughts of the here and now and join him in his vision of the future” (“The Book of Joel” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 359).
Kent P. Jackson adds,
“… I believe that aside from the names of Joes and his father in Joel 1:1, every word in the book refers to the latter days—from the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith into the Millennium. [Why?] Joel’s apocalyptic style makes his fundamental message very clear: in a dramatic way, God will bring judgment upon the world, destroying evil and blessing the righteous with millennial peace and happiness… ” (“The Book of Joel” in Studies in Scripture 4. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 259-260).
Certainly part of the book of Joel’s importance is derived from the fact that when the angel Moroni appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith on the evening of September 21, 1823, he quoted and explained several Old Testament prophecies, including from the book of Joel.
Joel 2:28-32
28 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:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
32 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 whom the Lord shall call.
Joseph Smith states,
The angel who appeared introduced himself as Moroni. He stated, regarding this prophecy in Joel, “that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be” (History of the Church 1. Edited by B.H. Roberts. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-52. Second Edition, Revised, 13).
Sidney B. Sperry provides the following commentary,
“There is a time coming in the near future when the Spirit of God, now withdrawn in great measure from the world because of wickedness, shall be poured out upon all flesh. This great pentecostal era can, of course, come only after the wicked have had the judgments of God heaped upon them without measure. The Spirit does not abide in the midst of wickedness. In the period just preceding ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord’–terrible because it is a climax of judgment–certain cosmic signs shall be vouchsafed men as warnings that God’s judgments are at hand… My interpretation of the passage from Joel quoted by Moroni to Joseph Smith… may be summed up as follows: 1. The pouring out of the Lord’s spirit in the latter days, 2. Signs to be given in heaven and on earth of coming judgments, 3. The Second Advent of the Lord in judgment, 4. The righteous, especially the ‘remnant’ or ‘elect’ of Israel, to be delivered… My belief is that this passage is practically an epitome–a summary or condensation of the whole Book of Joel” (Voices of Israel’s Prophets. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1952, 292, 294).
Sidney B. Sperry expresses concern,
“The world, we fear may take its ‘voice of warning’ to heart too late, because its “apocalyptic” nature is held too cheaply at the present time” (The Voice of Israel’s Prophets. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1952, 302).
Many in the world desire to continue to live their lives in the hedonistic style to which they have become comfortable. While still in the minority, their voices are loud and critical of any who might voice a different opinion. These individuals will continue to ignore the voice of the prophets, past and present until it is everlasting too late. Hopefully those who have not yet become comfortable with the loud criticisms of the minority, will heed the promptings of the still, small voice and in spite of the ridicule or persecution, will yet seek to know the truth regarding the signs of the times. Those who have found and know the truth must stand firm to what they know is true and in turn raise their voice to those who seem to be unable to hear, while also welcoming any who might yet be willing to listen and ask.
Duane S. Crowther states,
“Bible criticism… for Joel is limited, and centers mostly in the date of the book and in discussions of whether chapters one and two are historical description, allegory, or prophetic descriptions of events in the last days. Some critics have pointed to the parallels between Joel and more than half of the prophetic books. These parallels stem from the common references to the Battle of Armageddon” (Prophets and Prophecies of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1966, 630).
The criticism regarding is it a “historical description, allegory, or prophetic descriptions of events of the last days” could be directed at the entire Old Testament! This is an important inquiry for each of us to answer for ourselves. It may be that our eternal happiness and salvation will depend upon our answer, and then actions, regarding this important question.
5. The Battle of Armageddon (Zechariah 12-14; Joel 1-3)
Before we address the words of Zechariah and Joel in concert concerning the last battle to be fought prior to the Millennium, and the appearance of the Savior to the Jews at Jerusalem, it is important to review some of the important events that must take place so that we might recognize the signs of the times and be prepared accordingly.
The Old Testament student manual states,
“Important Events to occur before battle:
“(1)The house of Israel will be gathered from among the heathen (the Gentiles) and returned to their own land (Ezekiel 36:24; 37:21).
“(2) The land of Israel will be rebuilt and re-inhabited by the covenant people (Ezekiel 36:10-12, 33-36).
“(3)The land will become highly productive and fruitful, even like the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 36:8, 29-30, 34-35).
“(4) There will be one nation in the land of Israel again (Ezekiel 37:22).
“(5) Jerusalem will be reestablished as the capital city of the Israelites (Zechariah 1:16-17; 2:12; 12:6; 3 Nephi 20:46).
“(6) Judah will become powerful in politics and warfare (Isaiah 19:16-17; Zechariah 10:3,5-6).
“(7) A great combination of organizations serving Satan will arise in the last days”
(Old Testament student manual: 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, Second Edition, 292).
Bruce R. McConkie states,
“The prophecies do not name the modern nations which will be fighting for and against Israel, but the designation Gog and Magog is given to the combination of nations which are seeking to overthrow and destroy the remnant of the Lord’s chosen seed” (Mormon Doctrine. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, Second Edition, 298).
Zechariah 12:2-3
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling upon all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
We learn from Zechariah 12:2-3, that “they shall be in siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem,” and “all the people of the earth [will] be gathered together against it.” We may ask ourselves why the nations of the earth will be formed in battle against the little country of Israel?
Charles W. Penrose states,
“the bankrupt nations, envying the wealth of the sons of Judah, will seek a pretext to make war upon them, and will invade the ‘holy land’ to ‘take a prey and a spoil'” (Old Testament student manual: 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, Second Edition, 295).
It should not surprise anyone acquainted with the history of the world that greed and envy would play a major role in this major battle. The pretense may be otherwise, but it is a familiar scenario that one nation would attempt to usurp the wealth of a smaller nation, based upon their own economic needs. The potential increases when it has the tacit support of other nations.
The prophet Joel, using the symbolism of the four stages in the developmental life cycle of the locust, describes the complete devastation of the army as it marches toward Jerusalem.
Joel 1:4
4 That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.
Joel continues his vision, using graphic language to symbolically describes for the reader, the devastation
The plague of insects now becomes “a nation… strong, and without number whose teeth are the teeth of a lion… ” (Joel 1:6). The results is that they strip the bark off trees, dry up the vines, and wither “all the trees of the field” (Joel 1:7, 12). The result is that seeds rot, grain withers, herds and flocks are decimated, and the rivers are dried up. In the destructive march of this unprecedented horde, fire devours all that it touches (see Joel 1:17-20).
Though Joel notes that the land previously had been the land was “as the garden of Eden before them” behind them it is “a desolate wilderness” (Joel 2:3).
Kent P. Jackson states,
According to Joel’s prophecy, “They look like horses, gallop like horse-warriors, sound like crackling fire, climb walls like men, never break ranks, and are immune to the weapons of those whom they attack. At their approach, the earth quakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and the moon become dark, and the stars cease to shine (Joel 2:4-10). Indeed, when they come, it is “a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness” (Joel 2:2). (“The Book of Joel” in Studies in Scripture 4. Edited by Kent P. Jackson. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1993, 360).
Bruce R. McConkie referring to the imagery of Joel states,
“it is not improbable that [this] ancient prophet was seeing such things as men wearing or protected by strong armor; as troops of cavalry and companies of tanks and flame throwers; as airplanes and airborne missiles which explode, fire shells and drop bombs; and even weapons yet to be devised in an age when warfare is the desire and love of wicked men” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973, [Ninth Printing 1976], 503).
We might ask, How could a nation as tiny as modern Israel stand against the combined armies of the world?
In the book of Revelations, John offers the following understanding.
Revelation 11:3
3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Revelation 11:5-6
5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies…
6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
Doctrine and Covenants 77:15
15 Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in the eleventh chapter of Revelation? A. They are two prophets that are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers.
Bruce R. McConkie states,
“These two [prophets] shall be followers of that humble man, Joseph Smith, through whom the Lord of Heaven restored the fullness of his everlasting gospel in this final dispensation of grace. No doubt they will be members of the Council of the Twelve [Apostles] or of the First Presidency of the Church. Their prophetic ministry to rebellious Jewry shall be the same in length as was our Lord’s personal ministry among their rebellious forebears (3 1/2 years)” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973, [Ninth Printing 1976], 509-510).
The devastation will continue and the city of Jerusalem will be taken by enemy forces.
Zechariah 14:2
2 … the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
We learn from the book of Revelations, why the city will fall to the aggressors.
Revelations 11:7-9
7 And when they [two prophets] shall have finished their testimony, the beast [opposing forces] that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit [inspired by Satan] shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
8 And their [two prophets] dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city [Jerusalem], which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt [due to their wickedness], where also our Lord [Jesus Christ] was crucified.
9 And they [wicked military leaders]of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer [allow] their dead bodies to be put in graves.
Zachariah 13:8
8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off, and die; but the third shall be left therein.
According to Zechariah, only one-third of the nation of Israel will survive the final extremity of the looting of the city.
Parley P. Pratt notes,
“after a struggle of three and one-half years, [when the army] at length succeed in destroying the two Prophets and then overrunning much of the city; they [will] send gifts to each other because of the death of the Prophets, and in the meantime will not allow their dead bodies to be put in graves, but suffer them to lie in the streets of Jerusalem three days and a half; during which the armies of the Gentiles, consisting of many kindreds, tongues, and nations, passing through the city plundering the Jews, see their dead bodies lying in the street” (Voice of Warning and Instruction To All People. London: L.D.S. Book Depot, 1871, [Tenth Edition, Reprint], 54-55).
In what will be one of the blackest moments of Israel’s history, just as it appears that the city and all her remaining residents are about to be annihilated, a miracle will occur.
Zachariah 14:3
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in day of battle.
The Old Testament student manual states,
Armageddon: The Deliverance
“(1) The two prophets, lying dead in the streets of Jerusalem, will be resurrected in the sight of the people (Rev.11:11-12).
“(2) A great earthquake will strike the earth, affecting the whole world–the greatest earthquake the world has ever known (Rev.16:18)
“(3) The Savior will appear on the Mount of Olives and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, providing an avenue of escape for the house of Israel.
Zechariah 14:4
4 … and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains…
“(4) As the remaining Jews flee through this avenue of escape they will see their Messiah who has come to deliver them. In gratitude and joy they will throw themselves at the feet of the Deliverer and then they will discover the wounds in his hands and feet.
Zechariah 13:6 Doctrine and Covenants 45:52-53
6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with whom I was wounded in the house of my friends. 52 There are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.
  53 And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.
“(5) The Lord’s fury upon the army of God will consist of other judgments in addition to the great earthquake. The armies of Gog will turn upon each other, perhaps in the panic and confusion of the great earthquake.
Zechariah 14:13
13 … a great tumult of the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one… and his hand shall be raised up against the hand of his neighbor.
“(6) A great rain of fire and hail will shower down upon the army (see Ezekiel 38:22; D&C 29:21). The result will be that only one-sixth of the invading army will survive the Lord’s judgments (see Ezekiel 39:2)”
(Old Testament student manual: 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, Second Edition, 294-295).
The Old Testament student manual continues,
“So great will be the devastation that for seven years Israel will be able to live off the spoils of war left behind (see Ezekiel 39:8-10). It will take seven months to bury the dead, and thereafter permanent burial teams will search out the remaining bodies in an attempt to cleanse the land (see Ezekiel 39:11-16)” (Old Testament student manual: 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, Second Edition, 295).
The Old Testament student manual notes,
While “Armageddon signals the end of the world, which is defined as “the destruction of the wicked” (PGP, JS-Matthew 1:4). But it prepares the way for the ushering in of the millennial reign of Christ and the era of peace that will endure for a thousand years. Without the widespread destruction of the wicked, the millennial era could not be set up” (Old Testament student manual: 1 Kings—Malachi. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982, Second Edition, 295).
Joseph Fielding Smith states,
“We see the great things that are taking place in the earth today–all this turmoil, all this trouble, men’s hearts failing them, the commotion, but we have only seen the beginning of it. The elements have not yet become angry as they shall become angry, and the sea heave beyond its bounds; and the earthquakes and the sinking of cities and the great destruction by plagues and by famine and pestilence and all the rest of it will have to come first, and bloodshed, war, destruction.
“So I pray every day of my life that the Lord will hasten His work; and while all this had to take place, I hope He will hasten it, that it may soon come to an end, that peace may come; and so I repeat, as I said in one of my talks sometime ago, I am praying for the end of the world because I want a better world. I want the coming of Christ. I want the reign of peace. I want the time to come when every man can live in peace and in the spirit of faith, humility and prayer” (Signs of the Times. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1952, Revised 1964, 175).
6. Conclusions
The prophecies of Zechariah and Joel have been given to us for they saw our day. They knew in advance the consequences that would come to the children of the Lord when they failed to hearken to the words of the Lord. They also know the blessings that would come if we would be obedient. They have taught us so that may we prepare ourselves in every needful way for the Lord’s coming. Only as we are prepared will His coming be great, and not terrible. When we see the signs beginning to be fulfilled, we will then know that the time is at hand when the Savior will again return to the earth. This time He will not come as a Babe in a lowly manger, but as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
Today, let each of us try a little harder and do those things that we know would be pleasing to the Lord. As we live His commandments, just a little bit better than we have before, the Lord will bless our efforts. As our obedience increases, so will our joy and happiness. Our actions toward those closest to us will be better. We will also be more kind and thoughtful to those in need around us. These changes will result in changing our lives as well as in the lives of those around us for the better. It is a good thing. Let us begin, today.