Prophecy for this dispensation

Little is known of Joel. Even the time of his ministry is debated by Old Testament scholars. Because of certain references in the book named after him, such as references to the temple, some scholars believe Joel prophesied in Judah before the Exile, around the time of King Josiah, about 887-841 B.C. However, others think Joel prophesied later, about 400 B.C.

Sidney B. Sperry, in The Voice of Israel's Prophets, wrote: "The date of Joel will have little or no bearing upon our exposition of the prophecy. The message of Joel is important for Latter-day Saints irrespective of the date."Joel's prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit of God (Joel 2:28-32) was quoted by Peter on the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:17.)

That same prophecy was repeated in this dispensation when Moroni visited Joseph Smith on the evening of Sept. 21, 1823. This passage of Joel's prophecy tells of the day when the Lord's Spirit will be poured out "upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. . . . "

Moroni told Joseph Smith this prophecy "was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be." (Joseph Smith - History 1:41.)

Brother Sperry noted that this revelation "gives us solid ground upon which to stand in interpreting the prophecy. . . . There is a time coming in the near future when the Spirit of God, now withdrawn in great measure from the world because of wickedness, shall be poured out upon all flesh.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."

According to modern revelation, the "great and terrible day of the Lord" (Joel 2:37) is the second coming of the Savior. (See D&C 29:8-11, 14-15; 45:39-44.)

Brother Sperry said he had no doubt "Joel foresaw the dispensation in which we live and God's judgments upon the world. This he expressed in figures that would be easily understood by his people."

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