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Amos Speaks Again


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Amos Speaks Again

Jack Kelly

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Tucked away among over 8,000 posts currently available on the website is a series of articles in a category called “The Prophets Speak Again”. This category contains commentaries on the so-called minor prophets. (The major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. The minor prophets are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They're not called minor because they're less important, but because their books are shorter.)

I've tried to relate the writings of these prophets to our times and that's why the category is called “The Prophets Speak Again”. So far I've posted commentaries on Joel, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Habakkuk. You can access these commentaries by selecting “Articles” on the menu bar at the top of the home page, and then scrolling down the Browse by Category list on the left until you reach “The Prophets Speak Again”. It's the second from the bottom. Click on it to access a directory of all the commentaries in the category. Select the one you want and start reading.

I say all this to announce the beginning of a series on the book of Amos, which will become part of this category. Let's begin with a little background.

Introducing Amos
Although Amos lived in a small town just south of Bethlehem and about eleven miles from Jerusalem, the Lord called him to be a prophet to the Northern Kingdom. His term of office, so to speak, lasted from 760 to 750 BC. This made him a contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, and probably Jonah.

The division of Israel into two kingdoms had taken place nearly two hundred years earlier, but both the north and south were enjoying great prosperity. In the Northern Kingdom, it was a time of idolatry, luxurious living, personal extravagance, and immorality. The justice system had become corrupt and the poor were being oppressed. Having abandoned their commitment to God's law, the people no longer had any basis for standards of conduct.

As their prosperity increased, the ruling class had become politically secure and spiritually smug, thinking it was a sign of God's favor. They had ignored His warnings and His patience was at an end. He was sending Amos to announce that the coming judgment wouldn't just be another warning. This time it would bring the end of the kingdom.

This similarity with our times is why I believe the message Amos brought to the Northern Kingdom will have relevance to America, and indeed the whole world, today. Let's begin.

Amos 1
The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.

He said:

“The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up,
and the top of Carmel withers.” (Amos 1:1-2)

Amos worked as a shepherd in his home town of Tekoa and saw a vision of the coming judgment. From the driest part of the land to the greenest, the Lord's judgment would be as severe as if a drought had afflicted them.

Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors
This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad. I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the Lord. (Amos 1:3-5)

The Lord had Amos begin with a series of pronouncements upon Israel's traditional enemies that will take us through chapter 1 and into chapter 2, when He will inform Israel that they will not escape His anger.

Damascus was the capital of Aram. The Arameans had brutally mistreated the people of Gilead, Israel's territory east of the Sea of Galilee. A number of years earlier the Lord had sent Elijah to anoint Hazael king over Aram (1 Kings 19:15). Ben-Hadad was his son and successor. Aven can mean wickedness or emptiness and Eden means pleasure or delight. These are most likely references to Damascus. The Lord is promising to destroy the king who rules from there and send the people into exile. This prophecy was fulfilled in 732 BC by the Assyrians. (Note: Damascus was not destroyed at the time so this cannot be seen as a fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1.)

This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom, I will send fire upon the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses. I will destroy the king of Ashdod and the one who holds the scepter in Ashkelon. I will turn my hand against Ekron, till the last of the Philistines is dead,” says the Sovereign Lord. (Amos 1:6-9)



Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron were four of the five major cities of the Philistines. The fifth one was Gath, where Goliath had lived, and had already been conquered. The Land of Edom is in southern Jordan today. The Philistines had apparently overrun entire villages on the trade route between Gaza and Edom and sold the inhabitants to the Edomites as if they were livestock. The Philistines were finally wiped out to the last person by the Babylonians in 604 BC.

This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood, I will send fire upon the walls of Tyre that will consume her fortresses” (Amos 1:7-10)

Tyre, a Phoenician city that still exists in modern Lebanon, was also engaged in the wholesale trade of Jewish captives. Tyre had enjoyed friendly relations with Israel since the days of David, and when Solomon began construction on the Temple he made a treaty with Hiram, the King of Tyre, to provide wheat and olive oil in exchange for the famous cedars of Lebanon. This friendship ended when Hiram's grandson became king and began his slave trading enterprise.

Tyre was a city built partly on the mainland and partly on an island off shore. In Ezekiel 26:3 the Lord promised to bring many nations against Tyre, like the sea casting its waves. Assyria had been the first, but it was Nebuchadnezzar who demolished the mainland portion of Tyre during a 15 year seige (586-571 BC). Alexander the Great completed the conquest of Tyre by using the ruins of the mainland portion to build a causeway to the remaining island fortress and destroying it in 332 BC.

Much of modern Lebanon was originally part of the Promised Land. In the Millennium it will once again belong to Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because he pursued his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion, because his anger raged continually and his fury flamed unchecked, I will send fire upon Teman that will consume the fortresses of Bozrah” (Amos 1:11-12).

Edom was another name for Esau, the brother of Jacob. The strife created by Jacob's trickery in stealing Esau's birthright festered through the generations. Finally King David subdued the Edomites and after that Edom was under Israel's control, although not happily.

When the Edomites heard of Nebuchednezzar's intention to conquer Judah, they colluded with the Babylonians to help make Judah's defeat certain and made plans to steal their land. God was not pleased by this and promised to make Edom a desolate waste (Ezekiel 35:1-15). After defeating Judah the Babylonians turned on the Edomites and slaughtered them. Teman and Bosrah were major cities of Edom, near Petra in today's southern Jordan. In Jeremiah 49:18 God swore that Edom would be overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown and no one will live there.

This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah that will consume her fortresses amid war cries on the day of battle, amid violent winds on a stormy day. Her king will go into exile, he and his officials together,” says the Lord (Amos 1:13-15).

Ammon's greed for land led to a program of genocide against the Gideonites. Rabbah was the name for the city now known as Ahman, the capital of Jordan. This prophecy was fulfilled by the Assyrians, but did not result in the disappearance of the Ammonites. Later, like their cousins the Moabites, the Ammonites assisted in Nebuchadnezzar's conquest of Judah, for which the Lord promised to exterminate them (Ezekiel 25:7). But in Jeremiah 49:6 He said the Ammonites will be restored in the latter days.

Amos 2
This is what the Lord says:

“For three sins of Moab, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because he burned, as if to lime,
the bones of Edom’s king, I will send fire upon Moab that will consume the fortresses of Kerioth. Moab will go down in great tumult amid war cries and the blast of the trumpet. I will destroy her ruler and kill all her officials with him,” says the Lord.(Amos 2:1-3)

There are two possibilities here. This passage apparently refers to the only time when Edom and Moab were not on the same side against Israel. 2 Kings 3:9 says the kings of Judah, Israel, and Edom were united against the king of Moab who had refused to pay the tribute he owed to the King of Israel. When it became obvious that he was losing the ensuing battle, the King of Moab became so enraged that he took 700 swordsmen and went after the King of Edom. Failing to capture him, the King of Moab either captured the King of Edom's son and heir to the throne and offered him as a burnt offering to his god, or else he dug up the remains of a past king of Edom and burned them instead. Either way it was a great offense against the Lord and the Moabites were utterly defeated. Later they were taken captive by the Babylonians and soon disappeared from the world scene. But Jeremiah 48:47 tells us the fortunes of Moab will also be restored in the latter days.

Along with Edom and Ammon, Moab has reappeared as the kingdom of Jordan, the only nation in the Middle East that will escape the clutches of the anti-Christ in the end times (Daniel 11:41).

A Reasonable Faith
It was learning about the unfailing fulfillment of prophecies like these that brought me to the foot of the cross. I reasoned that a God who could predict and then perform like this has to be who He claims to be and it was safe to put my trust in Him.

In Isaiah 46:9-10 He said, “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”

And from Isaiah 48:3,6, “I foretold the former things long ago,my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. You have heard these things; look at them all. Will you not admit them?

Later I would learn that no other so-called holy book offers this kind of proof. And if so many prophecies He foretold about our past have come to pass, doesn't it make sense that those He foretold about our future will come to pass as well? Think about it.

From our study of Psalm 83 you can recognize several familiar names. But remember, the prophecies of Amos 1 were fulfilled at various times over a period of 400 years, not in a single battle. Therefore we can't see them as a fulfillment of Psalm 83. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel also prophesied the conquest of these next door enemies of Israel, but none of their prophecies match with Psalm 83 either. Damascus was not destroyed as Isaiah 17 requires, and both Jeremiah and Daniel speak of the re-emergence of Edom, Moab and Ammon in the last days. Clearly the Battle of Psalm 83 is yet to come.

Next time we'll begin looking at what the Lord had Amos say to Israel, and it won't be pretty. See you then.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Amos Speaks Again Part 2

Jack Kelly



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Having presented His indictment of Israel’s neighbors, the Lord now turns His attention toward the two Jewish Kingdoms, the Southern Kingdom of Judah first. We ended part one in verse 3 of chapter 2, so we’ll pick up the narrative in verse 4.



Amos 2


This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not turn back {my wrath}. Because they have rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed, I will send fire upon Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem.”(Amos 2:4-5)



The Lord called Amos to prophesy primarily to the Northern Kingdom, during the same time that Isaiah was His spokesman to the South. Even so, He had Amos give this short message to Judah before launching into a full scale rant against the North.


Although it was nearly 150 years away, judgment of the South was coming. The warning provided by the imminent destruction of the North by the Assyrians would be ignored and so the Lord would send Babylon against the South. In the process the City of Jerusalem including the magnificent Temple of Solomon would be put to the torch and exist no more. (2 Chron. 36:19)


Before they were taken captive to Babylon, the Lord had Jeremiah tell the people not to resist this, but to go to Babylon and settle there because after 70 years He would bring them back.


He told them, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11)


As we’ll see now, He made no such promise to the Northern Kingdom.


Judgment on Israel


This is what the LORD says:


“For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back {my wrath}. They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed. Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name. They lie down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge. In the house of their god they drink wine taken as fines (Amos 2:6- .


Someone has said, “When the bonds between God and man are broken, the bonds between man and man can fare no better.” This picture of the oppression of the lower class by people of privilege is only the beginning of the Lord’s indictment against Israel but it proves the point and provides a good lesson for us.


The Northern Kingdom split from the South over idolatry. Having freed themselves from the restraints provided by God’s Law, they yielded to man’s natural inclination to mistreat the less fortunate. This was a violation of the Law. The Lord had laid down very clear and strict laws to protect servants and the poor, but these laws were being scandalously ignored. Household servants were bought and sold for a pittance. Female servants were turned into family prostitutes. Garments taken in pledge (as security for a loan) were illegally kept over night, and the practice of levying exorbitant fines to settle trumped up charges was common. Often it literally took the clothes off the backs of the poor and food off their tables.


Today even in developed countries the injustices suffered by the poor are different but just as abhorrent. But, to follow up on a couple of the examples above, women and girls of all races are still sold as slaves in the sex trade, as trafficking in humans continues worldwide. Some nations still maintain low age of consent laws to encourage sex tourism with the lure of young girls.


In the US and Europe , years of easy credit followed by declining economies has had the effect of placing millions of people in life long financial servitude. The reduced purchasing power of their currencies further compounds the problem, and leaves untold numbers of hard working people with no hope of ever being free. In the meantime the gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider.


Where is the moral restraint that used to prevent mercenary lenders from exposing vulnerable consumers to temptations they aren’t savvy enough to resist? Where is the public outcry that just a few decades ago would have demanded that the human traffickers be prosecuted under the same laws that put an end to slave trading a few hundred years ago? It disappeared when God was drummed out of our society.


“I destroyed the Amorite before them, though he was tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed his fruit above and his roots below. “I brought you up out of Egypt, and I led you forty years in the desert to give you the land of the Amorites. I also raised up prophets from among your sons and Nazirites from among your young men. Is this not true, people of Israel?” declares the LORD. “But you made the Nazirites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.


“Now then, I will crush you as a cart crushes when loaded with grain. The swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life. The archer will not stand his ground, the fleet-footed soldier will not get away, and the horseman will not save his life. Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day,” declares the LORD. (Amos 2:9-16)


When God promised the land of the Amorites to Abraham, He said the transaction wouldn’t take place for 400 years “because the sin of the Amorites has not reached its full measure.” (Genesis 15:16) Knowing the end from the beginning, God knew that the Amorites wouldn’t repent of their evil ways. But He was going to give them the time anyway, so they couldn’t say He hadn’t warned them.


Though the Bible doesn’t speak of it, the character of God would have demanded that He tell them their time was running out. (In a few verses we’ll see Him implying just that in respect to Israel.) Remember, for a time after the flood all the people of the Earth worshiped God. By Abraham’s time most had fallen away, discarding the truth of their origins in favor of outrageous lies that became the basis for their false religions.


But certainly the knowledge of their past still existed somewhere in their memories. And at least one of Noah’s sons, Shem, was still alive and living in the region of the Amorites during the time that Abraham traveled the length and breadth of their territories (Genesis 13:17) and could have borne witness to them. These circumstances tell us it wasn’t that God hadn’t warned them to change their ways, but that they hadn’t listened. So, when the time was up He brought the Israelites under the command of Joshua as His agents of judgment and the Amorites were dispossessed.


Now the very nation who saw first hand how God feels about false religion was indulging in the same behavior they had judged in the Amorites. What’s more, they too had ignored the warnings of the prophets and even undermined the efforts of those who tried to remain holy. How could they think that God would not judge them?


The South didn’t learn the lesson of the North, so they were judged as well. And the world today hasn’t learned the lesson of either. God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Hebr. 13: How can we think that He won’t judge us?


Amos 3


Witnesses Summoned Against Israel


Hear this word the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”


Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey? Does he growl in his den when he has caught nothing? Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground where no snare has been set? Does a trap spring up from the earth when there is nothing to catch? When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it? Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:1-7)


These examples show that while God’s promises to Abraham were unconditional, His relationship with Israel was based on cause and effect. Obedience brought blessing and disobedience brought judgment. In fact the entire Old Testament can be boiled down to just one question. “Israel, are you going to obey me or not?”


Just as Israel was warned by the prophets, so too is the world of today. We should take comfort from the promise that God will never do anything without informing us first. No surprises, except to those who refuse to believe the warnings. Paul wrote that the judgments that came upon Israel were also meant to warn us, upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come (1 Cor. 10:11). He distinguished the believers from the unbelievers at the end of the age by saying that the former would not be taken by surprise, while the latter would (1 Thes. 5:3-4). It turns out that even though His promises to the Church are unconditional, mankind’s relationship with God is still based on cause and effect. Belief brings blessings while unbelief brings judgment. Like the Old, the New Testament can be boiled down to one question as well. Mankind, are you going to believe me or not?


The lion has roared— who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken— who can but prophesy? Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod and to the fortresses of Egypt: “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria; see the great unrest within her and the oppression among her people.” (Amos 3:8-9)


Even the pagan leaders of Philistia and Egypt would agree that God’s judgment upon the Northern Kingdom is just and well deserved.


“They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD, “who hoard plunder and loot in their fortresses.”


Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“An enemy will overrun the land; he will pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses.”


This is what the LORD says:


“As a shepherd saves from the lion’s mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites be saved, those who sit in Samaria on the edge of their beds and in Damascus on their couches.” (Amos 3:10-12)


Having severed their connection with their Creator, they no longer had the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Therefore the Lord was sending Assyria to judge them. On their way the Assyrians would conquer Damascus as well.


Because of their numerous conquests, the Assyrian Empire was growing. Without a strategy to prevent it, they’d soon spend all their time keeping the peace, as conquered nations mounted efforts to regain their independence. So when the Assyrians conquered an enemy, they took all those among the survivors who looked like potential leaders and scattered them around the Empire, leaving in place only those who posed no threat.


The Lord had Amos use a shepherd’s analogy to describe this. When a wild animal devoured a sheep, the shepherd would save the discarded parts of the animal for the owner’s inspection to prove that it was eaten and not lost or stolen. Just so, the Lord would preserve only a remnant of Israel as proof that a judgment had taken place. When the Assyrians led the captives of the Northern Kingdom away, they left only a few survivors behind to protect the harvest.


“Hear this and testify against the house of Jacob,” declares the Lord, the LORD God Almighty. “On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished,” declares the LORD. (Amos 3:10-15)


Shortly after the civil war, a golden calf had been set up in Bethel near the site where Jacob had seen the ladder ascending into heaven. (Genesis 28:10-19) Bethel soon became a center of pagan worship that the Lord sometimes called Beth Aven, or House of Evil. Their religion disgusted Him and its centers would be destroyed. Likewise the fine houses of the wealthy, bought with the money they extorted from the poor, would be leveled to the ground.


The lesson here is clear. The Lord is patient, allowing ample time for His disobedient children to return to the righteous way. But there comes a time when His patience runs out and His justice demands accountability. We are on the cusp of that time today, and the prophecies tell us that since we haven’t learned the lessons of history, we’re doomed to repeat them.




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

If you are new to this site and would like to post articles, opinions, youtube videos that are appropriate for this site just e mail me at

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Steven

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Amos Speaks Again Part 3

Jack Kelly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Our study continues with chapters 4 and 5. The last time we saw that the Lord had worked up a fine head of steam in presenting His indictment of the Northern Kingdom. He’s far from finished.

Amos 4

Israel Has Not Returned to God

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”

The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. You will each go straight out through breaks in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon,” declares the LORD(Amos 4:1-3).

The cows of Bashan were the premier breed of cattle in the land. With biting sarcasm the Lord compared the upper class women of the North to these pampered cattle. Contrasting His Holiness with their haughtiness, He warned them of the coming disaster. The Assyrians typically led their captives off with ropes attached to rings in their noses or lips. In the same way these highborn women would be brought low.

“Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign LORD. (Amos 4:4-5)

Bethel and Gilgal were worship centers of the North, but not for giving thanks to God. The sacrifices and offerings brought there were given to the idols that had been set up in violation of the commandments. Leavened bread was only permitted at Pentecost, and bragging about the money and goods they gave was likewise prohibited. The Northern kingdom had become prosperous and powerful, and the One who had made them so had been abandoned in favor of powerless, man made gods.

“I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD. “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

“I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD.

“I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me,” declares the LORD (Amos 4:5-11).

Before the Lord brought His people out of the desert and into the Promised Land, he had Moses give them a clear warning against forgetting Him. He said if they didn’t remember it was He who had blessed them, and began attributing their prosperity to other gods, or to their own abilities, He would take it all away.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed (Deut 8:10-11, 17-19).

I believe the Lord often calls us first with blessing, hoping that we’ll realize just who’s responsible for our well-being and give credit where credit is due. But if that doesn’t do the trick, He’ll begin withdrawing the very blessings He brought us. Where before we couldn’t fail, now it seems we can’t win. Where everything used to work in our favor, now it’s like we can’t get a decent break. His desire is that maybe, having been divested of everything including our pride, we’ll turn to Him.

But the Israelites had responded to neither, even though His withdrawal of blessing was obviously not mere chance. There was no option left but judgment.

“Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.” He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth—the LORD God Almighty is his name (Amos 4:12-13).

Amos 5

A Lament and Call to Repentance

Hear this word, O house of Israel, this lament I take up concerning you: “Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up.”

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “The city that marches out a thousand strong for Israel will have only a hundred left; the town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left.”

This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live; do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.” (Amos 5:1-5)

The Northern Kingdom received none of the reassurances that the Lord would later give the South. While Judah would return and rebuild after 70 years in captivity, Israel would disappear, never to rise again. At the time of the division of the kingdom, all the Levites and the faithful of every other northern tribe relocated to the south, leaving only the apostates in the north (2 Chron. 11:14-16). But even though they had rejected Him, He still pleaded with them to turn away from their pagan worship, warning that their refusal would result in 90% of them being lost.

Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire; it will devour, and Bethel will have no one to quench it. You who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground (he who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name- he flashes destruction on the stronghold and brings the fortified city to ruin), you hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth. (Amos 5:6-10)

One of the reasons today’s unbelieving world is so adamantly opposed to the Judeo-Christian view is that deep down inside they know it’s the truth. It’s just too obvious to be denied (Romans 1:18-20). That’s why God thinks of unbelievers as being disobedient. It’s not that they can’t believe, it’s that they won’t believe. Every alternative to God that man has proposed over the centuries has been proven false, and they know it. If they were really secure in their denial of the existence of God, their feelings toward believers wouldn’t be anger but pity, as for one who’s been deluded. They’re angry because while they desperately want to be right, at the sub-conscious level they know they aren’t. And they hate us because they know we are. Like the apostates of the Northern Kingdom they despise those who tell the truth.

You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.

Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times, for the times are evil. Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.

Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says: “There will be wailing in all the streets and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail. There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst,” says the LORD. (Amos 5:11-17)

The Lord had solid evidence against them, and advised them not to waste any time denying it, but instead to begin immediately acting in a manner pleasing to Him. Maybe that would ease His wrath against those who admitted their guilt and voluntarily changed their ways. That was good advice for them. For us the best advice is to make sure we’ve claimed the pardon the Lord purchased for each one of us. Jesus said, “Everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to he who knocks the door will be opened”(Matt. 7: . But this won’t last forever. Hebrews 4:7 warns us, “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts.” If you haven’t already done so, the time to ask is now.

Joseph was the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, whose combined territories made up a substantial portion of the Northern Kingdom. The remnant of Joseph is the term the Lord used for those few He would spare from defeat and captivity.

Speaking of this time, the Lord had earlier said to King Solomon,

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:13-14)

But they had forgotten His admonition. Now nothing they did could completely deter the Lord’s judgment against them. Their rebellion had gone on for too long and their behavior could no longer be tolerated. This promise, which God meant for them, could not deflect the judgment that was due them. How can we believe it will deflect the judgment that’s due us, when the promise is not even meant for us?

The Day of the LORD

Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light — pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18-20)

With the double vision common to prophets, Amos described both the terror the Israelites would soon feel at the hand of the Assyrian armies and that which would befall the people of Earth at the End of the Age. Relentlessly attacked, without a moment’s rest even in their own homes, why would anyone wish to be part of a time like this?

“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. (Amos 5:21-23)

The audacity of some people! Sinning like there’s no tomorrow and then coming to Him like there’s no problem. Some were just going through the motions, others had themselves convinced they weren’t sinners. All were relying on their false gods and only paying lip service to the real One. They mistakenly thought that the works of their hands would mask the thoughts of their hearts.

Religion hasn’t changed much through the years has it? The only difference is that today He doesn’t bother telling us how much He detests it. He and His angels just don’t go to churches like that anymore.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god—which you made for yourselves. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty. (Amos 5:24-27)

While they experienced drought, God reminded them of a never failing stream, one of justice and righteousness. In the wilderness they had been faithful to Him and He provided for them, bringing forth a lake full of fresh water from a rock in the desert, quail to eat, and bread from heaven. He gave them victories over vastly superior enemies and built their nation into a world power. But in spite of all that, the vast majority eventually made gods of their own and worshiped them, so He was sending them away.

In Isaiah 29:13 the Lord said, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” He was talking about the Israelites in the 8th Century BC. He might easily say the same thing about organized religion today. And if He judged their world then you may be certain He will judge ours now. 03-02-13




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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

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Amos Speaks Again Part 4

Jack Kelly

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This promise of judgment against Israel began in chapter 2 verse 6 and shows no sign of letting up. Now the Lord will single out the complacent and the proud.


Amos 6



Woe To The Complacent


Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come! Go to Calneh and look at it; go from there to great Hamath, and then go down to Gath in Philistia. Are they better off than your two kingdoms? Is their land larger than yours?

You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror. You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end. ( Amos 6:1-7 )


Our sin nature gives us a natural inclination toward evil (Romans 7:1 . The moment we let down our guard it begins worming its way slowly into our lives. The only way to prevent this is to remain constantly on guard. Complacency is the best ally evil has. Complacency lets footholds become strongholds and pretty soon we’re tolerating things that would have shocked us just a short time earlier.


There’s an old saying that building blocks can become stumbling blocks. Two primary building blocks of any society are security and prosperity, and the Northern Kingdom had both. True to form, as the people became more secure and more prosperous they became more complacent, tolerating things they would have rejected earlier. In their case it was idolatry and the mistreatment of the less fortunate. The wealthy viewed their enviable lifestyles as a sign that they were OK with God. But their tolerance of evil had hastened the Day of Judgment, and that day had come.


In the US the Christian Church has enjoyed over 200 years of being the quasi-official religion of the nation, much of it during times of unparalleled security and prosperity. Some of us can still remember when the Lord’s name was invoked at the beginning of public meetings, in school assemblies, and even in our classrooms.


But then things began to change. Freedom of religion became freedom from religion. School prayer was banned. The murder of the pre-born was legalized. The church’s complacency in reacting to these things opened the door to more and more evil until what used to be called pornography is now called public entertainment, we’ve murdered over 50 million pre-born children, “alternative lifestyles” are promoted and celebrated, and the phrase “family values” is considered hate speech by many.


Our complacency has rendered us incapable of responding to these challenges as well, even though the US Census Bureau said 76% of adult Americans claimed to be Christian in 2012, and both our security and our prosperity are notably diminished.


The LORD Abhors The Pride Of Israel


The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself—the LORD God Almighty declares: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.”

If ten men are left in one house, they too will die. And if a relative who is to burn the bodies comes to carry them out of the house and asks anyone still hiding there, “Is anyone with you?” and he says, “No,” then he will say, “Hush! We must not mention the name of the LORD.”


For the LORD has given the command, and he will smash the great house into pieces and the small house into bits. Do horses run on the rocky crags? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness- you who rejoice in the conquest of Lo Debar and say, “Did we not take Karnaim by our own strength?” For the LORD God Almighty declares, “I will stir up a nation against you, O house of Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.” (Amos 6:8-14)


It was too late for the Northern Kingdom. Samaria, it’s capital and the pride of Jacob, would be conquered and destroyed. Having desired to be free of the Lord, they would get their wish. The very mention of His name, once a source of comfort to them, would now bring down His wrath. All that the Northern Kingdom had gained by conquest would be lost until finally the entire nation would cease to exist, from Lebo Hamath in the North to the Arabah in the South.


In their own way, many American Christians of today are just as prideful as the ancient Israelites were. They can’t distinguish our country from our church. They pray for God to “heal our land” as if America was the Church’s homeland, not realizing our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20-21). Only American Christians search the Scriptures for mention of our country, thinking a people as important as we are must surely be there. They don’t realize that in the Bible American Christians are called “The Church” just like Christians of every other nation.


Amos 7


Locusts, Fire And A Plumb Line


This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the second crop was coming up. When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”


So the LORD relented. “This will not happen,” the LORD said.


This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: The Sovereign LORD was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land.


Then I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

So the LORD relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.


This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied.


Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. “The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.” ( Amos 7:1-9 )


The Lord showed Amos visions of two potential punishments for Israel. One was a plague of locusts that would strip away all the vegetation and the other was fire that would devour the land. Amos pleaded with the Lord against both these judgments, and the Lord discarded them.


The third vision, that of a plumb line, symbolized a builder surveying the accuracy of his work. Finding it to be out of plumb, he would tear it down and begin again. God’s plumb line was His righteousness. He measured the Northern Kingdom and found them out of plumb. His demolition agent was Assyria. Amos did not talk Him out of this one.


I don’t think it needs mentioning that America doesn’t measure up to God’s standards either. Once He has taken the Church, who are righteous by faith, He will set about demolishing what’s left of America as well. For God knows how to rescue godly people from trials while holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment ( 2 Peter 2:9 ).


Amos And Amaziah


Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying: ” ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’”


Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”


Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’


Now then, hear the word of the LORD. You say, ” ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the house of Isaac.’


“Therefore this is what the LORD says: ” ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will certainly go into exile, away from their native land.’ “ ( Amos 7:10-17 )


The prophecies of Amos now turn from national to personal. The king himself would die by the sword. Amaziah took exception to this pronouncement and to Amos’ encroachment upon his territory in general. He knew Amos was from the south so he told him to go back there, and earn his keep by prophesying about the south. But Amos hadn’t been hired by anyone to come north. He was doing what the Lord had commanded. And one thing the Lord commanded was to pronounce judgment on Amaziah and his family. The other was to confirm Israel’s demise.


But Wait, There’s More


There’s an interesting footnote to Amos 7, but you have to read Amos in the Septuagint (Greek) translation to see it. Instead of verse 1 reading like it does above, the Septuagint reads like this: Thus has the Lord God showed me; and behold, a swarm of locusts coming from the east; and behold, one caterpillar, king Gog.


This is one of three mentions of Gog in the Scripture spanning a time of nearly 3000 years, here in the 8th century BC, Ezekiel 38 in the 21st Century AD and Revelation 20at the end of the Millennium.


Apparently the Septuagint translators understood that God had a supernatural force in mind for the potential judgment he had Amos preview in his vision. In their version ofAmos 7:1 Gog is identified as the king of the locusts. But Proverbs 30:27 states that ordinary locusts have no king, and observers of locust swarms agree that no obvious leader directs them, as a queen would direct a hive of bees. Is Gog a supernatural figure from Satan’s camp that God uses as a leader of demonic forces to bring judgment upon His people? The wide span of time covered by his appearances would seem to support this view. And if that’s the case we can understand why Amos would prefer Assyria to a swarm of demonic locusts as God’s agency of judgment.


This lends insight to another appearance of locusts as well. I’m referring to Revelation 9:1-11, where a swarm of locusts comes out of the Abyss to afflict those on Earth who lack the seal of God on their foreheads. These locusts have a king named Abaddon in the Hebrew or Appolyon in the Greek. Here again, Proverbs 30:27 would indicate that this is not an ordinary swarm of locusts, but a demonic agency of judgment. Only the 144,000 witnesses from the 12 Tribes named in Rev. 7:5-8 will be sealed in advance of this judgment, every other living being, believer or not, will be fair game for this agonizing attack. The locusts will not have the power to kill them, only to make them wish they were dead ( Rev. 9:5-6 ).


Time will tell if my opinion of Gog is true or not, but I can’t help thinking that perhaps Amos got a glimpse of one of the end times judgments coming upon the world. More next time as our study in Amos concludes.




++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Disclaimer: Rapture Bible Prophecy Forum, ( http://www.rapturebibleprophecyforum.com ) does not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the reply button.

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Amos Speaks Again Part 5

Jack Kelly

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




We’ve come to the final installment in our study of the Book of Amos. The Lord’s anger against the Israelites continues, His promise of judgment clear. There will be no last minute reprieve; the Northern Kingdom will cease to exist. But as He always has, God will preserve a faithful remnant to keep the flame of His people flickering.




Amos 8


A Basket Of Ripe Fruit


This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.


“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.


Then the LORD said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.


“In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”


Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, saying, “When will the New Moon be over that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?” —skimping the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.


The LORD has sworn by the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done. “Will not the land tremble for this, and all who live in it mourn? The whole land will rise like the Nile; it will be stirred up and then sink like the river of Egypt. (Amos 8:1-


Originally, the Pride of Jacob was the Lord. He was swearing by Himself that He would never forget what the people had done. To give our vows additional authority we swear by someone higher than we are. We might even say, “I swear to God.” There is no one higher than God, so when He wants to underscore a vow He swears by Himself (Hebr. 6:13-14).


The Nile River flooded every Spring, its waters flowing over its banks to cover the entire delta region. The Lord used this to symbolize the fighting men of Israel rising as a great army to resist the Assyrians.


The River of Egypt, or Wadi al Arish, is a different river that has water in the spring but dries up in the summer. It symbolizes the outcome. Though Israel’s army would be like the flooding Nile at the beginning, it would soon disappear into the ground like the River of Egypt under the onslaught of the Assyrians. The Lord could tolerate their corrupt practices no longer.


Throughout the Bible the Lord gets especially upset when the powerless are exploited. Whether it’s widows and orphans, or slaves, or the poor, He’s predictable in his reaction. He takes their part and oppresses those who oppress them. His laws were written to give people every opportunity for a second chance. Israelites weren’t allowed to charge each other interest. They couldn’t keep collateral to secure a debt. Debts were to be forgiven every 7 years, and those held in servitude as a means of repaying their debts were to be freed and given a stake toward a new beginning.


In Deut. 15:4 He said that the land was so bountiful that there shouldn’t be any poor among them if they just obeyed His laws. That means the poor were a class created by the disobedience of the rich, and that’s what made Him so angry.


America is the wealthiest country in history. Compared to world standards even Americans of average means are rich. And yet we have many poor among us, and they’re exploited just as surely as those in Biblical times. It still makes the Lord angry, and he’ll judge us in our time just as He did them in theirs.


“In that day,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your religious feasts into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.(Amos 8:9-10)


Although the context here is Israel’s defeat, this prophecy was eerily fulfilled on the day Jesus died. The Sun went dark at noon and from that time forward Passover has been associated with the death of God’s only Son. And in Zechariah 12:10 we’re told that near the end of the Great Tribulation as the Lord sets out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem, He will pour out a Spirit of Grace and Supplication upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”


Just in case they didn’t know who He was talking about, the Lord had a two letter un-translated Hebrew word placed after the phrase “look upon me” in Zechariah 12:10. They’re the first and last letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, the Aleph and the Tau. These two letters also appear in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1 after the phrase “in the beginning God …” Their better-known equivalents are the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used to describe the Father in Rev. 1:8 & 21:6 and the Son in Rev. 22:13. Zechariah was saying that the one they would look upon as the Messiah is God Himself.


“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.


“In that day “the lovely young women and strong young men will faint because of thirst. They who swear by the shame of Samaria, or say, ‘As surely as your god lives, O Dan,’ or, ‘As surely as the god of Beersheba lives’—they will fall, never to rise again.” (Amos 8:11-14)


Contrast this with the Lord swearing by “the Pride of Jacob” above. The people are swearing by “the shame of Samaria”, and the pagan idols of Dan and Beersheba.


The people wanted to be free of any relationship with the Lord so now they would be. They wouldn’t hear any prophets calling them back though they traveled the length and breadth of the land. The word of the Lord would be like water during a time of extreme drought, nowhere to be found. And would the pagan gods to which they had given their allegiance save them? Not a chance.


Some believe that this famine of hearing God’s Word will occur again at the end of the age, as the anti-Christ seeks to eliminate all reference to God from society. He’ll even try to change the calendar (Daniel 7:25) in his effort to erase every reminder of God from peoples’ lives.


Amos 9


Israel to Be Destroyed


I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said: “Strike the tops of the pillars so that the thresholds shake. Bring them down on the heads of all the people; those who are left I will kill with the sword. Not one will get away, none will escape. Though they dig down to the depths of the grave, from there my hand will take them. Though they climb up to the heavens, from there I will bring them down. Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, there I will hunt them down and seize them. Though they hide from me at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent to bite them. Though they are driven into exile by their enemies, there I will command the sword to slay them. I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.”(Amos 9:1-4)


No matter where they tried to hide, the Lord would find them and punish them. Psalm 121 says that He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep, but will watch over their coming and going forever. Now He tells them that because of their betrayal it will be like He’s hunting for an enemy, not watching over a friend. As the writer to the Hebrews would say, It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. (Hebr. 10:31)


The Lord, the LORD Almighty, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who live in it mourn— the whole land rises like the Nile, then sinks like the river of Egypt- he who builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation on the earth, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name.


“Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cu****es?” declares the LORD. “Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?”


“Surely the eyes of the Sovereign LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth— yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,” declares the LORD.


“For I will give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, and not a pebble will reach the ground. All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’” (Amos 9:5-10)


The Cu****es were another race of people in the region of Egypt, ancestors of today’s black Africans. Because of their sin, the Israelites, whom the Lord brought out of Egypt in a mighty act of deliverance, had become no better than the Cu****es, whom He’d left there. No better than the Philistines whom He brought from Caphtor, or the Arameans whom He brought from Kir. Therefore He was about to judge them, sifting them as grain to separate the sinners from the faithful. The Kingdom would be gone, and not one of the sinners would escape. But the faithful remnant of Jacob would be spared.


The Church, instead of being preserved through the coming judgments, will be rescued beforehand. In the original language of 1 Thes. 1:10 Paul said we’ll be removed from both their time and their place.


Israel’s Restoration


“In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the LORD, who will do these things.


“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:11-15)


The Lord’s brother James, as the head of the early Church, presided over the Council at Jerusalem about 20 years after the cross. Because of the evangelistic efforts of Peter, Paul, Barnabas and others, Gentiles were becoming followers of Jesus. These leaders had all gathered in Jerusalem to determine whether a) Gentiles had to convert to Judaism before they could join the Church, and b) if not, what would become of Israel. After a lively discussion it was decided that Gentiles could be baptized directly into the Christian faith.


As for the future of Israel, James said that the Lord was first going to take a people for Himself from among the Gentiles (Acts 15:13-14). Using Amos 9:11-12 as His authority, he said after that, the Lord would return to rebuild David’s fallen tabernacle. He was speaking of the nation in general and the Temple in particular.


Ezekiel had prophesied that in the latter days Israel would be reborn, (Ezekiel 36-37), but now James clarified that when that happened they would revive Biblical Judaism as well. Otherwise there would be no need for a Temple. Daniel had also prophesied a Temple in the Latter Days. (Daniel 9:27) You can read all about the Council at Jerusalem in Acts 15:1-21.


There are three critical clues to the End Times in the way James used Amos 9:11-12. One is the chronology. First the Lord will focus on the Church. After He has taken us, He will return and rebuild the Temple. The second is that Israel will not disappear as a people, nor will they be replaced in the Lord’s plan by the Church. Israel and the Church will remain separate entities. And the third is that His shift back to Israel will happen after He has taken the Church. The Greek word translated “taken” literally means to carry away, or remove. It’s most often translated “receive.” It’s a reference to the rapture of the Church.


Paul would soon write that Israel has been blinded in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25), agreeing with James that what we now call the Rapture of the Church will precede the Lord’s shift back to Israel. After alluding to it several times in earlier chapters, Ezekiel clearly said that this shift will happen as a result of the battle he prophesied about in chapters 38-39 (Ezekiel 39:22).


20 years after the Council at Jerusalem the temple was destroyed, and soon after that the nation ceased to exist. For the last 1900 years the Lord’s focus has been on the Church. Some day soon the Lord will cause events we are already witnessing to culminate in the Lord’s shift back to Israel. The Church will disappear, Israel’s eyes will be opened and their re-gathering will enter its final phase.


A Temple will be built, and after the most terrible time of trial the world ever has or ever will see, Israel will once again become the preeminent nation on Earth. God Himself will dwell in their midst (Ezekiel 43:7). When that happens, the land will rejoice with the people, its curse broken forever.


You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)


Their harvests will be so plentiful that they’ll hardly be in the barns before it’s time to plant again. The exiled remnant will have been brought back, their cities rebuilt, and no one will ever uproot them again. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.



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Zechariah 12:3,9:
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people; And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.



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