Amos

"Judgment to Jubilation"

By Dr. Edgar Pierce

(c) 2005

 

 

               Welcome to the book of Amos the Prophet. Amos is in the section of the English Bible we know as the Minor Prophets.  They are not minor because of importance but simply because of the length of the writings.

                We will do a survey of the book and our goal will be to understand who Amos was and the message that God sent to the nations through Amos. We will see judgments pronounced, prophecies foretold, and visions revealed not only to Israel but to her pagan neighbors. Amos was a prophet with a vision for the world.

                I have entitled this book Amos: Judgment to Jubilation. The obvious main focus of the book is on "Judgment." However, I think the most important aspect of the book is the final few verses where we will see that God will again restore Israel and thus the "Jubilation." I offer the following outline.


 

OUTLINE

Introduction:

I- The Call, The Prophet, The Setting, The Message: 1:1-2

      Judgment:

II- Judgment Against the Nations: 1:3-2:16

        III- Prophecies to Israel: 3:1-6:14

     IV- Five Visions of Amos: 7:1-9:10   

Jubilation:

V- Restoration of the Covenant People: 9:11-15

 


     

Extended Outline

 

Introduction:

I- The Call, The Prophet, The Setting, The Message: 1:1-2

        A- Occupation:  1:1; 7:14

        B- Call of The Prophet Amos:  7:15

        C- Time Line of History: 1:1

        D- Conditions in Nation of Israel:

        E- The Message from God: 1:2

 

Judgment:

 

II- Judgment Against the Nations: 1:3-2:16

        A- Judgment Against Damascus: 1:3-5

        B- Judgment Against Philistia: 1:6-8

        C- Judgment Against Tyre: 1:9-10

        D- Judgment Against Edom: 1:11-12

        E- Judgment Against Ammon: 1:13-15

        F- Judgment Against Moab: 2:1-3

        G- Judgment Against Judah: 2:4-5

        H- Judgment Against Israel: 2:6-16      

 

III- Prophecies to Israel: 3:1-6:14

        A- First Prophecy: 3:1 "Hear this word..."

        B- Second Prophecy: 4:1 "Hear this word..."

        C- Third Prophecy: 5:1 "Hear this word..."

        D- Fourth Prophecy 5:18 "Woe unto you who desire the day of the Lord."

        E- Fifth Prophecy: 6:1 "Woe to your who are at ease in Zion."

 

IV- Five Visions of Amos: 7:1-9:10

        A- Vision of Locust: 7:1-3

        B- Vision of Flaming Fire: 7:4-6

        C- Vision of Plumbline: 7:7-17

        D- Vision of A Basket of Ripe Fruit: 8:1-14

        E- Vision of Christ at Altar of Bethel: 9:1-10

 

Jubilation:

 

V- Restoration of the Covenant People: 9:11-15

        A- Reoccurring Theme of Old Testament Prophets:

        B- Four "I Wills" of God toward Israel.

        C- God remembers His Covenants:


 

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Introduction:

I- The Call, The Prophet, The Setting, The Message: 1:1-2

                As we attempt to explore this book we first need to get acquainted, so to speak, with the man Amos.

A- Occupation:  1:1; 7:14

                Amos gives us insight into his life by his hometown and his occupation prior to God calling him to be a Prophet. He is not mentioned anywhere else in the Scriptures.

                We see in 1:1 that he was from a small city named Tekoa, which means, "A camping ground." Tekoa is some 10- 12 miles south of Jerusalem. It is located in the southern kingdom of Judah.

                Was Amos a poor country boy that came from the sticks to prophesy in the King's palace? We here him glorified as a country boy and identified with as being a country boy in the city. So who was he?

                First, Amos 1:1 says he was one of the "herdsmen." The NIV translates herdsmen as "Shepherds." This word is not the usually Hebrew word "Raah" for herdsmen. (NOTE: Raah is used some 184 times in the Old Testament and is translated several ways in KJV.)

                The word here is, "noqed" (no-kade'). It means "a spotter (of sheep or cattle), i.e. the owner or tender (who thus marks them): (Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, p. 80) This word only occurs 2 times in the Bible. Here in Amos and in 2 Ki 3:4, which says, "And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, (noqed) and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool.” Based on this it seems that Amos may have been a owner of several sheep and indeed a sheep breeder or sheep master.

                Second, Amos says in 7:14 he again is a "herdsman". This is an entirely different Hebrew word, "bowker" (bo-kare'). This word is only used here in the scripture this one time. It means, "a cattle-tender"  (Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, p. 19)

Some have concluded he was a cattle rancher from this.

                Third, he also tells us he was a "Gatherer  of sycomore fruit." This word gatherer is "balac" (baw-las') in Hebrew. It means, "to pinch sycamore figs"  (Strong's Concordance, Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, p. 80)

                This fruit tree grew 30-40 feet high. It however did not grow in the higher region of Tekoa but only in the lowlands such as the Jordan Valley and by the Dead Sea. The closest place is several miles away but would be close enough for Amos to travel to.

                So we see Amos may not have been a poor country farmer but,  "As a breeder, rancher, and farmer, was a substantial and respected man in his community."  (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p.1425)    

                Regardless if Amos was a poor man or rich man we know that the most important thing was he responded to God's call on his life.

B-  Call of The Prophet Amos:  7:15

                The name Amos means, "bearer" or "burden bearer." Amos says in 7:15 that, "...the Lord took me...and...said unto me, Go, prophecy unto my people Israel." The only thing that God requires of any man is that he respond to what the Lord God says for him to go and do just as Amos did.

                As we have already said, Amos was a prophet with a view of the world. He was however primarily a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Remember though he was from the Southern Kingdom of Judah. "It was a strange occurrence that a prophet should come out of Judah to prophecy to Israel, it probably attracted wide attention, for such a thing had never happened before nor after." (Gaebelein's Concise Commentary, p. 679)

C- Time Line of History: 1:1

                The book of Amos presents no difficulty at all in knowing the times of the Prophet. He says it was, "...in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and...Jeroboam...king of Israel..." Uzziah reigned from 767 to 739 B.C. Jeroboam II reigned from 767 to 753 B.C. Their reigns overlapped from 767 to 753 B.C. This makes Amos a contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah, and Jonah. Isaiah and Micah followed his ministry. Amos's ministry spans only a short time of 1-2 years.

D- Conditions in Nation of Israel:

                The nation of Israel was at its zenith of prosperity and stability when Amos preached. The long reigns of the kings gave political stability to both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Allow me to quote from The Bible Knowledge Commentary to show some of the conditions of the time.

                "Commerce thrived (8:5), and upper class emerged (4:1-3), and expensive homes were built (3:15; 5:11; 6:4, 11). The rich enjoyed an indolent, indulgent lifestyle (6:1-6), while the poor became targets for legal and economic exploitation (2:6-7; 5:7; 10-13; 6:12; 8:4-6). Slavery for debt was easily accepted (2:6; 8:6). Standards of morality had sunk to a low ebb (2:7). (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, p.1425)   

                The religious climate was one of piousness. They assumed that because they were rich and prosperous that God was pleased with them. They offered their sacrifices and kept their holy days. (see 4:4-5) They assumed that because of this that no calamity could come to them.

E- The Message from God: 1:2

                We see throughout the book the words, "thus saith the Lord." Amos is simply passing along what the Lord is telling him. Amos claims that God himself is sending this message and in fact it was God's message.

                As we have already stated the message that Amos was given was primarily one of judgment and specifically to Israel. He says, "The Lord will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem..." The Sovereign God of the universe was going to set in judgment on the nations of the land.

                Again let me also state that the message of Amos is also one of hope. After the judgment there will be restoration.

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II- Judgment Against the Nations: 1:3-2:16

        The first division of Amos is the Judgment Against the Nations. The 7 nations here, (8 counting Israel), are the contiguous (those surrounding) neighbors of Israel. Six of these nations were the enemies of God's Covenant people. I'm sure when Amos gave the first six prophecies found here that Israel said "Amen!" The inclusion of these Gentile nations again reminds us that Jehovah God was and is also the God of the Gentiles.

        Eight times we hear, "Thus saith the Lord...for three transgressions....and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof..." Amos is not saying that each nation had done 3 or 4 things wrong. He is saying the cup of iniquity is full and nothing can stop the hand of God's judgment.

        We will follow a single format to help us be consistent during this section. We will attempt to see the following concerning each nation.

1- Country/Capital Judged: Who?

2- Cause of the Judgment: Why?

3- Coming Judgment: What?

A- Judgment Against Damascus: 1:3-5

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        The nation being judged here is Syria or Aram. This nation was located to the north of Israel with Damascus as it's capital.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        Syria in it's history had often harassed Israel. (See I Kings 20:1-2; 2 Kings 6:24). Amos says the cause of judgment is, "because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron..." Amos 1:3 This judgment was for cruelty. Gilead was on the east bank of the Jordan where the 2 1/2 tribes remained which did not cross Jordan. 2 Kings 10:32-33 records the invasion and cruelty of Syria. The threshing instruments were sharp and it is thought that Syria used them to beat the people to death.

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment that God is going to send is, "...a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad." 1:4 God is going to judge with fire. The Syrian King was Hazael. (See II Kings 8:12) Benhadad had been king before Hazael and had been killed by Hazael.

        Amos also prophecies that,  "...the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir..." 2 Kings 16:9 records this happening at the hands of Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria.

B- Judgment Against Philistia: 1:6-8

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        Next is the prophecy of judgment against Philistia, which was located, southwest of Israel and west of Judah on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The capital of Philistia was Gaza. We hear today much about the Gaza strip. There were four chief cities of the Philistines; Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron. These four cities were to be judged.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        The cause of the judgment again is the way they treated Israel. They had sold the Jews into slavery in Edom. Amos 1:6, "...they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom."  II Chron, 21:16-17; Joel 3:4-8 records this historic event.

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment to come is again said to be by fire. God is going to burn the palaces and walls of Gaza. He also said, "the remnant of the Philistines shall perish." There are no Philistines today. They are a race of people that is extinct.

C- Judgment Against Tyre: 1:9-10

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        The nation judged now is Phoenicia, which was located to the west of Syrian and Israel’s northern section. It is located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea north of Philistia and Israel.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        The cause of the judgment again is the way they treated God's chosen people. There had been a brotherly agreement made between David and Solomon with Hiram King of Tyre concerning the temple. (See I Kings 9:10-13) They had also sent the people into slavery in Edom. This was especially wrong because Israel had never warred against Tyre because of the agreements of David and Solomon. (See 2 Sam 5:11; I Kings 5:1-5. Also see Ezekiel 27)

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment again is by fire. God would burn down the forts and palaces of Tyre. Ezekiel 26:3-21 prophesies the destruction. The first part of this was fulfilled when Nebuchanezzar of Babylon laid siege to the city and after 13 years overthrew it.

D- Judgment Against Edom: 1:11-12

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        The nation of Edom was the descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother. The people of this nation was in fact cousins of the Hebrews. (See Gen 25:30)

        The nation of Edom was located south of the Dead Sea and south and east of Judah. The two cities mentioned here were two of the capital of Edom. Teman was southeast of Petra and Bozrah was in north central Edom.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        Although they were related Edom hated and did more cruel things than anyone toward the Hebrews. Obadiah's prophecy is given to Edom. Amos says, "...he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever..." The people of Edom had a revengeful spirit. They rejoiced over the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar (See Ps 137:7).

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment to come was by fire. Everything that could burn was burned. Again the judgment of God fell.

E- Judgment Against Ammon: 1:13-15

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        The Ammonites were the descendants of Lot's youngest daughter. (see Gen 19:38) Ammon’s capital city was Rabbah. Ammon was located to the east of Israel across the Jordan River.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        The cause of judgment was cruelty due to their desire to enlarge their borders. They had, "...ripped up the women with child of Gilead that they might enlarge their borders." It is especially cruel to rip open a pregnant woman and kill her and the baby. They did this during their expansion war in Gilead as they joined in league with Syria. (See II Kings 8:12-13 for Elisha's prophecy to this to the King of Syria.)

3- Coming Judgment:

        In addition to the fire the judgment would be they would go into captivity. They would hear the war cry of the enemy. This was accomplished under Tiglath-Pileser III in 734 B.C.

F- Judgment Against Moab: 2:1-3

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        The nation of Moab, located East of the Dead Sea  and just north of Edom, capital city was Kiroth. The people of Moab were descendants of Lot's oldest daughter. (See Gen 19:37).

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        The desecration of a grave was and still is a very horrible thing to do. Moab had gained military victory over Edom and had not been satisfied with simply killing their king they also burned his body and bones into lime. Some see that perhaps in the incident found in II Kings 3:26-27 is when they drove the Edomites back and opened the grave and burned their king(s). It is however worth remembering that Ruth who married Boaz and is in the lineage of Christ came from Moab several years before.

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment that God would send was upon their capital and nation with fire and war. This, like the nation of Ammon, happen under the siege of Tiglath-Pileser III.

G- Judgment Against Judah: 2:4-5

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        Now we turn to God's chosen people, the descendants of Jacob. Judah was the southern nation of what had once been a single nation of Israel. The capital of Judah was Jerusalem.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        The reason God was going to send judgment was, "because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments..." They as a covenant people knew what God expected of them. They had countless times in the past agreed and committed to do God's will. Each time they had grossly failed. Amos says judgment would come because, "...their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked." They had hardened their hearts just as their fathers had done.

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment would be that Jerusalem would be destroyed. The temple would also be destroyed. This took place when Nebuchanezzar came and literally tore the city apart. It would lie in ruins until rebuilt by Nehemiah and Ezra.

H- Judgment Against Israel: 2:6-16

1- Country/Capital Judged:

        At last we come to the Nation of Israel, the Northern Kingdom of the two Hebrew nations. The capital city of Israel was Samaria. In the scriptures the Northern Kingdom is also called Ephraim after the largest tribe.

2- Cause of the Judgment:

        We will explore this subject in greater detail in the future. For now allow me to simply list those reasons for judgment found here.

a- They had accepted bribes and sold justice for silver. 2:6

b- They had sold the poor into slavery for a pair of shoes. 2:6

c- Both father and son used the same woman for immorality. 2:7

d- They wore stolen clothes from their debtors at the religious feast. 2:8

e- They were guilty of drunkenness. 2:8

        In 2:9-12 God reminds them of what he had done and who He is. He reminds them of his protection and care. The judgment of God was coming on them because of their immorality and blasphemy against Him after all He had done for them.

3- Coming Judgment:

        The judgment that was coming was that they would creak like a loaded down wagon 2:13 and their swift warriors would stumble and fall 2:14-15.

Conclusions:

        There are a couple of things that stand out in the section. God requires men to do justly toward his fellowman. god also will bless those who bless the descendants of Abraham and curse those who curse those who curse them. We also see that God is a God of Judgment and not just a God of love.

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      III- Prophecies to Israel: 3:1-6:14

      Now we come to the main topic of Amos. The spotlight is now going to turn from the nations surrounding Israel to Israel herself. This section of scripture from 3:1-6:14 will be comprised of five prophecies against Israel. "Hear this word" and, "Woe" are key phrases. Even thought the nation of Judah is also mentioned here this prophecy is primarily going to be to the Northern Kingdom, Israel. 

        Amos is going to give a series of five prophetic messages unto Israel. They expand upon the reason God is going to send judgment. These messages or prophecies in addition to judgments will include appeals for repentance and hope of escape from them by heeding God's warnings. 

A- First Prophecy: 3:1 "Hear this word..."

        In chapter 3 we have a series of nine questions, the cause of the judgment that is coming to Israel and the nature of the judgment. 

a- 3:1-2 God's Chosen People:

        God's shows His unique relationship with Israel, His chosen people. The first thing Amos reminds them of is that it was God's sovereign hand that brought them out of Egypt.

        He next reminds them that they are God's chosen people. We might ask why did God choose them over some other nation? Deut 7:6-8 states, "...the Lord God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all  people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people...But because the Lord loved you..."  (Also see Ex. 19:5; I Pet 2:9)

        Amos states this unique relationship will not keep them from the punishment of God. Even thought they are God covenant people they were not relieved of the responsibility to do what was right. This position not only brought privilege but also responsibility. 

b-  Nine questions: 3:3-8

        These questions are part of the process of Amos vindicating his message for Israel. He claims this message is not his but God's. I have paraphrased the questions here for us.

        ?1- Can two walk without agreeing? 3:3 God here reminds them that they could not walk with God unless they had agreed to do so. God had called them to walk with Him and they had agreed to do so.

        ?2- Will a lion roar with a kill? 3:4a

        ?3- Will a young lion roar in the den without a meal? 3:4b

        In these two questions God says that there is a cause and effect. Amos uses the hunting lions as an illustration. He is says that the roaring of the prophet is because there is real judgment. He is not as we would say, "Barking up a tree."

        ?4- Will a bird get caught without bait? 3:5a

        ?5- Will a trap spring by itself? 3:5b

        Amos uses the illustration of a trapper and his prey. We know it takes a trap or a snare to catch an animal. Also a hunter does not keep setting traps that do not catch something. He moves it to a new location.  God had set the trap of Assyria and they would spring it and catch Israel.

        ?6- If a trumpet blow won't the people be afraid? 3:6a

        ?7- If a disaster occurs isn't God in charge? 3:6b

        ?8- Who is afraid because a lion has roared? 3:8a

        If they had any sense when the warning was given they would run for cover. They were deaf to the prophet however. He reminds them that Sovereign God will do the judging. They did not have enough spiritual sense or awareness to be afraid. The lion (I feel Amos is talking about himself) has cried out but the people would not listen.    

        ?9- Who can prophecy now that God has spoken? 3:8b

        Who can stand against God? No one my friends. 

c- The cause of judgment. 3:9-10

        God says the message should get out to Egypt and Philistia of the wickedness of Israel. The reason for the judgment is they "Don't know to do right." 

d-  The nature of the judgment. 3:11-16

        In these verse Amos gives a description of the judgment. He says they will  be "pulled down" (3:11); "snatched away" (3:12); the altars of false gods will be, "smitten" (3:14) and their homes will be, "destroyed." (3:15). 

B-    Second Prophecy: 4:1 "Hear this word..."

        In this chapter God is going to remind them of past chastisements. The key phrase of this chapter is, "But yet ye have not returned to me" (v. 6, 8, 9, 10, 11). 

a-  Hook of judgment. 4:1-3

        These verse contain a reference to how they would be taken out of the land. In this time period captives were lead away by a hook in their nose.  

b- Vain worship. 4:4-5

        I remind us that Israel was going through a good and prosperous time. They were going through the rituals and formality of worship. They made sacrifices, kept the holy days but it was all vain because of the condition of their hearts. This suggests that we need to examine ourselves constantly and not just play church and religion.  

c- "Yet you did not return to me." 4:6-11

        This phrase appears 5 times in this section. God is reminding them of past judgment that He sent upon them to bring them back to Him. These judgments did not result in a true return to God. Notice the things God had sent in the past.

        1- God had sent famine upon them. 5:6 Their teeth were clean because they didn't have any bread to eat.

        2- He had also sent drought. 5:7-8 He had withheld the rain and then sent in only in spots. They had gotten thirsty but didn't return to God.

        3- God had judged their crops. 5:9 He had sent a wind and then pestilence. They did not return to Him.

        4- God had sent plagues and killed their young men in war. 5:10. They did not return to him after He had killed their young men in battle. The decaying bodies of the soldiers was a stench they were so many.

        5- God had allowed the border raids. 5:11 He was allowing even at this time the Assyrians to raid and take cities captive.  

d- "Prepare to meet they God." 5:12-13

        God is saying to them that the time has come for judgment. Prepare to meet Him is stating that it is certain. Amos reminds them of the futility of standing against the power of the Creator.

        Heb 10:31 says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." 

C- Third Prophecy: 5:1 "Hear this word..."

        The key word for this third prophetic message is "Seek."  

a- Funeral Dirge. 5:1-3

This chapter begins with a funeral dirge for Israel. Amos is singing a sad funeral song. The NIV translates lamentation as "Lament". The Hebrew word is "qiynah" (kee-naw). It means, "A dirge (as accompanied by beating the breasts or on an instrument)." Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations over the fall of Judah some years later. This is a mini-Lamentations for Israel.

        "The virgin of Israel is fallen..." I sense that Amos mentions them as chaste virgins to help them to see that they are in fact the opposite of this. They are playing the harlot.

        The reason the fall of Israel was so sad was because of her position with God. The finality and extent of the judgment is also seen here when it says, "...she shall no more rise..."  

b-  Seek the Lord and live. 5:4-7

        At the close of chapter 4 judgment seemed like it could not be avoided. God says them here to seek Him that they might live. There was hope until the final judgment fell. God has always been a longsuffering God of Grace.

        He tells them to not seek "Bethel." Bethel was where the golden calves were set up to be worshipped.  

c- He who would judge. 5:8-9

        Amos breaks forth in a praise of God for His power and glory and might. 

d-  Judgment is justified. 5:10-13

        Amos give more reasons that God is justified in judging Israel. They hated men who had integrity, 5:10. They were unjust in their rental practices to the poor. The NASV translates vs 11, "...because you impose heavy rent on the poor..." They therefore would not get to live in their fine houses and enjoy their vineyards. They took bribes and turned the poor away from justice. 5:12 

e- Another offer of repentance. 5:14-15

        Amos says if they would repent, "...perhaps..." NASV God would not send them into captivity.  

f- Wailing to come when God passed them by. 5:16-17

        They were not going to repent and God was going to pass them by. They were going to weep and wail.  

D-    Fourth Prophecy 5:18 "Woe unto you who desire the day of the Lord." 

a-  Day of the Lord. 5:18-21

        This brings us to a very important prophetic phrase that is used in both the Old and New Testaments, "The day of the Lord."

        Joel was the first to introduce it into prophecy. In order for us to understand it allow me to quote from Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia on this subject of the day of the Lord.

"This expression (and various equivalents, such as "That day") is the subject of both OT and NT revelation....It is a time of judgment on Israel (Amos 5:18-20), of punishment on the nations (Isa 13:6,9; Ob 15), and of the actual coming of the Lord and salvation for those who repent (Joel 2:28-32). Its coming will be as a thief in the night and will be preceded by signs (I Thess 5:1-2; II Thess 2:@). Thus the day of the Lord includes the period of the Tribulation and the Millennial kingdom (II Pet 3:10)." (Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, Moody Press, p. 430).

        Israel was being very pious in wishing that the day of the Lord would come. Amos makes it plain that this was going to be a dark time and not a time of light. This was going to be a time of judgment not jubilation. 

b- Stink of hypocrite. 5:21-25

        God tells them that their burn offerings, feast days and solemn assemblies were a stink to Him. They were practicing the ungodly worship of Moleck where they sacrificed their children to him.  

c-  Off to Assyria you go. 5:26

        This verse makes it plain that they were going to be taken captive by the Assyrians. Damascus was the capital of Syria and they were going to be taken beyond Damascus. Assyria was the empire to the north of Syria. 

E-    Fifth Prophecy: 6:1 "Woe to your who are at ease in Zion."

        This chapter gives us additional insight into the conditions of the nation. They were at ease. They were fat physically and starved spiritually. They had godless security.  

a- Woe to those at ease. 6:1-7

        In addition to what I have stated we see that they, "...lie upon beds of ivory." Amos goes on to show just how at ease they were.  They had a general disregard for God. Amos gives a picture here of the nation indulging in the sins of the flesh, sex, gluttony and drunkenness.

 b-  God's judgment. 6:8-14

        God says that He, "...loathe the arrogance of Jacob..." NASV.  There will be a great slaughter so that they will not bury the dead but will burn then. There will be no one who will dare to even speak the name of the Lord for fear he will die.

 Developing the Picture:

        The overriding theme of these chapters and prophetic messages has been that God is justified in sending them into captivity for their sins. He time and again points out their failures. Their greatest failure was they trusted in things and themselves and not in the grace of God.

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IV-  Five Visions of Amos: 7:1-9:10

        This next section of Amos is the visions of the prophet toward Israel. There are five visions and a rebuttal of Amos for his message. We will discover where Amos preached and see some of the opposition to his message.

        There are two key phrases that occur in this section. "Lord God" occurs 11 times from 7:1- 9:10. (7:1,2,4 [2 times], 5,6; 8:1,3,11; 9:8) This word "Lord God" in KJV is translated in the NIV as "Sovereign Lord".  In the Hebrew this conveys the fullest meaning. It is actually two names of God in Hebrew. The God who is sovereign is going to judge the nation.

        The second key phrase of this section is "...my people...Israel". This phrase occurs in 7:8, 15; 8:2; 9:10. God is again reminding them of their position as His people. I also think this looks ahead to the restoration of His people. God has never forgotten Israel.     

        Amos has five visions recorded here. The visions are of locust, fire, a plumbline, a basket of ripe fruit and of Christ as Judge.

        A-    Vision of Locust: 7:1-3

                1- Judgment prepared: 7:1

        This first vision is a vision of "Grasshoppers" or locust that would have destroyed the crops of the land. This swarm of locust was prepared at the most vulnerable time of the crop season. This occurred just as the crops were sprouting for the second harvest. The locust at this time would have completely destroyed them.

                2- Prophets Plea: 7:2

        Amos pleads to God to not let the locust devour the crops. The vision was one of what was coming and not what had already happened. Amos pleads, "...O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom will Jacob arise? for he is small." Amos stands in the gap. This shows that Amos was not a heartless prophet spewing forth wrath from a cold heart. The contrast between Amos and Jonah are striking in their feeling toward the people they preached to.

                3- God Relents: 7:3

        God it says in the KJV "repented". This is not repenting of sin but a simple changing of His mind. The NASV translates it, "The Lord changed His mind about this."

        B-    Vision of Flaming Fire: 7:4-6

                1- Judgment prepared: 7:1

        The second vision is of fire that would destroy. Amos has a vision of God allowing the rain to stop and the land to become a dry powder box or tinder box ready to ignite. He then sees the land being destroyed by fire.

                2- Prophets Plea: 7:2

        Again we see Amos plead with God for this judgment not to come upon the land. He begged God to, "cease"  or stop the judgment.

                3- God Relents: 7:3

        God again relents and stops this judgment from happening at the plea of His prophet. We might ask, "why did God stop with these judgments" or "why did Amos mention them anyway?". I remind us that the Sovereign God was judging and He alone was going to chose the punishment. However the prayers of Amos affected the type of judgment God would use.

        C-    Vision of Plumbline: 7:7-17

                1-    Judgment Prepared: 7:7

        Amos has a third vision of a plumbline. This is probably the best known vision of Amos. He sees a vision in which God is laying his plumbline beside of Israel and they are found to not measure up to what is God's standard. Daniel 5 records when Beltshazzar, Babylon's last king, was weighted in the balance and found wanting. God is sovereign over the nations.

                2-    Prophets Has No Plea: 7:8

        God asks Amos what he sees. God then tells him this time there is no need to plea. The judgment is going to come to Israel. God says He, "Will not again pass by them." Israel does not measure plumb and judgment is coming is the picture of this vision.

                3-    God Will Not Relent: 7:9

        God is not going to relent or change His mind about judgment of Israel. He is going to break down the high places. These were the hilltop shrines to pagan gods. He was also going to tear down the false sanctuaries of Israel there would be laid to waste. He was going to send a sword of judgment upon the house of Jeroboam the king of Israel.

        Jeroboam was the King of Israel at the time you will recall. Jeroboam is the representative of the Nation of Israel here. God is going to judge the nation and not just Jeroboam's house.

                4-    Opposition to the Prophet: 7:10-17

        After Amos gives this prophetic vision there rises opposition to his message. He has hit too close to home. This rebuke of the prophet for his message seems to be the result of the plumbline vision being preached.

                        a- Rebuke of Amos by Amaziah: 7:10-13

        Amaziah the high priest of the temple of Bethel rebukes Amos for his message. He misquotes Amos and tells the King that Amos is plotting his overthrow.

        Amos was preaching in the sanctuary of the Northern Kingdom. The NASV says it was his, "Royal residence." Amos was now hitting close to home. Amaziah tells Amos to pack up and move along to someone who wanted to hear it. We don't like that kind of preaching around here.

                        b- Rebuke of Amaziah by Amos: 7:14-17

        Amos then tells Amaziah that it was not his idea to come up here and prophecy anyway. God had sent this message.

        Because of this opposition to the word of God from Amaziah his wife was going to become a harlot, his sons and daughters would be killed by the sword. His land was going to be divided up and given to foreigners. He was going to die in a foreign land. God was going to send judgment in spite of the opposition. My friends we see that it is a serious matter to stand against the workings of our Holy God.

        D-    Vision of A Basket of Ripe Fruit: 8:1-14

                1- The Vision of Ripe Fruit: 8:1-3

        The next vision of Amos, his fourth, is of a basket of ripe fruit. God pictures Israel as a basket of ripe fruit. This picture is of Israel being ripe for judgment. The time of judgment is picture here as being ripe also.

                2-    The Spiritual Fruit is Rotten: 8:4-8

        Christ we know taught about fruit bearing being indicative of what kind of tree it is, whether good or bad. Matt 7:15-20

        "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?        17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

        As God inspects the fruit of Israel He sees it is rotten. They might have looked good and smelled good to the casual observer but when the fruit was really inspected it was rotten.

        What was it that made their fruits rotten? They were guilty of corruption and dishonesty in the market place. They were playing the game of religion. In one sense they were watching their watches hoping the service would soon end so they could get back to cheating and dishonesty in the market place. Amos 8:4-6 “Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,  5Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?  6That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?”

        Another thing that God noticed about their spiritual fruit was their pride. 8:7.

                3-    The Results of the Judgment Was Twofold. 8:9-14

                        a-     Human agony would result. 8:9-10

        God was going to turn their joy into mourning. He was going to cause them mental agony and grief.

                        b-     God would be silent. 8:11-14            

        An even worse fate was that God was going to be silent. He was going to send a famine of His word into the land. I see this as a two fold prophecy. First we know that God was silent from Malachi to Matthew. This was a period of 400 years.

        I also see this as Israel's condition today. They are still not hearing God's voice as He speaks through His Son the Messiah. They are blinded for now. (See Romans 11:8)

        E-    Vision of Christ at Altar of Bethel: 9:1-10

        The fifth and final vision of Amos is Christ as the Lord of judgment. The plumbline pictured Israel and not meeting God's standard, the Summer Fruit showed their corruption and now we have a vision of the Judge. Notice several things about God here as judge with me if you would.

                1- He is Judge of false religions. 9:1

        The Jews were given the 10 commandments. The first commandment found in Exodus 20:3-6 was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

        God told Israel from the beginning to not have other Gods. God is jealous of His glory my friends. He will not share His praise with some mortal man or piece of stone, tree or image of man.

        God here in Amos is pictured, "standing upon the altar."  He is going to judge the idolatry of Israel. Israel had constantly been in idolatry from its very beginning as a separate nation. From their first king until their last. They did not in fact have even one godly King. Not one of their kings led them in the path of righteousness. The Southern Kingdom of Judah however had several good godly kings. This is why most scholars feel that the Northern Kingdom went into captivity 100+ years before the Southern Kingdom.

        One of the things that we notice about the result of this judgment of captivity and scattering is they never have been a nation of idolatry again. Even though they do not recognize Messiah today they still are not in idolatry.

                2- He is a Judge from which there is no escape. 9:2-4

        Though they "Dig into hell,...hide themselves in the top of Carmel,...go into captivity" they will not escape.

        Remember what the palmist said in Ps 139:7-12:

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."

                3-    He is a Judge who is holy and omnipotent. 9:5-6

        We see here that God is holy and all-powerful. He is in control of all things. He rules and reigns in the realm of nature. (See Job 38-41)

                4-    He is a Judge that will preserve a remnant: 9:7-10

        There are many things that prove the Bible is God's Word. Things such as the authors who wrote it over 1500 years writing a book that ties together and the fact that the Bible has been preserved for us down through the ages. However, one of the most convincing arguments for this being God's word is that the Nation of Israel has been preserved as a people. God's chosen people have also been God's preserved people.

                        a-     Shifted among the nations of the world.  9:9                

        Israel has been shifted like fine flour throughout the nations of the entire world. They are more Jews in New York City today than in Israel. They are literally thousands in Russia and all the nations of the world.

                        b-     Not a kernel is lost. 9:10

        We hear a lot about the lost tribes of Israel. My friend God said that He would not lose one kernel.  Certainly He has not lost 10 entire tribes. Thought they have been scattered the Jews have kept their identity as Jews. They are still a distinct race of people. They have not been absorbed by the nations they dwell within. God said that He would not, "utterly destroy the house of Jacob."

                We will take up this subject in the next section of the restoration of Israel. God is not finished with the Jews my friends.

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Jubilation:

V-    Restoration of the Covenant People: 9:11-15

        Even in the midst of what was to be a judgment of God upon Israel that would be unparalleled by any before God still kept, shall I say, dropping hints of His intent to restore the nation of Israel. In the last section he called them, "...my people" 4 times denoting that they belonged to Him. He also stated in 9:8, "...I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob."

        There are few things in the scripture that are as clear to my mind as the fact that God is not finished with Israel as His people. We will explore in this final section the Restoration of Israel. This is the "Jubilation" part of the book of Amos. We can all be jubilant at the fact that Israel is going to be restored. I confess that I have been yearning to get to this part of the book of Amos because for the most part the first 9 chapter and 10 verses are past. They have been fulfilled but the last 5 verses are yet to come.

        A-    Reoccurring Theme of Old Testament Prophets:

        The restoration of Israel is one of the reoccurring themes of the Old Testament prophets. Warren Weirsbe in his book Be Right (p. 101) said, "Israel is the only nation in the world with a complete history- past, present, and future."

        The past and present we know by experience and history. The future we know by prophecy I will simply list some of the Scriptures, which support the restoration of Israel from the prophets. I will give you one from each list.

                1-    The prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 1:26; 11:12; 14:1; 27:3; 33:20; 40:2; 49:22; 60:10.

                Isaiah 11:12  “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

                2-    The prophet Ezekiel in Ezek 20:40; 36:8. Ezek 37:1-14 shows the restoration of Israel with the vision of the valley of dry bones that come to life. Ezekiel in Ezek 37:15-23 shows it by a vision of two sticks becoming one.

                Ezekiel 37:19-23  “Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.  20  And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.  21  And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:  22  And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:  23  Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”

                3-    The prophet Zechariah in Zech 1:17; 10:6; 14:11. Zechariah in Zech 12:10 says that Israel will look upon the One they pierced.

                Zechariah 10:6  “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.”

                4-    The prophet Malachi in Mal 3:4.

                Malachi 3:4 “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.”

                Remember that Malachi is the last prophet to speak before the coming of John to introduce the Messiah.

                5-    The prophet Daniel in Daniel 7:24-27 gives us the seventy weeks of time that Israel would have as it's history. We understand that 7 years are left for the history of Israel to be complete. This will be the tribulation period. The restoration of Israel will be in the millennial, or the 1000 year, reign of Christ after the tribulation.

        This is certainly not an exhaustive list nor is it meant to be. It is only my desire for us to see that indeed Israel will be restored.

        In addition to these it is worthy of mention, in fact it would be a gross injustice not to mention, that the Apostle Paul in Romans devoted 3 chapters (9, 10 and 11) to this subject. Notice especially Romans 11:11-36.

        Rom 11:12 say that, "...if the fall of them (them being Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness." (My underline for emphasis.) Amos states this also in Amos 9:12 where Edom is a picture of all of Israel’s enemies.

        B-    Four "I Wills" of God toward Israel.

        There are four things that God says that He will do for Israel in these final verses.

                1- Amos 9:11a  "Will I raise up the tabernacle of David....I will raise up his ruins."

        There are two promises in the Word of God that are going to be fulfilled literally. God told Judah that "the scepter shall not depart from Judah." Gen 49:10. This meant that the kings of Israel would come from the tribe of Judah. David was in this lineage.

        The second promise was that David's kingdom would never end according to God's promise in 2 Sam 7:12-16 "And when thy (David's) days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever."

        It is ironic that Christ is called the Son of David and not the son of Abraham or Isaac. (see Matt 1:1; 12:23;; 15:22; 21:9; Mark 10:48; 12:35; John 7:42; Rom 1:3; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 5:5.)  Christ is the King that sets and will set on David's throne.

        Another thing that this has always spoke to my heart about is the rebuilding of the temple. There will be a temple built in the future. I am not sure that the first place the Jews will again return to making sacrifices on the altar will not be a tabernacle while the temple is constructed. I remind us all that David worshipped in the wilderness tabernacle and not a temple. Again I remind us God said, "Will I raise up the tabernacle of David…." Notice the next part of the verse that gives addition support to this thought.

                2-    Amos 9:11b "I will build it as in the days of old."

                David's kingdom was a kingdom of both the Southern and Northern Kingdoms. God again will bring them together. (See Ezek 37:15-23.) Ezekiel  prophecies they would have one King, David. Ezekiel 37:24 “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

                3-    Amos 9:14 "I will bring again the captivity of my  people Israel."

        Amos says that God is going to call His people out of the nations of the world. This is happening before our eyes today. When this happened Amos said, "They shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them...plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof...make gardens, and eat the fruit of them..." My friends we see today in the land of promise that Israel indeed has physically fulfilled this prophecy. She is a nation that plants and waters the desert and it blooms.

                4-    Amos 9:15 "I will plant them upon their land and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them." God said that when He restored them in their land that they would never leave it.

        C-    God remembers His Covenants:

        Remembering that Israel is the Covenant People of God we conclude our study of Amos with a look at the God who remembers His covenants. In these last few verses we see that God has and will remember the Davidic Covenant of the everlasting kingdom of David. We also see that God remembers His Abrahamic covenant in which He promised Abraham the promise land. God will reverse the curses and restore His covenant people and the covenant blessing to the land. (See Lev. 26:3-10; Deut. 28:1-14)

         Notice the final words of Amos, "Saith the Lord thy God." God again calls them His. When it is all over we see it will indeed be, "Judgment  to  Jubilation!"

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