About Jesus Steve Sweetman
judgment spoken of in the last chapter is described in more detail in
chapter 5 in the form of a lament sung by God Himself.
A lament as seen here is Hebrew poetry, often sung, like one
would sing a dirge. What is seen in this lament hasn't happened as yet,
but it is sung as if it has already taken place.
2 says, "fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again.".
The Lord calls
2 says that the house of Israel, that is, the northern kingdom has fallen and "never will rise
again". That was and
still is the case. The northern kingdom never came back into existence
to this very day. It was
lost forever. Obviously,
because of the Abrahamic Covenant, Israel
as a whole will be restored at the end of this age, not the House of
Israel as seen in the northern kingdom in those days.
That's gone forever.
devastation is seen in verse 3. The
armies and cites of the northern kingdom will
only have ten percent of its population, and even that will be
scattered away from the land.
verse 4 God gives the northern kingdom one last chance to repent.
He begs them to repent. He
says, "seek me and you shall live".
This admonition was for
verse 5 God says "don't seek Bethel
or Gilgal" because both of these cities that were once holy to the
Lord have now been turned over to pagan worship of other gods.
The Jews now had defiled these cities and made them headquarters for demonic worship.
For this reason they were not to turn to these cities any longer
for spiritual strength.
also says not to seek Beersheba. This may be puzzling to
some because Beersheba
was not in the northern kingdom. It
was actually in the southern part of the southern kingdom, but like
Bethel and Gilgal in the north, Beersheba was turned into a city of
pagan worship and those in the north often went down to Beersheba to
worship these pagan gods.
verse 6 God once again says to seek Him or else He would sweep through
"the House of Joseph" like a fire.
The House of Joseph is yet another reference to the northern
kingdom of Israel. The northern kingdom, as
we have seen, is called by a number of names, "the House of
Joseph" being one.
wrath in judgment is symbolized by fire throughout the whole Bible, from
beginning to end. And of
course, the Bible ends with God's wrath as seen in the Lake
the KJV you see the word "wormwood", which was a bitter
poisonous root. The NIV
simply uses the word "bitterness".
The point here is that
am not an astronomer but I do point out in verse 8 the two
constellations of stars that are mention.
They are Pleiades and Orion.
Astronomers point out many constellations in the sky.
They do them simply for means of convenience and placements of
stars and planets. That
being said, most of these constellations consist of stars and planets
that have no relevance to each other.
They're light years apart. They
just happen to look close to each other when you look up at them.
There are however, two exceptions, and they are the two
constellations that are mentioned here, and also in a few other places
in the Bible, as in Job 38. This
is interesting. The two real
constellations where the planets and stars are grouped together in
proximity and gravitational affect are mentioned in the Bible.
Don't you think the Bible might be more scientifically accurate
than many might think?
simple point to verse 8 is that the God who is speaking these words of
judgment to the northern kingdom is the God who causes the universe to
function as it does. In
Hebrews chapter 1, verse 1 through verse 3 you see that it is Jesus who
created all things in the universe and actually sustains all things.
He keeps the whole universe together and in motion, that is,
until that day when He decides to stand back and allow the universe
to go crazy at the end of this age.
9 says that God brings destruction on the strongholds and bring cities
down. This is something that
we really do need to realize these days when it appears more and more
disasters are hitting cities around the world.
Christians aren't Deists. God
is involved in nature, in the affairs
of men, and all that is happening in the world around us.
When Katrina hit the southern
10 points out once again the lack of justness that is found in the
courts of Israel. Israelis hate those who
tell the truth in court and also hate the one who reproves them in
court. This is something for
our western world today. The
legal system is set up to find the truth and punish the wrongdoer, but
often our court cases are full of lies and the truth is never found.
Justice is important to the Lord and it is one reason why He has
judged, and will continue to judge nations today.
11 continues with the theme of injustice.
Over and over again, God speaks through Amos about matters of
justice in relation to the poor. Rich
Israelis rob and tax the poor only to build their mansions. God will not
allow this to continue. I
suggest that the same applies to the western world today.
The poor get poorer while the rich get richer, and much of the
riches is on the backs of the poor.
verse 12 God tells
verse 13 we see a word of wisdom spoken by God.
He says "the prudent man keeps quiet in the times of evil.
There might well be a time in a society to protest against injustice.
On the other hand, in days of evil, there might well be a time to
keep quiet, as Jesus Himself did when He was before His accusers.
verse 14 God admonishes
15 is contrasted with how Israel
is living. The Lord tells
His people "to seek goodness, hate evil, and maintain justice in
the courts". By this
time in Israeli history it is clear that they had a judicial system, but
a judicial system that was corrupt.
We seen the Lord speak to this before.
The western world of today is moving away from its Judeo
Christian values that was the basis for its judicial system.
Much of our legal system, at least in my opinion, has become a
sport for lawyers. I'm not
convinced that finding out the truth is really what most lawyers have in
mind these days when they go to court.
I simply think they want to win the case, as if the court case
was a game or a sporting event. They will attempt to when at any cost.
last half of verse 15 actually holds out hope for some of Israel
as it begins with the word "perhaps".
"Perhaps the Lord will have mercy on the remnant".
Mercy would only come their way if they repented and did what the
Lord said in the first part of this verse.
There is still hope, not for all
word "remnant" is important here.
God always has a remnant of people who belong to Him, both in Israel
of old and of today, and also in the church. Just as Paul said that
it comes to the word "remnant" and modern day Israel, if you study what Paul says in Romans 9 through 11, you will see that
at the end of this age, there will be a number of Israeli survivors of
the Tribulation that will give themselves to Jesus.
All remaining Israelis at that point will be saved, and they are
what is called "the remnant of Israel".
16 begins with the words "therefore".
That means because of all the evil ways the Lord has just pointed
out toIsrael, there will be wailing and great sorrow in the streets, in the
vineyards, and in every corner of the northern kingdom of
that God says He will "visit" Israel. Evangelicals often think
in terms of the visitation of God as being a time of revival, but that's
not always the case. It can
also be a time of judgment.
18 begins by saying "woe to you who long for the day of the
Lord". Why would
God say this? Israel
was taught that they would be the head and not the tale when it came to
the nations of the world, that is, if they kept the commands of the Law
of Moses. When it came to
the political, economic, and military prosperity, Israel
was at the height of their historic existence.
They would soon fall and never recover, at least not yet, not to
this very day. Many Israelis
understood, and even more so in later years, that a day would come when
their Messiah would come to them and they would be the head and not the
tale in relation to the nations of the world.
Yet, before that glorious day would come, there would be a
"Day of the Lord" that would be a great day of judgment and
darkness as is stated in verse 18.
the Israeli thinking of the day of the Lord in Amos' day, they would
have understood that the Abrahamic Covenant predicted a day when Israel
was the leading nation of the world. They were coming close to that time
in Amos' day. They were very
prosperous, very wealthy, very strong militarily, and in all ways.
They would have thought that they were on the right track when,
in their thinking, the day of the Lord being a good day, was almost
there. But, they were wrong.
Just because they were prosperous doesn't mean they were in the
will of the Lord, and the same applies to the western world today.
asks, "why do you long for that day"?
The reason why Israel
longed for that day was because they understood that day differently
than God. They understood
the day of the Lord to be the glorious day when their kingdom would be
fully restored. God viewed
the day of the Lord as a day of horrible judgment.
That's why Israel
longed for that day. They
attached the wrong meaning to the day of the Lord.
think the words of this section go far beyond a warning to Israel
in Amos' day. They speak to
Jews throughout history, and especially so today.
These words, although they have specific meaning to the northern
kingdom in Amos' day have a strong secondary meaning to Israel
describes the day of the Lord beyond simple darkness in verse 19.
He says that it will be as if a man escaped the teeth of a lion,
only to be attacked by a bear.
He then says that day is like a man who runs home and finds rest,
only to be bitten by a snake. There
is one thing that these two analogies have in common.
First there is something the scares
Israel's false sense of security,
leading to their spiritual apathy can be compared to the personal lives
of Christians today. It
seems to me that when we as individual Christians have a measure of
rest, wealth, and, when things are going good, we tend to slack off when
it comes to the things of the Lord.
Apathy can set in and we get concerned about the things of the
world. There is a lesson for
us to be learned here, and that is to be on guard for this apathy in our
20 states that the day of the Lord, that is, the period of time near the
end of this age, will be a day of intense darkness with no hint of light
at all. This is speaking not
of physical light, although that might be the case on the very day Jesus
returns, but when it comes to the period of time near the end, this
darkness is in every aspect of life.
Things will be dark politically, economically, morally,
religiously, and in every way possible.
21 is powerful. We
see how upset God is. He
says, "I hate, I despise your religious feasts.
I cannot stand your assemblies".
These are very strong words.
The feasts and assemblies that God is speaking of here are those
feasts and assemblies that He Himself had instituted for
verse 22 God says that even though Israelis bring Him offerings, as the
Law of Moses required them, God would not accept them.
The reason for this was because these offerings, as their
gatherings had been defiled with pagan idol worship.
The modern movement called Chrislam is doing just as Israel
did back then. I suggest
that God does not accept Chrislam's worship as well.
I suggest that He hates the gatherings of Chrislam and anything
resembling Chrislam. God may
well hate and not accept a lot of what we do in the name of the Lord.
The problem is that Christians today don't know the Bible well
enough to know that much of what they do is out of the will of the Lord.
23 is very relevant. God
"away with the noise of your songs.
I will not listen to the music of your hearts".
was going through the motions, but they weren't living right.
The same applies today. If
we are not living right, the songs we sing on Sunday mornings today is
simply noise to the ears of God.
24 comes back to justice. God
is attempting to make Israel
understand that they are an unjust nation.
Over and over again in the book of Amos, He points out this
matter of injustice in all aspects of Israeli society. He
might well be doing the same today.
verse 25 God reminds
chapter closes with verse 26 and 27.
God simply says that because