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Chapter 9

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ch. 9:1-10    ch. 9:11-15

Israel To Be Destroyed (ch. 9:1 - 10)


Verse 1 speaks of an altar and pillars of a temple that God is standing beside.  There is debate over which temple this verse is speaking of.  Some say it's the temple in Jerusalem while others say it's the temple in Bethel, the site of the northern kingdom's temple.  My guess would be that it is the temple in Bethel since the prophecy of this book is dedicated to the northern kingdom of Israel.


God wants the pillars of this temple smashed, and along with that, He wants the people of the northern kingdom killed.  This does not sound like the all-loving God that modern people, including Christians, espouse today.  That view of God is lopsided and unbiblical.  God is just as much just as He is loving.  If this characteristic of God bothers you, then you have a poor understanding of what the Bible says about God.  You are more influenced in your thinking by the world instead of the Bible.


God says that "not one will get away".  Not one single Israeli will escape God's wrath in judgment.  You might then say, how could, or, how did Israel have any survivors to carry on some kind of remnant as God promised Abraham.  The fact of the matter is that the remnant of Israel came from the southern kingdom of Judah, not the northern kingdom.


In verse 2 God uses some symbolism to say that no one will escape His judgment.  They can go to the grave or climb up to heaven.  God will get them in either place.


Verse 3 speaks of hiding at the top of Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel covers about sixty square miles and there are hundreds of caves that one could hide in.  Even in those caves, God will find those attempting to hide.


Even if they hide at the bottom on the sea, which in those days wasn't really possible, God would use serpents to bite them.  Again, this is God speaking, but not the God of many modern day people.


Verse 4 is important.  We do know that the Assyrians drove the Israeli's out of their land, but here, God says that even though they are driven out of their land, He would still kill them by the sword wherever they ended up.  This is where we get the idea of the "lost ten tribes of Israel".  The Israeli's of the northern kingdom get exiled and they were eventually killed off, but that was not the end of the ten tribes of the northern kingdom.  Many Jews from those ten tribes had already moved south to find a more pure form of worship.  When God judged the southern kingdom, He did not kill them all off as He did with the northern kingdom.  They were captured by the Babylonians and exiled in Babylon for seventy years, but eventually returned to their land. 


Verse 4 also says, "I will fix my eyes on them for evil and not good".  The word "evil" here is meant to be taken in the sense of calamities.  Calamity after calamity would come on the people of the northern kingdom until all were dead.  God does not participate or promote evil, as in sinful evil.  However, He does send calamities upon people and nations for specific reasons, either to bring nations or people to repentance, or to judge them for their lack of repentance.  The word "evil" has two different aspects.  One aspect of evil is sin.  The other is calamities and hard times that come our way. 


In verse 5 we see mention of the Nile River in Egypt as we have seen earlier in Amos.  The most likely reasons for the mentioning of the Nile River is that for the Egyptians, there were gods that lived in the Nile, and it now appears that Israel had incorporated these gods into their religious practices as well as the Canaanite gods.


We see the words "the Lord, the Lord Almighty". This is the God that Israel was to worship.  He is the only true Almighty One, but they have forsaken Him for idols, for imaginary gods who were demonically inspired.


Verse 6 is just one more passage in the Bible that tells us that the name of God is "Yahweh".  It is Yahweh who has created all things and keeps all things in existence as stated here.    


In verse 7 we see that God builds holy places in heaven and the foundation of these places are on earth.  I don't believe we know the exact meaning to these words but it does tell us that it has always been God's plan to bring heaven and earth together.  You cannot separate the spiritual from the material.  God has linked them together that they cannot be separated, something the secular man does not understand.  That being said, there are mathematicians and scientists that are just beginning to touch the surface of such and idea. 


Verse 7 speaks of the Cushites, the Egyptians, and the Philistines.  All these nations came from somewhere else, and God implies that it was He who moved them to where they presently were.  This tells us that God is not only in control of, and has concern for, Israel, but of all nations of the earth. It is God, and He alone, that causes the nations to rise and fall.  He is more active in the affairs of men and nations than what we know or possibly can know.


Verse 8 speaks of "the kingdom", which means the northern kingdom.  The point that God makes here is that the northern kingdom will be totally destroyed but there will be a remnant from the descendents of Jacob, which is all of Israel.  Remember, even though there were two main tribes in the southern kingdom, there were many northerners who had moved south into Judah that would carry on.


The term "house of Israel" in verse 9 refers to the northern kingdom, and no matter where they go, God will shake them until they are no more.


Verse 10 tells us that there are some very arrogant sinners in the northern kingdom because they say such a disaster that Amos is speaking of will never over take them.  Many people say the same about their nation today, but if God wants to judge a nation and bring it down, there is no escape, no matter how arrogant that nation is.


Israel's Restoration  (ch. 9:11 - 15)


The book of Amos has been heavily loaded with the message of judgment on the northern kingdom of Israel , but the book ends on a positive note, not concerning the northern kingdom, but concerning the whole nation of Israel that emerged from the exiles of the southern kingdom.   


Verse 11 begins with the message of restoration as all the prophets spoke about.  The words "in that day" refer to the end of this age when Jesus returns to earth and sets up His throne in  Jerusalem and Israel once again becomes what she was meant to be. 


James, in Acts 15:16 quotes this very verse to Hi Jewish brothers who were being bothered by the influx of Gentile converts into the church.  The Jewish Christians felt that the Gentile believers should become Jews and obey the Law of Moses before they could be real Christians and members of the church.  The apostles Peter and Paul had to persuade these Jewish Christians otherwise, James included.  James saw the light.  He told the Jewish brothers that "after this" then he quoted this verse.  In short, after all the Gentiles that would be saved get saved, when Jesus was finished with the church, then God would restore Israel to its glory. 


Verse 12 may be interpreted differently by different people.  The verse states that Israel will possess the remnant of Edom and those nations that bear the name of God.  Remember, Edom is the descendents of Esau, Jacob's brother.  Israel and Edom had been enemies right from the days of Jacob and Esau.  At some future point, Israel will possess Edom and certain other nations.  What the word "possess" means in this case is a bit unknown to me.  Will Israel actually possess the land of these nations, or, will Israel rule over these nations as we know they will during the thousand year rule of Christ on earth?  One thing to keep in minds is that a good part of Edom was granted to two and a half tribes of Israel by Moses prior to entering the promised land.  This might have some significance to Israel possessing Edom at the end of this age.


One point to consider when thinking about Israel's future relation with Edom, which is modern day Jordan, can be found in Daniel 11:41.  Daniel says that Moab, Ammon, and Edom will not fall under the control of the anti-Christ.  For a number of reasons, many Bible teachers say that the reason for this is because of God's intervention.  They say Israel will flee Judea into Edom, Moab, and Ammon, or, modern day Jordan. They will flee there for safety until Jesus returns to get them.  It might be possible that this occupation might last longer than a temporary place of refuge.    


There is another thing to think about when talking about Edom 's relation to Israel.  Remember, Edom is the descendents of Esau.  There was strife between Jacob and Esau from birth.  God told Rebekah, Jacob and  Esau's mother, that the oldest would serve the youngest.  Normally in that culture the opposite would be the case.  The youngest would serve the oldest once that father of the family died, but not in this case.  I think that this verse shows us the ultimate fulfillment of what God told Rebekah.  Edom in the end would serve Israel as was the will of God all along.    


The agricultural reference in verse 13 simply means that the land of Israel will prosper agriculturally as they have never before.  We know this to be true from many other Biblical passages as well.


Verse 14 speaks of the return of Israelis to the land God promised them when He spoke to Abraham and many after him.  Israelis have been returning for decades now.  Ezekiel states the nature of this return in chapters 36 through 38.  First Israelis will return to their land.  After that they will return to their God, but they have to get to the land first.  The return to God comes through much suffering in the Tribulation of the last days.


Verse 15 is extremely important for today.  God says that once He plants Israel back in their land, they will never be uprooted from that land again.  Well, Israel is now being replanted in their land.  That means, no other nation will ever overthrow them and kick them out as in times past. That also means that we are at the end of the age, when God will restore Israel and bring this present age to an end.  This is one very important and exciting end time verse that everyone needs to be aware of.


In light of Israel's return to their land that this passage speaks of, we should realize that took place in 1948.  That is, in the sense they had a land to return to.  Israelis were returning to that part of the world prior to 1948 and have been sense 1948.  Many Bible teachers comment on the fact that Jesus said, "this generation" of Jews who return to the land will not pass away before all that has been prophesied about is fulfilled. (Matthew 24:35)  Some say a generation is 20 years, some say 40 years, some say 60 years, and on it goes.  Some suggest we should start counting this last generation from 1948 when Israel became a nation.  Others suggest that we start counting from 1967 when Israel took over the old city of Jerusalem.  I suggest none of these things because the word "generation" can easily be translated from the Greek text as "a race of people".  Therefore, what I believe Jesus was saying is this.  "This race of Israelis will not pass away until all is fulfilled".  Viewing the word "generation" in this light makes all the difference in the world when thinking of what Jesus said.  You no longer have to try to figure out dates and the length of a generation.  This passage in Amos states that once Israel, or, that race of Jews, returned to their land, they would be there until the end.  Amos does help explain what Jesus meant in Matthew 24:35             


This ends the book of Amos, a southern business man from Judah who was called by God to speak words of  judgment to the northern kingdom of Israel.  In less than forty years after Amos spoke the word of the Lord to the northern kingdom, what he prophesied came about.  Assyria attack the northern kingdom and overthrew them.  The Assyrians dragged the Jews from their land and assimilated them into their pagan culture, never to be seen again.  It is important to understand that the southern kingdom also was overthrown as well, but by the Babylonians.  The difference with the southern kingdom is that they returned to their land, and through the southern kingdom Israel had a measure of restoration, but not to the extent that will take place at the end of this age when Jesus returns to earth that Amos ends his book about.    


I believe there is much to learn from Amos' prophecies for the nations of the world today.  I think that the message of Amos, as well as the message of Hosea, should be preached with great intensity to the western nations of the world today.  The western nations today, as I write these words, are no different than the northern kingdom of Israel , and for that reason, we should take the book of Amos very seriously.     


If you have studied the book of Amos, I would strongly suggest that you study the book of Hosea.  Both prophets preached to the northern kingdom of Israel around the same time.  The two books go hand in hand.       


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