The Prophet Amos - Part 1

The book of the prophet Amos is the third instalment of our study on the minor prophets. The book introduced very little about him. In Amos 1:1, it says that he was a shepherd from Tekoa. Many say this is a small town south of Bethlehem in the House of Judah. However there is another town of the same name near Galilee in the House of Israel in the north. We may never know the actual location but that is not important. He delivered his message when Uzziah was king of the House of Judah and Jeroboam was king of the House of Israel probably around 750 BC or as Amos said, two years before the great earthquake that is mentioned in Amos 1:1. The prophet Zechariah also wrote about this great earthquake (Zec 14:5) after two centuries of which he said will also prelude the Second Coming of the Lord.

God sent that great earthquake not just an ordinary recurring disaster but more importantly, to cement this into Israel's history and that their history will be repeated to confirm the covenant. Indeed, earthquakes prior to the Second Coming are prophesied many times in the Book of Revelation. We are experiencing great earthquakes around the world these days but these pale in comparison with the earthquakes prior to His return (Rev 16:18-19) when all cities of the world will collapse.

So the question now here is, do the Book of Amos writes about the last days?

Yes, read the verses Amos 5: 18-20 and realize that the prophet was actually prophesying about the last days, the Day of the Lord. However, his message also applied to the people of his time. His message was prior to the fall of both the houses of Israel, both the north and south kingdoms. The only difference is, his prophecies for the last days Israel culminate with the Day of the Lord, the Second Coming and then towards the Millennium as written in last five verses of the book. So Amos proclaimed the warnings to ancient Israel and they were fulfilled. His book, like all the prophecies of the other prophets is the mirror of things to come because we are simply going back to the past to confirm the covenant. Prophecies calls the peoples and places by their true names but in the modern days the places and peoples may be called by different names that only the very wise will know.

1. Prophecies against the enemies of Israel
His book enumerated Israel's enemies of Israel. They are Damascus (Amos 1:3-5), Gaza (1:6-8) Tyre (1:9-10), Edom (1:11-12), Ammon (1:13-15), and Moab (2:1-3). Notice in all the given verses that it is God who will be destroying the enemies as He says "For three sins of (the enemy) even for four, I will not turn back my wrath" Also common in the prophecies is the phrase "that will consume their fortresses." Fortress is the ancient term for military defences against the enemy but then God will destroy them with fire, again as always written in the verses mentioned "I will send (or set) fire." So it is very clear that God Himself will put an end to the enemies of Israel by fire. For the Day of the Lord is with fire.

2 Peter 3:10-13
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire , and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire , and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

2. Prophecies against Israel and Judah
During Amos's time, Israel was a divided kingdom due to their disobedience. And yet they continue to get worse in no less than their enemies were. They eventually become God's enemies and therefore, Amos prophesied their downfall.

Against Judah:

Amos 2:4-5
4 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, 5 I will send fire upon Judah that will consume the fortresses of Jerusalem."

Judah is the nation of Israel that we know today. They will fall again as in the past for disobeying God. In the past they have rejected the law of Moses. Today they rejected Jesus Christ as the true Messiah.

Against Israel:

God has so much to say against Israel. Today, the northern House of Israel is the Ten Lost Tribes or the Lost Sheep of Israel. Read also Who Are the Ten Horns of the Beast? - Part 1 and Part 2 for more details about the modern day Israel.

Amos 2:6-8
"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. 7 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. 8 They lie down beside every altar on garments taken in pledge. In the house of their god they drink wine taken as fines.

The passage speak of corruption, injustice, immorality and spiritual decay. Nothing is worse for God than the backsliding of His own people. In verses 9 to 11, God reminded Israel how He fought for Israel against the Amorites, leading them out of Egypt and reigned over them through the Nazirites. But all of God's work were forgotten. Their judgment is prophesied in verses 13-16. No human power can save them from the coming wrath. They will be destroyed by God through their enemies. Read Amos 3:11:15.

11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"An enemy will overrun the land; he will pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses." 12 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." 13 "Hear this and testify against the house of Jacob," declares the Lord, the LORD God Almighty. 14 "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. 15 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.

Despite God's warnings, Israel did not repent. So is today's Israel, the EU along with the modern day Manasseh, the U.S.A. Their beginning was they were God fearing nation. Now they are becoming less Christian. A Catholic priest warned that a predominant Catholic Europe is being swallowed up slowly by Islam. Read also the article "Islamization of Europe."

3. Other hardships of Israel prior to their downfall

a. Famines

Just like what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples,

Matt 24:7-8
7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

So wars and famines will be the first signs. Read Amos 4:6-8--

6 "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.
7 "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. 8 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.

Here, it is prophesied that soon, there will be a great famine that will hit the modern day Israel, the Ten Lost Tribes. And yet, they will never repent and return to God. When the nations breaks down because of hunger, then Israel will become an easy prey for the enemy in spite of their military superiority.

b. Plagues

Amos 4:10
10 "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.

In today's age, who can ever bear the series of plagues such as water turning to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, pestilences, boils, hail, locusts and other calamities just like what happened in the old Egypt?

c. Fire

Finally, fire will destroy some of them like what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah. Only a few will survive, like they were snatched from the fire. However, they will not repent.

Amos 4:11
11 "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.

4. A warning on the coming of the Lord
Amos wrote about God's authority and asserted God's power. He also warned Israel to prepare to meet their God.

Amos 4:12-13
12 "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."
13 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.
Today, God's own chosen people is destroying our faith in the worse manner than their ancestors did. At least those people in the Bible still believe that there is god although they were idols. Atheists are rousing God's anger and so there will be a very difficult times ahead for America, Europe, and all the nations of unbelievers.

During their time, Amos wrote about the first coming of Jesus. But for us, we are warned about the Second Coming, the Day of the Lord. Amos spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ both for the ancient and the future.

The Book of Amos serves as the warning for all peoples for today. It is not only for Israel and Judah but for the whole world. So many people, particularly God's own people are in the forefront trying to destroy faith and Christianity. We are getting to the times that we are more inclined to believe the lies rather than the truth. Islam is spreading. Atheism is growing. Can our modern way of life change the truth that there is God? We may change our views of things but we can not change the fact there is God and that there is an end to all our lunacy. And we must worship the true God. God have mercy on us. But behold, God's protection will abound for those who hold on to the faith. Jesus is coming soon. Repent and let us prepare ourselves to meet our God.

We will continue our study on the Book of Amos next time.

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