The Prophet Amos - Part 3

This is the third and last instalment of our study on the Book of Amos. The book reveals a lot on the world's chaotic scenario prior to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The book also mentions the causes of Israel's sufferings, gives warnings and calls for repentance. However, as we see our spiritual condition today, it looks like the end is very eminent and is coming very close as we can already see some of the signs.

1. Final warnings

We start here in chapter 7 which again, the Lord spoke to Amos about stripping Israel of any provisions for survival.

Amos 7:1-6
7:1 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. 2 When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, "Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!"
3 So the LORD relented.
"This will not happen," the LORD said.
4 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. 5 Then I cried out, "Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!"
6 So the LORD relented.

Amos pleaded to God in behalf of Israel so that none of God's judgment will fall on them and so God relented. Amos knew that if the above punishments were imposed on them, no one will survive. Not that God will stop the judgment altogether but will lessen it so that there will still be survivors. This scenario is reminiscent of the time when Moses pleaded also with God when the Lord almost wiped out the entire young nation of Israel due to their unbelief when they were still in the desert. Read the story in Num 14:10-25. Why will God plan something and then relents after man's pleading? This is not to show that God's plan is not perfect. Even if He proceeds ahead with His plans, the end result will still be perfect. But this events were recorded for us to know that our spiritual condition deserves nothing more than death and only through His great love and compassion that we survive. Moses and Amos were both prophets and God put those pleadings into their mouths as a testimony that we all deserve death and we only survive because of His great love. It also shows the power of prayer by those of great faith to ask God for forgiveness starting with our sins then the sins of our neighbours, the leaders and the whole nation. The prophet Jeremiah praised God's great faithfulness when he said the famous passage:

Lam 3:22-23
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

2. No more delay

Even if God relents with His total destruction of Israel, suffering will still come. It is only when man reaches the end of his rope that we start to seek God. Israel today (not the Israel we know but the US and EU and the western allies) has attained global supremacy in wealth and power that they have depended on it entirely. God will put an end to both and bring us down to our knees.

Amos 7:7-9
7 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. 8 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. 9 "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."

God will bring destruction to the House of Israel, specific to he house of Jeroboam, meaning the northern kingdom composing of the ten tribes. These are the same Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, the Hebrews, now the EU which is apart from the Jews of the House of Judah, now Israel. We have discussed the last time that there has been fewer attendance in worship services and it will continue to trend down into less Christian Europe as prophesied. As nations are becoming more liberal, they will see no need of religion. That applies to all nations. There are numerous movements in the world nowadays promoting atheism thinking that the world is a better place to live in without religion and then when it happens, the world is ripe for harvest.

3. Basket of ripe fruits

This is the time that God decides to bring tribulation on His people.

Amos 8:1-3
1 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 "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. 3 "In that day," declares the Sovereign LORD, "the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies — flung everywhere! Silence!"

We are pictured as fruits that are ripe for harvest. Once the fruit is ripe, we lost no time picking them up. There will be no more delay for God to harvest the earth.

It is very difficult to mention about coming disasters. The ancient prophets were persecuted for announcing the coming destruction. Amos was also told to leave Israel due to his doomsday prophecies on their land. It is like a bitter pill to swallow especially if we can not admit that we are sick. Today, few leaders will agree that God's nation is spiritually sick. If this topic is being read by one of them, it will just be treated as a heresy. King Jeroboam of the House of Israel ignored all the warnings of Amos until destruction came. There will be lots of weeping. So many will look for God and His Word but they will not be answered. God will hid His face from us, all the people will be handed over to the enemy, the Antichrist and many Christians will be persecuted. Aside from the shortage of food, a different kind of famine will come.

Amos 8:11-12
11 "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. 12 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.

4. The Tribulation

So God finally brings disaster and how terrible it will be. The way Amos wrote about it, it is very difficult even to imagine how God releases His fury against His sinful nation. God will bring punishment through an enemy's invasion (Amos 6: 14). Again, God will simply repeat history to bring downfall on Israel through the modern day Assyria, the coming Antichrist, the rod of God's anger.

Isa 10:5-6
5 "Woe to the Assyrian , the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! 6 I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.

God is calling His own people, godless nation, a nation of atheists. Is that getting closer to reality in Europe, in Israel and America? Through this Assyrian conqueror, God will punish these peoples as Amos detailed it.

Amos 9:1-4
1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 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."

God is bringing tribulation for a purpose. His purpose is to bring us suffering and suffering will remove all pride and like the parable of the Prodigal Son, bring us back to our true senses. Let us borrow these verses from Isaiah:

Isa 54:8,
“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.

And God will then turn His anger against Israel's enemy, the modern day Assyrian, the would-be Antichrist.

Isa 10:24-25
"O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did. 25 Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction."

5. God's sovereignty reaffirmed

Many will question God for His treatment on Israel despite the fact that our God is an all-knowing God. They will say God is evil for He says above, "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." Is there any other way to bring us back to God? Man has a freedom to choose his destiny and man love this freedom. God is letting man to do us he wish but it has consequences. If we choose to be atheists, then God will not have a part of us and that brings evil and suffering. Evil begets evil. Eventually suffering will lead us back full circle to God. Isn't it amazing that God always end up victorious? The Lord God reiterated and reminded mankind of His supremacy over our level of thinking. He is the God of the universe!

Amos 9:6
6 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.

He also reminded that Israel has nothing to be proud of and He is the same as the Cushites where they came from. Cushites are the ancestry of the Egyptians and the dark-skinned people, the descendants of Cush, eldest son of Ham, son of Noah. Cush was also the father of Nimrod (Gen 10:8), the founder of the ancient cities of Nineveh and Babel (Gen 10:10-11), then becoming the famous kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon respectively.

Amos 9:7
7 "Are not you Israelites the same to me as the Cushites?" declares the LORD. "Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir?

Surely, part of Israel, Manasseh, one of the sons of Joseph is now America. He is a descendant of Egypt today.

6. The restoration of Israel

God promised compassion after Israel suffered the tribulation. Not only will He forgive His people after their repentance but will also restore the greatness of the Kingdom of Israel. How great that restoration will be and that kingdom will last forevermore.

Many will be commenting on my topics on the fate of Israel as again, history and not prophecies. But look at this. After Amos narrated the warnings, pleads for repentance and the destruction of Israel, his last five verses had suddenly "skipped" over to the Millennium period. If the writings of Amos is history, then the Bible is missing a big hole, a big gap about our place in the Bible. Take note that Amos was a prophet, not a historian. What happened after the fall of of ancient Israel and the Millennium? Do we not know that our past century alone constitute the most number of population than all the earlier era of mankind combined? Our global wars brought more disasters, more famine, more deaths, earthquakes and so on than biblical history. We have reached a point when mankind can wipe out all lives on the face of the Earth. We have reached the moon, the planets and the limit of our solar system. How could God missed our times in the Bible?

When God told Daniel that the covenant will be confirmed through Israel's enemy, the Antichrist, He was saying that history will be repeated just as it happened in the biblical times. So all what is happening to us now is just the repetition of the past. Amos was also writing about us and every highlights of events were already written. God is saying, mankind should learn from the past, otherwise, we will suffer the the same consequences as those early Israelites had gone through. As simple as that. Now we should learn where the modern Israel is. Likewise who is the modern Egypt, Assyria and Babylon? Then it will open our eyes to the Truth that His Words are writing about us.

God will then answer the question of the apostles before Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven:

Acts 1:6
6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Jesus did not give a direct answer when for the apostles have a huge tasks first of fulfilling the Great Commission. Now, here is God's answer-- "In that day" it will be restored after Israel suffers first from the hands of the enemy.

Amos 9:11-15
11 "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, 12 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.
13 "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. 14 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. 15 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.

That kingdom will be far greater than the first one in biblical times or the second one, that is today. It is the real fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham and the patriarchs-- to make his descendants like the sands on the seashore and the stars in the sky, to become great, wealthy and powerful, and to possess the gates of the enemies.

God's plan for man regardless of man's shortcomings will still have a happy ending. Yet it is not God's desire that any one soul will be lost. Jesus Christ's death on the cross is suffice to redeem every lost soul on earth, past present and the future. God's great love maximizes the number of those who will be saved. As the Bible writes, there will be many losers and only few will live to everlasting life. The message of the Book of Amos is for us to reflect on whom will we choose. Do not let disaster overtake us. Though it is a very tragic topic to discuss about the tribulation that is to come, that is completely irrelevant if we are under His protection. Take heed and seek His kingdom. If we suffer, do what is right, get back to your senses and seek God.

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