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