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1 I saw Yahweh standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.
This is a very striking figure. The altar is the place of worship and mercy and acceptance. But now God Himself stands upon it in wrath to slay them and drive them away.
Judgment begins at the House of God: the whole corrupt religious edifice. We cannot help but see here a veiled reference to the nation's smiting of Christ: the culmination of their sins.
He is the Lintel of the Door, as faithful Jews and Gentiles are the two Sideposts.
None shall escape the day of judgment, wherever they may flee. *
4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.
Behold the goodness and the severity of God" (Rom. 11:22) infinite, inconceivable goodness, the boundless treasures of eternity, to those who cast aside everything else and seek Him with all their heart and strength - implacable severity, the deepest of sorrows, to those who are self-willed and disobedient. *
7 Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith Yahweh. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?
Israel's great delusion was that they were something special in themselves; and this is the commonest delusion among Christadelphians, too. Somehow we assume that just because we happen to have been called, we are all set, and we can please ourselves as to what we do with our lives: that we can live comfortably and amuse ourselves with goods God has entrusted to us for His use - just like the rest of the perishing world - and still coast into eternal salvation, just because we have memorized the First Principles of the Gospel of God.
If Israel's delusion seems foolish to us, what can be said of this delusion! God demands the whole life: the whole heart and strength and devotion. There is never a hint in Scripture that He will be satisfied with less. If the words of Scripture mean anything at all, then He demands a daily, a continuous "living sacrifice," a living service, an agonizing for perfection, a hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Is it too much to ask? Do we expect eternal life at bargain basement prices? What do we have in ourselves, that millions in the world do not have, and more? God's salvation is only for those who never feel they have done enough for Him: who are always striving to do more.
If the terrible calamities foretold by Amos for God's Own chosen and beloved people teach us anything, they should teach us this. Israel had a special place in God's purpose - for His use and service. So do we. We should never cease day and night to give thanks that for some reason known only to God we have been called from the world's darkness and ignorance. But it is not because we are arbitrarily favoured. It is, like Israel, for use and service in His purpose.
If we, like Israel, fail to rise to these great responsibilities for which we have been called, our judgment will be the same as theirs. We are "not our own" (1 Cor. 6:19). We are not free just to amuse ourselves and do as we will. We are slaves of a glorious Master for a glorious purpose. We must glorify God in our spirit and in our body (1 Cor. 6:20), and in everything we do in our whole lives. *
8 Behold, the eyes of Adonai Yahweh are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Yahweh.
As we read these terrible first 8 verses of chapter 9, they may to our fleshly minds seem dreadfully cruel. But they are of God's mercy: warnings to impress Israel and us with the tragic folly of fighting against omnipotent goodness, and ignoring God's holy commands. *
9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
This is another very interesting and important principle of truth for which we are indebted to Amos. In all the long history of Israel's dispersion and suffering, there is nothing haphazard or by chance. There are no mistakes. Not one true grain is ever lost.
There is great comfort in this revelation. It gives us the true picture of God's operations among the nations. What may appear to be blanket and indiscriminate pouring out of judgment on a group just as a group, is revealed rather as a very carefully controlled and supervised operation of God's omniscience. Not one true grain, not one potential saint, is ever lost-
"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? Yet not one of them falleth without my Father" (Lk. 12:6).
It is hard for our dull minds to comprehend these marvelous Divine things, but they are recorded for our comfort and our learning. We must dwell upon them till our cramped and sluggish perceptions are refined. We are but a speck in time and space, and God encompasses all time and space. And yet He invites us, for just the tiny, token price of a few brief years of service - which love, if it is love, will be eager and anxious to render - to share eternally His divine nature. *
11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
When the apostles preached on the day of Pentecost, they announced that God had raised up Jesus to sit upon the throne of David (Acts 2:30). In the porch of the temple they told the Jews that God would send Jesus Christ to them at the time of the restitution (Acts 3:21).
When Philip preached the word concerning Christ to the Samaritans, he announced "the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts 8:12). In the convention of the apostles and elders, James invited their attention to Peter's narrative and the prediction of Amos...In Athens, Paul announced that God intended to rule the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, and that He had raised Him from the dead as an assurance of its verity (Acts 17:31).
In the Ephesian synagogue he disputed for three months, persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 19:8; 20:20-27). Paul stood at the bar of Agrippa and was judged "for the hope of the promise made of God unto the fathers; unto which promise the twelve tribes of Israel, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come" (Acts 26:6,7). Hence, he preached the hope of Israel's twelve tribes, as set forth in Amos and all the prophets, and directed their attention to Jesus as the personage whom God had raised up to accomplish their desire.
Elpis Israel 2.1.
'...in Paul's day the Jews were enemies of the gospel, which was turned by the favour of God to the advantage of the Gentiles...
Hence, the Great Eastern Question, whose solution will result in breaking off the Gentiles, and the reïngraftment of Israel into their own olive tree.
Herald of the Kingdom and Ager to Come, Feb 1854
What day? This is a new thought. The context hasn't mentioned any day. Clearly it is "that Day" of which Peter says-
"God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets" (Acts 3:21).
In all his heavy burden of judgment, this is Amos' first and only mention of it, but his proclamation of it is one of the most striking and oft-quoted. It would not be fitting, nor complete, nor would it serve the purpose for which the prophecy was given, to close without reference to the final consummation to which the Divine plans tends.
Every one of the sixteen prophetic books ends this way except Jonah and Nahum, who speak of God's judgment on the Assyrian-typical and antitypical: so they cover the consummation with equal comfort from a different perspective. *
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith Yahweh that doeth this.
...a fixed and predetermined purpose is in process of development, unknown, indeed, to "the Powers that be," but known of God, revealed in His word, and guided byHis hand. That purpose is, the gathering together of the hosts of the nations against Jerusalem to war; that the Eternal Spirit, by Jesus, the King of kings, may smite them upon the mountains of Israel; and in concert with resurrected and living saints, at the head of the armies of Israel, re-establish the throne and kingdom of David, and subjugate all other kingdoms to this New Power in the earth.
Elpis Israel preface 3rd edition
Here again, as so often in the Messianic prophecies, is a reference to the inclusion of all mankind in the purpose. In the great controversy over requiring the Gentiles to keep the Law of Moses, James in Acts 15:13-18 quotes this passage from Amos in reference to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Divine plan, and having quoted it, he emphasizes its lesson-
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning."
This is the God in Whom we trust, and there is great comfort in finding one portion of Scripture quoted as divine eight hundred years later in another portion of Scripture. There is no doubt as to how the inspired apostles viewed the inspired Word. To these men, who were guided by God's Spirit, the Scriptures were in truth God's infallible Word, and so they are and will always be to those who know God in truth. *
13 Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith Yahweh thy Elohim.
Amos speaks (vs. 13-14) of the removal of the Adamic curse, and the abundant fruitfulness of the land in the Kingdom of God. And he finally closes (v. 15) with the assurance that this last gathering of Israel will be for ever, and they shall never be moved again. Here is the great consummation of the Divine plan of the ages: all the earth at rest and filled with the knowledge and glory of God.
These last few verses give beauty and meaning and purpose and hope to what would otherwise be just a sad catalog of wickedness, judgment and suffering. Truly, as Paul says, the Creation was made subject to vanity in hope (Rom. 8:20). And at last, after all the "groaning and travailing together in pain," will come the deliverance of the final eternal glorious liberty of the true Sons of God.
Let us then press forward in hope.
*Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live