Amos Chapter Nine

 

Read Amos 9:1-10 – Amos’ Third Vision

 

v.1  I saw the Lord 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.”

 

            Throughout the entire book of Amos God has been speaking, through his prophet, to the northern kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes that rebelled and split off from Judah when Solomon died.  Now in this final chapter his words shift and the Israel to whom God is giving his attention is generic Israel; the entire 12 tribes of people including Judah.

            The vision speaks of the Lord standing on the altar.  In the Jerusalem temple we remember that God’s place of being was in the Most Holy Place and his Mercy Seat was above the Ark of the Covenant:

 

Exodus 25:21-22And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.  And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

 

He has left the mercy seat and is standing on the altar of sacrifice.  One contention made by commentators is that he stands on the altar to prevent sacrifice.  As we have studied earlier God told the northern kingdom that their worship had become an abomination:

 

Amos 5:21-22I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 22Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.”

 

            The striking of the door lintels and the posts of the house refer to the destruction of the families of their kings and princes.  Those that have led the nation into apostasy, caused Israel to sin will be destroyed.

 

v.2-32Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: 3And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:”

 

            No man can hide from God.  Oh, the first man tried.  When he knew that he had sinned, when he knew that he could face his maker, Adam acted like a we have seen a small child act when he had been naughty:

 

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8

 

But Israel will not be able to hide from God any more than Adam could; not in the depths of hell or the tops of the highest mountains, nor in the depths of the sea.

 

Obadiah 1:4Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.”

 

We are also reminded of the words found in the book of Job:

 

Job 34:21-22For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. 22There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. 23For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.

 

v.4And 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.”

 

            Israel had been warned.  When God gave them the Mosaic Law, he gave them fair warning:

 

Leviticus 26:21And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.”

 

One of those plagues was that He would:

 

Leviticus 26:33And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.”

 

Israel cannot hide from God, even if they are carried captive into foreign lands God will bring just punishment upon them.

 

v.5And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.”

 

            The psalmist describes the power of God this way:

 

Psalms 104:32 “HE LOOKETH ON THE EARTH, AND IT TREMBLETH: HE TOUCHETH THE HILLS, AND THEY SMOKE.”

 

God doesn’t even need to touch the land; he needs but to speak.  In Genesis the first chapter we find “AND GOD SAID” and “THERE WAS LIGHT”, “MADE THE FIRMAMENT”, “LET THERE BE LIGHT IN THE FIRMAMENTS” and when “GOD SAID” all of the other things in the earth came to be as well.

            In the American Standard translation instead of the word “FLOOD” we find the word “RIVER” and the “RIVER OF EGYPT”.  The Nile floods yearly, enriches and replenishes the fertility of the delta.  This is a cycle that God set in motion that continues to this day.

 

v.6It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.”

 

            The vision of Amos is designed to emphasize and remind Israel of the power of God.  As the Psalmist writes God is the one:

 

“WHO LAYETH THE BEAMS OF HIS CHAMBERS IN THE WATERS: WHO MAKETH THE CLOUDS HIS CHARIOT: WHO WALKETH UPON THE WINGS OF THE WIND: WHO MAKETH HIS ANGELS SPIRITS; HIS MINISTERS A FLAMING FIRE: who LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH, that IT SHOULD NOT BE REMOVED FOR EVER. Psalms 104:3-5

 

v.7Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?”

 

            Israel, whom God had chosen and made a nation:

 

And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” Exodus 6:7

 

But they have become as the children of Ethiopia; or as the children of any other nation because they have chosen to abandon their covenant with him.  God controls the destiny of nations.  As we have studied in prior times; he brought the Israelites up out of Egyptian bondage because they were the descendants of the patriarch to which he had made promises.  His purpose was to fulfill those promises and His promise to bring a Savior into the world who would overcome the power of Satan (Genesis 3:15).  They were a special people but they are no longer because of their sin.

            Again; God controls the existence of nations and peoples.  He provided a place for Esau and his descendants by removing those peoples who lived in this region:

 

Deuteronomy 2:22-23As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day: 23And the Avims which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah, the Caphtorims, which came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.”

 

Apparently the people that were driven from Caphtor were the Philistines who later lived in the area of Gaza on the Mediterrean Sea.  Nearer to the time that Amos is writing the Syrians were driven out of Kir:

 

II Kings 16:9And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.”

 

v.8Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD 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 the LORD.”

 

            In this verse and those that follow we see that in this vision given to Amos God is not just referring to the northern kingdom of Israel but to the entire nation, including the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  The northern kingdom would be completely destroyed never to exist as a nation but he would not destroy all of the house of Jacob.   During the time of the prophecy of Jeremiah God tells them this:

 

Jeremiah 44:27-28Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them. 28Yet a small number that escape the sword shall return out of the land of Egypt into the land of Judah, and all the remnant of Judah, that are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall stand, mine, or theirs.”

 

            Though most of the remnant of the nation of Israel was taken captive into the land of Babylon, some were allowed to return.  In Jeremiah, Egypt is being used symbolically to represent captivity or slavery.  Those that were evil in the sight of God could not even hide in slavery in a foreign land, they were punished there as well.  Those that were faithful, those who God chose to preserve were preserved and in time a remnant did return to Judea.

 

v.9-10For, 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. 10All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.”

 

            He will sift them as grain is sifted from the chaff at harvest time.  Not a single grain will escape.  Not a single person that God chooses to save will be lost, not a single person that God choose to punish will be saved in the day of his judgment.

 

Read Amos 9:11-15 – The House of God to be Restored

 

v.11In 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:”

 

            The vision given by God and the prophecy of Amos now shifts to a subject of hope and promise.  The day will come with God will raise up the tabernacle of David that has fallen and close up the breaches in its walls.  But is God talking about the physical tabernacle in Jerusalem?  No.

            When Barnabas and Paul came to Jerusalem to report to the church gathered there about their work among the Gentiles in their discussion James, by inspiration, quotes directly from this passage:

 

Acts 15:16-18After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

 

James says that the tabernacle of David would be rebuilt so that the “RESIDUE OF MEN MIGHT SEEK AFTER THE LORD”; that all men in the case of the discussion in Jerusalem, Gentiles included, might be made true children of God, citizens of his kingdom, members of his family.  The balance of this chapter and this book refers to the establishment of the church, the spiritual kingdom of God, the spiritual tabernacle or house of David.

 

v.12That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.”

 

            Just as the physical promises of a physical land, a nation, in which to dwell were made by God to physical Israel:

 

Numbers 24:18  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.”

 

Obadiah v.19And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.”

 

A spiritual nation, a spiritual land or kingdom will be made ready for men to dwell that will encompass all men, even those of Esau or Edom, the Philistines, the men of Ephraim, the Samaritans; even the men of Gilead that will scattered to the four winds when Israel is destroyed.

 

v.13Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, 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.”

 

            One of the promises made by God to physical Israel was that He would provide for them:

 

Leviticus 26:5And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.”

 

We found similar words in the prophecy of Joel:

 

Joel 3:18And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.”

 

            There will be a time again when God will take care of his people, not only through the providence of his creation but  greater blessings, spiritual blessings to all who chose to be His children, citizens of His kingdom.

 

v.14-15And 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. 15And 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 the LORD thy God.”

 

Jeremiah 30:3-43For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.

 

And again; is he talking about a physical kingdom?  Is he talking about a physical kingdom established in Jerusalem with Jesus sitting on its throne as the premillennialists teach?  No!

 

Jeremiah 30:8-9For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: 9But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.”

 

When that day comes he will break the yoke from off the neck of man.  What yoke is it that all men wear as a slave?  It is the yoke of sin.  God will provide the blessings to mankind by which this yoke of sin can be removed, repented of and then forgiven; our bonds that bind us to worldly lusts can be broken.  We need no longer be strangers to God but his children.  We need no longer serve the evil one.  But we serve the Lord our God and Jesus Christ the king of the new kingdom of David, a spiritual kingdom that will never end but simply be delivered up the God our father at the proper time.