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Bible

Understanding

Made Easy

Amos

Introduction and God Pronouncing Judgment Upon the Enemies of the Jewish People

  • Amos was a prophet from the town of Tekoa, which was near Bethlehem in Judah (Amos 1:1) (Easton, n.d.). 

  • He was obviously from the Southern Kingdom of Judah himself. 

  • The bulk of his prophesying (i.e. preaching) was to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Dehoff, 1989). 

  • He pronounced God’s judgment on the children of Israel’s enemies: (1) Damascus (i.e. Syria) would go into captivity for their deeds against the Jews (Amos 1:2-5); (2) Gaza (i.e. Philistia) would be defeated (Amos 1:6-8); (3) Tyrus would be destroyed (Amos 1:9-10); (4) Edom would share the same fate (Amos 1:11-12); and Ammon would be destroyed and taken into captivity as well (Amos 1:13-15). 

  • Moab was to be destroyed for their sins as well (Amos 2:1-3).

The Southern Kingdom of Judah to be Destroyed Due to Their Sins!

  • Of particular note, God speaks about the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

  • Jerusalem in Judah would be destroyed due to their disobedience to God’s Law (Amos 2:4-5). 

  • Obviously, this means that the Babylonians would destroy this city as we studied in the past. 

  • The Word of God says that their lies (i.e. the Hebrew word “kazab” which is Strong’s number 3577) made them error. 

  • This means that their idols caused them to sin (Brown, Driver, & Briggs, 2001).

God was Upset With the Jewish People of the Northern Kingdom For Unlawfully Selling Their Brothers Into Slavery

  • The Holy Spirit, through Amos, speaks also of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. 

  • God was angry with these Jews of the Northern Kingdom because they sold the righteous and poor in the land. 

  • The Hebrew word “makar” (Strong’s number 4376) means to sell into slavery (Amos 2:6) (Brown,

  • Driver, & Briggs, 2001). 

  • It was forbidden by God in the Law of Moses to steal and sell fellow Jews into slavery (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7).

  • The times when a Jewish person could buy another Jewish person was when they voluntarily sold themselves into slavery. 

  • These voluntary servants were set free in the seventh year and in the year of Jubilee (typically every fiftieth year) (Deuteronomy 15:12-18; Leviticus 25:8-38, 39-55) (See the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament number 1194). 

  • Jewish people could be forced into slavery according to God’s Will and against God’s Will under the following conditions: (1) According to God’s Will, when they were thieves and could not pay back double to five times the value of that which they stole depending on the circumstance (Exodus 22:1-4); (2) According to God’s Will, because some became slaves due to being born into slavery (Exodus 21:1-4); (3) According to God’s Will, because some children were sold into slavery by their parents (most likely for poverty’s sake) (Exodus 21:7-11); and (4) Abduction, as discussed earlier was a crime against the Law of Moses and displeasing to God accordingly (Pfeiffer, Vos, & Rhea, 2003).

  • It is obvious that the Jews of the Northern Kingdom were violating these Biblical Laws of Moses for personal gain in the trade of Jewish slaves.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel's Lack of Love For Their Neighbor, Idolatry, and Sexual Immorality

  • Returning to Amos 2:6, obviously, the Jews of the Northern Kingdom did not love their neighbor as themselves as the Old Testament Law demanded (Leviticus 19:18). 

  • Instead, they loved the root of all evil being money more than their Jewish brethren (1 Timothy 6:10). 

  • The Jewish people could sell themselves into slavery, but no one could take a Jewish man involuntarily and start a slave trade business operation. 

  • Returning to the Word of God in Amos, the Jews of the Northern Kingdom engaged in idolatry and sexual immorality was rampant in the land (Amos 2:7-8).

The Northern Kingdom of Israel Will be Utterly Defeated

  • Finally in Amos 2:10-16, God tells the Jews of the Northern Kingdom that they will be utterly defeated, which you and I know was at the hands of the Assyrians later in Bible history. 

  • God is saying that none will be fast enough to flee or strong enough to fight his way out of the hands of God’s judgment. 

  • What was so bad about these Northern Kingdom Jews is that God had historically sent prophets to them to try to get them to repent, but they told the prophets to not deliver God’s Word (Amos 2:12).

  • By rejecting the prophets, they rejected the Word of God, which is really a rejection of the authority of God, Himself! 

  • They were very ungrateful for God bringing them out of Egypt and giving them the land of Canaan as God brought back to their memories these great gifts to them (Amos 2:10). 

  • This fact alone should inspire the Christian to obedience, because we should be thankful for all that God has done for us (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

  • This thankfulness is an expression of our love for Christ and God the Father (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3). 

  • Although God can punish us for disobedience, our love for Him should be the motivating factor before we even think about consequences (Hebrews 12)

God will Punish Both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah

  • In Amos 3, God reveals His judgment against both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Southern Kingdom of Judah (Amos 3:1). 

  • God tells them that He is going to punish both kingdoms (Amos 3:2).

God Forewarns of His Coming Judgments and Always Gives the People a Chance to Repent Before Destroying Them!

  • Skipping down the chapter, God’s Word translation of the Bible translates the thought of Amos 3:7-8 properly and reveals the fairness of God with mankind, which reads, “7 Certainly, the Almighty LORD doesn’t do anything unless he first reveals his secret to his servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared. Who isn’t afraid? The Almighty LORD has spoken. Who can keep from prophesying?” 

  • This shows us a principle to keep in mind. 

  • God let’s people know of His coming judgments before He executes His plans.

  • This way, they have an opportunity to repent before it’s too late!

  • Thus, the Jews of both kingdoms have no excuse in turning from their sins in order to avoid the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions of their lands, respectively.

  • Remember, as we studied earlier, God’s judgments were progressive. 

  • The famine in the Northern Kingdom should have been enough to cause repentance and avoid the captivity that was to come to them.

The Morality of the Children of Israel was Deemed Worse than the Non-Jewish, Non-Covenant People of the World at the Time!

  • In Amos 3:9-10, God tells the prophet to call Egypt and Ashdod (Philistia) to witness the evils and immoralities occurring in Samaria (i.e. the Northern Kingdom of Israel) (Dobson, Feinberg, Hindson, Kroll, Wilmington, 1999). 

  • This is interesting because it implies that the Gentile nations were better than the Jewish people that should have had a covenant relationship with God for hundreds of years at that point!

  •  Christians must ask themselves, “Is my behavior worse than the world’s behavior?”

  • Sometimes, it can be and when that is the case, then we lose our influence in saving souls for Christ (1 Corinthians 5:1-7; Matthew 5:13-16). 

  • Please never let that become the case! 

  • Amos 3:11-15 tells us of God’s judgment on the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel is Compared to a Fish Being Lured In; Symbolizing Their Punishment For Their Sins

  • Amos 4, sadly, declares the stubborn nature of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. 

  • They oppressed the poor and crushed the needy instead of loving and relieving them as the Lord has always wanted in the Old and New Testament (Amos 4:1). 

  • God foretells the Jews of the Northern Kingdom being taken into captivity as if He was fishing and His hook snagged them to take them away (Amos 4:2). 

  • If any one has gone fishing, you know that this is a pretty easy task. 

  • This shows the incredible strength of God over man as a man has over a fish! 

  • They would be taken into captivity through the breaches, which were the breaks created by Assyria when they sieged Samaria (i.e. the capital of the Northern Kingdom) later on in Bible history (Amos 4:3).

  • Remember, ancient cities were protected from invasion by security walls around them. 

  • These walls would be no match for God as He advanced using Assyria. 

  • No defense is powerful enough to prevail over God. 

  • Even with the great advances in defensive military weapons and offensive weapons in the arsenals of the United States today, we are no match if God turns His face in anger against us!

God's Sarcasm Regarding Calling the Northern Kingdom of Israel to Continue in Their Sinful Worship of Idols

  • God continues in Amos 4 by sarcastically telling them to continue in their idolatrous practices at the Northern Kingdom cities of Bethel and Gilgal (Amos 4:3-4) (Coffman, 1986). 

  • Of course, He wanted them to repent; thus, calling to worship in idolatry was a piece of sarcasm.

The Northern Kingdom of Israel Would Not Repent of Their Sins Despite Many Judgments From God Upon Them To Turn Them Back To Righteousness

  • Amos 4 tells us that, historically, God sent many disasters upon the Northern Kingdom to get them to repent and they still would not repent, including: (1) Clean teeth, because God withheld food from them; (2) drought; (3) all plant-life used for food was either killed due to drought, disease, or insects; (4) pestilence (i.e. disease) was given to their human bodies; and (5) past military defeat with loss of lives (Amos 4:6-10). 

  • One past military defeat before this prophecy of Amos 4 was in 2 Kings 13 where the Syrians defeated the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Jamiesson, Fausset, & Brown, 2004). 

  • Keep in mind that defeat in war was a direct indication of God’s displeasure with the children of the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom of Judah, respectively, according to the Law of Moses.

  • Military defeat was punishment for sin (Leviticus 26:14-46) (Nave, 1996).

  • Amos 4:11 reads, “I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” 

  • Honestly, this author does not know what specific incident(s) Amos 4:11 is referring to. 

  • The main point is similar to this: God had severely judged them in the past, but allowed a suffering remnant of the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to survive, but they still did not repent (Clark, n.d.). 

  • Thus, God has demonstrated tremendous mercy to them in the past (Wesley, n.d.).

The Northern Kingdom of Israel is Told to Prepare to Meet God!

  • Amos 4:12-13 reads, “12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. 13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.” 

  • God tells them to prepare to meet Him. 

  • This is obviously in a negative way, because He is showing them that they were going to meet with an angry God and His judgments. 

  • Now, preparing to meet one’s God is a good thing for the Christian, because we should be eager to meet Him, due to the fact that the saved will be with Him forever in the joys of heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). 

  • Only those who are not living in faith and obedience to Jesus Christ are those that will have fear in their hearts upon meeting their God (John 1:1-3; 14). 

  • This is the awesome privilege of being Christians; we have peace with God because we are believers and obedient followers of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19; Matthew 7:21).

The Funeral Song For The Northern Kingdom Of Israel

  • Amos 5 speaks of God foretelling the Northern Kingdom of Israel’s captivity to the Assyrians due to their sins as well (Amos 5:27). 

  • God reveals a funeral song (i.e. lamentation) regarding the Jews of the Northern Kingdom, which reads, “1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up” (Amos 5:1-2). 

  • Amos 5:3 is a terrifying thought, because it demonstrates the powerlessness of the Northern Kingdom to defend itself against its coming enemies. 

  • Near total defeat will occur (Coffman, 1986). 

  • The Bible says, according to the New International Version, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “The city that marches out a thousand strong for Israel will have only a hundred left; the town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left” (Amos 5:3). 

  • Christian and all readers, when God’s judgment comes, it is unstoppable! 

  • God, being the merciful Person that He is, extends another opportunity for the Northern Kingdom of Israel to repent of their sins so that they could live and not be slaughtered by their enemies as judgment from God (Amos 5:4-27). 

  • God tells them to come back to Him and not to run to their idols for help (Amos 5:5). 

  • Though God was angry and announced their coming judgment, He would forgive them and call off the invasion if the people would only repent. 

  • This is mercy indeed!

God Foretold That He Would Judge The Northern Kingdom Of Israel For Taking Advantage Of The Poor

  • An interesting verse is Amos 5:11, which reads, “Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them” (New King James Version). 

  • The Jews of the Northern Kingdom were heavily taxing the poor to fuel the luxurious life of the rich. 

  • This was obviously a statement of God’s severe displeasure with this practice! 

  • Our governments of the world better take notice of this practice and not take advantage of its poor citizens in this regard, because they will stir up the wrath of heaven against themselves! 

  • The justice system of the Jews of the Northern Kingdom was totally flawed according to God. 

  • The poor could not get any justice in the court systems. 

  • In fact, the rich were always at the advantage, because the judges were notorious for taking bribes (Amos 5:12).

The Northern Kingdom of Israel's Worship Was In Vain Because They Were Living In Hypocrisy

  • Lastly, those Jews of the Northern Kingdom that were worshipping the true God of heaven through their feast days and animal sacrifices were being told that God did not accept their worship (Amos 5:21-27). 

  • Why didn’t He accept their worship? 

  • The answer is that they were living the double life of hypocrisy. 

  • They would not leave sinful things alone and still tried to worship the God of heaven. 

  • This applies today for Christians as well. 

  • God does not accept the worship of a purposely, stubbornly, rebellious Christian either, because that is not worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24). 

  • Remember to worship in the spirit is to worship from the inside; where our thoughts, will, and desires are focused on serving the Lord. 

  • If our desires are focused on living a negative, sinful lifestyle, then our worship is in vain. 

  • Going through the motions of worship are in vain at that point.

The Northern Kingdom Of Israel Was Totally Out Of Control

 

  • The Northern Kingdom of Israel was totally out of control, religiously speaking. 

  • They worshipped both the true God in the land and idols as well (Dobson, Feinberg, Hindson, Kroll, Wilmington, 1999). 

  • God shows them that this was the practice of the children of Israel, historically, ever since the time they were released from Egyptian slavery hundreds of years prior to Amos. 

  • Even hundreds of years before Moses was born, the Jews knew not to engage in idolatry, because their forefathers, the patriarchs, forbid them to worship false gods (Genesis 35:2). 

  • Numbers 9:1-5 is a demonstration of the right sacrifices of the children as prescribed by God in the time of Moses that the children of Israel correctly gave (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown, 2004).

  • On the other hand and unfortunately, Exodus 32 and Numbers 25 are two incidents used as examples showing that some of the children of Israel in Moses’ day would still engage in idolatry even though they knew not to do so (Nave, 1995). 

  • This shows that they would sacrifice to God in the wilderness and secretly worship their idols as well in the time of Moses. 

  • Their religious mixing was old news and something they never truly let go of.

  • Christians take note! 

  • You and I cannot have it both ways as well. 

  • We cannot mix Christianity with elements from other religious systems including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and other systems of religion in the world, because God will reject our worship at that point. 

  • Christians must be very careful in this area, because many of us came from other religious systems prior to becoming Christians and we must make sure that we study the Bible daily to root out some of the elements of the old systems that we were a part of prior to our conversion to Christ (2 Peter 1:5). 

  • The first century Christians had this problem, because many erroneously wanted to hold on to elements of Judaism and mix it with Christianity, but the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, corrected these erroneous practices (Galatians 5:1-10). 

  • Christians keep in mind that when we mix religious systems, then our salvation is taken away from us (Galatians 5:4)!

The False Security That Wealth Provides

  • In Amos 6, the Northern Kingdom of Israel is pictured as living in the lap of luxury! 

  • They were currently at ease, but God was saying that this would end. 

  • They were to be taken into Assyrian captivity. 

  • People even today must realize that being rich or having abundant material things does not necessarily mean that God is pleased with us. 

  • If we are rich Christians, the Word of God wants us to be willing to share and to give (1 Timothy 6:17-18).

  • What God wants out of the modern-day Christian is for us to be rich in faith and obedient deeds to the Lord (James 2:5; 1 Timothy 6:18).

Amos Is Asked to Leave The Northern Kingdom Of Israel Because The King And Religious Leaders Did Not Like God's Message

  • Amos 7 is an interesting chapter. 

  • Amaziah, a pagan priest at Bethel in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, told Jeroboam II, king of the Northern Kingdom, about the prophecies of Amos. 

  • He told the king that Amos was prophesying that the king would die and the Northern Kingdom would be taken into captivity (Amos 7:10-11). 

  • Amaziah asked Amos to leave the Northern Kingdom of Israel and go back to his home in Judah. 

  • In other words, Amaziah was saying for Amos to not prophesy (i.e. preach) in the Northern Kingdom, but for Amos to prophesy in his own country of Judah instead (Amos 7:12-13). 

  • Amos, in so many words, tells Amaziah that God called him out of herding animals and collecting fruit to his prophetic ministry. 

  • Amos said that he did not come from a prophetic family (Amos 7:14-15).

  • Amos was showing that it was God that sent him to preach to the Northern Kingdom and not something that he took upon himself to do!

  • This sounds like the story of Jesus Christ, because the Lord was sent to preach the literal Words of the Father God (Hebrews 1:1-3). 

  • The Jews of Jesus’ time reacted the same way, because they wanted Him out of the country as well, but the means of getting the Lord out of the country was to crucify Him (Matthew 20:19; 27:31; Mark 15:15)! 

  • This happens to true servants of God even today. 

  • Don’t be surprised if you, reader, are called to a teaching and/or preaching ministry and people turn upon you because you teach the truth! 

  • Be strong anyway, stand up for God, and deliver the truth despite opposition! 

  • The conclusion of Amos 7 is that God caused Amos to utter a prophecy of doom against Amaziah.

  • Amos was sent by God to prophesy to the Northern Kingdom. 

  • As a result, by fighting Amos, Amaziah was really fighting God. 

  • Amaziah would surely be judged by God. 

  • The sword would kill Amaziah’s children. 

  • His wife would become a harlot and he would be taken into Assyrian captivity. 

  • Furthermore, Amos re-affirms that the Northern Kingdom would be taken into captivity (Amos 7:16-17).

The Northern Kingdom Of Israel Was Not Offering Sincere Worship To God

  • God repeats His displeasure and judgment upon the Northern Kingdom in Amos 8. 

  • The dead bodies of the people will be numerous and their joy will be turned into mourning. 

  • God was again upset with the exploiting and swindling of the poor and needy in the land, as well as the rampant idolatry of the people. 

  • The covetous, merchant spirit of the Northern Kingdom was so bad that they despised the time set forth for religious observations such as the New Moon and Sabbaths so that they could sell their goods (Amos 8:5). 

  • This is important, because Christians can learn the lesson that we must sincerely worship God in order for Him to accept our worship and us in general (Hebrews 10:25). 

  • Christians, we cannot be going through the motions and wishing that worship service was over, because of selfish reasons. 

  • If this is the case, then our worship is in vain (John 4:24).

God Is Upset With The Business Practices Of The Northern Kingdom

  • Getting back to Amos 8:5, God is upset with the Northern Kingdom Jews’ dishonesty in their business practices, because they would make the measure of food small and charge an outrageous price for their goods.

  • Even their balances, which were used to weigh their money, were dishonest and thus, they were able to cheat the consumers out of their money. 

  • They even sold bad wheat to the people (Gill, n.d.). 

  • This further destroyed the poor of the land, because it made them poorer and the poor people would have to sell themselves into slavery in order to survive (Amos 8:6). 

  • Thus, all nations must make sure that the system of rules and regulations in their respective countries must be fair to its poorest citizens and not exploitative.

  • Otherwise, God just may judge them in the same manner as the Northern Kingdom! 

  • Christians, individually, must be responsible business people as well. 

  • We must ask ourselves, “Am I selling a product or service at a fair price?” 

  • We must ask ourselves, “Am I making my product or service too small for the price that I am selling it for?” 

  • We must ask ourselves, “Am I selling a bad product or service that is useless or harmful to others?”

  • If any of the answers to these questions is “yes,” then we must repent of these practices (Matthew 7:12). 

  • Furthermore, if we are not sure if we are doing right or wrong, then we must ask ourselves the following question, “If Jesus was peeking over my shoulder as I do these things, would I be ashamed?” 

  • If so, then we should repent.

God Compares The Northern Kingdom To Ripe Fruit That Is Ready For Harvest!

  • God compares the Northern Kingdom to ripe fruit that is ready for the harvest (Amos 8:1-3). 

  • This means their deeds have caused them to be harvested in judgment (Coffman, n.d.)! 

  • God would no longer pass by them, which means to forgive them of their sins (Gill, n.d.).

Why God Is Silent Between The Old Testaments And New Testaments Of The Bible

  • Lastly, in regards to Amos 8, verses 11-13 are extremely important to add to the Christian’s knowledge and reads as follows, “11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.” 

  • This is saying that God would be silent from heaven for centuries after the Old Testament prophets would die. 

  • This shows us why there is a gap of time between the Old Testament and New Testament of the Bible.

  • God said He was going to be silent and accomplished this. 

  • Any Bibles that fill in books between Malachi and Matthew (such as the Apocrypha) are just plain false, because they have added to the Word of God, which is sin (Revelation 22:18-19).

Both The Northern Kingdom Of Israel And Southern Kingdom Of Judah Will Not Be Able to Resist Their Conquerors As A Punishment From God For Their Sins

  • In the final chapter of Amos, God shows us that no one can escape the hand of God in judgment when He determines the time of judgment on a people (Amos 9:1-6). 

  • This prophecy applies to both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (Amos 9:7). 

  • None can even hide or flee from the judgment, because He is all-powerful (Amos 9:5-6). 

  • The Assyrians would be too mighty of a force empowered by God for the Jews of the Northern Kingdom to successfully resist (Unger, 2002).

  • Also, the Babylonians would be too powerful for the Southern Kingdom of Judah to successfully resist as well. 

  • Though God had historically chosen these Jews of both kingdoms as a special people for Himself, He no longer considered them any more special than non-Jewish people on this earth (Amos 9:7) (Coffman, 1986). 

  • Even though, God still shows mercy to the Jewish people, because He does say that He would put many to death, but He would not completely destroy them off of the face of the planet (Amos 9:8-10).

  •  They would be dispersed into many nations all over the world as they are today even though the secular nation of Israel does exist.

Amos Foretold The Coming Of The Church Of Christ

  • Amos 9:11 foretells the establishment of spiritual Israel, which is the church of Christ (Coffman, n.d.). 

  • The 1599 Geneva Study Bible has a great statement about this verse, which reads concerning the tabernacle of David, “I will send the promised Messiah, and restore by him the spiritual Israel . . .” 

  • Remember, the Christian church is a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9).

  • Amos foretold the coming of the church of Christ that is in existence today (Romans 16:16)!

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