Zechariah Article 2

Chapter 1 has a basic question of running to or running from as regards those who returned to Judah after being released from Babylon  ; primarily to Jerusalem. 50,000 Judeans had just returned from 70 years at the hands and mercy of Chaldean Babylonians; 50,000 out of hundreds of thousands. Only a few returned meaning a very large population of the no longer captives remained in, around, or migrated from Babylon to places other than to their native land of Israel. After 70 years of living in Babylon, most who remained alive were probably born while in Babylon, not Judah. Upon release by Cyrus I, a bible history student (disciple/learner) should note that it is just as likely some, if not thousands moved from Babylon but in any direction other than Jerusalem. Historical migrations records show this to be true.

Zechariah states, just as Jesus states in the New Testament, “return to me then I will return to you.” This is a major discussion in and of itself, but not at this time. It is a simple condition. God/Lord/Jesus made a point. If one does not feel as close to God as s/he once did, guess who moved! Want to reconnect that closeness? Then MOVE CLOSER. God wanted His chosen people to occupy Israel/Jerusalem. God wanted the Judeans to return to him and their home. They did not do so other than a trickle.

Looking back at chapter 1 beginning with verse 7, Zechariah sees horsemen near or under *Myrtle trees. Queen Esther’s name means “myrtle”. Recall our comment in our introduction and chapter 1 of Zechariah that *the name myrtle and the name of Esther have a connection. If there is a connection between Queen Esther and what Zechariah saw under the Myrtle trees, we have not discovered, but it may be there. Pray about it now that you know.  Zechariah of the returning band of Judeans and Queen Esther of Persia may have known each other; most likely contemporaries…old Zechariah and a young Esther.

Verse 1:15 could use a bit of illumination. God was a bit angry (with his chosen people in Judah, from which we get the name Jew), but other nations made it worse (for captive Israelis). Who are these other nations? We find that answer a few verses later in the vision of horns and craftsmen. The horns that prodded Israelites from their Promised Lands were Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans. Some commentaries wish to make Medo-Persia one of the horns. This creates a problem. The Medo-Persians were the ones who eventually released those who were formerly under the thumb of Babylon until Cyrus I released them. The Medo-Persians conquered Babylon. Cyrus I of Persia released those who were already captured and scattered. It was an option to return home. Most did not go home. Some migrated east, and south settling some of the barren lands of that time.

One may wonder about the Greek role in this scattering. This is Alexander the Great. Although he did not attack and conquer Jerusalem, he did attack some of the cities within Judah. One historical fact:  when Alexander built Alexandria along the Mediterranean Sea coast in northern Egypt, he moved over 2,000,000 Jews to this city. In a sense it was a reward to these people to live there, but in God’s world, this scattered them even further. Rome also scattered these defeated Judeans to Aleppo (northern Syria and Turkey) and to the (E)Iberian Peninsula of Spain. Since this is not the context of Zechariah, we will discuss it again in later blogs and articles.

Chapter 2:

 A measuring line to measure for something that is already there or will sometime and somehow be rebuilt differently? Here we are with Zechariah having another vision; a vision that follows men riding horses standing under the Myrtle Trees, the four horns (enemies of exiled Kingdom of Israel) and four carpenters.

  1. Red, white, brownish orange and spotted horse. JIV NOTE: Not one horse is black as in the Book of Revelation and the Apocalypse horsemen. No black horse distinguishes between the two prophetic events of time yet not seen.
  2. Four horns and four carpenters.
  3. NOW…a measuring line

Where are you going”, asks Zechariah (v2). Bluntly…this is End Time prophecy. (ESV) Zechariah 2:4 tells us a couple of things. First one angel says to the one with the measuring line, “Run to that young man.” Since it is Zechariah asking the question in verse 2, it is Zechariah who is the YOUNG MAN. The angel is told to “RUN!” He is told to tell Zechariah that Jerusalem will [someday] have a very large population of people and animals that will overflow the former walls of this infamous city. To us at ahabiblemoments.com this suggests along with other things, that when Israelis from the four corners of the earth return to God, God will return to them with abundance. If we in modern time (C.E.) and as a church body return to Christ as described in the Book of Acts, God will return to us filling our cup to the brim and over the top. There is more but suffice it for this right now. Bottom line: this is the restoration of future Israel when Judah and Israel will once again become one nation. This is symbolic of the man with the measuring line.

Zechariah 2:7 can be taken as symbolical and actuality. “Deliver thyself oh Zion out of Babylon” (those who live amongst the ‘daughters of Babylon’).  We already know that MOST of the Jewish Babylonian captives did not return to Judah or Jerusalem when Cyrus I signed a decree for them to be released. Their millions of descendants remain in and around that territory to this very day. Some migrated elsewhere to places God did not wish for them to be. We know per news as of fall 2020, a large number of India Israelis, Bnei Menashe (means “family or sons of Manasseh) are being returned after 2,700 years as a part of one Lost Tribe of Israel.

AHAMOMENT: The practice of an ancient Judaism in India by descendants of the Tribe of Manasseh did NOT KNOW about Purim; time of Esther. Why not? Purim came out of the history of Esther and the survival of the Jews who remained in Babylon after their captivity. Purim is a celebration of Queen Esther saving them from annihilation. The Tribes of Israel dispersed by the Assyrians 200 years before the Babylonian history of King Ahasuerus and Esther did not experience or know of this event…Purim. This 2020 return of “sons of Manasseh will amount to over 10,000 people of Israeli descent returning to Israel from northwestern India. http://thejewishlink.com/722-descendants-of-manasseh-in-india-to-return-to-israel/

Zechariah 2:7 – 9: The “apple of my eye.” Again, this is NOT the church in end times. It is all about God’s covenants with Israel through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Basically God is relaying through Zechariah… those who mess (past and future tense) with my people will be judged most harshly. (V9; ESV) “I will shake my hand [of judgment] over them”

V10 “I will dwell in the midst of them…” [KJV] The word dwell is not only a spiritual dwelling but also meaning an indwelling. The Hebrew word shâkan is used for dwell. It means according to Strong H7931; to lodge with or amongst; have habitation with them or inhabit. Zechariah 8:22-23 elaborates upon this next verse in 2:11. We will get there, eventually.

Zec 2:13  Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

Our Study in Zechariah

To all and perspective students of Aha Bible Moments Studies

The following is a sneak preview of our Zechariah study. Fascinating and futuristic; i.e. End Time prophecies. We blog this to students so each, if desired and willing, can begin looking into the book seeing just how well it compares to New Testament references. Please feel free to share it with others who want a better understanding of the bible outside of the “stories” so easily recalled but lacking spiritual application, historical depth, insight and depth perception.

The book of Zechariah is considered complex. It has three major sections. He is contemporary with Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, and probably Ezekiel. Even though he was born in Babylon he joined the original group of Judean Jews that returned to Jerusalem; a place Zechariah had never seen before the release of the Judeans by King Cyrus. Zechariah was born in Babylon.

There is suggestions that his latter day prophecies, chapters 9-14, were simultaneous with the Book of Esther; she in Babylon and Zechariah in Jerusalem. These two books make the Book of Esther more significant once we compare the prophetic application of Zechariah and the historical facts of Esther as queen of Persia. Esther is resultant of the hundreds of thousands of Judean Jews who DID NOT return from Babylon after King Cyrus released them to go home.

The below is a handout and reference as we discuss commentary per Zechariah.

Old Testament Zechariah quoted or found in the New Testament

•         Zechariah 1:8 with Revelation 6:1-8
•         Zechariah 3:2 with Jude 9
•         Zechariah 3:9 with Revelation 5:6
•         Zechariah 8:16 with Ephesians 4:25
•         Zechariah 9:9 with Matthew 21:5; John. 12:14
•         Zechariah 11:12 with Matthew 27:9
•         Zechariah 12:10 with John 19:37; Revelation. 1:7
•         Zechariah 13:7 with Matthew 26:31; Mark. 14:27
•         Zechariah 14:11 with Revelation 22:3

Zechariah’s name means “The Lord Remembers.” The meaning of this name is even more significant in that the promises and insights given to Zechariah require that the Lord Remembers his covenants with Israel via Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with HIS son’s and eventually new covenants with the New Testament church of believers.

Zechariah, the 11th of the 12 Minor Prophets was a servant of God at a young age. He initially returned to a flattened Jerusalem and basically barren Judah with his grandfather Iddo the priest. This suggests his father Barachiah was no around or alive.

The book of Zechariah is fairly straight forward. He is contemporary with Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, probably Ezekiel and perhaps for a short time a very old Daniel. Even though he was born in Babylon he joined the small group of Judean Jews that returned to Jerusalem; a place Zechariah had never seen before the release of the Judeans by King Cyrus.

The possible latter half of Zechariah makes the Book of Esther more significant once we compare the prophetic application of Zechariah and the historical facts of Esther as Queen of Persia. Important to keep in mind that millions of Judeans we call Jews did NOT RETURN to Jerusalem when released by King Cyrus in 539 B.C. They remained in the Babylonian, Persian, Median, and Iraqi lands of old.

Although we have not independently verified the preciseness of the following dates (graph by alacin.blogspot.com) they broadly represent the sequence of events discussed in Ezra. Keep in mind that Ezra and Nehemiah were initially considered on book

Ahamoment: Queen Esther is also suggested by ancient regards to be entombed alongside or near where Daniel was buried. This is debatable but a true curiosity. They existed within a generation or two of each other in Persia. Daniel is one of a multitude of Judeans who did not return to Jerusalem even though it was he who petitioned King Cyrus I for the release of the Jews in Babylon. PS: There are over 26 Zechariah’s mentioned in the Bible. This is one major reason why sequencing and dates are important. PSS: Zechariah is also revered in Islam as a prophet.

JIV CAUTION: There have been and always will be biblical history revisionists. Wikipedia is often guilty of such even when it appears to only be a suggestion to question the accuracy or inerrancy of the Bible. Revisionists attempt to confuse the ignorant by suggesting the Zechariah slain between the Temple and the Alter was the father Zechariah of John the Baptist. Matthew 23:25 is clear. It is the Zechariah the son of Barachiah.

Caution #2: Wikipedia says:
“Although there is an indication in Targum Lamentations that “Zechariah son of Iddo” was killed in the Temple, [3] scholars generally understand this as a reference to the death of a much earlier figure, Zechariah ben Jehoiada. [4]” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zechariah_(Hebrew_prophet))

Again…Read Matthew 23:25! Deception comes with their above statement: “scholars generally understand”. We ask, WHAT SCHOLARS? [Matthew 23:25]

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

Amos – Chapter 9b

The ending of Amos part 9a (verses 1-10) and the beginning of Amos part 9b (verses 11 and 15) are separated by over 2500 years. Amos 9a is Israel’s demise in 722 B.C. Amos 9b is the reemerging of Israelis as a people under God. Chapter 9 part ‘a’ and ‘b’ are exacting.

no Way, nada, none can escape….

It states that NONE can escape God’s judgment be it flying in the skies, under the great seas, in the caves of mountains, and even in their graves. Amos states that there will be a final return of Israel beyond April 1947.

Amos 9:11

“On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old…” [NKJV]

The use of the word tabernacle may be misleading. Many understand that King David did not build the Tabernacle of Judaism worship. His son Solomon did as found in 1Kings5:1—9:91; Chronicles 28:1 – 29:82; Chronicles 2:1 – 7:22.  So what does it mean to say “the tabernacle of David?” Revelation 21:3 infers the tabernacle of God to be His only begotten; Jesus. The tabernacle of David, sûkkâh, means (Strong H5520: a hut or lair: – booth, cottage, covert, pavilion, tabernacle, tent. Given this translation, Amos 9:11 is not restricted to the word ‘tabernacle’ as only a place of worship. The effectual tabernacle of Israel and Solomon in the Hebrew is ‘ôhel [Strong H168]; House of the Lord.

At this time in his-story, the Northern Kingdom of Israel had rejected the DNA lineage of King David when they split in northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms. It would be safe to conclude Amos is referring to the House of David being his lineage, that God is going to restore to Israel…all 12 tribes under ONE ROOF [nation]. Jesus is from the house of David; Judah.

 Amos 9:12

That they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the Lord who does this [NASB].

We have a conundrum or challenge per the use of the word Edom. Some scholars see this word as “Adam” not Edom. This is easy to see. They are pronounced the same way and at a glance, their spelling is almost identical. Edom spelled in Hebrew is  אֱדֹם. The Hebrew spelling for Adam is אָדָם. The only differences are the notations UNDER the Hebrew characters. Over time these notations could fade, be deleted, or not noted by the translator. Whatever it is, Amos is once again stating that all will be judged one way or another; believer or nonbeliever. The ancient writers of Septuagint used Adam instead of Edom; i.e. mankind.

Another note to the studying bible student: Some translations Amos 9:12, such as the KJV, use the word ‘heathens’; ASV; Darby; MKJV use ‘nations’ while others state ‘unbelievers’ The NKJV uses the word ‘Gentiles’. Gentile is preferred since the rest of this verse addresses “all the heathen.”

Amos 9:13

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, the treader of grapes him [overtakes him) who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it” [NKJV]

Farmer at work,plowing the land.

The ploughman [khaw-rash’] means the one furrowing the ground for planting.

One might easily skip this verse due to its supposed overlapping of events. Understanding it forces a pause for a deeper underestanding. We will try to distinguish between the comparisons; statement by statement.

The reaper [kaw-tsar’] has a wide interpretation but make note of the similarities in the Hebrew spellings between ploughman and reaper.

  1. To harvest grass  or grain
  2. To cut down; be discouraged
  3. To grieve, lothe, or mourn

In short, one is plowing the land while another is still reaping the previous harvest. It could mean that the ploughman, one who is getting ready to plant a new crop, overtakes those who are still harvesting the old crop; i.e. the new is trying to replace the old. See Revelation 21:5. God is making (a process) all things new. It could also indicate the overabundance of product or life in God’s new world order (millennial reign). The rest of this verse seems to support the overabundance consideration.

The treader of grapes is one who in a sense is producing a new wine. It is the second half of this verse that adds light; him that sows. The word “sows” [maw-shak’] means to delay, prolong, try to develop, draw out, defer or extend. It would be odd that the one treading grapes somehow interferes with or overtakes one planting seed. Might this mean that the ones treading the grapes have completed their job while those responsible of seeding new crop have delayed or prolonged their responsibilities? Amos commentary by David Allen Hubbard puts it this way:

“When God releases blessing and restoration, fruit comes quickly. “Ploughman and reaper labored separately . . . but here they bump into each other, so abundant are the crops and so eager is the land to grow more.” (David A. Hubbard of Tyndale Publishing)

We Teach – You Decide

The mountains shall drip with sweet wine is an odd correlation between growing grapes and its rich harvest. Mountains [har] are not usually good places to grow grapes. Warm lands and valleys are more conducive to this. This embodies the abundance of the Old Testament promise to Israel of a land flowing in milk and honey. This first comes to our attention when the 12 Israelite spies sent by Moses to spy out the lands of Canaan to visually see a land of milk and honey; also a reference to the abundance of reward to God’s New Testament faithful. The spies return to report that the lands over flow with milk and honey [Exodus 3:8, 17].

All the hills will melt: ghib-aw’ (hills) does not mean the mountains. It means little hills. They will melt down. Recall that Jesus said upon his donkey ride into Jerusalem that had not the people not cried out in celebration, the rocks would have [Luke 19:40]. This is the hills melting [mûg] or flowing (to bow) down in the presence of their creator.

Amos 9:14  I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel [KJV]. First note this is about “my people Israel”, not the New Testament Church [believer]. The word captivity suggests that once again Israel goes into captivity as in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Spanish Inquisition, Hitler’s Germany… This is not its meaning. It is all Israel being returned to the Promised Lands; to once again be united together; Judah and Israel. “My people Israel” is not exclusive to a few or lacking any of the tribes of Jacob. They will be swept out of the four corners of the earth to return to God’s Israel.

JIV opinion: Lands and nations will pave the way to rid themselves of Israelites; not just the Jews of the Tribe of Judah but all Israelite descendants. This is a very in depth study and conclusion. One not readily or easily deduced or conjured.

They shall build the wasted cities, inhabit them, plant crops of abundant produce, and enjoy the fruits of their labor. This needs little discussion. Take it precisely for what it says. Again, this is not the church but Israel; God’s chosen.

Amos 9:15 is self-evident. They will NO LONGER be removed from the Promised Lands by anyone or enemy…says the lord God!

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

Amos Chapter 9a

Amos Chapter 9a (one of two parts)

We conclude Amos with chapter 9 being divided into two segments. It is a short chapter but two very distinct topics. One is a conclusion of Northern Israel’s existence and the second half is the beginning of God’s promise to the Throne of David to be the Millennial center of the world as the headquarters (kingdom) of Jesus Christ.

Amos 9:1 Amos sees the Lord in a vision standing on, next to, or over the altar (possibly a reference to the evil altars in Bethel and Dan) even though this is 700 years before Christ is sacrificed on the altar of the Cross of Calvary. Odd as this seems; Christ standing  next to or beside the altar of sacrifices in Bethel, Dan or perhaps *Jerusalem, there is a secondary reason other than 700 years later he would be the altar-sacrifice for our sins. He is preventing other Temple alter sacrifices during the Millennial Reign. Blood sacrifices on that altar did not forgive sins. Only the sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary did that. Chapter 9 is Amos’ fifth of the five visions. They begin in Amos 7:1.

 *We have little conclusiveness as to which alter(s) it is Amos sees the Lord next to or upon.

We borrowed this graphic illustration from preceptaustin.org. It is fairly accurate including something we have ignored up to this point in our Amos Commentary. One can see that Micah and Isaiah follow right on the heels of Jonah, Hosea, and Amos.

Plumbline of GOD

Timeline help the serious Bible student to keep perspective.

The door posts are to be struck to help collapse the temple building. Structurally this would include the header above the doorway. It would create a sagging point in any structure. Amos adds in verse one that those who are not destroyed within the structure will not be able to hide for the Lord’s sword. It can be the depths of the deepest seas or the top of a mountain, HIS sword of judgment will not be avoided. Job 14:13 states…“O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!”

(JIV 9:1 NOTE) Strike the doorposts (Lintel [KJV]; top of the columns [ERV]; mercy-seat  [Brenton]; capitols [ASV]) has a familiar Bible reflection. The Israeli escape from captivity in Egyptian in the last of the ten plagues also uses the doorposts. The blood of a lamb had to be sprinkled on doorposts in [Exodus 12:13] to escape death judgment. This is not all that is implicated. “I stand at the door and knock…” (Revelation 3:20)

If one thinks that the Hitler Holocaust was horrific, what might one make of one make of Amos 9:1b? “Not one of them (Israelites of the North) shall escape.” Taken out of context, one can wrongfully deduce this Amos prophesied holocaust. Understanding it within the context of this chapter 9 means that there is no place one can hide to escape final judgment? Keep it in mind that ever since this time of Amos’ book Israeli’s (Jews) have been sought after to harass, destroy, exile, and be removed to other lands…the world lining up against Jerusalem.

Amos 9:2, 3 (ESV) “If they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; if they climb up to *heaven, from there I will bring them down. If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.”

*Heaven here means shâmeh, the heavens we can see from earth with or without telescopic vision.

Amos 9:5 makes it clear that the world is also being judged at the time of the Lord’s judgment upon Israel. The little three letter Hebrew word for ALL in verse 5 is used; i.e. Kole. It literally means ‘no one excluded’ or ‘all included’. This pending judgment verse is not exclusive to Israel.

Amos 9:7 has a historical insight for those who have wondered if Israel’s eternal nemesis, the Philistines, were always “the bad guys next door” in the Gaza area. This insight comes from the latter part of verse 7. Amos is reminding the northern Kingdom of Israel of their archenemies. … “land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?” Philistines from where? CAPHATOR! Caphator aka Crete, is an island in the eastern Mediterranean. It is from where the Philistines originate moving to Gaza. We discussed this in a previous study, Which Way Did They Go. We explained the Egyptian trade routes and trading posts the Tribe of Dan established as Egypt’s merchant marines. This island was only one of multiple trading posts established by the Tribe of Dan(e)s during Israeli 400+ years of captivity in Egypt; well over 1,000 years earlier than Amos.

Amos 9:8 is straight up. God will destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel from the face of the earth, but not all its people. They will be scattered to the four corners of the earth. This is precisely the situation we have today. Assyrians scattered them across this planet then replaced Israelis (not just the Jews of Judah) with a foreign-to-this-land people. Migrations and other exiles pushed them into the corners of the earth. The problem is not finding Israeli descendants as much as it is most of them have lost their identities with the 12 Tribes. Many even in the Middle East today claim a DNA connection to Israel but do not claim the God of Israel. Examples include many of the independent and territorial tribes of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Persia (Iran), Kurdistan, etc.

We find scriptural support for the above historical statements in the next verse; i.e. Amos 9:9

“For, behold, I will command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, as one shakes with a sieve; yet not a grain shall fall to the ground.”

I will shake or scatter the house of Israel among ALL (kole) the nations.

Amos 9:10 concludes part “A” of our Amos 9 commentary. This verse has a mixed understanding: All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, those who say, The evil shall not draw near or confront us. Hold on reader. Can you take in all this short verse states? MY PEOPLE makes it not the Christian church but the people of Israel. The church didn’t even exist for another 750 years. SHALL (all) DIE BY THE SWORD? This is a sword of judgment, not the metal sword though this will be the instrument of destruction to many of the Israelis of the Northern Kingdom and later to their cousins in Judah.

What makes them sinners beyond what Hosea and Amos have already been preaching? It is their doubt any of this could happen to them. Sound familiar? Perhaps a co-worker, family member, neighbor or one’s self? Things are going great for an upper class of people. They believed Great Prosperity protected them! It is possible it was as much about not believing as it was, not wanting to change their ways. Denial does not change actualities. Desired perceptions are often not actualities.

Rev Dr Jstark
2020

Amos Chapter 8

Basket of fresh fruits in the garden

Amos 8:1 What do we know about summer fruit? The prime picking is over and what remains has truly been tree or vine ripened now in need of picking and consumption. Halley’s Bible Handbook puts chapter 8 into great and simple perspective:

[Chapter 8 is…) “Another symbol that the sinful kingdom (norther kingdom of Israel) was ripe for ruin. A reiteration of the causes. Greed, dishonesty, and merciless brutality toward the poor. Over and over, under many figures, the Bible makes it plain that there is no possible way to escape the consequences of persistent sin.”

God asks Amos in 8:2 “what do you see.” Jeroboam II was still the King of Israel’s northern kingdom. He ruled for about 40-41 years. His record per governing was impressive but Amos was now trashing Jeroboam’s neglect of the poor and shady business deals within his kingdom. This makes the example of “summer fruit” so full of meaning. There will be no more picking of the fruit that season. It has ended. This is precisely the message Amos is trying to convey to the evil chief priest Amaziah (not the King of Judah around 800 B.C.). There would not be another additional season of splendor for Israel. They were ripe to the picking.

The use of words has great significance in the passage; i.e. summer fruit…”the end has come upon my people Israel.” The two Hebrew words, קוצ, (qayls), summer fruit, and קצ, (qes), an end, are similar in their sound. This may actually mean the last harvest before the winter months. None the less, it is the end and last picking. The fruit vines and trees will now be bare, just as Amos prophecies so will be the Israelites in the lands of the northern kingdom…bare of Israelites, not people.

JIV NOTE: V3: The songs and celebrations within the walls of the palace (Young’s Literal Translation) will become wailings. Many commentaries use the word “Temple” in place of palace in this verse. Not so! The Hebrew used is hay-kawl’. It means a large public building. The “TEMPLE” was in Jerusalem, not in Bethel or Dan.

Amos prophesied the total elimination of Israel but it was on the heels of King Jeroboam II. Six more kings ruled before the Assyrians invaded and removed the people of Israel beginning in 722 B.C. The Assyrian practice of removing conquered peoples was not limited to Israel. Once Israelites were removed, Assyrians then moved an outside and conquered people into the lands of the northern kingdom. Those who lived there prior to 1948 after the Assyrian conquest in 722 B.C. were imported from elsewhere.

When the very brutal Assyrians to attack in 722 B.C. the slaughter man, woman and child. So many will die at the hands of the Assyrians there will be little time to bury or mourn the loss before the people of Israel begin being removed from their lands. This is during the reign of *Hoshea (730 B.C. to 722 B.C.).

                *Not to be mistaken as Hosea, the prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

Rotten apples in a wooden crate on grass in sunshine light.

Amos replies to the Lord that he sees a basket of ripe fruit [qayis], God replied “Qes!” An end is to come upon Israel.” (Boice) Note this small difference in the spellings; qayis versus Qes

The end has come upon my [God’s] people Israel . . . Many dead bodies everywhere; they shall be thrown out in silence: Ripe fruit is close to being thrown out.  This is an allegory. A similar judgment will come upon “rotten” Israel. They are late in their season to seek forgiveness and return to their God.

We teach, you decide.

Surely I will never forget any of their works: This reminds us that time can never erase sin. We often feel that if we or if others forget the sins of our youth, then God must also forget about them. God does not forget the good works of His people. He does not forget the evil works of those who reject Him. For the good (believer) we will have the Bema Seat Judgement. For the evil nonbeliever there will be the Great White Throne Judgment.

Sun goes dark at noon…*end time or is Amos referring to an eclipse? “Two such eclipses have been calculated to have occurred in Amos’ lifetime: one in 784 B.C., the other in 763 B.C.” (Hubbard). However, we may also *consider Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:10; Ezekiel 32:11; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24.

Jesus alluded to this principle in the Parable of the Soils and the Sower: “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” (Mark_4:24-25). This does not mean sitting in church or a Bible study and listening to the minister or group leader. It means listening and grasping; seeking knowledge with understanding.

Amos 8:4-6 has a strong implication or accusation regarding welfare or dictatorial societies. By this we mean those who have sold their very being to governments welfare programs, political subsidize, or businesses that buy and demand their dependence and so-called loyalty for a means of existence. This disregards personal value. It reads:

“Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, saying, ‘When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat’”? [American Standard Bible; emphasis mine]

This is precisely what the anti-Christ will expect and demand; dependence and loyalty in worship (in the final 3 ½ years of the 7 Tribulation. The stage is set even though these supposed life-saving measures will come disguised as helps or ways to make society better. God says in in Matthew 26:11, “…we will always have the poor.”

Amos 8:7 could use a little bump in understanding. The single word “Surely I will never forget any of their works.” The word “any” includes the good and the bad. The Hebrew used is ‘Kole’. It means NOTHING EXCLUDED. The LITV [Literal Translation of the Holy Bible] uses the world ALL in place of ANY. For some this makes it easier to understand that God is referring to and including the good and the bad.

7:8b “and it shall be cast out and drowned as with the flood of Egypt”.  Joseph Benson Commentary defines this well:

“Destruction shall rise up like a flood”; the calamity of a hostile invasion by the Assyrians shall be like an inundation, which in a short time overflows a whole country. And it shall be cast out and drowned — the inhabitants of the land shall be cast out of their possessions, or the land itself shall be overwhelmed as by the flood, or rather, the river of Egypt, that is, as Egypt is by the inundation of the river Nile.

JIV NOTE: As to whether this infers a comparison to the annual flooding of the Nile in Egypt or an End Time phenomenon is unclear.

 The remainder of Amos 8 is a description of Israel’s end as a kingdom. However, there are some clarifications that need to be discussed in the remaining few verses of chapter 8.

Amos 8:9 has already been discussed as to the sun being covered and darkness brought upon the land. Let’s add to this thought…It is similar to the Son of Man (Jesus) no longer being exemplified in the lands of the earth in End Time. The lands of the U.S.A. have already gone far down this road in public places; God or Jesus is disallowed. Even the good of the Ten Commandments have long since been removed from public display as a religious symbol, not a guide to descent living in societies.

V10: The end will be obvious. Like as in the loss of an only son, the family line ends. This mindset will pervade End Time society as a place of no return and lost hope. 10c: “…and the end thereof as a bitter day.” All hope for a future or prosperity is gone. This drips with End Time prophecy of this world.

V11: “…a famine in the land.” Not a famine of bread (food) but of the desire for the Word of God. Clarification: the word “hearing” does not mean it isn’t available. It is shâma‛ which means “to listen intelligently; to perceive and obey”. Today’s church is in the muck and midst of this today. Many of those who claim Christianity do so at the expense of shâma‛.

V12: The King James Version they uses the wander as in…”They shall wander from sea to sea; north to east…” A lack of understanding this SINGLE WORD (wander/ nûa‛) renders a false appreciation and application for the truth of this verse. It does not mean a true seeking but it means a wavering; an up and down; a going away from; vagabond. This is not in contrast to the previous verse but in sync with it. Shâma‛ and nûa‛ when in the same sentence means to bounce between right and wrong; to not settle on actuality but to prefer one’s personal realities and perceptions.

V13: “…they shall faint from thirst.” It will be like the well is right in front of them but they have no means or understanding as to how to pull it from the depths and quench their thirst for understanding; no future of promise. How sad this will be in End Time. We could write an entire commentary on this verse alone.

V14: A general read through of this last verse in Amos 8 as is the usual in bible reading programs leaves too much of its context missing. Simply put, this verse means the promise of this world’s gods (purpose to which one is committed) of prosperity and security will be recognized as false. People will try to put their confidence in the realm of religion instead of the One True God.

Rev. Dr. Jstark – 2020

Amos Chapter 7

Before delving into commentary per chapter 7 of Amos, here are a few pieces of knowledge to help think through what is going on per the Northern Kingdom of Israel and what God has said in previous bible books.

  1. The ruler at this time is Jeroboam II. He is not the first ruler of the divided nation of Israel but a later namesake.
  2. There has been 12 previous kings over the Northern kingdom up to the time of Amos (Amos: around 760 to 755 B.C.)
    1. *Jehu [father]
      1. II Kings 10:30 tells us because he did some things well in the eyes of God Jehu was promised a son on the throne of northern Israel to the 4th generation.
      1. He fulfilled Gods desire to destroy the house of Ahab, king during the time of Elijah and Jezebel, a very evil king of Israel; i.e. meaning “some things done well in the eyes of God.”
      1. Each of his four descendant kings were evil in the eyes of God
    1. Jehoahaz [son to Jehu]
    1. Joash (aka: Jehoash; grandson to Jehu)
    1. Jeroboam II (great-grandson to Jehu; this is the time of Amos’s prophecies)
    1. Zechariah (great-great grandson to Jehu; dynasty ends with his assassination)
  3. As in the book of Hosea, a contemporary of Amos, “Religion” was prospering but Faith in the one true God YHWH was just another form of a religious practice.
  4. Jonah [of the great fish] preached in Nineveh during this same time in history.
  5. Amos was from the Kingdom of Judah. Hosea was from the Kingdom of Israel.
  6. Assyria and Damascus were battling each other which allowed time for Israel to prosper economically. However, once Damascus fell to Assyria, Amos’ prophecy of doom to Israel came true…about 32 years later.

Regarding the roles of Amos and Hosea (perhaps we should include Jonah to Nineveh) is best stated by Spurgeon:

The breath which causes the music is the same, but no two of the instruments give forth precisely the same sound. It is true they all utter the words of God; but each voice has its own special cry, so that though God is pre-eminently seen, yet the man is not lost” (Spurgeon).

Odd as it may appear, Amos thwarted the immediacy of God’s judgement on this northern kingdom by interceding in prayer for them. He did NOT excuse their actions but asked God to hold off on HIS judging them so harshly; buying time for his prophecies to them to sink in and possibly take root [verses 7:1 & 2]. They had the plague of locust eating up their crops. The first mowing had already happened; i.e. the portion goes to the rulers and leaders. The second mowing is remnant crop for the people. God allowed an overabundance of locusts to “eat it up.” Amos 7:2b tells us that Amos pleaded in prayer to not diminish the people by starvation.

Amos 7:3 is an example of when God “changed his mind.” People who try to set God in iron clad dictates suggest he is unwilling to change or listen to our pleas. 7:3 exposes the falseness of such doctrine. God changing his mind is repeated in the next few verses; 7:4-6. God had not changed his mind about punishing the people of the Kingdom of Israel but the methodology. The second time it was destruction by fire. Amos pleaded once again in prayer to not have this happen. God obliged him.

Amos 7:5 per the phrase “Jacob is small” is debated in multiple commentaries. Many don’t even address this statement. Such avoidance begs the question, why ignore it? Amos identifying “Jacob” (Israel) as small, perhaps is a comparison with Jacob’s twin brother Esau. Robert L. Hubbard puts it this way:

Israel is called Jacob, a reminder that he was the smaller, younger one to Esau in Isaac’s family; God had deliberately chosen him and therefore was obligated to stand by him in his helplessness.”

The Hebrew for smaller is qâṭân. It can mean diminutive in quantity, size or number (Strong’s H6995). However qâṭân is abbreviated from the Hebrew koot. That means “cut off, detested, be grieved or loathed of self”. At ahabiblemoments we suggest it is the latter. Why? There was a great divide between the wealthy and those in poverty in Israel. This is one of the callings of Amos to prophecy in this northern kingdom; the rich taking advantage of their own; loathed by their countrymen; those who are looked down upon and without true justice.

PLUM LINE

Next [7:7] Amos sees God with a plum line. Such a tool is used to assure a wall is true vertically; straight as it stands; upright. It is used on all walls, not just the lead wall. It is a way to assure each wall is up to standards. In this case it was to see if Israel as individuals stood upright. The ones not standing according to God’s standards is corrected or removed. Within but a few more years, this is exactly what the invading Assyrians did. They removed those who did not measure up to God’s standards never to find them again united until the return of Jesus Christ at his millennial reign. The Assyrians were not of God but used by God for this purpose. Yes Israel exists today but not all Israelis live or are yet called back to this Promised Land.

In Amos 7:9 we find that “Isaac” is mentioned. Now we have both Jacob [v5] and Isaac [v7] mentioned in chapter 7. This must hold significance. It is Israelis within the context of Jacob and Isaac, their progenitors; they being the standard or plum line. Amos twice pleaded the case against destruction; by locust and fire. God relented both times. This use of a plum line allowed Amos to visualize the uprightness of his northern cousins. Verse 8b is chilling. It literally means to “not forgive them anymore; no more mercy” [Jamieson-Fausset-Brown; Adam Clarke].

The high places Israel used were of legend and ancestry. Abram and Isaac had established these same “high places” to offer sacrifices to God. The delinquent northern Kingdom some 1,000 years later used these “high places” to offer idol sacrifices. It is easy to understand God’s wrath upon them for this. [See Jamison-Faussett-Brown Commentary; V9] Their time of Amos purpose of sacrificing on these “high places” was two-fold: to prevent the northern Israelis from venturing to Jerusalem and the Temple; one that did not yet exist during the times of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to offer an alternative religion.

Amaziah versus Amos: The chief priest [in Bethel] of the north was greatly concerned about the influence of Amos on the Israelis of the northern kingdom. He wanted Amos to GO HOME; return to the southern kingdom from which he came. Amaziah brought charges against Amos to King Jeroboam. This is mixed with a little fake news in verse 11.

File:Jeroboam-seal.jpgAmos 7:11 is the key verse: [ASV] For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. Commentaries are mixed on the meaning of this statement by Amos. Some say the “death by sword” only referred to the family of King Jeroboam; not him. Jeroboam did die of natural causes [2 Kings 14:9]

Ahamoment: Under Jeroboam II Israel enjoyed one of its most prosperous periods of political and economic security. The prophet Jonah, who had anointed Jeroboam’s great-grandfather Jehu, was still alive at that time…It was [also] an age of corruption in which wealth and power ruled the day. [Jewish History; https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/464005/jewish/Jeroboam-II.htm] This makes Amos, Hosea, and Jonah contemporaries.

At this point let us recall: “I will stir up a nation against you, O house of Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah” (Amos 6:13-14). This happened about 40 years later in 722 b.c.

The balance of Amos 7 is the chief priest telling Amos to return to Judah and calling him a prophet [seer]. Jeremiah makes it clear that God called him from being a caretaker of sheep and fig trees to warn Israel of pending doom. He was, in a sense, just a layperson.

Jstark – 2020

Amos – Chapter #6

Amos in chapter 6 is telling of a consequence to Israel that is like the end fate of Babylon during the time of Daniel some 200 years later. King Belshazzar has gathered his nobles and wealthy to celebrate their wealth and possession. This included the personal use of the golden bowls and cups take from the Jerusalem Temple by his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar. They sat in celebration while the Persians invaded the inner courts of the palace and kingdom itself.

Many religions

Just as Amos points out in chapter 6, modern day Christian religions are also self-indulging. Does one worship God through the Holy Spirit out of self-placation? Perhaps today it is close to worshipping rituals out of routine, habit, social pressures, or tradition? Try reversing communion just once. Give the cup offering first then the bread. Communion habitually follows the sentence structure of 1 Corinthians 11:26. It is not a sentence defining a structured sequence but a single sentence explaining the meaning of each element. Is there a priority in the value of the drink or bread? Might it be but one statement with two parts? Is it not tradition that dictates the sequence of communion?

JIV NOTE per Amos 6: Ironic? Coincidental? Providential? In 2016 Israel attempted to launch a satellite they named Amos 6. Just as we read of the failed WOE of Amos’s message in chapter 6, this Falcon 9 SpaceX satellite named Amos 6 failed on the launch pad. In the time of Amos, Israel is depending upon their abilities; not trusting in G-d.

Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria, Notable persons in the chief nation, To whom the house of Israel comes!” Might one write in 2016 regarding the failed Israeli satellite launch; “woe to you in your presumptive pride and indulgence who try to make a name for yourselves in this secret satellite launch.”

We teach – You Decide (Jstark)

Nahum 3:8a sums up this scenario in Amos 6:1,2 quite well: [paraphrased] “Do you think you are better than the sun-god of Egypt or other nations and populations? This warning was true of Israel during the time of Amos and remains true today.

Amos 6:3-6 Each verse is prefaced with the word WOE. Amos points out the Godless attitude and culture of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel. They think themselves above and without a need for their living God. Their false gods and self-reliance are good enough. Amos 6:3 can easily be a woe to those in modern time who create huge debts and not think there will be a day of doom. This is true of individuals, families, and States.

Amos 6:7 gives word of the pending judgment of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel for their actions of self-reliance. In the prophesied 7-year Tribulation Israel will feel self-confident in the first 3 ½ years due to a treaty. Without warning at the 3 ½ mark, judgment will come upon them by the antichrist when he sets himself up in the new Temple in Jerusalem then invades Israel itself.  Is this another coincident, irony or a providence from God to the nation of Israel today when in comparison to the pending Assyrian invasion for which Amos warns?

We continue to find parallels in the next few verses in Amos 6. Zechariah 13:8-9 points out that two-thirds of Jerusalem’s population will die at the hand of the anti-Christ. Compare Zechariah 13:8-9 with Revelation 12:12-*13 and we see in the latter passage that God will salvage or save another remnant. Remember that only a remnant returned from captivity in Babylon.

*The woman referred to in verse 13 is Israel.

Amos 6:8 identifies God’s wrath upon “the city”. This is Jerusalem. Let’s process this information per the Word of God through Zechariah 13:8-9, and Revelation 12:12-13. If Jerusalem is going to be attacked and a great slaughter of two-thirds of its population but a remnant will be saved, this means the city of Jerusalem in the Tribulation is total property of Israel, not Jordan and no longer the West Bank of Palestinians. Fact is (speculation) this may be the Tribulation fuse that sets the world against Israel.

Amos 6 continues with correlations suited best for our abilities to understand. Many will die [v9 & 10], for those who survive giving praise to G-d will be hushed [v10], destruction will be everywhere [v11], and Justice will be nonexistent [v12]. Verse 12 compares or makes the judgement of Israel analogous to horses trying to run on rock or plows attempting to till rock as if it were soil.

Amos 6:13 explains the vanities of Israel during the time of Amos and probably modern times up to and including the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. Have we not taken enemies by our own strength? The Lo-bebar mentioned in verse 13 is a town in Gilead. It was considered a ghetto during the time of King David, a lowly place. Lo-debar conquered the neighboring city of Karnaim in Bashan. King Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom conquered this city and annexed it to Lo-debar. A lowly place annexes a city of significance. What self-pride had the people to whom Amos is prophesying. This was also the avenue used by the Assyrians to move into, conquer, then disperse the population of the entire Northern Kingdom of Israel. Today this is territory is part of Jordan.

Amos 6:14 is a prophecy fulfilled around 720 B.C.

Re. Dr. Jstark
2020

Amos 5

 Amos Chapter #5

This chart taken from duckduckgo.com tells it all per Amos’s mission in chart form. Chapters 1 – 8 are basic who, what, why and results. The “who” gives us insights to watch for current or future global news headlines. One cannot have wisdom without understanding. One cannot have understanding without knowledge. One cannot have knowledge without a source. This requires more than a church pew or under pandemic circumstances, a chair in the parking lot or on the lawn of a church. We do not need more messages (at church) about Bible stories. We need to understand the source; i.e. Bible. This is not the sole and total responsibility of the preacher. As even with medications, that responsibility falls upon the individual(s) taking the medication. The Bible is similar to a prescription; even an over the counter medication. The person in need needs to seek it. It won’t come to him or her. Seek and you will find.

Chapter 5: “The entire chapter is a continuation of Amos’ prophecy against Israel, elaborating and expanding the condemnation and overthrow of Israel already announced in Amos 3” [studylight.org]. Amos is now explaining that there is no longer a pending recovery or “return” to greatness for Israel. Not this time. Recall Israel (Northern 10 Tribes) is at their economic highpoint. The wealthy are even wealthier, but the poor still exist and are leveraged by those who are the “haves” of Israel’s society. New Testament Matthew 26:11 tells us that “we will always have the poor.” However, Israel has a vast chasm between the haves and the have-not at this time in HIS-story. Interestingly the second half of Matthew 26:11 explains well the circumstance of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the time of Amos. It reads…”but you will not always have me.” The Israel to whom Amos is writing had lost their connection with God. Like Hosea, Amos is pleading their return to the God who brought their forefathers out of Egypt.

Chapter 5 is similar to a eulogy. Amos is preaching their funeral before they die as a kingdom. It is the final message per the life of these people until the return of Jesus Christ. Verse 2 verifies this. It is blunt: “…Israel has fallen and will not rise again.”The Kingdom of Israel is great at this time but will fall. Revelation 18:2 says the same thing about End Time and (symbolic) Babylon; Babylon will fall and NOT rise again.

Verse 3 gives us a somewhat mathematical example of their demise. One out of ten is the formula used by Amos. This can be a prophecy of either survivors of their military or occupants of the land. One out of Ten will remain. But this is not the only option of Israel. Verse 4, just as it says in the New Testament verse in James 4 (v8). It is a powerful underscoring of what Free Will actually means. Draw close to me THEN I will draw close to you. Amos 5:4 says the same…”seek me and live.” We MUST get this straight. We often pray for God to be close to so-in-so but this is not supported by scripture in either the old or New Testaments. The free will of man requires that we seek out God/Jesus.

Multitudes have enjoyed Michael W. Smith’s music. However, there is one song with which it has it’s lyrics in conflict with scripture. It is his song “Draw Me Close” to you. Verse 1 has the first lyric sentence and the last one wrong.

Opening lyric line: “Draw me close to you” (God)
last line in his vers1: “Bring me back to you”

Choose to Draw Near to God and He will draw near to you!

Reread James 8:4 and Amos 5:4. It is incumbent upon us to make that move first.  Michael W. Smith is a good gospel musician but just like so many, in ignorance we get scripture mixed up. We must draw ourselves closer to God so He can then draw closer to us. Amos is telling those in the Kingdom of Israel the same thing. “Seek me and Live.” It underscores the Free Will of man.

  1. Isaiah 45:22 states “Turn to me and be saved.”
  2. Luke 13: 23, *24 “…many will seek to be saved but will not be able.”
    1. *Many still want to do it their way, not God’s way
  3. I Timothy 2:4 “[God] desires all men to be saved”
    1. His desire but it is our choice to follow him or do it our way.

These few verses are examples of the “If you __?__, then I [God] will __?__”conditions of God fulfilling His promises and covenants with man. Every promise and covenant in scripture is supported by the “if you do, then I will” principle. Amos is telling Israel exactly the same thing. God is waiting but they were the ones who walked away. The old adage of “If one does not feel as close to God as s/he once did, guess who moved away” is fact, not supposition.

I don’t recall but believe the Burton, Coffman Commentary puts Amos 5 this way:

“(This chapter has): a funeral song (Amos 5:1-3); a call to repent (Amos 5:4-7); part of a song of praise (Amos 5:8-9); a warning about injustice (Amos 5:10-13); a further call to repent (Amos 5:14-15); and a further funeral song, or vision of death (Amos 5:16-17).

Amos 5:5 is of particular interest. A lesson NOT LEARNED even to this very day. Amos tells his northern cousins to not go to Bethel or Gilgal (he might also include Samaria with Beersheba). He is referencing PLACES of worship. This is so true of Christianity today (not a reference to the magazine Christianity Today). These people went to “places” to worship. We do the same thing today. We go to CHURCH to worship. This is incorrect theology. We need only to go to God, praise him, seek forgiveness, acknowledge his Holiness, and seek guidance/wisdom. Why is it the place that matters so much? In too many people’s minds it is the only place of worship instead of “a” place of worship. Church buildings matters but not required to worship God. Church can become the place of captivity just as did Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba. It is the worship that to God.

Amos 5:6 is a repeat of verse 4 and supports verse 5…”Seek Jehovah.” It is the where; it is the “who.” If we don’t seek HIM out, the consequence is His judgment. “The Lord will be like a fire.”

Amos 5:7 reminds us of today’s establishment of different churches and denominations. During the time of Amos the Northern Kingdom had a very corrupt legal system. It served the well-being of those who were in charge; not the layperson within their population. “Justice is turned to wormwood.” That is, a bitter pill for those seeking true justice. It serves the purpose of those in the in-crowd, not the general population. Churches and denominations do precisely the same thing. If it serves their platform of right or wrong, then one can expect their support. If it fails to fit their terms and church doctrines, it is wormwood to fellow believers of another denomination. A bitter realization of “it is what it is.”

Amos 5:8 – 10 makes the point of WHO it is to worship. If it exists, God created it. This is repeated again in John 1:3…”All things were made by (through) Him (God) and without Him was not anything made (created) that was made (created)” Amos gives us a list of things God handed to us. The consequence of the disparity of those who have and those who have not is found in the following verse (v11). The very house and vineyards the “haves” have will not be for their consumption. This tells us that the judgment day Amos references is at hand for Israel. Within two years of this prophecy, Assyria overruns and disperses Israel throughout the world.

Key statements in the Amos 5:10-19 verses include:

  1. …because you trampled on the poor
  2. I [God] know your many transgressions
  3. You have afflicted the righteous
  4. Accept or hand out bribes
  5. Turn a back on the *needy
    1. This is not a plea for socialism. There is a stark difference between the NEEDY and those are simply GREEDY or LAZY.
    1. He who does not work shall not eat (II Thessalonians 3:10)
  6. Silence at time is being prudent
  7. Hate evil but love good
  8. Establish (real) justice [hmmm?]
  9. V18: The Day of the Lord is darkness?

Amos 5:18 demands attention and explanation. “The Day of the Lord is darkness?” This seems contradictory to all that we have heard about God. After all, “God is love,” right? The very same Bible tells us that HE also is “just[ice].” In Amos 5:1 we learned that his approach in chapter five is like a funeral eulogy or perhaps a funeral song. The emphasis is the conclusiveness or finality of a funeral. S/he [the one deceased] will no longer be among the living on earth. In this sense it is a dark day; similar to the evening marking the finality of another day. This verse has an End Time parallel. Choices are no longer an option. Bottom line? The Day of the Lord brings judgement. This is not the Bema Seat judgement but the Great White Throne day-of-judgment.

  1. Flee from a lion into the jaws of a bear
  2. Be bitten by a viper (some time identified as a two-step viper). When Paul in his ship wreck as a prisoner of the Romans and on his way to appeal to Caesar, was bitten by a viper [Acts 28:3]. The local islanders expected immediate death. He simply shook it off into their campsite fire.

Amos 5 concludes with a very blatant, unconcealed, overt statement. God no longer has an accepts  their songs and sacrifices. Why? He is but one of the gods to which these Israelites are making such offerings. Their worship is adulterated. They have given themselves to many gods.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

Amos Chapter 4

Coffman’s Commentary:

There is a continuation in this chapter of the general thought and movement of the last, consisting of denunciations and exhortations of Israel. First, there is a powerful blast against the idle, sinful and oppressive rich “in the mountain of Samaria” (Amos 4:1-3), then, a sarcastic and ironical “call to worship” at Bethel and Gilgal (Amos 4:4,5), and next, a dramatic reminder by the prophet of the seven disasters God had sent upon Israel with the benign purpose of leading them to repentance (Amos 4:6-12). Some have considered these disasters as progressive in intensity and severity.

Coffman’s thought on verse 1 in Amos 4 is spot on. In a very real way, it could fit 2020 during and post Covid pandemic. We have the media, both broadcast and social, denunciations of people, races, countries, leaders, rights to gather in public settings including church, and political rallies. All of this is based upon something for which we have little or no control…C-19.

“Powerful blast against the idle.” In 2020 it is the idle who are taking away the goods, prosperity, and control of the general law and order of society. Amos is talking about the rich doing this to the poor but verse 2 that those of prosperity will be taken away against their choice. Yes, Amos is specifically speaking to the wealthy of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but we are seeing a replay of this around the world today.

“Sarcastic ‘call to worship’.”  This is almost chilling in today’s society. The church is being identified as something that is not essential and people by the millions willingly if not eagerly fall in line with the whims of governors and local authorities to stay home FROM WORSHIP. After all, they say, to gather together is a danger. Yes it is a danger but actually a targeted danger to spiritual prosperity.  Break the routines of society, reshape it into someone else image of *society, and we have a reflection of the ten Tribes of Israel to whom Amos is preaching.

*Defund police, shut down large gatherings and free-speech, access to education, travel bans, isolation mandates, with so much more. All of it is due to a flu that is no respecter of mankind. Perhaps a flu lab-designed to do just what it is doing; put the world into the hands of a “peace-maker”.  We end up with those who can afford their own “fences” of defense and the rest remain susceptible to the elements. This can make one wonder if Amos 4 is speaking to us today. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was within two years of being thrown into total disarray.

James L. Mays wrote this about Amos 4:

“There is no perceptible development…, no heightening of the disasters’ intensity. Each is terrible in its own right, no worse than the previous one. The sequence gains its effect from repetition, the recollection of one disaster after another as though the narrative meant to exhaust the catalogue of human misery.”

“The purpose of these disasters (upon Israel) is to bring them back to God for repentance and worship.” Once again, this is possible if not a probable parallel to the 2020 global C-19 pandemic. There is no end in sight. The idle and fake ‘call to worship’ in Israel was not a call to worship God but manmade mandates. The parallels they be accurate or assumed are uncanny.

JIV NOTE: We MUST keep in mind that Amos is not just talking to his initial calling, that being the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but he condemns multiple nations. His calling is, at that time, global.

The hooks and fishhooks mentioned in verse 2 are obvious. This is not voluntary. It is forced. One will be pulled into the direction they are required by others to go. Choice has been removed. It is amazing how willingly people of the denominational religions and church settings have fallen in line…stay at home; form a new habit of not attending worship services, follow the guidance of mandates or pay a dear price. Who is doing the “taking away with hooks”? Verse two says…”The Lord God.” Think back if one will to the plagues upon Egypt. They were consequential; not happenstance.

Verses 2-5 are conditional for relief from consequences. God wants his people (believers) to worship him, not, if one might say, vaccines. Are we suggesting vaccines are evil? NO! It is the symbolism of man’s help versus God’s help.

Amos 4:6 reminds these Israelis of the northern kingdom of their past. God provided their needs but now they have transgressed. They had become very prosperous. No need for God as the “did it their way” and were exceedingly prosperous. Hmmmm? Is this another coincidental parallel to that time and this time up to the C-19 plague? David Guzik (commentary) identifies or relates the “clean teeth” [v6] to not having food to dirty them. This is a curse, not a blessing.

Amos 4:7 is significant if not a message of salvation in an earthly sense. God withheld rain (prosperity) from some locations and gave rain (prosperity) to others. This is a sign that God blesses when we as individuals and as a people draw closer to him; his choice. The have nots will seek the wealth and abundance of others. Just as in verse 9, Amos explains the curse of God is a call to return to him. It is not a message exclusive to the poor or welathy, but to all (kole; meaning no exceptions). Return to God. The New Testament puts it well in James 4:8.  Draw close to God and he will draw close to us.

To God and He will draw closer to you.

Prophet Timeline (Article 3)

STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED!
Kings of … (since Solomon)Start
of reign
Length
of reign
(years)
 
JudahIsraelProphets to JudahProphets to Israel (Northern Kingdom)
1. Rehoboam 1. Jeroboam931 BC17  
 931 BC22 (Ahijah)
2. Abijah 913 BC3  
3. Asa 911 BC41  
 2. Nadab910 BC2  
 3. Baasha909 BC24 (Jehu)
 4. Elah886 BC2  
 5. Zimri885 BC7 days  
 6. Omri885 BC12  
 7. Ahab874 BC22 (Elijah)
4. Jehoshaphat 870 BC25 (Micaiah)
 8. Ahaziah853 BC2 (Elisha)
 9. Joram852 BC12  
5. Jehoram 848 BC8  
6. Ahaziah 841 BC1  
 10. Jehu841 BC28  
7. Queen Athaliah 841 BC6  
8. Joash 835 BC40Joel (guesswork) 
 11. Jehoahaz814 BC17  
 12. Jehoash798 BC16  
9. Amaziah 796 BC29 Jonah (to Nineveh) (approx)
 13. Jeroboam II782 BC41 Amos,
Hosea
(until Hezekiah)
10. Uzziah (Azariah) 767 BC52Isaiah (until Hezekiah) 
 14. Zechariah753 BC6 months  
 15. Shallum752 BC1 month  
 16. Menahem752 BC10  
 17. Pekahiah742 BC2  
 18. Pekah740 BC20  
11. Jotham 740 BC16Micah (until Hezekiah) 
12. Ahaz 732 BC16  
 19. Hoshea732 BC9  
13. Hezekiah 716 BC29  
14. Manasseh 687 BC55  
15. Amon 642 BC2 Nahum (to Nineveh in Assyria)
16. Josiah 640 BC31Zephaniah,
Jeremiah (into exile)
 
17. Jehoahaz 609 BC3 months  
18. Jehoiakim 609 BC11Habakkuk (approx. time) 
19. Jehoiachin 597 BC3 mos.  
20. Zedekiah 597 BC11  
  592 BC Ezekiel,
Daniel
 
  587 BC (maybe) Obadiah (to Edom) 
  520 BC Haggai, Zechariah 
(Esther) 478 BC   
(Ezra) 458 BC   
(Nehemiah) 445 BC   
  433 BC Malachi After this Bible history goes silent until the book of Mark begins the new Testament

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