Summary: This prophet predicts final ruin for a wicked and rebellious nation, yet hope remains for a remnant

Ruin for the Wicked but Hope for a Remnant

Dr. Russell K. Tardo


1I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. 2Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: 3And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: 4And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. 5And the Lord God of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. 6It is he that buildeth his stories in the heavens, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name. 7Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the Lord. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from all the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord. 9For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. 10All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us. 11In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. 13Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God. [Amos 9:1-15]

A. Amos’ Final Vision

This is the account of Amos’ fifth and final vision, i.e., a vision of the Lord standing on the altar. Theologians debate which altar Amos is speaking of. The consensus is that it is the idolatrous altar at Bethel. [The sin of Samaria and the reason the Samaritans were unacceptable to the Jews was because of the worship of the golden calves that Jeroboam erected at Dan and Bethel.] The Lord smites the top of the altar causing the temple to fall on the idolatrous worshippers.

B. Amos’ Four Declarations

1. Verses 1 through 4: Amos tells Israel (the sinners), You can run from God, from His judgment, but you can’t hide. God’s wrath and judgment will seek you out. There comes a time and place where judgment is decreed and it will most assuredly seek you out. Amos’ warning to sinners was, Don’t provoke God to anger because there’s no place to hide from God.

The words slain with the sword speak of the Syrian invasion. Not only is there no place to hide from God in this world, but also there is no place to hide from Him in the world to come.

Some have asked why God is such a fearful, judgmental God in the Old Testament and loving and forgiving in the New Testament. God is not fearful only in the Old Testament. Take a look at this New Testament verse and you will readily see that the New Testament admonishes that God is to be feared then as well.

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