1. Was Israel going to be capable of escaping God’s judgment against them?
No: “(1) I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. (2) Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: (3) And 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” (Amos 9:1-3).
- “I saw the Lord standing upon the altar…” is language indicative of a heavenly vision (Numbers 12:6; cf. I Kings 22:14; 22:19 and Isaiah 6:1-5).
- In John’s revelation, he saw an altar in Heaven (Revelation 8:1-5).
- The translation of “lintel of the door” is vague. The ASV 1901 says: “Smite the capitals, that the thresholds may shake”. The Hebrew word translated “door” in the KJV means “meaning to encircle; a chaplet; but used only in an architectonic sense, i.e. the capital of a column, or a wreath-like button or disk on the candelabrum: knop, (upper) lintel…” (Strong’s # 3730). The idea here appears to be God shaking the foundations with His anger (i.e. Psalms 18:6-8).
- The Lord slaying with the sword (Isaiah 66:16) through the hands of men (Jeremiah 20:4). Upon Israel the Assyrians are the vehicle of judgment (Isaiah 10:5-19).
- There is no escape from God (Jeremiah 11:11, Jeremiah 23:23-24, Romans 2:3, I Thessalonians 5:3, and Hebrews 12:25-29) unless He permits it (Ezra 9:8; 9:15 and I Corinthians 10:13) for a reason (Isaiah 37:31-32).
- The idea of digging deep to climbing high not being enough to escape God (Psalms 139:1-13).
- Commanding the serpent is both a literal (Numbers 21:1-9) and figurative threat (Amos 5:18-20).
2. Did the Lord set His eyes upon Israel for good?
No: “And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good” (Amos 9:4).
- The Lord’s thinking in the statement of His eyes set for evil [affliction; adversity -Strong’s # 7451] instead of good for Israel (Leviticus 20:1-9, Leviticus 26:14-18, Deuteronomy 8:11-20, Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalms 34:15-16, and Jeremiah 44:7-11).
3. When the land was destroyed (figuratively melted; flooded), who was the cause?
God: “And 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” (Amos 9:5).
- The Lord says, this is ME, MY doing (Isaiah 46:8-10).
- The melting wrath of God (Nahum 1:3-6).
- Mourning caused by the judgment of the Lord (Ezekiel 7:27).
- Like a flood (Jeremiah 47:1-7).
- Assyria was described in such a way (Isaiah 8:7-8).
4. What does the Lord do with the waters of the sea?
This is the water cycle defined: “It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name” (Amos 9:6).
- The building [set up] of His stories [elevation; steps] in the heaven [sky; above] (Psalms 8:1, Psalms 113:5, Isaiah 33:5, John 14:1-3, Acts 7:57-50, and I John 5:7).
- His troop [vault (of the heavens), firmament (binding earth to the heavens); Strong’s # 0092] in the earth (Genesis 1:6-8; 1:14-19 and Psalms 19:1).
- The water cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:5-7, Amos 5:8, and Acts 14:17).
- God’s power and might in the creation, separation, etc. of the waters (Jeremiah 5:22).
5. What did the Lord say, through Amos, that indicates a change in how the Lord viewed Israel?
“Are 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” (Amos 9:7)?
- They were special, chosen, protected (Deuteronomy 7:6, Deuteronomy 14:2, and Psalms 33:12).
- Not any more (Jeremiah 9:25-26).
6. Was it the Lord’s desire to utterly destroy all of the children of Israel?
No: “(8) Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. (9) For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. (10) All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us” (Amos 9:8-10).
- The eyes of the Lord (II Chronicles 16:9, I Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 15:3, and Jeremiah 16:17).
- How sad it is that Israel is referred to as “the sinful kingdom”? Think about what that meant on many levels and how it has been their history (Numbers 32:14, Psalms 5:4-5, Isaiah 1:4, Isaiah 1:21-23, Hosea 9:15, etc.).
- Yet, though they are a sinful kingdom facing destruction (Deuteronomy 6:15, Proverbs 13:6, and Hosea 9:11-17), God will not utterly destroy them (II Kings 19:30-31 and Isaiah 1:9).
- Sift or shaking the nation among the nations (I Kings 14:14-15).
- They had a false confidence that nothing would happen to them (Ecclesiastes 8:11 and Jeremiah 5:12-13).
- However, the sword was coming upon them (Amos 7:11; 7:17).
7. In that day of destruction, who was God going to plant in their land?
The fallen, further illustrating His plan was NOT to utterly destroy Israel: “(11) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: (12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. (13) Behold, 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. (14) And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. (15) And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God” (Amos 9:11-15).
- That day ties us back to the judgment of this text. They are going to be diminished. The sad part is, relative to verse 11, it is not until the New Testament that this is fulfilled (Acts 15:15-17).
- Jesus is the restoration of David’s fallen throne (Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 11:1-10, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Luke 1:31-33, Luke 1:68-70, and Acts 2:29-36).
- The reference to the remnant of Edom and the heathen, in connection with Acts 15:15-17, is about the Lord being sought by those that were not called by His name (Isaiah 65:1). Other physical implications could be before then.
- Due to abundance, the seasons of plowing, gathering, and treading will overlap. The hills melt with it [flow with it] (Joel 3:17-21).
- Bringing again the captivity of His people to rebuild (Ezekiel 36:33-36).
- Planted in a land that they’d not be pulled from is a great motivating promise (Ezekiel 37:25). Remember though, it was always contingent upon obedience (Deuteronomy 6:1-25, Isaiah 1:19-20, and Jeremiah 3:12-14).
© 2021 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.