The Lion Has Roared
Chapter 1: ‘The End Is Come’
There is bad news, and there is good news—but the good news lasts forever!
Sinners who deny God’s prophecies will be plunged into the Great Tribulation. People who heed God’s warnings shall be protected in a place of safety. Even physically, the stakes are enormous.
Amos tells us that even many of God’s own people will fail to heed His warning.
The message of this book revolves around a specific prophecy against two end-time nations and God’s Church. “Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. … Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light” (Amos 5:15, 18).
The “remnant” refers to the end-time descendants of Joseph—particularly those of his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:13; 49:1, 22). Ephraim is comprised of the British nations, like the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, while Manasseh is the United States. These nations comprise the birthright nations of end-time Israel, about which the biblical prophecies speak—not the modern-day nation called Israel, which is comprised primarily of the descendants of ancient Judah. Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains these truths in detail. (Request a free copy if you don’t have one.)
The Worldwide Church of God (wcg), which Mr. Armstrong founded, no longer believes in the truth contained in that book. In fact, that was one of several works the wcg fought us over in court to suppress when we wanted to print them! The wcg—God’s own Church—completely defected from the truth of God—and the resulting spiritual catastrophe is prophesied in the book of Amos!
“Thus hath the Lord God shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the Lord unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord God: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence. Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?” (Amos 8:1-5).
Here is a prophecy about the nearness of the end. It’s about God’s Church at the very end—and the nations of Israel. Amos discusses how the people were eager for the new moon and the Sabbath to end. It’s about God’s people who keep the Sabbath, but with a wrong attitude. They are eager for the Sabbath to end. This doesn’t apply to a worldly religion. It’s about God’s people who keep Saturday as their Sabbath—the true Sabbath—but they are going in the wrong direction. (For proof of this, request our free booklet Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?, also by Mr. Armstrong.)
The new moon is not a law—it’s a tradition. Watering down traditions can also be a dangerous direction. This is an end-time prophecy about God’s traditions and God’s laws being watered down. It’s in the context of “many dead bodies in every place”! This is an alarming prophecy for God’s own people! It isn’t something we can take lightly.
This same chapter discusses a famine of God’s word during the Great Tribulation (verse 11). The wcg, under Mr. Armstrong, always applied this directly to God’s Church. The spiritual famine follows on the heels of a great falling away in God’s Church! When you see the massive rebellion, God thunders to us, “The end is come upon my people of Israel”! (Amos 8:2; see also Ezekiel 7:2-3).
This describes a time when God’s Church has become lukewarm—in the same context of a famine of God’s word in the Great Tribulation. It is the same story as in Revelation 3:14-20, God’s description of the Laodicean era of His own Church.
Amos dates the end time more specifically. When God’s Church (the wcg and Laodicean groups that have left that church since Mr. Armstrong died) is casting His truth to the ground (Daniel 8:11-12)—the end is extremely near. The Philadelphia era has passed and the Laodicean era is present (Revelation 3:7-22). It is a clear sign that the end is imminent.
It is a very dark time—especially for Britain and America. “Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near” (Amos 6:3). It is an “evil day,” and some of God’s people refuse to face reality. The nations of Israel will once again be thrust into captivity (Amos 9:14)—unless they repent. Israel and God’s people must wake up!
The Lion Has Roared
“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6). This is a trumpet-blowing time! The people in the city ought to be afraid, especially if they know what is about to happen to the cities of modern-day Israel! (More on that later.) If people hear the trumpet of God, they should be afraid.
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” (verses 7-8).
The lion is a type of God—and when God roars, people must hear and respond, or pay a terrifying price! The Lion has roared—His loyal people must prophesy!
Some Bible scholars today believe that the Assyrian colossus was rising on the world scene in Amos’s time. That is probably true, because it is precisely the foremost physical danger that America and Britain face today. The modern descendants of the Assyrians are the Germans. (Our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire proves that point and a great deal more.)
The main subject here is about how God always reveals secrets to His prophets. The “secret” Amos 3:7 refers to does involve Germany today, but that is only part of the prophecy. The building of a German colossus is accelerating very quickly in this “last hour” (1 John 2:18; Revised Standard Version). But that was not Amos’s primary concern. He wrote, “[T]he Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?“ God’s revealed prophecy in Amos is what should stir us most of all! We should be stirred to get God’s revealed truth about the book of Amos to the birthright nations. God has spoken! And in this booklet you are reading what He spoke for the end time.
The Lion has roared! And we must respond, just as we would to the roar of a wild lion we might face in Africa. Do you and I have the urgency necessary to deliver God’s message?
God speaks through revelation. Then He uses His Church to deliver the secret given to His prophet. “[W]ho can but prophesy?” The German beast has risen!
Amos had a profound understanding of world news. And so must we today. Then we can vividly see these prophecies being fulfilled. There is no time to waste!
When we see and hear what God says about Germany, and then that is reinforced by reading world news, “who can but prophesy?”
Each one of us must have our heart in God’s Work, or we won’t grow spiritually.
But there is much resistance. Even ministers and people whom God raised up are saying “prophesy not”! “And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11‑12). Here is a controversy among God’s own people about the appalling prophecies of the end time! Some of God’s own people don’t want to hear about the end-time holocaust. However, those who don’t respond to God’s Word will end up right in the middle of that holocaust!
God has roared! Let the people beware! That is God’s answer to “prophesy not.” These are ministers God “raised up” (verse 11), and they are divided. Most of them say “prophesy not.”
These verses show that these ministers once had a strong prophetic message! But here in the book of Amos, they have gotten into a “prophesy not” posture. That is exactly what happened after Mr. Armstrong died! Even casual observers could see the dramatic change. Most of those ministers now say “prophesy not,” but a small remnant blow the trumpet (Amos 3:6). All of this prophecy has been fulfilled within God’s Church in this end time! God’s people are divided over whether or not to deliver God’s prophetic message. The Laodiceans lack the faith to proclaim such a strong message.
A lion roars loudly when he is about to pounce on his prey! If the lion roared before that time, the prey would flee. This is the picture God wants us to see! It’s about two of God’s churches that don’t agree and can’t “walk together” (verse 3). That is the context. It’s discussing a split in the Church of God!
These prophecies must be spoken. God has revealed that there is serious trouble in His Church and in Israel (especially the United States and Britain).
“Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?” (verse 5). A snare doesn’t look like a trap. On the surface, everything looks enticing to the bird. Suddenly, it is helplessly trapped. And that is how it will be with Israel and God’s Laodicean churches. The Tribulation will spring unexpectedly and suddenly upon those who won’t listen to God’s Word!
God says end-time Israel will be attacked by its “lovers”—unless it repents (Ezekiel 23:9, 22). It’s the “loving” relationship with Germany that is a snare. Mr. Armstrong prophesied this catastrophe for over 50 years!
Through the book of Amos, God is trying to arouse the Laodicean churches and the nations of Israel! It is a time for self-examination and repentance.
“Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:1-2). Biblical Israel is the only nation God has ever really known. That applies far more to God’s end-time Church—spiritual Israel. Along with that honor comes a weighty responsibility! We must respond to God and do His Work—or pay a horrendous penalty.
Some of God’s own people, who have had the unparalleled honor to know God, have turned away from Him.
“Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?” (verse 4). God never roars without reason.
How does God roar? As He always has—through His loyal people! That means the Church would split—at the very end. One group does God’s Work and “roars” for Him! They proclaim the terrifying prophecies just before Christ returns to rule this Earth. The other group of God’s people says, “Prophesy not.” They may not say those exact words. They talk of “not being distracted by prophecy.” Or they say, “Get your mind off prophecy,” or, “You’re too preoccupied with prophecy.”
Anyone can see that the wcg made a radical move away from its past views on prophecy.
The Lion’s roar and the trumpet of alarm symbolize this work of God’s Philadelphia Church! A trumpet is being sounded—not a violin. This trumpet is to sound the alarm of war and captivity! Trumpet blowing often signaled war in the Old Testament.
This trumpet is the alarm of invasion! It’s an alarm that should cause people to tremble.
This is a time of great urgency! Israel and many of God’s own people are asleep! Those of us who are responding to God must do all we can to blow the trumpet and warn people of what is coming upon Israel—very soon.
The Horns of the Altar
“That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground” (Amos 3:14). Bethel means “house of God.” The horns of the altar are going to be cut off. Anciently, people could seek refuge in God’s tabernacle, or temple, by coming in and grabbing the horns. Often they could receive God’s mercy and be saved from punishment or death.
So what does the message about the horns mean today? God is telling the U.S. and Britain specifically that there will be no place of refuge for them! (But Scripture shows that God does deliver a remnant of His people from the coming nuclear holocaust by taking them to a place of safety.) Those who remain will find no place to hide—no refuge from Satan’s wrath. There are no “horns of the altar” to grab! (Every indication is that this place of safety is outside the U.S. and Britain.)
“And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the Lord” (verse 15). Who has a summer house and a winter house? Or a great house? Those who are financially successful. Those are the houses that normally survive difficult crises. But not this time. God is telling us that total destruction is coming—nuclear holocaust! (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7).
Two Legs or a Piece of an Ear
How bad are circumstances about to become? “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled. Thus saith the Lord; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch” (Amos 3:11-12). The picture is of a lion’s attack on a sheep. All that is left are two legs or a piece of an ear.
But God is not talking about sheep! He is talking about America, Britain and the Jewish nation called Israel! Amos is saying that only a few pieces of biblical Israel will be left!
This is the strongest prophetic message ever written in the Bible!
The Lion has already roared and is ready to pounce. The victims are going to be America, Britain and the Middle East Jews (Hosea 5:5).
Imagine only two legs or a piece of an ear left from this sheep! This is what the shepherd took out of the mouth of the lion.
How will you react? Most people won’t respond until it’s too late physically. But how did Amos respond? He let the most extreme crisis ever motivate him to say, “[W]ho can but prophesy?”
This is how you and I should respond. God wants us to get behind this message and support it any way we can, with all our might!
The Head of the very elect is the Lion of Judah—Christ Himself. He has roared as never before! We must share His love and emotions.
Amos tells us that if we understand world conditions and think like Christ, then we must prophesy!
The lion roars just before he springs upon his prey. The book of Amos is one giant lion’s roar.
Who can do anything but prophesy? Who can but get this message out?
The Laodicean churches of God say, “Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11-12). Some 95 percent of God’s people have received the wine of false doctrine. They are spiritually drunk and blind to what is happening in Bible prophecy. This is a hard message to deliver. Only those with the courage of God will do it. But they will receive the most spectacular reward God has to give in this “last end.”
When we see tremendous decay in the nation and in God’s Church, we can know that times are frighteningly urgent. This is a time for the Lion’s roar and the trumpet of alarm. The people must be warned! They also must understand who is sending these curses and why.
Chapter 2: Adonai—Our Head Who Blesses
Amos is a “book of doom,” according to the Anchor Bible. That is true, if you understand it. This is a difficult book to read and understand—but even more difficult to accept—because of the nightmarish prophecies that fill it.
Nevertheless, it applies specifically to the people in God’s Church more than most prophetic books.
There is not a stronger book in the Bible than Amos—certainly not of this size.
The Prophet Amos had a monumental task to grapple with in writing down the dark visions God gave him. He was a poet, and he sought to describe what he saw in the most vivid, descriptive language he could fashion. He wrote some very black poetry, the way the world would view it, adding a lot of poetic detail. His creative mind felt the full impact of what God revealed to him.
As we deliver God’s trumpet warning to this sinful world today, we should be able to identify somewhat with Amos’s difficulties. These are serious times. Studying the book of Amos made me realize that more deeply.
However, Amos was able to maintain his stability in a key way—one that we must learn from as we do God’s Work.
Twenty-five times in his little book, Amos uses the name Adonai when referring to God—more than all the other minor prophets combined.
Why would Amos use that name so much?
The primary definition for Adonai is “headship; the head” (see the Companion Bible). Perhaps as Amos worked to convey all of those frightening prophecies, he wanted to ensure that he held the Head—the God of the Old Testament who became Jesus Christ. His book contains so much bad news, perhaps he wanted to keep reminding himself that the great God was behind it all. This is God’s idea, not mine, he may have thought. He does everything for a reason. I want to make sure I view this bad news as God does.
Most of God’s people in this end time have lost their Head (Colossians 2:19). They allowed themselves to be beguiled by men. As a result, they will lose their reward and, for those who don’t repent, even their eternal life!
If God’s faithful remnant is to avoid making the same mistake, we must have deep understanding and faith in these prophecies. We need to understand them well enough that no man who tries to pervert the truth can beguile us!
Each member in God’s Church is responsible for holding the Head.
Amos held the Head. He kept God’s headship present in his thoughts all the time.
A richer understanding of the name Adonai includes the sense of God blessing. He is our Head who blesses—not only His very elect, but also the whole world.
Prophecy contains so much bad news. Thinking about a rising beast power and about the death of Israel can be depressing! It is essential that we hold the Head—especially when looking at all the bad news. If we don’t, we can almost want to avoid watching world events altogether, because they are so negative! But is that the way our Head thinks about it? If you are holding the Head, you will think of those prophecies the way the Head does.
All of this destruction is directed by Adonai, our Head, in the context of blessings! God is trying to give eternal life to as many people as possible.
Christ does curse His people when they rebel. But even those curses are turned into blessings if the people repent.
This book does have a lot of bad news for the nations of Israel and God’s Laodicean Church in this end time. Amos undoubtedly kept repeating the title Adonai to remind himself continually that, in spite of all the suffering, he was serving his Head who blesses. Adonai’s purpose is to bless you and all mankind.
All of the evil is coming upon us because of rebelling against God’s law. The inhabitants could not bear God’s words, delivered by Amos (Amos 7:10). They heard God’s prophecies and continued to sin—just as they do today.
Because of these deadly prophecies, Amos wanted to keep the Adonai who blesses in his mind always. That is even more needful today, since we prophesy about the worst time of suffering ever on Earth.
The Prophet Amos was able to find the good news in the bad news. That motivated him to do the Work of God! He didn’t get depressed or try to avoid bad news. Understanding the truth motivated him, as it should us.
Some 95 percent of God’s own people have refused to deliver God’s message today. Was it because they lost sight of Adonai who blesses?
That had to be a big part of why they lost Adonai, their Head (Colossians 2:18-19).
If we don’t keep our godly perspective, we won’t see God’s love in our trials, the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.
Amos repeatedly referred to the Adonai who blesses!
If we hold the Head, that means we bring His thinking to bear on all the bad news. We view it as Christ does (Philippians 2:5). Otherwise, we will become negative as the persecution intensifies as a result of our increasingly strong warning.
Amos was more explicit than the other prophets in describing the coming destruction. That is a big part of the reason why the land would not bear his words.
Will God’s loyal people be able to bear the persecution that comes because of our message? I do fear at times how this Church will fare between now and the Great Tribulation.
There is some extremely bad news ahead in the short run. We must be able to face the worst news and still know that we serve the Adonai who blesses.
If we understand the purpose of the bad news, we can draw inspiration and hope from those very prophecies!
Bethel and Gilgal
Bethel and Gilgal are end-time code words pointing back to the beginning of Israel as a nation. They are the key to correcting the problems of God’s lukewarm Church and the nations of Israel.
“Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years” (Amos 4:4). Bethel means house of God. In this prophecy, it has become corrupt. For Jacob, Bethel was the starting point of his relationship with God (Genesis 28:16-22).
A church (house) of God has gone astray, and God is pointing it back to the beginning—when it was obedient to God. Today, God is trying to point the Laodiceans back to their beginning to help them see how they went astray. My book Malachi’s Message tells this story in more detail; request a free copy if you do not have one.
Bethel is mentioned seven times in the book of Amos (Amos 3:14; 4:4; 5:5 twice, 6; 7:10, 13). Seven is God’s number of completion. So the structure of this prophecy is very precise and well-planned by God, and it is all focused on this end time.
Gilgal is also transgressing. This was the first place Israel camped after reaching the Promised Land. An altar of 12 stones was built to honor God. Twelve is the number of new institutional beginnings. The Israelites were following God when they came out of Egypt. So God is pointing not only the Church but also the modern-day nations of Israel back to their beginning—when they were obeying God.
“And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord God” (Amos 4:5). The church is “religious,” but God is very critical of its religion. The Laodiceans offer no sin offering. That means they are blind to their own sins (as in Revelation 3:14-20). Therefore, they won’t receive correction. God plagues them—and the nations of Israel—five times (Amos 4:6-11). Still, they fail to repent—until they are in the Great Tribulation. They are about to meet their God (verses 12-13).
Bethel (a type of God’s Church) will come to nothing in the Tribulation, and Gilgal (a type of modern-day Israel) is going into captivity (Amos 5:5). This is what it will take to turn 50 percent of the Laodiceans to God—the other 50 percent will lose their salvation (Matthew 25:1-13).
The job of the Philadelphia Church of God is to warn all of them.
Sodom and Gomorrah
Thinking about a huge nuclear holocaust isn’t exactly inspiring, but that is exactly what we are facing in the world today! It is worse than anything we have ever seen on Earth. Amos described it just as it will be. While these aren’t pleasant words to hear, we must see the good news in the bad.
Amos was human as we are. He must have thought, Why do I have to deliver such a negative message? The inhabitants of the land can’t bear to hear it! It’s not easy for any man to deliver a message like that!
“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6). Notice that: God is responsible for all of this! Our Head who blesses has done it! Shouldn’t that cause us to think differently about it?
Notice the reason God sends this destruction:
“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” (Amos 4:11). This is also destruction by “fire.” The word some is in italics, which means the translators added it. God is going to destroy the U.S. and Britain as He did Sodom and Gomorrah. God did this by calling down fire from heaven (Genesis 19:24). “Fire from heaven” is going to destroy our nations unless they repent of their sodomy and upside-down family life! (Isaiah 3:12).
Amos writes in a poetic style. But what black poetry. Why all of this unparalleled bad news? Because after all of these curses, “yet have ye not returned unto me”!
Why do America, Britain and the Middle East Jews see trouble on every side? Will we have nothing left but two legs or a piece of an ear before we finally accept God’s message?
Remember, you can’t return to God if you never were with Him. These nations of Israel have a history with God—unlike the Gentiles. So we get corrected first. God corrects until our people get the message. All of this bad news has a wonderful purpose.
Christ’s greatest passion is to finish the Work (John 4:34). Is this my greatest passion? Is it yours? We all have room to improve. We all need severe self-examination.
Is this too horrible to face? Amos didn’t think so.
The reference in Amos 4:11 to Sodom and Gomorrah is clearly referring to the fire from heaven that destroyed those cities. But it also refers to their abominable sins—particularly sodomy! The modern nations of Israel love it—and they hate those who dare criticize it! But what does God say?
Think about what God did to Sodom and Gomorrah. Do you hate sodomy as God does? Would you blot out cities as God did because of it? We must learn to think the way God does.
But our Head who blesses did not destroy those cities indiscriminately. There was a wonderful purpose in it. Scripture shows that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah have yet to be judged (e.g., Matthew 10:15). There will yet come a day when God will resurrect them, remove the scales from their eyes, and reveal His truth to them.
When our Head who blesses sends destruction, it is ultimately meant to turn people to God!
The same God who sent fire to correct Sodom and Gomorrah is going to send “fire” in this end time in order to correct the nations!
“Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up. For thus saith the Lord God; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that [the same city of 1,000] which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel” (Amos 5:1-3). The city is a target. Nuclear bombs are going to be dropped on cities! A 10 percent loss in a military campaign is disastrous. Here, 90 percent of the people in a city die immediately! Then, only 10 percent of the survivors remain alive. Only 10 out of 1,000 are left—or 10,000 out of a million. This is speaking of 99 percent destruction of the population of our major cities! Other biblical verses indicate 1/10 of the total population survives (Isaiah 6:9-13).
Do we deeply fathom what is about to happen to the nations of Israel? Do we have the courage to face this stupendous disaster?
Sodom and Gomorrah were left in ashes (2 Peter 2:6). They suffered the vengeance of “eternal fire” (Jude 7). The same fate awaits our major cities.
That is what it takes for them to repent of their sodomy. That is how hardened they are in their sins.
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:28-29). It rained “fire and brimstone” on Sodom. A similar disaster is prophesied for the U.S. and Britain. “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (verse 30). Because modern-day Israel is living like Sodom and Gomorrah—it will die like Sodom and Gomorrah! Please read that again. If we live like Sodom, we will die like Sodom—in fire from heaven! This same type of destruction is coming just before Christ returns! God has prophesied!
Why does the destruction have to be so severe? Because of the hardness of the people! God always sends a warning message, but it goes unheeded—people continue to revel in their abominable sins.
Would Adonai—“our Head who blesses”—really destroy 99 percent of the people in the cities? He certainly would—just look at Sodom and Gomorrah!
It’s not God who is hard—it is the people! The people are caught up in spiritual Sodom and Gomorrah!
Our Head realizes that this is the best way to get the most people into the Family of God. The destruction of cities is a terrible thing, but if you thought you could get even one more person into the Family of God forever, wouldn’t you say it’s worth it? Yes!
God wants the largest family possible. If you look at the end result of all the bad news, you won’t be discouraged! God isn’t discouraged, even though He sheds tears over the people of Israel and all their terrible suffering!
God took Lot and his family out of Sodom before it was destroyed. And in this end time, God will take a small, righteous remnant out of biblical Israel and save their physical lives (Revelation 12:14).
The Excellency of Jacob
“That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:6). Joseph is the United States and Britain. Problems abound everywhere: violence, crime, family breakdown, drugs, an enormous pornography sewage, perverted music, terrible problems in our financial structure, and social unraveling. In spite of all of our problems, people “drink wine in bowls.” They are living the “good life” as our nations fall apart.
They are celebrating when they ought to be grieving. This is happening right now!
“Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed. The Lord God hath sworn by himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein” (verses 7-8).
Note that statement! God says, “I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces.” What we esteem highly in our societies, God abhors! That is a strong statement! What Israel exalts, God HATES! Might this be an area where we need to examine ourselves to see if we hate the same things God does? Ought not we pray and ask our Adonai who blesses for His view?
Amos had God’s view. Hatred of evil motivated this godly prophet. If we are going to be motivated to dispense God’s message, we are going to have to hate what God hates! We must hate what is happening in Israel and to Israel. We must hate how people are defaming God—our Head, and soon to be their Head.
Consider the television and movies of this world, for example—which people get so excited about. Do you hate the sin that is glorified in that entertainment? Does it make you yearn for a new, godly civilization?
Amos hated the evils of this world. Lot’s wife didn’t. Her family had to practically drag her out of Sodom, and she still looked back longingly at the evil city she loved!—before God transformed her into a pillar of salt.
“I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces.” When I read those words, I know I don’t hate this world as God does. The world we live in does not represent the way God thinks and lives. He is going to revolutionize it top to bottom when He establishes His Kingdom. It is that world we need to set our affections on.
“And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the Lord” (Amos 6:9-10). This is talking about nuclear holocaust, as it does in other scriptures (e.g., Matthew 24:21; Daniel 12:1). This will be the worst trouble ever known to man!
So it is here in Amos, an uncle comes in and burns the bodies and takes some bones out of the house. Undoubtedly because of the radiation, everybody is dead in the house. There is no indication of an army invading. Still, death fills the cities.
“For, behold, the Lord commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts” (Amos 6:11). The word breaches is rare. The Anchor Bible Commentary says there is “no other occurrence of any word with the same root.” The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines this word as “drops of dew.” If you carefully read the context, there seems to be no doubt this is referring to nuclear fallout!
The word clefts means fissures. That is “a break or split in tissue usually at the junction of skin and mucous membrane,” according to Webster’s Dictionary. The root word means “to tear in pieces.”
“Drops of dew,” or nuclear fallout, certainly will “tear in pieces” human flesh. Nuclear warfare is coming! Many Bible scriptures tell us that! We can’t hide from it.
“But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness” (verse 14). The chronology is about serious problems (verse 6), nuclear attack (verses 8-10), after which armies come in to oppress. The Anchor Bible commentary says: “The language used in Amos 6:14 … points to an incipient future, if not to events already in train [or already occurring].” There is no invasion described, only a nuclear attack and then an army moving in to oppress.
“Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land [or inhabitants] is not able to bear all his words” (Amos 7:10). This is a hard message to receive. The land could not bear the words of Amos!
However, the primary meaning of this book is for the end time. The words are much more difficult to bear in this nuclear age than they were in the age of Amos. It will be very hard for the people today to “bear all his words.”
Tradition indicates that Amos was killed for delivering God’s message. The Philadelphia Church of God must also deliver God’s message. Our job is not an easy one. Thankfully, God rewards us by taking us to a place of safety during this nuclear nightmare.
Considering how grim this message is, can you see why Amos had to continually focus on Adonai in order to remain positive?
Church Has Lost Its Urgency
“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!” (Amos 6:1). Zion is God’s Church (Isaiah 40:9; Micah 4:2). God is wrathful toward those who are “at ease” in God’s Church. God’s people must listen or pay a traumatic price.
One commentary says “at ease” means “to rejoice in what lacks substance and reality”! This is speaking of a church rejoicing in the physical—not God’s truth. It rejoices in a religion of false “love,” and it rejects the dire prophecies of God. These religionists are lost in the present because they have lost God’s overview. They are out of touch with reality.
As the nations face the worst time of suffering ever known in the history of man, God’s Laodicean Church is failing to warn them! They are at ease because they don’t see the mind-splitting reality. They are “blind.”
“Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near” (Amos 6:3). Only those in God’s Church know about “the evil day”—the end-time nuclear destruction. But they put it far into the future—when it’s actually very near! The closer the evil day is, the more at ease they become.
When 95 percent of God’s Church (Zion) is lukewarm and at ease, “the evil day” is imminent! This great “falling away” of God’s people (2 Thessalonians 2:3) is a sign that the nuclear destruction and Israel’s captivity are frighteningly close! Tragically, most of God’s people won’t see it until it is too late (Ezekiel 33:31-33).
Joseph Tkach Sr. made the following statement in the May 21, 1990, Worldwide News, just four years after Mr. Armstrong died: “If anyone is still unclear about the need for us to change our preoccupation with prophecy, whether in preaching, teaching, in the publications or on the telecast, then let me make the truth very plain.” He went on to condemn the wcg’s past “preoccupation with prophecy” (taught by Mr. Armstrong). That statement was prophecy being fulfilled!
“And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11-12). These are ministers whom God raised up—God’s true ministers. The truth is being compromised and watered down. Then these lukewarm ministers say “Prophesy not.” This is a prophecy of how the wcg violently changed its views on prophecy! This church prophesied God’s Word before this time. That is why the leaders say “Prophesy not.” The wcg leaders told the ministers not to prophesy as they did in the past! The ministry is saying, “Prophesy not”—after the death of Mr. Armstrong!
This is an end-time prophecy for God’s Laodicean churches right now! (That includes other groups that have left the wcg—except the pcg, which continues to proclaim a strong message of prophecy.)
The wcg, and other Laodicean offshoots, refuses to give God’s strong warning about an end-time nuclear holocaust. It’s a terrifying and very difficult message to deliver just before Christ returns to rule this world. God’s Philadelphia Church must do it. If we don’t warn Israel and the world, their blood will be on our heads (Ezekiel 3:17-19).
Mr. Tkach Sr. said, “If anyone is still unclear about the need for us to change our preoccupation with prophecy …”—then he went on to say, in the language of the Prophet Amos, “Prophesy not”!
He said that the wcg must get away from Mr. Armstrong’s view of prophecy—but it was God’s view of prophecy.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). The controversy over a watering down of God’s truth caused a church split. The two churches could not agree. The Philadelphia Church refused to accept the lukewarm changes.
I want to repeat this pivotal prophecy: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” (verses 7-8). God raises up a group that won’t compromise, and He “revealeth his secret” to them. That is why we see new revelations from God in Malachi’s Message and in the literature of the Philadelphia Church of God. That too was prophesied. When this happens, it is a time of great crisis! The “lion hath roared.” The Great Tribulation is very close when the church split occurs! We are not setting dates, but Christ is roaring from the Philadelphia Church! It’s “panic time,” whether people realize it or not. God says we must prophesy!
Roar From Zion—At Ease in Zion
“And he said, The Lord will roar from Zion …” (Amos 1:2). God is going to roar out of Zion—His Philadelphian Church! This is not the Laodicean Church. It says “Prophesy not.”
The Laodiceans (the majority of Zion) are “at ease.” But there is another Zion that roars for God—the Philadelphia Church. When the Lion roars, it’s time to become galvanized and respond to God—or be caught in the Great Tribulation.
A trumpet is being blown in God’s Church today (Amos 3:6). The people should be “afraid”—not “at ease.” In ancient Israel, the trumpet was used to sound the alarm of invasion. Today we blow that trumpet spiritually to God’s Laodicean Church and modern-day Israel—they have been invaded by demon armies and are dying spiritually. It is a terrible alarm that should cause people to tremble!
At a time when the wcg should be more urgent than ever before, it is “at ease.” The Laodiceans have turned away from Christ and what He taught through Mr. Armstrong.
The Lion of Judah is roaring. The Laodiceans don’t hear what the Spirit says (Revelation 3:20, 22). Christ has removed their lamp and they are “blind” to reality. Christ is still going to roar through the Philadelphia Church, which is separated from the Laodicean Church for that very purpose!
God says “Woe to them” (the Laodiceans). Why? They are going to experience the holocaust themselves unless they repent. Because they knew about “the evil day,” and then had to experience it, their suffering is far more painful and their salvation in doubt.
“That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David” (Amos 6:4-5). This is luxurious living by the Laodicean Church and the nation. That church is “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17). Its trust is in material things—not God.
Look again at Amos 6:6—this time from a spiritual perspective: “That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.” This verse is doubly condemning of the Laodiceans! Like the rest of the people, they are glutted on luxuries as the nation falls apart. They are not grieving for their nation. They should show their grieving through the warning message. The Laodicean churches aren’t warning the nation and telling the people why it’s all happening—even though they have the power to do so. God is about to shatter that power because they have ceased using it to serve His cause! (Daniel 12:7).
It’s the same prophecy Christ talked about. “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:48-51). These are people who know about God’s coming—God’s people. A little remnant is doing God’s Work, but most of God’s people are not. The majority are “at ease in Zion” and say, “My Lord delayeth his coming” and, “Prophesy not.” And then they go about their carnal ways (verse 49)—just as in Amos 6:1-3.
God is talking about a Church of God that has lost its love for God’s Work—its urgency.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). The Greek word translated “love” is agape—or God’s love, not man’s love. Only God’s people have God’s love. Many of them are losing that love. God is prophesying of a wholesale departure of His people from the truth in the end time (verse 13). This apostasy is also called “the great revolt” (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Williams translation).
The Laodiceans don’t see that Christ’s return is imminent—that He has not delayed His coming! The Laodiceans don’t have a strong warning message of prophecy. This is how they could express their love, by giving the world a better chance to repent and escape the coming disaster! Instead, they talk about a syrupy type of “love” with very little practical meaning.
God says they are going to be shocked out of their “at ease” posture. There will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” These lukewarm Christians shall “go captive with the first that go captive” (Amos 6:7). The remainder of Amos 6 tells about the nuclear holocaust.
You can’t afford to guess about which church is right! You must prove it from your Bible. You must know.
As Paul said, “I seek not yours [tithes and offerings], but you …” (2 Corinthians 12:14). We seek you so you may have God’s protection and membership in His Family. Soon, the holocaust will be here and God shall deliver His Philadelphian saints to a place of physical safety. Then everybody will know which church was doing God’s Work.
Chapter 3: Christ Personally Appears!
The book of Amos reveals how the Laodicean Church has lost its urgency at a time when America and Britain are facing nuclear holocaust. The first chapter of Amos discusses a fire (nuclear holocaust) that afflicts the U.S. and Britain and even some other nations (verses 4, 7, 10, 12). Then in Amos 1:14 and 2:2, 5, the fire is called “it.”
Here is what the Anchor Bible says regarding the “it” in Amos chapters 1 and 2: “All eight oracles refer to the same ‘it,’ which will not be retracted or reversed. There was a single decree covering them all. … [It] is a composition declaring judgment on the entire region as a unit. … This unity suggests one cosmic holocaust, not just several invasions that would pick off these countries one by one” (emphasis mine throughout). Amos likens it to that fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. It is called “fire from … heaven” (Genesis 19:24).
The Anchor Bible calls it “one cosmic holocaust”! That is, a massive destruction from the heavens—from the cosmos. It’s discussing a nuclear attack primarily on the U.S. and Britain.
A Mysterious Word
“Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt …” (Amos 3:1). God brought His family out of Egypt. The Hebrew word for family is mispaha. “The mispaha is the largest subtribal unit, between tribe and family, and could be called a clan,” the Anchor Bible says. “This discussion of Israelite kinship terminology underscores the unique and puzzling use that Amos makes of the term mispaha. [A] mispaha can be given the rank of a tribe, as a major unit in a nation. But a mispaha is never viewed as an autonomous political unit. Amos 3:1 is the only place in which Israel is called a mispaha.“
So the word family could be a tribe or a clan or “between tribe and family.” We can understand this word more clearly if we look at the context of Amos 2 and 3. Also, remember this is primarily an end-time book. God brought Israel out of Egypt, but that is only a type of bringing spiritual Israel, or the Church, out of this world.
Amos talks about ministers whom God raised up (Amos 2:11-12). That means he is discussing God’s true Church. One church prophesies (Amos 3:7-8) and one church refuses to prophesy (Amos 2:11-12). That means there is division between these two churches and they can’t walk together (Amos 3:3).
The word family (verse 1) is referring mainly to God’s spiritual Family—the true Church of God.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (verse 2). The root word of the word known is used in marital relations. The English equivalent is “to make love.” Christ is the spiritual Husband of His Church. They are spiritual “lovers.” This is a unique, loving relationship that exists only between God and His true Church.
So we see that Amos 3:1 is primarily discussing God’s spiritual Family. And it is divided. God’s Family should be deeply united.
The book of Amos is mainly focusing on God’s Church! And it is being fulfilled this very moment. It’s only for the world secondarily. God’s people must awaken and fear more acutely. We can’t hide from our God-given responsibility!
God’s Family has had a spiritually loving relationship with God. They received a special calling from God the Father (John 6:44). It is the highest possible honor. “You only have I known of all the families of the earth …” (Amos 3:2). “You only”! This is a rare and glorious honor to know the great God spiritually. But many of God’s people now have a ho-hum attitude and have grown lukewarm.
So what is God’s response? Because God has known only you, He says, “… therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (verse 2). With this great honor of knowing God as no one else on this planet does, there comes a weighty responsibility. If God’s people fail in their responsibility to God and the world, then God is going to punish them!
This is a “thus saith the Lord God”! We can’t take our calling lightly. God never does! This punishment is about to be inflicted on God’s people.
The Philadelphia Church prophesies the truth. But the Laodiceans will ridicule prophecy—until the Great Tribulation arrives. Then God will hammer and batter them with reality.
God is pleading with and warning His people. Only we have been given God’s Holy Spirit. Only we have received His revelations. Now the Laodicean Church is moving away from this unparalleled calling. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more scandalous than to know the great God and then become lukewarm or turn away. Nothing!
“I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut [wound is a better translation] 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” (Amos 9:1). This is discussing the physical temple anciently and the spiritual temple, or God’s true Church, today.
Amos calls it “the altar.” Not just any altar.
Remember Amos 3:14: “That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.” Here Amos talks about “altars” and “the altar.” The Anchor Bible says the latter altar perhaps “refers to the great and main altar of Bethel [God’s house] as a special target.”
Today, we know this is referring to God’s true Church that became Laodicean. The Bible repeatedly mentions a great Church of God that went astray just before Christ returns.
The altar is a type of the ministry (Revelation 11:1). The ancient temple is a type of God’s Church today (Ephesians 2:19-22). God is severely correcting the Laodicean ministry. That is the theme of Malachi’s Message.
Here is what the Anchor Bible relates about Amos 9:1: “[God’s] presence in the sanctuary, where normally the priest would be standing or officiating, would indicate that something out of the ordinary, something ominous, was about to happen.” God is directing the smiting in a special and personal way.
We certainly witnessed this prophecy fulfilled, in large part, in our court battle with the wcg over Mystery of the Ages. It was God who gave us the court victory. It was a miraculous, Red Sea kind of victory. Without God’s special intervention, His message could not have been delivered. Habakkuk speaks of it as part of a double wonder (Habakkuk 1:5; meaning in Hebrew). (Request my free book The New Throne of David to understand.)
A Wall Street Journal reporter wrote an article about the split in the wcg. He interviewed people in our Church. He also talked to people in the Laodicean churches and said that “all of them were glued to the court case.”
I said several times to our Church members, before we won the court case, that a pcg victory would wound all of the Laodiceans in the head. I pointed out several times that this was the primary spiritual meaning behind this verse.
The Eternal is “standing by” (correct translation) the altar. “God is described as ‘standing [same Hebrew word] in the congregation’ (Psalm 82:1) for administering justice” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible). The pcg could not get justice from the wcg or the courts. So God intervened in a very personal way to give us true justice! He dealt with the altar, or the wcg ministry, in the court case. He demonstrated His authority to all the Laodiceans.
Lange’s, the International Critical, the Interpreter’s Bible and Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentaries all state that Amos 9:1 is the fifth vision of Amos. Number five is the biblical number for judgment.
In Leviticus 26, God says He will punish Israel “seven times more” for our sins—this is first implied in verse 17, then stated four more times (verses 18, 21, 24, 28)—a total of five times—the number of judgment. It means that God keeps intensifying the punishment until our people repent. That is what it takes to break Israel’s rebellious spirit.
In the other four visions, Amos stated that “the Lord God shewed unto me.” But here, in the fifth vision, Amos stated that “I saw the Lord.” This vision is stronger, more threatening and troubling than the others. Amos saw God in this vision, which is not the case in the other four visions (see Amos 7:1, 4, 7; 8:1). There is a big difference between “the Lord God shewed unto me” and “I saw the Lord.”
Christ made some kind of a special effort in fulfilling this prophecy today. Christ personally saw to it that we received justice!
The Companion Bible states that in the original manuscripts, the word Lord is combined with “eth”—which means God Himself. So Christ, the Head of His Church—makes a personal appearance!
Here are quotes from three more commentaries:
“In the four previous visions, the Lord showed the prophet only what He was about to do; in this one the prophet sees the Lord actually engaged in executing his judgment” (Lange’s Commentary).
“This vision has an entirely different introduction from those of the preceding visions. Here Yahweh Himself appears, the symbol being no longer used” (International Critical Commentary).
“I saw the Lord: not as in the case of the four other visions, ‘The Lord God caused me to see’” (Interpreter’s Bible).
Most of the commentaries absolutely believe Christ was prophesied to make a personal appearance. (Request our free booklet on Habakkuk for even more detailed prophecies.)
The major part of this prophecy has been fulfilled. The remainder of Amos 9 will make that clear. We were called to “knock” on the Laodicean door (Revelation 3:20). But winning our court case went beyond knocking, to smiting! That is the only way we could get justice.
God’s Work could not have been done if the Philadelphia Church of God hadn’t received the rights to publish Mr. Armstrong’s writings! That is how important this court case was.
The altar was built only for worship in the tabernacle or temple. Again, the altar is a type of the ministry today. Christ had to “smite” them. That means the ministry must have gone astray. In fact, they were destroying God’s Work. God’s Work is far more important than anything else being done on Earth. Jesus Christ personally intervened so His Work could be finished. He had to smite the ministers and people who were fighting against Him. But He wounded all of the Laodicean members in the head through our court victory.
God has made it abundantly clear who is continuing the Work He did through Mr. Armstrong.
Let’s take a closer look at Psalm 82:1: “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.” The word stands is the same Hebrew word as in Amos 9:1. God “judgeth among the gods.” “How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah” (Psalm 82:2). The words judges and judge are the same Hebrew word, and it means “to judge, i.e. pronounce sentence (for or against); by implication, to vindicate or punish.” In the court case, God vindicated the pcg and punished the wcg.
The word judge also means “to litigate” (as in court) or “to judge (to give justice).”
The wcg took us to the courts for justice from men. I said in my sermon November 11, 2000, “God is going to give them some real justice.” We now see that God has given them true justice.
God made the temple, or the Laodicean Church, “shake.” The word shake means “to be agitated; … to quake, shake …. The primary notion of this term is a loud crashing noise” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible). That means that God caused a spiritual earthquake in the Laodicean Church. But how? Deep down the Laodiceans know that we are right. They once believed what we believe now. But they do all they can to hide from that reality. One way or another, God is going to make them face reality. When we won the court case, all of them were shaken. God gave them a strong dose of reality. He showed them, in a powerful way, who is continuing the Work He did through Mr. Armstrong—who is the true successor to Mr. Armstrong.
God is standing by the altar, but He commands Amos to smite the temple. So there must be a modern-day type of Amos whom God uses, with the help of his supporters, to smite the Laodicean temple. As Lange’s Commentary states, “The prophet is not to be merely a spectator, but takes part in the action.” God works through His very elect.
Now back to Amos 9:1. “I saw the Lord standing [by] the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake ….” It is going to have far-reaching consequences. The posts, or the pillars, shake, which means it’s going to shake the whole roof and the foundation—everything—spiritually.
Now let me show you what the Anchor Bible says about this: God Himself is standing not on the altar but by it. “[S]tanding on the altar is not the same, and ‘beside’ is better. [God’s] presence in the sanctuary, where normally the priest would be standing or officiating, would indicate that something out of the ordinary, something ominous was about to happen.” Christ is here Himself doing it, smiting something.
Our court victory was not the blow of a man. God struck and wounded all of the Laodiceans in the head. This is what all the Laodiceans must see if they are to be in God’s Kingdom.
In that sermon November 11, 2000 (during the court case), I said: This “means the wcg and the Laodiceans are going to receive a spiritual wound, when we win Mr. Armstrong’s writings so that we can publish them. Amos 9:1 is as simple as the court case—this I fully believe.”
There should be no chapter break between chapters 8 and 9. Amos discusses the 50 percent of God’s people who lose their eternal life—“they shall fall, and never rise up again” (Amos 8:14).
The next verse is Amos 9:1, which is about the court case. The people who fought against God in court are in danger of falling and never rising again. This is the greatest tragedy in this end time!
They had the revealed truth of God, then rejected and tried to destroy it. There is no future for anybody who fails to repent of such a horrendous sin.
Physical Earthquake Too?
Could Amos 9:1 also refer to what used to be God’s physical house in Pasadena, California—in a secondary way? God only knows, but I don’t believe we can rule out that strong possibility. Amos says: “… cut [wound] them in the head, all of them” (Amos 9:1).
A destruction of God’s house, at what was once the headquarters of the Laodicean Church, would wound all the Laodiceans in the head, or impact their thinking in a powerful way.
It is common for God’s physical temple, or house, to be destroyed when the people turn away from God.
The Pasadena campus and God’s house have now been sold. Did the leadership of the wcg really talk affectionately about God’s house in Pasadena? Or was it looked upon as just another building? They specifically told the members not to call the auditorium “God’s house”! Mr. Armstrong called it God’s house most of the time.
The whole wcg building program was stopped so this house could be built to the honor of the great God! Mr. Armstrong believed the Church received a command from God to do so through the book of Haggai! This building was the most important building on the Earth to God—and to some of His people! God is deeply concerned about His Church’s attitude toward that house. It reflects their thinking toward God! Mr. Armstrong, inspired by God, repeatedly asked the wcg members to make prodigious sacrifices to build a house for God!
If the campus hadn’t sold, the wcg leaders would have destroyed the auditorium to build a housing project. They are “rich, and increased with goods” and have no need for God (Revelation 3:14-18).
“The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). This earthquake was so powerful it was labeled “the earthquake.” There was no need to say which earthquake in the time of Amos. Everybody knew what was meant when “the earthquake” was mentioned. It occurred two years after Amos prophesied and was remembered centuries afterward (Zechariah 14:5).
An earthquake is very prominent in the book of Amos. Will there be a modern-day counterpart of the earthquake that struck in the time of Amos? Only God knows. But we must remember that this book is mainly prophecy for today!
“And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:5). This is an earthquake to occur at Christ’s return. Zechariah is also an end-time book. How did the earthquake happen anciently “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah”? Josephus says Uzziah went into the temple to offer incense. This act was opposed by the priests who were appointed to do this job. The earthquake struck at this time, and a huge crack was made in the temple.
God was very concerned about what happened in His physical temple. We know that God has to be far more concerned about what is happening today in His spiritual temple!
We also know that God is dealing with us spiritually today. God is not going to take lightly the rebellious changes occurring in the Laodicean churches—and in His physical house.
Am I saying that what used to be God’s physical house in Pasadena is going to be destroyed? No, I am not. God only knows. But can we rule out that possibility in view of Amos 9:1 and other verses? I don’t think so. A shaking of God’s former physical house could also shake the spiritual temple, or Laodicean Church.
The city of Laodicea in the first century was repeatedly struck by earthquakes. So God’s Laodicean saints had that problem to cope with then. And the first-century Laodicean Church was only a type of the end-time Laodiceans. Only God knows the details of what is to occur. But this much we do know: Total destruction is coming upon the Laodicean Church! God’s Philadelphia Church must warn the Laodiceans and pray that they will repent!
Let’s not forget that God’s emphasis in the book of Amos today is on the spiritual.
Laodiceans Face Death
Notice the last part of Amos 9:1: “… 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.”
The Revised Standard Version says, “not one of them shall escape.” Prophecy shows that the Laodiceans must die in the Tribulation to prove themselves to God. Not one will escape alive. This doesn’t refer to physical Israel. Some of them will be saved (verse 8).
The Anchor Bible says Amos 9:1 “includes not only the demolition of the temple but also military defeat, exile and extermination of survivors.”
“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” (verse 4).
Verses 2 and 3 also illustrate that none of the Laodiceans survive. Notice the Revised Standard Version: “Though they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search out and take them; and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.”
The Laodiceans say, “Prophesy not” (Amos 2:12). The Philadelphia Church says, “The lion hath roared … who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8). We see two deeply divided churches of God. When you see this division, the “lion hath roared.” We’re not setting dates, but God says it is dangerously close to disaster for modern-day Israel. God’s Philadelphia saints are going to know the “lion hath roared”! God has revealed it! All of God’s people must be warned.
Economically and politically, Germany is already united and leading the European Union. Germany is God’s tool to correct the U.S. and Britain (Isaiah 10:5-6). And events are moving so fast that even the people who are leading these events are shocked! Figuratively, it’s as if Amos already hears the marching of the jack-booted German soldiers.
The point is this—when you see the division in God’s own Church, the end is perilously close! The Lion has roared! Even if we are deaf to the roaring Lion, frightening and unparalleled tragedy is still about to strike!
The Tabernacle of David
We won the works of Mr. Armstrong on January 16, 2003. Only then did we fully understand the book of Amos. That victory specifically dated the book of Amos. We can see clearly where we are in Bible prophecy. How dangerously close we are to the nuclear Great Tribulation!
Soon the inhabitants will not be able to bear his words.
Can you believe God?
I wrote Who Is ‘That Prophet’? in 2001, about two years before that victory. Here is a quote from that booklet: “Some Laodiceans call us and say, ‘We really hope you win this court case.’ I have to wonder, do they really? They are sitting out there on the fence doing nothing. They don’t have the courage to join the fight for God. Doesn’t God expect more? He wants deeds. How can we be neutral in times like these?
“Remember Amos 9:11: ‘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.’ If you’re going to build this tabernacle ‘as in the days of old,’ you would have to have the books and booklets you once had. ‘That they may possess the remnant of Edom …’ (verse 12). That must include Mystery of the Ages and Mr. Armstrong’s other books and booklets. That is what I believe, and faith firmly dictates that I continue to believe that until God says otherwise.”
Now that amazing prophecy has been fulfilled! We now own the copyrights to Mr. Armstrong’s major writings. The living God gave us the victory. He fulfills His Bible prophecies—and it is time this world takes notice.
Now let’s read those two verses in their entirety: “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: 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” (Amos 9:11-12). “In that day” always refers to the end time. The word Edom refers to 50 percent of God’s Laodicean Church. (To understand who Edom is, request free copies of Malachi’s Message and Obadiah.)
What is the tabernacle of David? The word tabernacle means a temporary dwelling, like hut or booth. This raising of the ruins does not refer to the millennial period when Christ rules. There is nothing temporary about His rule. These verses refer to a time just before Christ returns.
The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible defines the word tabernacle as “a temporary abode.” It states, “The most common use of the term had to do with the yearly booth made in conjunction with the Feast of Tabernacles …. Amos 9:11 stated that God would raise up the fallen booth of David.”
So we see that a temporary dwelling has fallen, and Christ is going to raise up that tabernacle—another temporary dwelling—before He returns. The tabernacle refers to God’s end-time Church. This Church teaches about the inspiring throne of David, which Christ will sit on when He returns. That inspiring truth is what The United States and Britain in Prophecy is all about. The bigger version of that book is one of the major books we won in our court battle.
Mr. Armstrong mailed out over 5 million copies of that book—more than any other book or booklet he wrote. Getting this book was a pivotal part of how we had to “raise up his ruins.”
Winning the court case was one of the greatest, most specific prophecies that ever will be fulfilled about the pcg in this end time!
This prophecy is about the tabernacle of David for an inspiring reason. The firstfruits—those called out of this world before Christ’s return—are to share David’s throne with Christ. We will be royal kings and priests forever! (Revelation 1:6).
Fighting the court battle was another example of how we build the character of God’s kings and priests.
Today, God empowers us to “close up the breaches.” Here is how the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon explains this expression: “[T]o surround with a fence, hedge, wall, hence to erect a wall” or “to fortify with a wall, to wall around, i.e. to set any one in safety, Ezekiel 13:5.”
In raising up the ruins, God leads us to build a protective wall around His truth. We must not allow anyone to “cast down the truth” (Daniel 8:11-12), which was what recently happened in God’s Church. (Our booklet Daniel—Unsealed at Last! explains this thoroughly. It’s yours for the asking.) Somebody had to leave God’s Church in ruins. This is why we have to raise up the ruins.
Let’s look at Amos 9:12 again: “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.” According to Strong’s Concordance, the word possess in verse 12 means “to occupy (by driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place); by implication, to seize, to rob, to inherit; also to expel, to impoverish, to ruin ….” In this prophecy, God was quite specific in how He would direct us through the lawsuit. Being able to use the material was not enough—God wanted us to control it. As to how that would work out, at the time I wrote Who Is ‘That Prophet’? we still weren’t quite sure.
Gesenius’ Lexicon defines it as “to take possession of his goods.” The goods, or writings, of Mr. Armstrong really belonged to us. But we still had to get them through the courts.
The expression also means the following: “It has the legal sense of becoming an heir (Jeremiah 32:8) and the military sense of invasion for the purpose of settling in the territory. Both meanings are prominant with regard to God’s covenant with Israel” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible).
Both Edom and the heathen are “called by my [God’s] name.” That “signifies that these peoples had been conquered by God” (Interpreter’s Bible Commentary). This refers to God’s own people at the time they knew God and obeyed Him. After Mr. Armstrong died, they rebelled. Fifty percent sold their birthright as Esau (or Edom) did. And 50 percent became “heathen.” According to Bible scholars, this word has to be defined by the context. The word heathen means Gentile (see Strong’s Concordance). This group of God’s people have rebelled and become spiritual Gentiles.
Edom and the heathen destroyed the tabernacle of David when they rebelled against God. But God’s very elect were used to change the devastated condition of God’s Church. This is all God’s doing. He says, “I raise up the tabernacle” and “I will raise up his ruins” and “I will build it as in the days of old.” Now we can see that God has done exactly what He said would be done!
Chapter 4: Famine of the Word
Mr. Armstrong used to talk about the Bible being a coded book. Only God can reveal that code. Amos 7 is a coded chapter of great importance.
“And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, a plumbline. Then said the Lord, behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more” (Amos 7:8). This Philadelphia work is God’s final warning to the Laodiceans and to the nations of Israel. God is about to destroy as if by rule and line—hence the plumbline. It is a calculated and measured destruction by God!
‘High Places of Isaac’
“And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (Amos 7:9). The Anchor Bible says: “The pairing of Isaac and Israel is unique …. Elsewhere in the Bible all of Isaac’s connections are with the south and specifically with Beersheba.” That being the case, we should examine this expression a little more closely.
This verse discusses the “high places [or religious places] of Isaac” and the “sanctuaries [or religious places] of Israel.” Two types of religious places are discussed.
First, let’s consider the high places of Isaac. One example, listed in the reference of most Bibles, is discussed in Genesis 26:23-25. God appeared to Isaac in person, and he built an altar there! The point is that those high places, or altars, of Isaac started with God’s inspiration and power! Later, they were corrupted when the people departed from God.
“High places of Isaac” is a coded expression. Amos is referring to a religion that started with God’s great power and then turned away from God. Since this is primarily an end-time book, we know it is discussing a church that began with God and turned Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-17). It is a church that started in this age with Mr. Armstrong, but has since departed from what God established through him. Only the Philadelphia Church holds fast to what Mr. Armstrong taught.
We must understand the book of Amos spiritually today. The Bible story about Isaac and Israel has a modern-day counterpart. God’s Church today is spiritual Israel. God also sent us an “Isaac” to establish His truth in the latter days. Ancient Israel received and later rejected God’s instruction to Isaac. The wcg committed the same sin by rejecting God and Mr. Armstrong!
Amos also discusses “sanctuaries of Israel.” These are churches that didn’t start with God’s power. They have never known God as the religious places of Isaac have known Him (Amos 3:1-2). Two groups are discussed here: God’s own Church that has watered down the truth, and the totally deceived churches of today’s world that have never known God.
The religious places of Isaac are going to be “desolate.” The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon gives its first definition of this word as follows: “to be astonished (the primary idea is that of silence, being put to silence …).”
One of the major sins of the Laodiceans is that they talk back to God (Revelation 3:17; Malachi 3:13-14). God is about to silence them! He will drive them into the Great Tribulation unless they repent and follow God as the pcg is doing. The Bible indicates every one of them must give up their lives to prove themselves to God! Finally, half of them will shut their mouths and just obey God—even die for Him.
Land Not Able to Bear His Words
Now notice one of the pivotal prophecies in Amos’s book: “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words” (Amos 7:10). This verse prophesies of a major attack against God’s people in the end time. But notice the sinister nature of what provokes it!
Bethel means “house of God.” So here is a priest of God’s house. The Anchor Bible says: “The title is unique. It points to a head priest of a specific shrine. No other Israelite priest is so named, not for any temple or city ….” This is the most important priest in a sinful Church of God. He is the priest of God’s house.
There is a modern counterpart to this priest of Bethel.
Will there be another direct confrontation between the Laodicean and Philadelphian churches in the near future? Here is why that could easily happen. The leaders in the United States and Britain will know that the Philadelphia Church of God came out of the Worldwide Church of God. The leaders of the nations could enlist the wcg in an attempt to stop the pcg’s message. Amos says “the land is not able to bear all his words”! This is a prophecy about the impact our message will have on modern Israel and the Laodicean Church! Surely nobody could seriously believe the wcg will preach a message the land cannot bear! The message of Amos is going to be delivered in this end time by the Philadelphia Church of God! A great work lies yet ahead of us. However, it is apt to be of short duration. Amos says when you see God’s Church divided, the end is very near!
The “land” means “the inhabitants of a region” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon). Those inhabitants are specifically the American and British peoples.
Amos is directing his message to the “remnant” (or end-time portion) of Joseph (Amos 5:15; 6:6). The story of Joseph and his two sons—Ephraim and Manasseh, or modern-day Britain and America—is recorded in Genesis 48:3-5, 10-20 and 49:22-26. Mr. Armstrong covered this very well in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
Why can’t the land bear all of our words? Our message would not faze them unless there were serious problems plaguing the nations! The people try to close their minds to the coming catastrophe. But God’s Word won’t allow them to hide behind deceptions.
Herbert W. Armstrong never delivered this message! Our nations’ problems never became this bad while he was alive.
“And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord. And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord” (Amos 4:6-8). Amos is prophesying of disastrous droughts and floods! And they have already started occurring in the U.S. and Britain. We are facing horrendous times. The Laodiceans, America and Britain must be warned!
When you understand the seriousness of the message in the book of Amos, you can see why the land is going to have such a difficult time bearing it! “For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land” (Amos 7:11). That is a strong, specific prophecy from the great God!
Amos 7:10 indicates just how strong the message of the Philadelphia Church of God is going to become! We must trumpet Amos’s prophecies—blast them, roar them, hurl them out there to this world in as dramatic a fashion as we possibly can! The land will not be able to ignore what we are saying.
But we must realize: If the people cannot bear the message, what are they going to do to the messenger?
Prophecy shows that they are going to cast out God’s people!
“Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court” (verses 12-13). This is probably how God’s people will go to the place of safety. What a blessing that God will protect us from the worst of the tribulation and persecution.
In these verses again we see the “prophesy not”-”prophesy” tension of Amos 2 and 3. It could be that one of the biggest confrontations will erupt between two of God’s own churches—the pcg and the wcg (and other Laodicean churches). The pcg must tell the people of Israel that they shall be “led away captive out of their own land”! The wcg is trying, even now, to squelch such a message—as it tried to do in the court case.
These powerful men told Amos, SHUT UP! SHUT YOUR MOUTH! But this mighty prophet remained loyal to God and refused to do so.
Do we have the spiritual courage required to tell people, including the leaders of nations, exactly what is about to happen? God’s prophecies will not go unfulfilled—they will happen precisely as God has ordained!
Look how strong Amos was! How easy would it be, if the land couldn’t bear the message, to give up? Amos never did.
“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel” (verses 14-15). Amos was a happy rancher and poet (see Chapter 5 of this book). He didn’t seek the job of a prophet—his background was far removed from anything of the sort. But here is what this faithful prophet of God said:
“Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land” (verses 16-17).
You must admit, Amos didn’t go out with a whimper. He went out with a mighty bang! At the end of Amos’s life, God must have said, Well done, Amos!
Will God say that of you and me? Well done in delivering the book of Amos! The tougher they got, the tougher you got in delivering that message! Well done!
‘Drop Not Thy Word’
Notice how these verses give more detail about a coming confrontation for God’s Church, including with the Laodicean leaders.
In Amos 7:16, the head priest is telling Amos not to prophesy against Israel and against the house of Isaac (the Laodicean Church today). This represents the Laodicean leaders—people who know us and who say the nastiest things about us. They will do all they can to destroy us!
“[D]rop not thy word” is another coded expression. Why is it so stated?
“Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass” (Deuteronomy 32:1-2). This is the same expression as the one in Amos. God’s word, or doctrine, drops as rain. How? When rain falls, it produces a growth of vegetation or crops. The words of God from the pcg are raining continually into the Laodicean churches and causing people to come out of their lukewarm and rebellious ways. This produces spiritual growth in their lives.
We continue to drop God’s word into all of the Laodicean congregations—which is a major part of our commission from God (e.g., Revelation 3:20). Some Laodicean members are responding and exhibiting spiritual growth. It’s happening right now. Amos prophesied that the pcg would become a much greater agitator to the wcg and all of the Laodiceans as we get closer to the end of this age. Gesenius’ Lexicon defines drop as “to drop, fall in drops … like rain.” And these drops of God’s spiritual truth are falling into the “house of Isaac”—or the Laodicean churches!
Dropping God’s word like rain is contrasted with the “famine” of God’s word in the next chapter.
Famine of the Word
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord [Adonai—Amos continues to remind himself] 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” (Amos 8:11).
The Laodicean Church is already experiencing the famine of God’s word! The Laodiceans do not receive God’s word today, and they never will until they repent! Instead of receiving new revelation from the living God, they have nothing but spiritual starvation.
Meanwhile, God is flooding His very elect with precious new truths! The Adonai who blesses pours out revelation upon us, practically faster than we can keep up with it!
Do you thank God that you’re not living in famine?
This book of Amos is an example of God providing meat in due season. It shows us the shortness of the times we live in and explains what we must be doing. This is revelation from God that we must have! And God expects us to deliver it. He is blessing His Work, and we are building and publishing and broadcasting as quickly and effectively as we can. Our Head is rushing along, pushing this Work very hard, because of the urgency of the times.
Soon, people will not be able to find any of these booklets. They won’t be able to find any spiritual food! People will be crying out for someone to “drop” God’s word—His revealed prophecies. But then it will be too late physically. God’s very elect will be in a place of safety. Those who paid attention are going to realize what they didn’t do and what they should have done. God’s word will cease being preached (except by the two witnesses). All of God’s people will then know which church Christ was leading.
Never to Rise Again
The last verse in Amos 8 brings this book right up to date. It puts these prophecies into our time by introducing our court case with the Worldwide Church of God, which we discussed in Chapter 3.
“They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again” (Amos 8:14). Who are these people who fall and never rise up again? That could only refer to people who received God’s spiritual begettal and who then lost it!
Prophecy shows that half of the Laodiceans will not repent, and they are going to lose their eternal lives. As Herbert W. Armstrong often said, this is dangerous knowledge! Once people understand it, they are under God’s judgment. “Dangerous knowledge” is almost an understatement.
I believe those people we battled in court, and those who vehemently supported them, are among those who have fallen—and will never rise again!
How dangerous it is to walk away from God.
If you have received God’s Spirit, you must make sure you are right with God. Many people have fallen away because they have gotten bitter against a minister or another member. Really they have allowed themselves to become bitter against God! We cannot afford to be wrong about this! Before you decide to get bitter against God, remember these prophecies: There are people who have fallen and who will not rise again! The way God views it, they are shamefully left without an excuse!
The pcg is laboring diligently to reach as many Laodiceans as possible and encourage them to repent and turn back to God! We must be zealously motivated to help them, because their need is so desperate.
Chapter 5: Amos: Wealthy Rancher, Poet, Historian and Prophet
Many people think Amos was a poor, uneducated farmer before he became a prophet. But a closer look at his life uncovers some stunning insights into this man’s abilities.
There are many misconceptions about Amos that need to be clarified.
“The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake” (Amos 1:1). The word herdmen (nôqêd in Hebrew) is defined as “a cattle-owner, owner of flocks” (see Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon).
The word herdmen is used only one other place in the Old Testament: “And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool” (2 Kings 3:4). The word sheepmaster is translated from the same Hebrew word nôqêd. Mesha, the king of Moab, was a breeder of animals on a large scale—a “sheepmaster”—not a poor shepherd. This king gave the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams.
So both Amos and King Mesha undoubtedly owned their own herds of animals.
Also, the words herdmen and sheepmaster can refer to keepers of “a kind of sheep which have excellent wool” (Gesenius’ Lexicon). That means it would have been a well-financed endeavor.
In Amos 7, Amos records himself as saying, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel” (verse 14-15). Here the word herdman (verse 14) is bôqer in Hebrew.
Here is what the Anchor Bible Dictionary says about Amos and these different words: “He was variously described as a nôqêd, ‘shepherd’ (1:1), a bôqer, ‘cattleman’ (7:14), and a bôles, ‘gouger [of sycamore figs]’ (7:14). …
“Thus, we would argue that Amos was not a royal or cultic figure but one of the ‘ăm-ha’arĕs, the well-to-do class of citizens who owned cattle, sheep and goats. …
“This interpretation of Amos’s vocation clears up the problem of understanding nôqêd and bôqer together. Nôqêd has generally been interpreted as a herder or breeder of small animals (sheep and goats), while bôqer has been reserved for one who breeds large animals (cattle) …. It has been argued that the terms are incongruous, that poor farmers did not have the resources to breed and tend both small and large domestic animals. … Amos was rich enough to own sheep, goats and cattle.
“Finally, although the poor did eat sycamore figs, the fruit was mostly used for cattle fodder. Thus, the description of Amos as a bôles may refer to his ownership of sycamore orchards as a feed crop rather than to the specific act of cutting the figs.”
We can clearly see that Amos was not a poor sheepherder or sharecropper. He was a very successful rancher and farmer.
Amos the Poet
“Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron” (Amos 1:3). The Anchor Bible Dictionary relates about this verse: “‘For three transgressions … and for four …,’ a poetic technique that provided a formal structure to the whole ….”
“For three transgressions … and for four” means the accumulative effect of evil. The whole book follows this pattern. It is written in an intricate poetic style. That is an ability that even most writers today do not have.
Amos used the most powerful language he possibly could have. Why? Because it was God’s message! The message did not come from man—it came from God! “The language is rich and the literary features abundant in the book of Amos. In addition to the literary structures (chiasm [creates a counterbalancing effect in linking phrases], alternation) … Amos uses a number of other features to formulate his message. The use of divine appellatives [giving of names or common nouns], the alternation between first and third person, and between second and third person with reference to addresses, and the creation of sound patterns all aid in knitting together the larger structure …. Amos is fond of progressive numerical formulas, using them to structure at least three sections of the book …” (ibid).
Does this poetic technique sound like Amos was an uneducated man? Quite the contrary.
Amos the Historian
“Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron: But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad. I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the Lord” (Amos 1:3-5).
“The sayings and oracles of Amos convince us that he was cognizant of the history of Judah, Israel, and their neighbors (1:3-2:16). He knew about the cultic and political centers of Israel and Judah and their practices (Jerusalem—2:5, 6:1; Samaria—3:9, 4:1, 6:1; Bethel—3:14, 4:4, 5:5-6, 7:13; Gilgal—4;4, 5:5, Beersheba—5:5, 8:14; Dan—8:14). Amos was also aware of the social hierarchy and power structures that existed. The variety of his literary structures and his heightened rhetoric convince us that he was a gifted orator. All these factors lend credence to the view that Amos was a very gifted, highly educated individual, not a poor shepherd. It is romantic but highly unreasonable to think that the lofty motifs and grand oration of the book of Amos came from an uneducated manual laborer” (ibid).
Amos knew about the ruthless warfare of Damascus against Israel. This enemy had often inflicted torture on the people of Israel.
Amos also knew the history of Israel’s other enemies. He was using his historical knowledge to build a verbal bomb! Even worse destruction was about to come upon ancient Israel. That history was a type of the destruction coming upon modern Israel. God revealed to Amos a vision of nuclear warfare unleashed on our peoples.
Amos knew about the Israelites’ history with God. He knew how God expected them to treat their neighbors. “And Amos’s description of the elaborate marzeah banquets held by the rich (6:4-7) and his reference to the rich women of Israel as the ‘cows of Bashan’ (4:1), fattened on their wealth and security, do not suggest a long-established decline. Thus, we can assume that Israel’s domination of Gilead and the King’s Highway led to a prosperity that enveloped the royal family and prominent members of society but did not trickle down to the poor. It is this uneven distribution of wealth in the eighth century that set the atmosphere for the social crimes that Amos so violently abhorred. …
“Furthermore, they considered their wealth and security as evidence that Yahweh was pleased. …
“Yet the people had turned the official view around and were reasoning in reverse: Their prosperity proved that they were righteous. The distinction, while a fine one, is nevertheless important: The obligation of the covenant was to pursue righteousness and justice; prosperity would follow as a by-product of God’s pleasure. The pursuit of wealth rather than righteousness was an unacceptable shortcut, and wholly abhorrent to Yahweh, according to the prophet. … ‘One’s conduct in the marketplace must always conform to one’s attitude in the holy place ….
“And Israel’s did not. Amos decried the social injustice, the oppression of the poor, and the lack of any moral or ethical values on the part of the rich and powerful. According to Amos, the spokesman of Yahweh, Israel was a violent, oppressive and exploitative society. The poor had to sell themselves into slavery to pay off trivial debts (2:6; 8:6). The rich falsified weights and measures (8:5) and traded dishonestly (8:6). Even the courts, the last bastion of hope for the poor, were corrupt. Judges were bribed to cheat the poor out of what little they had (2:7; 5:10, 12). In fact, Israel was no longer capable of acting with justice (3:10; cf. 5:7, 24; 6:12). Truth and honesty were now hated (5:10)” (ibid).
Let’s not forget that this is an end-time book for the people of Israel today!
Amos understood how the courts were supposed to protect the poor and administer true justice. Instead, the courts were shamefully corrupt—just as many of them are today. We could not get justice from the courts when we fought to continue proclaiming Mr. Armstrong’s writings free. And they were rightfully ours all along. The great God had to intervene to give us justice.
America and Britain are still prosperous, but that is not because of their righteousness. A television commentator said several years ago that “America is righteous and good.” But not by God’s standard. We are evil and deeply corrupted. And our nations are being cursed by God.
Amos the Prophet
“Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words” (Amos 7:10). Amos faced the high priest and Jeroboam, king of Israel—the highest levels of government. Why? Because “the land is not able to bear all his words.” Amos was an eloquent orator with courage. Otherwise his words would not have impacted the people so deeply—reaching all the way to the king. The fact that the high priest was there indicates he must have also stirred up the religious people. Dire prophecies were being fulfilled—which made his message even more painful.
With his ability, education and godly power, Amos roared out of Zion!
“And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel” (verse 15). Amos didn’t decide on his own to deliver God’s message. God took him from his prosperous ranch and said, “Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.”
He had no religious credentials—“I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son” (verse 14). But he was ready to be God’s prophet. He had some dynamic, God-given revelation to proclaim. And some of it he didn’t even get out of the Bible. Here is one such prophecy: “Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land” (verses 16-17). God had to directly give him this chilling prophecy.
As God’s enemies worked to destroy Amos’s message, Amos got frighteningly stronger in his prophesying! He was falsely accused of conspiring against the king (verse 10). His fiery prophecy only grew in intensity. Amos wrote this book around 765–750 b.c. Hastings’ Bible Dictionary wrote that King Assurdanil and an Assyrian colossus were causing alarm. I believe that to be true, because a modern-day Assyria is going to conquer modern Israel.
The European Union is currently comprised of 28 nations, led by Germany—the modern name for ancient Assyria. But the Bible says there will only be 10 kings to attack and destroy America, Britain and the nation of Judah (Israel). What world-shaking crisis is going to reduce the EU from 28 nations to 10?
This implies a crisis of monstrous proportions! Mr. Armstrong thought it would be the collapse of the Western world’s economic system—mainly the American dollar. The U.S. national debt is growing by the trillions. We joke about it—but it is no joke. That problem alone is enough to destroy our economy! Then the euro would take over. (It is also conceivable that the euro could collapse and provoke a serious crisis. Would the German mark then be used as currency for the 10 kings? Only time will tell.) Only 10 hard-core nations or kings will remain in the EU. The beast will then be ready to attack the biblical nations of Israel in their worst economic calamity ever. That will lead to their worst suffering ever.
This is the kind of warning message Amos delivered. And it is the message the pcg must deliver.
Israel’s Last Chance to Repent
The nations of Israel look upon God as being extremely hard. But it is they who have become hardened in their sins. And that applies many times over to God’s own rebellious Church! God inspired the most powerful message ever delivered by God’s Church to this world. God restored all things through Mr. Armstrong (Matthew 17:10-11), who preached the gospel around the world (Matthew 24:14). But the nations of Israel refused to heed the message. They rejected God’s warning to repent. Then God’s own people destroyed that work, saying “Prophesy not” (Amos 2:11-12).
Then God raised up a remnant of His people to “prophesy again” (Revelation 10:11; Amos 3:7-8). Now that takes us back to Amos 7: “But prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court” (verse 13). Here the king and high priest warn God’s loyal remnant to “prophesy not again.” This message was prophesied before in staggering power for over 50 years. But the message delivered by Mr. Armstrong was rejected. Also, God had already prophesied that He would warn them one last time, even though they were unworthy of such mercy (verse 8). This is God’s final warning before He destroys America, Britain and the nation of Judah.
Now God has “set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel.” Our peoples have been “weighed in the balances, and … found wanting” (Daniel 5:27). Now God is precisely measuring our peoples by His standard of righteousness and justice—with a plumbline. Our peoples are under God’s fierce scrutiny—and condemnation.
I repeat, this is our last chance to hear God’s warning message and repent! Our peoples will heed or God will punish them until they do. This decision to destroy is irreversible! This is the only way to deal with people so hardened in their abominable sins.
Amos had to have exceptional courage and eloquence to deliver such a message. But let’s not forget, this message is for today. And the punishment upon the nations of Israel is unparalleled in man’s history! The pcg must have Amos’s strong courage to deliver God’s message. That is why God called each one of us. And we have such a short time to do a powerful work.
The Great Tribulation is almost here. Shortly thereafter, Jesus Christ will return. David will be resurrected to rule over the nation of Israel (Jeremiah 30:7-9). Christ is about to usher in the greatest paradise ever imagined.
“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. 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. 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 9:13-15).
This is not a hopeless message! It is a message filled with hope. This end-time crisis of all crises is leading directly to the return of Christ. We are about to see this planet literally explode in prosperity and joy. Then God will teach all mankind about its purpose—why we are here on Earth. If we repent, we are destined to have a super-splendid life in God’s Family forever!
Let’s work and plan for the greatest event ever to occur in the whole universe—the imminent return of Jesus Christ! May God speed that day!