Archive for the ‘The Book of Amos’ Category

As in the Days of Amos

December 2, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, shoes and outdoor

What is something we notice about these people in the above picture, dressed very modestly and doing something with signs? Very peculiar for one thing. The word of God says —

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..” (1 Peter 2:9)

In the old days of Amos, he wrote under Inspiration the following —

“They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.” (Amos 5:10)

What was Amos doing that caused people to “hate” him for rebuking at the gate? What is “rebuking at the gate” mean? We found a good commentary.

“The prophets seized the opportunity of finding the people together, and preached to them there. So it was even in the days of Solomon. “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?…”Proverbs 1:20-22, and again, “She standeth in the top of high places, by the way, in the meeting of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors; Unto you, O men, I call, “Pro 8:2-4.

Jeremiah mentions two occasions, upon which God bade him reprove the king and people in the gates of Jerusalem Jeremiah 17:19Jeremiah 19:2. There doubtless Amos and Hosea reproved them, and, for reproving, were “hated.” As Isaiah says, “they lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate”Isaiah 29:21. They sinned publicly, and therefore they were to be rebuked publicly. They sinned “in the gate” by injustice and oppression, and therefore were to be “rebuked before all, that others also might fear” 1 Timothy 5:20. (Bible Hub Amos 5:10)

Fast forward to today. There is a small group of people known as the “Siege Ambassadors” who are S.D.A members. They have a ministry where they go to churches around the USA and stand at the “gate” the entry areas for the churches. Their  mission is to warn the members that judgment is about to happen with our church.

While doing this, they also try and hand out Tracts, Cd’s, Dvd’s and other literature as the members drive or walk by. This small company usually takes videos of the siege and posts them either on their YouTube channel or Facebook.

How is this ministry received by S.D.A members and other present truth believers? Well, let’s say it’s a mixed bag. Many don’t subscribe to this method of reaching out. They see it as confrontational and not really helping the members to come to the message. Personally I see it as a last ditch effort to reach our Laodiceans. They are so near coma like in regards to the message, there can maybe be some who have their ears open to this pleading. Scripture also supports such pleading —

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)

This appears to be exactly what the siege team does. They cry aloud and lift up their voices like a trumpet. A while back during one of our many conversations, I had an in depth discussion with their leader, sister Patricia.

What I said was that the work of God is multifaceted. Apostle Paul beautifully breaks it down.

 “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 

On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary;  and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.

But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.” (1 Cor. 12:18-27)

So while many of us often don’t appreciate this difficult and trying work, we should realize that God has called these servants to do this part of the work. We as part of the body of Christ, His final Elijah messengers, cannot say “you are not needed” because even if this work is different than the norm, it is still Scriptural, a part of the body, and can reach out in a unique and peculiar way.

Has this work produced fruit? Yes it has. Several members have contacted the team over the years and Bible studies have been had. Only God knows who has come into the message, but rest assured this method has aroused some members from their sleep.

Some have argued that this method cause disturbances during the Sabbath. However, this is not the full picture. The siege team approaches their work with two main goals. First, they are warning the church it’s time to wake up, the Lord’s “suddenly coming to His temple” (Mal. 3:1-5) is about to happen. Second, they want to give out present truth because the leaders are derelict in duty on the Sabbath.

Now, the occasional “scene” usually goes as follows. The team simply starts lifting their voice like a trumpet and a pastor, elder or member soon comes over to the sidewalk to speak to them. They tell them to stop doing what they are doing. They are accused of trouble makers, disturbers, false witnesses, etc. Then the accusers of the brethren resort to calling the police on the Sabbath in hopes of removing them.

The police arrive and they quickly tell the accusers that the team has a right to protest. But Satan’s objective is now achieved. These “Amos” people are now looked on by the observing members as troublemakers, yet in reality it is the church leaders and members themselves that cause the trouble making scene!

So how should the church respond to this? If Christ’s voice is to be heard, the leaders should go up to them and ask them to come into the church and discuss the issues. Then calmly the siege team would lay out the charges and if true, the leaders should at once correct their error ways or at least set in motion the corrections. If found not true by Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy, then that should be discussed to the team. Bottomline the search for unity and discussion for Truth’s sake is what would please our King!

But of course this does not take place, instead mocking, arguing, slanderous words, calling the cops,  all come from the members to these souls who have stepped up to the plate to give God’s message of Elijah.

In closing, with the S.D.A close of probation at hand, God is pulling out all stops in order to reach His people. These siege ambassadors are a unique and peculiar division of the body. Let us keep these brave souls in prayer.

Advertisements

Amos 5:10

September 27, 2014

Amos rebuking

As we look at the above picture, we see the farmer turned prophet, Amos, rebuking his people for their sins. In Amos 5:10 we read, “They hate the one who rebukes at the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.” 

It is indeed a true saying of God, those who rebuke or admonish are not, nor ever been, liked or appreciated by the majority of God’s professed people. Few realize the great love behind God’s words of warning brought by His servants. Let us look at this necessary “act of love”.

The word “rebuke” in the dictionary means, “express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.” But as true Christians we obviously would not rebuke someone unless the situation calls for it. In other words, as a caring brother or sister, we would first try to warn gently any clear sinning going on “in the midst”. Then if that doesn’t seem to reach them, next time the firmer step of rebuking may be necessary.

Most of us remember as young children, our parents giving us strong medicine. You know, that yucky stuff that we just hated. Yet, most of us found ourselves well within a short period of time. An analogy can be made about giving words of warning to our brethren. It’s often “tough to take” yet if we digest it slowly and dwell upon the healing effects, we’ll be all the better for it.

The Spirit of Prophecy says, “To the obedient, he will give rich blessings; to the transgressors, a curse. Every man who bears the message of truth to our churches, must do his duty by warning, educating, rebuking. Any neglect of duty which is a robbery toward God, means a curse upon the delinquent.”(Special Testimonies, No. 7, p.22).

A few months ago I happened to be surfing SDA YouTube videos and came across a unique ministry for the Lord. As I watched, God’s words as brought by Amos came to mind. The lady with her children were protesting unholy music and abortions within the S.D.A church.

Sadly, the majority ignores them, or worse, some men in “responsible positions” send police to confront them as troublemakers. Yet, the woman was “sighing and crying” for the abominations taking place within our church and conference. Abortion, lack of proper dress, unholy music and a list of other abominations is their cry. To view their videos click here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owdoa6yVMk8

Brother Houteff announced in his very first book , on the very first page, concerning the Lord’s “Elijah”message the following, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”(Isaiah 58:1).

On the next page he continued, “It is the intention of this book to reveal the truth of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7, but the chief object of this publication is  to bring a reformation among God’s people.” (Shepherd’s Rod, vol. 1, preface).

We noticed the word “chief”. In other words the message of Elijah is first and foremost to convert and reform THEN we can learn and know all the Truths found within the Lord’s last message. Obviously we do not learn to run before walking. So too, we must learn to walk upright before the Lord,  in our daily actions.

So before we can rebuke at the gate, we must know that our own life is “cleaned up” and we ourselves are walking in the light as best we can. If this is not the case we fall under the Lord’s striking rebuke–

“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matt. 7:5)

As we study the past prophets, we notice another “rebuker at the gate”, the prophet Nehemiah. After giving the people the warning not to come into the camp on the Sabbath, selling and buying, he says, “So it was, at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after Sabbath….Then I warned them, ‘Why do you spend the night around the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you!””(Neh.13:19)

Wow! Not only was the prophet a rebuker of their sins, he was a ready enforcer! How deep the love for God’s honor! How deep the understanding of sin!

This is what “rebuking at the gate” is all about. A true desire to show people their sins in order to help steer them right and to stay on that “straight and narrow” road.

The Elijah prophet confirmed our duty as faithful servants today.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE WHO BEAR THE MESSAGE

   Since Ezekiel represents those whose hearts the message has reached, then to them the Lord is speaking when He says:

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 

Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because  thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezek. 3 :17-21.)

   Because of the unfaithfulness of the former watchmen, the Lord makes the antitypical Ezekiel — he and she who “sigh and cry for the abominations  that be done in the midst thereof” (the church) — a “watchman” (Ezek. 3:17) in their stead.  Be careful, therefore, Brother, Sister, lest you also betray your trust and find yourself thrust out.  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12. (Tract 1, p.41-42)

So the Lord through His Elijah prophet, gives us specific instructions that we are to be a “watchman”. One who carefully warns the sinners in ‘the midst” that sinning will lead to destruction.

In closing let’s look at the Spirit of Prophecy’s counsel to be as faithful as Amos, Nehemiah, Ezekiel and brother Houteff was, in “rebuking at the gate” —

“The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed, and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity, are unjust. God bids us speak, and we will not be silent.

If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty.

In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it.

The spirit of hatred which has existed with some because the wrongs among God’s people have been reproved has brought blindness and a fearful deception upon their own souls, making it impossible for them to discriminate between right and wrong. They have put out their own spiritual eyesight. They may witness wrongs, but they do not feel as did Joshua and humble themselves because the danger of souls is felt by them.

The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God.

Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand.

One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”(Testimonies, vol. 3, p.266-267)

The Book Of Amos

September 1, 2012

The book of Amos has some timely and prophetic words that are not as generally read or understood as some of the  major prophets. While it has much solemn warnings  from the Lord it ends happily with a  description of the righteous church kingdom prevailing upon the earth.  

Amos was a farmer who turned prophet. His name Amos means “to lift a burden” or “burden-bearer”. In our short study of him, he was like many of our prophets,  a courageous man , willing to speak out against the prevailing sins of his people. Obviously he cared deeply about their spiritual welfare, unlike the vast majority who swept the sins under the rug.

 Our prophetess declared these words  “Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us.” (3 Selected Messages, p.338) So let us look at what Amos has in store for us today.

God declared that a “prophet” is the revealer of His secrets. So we must be sure that we hear and act upon the words of His anointed prophets. They and only they can accurately predict what God has in store for us. “Surely the Lord God doeth nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).

 Amos, being a prophet, was divinely given some of God’s secrets, and has some clear words for us about what will soon take place in our church. In the first 5 chapters of Amos we read of judgements and also pleadings from the Lord for His people such as, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joesph.”(Amos 5.14-15).

But as we proceed on we see that  their/our  ways do not reform to His pleadings. The people mostly ignored and disliked his straight testimony.  Those who truly have love in their hearts for their brethren will  tell  the straight truth, desiring that all should be saved and not one perish, just like our Master’s desire (2 Peter 3:9).

As we read on in Amos, we read this contemporary prophesy,the Lord says,  “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies.” (Amos 5:21). Just as in Amos’ day these words are true today.   A while back we made the post called “The church of the routine”, listed under Church. We pointed out how the Holy Spirit is mostly muzzled in our church services today. Kneel at this exact time, stand at this exact time, do this routine at this exact time, time the service to the exact time,  and so on. The Holy Spirit’s spontaneous movements are rarely seen. We need to react more to the Holy Spirit. A brother or sister may receive a vision  right there in the church, and no one knows about it.

Then we get to the last chapter 9. In verse 8 we read, “Behold the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,” says the Lord.”   These words are very applicable for today. He is indeed watching His  “kingdom”.  Through out history there has only been one kingdom He has constantly had His eyes on–His church kingdom.

We see that He will destroy it but not entirely. “For surely I will command, and sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.”(Amos 9:9) This appears to be when He goes through His kingdom and “sifts” or judges among His people.  Not one of the righteous will fall , “Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.”

Let’s summarize verse 8 and 9. First we see that God has His eyes carefully on His church kingdom today and He is not pleased with the “sinful” kingdom. He then must purify His church, but He spares His righteous. The church becomes much smaller, yet pure. This is indeed describing the judgment for the living in His church. The 144,000 are those who are sifted out and remain.(For more information on the 144,000 see our posts listed under “Who are the 144K?”)

Ellen White further confirms this, “In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and saved.” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol 1, p.608)

The next verse is very important. It describes  the ones proclaiming peace and safety, saying in effect the Lord will not bring destruction to His people(church). “All sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say “The calamity shall not overtake us nor confront us.” (Amos 9:10). These do not believe the Lord will do what He says.

Here is where we need to zoom in closely. The Elijah message is going out right now to us, His people. It proclaims the startling truth that the Lord is soon to secretly come into His churches to begin the beginning phase of the “judgment for the living”. But as this goes out,  it is being fought by many,  particularly the leaders. The sheep, the laity blindly follow along. They are indeed telling people Ezek.9 will not happen or that it happens at the end, in the plaques. Please my brethren be one of those who trust in His word as it states, not in the false peace and safety message.

“The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus “peace and saftey” is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trunpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p.211)

As we read the final words of Amos we see peace and glory come from the Lord. Our Lord declares  righteousness upon the land. Let’s read verse 11 and 12. “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair it’s damages; I will raise up it’s ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess  the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the Lord who does this thing.”

The above is describing  the time of the loud cry. The 144,000 servants of God go to work during the loud cry and bring in the Gentiles. Verses 13-15 says “Behold, the days are coming,” say the Lord, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it”

“I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.”

Lastly,  Amos shows a beautiful peaceful time where the people are in  “their land” and enjoying the fruit of the land. There is only one place in all the whole world the Lord has ever called His people to -the land of Israel. Here we see that soon our Lord will bring back His people Israel to His (our) land. And no one will  uproot them from there. So as not to have any confusion Ellen White clearly says that we, the SDA church, are the Israel of today (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, p. 164).

In closing, let us be faithful like Amos was, desiring to stand strong and for God’s upright plans, though unpopular at times. If we remain true to the end, a glorious promise is made for us. Amen.

For some interesting information about Amos, this article is helpful.

Amos, The Prophet
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Those who critically examine the Bible unanimously agree that Amos wrote the book that bears his name. Some researchers feel that some minor material may have been inserted later by an editor, but few doubt that a Jewish man named Amos was the author.The prophet hailed from Tekoa, a small town about thirteen miles south of Jerusalem in the Wilderness of Judah. Since he was not from a large cosmopolitan city like Jerusalem or Samaria, Amos, shaped by his rural experiences, had a clearer perspective of the evils that he saw as he walked through the cities of Israel. While the Israelites accepted their lifestyle as normal, the prophet recognized it as a perversion and an abomination to God. Amosmeans “burden-bearer,” and his message to Israel, one of continuous judgment and denunciation, was indeed a heavy burden.Because of the distrust between the two peoples, it is ironic that God sent a Jew to warn the Israelites of their impending judgment. God obviously sent the best man available to do the job, though he was not a formally trained prophet. “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet,” he explains, “but I was a herdsman and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel'” (Amos 7:14-15).Amos was more than “just a shepherd.” In Amos 1:1 the Hebrew word noqed indicates a keeper or raiser of sheep or goats (see II Kings 3:4), though it is often rendered as “shepherd.” In Amos 7:14 “herdsman” (bowker) refers to large cattle. God inspired two different words to show that he was a breeder of sheep (and maybe of cattle), supplying others with stock, and possibly developing and refining the breeds. Some of Amos’ land may have also been set aside as a sycamore-fig orchard. His ranch seems to have been small enough that he was personally involved in its operation, though he also seems to have been successful enough to take time off to preach in Israel.Judging from the book’s language and style, Amos was also well educated. Scholars judge his use of language as particularly expressive, vivid, and forceful. Far from being an illiterate shepherd, the prophet was a man of refinement and substance, aware of past events and current conditions in Israel and Judah, as well as in the surrounding nations.

Amos wrote at a very significant time in Israel’s history (Amos 1:1). Both kings Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753 BC) and Uzziah of Judah (791-739 BC) enjoyed long and prosperous reigns. His prophecy can be dated before 750 BC, since Uzziah’s son, Jotham (750-731 BC), who reigned as co-regent with his father for eleven years, is not mentioned.

The phrase “two years before the earthquake” helps to narrow the book’s date. Archeological findings unearthed at Hazor in northern Palestine show that an unusually strong earthquake occurred about 760 BC. If so, Amos prophesied in about 762 BC. The phrase seems to limit his prophesying to this particular year, suggesting that his prophetic activity was very short.

Many historians have concluded that 722 BC—forty years later—was when Assyria marched on Israel. Beginning with Amos’ warning message, God in His mercy provided His people with a forty-year period of trial and testing during which they could repent. History records, however, that Samaria fell and her survivors were dragged into captivity in 718 BC.

Tradition holds that Amos died a violent death at the hands of Jeroboam II, but no historical records have confirmed this claim. However, the prophet left a powerful message of warning and urgency that still rings with truth and fervor.  (from www.bibletools.org)


%d bloggers like this: