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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Restoration will come (Amos 9)

The final chapter in the Book of Amos begins with another description of the imminent judgment that was going to fall on Israel. Yet it closes with a marvellous description of restoration.

As with previous messages, the Lord describes the comprehensive and detailed judgement of defeat and exile that will be impossible to avoid (vv. 1-4). Indeed, the close of verse 4 – ‘I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good’ – is a graphic illustration of the Lord’s supervision of the entire process of judgement.

Does the Lord have the power to do this? As in previous messages, he reminds the people that he is the almighty Creator who controls all events in the natural order (vv. 5-6). Moreover, he has also controlled the movement of nations, including that of Israel and of her enemies (v. 7). So he does have the power.

Nevertheless, the judgment will not be total. Although the nation state of Israel will cease to exist and the Israelites will be scattered throughout the nations, with many of them being killed (vv. 8-10), there will come a time when Israel will be restored (vv. 11-15).

The restoration is described as a restoration of the royal house of David (of course, the northern kingdom of Israel had rejected that royal family). When the kingdom will be restored, it will embrace other nations who will at that time identify themselves with the God of Israel. The kingdom will know great prosperity (depicted as great harvests), population growth, and security (enjoying the fruit of their gardens). This restoration will be permanent.

The matter that comes to mind concerns when this prediction will be fulfilled. Thankfully we don’t have to look far to find out. The apostle James refers to this passage from Amos in his address to the Jerusalem council recorded in Acts 15:16-17 and says that the prophecy had begun to be fulfilled in the spread of the church into Gentiles areas. So this prediction of the recovery of the people of God actually refers to the church of Jesus.

The restoration of the house of David has occurred, but the throne is in heaven from where the Son of David (Jesus) is at work to ensure the prosperity of his kingdom. He gives to it spiritual prosperity, population growth, real security and guaranteed permanence. So Amos has something very encouraging to say to us at the end of his messages to the people of Israel (1 Pet. 1:10-12).

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