Amos, Elijah and God

Amos lived in a time of relative peace on the international political scene. Both Egypt and Assyria were in a period of decline, although Assyria was beginning to expand its power. Syria had become ineffective, but the reduction of this buffer state between Israel and Assyria was to have serious repercussions in the generation following Amos.

Internally, the political structures of both Israel and Judah were stable. Beginning his prophetic activity during the reign of Jeroboam II in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Amos lived during an era that rivaled Solomon's generation in its stability and economic prosperity (2 Kings 14:23-27). Yet, it was precisely the social, moral, and religious problems attending that prosperity that became the focus for Amos' voice of judgment. In the Southern Kingdom of Judah, the noble king Uzziah reigned (Amos 1:1). Amos probably began his ministry with God's call in 765 BC, "two years before the earthquake" (1:1).   (Alan Greenspan has just announced [6/10/98] that the U. S. economy is more stable than it has been in the last 50 years.  This doesn’t mean that God is blessing, or that He will continue to bless the U. S.  The moral, social, and religious problems that now exist in the U. S. will bring about its downfall just as surely as these sins will bring about the downfall of any nation, people, church, or individual.  WWR)

Morally, Israel and Judah were suffering under the corruption generated as a by-product of Canaanite and Tyrian Baalism, as well as infidelity to the Lord's covenant. Israelite society had experienced the inevitable decay which characterizes misdirected prosperity. It may appear strange that the corruption of Israelite society could be traced to its contemporary religious structures and to the material prosperity which Israelites so often interpreted as a sign of divine favor. Despite the contradictory nature of those circumstances, the debauched moral condition of the land was the product of both corrupt religion and perverted material prosperity. Rampant luxury and self-indulgence were clearly manifest (1:6ff; 4:1ff; 5:10ff; 6:1ff; 8:4ff).

Exploitation of the poor occurred throughout the land (2:6; 3:10; 4:1; 5:11; 8:4-6). Justice was distorted. The dynamism of personal religious experience gave way to the superficiality of institutional religion as demonstrated in the conflict between Amos and Amaziah, the priest of Bethel (7:10ff). Amos' opposition to those moral and religious evils led him to emphasize the primary theme of the book: "let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everlasting stream" (5:24 RSV).

Verse 2

The problems in the world are caused by Israel and Judah. Their unfaithfulness has caused pagan nations to get worse and worse.  God has used pagan nations to judge Israel, then He uses other pagan nations (or perhaps Israel) to judge them.  Today there is a “backward comparison” because there are many who say that God’s people are getting worse and worse because the world is getting worse and worse.  The truth is that God’s people are not holding to God’s standards, therefore the world believes they can get worse and worse, and still be as good as God’s people.  The people in the world are losing sight of the values God would have them to have.  There has been too much compromising on the part of God’s people.


Three transgressions and for four:

This phrase occurs in Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 2:1, 4, and 6. 

This phrase illustrates how God will endure so much wickedness, but He will go only so far.

Notice that the limits God has is the same for all people and for all nations, but the extent of His judgments is greater for those whom He has given the greater opportunity for knowledge and service.

The reason God plagues all these pagan nations is because they have plagued Israel.

The reason God plagues Israel is because they haven’t kept His commandments.

Amos 1:3 - Syria will be plagued because of their evil against Gilead - II Kings 6,  & 7.  About 892 B. C.

1)     It is important to notice that God isn’t in any hurry when it comes to judging wickedness.  This is exactly the opposite of the way we humans think.  We believe that judgment should come speedily.

2)     I Kings chapters 17-19 - God gave Elijah a great burden for the wickedness of Judah and Israel.  He prayed and God gave a 3 ½ year drought, at the end of which Elijah slew 450 prophets of Baal and had a great victory for God.

3)     Israel and Judah didn’t change, but Jezebel tried kill Elijah and nobody stood in her way.

4)     I Kings 19 is a revelation in which Elijah seems to be saying that he was more zealous to stop the wickedness in Israel than God.  Elijah believes that God should be harder on Israel than He is.

5)     To comfort Elijah, God shows him His great power, but that isn’t enough.

6)     Finally, God commands Elijah to anoint Hazael to be kind over Syria because God will use him to further the judgment of God against Israel.  See II Kings 8:10-15.  Benhadad sends Hazael to Elisha to see whether he will recover of his sickness.  Elisha confesses that Benhadad will recover, yet will surely die.  Elisha confirms the anointing of Elijah and the wickedness that Hazael will do to Israel.

7)     Elijah is dead when all this takes place, but God will still show Elijah how Israel will turn to Him.

8)     Elijah didn’t die, but was translated.

9)     I believe Elijah will be one of the two witness during the tribulation period, who will be allowed to preach the everlasting gospel and see the repentance of Israel, as God pours out His fiery wrath upon them.



I think  it is important to remember that Israel as a nation was still in existence when Christ organized His church.  Israel was dispersed to all nations in the year 70 A.D. by Titus.  Israel was made a nation in 1948.  The Bible states in Matthew 24:32-34 that the generation that sees the fig tree putting forth leaves, ye shall know that the summer is nigh.  It seem to me that this passage is stating that Israel will be in existence once again before the church is taken out, that is, before the rapture.  If this passage means that the generation that is alive when Israel is made a nation once again will be the alive when Christ returns and if the life span of an average individual is 70 years, then that matches with Israel and the church “overlapping” at the beginning and at the end of the church age.


It is important to note the great wickedness that is in the world today.  The Bible states that as it was in the days of Lot, and in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the son of man.  Abortion (bowing the god of fleshly lust) has murdered some 40 million babies at this point of time.  Homosexuals have practically taken over with their filthy lifestyle, and not only expect to be allowed to live their perversions in peace, but expect everybody else to accept their wickedness as an “alternate life style”, even giving them preference above everybody else.  It is no accident that Lot (a saved man) accepted homosexuals, even to the point of giving his daughters to them to be abused.  Today, people expect God’s people to accept their sinfulness as “normal”, and not speak against those things.  Many so called churches today are falling into the trap of accepting all kinds of wickedness in order to swell their rolls.  The purpose of churches today is not to preach the everlasting gospel, but to have a big church, numerically speaking.