AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH September 6,   2009  


Serving the Lord Jesus Christ, Immutable Truth, Beautiful in Holiness



Amos 9


THE DIVINE ZEAL  - Amos 9:1-5

There is a resolution because of sustained wickedness that is impervious to change, just as God was impervious to change in His divine resolution to  send His only begotten  Son, so that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish (Psalm 40, Hosea 13:14). Just as His pity is consummate, ultimate, so is His wrath irrevocable; for if it is not covered, then neither is the sin which rages and would cause spiritual bushfires on all sides, slaying and maiming, in mind or body or spirit. You did not mean it ? As with bushfires, it is rarely 'meant'; but carelessness kills here as well as elsewhere. Malignancy is something extra.

In this case shown in Amos, the time after centuries had come for Israel to the North. Let them dig into hell, they will not escape (as today by drugs, or sexual disease and disorder, or mental torment in psychological states). They either get clearance or are cleared. God provided no excuse, and there was none. The work of wonder, the Temple, and the Holy City would go; and they went!

God traced the futility of escape, while estranged. They may go to mountain tops, like Carmel, but this is no shield. It is as in Isaiah 2 and 24, a time of devastation, not at that time,  for the whole earth, to come, but it was at that time for Israel, the way-shower; just as it is now looming for those who prefer to turn God into a father-Christmas, in a world not of children, but of those who mislead them, pursue one another and act as if God were made of putty for their preferences. Even captivity through their enemies, the prophet Amos declared, would not distance God, now on mission with judgment, and not to be deterred.

Man can be very wilful. Let Him NOT act, and they say:  Oh where is God in all this, and why should all this happen! How could He let it happen, they intone: as if their own freedom were not precious to them, and did not have results. If on the other hand, God as here in the case of Jerusalem, is roused very much to act and not to be deterred, they say: How cruel, how could He act!

The main thing often seems to be this: Escape from God with all the goods, one's own will, one's own pleasures, to do whatever appeals, and sack God from His inheritance, using it as one wills, and hope to be free of Him forever, unless of course He wants to give something to amplify the pleasure or the preference.   



Identifying Himself as the maker of all things geological and founder of the flood, He challenges Israel, proud in its position as a godly nation, looking back to such as Moses and Joshua, and because they are far from those, and from Him who calls them, this He says: " 'Are you not like the people of Ethiopia to Me, O children of Israel ?' “Alas, "the eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom." As to those who trust in themselves, chance or their gods, "All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, 'The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.' "

That is as now: It is enough to BE a sinner; and we all are of this kind. But to deny the calamity attached, or the sin which creates it, or not to be concerned, and to continue in phlegmatic or even ecstatic self-assurance, as if those wits or work would bring peace with a neglected God whose ways are ignored and whose will is deferred, distanced or deleted to the utmost part, to thrust aside HIS diagnosis, His remedy and continue scornful or dissident: this is the request for malediction, the representation made for calamity, the invitation to deserved shame!

"Because," God says in Jeremiah, "you say 'I have not sinned,' " He will act. Indeed, He will "plead My case against you."  


THE NEW TEMPLE - The One to Worship  …Amos 9:11 to the end

Then we see in Amos the new Temple, the one raised up (9:11), and worship. Surely, however, someone might protest, you worship IN a temple: you do not worship the Temple itself.

 It is true except for one exception: that, it comes where Christ IS the temple. He is spoken of as the foundation stone, in Psalm 118:22ff., as in I Corinthians 3:11, and as the temple itself in Revelation 21:22, where we learn that the Lord and the Redeemer, these are the Temple. The One sends for its construction, the other enables it, and this done, it is God the trinity, HE who is the temple, and therefore, it is that He, the Temple may in this case ONLY be worshipped.

In Isaiah 4:6, we learn that a tabernacle will be for a refuge and hiding place, but in Isaiah 32, we find it is in fact a KING, and the Messiah at that! It is HE who is the Rock who is higher than we, of which David speaks, our resting place and our site for worship; and as Isaiah 11:10 tells us, "the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious. " It is, I can tell you that, as one who has been there, and there remains as privileged participant and guest. When adopted as a  child of God, here is your home, in God the Saviour, Redeemer, who has come, conquered and risen from the grave, who by grace has the same for us, which He achieved for all whom He has ransomed through faith by grace (Ephesians 2:1-12). This, it is the work of God (cf. John 8:29), and for one and all (Gal. 3:26-27).

Sacrifices after this, in some stony temple ? Hardly. Does not Hebrews 8 tell us that all that is growing obsolete (v.13), that it is the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9-10) which is the criterion, of Him who once in the end of the Age put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself! This is “everlasting redemption,” from “a more excellent ministry” (9:22, 8:6). That, it was EVEN THEN! How much more now, and when HE Himself comes! Would the solider who went, want puppets ? would he whose friends died want to act out in symbol what had been done in fact! as Zech. 2:8, 6:12-13,  9-11, 12:10-13:1, also foretold! providing the internal key to understanding. Accordingly, we find that irrevocably we have moved from symbols, as in the stone age temple, to substance, in the death of Christ.

Does not Hebrews 8:13 tell us that all that is growing obsolete, that it is the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9-10) which is the criterion, of Him who, having obtained a more excellent ministry,  once in the end of the Age put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself! Foul indeed is the dispensationalist mistake, which fails to see that Zechariah 14, as in other places where, the key to see being provided, it is the theme and not the illustration which matters, is by no means suggesting revolt! The result is not, despite  Isaiah in 66 declaring that now to sacrifice an animal is like breaking a dog's neck, that yes, it should be done anyway, at Christ's return. The principles already invoked in Isaiah, the Psalms and Zechariah, are not to be ignored. It would be rather like saying to a veteran back from Vietnam, Ah! Harry come and look at this little play about soldiers who would be sent to that country. It is worked with puppets. The symbols meant something, but soldiering itself, especially with THIS Soldier, it is something different. You don't go back to plans, though the forecast here uses them. Instead, you see the point.

The Gospel is incredible, irreversible, requisite, a fulfilment of all the preliminaries which are obsolete in their format and basic symbolism (Galatians 1, Ephesians 1:10, Hebrews 8). Indeed, even in Peter's time, James identified not in a building, but in the Gospel of Christ, the rebuilt temple, the restoration spoken of in Amos 9:11. God does not move backwards after glory, or deny the word of His apostle, or have worship back to the spiritual 'stone age', so to express the site for symbolism. As seen in John 2:17-21, He Himself personally provides the ‘key’ to understanding. It is He who is the Temple to be repaired and restored, yes and raised up!

Thus in Hebrews 9:22-10:22, we find these words (colour change added for readier perception).

"Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another - He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared
to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time,
apart from sin, for salvation.

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year,
make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered?
For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

"Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

·  "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.
·  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin  You had no pleasure.
·  Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me - to do Your will, O God.’ "

"Previously saying, 'Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin
You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them' (which are offered according to the law),
then He said, 'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.'

"He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
By that will
we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices,
which can never take away sins.
But this Man, after He had offered
one sacrifice for sins forever,
sat down at the right hand of God,
from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

“But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"
then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’

“Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He consecrated for us,
through the veil, that is, His flesh,
and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart
in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience
and our bodies washed with pure water." 
This last reminds us of John 13:10.

Observe that the first HE has TAKEN AWAY, that is the former mode of animal sacrifice. Note no less than HE has MADE ONE sacrifice for sin for ever.

What GOD has done FOR EVER, let not man do EVER!

There is to be no reversion. This is categorical, a matter of prince and principle, with no room for scheduling in one mode, to be interpreted in some other by a key.

This IS eternal, divine and deletive of all other ways. WHERE there is remission, moreover, there IS NO LONGER an offering for sin. HERE, and for evermore, this IS the case, and SO for evermore there IS NO LONGER an offering for sin. The case is open and it is shut by the hand of the Lord.



Here, in Christ, is the tabernacle of Amos 9:11, which had 'fallen down',
whose damages God the Sender (Isaiah 48:16) declared that He would repair,
raising it from its ruins: and that, it was even Christ, who so described HIMSELF!
(John 2:19-20), declared to be the Son of God with power, by the Spirit of Holiness,
through the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).


And HERE is the mode of 'possession' (Amos 9:12), in that the Christ, incarnate God,
will rule in the millenium over all, Jerusalem where He was crucified,
a centre for Jew and Gentile alike, with Jewish apostles and Gentile pastors,
people all one and in One (Ephesians 2, 4); and it is here that God will,
in separate fulfilment of unconditional promise, bring back Israel as foretold so often,
as in Ezekiel 36-39, Isaiah 42,49, Micah 7, Amos 9:13-14.

Finally, however, they will be another Israel, a people with a new name (Isaiah 62:1-2),
for their own is now no longer valid for designating salvation (Isaiah 30:8ff., 65:13-15),
God’s servants being definable by another name (Isaiah 62:1-2),
only that of the Messiah sufficing

So does Paul's vast peon of praise resound among the redeemed assemblage like a field of wheat, its end too distant to see, too extensive to count (cf. Revelation 7). Praise the Lord, that old things have passed away, and this kingdom, this Christ, who makes old things obsolete (Hebrews 8), is for us now and forever. No more will even come to mind the former things, the symbols (Jeremiah 3:16), an Old Testament 3:16, the prelude and assurance of that in John!

As a hand takes a bunch of grapes, within reach, so Christ is very near; but He MUST be taken both as who He is and what He has done, and no other, no imitation, Himself alone; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which they must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).  There is no substitute (II Corinthians 11), WHATEVER the name used; just as anyone can write a cheque with a name, but only He whose the account is, may do so with effect.  This new Temple, never to be replaced (Ephesians 1:10, Daniel 7:25, Hebrews 13:8, and as above in Hebrews 8-10), it is the one where the Saviour as High Priest offered, but offered HIMSELF, on an unkempt altar, fit for sin, that of the cross: altar, priest and offering, it is HIMSELF the Temple, into which all must come.

As with that of Solomon (I Kings 6:7), who had the vast stones for the first building, quarried far off, and brought to be included silently, as the temple was built, so those who are Christ’s, come to Him far off, but are brought near by the blood of Christ, and committed to their place in the temple, which again is like a body (Ephesians 4).

Indeed, still is it here, and quiet for the heart, which hears the word of God,

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted on the earth”
(Psalm 46).

Rest in Him who wrestled for you, and in Him find your peace, not an anodyne, but an actuality, for man is made to be at peace with His Lord, and in truth, His peace passes all understanding (Philippians 4:1-6), and is touched with joy (John 16:22, I Peter 1:5ff.), as appear the vast oceans, by the clouds, and the mountains by the same, in a sure and fascinating closeness that binds. 


v        Paul tells of the glorious integration of the ostensibly dissimilar
through the grafting back of Israel that believes,
that consummate conclusion as shown in Romans 11:25ff.,
to the encasing blindness that preceded it for so long, in the case of the nation.

v        A vast outpouring of the Spirit of God has the impact to come,
and many will they be who then, in Israel, as often before in vast revivals
amid the Gentile peoples, receive the Lord. Indeed, as Zechariah 12-13:1 shows,
this is to be a movement based in the Messiah, encased in His grace,
and small wonder the apostle Paul in Romans 11 so glorifies God,
almost ecstatic with praise
at the depth of His wisdom and the wonder of His counsel,
who brought in the olive tree, the living foundation, using Israel,
then removed that nation as a branch
and replaced it with the Gentile believers,
at Israel’s spiritual demise as a nation,
and then … ?

v        Then He brought them back,
as He will do and has already done in national format,
physically, to Himself as for so long foretold by such prophets
as Hosea, Micah and Ezekiel 36ff.; but it is to be spiritually also.
in the next phase, clearly demarcated in Ezekiel 37 as in Zechariah.
When this comes, He will graft them back into that tree,
the everlasting Gospel now consummated, in lavish liberty.
Here is added the specific intimation of Zechariah 12:10-13:1
It is, to change the imagery, like a vast swath through the nation.

And on what does it concentrate ? Why on this, on God, the Lord who in human format they had pierced; and for this to be seen, the Spirit of grace and supplications will be poured out on them, as Zechariah 12 shows, and cleansing will be vast and visible in action, as shown in Zechariah 13:1.

What glory is to be seen in these features, and how delightful it is that Jew or Gentile, with such vast differences of background nationally, can yet find One Shepherd for One Fold, and rest even in Him who came as foretold in Isaiah 40 and where as shown in Micah 5, and sustains as in 40:27ff., as He has always sustained those who know Him where He is, through the revelation which He has given. It is thus that man may come, is cordially invited indeed,  being liberated in freedom of heart and cleanness of spirit, and may know, believe in, trust and delight in the Lord, who is graciously inclined then to give the desires of the heart (Psalm 37:4).

In the end, this world goes, a new heavens and earth comes; but He, the Lord, He is always the same, does not flicker or fade (James 1:17), nor does His salvation (I Peter 1:5-8), nor yet His love alter (Ephesians 3:16-21); and His creativity in making the universe, man, the heart and the spirit of man, the redemption for man and all that pertains to it, continues expressed in perpetuity and wonder.

Small wonder praise is for the Lamb who sits on the throne (Revelation 5:9-11, 21:22, 22:1-5), Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever, in that endless kingdom (Daniel 7:25), alpha and omega, the beginning and the end is He with the Father  (Revelation 2:9, 22:13, Ephesians 1:10, Galatians 1), the One sent as for Him who sent Him (Isaiah 48:16), in the power of the Spirit, even the Spirit of truth.