The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
INTRODUCTORY MESSAGE TO THE BOOK OF AMOS
- Amos’ name means,
“Burden.” He is considered the
first of the writing prophets, a herdsman of Tekoa (1:1). Tekoa was a rugged, rural area in
Judah, about six miles south of Bethlehem, and about twelve miles southeast of
- Although he was from Tekoa
in Judah, the LORD sent him to prophesy in the northern kingdom of
- Amos “exercised his ministry
during the reign of Jeroboam II, an able but idolatrous king who brought his
kingdom to the zenith of its power. Nothing could seem more improbable than the
fulfillment of Amos’ warnings; yet within fifty years the kingdom was utterly
destroyed. The vision of Amos is, however, wider than the northern kingdom,
including the whole ‘house of Jacob’” (Introduction to Amos in the Scofield
- Scofield divides Amos into
I. Judgments on the cities surrounding
II. Judgments on Judah and Israel (2:4-16).
III. Jehovah’s controversy with “the whole
family” of Jacob (3:1-9:10).
IV. The future glory of the Davidic kingdom
- Amos prophesied “two years
before the earthquake” (1:1; cf. Zech. 14:5). This would be about 787 BC (Scofield
- Amos was a contemporary of
the prophet Hosea, but he had a much different message. Whereas Hosea emphasized the love of God
in the midst of His judgments, Amos preached only God’s judgment against
sin. The only exception would be
the very end of chapter 9 (end of the book) when Amos describes the millennial
kingdom. But the judgment of God
must precede the blessings of the millennium.
- Amos prophesied during the
reign of Jeroboam II, while Uzziah was the king of
THE PROBLEM OF MATERIALISM
- The reign of King Jeroboam
II was a period of great wealth and luxury. But it was also a time of moral decay,
and cold, lifeless formal worship (cf. 5:21,
covetousness, selfishness, the constant craving for money, possessions, and
other creature comforts, has always been a big problem, even among God’s
- Under King Jeroboam II, the
kingdom of Israel reached the zenith of its prosperity, but the gulf between
rich and poor widened, and there was much oppression of the poor (cf. 2:6,
- Israel was prospering
financially but was decaying spiritually and morally. Most of Israel’s prophets and
priests were wicked men like Amaziah, the priest of Bethel (Amos
- But the backslidden people
liked it that way.
- “That this is a rebellious
people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which
say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right
things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9,
- “The priest and the prophet
have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of
the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and
filthiness, so that there is no place clean” (Isa. 28:7,
- “I have seen also in the
prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies:
they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his
wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof
as Gomorrah” (Jer. 23:14).
- America has become a very
materialistic country. The founders
of this country were not that way, but over the years materialism has become
more and more of a problem.
- The Puritans eschewed
worldly pleasures and materialism, but each succeeding generation has moved
further and further away from the Word of
- God sent America great
revivals in the past (First and Second Great Awakening, etc.) but there has not
been a major revival in America in over 100 years.
- The people in Amos’ day
believed financial prosperity was a sign that God was blessing them. This idea is popular today as well. The “health and wealth” preachers (like
Benny Hinn) teach that if you are saved God will give you great material
- Amos’ prophecies of judgment
did not sit well with the materialistic people. His preaching went against the prevailing political
climate of hope and prosperity.
THE PROBLEM WITH FALSE PROPHETS
- Second Peter
2:1 says, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there
shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies,
even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift
- Amos was much different from
the false prophets. God called Amos
to preach and Amos preached what God told him to preach (Amos
- Amos did not attend a
prestigious school. He was not
ordained or approved by any ministerial association. He did not associate with unsaved
priests like Amaziah (7:14-17).
- Amaziah told the unsaved
King Jeroboam II everything he wanted to hear. Amaziah tried to intimidate Amos. He insulted him and told him to get out
of town (7:10-13).
THE MESSAGE OF AMOS
- Amos exposed
the wickedness of the people. He
prophesied against the apostate condition of the religious leaders (7:16, 17).
- Amos prophesied that the
kingdom of Israel would surely be destroyed (cf. 5:1-2;
8:2). This was fulfilled when the Assyrians
invaded Israel and took the people off into captivity.
- “The end is come upon my
people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more” (8:2b). The people of the northern kingdom of
Israel never returned. They
intermarried with the heathen, and when we get to the New Testament the people
in northern Israel are referred to as “Samaritans,” half-breed people who have
mixed the worship of Jehovah together with pagan idolatry (II Kings
- Our Lord said to the
Samaritan woman, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for
salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
- Amos’ message to Israel was
not entirely without hope.
- When Christ returns, He
“will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of
their land.” (9:15).
will restore Israel and “will build it as in the days of old”