CHAPTER 7:     Jonah and Amos: God Does Intervene in
History in Answer to Prayer


Paul wrote that while the Greeks always seek after wisdom, the Jews
seek a miracle- sign. Jesus became near the end of His ministry
frustrated more by the unbelief of His own Jewish nation than their
constant demand for “signs”, showing by that frustration in the replay
from the determined religious leaders that bugged Him insistently,
saying, “No sign will be given you except the sign of Jonah.” The
primary remaining sign that Jesus would give them was His own
Resurrection from the dead, three days after crucifixion even as Jonah
was three days in the belly of the whale before he could for all practical
purposes come back to life. It was this very miracle of God that
preceded Jonah into Nineveh, making this large city through which
Jonah had to walk three days as he preached God’s message of
repentance, receptive to the message so that they did repent. Do we
consider this message of repentance from God through Jonah part of
The Message to God’s people? Yes, no, and maybe: while certainly
“repentance” would be part of the message to God’s people of Israel
as well as of God’s people {we must look closer in the book of Jonah
and with any help from the NT of how these “heathens” could be called
God’s peo- ple; although of course we realize that in this early point of
Hebrew history, Israel was not that far removed from their
Mesopotamia valley connections and relatives, Abraham was called to
go out of Ur of Chaldea, the southern part of the rich and populous
Valley largely identified as the land of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers,
often called the cradle of civilization} in wicked Nineveh, the specific
message as the Word of the LORD came to Jonah is twofold (Jonah
1:2 and 3:2)}.

7-1: Jonah saved from the belly of the fish to dry land in answer to
prayer.

Of course, the most significant part of the prayer that God heeded
was the part of a willingness for obedience, the preach the message
God gave him in the first place for the wicked city of Nineveh.

“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their
wickedness has come up before Me.” (Jonah 1:2)

“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time {this time
Jonah was more receptive since God had just spoken to the fish (2:
10) so that Jonah was vomited out}, and preach to it the message that
I tell you.” (Jonah 3:2) Jonah’s prayer to God for rescue from the belly
of the fish is one chapter long which includes a horrible description of
what Jonah experienced for three days and three nights (1:17): in the
depths of the deep sea as the billows and waves could be heard
passing over him, the water inside the belly and the weeds, as the
earth dis- appeared and the very bottom base of the mountains were
around him, Jonah fainted and started praying. No doubt, part of the
message would include Jonah’s own salvation of God from the whale,
as we said a miracle that the seamen on the ship would have spread
into Nineveh, also would have included his own realization that “those
who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy” (2:8).

This message that God gave Jonah to preach must be that of Jonah 3:
4, because the record of Jonah tells us that this is what he preached:
“Then he cried out and said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be
overthrown.’” {I am sure that common knowledge among all inhabitants
of the Mesopotamia Valley was of how the whole earth had been
destroyed by a Flood after Noah preached while it rained forty days
and forty nights. Just the words of 40 days would get their attention,
even as did the miracle of Jonah and the big fish make them atten-
tive.} I think the sign that Jesus spoke of as a reason for belief was
larger in the minds of the Jews and even the whole world than we have
come to appreciate. When again have you ever heard of a giant fish
{perhaps a whale but we now from Jonah 1:17 that it was “a giant fish
to shallow Jonah” that had been prepared by God with a giant belly-like
oxygen tank that could provide him air for 3 days and nights} in all
history and in all histories of the sea--and you know how seamen
historically have always loved to tell tales--of a man: (1) first being
swal- lowed up into the belly of a giant fish; (2) then surviving for 3
days and nights in the tight, odious, and uncomfortable, even
misearable belly of the whale with all the sounds of the deep and the
surface, the dives and ascents around him; and (3) then the fish going
to dry land in order to vomit {wow, that also must have been some
experience} up a man?

7-2: Nineveh Repented and God relented.

The  city  of  Nineveh  repented after  the  king  gave  a  proclamation,
and  God responded with a relenting on the punishment which He had
determined for them, and you know how Jonah reacted. Now, we do
know from the proclamation of the King of Nineveh was message the
city received, that message including a part of repentance.
“Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not
let them eat, or drink water. But let man and best be covered with
sackcloth, and cry might- ily to God; yes, let eery one turn from his
evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if
God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so
that we may not perish?” (Jonah 3:10)
And what Jonah (3:10) told us that God did next, “relented”, is certainly
part of the message of the Writing Prophets to God’s people.
“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way;
and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would
bring upon them, and He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10)

7-3: Parenthetically, the control of God over events and history.
Parenthetically we see some of the minuteness of the control of God
over events and history. God prepared the giant fish to shallow Jonah,
so that the seamen who had been told by Jonah of his run from God
during the punishment by God of the storm threw him into the sea for
their own salvation; God not only started the raging of the seas--”the
LORD sent out a great wind on the sea {can He really do this, yes;
will He really did do this, yes}, and there was a mighty tempest on the
sea--we might say that the “mighty tempest on the sea” was a natural
work of nature caused by the wind which God did send, even as we
might say today that some effects are on automatic control while God
intervenes in others, but God also caused the sea to cease from
raging the very second they threw Jonah into the sea, coincidental, I
think not, nor I’m sure did the seamen when they told their stories that
spread from seaport in Tarshish to Nineveh; God had the fish vomit
up Jonah on dry land, and Iwould suppose within easy walking
distance of Tarshish; while Jonah in disgust madea shelter from the
hot sun for himself outside Nineveh, still hoping that God would
not relent of the city’s destruction, and having asked God in prayer to
take his own life, God first showed mercy by preparing a plant over his
head for shade--”God prepared a plant” {can God do this? Yes; did
God do this, yes; and is God that interested in the details of the lives
of His messengers and people; yes!}, then when after rest Jonah still
had not changed his mind about the mercy of relenting, “God prepared
a worm” {God’s part in events}, “and it so damaged the plant that it
withered” {natures part in what God started, by the way the God of
nature, the original creator who by no means can ever be a victim of
what He Himself has made}; furthermore after sunrise “God prepared
a vehement wind” so that the sun beat on Jonah’s head. What was
God doing, trying to get the attention of Jonah; and striving to let him
see how quick his angry was as compared to what it should be, as
compared to the character of God Himself. “Look at the magnitude of
the anger that you have in your life, even to death, simply because of
the plant that died. You pity the fate of a plant for which you did not
labor or watering to grow, a plant that came up in one night and
perished in one night; and yet you think that I should not pity a city of
120,000 people who can not discern between their right hand and their
left hand, not to mention their livestock. {Evidently God was going to
destroy the whole city of people and livestock even as He had done in
Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, even as He had done for the whole
earth in a Flood during the days of Noah.}

7-4: How many large cities existed at this Time and what city was
Jonah from?
While it is obvious that Noah was from the Mesopotamia Valley, we
do not know which city, but we do know where his 3 sons settled--Ham
in Canaan, the sons of Japheth were the famous “coastlands peoples
of the Gentiles” that we read about in Scripture, a description of those
peoples and countries along the Mediterranean Sea like Briton, Gaul,
and Spain, etc., and how that from Ham also came Cush, from Cush
Nimrod, also how the beginning of his kingdom led into Assyria and
Nineveh; as far Shem, “their dwelling place was from Mesha as you
go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east” (Genesis 10:30). {Sounds
like Persia and the territories east of Assyria and Babylon, which by
the way is generally considered as the site of the Garden of Eden,
above the head waters of the Tigris and Euph- rates Rivers.} The
historical record of Genesis (Genesis 10), about Nimrod, does tell us
of some cities of Assyria as Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, Resen
which was between Nineveh and Calah, and that Calah at that time
was the “principal city” (10:11,12).
We do find the mention of several cities in the historical record of
Jonah: of course Nineveh in Jonah 1:3; also Tarshish, a seaport city
where Jonah fled to take a ship; and where he started at another
seaport city, Joppa. What we might puzzle over is the part of the
message from God Himself in that He called Nineveh “that great city”,
deciding based on what God told Jonah after his anger at the salvation
of the city, meant only the size of the population, the 120,000 ignorant
people. We might wonder also why God would have more concern for
this large cen- ter of population over the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah that He destroyed by fire, and even over the whole earth
except for 7 souls that He destroyed by the Flood because of their
wickedness. Of course, we know that Nineveh repented and God
relented; and although Noah preached long and hard for many years,
his mes- sage by word and example was not heeded, only scoffed at,
and we think that Lot may have preached a similar message to the
twin cities of destruction.

7-5: A Summary of Previous Studies on Jonah.
1. From Volume 1 of the LEARN CHRIST commentaries, “The
Prophets and Apostles”.  Recall that volume 1 is a survey of the OT
according to the NT with an introductory discussion on each of the
Writing Prophets as well as on Moses in the Law and the literature of
wisdom and praise, even some on the historical books. From this first
volume of the five volume set, of which this is the last, we have the
following on the book of Jonah.  
Rather than now considering the Prophet Jonah, since like Jonah we
find that many of the OT Prophets delivered Messages to Cities,
Nations, and the Temple, we will consider those prophets under the
headings of these institutions. I think this helps us to see more of the
relevance of the Prophets in our time. They had a mes- sage for the
civil institutions as well as the religious, a message and message from
God Himself, and I believe we can easily relate them to our cities and
other institu- tions today, especially our nation. Jonah had a message
for the city of Nineveh, also Nahum and Zephaniah wrote of the city of
Nineveh. {Genesis 10:8-11 tells us the building of the city in Assyria by
Nimrod the “mighty hunter”.} Also the Prophet Micah speaks of in
Assyria, a city which is the entrance of the city of Nimrod.
                   What’s Happening in the City?
The complete title of this chapter would be: “What's Happening in the
City That is Most Important to God?” Recently I traveled from Tucson
to LAX and Port Huen- eme, California and later to the high desert in
the city of Lancaster, California. While waiting to visit a friend that I
worked with years ago at Edwards AFB, the thought came to me, “I
wonder what is happening in this city that is most important to God.”
Of course, God does not have the same value-system as this world
so that entertainment would, no doubt, not even be a factor. God is
always interested in His own people so we know that He would be
keeping an eye on them. Also we know that even a sparrow in the city
can not fall to the ground without God's knowledge. That still does not
answer the question as to what to God is the most important in thing
happening in the city? We know that God is more interested in poor
people than the well-to-do as the gospel is primarily given to the poor,
and that may give us a clue; and of course we know especially from
the Prophets that God is also interested in national and city leadership
as often we are told that He puts leadership in those positions for His
own purpose. As I thought these thought, a vagrant with his cart,
bedroll, etc. passed by, and I thought because of the uniqueness of
God to always seek and save the lost, this could be what was
happening in the city of Lancaster that was most important to God.
Recall the lesson Jesus gave us on the value-system of God when He
told His disciples of the fame and place in the kingdom of the woman
that gave the penny.
“Then He (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts
into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in
two mites. So He said,'Truly I say to you that this poor widow has
put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put
in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty has put in all the
livelihood that she had.'” (Luke 21:1-4 NJKV)
Then I naturally thought of the Prophet Jonah who was sent to one
particular city, the city of Nineveh, because God saw what was
happening in the city and wanted Jonah to preach to it! How Much Do
We Know About the City of Nineveh? Nineveh, of course, like Babylon
and Bagdad are all cities of Iraq; and we know of the recent fighting
nature of that nation. Apparently it has always been so. Laynard in his
book on NINEVEH AND BABYLON writes of the warlike nature of the
nation.
“The annals of Assyria (same as Iraq) are nothing but a register of
military campaigns, spoliations, and cruelties. Their monuments
display men of calm and unmoved ferocity, whose moral and mental
qualities are overborne by the faculties of the lower, brutal nature.”
We think of Sudam Hussein and his recent unprovoked attack on
Kuwait and the ensuing Persian Gulf War, and we can see the
conclusion of this book written over 50 years ago. Well, three books in
the Old Testament Prophets tell us something about Nineveh. First,
there was the book of Jonah which tells us that God noticed the moral
corruption in the city of Nineveh and sent Jonah to preach repentance
to the city. Maybe this alone gives us a clue to “What Is Happening in
a City that is most Important to God?” In this case, and perhaps in the
case of many cities in our nation, it was the moral corruption that
attracted the special attention of God. “For their wickedness is come
up before me...” (Jonah 1:1) Besides knowing all that goes on the
earth to the extent of the sparrow falling, there seems to be a stench
from “wickedness” that floats up to God from earth to heaven thus
attracting His attention. It irritates God. He is tempted to wipe out a
city whose stench becomes overwhelming; and long before God acts
on any city or nation, or the whole world, in judgment, He sends
Prophets to warn the city or nation. Also the Prophet Nahum writes
about Nineveh.  “Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and rob-
bery. Its victim never departs. The noise of a whip and the noise of
rattling wheels, of galloping horses, of clattering chariots! Horsemen
charge with bright sword and glittering spear. There is a multitude of
slain, a great num- ber of bodies, countless corpses--they stumble
over the corpses--because of the multitude of harlotries of the
seductive harlot, the mistress of sorceries, who sells nations through
her harlotries, and families through her sorceries.” (Nahum 3:1-4) Very
figurative language here to describe the city: the "seductive harlot"
refers to a spiritual unfaithfulness of the city, and "mistress of
sorceries" refers to a goodly charm that is bad. Since Assyria had
plundered other countries she had captured unlike Greece and Rome
who came later, the city of Nineveh was full of the loot.  Assyria
literally lived by the plundering of other nations.  The Prophet
Zephaniah also writes about the city of Nineveh.
"This is the rejoicing city that dwelt securely, that said in here
heart, 'I am it, and there is none beside me.'" (Zephaniah 2:15
NJKV)
This could, no doubt, be said of many cities in our world today. The
people say and think, “We are it. All other cities are nothing compared
to us.” Perhaps Paris, Bagdad, New York, or even Tucson. We never
thought 50 years ago that we come to the point of seeing the growth
of gambling establishments in our cities and nation; and we would
never have conceived that gambling on the state lottery level would
flourish under the excuse of providing for education. It has been an
education alright: it has taught us that our own cities of the United
States come under the same indictment of the nations of the Prophets
where the people “want to get some- thing for nothing”! From your
Bible history background, you will recall that Noah had three sons,
Shem, Ham, and Japheth that were born to him after the Great Flood
that destroyed the whole earth with water. Well, Ham had a grandson
that was called Nimrod. It was Nimrod, the great famous hunter, that
was the founder of Nineveh. We read in Genesis 10:8-11.  
“Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.
He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, 'Like
Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.' And the beginning of
his kingdom was Babel, Erich, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of
Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh...”
(Genesis 10:8-11 NJKV)
Also the Prophet Micah speaks of the “sword (of) the land of Assyria,
and the land of Nimrod at its entrances” (Micah 5:6 NKJV). Numbers
24:22,24 also has an early historical reference to Assyria in the
prophecy of Balaam of how that nations would carry Israel away into
Captivity, and how later the ships from Greece would in turn afflict
Assyria. And Psalm 83:8 and II Chronicles 20:1-4 give the historical
account of Assyria under Shalmaneser II who allied with Moab and
Ammon against Israel under King Jehosphaphat. The nation of Israel
was victorious, but this was just the beginning of the
real world power of Assyria.
We now come to the description of Nineveh in the book of Jonah. B.
H. Carroll gives us a summary of the description of Nineveh in Jonah.
“The record here in Jonah says that Nineveh was a 'great city.' It was
located on the Tigris River and in the shape of a parallelogram, sixty
miles around and three days' journey on a straight line through it. Its
walls were sixty feet high, with 1,500 towers, 200 feet high. The walls
were broad enough on top to receive three chariots driving side by
side. It is almost certain that this city was larger than Babylon,
especially if we include in the estimate of its suburbs. Jonah calls it
'an exceeding great city of three days' journey' and with 120,000
infants, all of which indicate that Nineveh was no ordinary city.”
             “What Is Most Important to God?”
We do not have the details about how Jonah preached in the city; but
we do know that Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah and that
God spared the city. I think that Carroll is right that the story of Jonah
and the whale, or large fish, got back to the city of Nineveh before
Jonah, the king and the people deciding that the God that could do that
could also destroy them. I think you begin to see what is most
important to God in the dialogue between Jonah and God as he built
his hut on the hill and waited for the destruction of the city! “Then God
saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented
from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He
did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10 NKV) It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and
he became angry. (Jonah 4:1) Jonah started pouting, and he prayed.
“Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my
country? There- fore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that
You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant
in loving kindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore
now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me
to die than to live!”
1. What Was So Important to Jonah?  Before we come to some of
the details about what was so important to God, let us figure out as a
background what was so important to Job that he first got angry; then
he protested to God that he had told Him so back his home country;
then excused himself for running off to Spain because he knew this
would happen; and then the anger turned to despair of returning home
where this news of the salvation of Nineveh would go ahead of him,
asking God to take his life.
(1). Jonah like all of the Jews had a hatred for the idolatrous Gen-
tiles of Nineveh.
(2).  “Ah, didn't I tell you so, God,” Jonah prayed. He had the fear
that God would show mercy and the Great Preaching with the
Prediction of Destruction that God told him would be discredited. His
life was over as a prophet and priest. He had lost face!
(3). Nineveh would grow in strength and if spared would become a
terror to Israel. Therein Jonah was also a prophet. Nineveh with
Babylon and the whole nation Assyria did become a powerful nation,
and did take captives of Israel and Judah.
2. What Was Important to God?
(1). God is concerned about rightness of our attitudes, emotions, and
conscience. First of all it was important to God what was the attitude
of Jonah on the matter of preaching, repentance, and as to God
changing His mind about destructions.
“Then the LORD said, 'Is it right for you to be angry?'” (Jonah 4:4
NJV)
God was saying in effect, “I know your conscience tells us that these
people should be destroyed, but is your conscience right! Check the
value system of your conscience. Is it right for you to be angry?
(2). God has a sense of humor, and that is important to Him.
“So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the
city.” {He was still looking for and hopeful of destruction.} There
he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he
might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God
prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be
shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was
very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day
God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it
withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God
prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah' s
head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself,
and said, 'It is better for me to die than to live.'” (Jonah 4:5-8
NJKV)
Don't you see a sense of humor there. Jonah's emotions as he
awaited for something to happen to the city were up and down. He
was satisfied that he had made a shelter from the sun; and then as it
was enhanced by the blessing from God of additional shade from the
hot desert sun as God make a large plant like a tree to provide addi-
tional relief from the desert. And since God knew that the tired prophet
was tired, and that he was make a decision while he was tired, never a
good thing, thus provided a good night's rest. However, since it was
time for the Prophet to move on back to Israel, and take up the work
of God there, God sent a worm to fester the plant of shade and wither
it up. Not only did Jonah's plant shade disappear, but then a vio- lent
wind came from the east that blew his shelter across the desert. Jonah
grew faint in the desert heat, and I know you can appreciate that. Then
again Jonah wished that it was better for him to die than to live.
(3). God is concerned about our value system. Jonah became just as
angry about the loss of the plant that had provided shade as he did
over God relenting over the destruction of Nineveh. Jonah, Is it right
for you to be angry? Child of God today, is it right for you to be angry.
Is it right for you to be angry with a brother that has wronged you? Is it
right for you to be angry with that fellow member of the church, or that
preacher? Or you holding a grudge because things did not work out for
you the way they were planned?
(4). God like many of His servants are concerned about the plants like
the lilies of the field and the sparrow, but God is more concerned
about those who are lost.
“Then God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry about the
plant?' (Jonah 4:9a NJKV)
“And Jonah said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
(Jonah 4:9b NJKV)
God is patiently working to change the value system and conscience
of Jonah.  To change the concept of what is right and what is wrong.
Is it right for you to be angry? Often our concepts of what is right is
self-centered. It is more a matter of what is right and wrong for us than
what is right and wrong for a whole city, or even what is right and
wrong to God! But Jonah is still determined, and says, “Yes, it is
right for me to be angry even unto death.”
(5). It is important to God to be consistently what He is, gracious and
mer- ciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One
who relents from doing harm: (a) God is gracious and wants us to be
gracious; (b) God is merciful and wants us to be merciful; (c) God is
slow to anger and wants us to be the same way. He was trying to get
that message over to Jonah as He said, “Is it right for you to be
angry? (d) God is abundant in lovingkindness and expects the same
from us; and (e) God spells out what is important to Him now that He
hopefully has the attention of Jonah.
“But the LORD said, 'You have had pity on the plant for which
you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night
and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great
city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand
persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their
left, and also much livestock?'” (Jonah 4:10-11 NJKV)
Exegesis provides the following: (a) Your conscience and background
has allowed you to have more concern about a plant that for 120,000
children that do not know the difference between right and wrong; (b)
You concerns are too short ranged rather than eternal--You are more
concerned for a plant that grew up in one night and perished in one
night; (c) You are more concerned about the things for which you have
not labored than those things for which you have labored; (d) Think of
the livestock if you can not think of the children.
      The History of Nations in the Writing Prophets
You have noticed how that many of the Prophet mention the say
nations so that you could almost write a history of the early world from
the writings of the Prophets. You noticed, for example, at the
beginning of this book how that Edom and their destruction was not
only mentioned in Obadiah but echoed and told in differing stages in
other Prophets. There is one thing that this allows us to clearly see
and that is that God is interested in the people of all nations, and the
nations of all peoples. Also, that God never performs a judgment on
any peoples without first giving those same people the message of
judgment and the opportunity to repent. This is especially true of the
Final Judgment at the end of time, and this is one of the prime
subjects of all 16 of the Writing Prophets.

2. Background of the Magic Outline on Jonah and Amos.
While the 12 topics of the Magic Outline of volume 1 also outlines the
chapters of volume 1, Jonah being in chapter 8 and under the twin
titles of “Listening to the Prophets and Apostles” or “Their Own
Righteousness”, the Magic Outline is repeated for reference and
foundation in this volume in chapter 5. That part of the outline that
specifically applies to Jonah and in general context of an outline of the
whole Bible, by topic and book sequence, is repeated as follows.
        Listening More Important Than Sacrifice.
Now as always it is felt that the Bible is a single book from God, well
planned, well written, and well distributed; and since God {through the
Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Christ} is the source, what He says before
and after a book like Jonah not only gives us the flow of His truth, but
also have in the understanding. In fact, what is amazing in the Magic
Outline is that after all the OT quotes in the NT are listed in one of the
most probable historical sequences of the OT origination, that the
derived topical outline has a common and progressive nature in
revelations. For example if you look at topic # 8 in the Magic Outline, it
has a derived subject based on the quotes and NT interpretations to
follow of “Listening More Important Than Sacrifice”. {This is
somewhat modified by the NT interpretations, especially from Paul in
Romans, as Paul writes of how his breathing are making the sacrifices
of “going about to establish their own righteousness--obviously a
matter of personal sacrifice--therefore “not submitting unto the
righteousness of God through faith”.} You will notice that this topic flow
passes through the books of I Samuel, II Samuel, and I Kings in the
historical books, each book as quoted in the NT making a contribution
to the major topic; and then getting into the pre-Isaiah Prophets {this is
approximate as there is always and always will be discussion and
change from century to century on the sequence and date of the
Prophets, much of which comes from the denial of the wise of this
world of the ability of God to make predictions through the Prophets},
like Jonah, Joel, Amos, and Hosea. If we take some of the best of
conservative and Bible believing scholar- ship in the NEW
INTERNATIONAL commentaries, etc., we would have the following:  
(1)  for  Jonah,  Carroll  puts  him  in  the  Assyrian  Captivity  and  
volume  as contrasted to the latter Chaldean captivity and volume, with
the sequencing before Isaiah--in other words Pre-Isaiah Prophets, of
Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, and then Isaiah; (2) for Amos,
McComiskey in “The Minor Prophets” writes that “the ministry of
Amos spanned the reigns of King Uzziah of Judah (791-740) and King
Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753 BC)”; (3)
                       _____________________
I. Listen to God.
I Samuel
1. Love of God and neighbor is and always was in the Old Testament
more impor- tant than burnt offerings and sacrifices: I Samuel 15:22
and Mark 12:33.
2. To listen to Christ as Lord is more important than the legal
requirements of the
Sabbath day: I Samuel 21:1,6, Luke 6:3,4, Mark 2:25, and Matthew
12:2,3.
II Samuel
3. When you listen to God in the predictions of the Bible you have to
listen twice as hard as the predictions often have double meaning--
that is, a wider spectrum of meaning than immediately obvious as
here where it applies to King Solomon and King Jesus: II Samuel 7:
12,14 and John 7:42.
I Kings
4. Listen to God talk about His own remnant of Israel when He tells
Elijah that He has reserved 7,000 for Himself that have not bowed the
knee to Baal: I Kings 19:10-
18 and Romans 11:4.
II. Listening Signs from the Early Prophets and Jesus.
Jonah
1. The Listening Signs for This Generation is Both Solomon, Jonah
and Jesus as recorded in the Bible while in Nineveh’s generation it
was the Prophet Jonah and in Jesus time it was Him the Prophet
Messiah: Jonah 3:1-4 and Luke 11:29.
Joel
2. Listen to the Apostle Peter on the first day of Pentecost after
Christs Ascension as he quotes from the Prophet Joel to explain both
what happened on that day, and what would happen from this the
beginning of the last days until the end of time: Joel 2:28-31 and Acts
2:16-21.
3. Listen to the Prophet Joel start the ball rolling on the prime them of
the Bible about eschatology, the One Day of the LORD: Joel 3:13,
Mark 4:29, and Mark 13:24.
III. Listen to God Himself tell in the Bible to what extent the nation of
Israel was and was not His chosen people.
Amos
1. Immediately after rescue from Egyptian bondage God turned away
from most of Israel, giving them up to worship the host of heaven:
Amos 5:25-27 and Acts 7:42.
2. God takes a people for His name from among the Gentiles: Amos
9:11,12 and Acts 15:15-17.
Hosea
3. These same Gentiles shall be called sons of the living God: Hosea
2:23 and Romans 9:25,26.
Isaiah 1-39
4. If God had not chosen a small remnant out of Israel they would
have been like Sodom and Gomorrah: Isaiah 1:9 and Romans 9:29.
IV. Listen to God Himself in His book on matters or eschatology, or
last things.
1. You must first of all see the double nature of predictions as related
to eschatology as when the Old Testament said, “I will call my Son
out of Egypt.” (Hosea
11:1 and Matthew 2:15)
{NOTE: The Son has a double meaning:
(1). First it is the nation of Israel as the Son; and (2). Then it is
Christ as the Son.}
2. Immortality and the sting of death: Hosea 13:14 and Isaiah 29:8.
3. Day of the LORD: Isaiah 2:3,12,18, and 19, and I Corinthians 14:
36, II Thessalonians 2:2, and II Thessalonians 1:10.
4. Isaiah 35:51; 61:1 and Matthew 11:5

3. Background on Jonah in The Message of the Writing Prophets in
chapter 6 and chapter 7 which is the Parts of the Message.
{Obadiah and Jonah were not discussed in chapter 6 since those
Writing Prophets dealt with peoples other than those generally
considered to be God’s people; how- ever, we must realize a sense in
which as God’s creations and creatures, all people are people of God,
and further as we clearly see in Jonah that God is concerned about
any city, wicked or otherwise.}

7-6: God’s Intervention in Events and History in Amos as an
answer to Prayer.
1. The Magic Outline on Amos.
Before we get into some of the details of Amos itself, let us briefly
check the accu- racy of our Magic Outline on Amos for setting a tone
for what we expect from Amos. One part of the outline we know that
we can not miss on; and that is what God ordained to be the most
important parts of Amos to include in the NT, especially for the
Gentiles--that is, the quotes in the NT from Amos. Under the major
topic, topic #8 of the magic outline, Amos comes under the general
heading of “Listening is More Important than Sacrifice”--a topic that
God from near the very beginning tried to get across to His people
even though we are aware more often of the elaborate rituals and
sacrifices of the Law of Moses, ordained by God but the end of which
he had a purpose more of obedience than of sacrifice. {Look at what
Jesus told the Pharisees and scribes of His day, how they would tithe
religiously and leave undone the weightier matters of the law--get that
there were matters of the law that weighed more--and that was
JUSTICE, MERCY, and FAITH.} However to continue on Amos,
under the major heading of “Listening More Important than Sacrifice”
is the subheading as we flow from the historical books into Amos of
“III. Listen to God Himself tell in the Bible to what extent the nation of
Israel was and was not His chosen people”; then in support of that
subheading is Amos with two obvious contributions as quoted in the
NT: (1) Immediately after rescue from Egyptian bondage God turned
away from most of Israel, giving them up to worship the host of
heaven: Amos 5:25-27 and Acts 7:42; and (2) God takes a people for
His name from among the Gentiles: Amos 9:11,12 and Acts 15:15-17.
2. The Major Theme of Amos from B.H. Carroll.
Can this part of the Magic Outline, derived across from Scriptures,
actually provide us a major theme for the book of Amos? If we
summarized it, it would say something like this: God turned His back
on most of Israel, taking early on a people for His name from among
the Gentiles. Once having decided on this theme as quoted in the NT
can we also get concurrence in the nature of the ASI from the best in
contemporary and conservative Bible-believing and spirit-led
scholarship? For example, Carroll writes:
“The subject of the prophecy
of Amos is judgment, or national accountability”, which he says is
indicated by the main text of the outline, “Jehovah will roar from Zion”
,
strangely enough at first that Carroll choses to take from Joel 3:16.
                  
Outline of Amos from B. H. Carroll
The outline is so simple and helpful from Carroll that I must repeat it
here, 3 divisions and a conclusion in the homiletical nature of AN
INTERPRETATION of--
(1) Introduction;
(2) Denunciation of the nations, 1:3 -2:16, the list of which extending
near and far, although not into the Mesopotamia Valley--Syria (1:3-5),
Philistia (1:6-8), Phoenicia (1:9-10), Edom (1:11-12), Ammon (1:13-
15), Moab (2:1-3), then back to home with Judah and then Israel (2:4-5
and 2:6-16);
(3) Proclamations to Israel (3-6), as the message narrows to more on
the northern kingdom of Israel where Amos was a designated Prophet,
although from Tehoa in Judah {it is in this third and fourth divisions of
Carroll’s outline that we will find the major theme in Amos 3-9 with the
conclusion. Below we will list II and III with the conclusion separate for
ease in our Bible study of Amos.}
                                
 Outline Details
II. Proclamations Israel (3-6)
: (1) Jehovah’s verdict and sentence (3);
(2) Jehovah’s indictment and summons (4); (3) Jehovah’s judgment
and woe (5-6).
III. Revelations for all (7:1-9:10): (1) The locusts (7:1-3)--judgment
threat- ened and restrained {we see here something very comparable
to the relenting of God about Nineveh, yet the restrained seems to be
softer, and we will want to see if in Amos we can see some change in
the mind of God to send this natural disaster for punishment because
of the prayer of the people of God}; (2) The fire (7:4-6)-- once again
judgment threatened and restrained {it is as though Amos is telling
the people of how often a judgment was averted in order to tell why
His patience has warn out to the extent that Israel is rejected in favor
of a remnant while God at the same time will take a people from
among the Gentiles--we might look for evidence in this early part of
Hebrew history, even before Isaiah of approximately 760 B.C. of
where God took some people for Himself of the Gentiles}; (3) The
plumb line (7:7-9)--judgment determined {as we suspected based on
what was quoted in the NT and as part of the magic outline, that
judgment once diverted on several occasions and in several ways was
about to stand, and we also suspect that it is a judgment against Israel
as people of God.
Then the LORD said: Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the
midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore {the
judgments will not be passed by anymore}. The high places of
Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanc- tuaries of Israel shall be laid
waste. I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam
{the King}.” (Amos 7:8,9)
Once again you have the words from God Himself, only recorded by
Amos, as Isa- iah would do later; and as Jonah had done previously.
You have a record of history and you have a record of words from
God; however, when you consider the work of the Spirit in the writing
of both in one book, then you come to consider the books as inspired
Scriptures, words from God. You must have respect for this special
words dictated by God Himself, then check the history and
accompany summaries from the Prophets as consistent with those
words from God; and that is exactly what you will find in the internal
text, a consistency.
I
II. continued, Revelations for all of 7:1 through 9:10: (4) Historical
interlude (7:10-17)--conflict with Amaziah {Amaziah per the record you
can read in this portion of Amos was a priest of Bethel, a home- town
boy to speak, who sent a message to Jeroboam, the king of Israel,
that: (a) Amos had conspired against the King of Israel; (b) the land of
Israel can not bear all these words from Amos, in that Jeroboam is
predicted to die by the sword and for Israel to go into Assyrian
Captivity {what is predicted in Amos of the Assyrian Captivity of the
northern kingdom of Israel is fulfilled already in Isaiah}; (c) that Amos
should flee back to Judah where he belonged--eat bread and prophesy
there; and (d) never prophesy against Bethel which is the location of
the king’s residence and the king’s sanctuary.
And we must look at Amos’ response here in Amos 7:14-17 for it
speaks of the finality of the judgment for punishment that God has
placed on God’s people of the northern kingdom. Amos says while
previously not a prophet, rather the son of a sheepherder and currently
a “tender of sycamore trees”, God Himself did the fol- lowing, and
here we find some more of God’s intervention in the events of life like
with Jonah, although we have indications of only obedience from
Amos {I would think that Amos had read the book of Jonah}: God took
Amos away from flock and gave him a message to give to Israel.
“Therefore thus says the LORD: {this time Amos is repeating the
exact words that he heard from the LORD God} Your wife shall be
a harlot in the city; your sons and daughters shall fall by the
sword; your land shall be divided by survey line; you shall die in a
defiled land; and Israel shall surely be led away captive from his
own land.” (Amos 7:17)
3. The Major Theme of Amos from the New International Commentary
on Amos and McComiskey’s “The Minor Prophets” commentaries by
Baker House.  The New International Commentaries divide volumes
into: one on “Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Micah” {a grouping that we will
wish to investigate in this volume of the LEARN CHRIST
commentaries}; another volume for “Nahum, Habakkuk, and
Zephaniah” {obviously Prophets of the Chaldean period}; and a third
volume on “Haggai and Malachi {also an interesting grouping that we
will want to investigate}.
However as yet there is not a release of a commentary on Amos.
What we can try to benefit from is a three volume set on the Minor
Prophets edited by Thomas Edward McComiskey with the division of
volumes as follows: (1) volume 1 on Hosea, Joel, and Amos {this, I
am sure, but we will check would place them as Pre-Isaiah Prophets
and in the category of a much larger list of Prophets from Carroll of
the Assyrian Captivity period, although we might investigate why
Jonah is not in the list; it could be as simple as the author of that
volume was chosen more for his  expertise in those books more than
for any connection to the same period of OT history}; (2) volume 2 on
Obadiah by Jeffrey Niehaus, Jonah by Joyce Baldwin, Micah by Bruce
Waltke, Nahum by Tremper Longman III, and Habakkuk by F.F.
Bruce.  
NOTE:  You will remember the very scholarly and conservative
scholar, F.F. Bruce, recently departed for this earth scene, who
gave us such good NT commentaries as well as much help in
several books of “The Books and the Parchments”. We are
surprised that such a respect scholar and staunch Englishman
can write so conservatively, although we detect in some of the
more recent books like his commentary on II Thessalonians both
a concern for the popularity in America for the premelliniumnists
fundamentalists and a certain reluctance to admit to the full
implications of the Falling Away. By the way I check the list of
Jesus Seminary members with the writers of the second volume
above, those who deny most of the book of John as Word of God
and who can not make up their minds as to whether Jesus
claimed to be Son of God. What did I find? Yes, they are clean of
ultimate heresy!}
(3) volume 3 of “The Minor Prophets” includes Zephaniah by J. Alec
Motyer, Haggai by J. Alec Motyer, Zechariah by Thomas
McComiskey {of course the editor of the three volume set}, and
Malachi by Douglas Stuart. We recognize all of these as Prophets of
the Chaldean Period, that period of Babylonian and Mede-Persian
Captivity, the period of which was predicted by the major Prophet
Isaiah, also of Jeremiah who actually experienced part of the Captivity
in group that fled to Egypt, and of Ezek- iel who predicted although
already in captivity in Chaldea predicted the complete fall of Jerusalem
and Judah {captivities were in sequence, with the complete fall coming
in the time of Jeremiah, and which Jeremiah predicted, and Daniel
read and recorded, would last for 70 years}, then of course Daniel was
among the choice young men taken captive to serve in Babylon.
McComiskey’s analysis of Amos is outlined as follows: (1) A Poem of
Judgment Against Various Nations; (2) Pronouncement of Judgment
{which in turn he likes to outline centered around “the covenant
lawsuits” of God against Israel, and a finalized announcement of
Judgment in 5:18 through 6:14 about the Day of Yahweh, judgment
against “false religiosity” which we want to add to our list of parts of
the Message of an earlier chapter}, judgment against “Israel’s
complacency”, and judgment against “pride and unrighteousness” {we
should include another chapter to look closely first at what Amos has
to say on these, then proceed with the Message of the other Writing
Prophets; and (3) Prophetic Visions, which seems tame as compared
to the outline here of Carroll; however we do see the same themes in
both outlines, McComiskey choosing the subheadings of (a) visions of
judgment turned aside, (b) visions of judgment not turned aside, and
(c) restoration and blessings. {We must at some point, perhaps in
chapter on “Res- toration and Promised Blessings” as part of the
Message of the Writing Prophets.}
               
4. A Summary from Volume 1 on Amos.  
              
What Is Happening in the Home Country?
Okay, Jonah is off touring the city of Nineveh in Assyria, so who is
minding the store back in Judah and Israel. Recall that Jonah was a
prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel. We see this in II Kings 14:
25. “He (Jeroboam II) restored the border of Israel from the entrance
of Hamath unto the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of
Jehovah, the God of Israel, which he spake by his servant Jonah the
son of Amittai, the prophet, who was of Gath-hepher." (II Kings 14:25)
Jonah identifies himself as the son of Amittai (Jonah 1:1), and Joshua
19:3 describes Gath-hepher as a town three miles northeast of
Nazareth which places him in the northern kingdom. Then obviously,
Jeroboam II was a king of Israel, and his reign is called the “Indian
Summer” of Israel's history (II Kings 14:23-29). While Jonah was off
pouting in Assyria, Amos was preaching to thenorthern kingdom.
However he was from the southern kingdom, so he too was a mis-
sionary in a more limited sense of distance. Tekoa, the home town of
Amos, was 12 miles south of Jerusalem. Actually while Jonah's Judah
ministry was at the beginning of Jeroboam's ministry, approximately
800 B.C., Amos' ministry was approximately 760 B.C. after Israel had
started to prosper from the reign of Jeroboam and as always began to
lapse into moral indulgences. There was a big difference between
the Prophetic work of Amos as compared to Jonah. While Jonah was
a priest and prophet, Amos was a shepherd and a dresser of
sycamore trees.
                  
Amos on National Accountability
The subject of Amos prophetic book is judgment, or national
accountability. First he denounces in the name of God and with the
word of God that other nations surrounding Israel: Syria (1:3-5),
Philistia (1:6-8), Phoenicia (1:9-10), Edom (1:11-12), Ammon (1:13-
15), Moab (2:1-3), Judah (2:4-5), his home country, and then lastly
Israel (2:6-16).
I'm sure as Amos started preaching at Bethel, no doubt on a feast
day, about the overthrow of Israel's neighbors, it attracted the
attention of Israel. These heathen nations, according to the preaching
of Amos, knew what was wrong in their practices of cruelty or
inhumanity; and the God of the Universe was holding them
accountable. Judah and Israel since they possessed the law of Moses
and the teach- ings of the Prophets were held to a higher standard of
national accountability. Amos denounces Israel for: covetousness,
injustice, lasciviousness, sacrilege, for forget- ting  Jehovah's
kindness, and  for  rejecting Jehovah's messengers. B.H.  Carroll
writes of the history of the times in Israel and Judah.
“It was when Israel and Judah both enjoyed great prosperity and there
was much indulgence in the luxuries of wealth by the upper classes
while the poor were suffer- ing from their extreme poverty. The moral
condition of the people were terrible. Crime was perverted, and
almost every form of iniquity abounded in the land. The nations round
about were also corrupt and Judah had turned away from the law of
Jehovah.”
                     What is Happening in Israel?
“Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of
Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of
Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth:
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1,2 KJV) {At
least by the time of Amos in Israel, God identified with the people to
the extent that He knew a lot about them, more than of any of the
families of the earth.}

7-7: An Exegetical Outline of Amos.

1. Judgment is on the way, and God first identified to Israel that He
never has and never will do anything without first revealing it to His
Prophets.
“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret
unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7 KJV)

We are going to find more and more as we progress through the
Prophets that increasing temporal and isolated judgments on single
nations turned to a great pre- dicted judgment on the heavens and the
earth at the end of time. Always, however, in the case of limited
judgments and the final judgment, there were and are ample warnings
from the Prophets and later the Apostles as well as from Jesus
Himself. Much of these end-time judgments center around the key
words “the day of the LORD” or the “One Day of the LORD and Lord.”
(1). The Day of the LORD in Amos.
Amos as one of the early writing Prophets introduces this “day of the
LORD”, although you have to read it carefully in Amos 5:16-20 to
know that it is talking about more than just the immediate and temporal
judgment on Israel. You see that in the passage with the emphasis on
darkness instead of light; and when you take the messages from all
the Writing Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles you know that at the
end of the last days the sun, moon, and stars will be turned into dark-
ness.
(2). The Day of the LORD in Isaiah.
You see also this One Day of the LORD judgment in Isaiah; and once
again there is the more immediate threat to Israel and Babylon, but
here is clearer that the larger meaning is an end-time judgment.
“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a
destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint,
and every man's heart shall melt: and they shall be afraid: pangs
and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a
woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their
faces shall be as flames.” (Isaiah 12:6-8)
Faithful exegesis of this verse in the total context of the Scriptures,
Old and NewTestament, would go like this: (a) It doesn't say that it is a
destruction from the Almighty God, but it says that it will come “as a
destruction from the Almighty”; (b) Seems like we have navy
terminology here as it states that first in Babylon, and then later in the
world “all hands” shall be faint; (c) The figurative language continues as
it states as these events of judgment begin to unfold, that men's hearts
shall melt. It seems that this can be both figurative and literal; for we
know from the teachings of the Apostle Peter later that the earth shall
be melted with a fervent heat; (d)   Every man living on the earth during
these end times will be afraid. Recall how Jesus said that men would
cry for the rocks of the mountains to fall on them in order that they
might be covered up; (e) Although there may be a time of prosperity
and luxury now, it will be a time of pain and sorrow then; (f) Men and
women will look at each other in amazement, like what are we going to
do, what can we do; (g) Their faces will look like flames. I'm sure the
blood pressure goes up with what men will see and hear and feel, and
from the fervent heat the faces will literally break into flames.
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and
fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the
sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the
constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be
darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light
to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked
for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to
cease, and will lay low the haugtiness of the terrible." (Isaiah 13:9-
11 KJV)
Exegesis: (a) We read a lot in the Bible about the love and mercy of
God; and part of that love and mercy is a warning through His
Prophets and Apostles that there is an inevitable Judgment on sinners,
evil doers, the iniquities of the wicked, the arrogancy of the proud, and
the haughtiness of those in power and wealth. We read in Jonah about
the patience and longsuffering of God toward the city of Nineveh; but
here not only is coming judgement pronounced on the whole nation of
Babylon, but also later at the end of time on the whole world. (b)
Notice clearly this time that the sun, the moon, and the stars will cease
to give their light. We should look at the same thing reechoed from
Jesus Himself many years later.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be
darkened, and the moon shall not give her lights, and the stars
shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be
shaken...” (Matthew 24:29 KJV)
Exegesis continued: (c) Notice that God looks ahead past the people
of Babylon to the people far in the future near the end of time, telling
what they will be like, and what it is about them that displeases him.
Can this apply to the people of our nation? With the implications of: [1]
God will punish the world for its evil. I am sure that Israel during
prosperity and Babylon during prosperity and world domination
thought they were getting away with evil, but mark these words, GOD
IS GOING TO PUN- ISH THE WORLD OF EVIL. Wicked nations and
wicked people will be held accountable for their iniquities. [2] The
arrogancy of the proud will cease. I am sure that in Israel with
prosperity and power, and more so in Babylon as a world ruler, the
arrogancy of pride was increasing. I am also sure that the increase we
are now witnessing in pride and arrogancy will continue to increase
right up to the time that God says, “No more”; and it will cease! [3]
God will lay low the haughtiness of the powerful. Those of status and
wealth and position and power, especially those that take advantage
of the poor, will be brought down from their high position to a low
position.
2. God says through Amos for the leaders who live in the palaces of
Israel and Egypt to look at the great mass of the oppressed poor
people, and then to look in their own palaces where violence and
robbery is stored up (Amos 3:9,10).