Key Verse: “He said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.”
OUR CONSIDERATION OF the prophecy of Amos concludes with today’s lesson. In our Key Verse, the prophet sees before him a basket of summer fruit—ripe and not fit for preserving. This is an apt illustration of the nation of Israel, for they had repeatedly broken their covenant with God. They would no longer be preserved, for they were ripe to be soon destroyed as a nation.
As a nation, Israel was indeed cut off less than two centuries after the time of Amos. Still, they would be given one last chance to remain God’s chosen people by accepting the Messiah when he arrived. However, they failed that opportunity also when they refused to accept Jesus as Israel’s promised king. Jesus lamented their rejection just days before his crucifixion: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”—Matt. 23:37,38
Jesus was in complete harmony with his Heavenly Father. He declared, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” (Ps. 40:8) He knew of his Father’s love for Israel, and he loved them as well, despite their rejection of him. Many have read the prophecies concerning Israel and missed the tender love toward Israel shared by God and Jesus. Millions have concluded that Israel’s own prophets condemned Israel, much of the world of mankind, and the earth to total destruction. Such might be a logical supposition if we were to end all of the Bible’s prophecies before their conclusions are noted.
Many prophets have declared much trouble and destruction to come upon Israel and the world, but subsequently speak of blessings to follow. For example, in the prophecy of Zephaniah, God speaks of his “fierce anger” and the “fire” of his “jealousy,” but immediately says that after this period of trouble, “then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” (Zeph. 3:8,9) This is but one example of blessings promised by the prophets of Israel after prophesying of destruction.
Amos also declares this destruction for repeated sins is not the end of Israel in God’s plans. He declares, “In that day [after the period of their desolation as a nation] will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, … and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” (Amos 9:11) James quotes this prophecy in Acts 15:13-18 as evidence of Israel’s part in God’s plan “from the beginning of the world.”
The Apostle Paul also frequently emphasized Israel’s part in God’s plan. He said, concerning Israel and their people, “Unto them were committed the oracles of God;” “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” (Rom. 3:2; 11:2) Paul’s conclusion with regard to Israel is that although their failures brought blindness upon them, it will be removed, and they will be recovered, when they recognize their Messiah and his kingdom is established.—Rom. 11:25-27