Joel 1-3; Amos 1-9; Obadiah - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight JAO01
The Bible from 30,000 feet, soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Turn in your Bibles, did you bring one.
Good. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Joel. We're going to cover three books this evening. We're flying over the book of Joel, the book of Amos, and the book of Obadiah. Now Joel has three chapters. Amos has nine chapters. And Obadiah has a single chapter.
We have in the past gone through all of these books verse by verse. In fact, I did a series called something like Major-- Minor Prophets in the Major League, I think I called it. And we looked at each one of them. And we did it in-depth.
But this is the Bible from 30,000 feet. And if you're new to it, we're just flying over these books, noticing the landmarks, the great themes of the book, how it ties and fits in with the rest of the Bible, and then we move on. We just want to get people to understand and have a familiarity with the theme of each book of scripture.
And I'm guessing that not a lot of you have spent a lot of time in books like Amos and Obadiah. Not a lot of people do. But there's some great messages in every one of these books. So we're going to be in those three, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah.
We call these the minor prophets not because they're less significant than Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Daniel, or Ezekiel. We call them minor prophets not based on inferiority or superiority, but simply brevity. The minor prophets say a lot with fewer words. And because they use less words, less literary real estate, we call them minor prophets. That's how the term came about.
They have good, powerful, significant things to say. And they are quoted in the New Testament with one exception. And that is the book of Obadiah is not quoted in the New Testament. But the other books we look at tonight are.
But think of it this way, you remember when the first cell phones came out? Remember how big they were? The were like the size of a small child. They were just so large. We just thought they were so cool. You see somebody with that thing, look at that thing.
And then now, think what you can do with that little device. You can get on the internet. You can download apps. You can get Bible studies. You can search anything. And you can use it as a phone. And they're so tiny. They're like little tiny little things that you hold up and you can just do so much compared to what the major prophet phone was several years ago.
Well, let me give you the themes of these three books before we jump in. They all begin with the letter D. The theme of Joel is the day of the Lord. I'll explain what that little phrase means. It comes up quite frequently in the scriptures, 26 times altogether the phrase the day of the Lord comes up. That is the theme of the book of Joel, the day of the Lord.
The theme of the book of Amos is denunciation of the nations. Nations that are gathered around Israel and Judah, and even Israel and Judah itself. It's a short book packed with denunciatory proclamations. So the day of the Lord, Joel. Denunciation of the nations in Amos.
And then finally, the last one, Obadiah, the doom of Edom. Edom, one single country that was next to Israel.
We start with Joel, and that takes us back to the 9th century BC. And we're dealing with the Northern Kingdom. I think by now you know that history. I don't have to rehash it. But for those of you who might be new, the kingdom of Israel, historically, after Solomon was split into North and South.
10 of the 12 tribes of Israel was called the Northern Kingdom or simply Israel. Sometimes referred to by its largest tribe, the tribe of Ephraim. God will address them as Ephraim, but he means all the 10 tribes of Israel in the north. And then two tribes down south, Judah and Benjamin, referred to as the nation of Judah.
The prophet Joel is addressing Israel, that northern set of 10 tribes dealing with the day of the Lord. Now a little bit of a hint, and it's not really unique to Joel, we've already noted and I'm glad we have been thus far that you know how this works by now. You know how that there is sometimes a prophecy or a vision or a prediction made, and it finds its fulfillment in the near future and in the far future. Right? Near and far fulfillment.
And so there's a little bit of lag on that. I just thought, well my students aren't measuring up. But know you know that. Maybe it's just you had a hard day, some of you. I don't know. But Joel looks through the lens of an immediate judgment to be able to view something else that the Bible will speak of and amplify in that phrase the day of the Lord as an ultimate judgment.
So I'm wearing glasses tonight. And I love these glasses because they are what the doctors call progressive lenses. Used to be bifocals and trifocals, but now they've done glass where they can just kind of do it so nice and easily that you don't even notice the transition. So I can read up close with the bottom part of the lens. I can read the computer right in the middle. And then the top part is for far away.
And so the lenses of the prophets were often like this, and then like this. You could see up close. But then there was also something where that becomes a template for something in the future. What is the judgment? What is at hand in the book of Joel?
It seems as if there was a national disaster in terms of a swarm of locusts that infiltrated the land. Not uncommon in that part of the world, but it was an invasion of locusts that becomes-- that event becomes a harbinger of a future event.
In this case, a future couple of events. The invasion of locusts to the northern 10 tribes was an unusual swarm, and I'll tell you why in a minute. But it becomes predictive. It becomes anticipatory of a swarm of Assyrian soldiers who will pounce on the Northern Kingdom and destroy it, taking captive hundreds of thousands of them. And that will happen in 722 BC.
So Joel chapter 1, verse 1. "The word of the Lord came to Joel." Joel, what a great name. Two words in that one name. Yoh or Yah, which is Yahweh. It's the beginning part of Yahweh, way the covenant name of God, that tetragrammaton, the I Am that I Am. Yahweh, Yah or Yoh, and then El, which is God. So it simply means Yahweh is the Lord or Yahweh is God. That's his name.
"The word of the Lord that came to Joel, the son of Pethual. Hear this, you elders, and give ear all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this happened in your days or even in the days of your fathers? Tell your children about it. Let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."
It's a great verse, because that is the principle of how truth gets passed along. I hope you train your children in the truths of God. Many of you have a testimony of your grandparents or your parents reading you Bible stories, praying with you, and you had that legacy.
Even if you didn't, start now. Pass that on to the next generation, and to the next generation. It's been said that Christianity is always one generation away from extinction. We don't want to slacken our input into the next generation. So you tell them what the Lord has done good or bad.
Verse 4, "What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten. And what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten."
Now we have in that verse four-- it would seem-- different varieties of locusts. That's one way to look at it. Or we see four stages of a locust development and the activity that they aspire to when they're in that stage of development.
Go down to verse 6. Notice the segue way. "For a nation has come up against my land. The locust came in, millions of them, a locust nation, swarming through the land. Strong and without number, his teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste my vine and ruined my fig tree."
Now you know from your reading of the book of Isaiah that a vine or a vineyard is emblematic of the nation of Israel. God called Israel his vine. I planted a choice vine on a very fruitful hill, Isaiah chapter 5.
I dug a wine press. I put a wall around it. And I built a watchtower. So using that same imagery of a vine and a fig tree, he laid waste my vine and ruined my fig tree. He has stripped it bare and thrown it away. Its branches are made white.
This plague of locusts was an unusual plague for a couple of reasons. The plague seems to have come in from the north, which caught the prophet's attention. Most of the plagues in that part of the world of locusts blow in from the south from Egypt. But this one came in from the north, and it got Joel's attention.
Moreover, as you read through the details of the book-- we don't have time to look at all the verses-- these locusts respond to instructions. And yet it says in the book of Proverbs that locusts have no king. They just act in sort of like swarm instinct. So it's unusual. It gets the prophet's attention, and he uses that as a lens to speak of something that is going to happen.
Locusts of this sort breed in the desert. They're about two inches long. Their wingspan is out four to five inches long, and they travel in large groups like a column of 100 feet, and they can be up to 10 or 20 miles long.
When they come in during midday, they can almost-- they do. It's like an eclipse of the sun it can be so dark. They bring darkness with them. They block the sun. And when they leave, the bark of the trees is gone. The green grass is gone. The foliage is gone. It's like the earth has been scorched by fire.
And they can be significant. I don't know if you caught this several weeks ago. A couple months ago, the swarm of locusts that hit Las Vegas, Nevada. And it showed up on radar, a massive green cloud like a weather system coming in. And it just hit Las Vegas, the environs downtown. And it happened before, but this was a significant thing that measured even on the radar.
Now with that in mind, let me suggest that Joel and this imagery becomes a bridge between two different elements that are sort of tied. One is a literal infestation. He speaks about a literal one here that's figurative of another.
There was in Israel's history a plague of locusts when they were in the land of Egypt. It was the eighth plague. And it was a plague of locusts that decimated the land. That was Exodus.
If you fast forward to the book of Revelation, during the tribulation period there are locust-like creatures that come to the Earth and torment men upon the earth for five months. The scripture says, "And the shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle."
You may remember that from your studies in Revelation 9. Now with that fresh on the walls of your brain, now read Joel chapter 2, verse 4. "Their appearance is like the appearance of horses. Like swift steeds, so they run. With a noise like chariots over the mountaintops they leap.
Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, like a strong people set in battle array. Before them the people writhe in pain. All faces are drained of color."
So what we may actually have here, and fitting all of these scriptures together, is not one, not two, but three events. A natural disaster that became a harbinger of a invasion of the Assyrian Empire. Which then became predictive of what will happen in Revelation chapter 9 with this infestation on the earth of these kind of locusts.
Now I want you to notice a theme that's in this book. I mentioned it at the beginning. It's the theme the day of the Lord. 26 times the Bible mentions it. Five of those times are in the book of Joel. More than any other prophet, he speaks about the day of the Lord.
So look at chapter 1, verse 15. "Alas, for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand. It shall come as destruction from the Almighty." Now I'm emphasizing that because I'm going to get back to that, destruction from the Almighty.
The day of the Lord-- Yom Yahweh-- that's the Hebrew. Yom. You've heard that term before. It's a Hebrew word for day. Yom Kippur. Yom Yahweh, the covenant name of God. This is God's day, the day of the Lord.
Chapter 2, verse 1. "Blow the trumpet." The Hebrew word shofar, the ram's horn. "Blow the ram's horn in Zion. Sound an alarm in My holy mountain. Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble. For the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand."
Now pause there for a moment. The ancient Israelites did use the term the day of the Lord, but they interpreted the idea of the day of the Lord they said his coming as the day when all of the enemies around them will be punished. And of course they'll skate scot free because they're the chosen people. So they looked at the day of the Lord as something good.
With that in mind, look at verse 2. It's "a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains, a people come great and strong, the like of whom has never been nor will there ever be any such after them even for many successive generations."
Go down to verse 10 of chapter 2. "The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon grow dark, the stars diminish their brightness." You're familiar with some of this imagery. Jesus used it in Matthew 24 to speak of the great tribulation period.
"The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great. For strong is the one who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible, who can endure it?"
It seems that what would be local and immediate for the Northern Kingdom of Israel, would also be global and ultimate for the rest of the world. That there was a day coming, a period coming, a period of judgment for the Northern Kingdom, but that's simply a lens. Like the locust was a lens for the Assyrian invasion, the Assyrian invasion is a template, a lens for something far greater in the future.
The term the day of the Lord does not refer to a 24 hour day, a 24 hour period. It refers to a process of time by which God interrupts world history with His own agenda in terms of judgment. God intercepts world history with His own agenda in terms of judgment. He interjects a special period of divine judgment into the history of the world. That's the day of the Lord.
Today is not the day of the Lord. This is the day of mankind. This is man's day. This is our day. We're having our heyday. We're making our choices. We're setting our agenda. We're doing our thing. We're exercising our will. And God is very patient, and that will continue till He sees fit to stop it.
At some point in the future an event will eclipse the day of mankind called the day of Christ. The day of Christ is mentioned four times. And it refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ for His people or with His people to the earth. That will then usher in this process of time called the day of the Lord.
The day of Christ, I believe, begins with the rapture of the church. Christ comes. Jesus said, "If I go," John chapter 14, "I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am, there you may be also."
After the day of Christ, there will be a period of events on the earth described by Joel as the worst period in human history. Jesus said the same thing. I'll quote it in a minute. That will be the day of the Lord.
Jesus put it this way, "For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." So Joel and Jesus are looking to the future going, Amen, what he said. They're both agreeing with each other.
There's coming a period that the Holocaust, World War II, all the bad things that have ever happened, all the famines, all the decimation are child's play in comparison. And if you wonder, really? Is that possible? Things are pretty bad now. Things have been pretty bad in the past. Could it really get any worse? What's the answer to that, Bible students?
A whole lot worse. All you have to do is sit down, if you have a strong stomach and enough time, and read slowly, Revelation chapter 6 through 19. You get the detail blown out vision version of the day of the Lord and what's going to happen on planet Earth. It occurs after the church is taken away. There's a seven year tribulation period. It culminates with Armageddon. But it happens suddenly. The beginning of it is sudden.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul said, "The day of the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night. When they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them." So what we have in the day of the Lord that is seen by locusts that swarm into Israel, followed by the Assyrian captivity in 722 BC, followed by the ultimate day of the Lord in the future is a progressively intensification of God's wrath.
Where we see in the Book of Revelation seven seals as judgments, seven trumpet judgments, seven bowl judgments. We read about smoke, and fire, and heat, and lightning, and hail, and darkness, and beasts, and falling stars, and demons that come out of the bottomless pit to torment people. So if you're wondering, could it ever get any worse? The answer is a resounding, oh, yes! And that's how bad it will get.
Now notice something about this, and this is why Christians, I believe, will not go through the tribulation period. There's been debate on that. There's a group of people that call themselves post-tribulationists in their theology. I believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. Some people think I'm wet behind the ears, and that the only solid theology is their post-hosties, I call them, post-tribulationists. That Jesus comes back at the end of that.
But notice why I don't believe in m verse 15 of chapter 1 says, "For the day of the Lord is at hand. It shall come as destruction-- from whom-- the Almighty." Jesus said this, "In the world, you will have tribulation." Everybody has tribulation from the world, from the source of a world not at odds with God, or that is at odds with God, not in sync with God.
The world gives us plenty of grief and persecution and tribulation and mocks you. You've probably experienced some of it this week, even today. You get hassled by the world. The world is not your friend. The world system is not your friend.
Wrath and tribulation that comes from the world as a source is one thing, but wrath and tribulation that has its source in God as punishment is quite another. So you can't equate the tribulation that comes from the world with the final tribulation that will be sent by God. Something you're not intended to face.
Chapter 2 verse 20, "But I will remove far from you the northern army." Now we could infer that to mean the Assyrians, although the Assyrians really came from the east. But it's an interesting rendition. "I will remove far from you the northern army and will drive him away into a barren and desolate land with his face toward the eastern sea."
That is the body of water in Israel that is on its eastern boundary, which is the Dead Sea, 1,290 feet below sea level. You'll see it when you go to Israel with us. Or you've seen it if you've gone to Israel with us. That's the eastern sea.
"And his back toward the western sea." That forms the Western border, or that's the Mediterranean Sea. Then notice, "His stench will come up and his foul odor will rise because he has done monstrous things."
Now I said that this swarm of locusts came in from the north. And there's a reference here to a northern army. In the future-- and it could have a hint of this. I'm not going to be definitive, but I do see a perfect template where these things just sort of groove together. An army that comes from the north described in Ezekiel chapter 38 and 39.
There is an army that is referred to that can be identified, at least in part, from Russia, that will sweep down to Israel. Ezekiel 38, the prophet said, "You will come up against my people-- speaking to those people in the north-- you will come up against my people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. I will put my hooks in your jaws and draw you into that land."
And the question has always been in Ezekiel 38 and 39, not only, who is that nation? That's pretty easily identified with Russia and allies. What is interesting are the allies. Because part of the allies, according to Ezekiel, is Iran. And what's interesting is there seems to be-- there's never been one like there has been today-- an alliance that has formed between Iran and between Russia.
And the hook in the jaws could be-- can't be definitive, but could be, kind of lean this way-- is the growing Islamic population in those people groups within the greater Russia delegation, as well as allies with Russia. That could be the hook that brings them in.
And that is that antagonism toward that plot of land that has given the neighbors so much trouble for so long. And that is that little piece called Israel. If we could just get rid of Israel. And the Bible says, in the end days, Zacharias said, all the nations of the world will come against that little plot of land.
Now notice the stench again in verse 20. I want to keep going on this, but I'm giving you these themes, stench and foul odor. If you read Ezekiel-- excuse me, if you read Zechariah 14 that talks about the Lord standing up, fighting for His land against those nations that come in, Zachariah 14, and then you read Ezekiel 39, it indicates that not only will there be a wide spread decimation of that army that comes in from the north, but that it will take seven months to bury their dead. Seven months to bury the dead. They'll have to bring in professional buriers to do the job. So fascinating how it could all fit together.
Verse 28, "It shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy." Does that ring a bell? "Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out my spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, pillars of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness, the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."
Now notice verse 28. "It shall come to pass afterword." After all of that darkness, then afterwards, I'm going to pour out My spirit on all flesh. And it's speaking to the nation of Israel. It's interesting in Judaism, a day, a 24-hour day does not begin with daylight. It begins with night. It begins with sunset. That's the beginning of the day. And it goes all the way through the night into the next day until sunset the following day. So it begins with night, then it is followed by a glorious day. Just like a time of darkness, and then afterward, a time of light.
Now of course, Acts chapter 2, Peter quoted this, a set of prophecies referring to what was happening in Jerusalem. And so this causes people to get puzzled, because it's one thing to read the book of Acts. It's another thing to read the context from which Peter, in the book of Acts, was quoting in the book of Joel. Because the context is clearly dealing with the nation of Israel, the nation, the flesh, the sons and daughters of all flesh of the nation of Israel, and the ultimate judgment of the tribulation period.
And so people scratch their minds when they go back, and they go, why then did Peter say that what Joel wrote about was fulfilled? Well, he never said it was fulfilled. What he said is this is that which was spoken of by Joel. And then he quotes all these verses that we just read, including the verses that speak of the final judgment of the great tribulation, the smoke and fire, et cetera.
Why? Why did Peter even quote that? Here's the answer. Here's how these scriptures fit. Just as the locust plague prefigures a future judgment on the world, so Pentecost prefigures a future outpouring on the nation of Israel.
You may want to hold that thought, this future awakening of Israel, this future outpouring on Israel. Because by the time we get to the book of Romans 9, 10, and 11, Paul the Apostle is going to say, and so, all of Israel shall be saved. And you're wondering, what does that mean, all Israel will be saved? Well, you're going to have to wait till we get to that portion on a Sunday morning in the book of Romans.
But look at Chapter 3, verse 9. "Proclaim this among the nation's. Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all men of war draw near, let them come up." Could be a reference to Armageddon when the nations pour in and assemble.
Then look at verse 10, an interesting take on a familiar scripture. "Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble and come all you nations and gather together all around, cause your mighty ones to go down there, O, Lord."
Down in verse 13, "Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come go down, for the wine press is full, the vats overflow, for their wickedness is great." I commend you read after this when you go home, Revelation 19. That same imagery when Jesus comes back of treading the wine press from Isaiah and from the book of Joel. Treading the wine press, putting in the sickle, all a symbol of God's judgment.
Now in Isaiah chapter 2, we have the reverse. We have the original scripture that says, and they will beat their swords into plowshares. Remember that? Their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn to make war anymore. It's a beautiful promise of future peace in the world.
And by the way, it is that scripture that is on the door of the United Nations. They will beat their swords into plowshares. It's a great thing for the nations to see, the delegates to see as they come in. The only problem with them putting that on the United Nations is ain't never going to happen this side of the second coming.
It's going to take Jesus to return. It's going to take the tribulation period to judge the earth and Jesus to set up his kingdom before they turn-- before this world turns its implements of war into implements of peace. It will happen. He will make sure it happens. But it won't happen until then.
Here it's different. Here it's reversed. They will beat their plowshares into swords and they're pruning hooks into spears. Until the peace comes, brought in by Jesus alone, this is what the world will face every single generation until the end of the age.
And I commend people who work for peace. I do. I think we should. But Jesus said, blessed are the peacemakers. We should do everything we can. Paul said, if it's possible, live at peace with all men. Guess what I've discovered? It's not always possible. You can try. You can set negotiations, but I do not believe in the ideology called pacifism.
As long as human beings impaired by the fall are walking the earth, you can put your sword down. You can get rid of all your implements of destruction. You can do that now. But I warn, you not everyone will. You can turn in all your nukes, all your guns, all your knives. But there'll be somebody out there who goes, oh, good. Now you're vulnerable. I'm going to get them all, and I'm going to abuse you.
There will always be a bigger bully. That's why nations have figured it out that with negotiation comes a bank of power that in case negotiations don't work out, you've got something to back it up. That's reality.
I'd like to be a pacifist, but here's why I'm not. You're walking down the street on Central, you're a pacifist. You don't believe in violence of any sort at all. If you're a Tolstoyan pacifist-- that is a pacifist along the lines of Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace-- you don't even believe in a police force or judges. And you say that's because of what Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount.
But you're walking down Central and there's a thug who doesn't ascribe to your ideology. And he has a bat. And he has a hold of a little girl. And he starts hitting her. What do you do? Well, you say, I go over, and I have a good talk to him. Great. Good luck. What if the talks fail? What if he says, not only am I going to kill this little girl and smash in her head, you're next.
Love demands that you do everything you can to stop that man. And that is not a pacifistic position. So until they beat their swords into plowshares, just word up here, they're going to beat their plowshares into swords.
But verse 20, "But Judah shall abide forever." That's the glorious aftermath. That's the glorious future. "Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation." So it will always be there. If you don't make it to Israel on this trip, or the next tour, or in this lifetime, you'll see it.
But it's going to be really different. It's always good to get a before and an after. There'll be a Jerusalem in the kingdom age that won't even look like present Jerusalem. Read the last several chapters of Ezekiel, you'll find out how different the topography is.
Then in-- after the earth is destroyed and there is a new heaven and a new earth, there is a capital city that comes down out of heaven that's the size of the moon, and it revolves around the Earth. And that's the city called New Jerusalem. That's the capital city of the eternal state that looks vastly different than the millennial Jerusalem and certainly present Jerusalem. If you want to see the Jerusalem or the topography of what it was like at the time of Christ, you can still go to Israel today. And a lot of it is still intact. Anyway, my plug's over. Let's go on to Amos.
Amos has a theme, the denunciation of the nations. Now Joel is from the south. That's the first guy we read. Joel is from the south. And he preaches to the south. Amos is from the south, Tekoa, and he preaches to the north, the 10 kingdoms of the north or the 10 tribes of the north.
He is not a professional prophet. He's not a priest like Isaiah. He has no religious background. What I like about this guy is he's a farmer. He's a sheep breeder from Tekoa out in the desert. It's right by Bethlehem, six miles from Jerusalem. And he is also a tender of Sycamore fruit, it says in this book.
So he's like the country preacher who came to town. Verse 1 and 2 are prophecies about eight nations. I'll list them for you. Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Amman-- those are two nations to the east of Israel-- Moab, also to the east, Judah-- that's the southern two-- and Israel. That is the top 10 of the Israelite kingdom.
Verse 1, "The words of Amos, who was among the sheep breeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah the king of Judah, in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash the king of Israel two years before the earthquake."
Remember King Uzziah? He was a good guy. You remember this? Isaiah 6, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord High and lifted up, the train of his robe filled the temple." Uzziah was a great king. But Uzziah made a king-sized mistake at the end of his reign. He was the king who wanted to be a preacher. He wanted to be a priest. So he intruded into the priest's office.
It says in 2 Chronicles 20:16, he went into the Tabernacle and he started burning incense like priests do. And the priest saw him and said, dude, you can't be here. I'm paraphrasing a little bit. He didn't say, dude, but dude, you can't be here. Get out of here. And the King, being the King, got upset. Like don't you know who I am? I'm the King.
And he protested at the priest Amaziah getting mad at King Uzziah for trying to act like a priest. So when he's having a little hissy fit, King Uzziah, the priest looks at him and noticed his head is turning white. And his hand is turning white. And he becomes leprous, as white as snow, and the Bible says he contracted leprosy from that day onward, and he had it till the day of his death.
According to Josephus, the time he did that, went into and intruded into the priestly office, the historian Flavius Josephus says a great or a giant earthquake took place in the land. That could be exactly what we're seeing referenced here when it says in verse 1, two years before the earthquake. OK.
Chapter 1, verse 3. We are going to look at a few verses and notice a pattern. "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment." Look at verse 6. "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment."
Verse 9, "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Tyre-- that's the northern city up in Lebanon-- and for four." Verse 11, "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Edom, and for four." And finally, verse 13, "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four. I will not turn away its punishment."
These are several groups who are around Israel and who messed with Israel. And you know there is a principle-- I think you know this by now. If you mess with the nation of Israel, God messes with you. You mess with God. And if you do, God messes with you. Because Zechariah the prophet said concerning Israel, "Whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye." It's like poking somebody's eye. God doesn't take kindly to that.
So you got to ask yourself, where are the Phoenicians today? Oh, that's right. They don't exist. Where are the Babylonians today? There is Iraq, but the Babylonians don't exist. Where are the Philistines today? Seen a Canaanite lately? They don't exist.
You may want to write in the margin of your Bible Matthew chapter 25, the judgment of the sheep and the goats. It's the judgment of the nations after the day of the Lord as previewed by Jesus himself. And it's the judgment that he will give to the nations based on how they treated his brethren, the Jewish people, during the day of the Lord, during the tribulation period.
Chapter 2, verse 4. "Thus says the Lord." Now watch this. That was Chapter 1. Chapter 2, verse 4. "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Judah, and for four. I will not turn away its punishment because they have despised the law of the Lord. They have not kept his command. Their lies-- literally idols-- led them astray, or lead them astray. Lies which their fathers followed."
Verse 6 of chapter 2, "Thus says the Lord, for three transgressions of Israel." Now remember, he's a southern prophet from the Bethlehem region, but his ministry is in the Northern Kingdom. So follow what he says, "For three transgressions of Israel and for four, I will not turn away its punishment because they sell the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals."
Now the people are listening to this prophet and they're going, I like this guy. Amen! Judgment on Edom! Judgment on Gaza! Judgment on Phillistia! Judgment on Tyre! Yes! Hire this guy. Come back next Sunday when he's preaching. Like him.
But it's like he's drawing a spiral. He's going all around and then he deals with Judah down south, and they're going, uh-oh, that's like our neighbor. And then he ends up on their doorstep with Israel, the 10 northern tribe kingdom.
And saying, you're not exempt. Just as God judges Gentile nations for the light they have received based upon nature, Romans chapter 1, they are therefore without excuse. Because God reveals his character in nature and in conscience.
At the same time, God will judge His people, based on not natural revelation, but special revelation, the scriptures, the law. Notice what it says in verse chapter 2, verse 4, "Because they have despised the law of the Lord." So he implicates Judah and Israel, that is the 12 tribes of Israel.
Let's note the reason further. Chapter 3 of Amos, verse 1. "Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, oh 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." In other words, you're my special treasured people. "Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities."
Do you see the correlation? They're thinking, well, how can God judge us? We're the chosen people. It's because you are the chosen people. You see, punishment is commensurate with privilege. Jesus said, "To whom much is given, much shall be required." God gave them the law, they will be judged accordingly as Paul also said in Romans chapter 3.
Now the next few chapters, chapters 3, 4, and 5 of the book of Amos, famous Amos, are more judgments and more reasons for God judging Israel. In chapter 5, verse 1, notice God even tells Amos to take up a lamentation. Who wrote the book of Lamentations? Jeremiah wrote a whole book of Lamentations lamenting for Jerusalem.
This is Amos lamentation for the Northern Kingdom. So he's become a songwriter. And it's a very sad lament or song. It's a country song. There's nothing can be done anymore except sit down and write this song and cry, because he's watching the death of the Northern Kingdom. Be a great country song.
Chapter 6, verse 1. "Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and trust in Mount Samaria." Now Samaria is the central part of the 10 northern tribes the nation of Israel. So he's hitting the capital of the south and the capital of the north. "Notable persons-- it continues in verse 1-- notable persons in the chief nation to whom the house of Israel comes."
Now again look at verse 3. Woe, there's that word again. Verse one, woe. Verse 3, "Woe to you who put a far off the day of doom who caused the seed of violence to come near."
Now woe in the Hebrew language is the word oy. You've been around your Jewish friends, and they're verklempt. They'll say, Oy! Oy vey! That's the Hebrew word oy, woe. Whenever you read, woe, W-O-E, interpret it to mean W-O-A-H, whoa! Like slow down. Slow down, ponder this. Think of what is coming. Slow it down. Ponder what is coming up. Look and listen because this is important.
Chapter 7, 8, and 9 are six visions. Not going to read them all, I'm just going to tell you what they are. Six visions. You know anything about prophets? They sometimes said great things, but they sometimes saw crazy stuff. And in fact, when we get to Zachariah, he's going to see some really crazy, weird visions, as well.
And these are visions from God. This crazy stuff is emblematic. It's not like a late night falafel with onions or pepperoni pizza. They're legitimate visions. By the way, the difference between a dream and a vision, those things happen in your dreams. A dream happens when you're asleep. A vision happens when you're awake. So these are visions that he gets.
Chapter 7 is a vision of swarming locusts which happen to be Assyrians. Chapter, or the second one in chapter 7, the second vision, a consuming fire which speaks of a coming drought. The third in that same chapter is a plumb line, a dangling plumb line. When you wanted to get a straight wall, the ancient level was to hang a weight at the end of a rope. That's a plumb line. And so God is judging his people based upon the plumb line, the straight edge of His truth, of His special revelation in scripture.
Chapter 8 is the fourth vision, a basket of summer fruit or ripe fruit. It's again the symbol of the harvest, the vintage, putting in the sickle. It's ripe for reaping, for plucking. That's second coming motif. That's second coming stuff.
Any of you know the Battle Hymn of the Republic by Julia Ward Howe? She wrote it during the Civil War. She wrote about-- she wrote about the second coming of Christ. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. And talks about plowing up the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored and all of that is emblematic of Revelation chapter 19, basket of ripe fruit.
Now these visions are like previews when you go to the movies, and you get there early, and you're sitting enjoying your popcorn and you have a few minute preview of coming movies. They call them trailers. These are trailers, previews of coming attractions. That's what these visions are.
Chapter 9 continues. The fifth vision is a vision of God judging His people. And finally, the sixth one in chapter 9 is a vision of future blessing. On that note, look at verse 11. "On that day-- this is the future blessing-- on that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down." Or the tent of David, the New International Version translates it, I believe.
"The tabernacle of David-- or David's fallen tent-- which has fallen down and repair its damages. I will raise up its ruins and rebuild it as the days of old." This is quoted in Acts chapter 15. "I will bring back the captives of My people, Israel. They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them. They shall plant vineyards drink wine from them. They will also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land. They will no longer-- and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God."
Israel to date, since May 14, 1948, is back in their land. God planted them in that land. However, the full final spiritual restoration as predicted by Ezekiel, we're still waiting for. We're still waiting for that to happen.
The dynasty of King David was pictured as a tent, a large spanning protective tent. And that tent of David, when the nation was not split, before the split with Solomon and David and when David ruled, he ruled over all 12 tribes. His tent extended over the north and the south. There was a cohesion, a unity of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The prophecy, the prediction, is that there will be a reuniting of all of the tribes of Israel. And if you want to know which tribes, they're even enumerated in the Book of Revelation with 144,000 that are saved. So the dynasty of David will be restored. They will be reunited.
And when will that happen? It begins to happen when the church age is over. When the church age is over, and I put it this way, when the last Gentile-- whatever number that is-- is saved, the time clock begins again for Israel. We're in an age of grace, an age of the church. But Romans puts it this way, "Blindness in part, has happened on to Israel until the full number of Gentiles be gathered in. Then all Israel will be saved as it is written."
So there is a number, some magic number of saved-- of Gentiles to be saved. Whatever number that is, when that number is up, I believe that is when the rapture of the church takes place. And then the time clock, Daniel's 70th week is put on the blocks for fulfillment.
So if you happen to be a Gentile here tonight, and you haven't given your life to Christ, you might be that lucky lottery number, and you're holding up the show. So would you please get saved so we can all get out of here and that thing can happen?
We have three minutes to cover the final book. But it's only one chapter. We can do this. Obadiah is a one hit wonder. You know what a one hit wonder is? It's a group or a musician that really never makes it, but they have one song right? And that one song makes them known.
So La Macarena, the Del Rios. That was a one hit wonder. In the year 2000, The Baha Men wrote that great anthem of culture, Who Let The Dogs Out? Who? Who? Who? Who? Brilliant lyrics. No wonder one hit wonder.
This is the shortest book in the Old Testament. We know nothing about Obadiah. We know nothing about his parents. We know nothing about his hometown. We know nothing about his sandal size. We only know his name. And his name means servant of the Lord.
Probably this book was written one year after the Babylonian captivity. Babylonian captivity happened. It's full destruction of Jerusalem happened in 586 BC. So this book probably was written in 585 BC. We're going backwards, right? BC.
Obadiah 1, verse 1, the vision of Obadiah. "Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom-- that would be present day Jordan-- we have heard a report from the Lord, a messenger has been sent among the nations saying arise, let us rise up against her for battle. Behold, I will make you small among the nations. You shall be greatly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock."
If you've ever been to Jordan, down south by the Dead Sea, there's the ancient Rock City of Petra. Considered impregnable, impenetrable in its era, because the only access to it at that time was through a little tunnel, a siq it's called. It's only in some places 12 to 15 feet wide. And so the ancients used to say, a dozen men could fend off an entire army from that. So they took great pride in the clefts of the rock.
"Whose habitation is high-- high in elevation-- who say in your heart, who will bring me down to the ground?" If you want to know, go look at it today. It's empty. It's been brought down. Verse 4, "Though you ascend as high as the eagle-- I mentioned very, very high in elevation-- though you set your nest among the stars, from there, I will bring you down, says the Lord."
Now you've never been, many of you, most of you have never been to Petra. But you've seen it in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Remember that stone cut into that opening into that building? The building isn't there. That's all fake, but that opening is called The Treasury in Petra. It's still there. You can see it today if you go there. If you don't go there, you won't see it. You'll have to just look at Indiana Jones for the rest of your life.
Verse 4, "Though you ascend," oh, yeah I said that. OK. Verse 11. "In that day that you stood-- that is stood aloof-- on the other side, in that day that strangers carried captive his forces when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem."
Go down to verse 13. "You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity."
When the Babylonians took Jerusalem, the Edomites helped them, looked the other way, applauded, and later came in and looted the very city. Jacob and Esau are the progenitors of Israel and Edom. The Edomites come from Esau. The Israelites come from Jacob.
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. They had been fighting ever since the womb. Jacob grabbed Esau's heel when he was being born. That was kind of emblematic of their future history. They fought in the womb and outside of the womb. And to this day, the descendants of Jacob and the descendants of Esau, the Arabs and the Israelis, have been at it.
Verse 14. "You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those who escaped." I'm going to take you to verse 17 because we're out of time. We're a minute and a half over. Do you forgive me? Can we read this one verse? You'll let me? I shouldn't stop and pick up one verse next time? Of course, I wouldn't do that. I'd be lame.
Verse 17. "But on Mount Zion." Here's now a glimpse in the midst of this of the golden age, of the kingdom age that most all the prophets speak about. "But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance. There shall be holiness. The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions."
It's the end of the book. That's the end of our study. But do you know, do you know this? We keep talking about the coming of Christ, the coming again of Christ, the millennial kingdom, the new age.
Do you know that for every one time the Bible mentions or prophesies or deals with the first coming of Jesus, it deals with the second coming eight times? That's the proportion. Eight times more it speaks about the second coming than the first coming.
Every time the Bible speaks about atonement it speaks about the second coming twice. 50 times the Bible tells us to personally be ready for it. And Jesus assured His disciples that He was leaving them, but He would come again.
And when He comes again, they'll beat their swords into plowshares. There will be peace in the land. There'll be peace in the world. The day of the Lord will be over. And this glorious reality will be our future.
Father, thank you for your love for the world, Jew and Gentile. You have a plan for both. You have sent the promises. You have sent the Messiah under the safekeeping of the Jewish people, and how well they did with safekeeping the scriptures. But through them, Lord, you have opened up salvation to the ends of the earth.
And you have grafted in a wild olive branch, us. Not natural, not of your genetic stock of Israelites, but heirs of the promise, sons of Abraham by faith. And thank you Lord, that we have received that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, the promised hope of Israel who will come again. Who will come to judge the world, but who will come again with His church to rule and reign over the world that He judged and created and will recreate.
Lord, our hope is in Him. We take our cues from Him. All praise and glory is for Him. He is the object, He is the subject of our songs. He is the one we live for. He is the one we want to honor and glorify. In Jesus' name, Amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit calvarynm.church Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 feet.