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Understand the God Who Speaks
61 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
No Escape The fourth vision in Amos 8:1-3 indicates no escape for Israel. Amos saw a basket of summer fruit. In the previous visions Amos observed someone doing something, expressed with a participle. Here the participle is missing, but the object being viewed follows the alert word “behold” (hinnê) as in the other visions. In the third vision-report the name of the object seen and the word explained are the same (ʾănāk, “plumb line”). Here the object seen (qāyiṣ, “ripe fruit”) and the word explained (qēṣ, “end”) only have a similar sound. THE VISION REVEALED (8:1) 8:1 The fourth vision-report contains a full introductory formula. The reader/listener learns that Amos saw what God enabled him to see. The name of the object refers in other contexts both to the season (Gen 8:22; Amos 3:15) and to the fruit of the season (2 Sam 16:1). Since “basket” precedes the word here, reference must be to the fruit. The fruit leads to no escape from Yahweh’s wrath. THE LORD’S QUESTION (8:2a) 8:2a In the third vision-report a full introduction to the question is used, “And the LORD asked me” (7:8). Here the introduction is only one word in the Hebrew text, “he asked” (wāyyōʾmer). The question is the same as before, “What do you see, Amos?” THE PROPHET’S RESPONSE (8:2b) 8:2b Amos was clear-eyed. He saw precisely what God showed him, “a basket of ripe fruit (qāyiṣ).” THE LORD’S EXPLANATION (8:2c) 8:2c The Lord’s explanation employs a wordplay as in the almond rod vision in Jeremiah 1:11–12. The Lord’s words are literally, “The end [qēṣ] has come for my people Israel.” Based on the prediction that temple songs would turn to “wailing” (Amos 7:3) as a result of the end coming (cf. v. 9), the message must be that the end of Israel’s life as a nation had come. The Lord’s explanation closes with the same announcement found in the third vision-report that Israel’s day of grace was over: “I will spare them no longer.” There is no escape. Just as nonvisionary material (7:10–17) follows the third vision in 7:7–9, so also this section of nonvisionary material follows the fourth vision in 8:1–3. Since the internal structure of the first four visions shows that they are paired, it is appropriate that the external structure should confirm that visions three and four go together. The indictment of Israel’s greedy merchants follows a summons to hear. For them there is no escape from the wrath of God. Charges of wrongdoing closely parallel earlier accusations (2:6–7; 4:1; 5:10–12). These charges give the reason for the coming destruction announced in the vision-reports and in the judgment, oracles associated with those reports. SOCIAL INJUSTICE (8:4) 8:4 “Hear this” is a herald’s summons to his audience to give heed to the message about to be announced (cf. 3:1; 4:1; 5:1; Ps 49:1 [Heb., v. 2]). By “trample” he referred to the harsh and unjust treatment of unprotected members of society (vv. 4–6). “Do away with” is literally “cause to cease.” It is from the root šbt and perhaps is a play on the word šabbāt, “Sabbath,” in v. 5. It is an infinitive in Hebrew (as are the verbs “skimping,” “boosting,” “cheating,” and “buying” in vv. 5–6) suggesting effect if not intent. Such harsh policies toward the poor were the opposite of the Lord’s. Rather than eliminating the poor, Israel’s law called for an open hand of generosity to be extended to them (Deut 15:7–11; Ps 72:12–13). To be on God’s side, God’s people must choose the side of the poor and needy. God requires his people to work for the best interests of the unprotected members of society, which included orphans, widows, aliens, and the poor (Deut 10:14–22; 24:19–21). The greedy merchants sought genocide of the poor. They had become eviler than Hitler’s henchmen in World War II. SUPERFICIAL WORSHIP (8:5a) 8:5a Amos quoted the merchants to reveal their basic attitude toward worship. They choose to escape but there would be no escape from their doom.
48 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Scott Delaney Christian Author
Scott is an accomplished Christian author and leader with over 28 years of experience in brand and pharmaceutical management. Currently, Mr. Delaney is the President and CEO of Unichem Pharmaceuticals USA, based out of Mumbai and Goa, India. The U.S. headquarters is based in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Since 2009, he has made over twenty five trips to India and has developed a love and respect for the country and its people. He played basketball at The University of Texas at Austin before transferring to Baylor University where he received a B.B.A. degree in Accounting and MIS in 1992. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with an MBA degree in 2000. A trained pianist and vocalist, Scott has also served as a worship leader in many churches across Texas and Pennsylvania and currently sings with the Buck's County Choral Society. Scott grew up in Kerrville, Texas located in the Texas Hill Country. He currently lives with his wife (Jenny) and two children (Bradley and Brynne) in Upper Makefield, Pennsylvania.
26 minutes | Jul 23, 2021
Imminent Destruction and Intercession
Imminent Destruction and Intercession Imminent destruction and intercession characterize Amos 7:1-14. They are the thread holding the passages together. It is a theme that enhances the claim of authority. It establishes rapport between the prophet and audience. It a more powerful emotional appeal. The report enabled the audience to identify with what Amos reported. Imminent danger always grabs a person’s attention. It brings imminent death meaning into the picture. Amos gave us three visions in chapter seven. These were no hallucinations. He did not daydream. These were real visions coming from Yahweh. He is “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE” (compare Exod. 3:14 with Exod. 3:7), He is the One who is revealed by future action. He is the One who will bring imminent destruction and intercession. Yahweh never brings imminent destruction without intercession and hope. Locust, Drought and A Plumb Locust (Amos 7:1-3), drought (Amos 7:4-6), and a plumb (Amos 7:7-9) characterize imminent destruction and intercession in Amos 7. The four stories about visions are all told in a similar way: each begins with almost the same words (Thus the Lord God showed me (RSV)). Then it describes what Amos saw in the vision (in all cases introduced by behold (RSV)). Each close with a conversation between Amos and the Lord. However, the four stories can be divided into two pairs. In the first pair (7:1–3 and 4–6) Amos sees something happen which represents the destruction of Israel; he immediately prays that the Lord will not destroy the people. The Lord then changes his mind and agrees not to destroy them. The conversations of this first pair are almost the same in their wording. Imminent destruction and intercession loom large in each story. In each of the stories of the second pair (7:7–9 and 8:1–3) Amos sees an object. The meaning of the object is not immediately clear and the Lord starts the conversation in both cases with the question What do you see? (RSV). After Amos describes briefly what he sees, the Lord interprets the meaning of the object (with similar wording in the two cases), using the object as a basis for a picture or a play on words to announce the destruction of Israel. The conclusion of the second pair of visions is exactly the opposite from the conclusion of the first pair of visions; God does not change his mind. He will carry out the punishment. The way in which he states that the punishment must happen (I will not change my mind again) shows that the conclusions here are related to those of the first pair, which in turn makes the unity of this group of stories stronger. Except for 7:9 and 8:3, which have other differences (see below), these stories are not written in verse but in prose. There is no grammatical parallelism (the most distinguishing feature of Hebrew poetry) within each story, although, as we have just pointed out, there is parallelism between the stories. It is hard also to find any metrical form. On the other hand, the prose style of the Hebrew is concise and effective. In translation, these stories should be strong and dignified prose, with real emotional impact. The four visions should be translated together, so that the parallels between them are handled in a stylistically effective way. The translation should not be mechanically parallel but should gain the same effect in its language which the Hebrew parallels give in Hebrew. Section heading. In translations which try to show the structure of Amos using headings, one is needed here for 7:1–9 (see Translating Amos, Section 2.4). Some possible such headings would be “The Prophet’s Experiences,” “What the Prophet Sees,” or “God’s Message Comes to the Prophet.” It could also be useful to have a subheading for each story. In cases where the structure is not being shown in the headings, a heading for each vision would be enough. Imminent destruction and intercession hold all together.
40 minutes | Jul 18, 2021
What is in a Name
What is in a Name? What is in a name? In Judges 6:11-24, we will be introduced to a new expression for Yahweh. Its use in several passages makes it clear that the biblical writers conceived of two Yahwehs—one invisible and always present in the spiritual realm (“the heavens”). The other is brought forth to interact with humanity on earth, most typically as a man. That there must be two is indicated by their simultaneous presence in some familiar stories. The Burning Bush What is in a name like Yahweh. Exodus 3:7, 14 give us the answer. In verse 14, we find the I AM expression. This is a future incomplete verb in Hebrew. It means Yahweh’s actions are incomplete. The best translation is I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE. Yahweh is revealed by future actions. What future actions? Exodus 3:7 shows us: Yahweh will deliver the children of Israel from the hands of Egyptian bondage, bring them to a good land, and conquer the nations. These actions during Moses’ confrontation at burning bush yet had not been completed. The final completion of these actions will not happen until Jesus comes again. All people of God are still in exile waiting to be delivered into a land of rest. After the Burning the Bush What is in a name like Yahweh after the burning bush? We know what happens after the burning bush. Yahweh, through Moses, delivers Israel from Egypt. Moses leads the people to Sinai to meet their God, receive the law, and prepare for the journey to the promised land. There is a short conversation between God and Moses about that task that is habitually overlooked by Bible readers. In Exodus 23:20-22 God says: 20 “ ‘Look, I am about to send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Be attentive to him and listen to his voice; do not rebel against him, because he will not forgive your transgression, for my name is in him. 22 But if you listen attentively to his voice and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and a foe to your foes” (Exodus 23:20–22). There is something strange about God’s description to Moses that tells us that this is no ordinary angel. This angel has the authority to pardon sins or not, a status that belongs to God. More specifically, God tells Moses that the reason this angel has this authority is “my name is in him” (v. 21). What does this curious phrase mean? Moses knew instantly. Anyone thinking of the burning bush account does as well. When God told Moses that his name was in this angel, he was saying that he was in this angel—his very presence or essence. The I AM of the burning bush would accompany Moses and the Israelites to the promised land and fight for them. Only he could defeat the gods of the nations and the descendants of the Nephilim whom Moses and Joshua would find there. Other passages confirm that this reading is correct. This angel is Yahweh. Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate this is to compare Old Testament passages about who it was that brought Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land (Compare Leviticus 11:45; Deuteronomy 4:35-38; Joshua 24:17-18; Judges 2:1). What is in a name? These passages interchange Yahweh, the Angel of Yahweh, and the “presence” (panim) of God as the identity of the divine deliverer of Israel from Egypt. There were not three different deliverers. They are all the same. One of them, the angel, takes human form. If Deuteronomy 4:37 is read considering Exodus 23:20–23, then the presence and the Angel are co-identified. This makes good sense in view of the meaning of the “Name” which was in the Angel. What is in a name like Yahweh? A lot.
31 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
By the Powers of Darkness
By the Powers of Darkness By the powers of darkness, the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer. Amos 6 shows us how the rich got richer. The noble leaders of Israel had sold out to the powers of darkness on mount Samaria. What is the powers of darkness meaning in Amos 6? The leaders of Israel placed their security, comfort, and committed acts of violence in the birthplace of demons and devils. Mount Samaria was the birthplace of the rebellion in Genesis 6:1-4. There, certain intelligent spiritual beings launched their own plan to make imagers of themselves with human women. The Nephilim, the giant clan, became their offspring. Amos ordered the self-evaluated preeminent leaders in Zion and Samaria to compare themselves with three nearby city-states. The four verbs in verses 1-3 are imperatives, perhaps suggesting the urgency of the situation from the prophet’s perspective. Amos probably did not expect his audience to travel anywhere. In their mind’s eye they were to go to the cities named. Calneh and Hamath were Syrian city-states under Israel’s influence. Gath was a Philistine city-state under Judah’s control. No was the expected answer to the rhetorical questions. The point of the rhetorical questions was the equality between those city-states and Israel/Judah. Leaders of Israel and Judah were wrong if they thought they were better or bigger than the three city-states. By the powers of darkness, the elite class created wealth off the backs and misery of the poor and weak. They had beds of ivory while the poor had none. They had lavish amounts of food while the poor starved. They had drink that led to drunkenness while the poor drank polluted water. Israel’s leading citizens overindulged themselves in drinking. For containers to drink wine they used “bowls” from the temple rather than cups. The term for bowls is the one usually used in ritual procedures (Exod. 27:3; Num. 4:14; 7:13; 1 Kgs. 7:50). “Use the finest lotion” is literally “the first [best grade] of oils they anoint.” Its purpose could have been medicinal, cosmetic, or cultic. The verb describing its application is the one generally employed in a cultic setting. However, stress in the sentence falls on the grade of oil used, “the finest,” which favors the cosmetic or medicinal interpretation. The indictment in all the accusations of indulgence is that Israel’s leading citizens went on in their revelry as if all was well (cf. 4:1). Joseph (Israel) was about to break up as a nation, yet the leading citizens were not sick over it as they should have been. They were “totally self-centered, totally preoccupied with the pleasures of life but blinded to the threatening reality all around them.” Life, so they thought, could not be better. According to Amos, it could not have been worse. Three times in Amos 6:8 the Lord’s oath introduces a decree of punishment (4:2; 6:8; 8:7). In 4:2 the Lord swears by his holiness. Here he swears by himself. In 8:7 he swears by the pride of Jacob. “By himself” (bĕnapšô, “by his soul”) means “by the Lord’s own person,” the most binding form of commitment. The Lord’s character, integrity, and power stood behind the oath. Amos identified the message to follow as an oracle (nĕʾum) of “the LORD God of hosts” (literally). God’s authority and resources supporting this oracle made it awesome. The target of the three verbs (“abhor … detest … deliver”), though stated variously, is primarily Samaria. The first verb is “abhor” (mĕtāʾēb), a participle expressing God’s continuing attitude toward “the pride of Jacob.” Most interpreters take “the pride of Jacob” to be an attribute of the people, their arrogant nationalistic and military self-confidence, or their overconfidence in the mountain of Samaria. Here in v. 8 and in 8:7, where the Lord swears by “the pride of Jacob,” the reference seems to be to the city of Samaria. Two factors favor this interpretation: (1) the “fortresses” possessed by (“his” refers to the pride...
30 minutes | Jul 10, 2021
Judgment Brings Mourning
Judgment Brings Mourning Amos now turns from an indictment to a judgment brings mourning lament. Their sins and coming judgment are a cause for lamenting. Israel will fall, and only a few will remain. During the lament, Yahweh twice appeals for them to seek him and not their false gods. Their false gods will fail them; Yahweh will not. Israel rejected righteousness and justice in favor of elevating themselves and their wealth, and they rejected Yahweh in favor of false gods. But justice and righteousness will be established through their judgment, and Yahweh will triumph over their gods. This call for lament over their coming judgment continues in the next section, with a focus on their false worship. This passage is built around three appeals: (1) for spiritual reformation, Seek me … seek the LORD (vss. 4–6); (2) for personal and social reformation, Seek good … maintain justice (vs. 14f.); (3) for religious reformation, Let justice roll … did you bring me sacrifices …? (vs. 24f.) But the appeals are bracketed by affirmations of disaster (vss. 1–3, 26–27) and interspersed with diagnoses of how things are (vss. 7, 10–13, 16–20). The therefore of v 16 gives us a clue how the chapter is to be understood: how can an appeal (14–15) have as its consequence (therefore, v 16) a forecast of inconsolable sorrow? Only if Amos is recalling appeals made and refused! The chapter, therefore, is a record of an opportunity lost and of the grim consequences now inevitable. Once more, God is not mocked. Judgment brings mourning in Amos 5. It is a funeral dirge sung over the deceased. It is made of three parts. A chiasm in Amos 5:1-17. A lament in Amos 5:18-20. An indictment of crimes in Amos 5:19-27. Amos 5 could be titled The Book of Woes. Amos 5 is structured in artistic fashion like no other unit in the book. Judgment brings mourning may sound grim and gloomy, but the chiastic structure shows Hebrew poetry at its finest. A chiasm is a sequence in which similar sounds (phonemes), identical words (lexemes), or identical or similar ideas or concepts are presented and then repeated in reverse order. The structure of a chiasm is represented by letters, each letter representing a new idea. So, if our judgment brings mourning chiasm has two ideas, then idea one is represented by the letter “A” and idea two is represented by the letter “B.” The chiastic features of this rhetorical unit are set forth by me. The overarching structure of the unit may be observed in the following arrangement: 5:1–3 A First Lamentation. 5:4-6 B First warning 5:7 C First accusation 5:8 D Hymn 5:8a E The LORD is His name. 5:9 D Hymn 5:10–13 C Second accusation 5:14–15 B Second warning 5:16–17 A Second Lamentation The centerpiece of this unit is the hymn stanza in Amos 5:8–9 (cf. 4:13), which sets forth the nature of Israel’s God. Another feature of this unit is the interweaving of the words of Amos (vv. 1–2, 6–9, 14–15) with the words of God (vv. 3–5, 10–13, 16–17). Judgment brings mourning is the overall theme. What happens between death and judgment day are not answered. Where do souls go before judgment day falls on deaf ears in Amos 5. Final judgment in Revelation answers these questions. Judgment brings mourning, but how? The day of the Lord brings the wrath of God (vss. 18-20). No one can escape. No matter where the people of Israel try to hide, the day of the Lord will find them. As regards content of judgment brings mourning, this chapter speaks far more generally and fundamentally about Israel’s relationship with God than do its surroundings; death and life constitute its predominant key words, worship and justice its predominant themes. Although it has hardly been considered and is by no means of merely secondary significance,
48 minutes | Jul 3, 2021
Bulls of Bashan
Bulls of Bashan Bulls of Bashan had once surrounded Mount Hermon in the days of Jesus. The meaning of the name Bashan in Hebrew is “serpent.” Looking at its beautiful snowcapped mountains today, you would not have guessed its name. It was the home of demons and devils of Genesis 6:1-4. It birthed priestess who prostituted themselves with bulls of Bashan, demons invading bulls of gold made into idols (Amos 4). It played a role at Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20). Jesus had provoked the bulls of Bashan who stood behind the gates of hell into a fight. This fight carried on at Mount Hermon, the mountain of Bashan, the mount of transfiguration (Mk. 9:2-8) and it culminated in the cross (Matt. 27). Why is the mountain of Bashan so special? Psalm 22 bring this out. Bulls of Bashan in the Bible represent evil Elohim, evil spirits of Bashan belonging to the spirit world. They had rebelled against God on Mount Hermon and carried their rebellion forward with producing Nephilim (Gen. 6:1-4; Deut. 2-3). This led to Babel in Genesis 11 and the divorce of God with humans in Deuteronomy 32:8-9. Bashan in the Bible for the ancient Israelites was the realm of nightmares. It was the land of shadow. Fearsome and demonic monsters lived and ruled there. If the Hebrews were Gondor, Bashan was Mordor. And I’m being more literal than you might suppose. Bulls of Bashan were the outcrop of evil. Yahweh brought Israel into freedom from slavery in Egypt. He led them to the land of giants. He wanted Israel to wipe them out. Many had already been wiped out by descendants of Abraham. But the nation of Israel needed completing the job. They failed God’s mission and were sent into the wilderness for forty years. Once the old generation died out, the new generation picked up where the old left off. The Israelites made their way into the region of Bashan. The place had a terrible reputation. In cultures outside the Bible, it was known as “the place of serpents.” It was the region of the Rephaim, the giant clan, the shadow people (Gen. 14:5, Deut. 2:20-21; Num. 13:27, 23, 33). The Rephaim would eventually die out and their spirits would be confined to the desert. This would become the same desert Jesus would later exorcise demons. Two of the major cities, Ashtaroth and Edrei (Deut. 1:4; Josh. 13:12) were considered gateways to the underworld realm of the dead (the gates of hell; Job. 37:18; Ps. 9:15; Ps. 107:8; Isa. 38:10; Matt. 16:18). In Jesus’ day, the highest mountain of Bashan, Mount Hermon, had numerous occult temples and sacrificial sites for demonic worship. Jesus took his disciples into the heart of darkness, to Mount Doom, the gates of hell. Jesus challenged the powers of darkness to kill him. Little did the evil spirits know that Jesus’ death would become their undoing. Then the Old Testament representatives of the Law and the Prophets had appeared. Until Jesus, you could only know God through the Law and the Prophets. But then God speaks and says to stop looking to the Law and the Prophets. He tells people to look only to Jesus. God then took away the Law and the Prophets. This left Jesus. God confirmed it with a king’s title, “beloved,” marking Jesus as the heir of the David throne, the kingdom of God on earth. When Jesus was crucified, he hung on the cross much of the day. Then he said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. This is a quote from Psalm 22. Psalm 22:12-16 add a important point. The strong bulls of Bashan were responsible for Messiah’s death. Some translations use fierce bulls of Bashan. These were the demonic powers of darkness mention in Amos 4:1-3. The sinister part of this description is the fierce bulls of Bashan. Bashan is ground zero for the demonic gods and the realm of the dead. It was the leading center for the worship of Baal, symbolized by bulls and cows. Bulls from the land of Bashan is a reference to powers of darkness. Should we fear the bulls of Bashan today? We should.
31 minutes | Jun 25, 2021
Judgment for the Chosen
Judgment for the Chosen Amos 3 is about judgment for the chosen. It includes a a covenant lawsuit focusing squarely on the northern kingdom, the elect of God. Chapter 2 focuses on the sins of Israel. Chapter three focuses on the covenant relationship between Israel and Yahweh. The oracle of chapter 3 is on the coming judgment (vss. 1-8) and declaration of judgment for the chosen (vss. 11-15). God’s judgment in the Old Testament starts with a covenant lawsuit. The purpose of God’s judgment on Israel is justice. The poor have been abused (vs. 9). They bow to other gods (vs. 14). They are full of greed (vs. 15). God stands up for the poor. He will not allow his people to serve other gods. He abhors greed. God’s judgment on a nation like Israel is just. God’s judgment is righteous. Three Sections The covenant lawsuit is composed of three sections: vv. 1–8, vv. 9–12, vv. 13–15. Each section starts with the Hebrew word “shema,” the same “shema” found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. “Shema” means “listen” or “hear.” This is a command, not a request and demands Israel listen less they feel the full weight of God judgment day, a judgment for the chosen. When God speaks, Israel is demanded to listen and hear what the prophet has to say. To ignore God’s voice is to seal their doom. Each of the three sections are interwoven. They form a common thread found in most covenant lawsuits. The first (vss. 1-8) lays the foundation for why they are accused and why judgment is coming. The second (vss. 9-12) calls on the witnesses to observe. These witnesses are of cosmic proportion. God calls the host of heaven and the enemies of Israel to observe judgment for the chosen. The third (vss. 13-15) fulfil the rhetorical question at the end at the end of verse 8: “My Lord Yahweh has spoken, who will not prophesy?” The message of the prophets were mainly a message of judgment and a message of hope. Amos preached judgment and gave Israel hope in that a remnant would be saved (vs. 12). The covenant lawsuit starts with an accusation. The covenant relationship with Yahweh stands as the focus. It is the reason why Israel must face judgment. Verses 3-8 provide rhetorical questions to draw out the truth of their covenant relationship and the reason why they now face judgment. The use of rhetorical questions forces the audience to supply the answer for the foundation for their judgment. The Themes The first theme we read in verses 1b-2b is Israel’s close relationship with Yahweh. The rhetorical question in verse 3 reinforce this theme by asking how two people can walk together without meeting. This takes the hearer of the message back to Abraham when he walked with God. The second theme, judgment for the chosen, is introduced in verse 2c-d. This theme is drawn out in even more detail in the rhetorical questions of verses 4-5. Just as a lion roars only after he has caught something, and a trap springs only when there is something to catch, in the same way, Yahweh’s judgment is coming because the northern kingdom has sinned. The last two themes are described in verse 8 after being presented through the prior rhetorical questions (vss. 6–7). Verse 8a instructs the people in how they are to respond to Yahweh’s proclamation of judgment. This is drawn out further in the preceding rhetorical question in v. 6a–b. When a warning trumpet is sounded in a city, the people fear; they should respond the same way to this warning. The last theme, v. 8b–c, concerns how the prophets are to respond to Yahweh’s message: they must proclaim what they hear from Yahweh. This is drawn out further in the previous rhetorical question in v. 6c–d and in its answer in v. 7. (The rhetorical question of v. 6c–d is the only question that has an answer.) Calamity (that is, judgment) comes on a city because of Yahweh. The structure of this section is presented in the table below. Chapter 3 ends with judgment for the chosen and it carries through the rest of the book.
51 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
The Lion Roars
Amos started out a layman and became the prophet who proclaimed the lion roars. He owned many flocks of sheep that were bred for kings and sacrificial systems. He too was a fig tree farmer. At the heart of the introductory verses to the book of Amos is the incredible image of the lion roars (1:2). Will a lion roar in the forest? Yes, and it will roar from Jerusalem, even from the temple itself, because it is God’s message which roars. The expression translated “utters his voice” in verse two refers to the roar of thunder (e.g., 2 Sam. 22:14; Pss. 18:13; 77:17-18 [Hebrew, 18-19]; 104:7). It is thunder which brings destruction. Amos “saw” (Hebrew “haza”) words that roared (1:1). Words that Amos saw become more than what you could have imagined. God granted Amos access to the council of God in the heavens (compare Jer. 23:18; 1 Kings 22:19-22; 2 Chron. 18:1-17). He saw what God sees from the perspective of Heaven. Amos admonishes Israel for their sins and proclaims their forthcoming judgment from the heaven itself. The lion roars and its shattering effect brings earthquakes (Amos 1:1; cf. Zech. 14:5), drought, and exile (Amos 1:2; 1:3-2:16). Amos 3:3 and Amos 3:11 speak well of this destruction. Many know Amos as the prophet of social justice because of Amos’ message regarding the sins of the people toward the poor and needy. Amos preached we should care for the poor and needy. While Amos cares deeply for the lack of social justice, he addresses this problem by drawing attention to the underlying issue. He suggests that the sins of the people are a result of their broken covenant with Yahweh for which they face impending judgment. The foundation for Amos’ oracles to the northern kingdom is the Abrahamic covenant (Amos 2:6-16). His speech to the nations is about breaking the Noahic covenant (Amos 1:3-2:3). But Amos refers to the Mosaic covenant (Amos 9:15) and the Davidic covenant (Amos 9:11) too. Though Amos is known as the prophet of social justice, his message of the lion roars has greater depth and breath. He accuses Israel of sins against the poor and needy. These sins can be divided into three categories: taking advantage of the poor and needy (2:6–7; 4:1; 5:11; 8:4–6), violence (3:10), and denying justice and integrity (5:7, 10, 12, 15, 24; 6:12). The idea of a prophet concerned with social justice strikes a chord with many today, as it has for centuries. The denial of justice, rights, wealth, and privilege to certain classes of people has been a major problem in all societies, including modern America. And there is much to learn about Amos’ condemnation of social injustice. However, to sum up Amos’ message as a call for social justice is to minimize the breadth of his message and fail to understand the foundation of his message. Social justice that stands on any other foundation than the truth of Yahweh is an incomplete and imperfect form of social justice. Amos does not attack their lack of social justice on the grounds of morality. Absolutely not. For in Amos (and the entire Bible), to deny social justice is to work against Yahweh. Additionally, while Amos does address a lot of social justice issues, he spends more time addressing Israel’s relationship to Yahweh. He refers to their twisted cultic banquets (2:7–8; 6:4–7), their treatment of those commissioned by Yahweh (2:11), and their cultic places and activities (3:14; 4:4–5; 5:4–6, 21–23, 26; 8:5). So while Amos does concentrate on issues we would call “social justice,” he has a much broader perspective, a perspective founded on the full revelation of Yahweh. The lion roars become a fitting expression for Amos’ message in 1:1 – 2:16 and we best pay heed to it.
62 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Angels and Demons
Angels and demons give us fascinating material. We study the Bible, and we think we know about angels and demons, but our vision is dim to the biblical reality. On the road to Emmaus, Jesus opened the Old Testament to two of his disciples (Luke 24:27). They saw what was not obvious to them while Jesus walked with them on earth. They must have thought how much they had missed understanding Moses, David, Ezekiel, and Isaiah. How could they have missed it when the truth was staring them in the eye? Angels and demons have too often been made a side-story. Our study of them in seminary or in college is to a one-hour presentation. It becomes a blip on our biblical radar. Angels and demons are so much more. Michael Heiser also provides an excellent introduction to many important extrabiblical texts. Simply for these reasons, pastors and serious Bible students will want to read Demons. Heiser’s work is also a helpful way for a general audience to be introduced to the material from 1 Enoch and other intertestamental Jewish literature that has recently become prominent in biblical studies. Biblical angels and demons are a far cry from our vision of them. Dr. Michael Hesier theology opens the door to understanding the Angel of the Lord, the Satan, the Devil, the heavenly host, angels, and the serpent. What do angels look like? Are demons fallen angels? What is the story of angels and demons? Michael Heiser gives us straight answers to age old questions. God chose to work through a divine council of supernatural beings. God created them and held sovereignty over them. He intended for His council to include human representatives who would meet at Eden, the nexus which united heaven and earth. This begun a series of three rebellions which engulfed all creation. But God would not let it deter him from His mission. He would complete what He started out to do. Heaven and earth would become united again but on a different level than what angels and demons had anticipated. In “Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness,” Michael Heiser debunks popular presuppositions about the true powers of darkness. Rather than speculation, it’s grounded in what people of both the Old and New Testament eras believed about evil forces and what the Bible actually says. Gain a biblical understanding of demons, supernatural rebellion, evil spirits, and spiritual warfare. Everyone knows that angels have wings, usually carry harps, and that each of us has our own personal guardian angel, right? We all have some preconceptions about angels from movies, television shows, and other media, but you might be surprised to know that a lot of those notions aren't based on anything from the Bible. If you read Luke 1:26–38 and imagine the angel Gabriel standing before Mary with neatly folded white wings, you're not getting that picture from anything the Bible itself says. The study of angels and demons raises important questions. Your host, Dale Moreau, will ask important question around this topic. Dr. Hesier will give us fresh insights of the biblical text. Heiser frequently notes problems in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Old Testament, preferring variant readings. Once more, a central part of his argument rests on a disputed textual foundation. But even more, Heiser sometimes argues that infelicitous human translations of the Old Testament made their way into the New Testament itself, thus obscuring the true meaning of the spiritual material. For example: “The New Testament has fewer words for the powers of darkness and loses some of the nuanced presentation of evil spirits found in the Old Testament” (2). This need not mean that Heiser doubts the divine inspiration of the Bible, but it does suggest that portions of Scripture are contingent on partial errors in history, thus rendering their full meaning lost to centuries’ worth of readers. Join your host Dale Moreau, as we peel back the curtains and shine a light on what ancie...
54 minutes | May 28, 2021
The Theology of John
What a wonderful opportunity of having Dr. Andreas Köstenberger again discussing with us the theology of John. We will talk about Johannine theology and scriptures. John’s Gospel is called the “spiritual gospel” and has moved countless souls to recognize the need for Christ. Understood this way, there is every reason to believe that John, as a “spiritual gospel” is grounded firmly in actual historical events. The theology of John sometimes has been presented in complex way by scholars. But Dr. Köstenberger gives it to us plain and simple and yet with depth. John’s Gospel begins with the word made flesh witnessed by the Baptist’s witness (Jn. 1:6-8, 15). These events are grounded in the tabernacle (Jn. 1:14) and giving of the law through Moses (Jn. 1:17). The evangelist uses “witness” language to testify to these events. Theology is the study of God and all things relating to Him. Religion is that which ultimately binds a person to a way of valuing comprehensively, coherently, and passionately. Christianity is the only religion which captures both. John’s Gospel brilliantly describes the essence and definition of theology and religion fully in Jesus Christ. John opens his gospel with a reference to the work of creation “in the beginning” through “the Word” (1:1). John the Baptist serves as the “evangelist of God’s covenant people” here, because creation is not only a universal event, it is also part of Israel’s history. In fact, the message of the Genesis creation narrative is not so much that God created the world and later became the God of Israel, but rather that the God of Israel in the beginning created the world. Creation, in other words, is the first act of the faithful, covenant-keeping God. Hence, in keeping with the message of Genesis, John reaches all the way back to creation to draw a typological connection: in the beginning the God of Israel created the world through the Word; now, in Christ, that same God took on flesh, made his residence among his people, and revealed his glory. Immediately in verse 1, also, John sounds the all-important issue that will dominate much of the ensuing gospel: the Word’s (Jesus’) relationship to God. John’s initial words erect a certain tension that places Jesus’ identity within the following matrix: the Word was at creation “with God,” and the Word “was God” (with theos, “God,” in the emphatic position in the original Greek). The former truth—that the Word was at creation with God—would have been readily conceded by everyone; the latter assertion—that the Word itself (or himself) was God—was open to question and further debate. John’s argument here is that the Word, as God’s creative agent, constituted an extension of God’s own person, as the one through whom God’s creative power became effective. Ultimately, therefore, God the Creator and the Word through which (or whom) he created are inseparable, and according to John they share the same identity while at the same time being distinct. One detects here the quarry from which later conciliar doctrines defining and describing the relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son were hewn. I hope you like the podcast of the theology of John. Everyone should listen. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
60 minutes | Apr 17, 2021
Signs of the Messiah
Signs of the Messiah are wordless prophecies. Dr. Andreas Köstenberger tells us about signs. He says they point to things future without words explaining their meaning. The Apostle John makes use of these signs in an Old Testament way in His Gospel. Seven signs in John’s first twelve chapters point to the Messiah. Jesus is bigger than Moses. He is bigger than His miracles. Water into Wine at Cana (Jn. 2:1-12) is the first sign of the Messiah. It reveals the Messiah’s glory and the touchstone of belief for the disciples (Jn. 2:11). In Old Testament times, Gideon asked God for a sign. Later, Hezekiah did as well. Moses performed mighty “signs and wonders” during the exodus. The prophets too acted out sings. They acted symbolic gestures conveying God's message to His people. Isaiah went about stripped down to his undergarments. It became a symbol of God's message of judgment on Israel. Their fate became sealed. They had rejected God. Their result would be exile to Babylon. People asked Jesus for signs. After Jesus had fed a crowd of five thousand, Jesus’ opponents were at it again. “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you?” they asked (Jn 6:30–31). “Give us a sign, and we’ll believe,” they insisted. Well, did He give them a sign? They had several signs of the Messiah, and did they believe? Jesus, the Messiah, did indeed give people many messianic signs. And yet, they did not believe. They did not believe because the whole world becomes steeped in unbelief (Jn. 16:9). In John’s Gospel, sin is unbelief. Repentance is to turn from unbelief about the Messiah to believing in the Messiah. John’s point is that people’s unbelief was their own fault. The problem was not that God, through Jesus, failed to provide tangible evidence that he was real. No, the problem was that people asked for signs. When Jesus gave them a sign, they did not like the one He gave them. So, they kept asking for more. He fed the multitudes. He healed the sick. He even opened the eyes of the man born blind. For His encore, He raised a dead man whose body had been in the tomb for four days. I recommend you read Dr. Köstenberger’s Signs of the Messiah: An Introduction to John’s Gospel. Have this book beside you as you read through John's Gospel. The book can serve as a companion illuminating John's core message. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that you might believe and have eternal life. Signs of the Messiah in John’s Gospel make it come alive.
47 minutes | Mar 21, 2021
Giving Your Best Gifts
1 Chronicles 29:1-22 is about giving your best gifts. Gifts are never coerced. Gifts are given to people you care about and love. The Temple was the love of the people of Israel. It became their heartbeat. Kill the temple and the people die. Therefore, they gave lavishly to the temple with gold, silver, and precious stones matching the gifts of Giving your best gifts was the example of David, the king in 1 Chronicles 29:1-22. There was rejoicing and there was consecration of wealth and life to God and His Temple. 1 Chronicles 29:1–9 is David's address to his people. It is a continuation of the address in 28:1–10; Yet it takes up a different theme. Though it begins with a description of all the wealth and material amassed by David, it turns to the people. Verse 5a and verses 6-9 is about the people's contribution exceeding David. The weights of precious stones, gold and silver are staggering and exaggerations. Giving your best gifts and most expensive gifts beyond David exaggerate on purpose. Verse one states the reason. The Temple is not made for mortals but for God. This is also the reason that David undertakes this massive fundraising efforts. It is about giving your best gifts: because it is a task too large for the “young and inexperienced” Solomon. No half measures will be acceptable. No failures due to errors of judgment become tolerated. Two verbs stand out in this presentation, one at the end of David’s speech and the other at the end of the people’s offering. David asks in verse 5 for those willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord. The Temple requires the greatest effort. on king and people. David's speech challenges people of giving their best gifts to the max. Failure to commit with the whole heart becomes suicide of the whole person. The Temple was the life-blood of the people. The Temple dies, then the people die. People consecrate their wealth toward building the Temple because it is there life. People give their wealth to keep the Temple alive so they can live. In truth, what other response is appropriate to the powerful result of consecrated commitment? Giving your best gifts is the key. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That Helps People Worldwide:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
18 minutes | Mar 14, 2021
The Plan of the Temple of Solomon
Many fail seeing the significance of the word "plan" in a biblical text. 2 Chronicles 28:11-21 mentions "the plan" four times. Its Hebrew word "tabnet" and its root "taknet" is found only two other places. One is Exodus 25:9, 40, and Ezekiel 40:1-4 and 43:10-11. Alluding to Exodus and Ezekiel, the writer of the Book of Chronicles conveys a deeper meaning than building a temple by the plan. He signifies David the Messianic fulfillment of the prophets Moses and Ezekiel. There is more to it. The cherubim, the flying chariot, the mercy seat, the showbread, and the lamp and lampstand attest to Eden. All the contents of the the temple in 2 Chronicles 28:11-21 telegraph to Eden. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
49 minutes | Mar 13, 2021
Josh McDowell Presents the Moral Choice of Right and Wrong
Helping people learn to make right moral choices based upon God and His Word as the absolute standard of right and wrong. Josh helps them discover what standards of behavior are right for all people, for all times, for all places. This message can play a vital role in strengthening the moral foundations of listeners and congregations! Josh McDowell has been at the forefront of cultural trends and groundbreaking ministry for more than 58 years. He shares the essentials of Christian faith in everyday language so that people of all ages and stages know Christ, understand what they believe and why it is true, and learn how to live, share, and defend the faith. Well-known as an articulate speaker, Josh has spoken to approximately 25.2 million people in 126 countries. Josh has written or co-authored 151 books with some translated in 128 languages. These include "More Than a Carpenter" with over 27 million copies distributred. He also authored "Evidence that Demands a Verdict," named by World Magazine as one of the twentieth century's top 40 books and one of the thirteen most influential books on Christian thought of the last 50 years. "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" also won the 2018 Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association award in the Bible Reference Book category. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
59 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
The Gates of Hell at Caesarea Philippi and the Transfiguration
The identification of this rock has been debated for a very long time. The area’s geography is the key to understanding the passage. Eventually, this place became known as “Pan’s Grotto.” The god Pan was represented with horns, a goat’s beard, a crooked nose, pointed ears and tail and goat’s feet. It is why the early church described the devil in those ways. Peter's confession at the rock of Caesarea Philippi and the transfiguration that follows are matters of spirtual warfare. Mount of Transfiguration is the place where Jesus appeared in splendor to three of His disciples (Mt. 17:2; Mk. 9:2; Lk. 9:28). Both Matthew (17:1) and Mark (9:2) call it “a high mountain.” Luke (9:28) refers to it as “the mountain,” as though it was so familiar that it required no further identification. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
67 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
Michael S. Heiser Presents the Theology of the Unseen Realm
Michael S. Heiser presents the theology of the unseen realm. The unseen realm connects all the dots between the Old and New Testaments. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 links to Luke 10. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 links to Acts 2:2, 7. The gates of hell at Ceasarea Philippi conects to the land of Bashan in Psalm 22 and Amos 4:1-4. The supernaual realm surrounds us, yet we bind ourselves to its reality. Dr. Heiser's unseen realm world view gives us what Jesus truly was fighting and what our fight is today. Spiritual warfare surrounds us. We, the Church, are to go on the offensive and not take the wiles of the Devil. We have the winning hand agains the forces of evil. Jesus understand are fight was not to stand back and wait for the Devil to wage his skirmish with us. He demanded we take the fight to hell itself. Dr. Heiser writes, "I understand that a lot of well-meaning Bible students, pastors, and professors don’t look at how they approach the Bible that way. I know I didn’t. But it’s what happens. We view the Bible through the lens of what we know and what’s familiar. Psalm 82 broke my filter. More importantly, it alerted me to the fact that I’d been using one. Our traditions, however honorable, are not intrinsic to the Bible. They are systems we invent to organize the Bible. They are artificial. They are filters. Once I’d been awakened to this, it struck me as faithless to use a filter. But throwing away my filters cost me the systems with which I’d ordered Scripture and doctrine in my mind. I was left with lots of fragments. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but that was the best thing that could have happened. It opened up a whole new world of the unseen realm. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
48 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
What is in a Name?
What is in a Name? The God of Israel could be referred to by a number of names, titles, and epithets in the text of the Hebrew Bible. These are significant as indicators of developments in the course of Israel’s religious history and as expressions of concepts of the divine held by the ancient Israelites. In particular, God’s name, which in some traditions is specifically revealed, can become a separate aspect of →God, in such a way as to represent God as a virtual hypostasis. It is not as developed a hypostasis in the OT as is God’s word or God’s wisdom (→Wisdom) or even God’s spirit (RINGGREN 1947), but it is more significant than the role of God’s arm (e.g. Isa 51:9). Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
73 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Dr. Leighton Flowers Is Calvinism a Better Option?
You have heard of Calvinism and Arminianism but which one of them is right? The doctrines of election, predestination and salvation have been controversial throughout church history and in this lesson Dr. Leighton Flowers, Director of Evangelism and Apologetics for Texas Baptists, will walk through his own journey in and out of Calvinism and explain why he has come to believe Calvinism is not the best way to understand biblical salvation. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
47 minutes | Feb 22, 2021
The Three Rebellions
The Christian doctrine of the fall of humanity is based on a reading of Genesis 3, Genesis 6, and Genesis 11. Two rebellions resulted from divine spiritual beings. One rebellion resulted from human beings. Transgression of the first human beings resulted in humanity’s fractured relationship with God, loss of innocence, and entrance into the condition of sin, which ultimately results in death. Three rebellions stacked upon one another led to the fall. Maturing Your Discipleship in Jesus Christhttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08L81H75M/ Our Website:https://understandthegodwhospeaks.com Give the Gift That That Helps People World Widehttps://understandthegodwhospeaks.com/give/
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