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Thursday, February 14 2013
Amos: A Shepherd Of Tekoa
The ancient city of Tekoa (variously rendered into English as Tekoa, Tekoah, Tekota, Tekua and others) was located a few miles south of Bethlehem in the tribal territory of Judah. After the division of the united kingdom of Israel into "Israel" and "Judah" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel and Judah), Rehoboam, who was the last king of united Israel and thereafter the first king of Judah (see Rehoboam Of Israel And Judah), fortified Tekoa, along with other cities, apparently as sector-defense garrisons. It was also during that time that the faithful Levites in Israel moved south to join the Levites in Judah (see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?), to escape the idolatry of Israel's first king, Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel): "For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD: And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made."
"11:1 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
Amos, from the Hebrew name pronounced aw-moce (the surname Ames is an English rendering of the Hebrew name Amos), meaning to carry, or a burden, was a prophet of the kingdom of Judah who was given to prophesy to the kingdom of Israel.
Amos was a shepherd from Tekoa. He tended his flocks in the same area that King David had, as did the shepherds who were the first to witness the birth of the Messiah. It was from Tekoa that the LORD (see The Kingdom Of The LORD God) called Amos to serve as a prophet of His Word to the northern kingdom, about 140 years after the division of Israel i.e. Uzziah was the tenth king of Judah, while Jeroboam (i.e. Jeroboam II) was the thirteenth king of Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah).
"1:1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake." (Amos 1:1 KJV)
The book of Amos begins with a warning to some of the specific nations around Israel and Judah (e.g. Syria, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, Arabia) - again, proof that the LORD is the God of all and that the time is coming when all will worship the only true God.
"1:3 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron" (Amos 1:3 KJV)
Judah was also warned, although they had not yet reached the point of full-blown political and religious decay that Israel had (it took Judah another century for their corruption to fully ripen, but it had begun in the time of Amos).
"2:4 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked: 2:5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem." (Amos 2:4-5 KJV)
The greatest warning was directed to the northern kingdom of Israel however because, unlike the other nations, the people of Israel were given to know better - but they flagrantly defied and rebelled against the LORD. They had no excuse.
"2:11 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD. 2:12 But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not." (Amos 2:11-12 KJV)
As was the case for all of the prophets, the warning of destruction was merely what would happen if they refused to accept all of the good that the LORD was offering them i.e. "For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live." Unfortunately, for them, Israel ignored their warnings (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes).
"5:1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel. 5:2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 5:3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel. 5:4 For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live" (Amos 5:1-4 KJV)
All of the prophets were "Messianic" in regard to the coming Kingdom of God. Amos also described the earth after Christ's return, at the time when the so-called "lost ten tribes" of Israel (i.e. the people of Israel that Amos was sent to) will be gathered and returned to their land (see The Gathering of Israel and Judah).
"9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old [see David's Tabernacle]: 9:12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
Studies For The Book Of Amos
Fact Finder: What is the "plumbline" that the LORD described to Amos ("Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel" Amos 7:8 KJV)?
This Day In History, February 14
842: Charles the Bald and Louis the German swore the Oaths of Strasbourg.
1014: Pope Benedict VIII crowned Henry II as Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire).
1076: Pope Gregory VII excommunicated Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor (see Emperors and Popes).
1349: 2,000 Jews were burned at the stake in Strasbourg, Germany.
1400: The deposed King Richard II died "under suspicious circumstances" in Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire.
1658: The Battle of Bahadurgarh; it helped to decide the war of succession among the sons of Shah Jahan, Mughal emperor of India.
1779: British explorer Captain James Cook was killed in Hawaii.
1797: The British fleet, under Admirals John Jervis and Horatio Nelson, defeated the Spanish at the battle of St. Vincent off Portugal.
1804: Karadjordje led the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire.
1876: Inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for U.S. patents related to the telephone. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled that Bell was the rightful inventor.
1879: The War of the Pacific began between Chile and Bolivia.
1896: Der Judenstaat ("The Jewish State" - see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism) by Theodor Herzl was published in Vienna; English and French translations soon followed.
1922: Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi began the first regular radio broadcasting transmission from England.
1929: The "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" in Chicago. Al Capone's gang, in order to prevent the hijacking of whiskey shipments, killed 7 members of the Bugs Moran gang in a Chicago garage.
1939: The German navy launched the battleship Bismarck.
1942: The German Afrika Korps was organized under the command of Lt. Gen. (later Field Marshall) Irwin Rommel. It consisted of two armored divisions and one motorized infantry division. After initial successes, the Afrika Korps was defeated by British and Canadian forces under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
1944 The Mark I, the first computer that could perform arithmetical operations without human intervention, was completed by inventor Howard Aiken. It was 51 feet long, 8 feet high, and weighed 35 tons. It had about 500 miles of wire and 3 million connections.
1946: An "electronic brain", or "computer", began working at the University of Pennsylvania, taking seconds to do calculations which normally took hours. It was called ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer.
1946: The Bank of England was nationalized.
1947: British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin announced that Britain was turning the "Palestine situation" over to the United Nations (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1949: The first session of the Constituent Assembly (later entitled the Knesset) of the new state of Israel was opened (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism).
1958: The Arab Union, a federation of Jordan and Iraq, was formed to counter the formation of the United Arab Republic by Egypt and Syria 2 weeks earlier. King Hussein of Jordan dissolved it August 2 of that same year.
1971: Richard Nixon installed a secret taping system in the White House to record conversations of political enemies. The recording system later provided much of the criminal evidence that brought down Nixon himself.
1989: Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ordered a worldwide death sentence for writer Salman Rushdie for his book "The Satanic Verses (see also Has Another Haman Arisen?).
1992: The European Community and the seven-nation European Free Trade Association struck a final deal, clearing the way for the creation of the world's biggest single free market, exceeding that of the combined markets of the United States and Canada.