For the first time in Amos’ prophecy, the message declared are words of hope and restoration. The prophecy up to this point has been descriptive for the end of the physical nation of Israel. The people are deserving of judgment because they have taken the material wealth and blessings given by God to turn their hearts away from loving and serving him. But now there are a few words of hope, a message of restoration of the people.
Restoring David’s Kingdom (9:11-15)
Amos begins with the phrase, “In that day,” and in verse 13 says, “The days are coming.” These are words used by the prophets in reference to the coming of the Messianic age. “In those days” points to the events leading up to and including the dawning of the new age when the Messiah would come and bring victory and deliverance. So the days are coming, Amos says, when the Lord is going to restore the kingdom. Notice the language of verse 11, “raise up, repair, and rebuild.” The kingdom is described as merely “the booth of David.” It is not described as the temple of David or as the great kingdom of David. Now it is pictured as a fallen, damaged tent. We are to see the kingdom as insignificant, in a powerless and weakened condition. The devastated nation is going to be restored. It will be rebuilt “as in the days of old” (9:11). The glory of the coming kingdom will return and it will stand in glory like in the days of the reign of David.
Further, this coming glorious kingdom will possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name. David’s dynasty would be reestablished in that day and the rebuilt empire will include the remaining portion of Edom and control many nations. Edom was historically an enemy to the nation of Israel. But when the Lord rebuilds this kingdom, this kingdom will possess the enemies that stood against her. Israel was to look forward to a day when they would be so great that the nations would be subject to them. Amos is foreseeing the conversion of the nations, as “all the nations who are called by my name.” God will possess the nations and they will submit to him. God’s character will be seen in the people that are named. God will rule over them and they will be his people. The possession of Edom and the nations must not be understood as military subjugation, but as their spiritual incorporation into the restored kingdom of David.
Verses 13-14 describe a time when the kingdom is plentiful. Rather than experiencing the famine and drought that Amos prophesied would happen shortly (4:6-8), there was a time coming when there would be abundance. The new Messianic era will usher in a time of abundance and a reversal of fortunes. This is exactly the promise God made to Moses in Deuteronomy 30:1-3. After the disobedience of the nation and its judgment, God would restore the kingdom yet again.
Finally, verse 15 pictures the kingdom with eternal security. The Lord would plant these people and they would never be uprooted. God’s forgiveness to Israel is pictured as permanent and that blessings would continually flow from God. The restoration of covenant blessings is offered as an unconditional promise. Notice that they would be planted on their land and never uprooted reflects a fulfillment of the land promise given to Abraham by the Lord. Therefore, we are also reading about a reversal of destiny. In Amos 5:2, the Lord declared that the nation was fallen and never to rise again. But in those coming days a restoration would occur where this kingdom could never fall.
The question that surely would have been on the minds of the people, not only after Amos prophesied, but more importantly, after the destruction of Israel, is how could this happen? How can this restoration occur? Israel is decimated by the Assyrian invasion. Judah, the southern nation, will also be wiped off the land. Nothing will be left. The people are removed from their land and sent into exile. Yet Amos prophesies that it is not over. Somehow, the kingdom of David would be rebuilt to the glory of its former days and would possess the nations. The blessings of God would pour out again toward the people, their fortunes would be restored, and they would have eternal security in this kingdom. What is Amos predicting? The answer lies in the New Testament book of Acts where we read this prophecy’s fulfillment.
Acts 15:13-21 and Amos’ Prophecy
Before we begin, we need to set the context of Acts 15. Christians were teaching that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised in order to be part of the kingdom of God and receive salvation. Recall that under that in the Old Testament circumcision was a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham, and all his descendants. This was a mark to show the covenant relationship between God and his people. So there is a gathering in Jerusalem about this question concerning Gentiles entering into a covenant relationship with God without circumcision. The apostle Peter argues that God poured out the Holy Spirit on them in a visible way to show that Gentiles were part of the covenant and part of the Messianic kingdom. Paul and Barnabas further point out that God was with them performing miracles as they preached the gospel to the Gentiles. What they are implying is that if the good news of the kingdom was not for the Gentiles, then why is God performing miracles through them as they preach to the Gentiles? James, the brother of Jesus, adds to these points by quoting from Amos, the very passage we have examined in this study. James teaches that what is happening with the Gentiles is what Amos said would happen.
The Remnant of Edom vs. The Remnant of Mankind.
You will notice that there are two differences between what Amos said and what James quotes. The two differences are in this phrase: Amos said the restored kingdom would possess the remnant of Edom while James says that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord. Consider, however, that Amos and James are teaching the exact same thing. First, Edom stood symbolically as a symbol for wicked humanity. I do not have the time or space in this message to explore this. Homer Hailey wrote a useful book on this topic called, “The Edomites: Symbol Of The World.” He points out through a number of prophecies how Edom became a symbolic reference for Adam, that is, the wicked and the opponents of the Lord and his people. You will see this when you read through the prophets. Note how Edom and Esau are always pictured as enemies of the Lord and his people (cf. Obadiah 18-21; Malachi 1:2-4; Lamentations 4:21-22; Isaiah 34:5-6). Just as Jacob/Israel stands for the people of God, Esau/Edom stands for the wicked who oppose God. Therefore, James is simply expressing the symbol. Amos said the remnant of Edom which means the remnant of humanity, as James quotes it.
Possessing the Remnant of Edom vs. The Remnant of Mankind Seeking The Lord.
The second difference is also important to observe. Amos said that the restored kingdom would possess Edom while James says that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord. James is teaching the explanation of this prophecy. The way the restored kingdom would possess Edom was to give them the right to seek the Lord. The restored kingdom would not militarily or politically possess the physical land, but by offering the right to seek the Lord, they would become part of this restored kingdom. Therefore, the Gentiles (nations) and the wicked opposition (Edom) would be possessed because they will seek the Lord and become part of this glorious, restored kingdom. This is how God would raise up the glorious kingdom of David. This is the point James is making in Acts 15. The kingdom was now being extended to the Gentiles as they were, not by them becoming Jews or trying to keep the Law of Moses. The Gentiles who call on the name of the Lord would belong to the restored kingdom of God.
The Unshakable, Glorious Kingdom
Coming back to Amos, let’s apply these images of Amos to the kingdom we have received. The kingdom has been restored as the dynasty of David has been reestablished with Jesus as the king (cf. Matthew 1). The blessings are given to those who are in his kingdom and a reversal of fortunes has occurred. Rather than lost in our sins as part of wicked Edom, we are able to be part of righteous Israel. God is continually pouring out his blessings on his people. The Lord has restored his covenant blessings to those who seek the Lord. This offer of forgiveness is permanent and we enjoy the eternal security that he promised. Nothing can separate from the love of God found in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39). To conclude, listen to a few writers of the New Testament.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28–29 ESV)
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10–11 ESV)
We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12 ESV)
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV)