AMOS PROPHESIED around 800 bc. The nation of Israel was relatively prosperous, luxury and idolatry had turned the people away from their God. As a consequence they were threatened by invasions from the Assyrians and Babylonians in the north. Judgements on the Nations Amos predicted God’s judgements on the neighbouring nations of Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon and Moab. But he also foretold God’s judgements on His own people—first on the kingdom of Israel, then on Judah. We can expect an echo of these events in the last days, when the Middle East is again invaded from the north (as foretold for example in Ezekiel 35–39). Various symbols are employed: Locusts (7:1–3): these symbolised the coming invasions by Assyria and Babylon (the picture is similar in Joel 1 & 2). Fire (7:4–6): indicated that the judgements would be severe—for the cleansing of Israel. Plumbline (7:7–9): Israel was not upright before
LP: God often refers to Himself as ‘Us’, for example Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” and Genesis 3:22: “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil…’” The word for God which is used in the original Hebrew Bible is elohim, which is a plural word. Surely this reflects the plurality of the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—the Trinity? Ed: God does often refer to Himself in the plural. In the two verses quoted above, it seems He is speaking to the angels. We look like them (Hebrews 13:2). We know they were there at the creation of the world (Job 38:7). They are God’s servants who do His work (Psalm 103:20), and so their words and actions are those of God Himself. Sometimes angels are referred to as
IF SOMEONE ASKED you if you believe in God, you may say “yes”. But if they asked you “which god?”, what would you say? We live in a world where it is popular to downplay the distinction between different religions: to adopt the comfortable notion that all faiths lead to God in different ways. It’s an appealing and comforting idea, but it is not true—at least not as far as the Bible is concerned. In Psalms 145 and 146 we have an excellent summary of who God is, or in other words the name He goes by. Here is an excerpt: Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry.
HELEN WAS complaining to her husband about their son. “He promised faithfully to tidy his room and he hasn’t done a thing!” Dad said nothing, but shrugged his shoulders. “And you’re not much better,” she railed. “You threaten to punish him and don’t. No wonder I can’t believe a word he says.” Human Oaths What a different world it would be if everybody always meant what they said! In a court of law, witnesses are usually required to swear an oath or give an affirmation that they are telling the truth—in an attempt to ensure that they really do tell the truth. Because it’s acknowledged that very often, people do not. ‘Your word is your bond’ used to be a popular maxim. It is a principle which is endorsed strongly by the Lord Jesus: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely,
JESUS CHRIST WAS known throughout his life as Jesus of Nazareth (for example Matthew 21:11). He was from a small village in the north of Israel. When the Roman governor put him to death he wrote the accusation on his cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19). This might seem inconsequential to us, but it was one reason why many people in Jesus’ day could not accept him as the Messiah (the anointed king). Because the Jews knew that their Messiah would come from Bethlehem: But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). Bethlehem was a town in the south of Israel in the Judean hill country. It was renowned as the birthplace of
THE MORE WE LEARN about the universe, the more we’re amazed at its intricacy and its vastness—from the functioning of a living cell to the unimaginable magnificence of space. The Bible tells us God made it all (Genesis 1:1). Through the Microscope The phenomenon of life has always been a source of wonder, but it’s only relatively recently that we’ve started to learn just how spectacularly complex it is. In the 17th Century, with the invention of the microscope, it was discovered that living things contain tiny components which were named cells. By the 19th Century it had been established that cells are the basic building blocks of all living things, and scientists were discovering the bewildering array of different kinds of cells which perform different functions in every organism, from plants to plankton to people. During the 20th Century we learned to look inside the cell and we’ve now
The Bible can be a daunting book. In this series we look at what it is, and how to read it. 1. Direct Statements Direct statements in the Bible are statements that say exactly what they mean. The basis of the Gospel message can be easily described by putting together direct statements from the Bible. Here are some examples: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one! (Deuteronomy 6:4). No one has seen God at any time (John 1:18). There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven (John 3:13). “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same