Few understand that God gave the prophet Amos warnings not only for ancient Israel and Judah, but also specifically for "modern Jacob" (their combined descendants) in our present day.
Pundits and preachers alike are struggling to understand what really lies ahead for America and the world. Few realize that an ancient prophet has already recorded the precise and sobering answers.
Tensions are high between Western nations and the Muslim world. Iran, China and other powers appear increasingly hostile toward the United States. While many European nations have enacted tough austerity programs, the U.S. continues to print money and to spend, staggering toward hyperinflation and economic collapse—hoping its creditors will continue to float its spiraling debt and weakening dollar, but finding itself increasingly scorned by other world powers.
China has largely ignored U.S. pressure to inflate the value of its yuan, and Germany is growing more critical of both U.S. and Chinese economic policy. Recently, German economics minister Rainer Brüderle "delivered a robust defense of his country's economic course… before taking a swipe at the US, France and, implicitly, China." Brüderle expressed his nation's growing pride in Germany's robust economic growth, and his nation's growing disdain for both "lax" U.S. fiscal policy and Chinese currency manipulation. He then echoed what many economists fear—the growing dangers of a coming "currency war" or "trade war" (Financial Times, "Germany hits back at French and US criticism," October 21, 2010).
Where will this all lead? Can we really know what is ahead for America and the rest of the world in the years ahead?
Few understand that God gave the prophet Amos warnings not only for ancient Israel and Judah, but also specifically for "modern Jacob" (their combined descendants) in our present day. A common mistake is to assume that Amos' prophecies were all fulfilled by historic events such as the fall of ancient Israel and Judah, or the destruction of the Temple in 70ad, or the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948. But these are inadequate interpretations that simply do not fit the plain word of Scripture!
Amos was one of the earliest prophets, coming decades before Isaiah and nearly two centuries before Ezekiel, Daniel and Jeremiah. Amos wrote ca. 760–755bc, when Judah and Israel were separate nations under separate kings. Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah, but he primarily prophesied in the northern kingdom of Israel. He wrote during a time of economic prosperity in Israel under Jeroboam II, and in Judah under Uzziah (2 Kings 14:25–28; 2 Chronicles 26:5–10).
Notice that Amos writes to the entire "house of Israel"—not just to "the Jews." When God inspired Amos to use language such as "the children of Israel" (3:1, 12; 9:7) or "house of Jacob" (3:13; 9:8), He intended this as a message to all twelve tribes. Remember, Amos lived during the time of the divided northern and southern kingdoms. The distinction between the southern nation of Judah and the northern nation of Israel in Amos' day was as clear then as the distinction is today between the U.S. and Canada, or North Korea and South Korea!
It is important to understand that "the house of Jacob" is comprised of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Jews are only one tribe—the family of Judah. In modern times, the tribe of Judah primarily comprises the Mideast nation of "Israel," while the rest of the family of Jacob includes the nations of northwestern Europe such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as the United States and the British-descended nations such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand (To prove this for yourself, please request The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy).
At the end of Amos' prophecy, we should note the clear promise for the entire house of Israel that God will "plant them" in their land and they will no longer be "pulled up" by hostile nations (Amos 9:11–15). This applies to all of Jacob's descendants—not just the Jews—and will come to pass after Christ's return (see also Ezekiel 34:11–14). At that time, God will make a covenant with His people, will bless them, and they will no longer be a prey for the nations (Ezekiel 34:25–28).
The 1948 establishment of the small and perpetually assaulted state of Israel did not fulfill this prophecy! It was primarily established by just one of the twelve tribes—descendants of Judah—and, rather than live in prophesied peace, it has endured continuous terrorist and military attacks, under constant threat of being overwhelmed by its many hostile neighbors. Christ has not yet returned! Amos clearly contains prophecies for our day and beyond!
Amos warns of a coming national humiliation upon a stubborn and sinful people. Though his prophecies were relevant to ancient Israel, their complete fulfillment is yet future. Harbingers of this fulfillment can be found in growing anti-Americanism, retaliation over "quantitative easing" policies, and in the economic and political balance of power rapidly shifting away from an increasingly despised U.S. (Reuters, "Trade, currency tensions simmer at G20," November 11, 2010).
Modern Israel's plight during the coming Great Tribulation is outlined in Amos 4:6–12 (see also Jeremiah 17:1–4 and Matthew 24:21). Economic collapse, adverse weather and disease outbreaks will bring famine and pestilence (Amos 4:6–10; Ezekiel 5:12). Then will come war (Amos 4:10; Ezekiel 5:12), culminating in national collapse and national captivity (Amos 4:2; 5:3; Ezekiel 5:12). Human life will be bartered on the world market (Deuteronomy 28:64–68; Revelation 18:13). Only a tenth of modern Jacob's population will survive (Amos 5:3; Isaiah 6:13). This punishment will come suddenly, when many do not expect it (Isaiah 1:7; Habakkuk 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:3).
Amos provides a tragic warning—but it is God's warning. Amos echoes other prophets such as Jeremiah, and Jesus Christ Himself (Deuteronomy 18:15), who plainly state that modern Jacob will be given "as plunder" to foreign nations (Luke 21:24; Jeremiah 17:3–4).
The modern Israelite nations as a whole are sinful and obstinate. This is why the Lord says He abhors "the pride of Jacob" and will therefore deliver the nation to punishment (Amos 6:8). However, God "will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob." Ultimately, He will save them before their complete destruction (Amos 9:8–9).
God also warns through Amos that, prior to the Great Tribulation, He will "send a famine on the land… of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). God desires that each of us listen to and act on the warnings He gave through His ancient prophets—and that He is giving now through His faithful Church (Matthew 16:18; 2 Peter 1:19)! He desires that we choose life before it is too late! (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Many Americans sense peril on the horizon. As TIME magazine recently reported, "In the U.S., the mood is sour… Americans are strikingly fatalistic about their prospects" ("How to Restore the American Dream," October 21, 2010). But you can heed Amos' warnings now. You can have hope!
Amos also anticipates what the other prophets promised—that after this time of terrible national economic and military humiliation, Jesus Christ will return as King of kings to establish His righteous government on the earth. Then, peace and abundance will flourish! Then, the resurrected ancient king David and the saints will rule under Christ (cf. Amos 9:11–15; Revelation 5:10)! This is the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God—the time when today's faithful saints will become "kings and priests" under Christ during His Millennial rule on the earth (Revelation 20:6)!