(From sermon notes on Amos 9:13-15, originally published on July 6, 2008)
Read Amos 9, focusing on verses 13-15.
Underneath the surface of the text of Amos 9:13-15, and with the full light of the New Covenant shining upon it, the prophet’s words in these verses point to the glory of the Gospel age culminating in the future glory of the new heavens and new earth which will be ushered in with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the age. Promises such as these prophetic words are said to be both ‘already,’ and ‘not yet;’ that is to say, the promises are ours to believe and hold fast to now, but await their eternal fruition in the future.
“The plowman shall overtake the reaper.” While this is a reference to the physical land of Israel, it is a shadow of the greater truth of Christ’s removal of the curse incurred at the fall of man into sin. This describes far more than merely the reversal of agricultural affects associated with the fall of man, but it applies both to the church in this present age, as Christ converts sinners and the kingdom of God comes on earth, as well as a future church triumphant, in glory. As people from every tribe and tongue and nation are gloriously saved, they become members of the invisible church which prefigures a day when people from all nations will worship God as one, before the eternal throne of heaven (Rev 5:9-10, 7:9-10).
The return of an exiled people, the rehabitation of cities, and enjoyment of the vineyards and gardens, again goes beyond merely speaking of an earthly land; these are all shadows fulfilled in a future greater manner. Hebrews 11:9-10 makes it implicitly clear that while Abraham dwelled in the Promised Land, he understood that even though promised by God, that land would be temporary and point to a future city whose builder and maker is God. The Christian church made up of Jews and Gentiles together in the New Covenant, have already experienced a return from exile and enjoyment of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Is 55:1-7, Jer 31:31-34, Gal 5:22-25). Today it is the church of Jesus Christ that is described as a holy nation (1 Pet 2:9) even as we await a future dwelling place that is yet to come.
Finally God promises through the mouth of the prophet, I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up. Hallelujah! There is coming a day when the land which mankind surrendered at the Fall – Paradise Lost – will be Paradise Regained and restored in an eternal building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor 5:1-2. Rev 22:1-5). It is the triumph and glory of the church – men from every tribe, tongue and nation redeemed to God by the blood of Christ – that will outlast all other forces, even the very gates of hell (Matt 16:18) to be the permanent possession of the Lord!