If there is one thing we all look forward to is an “Happily Ever After” scenario when we die. Our world seems to be filled with so much pain and sorrow and we just want some relief from it and so we long for a day when all the pain and sorrow will be no more. Disney has made a lot of money on movies with happy endings because they know that there is something in each one of us that really does long for that day we can live happily ever after. I think we like those movies because there is something in all of us that knows the world is not right and we want it to be what it once was. Christianity explains why the world is not right and does not ignore the fact that there is evil in the world. Evolution cannot explain why there is evil and cannot label anything evil because they have nothing to base right and or wrong against.
Unfortunately the people were promised in Amos day by God that they would not experience a Happy Ever After. God’s promises are beautiful but He also gives us warning throughout Scripture that not everyone will have a Rest in Peace and He explains what we must do to live eternally with Him.
Amos 8:8-9 Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?” 9 “And on that day,” declares the Lord God, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
The Whole Land Will Mourn
This is known as a judgment passage and there are many like it in the Bible. (Isaiah 24:1-7; Jeremiah 4:27-28; Joel 2:1; 10) Jesus Gave His own judgment passage which is the ultimate judgement passage when He returns
Matthew 24:29-31 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
When Jesus returns not everyone will rejoice but many will mourn which can mean have regret. Amos gives a description to the people of his day that is similar to what Jesus said which will be a time of fear and darkness.
“In that Day” (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20) points to a time in the future For the people of Amos day it was a day that God’s punishment would fall on them from an army that would attack but for many it will be the day they die and stand before God. The land will tremble because of fear (Exodus 19:16) or because of the Lords presence (Psalm 97:4-5; Isaiah 24:4). Tremble does not necessarily mean an earthquake but an earthquake did take place 2 years after Amos warning. Notice that Gods warning was prior to the event giving people more time to repent although it seemed unlikely that they would because of their hardened heart.
Darkness is a symbol of judgment (Joel 3:15; Revelation 6:12; 8:12) A Solar eclipse did take place but the symbolism of darkness is always in conjunction with Gods judgment
Matthew 8:11-12 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (See Also: Matthew 13: 40-43; 49-50; 22:13; 25; 30; 2 Peter 2:17)
Sackcloth a rough garment people wore to demonstrate they were mourning and Shaving the head was another sign of mourning. (Isaiah 22:12) The Joyous feast would turn into a funeral service.
Amos uses the Nile River as an illustration because it would rise and fall consistently and although it was viewed as a good thing for the growing of crops it was something that the farmers could count on. God’s Judgement will happen and water is used as a judgment of God just like He did in the days of Noah. The mourning would be wide spread as God’s judgment would come against a people who were rebellious and unrepentant.
Amos then says it will be like the Death of Only Son. Grieving the loss of a child is painful but your only son represented the fact that you had no future (family name) and no one to care for your needs as you got older.
What does all the symbolism that Amos gave them mean? It means that a future date is set when those who have rebelled against God will be filled with fear at His presence as they mourn His judgment being cast into utter darkness that will leave them with no future hope.
Amos 8:10 I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
The Judgment that is coming to the people is coming directly from God and it is coming because they will not turn from their sins back to God. The judgment they receive will be of their choosing and will be just because God judges fairly. The people of Amos day will experience grief that they have never experienced due to God’s judgment upon them for the way they have treated other people and ignored His call to repent from their worship of false Idols. Instead of the joy they could have experienced they would have mourning. Instead of the happily ever after it would be eternal pain. The People in Amos day were deceiving themselves by what they believed and the Day of Judgment was going to come upon them as a surprise even though God was trying to warn them through the prophet Amos.
If these things were not going to come true then why would God say them?
Jesus, Paul and the Book of Revelation talk about the punishment of those who do not give their lives to Christ and they paint a very ugly and uncomfortable picture of their eternal destiny. Whether it was the people in Amos day, the people in Jesus day, or even people in our day, why do we ignore the warnings of God? Even as Christians we tend to not want to talk about this topic but the reality is the Bible talks about it and we cannot ignore it. Because we believe that the Bible is God’s revealed word to us then we have to accept the teachings that are difficult.
There is Good News
God did more than warn us about the dangers of Hell; He provided a way for us to escape it. The problem is we think we deserve Heaven because we see ourselves as good people when in fact we deserve Hell because our best actions are repulsive to God.(Isaiah 64:6) For those of us who have repented and given our lives to God our experience when we stand before God will be different than those who never trusted Jesus for their salvation.
Matthew 25:14-23 For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[c] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[d] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[e] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Notice the first two guys were about their Masters business because His business became their business. One of the ways you can be sure that you are a Christian is to ask yourself do you care about the things that Jesus cares about? Notice how excited the two servants were that their master returned and how they longed to show Him how they built His kingdom. For Christians when we stand before God and give an account for our lives it is going to be a joyous occasion because we will be asked how we used the talents and gifts He gave us and not about our sins. (Romans 8:1) As Christians we will have our happily ever after even though this world is filled with pain and sorrow. (John 16:33)
Revelation 21:4-5 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
The offer of salvation is still available for you today but there is no guarantee when that offer will no longer be available to you because none of us know when we will face eternity. The topic of Hell should move us to compassion toward anyone who does not know or who has not accepted the free gift of salvation offered through Jesus Christ. We can push the thoughts of Hell to the side of our minds and busy ourselves with trivial things but the reality is if we believe the Bible then we have to take Hell seriously and the souls of those we love and know. A day of mourning waits those who do not trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross but a day of rejoicing awaits those of us who have accepted the free gift of salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)