Fall 

Recently, I read a devotion about grace that talked about those who “fall from grace”. The verse that I found was Galatians 5: 3+4. KJV-Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. The writer of the devotion, Joseph Prince, pointed out that the verse is not referring to when we sin. Verse three is needed for context- For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. The people referenced in the verses are about to leave the grace we received in Jesus, from the Father, and chose to put themselves under the knife edge of the Law. Okay, on a humorous note the “become of no effect” can and has been translated as “cut off” from grace. Circumcised, cut off, I thought it shows the “funny” side of Paul. 

Fall, here is ekpipto, Strong’s #1601 G, which means to lose or forfeit. I may have to pay an earthly price for sinning, but God’s grace because of Jesus’ sacrifice is always available. You may decide to walk away from His grace, but that does not change His grace toward you. Repent, the grace is still there for you! 

This led to a quick study of the word “fall”. It should not surprise anyone that there is more than one Greek word we translate into fall. My next fall is in Hebrews 12:15, where we are to help people not fall short of God’s grace and have no bitter root grow in us. The word for fall here is hystereo, Strong’s 5302 G, yes it does sound like hysterical. It means to be in lack or need or to fall short. It sounds like they need teaching about the grace you want when you mess up. 

Matthew 13:21 is the next “fall away” I want to look at. These are the people who have no roots and fall away because of trouble. Yes, they took the Word with joy, but they decided to walk away. The Greek word is skandalizo, Strong’s 4624 G. Yes, the word scandal has its root here. The meaning is focused on “an offense”. This parable of the sower came to my mind when I read “fall from grace”. I think it is more of a trip when they leave the Seed and look for the path. 

God bless translators. But be a Berean and study. That way you will not get offended because of a hard spot and fall, then walk away. 

ὑστερέω | billmounce.com 

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AMOS 911 

Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old (KJV) 

(This is one of two posts on Amos. In the other one I studied topics in Chapter 1-9:10.) 

The last five verses of Amos are a promise of good things that will happen for Israel (all the children of Jacob-3:1). Most of the Book foretells judgements and why they are coming. Amos focuses on the northern kingdom, but Judah, the southern kingdom is included. This book was written before the north went into exile-2 Kings 17. The name Israel, before 2 Kings 17, normally refers to the northern kingdom. I suggest you read Amos, carefully, because it may be talking about both parts, and it will switch without warning.  

There are two references to David in Amos, the first one is 6:5 and is scolding people for mimicking David (the name means beloved) while their hearts are far from God. David is the “gold standard” for kings in Israel, not many came close to being like him.  

The thing that is fallen, destroyed, or ruined, and has holes in it is the focus of the verse. (The day is a common theme in Amos and Isaiah.) The KJV says tabernacle, while other good translations say tent, family or people, or kingdom. On a surface read, you may think that this is the tent he pitched for the Ark of God (2 Samuel 6). Verse 12 does lend itself to family or kingdom, as they will be dealing with Edom and other countries (verse 12). The term for this fallen thing is Strong’s #5521H or sakkut/sukkah, which is a temporary dwelling used during the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23: 39-44) made of branches. If it was #168 H, ohel, or tent, it could be a metaphor for family or even the tent for the Ark. An ohel is more permanent than a sakkut. The restoring terms sound like Isaiah 58. 

The part about Edom gave me a “maybe” for the near future of this prophecy. Amos, a prophet from Judah, was sent to Samaria (the north) to call them to repent. David’s grandsons ruled the southern area near Edom. 2 Chronicles 28:17 states that Ahaz sent for help because Edom was raiding the land again. See chapter 1 as Edom was involved in the slave trade of God’s people and it was the final “sin” for them. Ahaz was not a king after the heart of David, but Hezekiah, his son, was. Hezekiah could be the “near” fulfillment of Amos 9:11 and 12.  

Amos 9:13-15 relates to a “blessing” harvest that is coming after the judgments in the book. Remember, a sukkot is a shelter for the Feast of Tabernacles which came after the harvest. Verse fifteen may have been fulfilled in 1948, or it could be speaking about heaven. 

The Father will have people who want to follow Him and do His will and work. Yes, Amos speaks of judgments, but these came because the people refused to love God and their neighbors. Amos 9:11 is a reminder that He will restore all things. 

More Study-What Feast of Israel is associated with the events in the Book of Ruth? 

Bible 911-Amos 

Amos 911 has been a great Bible study for me. The “minor prophets”, only because of length, have amazing stuff in them. I took this time to learn more about Amos and his place in history. Because of a visit to a Bible Museum, I am reminded that chapters and verses were not in many early Bibles. With that said 9:11 starts as a promise to David and his fallen sakkut. 

Amos was a shepherd and grew figs for a living; he was sent to the northern kingdom to prophecy. He is from Tekoa and the region of Carmel, which is below Bethlehem and Hebron by the Dead Sea. This is not Mount Carmel in northern Israel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. He is from the tribe of Judah but is a distant relative of David. His family line goes from Perez to Hezron, to Ashhur, then to Tekoa (1 Chronicles 2:24). 

Carmel-There are two places with this name in the Bible. Amos 1:2 may be referring to the area that overlooks the Dead Sea. I think it is referring to Amos and why he went to Israel, the northern kingdom, his pastureland was in drought. 9: 3 is in the section that promises Israel to be destroyed, so it seems like that should be Mount Carmel. In the NIV the second line refers to “hunting them down and seizing them”, just like Elijah did to the false prophets. 

Tekoa and the men and women of the region are mentioned in other places in the history of Judah.  

  • 2 Samuel 14:22-Joab sends for a wise woman. 
  • 1 Chronicles 11:28-one of David’s mighty men. 
  • 1 Chronicles 27:9-a division of David’s army. 
  • 2 Chronicles 11:6-fortified by King Rehoboam. 
  • 2 Chronicles 20:20-King Jehoshaphat blessed the people before leaving to go there. 
  • Jeremiah 6:1-said to sound the trumpet there. 
  • AMOS 
  • Nehemiah 3: 5 and 27-the men of the area rebuilt two sections of the wall of Jerusalem (not the leaders).  

The conflict in Nehemiah between the people and the leaders opened up a few questions. Ezra does not specify men from that region coming back (good maps to compare cities are few, I may be wrong). Did this region get exported? Were the leaders opposed because they sided with Sanballat? 

Earthquake 

Amos 1:1 uses an earthquake as part of the timestamp for his ministry. The king of Judah was Uzziah, and the king of Israel (where he ministered) was Jeroboam (the second one). This earthquake may be referenced in Isaiah 29:6. It is definitely talked about in Zechariah 14:5, which is several hundred years later. It must have been quite a quake. 

Fellow Prophets 

To find Amos’s contemporaries you must use the kings of Judah and Israel. The king of Israel is Jeroboam (II), the grandson of Jehu. Look at 2 Kings 13:1 and 10:30; he was the fourth generation if you start with Jehu, the wild driver. The other prophet with Amos in the north was Jonah, who got a ride in a fish. Uzziah or Azariah is king in Judah, so using the introduction in Isaiah and Hosea makes Amos at the same time. Isaiah shares the warning of “the day” with Amos, and Hosea has a lot to say about Israel/Ephraim. Based on similar topics Joel could have been ministering at the same time.  

The Day 

The day (of God’s judgment) is mentioned 11 times in Amos (2:16; 3:14; 5:18,20; 6:3; 8:3,9,10,11,13; 9:11 NIV). Chapter 8 is the metaphor of Israel being a ripe basket of figs, whose time has come. “Day of the Lord” is found in 5:18 and 20. The “day” in Isaiah covers more “territory”, but 61:2 is clear about a day of vengeance and a year of favor. 2 Kings 17 and 25 are (the first) days of fulfillment for the north and the south kingdoms. 

For three sins of…, even for four, I will not relent. 

This is an Amos-only statement. There are eight of these in chapters 1 and 2. The first seven are for Israel’s neighbors and the last one is for Israel. God calls out: 

  1. Damascus 
  1. Gaza-selling slaves from Israel to Edom. 
  1. Tyre-selling slaves from Israel to Edom. 
  1. Edom-Judah’s neighbor to the south and “family” members. They were not very friendly. 
  1. Ammon 
  1. Moab 
  1. Judah 
  1. Israel  

For numbers 1-7 there is only one sin listed. Okay, this is probably why I have not read Amos very much; what are the first three? Israel*, the northern kingdom, however, seems to have four listed (2:6-12): 1. selling the righteous and needy; 2. trampling the poor and denying justice, while profaning God’s name; 3. lying down by every altar of foreign gods; 4. making Nazirites drink wine and silencing prophets. (*In Amos 3:1 and 2:10, it talks to ALL of the children of Jacob. Most of the time Israel refers to the north.)   

Chapters 3 through 9:10 

3:2 states that you cannot walk together if can agree, and 3:7 states that God uses His prophets to speak His intentions. For the most part that is a summary of this section. Except for 7:10-17 which is a narrative between Amaziah the priest of Bethel and Amos, and Amos tells him what will happen to him and his family. This section is directed, mostly, at the northern kingdom (Israel), but the Father does call out the southern kingdom also. Please see Psalm 89: 30-37, it is a reference to David and his sons but could be extended to all of Jacob’s children. Psalm 89:20-51 are Messianic in nature and describes Jesus’ time on earth quite well. 

God says what He has done to get their attention, how they have ignored Him, and what will happen to them if they continue to ignore Him. Chapter 8 shifts into visions and conversations with/from God. The words, that we tend to skip over, about how God is telling His people may be a study in the future (you will need a concordance like the Zondervan Exhaustive Concordance, that has says/said, declares, etc.). 

To take a study of Amos to another level, may I suggest that you use the alternate meanings and metaphors of the names: David (2x) = beloved, Judah (4x) = praise, Jacob (6x) = deceiver, Israel (30+ times) = struggles with God (in the NIV). Israel is the most interesting, frequently it means the north, but at times it may be all of the descendants of the man Jacob, *both north and south (see 6:1). Using “struggles with God” does put a different light on some of these passages. This concept carries both positive and negative connotations.  

 My Points of Interest 

  1. What we call Chapter 4 starts with a rebuke of the “cows of Bashan” (the east bank of the Jordan River) “on the Mount of Samaria” (the west bank). The end of the chapter (12 +13) is an introduction to Chapter 5; verse thirteen is a reminder to a nation who has forsaken God, who He is, and His abilities. 
  1. Chapter 5 has two “seek and live” verses-6 and 14. The Father is offering them a chance to be saved from the wrath that is coming. 
  1. Justice and righteousness (God loves these) are in 5: 7, 12, 24, and 6:12. 
  1. The poor are mentioned six times in Amos (NIV), especially in 5:11+12. They have been trampled, bought and sold, and oppressed. 
  1. 6:1 has a reference to the south (Zion or Jerusalem) and the north (Mount Samaria).  
  1. 6:8 and 8:7 use the term “pride of Jacob”. The first one references the attitude of the people, while the second one is talking about God. Thank God for translators and the work they do, the word pride is the same in both verses. 
  1. How God interacts with Amos is also worth some time in your study. The words used will vary with the translation you use, but say/said, declares, spoken, sworn, showed and asked, hear and I will, are terms that show changes in how God deals with the message(s) He gives to Amos to deliver to the people. 

Extra study- How many minor prophets were divided into nine or more chapters? Find a reference to when the land was divided into two kingdoms?

Because of the length of this post, I placed Amos 9:11-15 in a second post. 

James 1:17 

 This study of James 1:17 is because of the word shadow in the last part of the verse. 

James 1:17 (KJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Please read 16-18 to get the most from the passage.) 

The word for a shadow in this verse is aposkiasma (Strong’s 644 G). It is used only once in the Bible, here in James. James actually used three words in this part of the verse that is used only once-parallage (variableness) and trope (turning) are the other two. It is fitting that these rare words (for the Bible) are being used to describe the Father of lights. Parallage is number 3883 and trope is number 5157 in the Greek side of the Strong’s. 

Skia is the word that is normally used for a shadow in the New Testament, it is number 4639 G. It is easy to see that Skia is the core of aposkiasma so I choose to study the parts of this word instead of just the Strong’s “usage definition”. Apo, the prefix, means away or apart, and skiasma indicates a split or separation. Yes, our word schism comes from this Greek word. A shadow can be thought of as a place that separates light and dark. If the solid object (the Father) turns the shape of the shadow changes. My God does not change. 

Give us your own translation. Use the definitions in the post and see how you would describe the “Pater ho phos” (the Father of lights). Rewrite James 1:17 😊  

Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament was used in studying for this post.

Shadow-Protection 

Shadow is a metaphor for protection in many verses of the Bible. As I have mused on these verses, it is God who is doing the protecting and His people are what is being protected. Shadow and shade are not the only ideas we need to look at for the area of protecting someone. We will add the words pillar and cloud to expand the study. 

Pillar of Cloud and Clouds 

Okay, I will touch on these as two different things, but the cloud will not just produce shade but protect you from the glory of God. Wait a minute, shadows are produced by solid objects, and clouds are not solid! This is true, the blocking ability of clouds is in the billions of waterdrops that scatter the light rays from being able to get through them in a straight line. The darker the appearance of the cloud is due to how dense the droplets are in it. “Silver-linings” are from this light-scattering property. 

Many references to clouds are part of a story where the glory of God is involved. From Exodus 13 through Deuteronomy 31 “a cloud” and the “pillar of cloud” are usually the same thing if they are talking about God interacting with people. In Samuel, just a cloud is covering things or hiding the glory. The “pillar” that led the Children is not mentioned past Deuteronomy except in Nehemiah 9 when he is used it to show the faithfulness of God. Did the pillar of cloud go past the Jordan? Isaiah 4:5-6 does describe what my paradigm of the pillar of cloud did for those forty years. In Psalm 99:7, a function of the pillar is told of how and when Moses spoke with God.  

What did the cloud by day and the fire by night look like? I recently saw a drawing where the “pillar” was a narrow thing that only stood over the Tent that housed the Ark. Many of the references in Exodus may lend weight to this idea. I always had the idea that the “cloud” provided shade for the camp during the day and light and warmth at night. I had hoped that Balaam (Numbers 23) or Rahab (Joshua 2) said something about the pillar and cloud, but they did not, so for now I will hold on to both of those ideas. 

Shadow Of 

In the NIV “shadow of” followed by “His wings, His hand, and the Almighty” is found in seven verses. His hand is found in Isaiah 49:2 and 51:16. God’s hand was protecting Isaiah as part of him doing his ministry. I believe the other five have a connection to the Exodus. 

The “shadow of His wings” puzzled me. I just never thought of the Father as having or needing wings. More metaphors, possibly? In studying the Ark, the Mercy Seat or lid to the box offered a better picture. The two angels that are part of the lid were made to spread their wings over the Mercy Seat, which was sprinkled with blood and where God talked to Moses from. Being in the shadow of those wings would put you at the mercy of God. The shadow would be greater if the wings spread out horizontally and not vertically (Exodus 25:17-22). A Google search of the Mercy Seat shows the artist making the wings in both directions. I like that picture of being in the shadow protected while resting on His mercy. 

I believe Moses wrote Psalm 91 as a singing lesson to teach the Children in the wilderness. Verse one is the first visual as they lived under the cloud of the Almighty. The rest of that psalm could be connected with many of the things that happened as Israel left Egypt. 

Study work-connect the verses of Psalm 91 to events in the Exodus.