NOTE:  This is part of the "Bible Studies in Jeremiah and Prophesy" series.  To view the before and
after studies in the series, go to
BIBLE STUDIES IN JEREMIAH.
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                 DOOMSDAY IN 163 YEARS


When you comprehend from the book of Amos that Doomsday was
announced by God through Amos 163 years before it happened in
Jeremiah, then the full impact of the scripture that God never does anything
before warning His own people hits you!

“Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secrets to
His servants the prophets.”  (Amos 3:7)

NOTE:  Of course the problem then in Judah and now in America is
that God’s own people did not, and do not, heed and read the
Prophets like Amos and Jeremiah, choosing to heed Myan prophesy
over “the book our mother’s read” of the Prophets, Apostles, and
Jesus.

15-1:  Doomsday and Calamity.

DOOMSDAY:
 The dictionary provides two definitions of “doomsday”.
1.  “a day of final judgment”; and
2.  “a time of catastrophic destruction and death”.

Doomsday is not a Bible word, but it is the equivalent of “calamity which is
an oft repeated Bible word, used at least 20 times in the Bible {5 of those
are in Jeremiah, and it is in Jeremiah that we come to really appreciate that
(1) God sends calamities on His own people like a father chastises his
children; and (2) calamities are life interrupting, the opposite of peace and
prosperity, and there are actually 5 types or categories of calamities that
come from God:  (a) short term and limited calamities, like earthquakes
and tornadoes, etc that God sent on Judah and Israel for 163 years,
between Amos and the beginning of Jeremiah, specifically for God’s
people and to get their attention; (b) terminal judgments on ungodly nations
like in Amos on Gaza, Edom, Ammon, and Moab; (c) longer term
calamities, say 70 years in the case of Judah’s half captivity in Babylon
where God sends a longer term calamity but with hope of restoration; (d)
the final calamity at the end of time, that has been called “the groaning of
all creation” (Romans 8:22), that you might say was set by God on
automatic control for destruction of the old earth in order to bring in the
new earth, the one that grows in intensity and increases in extent as the
end draws near; and (e) what you might call the ultimate calamity at the
Day of the LORD and Lord, that calamity being eternal death.
Surely you must notice the similarity of DOOMSDAY and CALAMITY.

The  dictionary also provides 2 definitions of “calamity”.

CALAMITY:
1.  “a state of deep distress or misery caused by major misfortune or loss;
and
2.  “a disastrous event marked by great loss and lasting distress and
suffering {calamities of nature or an economic calamity}.

NOTE:  Surely you also recognize some of these miseries,
misfortunes, losses, disasters, and suffering from both calamities of
nature and economic turmoil in the series of intense calamities on God’
s people of the United States, quite often on churches as well as the
whole community, since 9/11.  {Primarily Texas and Canada are too
stubborn and rebellious against the Word of God to admit these
calamities on their own people; in fact, saying much like the people in
Amos that these calamities will not overtake or control us (Amos 9:
10).  Of course, part of the problem with Texas just like with all
fundamentalists is that they can not take the possibility of a temporal
defeat like that of the Falling Away!}

Many surprises are in store for us if we read prophesy carefully from the
Old Testament Prophets like Jeremiah and Amos.  Sometimes those
surprises come from quotes that we have heard all our lives, especially as
we look in the total context of the verse and chapter.  For example the one
of Amos 2:4,5 to which we will come shortly that right there in Amos 163
years before the actual destruction of Jerusalem by fire in 587 B.C. by the
Babylonians predicted that very event.  Goodness, can you imagine the
nation of Judah being under the sentence of complete destruction for 163
years, like a convict being on death row for over 163 years.  You know, to
the extent that God’s people took seriously the Word of God like in Amos
and Jeremiah, it had to drastically affect the way they thought and acted,
their “ways and doings” to use the favorite words of the Temple Message
of Jeremiah.  And we will shortly come back to this second chapter in
which God through Amos passed, for the first time, this terminal sentence
on His own once chosen nation.  Right now, we will develop by way of
exegesis of chapter 6 of Amos, a preliminary surprise on another common
quote, “Woe to you who are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1); and then proceed
in this message to relate, from Amos and Jeremiah with other prophesy,
the whole spectrum of “calamities” according to the Bible:  (1) short and
limited calamities like the locusts and the “conflict by fire” of Amos chapter
7, those designed to get the attention of God’s people and rectify their
“ways and doings” in the direction of righteousness; (2) more widespread
calamities that destroy the great cities and whole nation, like the fall and
destruction of Jerusalem and Judah, where God kills most of His own bad
figs and preserves by captivity the good figs {which once again only
proves the Bible principle that there is a difference between those only
called by God, those of the “bad figs”, and those called and chosen,  the
“good figs” of Jeremiah 24} in the nation of Babylon, like Daniel and his 3
friends; and (3) the great and terminal calamity of all calamities so notable
as to have the special name in the Bible of “the Day of the LORD”, where
life on earth as we know it ends and new life with a new earth and heavens
begins.  All 3 of these categories of calamities are right here in Amos, so
that Amos will be our biblical source of proving that God does use
calamities to serve His own purpose, albeit reluctantly and after the
patience and forbearance of over 163 years.

15-2:  Gospel of Prosperity Itching Ears Prophets Caught in Their Lies.

All you have to do is to read carefully the complete context of Jeremiah 29,
to catch the false prophets of prosperity and peace in their lies as they
quote scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11 to prove that God is inevitable {they
put God in a box, as they say} going to bring upon His people of faith,
prosperity and peace.  So strange since the context of Jeremiah 29, and
the larger context of 24-29 is to:  (1) separate the good figs of God’s
people from the bad figs, as the bad figs will die in the battles for
Jerusalem and Judah, the good figs will be taken captive to Babylon; (2)
rewards like these practitioners of the false gospel of prosperity advocate,
say as one recently said “within 2 years you will have an oil well or gold
mine in your backyard”, are put off for 70 years, the period of captivity
before the restoration; and (3) the prosperity is more like enough to eat
and some measure of comfort than like “the gospel of wealth and the
corollary of success”; and (4) it is not even for the parents before for the
children and grandchildren of seventy years later.
The only major problem real Bible believers among God’s own people
should have is to determine which of the 5 categories of calamities that
God is sending on His own people at that particular time:  (1) is it the short
term calamity to get the attention of His own people; or (2) is it the
doomsday series of clearly identified by Jesus calamities (Matthew 24)
that lead up to the end of this old earth and the Day of the LORD and Lord,
those that are on automatic control.  Actually both of these types of
calamities can be happening at the same time, the second type of
automatic control because the earth keeps getting older and older and
each year groans more and more; and the first type, because there is an
obvious lack of righteousness and obediences in the churches of America
and among God’s own people of Texas and the United States, like in God’
s people of Judah and Jeremiah.
Here is a vivid in Jeremiah picture of what a calamity is like that is also a
DOOMSDAY.

“Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of
Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the
bridegroom and the voice of the bride.  For the land shall be desolate.”
(Jeremiah 7:34)

NOTE:  No way is Jeremiah or this author predicting a similar
destruction for the United States, only calamities in the same nature of
those intense series of calamities that happened to this nation since
9/11.  The issue to make clear is that those calamities, and the future
ones to come on this great nation unless there is more righteousness
and obedience on the part of God's people {in and out of the
churches} are FROM GOD.  Likewise, there will be no escape for this
nation of the final and terminal calamities, the real doomsday, of (1) the
Falling Away, (2) the disasters before the Day of the LORD and Lord--
"fire, blood, and vapor of smoke before the great and notable  DAY of
the LORD"--that come on the whole world, and the ultimate doomsday
of final judgment and eternal assignments.

15-3:  Calamities.

Would that there was not among God’s own people today, such an
aversion to the clear Bible teaching that GOD SENDS CALAMITIES ON
HIS OWN PEOPLE TO GET THEIR ATTENTION!  It was not so a couple
of generations ago when B. H. Carroll was president of Baylor University
and then organizer and teacher at Southwestern Seminary, back then when
Southern Baptists were conservative instead of superficially
fundamentalists and the largest Protestant denomination in the world
before the fundamentalists caused the split into 3 distinct denominations.  
{Just two other evidences of the progression well underway in
America whereby the “turning away from truth” finalizes into the
Falling Away.}
Listen to part of your heritage as Carroll speaks on the subject of
calamities from his AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE:

“The express purpose of all these was to turn the people unto Jehovah.  
This is an everlasting refutation of the contention that God’s providences
do not come into the realm of the temporal.  He sent the famine, he sent
the drought, he sent the blasting and mildew, he sent the pestilence, and
he overthrew the cities, and who not believe that he ‘is the same yesterday
and today, yea and for ever (Heb 13:8)?”

15-4:  Are We “at ease” in America like Judah and Jerusalem?

In order to answer this question about comfort and prosperity in American
churches like in Mount Zion, we must do a little exegesis of both the verse
from which “at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1) comes; and this we will do briefly
now, before we get into the much larger question of how Judah and
Jerusalem were on “Death Row for 163 years”.  Certainly, there should be
no question as to the difference, as military trainees well know, between “at
ease” and standing at attention; so that fair to our general concept of this
famous quote from Amos 6:1 is that Mount Zion
{obviously a short way
to say Jerusalem, since it was built on the hill of Mount Zion; and in
fact short for all of Judah}
was too comfortably, secure, safe and
satisfied without paying attention to God and the warnings from the
authorized Prophets of God
{like in the days of Jeremiah, and in the
book of Jeremiah, there were always many official and unauthorized
by God priests and prophets who encouraged this self-satisfaction
with repeated messages of peace and prosperity}
.  However, some
more extensive exegesis of Amos 6:1 and the rest of the chapter will show
that some corrections are necessary in the popular concepts of AT EASE
IN ZION.
1.  Amos 6:1 is an attempt by God through the Prophet Amos to correct
(1) both Judah and Jerusalem, Samaria or the northern kingdom and
Judah, the southern kingdom; and (2) to correct both “ease” and “comfort”.
“Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, and trust in Mount Samaria....”  
(Amos 6:1a)
Even as cities were built on a hill with large defensive walls for protection,
so the capital of Israel at Samaria and the capital of Judah at Jerusalem
were built on mountains.  Not only does this serve to remind us that Amos
was a message of the times for both the northern kingdom of Israel and
the southern kingdom of Judah, but for all of Israel--north and south; but
also that the message was about a misplaced faith in security and peace.
2.  “The notable persons” of Amos 6:1b,2--no doubt the princes and other
government officials, the official priests and prophets--that also considered
themselves to be “the chief nation” among all nations were to look at the
neighboring nations around them who had far more territory than
themselves
{and which happened as the large united kingdom of
Solomon was divided into two, with two armies, two governments,
two temples of worship, etc.}.
3.  What this misplaced trust in the walls and complacency did to God’s
people was that:  they “put far off the day of doom” (Amos 6:3)

“Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, who cause the seat of
violence to come near...”  (Amos 6:3)

NOTE:  Although it is jumping far into this message, about 2 or 3
sections too far as we continue, as in previous Bible Studies from
Jeremiah and Prophesy, to wrestle with what in the world God’s
people were thinking as they cried peace and prosperity right up to the
time of destruction of Jerusalem in 597 and 587 B.C; it is good to
know where we are going, rather where the Word of God is going
right now on this matter of the “day of doom” which certainly includes
all 3 of the previously mentioned categories of calamities--temporal
calamities of the milder sort, large calamities like the destruction of
Judah and Jerusalem, and the final calamity of all calamities, the
destruction of the earth at the “Day of the LORD and Lord.”

And in the “seat of violence to come near”, something caused by the
notable leaders of the nation and nations of Israel and Judah, knowing full
well that the seat of violence which finally came 597 B.C. and previously
was both Assyria and Babylon {even Egypt to which Judah was a vassal
during the ensuing 163 years}, are we hereby offered some clue as to the
thinking, even “ways and doings”, of God’s people in the Temple worship
(Jeremiah 7) as they:  (1) sang the repeated praise song of “the temple of
the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these”,
and (2) chanted “we are delivered to do all these abominations”.  Certainly
for all those who read their Bibles and knew the prophecies of Amos and
Isaiah, and the few who listened to Jeremiah, they did realize that they had
been delivered from the doom, judgment of God, made in Amos 2:4,5
{destruction of Judah and Israel, Jerusalem and Samaria}.  And for some
strange reason, they thought their unrighteous practices and heathen
worship of idols had something to do with that deliverance.
4.  Obviously from the context of Amos 6 (Amos 6:4-6) this condemned
“ease” and misplaced “confidence” had a lot to do with comfort, prosperity,
and self-satisfaction.  These fat-cat notables were:  (1) lying on beds made
out of ivory, now that is luxury; (2) they often stretched out on their
couches, reminds us of “couch-potatoes”; (3) they fed well on the lambs
from the flock and the calves out in the stall; (4) they were often festive with
“idle songs” and stringed instruments; (5) their creative efforts were not
toward God and righteousness, but rather toward the invention of more
skillful instruments for entertainment; (6) not satisfied with cups of wine,
they indulged themselves to drink wine from cups; (7) and indulged
themselves almost with the  best body ointments available.
5.  Right then and there, approximately 163 years before the destruction of
Jerusalem in 597 A.D., God, the supreme judge and controlling force of all
the universe, passes “sentence” on these notables as the first to be
punished with captivity and deportation.

“Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, and
those who recline at banquets shall be removed.”  (Amos 6:7)

6.  God swears by Himself as there is no greater Supreme Court of Appeal
than Himself.

“The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself, the LORD GOD of hosts
{always a term that God is the God of all Hebrews, Gentiles, and the
whole earth} says:  ‘I abhor the pride of Jacob {remember Jacob was
Jacob before Israel and before his 12 sons became the 12 tribes of
Israel}, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all
that is in it.”  (Amos 6:8)

15-5:  The Flavor of Amos.

By flavor of Amos is meant the Message and Meaning of Amos.  Surely it
is obvious, that God is passing terminal judgment on Judah and Israel; but
there is much more as God prepares the minds of His people for 163
years on death row.  Easily, this can appear as “cruel and unusual
punishment”--and surely often God’s people of Judah and Israel must have
thought so, also that God would never do it.  Of the 5 “SHOW MEs” of
Amos, two of the calamities started immediately--the swarms of locusts
which ate all the grass of the land, and the conflict by fire; however in both
cases the Prophet Amos prayed to the Lord God that Jacob {Israel} was
small and that it might continue to be a nation, and God said in the first
case, “It shall not be”, and in the second calamity, “this also shall not be.”  
(Amos 7:1-6)
The third and fourth “show me” calamities--the plumb line and the summer
fruit--left no room for Amos objections.  It finalized the “end” of the
northern kingdom.  The sentence had been passed by the God of the
universe, only the execution of the sentence remained; and herein as
compared to the judicial system we know in America, the 163 year death
sentence required no jail time, immediate punishment, or immediate
destruction.  What happened immediately was that God said for both these
calamities, “I will not pass by them anymore”  (Amos 7:8 and 8:2)  And that
is extremely bad when God guarantees that He will no longer be in a nation
of God’s own people in their time of distress, prayer, or even their good
times.  Even then we see that this was not an immediate execution of His
absence; because an aspect of the plumb line and summer fruit was that
there would be a famine in the land of the Word of God.  (Amos 8:11,12)  
That is also a horrible judgment on any nation of God’s people, that the
real words and Word from God can not be found anywhere in the nation.

15-6:  In Amos, A Touch of Calamities and 2 kinds of fruit of Jeremiah.

1.  Recall in previous Bible Studies in Jeremiah how God during that 163
years had sent so many chastisements of calamities upon Israel and
Judah, that there was no room on their backs for more.
2.  Just to quickly remind you of how frequently the Bible tells us of
calamities from God upon His own people in order to get their attention,
we briefly look at “calamities” in Jeremiah before continuing.
Some Americans today, especially the educated in Texas, object to
ascribing calamities as from God.  They talk of how unfair it would be back
when, consistent with Jeremiah and the rest of the Bible, we considered the
Texas Drought, the worst drought in Texas history, as another calamity
from God added to the intense series of calamities since 9/11, for God to
punish all of central Texas from San Antonio to Austin, claiming that surely
there had to be at least one righteous person of prayer in central Texas.  
Other Americans claim that such interpretation of the Bible places the
teacher in the same category with heathen nations of the past who claimed
an act of God any time there was a disaster.
Some of the problem can be alleviated when it is considered that the Bible
teaches several categories of calamities:  
(a) the calamities on automatic control because from the beginning of sin
in the Garden of Eden, “the whole creation groaneth until now”.  As the end
of this old earth, just before the creation of the new earth, these calamities
will grow more intense and closer together.  This is the “fire, and blood,
and vapor of smoke” of Acts 2 and Joel.  These calamities are world wide
and are not specifically designated by God as upon His own people.
(b).  the short term calamities like the fire and locusts of Amos where God
is sending them on His own people and trying to get their attention.
(c).  the long range and more intense calamities with a 70 year duration that
God collectively sends on His own people like the destruction of Jerusalem
and the temple in 587 B.C and the captivity for the good figs, death or
worse for the bad figs.
(d).  the eternal calamity for unbelievers at the end of time and this old
earth.

3.  Objectors to these calamities as from God have something going for
them, especially in Jeremiah as they point out this is “group punishment”
which does not deal with citizens as individuals.  What they have going for
them in that the intense teaching of God on individuality and individual
responsibility for sin makes it great headway in the book of Jeremiah.  
Jeremiah teaches about:  (a) the soul that sins it shall die as the father shall
not bear the sins of the sons, nor vice versa; and (b) God will give to His
own people an individual heart not of stone, in order that they will know Him
{we learn from Jeremiah and Jesus that this is the new birth possible
through the Holy Spirit’s individual presence in each heart}.
4.  However primarily in Jeremiah, you learn in an unmistakable way of how
God’s people (Jeremiah 24) are divided into good figs and bad figs; and
also as much unmistakable that what happens to the good figs and bad
figs is different.  Basically the good figs after invasion are taken captive to
Assyria or Babylon, and the bad figs are executed or something similar.
5.  This discrimination, later to be made so clear in the New Testament
teachings by Jesus on the difference between the “called” and the
“chosen”, but much clearer in the captivity versus death of God’s good figs
and bad figs than other Old Testament Prophets.  Even Amos begins to
prepare the common mentality for such a concept of discrimination.

“For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all
nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall
to the ground.  All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.”  (Amos 9:
9,10)

NOTE:  Texans or Americans, you certainly do not want to be among
God’s people who say, “No way is this extreme calamity going to
happen to us!”

15-7:  Quickly count up the 163 years of judgment before destruction.

NOTE:  Recall that this is not “cruel and unusual punishment” as
Judah had ups and downs during those 163 years, but no jail time.

1.  Preaching of Amos during the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and
Jeroboam, king of Israel {Jeroboam was the son of Joash, Amos 1:1}.
NOTE:  Our milestones here for counting the years is (1) the reign of 3
kings and (2) two years before the earthquake.  Surely you would
recognize that this memorable earthquake of history was the “conflict of
fire” of Amos 7:4 that both “consumed the great deep” and also “devoured
the territory”.  Yes, God showed this to come through Amos, and Amos
gave the prediction to Israel two years before it happened.  This
earthquake is also mentioned in Zechariah 14:5, where the people on the
terminal Day of the LORD will flee as they did from the earthquake in the
day of Uzziah, king of Judah.  Carroll, always the historian, estimates the
date of the earthquake as about 760 B.C.
2.  Amos and Hosea.  Like God predicted through Amos {Amos 8:1-14),
and as Carroll writes, “They were deprived of prophets and revelations
after Amos and Hosea, and the captivity came according to this prophecy,
during which they had no prophets in the strange land of their captivity.”  
{Well, in general true; but we know they had Ezekiel in Assyria and
Daniel in Babylon.  Later we will look at Jeremiah 26-29 which covers
the 10 year period between 597 and 587, which gives us insight in the
many false prophets and their messages; but primarily helps us
understand how a people of God could continue to believe in peace,
when there was no peace, at least for 70 more years.}

Kings of Judah of Hosea                      Kings of Israel of Hosea
Uzziah  {also in Amos’ day}                       Joash  {only mentioned as
father}
Jothan                                                        Jeroboam  {also in Amos’ day}
Ahaz
Hezekiah

NOTE:  How history changes!  Time was dated by the reign of the
Kings in Biblical days, and now we use the ministry of the Prophets to
date both the kings and the events in the divided kingdoms.  Quickly
we see that Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah were contemporaries.  If you
check Isaiah 1:1 you will find that the list of kings in Hosea and Isaiah
are identical.  By the way, Isaiah was the official historian of these 4
kings; and it is to the Prophet Isaiah that we are greatly indebted for
the historical accounts of both I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, and II
Chronicles.  Hosea had a long ministry as the reign of these kings
from the historical books is 120 years, even if unpleasant as he was
told to take for a wife an unfaithful harlot like Israel was unfaithful to
God.

3.  II Kings 17:6 records the captivity of Israel by Shalmaneser, king of
Assyria.  

NOTE:  By the way, again from Amos, there were 4 charges that God
Himself brought against the northern kingdom of Israel:  (1) injustice;
(2) hardness of heart toward the poor; (3) incest; and (4) luxury
combined with idolatry.

4.  Add the kings that reigned in Jeremiah, and we have a complete
succession of kings and rebellious God’s people for 163 years, from
Amos and Hosea through Isaiah and Jeremiah.  Jeremiah started
preaching and writing during the 13th year of king Josiah
{king Amon was
before him and his father}
; the son of Josiah, Jehoiakin also reigned in
Jeremiah; and through the reign of Zedekiah also a son of Josiah, right up
until the “carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.”
5.  Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuzaradan, captain of Nebuchadnezzar’
s guard as recorded in II Kings 25:8-12.  In the ninth year of the reign of
Zedekiah, the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, encamped
around Jerusalem, laying siege against it until it fell in the eleventh year of
Zedekiah.

NOTE:  By the way Amos had mentioned their “fortified cities” of
which Judah and Israel was so proud.  Jerusalem was top among the
fortified cities, but which fell in 2 years of continuous siege.
King Zedekiah saw his sons slain before his eyes, then had his eyes
put out, and went in fetters to Babylon.

15-8:  Extreme Calamity:  Bottom Line from Amos and God, Amos 9:
9,10).

“For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all
nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall
to the ground.  All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.”  (Amos 9:
9,10)

1.  God Himself is commanding, “for surely I will command”, this extreme
calamity of either captivity and deportation from their homeland for the
good figs of God’s people and death by the sword of either Assyria or
Babylon for the bad figs.  {Keep in mind the good figs and  bad figs of
Jeremiah 24.}
2.  God Himself is going to filter the total house of Israel, Judah and the
northern kingdom of Israel, throughout the nations of the world--some in
Egypt, some in Assyria, some in Babylon, and others scattered among
closer neighbors.
3.  Not the smallest grain or fig, good or bad, is gotten to be lost or
forgotten in the process.
4.  Rather than use “bad figs” as in Jeremiah 24, God through Amos uses
sinners as the ones who will die by the sword; and it just happens to be the
same sinners who will for the next 163 years say, “This calamity shall not
overtake nor confront us.”

15-9:  When “Perception” Completely Replaces Reality and Truth.

In America where “perception” of reality, as a substitute and simulation of
reality, is increasingly replacing “ultimate truth”, to borrow a phrase from
Dr. R. A. Millikan, we can appreciate that the bottom line problem that lead
to the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 587 B.C. was this
same problem of the replacement of truth and reality with a nationally
created and sustained simulation of reality and truth.  Even in those last 10
years when a vassal king, Zedekiah, had been put on the throne of Judah
with the most talented citizens of the nation in Babylon, the official
prophets in Babylon continued to tell lies about peace and restoration.  It
was just plain unrealistic to claim “peace, peace, while there was no peace”
at that time in history as had been the case for other 100 years.  And like
national and international politics in government, it was even more true in
religion, worship, and the norms of the society of Judah, to straddle the
fence between other gods of their neighbors and heathen wives and
Jehovah God who had made a covenant {the law} at Mount Sinai when His
own people after He personally through Moses rescued them from
bondage in Egypt.
Perception of reality has always been a problem in human nature and in
nations as attested to by the famous joking phrase, “he is a legend in his
own mind”.  This attest to a reality, or a perception of reality, that is not
real.  Increasing psychologists and leaders in American society like military
leaders have to count on the difference in individuals and nations between
what is real and what is their perception of what is real.  Long American
society has talked about the psychotic as one who has lost touch with
reality; and at the other extreme of the spectrum is the way preachers are
taught “to start where people are
{in their concepts of reality} and then to
take them where they need to be.”  
{You can see the problem when the
preachers like the official prophets and priests in Jeremiah have also
become paranoid to the extent that they have lost complete contact
with social, religious, and political realities.}
 Even Jesus, the Apostles,
and Prophets strive in their biblical writings to start where people are then
lead them to where God wants them to be.
Whereas as enumerated in Amos, the northern kingdom’s {Israel and
Samaria} departures from the realities
{truth} of God were manifold--(1)
injustice; (2) hardness of heart toward the poor; (3) incest; and (4) luxury
combined with idolatry--the charge in Amos against Judah was very
singular in that they were ignore the covenant of God with the required laws
for obedience.  And throughout the 163 years on death row of Judah and
through Jeremiah, this remained the top level charge.  It can be
summarized in the words of Jeremiah 11 as a “conspiracy against God”.
(11:8)
1.  Jeremiah 11:6-17, hear the words of the covenant and obey them.

“Then the LORD said to me {God said to the Prophet Jeremiah},
‘Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of
Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them.”  
(Jeremiah 11:6)

2.  God’s Persistence Since Egypt to get obedience among His own
people.

“For I earnestly exhorted your fathers in the day that I brought them up
out of the land of Egypt, until this day, rising early and exhorting,
saying, ‘Obey My voice.”  (Jeremiah 11:7)

For the reality of God, the demands of God, or truth you just look in vain to
find any more good summary of that reality than the Ten Commandments
of the law of the covenant with God.  Anytime any nation gets serious
about truth and perspective, even perception from God {which is the same
with God and ultimate truth}, go back to an enumeration of the 10 laws of
the 10 commandments, from the bottom one of “greed and covetousness”
to the top ones of other idols, other images of God, respect for the
sabbath and for the name of God.
3.  God’s own people followed the “dictates of their own evil hearts” {a very
large aspect of a departure from the truth and realities of God}, so that
they naturally after so long a period of time {163 years plus} became
eligible for the curse of the covenant, not the blessing.

“Yet they did not obey or incline their ear; but everyone followed the
dictates of his evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words
of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but which they have
not done.”  (Jeremiah 11:8)

(1).  Part of the out of touch with reality of Judah and the United States is
to ignore all of the words of the covenant, taking only as their perceptions
of reality the blessings of the covenant with God, and then distortions of
the laws like the 10 commandments.
(2).  More of the out of touch of the reality of the US is to think that since
Christ, the new birth, and the New Testament this old covenant between
God and God’s own people does not exist.  However even as Jesus said,
“I come to fulfill, not destroy the law”, so all aspect of the original and
everlasting covenant between God and any group that chooses to be
called, or is, God’s own people exist:  (1) the demands of the law which are
the demands of righteousness then and now for any of God’s people; (2)
the promise of blessings on any nation of God’s people who obey the laws
of God; and (3) the guarantee of calamities and curses on any group of
God’s people who habitually ignore and disobey the laws of God.  You can
no more get away ultimately with disobedience to the righteous laws of
God than you can ignoring the laws of gravity and inertia.

4.  God says of such a nation, “It is a conspiracy!”

“And the LORD said to me, ‘A conspiracy has been found among the
men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”  (Jeremiah 11:
9)

Amos was accused by the chief priest of Israel of conspiracy for saying
that a foreign nation would take control of the nation as an extreme
calamity of the judgment of God on His own people; likewise Jeremiah was
so accused and thrown in stocks.  And more and more today, even like in
the days of McCarthy, you are seeing a certain PC {political correctness}
and FC {fundamentalists correctness} that strives in the name of toleration,
lack of discrimination, and hate crimes to eliminate any objections as to
how right government, education, and religion are.  How quickly this PC
and FC can be shown to be a Conspiracy against the God of the Universe
with a literal interpretation of the laws of the 10 commandments.
Even as sin has always been a rebellion against God and the laws of God,
so each of these PC and FC political, social, and religious moves can be
shown to be just more of that trying to replace God on the throne of life
and nation.  Just more rebellion against the right of God to tell us what to
do on sex, marriage, divorce, and the norms of life.
5.  They go after and serve other gods.
It does not matter that so often these are self-created gods for self-
control.  You want to run your life; well, one easy way to do so without a
guilty conscience, or with self-rationalization, is to create a god that allows
all your “wants” to be fulfilled without any objections.

“They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who
refused to hear my words, and they have gone after other gods to
serve them; the house of Judah and the house of Israel have broken
My covenant which I made with their fathers.”  (Jeremiah 11:10)

6.  The people of Jerusalem had misplaced faith in their own skill
A matter we want to discuss later in this bible studies from Jeremiah, is the
actual 18 month siege and fall of Jerusalem based on the accounts of the
historian Josephus.  The Babylonians were skilled in assaults on fortified
cities; and they put those skills to work as they built dirt mounds and
towers  higher than the defended walls  of Jerusalem, and then with skillful
weapons of war they picked off the defenders on the wide walls of
Jerusalem by shooting down on them.  But according to Josephus, the
people of Jerusalem were courageous, determined, and skillful:  as world
class skilled craftsmen they knew they could match any weapon of war with
a countermeasure; and so they did for 18 months until overcome by
famine, plague, and incessant warfare.  The walls of Jerusalem fell after 18
months.  
{see Jeremiah 24-29 for the last decade of Jerusalem, with
God’s words about what would happen with the good and bad figs in
Jerusalem, and be sure to read the next month’s bible study}.

15-10:  Every charge of God against His own people, a Violation of the
TEN.

Not matter what you look at in Amos or Jeremiah as God’s expresses His
own complaints against His people, past and present, you can bring that
charge down to some form of violation of the famous and initial 10
commandments.  So great was God’s summary of the demands of
righteousness, that they naturally as a very expression of God Himself and
the demands for His own people, that they stand forever as the ultimate
plumb line of reality.
Such is the case of the words in Amos and Jeremiah for God’s own
people “taking advantage of the people in the land”.  What made luxury so
horrible in Israel and Judah was that it was used to ignore the needs of the
poor people and foreigners in the land.  And today, America denies that
guilt of injustice toward their own citizens, in spite of the recent report from
the Department of Agriculture that 49 million Americans are hungry, that is
1 out of 7 Americans without enough food while we laud billionaires,
millionaires, and strive to emulate wall street to the neglect of these needy.  
It is horrible!  Many of these adults do not eat a meal for a whole day.  No,
violations of the laws of God for luxury and greed are not a problem of the
nation of Judah only, nor of the past; but now and in this time and country!
You know that plumb line that God set in the nation of Judah 163 years
before God executed it with a terminal calamity; well, long ago that plumb
line of the 10 commandments was well established in this nation.

15-11:  This Calamity Will Never Happen to Us.

Amazingly we find in Amos, the answer as to why God’s people of Judah
kept themselves in self-denial for 163 years on peace and prosperity, when
they knew from God and the real prophets of God that they could not last!  
Yet not so amazing in other ways as it is also in Amos where God says
that He will never do anything without letting His own people know first; and
did God ever give them for than sufficient warning for 163 years with
prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem through Prophets such as
Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others.  If the greatest blessing that every
happened to a people of God was the building of a new nation, a great city
like Jerusalem, and the magnificent Temple of Solomon as the symbol of a
religious people; then likewise the greatest curse and calamity that has
likewise ever happened to a people of God was the destruction of the city,
the Temple, and the nation of Judah.  Granted restoration of a remnant of
the scattered peoples happened 70 years later, but the Temple never
regained its magnificence, nor the country, nor the city of Jerusalem.

“For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all
nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall
to the ground.  All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.”  (Amos 9:
9,10)

NOTE:  We have less trouble understanding this self-denial of Judah
and Jerusalem for that long period of 163 years if we comprehend the
similarity to human nature and nations like the United States and
Canada today, where the intense series of calamities on God’s people
since 9/11 continues to be overlooked and ignored, where God’s
people like Judah deny that such calamities are even brought by God
on His own people to win back their attention to righteousness.

Granted it is difficult to comprehend then, as now, of how God in the
turmoil of war, invasion, captivity, and destruction can also assure the
people that “not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground”; that every citizen
will be seriously numbered and protected by the God of the universe; and
that the minute guidance and protective custody of God is so great and all-
encompassing that by name and number of hairs during this whole
horrendous historical process of invasion and captivity, God will personally
account for all the good figs.  And yes, there is also a special accounting
for all the bad figs {Jeremiah 24}, the bag figs which just happen to be the
citizens who have been saying since the book of Amos, “This calamity will
not happen to us, it will not overtake us, nor will it even confront us.”  It
amazes us that the very way in which Amos and God together identified
the real sinners that would die by the sword was by the ones who made the
claim that this calamity would never happen.
Those then and today without a great faith and confidence in both the
wisdom, control, and protective custody of God, even complete knowledge
of human affairs on earth, are the very ones who have the most problem
with calamities as sent by God on His own people!