Napsal(a) Helen Kennedy
In verse 1, Amos experienced a vision - a basket of summer fruit - a metaphor for abundance. Fruit is commonly interpreted as a thing coming to completion. Since the fruit was shown by the Lord in a vision, it stands for an abundance of spiritual things coming to fruition, or coming into existence.
When in verse 2, the Lord asks Amos what he has seen, it indicates the depth and importance of the vision of spiritual prosperity. The exact opposite of this spiritual abundance is shown by Jehovah saying, “The end is coming upon my people.... I will not again pass by them any more.”
If it was just a warning, it would mean the end might happen. Here, since Jehovah is stating it as a fact, it shows that the old way of seeing the Lord’s truth among the people (the Church) is actually ending.
Verse 3 is self-explanatory: “And the songs of the temple shall be wailings in that day . . . the dead bodies shall be many . . . .” Throwing the dead bodies out in silence shows the grim nature of the thing being done.
Verse 4 depicts the ruining, or making impure, of good and truth by those who “swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail.” The extent of this devastation can be seen by the inner meaning of the word “poor” as “those who do not have the knowledges of good and truth but still long for them” (Secrets of Heaven 10227:19).
The “new moon” in verse 5 means “serving the Lord with gladness (Secrets of Heaven 7093:5), and asking “When will the New Moon be past?” shows they are finding no joy in serving the Lord. (See Hosea 2:11)
Wanting the “sabbath” gone means essentially the same thing. “That we may sell grain... and set forth wheat,” shows the love of intelligence and wisdom coming from themselves, since these grains need the hand of man to grow them. The “Ephah and shekel” are a measurement and a means of paying, “and dealing falsely with balances of deceit,” shows the intention to deceive people, inserting seeming truths devised by humans in place of truth given by God.
In verse 6, “That we may buy the poor for silver,” the poor symbolize those who long for truths and might fall for any shiny thing. Then, in the phrase “And the needy for a pair of shoes,” the needy represent people who lack good (Apocalypse Revealed 95).
In context, “silver” and “shoes” show the desire to mislead by money and by comfortable natural things, where “shoes” mean things that are corporeal or that have to do with our bodies (Secrets of Heaven 3761).
“Even sell the bad wheat?” Instead of dealing falsely and with deceit as in the previous chapter, here the meaning is the desire to give bad food to people who long for truth, and that the bad food will cause spiritual sickness.
In verse 7 the Lord swears by the excellency of Jacob. Since excellency can only be attributed to the Lord, and this chapter is dealing with the poor being misguided, what the Lord has sworn to, or is dedicated to, must be truths or knowledges that teach about Himself. The Lord “not forgetting any of their works,” shows that He always knows the things the evil are doing wrong.
In verse 8 the effect evil has is seen by making “the land tremble,” badly enough to make the people “mourn.” In the next verse the treacherous deeds of the people are shown as rising up, being troubled, and sinking again, comparing it to the annual flood of “the River of Egypt” or the Nile. Instead of the effect of bringing life-giving silt, the rise and sinking of treachery and deceit is said to be troubled.
Causing “the sun to go down at noon” just when it should be at its height gives an image of the polar opposite of what it should be (verse 9). To “Darken the earth in the clear day,” is another image of things being troubled and the opposite of the true spiritual state, the state where light abounds and good and evil are seen in clarity.
“Your feasts into mourning”, “songs into lamentation”, “sackcloth” instead of clothing, and “baldness” in place of hair, is a list that shows how evil continues to build up as a time of judgement draws nearer.
“Mourning as for an only son,” is a state of internal grief, grief that is inconsolable. Those who previously could “buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes,” (see verse 6) are “being reduced from a state of opulence to want and misery” (Apocalypse Revealed 765.)
Verse 11 is a place where the inner meaning comes through clearly in the literal text. Jehovah will send “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah.” Jehovah says in a very clear way that natural food and water are not meant, but hearing His words. The lack of hearing and obeying truths from Jehovah, or the Lord, if not reversed, moves toward the death of the spirit because, as the end draws near, the evil will suffer more and more.
To “wander from sea to sea” and “run to and fro” in verse 12 give a picture of the frantic unrestful nature of the evil who can find no true peace because they have spurned the Sabbath (see verse 5). Unable to find the “word of Jehovah,” they live in this state of unpeacefulness. It’s not that they can’t see the Word of Jehovah, but that they can’t find any meaning in it (see previous verse.)
“Fair virgins” and “young men” that “faint for thirst” in verse 13 show that no new growth in anything spiritual is possible because it faints and dies from lack of truth, “thirst” being “to perish from want of truths” (Apocalypse Revealed 956).
Verse 14 shows that the final end has come. The “Sin of Samaria” means people who worshipped the Syrian goddess, Ashima; therefore, those who worship false gods.
“Beersheba” and “Dan” were boundaries or ways to enter the land of Canaan, but here they mean exiting from it, rejecting the truths of faith that lead to heaven (Secrets of Heaven 3923:10).
“They shall fall, and never rise up again,” shows the complete end of any good and truth with the person, or of the Church.
Churches die. The people in them start out being willing to receive true ideas from the Lord, and to put them into practice. But as time goes by, and people stop listening, and start to worship false gods, or their own intelligence, the churches wither.
In Amos 8, the Israelitish church is dying. Its end is stated by Jehovah. But, look back at the beginning of the chapter, to the basket of summer fruit. The Lord can take whatever remains of good and truth in a people, and start a new church. The repeated promise in the Biblical prophets is the promise of the Messiah, the Christ... who would found this new church.
The same thing happens in each of us. Our false gods can kill our spiritual lives. But, there is a remnant -- the embers of good and truth -- and if we turn to the Lord, a new life can be kindled in us. And it can be fruitful.