Amos Table of  Contents

Main Table of Contents


Minor Prophets: Major Messages

Chapter One of Amos

Amos 1:1-2

“The words of Amos, who was among the sheep breeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said:

The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters His voice from Jerusalem;
The pastures of the shepherds mourn,
and the top of Carmel withers.”

Passages From the Writings

Prophets and Psalms (P&P)

  • “The Lord concerning the Word and doctrine thence...” (verses 1, 2)

Arcana Coelestia (AC) 3995[3]

·        “For this reason spotted is expressed in the original language by a word that also means lambs (as in Isa xl. 10, 11); and speckled by a word that also means a herdman (as in 2 Kings iii. 4; Amos i. 1).”

Apocalypse Revealed (AR) 612

·        “...therefore by meant the church everywhere...It is called Mount Zion because by a mountain is signified love...That by Mount Zion is signified heaven and the church where the Lord alone is worshiped, may appear...” Amos 1:2 is cited along with other references.

Apocalypse Explained (AE) 601[15]

·        “In Amos (i.2)...roaring from Zion signifies grievous distress, and the voice from Jerusalem lamentation; the mourning of the habitation of the shepherds, and the drying up of the head of Carmel, signifies because of the vastation of all the goods and truths of the church; the habitation of the shepherds signifying all the goods of the church; the head of Carmel signifies the truths of the church, because in Carmel there were vineyards, and wine signifies the truths of the church.”

AE 601[16]

·        “...the roaring like that of a lion…signifies grief and lamentation over the vastation of Divine truth in the church by the falsities of evil.”

AE 850[15]

·        “In Amos...(i.2) to roar and the roaring of a lion, when predicated of Jehovah, signify an ardent zeal for protecting heaven and the church, and for saving those who are therein by the Divine truth and its power, which is done by destroying the evils and falsities that rise up out of hell...”

Derived Doctrine


  • We are not given the correspondence of this town. We do know that it lay 6 miles south of Bethlehem.  Bethlehem represents “the Word in its spiritual sense; the Lord willed to be born there because He is the Word.” (AE 700[9])

  •  The word Bethlehem means “house (place) of bread” or food. Might Tekoa’s southerly distance from Bethlehem represent the way that the children of Israel, in their minds, were moving away from relying on the Word as the house of bread?

  • “South represents intelligence, which is acquired by knowledges of spiritual and celestial truths.” (AC 1458) Is this geographic representation there to remind us that the Lord is going to return the church to intelligence about spiritual and celestial truths?

The Lord’s Concerns

  • “Israel in the days of Uzziah, one of the good kings of Judah...signifies the Lord’s royalty, or some aspect of His kingdom.” (AC 1409[4]) “Royalty of the Lord signifies heaven and the church.” (AR 664) These quotations indicate the range of the Lord’s concern for His heavenly kingdom and the church. He is concerned about everyone in His kingdom, not just the ancient Israelites.

The Reigns of Joash and Jeroboam

  • Jeroboam the son of Joash: The Writings do not provide the specific significations of these two kings. However, when we look at the history of their reigns, we can see a spiritual decline from moderate “piety” and acknowledgment of the Lord by Joash to brazen disorder under Jeroboam’s leadership. During their reigns, the quality of worship declined: worship of “strange gods” and use of temple prostitutes were permitted in the temple. Spiritually wise and prudent kings and priests would never have allowed these practices to enter the temple of the Lord. The kings and priest became “people pleasers” instead of pursuing spiritual wisdom. The consequent co-mingling of holy and unholy things was abhorrent to the Lord and a degradation of all that gave Israel its distinctiveness and representation.
  • Although the people looked and acted happy with their lives during this time, the Lord saw within their hearts the seed of spiritual death, and He needed to expose its deadliness.

The Earthquake

  • The end of the church (or its perversion) is described in the Word by concussions, overturning, and sinking of the earth. Consequently, earthquakes signify changes of the state of the church. (AR 33, 711.)

Two Years

  • In the internal sense, a “year” does not refer to a year of time. “...angels, who are in the internal sense of the Word, cannot have an idea of any year...therefore instead of a year they have an idea of what is full in respect to states of the church, and what is eternal in respect to states of heaven...” (AC 2906[10]) Our verse sets its time as “two years before the earthquake.” Why? When the Word refers to “two” of anything, it is often a reference to the will and the understanding.  Considering the meaning of an earthquake (see above), could “two years” represent the state of the will and understanding in the process of being falsified or emptied out?

Putting It all Together

1. Amos represents the Lord.  The Lord is our Shepherd, and He is most concerned with His flock. We learn from the Writings that our knowledge of the Word is “speckled” with falsity. When we allow that speckled quality to grow out of control instead of shunning it as sin, falsification of the Word enters our hearts and minds.

2. The roaring of the Lord from Zion and the uttering of His voice from Jerusalem teach us several things about Him in this context:

  • He has grievous distress for His church and people.
  • He laments.
  • He mourns.
  • He has an ardent zeal for protecting heaven and the church.
  • He warns of coming vastations.
  • He points to the drying up of our “Mount Carmel” and the effects this will have on our “vineyards.” (AE 601[15])

3. The book of Amos is not about anger, revenge, and a loss of the Lord’s patience. Instead, it is a love story, a story of the Lord’s great love and concern for both heaven and earth. This is a book of promise: The Lord will triumph over hell’s quest to dominate us and destroy the gift of salvation. This victory is not an occasional interest of the Lord’s; He has an “ardent zeal” to protect us and the angelic heavens. The book of Amos also talks about the coming of the New Church.

Read and Review

Please go back and read Amos 1:1-2.

Next, review the passages from the Writings, beginning with what we read from P&P: “The Lord concerning the Word and doctrine...”

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      What parts of this opening prophecy do you think set the tone for all that will follow?

2.      Look back at “Putting it all Together.” Can you see ways to apply these ideas to our church and lives?

3.      Is there a specific challenge to our church in what you learned in this section? What makes it simple or difficult to apply this information to the New Church?

4.      Can we compare our outlook and experiences with those of the children of Israel at that time? Have we, like Israel, become overly content or comfortable with the way things are in matters of life? Why or why not?

5.      Do we, like Joash and Jeroboam, close our eyes to co-mingling ideas of idolatry and unfaithfulness (in all forms)? Is this something that happens to groups, or only to individuals?

6.      In what ways can we think about listening attentively to the “roaring of the Lord from Zion?”

7.      Do we hear the “roar of the Lord” as care, concern and an ardent desire to save and protect His people? What might keep us from hearing it this way? How can we change our hearing?

8.      The book of Amos is a love story: will we hold this idea throughout the 9 chapters? It will be a theme we need to revisit often. Think about ways to hold this idea in your mind as you continue your study of Amos.

Amos 1:3-5

“Thus says the Lord:

For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.
But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael,
Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad.
I will also break the gate bar of Damascus,
And cut off the inhabitant from the valley of Aven,
And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden.
The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,
Says the Lord.”

Passages from the Writings


·        “...concerning those who pervert the knowledges from the Word which serve for doctrine, who thus turn aside also the good of these knowledges; that they shall perish, vers. 3-5.”

AE 532[12]

·        “The third and fourth generation signifies all who are in falsities from evil... three in the contrary sense signifying falsities, and four evils.... Like things are signified by three and four transgressions in Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, & 2:1, 4, 6).”  

AC 9496

·        “As the staves by which the ark was carried signified power, so also did the staves or bars by which they fastened the gates of cities, as is evident from...Amos 1:5."

Derived Doctrine


  • Damascus, the capital of Syria, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world.  Damascus was once a city where the “...remains of worship as practiced in the ancient church (existed) and from whence came Eber or the Hebrew nation.” (AC 1769)
  • Sadly, Damascus degenerated from a city of strength for the people of the ancient church to a place of perversion and became a chronic enemy of Israel. The Writings remind us of what the Lord said about the enemies of the household: the members of a household can represent “...the affection of falsity opposed to good; [a] man who is in temptation [his] evils and falsities are within or are his, [so] they are said to be of his household....”  (AC 4843[4])


  • “In the Word, evils are now called ‘sins,’ now ‘iniquities,’ and now ‘transgressions’... Those called ‘transgressions’ which take place contrary to the truths of faith...” (AC 6563)


  • They threshed Gilead with the implements of iron.
  • Gilead has a series of representations:

“...the first good, that of the bodily senses and their pleasures.” (AC 4117[3])

“A state of good in remote conjunction” (AC 4129)

“...the sensuous good by which a man is first initiated when being regenerated.”  (AC 4255[4])

“...the good of the church, which is charity, and the good and truth of faith.” (AE 328[17])

“...reasoning from the literal sense of the Word in confirmation of falsities.” (AE 654[44])

  • Gilead represents that first state of enthusiasm in people for the things of the church, a time when they give some thought to ways of using or applying the truths. In this state, people believe that they know all that is necessary, but they may easily be misled because they are not yet able to distinguish between friendship and charity; shunning evils as sins and the as-of-self; zeal and anger; and other important distinctions that spiritual maturity would teach them.  All of this leaves “Gilead” vulnerable to the “threshing” of Damascus.

Implements of Iron

  • The “implements of iron” refer historically to a barbaric Syrian custom of using machines with sharp, iron blades to thresh the bodies of their enemies following a battle. It mattered little to them whether their helpless victims were dead or alive during the threshing.
  • “Iron signifies truth in ultimates, which is called sensual truth; which, when it is separated from the rational and spiritual truth, is converted into a falsehood.” (AR 847)

Fire Sent into the House of Hazael

  • Hazael became a ruler of Damascus through a strange series of events.  Ben-Hadad was stricken with an illness. He sent Hazael to Elisha to ask what the outcome of his illness might be.  Elisha, seeking ways to bring haughty, irreligious Israel to its knees, secretly anointed Hazael king. Hazael returned and murdered Ben-Hadad, embarking on a long reign of terror and invasions within the divided tribes of Israel and Judah.
  • Fire represents some kind of love. It is either a good love or a destructive self-love.

Devouring the Palaces of King Ben-Hadad

  • Note this quote from AC 9434. “The Lord appears to the evil as a ‘devouring or consuming fire’…” A king denotes ruling truths. Fire in the palace, in an evil sense represents “the punishment of the profanation of what is sacred and holy.” (AR 748)  “Palace (Amos iv. 3) signifies the Word, consequently, the truth of doctrine which is from good.” (AC 4926)

Breaking the Gate Bar of Damascus

  • A gate signifies the passage to the rational mind. (AC 2943)
  • A gate of a city signifies doctrine by which there is an entrance into the church. (AC 2943)
  • A gate signifies introductory knowledges of what is good and true, out of the literal sense of the Word.  (AR 899, 901, 904)
  • Could the breaking of the gate of Damascus represent the Lord’s exposing, opening (unlocking), or defeat of the false principles within the rational mind?


  • Aven represents “...the things of falsity and the reasonings therefrom of those in worship, which, regarded in itself, is interior idolatry, or extreme self-love.” (AC 273)
  • The valley of Aven: “A valley is lower than mountains; so it signifies what is lower or external in signifies falsities and reasonings which falsify worship, and at length profane it.” (AC 1292)

 The One who Holds the Scepter from Beth Eden

  • “...scepter signifies divine truth as to government....” (AE 431)
  • “Beth” means “house.”
  • “Eden” means “love.” The two words together mean “a house of love.” What kind of “house of love” is being cut off?

The People of Syria shall go Captive to Kir

  • What help do we get from correspondences?
  • Syria signifies the church as to knowledges of truth and good. (AE 195)
  • Kir “...denotes those who possess the knowledges of good and truth, but pervert them.” (AC 9340)
  • Combining the meanings of these two verses can give us a hint that the Lord is going to remove the perversion of good and truth.  This verse describes the captivity of those who pervert the truth, and the previous verse shows the Lord removing the “scepter” from the house of self love, a place where perversion of good and truth would take place.

Putting It All Together

1. As you read the first and second chapters of Amos, you will notice how many times the “three transgressions...and four...” occur. That phrase is in Amos 1:3, 6, 9, and 11, and Amos 2:1, 4, and 6. It occurs seven times. Please consider why the Lord would repeat this phrase to six nations around Israel. The final “three transgressions...and four” is spoken to Israel. Why seven times? Why does it end with Israel?

2. Damascus in a sense reminds us of our connection with innocent remains. Gilead represents a sense of discovery, a time when we feel alive with the beauty of the senses. We love to touch or feel things to know them. How often do we want to take “things” in our hands, or smell the wonders of the world? The use of the five senses opens our mental world. These gifts at the beginning are filled with innocence. From remains, we have a kind of “mediate conjunction” with the Lord. Idealism abounds and being good is a way of getting approval and recognition. 

But at what point does the good beginning become the enemy of the household within? When do the sensuous, bodily pleasures become the “instruments of iron” that thresh our Gilead states? Probably, it happens when we learn to cover up our evil intentions with what appears reasonable and right, or when we put an emphasis on being right for the wrong reasons.

3. Damascus, in its prime, had a full amount of truth, but it perverted that into falsity. We are taught that the “three transgressions...and...four” represent turning truth to falsity, and “four” represents turning the natural and spiritual understanding and will into evil. The literal sense gives the impression that it is the Lord who will not turn away punishment, but it is really unrepentant self-love that brings on the punishment and misery.

4. This truth is drawn from the correspondences of the fire in the house of Hazael, the devouring of the palaces, the gate bar of Damascus, the valley of Aven, the scepter of Beth Eden, and the people being carried off to Kir.  Every one of these references deals with the results of perverting the Word.

5. Appearances mislead the rational mind.  The sensual seems so much more alive and adaptable to human needs. In this way, what was so promising and vital at first becomes the enslaver. Appearances turn the mind, which could have drawn doctrine from the Word for good, to rationalizations, lies, and cover-ups, and the wayward proprium becomes the “implement of iron.”

Read and Review

Read Amos 1:3-5.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Can you think of some current perversions of the Word in the world around you?  Are there times when we attempt to change or correct things of the church and doctrine for personal convenience?  When this occurs, do we do so with a thorough study of the Word, or are we influenced by “modern” consensus?

2.      Can we identify with the “Gilead” state of misguided sensual enthusiasm turning us away from the Lord? When does this happen?  What can we do to turn ourselves back to Him?

3.      Are there things which you do that you know are wrong, but you seem unable to over throw them? Do you feel carried off to captivity?

4.      Can you believe and find solace in the Lord’s promise to break the “gate bar” so that the rational mind can find freedom again? How can you see this working in your life, or in the life of a church?

5.      How do you understand the fire entering in and devouring the palaces? Can you think of any examples of the things this represents?

6.      Is it of any spiritual significance that Damascus is known to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world? Do we hear “remains” in this teaching? 

Amos 1:6-8

“Thus says the Lord:

For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they took captive the whole of captivity
To deliver them up to Edom.
But I will send in a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
Which shall devour its palaces.
I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod,
And the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
I will turn my hand against Ekron,
And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,
Says the Lord God.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “Concerning those who apply the Word to a heretical falsity, that they shall perish, vers. 6-8.”

AE 532[12]

·        Remember that this passage teaches that the phrase “for three transgressions...and for four...” refers to falsities and evils interfering with the natural and spiritual understanding and will.

AC 1197

·        The Philistines were part of the Ancient Church. In AC 1197, we are given a broad sweep of the Philistines’ history with a glimpse of their sad, perplexing heresy and its effect on Israel: “...they (the Philistines) sold the sons of Judah and the sons of Jerusalem signifies that they had no love and no faith...which was removed far from their borders.”  Heresy removes love and faith far from their borders. Amos 1:8 is cited in AC 1197.

Derived Doctrine


  • “That by Gaza are signified the things that have been revealed concerning charity....” (AC 1207 and AC 1210)


  • “Captivity signifies being seduced, and so led away from truths and goods.” (AR 591)
  • Question: could the phrase “they took captive the whole captivity” represent a complete seduction of truths and goods?

To be Delivered up to Edom

  • Edom, in the good sense, signifies the Lord’s human essence; also, strength, power, or good of the natural principle. In the opposite sense, “the natural man originating in self-love, which despises and rejects all truth, whence comes the devastation...” (AC 3322[8]).

Fire upon the Walls of Gaza and the Devouring of its Palaces

  • Gaza signifies “things revealed concerning charity.” (AC 1207) We can see that if the heart of charity is seduced and self-love rules, there will be a fire of destruction from within that will wreck or destroy the walls of our defense. Self-love defends no one. It is a choice of the heart that takes for itself and gives nothing back. Charity that has been “burnt out” destroys or devours one’s palaces.

Cutting off the Inhabitant from Ashdod

  • Ashdod was the site where the Philistines kept Dagon, their god. “Their religious principle was...represented by their idol called Dagon...[who] according to their description, was formed like a man from the head to the navel, and like a fish from the navel downwards; its being like a man…represented the understanding derived from truths; and like a fish…represented the natural destitute of the good of love....” (AE 817[10])


  • Ashkelon was one of the five cities of the Philistines and the only one on the seacoast.  Ashkelon bragged that Joshua or David could not take its city. The Lord said in these verses that its scepter (divine truth that governs) would be cut off.


  • When the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant, they carried it to Ekron. While that city had the ark, they experienced painful physical problems that caused them to get rid of the ark as fast as they could. The city of Ekron and the Philistine god Dagon represent “the god of all falsities.” (AE 740[10])
  • The god of all falsities could not stand or prevail against the Lord. Isn’t that a powerful truth? 


  • Ahaziah, a son of Ahab and king of Israel (circa 850-849), became ill.  Rather than calling on the God of Israel for help with his illness, he preferred to go to Ekron so that he could consult Beelzebul.  In AE 740[10], Beelzebul is called the “...god of flies...the falsities of the sensual man...thus falsities of every kind.”


  • Heresies are ever attendant upon the true church, and the ground of heresies is fixation upon some particular article of faith. (AC 362-363.) In AC 10402, we read that heresies arise from “...the literal sense of the Word being separated from its internal sense.”

The Remnant of the Philistines shall perish

  • The Lord’s truth will defeat all heresy even when that heresy prides itself on its seductive power.

Putting It All Together

1. These verses tell us about the workings of heresy.  Heresies are ever attendant upon the true church. What a necessary teaching for us to consider.  We of the New Church need our watchmen upon the walls of the Holy City New Jerusalem to be alert. They need to warn us of the approach of heresy.  Heresy is seductive.  It is self-love creating and justifying what it wills. Perhaps it comes to us as a “popular” article of faith, but if it has been drawn out and separated from the internal sense, it is a heresy.  Noticing the defense of that heresy is crucial.  Heresies are defensive. They are sensitive. They perceive anyone as their enemy who speaks against them and will pursue such an enemy with a fervor that imitates religious zeal. The Writings tell us that heretical zeal is really anger directed against the Lord.

2. The god Dagon refers to an understanding that appears human but is actually a natural idea that is destitute of the good of love (charity).

3. The god of flies (those things that thrive on decaying and foul sources) is a god some seek out instead of the One and only God of Heaven and earth. Why would anyone choose decay over what is wholesome? Why would anyone choose darkness over light? Insanity is the only possible explanation for the creation of a god that was half man and half fish.

This portion of the prophecy tells us that the Lord will remove the scepter from the hand of him who brags about his power to resist Joshua and David. The Lord will remove and defeat heresy because it is devoid and destitute of true charity.

Read and Review

Read Amos 1:6-8.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      What kind of safeguard do we have that will help us find and expose heresy?

2.      If we find a beginning or well-entrenched heresy within ourselves, how can we remove its roots from our love?

3.      Heresies are ever intent upon destroying the Lord’s church.  Do you see this as a truism, or a problem that needs our careful and thoughtful attention? The enemies in certain parables did their harm while people slept. Falling asleep mentally is a lifetime nemesis, and we need the Word to wake us up. Do we seek to be roused, or do we find it bothersome?

4.      What forms of the god Dagon or Beelzebub exist today? The god Dagon represents the understanding derived from human truths and Beelzebub the natural destitute of the good of love.

5.      Why do so many surrounding nations of Israel represent former remnants of the Ancient Church?  Why do they provide so much trouble for “their relatives”?                                                                    

Amos 1:9-10

“Thus says the Lord:

For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom,
And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
But I will send fire upon the wall of Tyre,
Which shall devour its palaces.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...concerning those who pervert the knowledges of good and truth, and thereby do violence to the external sense of the Word, vers. 9, 10.”

AC 367

·        “...both faith and charity are the offspring of the church. Faith is called a man...and charity is called a brother...the union of faith and charity is called the covenant of the brethren.” (Amos 1:9)

Derived Doctrine

Tyre (in a positive sense)

  • “...signifies those who possess spiritual and celestial riches.” (AC 425[2])
  • “...represents those who possess the knowledges of things celestial and spiritual.” (AC 1154)

·      “...interior knowledges...” (AC 1201)

  • Since the Lord is speaking to Tyre in a corrective manner in these verses in Amos, we must assume that all of the above have an opposite representation.


·      In the good sense, Edom represents the Lord’s human essence (love); also, the strength, power, or good of the natural principle. “In the opposite sense, the natural man originating in self love, which despises and rejects all truth, whence comes the devastation...” (AC 3322)

·      AE 746[19] teaches that the universal heaven is in the good of charity toward the neighbor. The universal hell is in anger, enmity, and hatred against the neighbor. We need the covenant of brotherhood to keep our worship and study of the Word in a conjunctive state with the Lord’s Divine Human.

Delivering up the Whole Captivity to Edom

·      When hatred, enmity, and revenge possess the mind, one can use the literal sense of the Word to justify almost anything wanted.  A person in this state can make slavery, stealing, lying, incest, and many other disjunctive concepts appear to be sanctioned by the literal sense. Such an approach will deliver up the captives to Edom.

Fire upon the Wall of Tyre and the Palaces Devoured

·      “He who loves himself, hates all who do not render him service....” (AC 760[2])

·      “They who are so delighted with hatreds...are not content with destroying the body, but also wish to destroy the soul.” (AC 815)

·      Palaces represent the understanding in which truths are in a beautiful form. Truth is not able to remain beautiful when it is twisted and abused in the literal sense by self-love.

Putting It All Together

1. The integrity of the literal sense has to be protected. It would appear that we have public pressure for scholars to make newer translations of the Word more readable. To do this, some translators who are not familiar with the spiritual sense have focused on using simplistic words to the exclusion of important series of words. If they substitute simpler words without a full study of the original texts, what harm or damage is done to the Word? How much simplifying of the Word can be done without altering the internal sense? Some, little, or much? 

2. Are new translations of the Word easier for you to read? Do you find your remains fight to hold on to the King James translation, or whatever translation you read as a child? What do you like or dislike about different translations? Are there changes you find upsetting or refreshing?  The Word needs to remain as close to the original Hebrew as possible in a translation. How do we get help guarding the literal sense of the Word? What might a New Church translator be able to offer this effort?

3. Those who delight in hatred are not content with destroying the body, but also wish to destroy the soul.  The hells will use every possible excuse to discredit the literal sense of the Word and the teachings of the Writings. They hope to work toward the destruction of the soul of Divine Revelation.

Read and Review

Read Amos 1:9-10.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      How many disorders in the world do you think can be made to look “reasonable” with quotations inappropriately drawn from the literal sense? Have you ever heard this happen? What was the result?

2.      Since many of us are not “translators,” how do we protect our minds from being carried off as captives with errors of doctrine that may result from inaccurate translations?  Does the Lord protect those who follow the persuasive leaders of the church so that their palaces are not devoured?

3.      What other avenues of thought can we follow using these passages?  

4.      The Lord has written the Word in such a way that it promises to reach the states of all people. Do we give up too easily and expect the Word to give us all the answers without our having to work for insights?  If the Word was so plain that it left no doubt about its meaning, who could stand if the Lord’s teachings were willfully disobeyed?

5.      This section seems to tell us that we need to develop an attitude that says, “I may not understand this passage now, but I will prayerfully ask for the Lord’s help so that when it is time for me to see and understand, I will be ready to be led by the Lord’s Word.”

6.   Faith is called a “man,” and charity is called a “brother.” Together, they are the offspring of the church. How strong and healthy would you say the church’s “offspring” are today? How do we benefit from that strength? What can we do to support and increase it?

Amos 1:11-12

“Thus says the Lord:

For three transgressions of Edom, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because he pursued his brother with the sword,
And cast off all pity;
His anger tore perpetually,
And he kept his wrath forever.
But I will send a fire upon Teman,
Which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.”

Passages From the Writings


·      “...concerning those who pervert the literal sense of the Word through falsity, whereby doctrine perishes, vers. 11, 12.”

AC 4171[3]

·      “Edom did pursue his brother with a sword....his anger did tear perpetually....” (Amos 1:11)  “...if a person who has lived in a life of good suffers himself to be so persuaded, and then becomes careless regarding life, and even treats it with contempt, he is said to be torn; for torn is predicated of good into which falsity is insinuated, and thereby the good becomes no longer living.” 

Derived Doctrine


·      This is the third time in this chapter that we have had the mention of Edom: (1) Gaza delivered up to Edom captives - the whole captivity, which represents the enslavement of Charity; (2) Tyre delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, which represents the enslavement of knowledges, celestial and spiritual; and (3) now, Edom is pursuing his brother with a sword, casting off pity, and showing perpetual anger, a wrath forever.

·      Who is the brother? Remember Edom’s lineage goes back to Esau.  Is the brother mentioned in the lineage of Jacob’s seed?

·      “Brother delivering up brother to death, signifies that the false shall destroy good; specifically, that faith shall alone destroy charity.” (AE 315)


·      In the Word, a “sword” signifies (a) the truth of faith combating; (b) the vastation of truth; (c) in an opposite sense, the false combating; and (d) the punishment of the false. (AC 2799)

·      “Mention is very often made in the Word of ‘sword’ them nothing else is signified but truth fighting against falsities and destroying them....the dispersion of falsities by the Word from the Lord....”  (AR 52)

Pity or Compassion

·      Pity or compassion “...signifies the inflow of charity from the Lord.” (AC 6737)

·      It also signifies “...the influx of the Lord into those who are ignorant of truths and yet desire them.” (AC 9182[7])


·      Anger represents “...a departure from charity.” (AC 1010)


·      Wrath represents “...a turning away from truth which was confirmed.” (AC 6359)

·      It also refers to “...the fury of lusts, and their endeavor to inflict violence.” (AC 8284)


·      Teman “...signifies the Lord’s Divine Human as to celestial love.” (AC 2714)

·      “...the change in the church brought about by the evils and falsities from which they perished.” (AE 400[10])


·       “Bozrah has respect to the divine truth, and Edom, to the divine good of the Word.” (AE 922)

Putting It All Together

1. Self-love, out of order, can enslave charity. And self-love wants to enslave the knowledge of good and truth. What can you expect from self-love but that it will “tear” at all that is from the Lord? Self-love will pursue the Word so as to reject it, despise it, and hate it. Hell maintains anger and wrath toward anything (brother) that seeks to remove it or oppose its values.

2. Hell seeks to persuade whomever it can to become careless in regard to life. If we treat life with contempt, it will tear the spiritual fabric and vitality of life. Inappropriate anger will eat away at the charity that is needed to love the Lord and neighbor.

3. The Lord is willing to show pity and patience to those who are in ignorance. But Hell attempts to tell us that the Lord is angry with us and that we are beyond help from the Word of the Lord.  What passages from the literal sense would they use to back up this argument?  What passages could we use to refute this argument?

4. We need to take on the challenge to “think clearly” regarding the Lord. The Writings put it this way: “Of how great importance it is to have a just idea of God may appear from the consideration, that the idea of God forms the inmost of thought with all who have any religion.” (Divine Love and Wisdom [DLW] 13) So, our doctrinal knowledge must grow and improve with our changing states. We need to comfort ourselves with the solid belief that the Lord loves us and will never leave us.  His arms are not too short, and He never sleeps.  Such a faith stands us in good stead when hell tries to inject its poisonous lies. The Writings assure us that the Lord anticipates the tricks and motives of hell and gives us the strength to resist and win. The sword of the Lord will win the battle for us.

Read and Review

Read Amos 1:11-12.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Inappropriate, or unhealthy, anger and wrath will attempt to tear things apart. Have you experienced this?  There must be a period in all of our lives when hell has pulled some passage up from the literal sense and mocked it, and without checking things, we carelessly accepted hell’s criticism.  Think of a time when this happened to you. How did you fight back so as to overcome this spiritual tearing?  Are some past or present “torn” issues still bothersome?

2.      What helps you remain positive about the things of faith and charity? When Hell tries to tell us how worthless or pitiful we are, how do we turn that message off?

3.      Tiredness, frustration, worry, or obsession over something in our lives can cause us to err in our thinking. When we are vulnerable, hell urges us to quit trying. Hell wants falsity to reign. If falsity is given any credence, it will try to pervert the Word. Hell wants doctrine to perish. Why do you think this is true?

4.      The Lord urges us to be strong and courageous. The Word teaches us, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) How can we use this verse to its fullest potential? 

Amos 1:13-15

“Thus says the Lord:

For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four,
I will not turn away its punishment,
Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead,
That they might enlarge their territory.
But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah,
And it shall devour its palaces,
Amid shouting in the day of battle,
And a tempest in the day of the whirlwind.
Their king shall go into captivity,
He and his princes together.
Says the Lord.”

Passages From the Writings


·      “Concerning those who falsify the truths of the literal sense of the Word, that in the day of combat they do not resist, but corrupt the truth of doctrine, vers.13-15.”

Derived Doctrine


·      Ammon represents “...those who falsify truths and live evil lives.” (AC 6405)

·      It also means the “...profanation of the celestial and spiritual things of faith.” (AC 576[2])

Ripping Open the Women with Child in Gilead.  

·      That striking a pregnant woman a blow “...signifies the injuring of the good which is from truth, is evident from the signification of to strike, as being to injure; and from the signification of a pregnant woman, as being the formation of good from truth...because the regeneration of man, which is the generation of the spiritual life in him, is meant in the internal sense of the Word by the generation of his natural life which is from his parents. For when a man is born anew, he is then first conceived, afterward carried as in the womb, and finally born.” (AC 9042)

·      As we learned earlier, Gilead signifies “...the first good, that of the bodily senses and their pleasures.” (AC 4117[3])

·      Gilead also represents “The good of the church, which is charity, and the good and truth of faith.” (AE 328)

·      “...the woman with child (are) those who receive truths, and she who is bringing forth those who do them.” (AE 721[10])

That They Might Enlarge Their Territory

·      I found only one reference to the word “territory” in the Concordance and almost didn’t use it because it was in the Spiritual Diary.  However, it may be a good reference for our study.  See what you think.

·      “It has been shown how it befell those from the Christian world.  The leaders, who endeavored to destroy the kingdom of the Lord and heaven, were principally of those who were in faith length, all such...were cast down and dispersed....[they] delight in the sufferings of others, and devised unheard of contrivances for torturing others, by inflicting pain on body and mind, and holding the thought continually upon the pain, and sending those who also infused desperation: likewise, those who inflicted weariness of life and the continual desire of liberation from the pain...which two [classes] inflict such suffering and torture as cannot be described....[they were] outside their own territory. For these were in the disposition of ruling and leading others, but did not attend to their own affairs.” (SD 5758[2]; 5759; 5759[1&2])

·      Those who oppose the Lord and His kingdom want to enlarge the scope of their control [territory]. Hell delights in planning the theft of the kingdom the Lord wants to give freely to His children.

Kindling a Fire in the Wall of Rabbah 

·      Historically, Rabbah was the capital city of the Ammonites. When the Ammonite kingdom ended, Rabbah was destroyed and was not rebuilt until 259 BC, when it was renamed Philadelphia.

·      Rabbah “signifies affections of truth in the natural man.” (AE 435[7])

·      Rabbath of the Ammonites “...signifies the falsifications of truth.” (AE 163[8])


·      A wall “signifies truth in the ultimates.” (AR 132)

·      In a quotation explaining the walls of the Holy City New Jerusalem, we are taught that “by its walls nothing else is meant but the Word in the literal sense, from which doctrine is derived, for that sense defends the spiritual sense, which lies concealed within it, just as a wall defends a city and its inhabitants....” (AR 898)

·      The fire in the wall...shows the destructive quality of self-love and how it removes a protective quality from the inhabitants of the city.

The Devouring of the Palaces

·      The beautiful structure of the understanding is likened to a palace when the mind takes the truths of the Word and applies them to life. Self-love causes the structure of the palace to fall into disrepair, leaving what was once regal and beautiful in shambles.

Amid Shouting in the Day of Battle

·      To shout or to cry “ said of every affection that breaks out from the heart...” (AR 885)

·      “As a cry also is an act, which corresponds to a living confession or acknowledgment from faith....when confession and acknowledgment from faith are treated of.” (AC 5323)

·      Crying in a good sense has respect to truths, but in a bad sense to falsity.  (AC 2240, 2243)

·      The “day of the battle” refers to a state when people believe themselves to be “...attacking from the understanding of truth from the Word...”  The negative sense of “battle” refers to falsities fighting the truth of the New Church.” (AR 431, 704)


·      In two references, the Writings comment on the meaning of a “whirlwind,” strong winds and tempests springing up. “It has at different times been granted me to perceive these tempests and also the east wind by which the evil were dispersed and cast into the hells....” (AE 419[22])

Their King and Princes Going into Captivity

·      “A king denotes truth itself, and prince a principal truth.” (AR 548)

Putting It All Together

1. From the very beginning of these passages, we are given a clear picture of what state this is speaking to:  “Those who falsify the truths of the literal sense of the Word, that in the day of combat they do not resist, but corrupt the truth of doctrine...” (P&P)

In Psalms 78:9, we read, “The children of Ephraim being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.” Instead of fighting with honor, they turned and fled. Notice once again the problem of Ephraim. They were “armed,” but their weapons never got used in the battle. Loyalty, fidelity, courage, and dedication to the Lord and His Word were present in potential, but they were not used. As a result, the falsifiers were victorious, and they rip the potential of spiritual birth from the fledgling religious idea planted in the mind.

Tired, impatient feelings give the hells the foothold they want so they may advance their cause and spoil the land that could and should be preserved for the Lord. We need to see and hear the prophecy of Amos so that we will not turn in the day of battle. We need to be armed with the bow and aim our arrows at the center of falsity so that truth can be victorious and keep its place of great esteem.

A new day, a new tempest of an east wind can blow away the stagnant air of hell. East is representative of the Lord Himself and His love. An “east wind…in a genuine sense, denotes love to the Lord, and love towards the neighbor…” (AC 5215)

Our battle cry? “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.” (Judges 7:24)

With the daily reporting of news, we are exposed to a wide scope of tragic and frightful events. Each grievous, uncharitable act seems to outdo the prior. Gradually, we can become so jaded that nothing shocks us anymore. The result is that we accept these things as normal events in the lives of people. Perhaps we need to review a teaching in AC 1740[2]:  “The more horror there is contracted for evils and falsities, the more love there is insinuated by the Lord for goods and truths: also, the more horror there is of evils and falsities, the less dare evil Spirits approach, because they cannot endure aversion and horror for the evils and falsities in which their life consists; sometimes they are seized with terror at the first approach of it.”  

Read and Review

Read Amos 1:13-15.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Can you feel any sympathy with those who have little care or concern about the literal sense of the Word?  Does a mental warning go off when you hear someone ignore a teaching by saying, “This was an issue back then, but it is not appropriate or applicable for our times.”?

2.      How can we stay sharp with our warfare against the lethargy of spiritual cowardliness?

3.      Hell waits for us to become bored, tired, and impatient with life.  Then the evil spirits infuse weariness with suffering and despair that cannot be described.  This is not just a morbid idea. Millions of dollars are spent each year for medications to help people cope. Without judging individual cases, it is clear that we fight mental and physical suffering and despair every day. We have powerful examples of how fragile our minds are in the presence of troubles. We need the Lord’s help to comfort our hearts and mind. What insights can be brought to this issue in our discussion time?

4.      What about that teaching about having a horror for evil?  Do you believe this teaching, or is it ivory tower fluff?

5.      We are not finished yet with the pronouncements against Israel’s neighbors. Have you looked at a map yet to see where they once lived?  Might the fact that Amos addresses them from north to south be significant? In what way? 

6.      How do you choose which issues to fight for and which issues to let slide by for the time being? We certainly don’t like appearing negative and angry. Those who seem overly concerned with issues are told to “lighten up” or “get a life.” People tell us to “relax” and not let things bother us. What do these words of admonition do to, and for, our willingness to stand up for the right?

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