Amos Table of  Contents

Main Table of Contents


Minor Prophets: Major Messages

Chapter Three of Amos

Amos 3:1-2

“Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying:

You only have I known of all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you for all of your iniquities.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “That the church was established only with the Israelitish nation, wherefore evils and falsities will be examined there, vers. 1, 2....”

Scripture Confirmations

·        Verse 2 is quoted verbatim in a Posthumous Theological Work called Scripture Confirmations, but no explanation is given.

Derived Doctrine

Our work on these verses will require more application than we have done so far. There is one reference in the whole of the Writings, and it gives a summary of the two verses with little regarding specific representations. But this is a wonderful experience, so let’s enjoy it.

“Hear this Word that the Lord has Spoken…”

  • In AC 3869[2-8], we are given a series of meanings for hearing. It signifies obedience, the understanding, to know the things contained in the Word, and to have faith in the will.
  • “By hearing is signified both to perceive and to obey; because one attends that he may perceive and obey; that both these are signified by hearing is evident from common discourse, in which one speaks of hearing and of hearkening to anyone; the latter signifying to obey, and the former to perceive.” (AR 87)

The Lord Speaking to Anyone

  • “The Lord speaks with every man, for whatever a man wills and thinks that is good and true, is from the Lord...With those who suffer themselves to be led away by evil spirits, the Lord speaks as if absent, or from afar, so that it can scarcely be said that He is speaking; but with those who are being led by the Lord, He speaks as more nearly present....”  (AC 904)

The Lord Speaking Against Anyone

  • When the Lord speaks the truth and we find it threatening, or when the Lord speaks a “hard truth,” there is an appearance that the Lord is against us. But this is only an appearance. The Lord’s love for mankind is consistently soft, caring, concerned, and zealous to protect. Truth seems harsh and unbending, as it should be, when our actions are being turned to disorders and our minds are not open to receive spiritual sustenance from heaven. The first act of charity is to shun evils as sins, and if we are not doing that work of charity, the Lord must speak against us.

“O children of Israel, against the whole family”

  • We need to consider the order of the wording in this portion of our text. Children represent innocence. They represent the birth of truths of the church. Children, when rebellious, represent a form of corruption in the understanding of the church. Might one or more of these representations have some application?
  • Israel represents the spiritual good. Could the call of the Lord to the children of Israel represent the Lord appealing to the remains of the spiritual good in Israel? If any productive hearing or obedience is to occur, the listener’s remains must be revitalized.
  • “...families, when said of the sons of Israel, by whom is represented the spiritual church, as being the goods of truth...families denote the things which descend from good through truth, and are the goods of truth.” (AC 7916)
  • The whole family: The Concordance suggests looking up the word “integrity” for “whole.” “For the sake of making anyone blessed and happy, the Lord wills a total submission; that is, that he should not be partly his own, and partly the Lord’s....the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole mind, and all the forces, being recipients, must be the Lord’s, consequently there must be a total submission.” (AC 6138[2-3])

Being Brought up out of the Land of Egypt

  • “The reason why Egypt signifies not only intelligence but also insanity in spiritual things, is because the Ancient Church, which extended through many kingdoms...was also in Egypt, at which time the Egyptians excelled all others in cultivating the science of correspondences between spiritual things and natural, as appears from their hieroglyphics. But when that science was turned by them into magic, and became idolatrous, then their intelligence in things spiritual became insanity....” (AR 503)
  • The Lord reminded Israel that He had called them out of that Egyptian spiritual insanity.

“You only have I known of all the families of the earth”

  • “...knowing, when said of the because the Lord knows each and all things from eternity....” (AC 6853)
  • In Exodus 5:2, it is said, “I know not Jehovah...” Such a statement signifies “...not to care [about the Lord], for he who does not care, says that he does not know.” (AC 7097) This is not the case with the Lord. He knows Israel completely.
  • The Lord’s statement that He knows only Israel is a statement of divine foresight and of divine caring for all people that goes beyond human comprehension. However, this is not what the Jewish nation understood from these words. They believed that prophecies, such as this, meant they were a favored nation or chosen people. The Writings tell us anyone who believes this errs. “...the Israelitish and Jewish nation were not chosen, and still less that it will be chosen; and also that there was not anything of the church with it, nor could be, but only the representative of a church; and that the reason why it has been preserved even to this day, has been for the sake of the Word of the Old Testament (n. 3479).” (AC 7051[4])
  • So the Lord’s knowing them was really His forming and choosing of them as a representative church, and any punishment for their iniquities was so that they could “ in a holy external...and could have holy rituals by which the heavenly things of the Lord’s kingdom...[could be] represented....” (AC 3479[2])
  • Eventually, the evils of Israel would be overshadowed with the prophecy of the Messiah. As a nation, Israel was plundered, and her able-bodied were sent to captivity. The Old Testament prophecies needed to be preserved because they offered hope and consolation to the world.  Regardless of what happened to Israel, the story of the Lord’s coming and His redemption was to be kept alive within the representative rituals and teachings of Israel. The Lord knew what He wanted preserved in the church. He knew His church, and it was to be the means by which the story of Hell’s defeat would be preserved and fulfilled with His coming.

Putting It All Together

1. The church was established only with the Israelitish nation.
 Wherefore evils and falsities will have to be examined there.

Israel and its scribes, as troublesome as they were, meticulously copied every jot and tittle of the Word. They preserved the Word with a loyalty that is impressive. By the means of their labor, the books of the Word, with amazingly few errors, were passed on through the generations to us. The Lord’s watchful, knowing, and corrective Providence kept the Word so that the New Testament and the Writings might rest upon a firm foundation of the Old Testament. For this to be so, the Lord knew only Israel and their evils and falsities had to be examined there.

As we think about this, it is even more amazing to think about the “wholeness” of the Word. Here is a book written for those in the past, and yet it had to be written so as to help those of us in the present. But that is not all. The Word had to feed not only the past and the present, but it had to be the source of inspiration for the angels to study to eternity and be so profound that the angels will never exhaust the myriad of truths in a single word or placement of a comma. Every detail contains meaning: The curvatures in the letters, the Hebrew letters with little horns turning upwards, the vowel sounds adding a roughness or aspiration to the meaning of the Word. So much more could be said about what the angels find in the Word. No human could ever accomplish this astounding feat of writing. Such an awesome preparation of the Word so that our discovery of truth will always be new and exciting reminds us of a passage in Genesis:

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Gen. 28:16)

2. Some of this amazement carries over into the way the Lord called Swedenborg to be His servant to bring the Writings into the world so as to fulfill the promise of the Second Coming. The Lord is ever watchful of His New Church. We are to be guardians of these Divine works. How are we doing? Do we think of ourselves as the chosen ones? Are we willing to be encouraged or chastised by the Lord? Do we come with a wholeness of family? The whole heart, the whole soul, the whole mind, and all the forces? Total submission to the Lord’s church?

In part, the above reflects creative derived doctrine at work. What appeared void of direct teachings opened avenues of thought and application. What do you think of the use of derived doctrine? How does it contribute to our study?

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:1-2.

Read the summary in P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Please write out any questions that have occurred to you during this section and share them with the group during the discussion time.

2.      Here is a question I hesitate to offer because it requires knowing the differences in the branches of the New Church organizations, and I don’t want to send you off with a research project to answer this question.  What are the varying views of the Writings in each branch of the New Church? Remember the four are:

1. General Convention.

2. Conference.

3. General Church.

4. The Lord’s New Church.

Each branch has a different viewpoint of the Writings. I have often wondered how Divine Providence is working with these divergent points of view.

3.   How does the role of the New Church compare with that of the Israelitish church?  What can we learn from their successes and failures?  Are there temptations and strengths inherent in this role that are visible in both the Israelitish church and the New Church?

4.   How much did Israel understand their spiritual role as a church?  How much do we know? How do we learn more?

5.   How do the differences between a spiritual church and a human organization play a part in understanding the spiritual role of a church?

Amos 3:3-6

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey?
Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?
Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it?
Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all?
If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?
If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...that a church and no church cannot exist together, neither truths and falsities together without [the latter] being seized [by the former], vers. 3-6...”

AC 9348[5] and earlier sections

·        “That such things do not come to pass when a man does not love himself and the world above all things, is described in Amos...iii. 4,5.

·        What things do not come to pass? Earlier in this number, we are told about the signification of a snare: “...a snare when said of evils, as being allurement and deception. That evils allure and deceive, is because all evils spring from the loves of self and of the world...and the loves of self and the world are born with a man, and he feels the delight of his life from the moment of his birth...these loves, like the unseen currents of a river, continually draw the thought and the will of man away from the Lord to self, and away from heaven....” 

·        In this context, the things that do not come to pass are the negative aspects of the correspondences. When we read lion, roaring, prey, den, etc., we are not to focus on allurement and deceptions nor the love of self and the world. Instead, we are to focus on the positive correspondences.

AC 592

·        “ is predicated of Jehovah or the Lord that He punishes, that He tempts, that He does evil, that He destroys or kills, and that He curses. As for example...In Amos: - Shall evil befall a city, and Jehovah hath not done it? (iii. 6).” And further in this number we read: “ is man who brings evil upon himself, and ruins and destroys himself—although it is not man, but evil spirits who excite and lead him...”

De Verbo, Section XII, number 284

·        “...the Divine operation does not fall into a man who is empty and void, as for example one who does not know that the Lord is pure love and pure mercy, good itself, and truth itself, and that love itself and good itself are such in their essence that they cannot do evil to anyone, neither be angry nor revengeful....that there is no evil in the city which Jehovah hath not done, as in Amos (iii. 6)...”                                                         

Derived Doctrine

Please note that the Lord asks seven questions in these verses.

Question One: “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”


  • “That two signifies conjunction is because all things in general and in particular in the spiritual world, and consequently in the natural world, have reference to two things, namely, good and truth-to good as what acts and flows in and to truth as what suffers (submits) and receives...nothing is produced unless the two make a one by a certain image of marriage...” (AC 5194)

To Walk

  • In many passages of the Writings, to walk represents to live. Check the following for examples: AC 1794, 6276, 8420, 9212[8], and 10087[3].

The answer to this question seems evident when we consider that a will and understanding working together produce results, or walk toward an agreed upon goal. Good acts and truth receives. Are they agreed? There is no indication that they are pulling against one another; therefore, they must be in some degree of agreement.

Question Two: “Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey?”


  • “That a lion denotes the good of celestial love and the derivative truth, in its power, and also that in the opposite sense it denotes the evil of the love of self in its power, is evident from passages in the Word where a lion is mentioned.” (AC 6367)


  • “...the signification of ‘as a lion roareth’ as being on account of the desolation of Divine truth in the church; for a lion signifies Divine truth in its power...and to roar signifies the result of distress because of the desolation of truth....but in the contrary sense to roar or the roaring of a lion signifies an ardent desire to destroy and devastate the church, which is done by destroying Divine truth by means of the falsities of evil...because when a lion is hungry and seeks its prey, and also when it is enraged with anger against its enemy, it is its habit to roar.” (AE 601[1-4])


  • “ cut down wood in a forest denotes to act from a false religiosity (extremism), and to destroy such things as are of the church; for the church is called a forest, a garden, and a paradise - a forest from knowledges, a garden from intelligence and a paradise from wisdom...and as a forest denotes the church as to knowledges, thus as to external things, it also denotes a religiosity.” (AC 9011[5])


  • This is one of those words we need to consider carefully. The Concordance alternates between prey, spoil, booty, rapine and despoil. Let a couple of examples show the problem. Potts translates AC 576[3] in the following way: “Prey in mine house (Mal. iii.10) =  remains in the internal man, which are compared to prey because they are as it were furtively insinuated among so many evils and falsities.”
  • That same number in the standard edition, also translated by Potts, has “booty” in place of the word prey (along with some other word changes such as “stealthily” in place of “furtively”).
  • In AC 6442, we have a usage of spoil, rapine, and prey: “...spoil denotes those who have been rescued and delivered...rapine, spoil, and prey, denote the rescuing and deliverance of the good by the Lord.”
  • In AC 6443, “...from the signification of dividing the prey, as being to give a possession in the heavenly kingdom; for by prey are signified those who have been rescued and delivered by the Lord; hence by dividing the prey is signified distribution, namely, among those in heaven....”
  • AC 6368 has a powerful message about the Lord’s deliverance: “ of himself is in hell, for his will and thought from his own is nothing but evil and its falsity, by which he has been so bound to hell that he cannot be torn away without violence. This tearing away and deliverance is what is called the prey; and because this is done from the Lord’s Divine good, it is said that from the Lord through what is celestial is the deliverance of many from hell.”

Do we have a possible answer to question two? The Lord’s roaring is to indicate how zealously He wants to pull His people from the extreme destruction of the knowledges of the church (religiosity). He, as a lion, wants to awaken within His people the remains hidden in the internal man. This portion of the prophecy is not about doom but hopefulness. The lion in the forest will roar to announce that rescue and deliverance are available for the faithful. His celestial has the power to deliver many from hell.

Question Three: “Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?”

A Young Lion

  • “...the signification of a lion and an old lion, as being the good of love and the derivative truth in their power.... A young lion denotes one who is in power through truth from good, and an old lion one who is in power through good.” (AC 6369)

Cry Out of the Lion’s Den

  • “...that a cry in the Word, is said in reference to every affection that breaks forth from the heart, wherefore it is a voice of lamentation, of imploring, of supplication from grief, of entreaty, of indignation, of confession, yea of exultation.” AR 885.

We now have somewhat of a paradox to clear up. We do not have a direct representation of the word “den.” We have “den of thieves or robbers.”  We have representations of caves, but almost nothing for a lion’s den. The only reference given is the one where they put Daniel in the lion’s den. In P&P (explaining Daniel 6:10-17, regarding those who proposed worship of themselves instead of the Lord), we read that “...when this decree was opposed by those who belong to the Lord’s church, it was enacted that they should undergo the punishment [pronounced] by the inquisition, which is the lion’s den, into which Daniel was cast.”

In the references to “cave” and “lair,” we are taught that they signify the evil of self-love robbing the individual or church of its power and truth. But with several of the references above (AC 6368 and AC 6369), we have the correspondence of old (mature) lion and young lion in a most positive usage.  This third question is probably a continuation of Question Two. The old (mature) lion is to teach us about the Lord’s power through love, and the young lion is to teach us about His power through truth from good.  Therefore we can’t use den, cave, and lair in the opposite sense of self-love robbing the individual and church.  The Lord robs no one. His goal is to set us free.

We can, however, see the Lord’s Divine Good and Truth “catching” us and delivering us from the grip of hell. His power of truth from good can snatch us or tear us away from the grip hell imagines it has over us.  Therefore, the young lion crying out of his den sounds, to me, like a celebration and announcement to all that His efforts were not in vain, and He is not without His catch. A cry of exultation!

Question Four: “Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it?”

The literal sense seems to ask us to answer a “dumb” question. If there is no trap on the earth, the bird can’t fall into the snare. Is that really what this question is trying to illustrate? Let’s look at the correspondences.


  • A bird in general signifies rational things and also the intellectual things of the inward man. See AC 40.


  • A snare signifies mental delusions. “ be deluded and misled by one’s own evil and falsity....” (AC 10641) Being caught in a snare represents “ be caught by their own evil, and thus brought into the evil of the penalty.” (AC 7653)  It also “...denotes allurement and deception through the delights of the loves of self and of the world...and this through reasonings from the fallacies of the senses which favor these delights....” (AC 9348)

A Snare on Earth

  • AC 1066 has some very helpful teachings that seem to offer insights into the question under consideration.  In the Word, “earth” and “land” have several meanings. “In the universal sense it denotes the place or region where the church is, or where it has (also) signifies what is not the church, for every such word has contrary or opposite meanings.... But when the church is referred to the term earth is used to predicate “...all the doctrines both true and false that were of the churches.” (AC 1066)

The answer then to the Lord’s question is:

·        If a person’s mind pays attention to the rational things of the church…

  • If a person’s mind feeds the inward things...
  • If a person’s mind does not delude itself and is not misled by its own evil and falsity...
  • If a person’s mind is not allured through the delights of self and the world...
  • If a person’s mind is not fooled with the fallacies of the senses...

...then the bird will not fall into the snare on the earth. The church will exist and will seize or expel the “no church” condition of the mind.

Question Five: “Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all?”

This is a continuation of the question started above. The mind that is given to the Lord doesn’t let allow itself to be snared by negative doubts.  Hell would love to prove its point that all the things of the church are useless and ineffective. Hell often seeks to win its battle against the Lord with labels. The church is “narrow-minded.” The church is “behind the times” and doesn’t offer help with current issues. If one opposes the disorder of homosexuality, the opposer is labeled “homophobic.” If an issue is addressed from scripture, it is pointed out that other prohibitions mentioned in scripture are not adhered to. “Be consistent, and don’t choose what you want to expose as disorders. Don’t preach to me!” 

The snare of earth would love to spring up and expose the mind of the church. The “no church” mind hates the very existence of the Lord’s Church.

What I hear in this question is a profound statement from the Lord: The “no churches” think they are clever and able reasoners. Their traps, their trick questions, their lies, their plot to destroy all evidence of the Lord’s truth are like an empty snare on earth with nothing in it.

Question Six: “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?”

Blowing or Sounding a Trumpet

  • In AR 391 and 397, we are told that this represents to “ together upon solemn explore and discover the quality of those who are in faith alone...”
  • In AE 502[1] and [2], we read that it “signifies the flowing down of Divine truth out of heaven. When this flowing down is strong, it produces one effect with the good and another with the evil. With the good it illustrates the understanding, joins them more closely with heaven, and thence gladdens and vivifies their minds; but with the evil it disturbs the understanding, separates them from heaven, joins them more closely with hell, induces terror in their minds, and finally brings spiritual death.”


  • The word “city” has a wonderful range of meanings. A city represents the doctrine of the church and religion. (AR 402) Or, it can represent everything doctrinal or heretical in a person. (AC 402)  AE 223[20] says that “city” can signify the false doctrine of those who reject the Lord.

Our question seems to be addressed to all of us but most directly to those who reject the Lord. They will be called together on a solemn occasion. They will be examined. Those who have loved the Lord will find it a joyful occasion. Those who have rejected the Lord will find it a time of terror and a sense of “spiritual death.”

Question Seven: “If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?”

Tranquility, Serenity, Moderation

  • We are well acquainted with the teachings that say the Lord does no harm to anyone. It is an appearance that He is vengeful and hard on us. There is a beautiful teaching in AE 419 that explains what the Lord seeks for His children. The Word talks about tranquility and serenity:
  • “...the separations of the good from the evil and the casting out of the evil in the spiritual world are effected by various degrees of moderation and intensity of the Divine proceeding from the Lord as a sun. When this flows in moderately the good are separated from the evil...when the Divine from the Lord flows in moderately there is everywhere tranquility and serenity....”
  • I also like the teaching in this number that the Lord does this moderately. But those who rejected the Lord see Him as the one who brings calamity.


  • In TCR 69, we are given a powerful example of what the good and evil will see. “The man who lifts his mind to God and acknowledges that all the truth of wisdom is from like one who stands upon a lofty tower and sees beneath him a populous city and all that is being done in its streets. But the man who confirms in himself the belief that all truth of wisdom is from the natural light in himself, is like one who remains in a cavern beneath that tower and looks through holes at the same city, seeing nothing but the wall of a single house in that city, and how its bricks are joined.”

Putting It All Together

1. We must begin with the quote from P&P: “...that a church and no church cannot exist together, neither truths and falsities together without [the latter] being seized [by the former].”

2. The seven questions illustrate this point. The mind that is based on the Lord and His Word will not be empty and void.

3. The Lord will protect; He will seize the believers from the grip of hell. His roar of victory will resound throughout the heavens. Rescue and deliverance will thrill all in the heavens so that they in turn may inspire all on earth.

4. The worldly, the despisers of the Lord and His Word, will not snare the minds of those who believe in the Lord. Those who seek to snare the doctrines of the church are the ones who will be deluded and misled.

The “no church” and the “falsity” will be seized by the Lord. Why? Because falsity cannot stand in the presence of the Lord’s truth. Unreality cannot exist in the presence of the Lord’s Reality.

5. Picture Amos speaking this message today. In all probability, he would still be told to get out of town and go back to his sheep. 

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:3-6

Read the summary in P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Did you see a progression in the seven questions and their meanings?

2.      What is the significance of the statement of the Lord’s victory over the “no church” state? How does its significance to personal states compare to its significance for religious organizations?

3.      Do we take the outcome of the Lord’s work for granted? How does the New Church differ from traditional Christianity in its expectations of the Lord’s work? What is the difference between trustful confidence and self-assured disinterest?

4.      How about the Lord’s promise of tranquility and serenity, stemming from the moderate influx of the Divine? What do we think of the word “moderate”? Does it have a positive and negative sense? Which sense seems to be used in this passage?

5.      What about the two views of the city? How does a “peephole” view of the city limit the viewer? What might the bricks of the wall represent in this metaphor? How do we get a view from the tower and see generals leading to particulars?

Amos 3:7-8

“Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy?”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...that the Lord will most surely reveal this, vers. 7, 8...”

AR 3

·        “By servants, in the spiritual sense are meant those who are in truths; and because truths are from good, by servants are meant those who are in truths from good, thus also, those who are in wisdom from love.... Now as truths are serviceable to good by teaching servant, in the Word, is meant what is serviceable, or he or that which serves; in this sense not only the prophets are called the servants of God, but also the Lord as to His Human....” Amos 3:7 is cited as an example. 

AE 409[6]

·        “Since the Lord in respect to Divine truth is called in the Word ‘a servant’ from serving, so those who are in Divine truth from the Lord and thereby serve others are there called ‘servants,’ as the prophets are....” Amos 3:7 is cited. 

AE 601[8]

·        “‘The Lord Jehovah will not do a word unless He hath revealed His secret to His servants the prophets’ signifies that the Lord opens the interior things of the Word and of doctrine to those who are in truths from good; ‘to reveal a secret’ signifies to enlighten and to open the interior things of the Word; ‘His servants the prophets’ signify those who are in truths of doctrine and who receive; ‘ the lion hath roared, who will not fear?’ signifies a powerful revelation and manifestation of Divine truth; ‘the Lord Jehovah hath spoken, who will not prophesy?’ signifies reception and manifestation. The Lord is called ‘Lord Jehovah’ when good is treated of.” Amos 3:7, 8 are cited.

AE 624[9]

·        “In Amos: (iii. 7, 8) ‘prophesy’ signifies to receive Divine truth and to teach it....”

AR 241

·        “...a lion signifies truth in its power...may appear from the power of the lion above every animal of the earth, as also from lions in the spiritual world, where they are images representative of the power of Divine truth.... Hence it is that Jehovah, or the Lord is compared to ‘a lion’....” Amos 3:8 is cited.

AR 471

·        “...a lion roars when he sees His enemies and is assaulted by them, and when he sees his whelps and prey taken away; so does the Lord, comparatively, when He sees His church taken away from Him by devils. That this is what is signified by ‘roaring as a lion’....” Amos 3:8 is cited. 


·        “...Jehovah is compared to a ‘roaring lion,’ because a ‘lion’ signifies power to lead forth from hell or from evils, and to ‘roar’ signifies defense against evils and falsities....” Amos 3:8 is cited. 

Derived Doctrine

This section of the Word is clearly explained in the Writings, and there is no need to look for correspondences beyond what we are given. Let’s go directly to our summary section.

Putting It All Together

1. The Lord laments when anyone purposely chooses to flee from His protection. The Lord laments when the hells attack a church. In other words, the Lord is not a passive observer of His children or His church.

2. He has given us the Word. He came so that He might fight and conquer the hells. All of this was not done without the Lord revealing it to His servants and prophets. His truth is serviceable and practical. These revelations and manifestations of Divine truth are “powerful” as told to us in AE 601[8].

The lion roaring is a spiritual roaring that puts fear into the heart of the hells. They surely know in their lucid moments that they cannot stand in the presence of the Lord. But sadly, their insanity causes them to imagine they can defeat the Lord.

We, as readers of this prophecy, must take heart that we are cared for and loved by the Lord. He laments for each of us if anything of hell assaults us, and His truths, as servants, work to give us the wisdom of good to overcome and withstand the poison of falsity.

3. These two verses are a continuation of the previous seven questions. They highlight the good news of the Lord’s victory and help us to understand what is said in the P&P summary: “...the Lord will most surely reveal this....”

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:7-8.

Read the summary in P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Have you noticed how often the prophecy of Amos portrays the Lord as a roaring Lion? Isn’t this a powerful image to add to our picture of the Lord?  What other images of the Lord do we find in His Word?

2.      The prophecy of Amos is more a statement of affirmativeness and that one of doom and gloom. In the spiritual sense, it is an announcement of the coming of the New Jerusalem. What parts of the prophecy so far seem to announce the coming of the New Jerusalem?

3.      What explanation or understanding comes to you when the Writings say the Lord roars when He sees His church being taken away from Him by the devils? Can Hell really take the Lord’s church away from Him?

4.      How much are we aware of all that the Lord does for us?  How often does He act on our behalf?  Does He let us help Him?  If so, how? How much is done for us, and how much do we do as if from ourselves?

5.      How many secrets do you think the Lord has given us? I’m not thinking of a specific number as much as a sense of appreciation for all that we have been given. Do we value them enough? What do we do to cherish this gift each day?

Amos 3:9-10

“Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod,
And in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say:
‘Assemble on the mountains of Samaria;|
See great tumults in her midst,
And the oppressed within her.
For they do not know to do right,’
Says the Lord,
‘Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.’”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...for thence it appears in what manner the church is being laid waste, vers. 9, 10...”

Note: This is the only direct reference we have to these two verses. Once again, our ability to understand these verses falls on our ability to use derived doctrine.

Derived Doctrine


  • Remember that “palaces,” in the positive sense, signify the understanding in which the truths of doctrine from good are arranged in beautiful forms. (AC 4926)
  • So what follows is a call to learn by reflecting on specific contrasts. What does one see in the spiritual palaces of Ashdod and Egypt? Is this what Israel was to reflect on so that they might learn or see the contrasts necessary to repent?

Palaces of Ashdod

  • Ashdod was the city and site of the Philistine god, Dagon. What most important message should be proclaimed in the palaces of Ashdod? AE 817[10] indicates that Dagon represents an understanding that is destitute of the good of love. This is not what the Lord wants His spiritual palaces to reflect!

Palaces of Egypt

  • And what was to be said in the palaces in the land of Egypt? Egypt represented the perversion and profaning of divine truths. (AC 4735[15]) Land, on the other hand, signifies “...the church...also what is not the church....” (AC 1066)
  • It seems to make sense that the Lord wanted them to look at the perverted palaces of Egypt so they would see these were not the things of His representative church. He was challenging them to clean up the spiritual palace of the mind and to restore it to the beauty and order befitting the Lord God of Israel.

The Call to Assemble on the Mountains of Samaria

  • The word assemble is used to represent arranging things in order. Take for instance this quote: “Assemble yourselves. That this signifies that they should set themselves in order...for in the spiritual sense ‘to be assembled’ has no other meaning, because truths and goods cannot be assembled unless they are also set in order.” (AC 6338)
  • Let’s look at some representations of Samaria:

o       signifies the spiritual church or the same perverted. (AC 1368[3])

o       signifies the church which is in the affection of falsities or in affection of truth. (AC 2466[4])

o       signifies those who are in external worship. (AC 10050[2])

  • In all likelihood, the last quote comes closest to what is represented here. The AC 10050 reference is cited for our Amos 3:12 verse.
  • So, the Lord was calling for the reordering of external worship so that goods and truths might lead them to repentance.

Great Tumults in her Midst

  • When external order is called for, internal disorder aligns itself to resist. It will not give up easily. It will cause great tumult and anxiety in the midst of the assembling order. Disorder will fight to maintain its existence and control. The Lord is telling the Israelites they have work and warfare to wage.

Ignorance of the Difference between Right and Wrong

  • This makes sense. If the Israelites have impaired their external order, if that disorder entered worship, if truth did not matter, and if their prophets were told not to give prophecies, it seems logical to assume that they would lose the ability to discriminate between the things of the world and heaven.

Storing Violence and Robbery in Their Palaces

  • When the ability to discriminate between right and wrong is lost, there will be serious damage or violence to truth and justice. People will warp moral virtues to fit the justifications needed to perpetrate thefts and lies. In the case of the Israelites in Amos, the worst aspect of this robbery and violence was that they made it appear legal and sanctioned by the church and the Word. Their palaces were shabby, artificial, and dysfunctional.

Putting It All Together

1. The sacrament of Holy Supper offers a time for reflection. It is a time to look specifically at our lives and find an area of disorder that is blocks the light of heaven. When that specific disorder is seen, we need to make ourselves guilty of it. We are to confess that sin, as something for which we alone are responsible. Then we are to supplicate the Lord for His help in removing that disorder. When we do this work of repentance, there is a last step in the pursuit of our goal: A new life. We must live the change to make improvement.

TCR 700[3] likens this most important sacrament to a river “containing scarcely visible grains of gold in great abundance; but when its holiness has been revealed, it is like the gold collected from the sand, melted into a mass, and wrought into beautiful forms.”

We are to be sifters. We are to separate out the falsity of sand so that we can find the gold. That collected gold then needs to be put into some form that will honor the Lord.

2. Consequently, we are to look at contrasts. We are to desire spiritual palaces that contain the gifts of a spiritual life, palaces that will show us the difference between right and wrong. We need to find the discriminating prudence that comes from the Word.

3. The church of Israel stands forth here as a symbol of waste and dishonor. Implied in this contrast are some questions: “What is the health and vitality of your church like? Is your palace a place where violence and robbery are stored? Or is it place where order is found and a tumult is going on in the midst, so that evil is banished from a sanctuary dedicated to the worship of the Lord God Jesus Christ?

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:9-10.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      How successful are you at preparing for Holy Supper? Are you able to reflect on some specific thing you need help in overcoming so that Holy Supper is entered into worthily?

2.      Do you slip into the general or vague request: “You know me, Lord. Remove whatever is most necessary.”? It appears from the Word that we need to be specific, own up to our mistakes, and not blame others for our conduct. Why do you think it is important to follow these steps?  Why is it important to be specific?

3.      How fair do we have to be to discriminate in matters of right and wrong? I’ve heard it said that the Lord wants us to make decisions.  If we see that we have erred, He wants us to be willing to change. The mistake is to stubbornly hold to a wrong decision and refuse to change. What makes change hard in this context?

4.      What is your view of this thing called self-esteem? Do we place this idea in its proper order of importance?  What are some ways to keep a healthy perspective on self-esteem?                                      

Amos 3:11

“Therefore thus says the Lord God:
An adversary shall be around the land;
He shall sap your strength from you,
And your palaces shall be plundered.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...wherefore the truths of the church perish by falsities, ver. 11...”

AC 2973[5&6]

·        “...when man does not suffer the Lord to dispose the things round about to correspondence, then he recedes from heaven in the measure in which he does not suffer it. That the soul of man is in the midst...and that the body is round well known; for it is the body that encompasses and invests his soul or his spirit.... It is now plain what ‘round about’ means.” Amos 3:11 is cited as one of the references. 

Derived Doctrine

An Adversary

  • Like most correspondences, the word “adversary” has a good and bad sense. In the positive sense, the Lord is an adversary to hell and all of its workings. The Lord opposes its influence on our lives. The Lord also is our adversary when we insist on doing things that are harmful to our souls. That sense is involved in Matthew 5:25, where we read, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.”  In other words, when we are out of order, it is in our best spiritual interest to patch up our differences with the Lord as quickly as possible because we are wrong. The Lord has the truth and the facts about our transgressions. If we were to be taken to a “judge,” the facts, the evidence, would clearly show us as guilty, and our adversary not only completely fair, but accurate. Save yourself the grief of the “hearing” or ruling of the judge, and agree to a settlement with the Lord.
  • An adversary also may signify every evil and falsity that seeks to thwart our work of repentance. Hell seeks to intimidate, threaten, embarrass, flatter, and mock us into quitting the work of repentance. It claims to have evidence to prove our unworthy state and tries to tell us to give up. The Lord appears to be the adversary but to the degree we “suffer” ourselves to allow the Lord to dispose things round about, we become the winners over the hells.               

Around the Land...

  • This word “land” has appeared often in our study. It represents “the church...also what is not the church....” (AC 1066) The seeming flip-flop here is not an inconsistency of doctrine. It represents the choice we make. We will dispose things so that the Lord can enter the soul and fill us with the things of the church, or we can dispose of the order of the Lord and become that which is not the church.

The Adversary Will Sap Strength and Plunder the Palaces

  • If we turn our backs on the Lord, we lose vitality and we lose the spiritual palaces storing good and truth. If we join forces with the hells, they will surely plunder us. Hell has no love for individuals. Their hatred burns to destroy the souls of people. Either way, it is a lose-lose situation, whereas agreeing quickly with the Lord is a win-win choice.

Putting It All Together

1. The Lord alerts us to the fact that hell, our adversary, is all around the church. Hell's goal is simple. It wants to separate us from the Lord. How it accomplishes that goal is dependent on each person. Hell has a bag of thousands of dirty tricks. It will try them all. It wants to sap our strength. It wants to cause us to despair. It wants us to fight with one another.

2. To be alerted by the Lord to the plan of hell is a wise beginning. What we need to do is to "suffer" (allow) ourselves to be led by the Lord. The Lord has a plan that will conquer anything hell has to offer. Reading His Word, praying for His help, and seeking to be of use to Him and the neighbor are all ways to thwart the adversary.

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:11.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Our unit of study covered one verse. That one verse had no direct teachings for us to consider. We sought the help of derived doctrine. Did that study help us see the meaning? Was anything left out that needs clarification?

2.      Do we agree with the Lord because we are scared of hell, or do we agree with Him from a “holy fear?” I’m sure many of you know the difference. If not, check out DP 136-139.

3.      How can we best “suffer” ourselves to let the Lord dispose the things of order “round about” us? The “suffer” means “allow.” What does it mean when we “allow” the Lord, who is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent, to do something for us?

Amos 3:12

“Thus says the Lord:

As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion
Two legs or a piece of an ear,
So shall the children of Israel be taken out
Who dwell in Samaria-
In the corner of a bed and on the edge of a couch!”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...and the goods and truths of the Word will be taken away from them, ver. 12...”

AC 3869[10&11]

·        “...‘to snatch the two legs’ denotes the will of good; and the ‘piece of an ear,’ the will of truth. That a ‘piece of an ear’ denotes this can as before said be seen solely from the correspondences in the other life, and the derivative significatives, according to which the internal sense of the Word, and also the rituals in the Israelitish and Jewish Church.... the obedience of faith is understood by ‘ears’ and obeying by ‘hearing’...”

AC 6188[2]

·        “That a ‘bed’ denotes what is natural, is because the natural is beneath the rational, and serves it as a bed; for the rational as it were lies down upon the natural; and because the natural is thus spread out underneath, it is called a ‘bed’ Amos iii.12....‘in the corner of a bed’ denotes in the lowest of the natural; and ‘on the end of a couch’ denotes in what is sensuous. For by the people Israel whose metropolis was Samaria, was represented the Lord’s spiritual kingdom.”

AC 10050[1&2]

·        “...the signification of ‘legs’...the exterior things that belong to the natural man.... The like is signified by ‘legs’ in ‘the lion’ are here signified those who lay waste the church; by ‘legs,’ the external of the church, which also is of the natural man; by ‘a piece of an ear,’ its perception; by ‘them that dwell in Samaria,’ those who are in external worship; ‘the corner of a bed and the extremity of a couch’ denote the lowest natural, which is the external sensuous, and its truth and good.”

AR 137

·        “Doctrine is also signified by ‘bed’ in Amos.... ‘In the corner of a bed,’ and ‘in the extremity of a couch,’ means what is more remote from the truths and goods of doctrine. ‘Bed’ and ‘couch’ and ‘bed chamber’ have a similar signification....”

AE 163[3]

·        “‘Bed’ signifies the natural man, because the natural man underlies the spiritual, thus the spiritual lies on it and on the things that are in it as on its own bed.... In Amos...‘Lion’ signifies the church, here those therein that destroy goods and truths; ‘legs and a bit of an ear’ are the goods that are in the natural man, and something of perception of truth therefrom; ‘the sons of Israel that dwell in Samaria’ are those of the church; ‘on the corner of the bed, and on the end of the couch,’ are those in a little natural light from the spiritual, and in some truths therefrom.”

Derived Doctrine


  • “ one who exercises the good of charity.... He leads and teaches...those who are led and taught are called the ‘flock.’” (AC 343)


  • “By ‘mouth’ is signified doctrine, preaching and discourse...reasonings from falsities of doctrine....” (AR 574) This reference from AR also presents the meaning of “his mouth being as the mouth of a lion.” A lion in the good sense is representative of the Divine truth of the Word.

Putting It All Together

1. The summary of this verse has many threads to follow. I will attempt to follow one. You may be drawn to one of the other choices.

2. The children of Israel had made their bed, and they were lying in it. They chose the lowest quality of spiritual life. Their doctrine, their preaching, and their discourses were superficial and not very nourishing for the soul. The “beds” upon which their rational would rest kept them in a sensual squalor that was not befitting a church that was to represent the Lord and His Word to the world.

3. They were satisfied with squeezing religion in the corner and on the edge of the bed. Compare this attitude with the Advent lessons, when there was “no room in the inn” for the Lord to be born. They were so busy with their own agendas that they ignored the Lord’s plans for the church and failed to see the reality of their states.

4. Cramped and not restful, their souls had little (inferior) spiritual light. They hung on the edge of the bed (doctrine). The good of love and the good of wisdom, like two legs of a lamb, were in the mouth of the lion. The Lord as the Shepherd rescued what little good was left. He always preserves a remnant of a dying church so as to build a new one to serve as protector or repository for the living Word of the Lord.

5. The piece of the ear preserved is compellingly symbolic of the little obedience of faith the Israelites had left in them. A tattered, chewed on remnant of obedience. People only hear as well as they listen. Israel had ears that were heavy, and they were not listening well.                                                             

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:12.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      I wonder, as we go further into this study, how those who heard Amos understood this prophecy. The deeper levels of the correspondences have to be reviewed and remembered over and over. The Israelites were so wrapped up in their lies and superficiality that I don’t think they cared enough to pay attention. What do you think about this?

2.      The image of the lion with the legs in its mouth and the piece of the ear being rescued is easy to keep in the mind’s eye. How can we best use this teaching for ourselves?

3.      What about the bed as a resting place for the rational? Do we see this in a practical example? Is the crowded corner and sleeping on the edge of the bed something we can illustrate too? Do these things speak of our limited time of reading, reflecting on, and discussing doctrine each day? Our daily schedules seem to crowd out the spiritual and we know about this, but can we change our lifestyles?

4.      We need to see these questions as a positive strengthening of spiritual priorities that are intended to improve the quality of our life, and not just negative weights laid on our busy, and somewhat confusing, time management decisions. What helps us see them as positive? Do we see positive outcomes when we address such questions?                                                          

Amos 3:13-15

“Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,
Says the Lord God of hosts,
That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions,
I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel;
And the horns of the altar shall be cut off
And fall to the ground.
I will destroy the winter house along with the summer house;
The houses of ivory shall perish,
And the great houses shall have an end,
Says the Lord.”

Passages From the Writings


·        In the previous verse, we read “...the goods and the truths of the Word will be taken away from them....” And now in verses 13-15, we are told: “...together with all things pertaining to the church, vers. 13-15.”

AC 921[4]

·        “...‘altars’ denote idolatrous worship. In Amos iii. 14...‘altars’ denote representative worship became idolatrous.”

AC 2832[10]

·        “In Amos...the ‘horns of the altar were to be cut off,’ was because truth from good was no longer represented there; ‘Bethel’ is the Divine Good, and is therefore called the ‘king’s sanctuary,’ and the ‘house of the kingdom’....”

AC 10182[8]

·        “In ‘the altars of Bethel,’ and by its ‘horns,’ are signified evils and falsities destroying the good and truth of the church, of which it is said that they ‘shall be cut off.’”

Doctrine of the Lord 4

·        The Doctrine of the Lord 4 has a reference to Amos 3:14. There are many passages cited whereby the word ‘that day,’ ‘in that day,’ and ‘in that time’ meant the Lord’s advent.”

AR 270

·        “A it is everywhere (in the Word) signified power; therefore when a ‘horn’ is predicated of the Lord, it signifies omnipotence....that ‘a horn’ signifies power...may appear from the following passages...” Amos 3:14 is cited.

AR 392

·        In AR 392, Amos 3:14 is cited as one of representative examples of where there was worship “from evil and from the falsities of evil.”

AE 316[20]

·        “In Amos...‘The altars of Bethel’ signify worship from evil, and ‘the horns of the altar’ signify the falsities of that evil; and that these are to be destroyed is signified by ‘the horns shall be cut off and fall to the earth.’”

AE 391[29]

·        “In Amos...‘To visit the transgressions of Israel upon him’ signifies their last state, in the spiritual sense their state after death, when they are to be judged; it is said ‘to visit,’ instead of to judge, because visitation always proceeds judgment; ‘the altars of Bethel’ signify the worship from evil; ‘the horns of the altar’ signify worship from falsities, thus these signify all things of worship; and that these are to be destroyed is signified by ‘the horns shall be hewn down and fall to the earth.’ It is said, ‘I will visit upon the altars of Bethel,’ because Jeroboam separated the Israelites from the Jews, and erected two altars, one in Bethel and the other in Dan...”

·        This quote goes on for quite a bit more. One of the interesting points made in it is that these two altars represented a division and separation of worship from charity, and brought people to the state where “the mouth speaks apart from the understanding and the will, that is apart from the mind...they say men ought to believe even though they do not understand...(thus) they put aside deeds or goods of charity.”

AC 1453[2&4]

·        “...for man is a Bethel, that is a house of God, and also a gate of heaven, when he is in the celestial things of knowledges.... After Jeroboam had profaned had an opposite representation....”

AR 774

·        “That ‘ivory’ signifies natural truth may be evident from the passages where ivory is mentioned, as...Amos iii. 15....”

AE 1146[3]

·        “In (Amos) ‘Houses’ signify the things of the human mind, here the things of the natural mind separate from the spiritual mind; ‘winter house and summer house’ signify things of the natural man that are called sensual, and ‘house of ivory’ and ‘great house’ signify the things of the natural man that are called rational, ‘house of ivory’ here meaning those that have relation to truth, and ‘great house’ those that have relation to good.”


AR 595

·        “By ‘horns’ is signified the power of speaking, teaching, and writing, thus of reasoning and arguing.”

Derived Doctrine

This section of our study has a tremendous amount of information regarding Amos’ prophecy. There is so much that I will not seek to find any more because it might overwhelm us in the summation of these verses. I will proceed now to the summary section.                                                    

Putting It All Together

1. When things go wrong, we often look for the cause. In this series, it would appear that it is important for us to start with the possible cause of things...King Jeroboam.  AE 391[29] tells us that the Lord needed to visit (bring judgment) upon Israel because “Jeroboam separated the Israelites from the Jews, and erected two altars, one in Bethel and the other in Dan.” His motives brought about serious effects:

·        Bethel had represented a house of God and a gate to heaven. Bethel took on an opposite representation.

·        Their mouths (worship) separated the understanding and will. Doctrine was presented with a requirement to believe, even though they had no understanding of what it all meant. Therefore, their hearts left the worship, and closeness to the Lord was absent.

·        The horns of the altar signified power: the power of speaking, teaching, and writing, and thus reasoning and arguing. When the will and understanding were separated, these sources of power gradually diminished, and like a flickering light, they were about to go out.

·        Worship had no checks and balances. The people, like blind men, followed the teachings of their priesthood as long as it pleased them to do so. Therefore, falsity and idolatry entered the house of the Lord, profaning the very vessels of representation.

·        Every form of a spiritual house suffered. The winter house, the summer house, the ivory house and the great houses. The sensual, the rational and their relationship to the truth and good, were gone or destroyed.

·        No one cared. Their ruling love as represented by Jeroboam separated and perverted all of the arrangements and ordering of the tribes the Lord had seen to. The Lord’s ordering was so powerful Balaam could not pronounce a curse on Israel...only a blessing.

2. The Lord said that He would punish Israel for their transgressions. The punishment was not from anger but love. His love appears hard to the wicked, but it is full of mercy. The Lord had to cut off the “horns” of their altars. Their power of speaking lies, their power of teaching profanation and idolatry, their writing of foolishness, and their specious reasoning and arguments had to be cut off.  

3. The house of God—the gate of heaven—was not available to the people, and the Lord needed to restore communication with the church. There could be no compromises or easing back into things. Like a cancer, their self-serving lies had to be removed completely before the contamination tainted all vital forms of spiritual love.

Read and Review

Read Amos 3:13-15.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Have you formed your summary of these verses? It is important that we do this so that our ability to connect the series increases as we move on.

2.      There are many other historical reasons why the nations divided. Bringing that into this section may be useful. What points might be added to strengthen this study?

3.      The different houses show a fascinating progression. I wanted to check the signification of each a little deeper. Winter. Summer. Ivory. Great houses. Anyone willing to go further? What does each one mean?  What might the progression mean?

4.      What can we as New Church members take from this so we may protect ourselves from or avert the failings presented in this text?

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