Amos Table of  Contents

Main Table of Contents


Minor Prophets: Major Messages

Chapter Seven of Amos

Amos 7:1

 Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings.

Passages From the Writings


  • "That the church has increased from the externals to externals, ver. 1..."

AE 543[11]

  • "The ‘locust’ signifies...falsity in the most external things, or the densest falsity...which is one of the curses if they did not keep and do the commandments of Jehovah....and the ‘locust’[denote] dense falsity from the sensual man that consumes and destroys...." Amos 7:1-2 is cited.

Derived Doctrine

Swarming Locusts

  • The swarming of locust is not covered specifically for this verse of Amos, but we can draw on other references from the Word such as Exodus 10:14-15, in which the locust were so thick they darkened Egypt, and they ate the residue (the late crop) of what was left from the plague of hail.
  • The Writings make a point that this represents a sad period in the life of an evil person who "persuade themselves that they are in truth by faith, but they are not; they are in falsity, and are against the truth of faith." (AC 7689) Such a spiritual state severs all connection with the light of heaven and the "crop" of every living thing is devoured with a malicious swarming of lies thus producing a gross darkness of the mind.


  • We need to note the good and bad representation of king. In the good sense, "king" represents being led by the divine truth and divine good from the Lord, our "king." In the bad sense, it represents those who feign obedience but really seek to rule themselves by claiming, or demanding, merit. Let this quote help us see the difference:
    • "Those who have lived a good civic and moral life, but have persuaded themselves that they merit heaven by their works...have their false principles turned into such phantasies that they seem to themselves to be cutting grass, and are called grass-cutters.... They are always hoping to be taken up to heaven, and sometimes consult together how they may introduce themselves by their own power." (AC 1111)
      • The locusts eat early and "late" mowings by such self-serving kings.

Putting It All Together

1. The reading in P&P on this verse turns our attention to this teaching: "That the church has increased from externals to externals..." What does that mean to you? To answer this question, let’s turn to a passage in the Arcana: "...when a man is in things external, as when he is in worldly and bodily things, then the angels are removed, and when they are removed, then nothing at all of...goods and truths appears." (AC 5897[11])

2. Increasing from externals to internals is lauded. We are told that such a progression causes a conjunction of the Lord with His church. But that is not what is happening in this prophecy. All thinking and living is from sensual and bodily things. Let’s liken this process to a sand dune. Little grows on it. It offers little in the way of a firm foundation because its substance shifts with the prevailing current or wind.

3. Have you ever looked at a teaching from the Word and thought you understood the essence of the passage until popular opinions caused you to have doubts about its eternal application? Were precedents pointed out that appeared to provide exceptions to the teaching? It sometimes appears that human experience testifies against a teaching in the Word, and we need to explain away the former rigidity with modern enlightenment. "We were turning people away from the church with such hard teachings." This is an appearance, not the truth.

4. The "mowings" of modern meritorious thinking seem to hold more of an appeal than the "antiquated" teachings of the Word. There are those who want to have a feel-good experience with religion. Are we in a period of moving from externals to externals? Has the external world rationalized the Lord’s Word to the point where a "swarm" of locusts plunder everything in sight, silencing the warnings of our conscience and perception?

5. Lastly, do we see evidence that there are those who keep "cutting grass" thinking that leading a civil and moral life will carry the day and earn heaven for them? How about this statement: "It doesn’t matter what kind of faith we follow as long as we are kind to one another. We all worship the same God, and after all that is all that really matters in the long run." What truth and falsity are mixed in this statement?

Read and Review

Read Amos 7:1.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

  1. What is the first act of charity? To shun evils as sins. If we move from externals to externals, how can we even begin to fulfill this requirement? Why is the internal necessary to the existence of charity in us?

  2. Have you ever done a study of what acts of worship the Lord abrogated? Please check out AC 9349. This quote might be of great use if a discussion should arise about the validity of rites and rituals. Old forms verses modern forms can be a heat-producing topic.

    Did you see anything in this number that would be of great use when the world or the bodily senses (logic) try to abrogate inconvenient prohibitions to their ends?

  3. How flexible have the "external of externals" made us in our thinking? Why?

  4. Would you see yourself as a "mower of grass"?

  5. Is it necessary for us to rework the image of the church to bring those who have been hurt back into the fold of the church? What specific things would have to be looked at and possibly changed? Would those external changes eventually lead to internal changes? Are there internal changes we can make that would bring about external changes? How can we be softer, but yet true to the Word of the Lord, so that we don’t have a "swarm of locust" so thick that the skies grow dark and the spiritual food of the soul is devoured?

Amos 7:2-6

“And so it was, when they (the locust) had finished eating the grass of the land, that I said:
O Lord God, forgive, I pray!
Oh, that Jacob may stand,
For he is small!
So the Lord relented concerning this.
It shall not be, said the Lord.
Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, the Lord God called for conflict by fire,
and it consumed the great deep and devoured the territory.
Then I said: O Lord God, cease, I pray!
Oh, that Jacob may stand,
For he is small!
So the Lord relented concerning this.
This also shall not be, said the Lord God.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...that when externals were corrupted, reparation was made, vers. 2-6...”

AC 4281

·        “ the Word ‘Jacob’ denotes not only Jacob, but also all his posterity.... Jacob and his posterity were of such a character that with them celestial and spiritual love could not be conjoined with natural good (that is, the internal or spiritual man with the external or natural man)...for they did not know, nor were they willing to know, what the internal or spiritual man is, and therefore this was not revealed to them; for they believed that nothing exists in man except that which is external and natural. In all their worship they had regard to nothing else, insomuch that Divine worship was to them no otherwise than idolatrous....” Amos 7:2 is cited.

AC 7571[2]

·        This number cites Amos 7:2 regarding the meaning of “grass and herbs.” By these words are meant such things as are of the church. “...the truth which is of faith...”

AC 10441[3]

·        “In these passages Jehovah is said to have ‘repented,’ when yet it cannot be that He repents, because He knows all things before He does them; from which it is evident that by ‘repenting’ is signified mercy.” Amos 7:3, 6 are cited.

AC 587

·     “ is of mercy to be punished, because mercy turns all the evil of punishment into good.... Mercy has its name from the fact that it delivers man from miseries and from hell...”  

AE 538[13]

·        “In these passages...‘the abyss’ and ‘the depth of the sea’ signify the hell where and from which are the falsities of evil; for the reason that the evil spirits who are there, and who while they lived as men in the world were in the falsities of evil, seem to dwell as it were in the bottom of the seas, and this more deeply according to the grievousness of the evil from which was their falsity.”  Amos 7:4 is cited as one of many examples.

Derived Doctrine

 “Oh, that Jacob may stand...” 

·        In AC 7068, we have this interesting quote: “...they who are in truth are as it were rigid, and stand erect as if they were hard; and when they ought to humble themselves before the Divine, they only bend the body a little; but they who are in good are as it were soft, and when they humble themselves before the Divine, they bow themselves down to the earth.”

·        In AR 366, we are told that standing before God is to hear and do what He commands.

·        Standing represents new life such as belong to a regenerate person. (AE 666[3])

·        Somewhere in this wide range of meanings, it would appear that the Word is contrasting the state of the Israelites to that of the external man. He is broken by the “locust” events in his life, and yet he remains resistively proud and fails to give total humility to the Lord. The external man is only willing to bend the body slightly to acknowledge the mercy of the Lord.

Jacob’s Small Size

  • In AE 696, we have an explanation of the “small and the great” fearing the name of the Lord. The “small” mean those “...who have but little knowledge of the truths and goods of the church, and ‘the great’ those who know much, thus those who worship the Lord little and much; for (small or great) is measured according to how much a man knows the truths of faith and lives according to them....”

The Lord Relenting

  • “The Lord relented concerning this....” Could this mean that the Lord took into account how “small” Jacob was? If Jacob had been described as “great,” would the Lord’s mercy have relented?

Conflict by Fire

·        AE 702 includes a teaching that may offer us a possible meaning of this verse. “...Where the evil are there were conflicts and disturbances of the thoughts and reasonings...respecting the goods and truths of the church.” The ranting and ravings of hell offered up confusion and uncertainty to the worship of the Lord.

  • The conflict of fire could represent how the Lord’s love (fire) will consume all of these illogical ravings and disturbances. This prophecy tells us that the Lord’s love or mercy will “consume” and expose the malignant insanities the evil thought they had well hidden in the deepest recesses of their dwellings or territory.

Repetition in the Word

  • Once again, the plea of the prophecy asks the Lord to cease and to help Jacob stand for he is small, and once again, we are told that the Lord relented. Why are these words repeated? Is it for poetical emphasis?
  • We need to hear the teaching of the Writings:
    • “...there is not the least word [in the Word] that is superfluous and vain...There is therefore no repetition, except with another signification.” (AC 734)
    • “...he who does not know the mystery...cannot but think...[that] repetition [is] for the sake of emphasis. But this is not so.... One expression has reference to truth, the other to good; thus one has reference to the intellect...and the other to the will....” (AC 4691)                                                                    
  • Therefore, we must see that this second reference is not repetition; it is for the examination of the quality of the will.

Putting It All Together

1. When externals are corrupted, the Lord works to make reparations possible for His children. When the locust “finished eating the grass of the land...the Lord relented....” Evil has to run its course, and human beings have to almost hit the bottom of despair. Providence can then enter and lift us from the grip of hell’s influence. Such states of despair help to break up the hard ground of the mind. The ground of our minds wants relief and protection from the barrenness hell has left us in.

2. How small or great are we? Will we stand before the Lord with rigidness and reluctance, bending so slightly to His magnificent royalty? Or will we fall prostrate before Him with a degree of softness and loving humbleness?

3. The Lord tells us that all factors of our choices (intentions) will be given proper consideration. We will be given an opportunity to see the contents of our understanding and our will. Mercy will carry a degree of “punishment” so that we may be led into good and that we may be rescued from the miseries of hell and their conflicts and worrisome disturbances.

Read and Review

Read Amos 7:2-6.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      This section covers five verses. In comparison to some of the other sections, we had little doctrinal exposition. We had to use some “derived doctrinal” application. Is this an appropriate thing for us to do? What are the positive and negative aspects of this approach?

If you are interested in this question, get a copy of W.F. Pendleton’s The Science of Exposition. Starting on page 194, he has a chapter on making comparisons of words and passages that is very helpful and encouraging to the researcher.

2.      Prayer groups form to pray for someone in the congregation or community. They “seem” to pray so as to get the Lord to relent over some difficulty or illness. Who is helped the most with prayer?  Do you think your praying will help the problem a friend is facing? How?

3.      What is your reaction to the quotation about mercy? “It is of mercy to be punished,” and mercy has its name “from the fact that it delivers us from miseries and from hell.”

4.      The teachings on “repetition” make a statement about the Word. The Word is not superfluous and vain. When I reflect on this, I wonder about courses that teach the Bible as poetry or for literature appreciation. What spiritual effects might come from this kind of instruction? What effect will there be on organized religion if it doesn’t recognize the spiritual reasons for repetition?

5.   What are some other things in the Word that appear on the surface to make no sense?  What might be present “under the surface”?  How can you find out?

Amos 7:7-9

Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said:

“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel;
I will not pass by them anymore.
The high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid to waste.
I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “...when the [corruption of] inmost things were reached, then all things were destroyed, because they were against God, vers. 7-9...”

Coronis 56

·        This number quotes Amos 7:9 and simply says, “‘Land,’ here is for the church.”

Derived Doctrine

The Lord standing on a wall “made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.”

·        A wall has the following representations:

o       That which withholds falsities on all sides. See AC 8206.

o       The walls of Jericho signify the false reasonings that defended evils. See AC 8815.

o       Walls signify the Word in its literal sense, which protects the doctrine of the Lord’s New Church. See AR 898.   

·        Spiritual character and integrity are important to the Lord. His ways are straight and uncompromising with falsity. He seeks to protect all with His walls of truth. His walls are there for our protection so as to withhold, or keep out, evil on all sides.

·        Honest mistakes are pardonable when we have the resolve to correct mistakes when we find them. That is not what Israel was doing. They took the literal sense of the Word and were “leaning” or “bending” the walls of the Lord to suit their own ends.  The Lord could not “pass by.” He couldn’t pretend He didn’t see their unfaithful use of the literal sense. Nothing slips by His Divine awareness, and that is a comfort for our souls. The falsity of hell will not catch Him sleeping or being inattentive.

·        Accountability, estimations, and measurements were needed to show how foolishly unstable their spiritual walls were. “...for all measures and weights, in the Word, signify the estimation of truth and good.” (AR 313)

The plumb line is in the Lord’s hand, and Amos is asked to acknowledge it.

  • I’m emphasizing this passage because it is a powerful concept and image to reflect on.
  • When there is mention of the Lord’s hand, AR 55 gives a general principle to follow:
    • “...the presence of the Lord with man is adjunction, and thus conjunction by contiguity; and this contiguity is near and fuller in proportion as man loves the Lord, that is, does His ‘laying His right hand upon him,’ is signified inspiring him with His life.”
  • The principle here seems to be that the Lord wanted Amos to see and recognize what was in His hand. Measurement was needed, and the spiritual wanted to bring about a state of adjunction through some natural means (Amos, as His prophet) for the purpose of contiguity and inspiring new life among the people.

“The high places of Isaac shall be desolate.”

  • It seems we get a hint about this passage when we use the principle, taught in AC 85, that explains the meaning of being “’borne over the lofty things of the earth, and [being fed] with the heritage of Jacob.’ Isaiah 53:14. This represents enjoying internal peace and happiness...and at the same time external tranquility and delight...”
  • Isaac represents spiritual love, or charity. See AC 1025[2].
  • Isaac represents the “rational man” within every person. See AC 1893.
  • Isaac represents the Lord’s interior man, or His Divine Rational. See AC 1950.
  • The loss of Isaac’s high places (using the doctrine as explained in AC 85) seems to indicate the loss of an inner peace of rationality and the desolation of clear thinking.

The Sanctuaries of Israel Laid to Waste

  • Sanctuaries signify the truth of heaven and the church.  See AC 8330.
  • Sanctuaries signify the Word. See AE 724.
  • Sanctuary signifies the mercy of the Lord. See AC 57.

·        AE 632[8] says that when the sanctuary is trampled down, this signifies “to destroy the truths of doctrine from the Word....”

Putting It All Together

1. We worked hard on these passages. It appears to me that our summary is pretty clear. The church and the children of Israel were in deep trouble. What had been intended to protect them and to wall out evil from every side was so compromised with falsity that the Lord saw that it was time to bring measurement and accountability upon His people. True love would not turn its back on their disorders. The Lord would not pass by. His plumb line was going to be in the midst of them.

2. P&P teaches us that when corruption reaches to inmost things, all things are destroyed. Israel had reached that point, and the Divine needed to confront the hells.

Read and Review

Read Amos 7:7-9.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Do you know what a plumb line is?  How is it used? Have you heard a sermon on the plumb line? What do you think about the meaning of walls and their spiritual applications to your life?

2.      We use the expression mental walls” in conversation. Have you ever “walled someone out” or been “walled out” by someone close to you?  How is this like or unlike what the Lord does with His walls?

3.      Spiritual integrity, being morally straight, being level with everyone are necessary and useful qualities in a person. Are you able to mentally picture yourself being level with the Lord? Do we sometimes try to pretend that He doesn’t see or know about our disorders? Why is that dangerous?

4.      There is a saying that goes like this: A mistake is not a mistake unless we refuse to correct it.  If we find a crooked wall, are we likely to tear it down or make excuses why it is crooked and necessary that it be that way?

5.      People sometimes talk about the difference between healthy boundaries, or walls, and unhealthy boundaries.  Earlier, we talked about being “walled out” by someone you love.  This kind of wall can hurt.  What are some examples of healthy walls?  How can we maintain them?

Amos 7:10-13

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said:
“Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
And Israel shall surely be led away captive
From their own land.”

Then Amaziah said to Amos:
“Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
But never again prophesy at Bethel,
For it is the king’s sanctuary,
And it is the royal residence.”

Passages From the Writings


·        “[Those things that are against God will also be]...against all things pertaining to doctrine, vers. 10-13.”

AC 1453[3&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. When a man is being regenerated, he is introduced by means of the knowledges of spiritual and celestial things...After Jeroboam had profaned had an opposite representation....” Amos 7:12-13 are cited.

AC 2832[10]

·        “‘Bethel’ is the Divine Good, and is therefore called the ‘king’s sanctuary,’ and the ‘house of the kingdom’ (Amos vii. 13).”

Derived Doctrine


·        Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, represents the perverted church. (AE 624[10]) Historically, Amaziah was a priest who backed Jeroboam II when he instituted a nationalistic, idolatrous cult at Bethel. The prophecy spoken through Amos must have troubled him greatly. He feared that Amos’ words might rally certain rebels who would cause trouble to him and his authority and wealth.  As is the way of evil, Amaziah sought to discredit and silence the Lord’s truth with lies, distortion, and subtlety.

·        Amaziah called Amos a traitor and claimed his words were proof of his conspiracy against the king of Israel.


  • Jeroboam’s reign as king of the northern kingdom was filled with excesses. He ignored the plight of the poor, justice was ignored, luxury was worshiped and morality was a sham.

“The land is not able to bear all of his words.”

  • In AC 620, we are taught that “land” signifies various things depending on the preceding correspondence. For instance, AC 2571 explains that land may signify the internal man of the church; the region where the church is; the church itself; the doctrine of love and charity where the faith of the church resides.
  • Amaziah the priest spoke these words.  A priest’s use is to lead others to the good of life. Therefore, we might assume that this preceding correspondence is speaking about the charity of the church having no room in its idolatrous system to “bear” the words of the Lord. The church had no room for love of the Lord and love of the neighbor.

“Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive....”

·        A sword signifies self-love “with its insane cupidities and persuasions, [and such]...are carried away to corporeal and earthly things...[a sword] signifies the desolation of man such that he sees nothing that is good and true, but mere falsities and things contrary....”(AC 309)

  • If the “king,” as a representative of ruling loves, is killed by self-love, then sadly, he leads his people into captivity, too. His insanity removes them from “their own land.” He leads them out of the region where the church’s faith, love, and charity reside.

“Go, you seer!”

  • What are we to do with this term “seer”? Is it synonymous with “prophet”? I can’t find a direct teaching on the difference between “seer” and “prophet”. However,  here is an interesting teaching to consider: “We read of the prophets that they were in vision, and that Jehovah spoke to them. When they were in vision they were not in the body, but in their spirit, in which state they saw things such as are in heaven. But when Jehovah spoke to them, they were in the body, and heard Him speaking. These two states of the prophets should be carefully distinguished. In their state of vision, the eyes of their spirit were opened, and those of their body shut....” (Doctrine of the Lord 52, emphasis added)
  • Could Amaziah, not realizing what he was saying, have been used by the Lord to testify that the words of Amos were really of things such as are in heaven?

“Flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread.”

  • Amaziah felt a great deal of indignation against Amos. When we despise someone, we want them out of our sight. The rational and emotional feelings of Amaziah willed to subjugate the Divine truth for its own comfort and would not humble itself to the Lord. See AC 1923 for a fuller explanation.
  • Amaziah, even though he was a corrupted priest, was used by the Lord for good.  It reminds us of the story of the Wisemen losing sight of the star. They went to the corrupt priests of Herod and got the help necessary to find the star again.
  • Telling Amos to flee to the land of Judah has wonderful correspondences. AC 3880 and 3881 explain the inner meaning of Judah. Judah signifies the Lord and the Divine of His Love; the Word as it relates to the Lord’s celestial kingdom; and the doctrines of the Word.
  • Eating bread in Judah means to appropriate every good that would provide for man’s reciprocality to the Lord, and to the neighbor. These were the essentials missing in Bethel.

“...never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the royal residence.”

  • Behind this bold statement, we have a recurring question for all times. Who will serve you as king? Is this life mine or the Lord’s? Is the world our sanctuary? Are pleasures in the royal residence?

Putting It All Together

1. Hell is not willing to look on the face of prophecy. It wants to banish it from its presence.

Hell is afraid that if we listen to the teaching of doctrine, we might rally our forces to expel it from the sanctuary of idolatry.

2. Literally, we need to use the sword of truth to kill the self-love leadership of Jeroboam. The “seer” of heavenly doctrine needs to share the vision of the spirit to restore within us the reciprocal and mutual love to the Lord and the neighbor.

“If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” (John 6:51)

Read and Review

Read Amos 7:10-13.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

Please note that there are questions throughout the “Passages From the Writings” section. Please use them for this section, and add at least two questions of your own to practice your Word-study skills.

Amos 7:14-16

Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah:
“I was no prophet,
Nor was I a son of a prophet,
But I was a sheepbreeder
And a tender of Sycamore fruit.
Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock,
And the Lord said to me,
‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’
Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord:
You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
And do not spout against the household of Isaac.’

Passages From the Writings


·        “ that there was no longer any doctrine, vers. 14-16.”

AE 624[10]

·        “In Amos...(vii. 14-17) ‘To prophesy against Israel, and to drop against the house of Isaac,’ signifies to refute those of the church who are in the falsities of evil, ‘to prophesy’ signifying to teach and refute, and ‘Israel’ and ‘the house of Isaac’ signifying the church. Because the falsities of evil are what must be refuted, this is said to Amaziah, who represented the perverted church...”

Derived Doctrine

Refuting of the Falsities of the Church: Amos Answering Amaziah’s Rebuke

·        To illustrate the demise of enlightenment in the church, Amos tells them that he is neither a prophet nor one of the sons of the prophets. Those who would have been chosen by the Lord were so far into disorder that “there was no longer any doctrine.” So the Lord called a man whose uses would signify the needs of the church.

·        We mentioned Amos’ two uses in the introduction. A shepherd represents one who exercises charity and is protects innocence. The Israelites as a flock were not being cared for by the priests of the church. They were vulnerable to spiritual predators of all kinds.

·        Amos, as a “pincher” or pruner of the Sycamore tree, illustrated what a poor quality of fig tree (obedience) Israel represented: poor quality, tasteless figs that most people ignored. The Lord sought to refine them and turn their evil into something good, in spite of their stubborn and rebellious nature. The Lord, through Amos, spoke words of truth that refuted the contempt and intolerance of Amaziah.

Read and Review

Read Amos 7:14-16.

Read the summary from P&P.

Putting It All Together

1. Do we need to draw this section to a fuller summary? Are the two quotes from P&P and AE 624[10] enough of an explanation? The Lord replied and refuted Amaziah’s stout defense of the falsities in the life of the church. The doctrine of the church was gone. Its demise was the result of all the things the Israelites had allowed their king, their priests, and their hearts to destroy within the church.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      As I wrote that last paragraph, I felt a deep sense of sorrow. The children of Israel had the great use of being a representative church to the world. Instead of fulfilling this commission, they tried to turn it to self-love. What lessons may we draw from these chapters that we can apply to our church and uses?

2.      The Lord answered Amaziah, “Do not…Do not…” This is a stern warning. It is an evaluation of the priesthood. What I hear behind these passages is that the Lord was telling Amaziah not to speak words that dishonored Him.  I found myself wishing the Lord would speak similar things to our age. (Of course, I believe He is speaking through His Second Coming) What would you list as the most important things we hear Him saying to us?  Where and how do we hear them?

3.      As we know, when someone does not want to hear you, they will think of many reasons why they shouldn’t.  Amaziah did not want to hear Amos, and he came up with reasons why Amos should be silent.  The reasons were not true, but they must have seemed plausible to Amaziah. What happens when we mix anger, or disorder, with “plausible” reasoning?  What makes the reasoning “plausible”? What is the greatest danger to us when we think this way? What are some other dangers?

Amos 7: 17

Therefore thus says the Lord:
“Your wife shall be a harlot in the city;
Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by survey line;
You shall die in a defiled land;
And Israel shall surely be led away captive
From his own land.”

Passages from the Writings


·        “...that the church with all things belonging to it will perish, vers. 17.”

AE 624[10]

·        “[Amaziah’s wife] ‘shall be a harlot’ signifies the falsification and adulteration of the Word; ‘his sons and daughters shall fall by the sword’ signifies that the truths and goods of the church will be destroyed by the falsities of evil; and ‘the land shall be divided by line’ signifies that the church and everything belonging to it will be scattered.” Amos 7:14, 17 are cited.

AC 9854[3]

·         “ the Word ‘cords’ (lines) also signify portions of inheritance and of land, for the reason that measurements were made with cords....” Amos 7:17 is one of the references cited. 

Derived Doctrine

Dying in a Defiled Land

·        Dying in a defiled land seems to speak of a place where goods and truths are adulterated, namely, hell and its land of bogs, quicksand, and its awful stench, which are well documented for us in Heaven and Hell. Those who live there love the dank abodes, and they could not think of being elsewhere.

·        Those who follow the likes of Amaziah will find themselves enslaved to falsity, and they will lose that spot in heaven that the Lord had reserved for them, a spot that only they could have filled. Each of them is “led away captive from his own land.”

Putting It All Together

1. Have you ever heard someone talk about “victimless acts”? The premise of this idea is that if two people freely consent to be sexually intimate, and they are discrete about it, no harm has been done. The reasoning, to them, is clear: What one does with one’s body should not be of concern to others if “no harm” is done. Are such acts truly “victimless”?  Who or what might be the victim?

2. Amaziah’s wife, the adulteration of the Word, is still a harlot on the streets of the doctrinal city. People are being defrauded and lied to. Being “street smart” is lauded as a virtue when in fact it is often a hardness of heart that lacks compassion for the neighbor. “Do others before they do you” is a twisting of the Lord’s Golden Rule. Innocence is always a target of hell.

3. Sons and daughters represent the “births” out of the conjugial principle: the conjunction of good and truth applied to use. When we ignore the Word of the Lord our “births” become casualties of the sword of self-love.

If we fail to be “keepers” of the Word, we will eventually be divided by the cord of measurement, and we will lose the eternal inheritance the Lord would lovingly give us. It is hard to believe that some prefer, and allow, the slavery of the mind to lead them to a land that is defiled.

Read and Review

Read Amos 7:17.

Read the summary from P&P.

Questions to Stimulate Reflection

1.      Does the theme “Paradise Lost” seem to be an ageless experience that must repeat itself? Why doesn’t the experience of one loss of paradise cure the rest of us from risking paradise again?

2.      Think of someone you love very much. Imagine this person preparing a special gift for you, deciding what would suit you best, and spending love and effort preparing it. Imagine this person’s happy, excited face as you begin to open this gift.  Imagine what that face would look like if you threw down the gift and trampled it.  Think of the Lord in those personal terms, and imagine His grief at any rejection of the special places He has made for us in heaven.  Talk about this image and your special place in heaven.

3.      Has the Lord begun His work with the “remnant” to build the New Church?

4.   Have you dealt with a “there’s no harm...”attitude toward this or that license or liberty the proprium seeks to foist on the conscience? What makes this simple or difficult? 

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