Today’s selected reading is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Amos, and more specifically, is found in the first chapter of the book. The prophetic word that was released through Amos came in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. Pause for a moment and consider the weight and magnitude of what is found in the first verse of this chapter, for I believe there is a powerful truth that is contained within it. Within the first verse of this chapter you find a prophetic word being released in the land two years before an earthquake struck. I am convinced that this is oftentimes how the Lord works within the nations of the earth, for the Lord will release a prophetic word among the inhabitants in order to wake them up from their lethargy and complacency. When I read the prophetic words of Amos in the first verse of this chapter, I can’t help but be struck by the fact that first came the prophetic message, and then came the earthquake. In other words, I believe with all my heart that the two realities were directly connected and linked to each other, and that they are inseparable. I believe that how the nation responded to the first alarm and the first message would determine whether or not the second alarm and message would be necessary. There are times when the Lord will raise up a prophetic voice within a nation, or prophetic voices, in order to wake up the nation from their lethargy, hypocrisy, complacency and the like, and how the nation responds to that voice and message will directly determine if there is a need for a second alarm to be released in their midst. The Lord can and will shake a nation through the prophetic word and message of His servants, and if the nation responds favorably to such a message, the Lord will divert that which He intended to bring upon the land.
A prime example of this is the prophetic warning of Jonah who journeyed to Nineveh in order to preach a message of repentance to a Gentile city and people. Jonah declared that the Lord was going to unleash a tremendous judgment and destruction upon the city in the coming days as a serious wake up call to a heathen, Gentile, rebellious and wicked people. Depending on how the people responded to the prophetic message of Jonah would determine if the Lord would indeed need to bring about that which He intended on releasing. There are times when the Lord will raise up His servants with a powerful message of warning, of brokenness, of humility and repentance, and He pays close attention to how the people respond and react to such a message. I am convinced that the Lord raised up Amos, and took him from among the sheepherders of Tekoah in order to sound an alarm in the land as a wake up call and alarm concerning the land of Israel.during the days of Uzziah and Jeroboam. The prophetic message of Amos was a precursor and warning given to the land of Israel, in order that by it the Lord might gauge the condition of the hearts of the people within the land. The Lord didn’t immediately release the earthquake, for He wanted to first reach out to His people through the prophetic voice of His servants. What we must realize is that Amos wasn’t the only prophet who prophesied during the days of Uzziah, for Isaiah also prophesied during the days of Uzziah. There were at least two prophetic voices that were raised up in the land during the days of Uzziah in order to awaken a nation and people from their lethargy and slumber. There were at least two prophetic voices that were raised up in the land during the days of Josiah in order that a nation might be awakened from their rebellion and wickedness.
When the earthquake finally struck the land, I believe that it not only served to confirm the prophetic message that was proclaimed through the ancient Hebrew prophets, but also to attempt to awaken the people through the natural realm. First came the release of the prophetic word of the Lord among Israel and Judah, and then came the shaking of the earth. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what that earthquake felt like in the land of Israel and Judah, and if there were those within the land who recognized and understood that it was the Lord speaking to them and attempting to get their attention. The Lord can and will shake both heaven and earth in order that He might gain the attention of the inhabitants of the earth—especially if they are walking and persisting in continual rebellion and wickedness before Him. This is true personally in our individual lives, for the Lord will attempt to speak to us through prophetic voices, or through the preaching of the Word, or through His Word when we read it in our private times, or even through the voice of a friend, family member or loved on. The Lord may not, and most likely doesn’t immediately send the shaking into one’s life unless He has first made every attempt to warn and speak to them through His Word, or through others. We as the people of God must recognize and understand that the Lord can shake heaven and earth in an attempt to get the attention of His people. I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the prophet Haggai during the days of the rebuilding of the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem after the exiles and captives returned to their own land. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts; and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:6-9).
YET ONCE, IT IS A LITTLE WHILE, AND I WILL SHAKE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA! I WILL SHAKE ALL NATIONS! Oh, I am convinced that we are living during the days when the Lord is shaking the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and is even shaking all the nations of the earth. I believe that we have seen many days where the prophetic voice and message of the Lord has been raised up and released in the earth, and especially in this nation, yet we are on the verge of the Lord arising from His place to shake the heavens, to shake the earth, to shake the sea, and to shake all nations. We are quickly approaching those days when the Lord can and will shake all the nations of the earth, and when all the nations of the earth will feel His great power and His great glory. I am reminded of the words which the beloved apostle John wrote in the prophetic and apocalyptic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Towards the end of the sixth chapter of this book, you will find the record of the opening of the fifth seal, and the impact and affect it had on the earth. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand” (Revelation 6:12-17).
This particular passage in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ presents a perfect picture of the Lord shaking the heavens, shaking the earth, and even shaking the nations, for all the mighty and noble men of the earth hid themselves in dens and in the rocks of the mountains. The Lord shook both the heavens and the earth, and it caused great chaos, shock and pandemonium among the inhabitants of the earth. It’s worth noting that when the sixth seal was opened, the first thing you notice is a great earthquake upon the earth. First came the earthquake, and immediately following the earthquake came the shaking of the heavens as the stars of heaven fell unto the earth. Notice the analogy that was used to describe the stars falling from heaven to the earth—“even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, WHEN SHE IS SHAKEN OF A MIGHTY WIND.” Within this passage in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, we not only see the earth being shaken, but we also see the heavens being shaken as well. Oh, there is coming a day when the Lord will shake both the heavens and the earth—a day when the stars of heaven will fall to the earth, when heaven departs as a scroll, and when every mountain and island are moved out of their place. Consider the words which were written in the epistle to the Hebrews in the twelfth chapter of the letter found in the canon of Scripture: “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh in heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:25-29).
What we read in the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus the Christ is actually a fulfillment of what was prophesied centuries earlier through the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, and is found in the second chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name. “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast hid idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth. Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of” (Isaiah 2:17-22). I believe that what we read in the second chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah is the description of what is recorded in the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and must be read and understood as such. I believe with all my heart that the Lord has sent us His servants the prophets in order to sound an alarm and to blow the trumpet throughout the land and in the earth in order that we might turn from our wicked ways and turn our hearts once more to the King of kings and Lord of lords who sits upon the throne in heaven. I believe we are living in the days between the prophetic word and the shaking—days when the Lord is preparing to shake not only the heavens, but also the earth as well.
The prophet Amos was taken from among the sheepherders in Tekoah and raised up as a prophetic voice during the days of Uzziah and Jeroboam in order to prepare the people for what was about to take place in their midst. The question that I can’t help but wonder if the prophetic voices were raised up in order to prepare the hearts of the people for the earthquake that was going to take place in the land of Israel, or whether the earthquake itself was a direct response by the Lord concerning the hearts of the people in spite of the prophetic warnings and words they were given. Is it possible that the prophetic message of Isaiah and Amos were used to prepare a people for the days which were going to come upon them—days of a tremendous shaking in their midst? Is it possible that the Lord knew that He was going to shake the earth in the midst of Israel, and that He raised up prophetic voices to turn the hearts of men back to Him? There are those who in the midst of calamity and disaster will instantly panic, be seized with fear, will be filled with anxiety, and will utterly and completely lose control. It may very well be that in addition to calling for the hearts of the inhabitants of the land to be turned back to the Lord, the prophets were preparing the people to stand in the midst of the coming shaking—to stand in the midst of the coming storm. The prophet Amos was raised up from among the sheepherders in Tekoa in order to speak to the inhabitants of Israel and Judah concerning the heart and mind of the Lord. It happened to be that this servant and prophet was raised up two years before the earthquake struck the land, and I would dare say that there were those who were caught off guard and shocked when the earthquake struck, but there were others who perhaps may have anticipated its arrival. There may have been those who during those two years sensed something was about to take place within the land, and locked themselves in their prayer closets until they heard from heaven. There may have been those who so received and heard the prophetic words of the prophets, and as a result, had a deep discernment that the Lord was about to do something in their midst that was perhaps going to change everything in their midst.
The prophetic messages of Isaiah and Amos were raised up to turn the hearts of men and women and children back to the living God, and it was from that place of returning to the Lord that they were able to stand in the midst of the great shaking that would take place. Oh, that earthquake—that great shaking of the earth beneath Israel—may have in and of itself been a portent and a prophetic alarm and message to the inhabitants of the land concerning what was about to come. Through the prophet Haggai the Lord declared that He was going to shake the heavens and the earth and the sea, but it was also declared that He was going to shake the nations as well. Isn’t it incredibly interesting that in the first verse of the prophetic book of Amos we read of an earthquake that struck the land, and in the following two chapters we read different prophetic addresses to the nations surrounding Israel and Judah. Was that earthquake a prophetic confirmation and warning that the Lord was going to shake the nations surrounding Israel and Judah? If you read the prophetic book of Revelation, you will read that earthquakes were of the norm during the Last Days and during the day of the Lord, and there was one earthquake that would have its epicenter in the land of Israel, yet would be felt across the globe. I would dare say that there is an earthquake coming to the earth that will serve as a prophetic sign and confirmation that the Lord is about to shake the nations of the earth.
I am convinced that the earthquake which struck during the days of the prophets was a confirmation of the prophetic word that was being spoken, and that the Lord was going to shake the nations which surrounded Israel and Judah. Tyre and Sidon would be shaken. PHilistia would be shaken. Egypt would be shaken. Moab would be shaken. Ammon would be shaken. Syria and Damascus would be shaken. Edom would be shaken. Babylon would be shaken. The earthquake which shook the earth during those days was a warning to the nations surrounding Israel that the Lord was preparing to shake each and every nation that surrounded His heritage and His holy people. I believe the Lord is preparing to shake the nations of the earth once more, and that there may very well be a great earthquake that will strike the earth as a prophetic sign and warning of this reality. The prophet Amos began his public ministry two years before the earthquake, and the first words of the prophetic message he gave were concerning the nations surrounding Israel. I believe with everything in me that the Lord is preparing to shake the nations which surround Israel during these Last Days—Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, and perhaps even Jordan. There is a crescent of nations surrounding Israel and I can’t even help but wonder if the very structure and makeup of the nations surrounding modern day Israel points to the specific type of nations, and even the specific group of people who will experience this great shaking of heaven and earth.
What we must recognize and realize, is that when this shaking does take place, it will have a positive effect, for it will draw and bring men and women to the house of the Lord. The Lord will shake the heavens, and will shake the earth, and will shake the nations, and will shake the sea, and the glory of His house will be filled, and will draw inhabitants from all over the earth to it in the center of Jerusalem. The prophet Amos addresses Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon within the first chapter—nations and lands that correspond with modern day Palestine, Jordan, Gaza, Syria, and Lebanon. I believe that the words which the prophet Amos declared in the second verse directly apply to what the Lord is speaking today: “The Lord roars from Zion and from Jerusalem He utters His voice; and the shepherds pasture grounds mourn, and the summit of Carmel dries up” (Amos 1:2). There was an earthquake which struck the earth during the days of the kings and prophets, and it came immediately after these prophetic words were spoken concerning the nations which surrounded God’s holy and chosen people. Oh nations of the earth, be warned and be prepared, for the great day of the Lord is coming upon the earth. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (the nations) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. [Even this passage speaks of the nations of the earth being given as an inheritance to the Son—a reality that will take place after the Lord shakes the nations]. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2).