Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Amos, and more specifically, is found in the second chapter. This chapter is a continuation of what was recorded in the previous chapter concerning the Lord’s controversy with the nations surrounding Israel and Judah. When you read the first chapter of the prophetic book of Amos, you will find a very specific group of nations which are addressed by the prophet according to the word of the Lord—beginning with Damascus, and then transitioning to Gaza, Tyre, Edom, and Ammon. In the very first verse of this chapter, you will find that the word of the Lord came to the prophet Amos during the reign of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel, and it came two years before the great earthquake which struck the land. If you read the prophetic book of Haggai, you will find that the Lord declared that in a little while He would not only shake the heavens and the earth, but would also shake the sea and all nations. I firmly believe that the earthquake which struck the land of Israel during the days of the Hebrew prophets and kings was a confirmation of the prophetic word that the Lord was going to judge the nations which surrounded His heritage and people. The earthquake which struck the land of Israel could have very well served a dual purpose in the earth when it struck—the first purpose being an additional alarm, warning and wake up call to the land of Israel and to the land of Judah, and the second purpose being a prophetic confirmation that the Lord was indeed going to shake the nations surrounding Israel and Judah. The Lord shook the earth in order that the inhabitants of the earth might know and understand that an even greater shaking was going to take place in the earth.
Oh, there was a physical shaking of the earth which struck the land during the days of the prophets and kings, but there was another shaking—a spiritual and national shaking—which would shake the nations of the earth. There are times when the Lord will send a physical shaking into and upon the earth as a portent and prophetic sign that at even greater shaking was going to take place. I am convinced that the great collapse which took place fourteen years ago on 9/11 was in and of itself a portent and prophetic sign of an even greater collapse that was going to take place within the land. The collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center would serve as a sign and symbol that there was a greater collapse that was yet to come—a collapse of the American economy, which would have effects felt across the globe. The earthquake which struck the land of Israel and Judah may have even been felt and experienced by the nations which surrounded their borders and territory, and I wonder if there were those who possessed the discernment and understanding to know and be cognizant of what was taking place. There was a natural and physical shaking which took place in the earth, but there was an even deeper and even greater shaking that was taking place in the spiritual realm among the nations of the earth. The question that I am finding myself asking right now is whether or not there are men and women present in this generation who possess the discernment and understanding—those who are consciously aware of what is taking place within the earth. Are there those who like the sons of Isaachar understand the times, and understand what ought to be done. There were a select number of individuals in Scripture who truly understood the times in which they were living—the sons of Isaachar, the Hebrew prophets, and the apostles. These were individuals who understood the social, spiritual, moral climate of their culture and society, and were aware of what needed to be done. Oh for sons of Isaachar to rise up in this generation—sons and daughters who understand the times in which we are living, and are in tune with that which the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is speaking to this generation.
I believe that we are once again in a moment when the Lord is preparing to shake not only the heavens and the earth, but also the nations of the earth. There is a tremendous unrest and stirring that is taking place within the nations surrounding modern day Israel, and I am convinced that the Lord is about to stir and shake the nations of the earth—especially those nations which surround Israel on the north, south and east. When you come to the second chapter of the prophetic book of Amos, you will find the prophet declaring the Lord’s controversy with Moab, thus serving as a continuation of the Lord’s controversy with the nations which surrounded Israel. These particular nations have been thorns in the flesh and side of Israel ever since they entered into the land of Canaan and the Lord established them within its borders. The time had finally come where the Lord was going to rise up and judge those nations which surrounded Israel. Those nations which had long been adversaries and enemies of Israel now faced their greatest adversary and enemy—the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Holy One of Israel. How absolutely incredible it is that the nations which surrounded Israel never thought they would be antagonizing, threatening, and opposing the true and living God of heaven and earth, just as Paul didn’t recognize and understand that his persecution of the Christians and early Church was persecution against Christ Himself. Oh, the fires of judgment were going to burn within and consume the nations which surrounded Israel and Judah—Damascus, Gaza, Edom, Moab, Ammon and Tyre—and the prophet Amos was but one prophetic voice which proclaimed judgment concerning the nations. What is actually quite interesting about the prophet Amos, is that in the first two chapters, he seems to be a prophet of fire, for his message concerning the nations of the earth centered upon a fire which would burn within and consume the nations surrounding Israel and Judah.
Consider what is spoken and declared to Damascus through the prophet Amos: “…because they threshed Gilead with implements of sharp iron. SO I WILL SEND FIRE UPON THE HOUSE OF HAZAEL AND IT WILL CONSUME THE CITADELS OF BEN-HADAD” (Amos 1:3-4). Consider the prophetic word that was spoken concerning Gaza: “…because they deported an entire population to deliver it up to Edom. SO I WILL SEND FIRE UPON THE WALL OF GAZA AND IT WILL CONSUME HER CITADELS” (Amos 1:6-7). Concerning Tyre, this was what the prophet Amos declared: “…because they delivered up an entire population to Edom and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood. SO WILL SEND FIRE UPON THE WALL OF TYRE AND IT WILL CONSUME HER CITADELS” (Amos 1:9-10). Concerning Edom: “…because he pursued his brother with the sword, while he stifled his compassion; his anger also tore continually, and he maintained his fury forever. SO I WILL SEND FIRE UPON TEMAN AND IT WILL CONSUME THE CITADELS OF BOZRAH” (Amos 1:11-12). In reference to Ammon: “…because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their borders. SO I WILL KINDLE A FIRE ON THE WALL OF RABBAH AND IT WILL CONSUME HER CITADELS” (Amos 1:13-14). In the second chapter, we find the prophet Amos speaking directly to and addressing Moab, Judah and Israel, for he was instructed to even speak to and address Judah and Israel. Concerning Moab: “…because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. SO I WILL SEND FIRE UPON MOAB AND IT WILL CONSUME THE CITADELS OF KERIOTH” (Amos 2:1-2). Pertaining to Judah: “…because they rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept His statutes; their lies also have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked. SO I WILL SEND FIRE UPON JUDAH AND IT CONSUME THE CITADELS OF JERUSALEM” (Amos 2:4-5).
Surprisingly enough, such a declaration was not made concerning Israel—despite the fact that Israel too was guilty before the Lord. It may very well be said that Amos could be considered a prophet of fire, albeit a prophet of a different kind of fire. Oh, everyone loves the prophet of fire—that man or woman of God who speaks of and prophesies of the fire of the Holy Spirit, or the fire of God being manifested in our midst. There are those who love and enjoy listening to and following those “prophets of fire” who speak of the Holy Spirit baptizing with fire..Men and women from all over the earth will travel to specific places in the earth where they know there is a meeting where there is a “prophet of fire” present—one who seems to have the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord, and who seems to speak of the fire of the Holy Spirit of Almighty God, and the fire which burns upon the altar which stands before the Lord. There are very few, however, who will travel in order to listen to and hear a prophet of a different kind of fire—a prophet who will declare the reality that the Lord has two distinct kinds of fire. The Lord has a fire that is a baptism of the Holy Spirit and of the very consuming fire of His nature, but the Lord has another fire that is a fire of judgment. There is a fire that can be released in one’s life that is actually a fire of judgment which can consume that individual just as easily as the fire of the Holy Spirit. Consider the words of John the Baptist as were recorded by Matthew—tax collector and disciple of Jesus—“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these tones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).
Within this passage we find John the Baptism not only speaking of the fire of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we also find him speaking of a different type of fire—the fire of judgment released by the Lord. Oh, there are those who will experience the fire of the baptism of the very Spirit of Almighty God, but there are others who will experience the fire of the judgment of the Lord of hosts. The Lord has two distinct fires which were manifested even in the midst of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. The first fire was a fire that came out from before the Lord and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering upon the altar: “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:23-24). There is another fire that came down from heaven in the midst of all the people at the dedication of the Temple of the Lord in the city of Jerusalem: “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices: and the glory of the Lord filled the house” (2 Chronicles 7:1). There is still another account of fire coming down from the Lord, as is recorded in the Old Testament book of First Kings. It’s in this chapter where we find the prophet Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal atop Mount Carmel, and when it came to be his time to call on the name of his God, the Lord responded in a supernatural and miraculous way: “And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench” (1 Kings 18:36-38). There is still another fire that is found within Scripture, and is a fire that is presented in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:1-3).
Each of these passages reveals a fire that comes out from before the Lord upon sacrifices and offerings, and which are signs of His pleasure and delight. The fire which was released on the Day of Pentecost was the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire, which was spoken of by John the Baptist. This is the fire that most would like to talk about, and the fire which many in our generation will travel over earth and see to flock to. There is, however, another fire that is mentioned in Scripture which is completely different than this fire. Consider what is recorded in the eleventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers: “And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it, and His anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp” (Numbers 11:1). Another fire is found in the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus, and is found in the account of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu: “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace” (Leviticus 10:1-3). Oh, there is a fire of baptism of the Holy Spirit, but there is another fire of judgment. Oh, the Lord may release fire in your midst, but the question that must be asked is whether or not it will be a fire of baptism, or whether it will be a fire of judgment. The Lord will consume you with His holy fire, but the question is how will that fire be manifested.
Men and women love hearing about the fire of the Holy Spirit, and they will travel great distances and go to great lengths and measures to enter into the presence of one who seems to minster among the fire of the Spirit of the Sovereign God of heaven and earth. There aren’t many men and women who will travel great distances in order to find themselves in the presence of those who speak of and prophesy a different kind of fire—a fire of judgment and destruction. Oh, please understand that I am not suggesting that we need to look for prophets of fire—prophets of gloom and doom, judgment and destruction, and the fire of judgment of the Lord God. John the Baptism spoke of the unquenchable fire that would consume those who did not bring forth fruits meet unto repentance, and of a fire that would be released by that One who would come after him. The late Leonard Ravenhill wrote that if you experience and encounter Holy Spirit fire, it will save and spare you from hell fire. The prophet Amos spoke of the Lord sending a fire into the midst of the nations which surrounded Israel and Judah, and even a fire that would be sent into the midst of Judah, and this was a fire of judgment—judgment upon the sin, transgression and rebellion in the earth. The Lord does indeed have two types of fire which proceed forth from Him, for He is indeed a consuming fire. The Lord has a fire which baptizes according to His Holy Spirit, and He also has a fire which baptizes according to His holiness.
Amos spoke of and declared a fire burning in the midst of these nations because of the iniquity they committed before the Lord. The prophet Amos may very well be known as a prophet of a different type of fire—a fire which not many people wish to think about, let alone speak of. The prophet Amos declared that the Lord would send a fire, and that it would consume the citadels—those places of strength and fortitude. Oh that the Lord would send His fire into our lives, in order that it would consume the citadels within us—those places of carnal and physical strength. Oh, the Lord can and will send a fire into this nation, and it will be a fire which will consume the citadels of Washington, or of New York, or of Philadelphia, or of Boston, or of Los Angeles, or of Chicago, or of Detroit, or of any of the other major cities throughout this nation. AMOS: THE PROPHET OF FIRE AND SHAKING. I believe that within the first two chapters of this prophetic book, we not only see a great shaking, but we also see the release of fire in the earth. Oh that we would ready and prepare ourselves for the great shaking and the release of fire which would consume the cities and nations of the earth. The Lord desires to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire, but He can and will also release a baptism of fire, which is unto judgment. Oh, which fire is present within your life? Which fire is present within your congregation and assembly? Which fire are you experiencing in your life at this very moment? The Lord can baptize with fire, or He can consume with fire—one is unto holiness, the other unto judgment. Oh that we would evaluate our hearts and lives in this generation, and that we would allow ourselves to experience the fire of the baptism of the Spirit—the fire of purging, refining, and cleansing. Let us experience the fire of the presence of Almighty God in this generation and in this hour. Let us ready and prepare ourselves for the great shaking that will be released, and the great fire(s) that will be released in this generation in these Last Days.