Our reading in chapter 6 of Amos included these words quoted in Stephen’s speech in Acts 7 in the New Testament:
25 NLT “Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, Israel?
26 No, you served your pagan gods—Sakkuth your king god and Kaiwan your star god—…
This makes it sound like the Israelites never gave sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness, which we know is false. So we should understand Amos’ and Stephen’s words an exaggeration or hyperbole.
In Isaiah 47, we heard how God criticized the Babylonians just like Amos criticized the people of Judah and the Northern Kingdom for living in uncaring luxury built upon the unjust treatment of others. And God taunted the Babylonians to use their magic charms to try to charm away his coming judgment.
This book is also called the Apocalypse. The apostle John clearly tells us that he is the author of this book and that he was at that time in exile on the island of Patmos.
Four early church fathers affirm that John was exiled to the island of Patmos during Domitian’s reign. They wrote that the government allowed John to return to Ephesus after this emperor died. And I have seen a picture of John’s tomb at Ephesus. Domitian died in A.D. 96. Consequently many interpreters date the writing of this book near A.D. 95 or 96.
Estimates vary that from two hundred and seventy-eight to 500 allusions to Old Testament verses are found in the book of Revelation. John never actually quotes from the Old Testament, but just make obvious allusions to it.
The book of Revelation has the reputation of being a hard book to understand, and people have often said to me that it must be hard to translate. On the contrary, Revelation is a rather easy book to translate! And John’s main points in writing this book are not at all hard to understand. To help us understand, here are two important points:
*Remember that this book is full of symbolism and that many things are not to be taken literally.
*Realize that most of this book is not arranged chronologically. What we have instead is a series of visions that show the same events from different perspectives.
GNT Translation notes:
Amo. 7:12 Amaziah then said to [me//Amos], “That's enough, prophet! Go on back to Judah and do your preaching there. Let them pay you for it.
14 [I//Amos] answered, “I am not the kind of prophet who prophesies for pay. I am a herdsman, and I take care of fig trees.
Rev. 1:1 This book is the record of the events that Jesus Christ revealed. God gave him this revelation in order to show to his servants what must happen very soon. Christ made these things known to [me,] his servant John[,] by sending his angel to [me//him],
2 and [in this book I have told all that I saw//John has told all that he has seen]. This is [my//his] report concerning the message from God and the truth revealed by Jesus Christ.
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