Lesson 35: God Reveals His Secrets to His Prophets
While not strictly a gospel lesson taught in the auxiliaries of the church, this lesson comes from an Old Testament study published by Sidney B. Sperry, then “Head of Department, Bible and Modern Scriptures, Brigham Young University,” The Message of the Twelve Prophets (Independence, Missouri: Press of Zion’s Printing and Publishing Company, 1941), and is therefore no doubt representative of Old Testament teaching at BYU during the 1930s and ‘40s.
AMOS – PROPHET OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
EARLY LIFE AND TIMES OF THE PROPHET. – The name of the prophet means “burden-bearer” or “burdened”. The reader is cautioned against confusing the name of Amos with that of Amoz, the father of Isaiah the prophet. The early life of Amos, and for aught we know, most of his life, was spent at Tekoa, a small town located on a hill at the edge of the Judean plateau six miles south of Bethlehem. The writer spent considerable time at this place and a more desolate site for a town or village can scarcely be imaged. It is necessary to walk the six miles from Bethlehem or ride one of the poor donkeys that can be hired for a small sum from Arab owners. Little remains of the buildings that were constructed at various times on the site of the town. To the south, north, and west limestone hills obscure the view and eastward the even more barren desert stretches out for eighteen miles to the Dead Sea. Here Amos, one of the greatest religious figures of all times, herded sheep (an ugly variety known as noked, but prized for their fine wool) and dressed sycamore trees that produced a small inferior fig, having a sweet but watery taste. His shepherd profession made him appreciate the open country with its freshness and vigor, as compared with the cities to which he doubtless carried wool. The prophecy under his name indicates that he was a very thoughtful and discerning observer of the religious and social state of his times. The superscription of his book sets forth that Amos entered on his ministry “in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.” We do not know exactly when the earthquake – it must have been severe – took place, but we can, with some confidence, date Amos at about 750 B.C.
Israel, the kingdom to the north of Judah against which his preaching was mainly directed, was prosperous – yes, even wealthy. [The prosperity was very similar to that in America during and after the first World War.] Greed, corruption, and vice reigned supreme in the so-called upper classes of society. The social lot of the poor classes was pitiful. Religion had little real vitality and the dishonesty, insincerity, and blindness of public officials made it possible for the strong to exploit the weak. Morals seemed all but forgotten. Into such a society walked the prophet of Tekoa and denounced it with such vigor, clarity of thought, and authority that his message is still eagerly read and applied to modern situations. In the chapter on Hosea, who was a contemporary Amos, we have given a more complete account of the social conditions of the time and to it the reader is referred.
THE CALL OF AMOS TO THE MINISTRY. – It is not until the seventh chapter of Amos is reached that we learn the circumstances under which the prophet was called to the ministry. There we glean the information that he was called from his flock to prophesy against Israel.
Then answered Amos, and said th Amaziah: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdman, and a cultivator of sycamore-figs; and the Lord took me from the following the flock, and the Lord said unto me: Go, prophesy unto My people Israel.” [Amos 7:14, 15.]
The prophet went as he was instructed from his native Judean home to Bethel, the sanctuary of the court of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, to deliver the message the Lord confided to him. Fearlessly he delivered it in forceful, classical Hebrew – the best in the Old Testament.
THE CONTENT AND STYLE OF THE BOOK. – The prophecy is orderly and methodical in arrangement; it proceeds on the basis of a logical sequence rather than a chronological one. It falls quitenaturally into three divisions: 1. Chapters 1` and 2, in the nature of a prologue containing threats of coming judgment against eight nations, including Judah, and more especially, Israel. 2. Chapters 3 to 6, a number of discourses giving the grounds for God’s judgments. 3. Chapters 7 to 9, containing a series of five visions of the execution of the judgment, interrupted by a historical section and explanatory remarks on the same subjects that are discussed in chapters 3 to 6. This division ends with a short description of the eventual redemption and glorification of the remnant of Israel.
A more detailed scheme of study for the benefit of the student is presented herewith.
The superscription (1:1)
I. The Prologue: Threats of coming judgment against the nations (1:2-2:16).
Preface: The Lord’s terrible manifestation (1:2 cf. Joel 3:16).
A. The transgressions and punishments of six foreign nations (1:3-2:3).
B. The transgressions and punishment of Judah (2:4, 5).
C. The transgressions and punishment of Israel (2:6-16).
II. The grounds for God’s judgments on Israel (3:1-6:14).
A. Condemnation of Israel’s ruling classes (3:1-4:3).
B. Israel fails to understand the Lord’s judgments (4:4-13).
C. Lamentations, exhortations, reproofs, and threats of ruin (5:1-17).
D. Woe and terror upon those who desire the day of the Lord (5:18-27).
E. Woe upon the careless rich, the self-satisfied, and arrogant (6:1-14).
III. Five visions of the execution of the Lord’s judgments, with interludes (7:1-9:15).
A. Three visions: The locusts, the fire, the plumbline (7:1-9).
B. Interlude: The experience of Amos at Bethel (7:10-17).
C. The fourth vision: The basket of summer fruit (8:1-3).
D. Interlude: Denunciation, judgment, effects of the judgment (8:4-14).
E. The fifth vision: The smitten sanctuary (9:1-6).
F. The Lord respects character, not race (9:71-0).
G. Epilogue: The eventual redemption and glorification of Israel (9:11-15).
The style of Amos is finished and refined. The prophet does, indeed, betray his shepherd’s profession in the use of certain words, which apparently belonged to the language of the common people, and in many figures and similes drawn from nature and rural life; but on the other hand, he shows an intimate acquaintance with the Mosaic law and his nation’s history, and displays much rhetorical power, wealth and depth of thought, animation and vigor, especially in the use of bold antitheses, and a genuine poetical roll, which rises somewhat frequently into actual rhythm,.
In point of style, Amos holds no mean place among the prophets. The declaration of Jerome, that he was imperitus sermone (rude in speech), has not been justified by modern critics. On the contrary, it is usually allowed that, though destitute of sublimity, eh is distinguished for perspicuity and regularity, embellishment and elegance, energy and fullness. His images are mostly original, and taken from the natural scenery with which he was familiar; his rhythmus is smooth and flowing; and his parallelisms are in a high degree natural and complete. In description, he is for the most part special and local; he excells in the minuteness of his groupings, while the general vividness of his manner imparts a more intense interest to all that he delivers. In some few instances, as in chapters IV, VI and VII, the language approaches more to the prose style, or is entirely that of narrative. [E. Henderson, The Book of the Twelve Prophets, and Ed., p. 127.]
Amos, as has been intimated, writes the most pure and classical Hebrew in the Old Testament. This fact surprises many folk, for they can’t understand how a shepherd could produce such a fine piece of literature.
In Eastern society superior culture is not uncommon in connection with the poverty of shepherd life. “At the courts of the Caliphs and their Emirs the rude Arabs of the desert were wont to appear without any feeling of awkwardness, and to surprise the courtiers by the finish of their impromptu verses, the fluent eloquence of their oratory, and the range of subjects on which they could speak with knowledge and discrimination. Among the Hebrews, as in the Arabian desert, knowledge and oratory were not affairs of professional education, or dependent for their cultivation on wealth and social status. The sum of book-learning was small; men of all ranks mingled with that Oriental freedom which is so foreign to our habits; shrewd observation, a memory retentive of traditional lore, and the faculty of original reflection took the place of laborious study as the ground of acknowledged intellectual pre-eminence.” [“Amos,” International Critical Commentary, Intro., CVII.]
It might be added that the Holy Spirit must have aided the prophets of the Lord remarkably in giving messages that would otherwise have suffered without it.
The Hebrew text of Amos seems, on the whole, to be fairly well preserved. Occasionally the Septuagint [The Greek version of the Old Testament.] helps us to emend passages in the Hebrew that are corrupt.
THE PROLOGUE: THE LORD ROARS FROM ZION. – The first division, dealing with the Lord’s threats against the nations, is masterly in its conception, and execution. The prophet adopts a theme, “The Lord roars from Zion and utters His voice from Jerusalem,” from Joel 3:16, which refers to the judgments of the latter days, and applies it to God’s coming judgments on eight nations, including his own country Judah, but, more especially, Israel. In the words of Professor McFadyen:
The clear eyes of Amos saw the symptoms of rottenness and inevitable decay; and the words of his first recorded message that Jehovah, the God of this easy-going people, would roar from His temple in Jerusalem, like a lion just before he makes his spring. The implication is that Jehovah will soon spring upon His people, to tear them in pieces; and Amos’s message we might describe as the Gospel of the Lion’s Roar. [John E. McFadyen, A Cry for Justice, p. 2.]
The prophet spins a web about his listeners and at the same time holds their interest by first pronouncing God’s judgments upon successive nations outside of Israel. The nations are Damascus (Syria), Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah. [The student is advised to locate these countries in succession upon a map. Note the web Amos spins around Israel.] Amos begins each of his denunciations with the words: “Thus saith the Lord, for three transgressions, yea, for four, I will not reverse it.” By “three transgressions” is meant much sin. One sin is then specified out of many to justify the coming judgment upon each nation. Amos’s words thrill and delight his audience, particularly his pronouncements upon Judah, its hated rival kingdom. But suddenly, as a bolt from the blue, Amos turns upon his audience and the nations it represents. He stalks Israel as a lion does its prey. Israel, too, is as guilty of misconduct as the nations before-mentioned. The wealthy mistreat the poor and humble, prostitution is rampant, the people are wine-bibbers, prophets are disregarded, and young men are made to break their covenants. [Amos 2:6-12.] But retribution is to come upon the guilty nation. God will strike and the strong shall not be delivered. [Amos 2:13-16.]
LAW REIGNS IN THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT. – In this day of scientific method and observation we are far too prone to assume that while law and order reign in the physical domain it is questionable that they do so in the realm of spiritual values. It is to the eternal honor of Amos that he perceived law reigning as inexorably in the realm of the spirit as it does in the physical world. Amos applied his observation with characteristic vigor and clarity to the position of Israel before the Lord.
Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying:
You only have I known of all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities. [Amos 3:1, 2.]
The two poetic lines above form one of the grandest passages in all scripture. In the Hebrew scriptures, “to know” often signifies “to care for,” both with the understanding and the heart. Thus Amos pointed out the unique role God had assigned to Israel in the world. Amos understood that Israel was the “chosen” people of God in the sense that it was a covenant people. But we can easily imagine Amos saying:
Special privilege implies corresponding responsibility, O Israel, and you have not measured up to it. “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated – and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” [See D. & C. 130:20, 21.]
As Professor McFadyen has written:
They (Israel) believed in their election without understanding the reasons for it; they failed to realize that election to privilege is always election to duty and responsibility. [McFadyen, op. cit., p. 23.]
Amos then proceeded to clinch, by a series of homely illustrations from the physical world, his point that law also reigns in the realm of spirit.
Will two walk together,
Except they have agreed?
Will a lion roar in the forest,
When he hath no prey?
Will a young lion give forth his voice out of his den,
If he have taken nothing?
Will a bird fall in a snare upon the earth,
When there is no lure for it?
Will a snare spring up from the ground,
And have taken nothing at all?
Shall the horn be blown in a city,
And the people not tremble?
Shall evil befall a city,
And the Lord hath not done it.? [Amos 3:3-6.]
The answer to each of these questions is “No.” The great law of cause and effect is apparent in the world of material things. There is little or nothing we know of that is isolated or haphazard: for every phenomenon there is a cause and a rational explanation. As it is in the physical world so in the world of spiritual values – as a nation sows so shall it also reap. “Therefore,” said Amos to Israel, “I will visit upon you all your iniquities.”
THE LORD REVEALS HIS COUNSEL TO HIS SERVANTS THE PROPHETS. – Amos points out to Israel that his message to the nation, too, has a cause: he appears because the Lord has confided in him and has revealed to His servant the coming doom of Israel. Prophets are the men unto whom God gives counsel and revelation and woe to the nation that heeds not what they say.
For the Lord God will do nothing,
But he revealeth His counsel unto His servants the prophets.
The lion hath roared,
Who will not fe3ar?
The Lord God hath spoken,
Who can but prophesy? [Amos 3:7, 8.]
WOMEN DETERMINE THE TEMPER AND QUALITY OF CIVILIZATION. – Amos must have been a man of superb courage and daring. He boldly continued that part of his address dealing with the grounds for God’s coming judgments by giving a scathing rebuke to women in high places. Many of our English translations are too elegant to reveal effectually Amos’s contempt for the women of Israel who were helping to make its social life cruel and rotten and its religion a gorgeous sham. What he actually said was:
Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,
Who are on the Mount of Samaria,
Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
Who say to their lords: “Bring, and let us drink.”
The Lord Jehovah has sworn by His holiness:
Behold, days come upon you,
That He will carry you away with hooks,
And the remnant of you with fish-hooks.
And you shall go out at the breaches, every one straight before her,
And you shall be cast into Harmon,
Saith the Lord. [Amos 4:1-3.]
Amos compares the women of Samaria with the fat and well-fed cows roaming on pastures to the east of the Sea of Galilee. These rich, voluptuous, and violent women are qualified partners for their lords whom Amos has already denounced, who “store up violence and robbery in their palaces.” [Amos 3:10.] The sin of these sleek women consisted in their tyrannical oppression of the poor people in that they requested their husbands to procure them wine bought with money squeezed from their victims.
A country is largely what its women make it; if they are cruel or careless or unwomanly, the country is on the road to ruin. But these cattle on the hills of Samaria at whom Amos flings his words of scorn are worse than the cattle on the hills of Bashan; for they have done what no animal could do – they have made coarse pleasure the deliberate end of life. … They are fit partners for the lords already denounced. … Drink, as we have seen, was one of the national perils of the day (2:8, 12), and no sight can be uglier than a drunken woman. … Intemperance and cruelty went together then, as they go so often still. When women, who should be pitiful, sink to such depths of shame and heartlessness, it must be made plain that God will soon appear to mete out to them what they had meted to the poor. [McFadyen, op. cit., pp. 36f.[
Like so many fish pulled out of their element with fish-hooks, these women with all their luxury would be taken in hand by Israel’s enemies. They would be insulted, abused, and cast around like old rags. In sorrow and shame they would realize that repentance came too late.
EVERY DISASTER A NEW CALL TO REPENTANCE. – Amos continued to castigate Israel by exhorting his audience in ironical vein to continue its heartless ceremonial worship.
Come to Beth-el, and transgress,
To Gilgal, and multiply transgression;
And bring your sacrifices in the morning,
And your tithes after three days;
And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
And proclaim freewill-offerings and publish them;
For so ye love to do, O ye children of Israel,
Saith the Lord God. [Amos 4:4, 5.]
Israel was meticulous in its performance of the outward requirements of its religion, but the inner and less tangible requirements of love, mercy, justice, and humility were either not understood or were disregarded. In an endeavor to bring His people to their senses the Lord, said Amos, had sent upon them seven natural calamities. Cleanness of teeth [This expression in Amos 4:6 means hunger], drought, blasting, mildew, insect pests, pestilence, death by the sword, and burning were brought in succession, but all to no avail. [Amos 4:6-11.] Amos’s heart was bleeding over the sinful state of Israel. He could do nothing but warn the nation of the final blow which God would send and for which the people must prepare themselves. [Amos 4:12, 13.] It was no pleasure for him to pronounce judgment upon his brethren. So he took up a lamentation over them:
The virgin of Israel is fallen,
She shall no more rise;
She is cast down upon her land,
There is none to raise her up.
For thus saith the Lord God: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left, of the house of Israel. [Amos 5:2, 3. Notice the tithe of Israel left. In the light of 4:4 it is a rather grim figure.]
After this lament Amos paradoxically proceeds to exhort his listeners to change their ways:
For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel:
Seek ye Me, and live;
But seek not Beth-el.
* * *
Seek the Lord, and live –
Lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
And it devour, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el –
Ye who turn justice to wormwood,
And cast righteousness to the ground. [Amos 5:4-7. Note the satirical word play on Bethel. The latter was the site of the Israelite court and means “house of God.”]
A nation in the process of moral decay can still repent and find God if it will. And here is the paradox of prophecy: When God makes threats against His people they are conditional.
When God threatens he is promising … when he comes near in any way it is for our salvation … God is not obliged to fulfill his threats, but he is obliged to fulfill his promises. [G.L. Robinson, The Twelve Minor Prophets, pp. 91 f.]
Israel’s every disaster, whether physical or spiritual, so Amos thinks, constitutes a new call to repentance:
Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live;
And so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as ye say.
Hate the evil, and love the good,
And establish justice in the gate;
It may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
Will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. (5:14, 15)
Notice Amos’s emphasis on the word live He uses the word here in much the same sense as the Syriac version of the New Testament uses the word life. Life stands equally for salvation, and to be saved is to live. Amos had a passion for social justice. Goodness to Amos had a strong social color – he wanted justice in society and fair play between man and man.
THE TERRORS OF THE DAY OF THE LORD. – The prophet then paints a doleful picture of the lamentation that shall take place in Israel when the Lord passes in the midst of her. This is followed by a cry of woe upon those that desire the Day of the Lord. We learned in the chapter on Joel the true meaning of this expression – that it has reference to the latter days when the Lord will come in glory to manifest Himself in the destruction of the enemies of righteousness and to exalt those who have loved Him. The people of Israel thought they loved the Lord, and many of them yearned for the coming of the day of exaltation. Upon these hypocrites Amos pronounced a woe: Even if the Lord were to come in their day – which He would not – it would be a day of calamity and darkness, not light.
It would be:
As if a man did flee from a lion,
And a bear met him;
And went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall,
And a serpent bit him.
Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light?
Even very dark, and no brightness in it? [Amos 5:19, 20.]
ANOTHER PLEA FOR JUSTICE. – Amos turns again to denounce the false and hypocritical display of religious fervor on the part of the people. [Amos 5:21-23.] Of what avail would feasts, solemn assemblies, burnt and meal offerings be in the worship of a righteous God, when their hearts and minds are evil and their actions toward their less fortunate brethren were unjust? All of this outward display was unavailing and Amos cries out for justice in two lines that have become famous:
But let justice well up as waters,
And righteousness as a perennial stream. [Amos 5:14.]
This clarion call to repentance is one of the finest of all times.
WOE UPON THE CARELESS RICH, THE SELF-SATISFIED, AND THE ARROGANT. – Amos next turns his invective on the careless and reckless rich of Israel, on those who are at ease, on the self-satisfied and arrogant – in short – on those who, having plenty, take no thought of the sad social and religious state of their country. These individuals are absolutely indifferent to the threatened ruin of their people. The prophet indicates that exile is to be their portion, that the nation is to be destroyed because its inhabitants pervert truth and righteousness and trust int heir own strength.
Woe to them that are at ease in Zion,
And tot hem that are secure in the mountain of Samaria,’The notable men of the first of the nations,
To whom the house of Israel come!
Pass ye unto Calneh, and see,
And from thence go ye to Hamath the great;
Then go down to Gath of the Philistines;
Are they better than these Kingdoms?
Or is their border greater than your border?
Ye that put far away the evil day,
And cause the seat of violence to come near;
That lie upon beds of ivory,
And stretch themselves upon their couches,
And eat the lambs out of the flock,
And the calves out of the midst of the stall;
That thrum on the psaltery,’That devise for themselves instruments of music, like David;
That drink wine in bowls,
And anoint themselves with the chief ointments;
But they are not grieved for the hurt of Joseph.
Therefore now shall they go captive at the head of them that go captive,
And the revelry of them that stretched themselves shall pass away.
The Lord God hath sworn by Himself,
Saith the Lord, the God of hosts:
I abhor the pride of Jacob,’And hate his palaces;
And I will deliver up the city with all that is therein.
* * *
For behold, the Lord commandeth,
And the great house shall be smitten into splinters,
And the little house into chips.
Do horses run upon the rock?
Doth one plow the sea with oxen?
That ye have turned justice into gall,
And the fruit of righteous into wormwood;
Ye that rejoice in Lodebhar,
That say: “Have we not taken to us Karnaim by our own strength?”*
For, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord, the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entrance of Hamath unto the Brook of the Arabah. [Amos 6:1-8, 11-14.]
[*The older translations usually render 6:13 as follows: Ye who rejoice in a thing of nought, that say: “Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?” This does not give good sense because the names of the two cities, Lodebhar (no thing) and Karnaim (horns), have been literally translated. The above rendering brings out the meaning beautifully.]
Within thirty years what Amos had predicted was fulfilled.
FIVE VISIONS OF THE LORD’S EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT. – By means of his description of five visions, Amos seeks to impress the importance of what he has previously said upon the people, laying particular emphasis upon the certainty and finality of the judgment. These visions are in order a swarm of locusts, devouring fire, the master building with the plumbline, the basket of summer fruit, and the smitten sanctuary. [See Mos 7:1-9; 8:1-3; 9:1-6.] They are effective in making clear that the Lord intends to bring the kingdom of Israel to an end if His people do not repent. Amos held nothing back that the Lord told him to say and did not permit even Amaziah, priest of Bethel and the Archbishop of Canterbury of his day, to intimidate and frighten him from his plain duty. To the contrary, he pointed out that he was no hireling prophet and predicted that Amaziah’s wife should play the harlot in the city, that his sons and daughters should fall by the sword, and that he should die in exile in a strange and unclean land. [See Amos 7:10-17.]
JEHOVAH’S LOVE FOR ALL NATIONS. – There are three passages in Amos that clearly portray the prophet’s conception that God loves and cares for all nations.
We have already considered two of them in other connections. The first is found in Amos 1:3-2:3 which, it will be remembered, was a pronouncement of doom upon a number of peoples living near Israel. Jehovah’s ver pronouncement upon them, however, shows how interested He was in their doings. Failure to live up to the better ideals of living caused Jehovah regret and disappointment. The second is found in Amos 3:2.
You only have I known of all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities.
This passage as pointed out above, implies that Israel is “chosen” only in the sense that she accepts greater responsibility. The greater the privileges given, the greater the responsibilities. Therefore, God’s dealings with all peoples are essentially equal. “God is no respecter of persons,” or we may add, of races. [Acts 10:34.]
In still another passage Amos makes even clearer the point in question:
Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto Me,
O children of Israel? saith the Lord.
Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt,
And the Philistines from Caphtor,
And Aram from Kir? [Amos 9:7.]
Because of her sins Amos considers Israel on the same level as other nations.
THE DAWN OF A BETTER DAY. – Amos has painted to his audience a sorrowful picture of sin and doom. Here and there to be sure are flashes of hope. [Consider Amos 3:12; 5:3. A remnant to escape. These passages are in harmony with 9:8b.] But mostly it is doom. Suddenly Amos ceases his message of doom and portrays a future of hope and promise. [Amos 9:8b-15.] In the latter days the remnant of Israel that has escaped destruction shall be restored to its inheritance, the captivity of its people is to be turned, it shall build cities and plant vineyards, and never be dispossessed.
And I will turn the captivity of My people Israel,
And they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them;
And they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof;
And they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
And I will plant them upon their land,
And they shall no more be plucked up
Out of their land which I have given them,
Saith the Lord thy god. [Amos 9:14, 15.]
This section, a rose picture of Israel’s future blessed state, has been denied to Amos by many scholars. But the writer can see no reason to doubt its authenticity. What would be the point in warning a people if it were completely doomed and without a ray of hope? Furthermore, Amos is in harmony with other prophets who looked forward to Israel’s future blessings.
So far as Israel, as a kingdom and a people, is sinful, it is to be destroyed from off the face of the earth. But there is always a divine kernel in the nation, by virtue of its divine election, a holy seed out of which the Lord will form a new and holy people and kingdom of God.