Restoring the Fallen Tabernacle of David
"On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old." (Amos 9:11)
Many interpret this prophecy as God’s promise to restore the ministry of praise and worship among the churches. However, as much as we are commanded to praise and worship God in many places in the Bible, this verse is not about the restoration of the ministry of praise and worship. In contrast, by making this verse to mean the "restoration of the grace of worship in the church", we will lose the higher meaning God attaches to the verse. Actually, we will lose a lot in what God is trying to say to us prophetically about the last days.
Actually, there are several scriptural arguments why Amos 9:11 is not actually about the restoration of praise and worship, but instead what God plans to do along the lines of Isaiah 53.
1. The tent of meeting where the Ark was kept and where much worship was conducted was never called the Tabernacle of David (See 2 Sam. 6: 17; 7: 1-3; 1 Kg. 8: 1-3; 1 Chr. 16, 21:29-30; 2 Chr. 1:3). It was not even called the Tabernacle of Moses after the first man who set it up under God’s direction (See Acts 7: 44-47; Heb. 3: 2-6; 9, 10).
2. The whole tone of Amos’ prophetic activity is centered on condemning social injustice and ritualistic worship devoid of true spirituality. Amos' burden is to call Israel to do justice for the poor by returning to its original covenant relationship with God. For example, see what Amos declares in 4:1 and 8: 4-6. According to Amos, true worship of God is not associated with a place or with a song, but with integrity and justice. (see Amos 5: 4-5; 6: 5-6)
3. Why limit David's ministry or the tent of meeting just with praise and worship only? Is it not equally true that David’s life symbolizes many important spiritual virtues, such as election by grace (1 Cor. 1: 30), spiritual warfare, total devotion to God, a contrite spirit, the disciplines of God, and prophecy? So what is our Scriptural basis to read ONLY the restoration worship in Amos 9:11? Instead, given Amos' overall prophetic burden, will not it be better to imagine that Amos is much more concerned with the restoration of Davidic-type justice or fidelity to God?
4. In the Scriptures, tabernacle/ tent is often figuratively used to represent the human body/ person, a family line, or a nation (see Jer. 30: 18-19; 2 Cor. 5:1; 2 Pet. 1:14, Jn. 2:21). It is more than likely that in Amos 9:11 "the tent of David" may refer to God's long-standing promise to restore the royal household of David, instead of (as interpreted by many) the restoration of the ministry of praise and worship. Amos 9:11 more likely speaks about God's unexpected intervention (as a sign of the end-times) in restoring the House of David to its former glory, lifting up from its present state of humiliation and obscurity. Amos 9:11 (in the context of the whole prophecy about about restoring morality, as well as social and economic justice) is about God raising up a righteous (justice-seeking and God-fearing) king from the scion of David. Amos like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah (Is. 16:5, Jer. 23: 5-6, Ezk. 34:23-24, Zech. 6:9-15) predict a son of David who will arise in the last days to hasten the cause justice on earth. For example:
Then a throne will be established in gracious love, and there will sit in faithfulness— in the Tent of David— one who judges, seeks justice, and is swift to do what is right. (Is. 16:5, NIV)
Then one of David's descendants will be king, and he will rule the people with faithfulness and love. He will be quick to do what is right, and he will see that justice is done. (Good News Translation)
Then a trustworthy king will be established; he will rule in a reliable manner, this one from David's family. He will be sure to make just decisions and will be experienced in executing justice. (NET translation)
The main concern of the prophet Amos' message is the restoration of social and economic justice and the true worship of God. This requires a Solomon-type king in terms of justice and kindness:
For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. (See Ps. 72: 12-14)
In God's eternal prophetic plan, in turn, implies reviving the David's royal line as has God has promised king David a son who will sit on his throne forever and rule in justice and righteousness (2 Sam 7:13-14). Essentially, David's life and ministry, in prophetic Scripture, stands for a kind, just, and pious administration instead of a pure focus on praise and worship. God, for these reasons, always used David as a standard to which He always called Israel's kings to measure up (see 2 Chr. 7:17-18, 28:1, 29:2, 34:2). For example, see also: Is. 11: 1-6; Jer. 23: 5-6; Ps. 77: 69-72.
5. Readers may ask: why make so much fuss about such an obscure verse as Amos 9:11? What harm is there to use this verse for a good purpose; after all does not God recommend and desire our worship? Yes, He does (Ps. 29: 1, 96: 5-8, etc). However, we will miss a greater prophetic meaning in that verse if we close our minds to its true intent. Actually, Amos 9:11 should be interpreted in messianic terms. It is there to remind us of the humiliation (i.e. ruin) followed by His restoration to glory by God. The correct way to understand the meaning of Amos 9:11 is to interpret it in the context of scriptures such as, Ps. 88; Is. 52: 11-13; Dan. 8: 9-14; Zech. 12: 8, 13:1 which highlight the humiliations and the subsequent glory of the Messiah. These verses (along with those cited in '4' above) can provide us with the right context to understand the intent of the Holy Spirit when He speaks about the ruins of David's tabernacle and its restoration to its former glory. What Amos 9:11 says is that God will restore the royal line of David from its current ruined state. The Davidic line will emerge from its life of obscurity and humiliation to rule again in power and majesty. That is the inherent and correct meaning and message of Amos 9:11. As to how this happens in the last days, please see my writing, "Remnant Theology".
Glory be to God
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