Jerusalem council of Acts 15: James exegesis of Amos 9

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When James cited Amos 9:11-12 in defense of his decision, he deliberately changed the words “In that day I will raise up” to “After this I will return”. Is James rendering of “After this I will return” in reference to the Second Coming and subsequent 1000 year reign (thus establishing fallen tent of David)? Dispensationalist author John Walvoord wrote:


He states, in effect, that it was God’s purpose to bless the Gentiles as well as Israel, but in their order. God was to visit the Gentiles first, “to take out of them a people for his name.” James goes on to say that this is entirely in keeping with the prophets, for they had stated that the period of Jewish blessing and triumph should be after the Gentile period: “After these things I will return, And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen.” Instead of identifying the period of Gentile conversion with the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, it is carefully distinguished by the first (Gentile blessing), and after this, referring to Israel’s coming glory. The passage instead of identifying God’s purpose for the church and for the nation, Israel, established a specific time order. Israel’s blessing will not come until “I return,” … That it could not refer either to the Incarnation or to the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is evident in that neither are “return’s.” The passage under consideration constitutes, then, an important guide in determining the purpose of God. God will first conclude His work for the Gentiles in the period of Israel’s dispersion; then He will return to bring in the promised blessings for Israel.


It is needless to say that this confirms the interpretation that Christ is not now on the throne of David bringing blessing to Israel as the prophets predicted, but He is rather on His Father’s throne waiting for the coming earthly kingdom and interceding for His own who form the church.


  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply July 11, 2019

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Acts 15:14-19
    15:14. James began with the experience of Peter: “Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.” James thus couches the Gentile mission as God’s own initiative in also calling Gentiles to Himself.

    15:15. James supports his perspective with “the words of the prophets.” Here he either gave an interpretive rendering of Amos 9:11-12 or a direct quote from a document similar to the LXX.

    15:16. The phrase “‘after this I will return’” refers to the period after the Tribulation when Messiah “‘will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down.’” This refers to the reestablishment of the Davidic kingdom with Messiah, the Lord Jesus, sitting on David’s throne and ruling from Jerusalem.

    15:17. The continuation of the quotes shows the connection with Gentiles: “‘So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD.’” The rest of mankind refers to “‘all the Gentiles who are called by My name.’” Essentially James affirms that Peter’s experience comports with what God will do in the future kingdom and therefore poses no problem in the present interadvent age.

    The OT Masoretic Text renders Amos 9:12 a in a manner different from the wording of the LXX—and James. The LXX has seek instead of possess and Edom for mankind: “That they may possess the remnant of Edom.” The OT seems to use Edom for the Gentile nations who oppose Israel—perhaps similar to the way the NT employs Greeks to speak of Gentiles in general. Also Messiah will mete out judgment in Edom in connection with His judgment of unbelieving mankind/nations (cf. Isa 63:1-6).

    During the millennial reign, the different peoples will still exist and come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord (cf. Zech 8:22-23; 14:16-19).

    From Luke’s perspective his report of this facet of James’s speech would have special relevance to Theophilus if the identification of him with King Agrippa II proves correct. King Agrippa II came from Edomite or Idumean lineage through his great-great-grandfather, Herod the Great’s father.

    15:18. James then affirms that the inclusion of the Gentiles was part of God’s eternal plan: “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” The inclusion of the Gentiles constitutes God’s work. They should not place barriers on something God has planned from eternity and blessed in the present.

    15:19. James concludes, “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God.” James’s conclusion equates imposing circumcision and the Mosaic Law on the Gentiles with “troubling” them.
    (from The Grace New Testament Commentary, Copyright © 2010 by Grace Evangelical Society. All rights reserved.)

  • Reply July 13, 2019

    Varnel Watson

    RichardAnna Boyce the exegesis of Amos 9 is straight forward but I keep on wondering what is the role of Russia in the new building of Jerusalem and its following new destruction under anti Christ

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