16 ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up
Acts 15:16 begins the quotation from Amos 9:11-12.
‘After this [in that day] I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;
“After this” refers to the times of Amos, where he predicted the rebuilding of the tent of David, that is, the establishment of the Messianic kingdom yet to come. It is to go beyond the statement of Amos to claim that the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David is the church.
The word “return” refers to an actual bodily return of the Messiah. Jesus is yet to return, so this “return” cannot reference His first coming. He came the first time and is yet to “return” bodily to the earth to establish His kingdom. Christ did not establish His kingdom at His first coming. When He returns, He will sit on David’s throne in the Millennial kingdom (2 Sam 7:16; Ps 89:4). Amos knew nothing of a coming church because that revelation was later given to the apostle Paul (Eph 3:1-7). The promise of God’s restoration of the Davidic line shows that He will revive the Davidic kingdom.
This verse argues that Gentiles will be saved in the Millennial Kingdom upon Christ’s return. If Gentiles will be saved in the kingdom age, there is nothing to prohibit them from becoming believers in the church age. James gave the phrase “in that day” the meaning of the Millennial Kingdom where Gentiles will come to God (Acts 15:15).
The context in Amos referred to the future rebuilding of David’s kingdom. Thus Amos 9:11-12 cannot refer to the church. His only argument is what happened with the Gentiles in the first century agreed with Old Testament prophets (Zech 8:20-23).
God now identifies people as believers who had not first become Jews.
The present salvation of Gentiles is consistent with the prophecy of Amos. God’s plan changed from dealing with the nation Israel, His covenant people, to taking out a new group that includes Jews and Gentiles, which constitutes the church. When He completes that work, He will come again.
The Amos quote anticipated the Millennial kingdom where Christ would rule. The idea of the Amos quote was not to show God was fulfilling the prophecy in the first century but that what took place during the days of the Jerusalem Council agreed with what would happen during the Millennial reign of Christ in the future.
James argued that the present inclusion of Gentiles in the church was consistent with God’s promise to Amos. The future plan of God also includes His current plan. What God is now doing in the church for the Gentiles is also part of His future plan for Israel.
Christ will not sit on David’s throne until the Millennial kingdom (2 Sa 7:16; Ps 89:4; Mt 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pe 3:22). He is not on that throne now in heaven; it is a future event. Presently He is heaven (Ps 110:1; Ro 8:34; Co 3:1; He 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pe 3:22).