In John 1:15 John the Baptist identifies Jesus in a way that is usually translated “The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.” I propose that all three clauses should be translated temporally something like, “The one coming after me has existed since before me, because was first before me.”
In Amos 5:10-13, we see a corrupt society where the wealthy elite maintain their wealth and power by dishonestly fixing the system in their favor. A just judge is despised. God’s punishment is appropriate: whatever you use your wealth to build will be taken from you before you can enjoy it.
The question Amos 5:1-7 poses to us today is this: where are we seeking our security? Are we, like Israel, confusing human institutions for the activity of God in the world? Are we conflating the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the earth?