HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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The Book of Hosea
By the prophet's taking back his wife, for whom he (her friend and husband) still had affection, even though she had proven unfaithful, is symbolic of Israel. By his entering into a new contract with her; and by his giving her hopes of reconciliation, after she would for some time prove the sincerity of her repentance; is represented in the gracious manner in which God will restore the Jews from the Babylon captivity. It is also strongly states that the whole house of Israel will be added to the Church of Christ in the latter days.
Hosea 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine. (KJV)
Then said the Lord unto me . . . the Lord spoke unto Hosea again. The word "yet" seems to belong here, and not the following clause. It shows that this is a new vision, new prophecy or parable, although referring to the same persons and things.
Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress . . . this is a different command from that mentioned in the first chapter. That meant the infidelity of the kingdom of Israel, and God's divorce of them. He gave them up to their enemies, and caused them to be carried into captivity. The woman mentioned here represents one who was a lawful wife joining herself to an illicit lover, divorced by her husband; then afterwards repenting, and wanting to be rejoined to her spouse; ceasing from her adulterous activity, but not yet reconciled to him. This was the condition of the Jews under the Babylon captivity. Though separated from their own idols, they stayed separated from their God. He is still represented as having affectionate feelings towards them, awaiting their full repentance, in order to renew the marriage covenant. These things are pointed out by the symbolical actions of the prophet. "Beloved of her friend" . . . a lover of evil or loving another, one who loves evil or a friend. Hosea loved Gomer even though she had been unfaithful.
According to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel . . . such is the love of the Lord to them. Even though they were guilty of idolatry, pleasure seeking and other immoralities, God still loved them, and still does, and had/has plans of grace and goodness for them. Although God does not love sinners actions, yet He loves them, even though they are sinners (Jn.3:16). Israel who had proven false and unfaithful to her husband, was still beloved by God, but He could not acknowledge her while she was seeking after other gods.
Who look to other gods . . . look to and worship other gods, pray unto them, put their trust in them, and expect good things from them.
And love flagons of wine . . . this may refer to the drunkenness and intemperance of the ten tribes (Isa.28:1), the pleasures of the world, and not considering the law and commandments of God. Or it may refer to the feasts that were made in the temples of their idols. It seems they loved festive eating and drinking, and that made them like idolatry all the more (Ex.32:6). The Heathens would eat and drink to excess, at their sacrifices to their false gods. "Flagons of wine" could be translated as "cakes of raisins" a reference to the cakes of raisins which were used in the sacrificial feasts of the Canaanites (1 Sam.25:18; 1 Chron.12:40), a part of the heathen worship of idols, which the children of Israel had adopted. God is saying to Hosea, "Now you know how I feel. Go and take Gomer back again. She has been unfaithful to you, but you are to love her and take her back. That is what I will do with Israel. She has been unfaithful to Me, and I shall punish her, but one day I will bring her back to Myself."
Hosea 3:2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: (KJV)
So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver . . . maybe Gomer had sold herself to mobsters running brothels in that land. Hosea had to go buy her back. "So I bought her to me." The picture here is not pretty! That is why "redemption" is not being preached more today. We hear a lot about dedication, commitment and about turning your life over to the Lord. But, that is NOT the first step! #1. You must admit that you are a sinner (1 Jn.1:8,10) and come as that filthy sinner to God. He has to REDEEM you. Just as Hosea paid for this harlot, that is the way God redeems us. Until you understand that, you can know nothing of a real commitment or dedication to God.
And for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley . . . an "homer" held ten "ephahs", and a "lethec" or "half homer" five "ephahs" (so many bushels to us). Gomer was NOT worth it! And my friend, we are NOT worth the redemption price that was paid for us. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold... but with the precious blood of Christ..." (1 Pet.1:18-19). Christ Jesus had to shed His Blood . . . His precious Blood. He had to suffer and die that you and I might be redeemed. WHY? Because we were totally LOST sinners, sold under sin.
So Hosea bought Gomer; as he was commanded. "Fifteen pieces of silver;" whatever was the exact quantity and value of these pieces we really do not need to know. What we should know is that "fifteen pieces of silver" was half the price of a slave (Ex.21:32), and that barley was the cheapest kind of provision, and suited to a low condition (Judg.7:13; Eze.4:9,12). All this said to set forth Israel's spiritual poverty and ingratitude to God, and God's abundant loving kindness to Israel.
Hosea 3:3 And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee. (KJV)
And I said unto her . . . having bought her; a covenant or agreement was made with her.
Thou shall abide for me many days . . . dwell alone in some solitary and separate place, and have no conversation with any others, especially men; living like a widow that has lost her loving husband, waiting for a long time until the prophet thinks it fit to take her back to his house and bed.
Thou shall not play the harlot, and thou shall not be for another man . . . neither prostitute herself, as she had done with her lovers; nor marry another, but keep herself chaste and single.
So will I also be for thee . . . wait for her, not take another wife. Israel's sins are the cause that were carried them captive many days. They shall give themselves over to worship of the TRUE God and not err, nor serve idols. Only then would God have mercy on them.
People dislike true religion because because they love forms, objects and rituals, which allows them to indulge, instead of mortifying their lusts. A holy God does have mercy on those whose carnal mind is enmity against Him! This represents God's gracious dealings to the fallen race of mankind, that had gone so far away from Him. How grateful I am that He was so patient waiting for me to accept His one and only Plan of salvation. For years, both my husband and I went through the motions of being a "Christian." But, we were NOT saved! Going to 'church' does NOT save you! Only Jesus can save you! http://www.hisservants.org/truth_about_salvation_h_s.htm
God is willing to enter a covenant of grace with Israel, but they must be to Him a people, and then He will be to them a God. They must accept the punishment of their sin, and must not return to folly. Afflictions are good for us, when they keep us from being overcome by the temptations of an apostate state.
Hosea 3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: (KJV)
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince . . . this does NOT give any specific number of days, a little unusual because the children of Israel were told three times that they were to be put out of their land and they would be returned three times. Each time God put them out of that land, He told them how long they would be out . . . except the last time. The first time, God told Abraham, "I am going to give you this land, it's yours, but I am going to put your children out of this land for 430 years. They will be down in the land of Egypt, and after 430 years, I will bring them back." (Gen.15:13; Ex.12:40-41).
Israel did come back. That prophecy was literally fulfilled. A second time, God said through Jeremiah, Because of your sins, you are going to Babylon for seventy years (Jer.25:11-12; 29:10). This too was fulfilled literally. Now, here Hosea is speaking to the northern kingdom (which really never actually returned to the land), and he says, "Israel shall abide many days without a king."
Israel is going to abide many days "without a king." I really do not think that any Jew can say: "I am in the line of David, and I have a right to the throne of David." There is only One Who can claim this, and at is this moment sitting at God's right hand . . . He is the Lord Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev.19:16). Israel has rejected their King. The Lord Jesus "sits" at the right hand of God the Father: (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 5:30-31; 7:54-56; Rom.8:34; Eph.1:18-23; Col.3:1; Heb.1:3; 8:1; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22).
"Without a prince" . . . Israel has NO one to succeed to the throne. If the Lord Jesus Christ is not their Messiah, they have none other and have no prospect of one.
And without a sacrifice . . . Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (KJV) . . . Many think that we must be to the end of the "times of the Gentiles" because Israel now has Jerusalem. BUT . . . do they really have Jerusalem? All the holy places in old Jerusalem are in the hands of either the Moslems, the Russian Catholics, the Greek Catholics, the Armenian Church, or the Roman Catholics. And ALL of them have built cathedrals or churches over these places. Israel does NOT possess these sacred spots, and they dare not touch them. Israel does NOT possess that temple area, and they do NOT have a sacrifice today. The only holy place they have is the Wailing Wall. They have NO sacrifice except the one which you and I have, JESUS!
And without an image . . . God did NOT give Israel any images. Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: (KJV) . . . Although Israel was very deep into idolatry, and set up images and statues for worship before their captivities, now have no image worship among them, but strictly observe the command.
And without an ephod . . . the ephod was the sacred garment worn by the high priest. Ephod: (Ex.28:6-14,31-35; 25:7).
And without teraphim . . . some Teraphim (idols) were small and could be carried in the pack saddle of a camel, similar to the ones that Rachel took (Gen.31:18,34). Others were life size. Idolatry is associated with demons: (Lev.17:7; Deut.32:17; 2 Chron.11:15; Ps.106:37; 1 Cor.10:20-21). It seems there will be a revival of it in the Great Tribulation: (Rev.9:20-21; 13:11-18; 14:9-11; 16:2,13,16).
Personal comment: How long is "many days"? There are some who think they 'know' when the Lord Jesus is going to come again. Many predictions have been made, BUT ALL predictions have been false! (Deut.18:22). Some of these people act as if they have a private line into heaven! They do NOT! Still others say that the generation living today is the one that is going to see the Coming of Christ. This may sound good to a lot of "baby" Christians (1 Jn.2:12), but it is NOT in the Word of God. Nowhere does the Bible tell us how long the time will be until His return (Mat.24:36-46).
WHY did the Lord say "many days" and not give a specific number? Because in the time Israel left the land in B.C. 70 and the time at which they will return, He has been calling out a people to His Name from among the Gentiles and has been building His church.
The Lord Jesus said, "Behold, I come quickly..." (Rev.3:11; 22:7), and that was nineteen hundred years ago. I certainly do NOT know WHEN that day shall be. We DO have clues though!
Matthew 24:5-8 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (KJV) . . . All this IS happening!
Matthew 24:11-12 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (KJV) . . . This IS happening!
Matthew 24:23-24 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (KJV) . . . This IS happening!
Matthew 24:37-44 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (KJV) . . . Read the following:
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (KJV)
Genesis 6:11-13 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. (KJV) . . . God hates any sin! God hates disobedience to Him, He hates evil, wickedness! Wickedness, disobedience to God: (Gen.13:13; 18:20-21; Ex.22:18-20; Lev.18:22-24; 19:31; 20:2-6,13-17,27; 1 Sam.15:23; 2 Ki.9:22; 21:6; 23:24; 2 Chron.28:3; 33:6; Job 15:16; Ps.14:1-4; 50:17-22; 53:2; 58:2-4; Pro.6:18; Ecc.17:9; Isa.8:19; 19:3; 29:4; 32:6-7; 57:3-11; Jer.4:14; Eze.8:9,12; Mic.5:12-15; Nah.3:4; Mat.15:19; Mk. 7:21-23; Rom.1:24-32; 3:9-19; 1 Cor.6:9-11; Gal.5:15-21; Eph.2:1-3; Col.3;5-9; 1 Tim.1:8:11; 2 Tim.3:1-7; Tit.3:3; Rev.21:8,27).
The United States, rather the entire world, is FULL of wickedness! Very few people ever take this into consideration! "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" . . . the Rapture COULD happen at any moment! God will tolerate sin just so long, just as in the days of "Noe" but He shall lower the boom one day! We know when the Second Coming shall be . . . 7 years after the Rapture. BUT, we do NOT know when the Lord Jesus shall come in the clouds to take His church home (1 Thes.4:13-18). The above verses state this fact. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." The Great Tribulation action will begin when the church is removed from this earth.
The church is nameless and dateless. If you had met Simon Peter an hour before the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost and you had asked him, "Do you know what's going to happen here soon?" He would have said, "No. What's going to happen?" He did not know. The birth of the church had been announced, but NO date had been given. And we are NOT given the date of the Rapture, the time when the church will be removed from this Earth. I think that is the reason we are told "the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king." No specific or set time is given to us.
Hosea 3:5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days. (KJV)
Afterward shall the children of Israel return . . . after these long and grievous troubles have broken their hearts and opened their eyes. "Return" . . . repent and return.
And seek the Lord their God, and David their King . . . seek to know His way, and to live under His protection and blessing, and worship Him. They shall pray to Him, depend on Him, consult with Him ardently. "David their king" . . . NOT the son of Jesse, who was long since dead; nor Zerubbabel (Ez.2:2; 3:2,8; 4:2; 5:2; Neh.7:7; 12:1,47; Hag.1:1,12,14; 2:2,21,23; Zec.4:6); but Messiah, who is also called David (Ps.132:10; Jer. 30:9; Eze.34:23-24; 37:24-25, Amos 9:11). Shall fear the Lord; with reverence shall pray, depend on, and consult their God, and worship his Son the Messiah, whom the Father sent out of his infinite goodness and kindness towards us.
And shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter day . . . fear = reverence . . . a worshipful reverence influenced by the blessings of God's gracious goodness. Israel shall give themselves completely to the service of the Lord, and His goodness shall be multiplied over and over again unto them. "His goodness" is that of His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, the Messiah! God in Christ, with Christ shall be worshipped.
The ten tribes of Israel, and also the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, are included in the name of Israel. She must long sit like a widow, stripped of all joys and honors; but shall one day be received again. Any that would seek the Lord so as to really find Him, must go through Christ (Jn.3:18,36; 8:24; 14:6), and become His willing people (Jn.1:12-13). Not only are we to fear the Lord and His greatness, and not only His majesty, but His mercy. This Passage refers to the promised Messiah; and it foretells Israel's future conversion to Christ. Although the first "fear" of God comes from His holy majesty and righteous vengeance, the experience of mercy and grace through Christ Jesus, will lead the heart to reverence so kind and glorious a Friend and Father, and a "fear" of offending Him.
"Afterward shall the children of Israel return" . . . does NOT mean a specific year. NO one knows when it will be, but Israel shall return to the land according to God's timetable (Job 28:23; Isa.40:13-14; Rom.11:33-34).
When Israel does return, they shall "seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days." They may have returned to that land, but that is not the fulfillment of this prophecy. The prophecy says that WHEN they return, they will return to God. There is NO real turning to God and their Messiah, in that land. The Bible states that it is the Messiah who is going to bring peace. Israel is NOT turning to the Messiah but to science. They are looking for peace and prosperity and depending upon economics.
"And shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days." "The latter days" are still out there in the future. The "latter days" refer to Israel and to the time beginning with the Great Tribulation (Rev.6-18), including the Second Coming of Christ (Zec.14:1-5; Rev.19:11-21), and on into the Millennium (Rev.20:1-10).
Book of Hosea
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