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Hosea 1-3
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Hosea 4:1-19

 

The LORD Brings a Charge Against Israel

 

From here on out (chapters 4-14) Hosea is dealing with Israel’s unfaithfulness to the LORD and is prophetic, concerning the House of Israel’s future demise.  I am color-coding this red, because it applies prophetically right now to whomever the northern ten tribes are now, and to us especially in the English-speaking western democracies.  What this describes happened in Israel of Hosea’s day, and it is yet happening again in our day, within America, and the British nations right now as I write this.  Chapter 4 deals with four things, Israel’s: 1) lawlessness, 2) immorality, 3) ignorance of God’s Word, and 4) idolatry.  There is a direct corrolation between these four major sins of Israel and the sins we see in our “enlightened” western so-called Judeo-Christian nations, particularly within the United States of America.

 

Verses 1-6, “Hear the word of the LORD, your children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:  ‘There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.  By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed.  Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away.  [Wow!, this describes what is happening in the Atlantic Ocean fishing grounds, how prophetic.]  Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; for your people are like those who contend with the priest.  Therefore you shall stumble in the day;  the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother.  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being a priest for me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.”  Each of the sins listed were breaking one of the 10 Commandments.  Murders abound, and now the deplorable murders of young children and women to conceal the crimes of rape against them.  Since the 1960s the idea of “free love” without moral constraints has taken over the land, now to the point where marriage has been traded in for “just living together,” leaving no proper family structure or legal protection for the children born into this mixed up family environment.  Our nation is filled with people who know almost nothing about what God’s Word, the Bible, teaches.  This nation is full of Biblical illiterates.  In verse 3 we find an interesting corrolation between the drought conditions that God prophecied here against the 10 northern tribes of Israel---which did occur during the times of Elijah and Elisha---and conditions that have already begun to occur in the United States and English speaking nations.  Even fish in the ocean are beginning to get scarce, as a direct result of pollution within rivers, combined with mechanized over-fishing to feed mushrooming populations.  U.S. granaries used to be full, with multiple year’s worth of overstock available in reserve to protect the nation against lean years of harvest.  That condition no longer exists.  Basically, when a nation is well-grounded in the Word of God, adhering to the 10 Commandments, it is strong, blessed economically and with good harvests, both on land and at sea.  But God basically told Hosea why Israel then, and our English speaking peoples now are suffering economically, plus with our crops, both on land and at sea.  Verses 1 and 6, “Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land…My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:  because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee…”  God back then held the priesthood accountable for not teaching his Word properly to the people, and he will yet hold the so-called ministers of today accountable for not teaching people out of the Word of God, the Bible.  Rampant crime rates and immorality are bringing our nation to its knees.  Why?  It is because the liberal pastors in the large older denominations teach fables and cute stories, or psychology, but not straight Bible teaching.  People who need spiritual T-bone steak are being fed Pablum and milk, and our nations are failing as a result.

‘They Shall Eat, But Not Have Enough’

 

Verses 7-12, “The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame.  They eat up the sin of my people; they set their heart on their iniquity.  And it shall be:  like people, like priest.  So I will punish them for their deeds.  For they shall eat, but not have enough; they shall commit harlotry, but not increase; because they have ceased obeying the LORD.  Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart.  My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff [margin: Diviner’s rod] informs them.  For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God.”  Drought was chewing up their crops, and our southern mid-western states have been going through an ever-increasing drought-cycle.  They were seeking divination and fortune-telling back then instead of seeking God, and we’re doing that now.  Will we ever learn?  Spiritual harlotry, spiritual adultery is putting something else in place of God, which is often sorcery.  Instead of asking God, people will read their horoscopes.  It’s all idolatry, spiritual adultery, harlotry.  Also excess drinking of wine or alcohol robs a person of common sense, and loosens inhibitions, causing real harlotry to take place.

 

Baal Worship, Child Sacrifice, Then and Now

 

Verses 13-15, “They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, because their shade is good.  Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, and your brides commit adultery.  I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go apart with harlots, and offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.  Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.  Though you, Israel, play the harlot, let not Judah offend.  Do not come up to Gilgal, nor go up to Beth Aven, nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the LORD lives’---for Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; now the LORD will let them forage like a lamb in open country.  Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.  Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually.  Her rulers dearly love dishonor.  The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.”  Here is what Israel had gotten into.  These were called “high places” for a reason.  A functional temple of Baal was recently discovered by the late Dr. Barry Fell in New Salem, New Hampshire.  I took a tour of it, and this is what I discovered. 

 

American temple of Baal Discovered

 

Recently I toured an archaeological site named America’s Stonehenge (105 Haverhill Road, Salem, New Hampshire), and based on what I observed as well as an engraved tablet which, translated by the late Dr. Barry Fell, reads “To Baal of the Canaanites (Phoenicians), this in dedication”, written in Iberian Punic, and came to the conclusion that this is the site of an ancient Phoenician-Israelite astronomical temple of Baal.  I took as many pictures as I could, but it really didn’t sink in as to what I was looking at until I read the Tour Guide pamphlet which explained the setup.  I found in the site that there was a sacrificial table, with a chiseled drain channel carved into it around the outside perimeter of this 4.5 ton slab of stone. Beneath this “sacrificial table” was a speaking tube.  Words spoken through this stone-lined tube would exit under the “Sacrificial Table.” This speaking tube leads to a secret chamber, which when someone spoke into it from the secret chamber would give the impression that the table was talking.  My guess, a priest of Baal was hidden in this secret chamber, where he could observe everything being done on the Sacrificial Table through a small opening.  He would then speak through this speaking tube, deceiving the other Baal worshippers into thinking Baal was actually speaking and calling the shots during the human sacrifice.  The blood would be caught in the circular channel running around the outside perimeter of this 4.5 ton stone slab of a sacrificial table.  During excavation of the site this small tunnel or speaking tube was found blocked at both ends with small stones.  The site carbon-dated to around 995BC give or take 180 years.  If it actually dated somewhat less that 995BC, anywhere from 180 years or less, this site could have been built anywhere from the time of kings David and Solomon down to king Ahab and queen Jezebel of the northern House of Israel, when the Phoenician-Israelite maritime navy was colonizing and mining distant lands wherever they could.  From the evidence below they had reached inland from our New England coast.  The setup of their astronomical Calendrical observatory was for religious purposes, a part of Baal worship.  A small Phoenician sea-anchor made of granite was found at the bottom of Canobie Lake in New Hampshire as well, about the size and weight that would successfully anchor a boat of about 30 feet in length (I’m a sailor, and observed its weight).  If the Phoenician-Israelite maritime merchant marine and navy had reached the American continent, they certainly had colonies for trade all over the European, English and Irish coastlines.  [see http://www.stonehengeusa.com for museum facts and driving directions.  For a deeper study into the Phoenician-Celtic presence in America order America BC by Barry Fell, on http://www.amazon.com]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were Baal worshippers doing? (Don’t forget, Baal worship had badly infected Israel in the time of Ahab and Jezebel in the 850s BC, and then during the time of Zephaniah, around the time of his birth near the end of the reign of Manasseh, Baal worshipped has been brought into Judah by the evil king Manasseh.  What is involved, why were these high places so evil?  Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Carthage.  As seen in the commentary on Israel (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html) Carthage (Kirjath Hadeschath) was a major Israelite-Phoenician colony, established around the time of Ahab and Jezebel.  So here Hosea is condemning these “high places” where babies and toddlers were being sacrificed.  Interesting, the temple complex in New Salem NH (as all Baal temples were) was aligned in such a way so the sun would come directly into the temple entrance between December 21st through December 24th, marking Baal’s birthday on December 25th, when it was celebrated (perhaps with some child-sacrifices, to help end the winter, and bring on the longer rays of the sun for spring---it was all about crops and fertility rites, which produced the excess babies they then sacrificed).  Christmas on December 25th has a whole lot of pagan baggage attached to it.  When it can be proven that Jesus was born in the fall, do you think the Lord wants his birthday celebrated on Baal’s birthday?  I don’t.  Our modern equivalent to this practice is abortion, with over 45 million babies murdered since the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling in the 1960s, and a million more babies being murdered, added to this gruesome number each year.  But God says in verse 14 that he’s not so much going to punish Israel for this as he is going to judge them (and us by extrapolation) for turning away from the One true God (which caused all of this to happen).  We in our so-called “enlightened” western democracies have turned our backs on Jesus Christ and are rapidly secularizing our entire societies of any references to Jesus Christ or God.  We are rapidly kicking God out of our schools and public buildings.  We are forcefully secularizing what once used to be decent law-abiding Judeo-Christian nations, and we are beginning to reap a whirlwind of increased crime and lawlessness as a direct result, which our poor police are hard-pressed to keep up with.  In verse 15, God is not judging the southern House of Judah right now.  Hosea prophecied during the 8th century BC, beginning during the reign of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in Israel.  The prophecies of Hosea were directed primarily toward the northern 10-tribed House of Israel.  He lived long enough to see this northern kingdom collapse and fall to the Assyrians and/or flee to evade capture.  He lived into the reign of King Hezekiah of the House of Judah.  (He actually may have moved south into Jerusalem just before the final Assyrian invasion of Samaria.)

 

‘Israel, the backsliding heifer’

 

Hosea 4:16-19, “For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn [KJV “backsliding heifer”] calf; now the LORD will let them forage like a lamb in open country.  Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone.    Their drink is rebellion, they commit harlotry continually.  Her rulers dearly love dishonor.  The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.”  J. Vernon McGee describes what “backsliding” really is.  “I want to look at what backsliding really is.  A great many people think that backsliding is when you have become a Christian, have joined the church, and then drop back into sin.  That is not backsliding in the way it is used here---God illustrates it so that you cannot miss its meaning:  “For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer.”  In the little town in which I lived in southern Oklahoma as a boy, there lived next door to us a rancher who had a big cattle ranch and two boys who were about my age.  We three played together.  We enjoyed riding heifers out in the lot.  We would tie a rope around them---as we said in that day, a bellyband---and we would hold on to that until the heifer bucked us off.  Every now and then that rancher would need to load up some of those heifers into his wagon to take them to market.  He had a runway constructed out of boards which he would put at the back end of the wagon, and then he would try to run the heifers up that.  He put a rope around the heifer to lead her up and then would have someone push her from the rear.  The heifer would go up part of the way, and then she would stiffen those front feet of hers.  You know what would happen?  You couldn’t push her, and you couldn’t pull her.  She would simply start sliding backwards.  My friend, you are backsliding when you turn your back on God, stiffen that little neck of yours, and say, “I don’t have to obey God’s Word.”  When you refuse to go the way God wants to lead you, then you are backsliding.  God called Israel a backsliding heifer.”  [J. Vernon McGee, THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 631, col.2, par.1]  The term “Ephraim” occurs 36 times in Hosea and is used to denote the 10 northern tribes making up the House of Israel.  Ephraim is addressed by God in these prophecies because the tribe of Ephraim was the “leadership” tribe which reigned and ruled over the other 9 tribes making up the House of Israel.  Samaria, the capital city for the northern House of Israel was within the tribal land of Ephraim.  So God’s judgment is heavier on Ephraim because that tribe was where the leadership resided for the northern House of Israel.  Then, just as now, immorality was rampant. 

 

Hosea 5:1-15

 

‘They Do Not Direct Their Deeds Toward Turning to God’

 

“Unfortunately, we are living in a day in which our spiritual and political leadership is certainly not worthy of emulation.  Liberalism is predominant in theology; liberalism is predominant in politics; and our news media are altogether liberal.  Spiritual deterioration and decline in a nation will eventually bring it to destruction.  That is what happened to Israel, and that nation furnishes a pattern for what can happen to us today…God rebuked Israel for their brutality---there was murder, there was violence, and there was warfare.  It is my conviction that the United States is today feeling the effects of God’s judgment upon us.  In Vietnam we fought perhaps the most disgraceful war that was ever fought [and I say here, the poor foot soldiers, naval personal and airmen were not responsible in any way, and are to be praised for their loyalty and sacrifice], and we did so against the warnings of generals who said that we should never fight a land war in Asia.  We made a terrible blunder by getting involved in that, and what has happened in that land is tragic.  Did we help them?  I think not, and the judgment of God is upon us, and actually, upon the white man.  This has been called “the white man’s day,” and it certainly has been that.  Earlier in history it was the sons of Ham who headed up the great pagan civilizations of Egypt and Babylon [Assyria was Semitic, of Assur, son of Shem].  However, it is the sons of [Shem], the white man, who has made the greatest blunder of all, and that is this:  We have had the Word of God, the Bible, and we have not sent missionaries as we should have done.  We did too little in getting the Word of God out to China, and God has closed the door.  [Now not due to any effort on our part in the western world, God is allowing evangelism into Communist China, doing what we should have done before it was Communist.  This is a pure miracle of God, and man can’t take credit for it.]---I say God, not communism, closed the door.  We did not send Bibles to Vietnam; we sent bullets and bombs over there.  Because we did not send men to give out the Word of God, we had to send boys to die on the battlefield.  We ought to wake up today to the fact that we cannot take God to the end of His universe and dismiss Him and tell Him we do not need Him anymore.  We are feeling the effects of His judgment upon us, just as Israel did.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 633, col.1, par. 1]  Verses 1-4, “Hear this, O priests!  Take heed, O house of Israel!  Give ear, O house of the king!  For yours is the judgment, because you have been a snare to Mizpah and a net spread on Tabor.  The revolters are deeply involved in slaughter, though I rebuke them all.  I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry; Israel is defiled.  They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD.”  God chose Ephraim to represent all of the northern ten tribes, and Samaria, the capital city, was in Ephraim.  It was Ephraim and Manasseh (i.e. Joseph) that were considered the leadership tribes of the northern tribes called ‘the House of Israel.’  This prophecy in chapter 5 is both for Ephraim and the ten tribes back then, and for Ephraim and Manasseh now, whoever they are.  It is my personal guess Ephraim (prophecied to be ‘a great company of nations’ cf Genesis 48) and Manasseh (‘one great nation’ Genesis 48 and also Genesis 35:9-12) are none other than the British (what was the British Commonwealth, England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa etc) and the United States of America being Manasseh.  We English-speaking peoples appear to have been given the huge physical blessings promised on Abraham’s descendants (cf. Genesis 35:9-12; Genesis 48; 1st Chronicles 5:1-2).  I have seen that the application of all these prophecies found in the Minor Prophets have a then, historic, and now, prophetic application to them.  We will see this as we go through the Minor Prophets, unmistakably. 

 

‘For they have begotten pagan children’

 

Verses 5-9, “The pride of Israel testifies to his face; therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them.  With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them.  They have dealt treacherously with the LORD, for they have begotten pagan children.  Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.  Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah!  Cry aloud at Beth Aven, Look behind you, O Benjamin!  Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.”  These verses are both historic and yet have a future fulfillment.  God is judging Ephraim, especially Samaria, for having brought in all the Baal worship, which polluted all ten tribes, under Ahab and Jezebel (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html).  Samaria was the capital city, located in Ephraim, for the ruling kings of Israel, dating from Omri (father of Ahab) onward.  Through Ahab and Jezebel, Baal worship had infected the whole ten tribed ‘House of Israel.’  God’s judgment did come, and particularly on the city of Samaria itself, which was besieged from 724-721BC, and it was finally conquered in 721BC with a little over 27,000 of its surviving inhabitants being taken as slaves into Assyria.  Judah lived on, in the south, until Nebuchadnezzar II conquered and deported them for the same reason, Baal worship.  Be sure to read that series on Kings & Chronicles for a full exposition on that history of the two kingdoms (see link above).  Verse 6, “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them.”  Basically God is saying “Enough is enough!  I’ve had it with you guys, you’re going down, I’m not going to listen till after I’ve dealt with you.”  This happened in the past, in a very unique way, with the greater judgment coming on the city of Samaria itself.  God did have mercy on about 7 of the 10 tribes in a very unique way.  You must read through that series on Kings & Chronicles to see just how God did this.  Verse 7, “They have dealt treacherously with the LORD, for they have begotten pagan children.”  J. Vernon McGee defines this verse perfectly, and it applies now just as it did to Israel back then.  “‘For they have begotten strange [pagan, NKJV] children’---that is, they are strange [pagan] to God.  The people did not bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Back in the Book of Deuteronomy God told His people that they were to be continually teaching the His Word to their children.  They were to put it on the doorposts and teach it as they sat in their homes and as they walked together and even when they were going to bed at night.  But now He says, “You have begotten strange [pagan] children---they don’t even know Me.”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 634, col.1, par.3]  Verses 8-9, “Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah!  Cry aloud in Beth Aven, Look behind you, O Benjamin!  Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.”  Beth Aven is Bethel which is in the northern part of the territory God gave to Benjamin.  This part of Benjamin resided on the southern border of Ephraim, and this one half part of Benjamin revolted with the northern kingdom under Jeroboam I.  So in reality only one-half of the tribe of Benjamin stayed with the House of Judah under the Davidic line of kings.  The northern half of the tribe of Benjamin, influenced by their neighbors in Ephraim, went with the 10-tribes under Jeroboam I.  God is warning this ‘northern’ part of Benjamin that went with Israel that they will be punished along with Israel.

 

‘Ephraim shall go down suddenly, Judah shall rot slowly’

 

Verses 10-12, “The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out my wrath on them like water.  Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment.  Because he willingly walked by human precept.  Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness.”  Apparently the House of Judah had been guilty of trying to move its northern border with Israel as far north as it could get away with.  God in the Torah law said he hates those who move property boundary markers.   The original Promised Land was divided up among the 12 tribes of Israel, right down to the individual property of people.  A person or tribe’s property boundaries were thus sacred.  Verse 12, “Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness.”  J. Vernon McGee gives us the accurate interpretation for verse 12, and it is fascinating.  “The prophets use figures of speech which are quite interesting.  There is a great profit in studying the prophets, if I may make a play on words, because they reach out into nature and use certain figures of speech which are helpful to us in understanding the Word of God.  ‘Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth.’  What does a moth do?  A moth can get into your closet, and if you do not have mothballs in there, it can ruin a suit of clothes…My friend, moths are something you do not want in your closet, because in just one night they can ruin a very valuable wool garment.  God says, ‘I am gong to be to Ephraim like a moth; I will judge him in a hurry.’  ‘And to the house of Judah as rottenness.’  It takes a wooden board or a wooden foundation of a house a long time to become rotten.  God has said to Ephraim, the northern kingdom, ‘I’m gong to judge you now.  However, in the southern kingdom rottenness is also setting in, and, finally, it will collapse---but it will take longer for that to take place.’”  [THRU THE BIBLE, Vol. III, p. 634, col.2, par. 4-5, selected parts.]  As he says, this type of slow or dry rot is occurring now amongst our English-speaking nations.  All empires have a life-cycle.  They usually start out morally pure, family and the institution of marriage are held in high esteem.  Then as morals collapse, so eventually does the empire.  “We’re going the way of Rome” as the saying goes.

 

Ephraim goes to Assyria for aid, then sudden destruction

 

Verses 13-15, “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound.  For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah.  I, even I, will tear them away, and no one shall rescue.  I will return again to my place till they acknowledge their offense.  Then they will seek my face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek me.”  In verse 13, while Hosea was prophecying all this Israel had begun to pay tribute to Assyria (2nd Kings 15:19-20), which isn’t exactly going to help.  Judah under Ahaz did seek help from the king of Assyria in 2nd Kings 16:5-9.  But this could also be a reference to the English-speaking peoples, financially destitute, seeking help from the modern-day king of Assyria.  Why?  Because in all the Assyrian king lists there is absolutely no mention of a “king Jareb.”  In Hebrew Jareb means “warrior” or “fighter.”  Many commentators believe this is a direct reference to Tiglath-Pileser III.  But since as we’ll see in Hosea 6, these prophecies also apply to the end-times, this could very well be a reference to the end-time Assyrian [German] ruler, the future coming European dictator called “the Beast” in the Book of Revelation.  Verses 14-15, “For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah.  I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue.  I will return again to my place till they acknowledge their offense.  Then they will seek my face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek me.”  Verses 14-15 again apply to both then and the future, but since Hosea 6:1-3 is most definitely ties into the three year tribulation and 2nd Coming of Christ, I interpret it as 2nd coming in context with Hosea 6:1-3.  When taking verses 14-15 as applying to the Tribulation (World War III), whoever the ten tribes---Israel---are, they and Judah, the Israelis, will be punished at the same time, simultaneously as the Tribulation (World War III) comes upon them.  Verses 1-3 of Hosea 6 are really a part of the same thought, subject, the punishment of Israel and Judah (two distinct national identities).  

 

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