The dry bones represented the Israelites themselves. As a people they had lost heart, lost hope, and said, “Our strength is dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off from our parts”—from all tribal and national union. If they looked at their present condition, they were strangers in a strange land, foreigners, without opportunity for patriotic feelings; if they looked backward, and remembered divine intervention on their beha
Posts Tagged ‘ Diaspora ’
Although these are valuable lessons for the Christian, when verse 24 is considered in context, it shows that there will be prayer in the Kingdom Age. Jesus said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13). Truly the Third Temple will be a “house of prayer for all people” (Isa. 56:7). While the Kingdom will be an age of sight and works, as opposed to the age of faith now, prayer will always be in order.
In the midst of a corrupt people, Jeremiah prayed to God for his personal salvation. He reasoned, “I declared your message to the nation as faithfully as I could. Give me courage and strength of character so that I do not succumb to the tauntings, criticisms, and persecutions incurred because of proclaiming your message.”
In verses 1-3, Hosea was prophesying that the bulk of the ten tribes would be taken as captives to Assyria, and some would flee to Egypt, where they would be ferreted out and punished. This was the literal, or natural, lesson. In addition, there is the spiritual lesson of the professed Church of Christ going astray into Papacy and the ways of the world. Paganism came into the Church and defiled it. In antitype, the more numerous ten-tribe kingdom pictures Catholicism; the two-tribe kingdom represents Protestantism.
“Ephraim hath hired lovers.” The thought of the rebellious wild ass continues. Israel not only showed a lack of judgment in going to the king of Assyria for help but also desired the fellowship of others. Israel looked for new pleasures in foreign lands. Most prostitutes get paid for their work, but Israel was even worse. Contrary to nature, Israel went out and paid the one she had an illicit relationship with; that is, Israel bought her lovers. This is powerful language!
Imagine the prophet saying these bold things to the ten tribes! And he was addressing the honored representatives (the king, the priesthood, etc.)—he even used a trumpet (see verse 1).
What a tongue-lashing Hosea gave them, using powerful illustrations! The people understood the analogy about the wild ass. Hosea was a truly courageous prophet. Incidentally, Assyria was not satisfied with the pay, or tribute, and swallowed up the ten tribes.
With natural Israel, the “former rain” refers to their earlier period of favor. Israel had prophets, the Law, the Tabernacle, the Temple of Solomon, etc. The early rain ended with the Diaspora, the great gulf fixed between the Jews and God, as shown in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Now the dry bones (Ezekiel 37) are beginning to come together. Sinews (organizations) are attached to the bones, and flesh has even appeared on the body state of Israel. However, from God’s standpoint, the breath of life has not yet entered Israel.
Not until Jacob’s Trouble will that happen—when the nation of Israel will stand on its feet in a real way. When God fights for Israel as He did in days of old, that will be like an awakening from the dead (Zech. 14:3). There will be a mighty shaking and a resurrection, as it were, both figuratively and literally (the Ancient Worthies).
Verse 5 is like saying to the Holy Remnant that the hopeless condition both the ten- and the two-tribe kingdoms were in necessitated the Lord’s turning His face from Israel for a long period of time so that they would get the lesson. In the past, through the prophets, God warned of the sinful condition, but Ephraim and Judah turned a deaf ear to the need for repentance. God “cut … [them] in pieces with the prophets” (NIV). It is as if at this end of the age, God is explaining about the warnings given to the ten- and the two-tribe kingdoms before they got so corrupt, and then, when they were in an unfit condition, what the necessary steps of repentance were. Because the warnings were ignored, judgment was necessary. Hewing the nation by the mouth of the prophets sounds like Jeremiah’s ministry.
“The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea.” In the beginning of his ministry, Hosea was told to take “a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms.” Bible scholars have been puzzled by this verse, but it was preparing for a lesson on spiritual prostitution, the harlotry of worshipping idols.
The instruction was blunt and direct, whereas later chapters furnish a more rounded-out picture. Did God tell Hosea to deliberately go out and marry a known harlot and worshipper of idols? Why would the Lord give such an instruction, especially since it contradicted the moral precepts of Scripture? Actually, the Lord was prophesying what would happen with regard to the woman Hosea was going to marry. It was as if God were saying, “Go out and take unto thee a wife. In due time, she will prove to be a harlot and will bear children by other men.” God wanted to illustrate, through Hosea, His relationship to Israel and how the nation went into unfaithfulness. In other words, the union forcibly demonstrated to the public Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.
The fourth chapter of Hosea is directed to the ten tribes. Proof that Judah is not included is verse 15: “Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend.” God had a controversy with the inhabitants of the land because there was “no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God.” This condition existed in Israel in Hosea’s day, and it is also true today.
“No truth” means no righteousness, no fair play, no justice. In other words, there is no standard of righteousness. Everyone is out for himself, and hypocrisy and ulterior motives are the norm. Demands along all lines are getting more and more unreasonable. The standard of truth is missing in politics and in everyday life—even in the home. This condition will get much worse as the trouble comes on the world.
Also, there was no mercy in the land. That was the prevalent condition in the prophet’s day. How dreadful! Of the last days, the Bible says that men shall be “without natural affection,” that is without tenderness and compassion (2 Tim. 3:3). Patience, reasonableness, and consideration are lacking. The women are getting hard today, like the men, and the men are losing their masculinity. Imagine a condition so bad that it could be said, “No truth, no mercy, and no knowledge of God”! Things are not that bad yet, but trouble is coming. Hosea was speaking doubly—to Israel in his day and, unwittingly, to the end of the present age.
The setting of this chapter was right after the fulfillment of the 430 (390 + 40) days that Ezekiel lay on his left and right sides. During all that time, his hair grew. Now, at the end of the 430 days, Ezekiel was instructed to cut off all the hair on his head and beard—that was a lot of hair!—and divide it into three parts by carefully weighing it. Ezekiel’s treatment of the hair demonstrated how those of Judah would die in the coming literal siege of Jerusalem, for the hairs represented the people. There was a sufficient quantity of hair to make this demonstration dramatic. Ezekiel ended up bald.
One third of the hair was burned with fire in the midst of Ezekiel’s portrayal of Jerusalem. This action showed that the city would be destroyed by fire and that people would die in the fire. Another third of the hair was chopped with a knife, portraying that people would be slain in the violence of the war. The final third was scattered in the wind. As the hair was scattering, Ezekiel ran after the hair with a sword and slashed at it in the air, showing that people would be pursued and killed as they tried to escape from Jerusalem, ran out for food, or ran out to actively defend the city.
Had Jesus remained down here and not died on the Cross, he would have had nothing to offer to cover sin except in a typical fashion, and typical sacrifices, being ceremonial, did not have any real merit. But since Jesus had died on the Cross, been raised, and ascended to heaven as a High Priest, he now had his ransom sacrifice to offer, and that sacrifice, which did not have to be repeated, became the basis for real salvation.