HOSEA 1:1 – 3:5 and REVELATION 10:1–11
We now begin the section of scripture that is known as the Minor Prophets. These series of 12 prophets spoke to different portions of Israel as well as other nations over a vast period of time. Their prophetic ministries help to give a greater perspective to the nations that were being addressed. It also helps for us to gain a greater understanding into the heart of God as we examine the men and their respective messages. A good example is seen with the first Minor Prophet named Hosea. We learn much concerning the heart of God in seeing what Hosea was called on to do. He was to take on a harlot so that he could come to know how God felt concerning His people who left Him for other gods. Hosea was one of the earlier prophets. His ministry took place through the reign of several kings of Judah including Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. There were several kings in the north during his reign as well but only King Jeroboam II is mentioned.
The prophetic ministry of Hosea lasted for a period of about 60 years. The contemporary prophets who were functioning at the same time were Isaiah, Amos and Micah. The prophets Isaiah and Micah primarily ministered to Judah (Southern kingdom) while Amos and Hosea prophesied to Israel (Northern kingdom).
The primary theme of Hosea is Restoration. This is an important study particularly for these last days seeing that the revival to come is going to reach out to the backslider. Will we have a heart to receive them? We pray for revival but are we ready to love the undesirables as they begin to come into the church? The 7th kingdom parable helps to bring perspective for what the last day church will look like. This parable speaks of a great net being cast drawing in all kinds of fish, both good and bad. After a small time there is a separation of the bad fish from the good (Math 13:46-50). It seems that there is a limited window in which to facilitate the harvest and do all that we can so that we do not lose any of the last day catch. As we come to know the heart of God that He has for people we are then in a better position to love them and have compassion that will indeed make a difference (Jude 1:22).
The first portion of the Book of Hosea centers on him and his family life (1:1-3:5). The second section is the condemnation upon the people, the priests and the kings (4:1-5:15). The third section is the exhortation to return to God (6:1-3). The fourth section is another condemnation upon Israel for their deceit (6:4-7:16). The fifth section serves as a warning for the coming judgement (8:1-10:15). Section six is God’s compassion for Israel (11:1-12). The seventh section is a historical review of Israel (12:1-14). Section eight is the foretelling of judgement that is about to come to Samaria (13:1-16). Section nine is the future Restoration for Israel (14:1-9).
The opening verse lists the kings who were in power during the prophetic ministry of Hosea. He saw a wide range of leadership by way of these different kings. Some were very good while others were otherwise. The reign of Uzziah was rather prosperous until he became filled with pride in his later years. God was sending Hosea to the apostate 10 tribes of the northern kingdom better known as Israel. Right from the very beginning King Jeroboam I instituted a false center of worship at Bethel. He was supposed to come annually to Jerusalem. The king led Israel into gross idolatry as they forsook the living God for pagan idols. It is for this reason that God instructs Hosea to marry a harlot. This would not usually be good counsel to a godly man but Hosea was not an ordinary man. He was a divinely appointed prophet and needed to come to a place of knowing the heartbeat of God. Hosea had to feel the betrayal of love so that he could adequately minister as God’s prophet to the people.
Hosea was able to manifest the love and forgiveness of the Lord in coming to the place of restoring Gomer, who was his wife. In verses 3-4 he and Gomer had a child that the Lord instructed Hosea to name as Jezreel which has a meaning of “God sows”. This was the place and area where Jehu had murdered the sons of Ahab. The blood that Jehu shed in his battle with Ahab’s sons at Jezreel had to be atoned for. Jehu did fulfil the Word of the Lord in executing judgement upon the house of Ahab yet he disobeyed the Lord by not keeping the law. The account is recorded in 2 Kings 10:29-31. It will be in the valley of Jezreel where the Assyrians will later destroy the army of the northern kingdom of Israel as noted in verse 5. This event will take place in 722 BC. In verse 6, Gomer bears another child and Hosea is instructed to call her name Loruhamah. The meaning of the name is “not favoured, or I will not have more mercy”. How fitting a name when considering the condition of Israel. The Lord had pleaded with the nation on many occasions but it continued in its idolatry. Every king reverted back to the sins of their first king Jeroboam. The time was now drawing near where there would be no more mercy extended to them.
The Lord makes a distinction between Israel in the north and Judah to the south. In verse 7 the Lord states that He will have mercy upon them and preserve them from the Assyrian assault. We later see how God defended Judah under the godly rule of King Hezekiah. Judah would later fall to the Babylonians but for now they were spared due to some of their kings who ruled righteously. There were kings who heeded and obeyed the Word of the Lord resulting in healing and preservation. It is interesting to note how God confirmed the same message through different prophets. It was Isaiah who prophesied that God would deliver Judah from the Assyrians as Hosea is doing here (vs 7). Amos makes a statement that God will not do anything before revealing it first through his prophets (Amos 3:7).
Gomer again conceives and has a son who was to go by the name of Loammi. The meaning of the name is “not my people”. The Lord could not be any more direct regarding His sentiment towards Israel. They have gone beyond boundaries of mercy while exhausting the long-suffering reach of the Lord. The Lord is going to cut off Israel. God made a covenant with Israel to be their God provided they walked in obedience (Exo 19:5). They were to be his peculiar people. What God is speaking here to Israel is going to be pretty much the same thing He will later speak to Judah. For now his focus is upon Israel to the north for their gross idolatry. God is allowing his prophet to know his heart. He takes on a harlot to be his wife who will betray him and go after other lovers. The children are all given names that speaks to the sentiments of the Lord in how He now views Israel. There are awesome judgements that will come to the land of Jezreel when the Assyrians invade Israel. There will even be a greater battle in the last days in Megiddo which is located in Jezreel. It will be here where the antichrist and false prophet will be defeated by the Lord. The judgments are extensive but the promise of restoration is glorious. It will be at the time of the 2nd coming when the land and its people will once again be restored to God.
This chapter continues the theme of God’s rejection of Israel up until the time of the Lord’s return at the 2nd coming. Soon after the birth of Hosea’s children, Gomer left him for other lovers. She was doted upon and enriched by them. Gomer was characterizing the role of Israel as she went after other gods while forsaking the living and true God. Gomer abandoned her husband and she abandoned her children. She was self-indulgent without giving any regard to her husband or offspring. In verses 3-4 the Lord is threatening to expose Gomer publicly for her lewd sins. In actuality it was a threat to Israel as a nation.
This episode should give each of us pause regarding the sin of adultery. It is one of the 10 commandments that God gave to Moses. The sin of adultery opens a door which allows the enemy to come in to wreak havoc upon a family. It does not end there seeing that it can have repercussions upon society as a whole. There is tremendous guilt that is often associated with adultery which can lead people to a state of suicide. The extent of what adultery can lead to is seen in this account with Gomer. Her unfaithfulness helps to give a vivid picture of the Lord’s soon rejection of his beloved Israel. (Until a later time of restoration) We need to be covered in the Fear of the Lord especially in the midst of an adulterous generation. One need only take a look at what happened to King David. He was forgiven and he will yet have the role of being the prince in the millennium. The reproach of his sin remains forever. It is especially painful for a person in leadership who sins in this area. The higher one goes in the kingdom the greater the consequences. We really need to cry out for the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. Jesus said that it is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh after signs and wonders. He does not mention this once but twice (Math 12:39 and Math 16:14).
As believer’s we need to put our trust in the keeping power of almighty God. He knows how to deliver His own out of temptation. Joseph serves as a good example as he was preyed upon by Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39). God is able to deliver the godly out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13). We also have the promise from the Epistle of Jude that should be echoed to our spirit man on a daily basis.
Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
In verse 6 we see some of the first steps that the Lord takes in bringing someone back to Himself. It is His mercy when a hedge of protection is drawn about a person who has been in sin. This can be achieved a number of ways. The Lord can allow poverty or hard times to come upon a person so that they are not able to do what he or she pleases. One of the best scriptural examples we have is that of the prodigal son. The Lord allowed him to be brought to a place of nothingness where he ate the food of swine. It was here when he was able to come to his senses and return to the safety of his loving father. Gomer continued to go after other lovers but never found fulfilment. She never married any of her other lovers so she was free to return to her one and only husband. If she were remarried she would be forbidden by law to return to her husband (Deu 24:1-4). At the end of verse 7 we see Gomer coming to the realization that it was better under the covering and care of her husband than the life she was now living.
The Lord goes on to declare through Hosea the judgements and consequences upon Israel because of her sins. The sound of joy and feasting were going to be taken away. The blessings that they had known through the years were going to be removed (vs 12). The Lord will also judge Israel for the allegiance they gave to Baal worship. The compromised prophetic ministry of Balaam sowed the seeds of immorality and idolatry that was now ravaging the land. Jezebel, wife to King Ahab was a strong Baal proponent. This is noteworthy due to the warning that the Lord gives to the church at Pergamos concerning Balaam. A strong connection and parallel can be made to what is happening with the fall of Israel (and later Judah) to our day. May we never be found guilty of forsaking our first love. The church of Pergamos is warned about Balaam and the next church of Thyatira is a warning about a lady named Jezebel. It was the seeds that were sown by Balaam that helped to shape and empower Jezebel in all her corrupt activities. The spiritual Jezebels are alive and well today due to the compromised “Balaam” type ministries seen in much of today’s Christianity.
The Lord goes on to say that He will allure her into the wilderness. It may help to provide an opportunity where the Lord is then able to speak comfortably to her. Once again we see another insight into the mercy of God. It may not seem like God’s mercy when we go through a God ordained hardship. It is seen differently when measured against eternity. It is here where God can provide a “door of hope”. In spite of all that she has done the Lord still seeks to make a way for the backslider to return. What is being seen here with Gomer is a portrait in how God will deal with Israel in the last days. The level of restoration will be so great that the Lord says that Israel will call Him Ishi, which means husband. The level of restoration that God will bring to Israel is that of being a husband to a wayward and unfaithful bride. It is a process that involves great pain and sorrow nonetheless it represents the heart of God for His people. In the millennium, Israel will be married to the Lord. This is rather difficult to believe when considering the extent of their sin. Hosea will serve as a type of God in restoring and bringing back a wife that has gone after other lovers. Hosea is living out this message of restoration through a painful personal experience. It is a message with a great ending but it’s a message that is being lived out in great pain. The prophet has a strong sense of the broken heart that God is carrying for His people. He also carries the message of hope, healing, and restoration for that which God will do throughout the Millennium and beyond.
Even though Hosea went to great lengths to restore Gomer she still went through a period of probation. She has had a bad history of adultery and there needed to be the fruits of repentance by her remaining sexually pure. This is true in matters of restoration in the lives of people today. It is not enough to be sorry or even forgiven. There still needs to be the fruits of repentance.
Luk 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
There is a tendency to want to place a person who is being restored immediately back into a previous position. This is not wise and will often lead to failure. I have seen this on so many occasions through the years. A person (church leader) who had admitted to moral failure could not accept the judgement of the parent church body. What this church body was offering this fallen brother was more than reasonable but it did not matter. He reinstated himself back into his former position and it has been nothing but great disaster ever since. God is going to prove Israel after their being restored. Remember, they failed the Lord on numerous other occasions and yet still went back to their idolatrous ways after coming to know the Lord’s deliverance. This is a model we do well to adapt in preparation for the mighty revival that we all look forward to. John the Baptist had it right. Many came to the waters of Jordan for baptism but John discerned the need for the fruits of true repentance to be evident in their lives. We need the bold and discerning acumen of John.
Mat 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
There will be a restoration of the priesthood that has fallen but their ministry will be unto the people and not unto God and His holy things (Eze 44:10-14). This is in sharp contrast to the sons of Zadok who remained faithful to the Lord and His charge (Eze 44:15-16, 23). God is looking for faithful priests that will serve Him at all times under any situation or circumstance. Yes the Lord will restore those who repent but it is far better in remaining faithful throughout. Hosea went on to prophesy that Israel would be without a king for an indefinite period (vs 4). The northern kingdom has not had a king since 722 BC while the southern kingdom has been void of a king since 586 BC. Everything here is pointing to the millennium when Israel will again be restored to the true God. David will serve as their prince while the Lord Himself will be king (vs 5).
The Book of Revelation means the Book of “unveiling” however there is a portion of the Book that is to remain closed and it is seen here in verses 1-7. There is a tendency to try and speculate the meaning of passages but when instructed not to we do best to give heed. It is something that King David understood as seen in Psalm 131:1-2. He did not exercise himself in great matters or things that were beyond him. This is something we need to be mindful of because there is a curiosity in man in wanting to know the unknown. This was seen in the very beginning in the garden. Satan was able to lure Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit in large part to the forbidden knowledge that the tree contained (Gen 3:5).
Here we have a mighty angel with one foot in the sea and the other upon the earth. He had a rainbow around his head and his face was like the sun. John also saw his feet which were likened to pillars of fire. It must have been quite a scene. John also saw in his hand a little book that had been opened. As this angel cried out there were 7 thunders that uttered their voices. In verse 4, it is clear that John heard their voices and knew what they were saying but was told to seal that which the 7 thunders uttered. In such cases it is not prudent or wise to speculate further. It probably is something that will become known when it happens.
The blowing of the 7th trumpet is about to blast and John is informed that there will be no further delay in the follow through of the 7 bowl judgements. The mystery of God is revealed in Col 1:27 which is to make known the riches of this mystery of the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
John was then instructed to take the little book from this angel and as he did he ate it. The book was initially sweet as honey in the mouth but later became bitter in the belly. We are not sure what this book represented but there is a similar account concerning Ezekiel (Eze 3:1-3). The initial call or message may sound good and even taste good in the beginning. The working out of that book or message is often quite another story. The Lord desires truth on the inward parts (Psa 51:6). This is where the rubber meets the road. The outworking of a message in one’s life often comes with great pain and anguish. We not only come face to face with a particular call but we also become face to face with ourselves. The truth can hurt but the truth can also liberate and set free (John 8:32). The ones who have authority behind the pulpits are those who have allowed a message to be developed in their lives. The Apostle Paul speaks of being living epistles among men (2 Cor 3:2-3). This means that our lives are to convey a message. The question is what manner of message are we presenting?
In John’s case he was to prophesy again before many peoples, nations’ tongues and kings. We saw in verse 7 that the blowing of the last trumpet would usher in the last series of judgements without further delay. Interestingly, the next 7 bowl judgements do not get picked up until chapter 15. There is a sequence of events that will take place between chapters 11-14. It is an important sequence as we shall see.