Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 70
ISRAEL’S GLORY IS STILL AHEAD OF HER – 1
Hosea 5:1 – 9:7
Okay, good to see everybody in again this afternoon and a beautiful, beautiful day in Oklahoma. We hope the rest of you out there in the countryside are experiencing the same thing. Again, we always like to welcome our television audience to a simple Bible study. Yet, we don’t want to just stay simple; we want to get into the deeper things. I usually like to cover things that I’m sure you don’t get in your Sunday school quarterlies. But, nevertheless, we don’t want to get beyond what folks can understand and learn to study and use your own Bible at home.
We are getting response to that affect, that, oh, they’re enjoying their Bible. So, hopefully the Lord is accomplishing what He wants to accomplish. Again, we have to always thank you for your prayers, your kind letters, and your financial help. After all, we do have to pay the bills. And the Lord has always provided. I don’t have to have anybody make appeals. I don’t have to. The Lord takes care of it every month. So we thank you all from the depths of our heart.
All right, now we are going to continue our study in the Book of Hosea. For those of you out in television, you can be turning to Hosea chapter 5. We’re going to start at verse 1. But again, we always like to make a little review update. Hosea, of course, is one of the Minor Prophets, which are minor only because they’re shorter in length than the Major Prophets. They say much the same thing. In fact, you compare the Major Prophets to the Minor Prophets, and it’s almost the same thing.
As I was preparing this, I couldn’t help but think, you know, I so often apologize for repeating, and yet people constantly tell me – keep repeating! You know, that’s what the Book does. Do you realize how much it repeats and it repeats and it repeats? Because see, we’ve all got thick skulls. Israel had a thick skull. That’s what it takes before it finally soaks in. So anyway, in these first four chapters that we covered in our last taping time, the theme was that Israel as a whole–the divided Kingdom, remember the two tribes to the South were Judah and Benjamin and the ten tribes to the North, are called Ephraim or Israel– yet their dilemma was the same. They had all fallen into idolatry.
Now, we’ve got to be reminded that when God first brought the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, what did He instruct the Israelites to do with the Canaanites? Now, we think it’s awful. We think it’s cruel. But what did He instruct them? Don’t leave a one of them alive. Put them all to death. Why? Because God knew that if as much as one of them lived, it would be like leaven. We’re going to be looking at that later this afternoon. And little by little Israel would fall to the Canaanite gods and goddesses of paganism. The only way God could guarantee that it wouldn’t happen was not to have any around.
Well, that was impossible you might say. So, a lot of the Canaanites stayed with them. And as Israel came up through history, they went deeper and deeper and deeper into idolatry. Even though the Temple was still operating down there at Jerusalem, the priests were just as rotten as the average Jew on the road. So consequently, this is what the prophets are dealing with – Israel’s abject unbelief and idolatry and how God is going to punish them for it. The purposes, of course, filter down and become applicable, I think, to at least three areas even for us today: Nations, Hierarchy of Denominations and Local Churches, and the Individual. Now think of that, as we look at all these things, that all these warnings deal at those levels.
First of all for a nation and I’m constantly keeping our own beloved America in the back of my mind as I read this. We are a perfect parallel with the Nation of Israel. Oh, of course, we haven’t got a Temple. We haven’t got the prophets. But nevertheless, we’ve got the Word of God in every home. Our government has been saturated with it.
You know, when we were in Washington a few years ago, I knew it from my old high school history, but it still doesn’t sink in like when you see it – that in every monument: the Jefferson Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Memorial — everything is surrounded with Scripture! That’s what those men rested on; it was the Word of God. What a heritage! Israel was the same way. They came in as the chosen people, the Covenant People. They had all the promises of God. Yet when they began to turn against it, they asked for their own judgment.
We’re in the same place as a nation today. We are asking for judgment to come. Because always remember, just because you and I sit here as believers and maybe most of our circle of friends and relatives, yet we are such a small minority anymore that we’re not going to stop the judgment from coming. When it does come, we’re going to suffer right along with the rest, because that’s exactly what happened to Israel. It was only a small minority that was still true to Jehovah, but when judgment came, they suffered right along with the rank unbelievers.
So, the whole scope of especially these little Minor Prophets, but also, of course, the Majors – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and so forth – was to castigate, to scold, to warn Israel to turn from their idolatry. You remember in our last taping how we pointed out that this is what’s really meant when God accuses Israel of adultery, of chasing after whores and so forth. It wasn’t physical sexuality, it was spiritual idolatry. When Israel embraced the idols and the gods of the pagan world, it was spiritual adultery. Never forget that.
Well, you say, we’re not living in an idolatrous culture. No, but you know what took the place of idolatry? Materialism. All our materialism is the idolatry. It’s the purpose for all of our ungodliness. All you have to do is just close your eyes and think about Hollywood since the 30’s on up. What has Hollywood been? Hollywood has been the epitome of materialism, and they have funneled their rot to the whole world. Well, we’re no different than Israel.
So, as we read these things, don’t just say, what’s he doing way back here in Hosea and Israel 700 years BC? It has nothing to do with me. It is so apropos for today. We’ll bring it up to the New Testament in short order. All right, so the warning is, all the way through, that if Israel doesn’t turn from their idolatry, God is going to judge them with invading armies. They’re going to suffer at the hands of the Gentile world. All right, chapter 5, let’s just drop in at verse 1.
“Here ye this, O priests;…” Now stop right there. Where are we starting? At the religious leadership! You remember I said in the last taping, that one old theologian who was well known, Vance Havenor, made the statement that whenever he was a little boy walking in the forests of Carolina, he’d see that those big beautiful pine trees would start dying where? At the top! That’s exactly what we’ve got here. He’s addressing the priesthood of Israel. Why? They were just as rotten as the rest of them.
“Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of (Who?) the king;…” Now, am I making my point? It was the religious leadership. It was the political leadership. They led the nation, rank and file, down into this horrible state of idolatry.
“…O house of the king; for judgment (God’s wrath) is toward you, (the leadership) because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.”
Now, the casual reader probably would never catch it. What’s he talking about? Well, those were two mountains in Israel where evidently there was a pretty good population of edible birds. Now, they didn’t have shotguns in those days. They didn’t go quail hunting and so forth. So, how did they catch the edible birds? Well, with nets. As the birds would fly, they could encircle them with the nets. All right, that’s exactly the correlation that the writer is putting with the leadership of Israel. They are netting the rank and file of Israel to follow them in their wickedness just like a fowler would do it to catch edible birds–verse 2.
“And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.” Now, what does the word slaughter imply compared to slay or kill? Well, it’s more ruthless, isn’t it? Killing is one thing, but slaughter is something else. Slaughter is what we do to animals. Israel had gotten so far down the tube that it wasn’t just a matter of killing any more, it was like slaughtering.
“I know Ephraim, (That’s the other name for the ten northern tribes.) and Israel (That’s the other name, also.) is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.” Now, I’ve already told you, but what is he talking about? Embracing idols! We’re not talking about sexuality here. We’re talking about spiritual idolatry–verse 4.
“They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.” Why? Because they were wrapped up in idols. But now, just to stretch the point as we get further on this afternoon, along with their idolatry, they will still make some kind of worship toward the Temple and refer to the Lord. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Yet you know what? We’re seeing it today. Oh, they are so far a-field biblically, and yet they speak of the Lord. They speak of Christ. Totally ridiculous, but let’s get the lesson straight from Israel–verse 5.
“And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.” Judah, the southern Kingdom, they’re just as bad. Not quite as bad, I shouldn’t say just as. They weren’t quite as bad. They’re not going to really fall under God’s judgment until about 75 years later, but they’re well on their way. They can’t sit down there and think, “Boy, I’m glad we’re not like Israel. I’m glad we’re not idolatrous like the northern Kingdom.” Yes, they were. The only thing was, they hadn’t come quite as far.
“They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; (Oh, they’ve got the Lord on their mind.) but they shall not find him; (Why? Because they’re too steeped in their idolatry. They’ve got all the other gods and goddesses that are filling their real thinking.) he hath withdrawn himself from them. 7. They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” Now, the month is just simply a short period of time compared to their overall history. So it amounted to nothing time-wise. Now then verse 8.
“Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Beth-aven, after thee, O Benjamin.” Now, Benjamin was one of the tribes of the southern Kingdom. So, what you really have here are cities that were really spiritually good cities in Israel’s origins, but now they’ve become cities of wickedness and idolatry. All right, verse 9.
“Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. 10. The princes of Judah (That’s your southern Kingdom, now.) were like them that remove the bound:…”
Now, what do you suppose he’s talking about? Well, let me show you from Scripture. Turn with me to Deuteronomy chapter 19 verse 14. Now, this is all part of the law. And they were totally ignoring it, breaking it. In fact, I think we come to one portion, before the day is over, where they had broken every one of the Ten Commandments, routinely. That’s how far down the tube they were.
Now, you see, all of us can be guilty of breaking one of them now and then. We’re all lawbreakers. But to break all Ten every day? That was Israel. All right, here’s one of them, not in the actual Ten, but it was associated with the Civil Law.
“Thou shall not remove thy neighbor’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance,…” What’s he talking about? Well, your property lines. The cheater and the wicked, the ungodly, would do what? Go over and reset them to his benefit. All right, now come back to Hosea. That’s exactly what they were doing, along with all of their other stuff. There was nothing that these Israelites couldn’t do to break God’s law. They were guilty of everything in the Book. All right, verse 10 again.
“The princes of Judah were like them that moved the bound (property lines): therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.” Now listen, we’ve got to stop and think. I know we’ve all heard the expression “sin is sin.” Yet we are so prone to think, “Well, a sin like moving my neighbor’s property line isn’t as bad as committing adultery.” Oh no? In God’s mind it is. Sin is sin, and it’s breaking His Law.
“Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment (In other words, God’s wrath that’s coming about.) because he willingly walked after the commandment. 12. Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth,(Now, you know what he’s talking about? A moth that simply chews holes in the wool.) and to the house of Judah as rottenness.” Now, this isn’t pretty language. Why not? God is trying to get their attention.
Now, you’ve got to remember, these prophets didn’t just minister for a week or two or for a year or two. Hosea probably ministered for almost 40-50 years, maybe more than that. It was over this period of time, at the same time Hosea is prophesying, that you also have Isaiah. Isaiah and Hosea. All these prophets were on the same page, we’d say, trying to convict Israel of their gross iniquity, their idolatry. But they wouldn’t listen. They’re being warned that judgment is coming, and it’s going to come in the form of invading armies–pagan, invading armies whose soldiers have no moral boundaries. What’s that going to do for the women and girls? Well, your imagination is as good as anybody’s. But see, this was their prospect. All right, read on, verse 13.
“When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound,…” In other words, when they saw what was possibly happening, and that God was going to chastise them. Instead of repenting, I guess is the word we can use here, and falling on their knees prostrate before their Jehovah and asking God to forgive them and to restore them, what do they do instead? Well, read on.
“…then went Ephraim went to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet he could not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.” So, what did they do? They went to a pagan neighboring country asking them to take league with them in defeating their enemies.
That was the last thing God wanted them to do! Now we have another instance where one group went to the Assyrians, Israel–the northern Kingdom. The southern Kingdom went to Egypt, saying, oh, help us! The Babylonians are coming. They tried to make league with foreign countries. That isn’t what God wanted. God wanted them to just depend on Him. But they couldn’t do that. It’s a sad commentary. And then verse 14.
“For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, (Like that beast that will take its prey and drag it off.) and as a young lion to the house of Judah: (The two Kingdoms.) I, even I, will tear and go away: I will take away, and none shall rescue him.”
Now, as we go into the next verse–I may not be able to finish all this in this program. If not, we’ll just carry it on into the next one.
“I will go and return to my place, (I feel that here God is speaking through the prophet.) until they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face:…” Now, they hadn’t gotten to that place. They still haven’t. I think this is a reference now to Christ’s first advent when He came, and He came to His own, but His own what received Him not. Here is the prophecy.
“I will go (He’s going to appear to the Nation of Israel. They’re going to reject Him. The Father is going to call him back to His place in Heaven.) I will go and return to my place, (What’s the next word?) until (Another point in time) they acknowledge their offence,…”
Now, when we speak of a singular offence with regard to the Nation of Israel, what one horrible sin would it have to be? Well, the crucifixion. The rejection of their Messiah. That’s their offence.
“…they acknowledge their offence, and (then they will in some other future day) seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” In other words, even sooner than what God had maybe intended. All right, so get the picture now. Here we have God speaking that He would go to the Nation of Israel, and He would be rejected. He would return to His place at the Father’s right hand, and He would remain there until they would acknowledge their offence. All right, now let’s see something else that has to happen. Come back with me to Psalms chapter 110 verse 1. This all fits together.
“The LORD said unto my Lord, (In other words, God the Father said to God the Son, after He’d been rejected.) Sit thou at my right hand, (What’s the next word? It is a time word.) until (Now, it doesn’t give the month and the day and the year, but it gives a point in time when something is going to happen.) I make thine enemies thy footstool.” In other words, when God will have the whole planet earth utterly destroyed and ready for His return, then He will arise from that seated position, and He will return and set up His Kingdom.
All right, now we have another reference to that. Let’s jump all the way up to Hebrews chapter 1. A little different circumstance, of course, but it’s still the same act of Christ ascending back to Glory and sitting at the Father’s right hand. He will stay there, positionally speaking, until His Second Coming. All right, Hebrews chapter 1 and we’ll start at verse 1.
“God, (the Triune God) who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, (That’s why we’re studying Hosea. This was God speaking to the Nation of Israel, but we can still draw application.) 2. Hath in these last days (That is His first advent.) spoken unto us by his Son, (The Second Person, as we speak of Him, of the Triune God.) whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made (or created) the worlds;” Here’s another reference to God the Son being the Creator of everything. But here’s the verse, verse 3.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, (He was really and truly God.) and the express image of his person,…” Now, I think I’ve got time enough. We’ve got three minutes. All right, keep your hand in Hebrews. This is the way we teach. Come back to Colossians chapter 1, so that we qualify the express image of His person. What does that mean? Let’s start in verse 14 so that we make sure we know who we’re talking about. We covered this I think not too long ago. Verse 14:
“In whom (That is the Son of verse 13.) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15. Who (So, we know who we’re talking about, the One who shed His blood, God the Son.) who is the image (or the visible appearance) of the invisible God, the firstborn of every (or is before every) creature; 16. For by him (God the Son) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things (everything) were created by him, and for him:”
All right, now come back to Hebrews. This is the same one we’re talking about as being “the brightness of His glory, the express image of his person.” He was the visible manifestation of that invisible God. Now, that’s what we have to keep hammering home! You know, I’ve said over the years (fifteen of them now or more), why don’t more people ask: “Who is Jesus Christ?” Most don’t really know. That’s who He is. He’s the creator of everything! He’s from eternity past, and He’ll go into eternity future.
“Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, (Now, what does that mean? He spoke the word and the universe appeared. He speaks the word to the dirt and Adam comes up. He speaks the word to the waves roaring on Galilee and everything calms down. That’s what it means.) when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
Just like Psalms 110 verse 1 says, “Come sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Then what? Oh, He arises from that seated position, and He will return and yet fulfill the prophecies.