(From Forerunner Commentary)
Jeremiah 3:7-11 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Because the Kingdom of Judah had seen the results of Israel's idolatry—had witnessed the catastrophe of her fall and mass deportation, but had refused to repent—God judges that "backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah" (verse 11).
God, through a number of prophets, warns Judah not to follow Israel's course. For example, Hosea, using harlotry as an analogy for idolatry, pleads, "Though you, Israel, play the harlot, let not Judah offend" (Hosea 4:15).
With a few exceptions, notably Hezekiah and Josiah, the kings of Judah were more corrupt than their counterparts in the north. Israel set the pace into idolatry, and Judah enthusiastically followed. "Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them" (Hosea 5:5).
Searching for Israel (Part Six): Israel Is Fallen, Is Fallen
Ezekiel 6:9 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
"Idols" represent what she greatly desired and expended her efforts to possess. As the context shows, what she greatly desired God, her Husband, prohibited. These fickle lusts led Israel into relationships with ways of life other than God's. Her drive for the "excitement" of experiencing some new thing led her to make those other ways her ways. God labels this as adultery because she abandoned Him for them.
Usually what Israel chased after was outside the guidelines God gave in His commands. However, to her His commands always appeared to be denying her pleasure. Hosea, though the earliest of the prophets to connect spiritual idolatry to the sexual sin of adultery, was far from the last, as this verse in Ezekiel suggests.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Seven): How Can Israel Be the Great Whore?
Hosea 1:2 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Hosea's dominant theme is Israel's faithlessness in contrast to God's patience, mercy, and faithfulness. The prophet is especially creative in metaphorically describing Israel's spiritual condition and relationship with God. He introduces two dominant ones in the book's second verse.
The primary metaphor is Israel as a faithless wife, and the second is Israel as a child of adultery or faithlessness. A child is the fruit or product of a relationship. Hosea implies that Israel, as a child of an adulterous relationship, manifests its characteristics because the next generation tends to continue the traits of the former and perhaps even increase their effects. A primary characteristic of adultery is faithlessness.
In the first metaphor, God is a faithful husband, and in the second, a loving and long-suffering parent. Israel is faithless in carrying out her responsibilities in both cases. God bluntly calls her actions adultery, harlotry, or whoredom because she did not fulfill the duties she had promised in a contract, a covenant. In more intimate terms, this contract is a marriage.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)
Hosea 3:4-5 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Hosea means "help" or "salvation," and despite the recurring theme of Israel's unfaithfulness to God, the eventual salvation of Israel is the main subject of the prophecy. God uses the prophet's marriage to Gomer, "a wife of harlotry," to illustrate the relationship between God and His people. Gomer is not faithful to Hosea, yet God commands the prophet to take her back, just as He would restore Israel to Himself.
The remainder of the book expounds and expands on this pronouncement, making intermittent calls for repentance. Several sections include Judah within the prophecy (see Hosea 5:5, 10-15; 6:4, 11; 8:14, etc.), showing that Hosea's prophecy, though preached primarily to the northern ten tribes, is in reality aimed at all twelve tribes of Israel. God accuses both Ephraim (Israel, also called Samaria) and Judah of running to other nations, particularly Egypt and Assyria (Hosea 5:13; 7:11), when threatened rather than to God. In the same way, all Israel loves to pursue idols—Baal seems to have been a favorite—rather than their Maker (see Hosea 4:12-14; 8:14; 12:11; etc.).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Meet the Minor Prophets (Part One)
Hosea 12:10 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
A similitude is a similarity, a comparison, a likeness, a shadow—essentially the same as a parable. Paul says all the Old Testament accounts are written for our understanding today. Hosea writes that the prophets spoke to us in similitudes or similarities. Thus, what happened to Israel and Judah in the prophecies applies in principle to the church today, the New Testament "Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16). Further, what is occurring in the church today is similar to what is occurring and prophesied to occur in the physical nations of Israel. It may not unfold in exactly the same detail, but very similarly. What understanding this concept opens up to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear!
John 7:41-52 (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)
Had these doubters really searched, they would have found that several prophets came from Galilee:
• Micah was from Moresheth-gath, in Galilee (Micah 1:1).
• Elijah, of Gilead, was a native of Galilee (I Kings 17:1).
• Jonah was from Gath Hepher, in Galilee (II Kings 14:25; see Joshua 19:13).
Nahum and Hosea may have hailed from Galilee as well. These people's argument—that no prophet arose from Galilee—was completely without merit! Most important, their argument totally neglected Isaiah's prophecy about Christ's own Galilean ministry. He was to shine as a light in the darkness, in the inheritances of Naphtali and Zebulun, in "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Isaiah 9:1-2).
As so often happens, the jingoists among the Jews mixed truth with fallacy. They correctly understood two things about Christ's birth and descent:
First, they understood Isaiah 11, Jeremiah 23, and Jeremiah 33, which indicate that Christ would descend from David. He would be of Judah—the Scepter tribe (Genesis 49:10).
Second, they understood that Christ would come from Bethlehem, the home of David (I Samuel 20:6):
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Yet notice the detail of Micah's prophecy they missed. He does not say that the Messiah would reside in Bethlehem, but that He would "come forth" from it, which is exactly what He did! Joseph had come to Bethlehem at Jesus' birth because he had to pay taxes in his home town. We can deduce from Christ's genealogies that both Joseph and Mary hailed from Bethlehem. Their ancestors include David, Jesse, Obed, and Boaz (Luke 3:32)—all men of Bethlehem (see Ruth 1, 2 and 4; I Samuel 16 and 17).
Sometime after Christ's birth, Joseph returned to Nazareth, in Galilee, where he and Mary reared Jesus. He began His ministry from Galilee, not Judah, as Isaiah 9 foretold. Mark 1:14-15 records a partial fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. Compare this passage with its counterpart, Matthew 4:12-17, which quotes Isaiah 9:1-2 and points out that Christ fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy regarding His Galilean ministry.
Believe it or not, this group of people failed to recognize their Messiah because of His place of residence—because He lived in Galilee! Thus, we have dubbed them jingoists, people driven by inordinate nationalism. Behind their reason for rejecting Christ—that no prophet ever did or ever would come from Galilee—lurks an irrational, arrogant prejudice against anything not of Judea. These people were part of the power-elite of the day, part of the religious establishment centered in Jerusalem. Classic xenophobes, they wanted nothing to do with Galilee.
Situated to the north of Judea, Galilee was home to an enclave of Judeans who had migrated northward since the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Geography and doctrine separated Galilee from Jerusalem.
• Doctrine: Though far from perfect, the Galileans were doctrinally purer than the Jews to the south. For example, the Galileans observed a 14th Passover, while many of those in Jerusalem, as we know, kept Passover on the 15th of Nisan (John 18:28).: Between Judea and Galilee was Samaria, home to the Gentile "interlopers" the Jews hated. These were the people the Assyrians brought into the area when they deported the House of Israel, the northern ten tribes, around 721-718 BC.
Recognizing the Second Witness
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