“Bible History IS Secular History when given the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.
Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.
This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from scripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.
Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.
Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!
– Dr. J
Bible Devotions or Bible Study?
Bible Devotions are like paying the minimum amount due on ones credit card debt. One seldom gains ground. Bible study is like paying the monthly balance in full plus something extra. We gain ground quickly!
Want to Listen to Music while you study:
For Continuous Music please use the link below:
Amos Chapter #5
This chart taken from duckduckgo.com tells it all per Amos’s mission in chart form. Chapters 1 – 8 are basic who, what, why and results. The “who” gives us insights to watch for current or future global news headlines. One cannot have wisdom without understanding. One cannot have understanding without knowledge. One cannot have knowledge without a source. This requires more than a church pew or under pandemic circumstances, a chair in the parking lot or on the lawn of a church. We do not need more messages (at church) about Bible stories. We need to understand the source; i.e. Bible. This is not the sole and total responsibility of the preacher. As even with medications, that responsibility falls upon the individual(s) taking the medication. The Bible is similar to a prescription; even an over the counter medication. The person in need needs to seek it. It won’t come to him or her. Seek and you will find.
Chapter 5: “The entire chapter is a continuation of Amos’ prophecy against Israel, elaborating and expanding the condemnation and overthrow of Israel already announced in Amos 3” [studylight.org]. Amos is now explaining that there is no longer a pending recovery or “return” to greatness for Israel. Not this time. Recall Israel (Northern 10 Tribes) is at their economic highpoint. The wealthy are even wealthier, but the poor still exist and are leveraged by those who are the “haves” of Israel’s society. New Testament Matthew 26:11 tells us that “we will always have the poor.” However, Israel has a vast chasm between the haves and the have-not at this time in HIS-story. Interestingly the second half of Matthew 26:11 explains well the circumstance of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the time of Amos. It reads…”but you will not always have me.” The Israel to whom Amos is writing had lost their connection with God. Like Hosea, Amos is pleading their return to the God who brought their forefathers out of Egypt.
Chapter 5 is similar to a eulogy. Amos is preaching their funeral before they die as a kingdom. It is the final message per the life of these people until the return of Jesus Christ. Verse 2 verifies this. It is blunt: “…Israel has fallen and will not rise again.”The Kingdom of Israel is great at this time but will fall. Revelation 18:2 says the same thing about End Time and (symbolic) Babylon; Babylon will fall and NOT rise again.
Verse 3 gives us a somewhat mathematical example of their demise. One out of ten is the formula used by Amos. This can be a prophecy of either survivors of their military or occupants of the land. One out of Ten will remain. But this is not the only option of Israel. Verse 4, just as it says in the New Testament verse in James 4 (v8). It is a powerful underscoring of what Free Will actually means. Draw close to me THEN I will draw close to you. Amos 5:4 says the same…”seek me and live.” We MUST get this straight. We often pray for God to be close to so-in-so but this is not supported by scripture in either the old or New Testaments. The free will of man requires that we seek out God/Jesus.
Multitudes have enjoyed Michael W. Smith’s music. However, there is one song with which it has it’s lyrics in conflict with scripture. It is his song “Draw Me Close” to you. Verse 1 has the first lyric sentence and the last one wrong.
Opening lyric line: “Draw me close to you” (God)
last line in his vers1: “Bring me back to you”
Reread James 8:4 and Amos 5:4. It is incumbent upon us to make that move first. Michael W. Smith is a good gospel musician but just like so many, in ignorance we get scripture mixed up. We must draw ourselves closer to God so He can then draw closer to us. Amos is telling those in the Kingdom of Israel the same thing. “Seek me and Live.” It underscores the Free Will of man.
- Isaiah 45:22 states “Turn to me and be saved.”
- Luke 13: 23, *24 “…many will seek to be saved but will not be able.”
- *Many still want to do it their way, not God’s way
- I Timothy 2:4 “[God] desires all men to be saved”
- His desire but it is our choice to follow him or do it our way.
These few verses are examples of the “If you __?__, then I [God] will __?__”conditions of God fulfilling His promises and covenants with man. Every promise and covenant in scripture is supported by the “if you do, then I will” principle. Amos is telling Israel exactly the same thing. God is waiting but they were the ones who walked away. The old adage of “If one does not feel as close to God as s/he once did, guess who moved away” is fact, not supposition.
I don’t recall but believe the Burton, Coffman Commentary puts Amos 5 this way:
“(This chapter has): a funeral song (Amos 5:1-3); a call to repent (Amos 5:4-7); part of a song of praise (Amos 5:8-9); a warning about injustice (Amos 5:10-13); a further call to repent (Amos 5:14-15); and a further funeral song, or vision of death (Amos 5:16-17).
Amos 5:5 is of particular interest. A lesson NOT LEARNED even to this very day. Amos tells his northern cousins to not go to Bethel or Gilgal (he might also include Samaria with Beersheba). He is referencing PLACES of worship. This is so true of Christianity today (not a reference to the magazine Christianity Today). These people went to “places” to worship. We do the same thing today. We go to CHURCH to worship. This is incorrect theology. We need only to go to God, praise him, seek forgiveness, acknowledge his Holiness, and seek guidance/wisdom. Why is it the place that matters so much? In too many people’s minds it is the only place of worship instead of “a” place of worship. Church buildings matters but not required to worship God. Church can become the place of captivity just as did Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba. It is the worship that to God.
Amos 5:6 is a repeat of verse 4 and supports verse 5…”Seek Jehovah.” It is the where; it is the “who.” If we don’t seek HIM out, the consequence is His judgment. “The Lord will be like a fire.”
Amos 5:7 reminds us of today’s establishment of different churches and denominations. During the time of Amos the Northern Kingdom had a very corrupt legal system. It served the well-being of those who were in charge; not the layperson within their population. “Justice is turned to wormwood.” That is, a bitter pill for those seeking true justice. It serves the purpose of those in the in-crowd, not the general population. Churches and denominations do precisely the same thing. If it serves their platform of right or wrong, then one can expect their support. If it fails to fit their terms and church doctrines, it is wormwood to fellow believers of another denomination. A bitter realization of “it is what it is.”
Amos 5:8 – 10 makes the point of WHO it is to worship. If it exists, God created it. This is repeated again in John 1:3…”All things were made by (through) Him (God) and without Him was not anything made (created) that was made (created)” Amos gives us a list of things God handed to us. The consequence of the disparity of those who have and those who have not is found in the following verse (v11). The very house and vineyards the “haves” have will not be for their consumption. This tells us that the judgment day Amos references is at hand for Israel. Within two years of this prophecy, Assyria overruns and disperses Israel throughout the world.
Key statements in the Amos 5:10-19 verses include:
- …because you trampled on the poor
- I [God] know your many transgressions
- You have afflicted the righteous
- Accept or hand out bribes
- Turn a back on the *needy
- This is not a plea for socialism. There is a stark difference between the NEEDY and those are simply GREEDY or LAZY.
- He who does not work shall not eat (II Thessalonians 3:10)
- Silence at time is being prudent
- Hate evil but love good
- Establish (real) justice [hmmm?]
- V18: The Day of the Lord is darkness?
Amos 5:18 demands attention and explanation. “The Day of the Lord is darkness?” This seems contradictory to all that we have heard about God. After all, “God is love,” right? The very same Bible tells us that HE also is “just[ice].” In Amos 5:1 we learned that his approach in chapter five is like a funeral eulogy or perhaps a funeral song. The emphasis is the conclusiveness or finality of a funeral. S/he [the one deceased] will no longer be among the living on earth. In this sense it is a dark day; similar to the evening marking the finality of another day. This verse has an End Time parallel. Choices are no longer an option. Bottom line? The Day of the Lord brings judgement. This is not the Bema Seat judgement but the Great White Throne day-of-judgment.
- Flee from a lion into the jaws of a bear
- Be bitten by a viper (some time identified as a two-step viper). When Paul in his ship wreck as a prisoner of the Romans and on his way to appeal to Caesar, was bitten by a viper [Acts 28:3]. The local islanders expected immediate death. He simply shook it off into their campsite fire.
Amos 5 concludes with a very blatant, unconcealed, overt statement. God no longer has an accepts their songs and sacrifices. Why? He is but one of the gods to which these Israelites are making such offerings. Their worship is adulterated. They have given themselves to many gods.
Rev. Dr. Jstark
|Kings of … (since Solomon)||Start|
|Judah||Israel||Prophets to Judah||Prophets to Israel (Northern Kingdom)|
|1. Rehoboam||1. Jeroboam||931 BC||17|
|2. Abijah||913 BC||3|
|3. Asa||911 BC||41|
|2. Nadab||910 BC||2|
|3. Baasha||909 BC||24||(Jehu)|
|4. Elah||886 BC||2|
|5. Zimri||885 BC||7 days|
|6. Omri||885 BC||12|
|7. Ahab||874 BC||22||(Elijah)|
|4. Jehoshaphat||870 BC||25||(Micaiah)|
|8. Ahaziah||853 BC||2||(Elisha)|
|9. Joram||852 BC||12|
|5. Jehoram||848 BC||8|
|6. Ahaziah||841 BC||1|
|10. Jehu||841 BC||28|
|7. Queen Athaliah||841 BC||6|
|8. Joash||835 BC||40||Joel (guesswork)|
|11. Jehoahaz||814 BC||17|
|12. Jehoash||798 BC||16|
|9. Amaziah||796 BC||29||Jonah (to Nineveh) (approx)|
|13. Jeroboam II||782 BC||41||Amos,|
Hosea (until Hezekiah)
|10. Uzziah (Azariah)||767 BC||52||Isaiah (until Hezekiah)|
|14. Zechariah||753 BC||6 months|
|15. Shallum||752 BC||1 month|
|16. Menahem||752 BC||10|
|17. Pekahiah||742 BC||2|
|18. Pekah||740 BC||20|
|11. Jotham||740 BC||16||Micah (until Hezekiah)|
|12. Ahaz||732 BC||16|
|19. Hoshea||732 BC||9|
|13. Hezekiah||716 BC||29|
|14. Manasseh||687 BC||55|
|15. Amon||642 BC||2||Nahum (to Nineveh in Assyria)|
|16. Josiah||640 BC||31||Zephaniah,|
Jeremiah (into exile)
|17. Jehoahaz||609 BC||3 months|
|18. Jehoiakim||609 BC||11||Habakkuk (approx. time)|
|19. Jehoiachin||597 BC||3 mos.|
|20. Zedekiah||597 BC||11|
|587 BC (maybe)||Obadiah (to Edom)|
|520 BC||Haggai, Zechariah|
|433 BC||Malachi||After this Bible history goes silent until the book of Mark begins the new Testament|
Graphic credit goes to:
I. The Author and Theme of the Book, Amos 1:1-2
II. The Prophecies of Amos, Amos 1:3-2:16
Amos is not exclusive to Israel in his prophecies.He includes surrounding nations as instructed by God Jehovah.
A. Concerning Damascus, Amos 1:3-5
B. Concerning Philistia, Amos 1:6-8
C. Concerning Tyre, Amos 1:9-10
D. Concerning Edom, Amos 1:11-12
E. Concerning Ammon, Amos 1:13-15
F. Concerning Moab, Amos 2:1-3
G. Concerning Judah, Amos 2:4-5
H. Concerning Israel, Amos 2:6-16
III. The Sermons of Amos, Amos 3:1-6:14
IV. The Visions of Amos, Amos 7:1-9:15
A. A Vision of Devouring Locusts, Amos 7:1-3
B. A Vision of Fire, Amos 7:4-6
C. A Vision of a Plumb Line, Amos 7:7-9
D. An Historical Interlude: Opposition from the Priest of Bethel, Amos 7:10-17
E. A Vision of a Basket of Summer Fruit, Amos 8:1-14
F. A Vision of the Lord Judging, Amos 9:1-10
G. A Vision of Future Blessing, Amos 9:11-15
The Minor Prophets and their [Primary] Message
- Hosea – The Lord loves Israel despite her sin. 755-715 B.C.
- Joel – Judgment precedes Israel’s future spiritual revival. 835–796* B.C.
- Amos – God is just and must judge sin. 765-750 B.C.
- Obadiah – Sure retribution must overtake merciless pride. 848* B.C.
- Jonah – Divine grace is universal. 780-750 B.C.
- Micah – Bethlehem-born Messiah will be mankind’s Deliverer. 740-690 B.C.
- Nahum – Doom is to descend on wicked Nineveh. 630-612 B.C.
- Habakkuk – Justification by faith is God’s way of salvation. 625 B.C. or earlier
- Zephaniah – The Day of the Lord must precede kingdom blessing. 625-610 B.C.
- Haggai – The Lord’s Temple and interests deserve top priority. 520 B.C.
- Zechariah – The Lord remembers His people Israel. 520-515 B.C.; Zechariah 9–14 after 500 B.C.
- Malachi – Let the wicked be warned by the certainty of judgment. 433-400 B.C.
Remarkably these Bible book descriptions can be read as a single progressive statement:
The Lord loves Israel despite her sin however Judgment precedes Israel’s future spiritual revival. God is just and must judge sin. Sure retribution must overtake their merciless pride. Thankfully Divine grace is universal. Bethlehem-born Messiah will be mankind’s Deliverer. Nonetheless, Doom is to descend on wicked Nineveh. Mankind’s Justification by faith is God’s way of salvation. The Day of the Lord must precede kingdom blessing. The Lord’s Temple and interests deserve top priority. The Lord remembers His people Israel. Let the wicked be warned by the certainty of judgment.
(JIV; Jim’s Introspective View)
- All dates are approximate. *The text does not specifically date these prophets. As a result differences of opinion exist concerning the time of their ministries. (from The New Unger’s Bible Handbook). However, these dates are close enough for bible history discussion. Credit to Bible.org
Do facts equal the acts of the church today?
1) Everyone Answers to God- Amos pronounced judgment from God on all the surrounding nations. God is in supreme control of all the nations, they all are accountable to Him.
2) Complacency- With all the comfort and luxury that Israel was experiencing finds a false sense of security. Prosperity brought corruption and destruction.
3) Oppressing the Poor- The wealthy and powerful people of Samaria, the capital of Israel, had become prosperous, greedy and unjust. Illegal and immoral slavery came as the result of over-taxation and land-grabbing. There was also cruelty and indifference toward the poor. God is weary of greed and will not tolerate injustice.
4) Superficial Religion- Although many people had abandoned real faith in God, they still pretended to be religious; merely participating in ceremony or ritual falls short of true religion.
Our faith in God is constantly under negotiation with our social and environmental demands to compromise; just a little here then a little later. All of it is too often subtle. CoVid 19 proved that a church gathering can be totally eliminated by law to shut down. This is so without a vote or say of the public. This is the foundation for establishing colonies by the first European to the Americas.
Far too many people who call themselves Christians, even true believers, ignore God’s Word and commandments. Or, they seek God only for His blessings or to help in times of trouble. Like the Israelites of Amos’s day, some live only to please themselves.
Judgment on the Nations. Amos opens the way for his message to Israel by proclaiming the Lord’s judgment upon six surrounding nations—Damascus (Syria), Gaza (Philistia), Tyrus (Phoenicia), Edom, Ammon, Moab. Then he comes nearer home and pronounces judgment against Judah (Amos 2:4), and against Israel itself (Amos 2:6), and finally against the whole nation (Amos 3:1–2).
He denounces the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel in more graphic detail than Hosea, dwelling especially on the careless ease and luxury, the oppression of the poor, the extortion and lying and cheating which prevailed, and the utter hypocrisy in worship.
The prophecy of Amos should simplify the choices in our lives. Instead of choosing between prayer and service, the book of Amos teaches us that both are essential. God has called Christians not only to be in relationship with Him but also to be in relationships with others. For those Christians whose tendency has been to focus more on the invisible God than on His visible creation, Amos pulls us back toward the center, where both the physical and the spiritual needs of people matter in God’s scheme of justice – Chuck Swindoll
It is seldom that ahabiblemoments.com uses a quote from someone else to introduce a new series of chapter-by-chapter book studies, but Chuck Swindoll says is so well. Seldom does one seriously consider a balanced service and prayer life outside of church attendance, perhaps a mid-week bible study and prayer at church or for one’s dinner. Our prayer lives suffer intimacy with God. In ignorance we pray for God to “be with us” (or so-in-so) even though both the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 36:6 and the New Testament in Hebrews 13:5 state God IS with us and will not forsake his followers. That is rote (preconditioned) prayer, not intimacy with God. Amos points this out to the northern ten tribes of Israel. It certainly applies to too many of us here and now.
Amos, an older contemporary of Hosea (and Isaiah), took a different prophetic approach to the very same sins Hosea prophesied against, but included seven other neighboring kingdoms. Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah while Hosea was a member of the northern kingdom of Israel. We will see in Amos chapter 7 that he determines he is neither a son of a prophet nor “graduate” from their School of Prophecy. One might legitimately say that he is a layman minister; i.e. not a son of a preacher nor a product of some denominational seminary. It is not unusual for a prophet to first identify himself as to who, what and the where of his very being. In a sense, they source themselves for the sake of legitimacy that can be verified. Amos is a bit odd in that he is not quoted in any other book of the Bible. Many other prophets are quoted, paraphrased, or identified within text of other scripture.
Over and over again many commentaries and articles mention that this is “two years BEFORE the famous Amos earthquake. What earthquake? We refer you to the earthquake most likely to be the one to which Amos refers [next page]. Amazingly, this is evidence of both Amos and of his ministry since this earthquake is a benchmark in history. Keep it in mind that this website does not distinguish between histories of scripture and secular. They are within each other; the same history content but under differing contexts. Bible history and secular history are HIS-story after creation in Genesis 1.
The picture to the left is of Israel. The Amos earthquake occurred in or around 750 B.C. Researchers and archeologist “diggers” place this earthquake at or around a mid-8 seismic event. Isaiah, Zechariah, and Joel mention the damage and reference this quake. Isaiah and Zechariah come shortly after Amos in His-story.
During this time, 780 B.C. to around 740 B.C. Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom of Israel had defeated and conquered portions of Syria, Moab and Ammon. An interesting historical fact is that these territories had been the possession of the “east of Jordan Tribes of Manasseh, Gad, and Rueben”. They did not want to cross the Jordan during the time of Joshua as the pasture lands were very good to the east of the Jordan River. However, as we will point out in a later Amos article, they did send their troops across the Jordan to help their “cousins” conquer the Canaanites.
JIV NOTE: National Geographic 2017 DNA samplings have discovered that by far most of Lebanon is where the Canaanites moved after warring with Joshua and the Israelites.
Amos did not travel throughout the Northern Kingdom with his message to the Kingdom of Israel. He spent most of his time in and around Bethel, just north of his own home town in Tekoa, Judah. Bethel was one of two worship centers for the northern Tribes of Israel. The other was in Dan. Dan was to the northern sector of Israel and Bethel to the southern. Both were established to deter the members of the ten northern tribes from going to Jerusalem and the Temple in Judah to worship; even on festival days.
Chuck Swindoll puts it this way in defining the Book of Amos and the man himself.
“Amos was fed up. While most of the prophets interspersed redemption and restoration in their prophecies against Israel and Judah, Amos devoted only the final five verses of his prophecy for such consolation. Prior to that, God’s word through Amos was directed against the privileged people of Israel, a people who had no love for their neighbor, who took advantage of others, and who only looked out for their own concerns.”
As we will read in a later article, Amos was personally “invited” to leave the northern kingdom and return to his home in Tekoa of the southern kingdom. The elite did not wish him well and the fact that he was pointing out that there was a growing wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots in the kingdom of Israel. PLUS, he notes in his book several visions he has regarding this northern territory of Israelites. We will be able to see in this series on the Book of Amos and by using just a little insight, how the message Amos leaves with Israel and God’s frustration with what was once a nation under God parallels America today (2020).
For the sake of identifying bible persons, places and things, understand that Syria at that time was NOT Assyria. They were enemies of each other. It was a physical buffer zone between northern Israel and Assyria. Syria is often referred to as Aram. They are one and the same. Damascus was once what is called a city-state; a government to itself; i.e. Aram/Syria/Damascus; one and the same.
For a great summary of Amos and his prophetic mission, click the link below.
Rev. Dr. Jstark
“This is a wonderful chapter to be at the end of such a book. I had never expected from such a prickly shrub to gather so fair a flower, so sweet a fruit; but so it is: where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound. No chapter in the Bible can be more rich in mercy than this last of Hosea; and yet no chapter in the Bible might, in the natural order of things, have been more terrible in judgment. Where we looked for the blackness of darkness, behold a noontide of light!” (Charles Spurgeon)
This insight from the great Bible student and preacher Chas. Spurgeon [1834-1892] is a great capsulizing of this last chapter in Hosea. However, Hosea 14 is conditional. This is another wonderful example of how God works yesterday, today, and future. It is of the mentioned statement or declaration in ahabiblemoments.com of the way God works
_you_, then I will ___” There is not one single covenant or promise made by God to man that is not contingent to this statement “if you ___ then I will ___.” Go ahead and search the Bible and discover this for yourself. The societal church has made God to fit our desires instead of us fitting his. Here is what Hosea says about this in chapter 14.
- Renouncing every species [or type] of idolatry and image-worship
- Then God will reward and bless abundantly
These three points are what Spurgeon is referencing. Go back to Article #4 and review the quote from Hosea 2:17. It helps us to understand when this will occur with the Hosea conveyed condemnation of Israelites.
“For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more.”
Note in this verse the use of the word “Baal.” It is plural. We often read the name Baal as a single unholy idol-deity of times past. Not so! Baal represents any and all things that draw us away from God First. If these sins of life will be remembered no more, we are likely talking about a time called the Millennial Reign of Christ. This gives us a setting for the context of Hosea 14.
Hosea 14:1 is a plea for Israel to return to their God. It does not read “the God Jehovah.” It does read “YOUR God Jehovah.” How much more specific can one get?
“Bring words with you” [Hosea 14:2]. To explain this let’s glance at Isaiah 1:11 then Matthew 9:13.
Isaiah 1:11“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.” Examine this verse with personal honesty. In a sense we sacrifice some of our income when we tithe. If we think this plus our weekly attendance, a sacrifice of our time, does it for God to be accepting, read again and out loud Isaiah 1:11. Replace the “YOUR with “MY” and read it again.
Matthew 9:13 “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” God desires mercy and not sacrifice? In short this is saying if one already thinks him or herself as righteous, we will see if that is good enough. God prefers a confessing TONGUE (words) above any type of sacrifice. A sacrifice is depending on one’s effort to offer the sacrifice and the sacrifice itself to be a redeeming plan of action. Very similar to attending church without fail, tossing in a weekly tithe, sitting on a church board, working the sound system, sweeping up after church, or things like helping during spring clean-up on weekends… all in an attempt to get us in the good graces and mercy of God.
Now back to Hosea 14:2…bring words and a heart of true confession then follow God’s plan for Christian living. One may ask ‘how am I to know the plan?’ Have you or someone you know tried to put something with many parts together without reading and following the step-by-step instructions? Our instructions come from the Bible. It is not the preacher’s job to read them for us. We must gain instruction and study the word of God ourselves. Proverbs 20:15 is but one great example…”Gold is there and rubies are abundant, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” Without knowledge there can be no understanding. Without understanding there can be no desire. Without desire can be no plan of action!
Take words of confession and praise with us to God in the form of confession and worship. All else is but demonstration to him.
Hosea 14:3 uses a symbolic name, Assyria, to represent any help from outside. This is the state of the State of Israel in End Time. No help is coming from outside. They MUST depend on God and God alone.. Verse 4 “…for my anger has turned away from them.” Recall in a previous article that God has left the Northern Kingdom of Israel to their devices. He has turned his back on them. This passage in chapter 14 tells us that God will forgive and return to his children. They will know, understand, and desire HE be their one and only God. How many times is it written in scripture…”THEN THEY WILL KNOW THAT I AM THEIR GOD.”
Hosea 14:5-8 are all comparative symbolisms; i.e. metaphors. Ultimately each description puts bountiful beauty into the lives of those God left to their own back in 622 B.C., 2,600 years ago.
We finish this commentary of Hosea with the closing verse Hosea 14:9. It is seldom clearer to the eye that reads, and the mind that listens. “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them.”
Rev Dr Jstark
PS; This remarkable book of Hosea is as if speaking directly to the true bible believing Christian and all those other places who use the name for a 401k or tax deductible institution while being socially good. Recall that the Old Testament is to a nation. The New Testament is to us as individuals, not as an institution called a church. We so often confuse the meaning of the church as a building, denomination, or group setting of good guys with memberships in the institution instead of names written down in glory.
Since Hosea’s contemporary was Amos, we plan to go there next. Keep a learning point in mind. Hosea and Amos speak to the sins and God-issues in the Northern Kingdom of Israel but to somewhat differing sins that God wanted pointed out.
Hosea Article #15
Relentless? Has one experienced when another is simply untiring of task, faith, political association, mindset, or goal? Hosea 13 is a distinction of God’s relentlessness on his chosen people. God finally determines that they will not be a people of respect again until the Millennial Reign of Christ. Why? Dan Hubbard of Hubbard Ministries puts it this way regarding Hosea 13:1 & 2:
“Viewed together, their sin is a total perversion of values. A craftsman’s work is elevated to divine status; human beings sacrifice their offspring to a metal object from whose lifeless form they also beg help; persons embrace with adulation the images of the very animals that they use for ploughing, threshing and hauling.”
Hosea 13 is brutal in how it describes the consequences of the sin of the Northern Tribes of Israel and as shepherded by the Tribe of Ephraim. If one’s realities of the actualities Hosea prophesies per Israel are too harsh to stomach, one may wish to skip this article. It is God speaking his judgement words through Hosea. If this chapter does not strike fear in the heart of the half-hearted and insincere Christian at home or in a worship service, it should. Half-hearted believers BEWARE!
Let’s begin with verse 12 then retreat to the beginning of this chapter. “The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is kept in store.” Bound up as in packaged and kept in store to later be retrieved. This is absolute reason for the Northern Kingdom of Israel to fall into great fear of God. No longer will they be appeased, shepherded, guided and protected by the God who made them his chosen through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Their sin will be packaged and stored evidence against them. It is wise to remember that Old Testament salvation was to a tribe or nation (ethnos) of people. The New Testament is to individuals. Several times in Old Testament scriptures the people of Israel suffered as a group for the sin of others within that group.
Hosea 13:2 is poignant. Israel sins more and more. It is akin to us today. When we get away with something over and over it becomes what is called our Modus-Operando with no obvious consequences. We got away with it before so why not continue getting away with it? It is as if our continual repetition of sin has become protected by some type of Teflon. “They sin more and more” but seemingly without consequences. How is this so? The Northern Kingdom of Israel has prospered greatly while walking away from God. They think there is to be no consequences.
Human sacrifice on manmade alters and to manmade gods. Recall but a few years earlier Elijah on Mt. Carmel challenged the prophets of Baal and King Ahab along with Queen Jezebel. Life is created by God. Even the life of animals and plants exist only because God spoke them into existence. How does man think he has a greater authority to take the life of an unborn or just born child? They are like the morning mist [13:3b]. They will be swept away. Their judgement is coming.
Hosea 13:4, “besides me [God] there is no savior” has the use of a lower case “s”. It means nothing will save Israel outside of God himself. This is a promise, not just a comment or conjecture. So the word savior (O.T.) and Savior (N.T.) are apparent parallels in this passage of Hosea but have differing context. It also means that the war and treaty pact Israel signed with Assyrian and the bribery of Egypt with shipments of Olive oils will not save them from God’s judgement.
The next verse (6) is what it is like to live for self. People promise anything if hungry but forget the promise once full. This is existential humanism at work. As the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard suggested: the best use of our capacity for making choices is to freely choose to live a fully human life, rooted in a personal search for [personal] values, rather than an external code. An external code refers to another who is attempting authority of you. Once satisfied or gratified, seek the next adventure. This is the Israel of Hosea. Within the next 120 years this will be the Israelites of Judah. F. B. Meyer puts it well…In the wilderness we are thankful enough for His help, but when we reach the land of the vine and olive, we follow the devices and desires of our own hearts. Might this be true of any insincere so-called Christian or many church/denominational perishers? Once satisfied for this week, we retreat to our real lives.
“I gave you a king in my anger and took him away in my wrath.” God did not want Israel to be anything but a theocracy. He allowed [king] Saul to go to the throne of Israel. Samuel made it clear that a demand for a king back in the time of the Judges of Israel was not wise, but God allowed it. Hosea 13:11 proves it. God did select King David and Solomon but the existence of a king put a buffer between them and him. For many years both Judah and Israel too often depended on their king to save them, not God. Judah had some good kings who tried to lead as God wanted but even Solomon fell short. The Kingdom of Israel went in the direction of idols and existentialism. Want additional evidence of why God wanted a theocracy, not kingdoms? It was the choice of kings that ultimately divided the United Kingdom (nation) of Israel into two smaller kingdoms…Rehoboam (Judah) and Jeroboam (northern Israel).
Now Hosea 13 gets blunt. I will fall upon them as does a mother bear robbed of her cubs. There is no mercy. To get between a mother bear and her cubs is usually one’s last fatal mistake. God will rip his people apart. This “rip them apart” means more that to separate them geographically. They have suffered traumatic times ever since 722 B.C. and 606 B.C. Even today they are the butt of global hate. There are no or very few logical reasons for this global hate but God ordained it in Hosea so it is as it is.
Was this the first time God was driven to great anger by Israelis? One great example of another is in Exodus 32. They made a golden calf after Moses seemed to go missing in Mt. Sinai. This is where he was given the Ten Commandments by God’s finger.
“‘I have seen these people,’ the LORD said to Moses, ‘and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you [Moses} into a great nation.'” (Exodus 32:9-10)
Hosea 13:13 has too many differing translations attempting to say the same thing but in so many different ways. Simply put, it means Israel will no longer tarry or remain in the place of the birth of their sons. This separation will be like the birth-pains of a woman. The Assyrians would be very brutal. In ONE example, the captive Israelis of the Northern Kingdom were stripped naked by Assyrian soldiers. They were made to travel without shelter or sandals suffering greatly due to the elements over many weeks of travel other locations. Many thousands were taken to barren lands where mankind had yet to settle, tame, and plow the lands for crops while being exposed to the wild animals of that day…lions, bear, and leopards.
Hosea 13:14 almost seems out of context. God promises to pay their ransom; redeem them from death (End Time); all followed by punishment of dry lands, the dangerous east wind, Samaria [Ephraim/Israel] bearing her guilt, falling by a future sword, infants being slain and women torn asunder. There is nothing here but a nasty future for them, that is, until the millennial reign of Christ.
JIV NOTE: The Apostle Paul quoted the Septuagint translation of Hos_13:14 in describing our triumph over death in our sharing in the resurrection of Jesus: O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? (1Co_15:55) . The Septuagint was ordered written during the time of Ptolemy of Egypt. He inherited a portion of the Alexandrian Empire in the mid-3rd century. The Apostle Paul used the phrasing of this Greek translation over 300 years after it was written.
Rev. Dr. Jstark
With all respect for the multiplicity of commentaries and translations, it appears that Hosea 12:1 is misunderstood or at minimum, not well explained. In politics and to the life-long politicians who seek to keep favor with the majority of societal or cultural trends, one “sticks his finger to the wind to test from which direction it is coming.” THIS is Hosea 12:1…
(MKJV) “Ephraim feeds on wind and follows after the east wind. He daily multiplies lies and cruelty. And they make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.”
Feed on the wind: to consider which wind is the prevailing wind direction; i.e. from what neighbor is the better treaty option. None are good choices.
Follows after the east wind: Many commentaries point out the devastation of an easterly-wind. In this case, the Northern Kingdom of Israel is seeking the benefit of having Assyria (to the east) as a treaty (covenant) friend.
Oil (as in olive oils) carried to Egypt: As we studied in Daniel’s (11th chapter) view of prophecy, the King of the North and the King of the South are represented in what Israel is doing to appease both sides; Egypt and Assyria. They put their finger to the air to test from which direction the wind (strength) is blowing.
Hosea 12:2, 3 symbolically do remind us of the issues in the birth of twins Esau and Jacob. MKJV (Modern King James Version) states that from birth to this day the descendants of Jacob and the descendants of Esau were and remain to this day at life and death odds. Hosea continues recapping Jacob’s controversies in 12:4 by reminding the reader that Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord in Bethel. It was there Hosea reminds his Northern Kingdom cousins that “God spoke with/to us” through Jacob the father of Israel.
JIV NOTE or AHAMOMENT: There is something that demands a better understanding as to what Hosea is symbolically referencing. Rather than call upon the Lord God for guidance, Israel has called upon its neighbors for strength and protection. 12:2 brings up the name of Jacob. Back in Geneses 32 he wrestled with an angel of the Lord God. This passage states that Jacob claims to have come came face-to-face with God. No man can look upon the face of God and live [Exodus 33:20; Moses]. No space or time to explain this in detail but here is the short of it.
Moses was told he could not look upon the face of God yet God put him within the cleft of mountain rocks, passed by the small opening between the rocks, and showed him his continence, his glory as he passed by. One book earlier (Genesis 32) Abraham’s grandson Jacob claims to have seen the face of God when he wrestle with the angel in Bethel. In verse 30 of Genesis 32 we read…”And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel for I have seen God face-to-face…” (KJV). The ahamoment per scripture is not to what face-to-face actually means other than Jacob was confronted and faced up to his weaknesses. The ahamoment is that he named the place PENIEL because he saw the face of God. We as humans have a brain-gland doctors identify as the Pineal Gland. It means “in the mind’s eye where thoughts originate.” So the Hebrew pen-oo-ale’ “a mind’s eye” and the Hebrew for face, pânı̂ym are similar. However, there is doubt that Jacob had a doctors’ dictionary with him. We use the words “in one’s mind or mind’s eye” all of the time. Physicians did not discover this brain gland for hundreds of years after this moment with Jacob and the Angel of the Lord in Peniel (aha!)
Israel trusted in making deals and payoffs to the surrounding superpowers. It was foolish for them to think that Assyria or Egypt was more powerful or dependable than was God. But, for this foolishness their days were then numbered. Never again until the return of Jesus will they be as a unified people.
Hosea 12:4 also states that Jacob had “prevailed” over the angel of the Lord as he did his brother Esau when he grasped Esau’s heel while being born. The only way we can prevail over God’s intent for our lives is to knowingly submit to his will. To grasp a heel requires one to “attack” from behind. Genesis 49:17 says this about the Tribe of Dan and heels… Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.
Hosea 12:7-9 remind me of the man who came forward in church. He was wrestling with personal family issues seeking guidance as to what to do. The ministered suggested that he and this man pray together right then and there. After a short time the man stopped the minister in the midst of his prayer. He said, (paraphrased) “never mind praying to God. I just figured out what to do on my own.” Oh did he? His solution came during his prayer regarding his family issue. This man gave no credit to the possibility the answer was sent to him because of the pastor’s prayer; in a sense intercession. Hosea points out that Ephraim, the dominant Tribe of the ten Tribes of Israel, sometime the generic name for the Northern Kingdom, was doing the same thing. They *prospered and gave no credit to God for his blessings. Go back and re-read Article 12; chapter 10 for greater details.
*Israel was at the pinnacle of their prosperity at this time.
This is very similar to Frank Sinatra once singing the song, I DID IT MY WAY. Let’s be honest. MY WAY could be to give honor and glory to God. However, that is or was not the intent of Ephraim’s heart. Hosea 12:8 summarizes it well.
(YLT) And Ephraim saith: `Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself. All my labors–they find not against me iniquity that is sin.’ This does not need translating but here it is…I have become rich but I did it my way without the help of anyone or any god. This is blatant rejection of any help from God. Ephraim is correct in suggesting that he got no help from the gods of stone, wood, brick, all manmade but ignores the fact the God of Israel had blessed them in spite of these ten tribes rejecting or treating HIM insincerely.
God points out in verse 12:11 this religiousness of the northern tribes of Israel is nothingness to him…”your altars are as heaps in the open fields”; nothing more and nothing less. Nothing plus nothing is easy math. In the modern church the culture of religiousness is similar. Try going a week without a bulletin if one is used. Worse yet, keep the bulletin but change its formatting. The congregant words that day and weeks to follow will not be of worship, praise and fellowship!
Whether it be in reference to the Tribe of Ephraim or the peoples of the entirety of the ten northern tribes, the last verse in Hosea 12 is pointed…(ESV) “Ephraim has given bitter provocation; so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.”
Rev Dr Jstark
Chapter 11 (A form of Godliness)
We begin this article by looking back at Hosea 10:2a…”Their heart is false; they must bear their guilt. Might one say: “Lord please forgive your modern church (and me). There is so little evidence within these sanctuary walls to bear witness of much more than a face mask of goodness, love of you with equally and unequally yoked worship, fellowship, and study of your written Word. Our actual hearts are fake-faith.”
V11:1 Identifies God’s special connection to the people of Israel. “When Israel was a child in Egypt…” It began with Abraham and a promise. Then it deferred to Isaac; then to Jacob (AKA: Israel). It took three generations to simply begin fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham; Father of many nations [Genesis 17:5]. This is where the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel grew up to become a very large number of people; a nation without land; slaves to the Egyptian overlords. Exodus 9:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may worship me.’” We could just as easily say to the modern day church per our captivity of routine worship practices and status-quo attitudes. “CHURCH…Let the believers go.”
Peter Enns; Center for Bible Studies wrote and posted on the web: “… [Hosea] is making the case that Israel is breaking the covenant by allowing mere ritual to mask its breaking of the agreement (covenant). In the New Testament, Jesus makes a similar point in Matthew 9:13 and 12:7”. Peter Enns has it right; what Hosea writes regarding Israel (both the southern and northern kingdoms) parallels our lives today. BUT, one might claim, we don’t have or even consider a ritual practice of child sacrifice! If that is so, what does one call abortion?
Hosea 11:3 (& 4?) helps explain the use of the name Ephraim to occasionally identify the ten tribes in the northern kingdom. Look at how it is written. “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them…. I took them; they did not know; I healed them.” Not only did God teach the Israelites in Egypt to walk and stand on their own feet, but he also directed their paths. This is possibly the same way a mother might feel about her children even in old age…”I see daily how you walk and how or even if you learned.” The Expositor’s Bible adds…”I called Israel My son.”
Hosea points out that these northern Tribes of Israel will not return to Egypt but will be under the thumb and rule of Assyria. Why mention Egypt? It was there that they were held on a short leash and were captives. God saw them as his child (son). This is 700 to 800 years after leaving Egypt. They are adult and must be held responsible for their actions. They have departed their promised lands by dispersions of Assyrian kings…Tiglath-pileser III (744–727 B.C.), Shalmaneser V (726–722 B.C.), Sargon II (721–705 B.C.), *Sennacherib (704–681 B.C.), Esarhaddon (680–669 B.C.), and Ashurbanipal (668–627 B.C.). Why mention the Assyrian kings well after the almost total dispersion of the Ten Lost Tribes? Each of these kings is mentioned in the historical records of the Bible Old Testament and their influence over the creating the Lost Tribes of Israel.
*Sennacherib’s palace was discovered in 1847 by the shovel of Austin Layard in Nineveh. The Israelites, originally known to the Assyrians, as “Khumri” were placed in captivity near the river Habor, (Assyria) in the Gozan River area among the Medes in northern Iran, renamed “Gimira” [Saka named after Isaac] and “Cimmerians” [possibly implicating them to be Samarians]. Samaria was the capital of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Over time name changes evolved from their later migrations.
Hosea 11:7 is challenging to us. Why? My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all. Are we in the New Testament called Christian; i.e. “HIS PEOPLE?” When we pray do we not usually begin with “My Father” or Dear God almighty?” If as supposed believers do we continue to be bent on turning away from God? When we call on the Most High, is it just as possible God will not raise us up for us at all? He will not leave us but can we leave HIM? We can’t be definitive on this but to trust and obey requires our trust in him and abeyance. See the following quote from F.B. Meyers.
F. B. Meyer: What more pathetic words were ever uttered by broken-hearted parents than Hosea 11:8-9! That is the motive of our plea still. If we were dealing with man, we might despair. But we are dealing with One who forgives us according to the riches of His grace. If a back-slider should read these touching appeals, let him be encouraged to retrace His steps one by one, sure that the Father waits to welcome him where the by-path has broken off from the main road.
Hosea (ESV) 11:10 is one of those “where is America” questions per scripture. It is worth a few moments of serious thought if considering the Hebrew in this verse. The inference is to End Times.
“They shall go after the LORD; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west;”
‘West’ in the Hebrew is yâm. It means from out of; a roar, great body of water. We do not claim that this is a reference to the Americas or even the USA, but it is worth consideration. After all, there are more of Israeli descent (misunderstood and lumped together as Jews) living in the Americas than in Israel today. The word “Jew” is first mentioned in II Kings. It is in reference to those from the Tribe of Judah. That nick name is found only a few times in the later books of the Bible: II Kings, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Nehemiah, Esther and Chronicles. All are in reference to those who descended from Babylonian captivity, resettled Jerusalem, and were from the Tribe of Judah or reside in Judah.
Hosea 11:11 & 12 end with a promise that is exclusive to God’s chosen people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Israelites. “I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.” Obviously this happened in part in 1948. But not the lands ruled by King David and Solomon. Also not inclusive of the lands defined in scripture that far exceeds the traditionally known borders as the lands Joshua parceled.
We close this with something found in Biblestudies.org; Part 5:
“Jeremiah emphasizes two things: one, that the delivery of Israel into their own Land will be of far greater magnitude than the delivery of Israel from Egypt, for God will bring up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them, and two, that He will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers – not to the ever-shrinking borders set aside for them by Britain, nor to the sliced and diced parcels allotted to them by the United Nations, nor to any of the shifting borders arrived at since then, or will be arrived at, by means of war or international pressure – but to their own land which I gave to their fathers – to the full allotment that God promised to the patriarchs.”
You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers. ~ Ezekiel 36:28 ~
Rev Dr Jstark