I shall read from Christ's Object Lessons, beginning on page 41, paragraph three--
"In turning from God's word to feed on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened.... The understanding adapts itself to the comprehension of the things with which it is familiar, and in this devotion to finite things it is weakened, its power is contracted, and after a time it becomes unable to expand. All this is false education. The work of every teacher should be to fasten the mind of the youth upon the grand truths of the word of Inspiration. This is the education essential for this life and for the life to come. And let it not be thought that this will prevent the study of the sciences, or cause a lower standard in education. The knowledge of God is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe.... Let the youth seek to grasp these God-given truths, and their minds will expand and grow strong in the effort. It will bring every student who is a doer of the word into a broader field of thought, and secure for him a wealth of knowledge that is imperishable.... Such an educaton will restore the image of God in the soul."
What a lesson not only for the youth but for the adults as well! Let us pray that we might realize the importance of studying inspired Truth; that we might realize it does not eliminate the study of true science; that to devote our lives to the Word of God is to obtain a great treasure of wisdom; that thus is the image of God restored in the soul.
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Our subject is found in the first and second chapters of Hosea. We shall begin with--
Hos. 1:2 -- "The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord."
We immediately see that this wife and these children symbolize God's people departing from Him, and that such a wicked act, He calls whoredom.
Hos. 1:3, 4 -- "So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. and the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel."
God's reason for thus naming Hosea's first visionary son, was to signify that in a little while He was to avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, who was then the king of Israel. Then declared the Lord:
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Hos. 1:5 -- "And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel."
To break the bow would mean to break the nation's military strength. The history of this is recorded in 2 Kings 10, 11.
Hos. 1:6 -- "And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away."
This child's name was to denote the complete destruction of the house of Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom. This destruction, we know, was accomplished by the king of Assyria, who scattered the people throughout the cities of the Medes. The history of this is found in 2 Kings 18:11 -- "And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."
Hos. 1:7 -- "But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen."
The Lord promised to spare the house of Judah from the invasion of the king of Assyria. The history of this incident is recorded in 2 Kings 19:35 -- "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."
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Hos. 1:8, 9 -- "Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Lo-Ammi: for ye are not My people, and I will not be your God."
The name of the third child was to signify that though Israel and Judah were God's chosen people, the day was fast approaching in which they would no longer be called His people. The fulfillment of this phase of the prophecy brings us to the Christian era.
Hos. 1:10 -- "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."
In spite of the calamities that were to overtake the children of Israel, they were to become very numerous. And when they are thus greatly multiplied, they are again to be called the sons of God. And so here we see a prophecy of the rebellion of God's people and God's rejection of them, as well as their repentance and re-acceptance by Him.
Let us here for a moment discuss the titles "Judah" and "Israel." When superficially read these titles are as a rule misconstrued and made to mean the identified Jews. But we must not be superficial readers and thinkers. Let us be deep Bible students. Now, everyone knows that the identified Jews of today are but a handful -- certainly not as the sands of the sea. The innumerable children of Israel, therefore, cannot be the unbelieving Jews of today. Besides, the
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identified Jews of today are not the descendants of the ten-tribe kingdom, but of the two-tribe kingdom. Who, then, is this multitude of people referred to in Hosea's prophecy?
We must not overlook the fact that the Gospel of Christ divided the house of Judah into two sects -- Jewish and Christian, that the Christian church for about four years after the resurrection of Christ consisted practically only of Jews. Plainly, then, the original Christians were full-blooded Jews, -- the Christian church is only a branch of the Jewish church, but they and their descendants have, through the years, lost their racial identity. Then, too, the descendants of both Israel and Judah who through the years of captivity lost their identity as did the Jews who embraced Christianity, according to prophecy must also have greatly multiplied. Plainly, then, many who are taken as Gentiles, are but unidentified descendants of ancient Judah, Israel, and the Jewish Christians. The Christian church herself is, as we have seen, a Jewish-Christian church.
These descendants of Jacob, who were assimilated by the Gentile nations, therefore, were to multiply as the sand of the sea. They are the ones who, after becoming Christians, are again called the sons of the living God.
Of those who first embraced the Christian faith, the Apostle Peter speaks thus: "Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." 1 Pet. 2:10.
And the Apostle John says: "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the
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sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:12.
Now we see that the prophecy of Hosea 1 begins with the house of Israel and Judah, and brings us down through the stream of time to the Christian era. For light on the church in the Christian period, we turn to--
Hos. 1:11 -- "Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel."
The Word of God, therefore, definitely declares that the subjects of the torn-down kingdoms -- Judah and Israel -- as Christians, along with the Gentiles that have joined them, will gather together and appoint themselves a king.
In a similar symbolism, the prophet was told that after many days of obscurity and wandering, "shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king [evidently David is the "one head" whom they appoint], and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days." Hos. 3:5.
Continuing with the same family illustration, and pointing to the Christian era, the Lord commands:
Hos. 2:1 -- "Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah."
Here we see that the names of the two children of chapter 1 are again mentioned, but the first two letters of each name have been dropped:
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Lo-ruhamah has become Ruhamah, and Lo-Ammi has become Ammi. Now the fact that these are the brother and sister of Jezreel, bears out the truth that the one whom the Lord commands to speak to them, is Jezreel, the first-born of the three. He is to deliver the message to his brethren, Ammi and Ruhamah.
Now, what is it all about? -- It is not too difficult to see. The one to whom God speaks, Jezreel, represents a prophet. His brother and sister, Ammi and Ruhamah, can only represent the church membership, both male and female. In actuality Jezreel must deliver God's message to them. And here is the message:
Hos. 2:2 -- "Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not My wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts."
The fact that God Himself calls the prophet Hosea's visionary wife His own wife, reveals that she represents the church, that Hosea represents God, and that while Jezreel represents the mouthpiece of God, Ammi and Ruhamah represent the church membership. In childhood (Hosea 1), they represent the Old Testament church, the Hebrews, but in their youth, having their names altered, (Hosea 2), they represent the New Testament church, the Christians.
Now that the laity, at the command of God are through a prophet to plead with the church, therefore, the reformation here called forth is sponsored by Inspiration and carried out by the laity. It is the long expected revival and reformation to the Laodiceans, and hence a layman's
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movement called forth by the revived Spirit of Prophecy.
From this prophecy, you see, the Denomination is by God Himself charged with "whoredom," with having illicit connections with the world. This lewdness she must give up if she is to obtain favor with God.
These are not man's words, you understand, but God's. And should we not be grateful that He is doing everything He can to save us? The church must repent, says the Lord:
Hos. 2:3 -- "Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst."
The Denomination often boasts of gain in membership (children), but God charges that those whom she brings in are illegitimate children! And how could it be otherwise if the church herself is corrupted with the world? What else could her converts be? What would free them from the worldly influences, if she (the ministry), is herself tainted with the practices of the world? Indeed her converts cannot be lawful children.
Hos. 2:5 -- "For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink."
The church has gone after the world because she mistakenly thinks that her support comes from worldlings, from her "lovers."
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Hos. 2:6 -- "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths."
Here we see that the church proposes, but that God disposes; her plans do not work out as expected -- she loses her way as does a ship without chart or compass drifting at sea.
Hos. 2:7 -- "And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now."
Again we see that trials and adverse circumstances are for our good, for thus is the church brought to her right senses.
Hos. 2:8-12 -- "For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. Therefore will I return, and take away My corn in the time thereof, and My wine in the season thereof, and will recover My wool and My flax given to cover her nakedness. And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of Mine hand. I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them."
From these verses we see that it was just such a departure from God that caused the church in her early Christian era to lose her path and all
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her possessions, including her feast days, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
This is exactly what happened when the "Dark Ages" of religion began. The Pagans in whose clutches the church fell were no more to blame for the church's going into darkness than were the Chaldeans of destroying Judah and her temple. The real blame falls on the church herself. And this should be a lasting lesson to each of us, that we should never again have illicit connection with the world, should never depart from the Lord.
Now, let us read what other experiences the church was to go through:
Hos. 2:13, 14 -- "And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat Me, saith the Lord. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her."
Notice that the Lord visits the church not when she is in good spiritual standing with Him, but when she is in her greatest idolatry. Indeed, He could not visit her at a more opportune time, because only when she is in greatest darkness can she possibly discern light. And her condition, you know, can never improve unless He should call on her. Thus it was in John the Baptist's day, also when the Protestant reformation came, and thus it is today. God knows how to save. Saving is His chief concern.
"God requires certain things of His people;
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if they say, I will not give up my heart to do this thing, the Lord lets them go on in their supposed wise judgment without heavenly wisdom, until this scripture [Isa. 28:13] is fulfilled. You are not to say, I will follow the Lord's guidance up to a certain point that is in harmony with my judgment, and then hold fast to your own ideas, refusing to be molded after the Lord's similitude. Let the question be asked, Is this the will of the Lord? if not, Is this the opinion or judgment of __________?" -- Testimonies to Ministers, pg. 419.
And what is God's promise now to His church?
Hos. 2:15 -- "And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt."
As a result of her vineyards' being restored, and also of her being given the valley of Achor for a door of hope, the church is to sing as in the days of her youth, as when she came up out of Egypt and lodged in the Promised Land. What could her vineyard be but her own land? And if the valley of Achor is for a door of hope to her, what can it be but what it was in Joshua's time -- removal of the Achans of today from her midst (Hos. 2:15)? Indeed, this is her only hope -- in fact, even more so than it was in the day of Israel's defeat at Ai, the gate to the Promised Land.
"The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with
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slaughtering weapons in their hands: 'Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.'
"Here we see that the church -- the Lord's sanctuary -- was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light, and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus peace and safety is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs, that would not bark, are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children, all perish together." -- Testimonies, Vol. 5, pg. 211.
Hos. 2:16 -- "And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call Me Ishi; and shalt call Me no more Baali."
So it is that after the hypocrites and sinners are taken out of the way, the church shall no longer call the Saviour Baali (Lord), but she shall call him Ishi (Husband). The significance is that then He will truly be her husband, whereas now He is to her as it were only some great personality.
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Hos. 2:18 -- "And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely."
Here is peace, the only peace that one can have today if he so desires. This is peace overflowing with safety. The saints, after the sinners have been removed from among them, need not fear beasts, fowls or creeping things of the ground, neither gun nor sword; they shall lie down in confidence and assurance that nothing shall hurt them, for He "Whose fan is in His hand,...will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." Matt. 3:12.
Hos. 2:19-21 -- "And I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord. And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth."
In saying that the Lord will hear the heavens, and the heavens the earth, Inspiration actually says that when these things take place on earth, the Lord is to be in the midst of His people, that He is to speak from earth and His subjects in heaven shall hear Him.
Hos. 2:22 -- "And the earth shall hear the corn, and
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the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel."
To hear the corn, the wine, and the oil is to hear them speak, and since real corn, wine, and oil cannot speak, they must be figurative of spiritual food and drink -- figurative of the mighty message in the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And by the fact that the people of the earth shall hear Jezreel, the mouthpiece of God, it is made clear that the call, "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4), will accomplish its appointed work. Those who come out, go into the aforementioned place of safety. And those who do not hear Jezreel shall perish as did the Jews who rejected the prophets in their day.
Let us now review our study
of today by following this graphic illustration:
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Here we see Jezreel, Lo-ruhamah, and Lo-ammi as little children pictorially representing the kingdoms of Israel and Judah in their calamities, a complete but brief history of the Old Testament church and her people.
Then we see that the letters "Lo" are dropped from the names Ruhamah and Ammi, denoting a change of names -- Jews called Christians, -- meaning "mercy" and "My people" instead of "no mercy" and "not My people." Jezreel's name, though, remains the same, and as he represents the prophets of God in all times, this shows that they are the descendants of Jacob and therefore we must hear and obey them.
The family as little children representing the people of the Old Testament church, and as youth representing the New Testament church, show that spiritual growth has been made through the stream of time, that they are now grown, able to take "strong meat," and truly to be the reformers to the church, and the missionaries to the world.
We also see that the same mother and the same father, along with the same children, represent both the Old and New Testament churches; that the descendants of Jacob in reality are the old olive tree (Rom. 11:24), that the only way the Gentiles can get into the kingdom is for them to be grafted into the old olive tree. Jew or Gentile, all must join it if they are to be in the kingdom. This can be done only by our own consent and action now while the Spirit is pleading with us, and while the Lord stands ready to do the work. No one need be excluded. No one need remain a lukewarm Laodicean unless he so chooses. My hope is that all will choose life
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rather than death.
Next we see that the church as a whole, as a family, is composed of a father, a mother, and of sons and a daughter, that the father is God; that the wife is the ministry (those who bring in converts); that the children are the laity. We see also that the church (woman) was married to the Lord in her youth, in the day she came out of Egypt; that although the ministry as a whole never advanced from one truth to another, the church (wife) continued by being replaced by new and successive ministers time and again. And now that she is deep in whoredom, obviously she is again to be replaced by a new ministry, and thus will she become faithful to our Father; that this will be accomplished by taking away the sinners from her midst. Then will she be given her vineyards, and then will she and all her children live in peace and safety.
Clearly, then, lewdness shall actually flee away, and this revival and reformation brought forth by this layman's movement shall accomplish its given work. And so, you see that as a result of the childrens' protest, the whole family of God shall live happily in peace and safety forevermore.
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