The Prophet Hosea lived during the time of the 7th-8th Century BC, and he brought a message of warning, destruction upon Israel, yet also he indicates a time of mercy. It is interesting that this book begins with God instructing Hosea to take a “wife of whoredoms” and “children of whoredoms”, in other words, Hosea was instructed to take a prostitute as his wife. He ended up choosing a woman named Gomer, an adulteress as his wife, and she bore three children- Jezreel (son), Loruhamah (daughter), and Loammi (son). Hosea’s relationship to his wife and family seems to represent God’s relationship to Israel, His people that were whoring after other gods. Hosea loved his wife even though she constantly committed adultery, and God still loves Israel even though Israel repeatedly commited adultery turning to other gods. God through Hosea warns Israel to repent, turn from all of their man-made idols and temples and return to Him, or destruction will come upon them.
“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. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.” ~ Hosea 1:2-3
This whoredom is described in chapter 2, as she would chase after her “lovers” that would give her food, and water and clothing, etc:
“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.” ~ Hoseah 2:5
It is mentioned that little did she realize, her husband provided these things- not her lovers, and in time of need her lovers were nowhere to be found. This describes the condition of Israel, who had chased after many foreign gods, had built altars and temples, and had disobeyed the covenant. They chased after worldly things “whoring” after them. Whoring is a word that implies selling yourself in order to gain something. A prostitute sells her body using sex to gain money. The Israelites had abandoned the covenant and law of God thus “selling their inheritance” and whored after worldly things, gold, silver, other gods, etc that were temporary, and would come and go. In light of this, Hosea prophesied of a time of “many days” where Israel would lack the king (Jesus), and would have no sacrifices, etc:
“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” ~ Hosea 3:4-5
You can see here that he is referring to the “latter days”. Today we approach the latter days, and for many years we have been without Christ reigning the earth as king. We know that this changes in the end when Christ ushers in His kingdom and reigns. Hosea tells the people why they will be destroyed:
“Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the Lord. Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.” ~ Hosea 4:5-11
We can see here that because of their lack of knowledge, destruction would come. They had forgotten the law of God. As they received more earthly goods, they more and more disobeyed the law of God. His last statement in this verse- “whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart,” reveals to us the downfall of chasing after worldly things, idols, etc. It also reveals how this people were drunk with worldly things (wine), unable to become wise in the law of God, therefore losing heart. These warnings echo for God’s people today, where there is a lack of knowledge of the law of God, and rampant idolatry and excess. Many today have lost heart, the circumcised heart of the New Covenant where we walk in the commandments, statutes and ordinances of God out of faith, and love for God and our neighbor. Hosea reveals to us that Jesus would come to heal us, and even refers to the day that Jesus will rise (the third day) giving us new life:
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.” ~ Hosea 6:1-3, 6-7
Hosea in this verse also makes known a “former rain” of the holy spirit, and a “latter rain” of the Holy Spirit on earth. He reveals the error of the people, in that God desired that the people would be merciful towards one another and full of knowledge, but the people rather felt they were justified by bringing the normal sacrifices and burnt offerings under the law of Moses. They failed to consider the more important things of God’s law- mercy and knowledge. This echoes the sadness of the Father that his creation, man, did not understand or regard his message of love towards one another. They rejected the covenant and were found unworthy. Jesus through Hosea explains their idolatrous ways in detail:
“Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.” ~ Hosea 8:11-12, 14
“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” ~ Hosea 10:1-4
They had built many altars in all the land, and had built many temples according to thier increases- yet remember God does not dwell in temples or altars made with man’s hands. This was idolatry back then, and continues to be idolatry today. Many churches out of their abundant gains through offering from their membership have erected altars and buildings all over the world declaring that these man-made places belong to God and that God dwells there- yet today this too is idolatry. These are the works of men’s hands, not the works of God. For a detailed biblical explanation of Idolatry, please see the article “Modern Day Idolatry.” Remember, God established one temple- the tabernacle in Jerusalem, and this earthly temple was destroyed. We can see that the fate of these many altars and temples made with man’s hands will be destruction. We can also see that influential men, “mighty men” had misled the people of Israel to think that this practice was good. They were sorely mistaken, and broke the 2nd commandment of God.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” ~ Exodus 20:4-5
Moses warned that Israel would become scattered among the nations, and that they would worship idols made with man’s hands:
“And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice“ ~ Deuteronomy 4:27-30
Hosea prophesies of a time where the righteous will repent of this idolatry:
“Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” ~ Hosea 14:8-9
This is an interesting imagery that is given in this prophecy. Those that repent of their idolatry will say “I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.” The teachings in the New Testament of the Apostle Paul that reveal to us that we ourselves are the temple of God, echoes this revelation. We do not find God in temples or altars made with man’s hands, rather Jesus makes his home within our hearts, and we obey him from the heart. In turn, we bear fruit for the Kingdom wherever we go, as the temple is within us. This prophecy requires advanced knowledge to understand, yet its clear message is- flee from this idolatry. Leave your altars, leave your temples, repent and seek the Father through the Son! This message is relevant for us today. We hope that you will prayerfully read and study the words of Jesus through the prophet Hosea. Please consider this testimony.
“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” ~ Acts 7:48-51
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” ~ Acts 17:24-25
“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:16