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A Prophesy of Sin:

The warnings against idolatry, social injustice, and religious ritualism

The Minor Prophets prophesized and warned against the Israelites continuing unfaithfulness to live by God’s Commandments.  The prophets warn that if the nations of Israel and Judah do not return to the ways of God and honor the Covenant God will send His wrath and In the Day of the Lord upon the nations. The Lord however also promises to restore the nations to one united nation, restoring, the Davidic Line under a Messiahic King, who will rule all nations, and will punish the enemies of God’s people for their past transgressions. However is mercy will be imparted on those faithful to him not just Jews but all people.

On Idolatry:

The prophets warned the people and Kings repeatedly against idolatry.   In the Northern Kingdom of Israel, with its Capital City Samaria, the worship Of Baal was common practice. The worship of false Gods was also common place is the Southern Kingdom of Judah, with its Capital in Jerusalem, as well. This was due to the alliance made with Syria and the intermarriage and merging of the Semitic culture with the Hebrew culture.  The Prophet Hosea was instructed to marry a promiscuous woman, Gomer, as a symbolic act of the unfaithfulness towards God shown by Israel.  (Hosea 1-3). Their offspring were given symbolic names Jezreel (“God Sows”), Lo-Ruhamah (“not pitted”), and Lo-Ammi (Not my People).  Ed Hindson and Gary Yates explain in The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey the context of these names. “Jezreel was the place where God visited judgment on the house of Ahab (2Kings 9-10).   A name like Columbine would carry a similar connotation in a modern American context. The name also signified that the   dynasty or house of Jehu, which King Jeroboam II was leading was about to come to a bloody end.  Lo-Ruhamah meant that the lord would not show mercy as he punished Israel for its sins.  Lo-Ammi indicated that Yahweh would sever His relationship with Israel as punishment for their covenant unfaithfulness. However, the Lord also promised that after their time of judgment He would restore His people and would bring about a reversal of the negative circumstances reflected by the children’s names (1:10-2:1;1,23).”[i] At the end of Hosea chapter 3, Hosea is commanded to forgive his wife’s sins of adultery and restore their marriage. This illustrates the renewal of the Davidic line if future times and may allude to the marriage prophecy of Christ in the eschatological era to come.

On Religious Ritualism:

The prophet Amos in his fifth vision saw the sanctuary at Bethel being destroyed. Hindson and Yates explain “The people of Israel viewed their religious rites as their protection against calamity, but the site of these rituals would become a place of judgment.  Instead of providing protection, the collapsing walls of the sanctuary would fall on those gathered to worship. To this very day the ancient ruins of Bethel stand witness to the fulfillment of Amos’s prophesy.”[ii]

Amos and Hosea are just a few prophets who warned the Jews against the dangers of idolatry and falling away from the covenant and the ways of God. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zephaniah also gave prophetic warnings, but the people would not repent. The Assyrian defeated the Northern Kingdom in a bloody campaign resulting in a period if captivity and exile for many of the ten tribes that once dwelt there and the Babylonians captured and exiled the two Jewish tribes of the Sothern nation. God used the enemies of his people to in act vengeance and bring justice as foretold by his prophets. (Zechariah 1:7- 6:15 ) is one such account in which God shows Zechariah in a series of eight visions staring with the destruction of Judah and Israel, followed by a vision of four horns who God would later judge for the destruction and exile ( Egypt , Assyria, Babylon and Persia). The Third vision is of a measuring rod in which Jerusalem is being surveyed. An Angel informed the prophet the future city will have no need for walls as the future king would be ample defense against any threat to the nation ( a foreshadowing of the eschatological New Jerusalem and the second coming and reign of Christ on Earth). The fourth, has the high priest of Joshua restored in the temple, the fifth saw two olive trees and a lampstand with seven lamps symbolizing the olives symbolize Joshua and the Governor Zerrubabel (The governor of Jerusalem at this time) and the lamps symbolize the Holy Spirit. No matter what the obstacle the temple would be rebuilt in the time of the postexilic return. It later came to symbolize the seven churches and the witness of two (Book of Revelations).

The sixth vision was that of a scroll with the names of all who had broken God’s law. The seventh was of women in a lead sealed basket being carried off to Babylon by Angels. The final vision was of a four horse drawn Chariot. In the first vision a rider asked four horsemen to deliver Israel from its enemies. The eighth vision symbolizes the completion of this task by the four winds or directions.

On Social Injustice:

The prophet Micah spoke out against social injustice in Israel and Judah.

Micah 2:1-11

The Message (MSG)

God Has Had Enough

“2 1-5 Doom to those who plot evil,

who go to bed dreaming up crimes!

As soon as it’s morning,

they’re off, full of energy, doing what they’ve planned.

They covet fields and grab them,

find homes and take them.

They bully the neighbor and his family,

see people only for what they can get out of them.

God has had enough. He says,

“I have some plans of my own:

Disaster because of this interbreeding evil!

Your necks are on the line.

You’re not walking away from this.

It’s doomsday for you.

Mocking ballads will be sung of you,

and you yourselves will sing the blues:

‘Our lives are ruined,

our homes and lands auctioned off.

They take everything, leave us nothing!

All is sold to the highest bidder.’”

And there’ll be no one to stand up for you,

no one to speak for you before God and his jury.

6-7 “Don’t preach,” say the preachers.

“Don’t preach such stuff.

Nothing bad will happen to us.

Talk like this to the family of Jacob?

Does God lose his temper?”[iii]

Is this the way he acts?

Isn’t he on the side of good people?

Doesn’t he help those who help themselves?”

8-11 “What do you mean, ‘good people’!

You’re the enemy of my people!

You rob unsuspecting people

out for an evening stroll.

You take their coats off their backs

like soldiers who plunder the defenseless.

You drive the women of my people

out of their ample homes.

You make victims of the children

and leave them vulnerable to violence and vice.

Get out of here, the lot of you.

You can’t take it easy here!

You’ve polluted this place,

and now you’re polluted—ruined!

If someone showed up with a good smile and glib tongue

and told lies from morning to night—

‘I’ll preach sermons that will tell you

how you can get anything you want from God:

More money, the best wines . . . you name it’—

You’d hire him on the spot as your preacher!”

At this period in in Jewish history both the kingdoms were in a state of financial upheaval. There was a major division between the economic classes much as there is today. Wealthy land owners were seizing property and ignoring the Laws of Moses which declared the land belonged to God and not the people. Land was not to permanently change hands. Land was able to be redeemed by one’s family and after 15 years would revert to its rightful owner. These statutes were being ignored. Worse yet there were false prophets preaching to the people that God’s people were still under the protection of God and Micah and the other true prophets should be ignored.

Micah responded sarcastically to these responded in this manner:

“If a liar and deceiver comes and says ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’

That would be just the prophet for this people! (Micah 2:11 NIV).”

Micah’s most relevant prophecy was (Micah 5:2 N.I.V.):

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,

though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,

out of you will come for me

one who will be ruler over Israel,

whose origins are from of old,

from ancient times.”[iv]

These verses predict the birth of Christ from Bethlehem, the restoring of the Davidic Covenant and line and his reign as a peaceful king for all eternity.

On Religious Ritualism:

The Prophet Haggai warned on religious ritualism. Haggai points out their Greed and materialism had defiled required sacrifices and made the people unclean in the eyes of the Lord.

Blessings for a Defiled People

“10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai: 11 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If someone carries consecrated meat in the fold of their garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, olive oil or other food, does it become consecrated?’”

The priests answered, “No.”

13 Then Haggai said, “If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?”

“Yes,” the priests replied, “it becomes defiled.”

14 Then Haggai said, “‘So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,’ declares the Lord. ‘Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.

15 “‘Now give careful thought to this from this day on[a]—consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord’s temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not return to me,’ declares the Lord. 18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit.

“‘From this day on I will bless you.’”[v]

During this period in Hebrew history, the priest also accepted sacrifices from animals that were of inferior quality or unclean. This passage warns not only of the need to give sacrifices of the appropriate quality, but also illustrates how a sacrifice is not s sufficient substitute for our sins. It is my belief this is a prediction of the need for the crucifixion of the Messiah that was to come.

Relevancy Today:

The teachings of the prophets are still relevant today. History has a tendency repeating itself. For some reason with all the wisdom and knowledge available to mankind we still keep make the same mistakes. Is America the New Hellenistic Empire prophesized by in the vision of Daniel of the four headed Leopard? (Daniel 7) Or maybe we are the New Rome.  Could we be the New Babylon of the book of Revelations?

With the advances being made to towards a digital currency that will be embedded in a microchip on the body in the near future as well as the possibility of are personal information and stored there as well could this be the mark of the Beast?, Never mind the possible privacy concerns one would have with the possibility of being able to be tracked remotely. The numerous foreclosures, the terrorist-attacks by our enemies by the People of Edom (decedents of Esau, Arabs, Canaanites, sworn enemy of Israel), The war in Iraq and Afghanistan (Formerly Babylon and Assyria) and the rise of secularism and decline of Christianity, Are we living in an apocalyptic age? I do not believe the eschatological Era is yet upon us. I do believe we are in a severe state of moral and spiritual decay. Like the times leading up to the period of exile to Babylon we need to heed the warnings of God or face his judgment. Like the approaching threat of the Assyrian invasion are our national enemies going to be used by God to bring us back into submission? Those who are walking the blind path of the unrighteousness need to be shown the ways of truth and brought to Christ. The un-churched need to be lead to salvation and the Covenant of God and teachings of Christ need to be affirmed, proclaimed and lived on a daily basis. The enemies of the Lord need to be taught the ways of love or else be dealt with justice. However, if it is the Eschatological Era we as Christians should embrace it as a time of hope and prosperity praying for the salvation and suffering for those who do not yet know God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and embracing our neighbor with love and compassion.

In Christ,

Trent Rindoks

[i] Hindson ED & Gary Yates, The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey ( Nashville: B&H, 2012), 372-373

[ii] Hindson ED & Gary Yates, The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey ( Nashville: B&H, 2012), 391

[iii] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”

[iv] Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[v] Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Map showing the Kingdoms of Israel (blue) and ...

Map showing the Kingdoms of Israel (blue) and Judah (orange), ancient levant borders and ancient cities such as Urmomium and Jerash. The map shows the region in the 9th century BCE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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