My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
In four previous papers we have offered analysis of the MAJOR PROPHETS: and we shall now consider the twelve Minor Prophets, the first of which is:
Hoseah – However, before commentating on any individual among them, we shall offer some thoughts from a qualified writer concerning all the prophets:
The Hebrew word for prophet, nabi, means “one who announces or brings a message from God.” Our word prophet has essentially the same meaning – one who speaks by divine inspiration as the interpreter or spokesman of God. In Eph. 4:11 it is written: “He gave some apostles (who wrote by inspiration and plenipotentiary powers in the early Church, a privilege not accorded to any other members of the Christian Church), some prophets,” etc. These prophets stood in rank second to the Apostles who were specially enlightened to explain what had already been written by inspiration – men such as John Wesley, Thomas Cranmer, William Miller, Charles Russell, and some forty‑five others. None of these wrote or spoke by inspiration, thus they all made mistakes, yet they were the special mouthpieces of the Lord for the day in which they lived; and quite a few of them received from their fellow men the same brutal treatment that had been accorded to the Old Testament prophets; and they stand high in the development of the Gospel Age Christian Church. Their messages were of duty and warning, or a prediction of future events based upon the truly inspired contents of the Old and New Testaments.
The Jewish prophets were raised up from the people – as were also the prophets of the Gospel Age – many of them men of low degree, but of fine intellectual qualities. What Jesus said of the entire Christian Church would be markedly true of them: “Ye are the salt of the earth... Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” (Matt. 5:13, 14) And it may be noted here that those countries that contained the best of these people – and especially so of the “prophets” are now the most enlightened among the nations. “The entrance of thy word giveth light. It giveth understanding to the simple.” (Psa. 119:130)
The prophets were called by God for some particular purpose or need, as the Judges were called up for special crises. They were not a class or a guild, inheriting the office. Prophecy was not an institution like the priesthood, and monarchy, but each one had a personal call to his work. This is true of most of the great men who have influenced the world’s history.
The Work Of The Prophets: The prophets were the moral and religious teachers of their nation, authoritative preachers of righteousness. Statesmen who guided the religious life which lay at the foundation of the nation’s welfare, the counselors of kings, revivalists and reformers who awakened the religious life of the people, forewarners of the certainty of the Divine judgment on sin, proclaimers of the Divine ideals, the golden age toward which the nation was to move.
“The prophet was not only the bearer, he was the embodiment of the idea of the theocracy. This idea, which is that of the communion of the living God with mankind, was realized in him, and through him in Israel. Though he could be distinguished from Israel, he was in truth Israel at its highest” – (Hastings Bible Dictionary)
The Methods Of The Prophets – The prophets received their message in various ways: by visions, dreams, “thought images,” angels, and direct action of God upon the mind, inspiring them (“holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” – 2 Pet, 1:21), and revealing to them the needed truths. It is probable the mind of the prophet was not passive but intensely active during the revelation. The assurance on the part of the prophets that they were messengers of God, and were speaking His truth, gave power to their words. They spoke with authority.
Schools Of The Prophets – Samuel planned and set up an institution, so to call it, that has made far more mark on the world than anything else that survives to us out of Israel or Greece or Rome. In his ripe and far‑seeing years Samuel devised and founded and presided over a great prophetical school in his old age; an estate of learned and earnest‑minded men, who were to watch over the religion and the morals of the people, in the prophetical spirit and in the prophetical name. And thus it came about that at Naioth in Ramah the first school of the prophets was set up.
THE TWELVE MINOR PROPHETS
No. 1 – Hosea – This prophet is considered first because the Bible Index places him first. Just why is not clear to us; but it may be because he immediately follows Daniel, the last of the four Major Prophets. The Bible comment says this about him: “A native of the Northern Kingdom where he prophesied under Jeroboam II and succeeding kings. He was a younger contemporary of Amos, whose book he seems to have known. He warned Israel of their infidelity towards God, rebuked them for their sins, and threatened them with punishment if they would not renounce their evil ways.”
The sentiment of all twelve of the Minors is pretty well summarized by the Prophet Zechariah (7:11, 12): “They refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears... Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: Therefore, came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.”
Follows now some comment from another writer: “Hosea’s prophecy came in very evil times, when luxury and vice, oppression, drunkenness and every law of God was habitually broken. Just before him Amos had tried to stem the tide. His message was one of denunciation of sin, of ‘Woe unto you,’ of punishment, of warning. It was of Divine justice. He enforced his message by pointing out the disasters that had come upon the people for their sins, – famine, blasting, locusts, pestilence, war.
“Hosea follows him with a new motive, the mightiest that can be brought to bear upon the heart of man, – the love of God, the deepest, tenderest, strongest love possible. To Amos’ proposition God is Justice, Hosea adds, ‘God is love.’ Not as if Hosea were any less severe in his judgment of the evils of his people; on the contrary, he shows himself even more deeply affected by them... But God is a kind Father, who punishes his child with a bleeding heart, for its own good, so that afterwards he may enfold it all the more warmly in his arms.”
Probably Part I, chaps. 1‑3, record a prophetic appeal growing out of the prophet’s own experience with a beloved wife, who has been unfaithful to him, as the Israelites had been unfaithful to their God. But Hosea appeals to her, and receives her back into his home, a perfect picture of God’s forgiving love.
From Another Writer: The Book of Hosea stands first among the writings of the Minor Prophets, not because it was thought to be the earliest (for of this there is no proof), but because it follows immediately after Daniel, one of the great major Prophets. It is much more difficult to date exactly the time of Hosea’s activities. General opinion places Amos and Joel prior to Hosea; and they should be very carefully compared with Hosea:
Hosea is indeed throughout enigmatical and obscure compared with Amos, partly from the peculiarities of his style, partly from the want of such illustrative details as those with which we have been supplied by Amos (Amos 7:10‑17). The prophet’s name is one specially characteristic of Northern Israel; it was borne by the last king of the Ten Tribes (2 Kg 15:30), and also originally by Joshua (Num. 13:8, 16). True, the prophet appears in Authorized Versions as Hosea, but there is no difference between the names of the three persons in the Hebrew. St. Jerome bears witness that even in his time there was no distinction between the letters Sin and Shin. (We merely mention this detail to show our readers the intricate difficulties under which some of the Bible’s commentators had to work). That Hosea was a native of the Northern Kingdom needs no proof to any one who has studied his book; but we have taken some pains to prove his Israelitish origin, because it is this which gives his book such a high historical importance. There is very much to interest us in that northern people of which we have for the most part such fragmentary and indirect notices.
Here we believe it is opportune to recite some of the tradition which is quite rampant in England and here in America. The Northern Kingdom (Israel) was carried captive into Babylon in 739 BC by Shalmanezer – 133 years before Judah came to the same fate. But, whereas Judah clearly maintained its identity while in Babylon, and after its return to Palestine in 536 BC, the ten tribes became “lost.” There is no reliable historical record that tells us what became of them. Some contend they became the North American Indians, having crossed the bearing strait into Alaska, and down the western coast of the United States and South America. Others believe they migrated west and into England, and were the ancestors of the English people. They use the words of Jesus in Matt. 10:5, 6: “Go not in the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” These people contend that the word British comes from two Hebrew words ‑ Brith and Ish ‑ which mean “chosen man,” and that the English people have indeed been the chosen of God over the years. Before the 1914 war there is no argument that London was the financial center of the world. Any one who wanted money went to London to get it – the British Navy controlled the sea, and “England’s sun never sets.”
However, this conclusion withers under careful analysis: England was not generally known to the Western European world until 55 BC, when Julius Caesar invaded it with his Roman army. And, if Jesus told His disciples to go there, none of them ever did it – a very unlikely thing if Jesus had told them specifically to go there. In fact, there was no Christian Church established in England until about 500 years AD.
Further about Hosea: As Stanley has said, he was the Jeremiah of Israel; no wonder therefore that he met Jeremiah’s fate of opposition and contempt. Therefore, he was the prophet of the decline and fall of Israel; so much indeed is clear from a glance at his book. He received Divine revelations in the days of Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. The natural inference would be that these two historical periods synchronized. But if anything is certain in Biblical history, it is that Jeroboam II, of Israel, died before his contemporary Uzziah or Azariah of Judah.
Many of the illustrative details that we have in the case of Amos are lacking in the life of Hosea. We have no information as to his outward circumstances, or as to his intercourse with the various classes in the state. But we do know a series of domestic events which Hosea himself viewed as interpretative of God’s purposes for him, and as conveying to him a clearly defined mission. The prophet himself has lifted the veil from his home life, and the sad story is briefly this. In the reign of Jeroboah II, when the nation was already on the down‑hill road to moral ruin, Hosea married a wife named Gomer – because God had told him to do so, which in a sense puts him in a class of all the faithful Old Testament prophets. They all did what God told them to do – even though it seemed to them repulsive at the time. He hoped the best of her, and there is no reason to think otherwise; but she proved unworthy of his trust. Whether her profligacy showed itself in simple adultery, or in her following the licentious rites of the consort of the Canaanitish Baal (Asherah), we do not know.
But we inject here the opinion of another writer: “The two sins of idolatry and sensual license were closely intertwined. It would be hardly too much to say that every harlot in Israel was probably a votary of the goddess. Ashera was, as most think, the name of a Canaanitish goddess, though some scholars prefer to regard the word as a noun meaning ‘pole,’ the sacred tree being represented by a pole on or near the altar. In any case the goddess had such an artificial tree or symbol of a tree erected near her altar. Those who take Asherah to be the name of a goddess refer to the Assysian ‘asir,’ whence also probably the name Asher came (a Divine name, like God). They also quote passages in which an image of Asherah is spoken of (1 Kgs. 15:13), and others in which vessels and tents for the Asherahare mentioned in 2 Kgs. 23:14; also the famous phrase in 1 Kgs. 18:19, the prophets of Baal and the prophets of the Asherah. This is quite consistent with the occasional use of the word for the material symbol of the goddess. It is right to add that Hosea does not mention Asherah by name; he only alludes to the worship of her (Hos. 4:13). But Amos does not mention either Asherah or Baal.”
But such was Hosea’s love for his wife, and such perhaps his hope of reclaiming her, that he took no legal steps against her, and acknowledged her three children for his own. At last, however, Gomer fled away to her paramour, but even Hosea’s love followed her. He found her, it would seem, already despised and shamed; perhaps her paramour had grown weary of her, and brutally sold her for a slave. At any rate, Hosea had to buy her back for the price of a slave.
Such is the story told us in the first and third chapters. There is no attempt to soften the coloring by half tints; ‘rough fresco‑strokes’ to adopt Ewald’s phrase, seemed perhaps more effective. Besides, it would have led some to accuse Hosea of egotism, a fault from which a prophetic writer must be conspicuously free, if he had lavished his artistic power on his own tragic history.
Hosea’s poetic imagination was marked by spontaneity and originality. At a later period of Hebrew literature, a fictitious narrative of this kind might be conceivable, but not in the still youthful bloom of lyric poetry – especially in the case of so fresh and original a poet as Hosea. Says one writer: “There is no ground to justify our taking as a parable what Holy Scripture relates as a fact. There must be some plausible ground for it, or the opinion would not have commended itself to the majority of modern commentators. It is not all a necessary inference from the inspiration of the Scriptures that the events described by Hosea should be historical; it is rather an intuition which comes of itself to the unbiased reader who has any poetic insight. The only plausible argument on the other side is that Hosea “seems” when understood literally, to confess to an act which offends our moral consciousness. But Hosea really meant this, he could have said at once that the bride of his choice had been ‘a harlot.’ He simply says that she was a woman of whoredom, which according to Hebrew idiom, need only mean a woman of an unchaste disposition; we must suppose that he afterwards found out Gomer to be a woman of the character described. (See 1:2)
“Indeed, we must conclude that Hosea, after selecting, as he had thought, a bride like the Shulamite of his favorite poem, discovered to his unutterable grief that instead of ‘A lily of the valley, he had unawares enfolded in his arms a lily torn and trampled in the mire.”’
Hosea was jolted by the grim experience with Gomer what he was to record of Israel – that so many of the women were devotees of Asherah, while the men fell captive to the wiles of Baal; and the prophet is cut to the quick by this tragic apostasy; he spares no detail of the abominations that are committed. With a kind of grieved surprise he puts before the people the inevitable punishment; but when he realizes the awful nature of the doom, he melts with pity, and recalls the woe (Chapters 13 & 14). His feelings are those which are natural to a pure‑minded worshiper of Jehovah, trained in the high thoughts of prophetic religion, as an inner voice assures him that his own experience with Gomer offers intimate comparison to the feelings of Jehovah with Israel. God had indeed prepared the prophet to think in unison with Himself concerning His experiences with Israel. Undoubtedly – for that particular time – a more fit person than Hosea could not be found to be Israel’s prophet in the gathering storm. Knowing God’s secret, he could be faithful to Him without being untrue to Israel. Next to God, he loves his country and his wife with a clinging, inextinguishable love. But the Prophet is ever mindful of his intimate relationship to God; and that both the people of Israel, and each individual Israelite, are before everything else ideally God’s children. Therefore, if we cannot strictly call him a ‘patriot,’ we may freely say that he has something higher even than patriotism – an enthusiasm for ‘the pearl of great price’ – the Divine sonship of Israel.
Summary ‑ The gist of his ministry may be summed up tersely thus: Immorality of the northern kingdom; sinfulness of the idolatrous fusion of Jehovah with Baal; sinfulness of Israel’s foreign policy; sinfulness of the separate kingdom of Israel; the conception of love as the bond between God and Israel, and between the individual Israelites. To clarify all of this is no easy task, Hosea probably being more unsystematic than any other prophet. Like Jeremiah, a large part of his book contains lamentations over the general immorality of the Israelites, which seems to have been more glaring than that which prevailed at any time in Judah. Thus, iniquity came to an end in the northern kingdom 133 years before Judah also was removed from the land ‘flowing with milk and honey.’ The northern kingdom was much more intimate with Canaanites than were those of Judah. Israel had received greater infusion of Arab blood.
Here we may profitably consider somewhat the “Arab”: They are the descendants of Ishmael; and Ishmael and Isaac were half brothers, both having Abraham as their father. Because of the friction that arose in their boyhood, Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael (her son) away from his house; and the enmity that had developed between the two Boys has continued unto this day. It is now preeminently evident in the events in Lebanon. However, Gen. 25:5 tells us “Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.” Ishmael is not even mentioned in Abraham’s estate; and the years have vividly revealed Abraham’s good judgment in that affair. Surely, there can be no argument but that the children of Isaac are a vastly superior race to the children of Ishmael. The Arabs have continued upon that pile of sand for 2,000 years, but did nothing to improve their condition until the U.S. financiers came there and developed their present wealth of oil. However, in the short time since 1948 the children of Isaac have made tremendous improvement in the general uplift of many angles; now the Arabs want it.
While Hosea is very profuse in his condemnation of Israel, he does not completely overlook Judah. They were traveling in the same direction Israel had trod, but had not yet reached that same degree of degradation. However, he does register some strong complaints against Judah – complaints which emanate from a loving heart. Thus, Hosea, like most of the other prophets, is a preacher of morality. His ideals are pointedly expressed in v 6:6: “I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea emphasized it was the duty of the priests to teach a morality based upon pure religion, but they promoted a worship which tended to promote immorality; and this same doctrine was stressed by some of the other prophets. Their teachings tended to spread iniquity because the consequent sin offerings brought financial gain to them. (See v 5:1) At times they even took the lead in disobedience to the Law – “make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.” (7:3) How similar is this to the charge of Jeremiah 5:31: “The prophets prophecy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah and Hosea both saw with painful certainty that destruction lay immediately ahead for the nation, as their protests were falling upon deaf ears’
Clearly enough, the prophet was telling Israel that they and he were following two different versions of Jehovah God. Israel had by that time degraded Jehovah to the level of the iniquitous Baal. It is well to emphasize here that all the gods of the heathen that were immoral were also cruel gods. Thus the heathen of Canaan made their children to pass through fire to Moloch ‑ a clear violation of Lev. 20:2: “Whosoever he be of the children of Israel... that giveth any of his seed to Moloch, he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.” The great military success of the Assyrians – who worshiped the heathen gods – prompted the Jews to distrust their God. And this corrupt religious diversion brought rapid national decline. Hosea could see it, and he emphatically condemned it, which brought upon him the wrath of his own countrymen. But the prophet was adamant that the pure religion of Jehovah God was the safeguard of national existence. There could be no compromise between Jehovah and Baal; and he used all his persuasive power to have Israel see this, but to no avail. He emphasizes a harvest of retribution!
But in all this, Hosea stresses that ‘love’ is the highest attribute of God; and men, from love to Him keep all His commandments, because God first loved man, and that man in like manner should love his fellowman. Thus, a true Israelite would love both his brother Israelites as well as God – of his own accord – just as Jehovah of His own accord loved Israel. Thus, St. Paul exclaims, “Jacob (Israel) have I loved.” It is this primal love that permeates Hosea’s prophecies, and his highest aim is to impress this upon all Israel. Israel should love God, not as a morning cloud which passes rapidly away, but must be enduring and from the heart. But he states that God would not punish the entire nation for the sins of individuals; but, if the nation persists in forsaking His law, then the nation must pass through a hurricane of cleansing judgment.
God Himself only knows the love of God, and Hosea’s declaration of it simply reveals the truthful condition of the Divine heart. This love has a threefold application: God to man; man to God; and man to his neighbor. And – we should love God because God loves us! We recall here that when the Jews left Egypt, they were told specifically that when they came into the “land of milk and honey,” they should not forget that they were once slaves in Egypt, and should refrain from imposing such servitude upon other men. Thus the giver and the receiver are united by a bond of moral obligation; and the idea of a covenant or contract is implied.
The prophet was well alerted to the moral bond that existed between Jehovah and Israel – a bond vividly comparable to the bond between husband and wife, or of a father to a son – although Jehovah is God and not man, a personality free from all earthly taint. And sharp criticism against Israel is stressed in ch. 4:1,2: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.” This criticism becomes sharper with each chapter of his book; and he stresses the fact that Jehovah’s love to Israel (beloved for the fathers’ sakes – Rom. 11:28) – keen as it is – yet has a moral foundation. David expresses this well to the pious Jews of his time: “those that have made a covenant with me (Jehovah) by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5)
As we read the expressions of this “holy man of God,” we may easily pass over the thought that we owe a precious truth to Hosea, giving us a fresh stage in the slow progress of revelation, and of the rise and fall of the Jewish nation. It had a sublime beginning in the unselfish and magnanimous leadership of Moses and Aaron; and in Hosea’s time had sunk close to the bottom of the dirty barrel; and they left no other prospect of a cure than to deliver them into the hands of the heathen Assyrians. As Isaiah so tersely expresses it: “O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.” (Isa. 10:5) And Isaiah’s statement now in our day offers gruesome forecast of the destiny of Christendom’ Yet with all of Hosea’s condemnation he reveals a milder side of the Divine nature not found in other prophetical writings of his time. Other prophets portray Jehovah as king and judge of Israel; Hosea pictures Him as her Husband and her Father. He magnifies the moral attributes of the Almighty.
In comparison with some of the other prophets we may dissect Hosea’s writings somewhat after this manner: He may equal Jeremiah in tenderness, but he is inferior to him in moral depth; no clear conception of a New Covenant (See Jer. 31:31). He does not succeed like Isaiah and Jeremiah in expressing his latent consciousness of the unity of God, although he does say that recovered Israel shall be celled ‘sons of the living God.’ He tells us that the family of David, then shorn of so much of its glory, shall yet stand at the head of a reunited and victorious nation. (See chap. 1:10, which contains a forecast of the future Divine Kingdom which shall eventually prevail on earth.) This will occur, of course, when the One greater than David occupies the throne of His earthly Kingdom. THY KINGDOM COME.
Jesus told His followers to pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” And St. Peter tells us, using much different words: “God will send Christ Jesus... whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution (restoration)... which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19‑21) Since Hosea was one of the “holy prophets” we should expect to read of such confirmation in his writings, and so we do: “I will sow her (Israel) unto me in the earth (“Thy kingdom come on earth”); and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say Thou art my God.” (Host 2:23)
Also further confirmation from Chapter 13: “l will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” (v. 14) And from Chapter 14: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. (v. 4) I will Be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. (v. 5) His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. (v. 6) They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. (v. 7) 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.” (v.9)
We have further confirmation of “the transgressors shall fall therein” by the Apostle Peter in Acts 3:23: “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear (obey) that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.”
And may our readers all come to a more intimate knowledge of that “Kingdom” through their study of the writings of the Prophet Hosea. “So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I shall please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – In Rev. 10:6 there is this statement: “There should be time no longer.” Is this a proper statement, or proper translation?
ANSWER: – No! it is not. As it occurs in the King James version this is certainly a wrong translation – a most ridiculous statement. There will always be time, regardless of what we may think about the continuance of our earth. However, even as respects our earth, it is clearly stated in Eccl. 1:4: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.” The Emphatic Diaglott gives the proper translation for the text: “The time shall be no longer delayed.” Verse 7 speaks of the days of the “Seventh Trumpet”; and it refers to the time in which we are living; and part of the message of the Seventh Trumpet is what is stated in verse 6. It has been properly stated in Acts 3:21 that there would be a “restitution of all things,” which has been postponed for such a long time that few people now pay any attention to the words of St. Peter. But verse 6 says we have come to that time in history that the great Plan of the Ages is now to see important parts of it fulfilled, – we have now come to that time in earth’s history that the time should be no longer delayed; the great procession of the Plan is now to be fulfilled.
The book of Revelation is a very complex part of the Bible – so much so that in the early church some members would not accept it as a part of the Bible; it was not capable of explanation. However, we have now come to understand much of it; and there is no question in good scholarly minds that it is a genuine part of Holy Writ, although verse 1, of Chapter 1 says it was given to the Apostle John in sign language “He sent and ‘sign’‑ i ‑ fied by his angel unto his servant John.” When properly read, Rev. 10:6 is a very enlightening statement.
In our discussion of the various prophets we have stressed the overall import of this statement: “The time should be no longer delayed.” While we can recognize the fulfillment of this prophecy in a limited manner now, it will be much more pronounced in the years immediately ahead. Once these present institutions are removed, and the new order is firmly established, it will be in the daily news: “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Then, as the Apostle John expresses it, “I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. ... Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Rev. 21:2,3) – after the close of the “little season.” (Rev. 20:3)
Here we offer just a few of the prophecies of that time: “His (man’s) flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth.” (Job 33:25) “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues: O grave, I will be thy destruction.” (Hosea 13:14) Then, according to the promise to Abraham: “In thee, and thy seed, shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18)
Next we offer 1 Tim. 2:4‑6: “God will have all men to be saved, and come into the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Especially do we stress “in due time.” No prophecy can be fully understood until it has been fulfilled, or in course of fulfillment. And even with Jesus Himself, He told the disciples with some of the last words He spoke to them: ‘‘No one knows concerning that day and hour (when the Kingdom would be established); no, not the angels of the heavens. nor the son, but the Father only.” (Matt. 24:36, Diaglott) But here we should recognize that the Son “in due time” did know “the day and hour,” although He did not know it when speaking to His disciples. As for ourselves, we do not pretend to know the day or the hour; but we do know from certain prophecies, by the chronology, the parallel dispensations, and the signs of the times that we have come to that day when “The time shall be no longer delayed.”
Jesus has provided us with a very strong picture of the Kingdom in Luke 20:27‑36: The Sadducees, one of the leading cults of that time, who did not believe in any resurrection, came to Jesus with a hypothetical question concerning a woman who married one of seven brothers. The man died leaving no children. At that time it was the custom for his brother to marry the woman in an effort to carry on the family name. In due course, she married all of the seven men, leaving no children, so the Sadducees asked Him: “In the resurrection whose wife will she be?” And His answer: “Those that attain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, or are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more” (“There shall be no more death.” – Rev. 21:4).
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother and Sister Hoefle: Grace and peace!
Thank you very much for your telephone call and also for your comforting letter. I enjoyed your letter to Brother ‑‑‑‑-‑‑. I think you answered him with plain Scriptures to cover all points. I just received a letter with more bad news. My daughter whose husband had cancer of the colon a year or so ago, now has kidney trouble due to it – and is suffering something awful... My daughter is 61 now, so it never rains unless is pours, they say.
So keep on praying for us, that I might be able to bear up. Hope you can read my writing. I can think better by hand than to type. Sure hope you both are better now; and may God bless you both.
As always, with much Christian love, Your brother in Him, ------- (MICHIGAN)