Tuesday, December 06, 2005
PLAINER WORDS … THE LO–AMMI DECEPTION
The desire of a true teacher, and hope toward God, is that those who “sit at his feet” will learn from him and build upon what they have learned—even if their advancement ends up contradicting what was originally taught. We believe that the heart of one who was born to teach wants them to move beyond the groundwork he has laid. A faithful teacher prays that his influence will create within his students the spirit of independence in which they will be weaned from him and will, responsibly, pursue truth without relying upon him, or his approval.
Unfortunately, many of today’s pseudo-teachers become offended, even enraged, if their followers step-out on their own and discover that some of their didactics are in error, or could be improved upon. While we don’t put ourselves in the number of those who were born to teach, we do recognize that what little truth we may present can be improved upon, altered, or advanced far beyond what we have written. There is an expression, today, that may be apropos in describing pseudo-teachers of our time; “It’s my way or the highway.” Even John Calvin was so enraged because of an opponent to his advocacy of the Trinity that Calvin had him put to death.
This has been said because of the subject we will consider. The subject is one of special interest to “right-dividers” of dispensational truth. For want of a better title, we will refer to the subject as “The Doctrine of Lo-Ammi.”
The first time we noticed this Doctrine was in 1966 as we studied the notes in the Companion Bible. We found them to be very intriguing and thought them to be most profound. Then, in our studies of the writings of Charles Welch, it seemed that he made further advances in the Doctrine of Lo-Ammi. We were so impressed that we meticulously drew Mr. Welch’s chart of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks in which he depicted the Lo-Ammi periods of Israel in the Book of Judges.
This chart was used in teaching the subject at The Berean Chapel in Mobile, Alabama. As we look back, we realize that none of the major tenants which we taught were our own. Mr. Welch was instrumental in showing us the way to right division; therefore, we had no reason not to follow his advice; “Don’t take it from me, but search and see.” In fact, we took it from him and didn’t search and see, for ourselves, if what he presented lined up with the Scripture.
We had been mailing Plainer Words to readers world-wide, about 4,500 people, when one day, we received a letter from an elderly lady, Opal Benedict from Garden Grove, California. She had been a supporter of Plainer Words for years. In her letter of 1978, she included an article which she had copied, using the state-of-the-art at the time—a Xerox Copier, on crinkled paper. It was an article on Acts 3:19-21 by someone who we had only heard of, who we had been told was “an ex-Acts 28er, who had been ‘Greeked-away.’” The author was Otis. Q. Sellers. This one article made us make an agonizing reappraisal of what we had been writing as present truth.
As we readjusted our views, we began to receive warnings from readers, especially in England, saying something to the effect; “Don’t you dare go beyond what Charles Welch taught.” Or, “You’ll be sorry if you forsake Charles Welch,” as one U.S. correspondent wrote.
These only caused us a slight pause. We recalled when the Berean Chapel brought over from London, Brian Sherring, to speak at a Gulf Coast Bible Conference, which must have been in 1976. While Brian was in Mobile, Murry Evans and I played tennis with him. After the tennis match, he told us how the Welch followers had almost worshiped him. He said; “They believed that when Mr. Welch died, the Dispensation of Grace would end, and the rapture would take place.” This may have been a hyperbole, but we just left it at that. (Mr. Sherring was later ostracized from the “Berean Forward Movement”). But, since then, he has found favor and is back in the good graces of the Movement. We liked Brian and thought him to be an excellent teacher of the Word.
With this said, we considered the warning and thought, in our small way, we would choose fidelity to the Word of God rather than fidelity to Charles Welch. The warnings were prophetic; in less than a year, our subscribers’ mailing list dropped to less than five-hundred.
We are thankful, indeed, to our Lord Jesus Christ Who has raised-up another set of readers who have tolerated our efforts in writing Plainer Words Online.
Thank you, dear friends and fellow Mountaineers; only the Lord knows how grateful we are.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
PLAINER WORDS … THE LO-AMMI DECEPTION
Two of the giants of Dispensational Truths were Dr. E. W. Bullinger, a Bishop in the Church of England and complier of the Companion Bible, and Charles Welch, the founder of the Chapel of the Open Book and The Berean Forward Movement. Mr. Welch is probably the undisputed Dean of the “Dispensational Boundary Line of Acts 28:28” school of theology. We are forever indebted to these two stalwarts of the faith. Tens of thousands have been blessed and enlightened through their writings. Even after having long being asleep in Christ, their influence is still being felt and appreciated. They were of immense help to us as we started our search for understanding in dispensational truth.
Because of their influence, in the last days of my local church (Acts 9) experience, we were derided as being “soul sleepers,” “no-hellers,” “proponents of two bodies,” and “cutting Paul’s Acts period epistles out of the Bible,” and much more. My mailings of “Plainer Words” were banned from Bob Jones University.
This has been said only to say, in some small way, I have earned the right to critique the positions which these beloved men held. My studies have led me to take another view from theirs.
The subject we introduced in the last issue of PWO, “The Doctrine of Lo-Ammi,” is one we must address. The name, Lo-ammi, is found only once in the Bible. It is in Hosea 1:9. Hosea married a harlot named Gomer. We’ll not discuss the matter concerning the pros and cons of the marriage. We’ll only say that after Gomer gave birth to a daughter, God told Hosea to name her “Lo-ruhamah” which meant, “I will have no mercy upon the house of Israel (Hosea 1:6). Gomer conceived, again, after she weaned Lo-ruhamah, and she bore a son (Hosea 1:8).
“Then said God (to Hosea), Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea. 1:9).
The Scripture is clear what the name Lo-ammi means; it is—for ye are not My people, and beloved, that’s not all; and I will not be your God. It has a two-fold meaning: not My people and not your God. Just to say “Lo-ammi” means “not God’s people” is Scripturally incorrect. It would be correct to say; “not My people, and I am not your God.”
The authors we’ve mentioned condensed the meaning to—“not God’s people,” leaving out the second, complimentary phrase, “not your God. “
From the fact that Hosea was a prophet to Israel, his son’s name being, Lo-ammi, was symbolic of Israel in Hosea’s prophecies. Therefore, it was assumed that whenever Israel was disobedient, and God punished them—they were “Lo-ammi”—not God’s people. The phrase “Lo-ammi” came on the Biblical scene about 785 B.C. when Hosea was a prophet.
However, Dr. Bullinger and Mr. Welch used the Lo-ammi name to apply to Israel’s trials under the Judges some 600 years previously.
The Book of Judges got its’ name from the fact that Israel was ruled by Judges. The word “Judge,” in Hebrew, did not carry with it what the word does for the English language. “Judge” is the Hebrew word, “shaphat,” which means, “one who puts right that which is wrong and then rules.”
It seems to us, that in their effort to have the Seventy Weeks of Daniel (490 years) fit into their chronology, they had to discover years in the Old Testament that didn’t fit in Scriptural chronology. They believed that the 490 years was all but fulfilled during the period from Cyrus’ proclamation to rebuild Jerusalem, in Daniel 9:25 (405 B.C), to the end of the Acts of the Apostles.
In order to accomplish this, they discovered what they believed were periods in Israel’s history in which they were—Lo-ammi—not God’s people. Our purpose is not to go into the details of Bullinger’s and Welch’s teachings on this because most of you are familiar with them. But, it should be said that we have concluded that the complicated details brought forth in their analysis of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks was, perhaps, a show of scholarship. But, “the devil is in the details,” as the expression goes.
The conclusion of Charles Welch was that Israel went through five periods during the Book of Judges in which they were “Lo-ammi.” Mr. Welch and Dr. Bullinger proposed that when Israel was “Lo-ammi,” God’s prophetic clock stopped ticking—in other words, time stood still as far as the 490 years were concerned.
In Judges, the prophetic clock stopped clicking, according to their “Doctrine of Lo-ammi:”
It stopped for eight years when Israel was oppressed by Mesopotamia … Judges 3:8.
It stopped again, in Judges 3:14, for eighteen years when she was again “Lo-ammi” under
Israel, again, was “Lo-ammi” for twenty years under the oppression of Canaan, Judges 4:30.
The LORD delivered Israel into the hands of the Midians. They were, according to Welch and Bullinger, “Lo-ammi” for seven years.
The clock stopped the final time in Judges 13:1 for forty years as she was oppressed by the Philistines.
A question to ponder: “Who was ‘Israel’ in Hosea’s day?”
Add all of these so-called “Lo-ammi” periods together, and Israel was “not God’s people” for a total of ninety-three years. Therefore, their conclusions were that time stood still for Israel when she was out of God’s favor, and by so doing, they were able to make sixty-seven weeks fit from Cyrus to the end of Acts. This leaves three weeks (twenty-one years) yet to be fulfilled.
During the time covered by the Book of Judges, Israel was not a consolidated nation. They were ruled by God-appointed Judges. The Israelites were a tribal nation at best—there was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
With all of this said, we need to point out the fatal flaw to this: that unwittingly, Bullinger and Welch applied “Lo-ammi” to a time in which “Lo-ammi” was an unknown name—that is, during the Book of Judges. We have read Judges a number of times and have never seen where Israel was “not God’s people, and He was not their God.” Not once! Throughout Judges, however long the time period was, Israel was always God’s people and He was always their God.
There are a number of proofs to this, but the most compelling instance is the fact that while Israel was being oppressed for forty years by the Philistines (supposedly, they were Lo-ammi) because of her gross sins, God raised up a Judge. The Judge who ruled for twenty years during her servitude— was Samson! Samson would not have been a God-ordained Judge if Israel was “not God’s people, and He was not their God.” And, that’s not all. If Israel was really “Lo-ammi” during the time the Philistines dominated them, then what on earth is Samson doing as being one of the great cloud of witnesses, a hero of faith, named in Hebrews 11:32? Would God raise-up a ruler over a people that were “not His, and He was not their God,” as He did with Samson? Not hardly.
To this, we should document the unassailable fact that “Lo-ammi” did not apply to the WHOLE NATION of Israel. Just in a cursory reading of Hosea, Chapter One, we see the LORD applied “Lo-ammi” to the ten northern tribes—the Northern Kingdom—or as the Scripture called them: the Kingdom of Israel in contrast to the Southern Kingdom—the Kingdom of Judah. In Hosea’s day, Israel was a separate nation from Judah.
The Kingdom of Israel did, indeed, become “Lo-ammi.” They became “not God’s people, and He became not their God.” The LORD performed what He promised to the ungodly nation comprising the ten tribes; “for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away” (Hosea 1:6). The Northern Kingdom lasted about two-hundred-forty years; then, they were gone! They were truly “not God’s people, nor was God their God.”
Concerning the “Doctrine of Lo-Ammi,” Charles Welch referred to it as “the prophetic principle of Lo-ammi.” The Bible makes no mention of such a principle. Is the “prophetic principle of Lo-ammi” one which is made “out of whole cloth?”
It has been asked; “Was the Babylonian Captivity under Nebuchadnezzar a “Lo-ammi period?” Even though Misters Welch and Bullinger believed it was, I must differ. The Babylonian Captivity was the “captivity” of the Kingdom of Judah’s aristocracy—the rich, the educated, and the princes. The untalented and poor of Judah were left behind to fend for themselves. Since the Babylonian Captivity was not that of the Kingdom of Israel, by Scriptural definition, it could not have been a “Lo-ammi” situation. God had His man there in Babylon—Daniel, as well as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Mr. Welch wrote concerning this, saying: “Of course no time can be reckoned ‘Lo-ammi’ that is not concerned with the whole nation; raids and bondage that affected only some of the tribes are not included…” The WHOLE NATION was not taken captive by Babylon; only the elite of the two Southern tribes—Judah and Benjamin. It would appear that he disregarded his own precepts since the ten Northern tribes were not included in the Babylonian Captivity.
According to Mr. Welch’s “prophetic principle of Lo-ammi,” today’s Israel is in a state of being “Lo-ammi.” I could not disagree more. Since Acts 28:28, Israel (or the Jews) is simply numbered among the nations. The Jews standing before God, today, is that of the Gentiles. The Jews are no more “not God’s people,” and they are as the Gentiles. He does not have a “people” in the Dispensation of Grace. He does, however, have those who are sinners, saved by grace, and saved sinners who make up the Body over which Christ Jesus is the Head. Ephesians 3:1 makes it very clear when Paul says, in plainer words; …I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you of the nations. This describes all of mankind. We are all of the nations. You are of the nations; I am of the nations. Likewise, all Jews are, today, of the nations; even those living in Israel. Therefore, it must be concluded, since today’s Jews are reckoned as being of the nations as we are, they can not, in any way, be considered “Lo-ammi.”
In conclusion, we must re-emphasize that LO-AMMI, according to Scripture, referred to the ten Northern tribes, which were Biblically called the Kingdom of Israel whose capitol was in Samaria. The Northern Kingdom (which split away from Judah and Benjamin for political reasons) had no God-sanctioned place of worship, no place to offer acceptable sacrifices, and no God-ordained priesthood. Plus, they were heavily involved in the religion of pagan gods and practiced sexual impurity as part of their religious rituals. This was not the case with the Hebrew tribes during the period of the Book of Judges.
Hosea 4:1-2 described the Northern Kingdom:
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel [Northern Kingdom]: 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.”
It must, also, be pointed out that Bullinger and Welch selected only five periods in Judges when the tribes were oppressed which they called “Lo-ammi periods.” Even a note in the Companion Bible, on page 328, lists six deliverances which would mean six periods of oppressions by the enemies of the tribes. Six deliverances would mean that there were six periods in which they were punished. But, they only chose to use five of them in their pursuit of the “prophetic principle of Lo-ammi.” By being selective in their choices, they worked-out a time-frame for Daniel’s Seventy Weeks in which they said sixty-seven of the weeks have already been fulfilled. Had it not been for Acts 28, all seventy weeks would have been fulfilled. So, their conclusion was; when the Dispensation of Grace ends, there will be three weeks remaining to complete the Seventy Weeks determined on His people.
Our studies have led us to another conclusion—NOT ONE DAY OF DANIEL’S SEVENTY WEEKS HAS BEEN FULFILLED!
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel will run its unbroken course during the coming Kingdom of God.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
PLAINER WORDS … THE LO-AMMI DECEPTION
The Northern Ten Tribes
“Israel” was the name the LORD gave to Jacob in Genesis 32:28. His descendents became known as Israelites. Once they settled in the Land of Promise, jealousy and envy among the tribes were prevalent. There were conflicts and battles between the Twelve Tribes. The two Southern tribes, whose portion of the Land was in and around Jerusalem, were the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Just their presence around Israel’s Capitol City was the source of antagonism and bitterness among the ten tribes who were settled in the Northern portion.
After time transpired, David was able to settle the differences between the two regions and consolidate the rival factions into the united nation of Israel. David reigned for forty years. His son, Solomon, reigned also for forty years. However, late into Solomon’s reign, he was greatly influenced by his foreign wives and concubines and their pagan religions.
The LORD began to “rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon” (1 Kings 11:31). The LORD selected Jeroboam to be the human instrument He would use to break-up the United Kingdom which Solomon had inherited from his father, David.
The history goes something like this: Solomon happened to notice Jeroboam; he “was a mighty man of valour” and very industrious. Solomon was so impressed by what he saw in young Jeroboam that he appointed him ruler over “all the charge of the house of Joseph” (1 Kings 11:28).
The prophet, Ahijah, looked up Jeroboam after his promotion. Abijah found Jeroboam in the countryside outside of Jerusalem. The prophet wore a new garment. When the two were alone in a field, Abijah, the prophet, tore his new clothes into twelve pieces:
“And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten
tribes to thee (1 Kings 11:31).
This was the seed-bed of the Kingdom of the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel—named in Scripture as—the Kingdom of Israel. According to Bible Dictionaries, the Kingdom of Israel fell, or was scattered, or captured by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.
By the time we get to the prophet Hosea, the Northern Kingdom, is well established as the Kingdom of Israel. The sharp contrast is noted in Hosea 1:6-7 and 10-11 between the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel.
“Israel,” in the Book of Hosea, means, the ten tribes forming the Northern Kingdom, as distinguished from the Kingdom of Judah (the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) forming the Southern Kingdom.
The “right division” of the two kingdoms is observed by Jeremiah. In fact, he refers to “the house of Israel” and the “house of Judah” (Jer. 31:31); thus, distinguishing between the two. If Hosea and Jeremiah made this distinction, we should too.
Jeremiah even likens Yahweh (the LORD) as having two wives:
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:31-32).
The prophet refers to the Kingdom of Judah as the brothers and sisters of the children of the Kingdom of Israel, but, very significantly, he calls the Southern Kingdom “Ammi” and “Ruhamah” (Hosea 2:1). He set this in contrast to the Northern Kingdom being “Lo-ammi” and “Lo-ruhamah.”
The great news for the children of the Ten Northern Tribes—who became “Lo-ammi”—not God’s people and God is not their God, is that multitudes will become God’s people and He will become their God. But, it will be in resurrection, when the Kingdom comes.
“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. 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” (Hosea 1:10-11).
In light of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, the “one head” of both groups, the North and the South, will unite under the revived King David. Of course, David will be totally submissive to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s rule over the WHOLE NATION will be through His anointed “vice regent;” for want of a better title, David.
Even though the ten tribes were removed from God’s sight, as it were, they still remained in His Heart. When the Kingdom of God comes, He will remember those who qualified, by faith, in a faithless nation.
In resurrection, God will allure them into the “wilderness” of old and speak comfortably to them (Hosea. 2:14).
“And it shall be in that Day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call Me Ishi (my husband); and shall call Me no more Baali” (Hosea 2:16).
“That Day” is a reference to the Day of Jesus Christ (i.e., the Kingdom of God). We can find no place for this to take place after the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ. Why? Because, when the Lord Jesus returns, the United Kingdom of Israel will already have been in existence and on the world scene for hundreds of years.
Now, back to Hosea; the LORD said, concerning His adulterous wife, Israel:
“I will betroth thee unto Me for ever …I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and lovingkindness, and in mercies …I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD” (Hosea 2:19-20).
“For ever” is the Hebrew word, owlaam, which means, when applied to a future time regarding human affairs; “all the days of life” (1 Samuel 1:22; 20:15; 2 Samuel 3:25; Psalm 73:12; 30:13 & etc.). See “Gensenius’ Lexicon of the Old Testament,” entry number 5769. All the days of their lives during the Kingdom of God they will be betrothed to the LORD.
Latter Day Use of Israel and Jews
During the Babylonian Captivity, and afterwards, the “Lo-ammi” Northern Kingdom had already faded into obscurity, and subsequent writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament began to refer to the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as “Israel” and also as the “Jews.” Notice what the ISBE says; "Jew" denotes originally an inhabitant of Judah (2 Kings 16:6 applies to the two tribes of the Southern Kingdom), but later the meaning was extended to embrace all descendants of Abraham. (This is not quite true in its’ entirety; this pertained only to those descendents of Abraham, who came through he and Sarah. The children Abraham fathered by Hagar, Keturah, and his concubines were not in the lineage of Isaac, and Jacob).
So it was with the use of the name “Israel.” An illustration of this could be; prior to the “War for Southern Independence,” the people were referred to as “New Yorkers,” “Virginians,” “Texans,” “Georgians,” “Pennsylvanians,” and so forth. However, afterwards people of the States, have been called simply “Americans.”
Charles Welch depicts Israel, or the Jews, as being Gods-People (Ammi) for thirty-five years (5 weeks x 7 years = 35 years) during the Acts period. However, when the Book of Acts ends, he shows them as being “Lo-ammi.” That is to say, during the Dispensation of Grace (or the Mystery), he labels them “Lo-ammi.” We pointed out in our last issue that this could not be so. The Jews, whether in today’s Israel, or scattered all over the world, are Divinely reckoned as being “of the nations.” If they have a standing before God, it is one as being absorbed into the nations. They have no identity other than being an American, or an Argentinean, or an Australian, or German, Russian, Syrian, Iranian, Canadian, and etc. They may adhere to some form of the Jews’ religion, but they are not reckoned as “Lo-ammi” Jews. In plainer words, they are reckoned as being Gentiles (of the nations) and are dealt with accordingly.
Mr. Welch’s chart, concerning the Seventy Weeks of Daniel, shows after this dispensation ends [i.e., Grace], there remains twenty-one years (three weeks) of Daniel’s Seventy. In other words, after the Dispensation of the Mystery comes to an end, the Lord has fourteen years (two weeks) to identify and gather His ancient people out of the grave, or bring them from within the nations where they will be living at the time. Then, He must bring them all into the “wilderness” and “plead” with them. Within these fourteen years, He will have to re-establish Israel in her Promised Land, make her to be the leading nation among the nations of the world, re-build the Temple, and settle every Jew in their appointed “lot.” “Tares” will have-to-have time to “grow together” with “the good seed” of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:25-40). If a “tare” is born immediately when the Kingdom comes, he only will be fourteen years old when he begins to rebel against the Lord’s Government which will begin the last Seven Years of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and which begins the tribulation period. We cannot see an army of teenagers rebelling against the Lord Jesus’ Rule; much less, being a confederate with the anti-christ and entering into a covenant with him. We have only mentioned a few of the obvious things that have to transpire during this improbable fourteen years.
Just to get a perspective of the time that will be required, Scripturally, for the stage to be set for the Tribulation period (the Seventieth Week), read Daniel Chapter Eleven. There, you find conflict between the “king of the south” and the “king of the north” lasting for years. Daniel 11:6 speaks concerning the wars and uses the expression; “and the end of years.” The number of years mentioned would certainly seem to exceed the years Mr. Welch allotted.
Mr. Welch shows the last seven years (the final Week), of a series of twenty-one, begins only fourteen years after the Dispensation of the Mystery ends. The more this is thought through, the more fanciful it becomes.
We are of the opinion that if we take a clean slate and write what the Word of God clearly states in Daniel, we will find that every dream, prophecy, and vision given to Daniel, God has given His interpretation of them. Most scholars have “tried to help God out” by re-interpreting what the Word said.
With all of this said, we will conclude by saying that “Lo-ammi” can only, rightfully, apply to the Northern Kingdom which was “taken out” in 722 B. C. which was during the sixth year of the reign of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:10-11) in the Kingdom of Judah.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
PLAINER WORDS … THE LO-AMMI DECEPTION
Hosea, The Prophet
It has been said by a number of Bible Dictionaries that The Book of Hosea is probably one of the most difficult books in the Old Testament for exposition. It seems, that the reason is, the peculiarity of the style. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia says, regarding Hosea’s style; “it is evident that he is deeply affected by the situation in which he is placed. He is controlled by his subject, instead of controlling it. It is his heart that speaks; he is not careful to concentrate his thoughts or to mark his transitions; the sentences fall from him like the sobs of a broken heart.”
We notice that Hosea doesn’t follow the familiar pattern of other writings of the Old Testament Prophets by saying; “Thus saith the LORD,” or “The word of the LORD came to me,” and etc. He is so absorbed with his mission that he speaks as an oracle of God without saying, “Thus saith the LORD.”
We find all of this very significant. He speaks abruptly. At times, it is difficult to recognize when he changes the subject. Instead of laying out his lamentation in measured form, he cries out it in short, sharp sentences as the wounds of his people's sin pierces his heart. For these reasons Hosea has been a worthwhile study.
It was pointed out in the other papers relating to Hosea and “Lo-Ammi” that Hosea had a daughter named “Lo-ruhamah” and a son named “Lo-ammi.” We often overlook the eldest son which he and his wife, Gomer, had—“Jezreel.” This is another child with a symbolic name.
“Then the LORD said to Hosea, "Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel's bow in the Valley of Jezreel" (Hosea 1:4-5) NIV.
Jehu was the tenth King of the Kingdom of Israel, the Ten Northern Tribes. He reigned over Israel from 842 B.C. to 814 B.C.; a total of twenty-eight years. The House of Jehu supplied the Kings of Israel for ninety-three years. It was the longest dynasty of the Northern Kingdom. However, Hosea prophesied that the House of Jehu was to be punished for the great massacre at Jezreel. The great slaughter which took place in the Valley of Jezreel was at the hand of the anointed King Jehu.
God began to set-the-stage for the Kingdom Israel’s downfall in 1 Kings 19:15-17 when he told the Prophet, Elijah, to anoint Hazael to be King of Syria, and Jehu to be King of Israel, and Elisha to be the prophet who would replace him (Elijah).
The LORD said to him [Elijah], "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram [Syria]. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu” (NIV).
King Hazael was raised-up by Yahweh to punish the Israelites who were subjects of King Ahab’s son, Joram. Hazael put many Israelites to the sword; those who did escape were to be put to death by Jehu. Not only that, but, Elisha, the prophet, was to administer a coup de grace to the escapees of King Jehu. Elisha was a warrior prophet, it would seem.
After the Nineteenth Chapter of First Kings, the next time we find reference to Jehu is in Second Kings, Chapter, Nine and Ten. These two chapters should be read in order to appreciate the character of God’s Anointed King of Israel—Jehu.
As we discuss these matters, remember that the context of Israel, in these passages, refer not to Israel as a WHOLE, but to the Kingdom of Israel as the Ten Northern Tribes. Elijah and Elisha were God’s prophets to Israel; not the Kingdom of Judah. The LORD was very longsuffering toward these Baal-worshipping idolaters. They were mostly influenced by Queen Jezebel. The Kingdom of Israel prospered and was strong under King Ahab. He reigned for twenty years. But, by him tolerating the false religion of his wife, Jezebel, and her influence spelled his ruin—the lesson to learn here is, Beware of tolerating false religions. Of course, this is not the democratic way! As it is written—His ways are not our ways. As many critics say, “The God of the Old Testament was barbaric.” We disagree strongly. He acted with swift and just punishment under the administration of Law and Government; “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;” (Heb. 2:2).
Dear friends, the LORD was administering Law and Government in those days of old—not Grace. Law and Government, even in the hands of our Great God, were shear power, and authority, and force. President George Washington said an interesting thing; “Government is not reason: it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
The writer of Hebrews, who we believe to have been the Apostle Paul, said something similar to Washington; “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
King Jehu was anointed to stamp out idolatry (Baal worship) within the Kingdom. It is apparent the Kingdom was not “lo-ammi” as yet.
By what the Scriptures recorded about Jehu, he seemed to be just the right Ruler to accomplish this work. His energy, determination, promptness, and zeal fitted him for the work he had to do. It was violent work, and Jehu executed it with relentless thoroughness. Jehu was a fearless minister of judgment. He was driven (a bad sign); “for he driveth furiously” (2 Kings 9:20). As 2 Kings 9 and 10 is read, we see him as bold, daring, and unscrupulous. He appears to be a master of policy. But, alas, his zeal for the LORD seems to have been cloaked by worldly ambition.
The LORD anointed Jehu King over Israel, even though they had “their own” king, Joram. When Jehu was commissioned, he was told;
“Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel” (2 Kings 9:6-8).
The whole house of Ahab was to perish because of Jezebel’s violent influence on Ahab. The expression, “he that pisseth against the wall” is a figure of speech for men. Man can do it, women can’t. The Hebrew is; “shathan (shaw-than'); a primitive root; (causatively) to make water, i.e. urinate: KJV - piss” (Strong’s Concordance).
The NIV translates the verse as; “The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel-slave or free.”
Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah
The son of Ahab, Joram, succeeded his father as King of Israel. Joram reigned for eight years; some say eleven years. King Joram was wounded by King Hazael of Syria in a battle in which Ahaziah (of Judah) participated. However, he escaped to Jezreel, the city, in order to recover from his wounds inflicted by the Syrians.
When Jehu found Joram, it just so happened that the King of Judah, Ahaziah, was there also. Joram sensed Jehu was going to attempt to kill him. Joram warned Ahaziah (King of Judah) to flee from Jehu.
Joram, King of Israel, fled in his chariot. Jehu drew his bow and sent an arrow though Joram’s heart (2 Kings 9:24). Then, Jehu proceeded to “drive” after the fleeing Ahaziah, and he gave orders to his men to slay Ahaziah, the King of Judah. His men did so (2 Kings 9:27).
Jehu was told to smite the house of Ahab. This showed the thoroughness of Jehu in his mission to destroy the house of Ahab. He slew the King of Judah because “he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he (Ahaziah) was the son in law of the house of Ahab” (2 Kings 8:27).
The Slaying of Jezebel
Jehu’s job was not yet finished. Jehu, the anointed King, and his men rode hard to the palace where the widow, Jezebel, lived. It was apparent Jezebel was expecting Jehu. She put on her make-up and stood at the window stoically, waiting her fate, looking for Jehu’s arrival (2 Kings 9:30).
Jehu and his troops rode into the palace grounds. Two or three eunuchs stood beside Jezebel when Jehu looked up at her. He yelled up at the window and asked, “Who is on my side? Who?” (2 Kings 9:32). The eunuchs, at Jehu’s command, threw her down from the high window. Jehu, in his chariot, and his men rode their horses over her and “trode her under foot” (2 Kings 9:33).
Exhausted after hard riding, he and his men went into the palace to relax. They ate and drank. After a while, Jehu told his men to go and bury Jezebel because, after all, she was the daughter of a king (i.e., King of the Zidonians; 1 Kings 16:31). When they went to bury her, they found only her skull, her feet, and the palms of her hands. When they reported this to Jehu, he said; "This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh. Jezebel's body will be like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, 'This is Jezebel'" (2 Kings 9:36-37), NIV.
The Slaughter at Jezreel, Samaria
King Jehu was not through with his mission yet. Seventy of Ahab’s sons were in Samaria. Jehu composed a letter and sent it to the elders and guardians of the sons of Ahab in Samaria. He told them to select a king from among the sons. Jehu said you have chariots, horses, a fenced city, and armor. Take your pick of the sons and sit him upon his father’s throne—and then fight for you master’s house (2 Kings 10:2-3).
The elders were afraid because Jehu had already disposed of two kings. They replied to Jehu and said we will not select a king; “do that which is good in thine eyes.”
Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, "If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow."
Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, "They have brought the heads of the princes."
Then Jehu ordered, "Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning." (2 Kings 10:6-8) NIV.
The next morning, Jehu stood before all of the people. He did not offer a prayer to the LORD for His Divine help. But, instead, he said, in a mocking way; “You are righteous: but I conspired against my master (Joram), and slew him: but who slew all these” (2 Kings 10:9).
Then, he pronounced the LORD’s verdict concerning the house of Ahab as spoken by the prophet, Elijah.
So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor (2 Kings 10:11) NIV.
Jehu was a violent man, no doubt. However, he was executing God’s commission to stamp out the house of Ahab. We seem to sense in him that the power granted him corrupted him. As Lord Acton famously said; “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” We don’t discover a love of God in Jehu’s character, nor an appeal for the Yahweh to help in his conquest. He seemed to be self-sufficient.
The Brethren of Ahaziah Slain
He still had much to do. Jehu took off again, and, in the way he found men at a shearing house. He asked who they were, and they said they were the brethren of Ahaziah, the King of Judah. They had not probably heard of their brother’s death at the hand of Jehu’s men. They were going down to salute the king (Joram), who Jehu had killed, and the queen mother (Jezebel).
Then, Jehu told his soldiers; "Take them alive!" he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked-forty-two men. He left no survivor (2 Kings 10:14) NIV.
After having killed the forty-two men, he came across Jehonadab, son of Recab of the house of David. The LORD would not have Jehu kill any of the House of David because of the covenant He had made with David.
Jehu took Jehonadab with him to Samaria where he destroyed all that remained of the house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:17).
Jehu Exterminated Baal Worship in Israel
Jehu sent a message throughout all of Israel announcing to all of the prophets and priests of Baal to come to him. With subtlety and cunning craftiness, Jehu’s message was that he was going to make a great sacrifice to Baal. Instead of relying on the LORD to provide the opportunity of destroying the Baalite prophets and priests, Jehu devised a nefarious, plot pretending to be a worshipper of Baal.
King Jehu entered the house of Baal and had the Baalites to make sacrifice to Baal. When this was accomplished, he had his soldiers kill every last one of the Baal-worshipping prophets and priests.
“Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan. And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” (2 Kings 19:28-30).
The LORD was pleased with Jehu because he accomplished the task of eradicating the whole House of Ahab. Therefore, He promised him that four generations of his children would sit on the throne of the Kingdom of Israel.
“But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin” (verse 31).
Perhaps, the moral of the history of Jehu is that while he performed great exploits for the LORD, in his heart, he never departed from mixing the worship of the golden calves with the Law of the LORD. Because of this heart attitude of Jehu, the Prophet Hosea prophecied; “…I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel's bow in the Valley of Jezreel." (Hosea 1:4-5) NIV.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was God’s people, and He was their God [Ammi] until He cast them away and they became “wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 13:17). Not until God “cast them away” did they become Lo-ammi.
We find nowhere in the biblical history of the Kingdom of Israel that “God’s prophetic clock stopped.” When the judges governed the Twelve Tribes, they were never “Lo-ammi.” In fact, they were God’s people. Even the corrupt, idolatrous nation of the Ten Northern tribes—the Kingdom of Israel—were God’s people. They ceased being God’s people, and He ceased being their God only after Hosea’s prophecy was fulfilled:
“Samaria [i.e. the Kingdom of Israel] shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up” (Hosea 13:16).
The conclusion of the “Lo-ammi” matter is that it pertained to the Kingdom of Israel and not the Kingdom of Judah. The deception lies in the fact that Lo-Ammi only referred to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Here is another lesson learned concerning rightly dividing the Word of Truth. A distinction is to be made between which Israel God means when He uses the word. The word, “Israel,” has multiple uses—the man Jacob, the combined kingdoms, the Northern Kingdom, the New Testament generic term of “Israel,” and the “Israel of God.”
From Plainer Words
The Lo-Ammi Deception
Posted in: 2006
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 23, 2008 - 12:33:06 PM
Feb 23, 2008 - 12:33:06 PM
© Copyright 2009 by Plainer Words