Generally, the biblical prophetic books are divided between the longer books called the Major Prophets [Isaiah – Jeremiah – Lamentations – Ezekiel and Daniel], and the 12 shorter books called the Minor Prophets.
This is a study into the twelve shorter prophetic books sometimes called the minor prophets: Hosea – Joel – Amos – Obadiah – Jonah – Micah – Nahum – Habakkuk- Zephaniah – Haggai – Zechariah and Malachi.
The twelve Minor Prophets conclude the Old Testament prophets and each of them concerns the reasons for the latter day tribulation, the tribulation itself, the future of various nations, the early millennium or about the coming of Messiah.
Definitions and explanations
In dating I will often use the letter “c”; this means circa or approximately.
Physical Israel was called out from bondage in Egypt and is an allegorical example of God spiritually calling people out of bondage to sin. Therefore everything written about physical Israel and physical Judah, also applies spiritually to those that God is calling out of bondage to sin.
As Physical Israel / Judah was corrected when they turned away from God; so professing Christians as a kind of spiritual Israel will be corrected if they are not faithfully diligent to keep and live by every Word of God.
God is not a respecter of persons and God will require the same things of Christians that he requires of physical Israel and Judah; which is a passionate Christ-like zeal to live by every Word of God
The English word “church” can mean a building or a corporate entity which is deceptive since the biblical word “Ekklesia” [which is rendered “church” in English], means neither of these things. The word “Ekklesia” in its religious application means all those called out to God faithful [individually and collectively] who live by Every Word of God (Mat 4:4])
While the minor prophets refer to various nations and Israel / Judah, the word ‘church” or “Ekklesia” is not used in the minor prophets. However I will be using the word Ekklesia as well as brethren, spiritual Israel, brother-hood, assemblies and other general terms to refer to professing Christians and to point out lessons applicable to all professing Christians.
Israel /Judah were one nation until God separated ten tribes of Israel off from Judah for the sins of Solomon.
1 Kings 11:29 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field:
11:30 And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:
11:31 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:
11:32 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:)
Since that time, the scriptures address Judah with Benjamin as the kingdom of Judah and the ten tribes as the kingdom of Israel, as two separate peoples who will be reunited at the coming of Christ.
The tribe of Levi being the tribe of God was scattered throughout both kingdoms but mainly remaining with Judah because of Judah’s possession of Jerusalem.
The book of Hosea is about the vast unending love of God for his wife [physical Israel,, which marriage ended at the death of the Husband who had given up his Godhood to be made flesh as Jesus Christ; and about the vast love of Messiah for his New Covenant bride of those called into a kind of spiritual Israel (Jer 31:31 and Eze 37:26) and about his unspeakable agony at their continual idolatry and adulteries against him.
Hosea is told to take a wife from among the whores to illustrate the situation of the continual adulteries of Israel against her deeply loving God-Husband.
A true Christian is part of a holy nation a kind of spiritual Israel.
Hosea’s historical context is the time just before the captivity of Israel in c 721 B.C., and has God pleading with Israel to stop her idolatries and spiritual adulteries and return to be faithful to him. These prophecies are dual also referring to today’s physical and spiritual Israel just before our latter day correction.
Hosea also prophesies that in these latter days Israel will yet repent and turn to love and be faithful to God.
Besides physical Israel this is also a prophecy of the New Covenant. God also loves Spiritual Israel and that God is in a similar deep agony of spirit over the today’s Spiritual Ekklesia’s spiritual adulteries with idols of men, following and obeying them instead of faithfully living by EVERY WORD of God.
This was recorded and preserved for us and for our instruction today, so that when BOTH physical and spiritual Israel are corrected in the soon coming great tribulation; we will turn to our God in deep sincere repentance to cleave to him alone forever more.
History: Jeroboam II (Hebrew: ירבעם השני or יָרָבְעָם; Greek: Ιεροβοάμ; Latin: Jeroboam) was the son and successor of Jehoash, (alternatively spelled Joash), and the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one years. His reign was contemporary with those of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), conquered Damascus (14:28), and extended Israel to its former limits, from “the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain” (14:25; Amos 6:14).
William F. Albright has dated his reign to 786 BC – 746 BC, while E. R. Thiele says he was coregent with Jehoash 793 BC to 782 BC and sole ruler 782 BC to 753 BC.
Jeroboam’s reign was also the period of the prophets Hosea, Joel, Jonah and Amos, all of whom condemned the idolatry, materialism and selfishness of the Israelite elite of their day.
Remember that all physical sins, especially idolatry and adultery; have their spiritual counterparts of disloyalty to the Word of God to whom the Spiritual Ekklesia is called.
This warning prophecy was not meant exclusively for the ancients, but for latter day physical and spiritual Israel as well, else it would not have been recorded for US today.
Just like physical Israel was full of idolatry and sin at that time; today’s physical Israel is full of sin; and today’s professing Christianity [Spiritual Israel] is full of the same sin in its spiritual context: following idols of men and exalting the words of men above the Word of God.
Hosea 1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land [the nation of Israel] hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
God sets up Hosea as an analogy of himself and his relationship with physical Israel and with his relationship with today’s professing Christians; commanding Hosea to marry a whore; analogous to today’s continual spiritual adultery and idolatry, just before our rejection and correction by God.
This also being a lesson for latter day physical Israel and the spiritual Ekklesia, who are full of gross physical and spiritual idolatry and adultery today, just before our correction in the latter day tribulation.
Hosea is a message to Mosaic Israel and it is a message to spiritual Israel today.
Almighty God will not tolerate our following idols of men and exalting them above any zeal to live by God’s Word any longer: God is about to withdraw his blessings and protection and allow us to be thoroughly corrected to humble us and turn us to HIM.
HOSEA is a message to today’s Professing Christianity, the Spiritual Israel of TODAY!
1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
God declares that he will end the kingdom of Israel and send them into captivity for their wickedness, and God will again correct the latter day proud nations of physical Israel and the called out of spiritual Israel as well.
1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
Jehu slew the priests of Baal, yet he was lukewarm and allowed the golden calves to be worshipped and much idolatry in Israel. This is just as the Ekklesia makes a pretense of condemning sin while following idols of men today.
A Word About Idols
The rulers of the people knew that idols are dumb inanimate nothing, so why did they lead the people to worship them? So that they could then teach the people their own doctrine and lead the people to follow themselves by claiming that their gods had so declared.
An idol cannot declare a doctrine! The priest declares his own doctrine and then attributes it to the idol, in that way distracting the people into actually following themselves. An idol is just smoke and mirrors to distract and manipulate people into following its priesthood, thereby controlling and enslaving the people to follow the priests.
Idols are only symbols of false teachings.
Today, we also have our idols: They are called corporate Churches, traditions of men and exalted leaders! We are told that such and such is “God’s Church” and that we must be loyal to it and to its leaders. Then the leaders teach whatever they want and the brethren swallow it up, thinking it is God’s Word.
We must prove ALL things by the Word of God and follow men ONLY as they follow God! If Israel had done that they would never have been led astray.
If we do NOT prove ALL things and hold fast to God’s Word, we shall be rejected by our espoused Husband into great correction, just as physical Israel was also rejected into captivity!
1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel.
Because of all Israel’s idolatry God would later break Israel in Jezreel [by the invading Assyrians], and lead them into captivity, rejecting them from off the land. In the same way God will reject physical Israel and spiritual Israel [today’s Ekklesia] today and cast them into great tribulation to bring them to sincere repentance.
1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
God declares that his mercy and patience with Mosaic Israel, and with the idolatrous latter day Spiritual Ekklesia is at an end. God will correct the guilty and he will save those faithful to him.
1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah [Israel went into captivity years before Judah did, being saved by God at that time for the righteous deeds of the good king Hezekiah], and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
Loammi is to be a type of Israel when they are rejected by God for their continual sins against him; yet God promises that when Israel does sincerely repent he will accept them back. The same thing is true of today’s spiritual Israel who will be corrected for a short time and when they sincerely turn to the Eternal with a whole heart they will be accepted by him.
The lesson is that God will correct those he loves in order to save them.
1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
This is a rejection of physical Israel, and the rejection of today’s Spiritual Ekklesia in Rev 3:15.
1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
This will happen when the Messiah the Christ comes and Israel and Judah will again be united together under king David while Messiah the Christ rules the whole earth.
1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
This is a promise that after being rejected for a time, Israel will sincerely repent and be brought into the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31 and shall be united with Judea once again.
This is also a prophecy that in the tribulation today’s Spiritual Laodicea WILL sincerely repent and turn away from her idolatry of following idols of men, and will worship the Living God! And a prophecy that all the faithful will then be united under ONE KING; The Lord of Hosts is HIS NAME!
What follows is a plea for physical and spiritual Israel to repent from their whoredoms after other gods and idols.
It is a plea for physical and spiritual Israel to set aside their whoring [selling themselves to follow others] after their false traditions, leaders and organizations; to turn back to their espoused Husband in passionate love and zeal for his will and law; lest we be rejected by our espoused Husband Jesus Christ and thrown into the furnace of affliction.
Hosea 2:1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
The adulteries of physical and Spiritual Israel have come between us and our Husband so that we are an unclean thing to him.
2:2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not [no longer] my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
If we do not repent quickly, God will remove all our blessings and he will reveal all of our sins.
2:3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
2:4 And I will not have mercy upon her children [spiritually the converts to our spiritual adulteries]; for they be the children of whoredoms.
2:5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
God will neither have mercy on us nor on our converts; for we love our increase and our mammon and our turning away from our Husband! We have perverted the Gospel of warning and repentance into a inoffensive to sinners business model quest for supporters, selling ourselves for their mammon; we have turned from zeal to live by every Word of God to a zeal for idols men and false traditions.
Because we are not zealous to live by EVERY WORD of God, Almighty God will not bless us in our doings.
2:6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
Because the Ekklesia today seeks the love, support and approval of the worldly and does not love God enough to be zealous to keep his Word; our doings will NOT prosper. Today we are divided, confused and separated from our God because of our compromising and idolatry of false traditions and spiritual adultery!
2:7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
Therefore we are under a curse and our ways will not bring us gain but only sorrows, and we shall be divided and our increase shall be cursed for our faithlessness and whoring after our idols of men and false teachings; until we are corrected in the furnace of affliction and turn back to our God.
We have forgotten the source of our blessings and have been lifted up with pride, thinking that we are full of godliness and have need of nothing spiritually.
2:8 For she did not know that I gave her corn [grain], and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal [devoted to our idols as in building great monuments to dead men].
2:9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn [grain] in the time [of harvest] thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
We have forgotten that our blessing come from our God and who blesses those who are faithful zealous and obedient to him! Therefore our God will withdraw his blessings from us until we turn back to him. That includes the blessings on the Ekklesia in terms of spiritual understanding as well as in physical things. Because we reject a good understanding of godly things to follow our idols of men, the understanding of spiritual things has been kept back from the called out
Our Husband will permit the shame of our nakedness [our sinfulness] to be revealed; until we repent and seek the righteousness of his law; then we shall be covered with the atoning sacrifice and the pure white linen garments of God’s righteousness.
2:10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
Today most reject God’s New Moons and routinely pollute God’s Sabbaths; therefore God will take all joy far away from us in the furnace of extreme correction.
2:11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbath’s, and all her solemn feasts.
2:12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
Just as physical Israel lost all the blessings of God in that day: All our rejoicings and pleasant things will cease and be taken away during today’s tribulation because of our idolatry and our whoredoms after men and false tradition against our Husband.
2:13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim [God will correct our leaders and elders for compromising with God’s Word to lead men into sin for reward like Baalim did.], wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
God will take away our pleasant things which we have gained through our idolatry: our organizational unity has already dissolved in to hundreds of schisms because we have rejected the source and the only way to unity; which is complete unity of every person with God. God will make our apostate social club churches desolate for our sins in the hope that we might remember HIM!
Then we will remember him and he will reveal himself to us; calling out to us to sincerely repent; and forgiving and delivering those who turn to him with wholehearted zeal.
2:14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
2:15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
2:16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [beloved Husband; Personal name meaning, “my deliverer, or my salvation.”]; and shalt call me no more Baali [lord master].
2:17 For I will take away the names of Baalim [remove all thoughts of following idols of men from our minds, for out of the mind the mouth speaks] out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
And in that day all Israel shall be saved for:
Joel 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
Now God speaks of the New Covenant and God’s Spirit changing the whole earth when Messiah comes and teaches about physical Israel which was married to God, which marriage ended with the death of the Husband; will physical Israel yet be betrothed to God in a New Covenant (Is 11, Is 65, Eze 34:25, Eze 37:26, Jer 31:31).
Hosea 2:18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
2:20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
At that time all flesh shall be grafted into the New Covenant that God will make with physical Israel to become part of a new Spiritual Israel the bride of Messiah the Christ!
In that day God will hear the people from heaven and they on the earth shall hear and obey his voice.
2:21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear [God will hear the people from heaven] the heavens, and they [the people on the earth shall hear and obey God] shall hear the earth;
2:22 And the earth shall hear [All flesh shall hear and obey God and be filled with his blessings] the corn [grain], and the wine, and the oil; and they [all nations shall see and follow the example of Israel in repentance unto godliness] shall hear Jezreel [Israel] .
2:23 And I will sow her [Israel will be planted a Godly people] unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not [had been rejected from being] my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
At that time those which have gone astray will be repentant and reconciled to God; and ALL the earth shall be reconciled to God the Father and the Son through sincere wholehearted repentance from all sin and idolatry and the application of the Passover sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
God commanded Hosea to love a woman who would be an adulteress against him, as an allegory of God’s marriage to adulterous physical and spiritual Israel; so that Hosea will understand what it is like to be married to an unfaithful spouse.
Hosea 3:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, [as an allegory of God’s love for unfaithful physical and spiritual Israel] according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
3:2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:
Hosea purchased a wife with a dowry of silver, which is also an allegory that Christ purchased us as his bride [although at the much higher price of his life]
3:3 And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee [they entered a marriage covenant].
Hosea is commanded to take a wife and to love her even though she would be an adulteress; to set an example of the love of Christ for his adulteress wife, Israel; and the love of Christ for his Laodicean church who are spiritual adulterers.
3:4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days [years] without a king [referring to God as the king], and without a prince [referring to the high priest], and without a sacrifice [without an atonement for sin], and [over time God well destroy their idols and false gods] without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
Israel was to go into captivity and be estranged from God, until Messiah comes to reign over them.
3:5 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.
God is consistent; if physical Israel beloved of Christ, is rejected for their idolatry; so Spiritual Israel Beloved of Christ, will be rejected by Christ for OUR idolatry (Rev 3).