The Mystery of Babylon
Then said the Lord unto me, "Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend,
yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel,
who look to other gods and love flagons of wine." So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver,
and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley: and I said unto her,
"Thou shalt not play, the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man:
so will I also be for thee." For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king,
and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image,
and without an ephod and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return,
and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness
in the latter days (Hosea 3).
"THE lost ten tribes" (as man misnames them) have not strayed out of Yahweh's light. They are not a kingdom, for they have neither king nor prince. All the rites by which they worshipped Yahweh are departed from them. But in it all He keeps her for Himself. None other can touch her. They went astray even when they shared His house and bounty. But now that they are sent away His divine power is engaged to keep her free from other gods.
And He has engaged Himself to wait for her! How wonderful is this, that while He keeps her for Himself, He should keep Himself for her! He has pledged His word. None other can take the place of Israel in His affections (Hosea 3:3).
It is not for mortal man to defend Yahweh's honor. Some there are who say He has not kept His word to her. Some say He has taken to Himself a stranger of the nations. It is not for us to listen to such tales or hearken to the word that breathes of broken vows and joins His name therewith.
He has promised her and shall He not fulfill it? She will fulfill her part because He willed it so. Does He lack power to fulfill His own pledge to her?
Does it fall on us to defend the honor of Yahweh? Solemn and deep indeed must be the darkness when His word, His faithfulness, His promises are neglected, and ignored, and denied.
By His power He has kept His people Israel, in all their iniquity and hardness of heart, from that sin of sins—they have not chosen them another God. They never promised this. They could not have kept it if they had. He compels them by His power and keeps them for Himself. But He has promised.
Has He been unfaithful? (May He forgive the thought!)
Has He not cast away His people? By no means. They shall abide thus "many days" but not forever.
Have not the nations displaced them? Not at all.
Every blessing that He promised them He will yet fulfill; not in spirit only, not in part; not according to the measure of men's minds, but in spirit and letter according to the fullness of His heart. Nothing shall fail of all His goodness and His grace and all the blessings with which He has engaged to bless them. The gifts and callings of God are without regret.
Their blessing was national, and in days to come all Israel shall be saved.
The blessing which has come upon the nations is entirely different in character, in scope, in destiny.
In Israel, there will be blessings in the earth in earthly store of feasting and fatness and every delight of the soul.
The nations' blessings are spiritual and invisible except to faith.
Israel's place will be the head of all the nations. They will govern all the earth.
Those among the nations who believe are subject to the powers that be.
The blessing on one is in the earth in their souls.
The other is in the heavenly spheres by the spirit.
And so, as God's blessing of the nations in no way interferes, or displaces or destroys or dims the blessing of His earthly people, His faithfulness (which is more than all) is not in question.
Israel is presented to us as a woman who, by covenant becomes, in figure, "one flesh" with Him—the closest earthly bond.
But in the heavenly sphere, there is no woman now, but there is a man: and we are members of His body.
The Son of Nebat caused Israel to sin. He forsook the law of the Lord and all Israel with him. Jerusalem was despised and Samaria became their capital. Idolatry reigned on every side. "So the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes; Because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them or do them" (2 Kings 18:11-12).
Thus was Israel divorced and sent away.
The ten tribes become "Lo-ruhamah"—for His mercy forsakes her. They become "Lo-Ammi" for He refuses to be their God any longer.
"For she is not my wife
Neither am I her husband" (Hosea 2:2).
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