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shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day (the latter day) because of your king, which
ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
This solemn protest is yet to be fulfilled in the future. But notwithstanding this protest, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, “Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” The people were arbitrary and even insolent with Samuel. And they accepted the king which the Lord at that time selected for them, according to the terms and conditions set forth in the seventeenth chapter of Deuteronomy. But from the testimony of the prophet Hosea we learn that in the latter days they will not only reject the Lord, that he should reign over them, but will not even wait for the Lord to select a king for them, as he did in their former days when he anointed, first, Saul, and afterwards David, or even later when the Lord sent and anointed Jeroboam to reign over the ten tribes, after they should fall away from the house of David. Therefore he says by the hand of Hosea, “Israel hath cast off the thing that is good; the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made them princes, and I knew it not. Of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”
They set up again the idolatry of Egypt and once more change their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass; therefore the Lord says, “ Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it was not God; but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces. For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hos. 8:3-7).
Thus after they revolt again in the latter days, Samaria will, as of old, be the capital of the ten tribes, and they immediately set up kings, and their ancient system of worship. Hosea, although he prophesied in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam (the second), the son of Joash, king of Israel, yet, like Ezekiel, he is chiefly a latter day prophet and lest some might dispute this, claiming on the contrary that Hosea's writings were more historical of the past doings of Israel than prophetic of their doings in the latter days, we would remind such, and call their attention to this important fact, that this prophet portrays the character and condition of the house of Israel and the house of Judah at the time that the dead rise and the sorrows of a travailing woman, that attend the resurrection of the dead, come especially upon Ephraim. Therefore the Lord says by the hand of this prophet concerning Ephraim (called Israel), “ The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him; he is an unwise son, for he should not stay long in the breaking forth of children (from the dead). I will ransom them (the children) 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."
I need not tell the careful reader of the Scriptures that Paul proves the resurrection of the dead from these words, and therefore the prophet is here treating not only of the resurrection, but of those wonderful events that surround and attend the resurrection.
What are the sorrows that come upon Ephraim at the time the dead rise? Does he not say that Samaria (the capitol of Ephraim) “shall become desolate, for she hath rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword”? Does he not say at the beginning of this thirteenth chapter, “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel, but when he offended in Baal he died (as a nation). And now (in the latter days) they sin more and more, and have made themselves molten images of their silver and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsman. They say of them, Let the men that sacrifice, kiss the calves."
Now what is to overtake revolting Israel for these things in that day? The Lord by the prophet says, " Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew, which passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind, out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney"; again (verses 6-9), "According to their (fat) pasture, so they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.” We may ask, what sorrows are come upon Israel for all this? “Therefore saith the Lord, I will be unto them as a lion; as a leopard by the way will I observe them; I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their hearts, and there will I devour them like a lion; the wild beast shall tear them. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thy
, self; but in me is thine help.
These are some of the wonders of the latter days that cluster about the resurrection. These wild beasts are the ones that Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and John, and other prophets, have spoken of, which are to be sent against the rebellious house in those times. Again does not this prophet say (10:7-8), “As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water; the high places of Avon, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed; the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us," even as Jesus said they would, and as they say under the opening of the sixth seal? Again does not this prophet speak of the trumpets as follows (5: 8-10), “ Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Beth-aven, after thee, O Benjamin. Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water"?
Again he testifies of his revolting people (7:11-12) saying, "Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt (for help), they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of heaven; I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard.” And what has their congregation heard? They have heard the curses of the law as they are so graphically set forth in the Book of Deuteronomy concerning the evils which shall befall them in the latter days, · curses which were to be read specially every seventh year, in the year of release, to all the congregation of the children of Israel, which contained that ever memorable song which speaks of the evils that shall overtake those whose spot is not the spot of his children in that day.
Again in connection with what this prophet says touching the resurrection, he also says (13:11), “I gave thee a king in mine anger and took him away in my wrath.” While this may contain an allusion to Saul as a type of that king that Samuel described, it no doubt points especially to that king which the Lord will raise up over the rebellious house in the latter days, whose power and doings will astonish not only the people of Israel themselves, but also the nations of the earth. And because of the heavy hand that he will lay upon his own people, Samuel says, “ Ye shall cry out in that day because of your king, and the Lord shall not hear you in that day.” This king we shall have occasion to speak of particularly in interpreting many Scriptures which speak of his character and the manner of his reign and his overthrow.
Many will read the words of the prophet Hosea without understanding the times and the things that he treats of, and therefore his book closes with these significant words, “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.”
Again as to the truth that Israel will be again governed by evil and rebellious kings in the latter days, it is confirmed by the testimony of Jeremiah, for treating of the same things that Moses spake of in the song he says (2: 2628), As the thief is ashamed when he is caught, so is the house of Israel ashamed, — they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets, saying to a stock, Thou art my father, and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth; and they have turned their back unto me, and not their face, but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise and save us." But the Lord's reply in that day is, “But where are thy gods, that thou hast made thee? Let them arise if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble, for according to the number of thy cities, are thy gods, O Judah." This proves that at the time of Jacob's trouble, in the latter days, they have kings, princes, prophets, and priests, who are worshippers of idols, as of old.
THE SECOND REVOLT OF THE TEN TRIBES
When the kingdom is again restored to Israel in the latter days, they will at first be one united people, as in the days of old; but afterwards, the ten tribes will again fall away, and the kingdom of Israel will again be divided into the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah, two separate and hostile nations.
But such things as these we would not dare to affirm, except upon the clearest authority of the inspired men of God. Where then is the warrant for these things? We reply, In the testimony of the prophet Zechariah, who prophesied to Judah at the time of the return from the Babylonish captivity, and while the Temple and city of Jerusalem were in process of building.
Breaking of the Staffs Zechariah spake of things that were to transpire at Christ's first appearing into the world, and also of things which are yet to transpire at, and in connection with his second appearing and of things which are to be manifested in the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah in the latter days before Christ's appearing to judge his people. In the eleventh chapter he speaks first of the destruction and overthrow of the great and lofty men in Israel, who will fall and be laid low because they have rebelled against the Lord, as follows: "Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled. Howl, O ye oaks of Bashan, for the forest of the vintage is come down. There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of young lions, for the pride of Jordan is spoiled."
These shepherds and young lions are kings in Israel and Judah in the latter days. (Kings are sometimes called shepherds.) These are kings whom the Lord will make use of to punish his own rebellious people; and when they have done their work, they are again themselves cut down like the cedars, and so the Lord says, “Thus saith the Lord, my God, Feed the flock of the slaughter (they are to be fed with judgment), whose possessors slay them and hold themselves not guilty; and they that sell them say, Blessed be the Lord, for I am rich, and their own shepherds pity them not.”
Now why does the Lord suffer the flock of Israel to be thus treated by their kings? We answer, It is because the day of their calamity and punishment has arrived when the Lord will visit their sins upon them, for the Lord says further, “ For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord, but lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor's hand, and into the hand of his king; and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them. And I will feed the flock of the slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul abhorred me. Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another."
This description of the prophet shows the fearful condition of things that will come to pass in that day between the kings and the people of the land when the Lord divides them and turns them to fighting and devouring each other like wild beasts because they have forsaken him and turned to other gods, to serve them.
1, Beauty These two staves which the Lord here calls Beauty, and Bands, are signs of two important events in Israel's history. The first applies to what transpired at Christ's first appearing, the second to what is yet to come to pass in the latter days, and so the Lord says, “I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people, and it was broken in that day, and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.”
Thus when Christ came to fulfil the law (for he is "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth "), he was bought and sold by his own people and taken by wicked hands and put to death, and they broke God's covenant with them, and therefore the Lord broke his covenant with them, and cut them off, and grafted in the Gentiles to provoke them to anger, even as the Lord had testified beforehand by Moses that he would do, saying in the song of witness, " They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God, they have provoked me to anger with their vanities; and I will move them to jealousy with those that are not a people, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” And afterwards, because of their hardness of heart, he sent the Romans and destroyed them and scattered them and took away their place and nation. Thus as the first staff was cut in sunder, so was God's covenant with his own rebellious people cut in sunder.
The Cutting Asunder of the Second Staff and the Meaning Thereof as Saith
the Prophet “Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel” (Zech. 11:14). The meaning of these words may be seen in this way: the first revolt was brought about through the means of Solomon's inconstancy, as testified in the eleventh chapter of First Kings (verse 9), saying, “ And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods, but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding, in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the land of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom, but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, which I have chosen."
Thus because of Solomon's idolatry the kingdom of Israel was divided into two contending nations for there was war between the kings of Israel and Judah all their days until God cast the ten tribes out of his sight. Now what happened to the kingdom of Israel in their former days will be manifest again in the kingdom of Israel in their latter days. The brotherhood was broken in the fourth year of the reign of Rehoboam and has never since been renewed, and in the days of Zechariah the ten tribes had been in dispersion about two hundred years, and that dispersion continues till the present day. Therefore as Zechariah prophesied of things which were to come to pass future to the times in which he lived, it follows that when he speaks of a brotherhood that was to be broken in the future, a brotherhood must first be formed before this prophecy can be fulfilled. And as no brotherhood has existed since the day that Zechariah prophesied, up to the present time, it follows to a certainty, that it must be fulfilled in the future. Therefore when the latter