1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.

2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not 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;

Under the allegory of his unfaithful wife, is a representation of God's infinite patience and love and kindness toward Israel, and their repeated unfaithfulness and corruption. The lesson is for us, or we continually fail and are so often unfaithful to the beautiful character of godliness *

7 And she shall follow after her lovers [the nations], but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she [Israel] say, I will go and return to my first husband [Yahweh]; for then was it better with me than now.

Here is the patience and longsuffering of God -- waiting till she learns by bitter experience that there is no good but in Him.

This is a divine characteristic to be marveled at in thankfulness, but not to be presumed upon. Paul says in warning --

"DESPISEST thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to REPENTANCE?" (Rom. 2:4)

But still there must be divine longsuffering and patience in infinite measure, or none at all could be saved. This is the beautiful lesson of Hosea's personal allegory.

And this is the great lesson of the book for us -- the lesson of the unmerciful debtor -- the lesson that we have been given so much unmerited blessing that we should be eager and anxious to give all we can on our part -- that we have been forgiven so much that patience and mercy and love and longsuffering should be our joyful manifestation of thanksgiving toward God and desire to expand our hearts and minds and be like Him in the limitless pouring forth of goodness.

How small and cramped and ugly is the natural mind of the flesh! How vast and glorious and beautiful is the mind of the Spirit!

Any impatience, or bitterness, or unkindness, or condemnation of others, put us into the position of the evil, small-minded unmerciful debtor who was graciously forgiven a fortune but who without mercy extorted a few pence from his unfortunate neighbour.

Jesus' comment on the punishment of this evil man was --

"So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you if ye from your hearts -- FROM YOUR HEARTS -- forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

The greatest of personal sacrifice is repulsive to God if it is in self-glory and harshness, and not in the spirit of humbleness and mercy and tenderness and an expanding love toward all mankind.

But in spite of God's great love for His people, they must go through a long and terrible night of suffering for their foolishness and sins. *

8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.

She attributed her prosperity to her own efforts, and her intimacies with foreigners. All that she had, all that she could ever have, even her life itself, and her every breath, was of the love and mercy of God -- but she did not know.

"God left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17).

We take so much for granted, when we should be continually awed by God's goodness. We attribute so much to other causes, to our own efforts and accomplishments, when we should be in constant humble recognition that we of ourselves can DO nothing and ARE nothing, and ALL good is of God. *

14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.

Once again God will deliver His people from Egyptian darkness and bondage. Once again will He take them apart to Himself in the wilderness, and renew the covenant, and prepare them for the possession of the land. *

Forty Years

Between the first passover eaten in Egypt, and the entering into Canaan under Joshua, the Hebrew nation ate manna forty years in the wilderness.

Moses was forty years old when he forsook the court of Egypt. He remained in the land of Midian as a keeper of sheep forty years. After that he was king in Jeshurun forty years, during which he showed the wonders of God in the wilderness.

"According to the days of Israel's coming out of the land of Egypt, will I show to him wonderful things," in the wilderness of the people's; where I will plead with them face to face, like as I pleaded with their fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt," in bringing them into Gilead and Bashan to feed there as in the days of old.

The days of the coming out of Egypt were forty years. This passage in Micah confers an interest and importance upon this forty years, additional to what they naturally possess as the transition period between the servitude in Egypt and the encamping in the valley near Jericho, named the valley of Achor, under Joshua. They are converted by the Spirit into a sign of a future transition period of forty years, at the expiration of which the Twelve Tribes shall again encamp in the same valley, preparatory to their taking possession of the rest of the Holy Land.

The papal countries throughout which the Israelites are scattered, are collectively styled Egypt. The words of the Spirit are, "The Great City, which is called πνευματικως, pneumatikōs; pneumatically, or figuratively, Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."

Jesus was crucified in the Roman empire, which was constituted the great municipality or city, by the decree of Caracalla. The demoralized condition and fate of Sodom, and the relation of Israel to ancient Egypt, being significative of the condition and fate of Rome, and of the existing bondage and oppression of Israel in the bounds of its ecclesiastical dominion, and of the Egypt-like judgments that await the kings, priests, and peoples of her communion during the period of Israel's deliverance - the Roman system is most appropriately designated by the names of those ancient sinks of iniquity and abomination.

The spiritually-named Sodom and Egypt is the existing place of Israel's exile; and from the crucifixion of their king to the death of his witnesses, the arena of their conflicts with the Gentile powers, symbolized by the Beast with Seven Heads and Ten Crowned-horns. It is from this Egypt of the West that Israel has to be brought out in these "latter days," and to be transferred into the land promised to Abraham and his seed for a perpetual inheritance. How is it to be done?

The answer to this question, not of difficult production, is not the subject of this article. What I want to impress upon the reader's mind at this time is, that there is a coming out, or future exodus for Israel from the Egypt of the West; and that there is a future entering into Palestine by way of the ancient Jericho; and that between the coming out and the entering in, there is an interval of forty years. The "hour of judgment" on "Sodom and Egypt" belongs to this period.

It is the grand climacteric of Israel's years - the great transition period in which they are passing out of evil into good, exchanging blindness and degradation for divine intelligence, and exaltation above all nations of the earth. The forty years in the wilderness of Egypt was typical of a future forty years, sojourn in the wilderness of the peoples. It will begin under the seventh vial, and end with the exhaustion thereof; when it will be proclaimed, "It is done!" The work of engrafting Israel into her own Olive Tree, upon a principle of faith in Jesus as their king, will have been perfected; a work which only God can accomplish through the agency of Christ and the saints.

But, how shall Israel be induced to stand to arms, and in the face of strong powers begin their march towards the appointed wilderness? Oh, saith Yahweh, addressing David's son and Lord, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." "Behold I will allure Israel, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. 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 days when she came up out of the land of Egypt." This has never happened since Hosea recorded it in the oracles of God; it therefore remains to be fulfilled.

The reader will perceive from these testimonies that the restoration of the Israelites scattered and buried in the nations is indirect. When Moses led them out of ancient Egypt, he did not march them direct to Palestine; but led them by marches and counter-marches through a waste howling wilderness, indirectly to that glorious land. So the Spirit testifies it shall be in the future exodus. They will not be marched direct from the Egypt of the West into the Holy Land. At present they are intellectually and morally unfit for settlement in that land under Messiah. They will be allured from that Egypt into the wilderness; and marched from the wilderness to the Valley of Achor, when, by divine discipline and instruction, they shall be regarded fit.

This forty years in the wilderness of the peoples will precede by ten years, and, of necessity, be parallel with the last "hour" or thirty years of the continuance of "the kingdom of men," which at their expiration will lose all power to practise and make war. The marvellous things to be shown to the Israelites will make them mighty; so that "the nations" of that kingdom "shall see and be confounded at all their might; and shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf, and they shall lick the dust like a serpent; they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth; and they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee" - for the Lamb shall overcome them.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1854

15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor [trouble] 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.

Here is summed up the whole theme of the prophecy -- The valley of Achor -- the Valley of "Trouble" -- shall become a Door of HOPE.

All that they have passed through will be found to be the loving provision of God to lead them into hope.

"And she shall sing there as in the days of her youth."

The Song of Solomon is the song of the Bridegroom and the Bride. The Song of Moses and the Lamb, the great Song of the Redeemed, will be an antitype and memorial of when Israel sang in their joy of deliverance on the shores of the Red Sea. *

17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

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.

Here are the glories of the millennium so greatly needed today -- peace and harmony among all mankind, and among the whole animal creation. *

20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know Yahweh.

All things shall be made new again. All the estrangement of the past shall be forgotten in the final glorious reconciliation. *

21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith Yahweh, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;

22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.

The curse shall be removed, the long silence of rejection and estrangement broken, and all nature shall be in tune and in intimate, harmonious communion together, and eagerly responsive to Jezreel -- the redeemed Seed of God. *

*Bro Growcott - I Will Return To My First Husband.

23 And I will sow her 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 my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my Elohim.