The Old Testament Prophets Daniel, Zechariah and Joel all speak prophetically of 4 great empires that would come against God’s chosen people Israel to consume and devour. This consuming had been going on for more than 27 centuries now. History tells us that Daniel got it right when he prophesied in Chapter 2 that these 4 empires that would rule the world and wreck havoc upon Israel would be the Babylonian, the Medo Persian, the Greek and the Roman Empires. Zechariah saw them as 4 horns. And the Prophet Joel described them as 4 kinds of locusts as in Chapter 1 : 4 “What the cutting locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; And what the swarming locust has left, the licking locust has eaten; And what the licking locust has left, the consuming locust has eaten.”
Whatever metaphor we use to depict these 4 great empires, the fact is, Israel had been sustained through this long period of suffering and ultimately will turned back to God, and receive a salvation and a restoration. For us, God’s New Testament people these consuming locusts representing all of human government had also been used by God for His specific purpose and goal, and that is the Christ might be manifested.
The book of Joel in the Old Testament contains 3 main points. The first is the plague of the 4 locusts found in Chapter 1. These 4 locusts in Joel 1, the 4 horns in Zechariah, the 4 beasts in Daniel 7 and the great image in Daniel 2 seen in 4 sections all refer to the four great empires of human history. The Babylonians, the Medo Persian, the Greek and the Roman Empires. These 4 empires representing the totality of human government had been consuming Israel for 27 centuries.
The second main point of Joel is the outpouring of the Spirit prophesied in Chapter two, and referred to by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost.
The third main point in Joel is the coming restoration, not only of Israel but of the whole universe. Such a short book, a Minor Prophet in the Old Testament, yet such a great content.
Joel (Program #1) – On Joel (1)—The Introductory Word and the Day of Jehovah
The book of Joel one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament is very short only three Chapters. And yet interestingly the phrase “the day of Jehovah” is used 5 times in these three Chapters. The day of Jehovah corresponds to the New Testament phrase the day of the Lord, as in such verses as : 1 Thessalonians 5 :2 “For you yourselves know perfectly well that like a thief in the night, so the day of the Lord comes.” Whether in the Old Testament or the New is a very specific phrase that points not just to the Lord’s coming in a general way but specifically to the day when the Lord comes to establish His judgment on the earth. In that day, the day of the Lord all other judgment will be render meaningless and vain, especially our own judgment. This matter is the central point in the book of Joel but it requires the whole Bible to gain a proper and accurate view concerning it.
Hosea (Program #6) – On Hosea (7)—Jehovah’s Unchanging Love Versus Israel’s Stubborn Unchastity (2)
Ask any married man, and he will tell you that the single most important virtue of a wife is her chastity or her faithfulness. Once that is gone is very difficult to hold a marriage together. In the Old Testament book of Hosea, Jehovah liken the nation of Israel to an unchaste wife. Israel had been betrothed to God but soon after another and became caught up in spiritual harlotry. As a result Jehovah was left with no choice but to chasten her. His chastening or discipline was motivated not by His wrath but rather by His unchanging love. And Hosea Chapters 11 through 14 give the account of how this mighty and powerful unchanging love of God eventually subdued Israel and even transformed her.
Hosea (Program #5) – On Hosea (6)—Jehovah’s Unchanging Love Versus Israel’s Stubborn Unchastity (1)
The entire book of Hosea servers as a kind of metaphor showing us how Israel as God’s wife was unfaithful to Him even becoming a harlot. Unfaithfulness in marriage always lead to more and more evil and sinfulness. And the same was true with Israel. She eventually became sinful in her social dealing, that’s in her dealing with man. And also in her relationship with God on every level. Not only was Israel given fully to idolatry and sinfulness, but also she was stubborn refusing to turn back to Jehovah. In Chapter 7 referring to the stubbornness Jehovah says of Israel Ephraim is a cake not turned. By Chapter 11 Israel as this unturned cake refusing the admonition of Hosea and all the prophets eventually losses everything, including the temple, Jerusalem, the sacrifices, and ultimately the priesthood and the prophets.
Hosea (Program #4) – On Hosea (3)—The Sins of the Apostate People, the Punishments of Jehovah, and the Return of the Apostate People
Chapters 4 through 6 in the book of Hosea give us many details concerning God chastisement of rebellious people, Israel. For the most part He used the great nations, the great empires of the human history to accomplish this chastisement. Israel had suffered under first the Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar and then the Medo Persian empire and the Greek empire and ultimately the Roman empire. And as harshly as Israel had suffered under these four great empires that were prophesied first by the prophet Daniel, still God had used this for good. Because Israel will eventually return to Jehovah and be fully restored. But even more than that God had used these four consuming empires as factors to help in the accomplishment of His great purpose in bringing forth and manifesting Christ
Hosea (Program #3) – On Hosea (2)—The Symbol of a Wife of Harlotries (2)
The Lord used the prophet Hosea to signify His own sorrow and anguish over the unfaithfulness of His people Israel. Jehovah commanded Hosea to take Gomer who was a harlot as a wife and to love her in spite of heradultery. This was to show Hosea that the Lord view His people Israel as an unfaithful wife. Well, Hosea obeyed the Lord and married Gomer. But after he had born children to him, she left again to chase other lovers. Once again Jehovah came to Hosea and told him to receive her back, and to love her again. Here we see that the Lord patiently drawing Israel His people back to Himself. With a clear promise that at the end of this age He would restore her. This age of restoration would be at the coming of the Lord Jesus. The Minor Prophet Hosea gives us both a clear window into God’s heart for His people and also an unmistakable prophecy of the coming age of the kingdom.
Hosea (Program #2) – On Hosea (1)—The Introductory Word and The Symbol of a Wife of Harlotries (1)
Do you realize that the subject of the two bookends of the Bible is the same? It is marriage. The Bible both begins and ends with the loving union of a husband and a wife. In Genesis chapter two, the couple is Adam and Eve. In Revelation 21 and 22, the couple is Christ and the church which becomes the New Jerusalem. In fact the entire Bible is the story of Romance. A romance between God and His corporate people. In Genesis, Adam is really a type of Christ and Eve a type of the church. In Song of Songs, Solomon typifies Christ while the Shulammite maiden represents the church. In the books of the prophets, the bride is typified by the nation of Israel. So now we can see truly the Bible is a romance, the story of a divine person pursuing, wooing and eventually winning the delight of His heart. By Revelation 21, we are told that the bride has made herself ready and that she is spotless and without blemish. But she was not always so. As we see in many places in the Bible, like Hosea, this bride needs much work before she can be ready to be presented to the most lovely and attractive One in the universe, the Lamb of God, our dear Lord Jesus, our bridegroom.
The book of Hosea begins the final group of books in the Old Testament. These twelve books call the Minor Prophets may actually been combined into one book in ancient times called the Book of the Prophets. It was to these and the four Major Prophets that the Lord Jesus Himself refer to in Luke 24:44, “And He said to them, These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all the things written in the law of Moses and the Prophets and Psalms concerning Me must be fulfilled.” Hosea, like all of the Minor Prophets is a book that is full of the revelation of Christ. Particularly, Hosea also reveals that it is God’s deep longing to have a love relationship as a husband to a wife with His people.
Daniel (Program #17) – The Visions of the Overcoming Daniel (7)
The book of Daniel in the Old Testament covers a wide span. If we have the proper understanding, Daniel shows us the entire Bible actually from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, it could be said that without Daniel there is no way to understand the Bible as the single unique, divine revelation available to mankind. We come to our final program today on this life study of Daniel…