Split Sermon given 12 November 2011

Hosea

by Ian Henderson

(PLAY FROM START)

What I'd like to do this afternoon is to just have a very brief look at Hosea. Because the Book of Hosea is very, very interesting; it's one of the sort of 'major-minor' prophets, one of the longer ones, and it has several things in it which parallel today, very much. If you turn to Hosea 1:1:

"The word of the [Eternal] 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." (Hosea 1:1)

Now it's rather interesting that Hosea is actually writing at the same basic time as Isaiah. If you want to just quickly look at the very first verse of Isaiah, Isaiah 1:1:

"The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah." (Isaiah 1:1)

So you can see these books were both written at the same basic sort of time. Now I did a little bit of arithmetic because you can link up the kings. There's one or two references that cross-reference the kings of Judah and the kings of Israel. And then it seems that Hosea was giving his prophecy starting some 80 years before the actual captivity, which seems to parallel what Mr Armstrong has done, quite remarkably. Hosea 1:2:

"The beginning of the word of the [Eternal] by Hosea [so this is a message from God to Hosea, which is exactly what happened with Mr Armstrong, isn't it? It is revealed knowledge]. And the [Eternal] said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the [Eternal]. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the [Eternal] 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." (Hosea 1:2-4)

Now, you know, that's one of the very first messages that Mr Armstrong gave, talking about the dictator arising, the dictator that would come and take into captivity both Britain and America. And this was given about the same time; this was given roughly 80 years before the captivity actually occurred.

Now, I know we tend to look at Hosea and we think, the first thing that comes into our mind is, "Well, this is a message to Ephraim." Well, it is, but it's also very much directed at the House of Israel, so, Manasseh, you are not let off the hook. As you'll see later, you'll have exactly the same problems. Another point: it was obviously written for the people of that time, but it was also aimed at us today. If you drop down to Hosea 1:7, you'll see it says there that God said:

"But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the [Eternal] their God..." (Hosea 1:7)

And they actually remained free for over a hundred years after Israel went into captivity. But if you just go forward to Hosea 5:5:

"And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their [lawlessness, which is what iniquity means in modern English]: Judah also shall fall with them." (Hosea 5:5)

So suddenly, from being spared and shown mercy, they're now falling with both Ephraim and Manasseh and the rest of the Israelitish countries. So, as you can see, this is very much a prophecy for us today. Just to let you know the dates: Israel was taken into captivity 721 to 718 BC, which meant that Hosea must have started prophesying around about 800 years before Christ. Judah went into captivity over a hundred years later: 604, the final invasion being 585 BC. So, this is very much a message to modern-day Israel.

The Problem (PLAY FROM 04:49)

So what was the problem? Hosea 2:11: We're just going to pick out a few key verses here, and try and get to the bottom of what Hosea's message was all about. Because as we go through this, keep in mind what Mr Armstrong's been preaching, and how, for instance, the sermon we had just the other week there sounded like he was giving it to us today. It wasn't 30 years old; it was very topical. Hosea 2:11. Here we start getting down to the root of the problem. God says:

"I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts." (Hosea 2:11)

There's your problem. They had departed from God's Feasts and God's Sabbaths, and were doing their own thing which, of course, is what mankind is still doing today. Now Mr Armstrong, writing in the booklet; ' Which Day Is The Christian Sabbath' chapter 5 writes:

"Probably you never understood the prophecy of Hosea before! It cannot be really understood unless you first understand the SABBATH COVENANT of Exodus 31:12-17!" 'Which Day Is The Christian Sabbath'

So, let's go back to Exodus 31:13. The only answer that some of the people who took Worldwide off the track had to this particular scripture, by the way, was, "Well, it's Old Testament, isn't it?" Yes! Exodus 31:13:

"Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the [Eternal] that doth sanctify you." (Exodus 31:13)

Now, I think that's a pretty important thing, isn't it? It's the one thing that's a sign between God and His people. Now, I think that's pretty important. In fact, it's not pretty important, it's vital. You have people in the world that will laugh and say, "Oh, well, it's the 'Jewish Sabbath'." The Sabbath was in force two and a half thousand years before a single Jew walked on the earth. It's been around since Creation. Israel lost that sign, the holy Sabbath, and they became known as the Lost Ten Tribes; they lost their identity, to the stage now where, when Mr Armstrong brought all this up, people were just pooh-poohing it. "How ridiculous. Oh, that was just some idea that some people had in the 1800s, the British Israel Society, and so on."

However, Judah kept the Sabbath, and Judah came out of captivity and they rebuilt the Temple, and today, as far as the world is concerned, the Jews are God's chosen people. But you see, they're in for a bashing as well, because they've got other problems, serious problems. So the nations of modern Israel were destroyed, and the big question, obviously, is why? Well, go to Hosea 4:6, and it starts to become a little bit obvious:

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [now, I don't think that's discussing the lottery numbers, or who's going to win the football pools, or who's going to die next in Eastenders. Knowledge of what?]: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God [that's the knowledge. He says], I will also forget thy children." (Hosea 4:6)

That's the knowledge that they 'conveniently' forgot, and if you try going today and explaining to any 'christian' about the Sabbath, they've got a hundred and one excuses as to why they shouldn't keep it. "...seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." (Hosea 4:6).

The Warning Went Out (PLAY FROM 09:11)

But they were warned. One of the hardest things that the Work under Mr Armstrong had to get around was getting the message to Ephraim. Because the Government blocked it; the BBC at that stage had total control over all the broadcasting. And yet, in Hosea 5:9, it says:

"Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke [when something's desolate, it means it's desolate; there's nobody left, the land is just left fallow, the people have all been taken or killed]: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be." (Hosea 5:9)

The message that God is going to punish Ephraim and Manasseh, and the other Israelitish countries, because they've forgotten the knowledge that they had originally. They've forgotten even who they were, because they ditched the sign, they got rid of the Sabbath. If you turn to Hosea 7:12, here's another reminder of a similar thing:

"When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard." (Hosea 7:12)

There's nobody that can say they haven't heard – or is there? Well, there's a lot of people that haven't heard. The younger generation today haven't heard. They'll hear right before the end, but the message has gone out, and the message has been rejected.

During Mr Armstrong's ministry, do you actually get some idea of the magnitude of the work of which this man was the head of, that this man inspired, that he led? Right up until within a year or two of his death, he was still running people thirty and forty years into the ground with his energy; he just kept going; it was like he had an internal dynamo in him.

I know I went to Luton several times to help get everybody back from the airport when they flew in, and Mr Armstrong would strut off the plane and shake hands with everybody, and he was in the car and off. And following would be the ministers who came with him – a bedraggled-looking lot, half asleep, and I said to Mr Hunting one time, "Why don't you all get some sleep? I mean, obviously Mr Armstrong's had a good doze." He said, "No. No. He's written a Plain Truth article, he's halfway through a member letter, and he's beaten us all in cards." And he's strutting away there, and all the others are – bags under their eyes, and everything!

The man just had a zeal. I think I've mentioned before at my graduation. We snuck back on campus having been to a news event, and 12 o'clock at night, we were in there, and he wanted to see the pictures that took four hours to produce, he wanted to listen to all the tapes. He never went to bed, he rewrote his graduation address. That night he was at the Bible Study, took the whole Bible Study, took the whole Sabbath service, went to the final basketball game on Saturday night, had all the ministers over for a drink after the final basketball game, which was probably after, what, 10 o'clock at night. And Mr Hunting came into the office in the morning and said, Mr Armstrong wanted a few bits and pieces, which I got, and I said, "Well, should I take them to the lodge?" He said, "Oh no, he'll be in Jerusalem in an hour's time. He's having lunch with Teddy Kollek."

So, I don't know when he slept that weekend. He certainly didn't get any sleep on Thursday night. He might have grabbed a few hours on Friday night. Saturday night would have gone into the wee hours, and he'd have to have been gone at four or five o'clock in the morning to fly to Jerusalem.

When he was running the Work, the Work sent out over 40 million pieces of literature – 40 million! The Work was the largest TV and religious broadcaster in the world. If you look down the list, I forget which one it was now, the second one down on the list is not even half the number of TV and radio stations that the Worldwide Church of God had at that stage.

Mr Armstrong spoke to the vast majority of political leaders, well, the ones that really mattered. I think we might actually try and get a list of everybody that he actually spoke to, and print it one day, so you can see everybody. It was absolutely amazing. And some people even accused the Church of rigging all this so that it could just appear that he was going to do this, but you know what, I was involved a little bit at the beginning of it, and they were invited. Everything was invitations. Even the way that King Leopold got to speak with Mr Armstrong in the first place. He actually asked Mr Armstrong to come speak to him, because he wanted to hear more. And you see, once you start networking with somebody like King Leopold, who knows everybody – that's when it all started, and once you speak to one, you get invited to another.

But you know, only God can open doors like that. You just don't get to speak to the leader of a nation by picking up the phone and saying, "I want to come and talk to you." Yeah, right. You try and get an appointment with the President of the United States, you'd be lucky if you even get put on the list, as an ordinary person. Mr Armstrong did all that, and more. I think we've all heard the sermon he gave on Trumpets 1985, just a few months before he died, and there was no flagging there, was there? Oh, he was complaining because he couldn't – his magnifying glass wasn't working too well, basically, he was having trouble reading the scriptures. But the mind, the mind, was sharp as a tack, right to the end.

Now, Hosea was putting out a very similar message, all those years before, go back to Hosea 1:6. Poor old Hosea. The servants of God back in that day had a bit of a rough time: "Go marry a prostitute." It's not exactly everybody's cup of tea:

"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." (Hosea 1:6)

"...I will utterly take them away". (Hosea 1:6). And this is the same sort of message that Mr Armstrong was putting out. Now, there's another link here, which we'll cover in a few minutes, but I'll just mention it here. All through the book of Hosea, there are encouraging patches as well, pointing to the future, pointing to the fact of what Israel will be in the future, once they get sorted out. It's not all 'bash them over the head and bury them', and that's what Mr Armstrong was doing as well. So much of it was encouragement. Go through some of the booklets. Go through 'The United States and Britain in Prophecy’. You pull the guts of that booklet out and it's pretty devastating, and yet, look at where it leads, look at what it points to. And, of course, if you're watching the news at the moment, I think we can see that everything's falling into place.

We even have Germany now talking about the 'inner core' within Europe, and somebody twigged and they said, "Hang on, we've already got a two-speed Europe. We've got the eurozone, the 17 nations, and we've got the 27 nations." So, they're two different groups. And then you get Mr Barroso saying, "If you're in Europe, you should be using the currency; it's in the treaty." You try and find it in the treaty. But what they do is they take a bit from page 3 and a bit from page 9 and a bit from page 37, and they string it all together, and then the lawyers put their twist on it, and it's in the treaty. That's how that treaty's written; it's very, very clever and most of the people who voted for it never read it. I've read it from cover to cover. It's the most boring thing I've ever done. But you know what? If we renege on European laws, they have the right to come into this country and take it over! It's in the treaty, it's in the Lisbon Treaty. In three different places. Yes, string them together, and that's what's there! And you know what, that's exactly what's going to happen.

Back to the Future (PLAY FROM 18:01)

Well, back to the future. Hosea 5:10:

"The princes of Judah were like them that remove the [boundary]: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water [Judah's also got a bit of a rough time coming up]. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after [or, walked away from] the commandment." (Hosea 5:10-11)

Now, I've got to be careful here, because if I start listing the laws, the very laws, that they have put into place regarding certain sorts of ways of life, I can be arrested and slung in jail for hate speech. That's how bad it's got. Hosea 5:12:

"Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness [that's kind of a serious warning]. When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound." (Hosea 5:12-13)

Now, a number of things here that are very interesting. First of all, the word 'sickness' (Strong's H2483), it's translated three different ways in the Old Testament. It's translated 'disease', it's translated 'sickness' and it's translated 'grief'. Now, you can read into that whatever you like, but there are other scriptures that seem to indicate that Ephraim gets clobbered in one day, and I know we've speculated in the past if something's going to happen to the Government, that the Government is taken out – drop a 747 on the Houses of Parliament, or something.

But there's something else interesting here. You see Judah: "...Judah saw his wound..." (Hosea 5:13). This is a 'wound' (Strong's H4205) in conflict. So it would appear - and again there's speculation here - but on the other hand, a wound is a wound. There are seven million people living in the state of Israel today, seven million. One million of them are Arabs, they are Israeli Arabs. So we have six million Jews surrounded by 400 to 500 million Arabs. Most of these nations are now armed to the teeth with all the latest weaponry. It doesn't make sense that those six million Jews still survive, quite frankly. They could be run over by two o'clock this afternoon, or three o'clock this afternoon. The Arab people should be able to walk in there and take that country over. But they are, it would appear, going to get a wound.

Now here's the other thing that struck me: if Israel got a wound, let's just say Iran lobbed one of their missiles over, with an atomic warhead, and flattened Tel Aviv, right? Where would Judah go? They'd have America, wouldn't they? Mr Netanyahu would be straight on the phone to his "My good friend Mr Obama..." who can't stand the sight of him. Bit of a bad slip that, if you're wearing a microphone, you make sure it's switched off. So, where's America? Where is America when Judah gets this wound? If this country had a major, major tragedy, we would tend to look more to America for help than we would Europe. But no, we go to 'the Assyrian', this King Jareb. It's got various meanings on his name, but it's obviously referring to the Assyrian. Hosea 5:13:

"...yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound." (Hosea 5:13)

So, King Jareb is not going to be helping either Judah or Ephraim. In fact, thinking to get the Assyrian as a helper, against what is God's judgement on Ephraim for sin. Israel is actually expecting help from God's avenger. Leading him into captivity as a deserter from God, if you think about it. He's going to the Assyrian for help. But meanwhile, if you read in Isaiah 10:5, I'll just quote it to you. This is what God says to them:

"O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." (Isaiah 10:5-6)

So, what does Ephraim do? He goes to the Assyrian for help. Does this make any sense at all? I was just talking to Mr Bowles this week, quoting a newspaper article where this guy was trying to sort the mess out at the moment, and he ended up by saying, "The whole of Europe is just insane!" Well, the whole world's insane because the power that runs this world today has got a twisted, devious, demented mind.

So, you've got Ephraim, who's about to be thrashed, flattened, taken into captivity by the Assyrian, going to the Assyrian for the help. Is it not interesting that after the Second World War, that almost immediately after the War, the Americans come along with the Marshall Plan, and they rebuild Europe. Now the Russians, the Russians went into East Germany, which they annexed, and Poland, and they took out all the good factories, and they took them, and they took them to Russia. Just lifted the whole factories up, rebuilt them in Russia. Because what they said was, "We're going to make these Germans a nation of farmers so they can never rise up against us again."

Now, I think that's a pretty good idea. We've been beaten up twice by the Germans, and the Russians particularly lost millions and millions of people, why not? But no, no, Uncle Sam goes in, with whole barrels of dollars, rebuilds Germany, rebuilds German industry. As Mr Armstrong said, way back in the late 1940s, "Be careful: we are building a Frankenstein monster that is going to turn on us and take us into captivity." And he said that before 1950. Nobody believed him. But what's happening right now?

Israel Needs to Turn to God (PLAY FROM 24:57)

If you drop down to Hosea 5:15, what we're going to do is read the last verse of Hosea 5 and the first verse of Hosea 6, because there's no chapter break in the actual message. This is God speaking:

"I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." (Hosea 5:15)

This is why God is going to do this to Israel, Britain and America, and the other western European nations. He wants to get their attention. He wants them to admit they've been wrong. He wants them to want to go the right way, and then He'll pour His spirit out upon them, won't he? Just turn to Hosea 6:1: Then the people say, when they're in the Tribulation:

"Come, and let us return unto the [Eternal]: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up [how do they know this?]. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." (Hosea 6:1-2)

Mr Armstrong mentions in 'The United States and Britain in Prophecy’:

"The coming Great Tribulation probably will last about 2 1/2 years – the 'Day of the Lord' about one year – then comes the RESURRECTION and second coming of Christ!" 'The United States and Britain in Prophecy

Unless those days are shortened. But here it is, "After two days will he revive us..." (Hosea 6:2). How did they know that? Well, there will be the two witnesses, won't there? And when do the two witnesses start witnessing? Just before the captivity. There's so many things we could speculate about here, but they're going to somehow get the message. When they go into the captivity, some of our children. I've got one child who's not baptized, not in the Church. If he goes, there's a promise there in II Chronicles 30:9 that God will protect them all the way through. But I'll tell you, he talks to me regularly, he knows what's going on out there. He can see it happening, and suddenly finds himself in the Tribulation. They'll be calling out pretty quick, won't they? They'll be calling out for God's protection, because they'll realize that what they were taught as kids was actually right. God says, He'll seal them. I actually wonder about Psalm 91:7 where it talks about:

"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." (Psalm 91:7)

Is this perhaps a message to some of Laodicea who are in the Tribulation, or the people that come through the Tribulation who form the human beings that go into the Kingdom of God? Because they are going to see that, aren't they? They are going to see the result. I mean, what Germany did in the last war, some of it was quite incredible. It's hard to even take in the things they did, just took a whole village out and just mowed them down. That's nothing. That is kindergarten standard compared to what the Catholic Church is going to be doing in the Tribulation. The Tribulation is just not a place to be. Drop down to Hosea 7:7, another thing which is rather interesting:

"They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me [the only time people call to God is by taking His name in vain, when something goes wrong they say, "Oh my God!" but they don't mean it, their God doesn't come into it, it's just become an expression]. Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned." (Hosea 7:7-8)

Now this is rather interesting. Let's take the 'cake not turned'. If somebody said to you, "You're a cake not turned" would you be insulted? Evidently, if you go back into Adam Clark, he explains that what they did in those days, to bake a cake or a loaf of bread, you had your oven, and they stoked the old fire up in the oven, but the bottom was smooth. When the fire was just to the right temperature, they'd put a blade in and push the fire to one side, and they'd put the bread or the cake in. Now that's great, it's getting cooked from the bottom, it's getting hot air a bit on the top, and it's getting this real heat from the side. So you had to keep on going in and turning it round and turning it round and turning it round until it was cooked evenly. Now, a cake not turned, would come out burnt on one side, and gooey on the other. In other words, "You're USELESS!" is what God is saying to them. All couched in language that people would understand back then. "You're useless! Totally useless!"

"Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people..." (Hosea 7:8) We've had that in the news, haven't we, in the last couple of weeks? We all had to go and get bio-metric passports, which are really cool. They've got a little chip in the back, and they just, whoosh, pass it over a scanner, and they've got all your details – what toothpaste you use, your shoe size, just about everything is in that chip. Of course, they didn't think that if a terrorist got a reader, they could just stand there and check who's American or who's British, and just pop them off. But that's another story.

But we have this system, and when people come into the country, particularly when they come from certain nations, we give them – I wouldn't say a rough time, but we make sure they are who they say they are. Or do we? "Control of its borders is the way in which a nation defends its security and identity, but to judge from some recent developments, Britain's security and identity, and parts of its Civil Service, have descended into a near-farcical shambles." (www.dailymail.com)

To cut a long story short, they're still arguing as to who gave who the message. But what happened was, because they were 'busy' and the queues were getting a little bit long, they just started letting people through. Who have they let through? I don't know. So now the chappie in charge of the department has resigned, blazing away at the Government, and the Government's blazing away at him. What a mess. But, of course, this is not happening in America, is it? I've got an article here: 'Suicide of a Super Power.' This is a gentleman called Frosty Woolridge. With a name like Frosty, I'm afraid he does have to be a Manassite, yes:

"Have you noticed more and more languages being spoken across America rather than English? Have you noticed that meats at the supermarket must be stamped 'Halal' for Muslim consumption? Have you noticed cab drivers with turbans? Have you noticed that Christmas, Easter and now Halloween, once powerful traditions of American life [should they have been?], they have now been changed so as to not offend immigrants?" (www.NewsWithViews.com)

Immigrants by the million. Like, they've allowed in the last 20 years into America, the entire British population plus some. Over 70 million people have been allowed into America.

"As a consequence of the cultural revolution," said Buchanan. "America has become two countries. The differences between us are wide, deep and enduring. Less and less often do we take the trouble to find common ground with people unlike us in views and values." (www.NewsWithViews.com)

And then he goes on, he says:

"Before 1965, we had been segregated [the blacks and the whites were segregated] as to housing and schools [and so on], but as Buchanan said, "We shared a [common] country and [a common] culture. We were one nation. We were Americans. We spoke the same language, learned the same history, celebrated the same heroes, observed the same holy days and holidays, went to the same films, rooted for the same teams, watched the same three channels, danced to the same music, ate the same foods and recited the same pledge of allegiance at school, and were taught the same truths about right and wrong, good and evil, God and country. We were a people then." (www.NewsWithViews.com)

And now?

"America is entering a time of troubles," said Buchanan. "The clashes of culture and creed are intensifying...and the crises that afflict us - culture wars, race division, record deficits, unpayable debt, waves of immigration, legal and illegal, of people never before assimilated, gridlock in capital, and possible defeat in war - may prove too much for our democracy to cope with." (www.NewsWithViews.com)

I think that's a pretty good view of America. And Ephraim's a cake not turned.

The Silly Dove (PLAY FROM 34:35)

Something pretty bad has got to happen to our brother across the channel, because America is still a frighteningly powerful nation [2011]. They have, I think, eleven battle groups headed by an atomic-powered aircraft carrier, and a full squadron of ships. One of those could take on most nations and wipe them out, and they've got eleven of them. They are incredibly powerful. The weaponry they've got, and stuff, is amazing and yet, "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound..." (Hosea 5:13) there's no help from Uncle Sam. So what's going to happen to America? Is it going to be destroyed from within? Are they going to be hit by some real natural disasters? I mean, mega, that kill millions. What's going to happen? Ephraim and Israel are useless in God's eyes at the moment. Hosea 7:9:

"Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not." (Hosea 7:9)

You know, when I was a youngster, there was always a thing going on: 'Buy British'. People would make goods, and they'd stamp a Union Jack on. If you wanted a car, you bought a 'British car' and we had, oh did we have cars! We had twenty, thirty different manufacturers – British. Engines, everything, all the bits and pieces, British, right?

I actually drive – for my sins! – an American car. You know what? Half of that thing's made in China! That's right. The body shell is an American design. The car was assembled in Germany, evidently, with bits from all over the world. Because that's what we've done. The bankers, the people who really control how things are done, look for where can they get the best value for their buck.

We had it in this country, we had a chap called Mr Dyson who invented a wind-up radio, and a few other things, a whole range of vacuum cleaners which are quite incredible, but he couldn't get the help he needed so what's he done? He's taken his whole factory and stuck it somewhere in the Far East. Over a thousand people in this country lost their jobs. That's a thousand people not buying cars, not buying houses, not buying food, clothing, not going out for meals. They're now sitting at home on the dole, being paid by the Government. Raleigh bicycles – you could go on, the list is endless. America's even gone to the stage, right, where some parts that go into their fighter aircraft are made in China! Like, "silly dove?" "Thick as two short planks," as they would say today. Hosea 7:10:

"And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face [aren't the Americans proud? We're now talking about getting Israel and America together to go and beat up Iran, and America are getting the UN stirred up to let Turkey go in and beat up Syria. It's quite incredible]: and they do not return to the [Eternal] their God, nor seek him for all this. Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria." (Hosea 7:10-11)

When we moved to Rhodesia I was 12 and, of course, suddenly being in Africa, one became, obviously, the 'great big hunter'. You had to hunt everything. I had an air rifle, and the damage I inflicted on the environment with that air rifle – I shudder, anything that moved that was 'shootable-at', for a while, anyway.

But then my friend and I got into thinking, "Well, we should actually be trapping these animals, then we can see them, we can feel them, touch them, get bitten by them, and all the rest of it." So we started with birds, and we tried all sorts of birds. But you know, there's one bird you can catch every time. It's a dove. They are thick; they really are stupid. All you need to do is get a dome of mesh, a stick and a piece of string, a bit of grain, and you stick a big pile of grain under it, and you get back behind a bush and you stand there. Within half an hour, there'll be a dove, sometimes even two and three of them, and they'll follow along, BANG! Got 'em!

So we could take them and feel them and stroke them, and let them go. Then it suddenly dawned on us, "This is actually quite silly. Because, we're catching these things too easy." So I said, "Oh, we're catching the same ones," and my friend said to me, he said, "Oh, you've got to be joking; they wouldn't be that daft!" So next time we caught them, we tied a little bit of red thread round their leg, right? And then the next day we went out, and guess what? We caught three doves and they all had red thread round their legs. You'd think they'd just look up and see the same thing, "Oh no, it's not a good idea!"

We noticed that a dove's nest had been destroyed by probably a big bird or kids or whatever, and you know what? She went right back and she rebuilt the nest in exactly the same place. Is that not what our people are doing today? Is that not what our people are doing today? It's quite incredible.

Also a Message of Encouragement (PLAY FROM 40:05)

And yet all through Hosea, as with Mr Armstrong, you've got encouragement. Go back to Hosea 1:10. Having talked about all the drama and the troubles that are coming, he says:

"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." (Hosea 1:10)

Do you realize what that's saying? It's saying that these physical people who repent in the Tribulation, come back into the land and are the physical people that will go on into the Millennium, will end up in the family of God as sons - tremendous. Hosea 2:23:

"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 God." (Hosea 2:23)

There's a change coming, isn't there? Hosea 3:5:

"Afterward [afterwards, right?] shall the children of Israel return, and seek the [Eternal] their God, and David their king; and shall fear the [Eternal] and his goodness in the latter days." (Hosea 3:5)

Unfortunately, sometimes you've got to get people's attention first. And as one man said, the best thing to do to get someone's attention is to bash them on the head with a piece of two-by-four. That gets the attention. You do it with children, don't you? Sometimes you've got to, yes, 'tune them up a little bit', and that gets the attention. The ears, suddenly the wax goes, and, ooh yes, yes, things are wonderful. You see, God understands that people are not really going to 'get it' until He pours out His spirit, and that's what it says. You all know Acts 2:17:

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:" (Acts 2:17)

So, the message is two-fold, and it's exactly what Mr Armstrong preached: the punishment of Israel on the one hand, but the ultimate promise that they will return to God and will ultimately be part of the God Family. So, God has a time and a place for every single person who has ever lived. I remember Mr Waterhouse saying that He will put people in the position where they are given the best opportunity to make it into His family. That's why some people are called now. Some have been called and they rejected it, whatever. They're in all sorts of states. But I'll tell you one thing, and that is this: God sent Mr Armstrong as that end-time Elijah, and He revealed through him the Way. That's what we've got to cling onto, and that's what everybody will have to return to. There is no other way. God is one way, and that's it.

And then you come to Hosea 14:1. Perhaps this week as homework, go and read Hosea now, and just see this mixture of "I'm going to beat you up to get your attention" on the one hand, but then on the other hand:

"O Israel, return unto the [Eternal] thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine [lawlessness]. Take with you words, and turn to the [Eternal]: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. Asshur [or Assyria] shall not save us...[Verse 4] I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon [in the Millennium]. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?..." (Hosea 14:1-8)

Earlier in the book it says, "Ephraim is wedded to idolatry" (Hosea 4:17 paraphrased). Even the 'pop idol' culture – I noticed in the papers just recently that, I forget the name of them now, two of these pop people, obviously a male and a female, got together and produced a 'love-child'. In other words, they're not married, but it's a 'love-child'. That's not what God calls it. If you want to do a bit of homework, check it out. Hosea 14:8:

"Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found [I am producing fruit]. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the [Eternal] are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein." (Hosea 14:8-9)

And this is the key: "...for the ways of the [Eternal] are right, and the just shall walk in them..." (Hosea 14:9). That's the key. The exciting thing is, our job, our job description, is to make this work, under Jesus Christ, very shortly.