The Prophet Decries “altars for sinning”

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Aside from the use of the “Green Man” motif, gargoyles, and other mythic beasts in the cathedral, there is a more central motif to these structures. One of the distinctive elements of “Gothic” architecture is the use of arched ceilings supported by pillars which stretch upward and interlock at the apex. Anyone who has seen these cathedrals cannot help but notice that these Gothic ceilings very much resemble trees arching over the worshiper.

The Bible speaks of “groves” where pagan worship was held (Exodus 34:13, Judges 3:7, etc.). Druids conducted their rites among groves of trees. Such groves were among the oldest pagan temples. The Israelites were strongly commanded to cut down the pagan groves of trees which were used for worship (Exodus 34:13). Thus it was a diabolical jest that these masons created an evocation in stone of this most ancient of idolatrous temples. – William Schnoebelen, Masonry: Beyond the Light

Today, we continue with the idolatry of Israel…

 “Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My law. Israel will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know You!’ Israel has rejected the good; the enemy will pursue him (Hosea 8:1-3 NKJV).

Their profession of the Knowledge of God and attachment to His Word was false.  The “good” which Israel rejected is none other than Jehovah God and His Law.

Many will say to Me in that day, LORD, LORD, have we not prophesied in Your Name?  And in Your Name have cast out devils?  And in Your Name done may wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me you who work iniquity (Matt 7:22-23 KJV).

But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word (John 8:55 ESV).

“They set up kings, but not by Me; they made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold they made idols for themselves— that they might be cut off. Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them— how long until they attain to innocence? For from Israel is even this: a workman made it, and it is not God; but the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces (Hosea 8:4-6 NKJV).

The people had invented from their own imaginations the idol calf.  It’s impotency to save would be demonstrated when the Assyrians broke it to piece.

“They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.  The stalk has no bud; it shall never produce meal. If it should produce, aliens would swallow it up. Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the Gentiles like a vessel in which is no pleasure. For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself; Ephraim has hired lovers. 10 Yes, though they have hired among the nations, now I will gather them; and they shall sorrow a little, because of the burden of the king of princes (Hosea 8:7-10 NKJV).

The analogy is of a man attempting to sow seed in the face of a strong wind.  The seed is blown away with the harvest reaping only that which the “whirlwind” gives.  Israel would seek help from the Assyrians—the very ones who would destroy them.

“Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, they have become for him altars for sinning. 12 I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing. 13 For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. They shall return to Egypt (Hosea 8:11-13 NKJV).

The Word of God is a “great thing,” and it was given to Israel, yet Israel counted God’s Word as a “strange thing.”  And bondage was the result.

“For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his palaces” (Hosea 8:14 NKJV).

Israel built shrines to idol gods on high places and put her trust in her “fortified cities.”  The consequences of her pagan hybrid worship would be disastrous.

Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples, for you have played the harlot against your God. You have made love for hire on every threshing floor. The threshing floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her (Hosea 9:1-2 NKJV).

Desiring treaties with and to be like pagan nations, Israel whored herself after their gods and their occult rituals.  She gave honor to her idol gods for the treaty made with Assyria, a treaty which God called “harlotry.”  Instead of Israel making her future secure by making this treaty, she actually guaranteed the insecurity of her future.

They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria. They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord, nor shall their sacrifices be pleasing to Him. It shall be like bread of mourners to them; all who eat it shall be defiled. For their bread shall be for their own life; it shall not come into the house of the Lord (Hosea 9:3-4 NKJV).

Spiritually speaking, Israel had returned to the bondage of Egypt.  Their “worship” was a mere imitation of God’s Levitical model because it was polluted by man-made pagan ideas and rituals.

What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire” (II Peter 2:22 ESV).

What will you do in the appointed day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? For indeed they are gone because of destruction. Egypt shall gather them up; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their valuables of silver; thorns shall be in their tents. The days of punishment have come; the days of recompense have come. Israel knows! The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is insane, because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity (Hosea 9:5-7 NKJV).

Here the LORD declares the false prophets who declared untrue things and polluted the worship of God with paganism to be “fools” and even “insane.”

The watchman of Ephraim is with my God; but the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways— Enmity in the house of his God. They are deeply corrupted, as in the days of Gibeah.  He will remember their iniquity; He will punish their sins (Hosea 9:8-9 NKJV).

In the days of Joshua, Israel was a true watchman in fellowship with Jehovah God, but she had forfeited all this and become a false prophet, a moral snare, a provocation in the house of her false god.

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, and separated themselves to that shame; they became an abomination like the thing they loved. 11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception! 12 Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13 Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place, so Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer” (Hosea 9:10-13 NKJV).

Ritual consecration to their false gods involved lewd worship which included prostitution as a highest ritual action. Child sacrifice was also crucial to pagan worship. The result of such practices was the worshippers in the Face of the Holy God became as abominable as the object of their worship.

Give them, O Lord— what will You give?  Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts! 15 “All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit. Yes, were they to bear children, I would kill the darlings of their womb” (Hosea 9:14-16 NKJV).

The Prophet proclaims a prayer which says that it was better to be childless than to provide children for the murderer.  The actions of rebellious Israel were so depraved that the LORD withdrew His Protection from them.

My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations (Hosea 9:17 NKJV).

Even though they did not acknowledge it, Israel’s sustenance, blessing, strength, and everything existed totally in Jehovah God.  Without Him “their root is dried up,” and they are mere “wanderers among the nations.”

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our LORD Jesus Christ.  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts (Jude 17-18 KJV).