Ho Ho Hosea and a Harlot named Gomer

Some of us are moving on to reading Hosea while others are spending some more time in Revelation. Hosea was one of the earliest of the canonical prophets, although we should note his life and prophetic ministry overlapped with Isaiah's (see kings mentioned in Isa. 1:1 and Hos. 1:1). The insensitive reader might at first glance think the problem in Israel was that of adultery and harlotry -that women in Israel were selling there sexual acts to men not thier husbands for a quick profit and perhaps that men in Israel were buying. But actually the references to a married woman giving herself to other "lovers" for quick payment are meant as a picture of Israel's more general and more pervasive sin. Israel, a people who were supposed to be God's faithful bride, were ascribing worth to other gods and therein finding satisfaction in less than what God would have for "her". In reading the first few chapters of Hosea we find the actual sins to be Idolatry and violence toward neighbor. As Israel worshiped false gods (Baals) and the man-made images of those gods, they reinforced the error of behaving according to man-made ideas of acceptable behavior, especially toward one another. But hey, you read the first 4 chapters or so, of Hosea and note whether or not specific passages as well as the whole message of Hosea warrant these observations.


The Harlot Theme (Part C)

While reading Revelation 17-21 we see the use of the harlot/bride metaphor as interchangeable with the city figures Babylon/New Jerusalem. The Harlot = "Babylon" and the Bride = "New Jerusalem." This kind of poetic representation was used by Isaiah as well.

How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers. (Isa 1:21) This passage spoke the truth about Jerusalem in Isaiah's day but it was brought to it's fullest realization with Jerusalem's treatment of Jesus.
Jesus speaking against the state-oriented religious institution of Jerusalem said,
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Mat 23:37-38)

It is appropriate to speak of man's religio-cultural pursuits (void of fidelity to God) under one symbol.
"And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified(Rev 11:8)."

This style of representation is what makes the most sense of Peter saying that "She [the congregation] who is in Babylon sends you greetings"(1Pe 5:13);when he was most likely in Jerusalem.

It also makes sense that we find "Babylon" spoken of, and described, by the author of The Revelation in ways that would bring the city of Rome to mind. On the larger scale, Rome most clearly represented the height of man's religio-cultural achievements.


she has chosen judgement

In the letter of "1st John," we have a straight foward warning.
1Jn 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and vainglory of life--is not from the Father but is from the world. (17) And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Now what if I wanted to give you a picture, really a personification, of the human tendancy to ignore the warning and yet be in some sense convincingly religious, you might see a symbolic woman that could make the claim of belonging to God as her husband yet unfaithfully selling herself to that which would offer an immediate payment less substantive than the rich, everlasting benefit of belonging to God.
Rev 18:4-8 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; (5) for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (6) Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. (7) As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, 'I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.'
(8) For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her."
Even as the "state'ish church" of Jesus day, out of a fearful lust for their position, found it "wise" to put to death the Nazarene, so we hear of the harlot generally that "in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth(Rev 18:24)." For the unchanging "Harlot," flawed desires will end in the flawed way of life.