Hosea 1 Introduction/Hosea and Gomer
The prophet Hosea’s name is essentially the same as the name Jesus, and it means “Salvation” or “Deliverance.” Hosea’s ministry took place between about 760 to 720 BC, laboring in the northern kingdom of Israel before its fall to the Assyrians, and during the ministry of the prophet Isaiah in the southern kingdom of Judah.
The story of Hosea’s marriage with Gomer in Hosea 1:2-9 appears odd, and some Bible scholars suggest that it is purely allegorical and not literal. Others propose that Gomer was his real wife, and she turned to wickedness after their marriage (which would disagree with verse 2). Perhaps the most satisfying explanation is that Hosea’s relationship with Gomer and their children is not literal, but metaphorical, wherein Hosea represents the Lord and Gomer represents the idolatrous and adulterous nation of Israel:
- In verses 4-5, the first child is named Jezreel, and the Lord will “avenge” (or perhaps repeat) king Jehu’s many killings at the place in northern Israel called Jezreel (see 2 Kings 9-10).
- In verse 6 the daughter is named Lo-ruhamah, meaning “no mercy,” signifying that unrighteous Israel has forfeited the Lord’s mercy.
- In verse 9 the second son is called Lo-ammi, meaning “not my people,” perhaps the most stinging of the Lord’s declarations toward the children of Israel.
- However, in verses 10-11 the Lord—like a loving, forgiving, covenant Husband—gives great promises to Israel. Read these verses to find the promises and prophecies of the Lord to His people.
Hosea 2-6 Consequences of Sin and Blessings of Repentance
Again, the prophet decries Israel’s spiritual state. Read the Lord’s declarations of their sins in Hosea 2:2-5, 8; 4:1-2, 8; 5:5; 6:7, 9. Then read the Lord’s punishments in Hosea 2:6-7, 9-13; 3:4; 4:3, 6, 10; 5:6, 15.
The desired outcome of all this is that Israel/the wife will repent and return to her “first husband,” who is the Lord. The Lord chastises His people because of His love for them (see Hebrews 12:6; D&C 95:1). Ultimately, Jehovah and His bride (those who choose to follow Him) will be eternally united:
- In addition to Hosea 1:10-11, what additional promises does the Lord make to covenant Israel in the last days, in Hosea 2:14-17; 3:5? In what ways does the Lord “allure” you (2:14) to come unto Him?
- Find the Lord’s further promises—to be fulfilled in the Millennium and beyond—as given in 2:18-23. What are some of the ways the Lord shows you His lovingkindness and His mercies?
Hosea 6; 10; 12-14 The Prophet’s Invitations
In Hosea 13:4, the Lord certifies to the children of Israel that “there is no saviour beside me.” Prophets of old—like prophets today—extended inspired invitations. Even when circumstances appear hopeless, the Lord continues to reach out, willing to take back those who will. Read Hosea’s invitations and the Lord’s promises:
Hosea 8:7 Sow the Wind
The first part of Hosea 8:7 says of the people of Israel, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” We cannot expect to survive life’s destructive storms if we fail to take the proper preparatory steps, both temporally and spiritually.
Hosea 13:4, 6; 14:9 There Is No Other Savior
Read Hosea 13:4. Can we remain faithful to our God when we are not humble enough to look to Him? What does Hosea 13:6 say is the reason the people of Israel had forgotten God? Read also Alma 32:12-16 and Helaman 12:1-4. For the Israelites and for us, there is only one way—read Hosea 14:9.
Joel 1 Background
Scholars disagree about the time of the prophet Joel, some believing that he labored in the mid 800s BC, while others think his ministry was some 300 to 400 years later. It is agreed that he was a prophet to the people of Judah, in the south. The main focus for us are his prophecies of the last days, leading up to the Second Coming of Christ.
Joel begins chapter 1 with the messages, hear this and give ear (verse 2), tell ye your children (verse 3), and awake (verse 5); followed by a list of tragedies that had come upon the people of Judah because of their iniquities. After getting their attention, what invitations does the Lord extend in verse 14? How might this verse be worded to us today?
Joel 2-3 The Great and the Terrible
Read the chapter headings, noting that each chapter contains elements of drastic war as well as Millennial peace. Chapter 2 begins, blow ye the trumpet and sound an alarm (verse 1). This time the message is to prophesy of Israel’s future.
The future coming of Jesus Christ is called a “great and dreadful” day (Malachi 4:5), and in Joel it is characterized as “great and very terrible” (2:11; see also verse 31). In our day, things will be “great” for some, while “dreadful” or “terrible” for others. Search the following references and make two lists—things “great” and things “dreadful/terrible.”
Joel 2 Verses 2-3, 5-6, 10-11, 15-16, 18-19, 21, 26-32
(Note: In his September 1823 initial visit to Joseph Smith, the Angel Moroni quoted Joel 2:28-32, saying that these verses were not yet fulfilled, but soon would be; see Joseph Smith—History 1:41.)
What things did the Lord say to us in Joel 2:12-13, in view of the events of the last days?
Continue with your lists of things “great” and things “dreadful/terrible:”
Joel 3 Verses 2, 9-12, 14-18, 20-21
Now, go back and ponder the following verses, wherein the Lord makes sweet, tender promises to those who choose to follow Him: Joel 2:21, 26-27, 32; 3:16. This is Our God.
As he began the October 2001 general conference, just three weeks after the events of 9/11, President Gordon B. Hinckley shared the following:
“The era in which we live is the fulness of times spoken of in the scriptures, when God has brought together all of the elements of previous dispensations. From the day that He and His Beloved Son manifested themselves to the boy Joseph, there has been a tremendous cascade of enlightenment poured out upon the world…. The vision of Joel has been fulfilled wherein he declared: [quotes Joel 2:28]…. We have seen only the foreshadowing of the mighty force for good that this Church will become….
“We live in a season when fierce men do terrible and despicable things. We live in a season of war. We live in a season of arrogance. We live in a season of wickedness, pornography, immorality. All of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah haunt our society…. Our strength is our faith in the Almighty. No cause under the heavens can stop the work of God. Adversity may raise its ugly head. The world may be troubled with wars and rumors of wars, but this cause will go forward.”