Israel’s Choice, Pt. 11 – Kings of Israel

In this series the question is being asked, “Did God’s people get the curses or the blessings?” We have already seen God’s prophesy that His people would choose the curses. Although there was some measure of judgment in the time of the Judges, the curses were more fully applied during the time of the kings and afterward. This is plainly explained in the following quote,

“Moses traced the evils that would result from a departure from the statutes of Jehovah. Calling heaven and earth to witness, he declared that if, after having dwelt long in the Land of Promise, the people should introduce corrupt forms of worship and bow down to graven images and should refuse to return to the worship of the true God, the anger of the Lord would be aroused, and they would be carried away captive and scattered among the heathen. ‘Ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it,’ he warned them; ‘ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.’ Verses 26-28. [Deuteronomy 4:26-28 quoted]
“This prophecy, fulfilled in part in the time of the judges, met a more complete and literal fulfillment in the captivity of Israel in Assyria and of Judah in Babylon.”
Prophets and Kings, p. 296

One of the evidences of the curse is the fury of the Lord as mentioned in Leviticus 26:28. The word fury is closely associated with the word anger, as shown in many other scriptures (see Jeremiah 7:20, 21:5, Lamentations 4:11, Ezekiel 7:8, Daniel 9:16, Micah 5:15). The above quote makes it clear that the arousal of the Lord’s anger would lead to the scattering of the nation, as was originally given in Leviticus 26:28-33.

Throughout the history of the kings in the Bible, phrases such as “provoked the Lord to anger” are mentioned quite often as various kings chose to do evil. To better analyze this, I did a systematic study through the books of Kings and Chronicles to see what was said about provoking God to anger.

This study will focus on Israel, and the following will focus on Judah.

THE KINGS OF ISRAEL

As it has been shown previously, in the list of kings study, all of the kings of Israel did according to the evil that their first king, Jeroboam, did. There were no kings that really did good, and I believe that is the main reason why Israel was cut off first.

Click the following link to see a one page summary of how the kings of Israel provoked the Lord to anger.
KingsIsraelProvokeAnger

DECLINE DURING THE SEVEN LAST KINGS

“For a season these predicted judgments were stayed, and during the long reign of Jeroboam II the armies of Israel gained signal victories; but this time of apparent prosperity wrought no change in the hearts of the impenitent, and it was finally decreed, ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.’ Amos 7:11.

“The boldness of this utterance was lost on king and people, so far had they gone in impenitence. Amaziah, a leader among the idolatrous priests at Bethel, stirred by the plain words spoken by the prophet against the nation and their king, said to Amos, ‘O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: but prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.’ Verses 12, 13.

“To this the prophet firmly responded: ‘Thus saith the Lord, . . . Israel shall surely go into captivity.’ Verse 17.

“The words spoken against the apostate tribes were literally fulfilled; yet the destruction of the kingdom came gradually. In judgment the Lord remembered mercy, and at first, when ‘Pul the king of Assyria came against the land,’ Menahem, then king of Israel, was not taken captive, but was permitted to remain on the throne as a vassal of the Assyrian realm. ‘Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the king of Assyria.’ 2 Kings 15:19, 20. The Assyrians, having humbled the ten tribes, returned for a season to their own land.

“Menahem, far from repenting of the evil that had wrought ruin in his kingdom, continued in ‘the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.’ Pekahiah and Pekah, his successors, also ‘did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.’ Verses 18, 24, 28. ‘In the days of Pekah,’ who reigned twenty years, Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, invaded Israel and carried away with him a multitude of captives from among the tribes living in Galilee and east of the Jordan. ‘The Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh,’ with others of the inhabitants of ‘Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali’ (1 Chronicles 5:26; 2 Kings 15:29), were scattered among the heathen in lands far removed from Palestine.

“From this terrible blow the northern kingdom never recovered. The feeble remnant continued the forms of government, though no longer possessed of power. Only one more ruler, Hoshea, was to follow Pekah. Soon the kingdom was to be swept away forever. But in that time of sorrow and distress God still remembered mercy, and gave the people another opportunity to turn from idolatry. In the third year of Hoshea’s reign, good King Hezekiah began to rule in Judah and as speedily as possible instituted important reforms in the temple service at Jerusalem. A Passover celebration was arranged for, and to this feast were invited not only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, over which Hezekiah had been anointed king, but all the northern tribes as well. A proclamation was sounded ‘throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.”
Prophets and Kings, p. 286-287

Read 2 Chronicles 30:5-11. Unfortunately, Israel mocked at the invitation to repent and keep the Passover.

Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 2 Chronicles 30:11

“In the terrible judgments brought upon the ten tribes the Lord had a wise and merciful purpose. That which He could no longer do through them in the land of their fathers He would seek to accomplish by scattering them among the heathen. His plan for the salvation of all who should choose to avail themselves of pardon through the Saviour of the human race must yet be fulfilled; and in the afflictions brought upon Israel, He was preparing the way for His glory to be revealed to the nations of earth. Not all who were carried captive were impenitent. Among them were some who had remained true to God, and others who had humbled themselves before Him. Through these, ‘the sons of the living God’ (Hosea 1:10), He would bring multitudes in the Assyrian realm to a knowledge of the attributes of His character and the beneficence of His law.”
Prophets and Kings, p. 292

The provoking of the Lord’s anger and the scattering of Israel was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Leviticus 26:33. In BC 723 Hoshea was carried captive, and the ten tribes of Israel were no longer an independent nation.

Again I share the following quote that speaks of the scattering in Deuteronomy 4:26-28, which is a repetition of the scattering in Leviticus 26:33.

“This prophecy, fulfilled in part in the time of the judges, met a more complete and literal fulfillment in the captivity of Israel in Assyria and of Judah in Babylon.”
Prophets and Kings, p. 296

“The destruction that befell the northern kingdom was a direct judgment from Heaven. The Assyrians were merely the instruments that God used to carry out His purpose. Through Isaiah, who began to prophesy shortly before the fall of Samaria, the Lord referred to the Assyrian hosts as ‘the rod of Mine anger.’ ‘The staff in their hand,’ He said, ‘is Mine indignation.’ Isaiah 10:5.”
Prophets and Kings, p. 291

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman.
Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols wherewith they had polluted it:
And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. Ezekiel 36:16-19

Was there any hope for Israel to be restored from their scattered condition?
How long were they to be scattered?

“The prophecies of judgment delivered by Amos and Hosea were accompanied by predictions of future glory. To the ten tribes, long rebellious and impenitent, was given no promise of complete restoration to their former power in Palestine. Until the end of time, they were to be ‘wanderers among the nations.’ But through Hosea was given a prophecy that set before them the privilege of having a part in the final restoration that is to be made to the people of God at the close of earth’s history, when Christ shall appear as King of kings and Lord of lords. ‘Many days,’ the prophet declared, the ten tribes were to abide ‘without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.’ ‘Afterward,’ the prophet continued, ‘shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.’ Hosea 3:4, 5.

“In symbolic language Hosea set before the ten tribes God’s plan of restoring to every penitent soul who would unite with His church on earth, the blessings granted Israel in the days of their loyalty to Him in the Promised Land. Referring to Israel as one to whom He longed to show mercy, the Lord declared, ‘I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. … [Hosea 2:14-17 quoted].

“In the last days of this earth’s history, God’s covenant with His commandment keeping people is to be renewed. ‘In that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls …’”
Prophets and Kings, p. 298-299

[Hosea 3:4-5 quoted, also quoted above] “This prophecy is to reach its complete fulfillment in the gathering out from all nations of a people prepared for the second coming of Christ. The remnant of Israel is symbolized by a woman, representing the Lord’s chosen church on the earth. …”
The Review and Herald, February 26, 1914 par. 7

When did this prophecy of “the gathering out from all nations of a people prepared for the second coming of Christ” first begin to be fulfilled? After “many days”. In 1798, at the time of the end, God began to raise up a reform movement to gather a people, a remnant, prepared for the second coming of Christ. Though Christ did not come at that time, the gathering has continued and will be perfectly fulfilled in our time when Christ does appear for the second time. We will study the transition at the time of the end more in depth in a later blog.

 

References

Bible, King James Version

Quotes taken from the Ellen G. White Writings, Comprehensive Research Edition 2008 CD

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