Hosea 12-14, Revelation 4 (Easy-to-Read Version)
The Lord Is Against Israel
12 Ephraim is wasting its time; Israel “chases the wind” all day long. The people tell more and more lies and steal more and more. They have made agreements with Assyria, and they are carrying their olive oil to Egypt.
2 The Lord says, “I have a complaint against Israel.[a] Jacob must be punished for the bad things he did. 3 While Jacob was still in his mother’s womb, he began to trick his brother.[b] Jacob was a strong young man, and at that time he fought with God. 4 Jacob wrestled with God’s angel and won.[c] He cried and asked for a favor. That happened at Bethel. There he spoke to us. 5 Yes, Yahweh is the God of the armies.[d] His name is Yahweh. 6 So come back to your God. Be loyal to him. Do the right thing, and always trust in your God!
7 “Jacob is a tricky merchant.[e] He even cheats his friend! Even his scales[f] lie. 8 Ephraim said, ‘I am rich! I have found true riches! No one will learn about my crimes. No one will learn about my sins.’
9 “But I am still the Lord your God, as I was when you left the land of Egypt. I will make you live in tents, as you do during the Festival of Shelters.[g] 10 I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions. I gave the prophets many ways to teach my lessons to you. 11 But the people in Gilead have sinned. There are many terrible idols in that place. They offer sacrifices to bulls at Gilgal. They have many altars. There are rows and rows of altars—like the rows of dirt in a plowed field.
12 “Jacob ran away to the land of Aram. There Israel worked for a wife. He kept sheep to get another wife. 13 But the Lord used a prophet and brought Israel out of Egypt. He used a prophet and kept Israel safe. 14 But Ephraim made the Lord very angry. Ephraim killed many people, so he will be punished for his crimes. His Lord will make him bear his shame.”
Israel Has Ruined Itself
13 “The tribe of Ephraim made itself very important in Israel. Ephraim spoke and people shook with fear. But Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal, so he must die. 2 Now the Israelites sin more and more. They make idols for themselves. Workers make those fancy statues from silver, and then they talk to their statues. They offer sacrifices to them, and they kiss those calf idols. 3 That is why those people will soon disappear. They will be like a fog that comes early in the morning and then quickly disappears. The Israelites will be like chaff that is blown from the threshing floor. The Israelites will be like smoke that goes out a window and disappears.
4 “I have been the Lord your God since the time you were in the land of Egypt. You did not know any other god except me. I am the one who saved you. 5 I knew you in the desert—I knew you in that dry land. 6 I gave food to the Israelites, and they ate it. They became full and satisfied. They became proud, and then they forgot me.
7 “That is why I will be like a lion to them. I will be like a leopard waiting by the road. 8 I will attack them like a bear whose cubs were robbed from her. I will attack them and rip open their chests. I will be like a lion or other wild animal tearing and eating its prey.
Israel Cannot Be Saved From God’s Anger
9 “Israel, I helped you, but you turned against me. So now I will destroy you. 10 Where is your king? Can he save you in any of your cities? Where are your judges? You asked for them, saying, ‘Give me a king and leaders.’[h] 11 I was angry, and I gave you a king. And when I became very angry, I took him away.
12 “Ephraim tried to hide his guilt.
He thought his sins were a secret,
but he will be punished.
13 His punishment will be like the pain of a woman giving birth.
He will not be a wise son.
The time will come for his birth,
and he will not survive.
14 “I will save them from the grave.
I will rescue them from death.
Death, where are your diseases?
Grave, where is your power?
I am not looking for revenge.
15 Israel grows among his brothers,
but a powerful east wind will come—the Lord’s wind will blow from the desert.
Then his well will dry up.
His spring of water will be dry.
The wind will take away anything of value.
16 Samaria must be punished
because she turned against her God.
The Israelites will be killed with swords.
Their children will be torn to pieces,
and their pregnant women will be ripped open.”
Return to the Lord
14 Israel, you fell and sinned against God. So come back to the Lord your God. 2 Think about what you will say, and come back to the Lord. Say to him,
“Take away our sin,
and accept these words as our sacrifice.
We offer you the praise from our lips.[i]
3 Assyria will not save us.
We will not ride on war horses.
We will never again say, ‘Our God’
to something we made with our hands.
This is because you are the one who
shows mercy to orphans.”
The Lord Will Forgive Israel
4 The Lord says,
“I will forgive them for leaving me.
I will show them my love without limits,
because I have stopped being angry.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel.
Israel will blossom like the lily.
He will grow like the cedar trees of Lebanon.
6 His branches will grow,
and he will be like a beautiful olive tree.
He will be like the sweet smell
from the cedar trees of Lebanon.
7 The people of Israel will again live under my protection.
They will grow like grain.
They will bloom like a vine.
They will be like the wine of Lebanon.
The Lord Warns Israel About Idols
8 “Ephraim, I will have nothing more to do with idols.
I am the one who answers your prayers and watches over you.[j]
I am like a fir tree that is always green.
Your fruit comes from me.”
9 A wise person understands these things,
and a smart person should learn them.
The Lord’s ways are right.
Good people will live by them.
Sinners will die by them.[k]
- Hosea 12:2 Israel Literally, “Judah.”
- Hosea 12:3 he … his brother Or “he grabbed his brother’s heel.” This is a wordplay. The Hebrew word is like the name “Jacob.” Read Gen. 25:26.
- Hosea 12:4 Jacob wrestled … and won Read Gen. 32:22-28.
- Hosea 12:5 Yahweh is the God of the armies This is like one of the names for God. It is usually translated “Lord All-Powerful.”
- Hosea 12:7 Jacob … merchant Literally, “Cannan.”
- Hosea 12:7 scales Or “balances,” a tool for weighing things.
- Hosea 12:9 as … Shelters Literally, “as in the days of meeting.” This might also refer to the meeting of God with his people in the Holy Tent (see “Holy Tent” in the Word List) during their wandering in the desert.
- Hosea 13:10 You asked for … leaders See 1 Sam. 8:4-9.
- Hosea 14:2 praise from our lips Literally, “the fruit of our lips.”
- Hosea 14:8 and watches over you This is a wordplay. The Hebrew word is like the name “Assyria.” God is saying that he, not some foreign country, protects Israel.
- Hosea 14:9 Good … die by them Literally, “Good people will walk on them. Sinners will stumble on them.”
John Sees Heaven
4 Then I looked, and there before me was an open door in heaven. And I heard the same voice that spoke to me before. It was the voice that sounded like a trumpet. It said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” 2 Immediately the Spirit took control of me, and there in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it. 3 The one sitting there was as beautiful as precious stones, like jasper and carnelian. All around the throne was a rainbow with clear colors like an emerald.
4 In a circle around the throne were 24 other thrones with 24 elders sitting on them. The elders were dressed in white, and they had golden crowns on their heads. 5 Lightning flashes and noises of thunder came from the throne. Before the throne there were seven lamps burning, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was something that looked like a sea of glass, as clear as crystal.
In front of the throne and on each side of it there were four living beings. They had eyes all over them, in front and in back. 7 The first living being was like a lion. The second was like a bull. The third had a face like a man. The fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of these four living beings had six wings. They were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stopped saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God All-Powerful.
He always was, he is, and he is coming.”
9 These living beings were giving glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, the one who lives forever and ever. And every time they did this, 10 the 24 elders bowed down before the one who sits on the throne. They worshiped him who lives forever and ever. They put their crowns down before the throne and said,
11 “Our Lord and God!
You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power.
You made all things.
Everything existed and was made because you wanted it.”