Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes   Note 12/07

No King in Israel

Readings: Hosea 3, Judges chapters 17, 18 & 19

Events in the land of Israel are constantly in the news: and most students of Bible prophecy are interested in what is happening there. The Scriptures are packed with historical events that took place in ancient Israel. In the Bible Israel is referred to as the 'chosen race.'

Deut.14: 2: For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Today we are going to look at a little-known prophecy which tells us that Israel would, for many years, be:

Let us now look at this amazing prophecy.

Ancient kings had total power over their subjects. At a word they could raise one person to high rank or put another to death. No one dared oppose his will or dispute his judgement. Unfortunately many of the kings of ancient Israel were evil men. They misused their power and greatly oppressed their people, often leading them away from the paths of righteousness. National sin attracted the wrath of Jehovah the God of Abraham who eventually dispersed His chosen people Israel to the four corners of the earth. Nevertheless, the Almighty predicted through the prophet Hosea that Israel would have a change of heart in the last days and worship their King who would be a descendant of king David of old. Bear in mind that this prophecy is to be fulfilled in the latter days! Here is the prophecy:

Hosea 3: 4: For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.
5: Afterward 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.

Being 'without an ephod' meant no Temple and no divinely appointed priesthood. This sentence upon Israel was to continue till 'the latter days.' in other words - till the last days. Ancient Israel, as most Bible students know, was initially a deeply religious nation. All life centred on the Temple in Jerusalem where the ephod-robed priesthood officiated. Keep in mind that the prophecy says Israel was to be "without an ephod for many days."

Hosea 3: 4: For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king and …without an ephod...

The phrase 'without a king' is easy to understand; but what is an ephod? The answer is: an ephod is a garment worn by those officiating as priests. The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, article Ephod says this:

Quote: "An upper garment worn by the High Priest. it was one of six sacred garments which he was required to put on when about to conduct the worship of God (Exo.21:4), and was of gold, blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen. The ephod was closely bound round the body: it was supported by two straps, which passed over the shoulders and were attached in front and behind to its top edges (v 6 & 7) There was a hole in the top, doubtless for the head, with a woven border of the same materials around to render the cloth less likely to tear (v 8; v 32 cf. v.32). On top of each of the shoulder straps was an onyx stone, enclosed in a filigree setting of gold and engraved with the names of 6 tribes of Israel (chs, 28:25,27,28; 39:19-21).

Lesser Priests also wore the Ephod.
Exodus 28: 4: And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
5: And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
6: And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work...
8: And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.

No one will doubt the prophecy that Israel would continue 'many days without a king and without a priesthood' has been fulfilled to the letter. Some 2000 years have come and gone and the nation has been without a king, without a temple and without a priesthood. Shortly after the prophecy was given, the people of Israel were deported from the Promised Land and scattered to the far corners of the earth. Even to this day, Israel has no king and no priesthood.

The prophecy, however, didn't end on that sad note. The Almighty determined to restore His chosen people to the Promised Land. There He would initiate a great revival. The nation would 'seek the Lord their God and David their king.' This reference to king David is a clear pointer to Israel's Messiah YESHUA, the Son of David, Jesus Christ, the KING OF KINGS. Here is the prophecy again.

Hosea 3: 4: For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim.
5: Afterward 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

When people have no divinely authorised king or priesthood to guide them in the path of law and order, they inevitably choose their own leaders and priests and, more or less, do as they please: often engaging in acts too despicable to mention. That is what happened in ancient Israel when 'every man did that which was right in his own eyes.' Chaos followed. Here are two examples of what happened when Israel pleased itself.

Example 1
Judges 17: 6: In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes

If you were to read Judges chapters 17 & 18 through you will see how that blatant sin, rape, violence and bloodshed followed. Why? The answer is simply because every man was doing that which was right in his own eyes. God's law was set aside. Each man thought he knew better than his neighbour and even better than God as to how the human race should live. As we would say today: People did their own thing.

Example 2 (Judges chapters 19 to 21)
These three chapters tell of one of the worst crimes ever committed in the annals of human history: of homosexuality, rape and bloodshed as bad, and probably worse, than that which was practised in Sodom and Gomorrah. Bear in mind that all this happened 'when there was no king in Israel.'

Judges 21: 25: In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes

If you study Judges chapters 17 to 21 you will see just where a total disregard for divine authority led.

Who were the main instigators of the violence, riot, rape and carnage? The answer is: the 'children of Belial' were responsible. The term Belial is synonymous with worthlessness, wickedness and ungodliness. The phrase 'children of Belial' is an expression describing extremely vile and vicious scoundrels and ungodly people. In other words, the 'children of Belial' are deep-dyed sinners. They are people who have absolutely no regard for the law of God and they are to be found in every community and in every country. The accounts recorded in Judges chapters 17 to 21 begin and end with the telling words:

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Chapters 19:1 & 21:25)

In the account of Judges 19 we see that it was the sons of Belial who instigated the gang rape of an innocent girl; an act which resulted in the death of some 65,000 people! The sons of Belial, and we can see their numbers increasing in modern society, are a powerful and influential force; but they will meet their end. We cannot imagine what punishment Jehovah, the Almighty God of Israel, has in store for them on the soon-coming Great Day of Judgement, but it will be severe.

Judges 19: 22: Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.
Judges 20: 21: And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men…
25: And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword… ...
35: And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword.

Try, dear reader, to grasp the lesson of that sickening story. Some 65,000 people died - all as a result of the wicked deeds of the sons of Belial who came to the fore when there was no king in Israel. Do we have any children of Belial in this country? The answer is yes we do. Every nation on earth has its contingent of the children of Belial: lawless men and women who oppose everything holy and good.

In the Churches
Strange as it may sound, the sons of Belial are also entrenched in the Christian churches. They are the ones who teach falsehood and direct people away from the law of God. They are a law unto themselves. They too do 'what is right in their own eyes,' instead of learning, obeying and teaching the Almighty's commandments. Here is a Bible passage which identifies false religious teachers as the 'children of Belial.'

Deut.13: 12: If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,
13: Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known…

Can you begin to imagine what chaos faces our world in which there are tens of thousands of religious leaders: priests, prophets, preachers and pastors who blatantly sin - and teach others to sin - as did those ancient sons of Belial? The Apostle Paul warns us that Christians should have no accord with blatant sinners, the sons of Belial.

2 Corinth.6: 15: And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

When the Almighty's law is ignored by a church or society, when His commandments are set aside as being irrelevant and out-dated, when His only begotten Son Yeshua, His divinely appointed King of Kings and the High Priest of the Melchisedec Priesthood is not worshipped, then there is no depth of sin to which people cannot sink. Violence, greed, witchcraft, whoredom, rape, homosexuality, child-abuse and bloodshed are sure to follow. Make no mistake, this is the inevitable dead-end every nation will arrive at if its religious leaders and citizens ignore the law of the Almighty God and do what is right in their own eyes.

Yes , the sickening fact is: there are sons of Belial in the Christian church. They are the unconverted church leaders who commit spiritual adultery by mixing truth with error. As were the sons of Eli a high priest in ancient Israel, these church leaders are spiritual adulterers who know not the Lord. Their end will be dreadful.

1Sam:2: 12: Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

Sons of Belial can be recognised by their hatred of true believers. They oppose the Son of God, the Word of God, the Law of God and the People of God. Though sometimes professing to be Christians, they are like the ancient Benjamite Sheba (2 Samuel 20) a son of Belial who thought nothing of slaughtering the true servants and priests of the Most High. You may be sure that religious persecution is an unmistakable sign that the sons of Belial are at work. When in power the sons of Belial do not hesitate to torture and kill - all in the name of Christ! Is it any wonder that millions of ordinary people are disgusted with the Christian church? Its record of persecution - against genuine believers in its own ranks - is without parallel in human history. Alas! more blood has been shed in the name of Christ than people remotely imagine. I am happy to report, however, that the sons of Belial will one day be set alight: burned to ashes in hell.

1Sam:2:12 Samuel 23: 6: But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away…
Matthew 23: 29: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30: And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31: Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
32: Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33: Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?>

In their tens of thousands, the sons of Belial have, infiltrated the Christian churches, where they practice vice under the cloak of religion. Never a month passes without the media exposing the scandals of priests, parsons and other church leaders being involved in child abuse, sodomy, adultery, theft or murder. Oh how terrible will be the fate of the sons of Belial on the Day of Judgement! Because, make no mistake, the sons of Belial cannot deceive the Almighty God. Every motive, thought and act of theirs is well known to Him.

Modern Israel, as we all know, is a parliamentary democracy; governed in the same way as most western nations. But, surprising as it may sound, the nation of Israel does have a King. To be sure he hasn't taken up his earthly throne yet: but he is about to do so in the near future. When Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) came to earth the first time, it was to sacrifice his life as the Lamb of God and pay the price for man's redemption. The majority of ancient Israelites rejected him: though there were some, mostly the common people, who recognised him as the King of Israel.

John 1: 49: Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
John 12: 13: (The people) Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

But the Saviour, the King of Israel, is scheduled to return to earth and take up the throne of David. Then will come to pass the prayer recorded in Matthew 6.10:

Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Currently mankind may be divided into two classes of people.

One day soon, Yeshua the Messiah, the King of Israel is due to arrive. He will then appoint rulers over every city on earth. He will also appoint priests after the Order of Melchisedec. They will shoulder the responsibilities and duties symbolised by the ephod. They will instruct people in the law of God and never again will it be said that there was no king in Israel and no ephod.

Under the King of Kings these lesser kings and priests will rule the entire world. The children of Belial will soon realise how powerless they really are: because blatant sin will be broken with a force described in the Scriptures as 'a rod of iron.'

Today we are awaiting the return of the King of Israel, YESHUA the Messiah, Jesus Christ. How are you living? Are you amongst those who do as you please because the King in Israel is not here yet? Are you behaving like a son of Belial, blatantly breaking the holy commandments of the Almighty God? Or are you diligently using your talents and resources as you should?

Luke 19: 11: And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
12: He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13: And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14: But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15: And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16: Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17: And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18: And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19: And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20: And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22: And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24: And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25: (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26: For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. 27: But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

Whilst we wait for the King of Israel to return, let us bear in mind these telling words in the Scriptures.

Deut.12: 8: Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
9: For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.
10: But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;

Proverbs 12: 15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.


SBS   Sermon Notes

Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
June 1998 ... Reformatted: March 2000