30 July, 2019

Hosea 9:15—“for there I hated them … I will love them no more”

All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters (Hos. 9:15).

Hosea 9:15 states, “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more.”

(1) “You who deny common grace and the well-meant offer say that God ‘only ever loved the elect, and never hated them,’ and ‘only ever hated the reprobate, and never loved them,’ and that God ‘cannot love and hate the same person at the same time.’ But, in Hosea 9:15, God is said to have ‘hated’ Israel, at least for a time. So God both ‘loved’ (eternally) and yet, for a time, simultaneously ‘hated’ them. If God can be such to His people, why can’t He be such to the reprobate (only, the other way round—i.e. hating them in eternity, but simultaneously having a ‘love’ for them for a limited time only?).”

(2) “God is saying that, at one time, He ‘loved’ the people in Gilgal, but, due to their wickedness, He will ‘love them no more.’  Here is a love for reprobates that is not complacent or irresistible, and is withdrawn.”

(3) “Some argue that God ‘cannot love the reprobate, because that would imply a changeable love of God—He wouldn’t love the reprobate in Hell, but only in this life; and such a notion would be the same as saying that God is changeable—which He is not (Mal. 3:6).’ Hosea 9:15 seems to undermine that argument, however, for it appears to show clearly that God’s love can change from love to hate. Whatever view of God’s immutability we have must be modified to allow room for this.”


First, there is no way to understand this text apart from understanding election and reprobation, as the Reformed confessions teach it. The elect He loves, unchangingly; the reprobate He hates, unchangingly.
Second, the key to understanding this text is to realize that God was speaking to the northern kingdom of Israel—the ten tribes, who were already apostatizing. They had begun in sin, by worshiping the golden calves; had progressed in sin, by turning to idols; and had hardened themselves in sin, by refusing to heed the warnings of God’s prophets.  When I say “They” I mean the ten tribes as a whole.  Within the ten tribes were some who were elect, and God loved them; but as a nation, and with regard to most in the nation, they were increasingly apostate, manifesting they were reprobate.
To the southern kingdom of Judah God spoke no such words as in this text. They were sinful also, and would be chastised for their sin, but never did God say He hated them.
But to the northern kingdom God both said He hated them, and would manifest that hatred by destroying the nation completely in the Assyrian captivity, from which the nation would never be restored.
Interesting is the question, Why did God once love, and now hate?  Again, God does not formerly love some, and then hate some—that is, the text is not speaking of God’s attitude toward individual persons.  But it speaks of His attitude toward the nation as a whole. Though Israel’s beginnings were in sin, yet God had many of His people among the ten tribes, earlier in their history. Naboth was one example. As they progressed in apostasy, the nation became more and more wicked and filled with reprobate.  God could then say He hated them.
So the text speaks of God transitioning from divine love to divine hatred, in accord with His decree of election and reprobation, and that transition according with the transition of the nation from faith and obedience (relatively) to unbelief and disobedience.
It is a powerful word to churches today. If we once were faithful, and enjoyed God’s blessing, let us not take His blessing for granted. We must be faithful to Him, or we will not experience His blessing.  Our faithfulness is not the REASON for His blessing; but He hates unfaithful churches, which are filled with unfaithful, unbelieving people who outwardly profess Christianity.
If I didn’t answer every question, ask specific questions again;
Hosea 9:15  cannot be used in support of common grace or to teach that God’s love is changeable. (DK, 30/07/2019)



Prof. David J. Engelsma

This argument rests on a theory of the mutability of God.  Thus, those that use this argument dissent from the official, creedal confession of the Reformed creeds, all of which confess the immutability of God—Westminster, as well as the strictly Reformed confessions.  Article 1 of the Belgic Confession confesses that God is “immutable.”  Indeed, the unchangeableness of God is the Christian confession.  They ought to reexamine their common grace theology in light of the fact that it brings them into open conflict with the Reformed confessions, indeed with Christian theology.  Is common grace so dear that it is allowed to forfeit for them the Christian religion? 
One who is Reformed is not permitted to deny that God is immutable by the Reformed creed.  If one is a professing Christian, the Christian faith is at stake for him/her.
The Bible expressly declares that God is unchangeable in God’s own words, for example, Malachi 3:6: “I change not.”  The added words warn that the doctrine of God’s changeableness would involve the possibility that the sons of Jacob would be destroyed. 
This being said, the explanation of Hosea 9:15 is that God’s hatred is a national, communal reality.  What is meant is that, in previous times, God loved the nation in the members who were walking in God’s ways.  Now the nation has fallen away and God hates it in the wicked members of the nation.  It does not describe a change of God’s attitude towards the same individuals.  As Romans 9 makes plain, even with regard to His love of Israel, God never loved all the members of the nation—“They are not all Israel that are of Israel” (Rom. 9:6).  But God loved the elect members—the Jacobs in distinction from the Esaus.  (DJE, 22/08/2018)



More to come! (DV)

Sermons on this text:

“Gilgal, Where God Hated Israel” (Rev. Angus Stewart)

“The Transition From Divine Love to Divine Hatred” (Prof Douglas Kuiper)

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