The Iniquity of Ephraim
The Thief Who Has Robbed God's Heritage

By George Kirkpatrick

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"When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without." Hosea 7:1

The Lord spoke "I would have healed Israel." God wants to heal His people. He wants to heal us physically, mentally, and Spiritually.

The name Israel means "prince of God." A prince is the son of the king, or the princes of God are the sons of God. But God found iniquity in Ephraim. The name Ephraim means "double fruitfulness" or God found iniquity in those who are attempting to operate in the fruit of the Spirit. Ephraim represents pastors and prophets who have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been partakers of the Holy Spirit, but have fallen away from their God-given calling.

The word iniquity means "to twist, distort, pervert, wrong." God said He would have healed Israel, but because He discovered that they twisted, distorted, and perverted His Word, the thief came in and robbed them of their inheritance in God. Paul spoke of this in his letter to the Philippians:

"Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:" Philippians 1:15-16

We live in the day when God's people have lost their fear of God. Many pastors and prophets teach the fear of the devil, more than the fear of God. Paul said they teach Christ even of envy. The word envy means "resentment over someone else's advantage." These try to emulate some other's big ministry. It boils down to jealousy of what others have.

Some preach Christ of strife. The word strife means "debate, contention, and wrangling. Those who want to debate God's Word, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to have preeminence in and discussion of the Word, end up in contention and wrangling, bringing separation in the body of Christ.

Paul stated some preach Christ of contention. The word contention denotes "a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means." There are those who prosylite, promising an easier walk with God if they will only attend their church. These who promise such things are only attempting to exalt self to get a bigger falling.

There are many who want the biggest church, the biggest name, and the biggest collection plate, and they do not care how they get it. They are selfish, self-seeking, and do not care about the flock of God, only self. As Hosea stated, this was the iniquity found in Ephraim.

Hosea also spoke of the wickedness of Samaria. The name Samaria means "guardianship." These are those who are supposed to be shepherds of the flock. He spoke of the wickedness in those He has set to be guardians of the flock, yet care nothing for the flock. Jesus called these hirelings.

"But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep." The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." John 1:12-13

Hirelings are pastors who look at their jobs as just a way of making a living. These care nothing for the flock. When trouble hits, or when they need more money, they flee the flock for a better job. Isaiah stated:

"His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter." Isaiah 56:10-11

Isaiah related these pastors were ignorant and blind. Someone who is ignorant does not understand what their calling is in God. Those who are blind cannot see afar off to warn God's people so they can prepare for what is coming. He also says these are dumb dogs who cannot bark or cannot warn the people of His coming judgment. They are also greedy dogs who can never had enough. Isaiah stated these are shepherds who cannot understand. They all look to doing things their own way. They look to the flock to meet all their needs. Jeremiah declared:

"Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in My name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart." Jeremiah 14:14

Many stand in the pulpit that were never called of God. These proclaim lies they have been taught by their denominational orders. God said, "I did not send them, and they speak a false vision." They teach false teachings such as the Rapture, Once-saved, Always-saved, Eternal salvation, Ultimate reconciliation, etc. The list goes on . . .

God knew what the end time church would become, and He told His prophets to declare it to us. Hosea knew what we are to expect.

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4:6

Hosea revealed the reason God rejects those who have rejected the knowleege of His Word. Today many carry their Bibles to church and have no idea of what is inside unless they hear it from the pulpit. They have forgotten the law (The Word) of God. Hosea continues:

The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred. The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore He will remember their iniquity, He will visit their sins." Hosea 9:7-9

God's people are destroyed because they lack knowledge. They lack knowledge because they do not read His Word. His people are being destroyed because they have rejected His knowledge. God warns that because they have forgotten His law and His Word, He will forget their children. Since the parents fail to go to church, their children do not attend, and therefore the children they have no knowledge of God.

The days of God's visitation and His recompense is at hand, and Israel, those who are princes or sons of the King, will know it. Don't be unprepared. The time is now to get in God's Word.

Hosea said the prophets will look like fools. Those who think they are Spiritual are mad, and their iniquity has turned to hatred. God is going to remember their iniquity and their sin. Jesus spoke:

"LET THEM ALONE! They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matthew 15:14

A ditch is a rut. The blind leaders are leading the blind into their religious ruts. Jeremiah speaks:

"And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err." Jeremiah 23:13

The prophets prophesy through Baal the god of plenty and increase which is the prosperity message. This message gets God's peoples' eyes off God and onto the things of this life. Because of this, God's people have erred. Ezekiel declared:

"But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. Ezekiel 33:6

The trumpet has been blown by God's true prophets for many, many year. Those who have heard the trumpet and have rejected God's warning will have no excuse, and their blood will be on their own hands.

"When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without." *** Hosea 7:1

Hosea declared they commit falsehood. The word commit means "to do falsehoods." Hosea tells us those who have rejected His Word, their whole lives have become a lie. The word falsehood means "to deceive, and deception." Those who are supposed to be guardians of God's Word deceive the people and themselves, and produce deception.

Hosea states the thief cometh in. Jesus warns:

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

When the thief comes in, what does he steal? Jesus declares:

"When any one heareth the Word of the Kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side." Matthew 13:19

From where has the thief stolen the Word of God? God's Word has been stolen out of the hearts of those who are to be guardians of His Word. When His Word is gone, the false priests, teachers, and prophets tell stories, and try to entertain, to hold onto the people.

Hosea also declared a troop of robbers spoil (rob) without. The word troop means "marauding band, raiding band." These are those who are without, or outside the church. God's Word is no longer the basis for what goes on inside, and because of this the marauding bands outside have devastated the church with their half truths. Looking again, we discover what Isaiah saw concerning the leaders of the church today. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they all dumb dogs, they cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say the, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant." Isaiah 56:10-12

God's watchmen (guardians) have become blind. They can no longer see afar off. They have no vision. They are ignorant of God's Word, and they are not warning God's people. They are greedy, only looking out for themselves. They are hirelings. They say fetch wine! Alcoholism and drug use is rampant in those who are to watch over the flock. These proclaim to the flock that tomorrow shall continue as today. Good times are just ahead. Let's plan to build a bigger church so we can hold more people. Peter foretold this time:

"For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." II Peter 3:5-7

Many of these ungodly men stand in the pulpits of the biggest churches in the land. Hosea reminds them of what they forgot:

"And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face." Hosea 7:2

Their wickedness is not forgotten by God. Their wickedness is before His face, or He sees everything they do and think. Hosea continues:

"They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened." Hosea 7:4

They are all adulterers. There are two kinds of adultery: physical and spiritual. We all know about the big named preachers who have been caught in the act of physical adultery, but what about those who commit spiritual adultery?

"And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them." Deuteronomy 31:16

This describes every denomination. When the founders of their religious orders died, the people either made a god out of the founders, or completely went away from the Godly direction of the founders. These went awhoring after the gods of the world. When Moses died (the founder of their religion), the people went awhoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, those who knew not God.

Hosea described them as overheated ovens who cannot control their passions until it be leavened. Leaven is the symbol of sin. Their passion is so strong it overtakes them until they fall into gross sin.

"For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire." Hosea 7:6

Hosea says they have made their heart ready like an oven. Then they sleep on it and think about it all night. Then in the morning they make a flaming fire to do what is in their mind to accomplish. The prophet Micah put this very plain:

"Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! When the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand." Micah 2:1

Those who practice their physical and spiritual adultery devise their evil schemes in their hearts, and in the morning they put these evil devices into practice because they have the power to do it. Hosea continues:

"They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that called unto Me." Hosea 7:7

These who are hot as an oven have allowed their passions to devour their judgement. Hosea states there is none among them who call upon God because they want to practice their sin. God never promised we would not be tempted, but He did promise:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." *** I Corinthians 10:13

How can we escape our temptations? We need to call on the Lord, because He is the way of our escape.

In conclusion:

"Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned." Hosea 7:8

Those who are supposed to be God's guardians have mixed themselves among the people - - - or they have tried to be men pleasers instead of God pleasers. They are a cake not turned - - - or they are only half baked. They are only partially sold out, not on fire for God.

Jesus stated because you are neither cold nor hot but lukewarm, I will spew (vomit) you out of My mouth.

God's judgment is at hand on all those who are not sold out completely to His way, His will, and His Word. These will be rejected and cast out into outer darkness where there will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, Matthew 8:12.

This need not be our fate. God has provided a way out, and that is by becoming what His Word says we should be. True prophets have blown the trumpet, warning God's people to "Come out of her, that ye be not partakers of her plague," Revelation 12:5.

The New Testament confirms what lies directly ahead for all God's creation. It is not God's will that any perish, and He has provided a way through the fire. The fire purifies or consumes all impurities. How will the coming fire affect you?