The Ten Northern Tribes think that they can play these two great empires Assyria and Egypt against each others. They were making trade agreements with Assyria while selling their olive oil to Egypt. But as dangerous as that was, they were also turning to these Great Empires instead of turning to their God. Like an unfaithful wife, who turns to her lovers rather than her husband. This is herding the wind, and an impossible task.
This east wind, is a hot desert wind the type that dries everything up. It will desiccate the land in short time, while little will grow. And little did grow there for 2500 years. Until the late 19th century when the Jews began to return and make the desert bloom once more.
2 The LORD has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and requite him according to his deeds. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God. 4 He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor. He met God at Bethel, and there God spoke with him — 5 the LORD the God of hosts, the LORD is his name: 6 “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”
The Lord has not forgotten one of Jacob’s sins. It is like He is saying, “You are just like your father. He was the same bad egg.”
God recalls their ancestor Jacob. Like any exasperated parent, telling them that they are just like their father. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
The name Jacob mean usurper or supplanted, for he took Esau’s heel from birth, an indication that he was going to try to get the birthright [Gen. 25].
Later in life he met some form of God Himself and they wrestled all night [Gen. 32]. In the morning God changed his name from Jacob the usurper, to Israel, the one who strives with God. We all wrestle with God, as we try to bring our flesh into submission. And like Jacob we beg for a blessing when we repent of our rebellion. God then told Jacob to go to Bethel and there He reaffirmed that Jacob’s name would be Israel [Gen 35].
God now calls on them to remember who they are. How through Jacob they had wanted this birth right, that is why their ancestor Jacob had grabbed Esau’s heel. He advises them to hold fast to what they have. He reminds them that he is the LORD of Host. He can at any moment return to them and guard them as He guarded Jacob when he left Laban at the pillar Mizpah [Gen. 32:1,2].
The LORD is his name. In the Hebrew this is YHWH i.e. Yahweh. See Also: God?What’s in a name?
So for all this history He begs them one last time that they return to their God. All He ever asks of us is love, justice, and to wait for Him to move.
7 A trader, in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress. 8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich, I have gained wealth for myself”: but all his riches can never offset the guilt he has incurred. 9 I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.
They are now condemned for how they deal with people. They were using false balances, meaning that they were not charging fair prices in the market. This economic dishonesty was effecting how they were treating the spiritual word as well. If one can lie to customers why not lie about God. They are dishonest with men and God. So they employed lying prophets.
Because of all this deceit The Ten Northern Tribes where sent to wander. Yet believers today think that it is all right to have the same false balances. That we can lie about God’s plans and purposes just like the prophets in the Ten Northern Tribes. That we will not be judged for the very same deceits. God is going to look the other way at all the false teachings and doctrine. We don’t have to keep Sabbath, and we can celebrate Saturnalia i.e. Christmas. We can go on scaring people with threats of 7 years of Tribulation, a Rapture, and a political antichrist.
God reminded them that He had sent them prophets, and from their nation alone did these prophets come. He did not send prophets to the Chinese, or to the Natives of the Americas, nor to the forest of Europe. To them and them alone, was the truth given. He calls to their memory Gilead and Gilgal [Josh 1-5] the two side of the Jordan where they had crossed into the land so many generations ago. He reminds them that Jacob had to flee his Uncle Laban in Paddan-aram, where his wages were unjust, and he had to work twice for the wife he wanted [Gen 28-31]. He reminded them of Moses who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and of the time that Moses stood between the people and God’s wrath [Num. 16:47]. For all this the Ten Northern Tribes have behaved like an unfaithful wife. And they will be put out. Their blood guilt will not be taken away, and they will receive their punishment.
They oppress anyone who cannot defend themselves. So they will be sent back to wander like there ancestors did. Their ancestors were punished with 40 years of wandering for their lack of faith. Now they will wander for a much longer time, for their lack of faithfulness, they will go back to dwelling in tents.
10 I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables. 11 If there is iniquity in Gilead they shall surely come to nought; if in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, their altars also shall be like stone heaps on the furrows of the field. 12 (Jacob fled to the land of Aram, there Israel did service for a wife, and for a wife he herded sheep.) 13 By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt, and by a prophet he was preserved. 14 Ephraim has given bitter provocation; so his LORD will leave his bloodguilt upon him, and will turn back upon him his reproaches.
Then God gives them some shocking news. No amount of good works can offset your wickedness at the judgment. Many believers have been taught this false doctrine. That our good works can offset the scales of justice at the judgment. But this doctrine is pagan and nowhere in the Scripture. The false teaching is that the departed’s soul will be weighed against that of a feather. Everywhere in mythology there is a god or demigod that balances the good deed of the dead against their bad deeds.
In Egypt is was the god Anubis. This pagan idea is what in behind the writing on the walls of Babylon to Belshazzar (the last king of Babylon). Using his own mythological understanding of this judgment, God tells Belshazzar that he does not measure up. [Dan 5] The pagan church has also taken this idea and changed the name of the pagan god to that of Michael the archangel.
This has no equivalent is scripture. One cannot bribe God in this way. Our bad deeds are simple burned away, for God cannot look upon evil. Our salvation is assured through the work of Messiah on the cross.
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — 13 each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1Cor. 3:10-15
There is no second chance. We are come the judgment either; wheat or weeds, good fish or a bad fish [Matt 13]. The weeds or the bad fish are taken and thrown into the furnace of fire. The good fish have all their bad worthless acts burned and destroyed. Gone forever, we then will stand clean before our Lord and King. Some of the greatest atrocities in history have been committed on the hideous suggestion by a spiritual leaders that killing or torturing certain people would gain God’s favors. One that come to mind is the St. Bartholomew’s day Massacre.
This false teaching of weighing souls was used by the church of Rome to persecute Protestants and Jews. In the famous letter of Pere La Chaise, the Roman Catholic Priest that Louis XIV of France would give his confessions to, gave an account of the method he used to gain the consent of that sinful monarch to revoke the Edict of Nantes, which had granted substantial rights to the Calvinist Protestants of France i.e. Huguenots. After having revoked the Edict such cruelties were inflicted on these innocent Huguenot subjects. All Protestant minister were given two weeks to the France. All other Protestants were forbidden from leaving France. In spite of this 400,000 fled to Great Britain, Prussia, the Dutch Republic, Switzerland and South Africa. This is how the fear of the scales of St. Michael operated in bringing about the Church of Rome’s desired results:
“Many a time since,” says the accomplished Jesuit, referring to an atrocious sin of which the king had been guilty, “many a time since, when I have had him at confession, I have shook hell about his ears, and made him sigh, fear and tremble, before I would give him absolution. By this I saw that he had still an inclination to me, and was willing to be under my government; so I set the baseness of the action before him by telling the whole story, and how wicked it was, and that it could not be forgiven till he had done some good action to BALANCE that, and expiate the crime. Whereupon he at last asked me what he must do. I told him that he must root out all heretics from his kingdom.” MACGAVIN’S Protestant, p. 841. col. 2
Earliest reference we have found to the scale weighing deity is in Vaux’s Nineveh and Persepolis
“For three days after dissolution, the soul is supposed to flit round its tenement of clay, in hopes of reunion; on the fourth, the Angel Seroch appears, and conducts it to the bridge of Chinevad. On this structure, which they assert connects heaven and earth, sits the Angel of Justice, to weigh the actions of mortals; when the good deeds prevail, the soul is met on the bridge by a dazzling figure, which says, ‘I am thy good angel, I was pure originally, but thy good deeds have rendered me purer’; and passing his hand over the neck of the blessed soul, leads it to Paradise. If iniquities preponderate, the soul is meet by a hideous spectre, which howls out, ‘I am thy evil genius; I was impure from the first, but thy misdeeds have made me fouler; through thee we shall remain miserable until the resurrection’; the sinning soul is then dragged away to hell, where Ahriman sits to taunt it with its crimes.” page 282 in the e-Pub
Our good is never good enough. The penalty for sin is death. [Rom. 6:23]
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Is. 64:6
There is no trade off. If our righteousness is so foul what would be the point trying to trade it for our sin? What we do for the Kingdom will stand, everything else burns.
. . . each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Cor. 3:13-15