Elijah, Hosea and Daniel & the restoration of Israel.
Even as the world has handed Iran carte blanche to build nuclear weapons and export terror throughout the world, we are witnessing the miraculous restoration of Israel. Hebrew prophets spoke of what we now recognize as current events—the return of a Jewish remnant to the promised land—even before Joshua and his people crossed the Jordan into Canaan some 3,500 years ago.*
…when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you shall call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you…the Lord your God will turn your captivity and have compassion upon you and will return and gather you from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of yours are driven out unto the outermost parts of heaven, from there will the Lord your God gather you and from there will he fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed and you will possess it; and he will do you good and multiply you above your fathers. (Deu 30:1-5)(*Those who do not believe that the words above were spoken by Moses but originated later, in the time of Judah’s King Josiah who died in 609 BCE, may weigh their prophetic accuracy against the 2,557-year gap between Josiah’s death and the reappearance of sovereign Israel in 1948.)
By my count, nineteen other prophets were active in Israel and Judah during the 337-year time span encompassed by the novels in this series. These included Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah, each of whom had much more to say, specifically, about the future restoration of Israel than Elijah, Hosea or Daniel. But Daniel and Elijah confronted great kings. Hosea married Gomer, ancient Israel herself.
Chronologically, the Three Prophets series begins with Elijah confronting Israel’s King Ahab at Mount Carmel. At the time Judah was intact to the south and the northern kingdom, with the exception of the multi-year drought currently underway, was building toward the pinnacle of its power under the rule of Jeroboam II. Yet less than one-hundred-fifty years after Elijah confronted Ahab, Israel was destroyed by Assyria. In the almost equal span of years that followed Israel’s destruction, Babylon completed it’s third and final siege against Jerusalem, destroyed Solomon’s temple, blinded Judah’s last king, Zedekiah, then marched the king and thousands of his subjects into the famous captivity at Babylon. (see the timeline, below)
Who could blame the courageous German friar and seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, 2,100 years after Jerusalem’s fall and 1,600 years after Rome destroyed the second temple at Jerusalem, for having doubted both scripture and the prophets and concluding that Israel’s story, its eternal connection to the Jews, had ended? (A false estimate that led many to redefine Israel as “the church.”)
But Israel’s story, and the story of the Jewish people, had only begun.
The Three Prophets Book Series
In little more than three centuries Israel and Judah fell from power and out of grace. Having turned their backs on their covenant with the God of Israel, the nations were crushed and the Jewish people scattered. Three fictional accounts of the lives of the prophets Elijah, Hosea and Daniel, set the stage for the miraculous restoration of Israel, as God has promised…
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. (Hos 1:10)
Capsule summaries appear below.
Jerusalem falls to Babylon after a brutal siege. A young boy, Daniel, and his three close friends are captured and taken to Babylon as slaves. Over the next seven decades these sons of Hebrew nobility overcome bondage, rivalries and the conceits of kings to reach positions of authority in the most powerful nation in the world.
And Daniel becomes a prophet of the Lord.
From King Nebuchadnezzar’s elite school to the royal court of Koresh, Cyrus the Great, Daniel, Mishael, Hananiah and Azariah recount how the God of Israel, upon the wings of their growing faith, provided unsurpassed grace and miracles of magnitude not seen since Moses’ time.
As contemporaries of the prophets Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah, Daniel and his friends recount wars, visions, treachery, madness, lions, a flaming furnace and supernatural handwriting on a plaster palace wall as God delivers on His promise to return His chosen from captivity to their homeland, solely for the sake of His name.
The fictional framework of For the Sake of His Name remains true to dates, places and events recorded in surviving cuneiform accounts from Assyria, Egypt and Babylon as well as the Old Testament.
The Ivory House is book two of the Three Prophets series but it is the first story, chronologically, set between 875 and 850 BCE. In this fictional account, the Widow of Zarephath’s young son, to whom I give the name, Yashar, abandons his mother to follow the prophet, Elijah, into Israel during a time of devastating drought. At Mount Carmel, when Elijah calls down fire and rain from heaven, Yashar witnesses God’s triumph over Queen Jezebel’s pagan priests.
Overcome with the fear of the vengeful queen, Elijah runs away. Yashar follows the prophet but finds himself lost and alone in a foreign land until he is adopted by a stray dog. Yashar names the animal, Juttah, and the once frail animal grows uncannily strong. At Jezreel, Juttah leads Yashar into Naboth’s vineyard and a new life.
While the prophet, Elijah, comes out of hiding and pronounces judgment on nations and kings, Yashar works in Naboth’s vineyard and falls in love with both Naboth’s family and the art of making wine. Though he plans to grow old in the vineyard, Yashar witnesses Naboth’s brutal murder and Israel’s fall further into idolatry. Years later, when Juttah proves to be an instrument of God’s will, Yashar understands the warnings of the prophets concerning Israel and is forced to change his plans.
Based on the book of Hosea, Faithless Heart is in progress and will be the last of three novels on lives of prophets. Unlike the first two titles, For the Sake of his Name and The Ivory House, the life of Hosea has inspired numerous novels and other accounts. Most of these explore the prophet’s relationship with Gomer, a prostitute whom God has commanded Hosea to marry. faithless heart explores the greater love story, the God of Israel’s undying love for his people. The title comes from the Book of Hosea…
Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, The more altars he made; The richer his land, The better he made the sacred pillars. Their heart is faithless; Now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars And destroy their sacred pillars. (Hos 10:1-2)
Israel must bear her guilt, but God’s promises remain intact.
In addition to blogging here, at Standing By The Gate, Cliff Keller has authored five novels, the latest of which, The Lion or the Lamb, Samson, Ruth and Salvation, was released in September of 2018. He maintains a writing site at goodStories.pub and does freelance writing for magazines in Israel and the US.
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