The Evangelical Universalist Forum

How Would You Deal With This Verse


If someone(primarily an ECT believer)threw this verse at you and says God’s love is not unconditional?:

Hosea 9:15- All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.


Hosea 9:15- All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.

Paul quoted an OT verse saying that God hated Esau but that he loved Jacob! I don’t think the word “hate” is meant to be taken literally. I think it’s more like God hated their actions or God was mad at so and so.


God also says not long afterward that He still loves Ephraim (rebel Israel) and that He will restore him eventually, so that she who was rejected will be accepted again (God switches back and forth between rebel Israel as an adulterous wife or misbehaving daughter, and Israel as a rebel son like David’s rebel son Absalom who died, hanging from a tree with a bleeding scalp and stabbed with a spear, in the forests of Ephraim) – and this is after declaring very strongly against rebel Israel as though Israel would never be accepted again, and even calling death and sheol/hades down to destroy them!

St. Paul refers to this several times, such as in Romans and 1 Corinthians, bringing the Gentiles into the same promises of restoration after rejection; and at the end of 1 Cor 15 he references the famous verse from Hosea about death and hades destroying rebel Israel as an ironic taunt against death and sheol since God afterward restores rebel Israel anyway – using that restoration as one of his scriptural justifications for Christians to keep going in our evangelism since, thanks to the resurrection, our evangelical work in the Lord will not be in vain.

God’s acceptance of our deeds is certainly not unconditional; which is why God punishes sinners eventually if we keep at it unrepentantly. But God’s saving love for us is unconditional: it does not depend on our deeds.

Put another way, whether we’re saved from punishment or not is somewhat (though not entirely) conditional on us (and more primarily conditional on God than on us). Whether we’re saved from our sins or not is unconditionally dependent on God. Hosea’s scroll is a classic example of this difference.


That unconditional love in Hosea to save His rebel people from their sins, is referenced a little indirectly but scripturally in the Nativity story, too, by Matthew (via “out of Egypt I will call My Son”, and a connecting reference to Jeremiah 31 – both being about rebel Ephraim dying in his sins and so being led thereby to repentance finally and being restored by God).

I talk about this among many other things, in my recent Nativity video lecture.


That is a well-done video btw.


James, please see my thread on it Hopeless punishment language in Hosea


It seems anti-universalist commentators generally do not think Hosea 9:15 supports their position.

Some seem to consider the verse refers to the special national position of Israel amongst the nations rather than its individuals. Thereafter they lost the holy land & were scattered throughout the world. For example:

“I will love them no more - So He saith, in the beginning; “I will have no more mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away” Hosea 1:6. : “This was a national judgment, and so involved the whole of them, as to their outward condition, which they enjoyed as members of that nation… It did not respect the spiritual condition of single persons, and their relation, in this respect, to God.” As individuals, they were, “not cut off from God’s favor and tokens of His love, nor from the power of becoming members of Christ, whenever any of them should come to Him. It only struck them forever out of that “house of the Lord” from which they were then driven,” or from hopes that that kingdom should be restored, which God said, He would cause to cease.”

“…He saith to them, because they “are all revolters, departers,” i. e., because, before they were cast out visibly in the body, they departed in mind, were far away in heart, and therefore were cast out in the body also, and lost, what alone they loved, the temporal advantages of the house of God.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

“out of mine house—as in Ho 8:1: out of the land holy unto Me. Or, as “love” is mentioned immediately after, the reference may be to the Hebrew mode of divorce, the husband (God) putting the wife (Israel) out of the house.” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary)


Mt.1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Mt.2:6b …my people Israel.

Rom.11:And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Hosea 14:4
New American Standard Bible
I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them.
King James Bible
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

Hosea 1:6b, CLV, for i shall not continue further to have compassion on the house of Israel or bear, yea bear with them.
Hosea 9:15b, CLV, I shall not continue to love them. All their chief officials are stubborn.
Hosea 14:4, CLV, I shall heal their backsliding; I shall love them willingly, For My anger will turn back from him.

“I will love them no more; not necessarily “never again”, but rather “no longer”.”

A Commentary on the Books of Amos, Hosea, and Micah
By John Merlin Powis Smith [p.130] … re&f=false


These articles are must reads:


Esau is symbolic of the flesh Jacob the spirit


I wouldn’t deal with the verse at all. Jesus revealed God as He really is. Prior to Jesus’ revelation of God, God’s character was known only in part.


These two reflect in-kind Ishmael and Isaac. The pattern being indicative of… “the flesh” Ishmael = children of the old covenant with likewise “the spirit” Isaac = children of the new covenant, as per Gal 4:22-24, 29.

#12 … l.8043477/

None of those things will - ever - in this life or the next - stop the Lord Jesus, Love Omnipotent, from Loving anyone.

God is love. That’s what He is & does. Always & ever.

Therefore it is unconditional toward other beings, humans & angels.

Even when He judges, is angry, punishes, or chastises. Like a perfect father toward his children, all this is “in love”.

He loves others, no matter what they do.

IOW He has unconditional love.

There is nothing you could ever do, or have ever done, that would stop Him from being what He is, & loving you.

God is love.

Scripture - never - says He is judgement or wrath.

Judgement & wrath are things He uses - in His love - which motivates everything He is & does - to correct His created beings.

“When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isa.26:9)

Job 5:17-18 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but he binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.”

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.…(1 Cor.5:4-5)

Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.
(Micah 7:9)

He hates the old man, the sinful nature, the flesh. When men follow that instead of seeking Love Eternal, He is angry with them, i.e. hates them, that which they identify with (the old man) for their own good. Compare:

“If anyone is coming to Me and is not hating his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, and still more his soul besides, he can not be My disciple.” (Lk.14:26)

“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Mt.16:23)

He who is finding his soul will be destroying it, and he who destroys his soul on My account will be finding it. (Mt.10:39)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal.5:24)

We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. (Rom.6:6)

Ephesians 4:22
You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

Colossians 2:11
In Him you were also circumcised in the putting off of your sinful nature, with the circumcision performed by Christ and not by human hands.

Colossians 3:9
Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices,

He is not so weak, impotent & failing. Jesus shall see of the travail of His soul & be satisfied. Not satisfied a little bit, but the vast majority fried alive forever.

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isa.53:11).

For how “many” (not few) did He “bear their iniquities”? All.

Rom 5:18 Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just act for all mankind for life’s justifying."

Rom 5:19 For even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just."

Paul makes a parallel between “the many” who were condemned & sinners and those who will be justified & constituted just.

“In Romans 5, the justification is co-extensive with the condemnation. Since all share in one, all share in the other. If only a certain portion of the human race had partaken of the sin of Adam, only a certain portion would partake of the justification of Christ. But St. Paul affirms all to have been involved in one, and all to be included in the other.”

Therefore there is salvation after death. And corrective punishment. … l.8043477/


Paidion, I disagree, as Romans 1:20-21 says “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen , being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

God made Himself known to man from day one and has been continually reminding us of who He is ever since.

Genesis 41:3, speaking of Joseph, “Can we find anyone like this man? One in whom is the Spirit of God?”
Job 34:19 “Who shows no partiality to princes nor regard the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands.”
Psalm 136:26 “Give thanks to the God of heaven for His steadfast love endures forever.”
Psalm 130:3-4 “If You Lord mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand, but there is forgiveness with You that You may be feared.”

Obviously, it is man who has trouble remembering who God is.
Deut.32:18 “Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you.”


I agree. The children of the old covenant= those who rebel against God and set up kingdoms according to their own rules and regulations=the flesh. Likewise, the children of the Spirit= those who follow the one and only true covenant that was, is and always has been since the beginning.

This battle still goes on today.


I don’t see how that passage expresses your disagreement.

Jesus Himself said:

If God’s very essence is LOVE, if God is kind even to ungrateful people and evil people, If there in no darkness at all in God, then how can you believe that God hates people, will drive them out of his house, and will love them no more? That’s a contradiction!

If we are forced to choose between what Hosea wrote about God’s character and what Jesus said about His character (and we are!) should we not choose what the Son of God said?


Or a reference to national Israel? Or figures of speech, as explained at:

Compare Jesus own words about hate:

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.

“Was Jesus ever angry?”:


Most commentators believe that this was a special use of the word “hate” and in this context means “love less.”

Also, there’s no doubt that Jesus was angry during His sojourn on earth. But “anger” is not tantamount to “hate.”


What are your thoughts on these Scriptures:

Jn. 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 16:27
For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.

Deuteronomy 7:12-13
12"Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.
13 He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.

Proverbs 8:17
"I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

Psalm 146:8
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;

Proverbs 15:9
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness.

Deuteronomy 13:17
"Nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the LORD may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers,

Deuteronomy 7:6"For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
7"The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt


The passages in John are clear. They mean exactly what they say, and I believe them. There is love between the Father and the Son and the disciples of Christ who keep His commandments, demonstrating thereby that they love Him.

In the Old Testament, Moses and other writers seem to have believed that God loved only the people of Israel.


Like the OT passages quoted, in the following verses Jesus teaches that God loves certain people “because” they love Him & “because” they keep HIs words. Which implies what about those who do not do so?

Jn. 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

John 16:27
For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.