Prophecy Profile From Hosea

by Joseph Hunting

The most sacred of all human relationships is that which exist between husband and wife. Indeed, civilized society is based on this relationship remaining inviolate.

The prophet Hosea likens the unique relationship between God and Israel to the marriage union by the example of his own experience. He was commanded by God to marry a harlot named Gomer who would bear him children and then return to her life of whoredom, to show Israel the extent of their spiritual adultery by her example.

In spite of Gomer's infidelity Hosea took her to be his wife again and in so doing he foretold Israel's future in one of the shortest, and yet most complete overviews of Israel's role in prophecy.

"Then said the LORD unto me, Go again, love a woman beloved of her friend (paramour) , yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.

"So I bought her unto me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley:

"And I said unto her, You shall abide with me many days, you shall not play the harlot, and you shall not be for another man: so will I also be for you.

"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod and without teraphim (household gods).

"Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king, and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days" (Chapter 3).

"Without a King and Without a Prince"

Although Zedekiah was the last king to reign upon David's throne in Jerusalem before the city was totally destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE his nephew Jeconiah was the last remaining monarch in the direct Davidic dynasty. Of this evil king Jeremiah records, "As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah (Jeconiah) the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck you thence;

"And I will give you into the hand of them that seek your life, and into the hand of them whose face you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.

"And I will cast you out, and your mother that bare you, into another country, where you were not born; and there you shall die . . .

"O earth, earth, earth hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Write you this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah" (Jeremiah 22:24-30).

Thus for 2,500 years both Jeremiah's and Hosea's prophecies that Israel would be many days without a king or prince on the throne of David have been fulfilled. The reign of the Herods in Jerusalem was by Roman proclamation, and they were not of the Davidic dynasty.

"Without a Sacrifice and Without an Image"

The last sacrifice ever to be made in the Temple was just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in August 70 CE.

Almost two thousand years after this momentous event I stood among the charred ruins of the home of a priest who may even have officiated at Israel's last sacrificial ceremony. Archaeologists have recently restored what is known as "The Burnt House", a grim relic of the priest's home gutted in Jerusalem's fiery destruction.

Furthermore, there has been no sacrifice for sin for nearly two thousand years, and Israel, once so prone to worship images of foreign gods, has abhorred this practice since their return from Babylon.

"Without an Ephod, and Without Teraphim"

Israel has had neither a High Priest, who alone was the wearer of the ephod, since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, nor have the people of Israel indulged in idol worship since their Babylonian captivity -- they have been without household gods.

The ephod was the special linen garment worn by the High Priest when officiating in the Temple. Its origins were according to the instructions that were given by God to Moses and it was a linen garment set with precious stones (see Exodus 28). Its whereabouts today is unknown.

"Afterwards Shall the Children of Israel Return"

After all the foregoing has come to pass Hosea then prophesied the return of Israel to their homeland. In hindsight more than two thousand six hundred years since the prophecy was made, we can trace Israel's long and tragic exile when the nation was scattered like chaff to the four corners of the earth. Their regathering has been the greatest miracle this world has seen since their dispersion. Other nations have been conquered and have undergone total defeat as did Israel but they have merged or have been assimilated into surrounding cultures, but not so Israel on a national scale.

Some, under extreme duress, as during the Inquisition, renounced their Judaism, but the mainstream of Jewish life and faith has clung tenaciously to the faith of their forefathers. With no Temple and no priesthood, rabbinic Judaism developed and centred round synagogue worship.

Inquisitions, Crusades, Pogroms and being hated and hounded from country to country failed to extinguish the hope that one day, perhaps "next year in Jerusalem", they would return to their beloved homeland.

Hosea wasn't alone in prophesying Israel's miraculous return. Jeremiah was another who stated clearly that God would "CAUSE them to return to the land that he gave to their fathers, AND THEY SHALL POSSESS IT" (30:3).

It is interesting to consider the events that "CAUSED" Israel to return to the land of their fathers. After nearly two thousand years of dispersion, not merely in a civilized situation, but in a world-wide scattering the Bible describes as "chaff before a whirlwind" , the rebirth of Zionism at the end of the nineteenth century was the spark that ignited the dream of statehood.

Perhaps the most significant and abiding result of World War I was not the reshaping of European countries as much as the defeat of the Ottoman Empire that once ruled Palestine for four centuries. Coupled with the growing Zionist dream for a homeland and with Chaim Weizmann's influence on Lord Balfour, the Holy Land was being prepared for the people who would claim it for their homeland.

It was the rise of Hitler's Nazi Germany culminating in the Holocaust that provided the ghastly scenario resulting in the greatest miracle of our time, the rebirth of the state of Israel.

For forty-one years every ploy of Satan has been flung at Israel to dispossess the nation. The world has had plenty of opportunity and time to reflect on God's promise that they shall possess their God-given homeland. Both Jeremiah's and Hosea's prophecies have been fulfilled to the letter.

"They Shall Seek Their God and David Their King ... in the Latter Days"

Not only does Hosea prophesy Israel's national rebirth, but he also speaks of a national spiritual awakening when they shall "seek the LORD their God and David their king: and shall fear the Lord and his goodness IN THE LATTER DAYS" (3:5). Hosea's reference to "David their king" has posed a problem for some Bible students. However, one of the great Scriptural truths shared by both Judaism and Christianity is that of the resurrection from the dead. And which of Israel's illustrious kings would be a more suitable candidate to reign over Israel in the resurrection than David?

I am personally convinced that the present state of Israel is the tangible evidence of Hosea's prophecy and that the present physically reborn state of Israel is scheduled for the "time of Jacob's Trouble" , or "the Great Tribulation" which will then be followed by Israel's great spiritual awakening. Zephaniah describes God's deep love for His special people during this time. "Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

"The LORD has taken away your judgments, he has cast out your enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of you: you shall not see evil any more.

"In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear not: and to Zion, Let not your hands be slack.

"The LORD your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing" (3:14-17).