Hosea, prophet of mercy—Chapter 6: The Hope of Reinstatement
Nov 22, 2016
John 1:12 and 13 says that “those who believe in His name,” that is, in the name of Jesus Christ, are given the right (exousia, “authority”) to become sons of God. In this short statement, John gives us the solution to the problem of Lo-ammi, “not My people.”
The name of Hosea’s son was a divine statement that the day would come when Israel would no longer be God’s people, nor would He be their God. This judgment came upon them because of their violation of the Old Covenant, wherein they had vowed obedience in order to become His people. But God had made a prior covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to make them His people by the power of His own will and by the wisdom of His plan.
For this reason, the people still had hope of reinstatement as the chosen people of God. By a new covenant, Israel would fulfill its Fruitfulness Mandate given to Ephraim, the fruitful son of Joseph. So Hosea 1:10 says,
10 Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and it will come about that, in the place where it is said to them, “You are not My people,” it will be said to them, “You are the sons of the living God.”
The reversal of the curse of Lo-ammi is that the Israelites “are the sons of the living God.” The prophet does not tell us HOW this will occur, nor even how this is legally possible. He merely states the divine intent in the form of a prophecy that will surely come to pass.
Through Jesus Christ Alone
It is not until we come to the New Testament that we discover how God is able to fulfill His word without violating His own law and character. The path to Sonship is through Jesus Christ alone. He has paid the price of reinstatement, not only for the Lo-ammi ex-Israelites, but also for everyone. Yet everyone must “receive Him” by faith, and apart from Him there is no salvation. Peter tells us in Acts 4:12,
12 And there is salvation [Yeshua] in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.
Hosea 1:11 prophesies of the Messiah as well, saying,
11 And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, and they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.
This messianic prophecy tells us that this “one leader” is called to reverse the curse of Lo-ammi and to reinstate the lost sheep of Israel. At the same time, the breach will be repaired between Israel and Judah. The prophet also identifies this time as “the day of Jezreel.”
Recall that Jezreel means “God scatters,” but the metaphor is of a farmer scattering seed in the field so that he might reap a bountiful harvest later. Hence, the name also means “God sows.” Hosea uses the name Jezreel here, not in the negative sense of scattering, but in the positive sense of sowing with purpose. The rest of the verse tells us that purpose. It links the reunification of Israel and Judah not only with the coming Messiah, but also with a great harvest. It is a resurrection of Israelites and Judahites who have been sown in the earth as wheat, whose seed must die in order to bring forth a great harvest of sons.
Restoring the Birthright
Hosea’s main focus is not upon Judah, but upon Israel—that is, Joseph and his son, Ephraim. The promise being fulfilled in Hosea 1:10, 11 is the promise of the Fruitfulness Mandate, which, during the time of the breach, had become synonymous with the Birthright itself. The reunification of Judah and Israel, of course, reunites the Dominion Mandate with the Fruitfulness Mandate and restores the Birthright back to its original scope.
Recall that Jacob had split up the Birthright into two main parts, giving Judah the Dominion Mandate, and leaving the Fruitfulness Mandate to Joseph (and Ephraim). This required the Messiah to come twice, each time laying claim to a different portion. The Messiah came the first time from the tribe of Judah to claim the throne and will come the second time from the tribe of Joseph to claim the right of Sonship that is inherent in the Fruitfulness Mandate. Hence, the mandates of the Birthright in the end are reunited under Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Since Sonship is the main requirement necessary to exercise dominion properly, it is strange that Christ would come first of Judah, rather than of Joseph-Ephraim. But because His legal father was Joseph (the husband of Mary), we see that the Fruitfulness Mandate was in operation even in His first coming. We see it again in the fact that He was called the Son of God. Yet to complete the work of Sonship required a work of many generations, because He chose to take a few overcomers from each generation as representatives of the whole body.
Furthermore, to create a son of the living God required more than an instantaneous spark of faith in the heart of believers. Sonship is established in three phases that are revealed in the three main feast days: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Passover begets Christ in us, Pentecost develops that holy seed within us, and Tabernacles brings the Christ in us to full birth. In other words, the overcomers are given a life time of experience to prove them and to train them.
Each generation of overcomers have died without receiving the promise, because it is only when the full body has been trained over a period of many generations that the body is complete and can become the Body of Christ. Hence, the resurrection (harvest) comes at the time of the second coming of Christ, when He comes as Joseph, with His robe dipped in blood (Revelation 19:13).
The promise of Sonship is bound up in this reunification of the two mandates, for the sons of God will also have the authority to rule the earth as stewards of their heavenly Father. Hence, Genesis 1:26 tells us that the true spiritual order of things is to “make man in Our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule.” Again, in Genesis 1:28 the two mandates are combined in the divine command: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule…”
Ruling as Birthright Holders
1 Chronicles 5:2 tells us that “the Birthright belonged to Joseph,” even though Judah “the leader” was to come. Jacob had given Judah the Dominion Mandate temporarily, but in the end, Joseph’s dreams would come to pass, where all of the sons of Israel were to bow before him. In his first dream, the sheaves of grain representing the other sons bowed to Joseph’s sheaf (Genesis 37:7), and when he told them his dream, the brothers were indignant. Genesis 37:8 says,
8 Then his brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Or are you really going to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
The second dream was about “the sun and the moon and eleven stars” that bowed before Joseph. Jacob questioned the dream in Genesis 37:10, but because he gave the dream some credence, the brothers then became jealous. Genesis 37:11 says,
11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.
All of this came to pass on one level, when Joseph was elevated to his high position in the government of Egypt and when the family submitted to his authority. But this was a prophetic story that had a much greater fulfillment in the future. It speaks of a time when Ephraim (the sons of God) were to rule the world, a time when even Judah was to bow before him. In other words, the sons of God will have greater authority than those who identify with Judah (“Jews”).
Of course, the sons of God may include ethnic Judahites, as well as people of other ethnicities, because the sons of God are also of the Melchizedek Order, which no longer depends upon genealogy to hold office. In fact, it is through this ancient priestly order that true equality is achieved, where the dividing wall is finally abolished (Ephesians 2:15), and God’s chosen people are no longer limited to those who are physically descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The dividing wall in the temple had separated men from women as well, so when this wall was abolished in Christ, the truth finally became established that women were equally “chosen.” This truth was always in existence, but it had been obscured by the blinding psychology of the dividing wall, which the priests had built, though not by any divine command.
The Apostle Paul had a good grasp of the mind of God in this matter, when he wrote in Galatians 3:7, 8,
7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles [ethnos, “nations”] by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All nations [ethnos] shall be blessed in you.”
The Abrahamic calling is to preach the gospel. That gospel mandate is defined as: “All nations shall be blessed in you.” It is fulfilled when all nations come to Jesus and become “sons of Abraham” in the only way that truly makes them “sons.” It is by faith alone.
In other words, no one can claim to be a son of Abraham in the divine court apart from having faith in Jesus Christ. No one can do the works of Abraham or have his faith unless he knows the gospel that Abraham knew. That gospel sets all men free from the power of the old man of flesh, because it gives us a new identity, not as sons of Adam who were begotten by the flesh and by the will of man, but as sons of God, who were begotten by the Spirit and by the will of God.
It is not that either the Jews or the Israelites are being replaced. Rather, it is that all nations are being included with equal shares in the blessings of Abraham.
Paul’s conclusion is given in Galatians 3:26-29,
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Paul describes a kingdom of new creatures, for “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50).
Therefore, when Hosea tells us that the promise of the Birthright will be reinstated in the end, and that the Scepter will be reunited with the Birthright, and that the people will be known as “sons of the living God,” HOW that happens is revealed in detail in the New Testament. All the sons are united under one leader, Jesus Christ, because they are the body of Christ. All become sons by faith in Him. The division between Israel and Judah is repaired, and the dividing wall, which had excluded non-Jews and women from approaching God, is abolished.
God has made the two groups (those inside and those outside of the dividing wall) into “one new man, thus establishing peace.” Paul then reassures the Greek believers in the Ephesian church saying in Ephesians 2:19,
19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.
Hence, the promise of God to the Lo-ammi Israelites is that they, along with all the nations, will become sons of God and be accepted as “fellow citizens with the saints” and equal members of “God’s household.” That is the original Abrahamic calling, and this is also the gospel of the Kingdom.
This is part 7 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Hosea." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones