When God Pardons Israel
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the portion of the Word we have been studying together, the book of Hosea, chapter 5. We are thinking about the book of Hosea according to the following analysis. We would like for you to keep it in your mind so that as you read ahead and review, you will be able to know exactly where you are. Keep in mind that the first three chapters of the book deal with the prophet's call. The second portion of the book, chapters 4-8, deal with the prophet's complaint. Chapters 9-11 represent the prophet's condemnation of the people because of the complaint. In chapters 12-14 is a word of consolation, because judgment is a strange work with God, and He always mixes it with mercy.

We are in that second portion of the book, the prophet's complaint. We suggested to you that the prophet's complaint might be divided in the following fashion: In chapter four, there is a general arraignment, when God through His prophet had the controversy which He had with His people brought out into the open. In chapter 5, verse 1, through chapter 6, verse 3, we had a threefold address, because three classes of people were referred to in the first verse—the priest, the princes and the people.

We will notice before we are through, a loving appeal, a day of accounting and a trumpet announcement. In this lessons, we want to conclude our thinking about this second portion, what we referred to as a threefold address .

You will recall that as we noticed that threefold address, God held not only the priest and the prince responsible for the sad state in which the nation was, but the people as well. Even though the priest and the princes were responsible, because they were the leaders in the nation, the people were responsible, as we discovered, for they willingly followed the leadership of the godless priest and the godless princes. You will recall in our last lesson, we concluded by glancing at verse 14 of chapter 5, which described the impending judgment awaiting the nation of Israel. Notice verse 14 again:

Hosea 5

14For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.

To Israel and to Judah, God would appear as a lion rending and tearing and then going away, withdrawing His presence. We stopped where we did in our last lesson because we had no more time for our discussion, but it was a proper place to stop because verse 15, associated with the first three verses of chapter 6, represents a passage of Scripture which could be situated by itself in one chapter. I believe it is declaring one particular truth of great importance to all of us.

The Law of Double Reference

If you are very familiar with what is said about the book of Hosea, you probably already know that most Bible commentators associate verse 15 with verse 14 and relate it to the past. They say it is a reference to the idea that the nation of Israel was carried away into Babylonian captivity after the Assyrian invasion, that God carried them away into this captivity much as a lion carries away the prey into his den and keeps it unto himself for a stated period of time.

In the first portion of chapter 6, these same commentators suggest that Daniel and Ezra and Nehemiah were the men who cried unto the Lord and unto the people, urging their return unto God. You may be satisfied with this kind of interpretation, but I would like for you to think with me about what I believe to be the real interpretation of this passage of Scripture. I believe the reason that the folk to whom I have referred do not see it is that they neglect what I call the law of double reference in relation to the prophetic Word of God. You will never be able to understand God's prophetic Word unless you exercise the law of double reference.

By the law of double reference, I mean any given prophetic passage can refer to something that is near in time as far as the prophet is concerned, and looked at from our standpoint could already be fulfilled. But it could also refer to an event in a distant period of time from the prophet's standpoint, and from our standpoint, a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. With those thoughts, I would invite your attention to verse 15 of Hosea, chapter 5, and the first three verses of Hosea, chapter 6, suggesting as we read it that you think of it as one complete unit.

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

Hosea 6

1Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

We are going to elaborate on the subject matter of the prophecy, keeping in mind that it is one complete whole. We would suggest to you that in verse 15 there is presented to us the story of the departed Savior. In verses 2 and 3 of chapter 6, there is presented to us the history of the disciplined people; and in chapter 6, verse 1 and again in verse 3, there is presented to us the declaration of faith that arises from the heart of this disciplined people.

Israel's Rejection of Jesus

You will recognize that the disciplined people is the nation of Israel. As you recognize that, you will remember that we believe the Bible makes a definite division between the Jew and the Gentile. The Bible makes a definite distinction among the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God. We believe—and we have ample evidence in the Scripture to verify it—that for the moment God has placed the nation of Israel on the side track, but there will come a time when she will be placed back on the main line, and unless we recognize that truth concerning Israel in the Word of God, we will not be able to rightly divide the Word of truth.

When was Israel placed upon the sideline? When the Savior departed. Look again at verse 15 and recognize the Son of God speaking when He said:

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

The passage of Scripture, I think, can be better understood if we ask ourselves the questions which I suggest to you at the moment. Why did the Lord Jesus Christ go away? He said, “I will go and return to my place.” The answer is, “till they acknowledge their offense.” The Lord Jesus Christ left this earth because of an offense that was committed against Him by the Jewish nation.

You want something more than my word for that, so I call to your attention a familiar verse. Notice John, chapter 1, verses 11 and 12:

John 1

11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

We quote the last part of that verse for emphasis upon the need of receiving Christ; and oftentimes in so doing we fail to emphasize, as we should, the first part of the verse, that originally He came to the Jewish nation. The Jewish nation did not receive Him, so He turned to the Gentiles.

Do not be confused with all the asinine, ridiculous statements that people who do not accept this interpretation of truth make by saying, “If the Jews had accepted Him, then the Gentiles would not have been saved.” Do not be confused with the silly statements that men make that if you accept this interpretation of the Scripture, you are suggesting that God did not know what He was doing when Jesus Christ came, and He had to make a change on short notice. God knew the beginning from the end, and that's the reason He planned as He did. The Scripture records that the Lord Jesus Christ came unto His own, and His own received Him not.

Jesus' Return to Heaven

An historical record is found in the Gospel of Matthew, and it might be wise for you to turn there because this passage of Scripture is not as familiar as the one to which I referred. In the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 23, keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ was sitting outside the city of Jerusalem, thinking about the rejection of Himself by the Jewish nation, and He uttered the words which we read in Matthew, chapter 23, beginning with verse 37:

Matthew 23

37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38[Notice carefully] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ had entered the city of Jerusalem, had offered Himself as King to Israel. They rejected Him and He said, “I feel sorry for you. You are going to be a desolate nation, and you will never see Me again personally until you say, ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord'.”

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ go away? Because of the offense that was committed against Him in rejecting Him as the Messiah of Israel.

Where did He go? That is another question that is often asked, particularly by individuals who do not accept the interpretation that I am suggesting to you. Where did He go? The answer is found in verse 15, when He said:

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place…

Where is His place? You might dismiss the whole matter by simply referring to the fact that His place is in Heaven, but you need some Scriptural evidence for what I say. Turn in your Bibles, please, to Psalm 2 and recognize that the Psalmist is uttering a prophecy concerning an event in the future, when the nations of the world will attempt to throw off the yoke of God from their necks and do as they will. God says to them, “What you are doing is a vain and a foolish thing, because I have a plan.” It is described in verse 6, in the words, “I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Jehovah God said, “I have set my King, Jesus, upon My holy hill in Zion.” The Lord Jesus Christ responded in verse 7:

Psalm 2

7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

The word begotten does not refer to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, but to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Recognizing that, we pinpoint the time when the Lord Jesus Christ went back to His place and God challenged Him with the words found in Psalm 2, verse 8:

Psalm 2

8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

A clearer passage of Scripture is Psalm 110, as far as specifying the place to which the Lord Jesus Christ went. Notice Psalm 110, verse 1:

Psalm 110

1The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Notice the words, “The LORD said unto my Lord.” If you are looking at your Bibles, you will notice that the first LORD has every letter capitalized, which indicates it is a reference to Jehovah God. The second Lord has only the first letter capitalized, which indicates that it is a reference to the Son. So David the king could say, “God the father said unto Jesus Christ the Son, ‘Sit down at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool'.” Where did the Lord Jesus Christ go? Back to His place. Where was His place? At the right hand of the throne of God where He is at this very moment.

Israel's Affliction

The normal question, as we go back to Hosea, chapter 5, is “What will He do there?” Keep in mind that we are talking at the moment not about the Church, but about the Jewish nation. He is making intercession for the Church. But we are speaking of the Jewish nation now, and so we are saying that while the Lord Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, He is not forgetting the nation of Israel. Rather, He is pleading and punishing them. This is indicated to us by the phrase in verse 15:

Hosea 5

15…in their affliction they will seek me early.

We combine the words plead and punish , because we do not want you to think that God is sitting there on His throne enjoying punishing the nation of Israel. The purpose of the discipline, the purpose of the chastening, is that He might bring them back to God; that is the reason that He speaks of it as pleading with them.

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 20. You will recognize how this comes about, for there in chapter 20 of the book of Ezekiel reference is made to the very period of time that we are talking about. The Lord Jesus Christ has gone back to Heaven, and during this time He is dealing with the nation of Israel upon the earth in the manner described in verse 33:

Ezekiel 20

33As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:

Yes, God is ruling over the nation of Israel, scattered as she is to the four corners of the earth, but He is ruling with fury poured forth. That is the reason Israel has suffered as she has, suffered down through the years since she cried, “Let his blood be upon us.” But God will not forsake them in the midst of His fury poured forth, for you read in verse 34:

Ezekiel 20

34And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
35And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
36Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.

Notice, the punishing and the pleading are combined. What is the Lord Jesus Christ doing? Pleading with the nation of Israel through disciplinary measures that she might recognize her need of Him.

Christ's Return to Earth

One other question is: When will He come back? Someone says, “Is there something in this passage of Scripture which indicates He will come back?” Yes, look at verse 15, of Hosea, chapter 5:

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

He said, “I will go and return to my place until…” That indicates He is coming back. When a certain thing transpires, then He will come back and not before. It would be wise for us to recognize that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is a drama in two acts. When we refer to the first act, the Rapture , His coming to catch the Church up to Himself, we must recognize that there is no prophecy to be fulfilled before that event occurs. It could happen at any time. But before He comes back to own the nation of Israel as a people of His own, they will have to acknowledge their offense and seek Him in the acknowledging of that offense. Then and only then will the Lord Jesus Christ return.

The Savior has departed, not to remain idle, but to plead with disciplinary measures with the nation of Israel in order that they, a disciplined people, might be brought to the place of acknowledging their offense against Him and ask Him to come back and help them in the midst of all their trials and all of their tribulations.

The Disciplined People

I would think with you now for a few moments concerning the disciplined people to whom we refer. Notice verse 2 of chapter 6. This disciplined people speaks and says:

Hosea 6

2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

This passage of Scripture, interpreted in the light of verse 15, would indicate that there will be three days related to God's disciplinary measures with the children of Israel. Some people see these three days as no more than figurative expressions similar to the cleansing that the nation of Israel went through according to Levitical regulations. Others think of them in reference to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: On the third day, He was raised again. On the third day, this nation will become a new nation.

I do not see anything particularly wrong with those interpretations, but I do not think they convey the real message of the verse. I believe this passage of Scripture is speaking about three prophetic days with which you need to be familiar, if you are not already so. The first day of which the people spoke, I believe, refers to this present dispensation. The second day, I believe, refers to the tribulation period, and the third day, I believe, refers to the Millennium.

If you are thinking, you are probably saying, “But this present dispensation has lasted nearly two thousand years, has it not?” Yes. “How can you speak of it, then, as a day?” “Is it not true,” someone might ask, “that the Tribulation is to last seven years? How then could you speak of it as a day? Is it not true that the Millennium is to last for one thousand years? How, then, can you speak of it as a day?” The answer is because that is the Scriptural way of describing these periods of time—not talking about their historical length, but the manner in which God describes them.

For example, this present dispensation is referred to in II Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 2, as the day of salvation . “Now is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time.” The Tribulation is refered to in I Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 2, as the day of the Lord, the day of Jacob's trouble. The Millennium is referred to in Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 8, as the perfect day . It is the only perfect day that this earth will ever know, because there has never been a period of time that has been marked by blessing and by success without some problems, but the Millennium will be such a day.

That the Millennium is certainly in the mind of Hosea when he said, “On the third day He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight,” is made evident, I think, by Phillips' translation of the passage: “On the third day He will set us on our feet to live beneath His care.”

The nation of Israel has been a downtrodden people. They have been the tail of the nations instead of a head, but God says in His Word that there will come a time when God, after the disciplinary measures of the periods of time of which we have spoken have occurred, will stand the nation of Israel upon its feet to live beneath the benevolent care of the Lord Jesus Christ as He rules and reigns upon the earth for a thousand years—Israel living under His benevolent care.

A Declaration of Faith

Before this can happen, there must be what we have suggested to you, the acknowledgment of their offense and the seeking of His face. So we would think with you in these few remaining moments that we have with you concerning the declaration of faith on the part of the Jewish nation which is described in verse 1 of chapter 6, and again in verse 3:

Hosea 6

1Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

This declaration of faith is not as simple as it might sound, for it involves a number of things which must be taken into consideration. It involves a confession on the part of the nation of Israel. When they say, “Come and let us return unto the Lord,” they are saying to one another, “Come and let us acknowledge that when Jesus was upon the earth the first time, we rejected Him; we were wrong. We as a nation were guilty of rejecting our Messiah and our King.”

This is not easy for them to do. It will be brought about only as the proper message is delivered to them. We should be delivering it in this hour. We are failing, but, thank God, He does not depend upon us. It will be delivered in the Tribulation period in the words which are described in chapter 40 of the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 40

1Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

If you convert a Jew from Judaism to Christianity in his present state, he assumes that you are trying to get him to change religions, and he sees no reason to do that. But if you use the Old Testament to explain to him God's plan and purpose to where he realizes that indeed he has rejected His Messiah, then he is willing to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Jesus as Savior.

This will be done in only a meager way in this day of grace. But during the Tribulation it will be done in a tremendous way, because of what God will do. I might say that if you have a limited ministry with the nation of Israel and wonder why you don't have a more far-reaching ministry, you probably never will, for in this Age of Grace, those few who come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior will be like the Apostle Paul—“one born out of due time.”

The Time of Israel's Conversion

The time of the conversion of the nation of Israel is in the Tribulation when, as we read in Zechariah, chapter 12, God will deal with them in a special way. We read in verse 8:

Zechariah 12

8In that day [we are talking about the Tribulation] shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.

I might say that the only way that anybody can be saved is when God pours out the spirit of supplication upon him. It is rather ridiculous for you to even think that you in your own strength can believe in Christ. That's like expecting a dead man to walk when he has no life.

The nation of Israel will not return unto God until the spirit of supplication is poured out upon them. You will notice in the middle of the verse, the statement, “they shall look upon Me.” More accurately, “they shall look unto Me whom they have pierced.”

Yes, they were the ones who pierced the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross, and when the spirit of supplication is poured upon them, they will look unto Him and they will make the confession that is recorded in Isaiah, chapter 53. We will not take the time to look there, but they will realize that He was bruised for their iniquities. They will realize that the chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and they will acknowledge their offense. God will give them, in the spirit of supplication, a great deal of confidence, for Satan would have them think that after all the centuries of denying Jesus Christ as Messiah, after all the centuries of spitting when His name is mentioned, surely God would not be interested in them.

Notice in Hosea, chapter 6, verse 1, they will say to one another, when the spirit of supplication is poured out upon them, “Come and let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn…” Yes, He has. For two thousand years He has torn them. But they say, “He will revive us.” That is, “He will make us stand.” And He will, for at the end of the Tribulation, they will acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior.

Then he said, “In the third day [in the millennial reign of Christ], He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight,” and thereby they manifest a spiritual comprehension that none of them can manifest in this age in which we live. If you call to mind what the Apostle Paul had to say in his letter to the Corinthians, you will remember that he said, “In this particular age in which we live, they don't know what we are talking about when we present to them the Gospel. They don't know what we are talking about even when we point out to them the truth of God's Word, because when they read the Word of God today, a veil is over their face so the truth which is very evident to you Gentiles is hidden from them.” This is part of God's pleading. This is part of God's discipline, but someday the veil will be taken away and they will be in the happy state that is described in verse 3, when they said:

Hosea 6

3Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

I like the way Phillips presents that verse, because it still represents a part of the conversation that was carried on, or that will be carried on by these folk who live just before the coming of the Lord. Phillips renders it, “Let us know the Lord. Let us be determined to know Him, for He will come back to us as surely as the dawn, as surely as the rainfall in winter and the showers which water the earth in the spring; He will come back.”

Israel will have that confidence. I would like to suggest to you that I have that confidence as well, concerning the coming of the Lord. I find myself desiring others to know these truths, to be determined to know them, for His coming is as sure as the dawning of the day. His coming is as sure as the early and the latter rain upon which Israel depended for her very life. Jesus is coming.

If you want to hasten the coming of the Lord for His Church, then become deeply interested in conveying the truth to Israel, for He will come for His Church seven years before He comes in response to Israel's request. It would follow if Israel is instructed concerning the truth, the coming of the Lord can be hastened.

Conclusion

I would ask you, because I think most of us are remiss in this, how much of a burden have you carried for the nation of Israel? We are burdened for nearly every nation a man might mention, and we send missionaries everywhere. But how burdened are you for Israel, and how much support do you lend for Israel's evangelization, the veil before her face notwithstanding?


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