About Jesus Steve Sweetman
IsraelUnrepentant (ch. 6:1 –
The last two verses in
chapter 5 begins the talk about
Verse 1 says, "Come,
let us return to the Lord …"
These words, along with the rest of this verse, up to the end of
verse 3, suggest to me that Israel
is repenting. Now Israel
has said these words before in their history, only to forget about them
down the road. I believe
this prophecy speaks of a future day, at the end of this present age, when
admits that God has torn them to pieces and injured them, and they are
right. The trials that they
will go through in the Tribulation at the end of this age will tear them
apart and injure them. This
is what I believe these words are referring to.
now realizes that they had to be torn apart in order to be put back
together. This is the
purpose of the Tribulation for Israel. God will heal
when they repent and ask Him to return to them.
Of course, those who
believe this repentance took place in Nehemiah's day suggest that the
ripping apart took place when the Assyrians invaded the northern kingdom
I think many Bible
teachers miss the truth of verse 1.
I believe this verse clearly tells us the very last thing that
needs to happen before Jesus physically returns to this earth. Many
people talk about the things that must take place before His return, but
finally repenting, is the very last thing that will happen.
It is this repentance that brings Jesus back to His people, back
to David's throne, and back to earth.
The reason why some Bible
teachers say that the repentance seen here is not a lasting repentance,
and therefore probably the repentance in Nehemiah's day is due to the
context. From verse 5 on,
God speaks of judgment on
Verse 2 says, "after
two days He will revive us, on the third day He will restore us, that we
may live in His presence". The
talk of two days and three days in this verse seem to remind many Bible
teachers of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Many teachers say this is what this verse is speaking of, but I
strongly disagree. The
context for one thing says otherwise.
The context is about
Besides the context, the
pronouns in this verse tell us that this is all about Israel's resurrection, not Jesus' resurrection.
The verse says, "He will revive us".
The word "us' can't refer to one person, meaning Jesus.
The verse also says, "we may live in His presence'.
The word "we" can't refer to one person, meaning Jesus.
If that were the case, you would need a singular pronoun.
Besides, then who would "His presence" refer too.
This verse is clearly speaking of Jesus reviving and restoring Israel.
The insertion of two days
and three days is more debatable. I
believe these are literal days, but how that fits into the prophetic
scenario, I'm not sure. It
appears to me that the reviving of Israel
will take two days. This
might be the time it takes for
I think it is important
to take the Bible as literally as possible.
I believe we go wrong if we don't. Many
people allegorize and spiritualize the Bible to mean just anything they
want it to mean.
Whatever the case, the
goal to Israel's troubles in the Tribulation period which causes them to repent is
their restoration to their God.
What I say next is pure
interpretation, speculation, and even a bit allegorical.
The two or three days does remind us about the death and
resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder if Jesus death, how long he was
dead, isn't symbolic of Israel's death, and then, her future
restoration, or resurrection. Some
make a big deal about a thousand years being like a day in God's sight.
I don't make that big of a deal about that for various reasons,
but if you take this thinking,
Verse 2 ends with,
"so that we may live in his presence".
This to me speaks of the return of Jesus when He will physically
Verse 3 simply states a
Biblical fact. If one
repents and acknowledges the Lord, He will come to him.
Concerning the word "acknowledge" here.
I believe this is more than a mental acknowledgment of the
existence of God, although that is surely the first step.
Acknowledging the Lord is including Him and what He wants into
your life. Allowing Him to
walk with you every step of the way, and consulting Him on all matters
is what acknowledging the Lord really is.
I believe this is what verse 3 is talking about, and this is what
will finally due after being brought to their knees in the Tribulation
that will end this present age.
The words "He will
come" and "He will appear" in verse 3 suggest to me of
the return of the Lord Jesus and refer back to the last verse in chapter
5. As certain as the sun
rises, the prophet says that God will return to Israel, and we know that He will
return in Jesus.
From verse 4 on, it seems
that God is responding to Israel's confession of sin and call for the return of their Messiah.
If this is not a response, it definitely is God's word to a love
forsaken nation. Yet before
Messiah's return comes, God reminds Israel
in this passage of their past. So
many times in Israeli history the Jews turned back to their God, but it
didn't last long. Soon after
acknowledging their guilt, they would return to their sin.
This is what verse 4 is speaking about.
Because of this, in verse
5, God says that He cuts Israel
to pieces through His prophets, and killed them through the words of His
mouth. Any quick reading of
the prophetic books of the Bible shows that God can sure cut His people
down with His words. Yet His
words have teeth. They are
not just words. They lead to
action, and when you see the word "killed" in verse 5, that is
literally what God did. Millions
of Jews have been killed over the course of their history because they
have failed to be consistent in their love and faith to their God.
Yet amazingly and miraculously enough, the Jewish race has not
disappeared. Their has
always been a remnant of Jews throughout history that have carried on
the Jewish lineage that will be restored at the end of this age.
Note the past tense of
the word "killed" in verse 5.
This might be one reason why some see this section of chapter 6
as a response to
Note also that the
prophets of God are part of God's judgment.
They first warn and then they speak the words of judgment.
During the warning, there is time for repentance, but once the
judgment is proclaimed, I think there is no turning back.
It's too late for repentance.
Verse 6 is very
important. It shows us the
heart of God that is behind all 613 laws in the Law of Moses.
Remember, the Law of Moses set forth all sorts of rules
concerning offerings and sacrifices.
It was clearly God's will for Israel
to offer offerings and sacrifices to the Lord.
In light of that one might struggle with how to understand verse
6 where God says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifices, and the
acknowledgment of God and not offerings".
The Law of Moses was to be obeyed by Israel, yet at the same time
was to be a nation of merciful people who acknowledged their God before
the nations of the world. They
failed to do this, which in turn made the sacrifices and the offerings
specified in the law meaningless. There
was no use for
We do see the heart of
God in verse 6 and how His heart relates to New Testament times.
We know that the apostle Paul told us that "Christ is the
end of the Law" in Romans 10:4.
I believe that means that Jesus is the end of the Law for things
pertaining to salvation. The
Law is just as much prophetic as it is a list of rules.
There are parts of the Law that are yet to be fulfilled. That being said, New Testament times are all about mercy and
acknowledgment of God, not obeying the Law of Moses.
That's been in the heart of God all along. That
being said, obedience is not only a matter of the Old Testament.
Obeying God is fundamental to the New Testament as well.
Obeying God in New Testament times means obeying the Lord Jesus
Christ. That's why He is called "Lord".
A Lord is one to be obeyed.
I do believe verse 6 is
prophetic of New Testament times. If
you were a good Jew back in Hosea's day and you heard these words, you
might well struggle over their meaning because the reason for God
judging your nation in the first place is because your nation has failed
to obey the Law of Moses, and now God tells you that the sacrifices
found in the Law for you to obey aren't really important anyway.
There is a definite disconnect here.
But, if you view these words as prophecy, spoken in the future,
they make sense. The cross
of Christ makes these words relevant to us today, when these words are
meant to be spoken.
Verse 7 states that
We know that
All that being said, many
scholars do not believe this verse is speaking of Adam the first man,
but the city called Adam in the northern kingdom. They think this
because Adam was a city and since there are other cities mentioned right
in this context, they interpret Adam as a city.
Therefore, Adam is just one of a number of cities that have
broken God's covenant.
Verse 8 states that
This reminds of the problems Cathocis have had over the years with
sexual abuse of children by their priests.
This reminds of the problems Cathocis have had over the years with sexual abuse of children by their priests.
The idea of sexual sins is carried on in verse 10. God sees prostitution in the northern kingdom, and He views that is horrible. So the sexual sins that may be eluded to in the last couple of verses are clearly specified here. We should note that the Jews committed two kinds of prostitution. One is literal prostitution with prostitutes. The other is spiritual prostitution because they married themselves to other gods, forsaking their true God, who was Israel 's husband.
Verse 11 is directed to Judah
as an aside. For the most
part, the book of Hosea is written to the northern kingdom of Israel, called Ephraim in this passage. That
being said, at times it is as if God turns around and speaks to Judah, the southern kingdom, just in case she is listening in.
This is one of those times. The
harvest referred to here concerning Israel
is the harvest of judgment. Judah
too will be judged and eventually fall, but not for a hundred or so