For 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. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. Come, 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. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then 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.(Hosea 5:14-6:3)
We have already seen that the prophet Hosea predicted that Israel would abide many days without King, Temple, priests, national symbols, political identity, nor idols.Furthermore ,Hosea the prophet told us that there would be a return of Israel,and a national return to the worship of Jehovah and of “David their King”.
When will it occur? The Prophet Hosea tells us this will occur ,”In the latter days”.
There was a seventy year captivity of Judah, they were carried away to Babylon, the temple was destroyed and the nation was looted of anyone of any earthly value. The Babylonians literally hauled off the Judean nobility, artisans, Priests, warrior class, and anyone with skill at all, into slavery to Babylon. But the nation was restored and the temple was rebuilt, thus That wasn’t the fulfillment of Hosea 3:4-5.
Hosea 5-6 gives us an idea as to the length of time that Israel would remain in the desolate state prophesied in Hosea chapter 3.
First the LORD assures Ephraim and Judah,that though they would seemingly be torn apart and wounded by Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans, really it is HE himself, the LORD of the covenant who is doing the wounding.The sufferings and scattering into exile to come are of Him, therefore there is no one whom they could successfully turn to to rescue them.
Then in the name of God, Hosea uttered one of the most amazing “first person ” prophecies in the entire scripture,
“I will go and return to the place, till they acknowledge their offenses…”
In what way could Jahweh ever “go” anywhere, seeing he is omni-present?
On;y in this sense; that in Jerusalem, the Most High God chose to descend and dwell in the Holy House of which he gave the Jews the pattern and Jahweh lived among them, animating the nation and drawing the ends of the earth there that Israel might by utterly unique, the one nation on earth in which God dwells among men.
What Hosea is prophesying is that Jahweh is leaving …He is going back to heaven.
Ezekiel saw it. He saw the departure of the cloud of glory, which lifted from the temple, and waited there above the temple, then moved to the mount of Olives, and waited there, (perhaps hoping for repentance?). Finally Ezekiel saw the cloud of glory lift up to heaven!
Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubim’s.(Ezekiel 10:18-20)
Jesus acted this scenario out in Matthew 23-24, in his last speech in the temple, when he announced to the Shepherds of the flock of Israel in his day, that all of the prophesied Judgements would come upon them, and that worse of all,
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For 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.(Matthew 23:38-39)
Jesus predicted that Israel would never see him again until they come to an acknowledgement of him, as “He who comes in the name of the LORD”.
Where did Jesus go from there? He went to the same place Ezekiel saw the glory cloud go, to the mount of Olives.From the Mt of Olives, he ascended to heaven.
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? (Matthew 24:1-3)
Hosea saw that the LORD would depart from dwelling in the midst of Israel, until Israel acknowledges her offense against Him.
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence,
Hosea is only prophesying the same things Moses warned of in the covenant, That Israel would sin and become estranged from God, even scattered across the globe, until she confesses her national sin (Singular),
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.(Leviticus 26:40-42)
Jeremiah also prophesies the confession of Israel’s national sin, as the condition of national restoration to blessing and priesthood;
Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:(Jeremiah 3:12-14)
Hosea then gave a further detail, that it would be “in their affliction” that Israel would “Seek me early”. “Their affliction” is another name for a period of time called the Tribulation, or “great tribulation which the world has never seen before nor shall ever see again”, or it is called the “Time of Jacob’s trouble”. Evidently one of the reasons for this period of testing, is to bring Israel to repentance and the confession of her sin.