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Understanding Hosea

by Christine Egbert

Dispensational theology likes to draw a false distinction between Israel and the Church. But this article will show that the House of Israel, who lost their identity when God sowed them among the nations in punishment for mixing idolatry with true worship, is in fact today’s Church. Hosea, quoted some 14 times in the New Testament, laid the groundwork for Paul’s Spirit-lead revelation of the mystery: How the nations one day, through the death and resurrection of the Messiah, who Scripture says came only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel, would again become joint heirs with Judah and part of Israel’s Commonwealth. This is the mystery of the gospel. This is the good news of the Kingdom.hosea

Hosea 1:1 establishes that the Word of Yahweh came to this prophet during the days of Jeroboam, the House of Israel’s first king after the split.  [see also the Lost Sheep]

1Ki 11:11-12  And Jehovah said to Solomon, Because this has been done by you, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes that I charged on you, I shall surely tear the kingdom from you and shall give it to your servant.  (12)  Only, I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I shall tear it out of your son’s hand.

1Ki 11:28-31 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty warrior. And Solomon saw the young man, that he was doing work, and appointed him to all the burden of the house of Joseph.  (29)  And at that time it happened that Jeroboam had gone out from Jerusalem, and Ahijah the Shilonite, the prophet, found him in the way. And he covered himself with a new garment, and both of them were by themselves in a field.  (30)  And Ahijah laid hold on the new garment on him and tore it into twelve pieces.  (31)  And he said to Jeroboam, Take ten pieces for yourself. For so says Jehovah, God of Israel, Behold, I am tearing the kingdom from the hand of Solomon and giving to you the ten tribes.

1Ki 11:34-36  However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.  (35)  But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and give it to you—ten tribes.  (36)  And to his son I will give one tribe {Benjamin}, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.

After being made king of the northern ten tribes, referred to in Scripture after the split as the House of Israel, Jeroboam immediately began changing God’s Law.

  1. He changed God’s designated place of worship from Jerusalem to Bethel and Dan.
  2. He set up golden claves as the House of Israel’s gods.
  3. He replaced the Levitical priesthood with lowlife. (see 1 Kings 13:33 below)
  4. And he changed Yah’s set apart time for the Feast of Tabernacles, which was the 15th day of the 7th Hebrew month, to the 15th day of the 8th

1Ki 12:26-29 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom shall turn back to the house of David; (27) if this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people shall turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam the king of Judah, and they will kill me and go again to Rehoboam the king of Judah.  (28)  And the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt! (29) And he set the one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.

1Ki 13:33  After this thing Jeroboam did not turn from his evil way, but turned again and made from the lowest of the people priests of high places; he who desired, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.

2Ch 11:14 For the Levites had abandoned their pasture land and their property. And they came to Judah and to Jerusalem; for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them out from acting as priests to Jehovah.

1Ki 12:33 So he (Jeroboam) made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart.

Now that we have established how the Nation of Israel got split into the House of Israel and the House of Judah, and how the House of Israel changed YHVH’s LAW, let’s get back to Hosea’s prophesy.

In verse 2, YHVH instructs Hosea to take a harlot for his wife because the land (the House of Israel) has committed great harlotry by departing from YHVH. Throughout Scripture, God uses the natural to explain the spiritual. Thus He correlates sexual infidelity in marriage to spiritual idolatry. So Hosea takes Gomer, and she bears him a son. The K.J.V. of Hosea 1:4 says: “And the LORD said unto him, call his name Jezreel.”

Names in Scripture, especially those ordained by God, always have prophetic meaning. Unfortunately, the lauded K.J.V. makes the prophetic nature of the Hebrew name Jezreel difficult to discern. Here is the verse from the Literal Translation:

And Jehovah said to him, Call his name God Will Sow, for yet in a little while I will call to account the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease.” (Brown Driver Brigs defines Jezreel as “God sows.”)

In the next verse, Gomer goes on to bear Hosea two more children. God instructs Hosea to name the daughter Lo Ruhamah (No Mercy) for God would no longer show mercy on the House of Israel, but would completely take them away. The son was to be named Lo Ammi (Not My People) for the House of Israel would no longer be called God’s people.

For their idolatry, (changing YHVH’s LAWS, times, and mixing true worship with paganism) the House of Israel got sown (scattered like seed) into the nations. God would no longer show them mercy, and they would no longer be called God’s people. It was as if God was saying, in modern lingo, “You want to carry on like a bunch of heathens? Fine! Go live with them. Just don’t come crying to me when you get into trouble. You’re disowned!”

So the House of Israel lost their identity as Israelites. They forgot who they once were. Being sown into the nations, they assimilated, and according to Hosea 2:11, they forfeited the joy of the Sabbaths, the Feast Days, and the new moons.

Hosea 2:11 “I will also cause all her joy to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.”

What about the House of Judah?

Did you notice that in Hosea 1:7, right after YHVH declared in verse 6 that He would have no mercy on the House of Israel, that He declared that He would have mercy on the House of Judah?

Hosea 1:7  “And I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save them by Jehovah their God.”

This is because, in spite of Judah’s harlotry, Judah NEVER removed the SIGN between them and YHVH, HIS SABBATHS. (Exodus 31:13 & 17) The Sabbaths are a spiritual wedding ring, a sign between YHVH and the children of Israel forever. So YHVH did not divorce JUDAH. In the parable of the prodigal son, Judah is the son who remained in the Father’s house. The house of Israel is the son who went off to feed the pigs, but will return in the end of days. Judah, the son who remained with the Father, will be jealous at first. (Romans 11:11) But then this incredible prophesy will come to pass:

Isaiah 11:12-13 He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (13) Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.

Then, in verses 10, immediately after declaring that the House of Israel will NOT BE HIS PEOPLE, God declares the most remarkable prophesy: Hos 1:10-11 “Yet the number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which is not measured nor numbered. And it shall be, in the place where it is said to them, You are not My people, it shall be said to them, you are Sons of the Living God.

Now Paul, known as the apostle sent to the Gentiles, makes the connection. He reveals the identity of these Gentiles, who these people from nations not in covenant with God actually are.

Romans 9:23-27 “…that He make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory, whom He also called, not only of us Jews (Paul is from the tribe of Benjamin, the only tribe that stayed with the House of Judah, also called Jews), but also out of the nations.  As also He says in Hosea, I will call those Not My people, My people! And those not beloved, Beloved! And it shall be, in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people, there they will be called, ‘Sons of the Living God.’ But Isaiah cries on behalf of Israel, “If the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.””

WOW! Paul is making it clear that these new believers are in fact descendants of the northern Kingdom of the House of Israel that God sowed into the nations, the very ones of which Hosea prophesied. Peter was sent to the House of Judah, Paul to the House of Israel! It makes sense! The New Covenant was made with the House of Judah and the House of Israel. (Jer 31:33 & Heb 8:8)

But Paul is not the only one who makes the connection between the gentiles coming to faith in Yeshua and the Israelites who got scattered into the nations, those who God said would not be his people then later would be the people of God. Peter’s epistle, in fact, is addressed to the pilgrims of the Dispersion:

1Pe 1:1-2  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  (2)  elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

Then, in chapter 2 verse 10 Peter connects the dots.

1Pe 2:9-10  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  (10)  who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Can you now see why Yeshua said he was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel? Matthew 15:24 & 10:6.

Jerimiah 50:6  My people are lost sheep, their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they turned them away on the mountains, they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place.

Replacement theology teaches that through the New Covenant, YHVH has replaced the Nation of Israel with the Gentile Church, Spiritual Israel. That is a heresy from Hell.   When YHVH blessed Abraham, He prophesied that Abraham’s descendants would become a multitude of nations. And again when Jacob blessed Ephraim, he prophesied that Ephraim’s descendants would become a multitude of nations. Neither YHVH nor Jacob ever prophesied that a multitude of nations would become spiritual Israel. The Hebrew phrase “melo hagoim” frequently translated as “a multitude of nations” can also be translated as “fullness of gentiles.” With that in mind, let’s read what Paul wrote to the Romans, and I pray that the light bulb will go off in your head as it did in mine.

Rom 11: 25 “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (melo hagoim) has come in.

While you are still in shock (I hope), let’s return to Hosea.

Hosea 1:10 “Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.”

Now let’s examine some verses from Hosea, chapters 2 and 3:

Hos 2:13-16 And I will visit on her the days of the Baals in which she burned incense to them. [Ashtoreth is the mother of Baal. She is known also as Ashtar or Ishtar, which translates into English as EASTER.] Yea, she adorned herself with her nose rings, and her jewels, and she went after her lovers and forgot Me, says Jehovah.  (14) Therefore, behold, I will lure her and bring her to the wilderness, and speak to her heart. (15) And from there I will give her vineyards to her, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope. And she shall answer there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. (16) And at that day, says Jehovah, you shall call Me, My husband; and you shall no more call Me, My Baal.

Hos 3:4-5 For the sons of Israel shall remain many days with no king and no ruler, and with no sacrifice, and no pillars, and no ephod or teraphim. (5) Afterward the sons of Israel shall return and seek Jehovah their God and David their king. And they shall fear Jehovah and His goodness in the ends of the days.

Hosea 1:11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel!

The Two Houses becoming one again in God’s hand at the end of days is also foretold by Ezekiel:

Eze 37:9-22

Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” (10) So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

(11)  Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’  (12)  Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.  (13)  Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.  (14)  I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’ ”

(15) Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (16) “As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’  (17) Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand.

(18) “And when the children of your people speak to you, saying, ‘Will you not show us what you mean by these?’ (19) say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.” (20) And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes.  (21) “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land;  (22)  and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.

We in the Hebrew Roots movement, Ephraim, are those reawakening descendants from the scattered House of Israel. We who dwell under HIS shadow are returning. You have revived us like grain, and we’re growing like a vine. We proclaim, “What have we to do anymore with idols?” (Easter & Christmas) YOUR fruit is found in us. May the WISE understand these things, may the prudent know them, for the ways of YAHWEH are right, and the righteous will walk in them. (Hosea 14:7-9)

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11 thoughts on “Understanding Hosea

  1. The light bulb I hoped would go off regarded this verse: Rom 11: 25 “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (melo hagoim) has come in.
    I was always taught that it is the Jews who are blinded in part, but I now believe it refers to ALL of Israel, the WHOLE HOUSE, Judah, of course, but also the House of Israel who are only now awakening to their true identity. We are in the process of “coming back into covenant”, but once the whole house is reunited, it will mean LIFE from the DEAD: Yeshua’s return which triggers the Resurrection!

  2. SOOO AMAZING to see that Paul was ACTUALLY being sent to the House of Israel! Very scary the things Jerboam did, and we were JUST reading about him again last night from a kid’s Bible Ap from a Hebrew perspective called Bible Pathway Adventures! Thanks for this wonderful perspective! But, sadly, “the lightbulb” didn’t “go off” for me when you said it would, could you please explain? Thanks! (And LOVED your “Christmas Bah Humbug” post also! )

  3. This is amazing, my husband and I are just getting a hold of Hebrew roots teaching and it is drawing us closer to a deeper relationship with The Lord. How can this be like catholicism !!!!!!!!!
    It’s the truth that is setting us free. May the Father bless you all who teach the truth of who we really are. Amen

  4. Every time I read an explanation of the bible from someone in the Hebrew Roots movement it reminds me of how Catholicism explains the bible. The gymnastics used to try to pick & choose only verses that support a position and completely ignore any verses not supporting their position or redefine words of the English until they fit the desired understanding is often exactly how Catholicism explains their positions.