A viewer, “Chris,” of my YouTubes, a visitor to our websites recently submitted the following questions on the issue of Israel / Judah / God’s promises. Here are the questions followed by my response. We appreciate the thoughtful questions.
“In Hosea 1:4 what is the meaning of the cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel (not Judah)? I see a distinction between Israel and Judah because of the promise made to David and the lineage of the Messiah. Jeremiah says that God gave Israel a bill of divorce but not Judah??? It seems unfair. Does Judah get divorced in 70 Ad and immediately get gathered together with Israel? Is there a scripture for that? Are those that are gathered together the righteous remnant from both houses? Lastly, “so all Israel shall be saved”, is this the righteous remnant and those who did not forsake to assemble themselves together as they saw the day approaching?”
Be sure to read part one of my answer to “Chris.” And, be sure to read my book We Shall Meet Him In The Air, The Wedding of the King of kings, for a fuller discussion of this issue.
In part one, we noted that there is indeed a distinction in the OT between Israel, the ten northern tribes, and Judah. In both Hosea and Amos, the Lord said He would cause the kingdom of Israel to cease, and never rise again, but, He would not destroy the “house” of Israel. This is incredibly significant. Those who insist that God promised to restore the kingdom of Israel, i.e. the geo-political, military kingdom of the nation, must deal with the fact that God said He would cause that kingdom to cease, and never rise again.
“Chris” asked: “Jeremiah says that God gave Israel a bill of divorcement, but not Judah….. Does Judah get divorced in AD 70 and immediately get gathered together with Israel?”
In response, take note of a couple of things.
It is indisputably true that God told Judah she would receive the harvest, the same harvest as Israel, at the time when He saved the righteous remnant (Hosea 6:11). The “harvest” that Israel received was national destruction, the end of the national kingdom. Significantly, when we come to the New Testament, we find two common themes running side by side: the promise of the harvest and the salvation of the remnant.
From the very beginning of the NT record, we find John the Baptizer warning the leaders of Jerusalem and Judea who came to him: “who has warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?” And notice how prominently the motif of the harvest played in that message. Echoing Malachi 3-4 (which foretold John’s ministry as Elijah): “his winnowing fork is already in his hand… the axe is already at the root” (Matthew 3:7-10). The imminence of the harvest is indisputable.
Notice that the harvest theme is likewise a major theme of Jesus’ ministry “every tree that does not bring for good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire” (Matthew 7:15-20). Notice the direct parallels with John’s message. Similarly, Jesus’ major parable of the wheat and the tares is the story of the harvest at the end of the age (Matthew 13:39f). Of course, we have a perfect right to ask if the harvest that John foretold and the harvest of Matthew 13 are two totally different harvests. If they are, there should be some good exegetical evidence of the distinction, but, that evidence does not exist.
And notice how Matthew 3 and Matthew 13 agree with the prediction of Hosea and Amos that Judah would receive her harvest– national destruction– in the days of the salvation of the remnant.
In Matthew 13:43, Jesus said that at the end of the age harvest, “then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of their father.” This is a direct echo of Daniel 12:3, which foretold the end of the age resurrection / harvest! In perfect harmony with Hosea that said Judah’s harvest would be at the time of the salvation of the remnant, notice that in verses 6-7 one angel asks another when all of these things would be fulfilled. The answer is definitive: “When the power of the holy people is completely shattered, all of these things shall be fulfilled.”
So, we have the promise of the harvest, as in Hosea. We have the promise of the salvation of the remnant, “some (the remnant) shall arise to eternal life” (v. 2). We have the destruction of the “power of the holy people” (v. 7).
What cannot be missed is that Judah had remained the repository of the Torah, the Covenant, which was the “power of the holy people” from the time of the destruction of Israel until the time of Jesus. That covenant was Israel’s only power. Torah was the foundation of the Theocratic, nationalistic kingdom of Judah. So, the prophecy of the destruction of the power of the holy people is nothing less than the prediction of the “divorcement” and destruction of Judah at the time of the harvest.
And notice that it would be at the time of the harvest that this “power” would be shattered. So, once again, we find the constituent elements found in Hosea and Amos present in Jesus’ prediction of the end time harvest.
It is only by totally ignoring the covenantal context of these end time predictions of the harvest that one can extrapolate them into predictions of the end of the Christian age or the end of time.
As we will see in our next installment, we not only find the prophecies of the harvest present in Revelation, we also find the predictions of the divorcement of Judah, and, just as Hosea predicted, the end time “remarriage” of YHVH and “all Israel.” You don’t want to miss these articles, so stay tuned.