The Promise of Restoration

KEY VERSE: “They that dwell under his shadow shall return: they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine.” —Hosea 14:7


OUR lesson is the conclusion of the Book of Hosea and in its unique symbolic expressions it becomes apparent that throughout the prophecy all of the great truths of God’s plan of salvation alluded to, are specifically for the enlightenment of the Israel of this age—spiritual Israel.

First, the prophet is represented as addressing the people: “O Israel return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity, take with you words and turn to Jehovah.” This was the message of repentance to Israel at the time of our Lord’s first advent; preached first by John the Baptist, then by Jesus and the apostles.

In answer to this, Israel is represented as saying—in a repentant attitude—“Say unto him [the Lord], Take away all iniquity and receive us graciously, so shall we render the calves of our lips. Asshur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say anymore to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods, for in thee the fatherless find mercy.” This represents those who heard and believed the doctrine of Jesus Christ, realizing that iniquity could only be removed by him, and through him their sacrifices, described here as the calves of their lips (see Hebrews 13:15), could find acceptance by God.

They also came to realize that Israel, as a nation, would not be saved by God’s overruling of the Gentile powers [Asshur], Rome at the time of Jesus, nor could they any longer look to the works of their own hands under the Law, but only in the mercy of God through Christ for a standing of sonship.

This is the attitude of heart in which all ‘Israelites indeed’ (John 1:47) throughout the Gospel Age have returned to Jehovah; not those alone who are Israelites according to the flesh, but all who are called from every nation to fill up the elect number. The Lord has indeed graciously received them, and has put away their iniquity by the ransoming merit of his dear Son.

The Lord’s answer is recorded in verses four through six: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely [unmeritedly], for my anger is turned away from him.”

Throughout the early part of this prophecy, natural Israel was represented by Hosea’s wife—a woman—but here the picture changes. Spiritual Israel is not received by Jehovah as a woman, but as a man, of which Christ Jesus is the head, and his church the members of his body. “I will be as the dew [refreshment] unto Israel, he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.” Here the beauty of Christ and the church, coming up out of the earth is so beautifully described. And the casting forth of roots in the earth conveys the idea that through them has been established a fine, sturdy hope of life—everlasting life—the evergreen cedars of Lebanon.

Then follows a picture of the blessings of the Millennial Age reign of the Christ, spiritual Israel, as the overspreading branches of the tree which grew out of the roots cast forth during the Gospel Age. Here again is a pertinent symbol in the statement, “His beauty shall be as the olive tree.” The Apostle Paul, in Romans eleven, associated the symbolism of the olive tree with the Abrahamic promise. The beauty of the reigning Christ will be the blessings to all the world which that promise foretold.

“They [natural Israel and all the Gentile world] that dwell under his shadow shall return [experience restitution], they shall revive as corn and flourish as a vine and the fragrance shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” The beauty and fragrance of the earth shall be imparted by the peaceful and truthful environment of the overspreading tree. In a more direct statement, Isaiah wrote, “The law shall go forth from Zion, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Ephraim, sometimes used in reference to Israel, and also in prophetic symbolism as describing nominal Christendom, is here heard to say: “What have I to do anymore with idols? I have heard him, and observed him [the Christ]: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit formed [the fruitage of truth and worship of the true God.]”

In conclusion, attention is called to the fact that not by earthly wisdom can these wonderful things spoken be comprehended now. They shall be understood only by those who are taught with the true wisdom that cometh down from above, “and the just shall walk in them.”—vs. 9

Blessed are our eyes for they see!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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