My articles are Biblical and topical in nature. I don't have the space in such brief space to fully discuss every nuance of a subject. However, I try to cover the main aspect of the topic, leaving it up to the reader to both study it out for themselves and/or to look up the fuller understanding usually found (although not always) in one of my books. In other words, most of the topics I'll hit upon in newsletters and articles are far more thoroughly discussed elsewhere. These shorter writings are designed to stimulate your thinking.

In other articles, I've pointed out that much of what I write about has to do with what has been coined (not by me) as The Law of Double Reference. That is, that much Scripture has not only more than one application, but is God-designed with two entirely different messages contained within the same words. This is not hocus-pocus, my friends. Let me share another example of this truth.

There is no better example of the LODR than the several ways God has used the word "day". It can mean 24 hours; but, prophetically, it can also mean a year (Ezek. 4:6); and it can even mean 1,000 years (2 Peter 3:8). Now we must indeed be very careful of how we apply this truth, lest we be guilty of making the Bible say something God never intended. One of the best scenarios is found in Hosea 5:14&15 and 6:1&2.

14. "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." 15. "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early."

1. "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." 2. "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight."

In the natural sense, this passage is referring to the Babylonian captivity of Israel, which happened just exactly as Hosea prophesied, around 606 B.C. The Scripture is saying that God would "tear" Israel, leave them captive in Babylon for a time, “go away” Himself until they repented, and then return to live in their sight. This all happened historically. Israel was re-established once again after the 70-year Babylonian captivity.

But now I want you to think in a long-term sense. Actually, this is a miniature composite of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done for Israel and all humanity. In these brief four verses is found a nutshell sketch which compares to Isaiah 53. The Scripture must be deciphered very carefully to see this. So let's take it piece by piece and note just how specially God has conveyed a double-reference message here. It's really quite beautiful!

It would be good if you would read the above four verses several times before continuing with this commentary, so you'll have the words virtually memorized.

We all know that "tearing" Israel (or anyone else for that matter) never solved their root problems. Sending them into captivity would be beneficial to Israel for a time, just like spanking a child. But it wouldn't be permanent. I want you to think on a permanent solution for Israel's ills. And it's found right here in the text of this passage.

As Christians, you and I both know that Jesus Christ paid the debt that would forever solve the real problems we all have — the sin problem. And how did He do it? By taking the wrath of God upon Himself, both in the garden of Gethsemane and the next day on the cross of Calvary.

Now look back at Hosea 5:14 where it says that "...I, even I, will tear and go away;" This is a double reference. Notice the phrase "even I". Do you know why this repetition is stated this way? It's because this "I", in the Hebrew, is called an emphatic pronoun. We do not have an emphatic pronoun in English for the word “I”. So, in the King James Version (not so in all versions, by the way), in order to maintain Biblical accuracy, anytime an emphatic pronoun is called for, the translators maintained the essence of the passage by inserting the "even I" after the first "I".

Now what is the reason for making this point? Oh, dear Reader, it's so important it almost makes me shake. The reason this language is written this way is to make us aware that it is the "I" who was going to be torn! Not merely the Israelites.

[By the way, if your version says that "I will tear HIM, or THEM, (alluding to Israel) these words are not in the original text. They have been added by the translators, who, if they were careful and honest, indicated this fact with a note in the margin. Can you see why extreme care is so important as we evaluate Scripture? In order to convey to us a prophetic portrait of Jesus' sacrifice, the language had to be written very precisely. This helps us understand why every word of Scripture was God-breathed, not just ideas.]

Notice next that the one who Himself was "torn" would return to His "place". Now where did this One return to? Well, He returned to the right hand of God the Father where He resides till this day!

Notice too that this One who was torn said He would remain away until they (Israel) acknowledged their offense. What does this mean? It is best answered in Luke 13:34&35.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD."

"Jerusalem" here symbolizes all Israel. She was even guilty of killing many prophets, not just Jesus. This one, the "even I", in the Hosea passage is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ speaking. He's forecasting exactly what the above passage says in Luke's Gospel. Israel will someday repent as a nation. (See Romans 11.)

Now look at Hosea 6:1, which predicts Israel's final repentance when they will say, "Come, and let us return to the Lord;" Notice again the omission of any pronoun referring to Israel where it says "He hath torn" (no "us"), and "he hath smitten" (again, no "us"). Why so? Because the main, somewhat-hidden emphasis is that it was Him who was torn (not the us) and it was Him who was "smitten", not the us, which will result in the healing of Israel. Israel's being "bound up" refers to the great healing which Jesus' sacrifice paid in their behalf.

Now, notice our final point: In Hosea 6:2, it would be after "two days" that this one who was torn would return, revive, raise up and live in the sight of Israel. What is this referring to? Well, it's a portrait! It's a microcosm of the whole Christian age, up to Jesus' return and even looking into the Millennium when the re-gathered, saved Israelites will live in Jesus’ sight.

In the natural day-for-a-day sense, these two days refer to Jesus being in the tomb, the third day alluding to His resurrection when He would live in Israel's sight.

In the long-range prophetic sense, Jesus will return after "two days" of being in His "place". The "two days" are 2,000 years. The third day that Israel will live in His sight alludes to the Millennium, that period when Jesus reigns from Jerusalem, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Now we don't know how the counting works out down to the finest details. In other words, does the "two days" refer to 2,000 years from Jesus' first birth? Which would have been reached somewhere in the late 1990s? Or does it refer to 2,000 years after Jesus' ascension? Which would be about 2,026 or so. Well, since we are now past the 2,000 years counting since Jesus’ birth, this scenario is no longer possible.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, that no one would know the day and hour of His return. But He made perfectly clear in many ways that His disciples (i.e., born-again believers) WOULD be aware of the nearness of His return. This passage in Hosea is one of the clearest mini-portraits of this fact.

Concerning the coming of the Son of Man, Luke records this promise from the Savior:

"Now when these things begin to happen (events of the last days which He had just explained), look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." Luke 21:28.

How much plainer could it be said than that? Jesus is coming, my friends. Exactly when? We don't know. If anyone tells you they know precisely, disregard what they say. They don't know. But be assured, Jesus is coming. It may be a few years yet, but I believe the Scriptures indicate that it will be soon. If He grants us yet some harvest time, praise His Holy Name.

Look within, and look up,

Lance Johnson, O.D.

Founder and Director of:

COME AND SEE Ministries

Davis, California