Hosea Chapter 4: Gomer’s Children type of Israel from Beginning to End

Mar 4th, 2010 | By | Category: Hosea, Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Hosea Chapter 4: Gomer’s Children type of Israel from Beginning to End

Hosea 1:1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

The name Hosea, which means “salvation” or “Jah is salvation/help,” refers to Jehovah’s ultimate salvation of Israel. Hosea prophesied for approximately 55 years of his life. His ministry began in the latter part of the reign of King Uzziah (also called Azariah), a reign that covered 52 years, and extended through or into the reigns of three other kings of Judah: Jotham (the entire 16 years of his reign), Ahaz (all 16 years that he was king), and Hezekiah (through the forepart of his reign). The second Jeroboam of the ten tribes, who reigned for 41 years, was the contemporary king of Israel for most of the time that Hosea prophesied. In addition, Isaiah and Micah were prophesying during this same time period. Obviously, Hosea began his ministry as a young man and lived a fairly long life.

Hosea 1:2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

“The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea.” In the beginning of his ministry, Hosea was told to take “a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms.” Bible scholars have been puzzled by this verse, but it was preparing for a lesson on spiritual prostitution, the harlotry of worshipping idols.

The instruction was blunt and direct, whereas later chapters furnish a more rounded-out picture. Did God tell Hosea to deliberately go out and marry a known harlot and worshipper of idols? Why would the Lord give such an instruction, especially since it contradicted the moral precepts of Scripture? Actually, the Lord was prophesying what would happen with regard to the woman Hosea was going to marry. It was as if God were saying, “Go out and take unto thee a wife. In due time, she will prove to be a harlot and will bear children by other men.” God wanted to illustrate, through Hosea, His relationship to Israel and how the nation went into unfaithfulness. In other words, the union forcibly demonstrated to the public Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.

It will be helpful to begin by considering the three children that would be born (Hos. 1:3,4,6,8,9). Jezreel was the first son. Then came Lo-ruhamah, a daughter, and finally a second son, Lo-ammi. Although all three children were born after Hosea married the woman, he was the father of only the first: Jezreel.

The purpose of this command to Hosea was to show, through the unfaithfulness of his prospective wife and the two illegitimate children to be born in subsequent years, the whoredom of Israel in departing from the Lord. God foreknew that Gomer would ultimately be unfaithful.

In other words, Hosea’s relationship to his future wife and her children would be a pantomime of what Israel was doing to the Lord. Of course the people would know when the time came what was happening with regard to Hosea’s wife, so that the prophet would be able to say to them, “Just as Gomer, my wife, has done such and such, so you, as a people, have done to the Lord!” Hosea and his wife would be a prototype or object lesson of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Jehovah; that is, Hosea pictured the Lord. Just as God took the nation of Israel unto Him as a wife at Mount Sinai, so Hosea would marry Gomer. In due time, both “wives” went astray.

When the nation of Israel would be startled about Gomer’s unfaithfulness to the holy prophet, then he could point out the lesson to them.

The names of the three children are significant, for they are a play on words. Jezreel means “God sows.” Lo-ruhamah means “not having obtained mercy,” “she who never knew a father’s love,” “one who did not feel or experience compassion,” or—to put it tersely—”the unpitied one.” “Lo” is negative. Lo-ammi means “not my people [or kinsmen],” indicating a disowned experience.

The people would have known Hosea was an upright, principled individual. When he married Gomer to show how far astray Israel had gone from God, he had already, previously, established his credibility. As time went on, Hosea’s actions and words proved he was a pantomime of Israel’s history and was not publicly preaching righteousness while secretly committing unrighteousness. The prophet was very strong on moral issues, for he repeatedly castigated Israel.

“The land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.” God was preparing Hosea in advance for the outcome. Spiritual harlotry was Israel’s sin.

Comment: Natural harlotry fit well the picture of Israel’s forsaking God, for Gomer forsook Hosea for other men later, after the marriage.

Hosea 1:3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.

Verse 3 clearly states that the first son was Hosea’s. The name of Gomer’s father, Diblaim, means “double embrace.” Hence the name implies a lineage of unfaithfulness.

At this point, we will discuss the symbolism of the mother and the three children in the type. The daughter, Lo-ruhamah, and the second son, Lo-ammi—the two children of whoredom— represent Israel (the ten tribes) and Judah (the two tribes), respectively. The first son, Jezreel, pictures Israel in the earlier period when the relationship between that nation and God was pure.

And what about Gomer, the mother? In a sense, she represents the whole nation of Israel, but the symbolism can be explained a little more accurately. A woman usually represents a covenant, and the child pictures a people born under that covenant. For example, Hagar represents the Law Covenant, and Ishmael, her son, pictures the nation of Israel. Also, Sarah represents the Grace Covenant, and Isaac pictures the Church. Therefore, Gomer represents God’s covenanted people Israel; her first son was born during her period of relative faithfulness, when she was yet “one.” The division took place later, when Jeroboam and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, divided the nation.

The antitype is also important in the symbolism. Since Israel was the people of God, the antitype would be spiritual Israel, the professed people of God. When the Church started out, it was relatively pure, but later on, as time passed, it became an apostasy. Still later the apostasy was divided into two parts: Catholicism (Israel) and Protestantism (Judah).

Back to the type. Gomer was the mother of all three children, whereas Hosea was the father of only Jezreel. With Gomer representing God’s covenanted people Israel, her children represent the people during various periods of her history. In other words, just as Gomer had several children, so Israel had different “children” during the periods of her existence. Stated another way, Gomer, the mother, pictures the land of Israel. Her first son, Jezreel, shows that in the earlier period of Israel’s history, there was a pure relationship between the nation and God, and the nation was “one” at that time. Later on there came a period of idolatry, and both of the subsequent “children” went astray, with the ten tribes being more iniquitous.

Hosea 1:4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.

When a son was born to Hosea, God told the prophet to call his name Jezreel, “for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.” What is “the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu”? Jehu was a captain in the army of Israel who established himself in power as king through much violence (2 Kings 9 and 10). He was responsible for a veritable bloodbath, which included the slaying of King Jehoram of Israel, the death of Jezebel, and the killing of Ahab’s 70 sons. It is true that he performed a judgment of the Lord, but his character in executing the judgment was not in harmony with the Lord. Hence retribution was required ultimately. Because Jehu performed a service for the Lord in utterly overthrowing the house of Ahab, he continued on the throne unto the fourth generation. After that came the end of the Jehu dynasty and still later the end of the northern kingdom.

Jezebel pictures Roman Catholicism, and Jehu represents a ruthless, unprincipled, powerful, organized element within Christendom whom God will use as His instrument of judgment.

While the scales of retribution will be activated against the false religious system, the antitypical Jehu will not be excused for his ruthless, brutal acts. Stated another way, the perpetrators of lawlessness and violence are culpable, even though their acts do a judgment work.

Verse 4 is saying that while Jehu’s acts were permitted as a service to the nation of Israel, his violence required retribution. Jehu was identified with the house of Israel, and retribution was required not only of Jehu but also of all those who cooperated with him.

What does the term “blood of Jezreel” mean? Jezreel is the place where eunuchs threw Jezebel out the window and dogs licked up her blood (2 Kings 9:30-37). Even though it was good that Jezebel’s blood was spilled, righteous judgment was required of those who were responsible. With Jezreel meaning “God sows,” the lesson is that what a nation sows, it will reap. God will bring judgment accordingly. The ten tribes went further and further astray into disobedience and thus were cast out of the land. What the ten tribes sowed in worshipping the calves of Dan and Beth-el received retribution in their being dispersed into other lands by a heathen king. The punishment aspect is shown in God’s saying, “I will avenge.

Hosea 1:5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.

“At that day [when I avenge the blood of Jezreel on the house of Jehu] … I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” God was saying that He would break the power of the Jehu dynasty in the very place of the original bloodbath. A captain in Israel’s army, Jehu was anointed to be king of Israel by a son of the prophets (through Elisha) while a war was going on in Ramoth-gilead. Following the anointing, Jehu carried out the bloodbath, using as a justification Elijah’s prophecies prior to his decease.

Hosea 1:6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.

Hosea 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

As already mentioned, Lo-ruhamah, the illegitimate daughter of Gomer, represents the ten-tribe (northern) kingdom of Israel. She could not represent the two-tribe kingdom of Judah because of the Lord’s statement “I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel … But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah.” And the name Lo-ruhamah means “I will no more have mercy,” hence “the unpitied one.” The ten tribes ceased to have mercy from the Lord and were allowed to go into captivity first, more than a hundred years ahead of Judah.

The ten tribes went astray first; later Judah did the same. And that is just what happened in the antitype. Papacy went into apostasy first and is even called a “harlot” (Nahum 3:4). Moreover, although the ten-tribe kingdom went astray more grievously and earlier, it took the name “Israel,” which really represented the whole 12 tribes, and it retained that name as though the two tribes had gone astray and as though the ten tribes had been faithful. Again, that is just what happened in the antitype. Papacy was actually apostate but acted as though it was the true Church, the true Israel of God. The parallel is amazing!

As far as numbers were concerned, the ten-tribe kingdom was far more populous than the two-tribe kingdom. After a while, the ten tribes were called Ephraim because that tribe was exceptionally numerous. Earlier prophecies indicated that Ephraim would be fruitful with seed—and it was. Accordingly, the Roman Catholic Church boasts of being the true Church, the faithful Church, and the largest Church. In addition, it has the longest line of succession, claiming to go back to the Apostle Peter. Not only does the Catholic Church pride itself on not being divided like the Protestants, whom it considers relative newcomers, but also it has a far more imposing appearance.

Verses 5 and 7 refer to God’s mercy on Judah in delivering the two tribes from King Sennacherib of Assyria in the Valley of Jezreel. God saved Judah but not “by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.” Without a battle, the “angel of the LORD” slew 185,000 Assyrians with a plague in one night (Isa. 37:36). Judah, under King Hezekiah, did not have to raise a hand. Meanwhile, the ten-tribe kingdom had already gone into captivity.

This past deliverance of Judah is one fulfillment of verses 5 and 7.

Another fulfillment of Judah’s deliverance will take place at the end of the age when God pleads for His people and fights for them as He did in the past. In delivering the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble, God will save the tents of Judah first in connection with Jerusalem. Even though Zechariah 14:14 says that those of Judah will fight at that time, they will not deliver themselves, for God will deliver them out of Jacob’s Trouble.

Hosea 1:8 Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.

Hosea 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

When Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, which took about three years, she conceived and bore a son, Lo-ammi. Incidentally, when “weaned,” a baby, or child, no longer derives nourishment from the mother’s breast. As Christians, we are “weaned” when we reach maturity. This separation sometimes comes through trial.

During the breast-feeding period, Lo-ruhamah was nurtured at her mother’s breast, but then she (the ten tribes) was weaned and taken away into captivity. The experience not only began to teach the ten tribes the condition of separateness from God but also was designed to make them ultimately realize, at some future date, their dependence on God. And after Lo-ruhamah (the ten tribes) was “weaned” and learning this much-needed lesson, the other son, Lo-ammi (picturing the two-tribe kingdom of Judah), came into the picture. The name of this illegitimate son (“not my people”) referred to Judah’s punishment subsequently.

Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

Verse 10, which is prophetic, will be fulfilled in the Kingdom. It shows returning favor—when all 12 tribes will be united and called “Israel” again. The second and third children (Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi) are comparable to the two sticks that get united in Ezekiel 37:15-17. Just as Israel embraced all 12 tribes originally, so it will do so again. In number, Israel will be like “the sand of the sea” in the Kingdom when the stone grows and fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). The dead will be raised, and all who obey will become Israelitish. (Note: Before the stone strikes the image, it represents The Christ. After the stone strikes the image, it represents the Kingdom of God, including Israel.)

More specifically, therefore, verse 10 applies at the end of the Millennium, when the “house of Israel” will include the entire world of mankind, that is, the restored human race, who will be called the “people of God.” Figuratively speaking, these billions of people will be “as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered.” At that time, there will be no point in counting the exact number of the population who get life and are “the sons of the living God.”

Comment: “Ye are the sons of the living God” sounds like Revelation 21:7, where the promise, to be fulfilled at the end of the Kingdom, is put on an individual basis. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

Reply: The Book of Revelation shows three overcoming classes: (1) the Little Flock, (2) the Great Company, and (3) the world of mankind. The world will be under the New Covenant, which is an Israelitish covenant. Incidentally, the Apostle Paul quoted Hosea 1:10 and applied it to the Gentiles (that is, the Church class) as those who were not God’s people but became His people (Rom. 9:25,26).

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

“Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head.” The two houses of Israel will be united and gathered under one head in the “day [or time] of Jezreel.” The “one head” whom the children of Israel and Judah will appoint in the Kingdom is Jesus. (Of course this appointment is really of God, for He will dictate their government.) “They shall come up out of the land”; that is, the Jews of both houses will come out of the Diaspora.

From another standpoint, if verses 10 and 11 are not considered sequential, the children of Israel and Judah appointed “one head” when they were gathered together as a nation in 1948 with David Ben-Gurion. This regathering back to the land set the stage for Jacob’s Trouble and the great deliverance yet future. Israel appointed “one head” in 1948, but God will appoint “one head” in the Kingdom

“For great shall be the day of Jezreel.” Jezreel was the name of Gomer’s first son, representing the days of Israel’s relative purity and faithfulness. Hence the name is a play on words showing that again, in the future, Israel will be “one” and pure. Jezreel means “God sows”; that is, God will be instrumental in making Israel “great,” so that their number will be as the sand of the sea. The seed will be sown and prospered by God in the Millennial “day.”

The clause “great shall be the day of Jezreel” refers to God’s rescue of the Holy Remnant by mighty acts of power. “Great” will be the magnitude of God’s methods of deliverance.

The Hebrew gives a clearer picture of the meaning of the names Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi. “Lo” means “not.” Hence Lo-ruhamah means “the one not pitied,” and Lo-ammi means “not my people.” Later the names will be Ruhamah (“the pitied one” or “having obtained mercy”) and Ammi (“my people”). In other words, even though Israel and Judah went astray, God will have mercy on them and restore them. He will change their unfavorable names as children of harlotry to favorable ones.

There are two levels of fulfillment with regard to natural Israel’s rejection: (1) in Hosea’s day with Sennacherib and (2) on a larger scale when the nation crucified Jesus and their house was left desolate (Matt. 23:38). A great gulf was fixed, and the Jews could not get contact with God. Chapter 1 is the framework for the Book of Hosea.

(1969 and 1993 Studies)

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