The dry bones represented the Israelites themselves. As a people they had lost heart, lost hope, and said, “Our strength is dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off from our parts”—from all tribal and national union. If they looked at their present condition, they were strangers in a strange land, foreigners, without opportunity for patriotic feelings; if they looked backward, and remembered divine intervention on their beha
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The principles laid down in David’s Psalms are very helpful to us as Christians. As we consider the precious promises, the Apostle Peter tells us to add to our faith the quality of virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, etc. If we do these things, taking inventory and striving and looking forward, we shall never fall (2 Pet. 1:4-11).
Amos mentioned a literal earthquake that occurred during the reign of King Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah. Zechariah 14:5 refers back to this earthquake, so verse 1 is important for verifying that a future literal earthquake will take place at the end of the present age.
What did this statement imply for Israel down the road? The implication was that because of Israel’s sins and disobedience, God would have to punish them and turn His back on them in a period of disfavor. No longer could He be patient and deal with them. It was essential for Israel to go into captivity because the nation had ignored the warnings about their sins.
Although these are valuable lessons for the Christian, when verse 24 is considered in context, it shows that there will be prayer in the Kingdom Age. Jesus said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13). Truly the Third Temple will be a “house of prayer for all people” (Isa. 56:7). While the Kingdom will be an age of sight and works, as opposed to the age of faith now, prayer will always be in order.
As it is done in heaven…For the Christian, they if faithful are part of the heavenly phase of the kingdom. They are promised if faithful unto death to reign with Jesus as part of “The Christ” over the earth and to bring mankind back up the highway of holiness,
Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
With natural Israel, the “former rain” refers to their earlier period of favor. Israel had prophets, the Law, the Tabernacle, the Temple of Solomon, etc. The early rain ended with the Diaspora, the great gulf fixed between the Jews and God, as shown in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Now the dry bones (Ezekiel 37) are beginning to come together. Sinews (organizations) are attached to the bones, and flesh has even appeared on the body state of Israel. However, from God’s standpoint, the breath of life has not yet entered Israel.
Not until Jacob’s Trouble will that happen—when the nation of Israel will stand on its feet in a real way. When God fights for Israel as He did in days of old, that will be like an awakening from the dead (Zech. 14:3). There will be a mighty shaking and a resurrection, as it were, both figuratively and literally (the Ancient Worthies).
Verse 5 is like saying to the Holy Remnant that the hopeless condition both the ten- and the two-tribe kingdoms were in necessitated the Lord’s turning His face from Israel for a long period of time so that they would get the lesson. In the past, through the prophets, God warned of the sinful condition, but Ephraim and Judah turned a deaf ear to the need for repentance. God “cut … [them] in pieces with the prophets” (NIV). It is as if at this end of the age, God is explaining about the warnings given to the ten- and the two-tribe kingdoms before they got so corrupt, and then, when they were in an unfit condition, what the necessary steps of repentance were. Because the warnings were ignored, judgment was necessary. Hewing the nation by the mouth of the prophets sounds like Jeremiah’s ministry.
“Judgment is toward you,” or as stated in the RSV, “The judgment pertains to you.” This part of verse 1 is a play on words, for in exercising their judgment, the people were found wanting and guilty—priests, judges, people, and king. (Much of the Book of Hosea is a play on words, especially with regard to individuals.) Because the judges misused their prerogative of judgment, retributive judgment would come upon them. In other words, because of their misjudgment, God would judge them.
Hosea addressed the ten tribes in the name of “Ephraim,” the most numerous tribe, but lest the other nine tribes think they were excluded from judgment, the prophet also used the term “Israel.” Then Hosea included Judah, for the two tribes would fall later. All were guilty, and the various judgments were just a matter of time. Hosea had been emphasizing the evil of the ten tribes, but little by little, he started to include Judah in the condemnation. Verse 5 is prophetic.
When Hosea purchased Gomer back, she had to be separated, for according to the ritual in the Law, she was unclean. Hosea was not “husband” to her, and neither was anybody else. In other words, in antitype, even though God purchased back Israel through the death of Jesus, He did not immediately show His love and affection for the nation in a “husbandly” way. He took Israel back, as it were, and put the nation in quarantine for many days—that is, for the Gospel Age and the period of the “double.” A great gulf has existed, as shown in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Diaspora is also pictured in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek. 37:1,2). Israel was in a dry and forlorn condition until rather recently.