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Chronology 17: after two days

04-04-2016 - Posted by Andre Piet


Israel’s restoration

One of the great themes in Biblical prophecy is the national and spiritual restoration of Israel. One famous metaphor of this restoration is that of the resurrection out of the dead. That is particularly known from Ezekiel 37 where the prophet is taken to a valley of dry bones and sees in this comfortless scene the rising of a living body, which refers to “the whole house of Israel” (37:11) Hosea 6 A particular prediction in that genre is Hosea 6. Also there Israel’s restoration is spoken about as a resurrection from the dead. Described is under which conditions  this will take place, but it is also mentioned at which time.  “After two days” and “on the third day”. Obviously this period literally reminds of the time that Jesus Christ was in the grave and rose from the dead. But when it comes to Israel’s final restoration the term sounds rather cryptic. Let us first list a few matters about the context of this prophecy. At the end of Hosea 5 we read that the LORD distances Himself from His people and returns to His place. But this departure is temporary.

… until  they are pleading guilty, and they seek My face. In their distress they shall seek Me early.. –Hosea 5:15-

The LORD withdraws until the Israelites admit their guilt and start seeking Him. They will only start to do this “in their distress” Jeremiah calls this “the season of distress for Jacob” (Jer. 30:6). Hosea 6:1-3 is a repeat of the scene as described at the end of Hosea 5. The difference being that in Hosea 5 the Lord is speaking, while Hosea 6 is described from the perspective of Israel. In Hosea 5:15 it is “I” (=the LORD) and in Hosea 6:1-3 it is “us” and “our” (= the Israelites). The Israelites shall return to the LORD and He shall revive them “after two days”, “on the third day”….”…then He will come to us like the downpour, like the latter rain” The uniqueness of this prophecy That which makes this prophecy so unique is not the prophesied restoration of Israel or the metaphor of resurrection. Neither the dark scenario that immediately precedes this restoration. All these motifs can also be found elsewhere in the prophets. The extraordinary of this prophecy is the chronological interpretation. Hosea tells when this recovery takes place and thus gives the time that the LORD will return to his people. However, the problem of this interpretation is the cryptic representation. For what means “after two days” or “on the third day”? If it is not about literal days of twelve hours, about what kind of days is it? How does the Lord count here? It is Peter who, at the end of his life, as apostle of the circumcision gives clarity about this… 1_blog_13 HB