What is Being Said in Hosea 6:1-3


I have been looking at Hosea 6:1-3. May I have your opinion on these verses?


The NKJV reads: “Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.”

In this passage, three significant events in the plan of God are prophesied: God’s constant care for His people, the resurrection at the end of the age, and the final, glorious lifting to immortality of those who are worthy. Frequently the prophets caught glimpses of the distant future to give their people—and us—an insight into coming events.

The first phrase is an invitation, offering mercy, healing and restitution. What is the healing medium? The Psalmist writes, “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20). Of course, the question of why He struck and tore His people in the first place could be raised.

However, it is important to realize the Hebrew practice of crediting everything and anything that happened to God and stating it as though it were His direct action. Regardless, the lives of God’s people are in His hands entirely and His purpose is to develop, perfect and recreate His people according to His eternal purpose. Just as the refining of gold requires heat, just as the shaping of clay requires pressure, just as the quarrying of stone requires the use of hammer and chisel, so God allows that which will tear and strike in order to remove our imperfections, to make something useful of us. But He never destroys any good; and after the smiting and tearing comes the loving “healing” and “binding up.” When this process is complete, then, “after two days will he revive us.”

All who have submitted to God’s discipline during the first phase or first six thousand years of His work on earth have, with the exception of a very few, reached the end of their mortal career and died. Before they can be exalted and glorified they must be “revived,” i.e., resurrected. This is the reviving said to take place “after two days.”

What are the two days? We are not told. The period may refer to two epochs of time during the six thousand years, or it may be a simple expression to represent an undefined period. If we apply it to specific epochs, we might identify one of these “days” as the period of time from Adam until the first advent of Christ, and the second “day” from the first advent of Christ to His second advent. Whatever division of time we select is not significant. The point is that at the end of the two days comes the reviving, the time when all of God’s servants will be resurrected and gathered together, to be judged and rewarded for their life work. Jesus said clearly, “You shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14).

After the reviving comes the “third day” when He will “raise us up, that we may live in His sight.”

What is the difference between the reviving and the raising up? The raising up suggests an event more significant than the reviving. This fact is indicated by its result: life. After the raising up, the crowning with immortal glory, also called the “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35). The result of this raising up is a higher state of existence, real life, immortal life.

The apostle Paul describes this better exaltation in 1 Corinthians 15, in his masterful dissertation on the relation between the physical resurrection and the greater exaltation. The body is first restored to the mortal state; it is “sown,” or cast out of the graves as seed is sown upon the surface of the ground, in a corruptible state; then, if judged worthy at the Judgment, it is raised or lifted up to the higher level of life, to incorruption “It is sown [cast out] in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is [cast out] sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” When God raises the natural body to the glorified state, He changes it from the mortal substance familiar to us to something superior. We are not told what that substance is like, but it is a physical substance superior to flesh and blood because “flesh and blood can never possess the kingdom of God, and perishable cannot possess immortality” (1 Cor. 15:50 NEB); or as otherwise translated, “the perishable cannot inherit what lasts for ever” (JB).

This ultimate raising up in Hosea 6 is the glorious exaltation to immortality, when Christ will “transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body” (Phil. 3:20-21 JB). We are now mortal, but we will then be transformed and made equal to the angels, never again to taste death or mortality (Luke 20:35-36).

Hosea 6:3 continues: “Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.” This knowing suggests the fullness of spiritual understanding; it is the result of the pursuit of continuing patiently in well-doing day after day throughout one’s lifetime, learning diligently the lessons of each day, “pursuing the knowledge of the Lord.”

Verse 3 is another statement of the time of the great exaltation: “His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.” This passage is much clearer in meaning as translated by J. B. Phillips, “For he will come back to us as surely as the dawn, as surely as the rains fall in winter, and as the showers which water the earth in spring.” The second advent is absolutely sure, as sure as the dawn, as sure as the rains and showers which water the earth.