From Solomon’s Porch Sunday Evening Sermon Series in Hosea
In our last installment in this series, “Inclusion: “Israel, Abraham, and the Church”, we found the history of Judea during the period after the captivity was not glorious enough to possibly account for verses 10 and 11 of Hosea 1. These verses clearly are allusions to the Gospel and the coming New Covenant to be established by Jesus. So how do we account for them, and what do they mean in the light of the New Covenant?
Let’s take a look first at a phrase found in Hosea 1:10, “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered.” Where do we first find this reference regarding stars and sand? We find it with Abraham in Genesis 22:15-17,
“And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies”.
Here in Hosea 1, we find a reference to the Abrahamic promise to give to the Patriarch more children than he can count, indeed more than anyone can count? The question we have to ask ourselves is this, “How does the New Testament deal with this promise to Abraham?” In order to answer this question we will need to take a look at the Letter to the Church at Galatia, in chapter 3. All of Galatians 3 could be quoted here, but for the sake of time we will only look closely at verses 5-7, 16-18, 26-29.
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
First let’s just note here that it is those who possess faith that are truly Abraham’s sons. To state it another way, those who believe are the offspring of Abraham.
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.
Second, how do the promises come into fulfillment? Is it through Isaac, and the establishment of a nation through the 12 patriarchal sons of Jacob, named Israel? No, for then it would’ve come through the Law. The Law came along and established a civil, ceremonial, and moral (10 Commandments) code for a nation made up of the 12 Tribes. But Paul here clearly says that’s not how these promises came to fruition. It was Christ who was the offspring, not Isaac, and it’s faith that attaches all of us to Him, Jew or Gentile, not genealogy.
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
It is our union to Christ by faith that gives us all, Jew and Gentile access to the promises made to Abraham, not genealogical descent. In Christ, in our union with him by faith, we find not Jew and Gentile, but “neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And it is in our union to him that we are found to be “Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
The point being that we find here in Galatians 3 evidence that suggests to us that Hosea 1:10 is a reference to the blessing of the New Covenant in Christ Jesus when the Gentiles turn to faith and Abraham finds that he has children that are not confined to national Israel, but indeed Israel is now something itself more and greater than it had been in the past. Instead of being a small geographic nation in the middle-east it becomes the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16), a vast international empire that spans the entire globe, with citizens in every tribe, nation, and tongue.
Now some maybe reading this and thinking to themselves that I just made quite a theological jump. Where would I find evidence in the New Testament for the inclusion of Gentiles into the Commonwealth of Israel? Well that will be the subject of the third installment of “Inclusion: Israel, Abraham, and the Church”.
Soli Deo Gloria