Most prophecy serves a dual purpose, a near-fulfillment and a future fulfillment. Like the two floors on a double decker bus, the same prophetic utterances in the bible can have two fulfillments far apart in time. One example is in the fulfillment of a Messiah for the Jews. Prophecies said that the Messiah would be both a suffering servant and a conquering king. The Essenes, a strong sect during John the Baptists’ day, interpreted the prophecy incorrectly, believing that there would be two Messiahs, since the Torah had described such diferent (seeming) Messiahs to fulfill the prophecy.
John the Baptist asked in Luke 7:20 “Are you the One or are we to expect another?’ just to clear up the Essenes’ misunderstanding. That is also why the 12 Disciples thought Jesus was there to conquer Rome and overthrow the Jews’ oppression by that nation-state, since 483 years of the predicted 490 had passed in Daniel’s prophecy as to when the King would arrive. Little did the Disciples know that there would be a two-thousand year pause in the proceedings for the Jews! But Jesus has/will come twice, first as the suffering Servant and then again as the Conquering King. Zechariah 9:9-10 spoke of a humble messiah speaking peace to the nations, but in Zechariah 14:3-4 it tells of a King who defeats nations in war and makes the earth tremble. Two Kings? No, one King, two fulfillments, spaced apart by two thousand years.
Hosea prophesied. Many of his prophesies are dual but some may be single. It takes study and prayerful appeal to the Holy Spirit to correctly discern which are past prophesies and which are dual and which are single only. For example, Isaiah 17:1 says that Damascus will be destroyed, completely cut off from being a city. Since Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, that prophecy obviously has not been fulfilled yet. Hosea 3:4-5 speaks of the Second Coming, which again, obviously has not occurred yet: “For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king.”
In another Hosea prophecy, Chapter 4:1-3 tells of God’s controversy with Israel. It begins:
Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel,
For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is <sup class="xref" value="(C)”>no faithfulness or kindness
Or knowledge of God in the land.
There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
And everyone who lives in it languishes
Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky,
And also the fish of the sea disappear
The curses go on for quite a length of time, but you get the idea.
Though God has forever blessed His people and their possession of the land, their enjoyment of the land is conditional on how well they obey. The forever covenant of the land is known as the Abrahamic Covenant, and the conditional covenant based on obedience is known as the Mosaic Covenant. The conditions of the covenant God gave to Moses for the People is outlined quite specifically in Deuteronomy 28. It is seen that God does withdraw His blessing. Indeed, the Tribulation is known as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and it’s the period when God deals with the Israelites. Many terrible things happen during that time to the Jews. They are hunted, overcome, invaded, killed, persecuted, ravished, and more. Zechariah tells of a future time, the Tribulation, when “I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.” So we can see that though Israel is forever blessed to possess land and to be His people, at times God curses them because of disobedience or to draw them back to Him. Hosea 5 finishes this way:
“I will go away and return to My place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
Does it surprise you to know that God does withdraw blessings of abundance from His people? That the Tribulation is totally about bringing the People to their knees in acknowledgement of His sovereignty over them? Back to the news I wrote of yesterday that the Sea of Galilee is closed to fishing. In Hosea 4:3 we read that as God withdraws His blessing on Israel their abundant fishing that has been so productive for so many years goes away. “And the fish of the sea disappear.” Is this a sign that The Time of Jacob’s Trouble is about to begin? Only God knows for sure, but we are commanded to watch, and to know the signs.