Every Old Testament book, to some extent, focuses upon the coming of Christ. This is no less true of the book of Hosea.
Hosea was a prophet of God who spoke to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. His personal life was marred by tragedy in that his wife became unfaithful. But in spite of that infidelity, he took her back.
In the providence of God, this circumstance turned out to be a teaching tool by which the prophet would urge unfaithful Israel (fornicating with paganism) to return to Jehovah.
In chapter 3, Hosea declares that the people of Israel will suffer as a consequence of their rebellion. They will be without a king and without a worship system. The narrative predicts the dark days of captivity, which was accomplished by the Assyrian invasion in 721 B.C.
Note, however, this “ray of light” after the storm:
“... afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek Jehovah their God, and David their king, shall come forth with fear unto Jehovah and to his goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:5).
Consider these important elements of the passage.
- The prophecy is to be fulfilled in “the latter days,” i.e., in the Christian dispensation (cf. Joel 2:28ff; Acts 2:16, 17).
- The children of Israel will return to God. Both “Israel” and the “return” are spiritual, not political. This has to do with the church, not a millennial reign from Palestine.
- The king will be “David,” i.e., David’s seed, the Messiah.
- This new Israel will both reverence Jehovah, and be recipients of His goodness.
Thus, underline the following words in verse 5, and enter the appropriately corresponding terms: “Latter days” — Christian age; “David” — Messiah; “Israel” — the church.