What Saith the Scripture?
In the Third Day:
The Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy
Or, An Exposition of Hosea 6:2
"After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight"
by Tom Stewart
Does the Scripture give credence to those who believe a time frame may be calculated for prophetic events such as the Rapture of the Church or the Re-birth and Restoration of Israel to true faith in Jehovah? Historically, the prophet Daniel calculated the length of the Babylonian Captivity from Jeremiah's prophecy. "In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the Word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:2). This author believes that such evidence has been available to the Church, through the prophecies of Hosea, to give us a credible time frame for the momentous events of prophecy that will close out this Church Age. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your Redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).
The Spirit of Prophecy
Many passages of prophetic Scripture are quickly passed over, for want of plausible explanation; but occasionally, we stumble into an understanding, that certainly the Holy Spirit providentially superintended. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter" (Proverbs 25:2). Whether we feel ourselves entirely incapable of finding our right hand with our left, in matters of prophecy, or we feel ourselves to be sufficiently grounded, it is only the Blessed Paraklete Himself that can remove the scales from our eyes to make plain the meaning He intended, when He inspired the writing of the prophecies. "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you Things To Come" (John 16:13). Much of what the Old Testament prophets composed by the Spirit's inspiration, was not understood by the prophets themselves, though they faithfully recorded Jehovah's message. "10 Of which Salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when It testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven; which things the angels desire to look into" (1Peter 1:10-12).
One such passage was recorded by the prophet Hosea in 808 BC. "After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight" (Hosea 6:2). Hosea prophesied chiefly against the sins of the ten tribes of Northern Israel; but, his prophecy occurred during the outwardly flourishing days of Northern Israel, before the successive invasions of the Assyrians, which began in 771 BC with Pul and ended in the demise of Northern Israel with Shalmaneser's invasion in 721 BC. "4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel" (1:4-5). Though much of prophesy has a dual meaning, a "contemporary-to-them-but-historic-to-us" significance and a "future-to-them-and-still-prophetic-to-us" significance, some passages were difficult to interpret under any contemporary, historic, future, or prophetic scenario. "1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the Earth" (6:1-3).
John Gill's Comments on Hosea 6:2
In John Gill's commentary, "An Exposition of the Old and New Testament" (1809), he offers this short explanation of the cryptic second verse of Hosea's sixth chapter-- "After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight" (Hosea 6:2)-- Gill comments:
"But the Targum comes nearer the truth, which paraphrases the words thus, 'he will quicken us in the days of consolation which are to come, and in the day of the resurrection of the dead he will raise us up'; where by days of consolation are meant the days of the Messiah, with which the Jews generally connect the resurrection of the dead; and if we understand them of the last days of the Messiah, it is not much amiss; for the words respect the quickening and raising up of the Jews in the latter day, the times of Christ's spiritual coming and reign: and these two and three days may be expressive of a long and short time, as interpreters differently explain them; of a long time, as the third day is a long time for a man to lie dead, when there can be little or no hope of his reviving-- 'But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done' (Luke 24:21)-- or of a short time, for which two or three days is a common phrase; and both true in this case: it is a long time Israel and Judah have been in captivity, and there may seem little hope of their restoration;
But it will be a short time with the Lord, with whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years ['But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day' (2Peter 3:8)]: and this I take to be the sense of the words, that after the second Millennium, or the Lord's two days, and at the beginning of the third, will be the time of their conversion and restoration, reckoning from the last destruction of them by the Romans [70 AD]; for not till then were Israel and Judah wholly in a state of death: many of Israel were mixed among those of Judah before the Babylonish captivity, and many returned with them from it; but, when destroyed by the Romans, there was an end of their civil and church state; which will both be revived on a better foundation at this period of time: but if this conjecture is not agreeable (for I only propose it as such), the sense may be taken thus, that in a short time after the repentance of Israel, and their conversion to the Lord, they will be brought into a very comfortable and happy state and condition, both with respect to things temporal and spiritual."
Drawing Conclusions About Hosea 6:2
It is certain that John Gill was not attempting to predict the timing of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture, but many students of New Testament prophecy are certainly encouraged that their "Redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28), in light of Hosea's ancient writings. Why?
First, Daniel's prophecy indicates a time of Tribulation (often called the Tribulation or the Seventieth Week of Daniel). "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy Holy City... and in the midst of the week [the Seventieth Week] he [the Antichrist] shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he [the Antichrist] shall make it desolate" (Daniel 9:24, 27). [See our article, "The Seventy Weeks of Daniel" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Timeline/Seventy.Weeks.of.Daniel.html --, for further discussion.]
Second, the departure of the watching and waiting Church before the beginning of the Tribulation Week, is held out to the Saints as an inducement to remain faithful. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). [Our article, "Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Prophecy/Must.Pre.Trib.Rapture.html --, attempts to Biblically develop the idea of a Pre-Tribulational Rapture.]
Third, the restoration of the Nation of Israel to true faith in Jehovah will occur suddenly in one day at the conclusion of the seven year Tribulation Week, when Messiah Jesus returns. "Shall the Earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children" (Isaiah 66:8). [The future salvation and conversion of Israel is discussed in our article, "Salvation is of the Jews" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Fellowship/Salvation.Is.Of.The.Jews.html --.]
Fourth, the destruction of Jerusalem by the legions of Rome occurred in 70 AD.
"When did Rome burn the Temple? The Romanized Jewish historian, Josephus, witnessed the actual event. He recorded that it was burned on 'exactly the same day it was burned by the Babylonians'. Jeremiah the prophet gives the exact date of Nebuchadnezzar's burning of the Jerusalem Temple. 'Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem, And burned the house of the LORD, and the king's house; and all the houses of Jerusalem, and all the houses of the great men, burned he with fire' (Jeremiah 52:12-13). It was destroyed by the Babylonians on the 10th day of the 5th month or Av 10. John Zachary, in his book, 'Scientific Evidence for the Second Coming of Christ', on p. 8, establishes Sunday, August 5, 70 AD (Julian)-- also Av 10-- as the correct date for the destruction of the 2nd Temple" (from our article, "1998: Year of the Apocalypse (Part 3)" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Timeline/1998.Year.of.Apocalypse.3.html --, where we incorrectly advanced a May 31st 1998 rapture date). [Our article, "Red Sky in Morning" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Prophecy/Red.Sky.in.Morning.html --, tackles the "Paradox of No Man Knows the Day or Hour".]
And finally, if we interpret Hosea's "two days" (Hosea 6:2) as 2,000 years-- "one day is with the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2Peter 3:8)-- and since the Old Testament Jewish calendar is based upon a 360 day year, then "two days" (Hosea 6:2)-- 2,000 years times 360 days equals 720,000 days-- "after" (6:2) the Av 10 Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple would be the period of August 5th 70 AD (Julian) to November 17th 2041 AD (Gregorian).
After Two Days
What did Hosea's prophecy say would occur after "two days" (Hosea 6:2)? "He will heal us... and He will bind us up" (Hosea 6:1). The future Conversion and Restoration of Israel would occur "after two days" (Hosea 6:2). Therefore, Israel could be restored for the Millennial Reign of the Messiah soon after November 17th 2041 AD (Gregorian). "In the third day [the thousand year Millennium] He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight" (6:2). But, since the Restoration of Israel occurs at the Second Coming of Christ, which follows the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel, then about seven years prior, the Pre-Tribulational Rapture would take place. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). This additional calculation would mean that the Tribulation would begin on December 25th 2034 AD (Gregorian), which is 2,520 days or seven prophetic years before the end of the Tribulation Week.
Does this mean that December 25th 2034 AD (Gregorian) is the date of the Pre-Tribulational Rapture? We hope not, because it would be much more agreeable to be raptured now, instead of 34 years hence! "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Philippians 1:23). But, the Saviour's rejection by the Jews, which culminated in His crucifixion in 32 AD, caused the Messiah to lament: "37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the LORD" (Matthew 23:37-39).
Could this not be the time of the tearing of Israel, i.e., "He hath torn" (Hosea 6:1)? Could it not be the rejection of the Messiah in 32 AD with the departure of the presence of the LORD from the Temple that truly signified the beginning of the tearing of Israel? "And, behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the Earth did quake, and the rocks rent" (Matthew 27:51). This could then indicate the actual time that Israel was given over by Jehovah for her subsequent 70 AD punishment by the Romans. "I have forsaken Mine house, I have left Mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies" (Jeremiah 12:7). Imperial Rome's execution of judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple would then only represent the outward fulfillment of what had already begun 38 years earlier. "But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by Myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation" (22:5).
John Zachary demonstrated in his work, "Scientific Evidence for the Second Coming of Christ", that the LORD Jesus Christ made His lament about Jerusalem (Matthew 23:34-39) on Monday, April 7th 32 AD (Julian), which was the day after the Triumphal Entry of the LORD Jesus into Jerusalem on April 6th 32 AD (Julian), as documented by Sir Robert Anderson in "The Coming Prince" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Voice/The.Coming.Prince.html --. The Doomed Generation, addressed by the LORD Jesus, took in the 14,000 days from April 7th 32 AD (Julian) to August 5th 70 AD (Julian). "34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the Earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:34-36).
One More Calculation
So then, on April 7th 32 AD (Julian), 14,000 days prior to the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD), could be the beginning of Hosea's "two days" (Hosea 6:2), when the LORD "hath torn" (6:1) Israel , where the LORD had "forsaken" and "left" His "House" and "heritage" (Jeremiah 12:7). Adding 720,000 days to April 7th 32 AD (Julian), brings us to July 21st 2003 AD (modern calendar, Gregorian) as the timing of the Second Coming of Christ and the Re-birth and Restoration of Israel. And, 2,520 days earlier would be the beginning of the Tribulation Week on August 27th 1996 AD (Gregorian)? This means that a Pre-Tribulational Rapture would have already occurred? How could this be? But, this is obviously not the case, because 1,260 days after the Beginning of the Tribulation Week, will occur the Abomination of Desolation in the rebuilt Jewish Temple, i.e., "in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate" (Daniel 9:27). The Abomination of Desolation would have occurred on February 7th 2000 AD (Gregorian), which it did not. "9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (12:9-10).
A "Prophecy-Time Continuum": The Shoe Can Drop At Any Time
If you have attempted to follow this narrative, you are to be congratulated. "The trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:3). The following is a proposal of a "prophecy-time continuum", that allows the Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25) to drop the shoe of judgment at any time, especially since, the Tribulation could have theoretically started on August 27th 1996 AD (Gregorian), but did not. "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of All Flesh: is there any thing too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27). Remember the Old Testament story of Joshua's Long Day? We are told that the Almighty caused the "space-time continuum" to stand still for about 24 hours, i.e., the LORD God caused the Earth to stop spinning for a day. "12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel" (Joshua 10:12-14).
Likewise, Hezekiah asked for and received a sign from the LORD that he would recover from his illness. The Creator caused the "space-time continuum" to go back in time, i.e., God reversed the rotation of the Earth temporarily. "9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that He hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? 10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz" (2Kings 20:9-11). The ability of the Alpha and Omega to touch the "space-time continuum" is under appreciated. "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). He is able to affect the timing of prophetic events, such that, what things man calculated as impossible, God will bring to pass, for the honor of His prophetic Word. "So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). [Both "Joshua's Long Day" and "Hezekiah's Sundial" are discussed, along with "The 4th Trumpet Judgment", in our article, "For the Elect's Sake: Or, That a Merciful God Will Shorten the Tribulation Week" -- http://WhatSaithTheScripture.com/Timeline/For.the.Elects.Sake.html --, as examples of how the LORD has and will bend time, for the fulfillment of prophecy.]
Why would the Almighty cause this "prophecy-time continuum" to seemingly falter from the fulfillment of His endtime prophetic goals? It is possible that the "falter" and confusion is for the benefit of:
(1) Satan, to keep him from unnecessarily understanding or interfering with Jehovah's prophetic plans, i.e., "4 And his [Satan's] tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven, and did cast them to the Earth: and the dragon stood before the woman [Israel] which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child [Jesus] as soon as It was born. 5 And she brought forth a Man Child, Who was to rule all nations with a Rod of Iron: and her Child was caught up unto God, and to His Throne" (Revelation 12:4-5),
(2) the scoffers, to harden them for ultimate judgment, i.e., "For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that He might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses" (Joshua 11:20), and
(3) the Saints, to cause them to develop faith, hope, and love, even when our limited resources cannot fathom the sheer perfection of timing of the Father's prophetic program, i.e., "As for God, His way is perfect: the Word of the LORD is tried: He is a Buckler to all those that trust in Him" (Psalm 18:30). "37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our LORD" (Romans 8:37-39).
The impending deliverance through the Pre-Tribulational Rapture of the Church, the ensuing judgments of the Tribulation Week, the subsequent Re-Birth and Restoration of the Nation of Israel to true faith in Jehovah, the Second Coming of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the Millennial Reign of the Messiah, are events of the greatest moment, but all can be manipulated by the Almighty, with greater ease than a child plays with a toy, or than a potter forms his clay. "2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My Words. 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the Word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O house of Israel. 7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them" (Jeremiah 18:2-10).
May the "LORD direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ" (2Thessalonians 3:5), that when He sovereignly chooses to execute His prophetic plans, we "may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2Peter 3:14), with our "hand to the plough" (Luke 9:62).
Amen, and Amen.