At the Foot of that Old Rugged Cross

In the prophet Hosea it is written… “Come; let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, 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 presence.” (Hosea 6:1-2)

Terror on every side

Today in Israel we see the terror kites and balloons from Hamas and Co, the infiltrations and the violent riots along the Gaza border. We see Hezbollah in Lebanon storing up rockets to send into Israeli cities. We see a conflict on Israel’s Northern border with Syria as Iran moves troops and missile launching sites onto Syrian soil with the missiles aimed at Israel. We see President Putin arming the Assad regime. Then you have President Erdogan of Turkey obsessed with taking Jerusalem and the Temple Mount for Islam and supposedly rallying to the ‘Palestinian cause’ and giving Jerusalem itself back into the hands of the Palestinians. Added to this you have the UN and the EU working around the clock to seek sanctions of one sort or another against Israel’s best interests.

Why is it happening?

Why is Israel being afflicted in this way? Is it just coincidental or the results of Islamic terrorism expanding around the globe or is it God trying to grab Israel’s attention” God loves Israel and remembers his covenants made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob concerning the land of Israel and gave it to the Israelites to be for them “an everlasting possession.” When the Israelites were faithful to the LORD He always protected them from their enemies and raised up leaders to deliver them when they were attacked. However, when they turned away from Him and chased after the idols, pleasures, pursuits and ways of the pagan world He sent their enemies against them. The Book of judges clearly shows us this pattern that God has used down through the centuries to bring about repentance and spiritual revival for His people.

“I will heal their backslidings”

Israel and the Church are like two sides of the same coin, separate yet one and both with a common destiny to be kings and priests in the Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom and to co-reign with Him over the nations that survive the Time of the Big Trouble. Hosea was God’s prophet and was told by the LORD to marry a prostitute and he did. After some time she left him and went back to her ‘lovers’ once again and the prophet was told by the LORD to go and get her again and take her home to live with him. This revealed the heart of God for Israel even in their rebellion and spiritual harlotry but also shows his love for lost sinners enslaved to sin whether they be ethnically Jewish or Gentile. In the prophet Hosea we find the judgements of God being declared against Israel because of their sin and rebellion and yet at the end of the Book we read where God says; “I will heal their waywardness (backslidings) and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.” Through the prophet Hosea we see several things concerning Israel’s ultimate salvation at the end of this present age that is not only true for them but also for all men and women everywhere. It is in three parts…

#1. “Come; let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bind us up.”

God first must ‘tear to pieces’ all sin and rebellion in His people before He brings spiritual healing and bandaging. This ‘spiritual cancer’ requires ‘spiritual circumcision.’ Israel must be brought to the foot of the cross to see that “in Jerusalem a fountain has been opened up for uncleanliness and sin” and that their present afflictions are designed by Him to bring about this cleansing for them as His people. As God also says in Hosea; “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them.”

#2. “After two days He will revive us; ”

God is going to spiritually revive Israel as a nation and as a people before Him at the end of this present age regardless of what replacement theology teaches. Once He has brought them to the foot of the cross and they have looked upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him because He was afflicted for their sins, the mighty Spirit of God will breathe new life into them and they will rise up to become a mighty army for the LORD. It’s all there in Ezekiel chapter 37. Only at the foot of the cross will they see the one who was severely torn, wounded, striped, and beaten and pierced far more than the wounds and tearing Israel has ever experienced down through their long and troubled history.

#3. “…on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence.”

In 1948 Ezekiel 37:1-8 was fulfilled when the dry bones being the whole house of Israel came together with a loud rattling noise heard around the world and a nation was reborn in a day. This was their national restoration but there was still no breath of the Spirit in them. However, Ezekiel 37:9-28 is still to happen in the future. Israel will be spiritually resurrected because the Messiah’s physical and spiritual resurrection is also their resurrection, firstly guaranteeing their physical restoration as a nation and secondly their spiritual resurrection as a people before God. God is allowing Israel’s enemies to “tear them apart” that they may see their sin of unbelief in the Messiah and their rejection of Him and look only to their Messiah for cleansing, pardon, restoration and the salvation from their enemies and from the hands of all who hate them.

The Everlasting Covenant

Why then is God allowing these afflictions in Israel? Because of His love in the New Covenant cut in the blood of the Messiah our Lord Jesus that was made with the house of Israel and with the House of Judah, an everlasting covenant that will never be broken or annulled and guarantees the salvation of all who call upon the name of the LORD to be saved! In the end God will have a holy people and to this end Israel have been called but what the Israelis both secular and religious need to understand is that the true righteous, holiness, wisdom and redemption they desperately need, can only be found in their Messiah our Lord Jesus and that in repentance and faith in Him there at the foot of His cross.

At the foot of that old rugged cross

Only through His atoning blood can they be reconciled to God and receive from Him that righteousness that comes from God through faith in their Messiah our Lord Jesus. If Israel is to know the Messiah in the power of His resurrection they must first recognize and embrace Him in the fellowship of His suffering, as all of us must do whether we are Jew or Gentile, if we would know and experience this great salvation of God at the foot of that old rugged cross.