Hos 6:1-3 As the Latter Rain So the Former Rain 5/5/2002
#1. Where Do We Look for Help? (Rom 3:10-12,18, John 3:3, Hos 5:15)
#2. He Shall Come Unto Us as the Rain (Hos 6:3, Psalm 19:5-6, Eph 1:4-5)
#3. My People Are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge (Hos 4:6)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Hosea, chapter 5. The title of this sermon is: "As the Latter Rain So the Former Rain". This is the third sermon in the series of "the Latter Rain". We are finding out from the Bible what the meaning is of the Latter Rain. Today let us start at Hos 5:12, (2X),
Hosea 5:12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
We see here an example of God's way in dealing with those who are called His children. It is:
God uses the tribe of Ephraim as a representative of the entire Northern kingdom of Israel. We have known this principle as a SYNECDOCHE. I wrote the word on the board, for all to see how it is spelled. It refers to a portion as a representative of the whole. Here in verse 12 God says that He will be to the kingdom of Israel as a moth. Similarly God will be to the kingdom of Judah as rottenness. In other words, because of the apostasy going on in both Judah and Israel God unveils His plan to draw His children back to Him. He will silently, and slowly and gradually consume them in those things that they consider most valuable: their clothes and their houses. The moth breeds in clothes and the worm or rottenness breeds in wood. That is also how God comes to us. If we think that we have been saved, but when we look at ourselves and see that the robe of righteousness we are clothed with has holes, then we know for sure that this is not the robe that Christ has given us. For example, we look at our life, and if we see that we are living a life that is described in Gal 5 as one of those who shall not inherit the kingdom of God, then we know that we deceived ourselves. And when we think that we have been saved, but when we look at our dwelling places and see that rottenness has eaten our place of rest, then we know for sure that this is not the place of rest that God has given us. For example, we look at our spiritual life: our prayer life and our reading habits of the Word of God; those are our places of rest. But when we see that the business of everyday life has taken the place of our time of prayer and our time in the Word of God, then we know that rottenness has entered our dwelling places; rottenness has entered our house and our household. If God loves us then God is taking away our idols, one by one. First God does that silently, and slowly and gradually. But since most of us are hardheaded, or hardhearted, we do not recognize this tugging by God. We read in:
Hosea 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
When Ephraim saw his spiritual sickness, and Judah saw his spiritual rottenness, they did not repent, but they went to the king of Assyria and imitated the idols that they saw there in the house of worship of the king of Assyria. They were looking for the physical prosperity that Assyria had. Now they expected that their physical prosperity would increase, but God drove them further into poverty. Since they were so hardheaded, now God had to use stronger measures. God said in Hos 5:14,
5:14 For I will be unto Ephraim
as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will
tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue (
If we don't want to listen, God will make a great tear in our life. It will seem as if our entire life is going down the drain. It will seem as if everything is lost. Possibly then we take notice. If God loves us, that is what He will do. If God does not love us He will leave us alone. Perhaps you remember that God said in Heb 12: "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth". And God said in Heb 12:8,
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
But did you also see in Hos 5:14 that God says, "I will take away, and none shall rescue"? No one is able to rescue if God does not approve of it. Is the God of the Bible a sovereign God? Absolutely! No one will seek for the God of the Bible out of his own initiative. Only if God wills it shall we be made willing and shall we be rescued from our predicament. Then God said in Hos 5:15,
5:15 I will go and return to my
place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: In their
affliction they will seek me (not
early but) diligently.
That is what the Hebrew text says: "In their affliction they will seek Me diligently". But what does it mean when God says: "till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face"? God knows our heart. According to the Bible, when God is putting the squeeze on, we will still not seek Him diligently? That is the sad condition of our heart. When the squeeze is on, and when the calamities multiply:
#1. Where Do We Look for Help? (Rom 3:10-12,18, John 3:3, Hos 5:15)
Have you heard of the four Roman NONE's in the Bible? Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3. In Romans chapters 1 and 2 God describes first the Gentiles, those that worship other gods, and the moral decay that follows because God gave them up. Then God describes the Jews and how they also break the Law of God, and therefore they too are under God's condemnation. Therefore all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles are in the same boat. God says in Rom 3:10,
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (There is the first NONE.)
Romans 3:11 There is none that understandeth (There is the second NONE.), there is none that seeketh after God. (There is the third NONE.)
Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (There is the fourth NONE.)
God says in verse 11, "There is NONE that seeketh after God". Is that a good work, seeking after God? Of course it is! But in verse 12 God emphasizes, "There is NONE that doeth good, no, not one". Why is it that no one seeks after God, even when God puts the squeeze on? Drop down to verse 18,
Romans 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
This is how all mankind comes into the world, with "no fear of God before their eyes". In fact all mankind comes into the world in total rebellion against God. Where do we look for help when we are being squeezed? We do not look to the God of the Bible, because "There is NONE that seeketh after God". We will always look elsewhere for help. What is needed for us to seek after God?
Please turn about 90 pages to your left, to the Gospel according to John, chapter 3. The Gospel of John was written very late in the first century AD, and it was written to dispel certain errors that have crept into the 1st century church. One such an error was the sovereignty of God. The early church was already struggling with that, and the 21st century church is still struggling with that concept. In John 3 the Lord Jesus has a discussion with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Jesus said in John 3:3,
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee: Except a man be born
again (Lit: "born from above"), he cannot see the kingdom of God".
What did the Lord Jesus say? He said: "If you want to enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again", or said more precisely: "You must be born from above". If we are not born from above, we cannot even see the kingdom of God, let alone enter it. Satan can see the kingdom of God, but he cannot enter it. What can we do to make our way into heaven? What can we do to make ourselves "born again"? What can we do to make ourselves be born from above? Nothing! We can do absolutely nothing to make our way into heaven. Can we make a decision and choose for Jesus and thereby make ourselves "born from above"? No! Almighty God has to make us "born from above". God the Holy Spirit must give us a new soul, because the soul that we were born with was rotten to the core, because of Adam's sin. Every human being is born that way, and therefore every human being is in need of being "born from above". Only then will we seek God. But only God can give us this gift. Does God give this gift to every human being? No! Does every human being repent of his sins? No! And why not? Because "there is no fear of God before their eyes", and because repentance is also a gift from God. God gives repentance to those who have become "born from above".
Therefore, if we now turn back to the Prophecy of Hosea, chapter 5, using the information we have gained from the N.T. we can understand what God is saying here. God said in Hos 5:15,
5:15 I will go and return to my
place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: In their affliction
they will seek me (
When will the time be that "they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face"? If God would not interfere, that time will never come. But if God interferes, then that will be the time when they have received a new soul. In other words, it will be at the time that they have been "born from above". It is at that time that "In their affliction they will seek me diligently". That will be the time when they say:
We read in Hos 6:1,
Hosea 6:1 ¶ 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.
Here we see repentance into action. Here we see that God has saved these people and has given them repentance. Here is the total submission to the will and sovereignty of God. They now see that God has torn them, and God is able to heal. God has taken away our job, or God has taken away one of our children, or God has caused this big earthquake which destroyed our house, or God has caused this great illness, but God is able to heal. When we have become saved, we totally submit ourselves to the will and sovereignty of God. And is it not wonderful then to read in Hos 2, "And I will restore unto you the years that the locust has eaten"? Is it not wonderful to read in Isa 43, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins"? There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven. What a wonderful forgiveness of God. What a wonderful love of God that He would take into His house the murderers of His Son, and elevate them to sons of God. You know, of course, that WE were the murderers of Christ. If God did not have plans to save us then Christ did not have to come. If we were such good people that we out of our own volition would turn to God, then the cross of Christ would be emptied of its power. No! The Lord Jesus said that He came for sinners, and not for good people. If we have any desire to go to heaven, then we must realize that we are sinners, and great sinners at that. If you belong to the category of good people, then I can assure you: All good people go to Hell.
When God looked down the corridors of time, He saw only sinners who were all in rebellion against God. There was not one good person among them who of his own volition pleaded for mercy to God, because Rom 3:11 says, "There is NONE that seeketh after God". They are not pleading to this God of the Bible. O they are pleading to other gods. Many people are pleading to other gods. But they want nothing to do with the God of the Bible. This is a God who predestines people to heaven or Hell. That is awful! Never mind that God says in Rom 9, "Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated", and God said these words before the children were born, before they could have done any good or evil. But God gave this example of Jacob and Esau to explain what election is. Since NONE of the human race would of his own volition turn to God for repentance and seek His face, the only way anybody can be saved is if God seek out whom He will save. There is no other way. Therefore, election is not the tool of a terrible God, but election is the love of God for those who murdered His Son, for those who deserved Hell, but instead God raised them up to reign with Him as His sons.
And then we read in Hos 6:2,
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.
What is this? Is this a contradiction in terms? Who will be made alive after two days, and who will be raised up in the third day? This is a resurrection verse, which applies to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was made alive after two days: His body died on Friday afternoon on the cross and He rose from the grave on Sunday morning. That means He was made alive after two days. But also Christ was raised up the third day: On Thursday evening in the Garden of Gethsemane His soul was subject to the Atonement for our sins, so that He threw Himself on the ground "with strong crying and tears" (Heb 5), and "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22). Then, when He rose from the grave on Sunday morning three days and three nights were completed in His Atonement. But if Hos 6:2 applies to Christ, why does it say US?
The answer is found in Rom 6, and Gal 2, and Eph 2, and Col 2, and some other places where God says that all those whom God chose to be saved were placed IN CHRIST. Christ is our federal head in the spirit, like Adam was our federal head in the flesh. Therefore, when Christ was crucified, we were crucified with Him. When Christ endured the torments of Hell on the cross, we endured it with Him. When Christ died, we died with Him. When Christ's body was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, we were buried with Him. When Christ arose on Sunday morning, we rose with Him. When Christ ascended into heaven forty days later, we ascended with Him. When Christ was seated on the right hand of the Father, we were seated with Him. This is hard to grasp; this is hard to understand, but it is all Biblical language, and we are commanded to believe it as it stands. So let us look again at Hos 6:2, where we read:
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.
After two days we have been made alive with Christ. On the third day we were raised with Christ, and therefore WE shall live in His sight. No one else has this privilege. Only those who were IN CHRIST, and who were crucified with Christ shall live in His sight. There is only one way any sin can be forgiven, and that is this: Christ must have carried the guilt of that sin and paid for that sin, while He was enduring the torments of the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for that sin, all the way from the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday night, until Friday afternoon on the cross He cried out victoriously: "It Is Finished". There are no other ways sins can be forgiven. Christ suffered and died for specific sins, and He did that almost 2000 years ago, on Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33. And when He died for all those sins, of all those people whom God chose to be the Bride of Christ, it was a done deal. Not one person could be added to that list and not one person could be removed from that list. There were O.T. people on that list. We know particularly that king David was on that list. But there were also many N.T. people on that list. And to all those people on that list God committed Himself that God would come at some time in their life and give them a new soul, and reveal this wonderful Good News to them, and they would believe it. That is why Hos 6:2 says: "and we shall live in His sight". But don't stop there! How does God come unto us? The next verse says:
#2. He Shall Come Unto Us as the Rain (Hos 6:3, Psalm 19:5-6, Eph 1:4-5)
Hosea 6:3, 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.
When we carefully look at the literal translation of the Hebrew text, we can see that some changes can be made, which will clarify this verse and bring it into context. First of all the word "if" and the word "and" are in italics, which means these words were not present in the original text. The KJ translators inserted them as a suggestion. Secondly, the words "follow on" would be better translated "pursue", and the word "latter" should be written as "latter rain". Thus Hos 6:3 reads as follows:
Hosea 6:3, Then shall we know, shall we pursue to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain former rain unto the earth.
Since we were raised with Christ, we shall live in His sight, and then shall we know this. We shall hear the Good News and we shall believe this. Then shall we pursue to know the Lord. We shall not be satisfied with the Good News that we hear, but we want to know Him better. We want to know Him firsthand because we as the Bride want to know our Bridegroom and we love to hear the voice of the Bridegroom. Then we read: "His going forth is prepared as the morning". What does this refer to? Put a sticker there in Hosea 6 and please turn with me to Psalm 19. In the first 6 verses of Psalm 19 the heavens are represented as the instructors of mankind. The glory, the beauty and the powerful effects of the sun are described, and the sun is compared to a Bridegroom. This is not just flowery speech. The Lord Jesus Christ is in view here. We read in Psalm 19:5-6,
Psalm 19:5 In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
Psalm 19:6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The picture here is that of the "Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings" from Malachi 4. The Lord Jesus Christ is that Sun of righteousness. Very appropriately the Lord Jesus said of Himself "I am the light of the world" (John 8). The Lord Jesus is also our Bridegroom who as a strong man rejoiced to come out of His holy heaven to the earth to run a race, which led Him to the cross at Golgotha. Then we read in verse 6, "His going forth is from the end of the heaven". This is the same word "going forth" that has been used in Hos 6:3. This is the link between those two passages. Please turn again to the Prophecy of Hosea, chapter 6. So you see that "His going forth is prepared as the morning" in Hos 6:3 refers to the Lord Jesus Christ who as the sun is prepared for the morning light. His going forth and His coming to us is as certain and as prepared as the sun rising in the East. How prepared is that? Before Adam was created God created the sun on the fourth day and God established its course. Before Adam was created God prepared the Lord Jesus Christ to come to this earth, and to die a cruel death on the cross for unworthy sinners, who were condemned to go to Hell. But these were sinners whom God marked out for salvation before Adam was created. To say it more precisely would be to quote Eph 1:4-5. Just listen as I read:
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,
according to the good pleasure of his will.
The sins of all those who have been predestinated have been imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ atoned for those sins on the cross, and only for those sins. The Lord Jesus Christ did not suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for those who themselves are going to Hell. That would be a great miscarriage of justice. But let us go on in Hos 6:3, where we read: "and he shall come unto us as the rain". How does Christ come unto us? Through the ear gates and through the eye gates. First through the hearing of the Gospel, and then through the reading of the Word of God. Why does God use the metaphor of the rain? In the Bible God often uses water as a symbol of the Gospel. There are many examples of that. One example that I have not yet used is from Eph 5, where the words of the Gospel flow like water sprinkling us and "cleansing us by the washing of the water in the Word". On the non-elect the water of the Gospel flows off them as water from a duck's back. This is why God uses the metaphor of the rain. The words of Scripture are raining down on us. Now the end of verse 3
The Hebrew text reads close to the KJV: "as the latter rain and former rain unto the earth". What could this possibly mean, and how do we bring this within the context? What is the context? The context is clearly about salvation. The context is about God's actions to bring people to repentance. In chapter 6, verse 1 we see the sign that God has saved people and has given them repentance. Then in verse 2 the Resurrection of Christ and all those who are in Christ is in view. Then in verse 3 the desire of saved people to know Christ and the way that Christ makes Himself known. The way Christ makes Himself known is through the Scriptures, the O.T. and the N.T. We have already seen through Joel chapter 2 and Deut chapter 11 that the former rain corresponds to the giving of the O.T. and the latter rain corresponds to the giving of the N.T. in the first century AD. But did you notice that the order here is reversed: First the latter rain is mentioned and then the former rain is mentioned. I checked the Hebrew text, and indeed the order is mixed up. But historically the latter rain comes down in the spring and the former or early rain comes down in the fall. Did God get the calendar mixed up? No! God was not mixed up. God wanted us to know that "as the latter rain is, so will be the former rain". As the N.T. is, so will be the interpretation of the O.T. There is an English rhyme, which is not in the Bible but it is truism. "The New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed". It means the N.T. is hidden in the O.T., but with some searching you can find it, and the O.T. is revealed, or made known in the N.T.
In addition, since the order is reversed, God is indicating thereby that the teachings of the N.T. and of the O.T. will be taught simultaneously. This has been indeed the case during the first 1900 years of the N.T. church. Pastors preached both from the N.T. as well as from the O.T. It is only during the past 80 years or so that for many pastors the O.T. is a closed book, and so they preach almost exclusively from the N.T. This is one of the signs of the falling away of the church near the end
So far we have seen in all three passages, Joel 2, Deut 11, and Hos 6, that the "latter rain" refers to God's Word in the N.T. The context clearly indicates this. In fact, if we continue to read a little further in Hos 6, we come across verse 6, which reads,
Hos 6:6, For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
This is a N.T. verse. The Lord Jesus quoted this verse in Matt 9:13. Let me read this to you:
Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
When really was it that Jesus called sinners to repentance? Was it when He ate with harlots and tax collectors? No! After His 3½ year ministry the number of faithful in the upper room was only 120. There may have been an additional 500 in Galilee, but that was all. Most of those healed of their physical diseases were not saved. But when Peter preached at Pentecost, in one day 3000 were saved. And after that the number of saints multiplied exceedingly, so that in a few decades their number was so large that the Roman Empire felt threatened by them and began to persecute them. It was at Pentecost and throughout the N.T. age that the Lord Jesus called sinners to repentance.
So we see that the context does not justify at all to associate the latter rain with the end times. In fact, Hos 6:6 indicates that "the knowledge of God" is the primary focus of this chapter. And where does the knowledge of God come from? The knowledge of God, or the knowledge of Christ is the result of the latter rain and the former rain; it is the result of studying the N.T. and the O.T.
This is not the first time the knowledge of God is mentioned in Hosea. Please turn to Hos 4:1, (2X)
Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
This verse sets the stage for the content of chapter 4. Now I like to move to verse 6 in this chapter
#3. My People Are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge (Hos 4:6)
Hosea 4:6 ¶ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Wow! This is a terrifying verse. It means we have to wake up and take notice. First of all, who are "My people"? O.T. Israel was considered to be God's people. The Bible says God was married to O.T. Israel. And God says here that God at some point in time will reject O.T. Israel and will reject her children. What point in time was that? Historically the kingdom of Assyria destroyed the Northern kingdom of Israel in 709 BC, and the kingdom of Babylon destroyed the Southern kingdom of Judah in 587 BC. But that was not the time when God totally divorced Himself from the nation of Israel, because a remnant survived and came back to their land. But when Christ died on the cross that is when God divorced the nation of Israel. Spiritually, God rejected a household at any time in history when the knowledge of God was no longer present in that household. The same principle that applied to them, also applies to us in N.T. times. They were the O.T. church, and we are the N.T. church. Today God also rejects any household when the knowledge of God is no longer present in that household. The knowledge of God is the key to our walk with Him. Today the knowledge of God is not a popular topic of discussion. Studying the Bible is considered a waste of time. But it is extremely important. People who are not rooted in the Word of God become victims of false gospels.
How can this be? I thought that once we are saved we are always saved? That is true! But when we have become saved we are the Bride of Christ, and the Bride always loves to hear the voice of the Bridegroom. That is why saved people love to study the Bible, and in doing so "they make their calling and election sure" (II Pet 1). Where does it begin that people lack the knowledge of God? Well, people do not read their Bibles anymore. They do not read it as a family and they do not read it individually. To read the Bible as a family after dinner was a practice that was established during the Reformation, and it went on unchanged for 400 years. But for the past 50 years or so this custom went out of style. Why? Let me suggest a few reasons:
People are too busy. The industrial revolution and increased knowledge in science and technology has produced many time saving gadgets. But instead of saving us time, people have less free time today than they had 100 years ago. It is Satan's way of destroying the family.
What hinders Dad to read a chapter from the Bible? Indeed I am now pointing the finger at fathers. According to the Bible fathers are the spiritual heads of their household, and therefore fathers should see to it that their family hears the Bible every day. It should be as normal as eating a meal. Are kids running away from the dinner table? Who is the king in your home? Are the kids in charge? Train them to stay seated until you have read a chapter from the Bible. Train them while they are still young. Train them the knowledge of God. And train them the fear of God.
What do you have for family devotions after dinner? Do you use a booklet or do you use the Bible? Do you use a children's Bible or do you use the KJ Bible? Why do you try to give God a helping hand by using a children's Bible? Don't you know that God does the saving? Let Him do it.
Another reason is that mothers have gone to work. This is part and parcel of the industrial revolution. First they have gone to work because the children are in school and so it does not harm anyone. But society adjusted itself to the norm that mothers are bringing in money. Now they have to go to work to make ends meet. Now they have to go to work to make those house payments. With the prices of homes increasing as they do, many families have to rent apartments or rent a mobile home. Can you see how the law of supply and demand has actually driven the entire nation to poverty, rather than to physical prosperity? And how did it start? We were chasing the almighty dollar instead of pursuing the knowledge of God. Remember God's promises: Hosea 4:6 ¶ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.