You Are Also My People

An alternative reading of the book of Hosea as interpreted by nineteenth-century Jewish believer Theophilus Lucky.


ProphecyOct 18, 2015

ProphecyOct 18, 2015


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I remember sitting in my college dorm room reading the heart-wrenching words of Hosea. This was the first time that I had ever fully delved into this book, and I was intensely studying it in its entirety, in Hebrew, in my 10 ft. x 12 ft. room.

Messianic Judaism was new and unknown terrain for me, and I was still in a phase of discovery, deciding my beliefs and trying to understand my calling and task as a Jewish woman. My heart sank when I read the first chapter, and when I read the names that HaShem commanded Hosea to name his children born from Gomer the prostitute, and that these children represented God’s interaction with the Jewish people. HaShem said concerning Hosea’s new born baby girl:

Name her Lo-Ruchamah, for I will no longer have compassion on Israel.

And concerning his new born son HaShem said:

Name him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.

Did We Blow It?

As a Jew trying to understand my place in God’s economy and trying to understand the promises that he made to me and my people—my family members—I was not encouraged by this passage. My heart was broken. And even though the first verse of the second chapter negates these decrees through the house of Judah (via the Messiah), my heart nevertheless continued to break for the next ten chapters, hearing of the great sins of Israel and HaShem’s apparent rejection of the Jewish people.

However, when I came to chapter 11, my heart was filled with hope when I read:

How can I surrender you, O Israel? … All my compassions are kindled…and I will not come in wrath.

This portion relays the great compassion of HaShem for the Jewish people, and that compassion comes through the Messiah, as the prophet alludes to many times.

I could breathe a sigh of relief and trust that the promises I heard concerning the return of Israel to HaShem and his Messiah were true, and I could still trust that I have not been rejected and that I could still retain the hope that my family members would benefit from the promise of “all Israel being saved.”

It’s Not All about Me

This was many years ago, and now, as of recently, I have been enlightened as to another possible interpretation to the words of the Prophet Hosea. While translating the works of renowned Jewish believer and prolific writer Theophilus Lucky (a.k.a. Chaim Yedidyah Pollak) for an upcoming Vine of David resource, another insight was communicated to me through his wonderful writings.

In one of his articles Lucky explains and interprets in depth the apostles’ ruling during the Jerusalem Council concerning Gentile believers and Gentile inclusion in the Jewish messianic faith. He writes as if he were dictating the actual words from God’s very own mouth and says:

Days are coming when…the Righteous Messiah…will teach justice to the nations[1]… He will say, “Here I am, here I am” to a nation that does not call on my name[2]…and he will say to Lo-Ammi (Not My People), “You are my people.”[3]

The passage of rejection and then loving acceptance not only applies to the Jewish people, but also to the nations. These passages apply themselves differently, as this does not now make Gentiles into Jews, nor Jews into Gentiles, but the acceptance and forgiveness that comes through the Messiah holds true both for the nation of Israel and for all the nations of the earth.

There is a similar passage in the New Testament:

For you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)

He Is Messiah Because the Gentiles Say So

While the passages in Hosea served as both convicting and comforting for figuring out my own identity as a Messianic Jew, it can serve in the same manner for each and every person belonging to any nation and tongue under heaven who has followed after the Jewish Messiah. God has made a people out of nations that had strayed off, lost to their own sin. He has made them his people, a people of God.

And now it is these people who prove the veracity of the Yeshua’s messianic claim. It is a miracle and a testament to the true messiahship of Yeshua that the diverse peoples of the earth follow after him. In essence, we know he is the Messiah because the Gentiles say so:

You have placed me as head of the nations; a people whom I have not known serve me. (Psalm 18:43)

Lucky made a beautiful point in his article, and he emphasized HaShem’s redemptive plan through the Messiah coming not just to the Jews, but to every nation and people group that he created and delighted in. HaShem does not just tell Israel, “You are my people,” but he says to every member of every nation who decides to follow him, “You are also my people.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 42:1.
  2. Isaiah 65:1.
  3. Hosea 2:25. Here Lucky ascribes the prophecy in Hosea concerning the Jewish people to the Gentiles as well. He is showing that through the Messiah the Gentiles also enter into HaShem’s favor and, instead of being cast off for previous wicked acts, he will take them in with compassion, just as he does with the nation of Israel.
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About the Author: Jordan Levy is a staff writer for First Fruits of Zion and Vine of David where she also serves by translating from Hebrew, French, and Italian into English. She is dedicated to strengthening her community and providing linguistic and theological teaching. More articles by Jordan Levy

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