Refuting the Missionaries: Jewish Interpretations of Hosea

* Hosea 5.14-15

"I, I will attack and stride away, Carrying the prey that no one can rescue; And I will return to My abode -- Till they realize their guilt. In their distress, they will seek Me and beg for My favor."

Christian Claim: This most definately is a messianic prophecy, and the "return" indicates the second coming of the messiah.

Jewish Refutation: This prophecy is quite simple. Throughout the entire Tanach, G-d gets mad at Israel, and then forgives Israel. How do the Jewish people get G-d to forgive them? They "seek HaShems face." They pray, repent, and make themselves better. The way the Israelites were acting in the book of Hosea was not impressive, and, thus, Hosea tells them that G-d is not happy. So what do they do? They "seek the face of G-d." The scriptural support makes Hosea's prophecy quite clear:

II Chronicles 7:14: "And if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Additionally, I Kings 8:46-53 teaches that prayer and repentance are both valid forms of atonement, a way of returning to G-d or "seeking His face."

Jonah 3:10: "And G-d saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and G-d repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."

Job 22:23-27: "If you return to G-d you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent then you will delight in G-d."

Israel is described as the disobedient wife of HaShem. This metaphor is saying that Israel was acting in idolatry, worshiping other gods that the True G-d. Hosea is instructing the Israelites on how they can atone for their sins throughout his prophetic chapters.

Thus, Hosea 5:14-15 as a Christian "proof text" just goes to show how desperate many missionaries are.


* Hosea 11.1

"When Israel was a child, I loved him. And out of Egypt I called My son. The more I called them, the more they went from Me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and burning incense to idols."

Christian Claim: The first part of the verse is a prophecy of Jesus that was fulfilled in Matthew 2.15-18. Jesus was moved to Egypt at a very young age to escape Herod's decree to kill all Jewish males, to thwart the awaited savior's reign.

Jewish Refutation: In Matthew's scenario, after being born in Bethlehem, Jesus is taken on a journey to Egypt. This was done allegedly to escape an infanticidal rampage of Herod. It is said in Matthew 2.15 that Jesus "remained there until the death of Herod." This account is not mentioned in any of the other Christian biblical books, and was clearly an attempt by Matthew (who is famous for his out-of-context scriptural usage and distortion) to equate the Christian savior with Moses.

Upon a simple examination of Hosea 11.1, one will notice that the continuation of that verse was intentionally ignored by Matthew. Would Matthew agree that it was Jesus who wanted to return to Egypt and who instead of heeding G-d's call worshiped idols? It was the people of Israel who eventually and unfortunately fit that description after they left Egypt. And the son who G-d called out of Egypt was Israel, in accordance with Exodus 32 and 33.

As stated in the refutation of Jeremiah 31.15 earlier, an examination of the historicity of the alleged event of Herod's decree to kill all Jewish male infants reveals that, in all probability, it simply did not occur. It is highly unlikely that in the meticulous accounts of Flavius Josephus, for example, such an event would have been omitted. Josephus wrote extensively of Herod's abuses, and depicted him in an evil light. If Herod ever made such a decree to kill all the Jewish male infants, it would have been mentioned as one of the more cruel acts that Herod committed.

And, as mentioned in the refutation of Jeremiah 31.15, if Luke's account of Jesus' birth is to be considered authoritative, then Herod was dead before Jesus was even born.

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