Hos 1:10-11 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.” And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
God declares that in spite of all their sin, the children of Israel would be beyond number. This recollection of God’s covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob seems at first glance to present a problem. The promise to gather the children of Israel and the children of Judah together under one ruler was fulfilled during the reign of Hezekiah (ca 716-687 BC). He brought representatives from among the survivors of the Northern tribes into his government in Jerusalem uniting, at least for a time, Israel and Judah (2 Ki 18-20, 2 Chr 29-32). Hezekiah restored YHWH worship in Jerusalem. Hezekiah was king when Assyria unsuccessfully laid siege to Jerusalem in 701 BC. The Assyrians were repelled, not by Hezekiah’s military, but by the hand of God.
If one looks at this passage from a Messianic perspective, the greater fulfillment of a uniting leader and the radical shift from forsaken to forgiven is seen in Christ. To be a “child of God” is to be intimately connected to God. God is Spirit, therefore it stands to reason that being an heir of God includes a significant spiritual component. Jesus was raised in the region of Galilee, surrounded by Gentiles and Hebrews descended from Northern tribes. John 4 describes an encounter Jesus had in Samaria early in his ministry. Part of the lesson to his disciples was that Jesus was there to redeem all of God’s people, not just those in or from Judea. As the resurrected King of kings, Jesus rules from Heaven all the countless multitudes who are the true children of Abraham – the faithful – whether they are biological descendants or adopted by faith.
The “day of Jezreel” can be viewed as the day that God sows or as a day of blood. Although Hezekiah’s stand may be the original literal fulfillment, this passage may also refer to the crucifixion. That was a great and terrible day when the Lord spilled his blood. Paul sheds light on the sowing analogy in 1 Cor 15 when he compares the transition from mortality to immortality to the transition from a seed to a living plant. Jesus was the firstfruit of the dead, risen by God, mortal turned immortal, a blood sacrifice once and for all for human sin. Jesus showed us flesh will be raised, renewed and perfected. What was sown in bloody temporal death was raised to eternal incorruptible life.
Taken together in the Messianic and spiritual context, Hos 1:10-11 speaks of a gathering by Christ of a multitude of people, once cursed but now forgiven, and departure from the land as the result of what was accomplished at the cross.