In addition to the unfortunate Scriptural misinterpretation, by the church, in believing that the church is the bride of Christ, which influences false perceptions of Biblical marriage and fornication, there is another erred perception, which does the same. This horrific perception is that God in the book of Hosea had instructed the Prophet Hosea to marry (sexually intimate) a prostitute. In my view, those who believe this theory have seriously failed to consider God's holy character and His Word. It is a theory that truly displays a lack of understanding in Biblical marriage and its sanctity, which He designed, as well as the consequences of its violation.
The church has used this prophetic book to support their perception of the church being the bride of Christ and that Christ is constantly forgiving the church for its sins, past and present, which Hosea symbolized by marrying Gomer and taking her back. This is based upon the interpretation that Hosea supposedly married a prostitute (Gomer) on Yahweh's command and, then, she continued in her whoredom, which Hosea forgives, taking her back, works with her, and continued to be a husband to her, without any consequence.
This incorrect theory, then, is applied to the attitude of conduct, which they say should be displayed within a Christian marriage of a man and woman when one of them commits fornication against the other. The innocent spouse is to be like Hosea (Christ-like – forgiving), and take their fornicating spouse back if they repent, even though Gomer never showed any indication of repentance.
Although they wouldn't admit it, this Scripture is used by many, similar to the bride of Christ idea, to brow-beat the innocent spouse into taking the violating spouse back, condemning them as not being Christ-like if they don't. Others use it as a justification in taking their fornicating spouse back. Anyone who has read my book "It's Good For A Man Not To Touch A Woman" or my articles in this blog know the reason why this is a huge mistake.
I have already outlined my reasons for the church being in error in believing that the bride of Christ is the church and how applying that theory in the dealings of marriage and fornication is damnable. Now I will outline my reasons why the church is in total error in their interpretation of this Scripture and how it fosters a wrong perception, and must not be applied to Biblical marriage precepts.
I concede to the premise that the book of Hosea reveals God's love, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. This is evident, but must be put in a proper perspective.
The gist of the message and marriage to Gomer was mostly to prophesy God's view of His relationship He and Israel have had within their union from the beginning to the present. It also points to the promises of hope for Israel in the near future, and to the redemption that would come, further out, to all men through the work of Jesus Christ – those circumcised in the heart by faith. Howbeit, until then, there was going to be horrendous judgment and punishment upon Israel and Judah for their wickedness. As one commentator described it "This picture is one of a loving husband who yearns desperately to have a faithful wife. Israel, however, will have none of it, and the consequences of its sins must play themselves out, although hope for the future is never lost."
Isn't it interesting that these aspects of judgment and punishment (consequences), which is no small percentage of the prophet's message, never seem to get much attention by those who use Hosea to support the church as the bride of Christ, nor as an advocated mindset to be exercised by an innocent spouse as the rule when fornicated against by their unfaithful spouse. They only seem to hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see. This, along with a lack of knowledge, makes for some false doctrines and applications to life, particularly marriage and its violation.
Without writing a whole commentary on the book of Hosea, I will just point out some of the main points where errors in interpretation are vivid:
Firstly, the relationship that God had with Israel was not in the form of husband/wife. Actually, God's wife according to Scripture was Jerusalem, which was in Judah at this time in history. Neither is the prophecy of Hosea an instruction on how to deal with an errant spouse. The marriage to Gomer only symbolized God's marriage (connection, union) to Israel in His oneness with them through the covenant of the law. The oneness He initiates with the church today is through the covenant (redemption) of Jesus Christ. This relationship is not husband/wife either.
On this earth, marriage (the oneness generated by two, through sexual intimacy) between a man and woman depicts, most distinctly, the oneness connection that God's people experience with Him. We are married (joined) to Him, yet not as His wife, but as His body, like a wife is to her husband. It is a holy connection. Once born again, the church (made up of each member) is connected to Him as His body through His Spirit, once born again, as is also the wife connected to her husband as his body once they are sexually intimate. However, if you have read my book or articles you will know that both of these unions can be fornicated.
The earthly marriage union illustrates, for the lack of a better word, our oneness with Christ. Both of these institutions of oneness are a mystery. That is because each union is enacted by God Himself and is not seen by the human eye nor implemented by man.
Secondly, to think that God would entreat a prophet to commit an abominable act of fornication by being sexually intimate with a prostitute is ridiculous. Only those who: 1) Have no respect for God's holy and righteous character, i.e., "...to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither come it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin" (Jeremiah 32:35, KJV) and "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man" (James 1:13); 2) have no respect and knowledge to how horrific the sinful act of fornication is bodily and as idolatry could presume such an atrocity.
Should we believe that God would direct a holy man into committing this abomination (fornication) with a prostitute (see my previous articles or book) for the purpose of reproving the abominations of others? How could Hosea be the instrument for exposing and condemning the sin of Israel when He would be just as guilty as they? Where is the sense and wisdom in this, as the means for Israel to change? How does one marry a prostitute and then condemn her afterward for being a prostitute, considering it shameful?
This crazy idea is also like certain so-called ministries today where one spouse commits fornication against the other spouse, are taken back, and, then, set out to tell others that their marriage is now better than before. Anymore, to have a viable marriage ministry one must commit the sin of fornication beforehand. Then you are qualified to be a help to others. "Let us sin, so that grace may abound!" "Let's all commit fornicated affairs so our marriages will be better!" This is a sensual philosophy of the world being spewed out by the church, which even many unbelievers will not accept. Shouldn't the ones who are faithful to their spouses be the ones who are true ministers of marriage, especially to unbelievers? Hosea was the true sinless minister. He represented and exemplified the true, righteous, and faithful God.
For God to direct Hosea to commit this defiling act would have been the most unrighteous thing for a righteous God to do. The holy prophet wouldn't be so holy any longer, and would be just as worthy of condemnation. I ask... would the church be so ready to accept God commanding a prophet to commit homosexuality, instead of adultery, for the purpose of instruction? I don't believe so! I would hope not!
The reason I made the claim as I just did is because Gomer was not a prostitute when Hosea married her. The book of Hosea itself makes this fact very clear for these reasons:
1) They, who make the claim that Gomer was a prostitute when Hosea married her, read Hosea 1:2&3 erringly. It is not saying to go take a wife that is already in the sin of whoredom, but to go take a wife among people who are and are the children of whoredoms (idolaters), who will later become a prostitute and have illegitimate children, as Israel had prostituted itself and produced illegitimate (idolatrous, lawless) children. For Israel "hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord."
2) Verse three says, "So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim..." When one understands Biblical marriage, it is understood that if Gomer had had other men, she would not have been referred to as "the daughter of" her father, but as a man's wife or a harlot. To identify her as "the daughter of" was to indicate that she was still a virgin under her father's authority within his house. She had not yet known a man. It is this virgin that Hosea covenanted for and married (sexual intimacy).
3) Verse three is also backed up by Hosea 2:7 saying, "...I will go and return to my first husband..." Her first husband was Hosea to whom she would return. Otherwise, if Hosea wasn't her first husband who would be? Who was her second, third, fourth... husbands? If you know Biblical marriage, like I have been teaching, you'll know how to answer this. It speaks of her sexual intimacies as husbands and not through covenant, vows, or documents. It's a similar situation as when Jesus encountered the woman at the well and said to her, "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband..." (John 4:18). Just as God was the first for Israel and Israel the first for God, so was Hosea the first for Gomer and Gomer the first for Hosea.
4) Israel was not defiled when God chose and formed a nation of Him, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1). Israel was a young innocent child when God called (married) him out of Egypt, not a defiled fornicated one. Israel was unformed in Egypt and, then, formed and nurtured by God when called out and given His law. Israel, the nation, fornicated itself afterward; just as Gomer did. "I found Isreal like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved" (Hosea 9:10).
5) The first child Jezreel was Hosea's son before Gomers adultery. He represented the righteous seed that was and would be sown in Israel. The other children Lo-ruhamah and Lo-ammi were children from her fornications. This is seen in Hosea 2:1-5, where he says, "Say ye [Jezreel] unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. Plead with your mother, plead; for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband...for they be the children of whoredoms. For their mother hath played the harlot; she that conceived them hath done shamefully..."
Note: How could God say that Gomer conceived these children, Lo-ammi and Lo-ruhamah, shamefully and yet not declare the same concerning Jezreel, if she was a harlot before Hosea took her? Wouldn't it have been just as shameful for him to have taken her as a harlot, also? Does a covenant or a marriage certificate, as some might say would make a difference, cause a harlot to not be a harlot anymore, Biblically? Do these procedures and documents wipe away all fornications (adutleries)? Does God's Word depict such things? The reason there was no wrong with Hosea taking Gomer and bearing Jezreel is because, when he was conceived the union was a true marriage, not fornication.
Thirdly, many regard what is said in Hosea 3:1 signals Hosea taking Gomer back to be his wife. Well, interpreting verse 1 as meaning this is not at all correct. I can only say, for one to draw such a conclusion originates from the misunderstanding of Biblical marriage, as well as not acknowledging factual declarations from the book of Hosea itself. This verse itself is rife with signaling that he does not take her back as a wife.
Here is what verse 1 says, "Then said the Lord unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel , who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine."
Here are the reasons to dispute those who say Hosea took Gomer back:
1) Gomer is referred to as an "adulteress" and not as his wife. Romans 7:2,3 says, "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth...So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married [sexually intimate] to another man, she shall be called an adulteress..." This means she no longer bears the label or distinction as a wife, but now bears the distinction of "adulteress." An adulteress is not a wife of one man, but of more than one and, therefore, a fornicator of marriage. The husband cannot take her back. I already indicated how that Hosea was her first husband. Hosea, her original husband, is now no longer her husband. Their holy marriage (union) had been defiled (made illegitimate) by her fornication (adultery) with her "lovers [sexual]." The "love" God entreats Hosea to now show is not sexual in nature. That is the perversion of our culture, adopted by the church.
2) Hosea was commanded to love her and care for her, even though she was no longer his wife, indicated by the title of "adulteress." This estranged marital relationship between them, because of her fornicated affairs, is compared to the same relationship, which God had with Israel at this time. Israel's fornication is declared in the latter part of verse 1 above saying, "...the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine." This means the relationship that Israel had with God has been put asunder through their idolatrous fornication, although not as a husband/wife, but as a God and His people. He still loved them, but it would be an estranged relationship. He would care for them, yet, they would not benefit from all that they had when they were His alone. They would be "...without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim" (Hosea 3:4).
3) Hosea emphatically stated that Gomer was not his wife saying, "Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi, and to your sisters, Ruhama, Plead with your mother, plead; for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband..." (Hosea 2:1-3). He is telling Jezreel, his blood son from Gomer when she was his wife, to tell his half brother and half sister that their mother, who had them by another man or other men through her adulteries, is now no longer his wife. He also declares that for her to save herself ("Plead with your mother, plead"), she must stop living in fornication, if she doesn't want to face harsh judgment. The only answer when fornication is committed is to repent and live celibate. This is the only way to not commit fornication again.
4) For the Scripture to declare that Gomer would “go back to her first husband” and Hosea to declare that “she is not my wife and I am not her husband” indicates that she had been put-away by Hosea. Therefore, for God to instruct Hosea to take her back would be forcing him to commit a declared abomination of violating the forbidden law of not taking back a spouse who was remarried after being put-away. So, according to the church, God causes Hosea to defile his self twice with this whorish woman through acts that were an abomination before God. How pathetic.
He couldn't take her again or he would fornicate himself with her. What Hosea actually did resembled the sacrifice of God caring for Israel at the present time, and yet not having them as a people or a nation that are His in a holy way. The covenant of Christ and His Spirit would eventually change this situation including both Jew and Gentile, declared in Hosea 2:14-23. This is the new and intended Israel - the descendents of Abraham by faith.
Therefore, in chapter 3:2 the love that is shown by Hosea to Gomer is to purchase her as a man would purchase a prostitute, providing for her needs, yet not joining himself to her in a sexual way as he did when he married her. Through this possession, she is to stay celibate and he also commits to staying celibate along with her in order to care for her. He sacrifices both his finances and his physical sexual needs for her well-being. This is the true love story of sacrifice that people should be writing about.
I will close with these two Scripture verses:
"...therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall" (Hosea 4:14);
"Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein" (Hosea 14:9).
There is forgiveness, but however, the sin of fornication produces consequences.
Attention: Recommended initial article reading order for a Biblical marriage foundation:
The Honor of Biblical Marriage
Fornication: Sinning Against Your Body – Part 1&2
BIBLICAL MARRIAGE? Dear Lord I Messed Up!
Premarital Cohabitation: A Christian Mythology
Biblical Marriage and the Erroneous Marriage Covenant
Putting Biblical Marriage Asunder
BIBLICAL MARRIAGE: A Sacred Law
Divorce: It’s All About Being Married