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Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.
Working alongside the idea of a census of Israel in Numbers 1, we have a section in the text of the prophet Hoseah that tells us that Israel, "shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered" (Hoseah 1:10 [2:1]). Today, according to Jewish accounting, there are about 15 million Jews in the world. Despite being one of the smallest religious entities in the world, it is still quite a miracle. We must remember that from the onset of their history, from barren mothers to international threats of annihilation, it seems that the Jewish people were not destined to survive. A friend of mine who has worked much of her life to promote Jewish identity told me once that in the Holocaust it was not 6 million people who were killed, but 100 million. Her notion about this was that along with these people, were destroyed all the generations that should have come out of them. If we applied this principle all the way back to when the Romans killed millions of Jews in the first century C.E., Hoseah's prophecy should have been fulfilled by now.
Moses foresaw the present-day Great Exile when the children of Israel would become few in numbers. He said,
"When you father children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of Adonai your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. And Adonai will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where Adonai will drive you. (Deuteronomy 4:25–27)."
But using the promise in Hoseah, Jewish sages concluded that "In the Messianic Age, the sons of Israel will 'be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered'" (Numbers Rabbah 2:14;20:25).
Hoseah tells us in his prophecy that in that day, "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 (Ezekiel 37) for great shall be the day of Jezreel" (Hoseah 1:11). This head is none other than Messiah, the only legitimate king to sit on the throne of Jerusalem. Even now he is doing his work that he started 2,000 years ago of re-gathering all the tribes of Israel into one flock to serve Hashem under his command.
As of the 20th century, entire families who have been lost under the forced conversions of the Inquisition rediscovered their Jewish identities. Whole villages of people with Jewish ancestries in places such as India, Ethiopia, Russia, and China are returning to their ancient roots. Through DNA testing, people's lives are being changed as they discover their Jewish lineage. And best of all, is the latest Jewish trend to recognize the head that will lead them to their glorious destiny: Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah.
Hoseah speaks of a time when Hashem turned his face and said to the Northern tribes, "You are not my people" but in our Messiah is certainly fulfilled the rest of Hoseah's prophecy, the part when Hashem calls them again, "Children of the living God" (Hoseah 1:10 [2:1]).
P. Gabriel Lumbroso
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