The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
The Hebrew prophet Hosea railed against the sins of Israel, raging, storming, and thundering at how the people of Israel had turned against her God and committed innumerable sins:
Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.” – Hosea 4:1‒2.
The endless list of sins included banditry, fraud, and the use of dishonest scales in the marketplace. God’s punishment, Hosea announced, would be dire:
Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak about me falsely. – Hosea 7:13.
Hosea, particularly dismayed by the worship of Baal and other false idols and gods that the Israelites had adopted from the Canaanites, warned the Israelites:
My people consult a wooden idol, and a diviner’s rod speaks to them. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God. – Hosea 4:12.
Then, Hosea famously warned, the end result of the idolatry and faithlessness of the Israelites would result in their downfall: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” – Hosea 8:7.
What does all of this mean? Does it mean, as some have suggested, that the Lord of the Old Testament was a wrathful, angry God? Or do these warnings contain a spirit of mercy, advising the peoples of Israel to turn back to the spiritual realities and reclaim their redemption?
A Promise of Future Dispensations
Hosea repeatedly exhorted the people to return to God and His covenant. After emphasizing the punishment of God, Hosea focused on God as the healer and reviver who would restore the people:
Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. – Hosea 6:1–3.
From a Baha’i perspective, the “reviving” and the “raising up” are spiritual renewal, metaphorically like the spring rains that bring new spiritual growth. The purpose of the appearance of each new messenger and prophet is to revive and restore humankind. In that sense, the advent of a prophet of God represents a new “day.” When Hosea mentions two days and then a third, it’s quite likely that he means advents of Jesus and Muhammad, and then this new day of Baha’u’llah.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
That angel refers to human souls who have been endowed with heavenly attributes and invested with an angelic nature and disposition. Voices will be lifted up and the appearance of the divine Manifestation will be proclaimed and noised abroad. It will be announced that this day is the day of the advent of the Lord of Hosts, and this Dispensation the merciful Dispensation of the Divine Providence. It has been promised and recorded in all the Sacred Books and Scriptures that in this Day of God His divine and spiritual sovereignty will be established, the world will be renewed, a fresh spirit will be breathed into the body of creation, the divine springtime will be ushered in, the clouds of mercy will rain down, the Sun of Truth will shine forth, the life-giving breezes will blow: The world of humanity will be arrayed in a new garment; the face of the earth will become even as the highest paradise; humanity will be educated; war, dissension, strife, and contention will vanish; truthfulness, uprightness, peace, and godliness will prevail; love, concord, and union will encompass the world; and God will rule forevermore—that is, a spiritual and everlasting sovereignty will be established. Such is the Day of God.
Just as Hosea, the first of the Hebrew Tanakh’s twelve minor prophets, predicted in the Hebrew Bible, the mercy of God will never leave humanity bereft of spiritual guidance.