Diaspora (and the 1st century promised Gathering and remarriage of the faithful remnant)

Refers to the 10 northern tribes of Israel (aka kingdom of Israel) (The southern two tribes were referred to as the kingdom of Judah).  In 722 BC the Assyrian armies captured the 10 northern tribes, killed multitudes, and dispersed the remaining throughout the then known world – thus the term Diaspora.  The physical northern kingdom of Israel has ceased to exist ever since that time.

Looking back to the time of the book of Hosea, just prior to the Diaspora, the Lord has told us He has divorced Israel for her harlotry and adultery, yet, we can also see the beautiful promise of the New Covenant (NC)/Marriage – (read) Hos. 2:18-23.  God says He will betroth/marry in this new covenant forever.  It is very important, as always, to understand the audience and context of any passage.  God had just said in Hos. 2:1, “that she (Israel – the 10 northern tribes) was not my wife, nor am I her husband!,” and we also see this confirmed divorce from Jer. 3:8 as he states this in the past tense, since Jeremiah wrote his book after the time of the 722 BC Diaspora of the kingdom of Israel. 

Now, we have in Hos. 2:16 God speaking of “in that day,” referencing to a future day from that time when He was going to make a covenant and re-marry forever (vs. 18-19).  What is critical to understand is that the prophet Hosea had come from God to speak to only Israel – the kingdom of the 10 northern tribes.  God’s promise of divorce and re-marriage is being spoken of to her.  However, in order to understand all that is being spoken of in this passage, we must understand that the Old Testament (OT) was written using types and shadows and metaphors that the Bible tells us that the Old Covenant (OC) writers did not know what the full meanings were about (read: 1 Pet. 1:10-12, 20; 1 Cor. 10:11). 

In order to understand many things in the OT/OC we need to allow the further light and explanation provided by the Holy Spirit through the New Testament (NT) inspired writers, where the Spirit explains through them the substance and “fulfillment” begin spoken about by those shadows and mysteries in the OT/OC.

  • Let us look at the example in this passage: (read) Hos. 2:23 – God has just spoken about a re-marriage to the 10 northern tribes from vs. 18-20.  He was prophesying about this NC and re-marriage to them before they were even destroyed and scattered (Diaspora) by the Assyrian armies in 722 BC.  Could they understand the full meaning of what they were being told?  Many Christians can have a hard time of understanding this even with the NT writings.  However, I believe if we remember the proper audience relevance and interpretation rules of study, we can allow the clear NT writings to shed light on the OT types and shadows.
  • (Read) Peter in 1 Pet. 1:1 is writing to this same Diaspora, but he was now writing long after their promised destruction in Hosea had happened by the Assyrian armies in 722 BC.  It was then, in approx. 64 AD, Peter is writing to these same scattered OC Hebrew Christians (the scattered faithful remnant) reminding them and quoting directly from Hos. 1:9-10, 2:23, and he writes to them in 1 Pet. 2:9-11 how this re-gathering and re-marriage was being fulfilled right there and then in the 1st century, and in 1 Pet. 2:5 he tells them that this was about the building up of a “spiritual house,” of which they were living stones (and how they were being (present tense of that 1st century) fitted into a spiritual temple, which was growing: Eph. 2:19-22; and how now only those who “believe in faith” in Christ would represent “true spiritual Israel:” See Gal. 3:7, 28-29, 6:15-16; and how this would fulfill the mystery that had perplexed OC Hebrews of how God could take both Jew/Gentile and make them equal and both in “one body” of believers in Christ: Eph. 2:15, 3:3-6).

In Hosea, we have seen God saying to Israel He was a husband and married to her in their covenant, but then He declared that He no longer was their husband due to their harlotry/adultery with foreign gods, and He was divorcing her and judgment was coming upon her.  Then, God declares that in a “future day from the time Hosea was written,” after their kingdom was destroyed and their remnant dispersed among the nations, that His re-marriage would include the faithful believing remnant from the 10 northern tribes in a NC. 

To get a better understanding of this, and of the timing of this prophesied future day, let’s look at both of these covenants/marriages placed together in Jer. 31:31-33 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.”

* We need to understand the importance of all of this.  Is not the church called the “Bride of Christ” throughout the NT?  Let’s look at 2 Cor. 11:2, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (See also Eph. 5:24-27.  Christ tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (see the symbolism in vs. 27 of the chaste purity as in 2 Cor. 11:2)

John the Baptist was the first to make reference to marriage imagery in the NT in John 3:29, “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.  Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.”

Jesus calls Himself the bridegroom in Matt. 9:15, “And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?  The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

(Read) Matt. 22:1-9 Jesus in very clear and descriptive language shows us about the marriage changeover typology, illustrating both the rejection and subsequent judgment of the original guests (OC Israel), and then the NC wedding opened to the whole world.

We also need to recall in Rev. 19:7 that there is “…the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And Rev. 21:2 say John saw, “…the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”


For a more in-depth study see the related full “Study Series”:

Study Series 5 Being a Hebrew…Audience Relevance