God is talking about the two houses of Israel, Israel or Ephraim, the northern kingdom, and Judah, the southern kingdom, and their adulteries. Their idolatry is adultery against the LORD, because at Sinai He married her (Jer 3:14). He is Israel’s husband and she is His wife. Israel is the woman whose seed is the Promised Seed of Gen 3:15. The male child Israel bore to her Husband, is Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God.
Because of the house of Israel’s adultery or idolatry, the LORD put her away, put her out of the land when she was taken captive to Assyria, and issued her a certificate of divorce (Jer 3:8). Now in Torah, it is an abomination, once a man marries a wife and then gives her a certificate of divorce, and she leaves him and marries another man, for her first husband to take her back again (Deu 24:1-4). The LORD obeys His own Torah. Of course He does, because it is the description of His ways of righteousness — the way of walking which naturally comes from His heart. He knows the definition of righteousness and sin, and He has graciously revealed His definition to man.
So now that He has divorced Israel, He cannot take her back to wife again. However, He is calling her to return to Him, and prophesying of the time when she will return to Him, when He has healed her of her backsliding (Jer 3:22). As long as the husband lives, they are bound by the Torah concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage (Rom 7:2). If her husband dies, she is free to marry whom she will.
YHVH came in the flesh, and died. Israel’s Husband died on the cross, freeing her from the Torah concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage. Now the house of Israel or Ephraim is free to marry whom she will. And Messiah Yeshua has betrothed her to Himself. The church, or the ekklesia, the assembly of believers, the house of Israel or Ephraim — Gentiles, or Christians — is the Bride of Messiah Yeshua, and at His return there will be a Wedding Supper, and He will marry His Bride whom He has purchased for Himself, without spot or wrinkle.
The prophecy and call for her return to the LORD with her whole heart is in force today. For the past 2000 years, the Spirit of the LORD has been calling the lost sheep of the house of Israel (who became a fullness of Gentiles), and all who have joined themselves to Israel’s God through their witness, to return to YHVH through the shed blood of Messiah Yeshua.
Two weeks ago, we marked the new moon for the sixth biblical month. In Jewish tradition, this moon marks the beginning of the season of teshuvah, or repentance and return, which culminates with the Feast of Tabernacles, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (mid October this year). Return to the LORD our God, and when He returns to you, He will marry you with joy, without recrimination, for He is gracious and merciful!
This is the prophecy of the call to return:
YHVH’s call to repentance:
‘ Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD;
‘ I will not cause My anger to fall on you.
For I am merciful,’ says the LORD;
‘ I will not remain angry forever.
Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the LORD your God,
And have scattered your charms
To alien deities under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD.
“ Return, you backsliding children,
And I will heal your backslidings.” Jer 3:12-13, 22a
“ Indeed we do come to You,
For You are the LORD our God.
Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills,
And from the multitude of mountains;
Truly, in the LORD our God
Is the salvation (yeshua) of Israel.” Jer 3:22b-23