Chosenrace Definition Continued
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”. Acts 1:8
This chosen group of people has been doing that ever since the time of Christ, and this particular group can trace their genealogy back to the 12 tribes of Israel. See - www.angloisrael.com/pdf/the-hollis-herndon-descent-from-adam-and-eve.pdf
The Jews (Racial) were a small group of Israelites, the majority it appears who were primarily descended from the tribe of Judah, who returned from Babylonian captivity (Ezra 1:2 and 2:64) with what turned out to be a new religion based on the Babylonian Talmud. As you may recall, these priests, or ‘church’ leaders as we would call them today, rejected the thought of Jesus Christ being their savior, and as scripture clearly shows, cursed their own children by making the decision to crucify him. Matthew 27:25
So that brings us to whom these chosen are exactly. We all know from scripture that there were two (2) captivities of Israel after the Egyptian captivity. There was an Assyrian captivity, where all the northern tribes of Israel were taken, and there was the Babylonian Captivity, where the southern tribe of Judah was taken. This totaled about 10 million people, at best guess, and probably better than 98% of which, who were all the same race (descended from Abraham (Abram) through Jacob and Isaac) That’s why you're given their genealogy back to Adam.
The definition of Adam, according to the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary in the back of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, is: 119: aw-dam’; to show blood (in the face) i.e. flush or turn rosy;- be (dyed, made) red (ruddy). 120: aw-dawm’; from 119; ruddy, i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.) 121: aw-dawm’; the same as 120; adam, the name of the first man. 122: aw-dome’ ; from 119; rosy;-red, ruddy.
According to the people that study such things, there has only been five (5) main races of people on this earth from the beginning, which all the multitude of ethnic groups sprang from: White (Caucasian people) Black (Negroid people) Asian (Mongolian -yellow people) East Indian (Brown people) and West Indian (Red people). One of those races was taken into captivity to Assyria, and later to Babylonia. As scripture shows, they were placed in an area, which we know today as the south side of the Caucasus Mountains.
We know the Caucasian people are the white people, one of the five (5) races, and sure enough that’s what the definition of Caucasian is, except for one thing. The word 'Caucasian' refers to the millions of white people that came streaming out of the northern Caucasus Mountains, and Israel was taken into captivity on the south side of the Caucasus Mountains. Of course no one mentions where exactly these millions of white people that came streaming out of the northern Caucasus Mountains actually came from. Maybe they lived in caves, one is left to wonder.
But, it is interesting to some of us, that at the same time in history, where millions of white people came streaming out of the northern Caucasus mountains, there just happened to be millions of Israelites in captivity on the southern side (looking for a way out of their captivity, I suppose). Those chosen Israelites from the Bible, the millions that were taken into captivity, all just vanished off the face of the earth, or amalgamated with other groups of people, or other races. They couldn't be the same ones who miraculously appeared at virtually the same time in history, out of thin air, on the other side of the Caucasus Mountains. If you really believe that, then why even read the Bible at all, because you’ll never make heads or tails out of it. You’ll never know who the Caucasians really were before they were called by their new name.
“…they shall no more be remembered by their name”. Hosea 2:17 “…and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name”, Isaiah 62:2); 'Caucasian'
A wise man/woman might take note that the prophecies of Jeremiah were given to Israel right at the point while they were in captivity, and it spoke about the things Israel was going to do in the future. The only problem with that is, it’s the Caucasians that have fulfilled those prophecies, and not the Jews of today. It’s not the people that teach the Old Testament along with the Talmud, it’s the people that teach the Old Testament along with the New Testament, and doesn’t that make sense? God’s chosen race are the same people that have fulfilled Gods prophecies!
We're not talking about just the prophecies of Jeremiah, we're talking about all of them. To make the point crystal clear, there's a very well written website at http://www.angloisrael.com (which is linked to this website) that shows the prophecies in the Bible, one by one, and how they have been carried out and fulfilled by God’s chosen race from beginning to end. And by the way, the people that have fulfilled Gods prophecies are the Semitic people. Take a look and decide for yourself. You can read, you can pray for discernment, and you can decide for yourself what's true and what is false.How Many Tribes Do The Jews Represent?
There are two schools of thought within Christendom concerning the tribal makeup of modern day Jews; some say two tribes, some say all twelve. Jewish Academia, on the other hand, has steadfastly maintained the position that they represent only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, and they have held this position for 2,000 years.
By Jeff Booth
“Preaching the kingdom of God, AND teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ”Acts 28:31.
Some Christians are of the opinion that the Jews of today represent all 12 tribes of Israel, others believe that they only represent two.
Years ago I was talking to a Jewish believer on this very subject. I was explaining to him that Jews represent only two tribes and not 12 and he asked me a question: “What do Jewish scholars have to say about this?” I thought that was a fantastic question and told him I’d check it out. I spent a few months visiting synagogues with libraries, several public and county libraries making photocopies of pages from books written by Jewish rabbis, scholars, historians and theologians. I was only interested in Jewish thought on the issue. Not one of them maintained the position that the Jews of today represent all 12 tribes. They hold the position that the Jews represent only 2 tribes: Judah & Benjamin. In their opinion the 10 tribes are still “lost.” I even made phone calls to rabbis and asked them this question. “They’re lost, we don’t know where they are,” they all told me.
There are two schools of thought on the 10 tribes in Jewish circles:
They’re lost and will some day be reunited with Judah
(The minority point-of-view)
“The people known as Jews are the descendants of the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with a certain number of the Tribe of Levi. So far as is known, there is not any further admixture of other tribes. The Ten Tribes have been absorbed among the nations of the world. The Jews look forward to the gathering of all the tribes at some future date.” —Dr. Hertz – Chief Rabbi of the British Empire. 1918
“While not a link is missing of the historical chain so far as the romance of the House of Judah is concerned, the Israelites who were subjected by the Assyrian power disappear from the page of history as suddenly and completely as though the land of their captivity had swallowed them up… the Ten Tribes are certainly in existence, all that has to be done is to discover which people represent them.”—The Jewish Chronicles, May 22, 1879.
“The captives of Israel exiled beyond the Euphrates did not return as a whole to Palestine along with their brethren the captives of Judah; at least there is no mention made of this event in the documents at our disposal… In fact, the return of the ten tribes was one of the great promises of the Prophets, and the advent of the Messiah is therefore necessarily identified with the epoch of their redemption.” —Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. I -1888, pages 15, 17
“Until the arrival of the Prophet Elijah and the Messiah, no member of any of the Ten Tribes shall be accepted (for the purpose of marriage) into the Jewish people.” Rabbi Rafael Eisenberg, A Matter of Return, p. 138.
“As for our brethren, the whole House of Israel, such of them as are given over to trouble or captivity’, whether they abide on sea or on dry land, may the All – Present have mercy upon them and bring them forth from trouble to enlargement, from darkness to light, and from subjection to redemption now, speedily and at a near time, and let us say, Amen.” The Jewish Prayer Book (The Authorized Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire, 1915
They intermarried and were absorbed into surrounding nations and races. They’ll never return.
(The majority point-of-view)
“The people were transported eastward, and a new population was brought in westward. The transported Israelites became the “ten lost tribes”; in reality these were absorbed by the people of the lands to which they were transported and they disappeared.” —The Hebrew Scriptures by Samuel Sandmel, p. 20.
“Thus were the people led away into distant provinces of the [Assyrian] empire and became colonized with strangers, and the Kingdom of Israel became a tale that is told.” —ISRAEL: A History of the Jewish People by Rufus Learsi, p. 79.
“…but in general it can be said that they disappeared from the stage of history.”—Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 15, p. 1004.
“These are the Ten Lost Tribes; lost not as a jewel is lost on the road, perhaps to be found again, but as a drop of wine is lost in an ocean of water, dissolved, gone.” —Eternal Faith, Eternal People, by Leo Trepp, p. 14.
“The Ten Tribes of Israel were not even permitted like the sister kingdom of Judah, to bequeath to later ages…the memory of rich and varied destinies. They were irretrievably lost.” — C. and A. D. Rothschild, History and Literature of the Israelites, Vol. 1, page 489.
“The Jews do not claim to represent the Twelve Tribes for the Ten Tribes never returned from captivity and are lost to history.” —Rabbi Aaron Werner, when asked by Dr. Schiffner, “Do the Jews represent all 12 tribes.”
“So, to condense this massive summary all down to one sentence: the ten lost tribes were conquered, and, like almost every other conquered people in the ancient world, lost their separate identity and were assimilated away into the sands of history.”
(Collective summaries on Eli Barnavi’s Historical Atlas of the Jewish People, Judah Gribetz’s The Timetables of Jewish History, Joseph Telushkin’s Biblical Literacy, and the Encyclopedia Judaica.)
There are many more quotes I could give but I think the point has been made. These statements represent what the Jews themselves have to say on the subject.
That being said, why all the confusion and debate over the 10 tribes amongst certain Christian groups? My guess is that some have preconceived interpretations of scripture and will hold to these beliefs no matter what evidence to the contrary is presented. Also, popular books dealing with the subject of eschatology have been written with the premise that the Jews represent “all Israel” and have influenced millions. Hal Lindsey’s book, “The Late Great Planet Earth,” has sold 30,000,000 copies and is based on the premise that the Jews represent all Israel.
At the same time there’s absolutely no confusion or debate in Jewish academia on this issue. They all agree that the 10 tribes are still lost. This belief that the Jews represent all 12 tribes is an erroneous Christian (certain segments thereof) doctrine — it’s a Christian invention. It’s unbiblical and false and I’m going to try to prove it in this article. Have you ever noticed that Christian groups that hold this position never quote Jewish sources to prove their point? The reason is there aren’t any. There’s not a Jewish scholar in the past 2000 years, that I’m aware of, that maintains the position that the modern-day Jews represent all 12 tribes. So why do many Christians hold to these beliefs? Or, to put it another way, why do some Christian scholars disagree with Jewish scholars on this issue? There’s a reason why it isn’t “The 12 Tribes of Judah” but that’s what some misguided Christians have made it.
“The question before the Rabbis was only whether they would ever return, not whether they had ever returned. This distinction is critical, because many people, both Jews and non-Jews, erroneously assume that whenever Israel or the Jews are mentioned either in the Hebrew Prophets, Writings, or in post-Biblical literature, that all twelve tribes are included in the reference. Such an assumption ignores the Rabbinic position that the Ten Tribes were deported and had not returned as of the 2nd Century C.E., a position which is clearly borne out in all of the Hebrew Prophets and in many post-Biblical writings.”
Will the Ten Tribes Return? Dennis Jones, United Israel web site
The biblical and historical facts concerning the tribal makeup of modern-day Judaism will create problems for those who have written books dealing with end-times events because it adds a whole new chapter into the eschatological mix. However, it’s time to put this issue to rest. It’s time to get our facts straight. It’s time to investigate this issue with an unbiased point-of-view. It’s called “rightly dividing the word of truth…” 2 Tim. 2:15.
The Plan Unfolds
It was never in God’s plan for all the tribes to remain in Israel nor was it in God’s plan for Israel and Judah to remain together. (I Kings 12:15 & 24) This will remain the case until the Millennium. Now that I have everyone’s attention let me try to explain. First, concerning Israel’s expansion:
“And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” Gen. 28:14.
Right from the start we get a picture of a migrating, colonizing people. The land of Canaan was the port-of-departure for Israel.
“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well: whose branches run over the wall.” Gen. 49:22.
A wall is a boundary line. Ephraim & Manasseh would extend beyond the boundaries of Israel.
Another prophecy came when David was king and Israel was enjoying its greatest geographical expanse:
“Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may have a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime.” II Sam. 7:10. (Also: I Chron. 17:9)
“That they may have a place of their own…?” Didn’t Israel already have a place of their own when this promise was given? Yes, but God had other lands predestined for Israel outside the Middle East. The Appointed Place and the land of Israel are two totally different geographical locations.
“The children you will have, after you have lost the others, will say again in your ears, ‘The place is too small for me; give me a place where I may dwell.’” Isa. 49:20.
Isaiah 54 sheds more light on this subject:
“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate [Israel] than the children of the married wife, [Judah] saith the LORD. (2) Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; (3) For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.”
What are these verses speaking of? Answer: World wide expansion. “And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 28:14.) How can this prophecy be fulfilled if all 12 tribes remained in the state of Israel? Where it says “break forth” …from what? The population of Israel would grow to a point that they would need more lands to hold their numbers. Physical Israel was predestined to expand world-wide. This will not be fulfilled by the Church, but the physical descendents of Abraham — to whom the promise was given to.
In spite the fact that Israel exited Canaan via the Assyrian invasion, God would still keep His promises. Israel would expand geographically and in population while in exile. These promises were based on the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant, which is based on an oath God made by Himself (Heb. 6:13-14) therefore, it cannot be broken. The Mosaic Covenant is based on obedience; “Thou shalt — thou shalt not,” it’s conditional, and it can, and was, broken (Jer.31:32.) The Abrahamic Covenant is based on “I will.” Obedience, or lack thereof, does not come into play. This article deals primarily with the Abrahamic Covenant and the kingdom of God portion of the Gospel.
These verses make it clear that Canaan was not the only land God reserved for His people. There was an “Appointed Place” waiting for them. “And move no more” means that they will still posses it during the Millennium. Judah today currently abides in the land of Canaan; Israel today currently abides in the Appointed Place. This fact, as we’ll see, plays an important role for Judah during the Great Tribulation.
This may come as a surprise to some, but, there may be only one “Holy Land” however, there are several “Promised Lands.” The land of Canaan was not the only territory promised to Israel. The Appointed Place is every much a land promised to Israel as Canaan and it’s theirs to keep forever.
“For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s.” (1 Chron. 5:2) The sons of Joseph would become like the stars of heaven, etc., not Judah.
The Abrahamic covenant was divided in Genesis chapters 48 & 49. “Judah was his sanctuary and Israel his dominion.” (Psa. 114:2) “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Gen. 49:10) The sons of Joseph received the birthright, Judah the Scepter.
Let me give a classic example of what I’m trying to get across:
Jacob said of Zebulun: “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.” Gen. 49:13.
Moses said of Zebulun: “…for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand”. Deut 33:19.
According to these verses Zebulun would become noted for its maritime activity. However, if you look at a tribal map showing the boundaries of each tribe you’ll see that Zebulun was totally landlocked with no access to the sea whatsoever. Zebulun was the proverbial “Kansas” of the Promised Land and his inheritance could not be fulfilled until relocated in the Appointed Place. The Elders of Israel in Joshua’s day were not ignorant of Zebulun’s birthright promise so why did they place Zebulun in the center of Israel with no access to the sea? Did they know something that most of us miss today? I think the answer is obvious.
(Map Courtesy Jewish Virtual Library)
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea”.Isa. 11:11.
Isaiah 11 speaks of a “second time” recovery which begs the question: when and where did the “first” recovery take place? Some articles I’ve read state that the first recovery took place when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. But Isaiah 11:11 mentions several nations not just Egypt. So we can rule out the Egyptian Exodus. That can’t be what Isaiah was referring to.
The first gathering took place after the Assyrian captivity. God led the 10 tribes from Assyria into the “wilderness” (Hos. 2:14) where they would “renew their strength” (Isa. 41:1) in a place where “never mankind dwelt” (II Esdras 13:39-45) There they would find “grace in the wilderness” and “rest.” (Jer. 31:1-2) A place where Israel will “sing” and “praise” the Lord. (Isa. 42:10-12). There God would plead with them “face to face” and be brought into “…the bond of the covenant.” (Ezek. 20:33-37) The “covenant” spoken of here is the “new covenant” (Jer. 31:31) Israel would receive the new covenant while in the wilderness. There, the population of Israel would grow, “…be thou the mother of thousands of millions.” (Gen. 24:60.) And, “LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as he hath promised you!” (Deut. 1:11.) In exile Israel’s name would be changed, “and thou shalt be called by a new name.” (Isa. 62:2.) Judah’s name has never changed.
“If the Ten Tribes have disappeared, they must exist under a different name.” The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1905, vol. 21, page 249.
The “Wilderness” and the “Appointed Place” are one and the same. There the birthrights would find there fulfillment — an impossible task while in the land of Canaan. Note: The Hebrew word “Midbar” can be translated “wilderness” or “mouth,” i.e., speak. Hence, many interpret wilderness as “The place where God speaks” which seems to correspond with Hos. 2:14: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”
“…the Hebrew word “midbar” Strong’s #4057, means “wilderness” or “mouth” as in the “organ of speech”. It comes from the rootword “dabar”, #1696 and #1697. —Ben Ehrhardt, Shamash, Beit Emet Congregation.
The birthright described in the Abrahamic Covenant states: “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;” (Gen. 22:17) The state of Israel, roughly the size of New Jersey, simply cannot handle those kinds of numbers even with the boundaries expanded during the Millennium. During the Millennium only a small percentage of Israelites actually return to Canaan. As it says in Isa. 10:22;
“For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return and the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.”
The majority of Israelites will remain in the Appointed Place throughout the Millennium.
The Hebrew word for “remnant” (sheh-awr, Strong’s 7605) in this verse can also be translated “residue.” A “residue” of Israelites will return.
The “consumption decreed” speaks of the bill of divorce which, after Calvary, will “overflow with righteousness,” it was rendered null and void at the Cross.
This verse make it abundantly clear that during the Millennium the vast majority of Israelites will NOT return to Canaan when Jesus returns. Only a small percentage will because there’s simply too many of them. This will be explained in greater detail. This verse also make it abundantly clear that the vast majority of Israelites are currently abiding somewhere outside the Middle East.
Where is Israel today and when they return at the beginning of the Millennium, what direction will they come from?
“Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD.” Jer. 3:12.
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.” Jer. 3:18.
“Behold, I will bring them from the north country.” Jer. 31:8.
“They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, then His sons shall come trembling from the west.” Hos. 11:10.
“Surely these shall come from afar; look! Those from the north and the west. . . .” Isa. 49:12.
“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.” Jer. 16:14-15.
“And He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:12.
Side Note: This is what Jesus was speaking of in Matt. 24:30-31 where He said; “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Jesus was referring to Isa. 27:13; “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
Some Christians believe Jesus was referring to the Rapture in Matt. 24:30-31, but the Rapture was still a “mystery” at this time and remained a mystery until the Apostle Paul revealed it to the Church many years later in I Cor. 15:51-52. If Jesus was referring to the Rapture in Matt. 24:30-31 where’s the mystery Paul spoke of in I Cor. 15:51? Trumpets are mentioned many times in the Bible but there are only two places where the term “great trumpet” is mentioned: Isa. 27:13 & Matt. 24:30-31 and both speak of the re-gathering of Israel. No where in Matt. 24 is the Rapture spoken of because the Holy Spirit had not yet revealed it to mankind.
I know the Bible says they’ll return from the north, south, east and west, but when the Bible gets specific the predominate direction is north and west. Many sermons and books written on the End Times claim that the Jews will flee to Petra in southern Jordan during the Great Tribulation. Since when is Petra situated northwest of Israel? Historically speaking the most people that have lived in Petra was 30,000. If you placed a few million Israelis there for 3 ½ years it would create a logistical nightmare; food, water, housing, medical care, sanitation, etc. This teaching is another “tradition of men” making void the word of God. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Jews will flee to Petra. I’ve been to Petra by-the-way, great place to film an Indiana Jones movie but I wouldn’t want to live there for 3 ½ years.
Josephus wrote in the 1st. century: “The Ten Tribes did not return to Palestine; only two Tribes served the Romans after Palestine became a Roman Province… the Ten Tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude not to be estimated in numbers.” (Antiquities of the Jews, 11.5.2) If they were an immense multitude 2000 years ago what are their numbers today? “Till now” means they were still outside the Roman Empire at the end of the first century.
“Behold I will recall a matter that is expressly mentioned many times in Scripture. It is known that with the Return of the Exiles under Ezra only the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned.” What Does the Bible Say? Nachmanides (Moshe ben Nachman) 1194-1270.
Nachmanides also stated;
“It has been made quite clear from our study that the only ones who returned from the Babylonian Exile were they who belonged to the Kingdom of Judah. Those however who are termed the House of Ephraim, or The House of Israel, meaning the Ten Tribes are still in Exile in Assyria. These Tribes did not have any participants in the Second Redemption, as I have noted.”
Note: Nachmanides is considered one of the greatest Jewish scholars of the Middle Ages, some say one of the greatest of all time. That being said, if the Scriptures “expressly mentioned many times” that the ten tribes did not return with Ezra why do many Christians maintain the belief that they did? With Jewish scholarship “it is known,” with Christian scholarship “it is not known.” Christian and Jewish scholarship is diametrically opposed in their opinions as to the tribal makeup of the Jews today. Why? To be honest, I haven’t been able to come up with the definitive answer. No book that I’m aware of has ever been written on this subject and the time will come when this issue will be forced upon all Christians to address as we approach the End Times. I believe the answer lies somewhere in the fact that after the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities only Judah remained in view and Israel disappeared and is now called by a different name as mentioned above. Over time, Judah became Israel and Israel became Judah. In Scripture, and in Jewish scholarship, this is not the case. I Chron. 5:26 states:
“And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.”
“Unto this day” means the year I Chronicles was written. Remember, Judah returned from their Babylonian captivity around 536 BC. I Chron. was compiled roughly 185 years later; 350 BC. If Israel returned with Judah out of Babylon in 536 BC why were Jewish scribes saying that Israel was still in Assyria “unto this day” in 350 BC? Also, II Chron. 10:19 says “And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. Again, this was written around 350 BC. A similar statement can be found in II Kings 17:23 written roughly 120 years after the Assyrian captivity:
“Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.”
Note: Dating 1 & 2 Chronicles varies. Some Jewish & Christian scholars say Ezra actually wrote, or started, both books which, if true, lends greater credibility to the claim that Israel was still in Assyria “unto this day.” Who better than Ezra would know this?
Another factor that comes into play here was the name Judah chose to use when they declared themselves a nation in 1948: “Israel.” Then President Harry Truman, who had a prepared statement recognizing the newly formed nation, was caught off guard by their choice of title. In his prepared statement Truman wrote “Jewish State” not Israel. (More on this at the end of the article.)
This is also a cause for confusion for Bible students. What exists in the Middle East today, to be more accurate, is the State of Judah in the land called Israel! There’s a big difference between a land called Israel and the house of Israel! Because Judah chose the name Israel for their newly formed nation many Christians misapply prophecy addressing Israel to Judah. This is where many Christian writers who cover eschatology make a big mistake! When Judah fails to fulfill prophecy, as they have — and are — and will continue to fail, as those prophecies are addressed to Israel, Dispensationalists will claim they’ve been postponed until the Millennium and Replacement theologians will claim they were transferred to the Church and still others don’t discuss it whatsoever because they don’t know the difference. I see it all the time — even among some excellent writers on eschatology. This is a “blind spot” for many.
When the Bible says: “Thus saith the Lord, speak unto the house of Israel…” God is not speaking to Judah. When the Bible says: “speak unto the house of Judah…” God is not speaking to Israel. In Jer. 31:31 and Ezekiel’s “Two Sticks” prophecy God is addressing both Israel and Judah simultaneously. And there are cases of this in the Bible — but not in most cases.
Sometimes the Bible will say “all Israel” or “the whole house of Israel.” In some cases it could mean Israel and Judah — but again, not in most cases. Daniel used the term “all Israel” when referring to the northern kingdom (Dan. 9:7.) Nehemiah used the term “all Israel” in 12:47. But when you read Ezra & Nehemiah it only applies to Judah, Benjamin and the Levites. (Neh. 11:4, Ezra 1:5, 4:1, 10:9.) Ezekiel, Hosea and Jeremiah repeatedly made clear distinctions between the two houses in their writings. Christians who fail to differentiate between the two come up with some of the most confusing interpretations of prophecy imaginable.
This is how the birthright/Inheritances mentioned in Genesis’ 48 & 49 and Deut. 33 would be fulfilled: Each tribe would become a nation in its own right. There was only one tribe needed to remain in Israel for the birth of Jesus and again for the return of Jesus: Judah and Judah only. The presences of the other tribes were totally unnecessary for these two events.
When would the birthrights find their fulfillment? “And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the LAST DAYS.” Gen. 49:1.
Well, no one will argue that we’re not living in the last days, so who fulfilled these birthrights and where? Where’s the “Appointed Place”? And it must be remembered that the “last days” ends when the Millennium begins. When you read the promises in Gen. 48 & 49 and Deut. 33 they must be fulfilled BEFORE Jesus returns. There’re not Millennial promises and they’re unconditional. Books dealing with eschatology written today NEVER discuss this subject — and for good reason — these best selling authors can’t explain it. They don’t have the answers. If you doubt the veracity of what I’m saying, choose the 10 best selling books dealing with the subject of eschatology today and see if you can find any mention of the birthrights being fulfilled as a prerequisite before Jesus returns. The silence is deafening.
Where was Israel during the first century? Josephus gave us a clue, but there’s more.
Hosea and Peter also give us a clue: God is about to divorce the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom. God tells Hosea to take a wife — she has three children and the Lord tells Hosea what names to give them:
1) Jezreel: “God Scatters/Sows”
2) Lo-ru-hama: “No More Mercy”.
3) Lo-am-mi: “Not My People”.
These are the new names given to northern kingdom for turning from God to idolatry. Judah was excluded from this prophecy, “But I will have mercy [Ru-hama] upon the house of Judah…” (Hos. 1:7) Judah cannot fulfill any part of this prophecy; it was not addressed to them or anyone else.
“The Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight; there was none left but the Tribe of Judah only.” 2 Kings 17:18.
“For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people.” Isa. 7:8.
In the first chapter of I Peter the Apostle opens with greetings to the “sojourners of the dispersion” or “exiles of the dispersion” depending on which translation you have. The KJV uses the term “strangers scattered” which is not the best translation or understanding of what the original Greek is saying because the word diaspora, (Strong’s 1290) has a specific meaning and translates “Israelite resident in Gentile countries.” The Greek word translated “strangers” in the KJV is parepidemos, (Strong’s 3927) which means “resident stranger” or, “pilgrim,” or, “an alien alongside.” Peter is addressing exiled Israelite “pilgrims” that have taken up residence “alongside” Gentiles in a Gentile country. That’s what I Peter 1:1 is saying. When the KJV uses the term “strangers scattered” it really doesn’t give a full picture of what the verse is saying. Hence, many Christians gloss over it without giving it a second thought in spite of the fact it is a very profound statement: Peter is addressing a portion of the lost tribes of Israel in his salutation. If Peter had used the Greek words paroikos (strangers) or xenos (foreigners, where we get our word “xenophobia,”) then the KJ translation would have been correct, but Peter used the word diaspora…totally different from paroikos and xenos.
Could the word “diaspora” be used to describe the Jews still in Babylon and elsewhere? Answer: Yes. Could the other prophecies recorded in Hosea be applied to the Jews? Answer: No. Therefore, the word “diaspora” must be taken in conjunction with the words “Lo-ammi,” “Lo-ru-hama,” and “Jezreel” to understand whom Peter is addressing. These three words take Judah out of the equation because they were never used to address Judah but the northern kingdom.
The people Peter is addressing are in a state of exile. They’re in a state of “Jezreel.” They’re located in Asia Minor but who are they? Answer: The Galatians, the same group of people Paul wrote to.
I Peter 2:9 sheds more light on this: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people…” all OT references to Israel. (See; Ex. 19:5-6. Deut. 14:2, 26:18.)
Again, could these descriptions be applied to Jews living outside Judea at the time? Answer: Yes. But not what comes next:
Peter goes on to say, (v. 10) “Which in time past were “not a people“ [Lo-Ammi], but are now the “people of God” [Ammi]. Which had “not obtained mercy“ [Lo-ru-hama] but now have “obtained mercy.“ [Ru-hama]
Compare Peter’s statement with Hos. 2:23: “And I will sow [Jezreel] her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy [Ru-hama] upon her that had not obtained mercy;[Lo-ru-hama] and I will say to them which were not my people, [Lo-ammi] Thou art my people; [Ammi] and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Peter is quoting Hosea virtually verbatim.
This is the fulfillment of Hosea’s prophecies. No other race of people, including Judah, could fulfill these prophecies except the 10 tribes — and that’s who Peter is writing to. In Romans chapters 9, 10 & 11 Paul talks about Israel: third person. Peter is talking to Israel: second person. Paul quoted the same verses that Peter quoted telling the Romans that they must be fulfilled. Peter is saying that these prophecies have been fulfilled. They were fulfilled by the Galatians accepting Christianity. We now know that a portion of the 10 tribes were located in Asia Minor in the first century.
This is what Isa. 54 — and Romans 9, 10 & 11, as we’ll see — speaks of:
“For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, [bill of divorce] saith thy God. 7, For a small moment [from the time of the divorce to the Cross] have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8, In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, [through the Cross] saith the LORD thy Redeemer. 9, For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” These verses are NOT speaking of Judah. They speak of what God will do after Israel’s Assyrian captivity. Hos. 1 & 2 speaks of the same event.
There are a few references to Judah in the book of Hosea, but by-and-large, he was a prophet to the northern kingdom and his book dealt almost exclusively with that kingdom. He mentions Judah a few times to show the spiritual condition, the contrast that existed between Judah and Israel at that time. Israel had their prophets and Judah had their prophets. Daniel deals exclusively with Judah. Joel, Zephaniah and Zechariah deal primarily with Judah. Micah and Amos, primarily Israel. Elijah, Elisha and Hosea were exclusively northern kingdom prophets. Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Isaiah addressed both Israel and Judah.
Many Christians read these prophets with a “Jews-represent-all-Israel” mentality, hence a multitude of confusion and erroneous interpretations.
Side Note: Elijah dealt exclusively with the house of Israel while having no contact with Judah. John the Baptist, who came “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Lk.1:17) dealt exclusively with the house of Judah while having no contact with Israel. I believe the Elijah mentioned in Malachi 4 will address both houses.
“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
(2) And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul (3) That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.” Deut. 30:1-3.
These verses cite three stages — for the ten tribes and history will prove that Judah did not fulfill this prophecy: First: Exile. Second: A spiritual return to God while in exile, “I will put my spirit within you…” (Ezek. 36:27) Only Christians can receive God’s spirit. Third: A return to the land of Israel after exile and spiritual rebirth. This is exactly what Hosea said would happen. The only prophecy that remains to be fulfilled is the return from exile at the onset of the Millennium. Ezekiel 37, Isa. 54 and Hosea 1 cite the same stages. Notice where it says “…and will return and gather thee…” the re-gathering of Israel takes place when Jesus returns; it’s a messianic prophecy — it did not take place in the days of Ezra.
Many Christians will point to Deut. 30 and claim that it was fulfilled in 1948 when the Jews returned to the land of Israel. Really? You mean to say that the Jews returned to God before 1948 “…with all thine heart, and with all thine soul…” they returned saved, born-again as a people prior to 1948? They, to this day, still follow the Torah, the Law. Judah went into exile in 70 AD in unbelief and they returned in 1948 in unbelief. Israel on the other hand went into exile in 721 BC, would accept the New Covenant while in exile and then return to the land of Israel at the beginning of the Millennium as Christians. And this is what Deut. 30 is speaking of. Judah will fulfill this prophecy during the Great Tribulation.
Romans 9, 10 & 11
Now allow me to go on record and say that I find Roman’s chapter’s 9, 10 & 11 somewhat confusing, or, I should say I used to for this reason: It seems that Paul is talking about the Jews in these chapters — and that’s how many interpret these 3 chapters. However, Paul quoted two prophets that were prophets to the northern kingdom. Paul quoted Elijah, (Rom. 11:2-4) who dealt exclusively with the northern kingdom while having no dealings whatsoever with Judah (with the exception of a letter he wrote to Jehoram, the king of Judah, delivering one of the most gruesome prophecies imaginable, II Chron. 21:12-15) This was the one and only contact Elijah had with Judah. Why would Paul quote Elijah who never spoke to Judah? Whatever Elijah said was addressing the 10 tribes. Paul also quotes Hosea who addressed the 10 tribes and not Judah. And Paul knew this when he wrote his letter to the Romans, and, it seems, so did the Romans. Paul quoted I Kings 19:18 in Rom. 11:4:
“But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.”
This quote from I Kings 19:18 had absolutely nothing to do with Judah.
Look at what Paul wrote in Rom. 9:24: “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” If you interpret this verse at face value you’ll misunderstand what Paul is saying. Who are the “Gentiles” mentioned here? Look at the next verse:
(25) As he saith also in Osee, [Hosea] I will call them my people, [Ammi] which were not my people; [Lo Ammi] and her beloved, which was not beloved.” If Paul is addressing true Gentiles in this verse (i.e., non-Israelites) why is he quoting Hosea who was not a prophet to the Gentiles but the 10 tribes of the northern kingdom? Paul is quoting the very same verses that Peter quoted while addressing the Galatians and Peter declared that these prophecies were fulfilled by the Galatians. What Paul is saying here is: “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also Israel.” Now you know why I find these three chapters difficult…you really need to “connect the dots” to understand what Paul is talking about. And in other writings of Paul you’ll find that he uses the term “Gentiles” when referring to Israel as I will demonstrate.
Side Note: Fact-of-the-matter is there is no word in the original Greek or Hebrew that can legitimately be translated “Gentiles,” the word “Gentilis” was borrowed from the Latin. It first entered the English language in the 14th century and used 200 years later in the KJ Bible. This is unfortunate because many Christians and virtually all Jews think of the New Testament as a “Gentile” book and Christianity as a “Gentile” religion — nothing could be further from the truth. Paul was NOT speaking of “Gentiles” in these three chapters in Romans—he was speaking of Israel. Where ever you see the word Gentiles in the NT it should read “nations” or “Greeks.” I also borrowed the word Gentilis and use it in this article because it’s become so common place but I want the reader to properly understand the term and its origin. Sometimes in the NT the word Gentiles speaks of non-Israelites, sometimes it is addressing Israelites – the verse must be read in context. Paul was commissioned “…to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15) and, “…the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me…” (Gal. 2:7) This would include the northern kingdom. The very first act of Jeroboam was to disband Torah observance in favor of the golden calf. (I Kings 12:28) From then until now the northern kingdom was never Torah observant. They accepted the terms and conditions of the New Covenant while in exile and Paul was commissioned by Christ to deliver it to them and he sometimes used the term “Gentiles” when speaking of them — or I should say the KJ translators did.
In Romans 11:15, Paul wrote: “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead.” (Ezek. 11:16, Hos. 8:8, 9:17.)
Who was “cast away” at the time Paul wrote to the Romans? He was referring to Israel because Judah was still abiding in Canaan. Judah wasn’t “cast away” in 55 AD when the letter was written. Judah never received a bill-of-divorce from God. The word “outcasts” appears seven times in the OT, five times in reference to the northern kingdom, Israel. It was never used in reference to Judah. When Paul says, “…the casting away of them…” who is he speaking of? The answer is obvious; he’s speaking of the 10 tribes. Judah ceased to be a nation after the Jewish-Roman War of 70 AD, which occurred 15 years after Paul wrote his letter to the Romans but they still remained God’s people. Israel on the other hand ceased being God’s people via the divorce, became nations while in exile, and once again became God’s people via the Cross. As Isaiah 50:1 says concerning Israel: “Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away…?” Isaiah wasn’t speaking of Judah in this verse he was addressing Israel because Judah was never given a bill-of-divorce.
At the beginning of the Millennium, when the two houses return, Israel is described as “outcasts” and Judah is described as “dispersed.” “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isa.11: 12) Paul is using the same terminology as Isaiah when speaking of Israel. In 55 AD the tribes of the northern kingdom were “outcasts.” After 70 AD Judah was “dispersed.” The Jews were not “outcasts” in 55 AD, nor were they ever described as “outcasts” in the Bible.
Where Paul wrote, “…but life from the dead” he’s referencing Ezekiel’s “Valley of Dry Bones,” “Then he said unto me, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts.” (Ezek. 37:11) Notice it doesn’t say “…the whole house of Judah…” here? When you read this chapter you’ll see that the “dry bones” are resurrected “and I’ll put my spirit in you,” i.e., Christianized, before the two sticks are joined together. The house of Israel would accept Christianity as their national religion while in exile BEFORE being reunited with Judah. This corresponds with Hos. 1:10-11, Isa. 54 & Jer. 31:31-33.
Many Christian commentators interpret Ezekiel’s dry bones prophecy to the return of Judah from Babylon — but it had absolutely nothing to do with Judah. Their hope was not “lost” while in Babylon. They would only be there for 70 years and Jeremiah mentioned this three times in his book: 25:11-12 & 29:10. Still others attribute this prophecy to the rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948. Not so. Judah, from 70 AD to 1948 never experienced a “spiritual rebirth” while in exile — even unto this day. Judah’s spiritual rebirth will take place during the Great Tribulation as I will explain shortly. Judah never fulfilled Ezekiel’s “Dry Bones” prophecy, and never will, because it wasn’t addressed to Judah, it was addressed to Israel. One article I read by a Jewish writer stated that Ezekiel’s “Dry Bones” prophecy was addressing the Ten Tribes. Both Jewish and Christian scholars recognize this; “The union effected at the restoration from Babylon embraced but comparatively few of Israel; a future complete fulfillment must therefore be looked for.” —Jamieson-Fausset-Brown.
Also: “Israel as a kingdom was never restored from Assyria, as Judah was from Babylon after 70 years.” p.650.
The fact of the matter is, this prophecy points to the remarriage of the house of Israel back to God while in exile. The next fulfillment will be the two sticks prophecy.
Jewish theologians interpret Ezekiel’s two sticks prophecy as a future event:
“Here it speaks of a FUTURE Redemption for both Judah and Israel. Where it says, “For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions” by “thechildren of Israel his companions” it means Benjamin who was attached to Judah. [Important point being made here, Jesus spoke of this and I’ll cover it shortly] “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions.” Nachmanides (Moshe ben Nachman). 1194-1270.
Paul went on to write, “And if some of the branches be broken off…” If you read the 11th Chapter of Romans Paul could only be talking about northern kingdom. The branches that were broken off happened some 700-plus years prior. If Paul was referencing Judah in these chapters, why didn’t he quote from Zechariah or Joel or other books that addressed Judah? Why would Paul quote two prophets that never prophesized to Judah? I think these are honest questions that should be examined. John’s statement: “He came unto his own and his own received him not” (Jn. 1:11) was written about Judah. And “…they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son…” (Zech. 12:10) was also written concerning Judah. For Israel, the exact opposite is true. They’ve already accepted the fact that their Messiah was pierced for their redemption. According to Hos. 1:10, Israel received Him. Judah rejected the Messiah and at the same time Israel, while in exile, accepted the Messiah. You can’t have it both ways. If Judah today represents “all Israel” how can they “accept” and at the same time “reject” their Messiah? Let me say at this point that there are a multitude of prophecies in the Bible that state that Israel would receive their Messiah and that Judah would reject their Messiah. This fact, and this fact alone, makes it clear that there is a difference between Israel and Judah then, and today. Many Christian writers fail to expound on these biblical facts. This is the reason why so many prophecies concerning Israel have been “postponed” until the Millennium or “transferred” to the Church. They simply can’t make the distinction between Israel and Judah in prophecy.
Some Christians spiritualize Hosea and Peter by saying that it applies to anyone who accepts Christ as Savior or the Church in general and I’ve read articles stating this. If that’s the case, why did Paul address the Romans as a “wild olive branch grafted in” thereby excluding them? If Replacement Theology be true why didn’t Paul address the Romans as a “chosen generation,” a “royal priesthood,” etc? Why didn’t Paul tell the church at Rome that they fulfilled the prophecies recorded in Hosea when they became Christians? Fact is, they didn’t fulfill any part of Hosea’s prophecies whereas the Galatians fulfilled all of them. If Paul addressed the Romans in the same manner as Peter addressed the Galatians they would have been dumb-struck with confusion. Could Paul use the word “diaspora” while addressing the Romans? It would have been totally out-of-place and inappropriate — not to mention unscriptural. Note the contrast between Israel and the Romans were Paul wrote:
“They are Israelites, and to them [not the Romans] belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.” (Rom. 9:4-5.) Again, totally inappropriate if Paul said these promises belonged to the Romans but, according to Peter, totally appropriate to say they belonged to the Galatians. Were the Roman, according to the flesh/race, connected to Christ? No! Were the Romans given the Law? No! Were the Romans given the covenants? No! Worship? No! The promises? No! Could the Romans say, “We have Abraham to our father.” No! But the Spartans in Greece made this claim and the High Priest and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem confirmed that they were correct!!! We’ll cover this shortly.
If the Galatians were not Israelites they had no more legal claim to these promises than the Romans! But Peter said they did have claim to these promises. Who were the Galatians then, and today? The answer is simple: Go to Google.com and type in three words: “Paul Galatians Celts.” The Galatians were/are Celts. Where are the Celts today? Answer: Western France, Parts of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, etc. If Peter and Paul were to write their letters to the Galatians today, they would be delivered to the countries mentioned above.
National Geographic, May 1977, Vol. 151, No. 5, published an excellent article titled “The Celts” twice mentioning that Paul was addressing Celts when writing to the Galatians: “To the Romans, Celts were Galli. And the Gauls of Caesar’s Gallic wars were related to the Gaels of Ireland and Scotland, and to the Celts of Galicia in Spain and Galicia in Poland, and to the Galatians in Asia Minor, to whom St. Paul sent an Epistle.” (p. 588) And: “Some 20,000 Gauls crossed the Hellespont [278 BC] into Asia Minor, settling around Ankara, a region henceforth known as Galatia—whence St. Paul’s Galatians.” (p. 600) Do you know how many people it takes to occupy Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Poland and Asia Minor? And this was back in the days of Caesar! Now you understand what Josephus meant when he said that Israel was “an immense multitude not to be estimated in numbers.” That was NOT an exaggeration.
No small wonder that Rabbi Moshe Maimon (Maimondes, 1135-1204) another renowned scholar who authored the Mishneh Torah wrote: “I believe that the Ten Tribes to be in various parts of West Europe.”
Paul again drives home the point when he says, “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee”. (Rom. 11:21.) This statement does not fit Judah/Jews at the time Paul wrote this letter. It only fits the northern kingdom who was still in exile.
“For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Rom. 11:24) The “natural branches” Paul is speaking of is the divorced/exiled house of Israel. Again, this statement does not fit the condition of Judah when the letter was written. Many Christians don’t read this from the prospective that was in place when Paul wrote these comments — they read it with a 2000-year after-the-fact mind-set. What I’m saying is this: to better understand Romans 9, 10 & 11, imagine yourself in a Jules Verne time machine and travel back to 55 AD when the letter was written: Judah still abiding in Judea, in peace, no Jewish-Roman War, northern kingdom still in exile, etc. If you read these chapters in 55 AD, you would, in no way, come to the conclusion that Paul was speaking of the Jews. You would know, in 55 AD that Paul was speaking of the 10 tribes. Today, that’s not the case. Time has blurred and confused the issue and many Christians are confused on this point — including Martin Luther. His commentaries on these three chapters in Romans are based on a Jews representing an “all Israel” position.
This is most evident when reading books dealing with the end-times. Most Christian authors who write books dealing with eschatology are totally clueless that Israel was two nations then, and today. And the Bible repeatedly addresses Israel and Judah as two different nations.
“Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Rom. 9:24.) Again, who are the “Gentiles” that Paul is speaking of here? Look at the next five verses for the answer: (25) As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, [Ammi] which were not my people; [Lo-Ammi] and her beloved, which was not beloved. (26) And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; [Lo-Ammi] there shall they be called the children of the living God. [Ammi] (27) Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, [The birthright promise given to Ephraim and Manasseh] a remnant shall be saved: (28) For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. (29) And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah.” EVERY OT verse Paul quotes is addressing the 10 tribes. Not ONE of these verses was addressing Judah or Gentiles. Notice that Paul first used the term “Gentiles” in his opening question and then quoted Scripture mentioning Israel twice thereafter? The “Gentiles” Paul was referring to were Greek-Israelites…AND the Galatians/Celts in Asia Minor! And other groups of people, however, time and space doesn’t allow me to expound upon this in detail. And there were many of them scattered within and without the Roman Empire at that time. And, according to Josephus, the vast majority was outside the Roman Empire.
Notice something interesting here? In 9:4 Paul says “They are Israelites…” and in 9:24 says, “…but also of the Gentiles” and again quotes Scripture referring to Israel. He’s still on the same subject, the same people, but did you notice that he uses the words Israelites and Gentiles interchangeably?
The church at Rome was beginning to think that they were something “special.” They were being saved while the northern kingdom was still in exile. Hence Paul’s warning: “Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded but fear. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee.” (Rom. 11:18-20.) At the risk of sounding redundant, what Paul said in these three verses does not in any way pertain to Judah because Judah was not “broken off” when Paul made these statements.
If you paraphrase what Paul was saying it would read something like this: “Don’t boast yourselves, Romans, against Israel. But if you boast, remember, you don’t support Israel but Israel supports you. So then say, the house of Israel was broken off roughly 800 years ago so that we Romans might be grafted in. Because of unbelief the house of Israel was broken off so that you Romans might be grafted in. Be not high minded, Romans, but fear. Because of unbelief Israel was broken off and you stand by faith. For if God spared not Israel take heed lest he spare not you Romans.” That’s what Paul was saying here.
The Romans were in danger of falling into spiritual pride, they were actually “boasting” over the fact that they were being saved while Israel was still in exile and not being saved. I have little doubt that Paul found this to be very offensive and needed to remind them that, “Hath God cast away his people? God forbid.” Rom. 11:1.
I say “very offensive” for this reason. Look at how Paul opened his letter to the Romans in chapter 9:
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost (2) That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. (3) For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.”
Unfortunately, the Romans didn’t share in Paul’s burden for lost souls. As a side note let me say that because Joseph and Benjamin, the tribe Paul was from, were of the same mother, Rachel, Paul was more closely related to Ephraim and Manasseh than Judah, whose mother was Leah. In a literal sense Ephraim and Manasseh were Paul’s cousins.
What Paul is telling the Romans in these chapters is that there’s no difference between Judah and Israel in spite of the fact that Israel was still in exile. The point Paul is driving home is because Israel was still in exile at the time the Romans were being “grafted” into the Church did not mean that God was through dealing with His people and placing the Romans above them. This is why Paul warned the Romans against being “high-minded.”
Paul again reminds the Romans that God was not through dealing with His people in Rom. 11:25 “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Here, Paul is quoting Ephraim’s birthright verbatim. Gen. 48:19 says: “…and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.” (מְלֹא-הַגּוֹיִם) Multitude of nations and multitude of Gentiles are one and the same. The word “Goyum” in Hebrew is sometimes translated “Gentiles” sometimes “Nations” depending on the translator’s discretion. If you research the word “Goyum” in the OT you’ll find that it is used many times in reference to Israel. What Paul is saying is that blindness in part has happened to Judah until Ephraim (i.e., the northern kingdom)) comes into the covenant. That’s the only way “all Israel” can be saved. Rom. 11:26.
Let’s deduce Romans 11:25 mathematically.
House of Judah + Gentiles (non-Israelites) = “all Israel”
House of Judah + house of Israel = “all Israel”
“Both Dr. Delitzsch’s translation of the New Testament into Hebrew, and Ginzburg-Salkinson’s Hebrew New Testament, have absolutely the same Hebrew words in Rom. 11:25, that we find in Gen. 48:19 in the Hebrew Old Testament, and in these two verses only in the whole Bible. …When the ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ had to be rendered into Hebrew, the most eminent scholars naturally employed the phrase used in the promised birthright blessing given to Ephraim-Israel in Gen. 49!” Dr. Henry Aldersmith, Fullness of the Nations, p. 72-73.
The central message in Romans 9, 10 &11 is two-fold; First: God was not through dealing with the northern kingdom and second: the northern kingdom’s fall from grace opened the door of salvation to all Races, Rome included. Paul wrote:
“For as ye [Rome] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel’s] unbelief.” Rom. 11:30.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?” Rom. 11:11-12.
Both these verses are saying the same thing, but what is it? First, the northern kingdoms fall, “diminishing,” from grace would open the door for all nations to receive the Gospel, that’s “the riches of the world.” When they came into their “fullness,” i.e., restoration, receiving the Gospel and their bill of divorce put away they would take the Gospel to all nations via evangelism. The fall and rise of Israel was a blessing to the nations in both respects. They became the “nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matt. 21:43) after being reinstated back to God.
This is what Simeon spoke of in Luke 2:34; “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.”
A note on Rom. 11:11-12: The word Gentiles appears twice in these verses and in both cases it’s a direct reference to non-Israelites. And in other places in these 3 chapters it’s a direct reference to Israelites…it must be read in context!
Calvary put away Israel’s bill-of-divorce allowing them to “rise again.” Judah on the other hand “spoke against” the New Covenant and rejected it. Judah “fell” Israel “rose.” This is what Ezekiel’s “Valley of Dry Bones” prophecy was referring to, i.e., the “rising again” of the northern kingdom once the New Covenant was in place.
What effect would the Romans coming into the Covenant have upon Israel in exile? It would provoke them to jealousy.
Rom. 10:19 “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. (20) But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.”
Rome was the “foolish nation” mentioned here, they were the “no people” that were “not asking” after the Lord. And yet they were being saved. When Paul said that the “whole world” was talking about the Church in Rome, no doubt the exiled Israelites were talking about it too: “Those blankety-blank, ne’er-do-well, hedonistic, emperor-worshiping Romans with their vomitoriums and orgies are being saved and we’re not! What the blankety-blank is going on here!!!?” This provoked Israel to anger and jealousy. God used this modus operandi to provoke Israel to seek there own salvation. God goaded Israel into His plan of salvation by first saving the Romans who were the “foolish nation” and a “no people.”
This is what Paul meant when he wrote: “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy [salvation] they also may obtain mercy.” (Salvation) (Rom. 11:31.) In other words, Israel’s unbelief opened the door of salvation to the Roman’s. Now, through Rome’s belief, the door of salvation would be reopened to Israel albeit motivated by jealousy and anger.
One article I read stated that it was Israel accepting the New Covenant while in exile that would provoke the Jews to anger and jealously. But I haven’t found any scriptural or historical evidence that this ever took place. Until I come across concrete evidence to the contrary, I have to maintain the position that it was Rome, not Israel in exile, that was foolish nation mentioned here. Also, this interpretation contradicts what Moses said — or who he is said it to: He spoke these words against Israel and Judah. Therefore neither Israel nor Judah could fulfill this prophecy. It could only be fulfilled by a third party — a non-Israelite people/nation.
I don’t believe that Judah would be provoked to jealousy and anger over the Romans becoming Christians because they had already rejected the New Covenant. The Jews couldn’t have cared less about what the Romans were up to. I believe the quotes Paul mentioned could only apply to the northern kingdom at the time. The Jewish mindset at the time would have been: “The Romans are becoming Christians…so what?” That being said, Judah could have used some “anger management” courses when Christianity first came on the scene.
Now, ask yourself this question; who is Paul addressing in Romans chapters 9, 10 & 11? If you say the Jews then why did Peter quote the very same verses from the OT, declaring them fulfilled while addressing the Galatians who were not Jews? And why was EVERY verse quoted from the OT by Paul in these three chapters in Romans addressing the northern kingdom and not Judah?
In closing these three chapters in Romans were directed towards the non-Israelite members of the Roman congregation. No doubt the Jews and expatriated Israelite members had contacted Paul and informed him of the Roman “attitude problem.” It was a mild rebuke, a mild chastisement leveled against them for holding a “high minded - boasting – wise in your own conceits” attitude towards Israel. It was designed to put the Romans under conviction. I can imagine there were many red faces, coupled with stony silence, at the church in Rome when these 3 chapters were read aloud.
More Clues in Galatians
To further illustrate whom Peter was addressing we now turn to the book of Galatians. Paul was addressing the same racial group as Peter. Are there any indications that Paul was addressing Israelites?
Gal. 3:23: “But before faith came, WE were kept under the law….” If the Galatians were true Gentiles, they were never under the Law. I remember reading somewhere that Martin Luther admitted he was confused and couldn’t understand why Paul was addressing the Galatians as if they were once under the Law. The fact is Paul was addressing them in this manner. The Galatians were once under the Law of Moses.
Gal. 3:24: “Wherefore the law was OUR schoolmaster to bring US unto Christ, that WE might be justified by faith.” (25) But after that faith is come, WE are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
Gal. 4:3: Even so WE, when WE were children [children: nay'-pee-os, “an infant” Strong’s 3516, early history? Beginnings?] were in bondage…” (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that WE might receive the adoption of sons.”
(9) “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how ye turn AGAIN to the weak and beggarly elements, [of the Law] whereunto ye desire AGAIN to be in bondage?”
There’s a lot of “us” and “we” in Galatians and “you” and “us” in Romans. And for good reason: the Galatians were Israelites the Romans were not. The Galatians were being “restored” (Isa. 49:6) the Romans were being “grafted in.” I don’t want this to be taken in a negative way, but Roman’s 9, 10 & 11 are three very racially bias chapters. A stark contrast between Israelites and non-Israelites is presented there.
If the Galatians were true Gentiles, how can they “return” to the Law of Moses “again?” Remember what was happening to the Galatians and what prompted Paul to write his letter. Judaizers from Jerusalem traveled to Asia Minor and told the Galatians that they had to keep the Law. Why the Galatians and no one else? Why did the Galatians so readily accept portions of the Mosaic Law as a means of salvation while other Gentile churches were ignored? Why did the Judaizers specifically target the Galatians for legalism?
It’s an important fact to remember that in Acts 21:25 there were only four restrictions imposed upon Gentile Believers: “As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.” That’s it, folks, these were the four restrictions imposed upon Gentile Believers. (Also read Acts 15:20 & 29.)
Side Note: What’s ironic in this decree from the Elders in Jerusalem is that two of the four edicts, refraining from blood and animals strangled, contradicts the Mosaic Law as it pertains to Gentiles. Deut. 14:21 says: “Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God.” It was perfectly legal for Gentiles to consume non-kosher foods in the Old Testament even within the borders of Israel. This is one of the earliest forms of legalism to hit the Church…may be the first one.
Why did the Elders in Jerusalem send emissaries to the Galatians and impose far greater restrictions on them? If the Galatians were true Gentiles only the four restrictions mentioned above would have applied. But that was not the case. The Galatians were given far more requirements and restrictions than other “Gentiles.” They were being instructed by the Judaizers to return to the Torah the Law of Moses. They were being instructed to return to the practice of circumcision. They had already returned to keeping the Sabbath and other OT feast days: “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.” (Gal. 4:4) Read the 5th. chapter of Galatians, Paul is clearly telling the Galatians NOT to RETURN to the LAW as a means of justification.
There must be a reason, an explanation, why the Galatians had a propensity to follow the Law. The answer is that the Galatians were (a portion of) the northern kingdom. They were Israelites in exile. Peter said that by accepting the Gospel and becoming Christians they fulfilled the prophecies in Hosea 1. This chapter makes it explicitly clear that the house of Israel, while in exile, would be Christianized and then be joined with the house of Judah and return to the land of Israel at the onset of the Millennium.
In his article ‘The Use of the Term Israel in the New Testament,’ Arnold Fruchtenbaum wrote: “The Book of Galatians is concerned with Gentiles who were attempting to attain salvation through the law. The ones deceiving them were Judaizers, who were Jews demanding adherence to the Law of Moses. To them, a Gentile had to convert to Judaism before he qualified for salvation through Christ.”
This statement is incorrect on two points: First, the Galatians were not Gentiles and second, Judaizers were not targeting Gentiles for legalism, they were targeting expatriated Israelites for legalism. Fruchtenbaum’s comment totally contradicts Acts 21:25 quoted above. According to this verse legalism was virtually non-existent for Gentile Believers. So why were the Galatians, supposedly Gentiles, being hammered with legalism when Acts 21:25 should have exempted them?
Are there any other clues in Galatians that indicates they were Israelites? The following verse has caused much controversy in Christian circles:
“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Gal. 6:16.
Where Paul wrote “the Israel of God” was he referring of ethnic Israel, the Church or the Galatians, i.e., “Gentiles.”? Some believe he was addressing Jews that may have been with the Galatians.
However, there was no need for Jews to be with the Galatians in order for Paul to use this term because the Galatians were expatriated Israelites. They, as well as the Jews, represent “the Israel of God.” For some, this is where the controversy comes into play: This is the only place in the NT where the word “Israel” was not used in conjunction with ethnic Israel, i.e., Jews, but a supposedly Gentile Congregation. Because many don’t understand that the Galatians were expatriated Israelites they don’t understand why Paul used this terminology. According to Replacement Theology, Paul was addressing Galatians; the Galatians were Gentiles who converted to Christianity, therefore Gentiles who convert to Christianity are “the Israel of God,” i.e., “The New Israel.” Replacement Theologians don’t understand who the Galatians were. If you study Replacement Theology you’ll find that they base their beliefs on Gal. 6:16 and, quite frankly, not much else. Their theology is built upon an erroneous understanding of who the Galatians were.
In his article ‘The Israel of God’ Thomas Ice wrote:
“A while back I was talking to a friend of mine about the modern state of Israel. This friend, born and raised in Damascus, Syria, is a Muslim. He is a well-educated man, who has lived in our country for about 40 years. As our conversation developed, I was taken aback when he told me that the Jewish people of today had no claim to the land of Israel because the church has replaced Israel. He then cited Galatians 6:16. I was amazed that a Muslim has such a grasp of the Christian false teaching called replacement theology. It is not surprising to hear this from certain segments of Christendom, but to realize that this errant viewpoint had penetrated into the American Muslim community was amazing to me.”
If you Google Gal. 6:16 you’ll find dozens of articles debating the interpretation. Did anyone ever stop, just once, and consider the possibility that the Galatians might be expatriated Israelites? Did it ever occur to these people that 95% of Judah chose to remain in Babylon and not follow Ezra? And that all of the northern kingdom was still in exile when Paul wrote this? Both groups can be rightfully called “the Israel of God.” There’s no controversy surrounding Gal. 6:16, only ignorance over who the Galatians were.
Stop and think about this for a minute: When Jesus was preaching the Gospel about 98% (some estimate 99%) of Israel was not there to hear Him. The entire house of Israel was expatriated and 95% of the house of Judah was still in Babylon. However, the Gospel was delivered to the expatriated Jews in Babylon and a church was started there. “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.” (I Pt. 5:13.) Here, Peter is telling the house of Israel in Asia Minor that the house of Judah in Babylon sends their regards.
Note: Between 1950-51, about 95% of the Iraqi/Babylonian Jews immigrated back to Israel.
To fully understand how deeply entrenched Replacement Theology is in many main stream Christian denominations today go to: http://www.hearnow.org/ICIo.html.
The Greek Connection
Steven M. Collins wrote an interesting article titled: The Missing Simeonites. It tells the story of a possible revolt during the Exodus which may have lead to a “Mini-Exodus” from the “Main Exodus” headed by the tribe of Simeon. Collins wrote: “In Numbers 25, we learn that Phineas, a Levite, executed “a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites” (verses 7-14). Phineas leaped to execute this Simeonite prince for his audacity in rebelling against God by taking a Midianite woman into his tent at a time when God was punishing Israel for such deeds. Indeed, God sent a plague among the Israelites which killed 24,000 people, and that plague was stayed by the action of Phineas.”
A large number of Simeonites, it seems, were not particularly happy with the execution of one of their prince’ and a large portion of them may have departed in a huff and set out on their own. The article also pointed out that there’s evidence that portions of four other tribes may have left with them. The tribes of Ephraim, Reuben, Naphtali, and Gad ended their 40 years in the wilderness with less numbers than when they started out from Egypt while other tribes showed an increase — on average 25%.
“The quarrel with Moses seems never to have been straightened out. The tribe of Simeon is not mentioned in Moses’ blessing of the tribes in Deuteronomy 33. The other eleven tribes are recorded there. Simeon’s lot in Palestine was a restricted one, and although one of the Israel—ten-tribed—people had its territory entirely surrounded by Judah. It has practically no Bible history. What became of this large part of the tribe of Simeon that seems to have disappeared from the wilderness? It is perhaps the hardest trail of all to follow.” Israel: Her Racial Divisions and Geographical Wanderings, page 7, Rev., Captain Merton Smith.
Collins pointed out that when the first census was taken (c. 1450 BC) the tribe of Simeon was the 3rd. largest in Israel with 59,300 men of military age: “Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.” (Num. 1:23) When the second census was taken (c. 1410 BC) Simeon ranked the lowest with 22,200, “These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.” (Num. 26:14) There was a significant drop (37,100 in 40 years — a staggering 63 %) in Simeon’s numbers in the second census when it should have risen exponentially. Perhaps 2/3’s of this tribe parted company from their brethren in the Wilderness. If this is the case, where did they go? And remember, that 37,100 figure represents only men of military age, not their wives, children, parents, brothers, sisters, grand-parents, servants and other family members.
Reuben – -2,770 (6% loss)
Simeon – -37,100 (63% loss)
Gad – -5,150 (11% loss)
Judah – +1,900 (3% gain)
Issachar – +9,900 (18% gain)
Zebulun – +3,100 (5% gain)
Ephraim – -8,000 (20% loss)
Manasseh – +20,500 (64% gain)
Benjamin – +10,200 (29% gain)
Dan – +1,700 (3% gain)
Asher – +11,900 (29% gain)
Naphtali – -8000 (15% loss)
When you include the other 4 tribes, their wives, children, etc., the number that may have departed becomes staggering. One article I read that “crunched the numbers” estimated that ONE MILLION Israelites may have set off on their own before ever reaching Canaan! I don’t know if I’d put it that high, but the number was substantial.
If you think that’s an exaggeration let’s do the math: 37,100 plus their wives: (or two) that brings the number up to 74,200. They had large families back then, according to a recent documentary featured on the National Geographic channel about Israel in biblical times estimated they had about 6 children per household: That brings the number up to 222,600. Now add the men over the age of military service and their wives, brothers under military age, sisters, so forth and so on, now you’re talking perhaps half a million people. Now add the other 4 tribes that showed a reduction in numbers. Now we’re talking about a substantial number of people that left the Exodus and set out on their own. They, no doubt, settled around the Mediterranean at about the same time Joshua was crossing the Jordan, lost their identity over time, as was the case with the Spartans, and became “lost,” not to God but to us and history. When you consider these numbers it adds a whole new meaning to the term “Lost Tribes of Israel.” Bear in mind that this took place centuries before the Assyrian invasion and the removal of the 10 tribes. There were “lost tribes of Israel” centuries before there were “lost tribes of Israel” via the Assyrian invasion!
It should also be noted that three tribes, Judah, Dan and Zebulun, showed very low increases in their numbers which indicate that portions of those tribes may have joined themselves in the revolt with Simeon but not enough to put them in the red.
“Areus, king of the Spartans, to Onias, the high priest, greetings. It has been discovered in a document concerning the Spartans and Jews that they are brothers, and are of the race of Abraham.” I Maccabees 12:20-21.
“It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians [Spartans] and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham. Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity. We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are ours, and ours are yours. We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise.” I Maccabees, 12: 24-23.
We know through the Apocrypha and the writings of Josephus that the Spartans in Greece claimed to be “brothers” to the Jews in Jerusalem and of the stock of Abraham — and the Jews in Jerusalem acknowledged this claim! “It is a long time since this relation of ours to you hath been renewed, wrote Flavius Josephus (Antiquities xiii. 5) recording the Jews response to Areus’ letter. And, “Jonathan the high priest, the senate [Sanhedrin] of the nation, the priests, and the rest of the Jewish people send greetings to their brothers the Spartans. Long ago a letter was sent to the high priest Onias from Arius, who then reigned over you, stating that you are our brothers, as the attached copy shows.” I Maccabees 12:6-7.
The Jews continued to pray and offer sacrifices for their expatriated brother Spartans: “We, on our part, have never ceased to remember you in the sacrifices and prayers that we offer on our feasts and other appropriate days, as it is right and proper to remember brothers.” (I Maccabees 12:11.) Paul also held this attitude when he wrote: “Brethern, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Rom. 10:1.
“We likewise rejoice in your renown.” (I Macabees 12:12.) The Spartan’s unparalleled reputation as warriors, which still remains unto this day, did not escape the attention of the Jews. Anyone who knows the history of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans who held back Xerxes’ Persian army numbering perhaps half a million soldiers at the battle of Thermopylae will understand what the Jews were referring to. Leonidas and his 300 Spartans were Israelites.
Another point than comes across in the Apocrypha is that it was common knowledge, for the Jews at least, who and where the exiled Israelites were back then. But having said that you’ll notice that the Spartans — in the third century BC –had already lost track of their racial heritage until they stumbled across documents proving their relationship with the Jews and that they were of the “race of Abraham.” If the Spartans were of the “race of Abraham” how many other Greek city-states were of the “race of Abraham?”
The letter to the Spartans also stated: “As to ourselves, although we have had many wars that have compassed us around, by reason of the covetousness of our neighbors, yet did not we determine to be troublesome either to you or others that were related to us…” A reference to expatriated Israelites living in other lands that were related to the Jews as were the Spartans.
Collins presents the hypotheses that the Simonenites may have settled the city-state of Sparta.
Collins wrote: “Notice the Spartans called the Jews “our kinsmen.” The Spartans did not proclaim themselves to be Jews, but rather that they were “kinsmen” to the Jews (i.e. members of one of the other tribes of Israel). That the Spartans acknowledged a common ancestry with the Jews of the tribe of Judah gives powerful weight to the assertion that they were Israelites who migrated to Greece instead of the Promised Land. The Spartan culture is most like that of the tribe of Simeon, most of which apparently left the Israelite encampment in the Wilderness after a Simeon prince was executed by a Levite.”
It’s a known fact that not only were the Spartans of Hebrew stock but other Greek city-states may have been settled by Hebrews as well. Look at the way Paul spoke to the Corinthians:
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did eat the same spiritual meat. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (I Cor. 10:1-4.) The forefathers of the Corinthians partook of the same “spiritual rock” with Moses in the wilderness with the Israelites? That’s what Paul said.
And again: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do”. Tim. 1:4.
“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” Titus 3:9.
Was Paul addressing Greek-Gentiles or Greek-Israelites in these verses? If they were Gentiles they wouldn’t have bothered with “endless genealogies” and “strivings about the law” because it would have held no interest with them.
You’ll notice that there is no longer a problem with “endless genealogies” in the Church today. It only existed in the first century and only with Greeks.
If you do a word study in “Jew and Greek” or “Jews and Greeks” in the NT you’ll see that these phrases appears 10 times. Sometimes the term “Jews and Gentiles” is used and in some cases the word ‘Gentiles’ should’ve been translated ‘Greeks’ in the KJV. Whenever a specific race is mentioned in conjunction with Judah it’s always the Greeks. What’s the connection? Check it out in your Strong’s Concordance. Here’s a sample using the KJ translation corrected:
“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, [not “Gentiles”] whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” I Cor. 12:13.
“Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Greeks, [not “Gentiles”] nor to the church of God.” I Cor. 10:32.
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Greeks, [not “Gentiles”] that they are all under sin.” Rom. 3:9.
Ever notice that Paul never used the term “Jews and Romans?” In the OT it was always “Israel and Judah,” in the NT it’s always “Jews and Greeks.”
“For I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians.” (Rom. 1:14) Barbarians here is bar’-bar-os (Strong’s 915) which literally means “non-Greek.” Paul is saying that he is a debtor to both Greeks and non-Greeks. If both groups represent Gentiles — non-Israelites — why make a distinction between the two? What’s the difference between a Greek Gentile and a non-Greek Gentile? If I were to venture a guess at this point I’d say that the term “Greek” in the first century was commonly understood to mean “expatriated Israelite” or “Greek-Israelite.”
Note the connection in John 7:33-35: “Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed [“Israelite resident in Gentile countries,” Strong’s 1290] among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?” Again, in the KJV you’ll see that the word “Gentiles” is used in this verse but it should have been translated “Greeks” (“hel’lane,” Hellen, Grecian, Strong’s 1672) In other words the “dispersed” were among the “Greeks” in the first century. Or, the Greeks were the dispersed. What the Jews literally said was; “Will he go unto the Israelites among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?” Notice the Jews used the term Israelites and Greeks synonymously.
These verses make it clear that, in the first century, it was a known fact that portions of the “dispersed” Israelites had settled in Greece. This may explain why books in the NT are named after Greek citizens and why Paul spent so much time there.
And it may also explain why the first language the OT was translated into outside of Hebrew was Greek, called the Septuagint. And why the NT was originally written in Greek. Coincidence? Is the “Greek Connection” beginning to add-up?
Remember when the Roman centurion approached Jesus asking Him to heal his servant in Matt. 8:5 and Jesus said, “I will come and heal him?” When this Roman centurion, a Gentile, needed Jesus’ help Jesus didn’t hesitate to meet his needs. Having said that look at what happened when Greeks came to Jesus:
John 12:20, “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: (21) The same came therefore to Philip, [A Greek name by the way, meaning “Lover of Horses”] which was of Bethsaida [also a Greek name meaning “House of Fishing”] of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. (22) Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: [another Greek name meaning “Manliness.”] and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. (23) And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. (24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (25) He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.(26) If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”
Well…what was that! all about!? The response Jesus gave seemed totally inappropriate and out of place. It’s almost sounds as if Jesus was chastising these Greeks for wanting to meet with Him. Why did Jesus receive the centurion and meet his needs then turn around and refuse to meet with the Greeks and meet their needs? When Jesus was told of their desire to meet with Him He responded by saying, “The hour has come that the Son of man should be glorified.” Why did Jesus respond to their request to meet Him by mentioning His death and resurrection? There’s no evidence that Jesus met with these Greeks.
We may never know exactly what these Greeks wanted but one thing we do know is that whatever it was it interfered with God’s plan of salvation and that’s why Jesus responded in the manner that He did. Jesus responded to these Greeks pretty much in the same manner as He responded to Peter in Matt. 16:23, where He said: “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Was Jesus saying the same thing to these Greeks? I believe the answer Jesus gave was in response to why the Greeks wanted to see Him. What the centurion wanted and what the Greeks wanted were two totally different things. The centurion had a need — the Greeks a request and I believe Philip and Andrew told Jesus why they wanted to meet with him which may explain why Jesus responded in the manner He did. The Greeks wanted to “see” Jesus, in other words, they wanted to “meet” or “talk” to Him. Here’s a theory:
These Greeks knew that Jesus was not being well received by the Elders in Jerusalem. No problem, come with us to Greece, where many of the dispersed, expatriated Israelites were already located and be our King! I believe that’s why Jesus snubbed them and why He responded in the manner that He did. Their hearts were in the right place but their understanding of eschatology was off by about 2000 years. Jesus first came to be a sacrifice not a King. These Greeks were more than willing to receive Jesus as their King — whereas Judah was more than willing to reject Him — and they did. There’s something esoteric, something under the surface going on here between Jesus and these Greeks, no doubt expatriated Israelites that we don’t see. Is this the definitive interpretation of John 12:20-26? I honestly don’t know. Is it plausible? You be the judge. Again, this is only a theory. But if you “connect the dots” the plausibility becomes very real. If these Greeks came to Jesus requesting a physical healing as the centurion I believe Jesus would have met with them. However, He responded by expounding upon why he first came, in great detail, perhaps greater detail than another place in the NT. Did these Greeks have a need or a proposal? Again, something is going on here that we don’t see.
Rudyard Kipling once wrote something about “reading between the lines” and that’s what is needed here. We need to read John 12:20-26 between the lines to understand what’s going on between Jesus and these Greeks.
Ask yourself this question: Why did these Greeks specifically approach Philip and Andrew from Bethsaida? Answer: Greek names, Greek names, Greek names. See the “Greek Connection?”
Another point to consider is this; Judah had five sons, Er, Onan, Shelah, Pharez and Zarah. Er and Onan died in Canaan. The last time Zarah is mentioned in the Bible was in Gen. 46:12. His descendents left Egypt long before Moses and the Exodus which means one third of Judah’s descendants never entered Canaan. What were their numbers when they departed Egypt? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Where did they go and where are they today — and who are they today?
The book of Isaiah, starting at chapter 41 to the end, deals primarily with the northern kingdom. From 41 to the end Judah is mentioned 4 times — Israel, 44 times. Chapter 53, one of the great chapters in the OT dealing with the Messiah asks, “Who hath believed our report…” followed by chapter 54: “Sing O barren…” this speaks of the northern kingdom. Isa. 54 corresponds with Hosea 1, Jer. 31, Ezek. 37. Who rejected the report? Answer: According to John 1:11 & Zech. 12:10, Judah.
The entire 54th chapter of Isaiah deals with the northern kingdom’s response to the Gospel, it was addressed to them. When Paul delivered the Gospel to the Galatians, he wrote, “And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me As an angel of God even as Jesus Christ. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” (Gal. 4:14-15.) The Galatians were ecstatic when Paul showed up with the Gospel, they responded pretty much the way Isa. 54 said Israel would. Side note: Some Christians believe that Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was an eye problem because he mentioned that the Galatians would have plucked out their own eyes and given them to him. Fact is this is a figure of speech that’s still used in the Middle East today.
Chapter 55 opens up with “…everyone that thirsteth.” The Gospel goes first to Israel, then to the rest of the world just as Jesus commanded His disciples. “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matt. 10:6.
What’s The Kingdom?
(Interpreting Matthew 21:43)
When the Disciples asked Jesus, saying, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). In other words, “…wilt thou at this time bring the 10 tribes back to the land Israel?” Fact is, the exact opposite was about to take place. In Matthew 21:43, Jesus, speaking to Judah, said: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
That’s “nation” — not Church! Christianity does not represent the kingdom of God; it’s the national religion of the kingdom of God. In the OT Israel’s national religion was The Law of Moses. After Calvary it was replaced with the New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31.) What’s “bringing forth the fruits thereof?” Answer: Spreading the Gospel message. One of the earmarks for identifying Israel today is to look for the nation, or nations, that have printed more Bibles, sent out more missionaries and has done more to spread the Gospel than any other Race of people on earth. There’s only a few that fit this description. Yet many have traveled to northern India, Japan, Afghanistan, etc, looking for people still practicing vague forms of Judaism as proof that they represent portions of the northern kingdom. This is a joke and in total violation of Scripture. The Bible clearly teaches that the “lost tribes” would accept the New Covenant while in exile. If anyone wants to search for the “lost tribes” of Israel travel to nations that have accepted the New Covenant — that’s where you’ll find them.
The nation Jesus was speaking of was Israel, the northern tribes. “The kingdom” Jesus was referring to was the tribe of Benjamin who was a part of the kingdom, who were the Galileans in the north, but were kept with Judah for David’s sake. Now they would be removed and given back to the northern kingdom and Judah would be alone.
God made an oath to David that he would never want for a man to sit on his throne ruling over the house of Israel.
“Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.” I Kings 9:5. (Jer. 33:17)
However, after the death of Solomon, the northern kingdom broke away from Judah and God’s promise to David was in jeopardy of being broken so the tribe of Benjamin was annexed to Judah. (1 Kings 11:34) Remember what Nachmanides said quoted above? Benjamin became Judah’s “Israel” and represented the kingdom. After the throne of David was removed back in Jeremiah’s day via Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion, Benjamin was no longer needed, their purpose had been served.
“Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe [Benjamin] to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.” I Kings 11:11-13.
Benjamin was a kingdom tribe and was given to Judah on a “temporary loan” basis for David’s sake. This is the same kingdom Jesus was referring to in Matt. 21:43. Jesus was speaking of the “one tribe” that was annexed to Judah. If you paraphrase what Jesus said it would read something like this:
“Therefore say I unto you, Judah, the tribe of Benjamin shall be taken from you, and given back to the northern kingdom, a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”
That’s how it would have been understood by the Jews in the first century. The “kingdom of God” in the OT was Israel; “Judah was his sanctuary and Israel his dominion.” (Psa. 114:2) Benjamin was not a “sanctuary” tribe, but a “kingdom” tribe. The tribe of Benjamin could not share “sanctuary” status with Judah, the sharing of birthrights was strictly forbidden in the Law of Moses, it was not their birthright. This was an “arranged marriage” for David’s sake. Albeit, an “arranged marriage” doomed to end in divorce as Jesus foretold.
“And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.” (I Chron. 28:5.)
The “kingdom of God” or the “kingdom of the Lord” are one and the same. Benjamin was a part of the “kingdom of God” and that’s what Jesus was referring to in Matt. 21:43.
The tribe of Benjamin was the last tribe Judah had contact with. And yet there’re many Christians who still claim that the Jews represent all 12 tribes! A complete contradiction of what Jesus said. If the kingdom of God is represented by the 10 tribes, now 11 with the return of Benjamin, and Jesus told the Jews that the kingdom would be taken from them how can the Jews represent all 12 tribes? Answer: It’s impossible! Judah (with an add-mixture of Levites) is alone today. Many claim that the Jews of today are made up of Judah and Benjamin, but that also contradicts what Jesus said.
Where it says, “…and for Jerusalem’s sake…” Jerusalem fell within Benjamin’s geographical/tribal territory. If Benjamin hadn’t been annexed to Judah they would have lost both the kingdom and Jerusalem.
Benjamin may have separated from Judah as the Jewish-Roman War was about to unfold. Jer. 6:1 says: “O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem…for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.”
In closing let me say this, if you research this issue online you’ll find 1000’s of articles debating how many members or how many tribes of the northern kingdom returned with Ezra. In the end, it doesn’t matter if one Israelite or one million Israelites or if every Israelite on the face of the planet returned with Ezra – according to Matthew 21:43, they would all be removed and separated from Judah. Matthew 21:43 renders all these arguments null, void and moot. According to Matthew 21:43, the “kingdom of God” i.e., “his dominion” was removed from Judah.
It should be mentioned that the phrase, “kingdom of God” is mentioned many times in the NT. As it appears in Matthew 21:43 it refers to Benjamin whereas when it appears in other verses it has absolutely nothing to do with the tribe of Benjamin. It must be taken in context. Jesus was referring to Benjamin in Matthew 21:43.
The Tax Revolt
Solomon, in true tax and spend fashion, not unlike what’s happening in Washington today, raised taxes for his spending programs. After Solomon died Elders from the northern kingdom wanted some relief and asked Rehoboam for some help. Their request was ignored.
“Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.” I Kings 12:15-16.
Rehoboam, not happy with the northern kingdom’s revolt, planned an armed assault against Israel. War between Israel and Judah almost ensued as a result of the northern kingdom’s break with the “tax and spend” throne of David.
“Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.” 1 Kings 12:1-21.
However, God intervened, “Thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is from me. They [Judah] hearkened therefore to the word of the LORD, and returned to depart, according to the word of the LORD.” I Kings 12:24.
The division between Israel and Judah was in God’s plan, “…the cause was from the Lord… “ & ”this thing is from me.” They were not destined to remain together. It was in God’s plan to separate the two houses.
Moses, looking down through the centuries of time, knew the plight of Judah at the end times and their need to be reunited with the other tribes and protection from their enemies:
“And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.” Deut. 33:7. If Judah represents “all Israel” today how can they be returned “unto his people” in the future?
Note in this verse that it says Judah needs help in dealing with their enemies. In II Sam. 7:10, speaking of Israel in the Appointed Place, it says: “…neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime…” The “children of wickedness” are still in the Middle East today and still “afflicting” Judah. With Israel it’s a different story. They’re in a different location and are not facing the hardships that confront Judah today.
Of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7 only two tribes can be rightfully called “Jews,” Judah and Levi. After the northern kingdom fell into idolatry under the leadership of Jeroboam, the Levite’s became unemployed. They trekked southward and joined themselves with Judah.
Of the 144,000 how many are Jew’s? 24,000. The remaining 120,000 are from the northern kingdom. If you do a Google search on the subject of the 144,000 you’ll see time and again the term “The 144,000 Jews”. Wrong! Roughly 16 % will be Jews. The rest are from the northern kingdom.
The sealing of the 144,000 will not take place in one geographical location, it’ll be world-wide, where ever all the tribes of Israel are currently residing.
The New Covenant
Jeremiah 31:31 states: “Behold, I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah…” In verse 33, however, something happens: “But this shall be the covenant I will make with the house of Israel…” there is no mention of the house of Judah in this verse. The new covenant spoken of in verse 31 would take root in Israel but not Judah. Israel’s religion today is the New Covenant; Judah’s religion is still in the Torah. Hosea 1, Ezek. 37, Isa. 54 all correspond with Jer. 31:33.
There has always been a riff between Judah and Israel which can best be described as sibling rivalry. Ezek. 11:15 records Judah’s attitude towards Israel:
“Son of man, thy brethren, even thy brethren, the men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel wholly, [the northern kingdom] are they unto whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the house of Judah] have said, Get you far from the LORD: unto us is this land given in possession.”
Again, Judah speaking: “Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day” Isa. 65:5.
This “holier than thou” attitude was still around in Jesus’ day: “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” Matt. 19:11.
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:11-13.
To put it bluntly, Judah had an “attitude problem” which created some real animosity between the two houses. Little wonder Isa. 11:13 says: “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” A Millennial prophecy.
Dating the Broken Brotherhood
“And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.” Zech. 11:12-14.
The brotherhood between Judah and Israel began to break after the death of Solomon. It was officially broken when the prophecy of the Messiah being betrayed with 30 pieces of silver was fulfilled. And yet, there are many misguided Christians out there who still claim that the Jews of today represent “all Israel.” Hard to believe.
“And other sheep [Israel] I have which are not of this fold; [Judah] them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock [Judah & Israel reunited] and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) If the Jews in Jesus’ day represented “all Israel” this statement wouldn’t have added up. When Jesus said Israel was “…not of this fold” it meant that they were not with Judah when the statement was made.
“And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish. Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation [Judah] and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” (John 11:49-52.)
The Jews were not “scattered abroad” in the same sense that Israel was. The vast majority of Judeans who were still in Babylon at this time were there by a free-will choice. They chose to stay in Babylon, just as more Jews today choose to live in America rather than return to the Middle East. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to refer the Jews living in the U.S. as a “scattered” people. The situation today is the same as it was 2000 years ago for the Jews. But for Israel, 2000 years ago, it was a different story — they were divorced at that time.
What broke the brotherhood between Judah and Israel was the New Covenant cited in Jer. 31. Israel received it while Judah rejected it. This created a “wall of separation” or a “broken brotherhood” that remains unto this day. Christianity and Judaism, Grace and Law, don’t mix.
Dispensationalists claim that God has suspended His dealings with Israel and that we’re living in a “gap” or “parentheses” period, i.e., “The Church Age.” One of the primary reasons for this is because they fail to differentiate between Israel and Judah in prophecy. Gen. 17:7 states: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee”.
“As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” Isa. 59:21.
There is no gap or parentheses “in their generations” and “everlasting”. This means that God’s covenant would be passed on from generation to generation in Abraham’s seed without interruption. Remember, Jesus came to “…confirm the promises made unto the fathers…” (Rom. 15:8) not postpone them. And it should be noted that Christianity is Israel’s national religion and any non-Israelite (“wild olive branch”) that accepts Christianity is being grafted in to that religion along with Israel, not instead of. As Paul said:
“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree.” Rom. 11:16-17.
Again, as mentioned above, “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” (Isa. 49:6.) These verses raise some serious problems for Dispensationalists and Replacement Theologians. To “restore and preserve” and “among them” and “with them” does not translate “replace” or “postpone.”
Dispensationalists use what I call “Star Trek Theology.” When faced with a difficult prophecy, like one addressed to Israel and never meant to be fulfilled by Judah, they simply take it to the Transporter Room, give it to Scotty, and he beams it into the Millennium. “There — we took care of that pesky little prophecy.” The Millennium is the Dispensationalist’s best friend.
One “pesky little prophecy” for Dispensationalists, as incredulous as it may sound, is the New Covenant mentioned Jer. 31:31. Because Judah rejected the New Covenant it has been “transported” (thank God for Scotty) into the Millennium:
“This covenant will be realized in the millennial age.” J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 121.
“…the [dispensationalist] premillennial position is that the new covenant is with Israel and the fulfillment in the millennial kingdom after the second coming of Christ.” Dr. John F. Walvoord. The Millennial Kingdom, Page 209.
“…it can be shown that the period of the new covenant is millennial.” Dr. Charles C. Ryrie. The Basis of the Premillennial Faith. Page 111.
Dispensationalists are contradicting a multitude of prophecies concerning the New Covenant as it relates to Israel by these statements. They’re under the delusion that the Jews represent all Israel. Hence their error. These statements contradict Romans 11:29; “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” The word repentance here means irrevocable, (Strong’s, 278.) The New Covenant with Israel in Jer. 31:31 is irrevocable. It cannot be postponed or transferred.
There’re no “pesky little prophecies” in Scripture. The problem lies in the fact that there are two kingdoms, two parts of Israel today. “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezek. 37:22.) What is it about “two nations” and “two kingdoms” that Dispensationalists fail to comprehend? Ezekiel 37:22 is to Dispensationalistism what the iceberg was to the Titanic: It ship wrecks their theology.
Hosea 1, Isaiah 54, Ezek. 36 & 37 and Jeremiah 31 indicate that Christianity would take root in Israel and become their national religion. “And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.” (Rom. 15:10.) Dispensationalists are totally oblivious of this fact. If the Jews today represent “all Israel” Dispensationalists have a valid theology. But the Jews themselves, by their own admission throughout history, categorically deny that they represent all Israel.
When Dispensationalists realize that Israel is represented by two nations today their theology collapses along with the teachings of Replacement Theology. What is it about “two nations” that some fail to grasp? What is it about what God told Abraham, that he would be the father of “many nations,” (Gen. 17:6) and that Sarah would become the “mother of nations” (Gen. 17:16) that some fail to understand?
God, speaking of pending judgment against Mt. Seir in the end-times, said “Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess it; whereas the LORD was there:” Ezek. 35:10.
There is no “gap.” There never was a “gap.” And there never will be a “gap.” It’s only a matter of time before this fact hits home and ushers in the demise of Dispensationalism and Replacement Theology.
In an email I received from a rabbi who expressed his opinion wrote; “Think of the Jews representing 1/12 of a slice of pie.” Ezekiel’s “Two Sticks” prophecy will be fulfilled during the Great Tribulation. Some claim that the “Two Sticks” prophecy took place in Babylon, but in this same chapter it says, “And David my servant shall be king over them…” (Ezek. 37:24-25). Unless I missed something I don’t think King David is around today. Whether this verse speaks of the literal king David or Jesus makes no difference, either way it hasn’t been fulfilled.
How, in the name of common sense, can God make a new covenant with Israel and then postpone it for 2000 years and give it to everyone else except Israel? There’s no logic to this type of thinking – not to mention unscriptural.
In my opinion the “gap” theory is one of the great errors of Dispensationalism. There’re legitimate gaps in certain prophecies as Jesus Himself demonstrated when reading from the book of Isaiah in Luke 4:17-21. But Dispensationalists view a “gap” as a “suspension” of God’s dealing with His people. There’s not a single verse of Scripture in the New or Old Testament that remotely suggests this despite the fact that Amos 3:7 states: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
If God was planning to suspend His dealings with His people Israel for 2000 years don’t you think He would’ve mentioned it just once, anywhere, somewhere, in Scripture? Quote me chapter and verse where this was foretold. I can make this challenge without fear of being contradicted because I know no such chapter and verse is cited anywhere in the Bible. And some Dispensationalists actually admit this!
“God will still fulfill all that He promised to Israel, but many of the fulfillments have been delayed until this grace dispensation ends, and the law/kingdom dispensation resumes at the beginning of the tribulation. This present grace dispensation (or “church age”, as it is often called) is not the subject of old testament prophecy. The church age was a mystery (secret) until God called Paul for his special ministry to the Gentiles in Acts chapter 9.” Matthew McGee, Israel’s Kingdom Gospel and Our Grace Gospel. This is a classic Dispensational understanding of the New Testament.
I believe there’s a gap between Daniel’s 69th. and 70th. week prophecy — but not in the same manner as Dispensationalists. “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people…” is addressed to Judah; the tribe Daniel was from…Israel plays no part in this prophecy.
Having said all this I will say four things in defense of Dispensationalism: They have always maintained the position that there is a separation, a distinction, between Israel and the Church. On this subject they are dead-on accurate. They have always used a literal/historical interpretation of Scripture. Again, dead-on accurate. And they have prompted more interest in eschatology then any other Christian domination today. And, forth, they were predicting the rebirth of the state of Israel prior to 1948 while most Christian dominations were lampooning the idea.
I can agree with Dispensationalist on the points mentioned above but cannot understand why they don’t use their literal/historical interpretation when reading the verses I’ve quoted in this article indicating a distinction between Israel and Judah in prophecy. Their “blind spot” lies in the fact that they fail to understand what Ezek. 35:10 & 37:22 and a multitude of other verses in the Bible are talking about. They only see one nation, one country and one people. This mind-set cripples their ability to properly interpret end-time events. Hence, I have a love-hate relationship with Dispensationalists. They can be so right and at the same time so wrong in their interpretation of Scripture. They drive me crazy! Dispensationalists adamantly oppose the teachings of Replacement Theology but in fact actually teach a form of Replacement Theology themselves. They teach a “Temporary Replacement Theology,” i.e., we’re living in a “Church Age.” When Jesus returns, according to Dispensationalists, He will resume His dealings with Israel. If Dispensationalists can recognize that Israel today represents two nations, not one, not a “Jews only” interpretation of the Bible, they could become the predominant domination in America. Unfortunately, as we all know, once a person has a book published and their opinions expressed they will never change their position.
The bottom line with Dispensationalism is this: From Genesis 12:1, when God first spoke to Abraham, to the second chapter of Acts, God dealt exclusively with Israel. Then, according to Dispensationalists, God suddenly slams on the brakes, suspends all contact with Israel and deals exclusively with Gentiles. This is so inconsistent it boggles the mind. If God can do this to Israel what’s preventing Him from doing it to the Church? If Dispensationalists are correct: Nothing! In Islam, Muslims really don’t know what the will of Allah is, thus, the common phrase, Inshallah, (“If it ‘tis the will of Allah”) is often invoked because Muslims simply don’t know the will of Allah. In Islam Allah is capricious and unpredictable. In the Bible it’s; “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (Psa. 119:89) Suspending all contact with Israel and starting a whole new program with Gentiles in the NT is something Allah, not Jehovah, would do.
The Woman of Revelation 12 and the House of Israel
Concerning the woman spoken of in Revelation 12, which speaks of Judah. When the Great Tribulation begins and the beast tries to destroy her she flees “…into the wilderness…” (Rev.12:6) the same wilderness (Hos. 2:14) where Israel was led to many centuries before.
Israel found grace in the wilderness. (Jer. 31:2, Hos. 2:14) and so will Judah. Revelation 12:6 says that “…she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there.” “Place,” “They” & “There” these three words raise some interesting considerations:
“A place prepared,” a geographical location chosen by God for Judah to flee to during the Great Tribulation.
“That they should feed her there,” a certain group or race of people predestined by God to feed and take care of Judah during this time period.
Who’s “they” and where is “there”? Who’s going to “feed” and take care of Judah in the “wilderness” for 3 ½ years? Who are the people/nation(s) that God has predestined to care for Judah? It will be the house of Israel. Many Judeans will flee to Israel as the situation worsens in the Middle East not unlike the Jews who fled Germany in the early 1930’s when Hitler came to power. They will take refuge in “The Wilderness,” with Israel. Hosea 2:14, speaking of the house of Israel, said, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”
The Wilderness, the Appointed Place and the Prepared Place are all one and the same. There, Judah recognizes Jesus as their Messiah just as Israel did centuries before.
I’m sure Solomon had something else in mind when he wrote, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5) Metaphorically speaking, it’ll be Israel and Judah that will “come up from the wilderness” after Armageddon leaning upon Christ.
What reunites the house of Israel and the house of Judah is the Great Tribulation when Judah flees to Israel for protection. They’ll remain there with Israel for the full 1260 days and then both will return to Canaan to meet their Messiah face-to-face. Ezekiel’s “Two Sticks” prophecy (37:16) is fulfilled while Judah is with Israel during the Great Tribulation. Together they exit the wilderness after Armageddon reunited as Jeremiah foretold:
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers”. Jer. 3:18. (Isa. 11:12)
I want to expound on this verse for a minute because there are differences of opinion concerning Jer. 3:18. The word לע appears twice in the original Hebrew, the first time it appears it’s translated “with…the house of Israel.” The second time it appears it’s translated “to…the land that I gave…”
בימיםההמה ילכו בית־יהודה על־בית ישראל ויבאו יחדו מארץ צפון על־הארץ אשר הנחלתי את־אבותיכם׃
“In those days the house of Judah shall walkעל the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north על the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”
Does the house of Judah walk “with” or “to” the house of Israel in the north? The literal translation of the word על is “on.” And that’s how it’s translated in other verses in the Bible. However, in emails I received from various Rabbis stated that a literal translation would render Jer. 3:18 nonsensical, which is true. How can the house of Judah walk “on” the house of Israel? Young’s Literal Translation uses the word “unto” i.e., “to.” in both places which I believe is a more accurate translation of Jer. 3:18. So, let the reader exercise discretion when reading Jer. 3:18. Its interpretation is open for debate.
The question that many Christians…and Jews for that matter… fail to ask themselves is just how did the house of Judah, currently abiding in the Middle East, end up in the north lands with the house of Israel just before the Messiah returns? And under what circumstances? Did millions of Israelis suddenly decide to relocate? If so, why? What caused the mass migration? The answer, I believe, will be the abomination of desolation recorded in Daniel 9 and Matthew 24. They will flee the Middle East in desperation and join themselves with the house of Israel in the north and will return together just as Jer. 3:18 foretold.
Some Jewish scholars believe that they, the house of Judah, would return first to the land of Israel and then be followed by the house of Israel because of Jer. 3:18 and other verses. They translate the word על as meaning “to.” Their understanding of Jer. 3:18 proved correct; they did return first. Many Rabbis believe that the word על should be translated “with” but don’t explain how and why Judah ended up in the north country with Israel. I think I should say in all fairness that the average Rabbi (or Christian minister for that matter) isn’t engaged in an exhaustive study of this subject that’s being presented here. They were giving “pat answers” to the emails I sent them and I could sense this when I read their responses.
“Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you, when I return the captives of My people.” Hos. 6:11.
“And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8.
Side Note: If you study the words “mother” and “daughter” when used in reference to Israel and Judah you’ll notice that Israel is always referred to as “mother” and Judah is always referred to as “daughter.”
“Plead [speaking to Judah] with your mother, [Israel] plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband…” [divorced] Hos. 2:2; Here, God is telling Judah to intercede on behalf of Israel. And again, “For their [speaking of Judah] mother [Israel] hath played the harlot…” Hos. 2:5.
When addressing Judah the Bible says; “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.” And; “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” And again; “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, ["dispersed" always used when speaking of Judah] shall bring mine offering.”
In Scripture, Judah is always described as the daughter and Israel the mother.
“The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed [again, always used in reference to Judah] of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.” (Isa. 56:8 NASB) Some Jewish scholars believe that “those already gathered” is a reference to them which took place in 1948 and the “appointed harvest” is referring to the ten tribes and still awaiting fulfillment.
“These are the Ten Tribes. The exiles of Judah and Benyamin are destined to go unto them and bring them back in order to merit with them the Messianic Era and life in the World-To-Come.” The Midrash.
Again, these quotes present serious problems for those who claim that the ten tribes returned with Ezra. This is what Moses was referring to were he said,
“And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.” Deut. 33:7.
The “Appointed Place,” “Wilderness” will be the best place to abide during the Great Tribulation, there Israel and Judah receive special protection:
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, [3 ½ years] until the indignation [Great Tribulation] be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish [Great Tribulation] the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isa. 26:20-21.) Another fact revealed in these verses is that the Beast does not have total world-wide control over the earth during the Great Tribulation as many believe. Devine intervention and protection will reside over the “Appointed Place” where Israel and Judah are located. They’re exempt from the punishments that will be unleashed against the Beast during the Great Tribulation. I make mention of this because many Christian commentators claim that the reign/mark of the Beast will be world-wide. Revelations 12 and Isaiah 26 prove them wrong.
Judah and Israel are exempt from the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation,“…the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” (Num. 23:9) I’m not trying to give the impression that Israel and Judah will sit out the Great Tribulation at Club Med sipping margaritas. They’ll experience trouble, “Jacob’s Trouble” during this period.
“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jer. 30:7.) This is what Jesus was talking about where He said:
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake [Israel & Judah] those days shall be shortened.” Matt 24:22.
The brotherhood between Judah and Israel, once broken, (Zech. 11:14) has now been mended.
Jesus said He would not return until Judah, on a national level, says; “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:39). This change of heart, for Judah, will take place during the Great Tribulation. This is the type of verse we’ve all read a hundred times and never stopped to consider the implications: Jesus will NOT return to the earth until JUDAH says; “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Israel on the other hand has been saying this for 2000 years.
In Rev. 12:14, it says, “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is nourished…” The “two great wings” mentioned here may be a description of Boeing 747’s and military transport aircraft. Judah will literally fly to the land(s) of Israel.
“In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, [Judah and Israel are reunited BEFORE they return to the land of Israel to meet their Messiah] going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten. My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place. Jer. 50:4-6.
Rev. 12:14 must take place before Jer. 50:4-6 can take place — they’re closely connected verses.
Notice where it says: “their shepherds have caused them to go astray.” Sound biblical teaching/principals will become a scarce commodity in the last days. It’s up to us, on an individual basis, to maintain a sound biblical foundation as we approach the End Times.
Where it says “from mountain to hill” “Mountain” (har) here signifies promotion/exalted when used figuratively. “Hill” (ghib-aw) translates “little hill.” This verse may signify Israel’s world status is reduced during the Great Tribulation and reinstated during the Millennium. To be honest, I submitted this verse to both Christian and Jewish scholars asking them for their interpretation, no two answers were the same. Take mine for what it’s worth.
Zech. 13:9; “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” This prophecy is addressed to “…the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem…” i.e., Judah. Zech. 13:1.
Roughly two million Judeans will flee to Israel at the outset of the Great Tribulation.
Again, as previously mentioned, many claim that the Jews will flee to Petra. Quote me one verse in the Bible that states that the house of Israel is currently residing in Petra. Today, there are a few dozen Bedouin families living in Petra. They’re going to provide aide for two million Israelis for 3 ½ years?
The Name Israel
It should be remembered that the name “Israel” was given to Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob before he died in Egypt. It’s their inheritance and where ever the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh are today — that’s where the house of Israel is located. There’s a land named Israel and there’re two tribes named Israel. “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Gen. 48:16.) Judah is not a multitude in the midst of the earth today; they did not fulfill this prophecy and never will. And it was not fulfilled in the land of Israel. The two tribes that carry the name of Israel, Ephraim and Manasseh, became a multitude in the midst of the earth. And they are located outside the Middle East. Judah did not receive the Birthright and that’s why they didn’t fulfill this prophecy.
Concerning the “sands of the sea — stars of heaven” promise to Israel. Last time I checked the current Jewish population, world-wide, stood at 13.3 million. The growth rate for Jews is near zero: From 2000 to 2001 it rose 0.3%. The newspaper Haaretz in Israel reported that the Jewish population actually dropped from 13.3 to 12.9 million. They are in decline.
The current Arab population, the descendants of Ishmael, stands at about 320 million. Granted, not all Arabs are direct descendants of Ishmael but a good portion of them are — far more that 13.3 million. If the Jews represent “all Israel” and we’re living in the “end times” shouldn’t the Jewish population be greater than Ishmael’s? Or, as Dispensationalists will tell you, we should save this one for the Millennium.
Note: If you think this is hyperbole, go to YouTube and search “Muslim Demographics” and prepare yourself for a shock. In the next few decades the predominate racial majority in Western Europe will be Muslim.
With the current Jewish population in mind consider what Zech. 10:10 says:
“I will bring them [plural] again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them [plural] out of Assyria; and I will bring them [plural] into the land of Gilead [Jordan] and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.” [plural]
With the addition of Lebanon and Jordan to the current state of Israel this increase could EASILY handle 13 million people and could do so well into the Millennium. But notice what verse 6 says in this chapter: “And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them [plural] again to place them; [plural] for I have mercy upon them: [plural] and they [plural] shall be as though I had not cast them [plural] off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.” [Plural] This verse speaks of two groups of people. With the addition of the house of Israel “place shall not be found for them” begins to make sense. The northern kingdom vastly out numbers Judah today.
“Does the possible existence of several hundred million descendants of Jacob, who are currently unaware of their identity, but who may in the near future return to the God of Israel, to His Torah/Law as the standard of living, and to a close relationship with the Jewish people, not have a significant bearing on current beliefs and future social and political developments? Indeed, it will become obvious in the very near future that those who have brushed aside the vital topic of the Lost Tribes of Israel, without even an investigation, have made a grave mistake.” Dennis Jones, United Israel web site.
That’s an exaggeration, right? Well…consider what Jesus said in Matt. 10:23, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”
What Jesus is saying in this verse is that the cities of Israel would become so numerous it would be physical/logistically impossible to visit all of them before His return. The “cities of Israel” are not addressing just those located in the Middle East but where ever Israelites are located world-wide, i.e., the “Appointed Place,” the “Wilderness” all contain “cities of Israel” today. If you do some research into Matt. 10:23 you’ll find many interpretations and much confusion…Albert Schweitzer concluded that Jesus was simply wrong. He was definitely confused.
Why didn’t, or, why couldn’t, the 10 tribes return with Judah out of Babylon? They were given a bill-of-divorce. (Jer. 3:8) This was more serious than some understand. In other words the northern kingdom had been “Gentilised.”
“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” Hos. 4:17.
“Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lover’s.” Hos. 8:8-9.
“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife. 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance”. Deut. 24:1-4.
As long as the Mosaic Law was in effect the law of divorce was in effect and God could not take back the kingdom of Israel not without violating His own standard of righteousness. Individual members of the northern kingdom could, and did, attach themselves to Judah before and after the Assyrian invasion and this is why there’s a mention of them in the book of Ezra. But on a national level they could not return and they didn’t. The divorce made it illegal for them to return.
“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” Jer. 3:8.
“Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the Law), that the Law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? (2) For the woman who has a husband is bound by the Law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. (3) So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.” Rom. 7:1-3.
As long as the Law was in effect the divorce was in effect and the northern kingdom held “adulteress” status until her husband died — on the Cross. After the Resurrection God and Israel could re-marry. Before the Crucifixion Israel was an “adulteress.” After the Crucifixion Israel was free from the Law and free to return to God — and they did. Judah did not; they rejected the New Covenant and chose to hold on to the Law of Moses — unto this day. This will change shortly.
“I will betroth [aw-ras'; to engage for matrimony, Strong’s 781] you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD.” Hos. 2:19-20.
“And it shall be at that day, [the Crucifixion] saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; [my husband] and shalt call me no more Baali.” Hos. 2:16.
The fact is it would have been an abomination for God to take back the northern kingdom, on a national level, as long as the bill-of-divorce was in effect.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” (Col. 2:14.) Israel’s bill-of-divorce was nailed to the Cross rendering it null and void. After Calvary the door was open for the remarriage to take place. Not only spiritually, but nationally, i.e., the birthrights could now be fulfilled. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, [plural] but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Heb. 11:13.
This is why Israel did not return with Judah out of Babylon. And those who claim that they did never explain their way around Deut. 24. And to claim otherwise, quite frankly, would have been an abomination — according to God’s own declaration.
There are three great events recorded in the New Testament: Salvation through the Cross, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the remarriage of the house of Israel back to God. Truth be told, I’ve been a Christian for 40 years and I’ve never heard a sermon preached on the remarriage part of the Gospel. Not a word from the pulpit — dead silence — in spite the fact that the Bible speaks of it many times. Another truth that can be told is that most Preachers are not qualified to teach it because they know too little about the subject.
In spite the fact that Israel had been given a bill-of-divorce, God still remembered Ephraim: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” (Isa. 49:16.) After the divorce, God could not forget His promises to Israel. They were forever on His mind. God remembered His promises and was determined to bring them to pass. The mercy of God runs deeper than most of us know and understand.
Now, having said all this could, or would, God be willing to set aside His Law in order to have Israel return after giving them a bill of divorce? The answer is yes:
“They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers: yet return again to me, saith the Lord.” Jer. 3:1.
This is a very rare occurrence in Scripture. God wanted Israel back, so much so He was willing to turn a blind eye to His own decree of righteousness. Israel, at this point, could have returned to God. Yet, they refused. The Apocrypha says: “Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king…But they took council among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never man kind dwelt.” (II Esdras 13:40-41) Israel walked away from God’s offer — literally.
“He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.” Hos. 11:5. “…my people are bent to backsliding from me…” (v 7.)
One of the most oft-quoted verses to prove that all 12 tribes were in Israel when Jesus was born is Luke 2:36: “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity…”
Anna was from the tribe of Aser, this is “proof-positive” for some that all the tribes returned with Judah out of Babylon. The following verse explains her presence:
“Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.” Isa. 17:6.
Virtually all commentaries concur that this verse speaks of the post-Assyrian invasion of the northern kingdom. There would be a smattering of Israelites left behind who would join themselves with Judah in the south. This explains Anna’s presence. Anna does not represent the kingdom of Israel nor the tribe of Aser. Her family were refugees of the Assyrian invasion. Nothing more, nothing less.
“These few were not enough to be termed a tribe in their own right or even part of a tribe due to their minority position, they were included amongst the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin and dwelt in their cities. This Second Redemption was not meant for the other tribes.” What Does the Bible Say? Nachmanides (Moshe ben Nachman). 1194-1270.
This is why Anna, of the tribe of Aser, was living in Jerusalem, a city of Judah. There were so few members of that tribe in Israel at that time they were not allotted territory of their own. They had no choice but to share their dwelling place with Judah and Benjamin.
There’s a big difference between a “tribe” and “remnant” of a tribe. This is where the meaning of the word synecdoche comes into play: “Substituting a part for the whole or the whole for a part.” There are many examples of this in scripture and many misuse or miss understand this principal. Anna, one individual of the tribe of Aser, according to the mind-set of some, represents the entire tribe of Aser and the tribe of Aser represents the entire northern kingdom! This, needless to say, is absurd. In Rom. 1:8, Paul wrote: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Well…that would’ve been nice if it were true, but Paul was substituting the Roman Empire for the “whole world.” This is a classic example of the meaning of Synecdoche. No one in China, Japan, India, north, central and South America were talking about the faith of the Romans in the first century. Do you honestly believe that the Aborigines in Australia were sitting around their camp fires 2000 years ago talking about the faith of the Church in Rome? Let’s get real here for a minute, folks. Many times the names Jacob or Ephraim are used synecdochically to represent all Israel. This same principal holds true concerning the mark of the Beast, “…And he causeth all” (Rev. 13:16) the mark of the Beast will be imposed within his ten nation empire; his mark will not be world-wide as many believe. Again, synecdochical. If you read the book of Daniel you’ll see that several nations oppose the Antichrist and war against him.
This is what Matt. 25:32 speaks of; “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”
If “all nations” have come up against Jerusalem there would be no sheep, only goats. The nations that gave their support for Jerusalem represent the sheep. The nations that were in league with the Antichrist represent the goats.
I make mention of II Chron. 30 because it has been used by many to prove that “all Israel” was in the land of Israel after the Assyrian invasion and Judah’s return from Babylon. But upon a closer look things are not as they appear.
First, Hezekiah referred to survivors of the Assyrian invasion as a “remnant,” not tribes:
“So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria.” II Chron. 30:6.
The term “remnant of you” really tell us just what happened in the north in Hezekiah’s day. The term “remnant” means just that. Again, Isa. 17:6, quoted above, speaks of this. And again, remnant can be translated residue.
There were four invasions of the Northern Kingdom; the 3rd. was the most devastating. The 4th. was basically a “mopping up” operation where the Assyrians cleared out the remnant, so-much-so that the Samaritans had to be brought in to replace them and keep the land from going to seed. If this invitation was sent out before the 4th. invasion it would explain why there was a remnant there. But after the 4th. invasion there were only Samaritans. This is why in Jesus’ day the Samaritans were despised by the Jews. “…for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” (John 4:9) There is no evidence what-so-ever that remnants of the northern kingdom were living side-by-side with the Samaritans in the first century. In fact, Jesus told His disciples to avoid contact with the Samaritans. (Matt. 10:5.) If remnants of the ten tribes were still there, Jesus would have told His disciples to go and preach to them. He did not.
You had the tribe of Benjamin residing in Galilee in the north, Judah residing in Judea in the south and that Samaritans residing in Samaria in the center. Where were the 10 tribes residing? It’s one thing to say that there were portions of the 10 tribes in Samaria in Hezekiah’s day, because there were, but they weren’t there after the Samaritans had been living there for 700 years. And if there were Israelites still in Samaria after the Assyrian invasion there would’ve been no need to bring in the Samaritans to keep the land. As the “remnant” of the northern tribes were being removed the Samaritans were brought in.
“And at the end of three years they [Assyria] took it: [northern kingdom] even in the sixth year of Hezekiah, that is the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was taken. And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:” II Kings 18:10.
“And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.” (II Kings 17:24.) And they were still there in Jesus’ day and they are still there (very few in numbers) in our day.
When Hezekiah sent out his invitation to the northern kingdom, the above verses seem to indicate that this took place before the 4th. and the final “mopping up” operation took place. After the 4th. invasion there were no Israelites residing in Samaria, only Samaritans. Another point to consider is the fact that only five northern tribes are mentioned in this chapter — why was there no mention of the other five? There’re two possibilities; (A) the scribe simply didn’t bother to mention them. Or (B) they weren’t there — not even a remnant.
To further emphasize just how thorough the 4th. invasion was, consider this, when the Samaritans settled in they brought their pagan practices with them God sent lions among them and some were killed. According to the verses below there wasn’t a single priest in Samaria who could instruct the Samaritans how not to sin against the Lord. One had to be sent from the captives and returned to Israel for this purpose:
II Kings 17:25 “And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. 26, Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. 27, Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. 28, Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.”
“And offered at the dedication of this house of God an hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.” Ezra 6:17.
“Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD.” Ezra 8:35.
These two verses are oft-quoted by some to emphatically prove that all the tribes returned with Ezra out of Babylon. But, as it already has been shown, only a remnant of the other tribes returned with Ezra. They were so few in numbers that they could not constitute themselves as tribes. Moshe ben Nachman, the renowned Jewish historian, mentioned this fact; “In the time of Ezra only a few returned as pigeons to their dovecotes.” The argument that because 12 sacrifices were offered by Ezra for the 12 tribes is no proof whatsoever that all Israel was there.
But wait…there’s more. Not only was the northern kingdom divorced from God at this time but the remnant that was attached to Judah was in jeopardy of being rejected from Judah.
“And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem; And that whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be forfeited, and himself separated from the congregation of those that had been carried away.” Ezra 10:7-8.
We don’t hear this kind of preaching from the pulpit anymore.
Jesus reunites the two houses when He returns. Where in the Bible does it say that Ezra accomplished this task? There’s not a single prophecy, or verse, anywhere that mentions Ezra restoring the kingdom of Israel. It’s a Messianic/Millennial prophecy. Yet there are many who claim Ezra did what the Bible clearly says Jesus will do.
“And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. (6) And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isa. 49:5-6.
These verses are not speaking of Ezra.
The prophet Daniel, knowing that Judah’s 70-year punishment and exile in Babylon was winding to a close, (Dan. 9:2) lifted up a prayer for God to forgive His people. The first 20 verses in chapter 9 consist of a prayer. Verse 7 gives us a glimpse of the house of Israel during this time period.
“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.”
Notice that Daniel makes a distinction between Judah and Israel in this prayer, “…men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem…” refers to the house of Judah. “…all Israel” refers to the northern kingdom. He describes them as being “…far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them…” This creates problems for those who claim the Israel exited Assyria, trekked southward to Babylon and joined themselves with Judah and returned with Ezra. According to verse 7 they did no such thing. Israel was still in exile and far removed from Judah and Babylon when Daniel lifted up this prayer. And notice that Daniel said they were dwelling in “countries” plural, not “country” singular. Assyria was just one country were Israel was located at that time.
“…that are near…” there are two schools of thought on this phrase, (1) it refers to the scant numbers of the northern kingdom that were attached to Judah (2) it refers to the house of Israel still located in Assyria. Either way, Israel was not in Babylon with Judah. And notice that Daniel describes Israel as “afar off” and “near.” They were pretty well scattered at this time. You’ll also notice in Acts 2:39 that Peter was still using the term “afar off” when referring to Israel and Caiaphas used the term “scattered abroad” in Jn. 11:52. From Daniel to Peter the status of Israel hadn’t changed.
James 1:1, however, takes it a step future, he wrote: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad greeting.” Why did James say 12 tribes? The Bible says that the number of Jews who returned with Ezra was 42,360, (Neh. 7:66) many Jews chose to remain in Babylon. Fact is, when you read Jer. 29:4-11, conditions were not all that bad in Babylon for the Jews, they were enjoying the good life. This may explain why it’s estimated that only 5% of Judah actually returned with Ezra. When James says “twelve tribes scattered abroad” that’s an accurate statement: ten by force, two by choice. The vast majority of both Israel and Judah were living outside the land of Israel in the first century.
If the Israelites returned from their Assyrian captivity along with the Jews from their Babylonian captivity as many claim, then why is it that more than five centuries later James is addressing the 10 tribes of the house of Israel and the 2 tribes of the house of Judah as SCATTERED ABROAD? Why do many claim that all Israel returned from their captivities when the Bible says they did not? Who is wrong, James living in the first century knowing that the greater body of Israelites NEVER returned to the land of Israel or the so called Bible scholars who claim that Israel did return from their Assyrian captivity? The Bible leaves no room for confusion on this subject.
Side Note: Years ago I started looking up all the cities mentioned in Ezra to see whether they were located in Judah or Israel. I didn’t complete the investigation but as far as I got, I found only 2 cities, Bethel and A-i, (Ez. 2:28) that were located just over the Judean border. They belonged to Israel and there were only 223 people with Ezra that came from those 2 cities, 223 Israelites. I believe the total number of Israelites was greater but I can’t prove it.
Now…if I wanted to “split-hairs” and impose “strict rules of literal interpretation” I could say, and prove with Scripture, that only 223 members of the northern kingdom returned with Ezra. Again, if estimates say that only 5% of Judah returned what percentage of Israelites returned? According to the Apocrypha, II Esdras13:40, “Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. (41) But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, (42) That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.” I know that the Apocrypha is not considered a reliable source, but no matter where you turn, Bible, Apocrypha, secular historians, Jewish scholars, etc, they all say the same thing; the northern kingdom did not return with Ezra. On this point the Bible and Apocrypha are in total agreement. Despite the overwhelming evidence some Christians still take an opposing point of view.
Nachmanides estimates that 12,000 members of the northern kingdom returned with Ezra. He wrote that when the census was taken it mentioned only 30,360 – 12,000 short of the original 42,360. He believes that they weren’t mentioned because they represented the other tribes. That 12,000 figure represents a mere fraction of the population of the northern kingdom at that time. If 30,360 represents 5% of Judah then the 12,000 figure no doubt represents less than 1% of the northern kingdom. Nachmanides wrote:
“This second redemption was not meant for the other tribes. Look at the genealogy of the tribe of Rueben in this book of Chronicles and you will find that Ezra gives their familial connect-ions until he reaches Berra who was exiled by Tiglathphilser the King of Assyria. (1 st. Chronicles 5). He then stops. All of those other tribes whose family trees he mentions he also does not continue with after the Assyrian Exile.” The genealogies of 5 tribes are mentioned in I Chronicles, 7 are missing; still believe “all Israel” returned with Ezra?
Acts 9:15 states that Paul would “…bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” Somewhere in Paul’s journeys he brought the Gospel to Israel. Who and where the 10 tribes were was common knowledge in the first century. There was no debate or discussion on the issue back then and that’s why there’s little mention of it in the NT. Today, things are a little different, we don’t have their perspective.
The Homogenization of Israel
Some articles I’ve read over the years state that the Jews of today represent “all Israel” and over the centuries all 12 tribes became one large unrecognizable, amalgamated mass. I remember a Messianic Jew once telling me that he didn’t know what tribe he was from. The Bible doesn’t allow for this:
“So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe : for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. Numbers 36:7.
“Neither shall the inheritance removefrom one tribe to another tribe ; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance. Judah received the Sceptre.” Numbers 36:9.
The right to make laws, produce kings and the Messiah would come from Judah. (Gen. 49:10) No other tribe could share in Judah’s birthright. And, by the same token, Judah could not share in the other birthrights/inheritances given to the other tribes. All of us are aware that Judah fulfilled their birthright but what about the other birthrights given to the other tribes mentioned in Gen. 48 & 49 and Deut. 33?
If Judah represents “all Israel” and we’re living in the “last days” then Judah would’ve fulfilled the birthright given to Ephraim and Manasseh and the inheritances of the other tribes. But history will prove that they did no such thing. Not only is it logistically impossible for one tribe to fulfill all 12 birthrights it’s also in violation of biblical law. Judah could only fulfill Judah’s birthright.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the hearth of the children to their fathers, least I come and smite the earth [erets: land/country, Strong’s 776] with a curse.” Mal. 4:5-6.
This is an unusual commission for a prophet to say the least. It almost sounds as if God is sending Elijah calling for a family reunion on a national level. This promise isn’t addressed to the Church but to Israel on a national level — and perhaps the Church within Israel. However, his appearance on the world scene will, no doubt, have a major impact on the Church. His work will be one of restoration. In Matt 17:11, Jesus said, “Elias truly shall first come and restore all things.” This includes a national as well as spiritual restoration. Why the need for a national restoration? Why are the fathers and children estranged? Who are the fathers and who are the children? Again, to reiterate on this commission, this is the only place in the entire Bible where this kind of restoration is mentioned. A condition will exist in the last days between the fathers and children of Israel that have never existed before in history. The children of Israel need to recognize who their fathers are and be reunited. God said that if this recognition does not take place, He would smite the land (not earth) of Israel with a curse.
The fathers are the patriarchs of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his 12 sons. The children are the descendents of the 12 patriarchs. Who, at this point in time, don’t know who their fathers are. “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.” Hos. 2:6.
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.” Isa. 62:2.
Elijah is commissioned to reunite the children of Israel back to their historical/national patriarchal fathers. I say children of Israel because the children of Judah don’t need this restoration because they, through out the centuries, have never lost sight of their national/racial heritage. They’ve never lost sight of who they are the descendents of — Israel has. It’s time for the “hedge” to be removed and restore the “old name.” Will Elijah set the stage for Israel and Judah to come together and recognize their broken brotherhood after nearly 2000 years of separation?
Jesus said that Elijah would restore “all things.” Judah needs to recognize who their Messiah is while Israel needs to recognize who their fathers are. “Restore all things” means one thing for Judah and another of Israel.
The Kingdom of God
“And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, “AND” teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.” Acts 28:30-31.
The key word here is “and.” The Gospel was a two fold message back in the early Church. The “Kingdom of God” or “Gospel of the Kingdom” speaks of the Temporal/Racial aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant which is what most of this article is about.
“In the Book of Acts the Kingdom of God was still the general formula for the substance of Christian teaching…” Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. II, p. 855.
Notice it says “was.” The implication in this statement is that the Kingdom of God aspect of the Gospel has little substance today. Which is true. It could almost be called “The Lost Gospel.”
The Gospel of “The Kingdom of God” is almost a lost message. Very few churches teach on it. Or perhaps I should say, seldom teach it correctly. If taught it’s usually from a Judah representing all 12 tribes perspective. The things “which concern the Lord Jesus Christ” deal with the message of salvation, the Cross. They’re not one and the same message. Closely related, but not the same. Many Christians believe that the message of salvation is the Gospel — which is true, but it’s half the Gospel, as the Hastings Dictionary and Acts 28 points out. Romans 9, 10 & 11 address kingdom promises. The purpose of this article is to give the Christian reader a fuller and more complete understanding of the Bible, how not to confuse Church promises with Kingdom promises. How not to confuse promises addressing Israel with Judah and vice versa. Unfortunately, this confusion dominates Christendom today.
Will the Real Jehovah’s Witnesses Please Stand Up?
Despite the claims of the Watch Tower Society, they are not the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” cited in Isa. 43:10, 12, 44:40. When you read these verses in context the real Jehovah’s Witnesses is not a religious organization it’s the house of Israel. When God fulfills His promises/prophecies/birth rights to Israel, those fulfillments would serve as a witness to the world that He is able to keep His Word. To claim that they’ve been suspended or transferred entirely over to the Church is a challenge to God’s faithfulness. Unfortunately, the greatest opponents to these truths are Christians who don’t understand scriptures. Rather than proclaim them fulfilled many go out of their way to suppress or deny their fulfillment by claiming they’ve been postponed, transferred, or simply rendered null and void over the centuries. Inadvertently, these teachings are saying that God could not fulfill his promises to Israel. A lie Satan would certainly like the world to believe — and there’s some Churches out there teaching it.
There is RACE and there is GRACE in scripture. The Kingdom of God aspect of the Gospel deals with a RACE of people. GRACE deals with “whosoever will, let him come.” The Gospel is open to anyone who believes, the Kingdom of God is restricted to a specific group people. H. G. Wells thought the Bible should be rewritten to include all races of people not just Israelites. If Mr. Wells had his way he would have turned the Bible into another science fiction novel.
When Jesus returns and establishes His Millennium Kingdom He surrounds Himself with the twelve tribes of Israel. Now, there is a difference between Jew and Gentile. The offer of “who so ever will” no longer applies. It’s restricted to a specific few. Why do you think it is that the 144,000 are all Israelites? Why the Two Witnesses Israelites? What happened to “who so ever will?” Not being a descendant of Abraham holds no restriction on who enters the Church, i.e., the body of Christ. But in the kingdom promises there are restrictions. The kingdom promises only apply to the physical descendants of Abraham. Jesus will only surround Himself, for the most part, with Israelites, the physical descendents of Abraham, during the Millennium.
The Nobleman’s Long Journey
Luke 19:1 “And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”
When Jesus said “For the son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” why did the people think that the kingdom of God would immediately appear, so-much-so that Jesus had to speak a parable about a nobleman taking a long journey indicating a delay in their expectations? Jesus was quoting from a Restoration/Millennial chapter in the book of Ezekiel:
“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.” Ezek. 34:16.
When the people heard Jesus quote this verse they thought the 10 tribes were about to be brought back to the land of Israel and the kingdom reestablished. You’ll notice that Jesus didn’t correct them on their interpretation — they were quite correct — He corrected them on their timing just as He corrected the Disciples when they asked Him about restoring the kingdom. Again, it should also be pointed out that if all 12 tribes returned with Ezra that would be considered as the kingdom restored. But the Bible makes no such claim. Nowhere in the book of Ezra nor Nehemiah does it speak of a restored kingdom of Israel. Simply put, the parable of the nobleman’s long journey indicates a long delay in the establishment of the kingdom of God and return of the 10 tribes. Many Christians who believe that the Jews represent “all Israel” don’t take Luke 19 into consideration. They don’t understand the parable of the nobleman (Jesus) taking His long journey. This parable clearly indicates that the 10 tribes did not return.
The Two Earthen Vessels
In Jeremiah 18 the prophet is told to go to the potter’s house where God would speak to him. As Jeremiah watched the potter “…the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” (v. 4) The first vessel represents the house of Israel that was already exiled in Assyria. This parable speaks of Israel being reshaped and reformed into a vessel that God would be pleased with. “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” (v.6).
In Jeremiah 19 it’s a different story. He’s instructed to take another earthen vessel which represents “…the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah” (v.13) and throw it to the ground and shatter it. “Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee. And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again: (V.10-11.)
Read Jeremiah 18 & 19. There’s no mistaking the contrast between the two earthen vessels: One would be reworked and the other would be shattered. Israel would fulfill one prophecy by being reformed into a vessel that God could use. Judah on the other hand would be a shattered/scattered people.
“And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.” Jer 15:4.
“And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.” Jer. 24:9.
For Judah it would be, “And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:” (Deut. 28:65) For Israel, after they were relocated in the Appointed Place, would “…dwell in a place of their own, and move no more.” (II Sam. 7:10.) See the contrast, the conflict between the two? What was foretold concerning Judah was the exact opposite for Israel.
These prophecies concerning Judah would find their fulfillment beginning with the Jewish-Roman War in 70 AD to May, 1948. And those who hold to a Judah representing “all Israel” mentality would be forced to admit that Judah could not, and history proves that they did not, fulfill both prophecies. It’s one or the other, but certainly not both.
Israel in the Last Days
“In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.” Ezek. 17:23
Ezekiel 17 speaks of the reestablishment of the throne of David, a subject I’m not going to expound upon here. But verse 23 gives a description of the house of Israel in the last days. Where it says “and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing” and “in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.” What are these verses speaking of? God’s blessings upon Israel, the birthright promises when fulfilled, will attract members of other races and join with them. Israel, in the last days, would appear to be a multi-racial, polyglot nation(s). This attraction of other races will continue into, and throughout, the Millennium. For a clue as to who Israel is today, look for nation(s) that attract a wide verity of ethnic/racial peoples. There are only a few nations in the world today that fit this description.
“For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.” Isa. 14:1.
“And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.” Isa. 61:5.
Does this fit the current conditions of Judah today? Do many races “cleave” to the Jews today? The answer is a resounding NO! The Jews of today are, for the most part, rejected by most races, the exact opposite of this prophecy! Many races have little or no contact with Judah.
The American-Israel Connection
At Midnight, May 14th. 1948, (6 PM Washington time) Israel announced their Declaration of Independence. Eleven minutes later (6:11 PM Washington time) President Harry Truman signed a letter of recognition announcing America’s recognition of the newly established nation. Truman, more than any other politician at the time, pushed for a Jewish homeland.
Said Truman: “Today, not tomorrow, we must do all that is humanly possible to provide a haven for all those who can be grasped from the hands of Nazi butchers. Free lands must be opened to them.” Politicians in Washington today are pressuring Israel to give up land to their enemies — something Truman never would have done out of principal and rightness. Want to get God angry? Divide HIS land and give it to the enemies of HIS people. (Dan. 11:19, Joel 3:2) And that’s what some in Washington are pressuring Israel to do.
The first General-Secretary of the United Nations, Trugve Halvdab Lie of Norway, later said: “I think we can safely say that if there had been no Harry Truman, there would be no Israel today.”
When Truman was reminded that his decision to recognize Israel may affect oil from Saudi Arabia, he said: “I will handle this problem not in the light of oil, but in the light of justice.” In spite of strong opposition from some of Truman’s advisors against supporting the rebirth of Israel Truman reminded them that his constituency was Christian, not Muslim. How many in Washington would say this today?
The next time someone says “America is not in the Bible” remind them of these historical facts. No nation would, or could, accomplish this feat at that time. God used an American president to fulfill a biblical prophecy — a VERY important biblical prophecy. Today, unfortunately, we are reversing ourselves.
To future drive home the point when the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Isaac Halevi Herzog, met with Truman in 1949, he told him;
“God put you in your mother’s womb so that you could be the instrument to bring about the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years.” And went on to compare Truman to Cyrus. Truman reportedly wept at the rabbi’s comparison.
“Some years later, former President Truman and his friend Eddie Jacobson
visited the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Jacobson told the
president of the seminary’s position that Truman helped create the State of
Israel. Truman said, “What do you mean, “helped create”!? I am Cyrus, I
am Cyrus!” “Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel” by Michael T. Benson, pages 189-190.
Ask yourself this question: Who had a more difficult task, Cyrus, who allowed the Jews to return after 70 years of captivity in Babylon? Or, Truman who was instrumental in re-establishing the state of Israel after 2000 years of non-existence and 2000 years of Jewish exile? And remember, the Jews were scattered all over the world during the Truman administration, not contained in one geographical area as it was in the days of Cyrus.
Note: Below you’ll see President Truman’s prepared acceptance announcement where he crossed out “Jewish state” and wrote “State of Israel.” Truman was caught off guard by their choice of names. Truman knew enough about the Bible to know that the nation of Judah was being reborn not the nation of Israel.
The Gog Magog War
Despite the fact that there are several similarities between the Gog conflict and Armageddon, I don’t believe they are one and the same. Concerning the Gog Magog War one fact that stands out is that in Ezekiel 37 both Judah and Israel are mentioned. In Ezekiel 38 & 39 the house of Judah is never mentioned — only the house of Israel.
When you read Daniel 9, Matt. 24, II Thes. 2, and various prophecies in Joel, Zechariah and Isaiah concerning Armageddon it becomes abundantly clear that Judah plays a pivotal role in these end-time events while Israel is hardly mentioned. If you read Zechariah 12 the words “Judah” and “Jerusalem” are repeated a number of times. The exact opposite is true in Ezek. 38 & 39. In other words, Armageddon is an event that Judah has to deal with and the Gog Magog War is an event that Israel has to deal with.
One verse that doesn’t fit the Middle East is found in Ezek. 38:11, where it says; “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,” Verse 14 says, “In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shall thou not know it?”
“Without walls..?” Reuters reported back in 1/25/08; “About 45 km (30 miles) away from Gaza, Israel’s 720 km (430-mile) part-wall, part-fence around Palestinian communities in the West Bank must be the most famous security barrier in the world today.” Consider the fact that the Berlin Wall was only 96 miles long. So much for “without walls.”
In a recent (5/24/11) Fox News interview the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu told Sean Hannity that Hamas (with aid from Hezbollah) has 10,000 rockets aimed at, and has already launched, 6000 rockets against Israel.
Does that sound like “at rest” and “dwell safely?” I’ve heard somewhere that since 1948 there has been 4000 separate terrorist attacks committed against the Israelis. I can’t verify these numbers but hardly a month goes by where Israel isn’t in the news experiencing a terrorist attack. Speaking for myself, while walking down Ben Yehuda St. in the center of Jerusalem back in 1979, a terrorist bomb exploded about 10 feet from where I was standing killing 3 people in front of me and I caught a piece of shrapnel in the chest. Fifty-eight people, including myself, were injured. I remember trying to pull the shrapnel out of my chest, but couldn’t. A man, who was walking right in front of me, was killed and his wife, who was closest to the explosion, was thrown over her husband’s body by the blast and landed in the street. I remember seeing a number of people collapsing on the sidewalk and street. And I can still remember the screams — which were as loud as the explosion itself. I remember a young Israel girl running past me, screaming in horror, her face covered with blood. Another young Israeli girl walked towards me, staggering in shock and about ready to collapse. I took hold of her left arm and helped carry her to an ambulance. On another occasion I was rudely awakened at about 6 AM when a bomb exploded on a bus near my apartment. Doesn’t sound like “rest” and “safety” to me.
So spare me your emails accusing me of “heresy” or “contradicting the word of God.” I’m only telling you what I experienced and that was 30 years ago and I lived in Israel for 2 years so I know a little about what I’m saying. A lot more has happened since then — a lot more. What has been happening in Israel since 1948 does NOT fit Ezek. 38:11, and quite frankly, never has. There are many “walls” “gates” and “bars” found in Israel. Security has high priority over there. Any package left unattended is immediately brought to the attention of IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) or police. There may not be a Second Amendment in Israel but you wouldn’t know that by the number of Israeli citizens that carry concealed weapons.
What motivates the battle of Armageddon is spiritual supremacy over the earth, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” Rev. 19:19.
What motivates the Gog Magog conflict is greed; “To take a spoil…” “cattle and goods” “silver and gold.” (Ezek. 38:12-13.)
Daniel 11:33 mentions the word “spoil” but this speaks of dividing the land of Israel for “gain.” v. 39.
In her article, “The Coming War of Gog and Magog, an Islamic Invasion? Jennifer Rast wrote: “The first reason God gives for the invasion in Ezekiel 38 is a desire by the coalition to cover the Jewish land and wipe them off the face of the earth. Urged on by a hatred of the Jewish people they will seek to destroy them and the nation of Israel.”
Where in Ezekiel 38 & 39 does it say this? Where in these chapters does it mention Jews, Jewish people, Jewish land, or house of Judah? Answer: Complete silence. Nowhere is Judah mentioned and nowhere is genocide implied. Ms. Rath fails to differentiate between the house of Israel and the house of Judah in her article. Judah is mentioned in Ezekiel 37 but no where in 38 & 39, therefore, has nothing to do with the Gog Magog War. In other words “It’s not their fight.” Or, to put it in modern-day American colloquialism: “Judah doesn’t have a dog in this fight.”
The Gog Magog War isn’t about killing Jews, that’s not in their agenda. They’re in it for the money, the spoil.
I believe the Gog Magog War and Armageddon are two totally different events taking place in two totally different geographical locations involving two totally different groups of people. I have a suspicion that Armageddon and the Gog Magog war take place simultaneously, one against Israel and the other against Judah. Other key words that are never mentioned in Ezekiel 38 & 39 are, Jerusalem, temple, man of sin, Valley of Jezreel, Megiddo, Judah, house of David and a host of other words that relate to the Middle East. Yet these words are oft-repeated when referring to Armageddon in other books in the Bible.
I realize there are a lot of difficulties presented in this scenario. The “mountains of Israel” are mentioned four times in these chapters which seems to point to the land of Canaan but the term “dwelleth safely” also appears four times which seems to point to a different direction because the state of Israel hasn’t dwelt safely since 1948. The Israelis have fought four major wars for their existence and they have had to deal with terrorism on a daily basis for the past 60 years. Wealth and prosperity are also mentioned in these chapters which the current State of Israel does not have. They rely heavily on US aid (3 billion) every year to keep their economy afloat. Something doesn’t fit here, something’s missing. If Ezekiel 38 & 39 is speaking of the Jews then all other prophecies should harmonize, but they don’t. They’re disjointed, incomplete, distorted. Simply put, they don’t add up. Why?
Another conflict can be found in Ezek. 39:25 where it says: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name.” “Now?” When is “now?” The house of Israel returns to the land of Israel AFTER the Gog Magog War. The Gog Magog War takes place while the house of Israel is still in exile and needs to be returned to the Middle East. In other words the Gog Magog War occurs BEFORE the house of Israel returns to the land of Israel. Again, you’ll notice that it isn’t the house of Judah that needs to be returned but the house of Israel. If the Gog Magog War is against the house of Israel, which it is, and the house of Israel is currently outside the Middle East, then many Christians are “Putting the Cart before the Horse,” because they read Ezek. 38 & 39 thinking that the house of Israel is first brought back to their ancestral homeland, settle in, and then are attacked by the forces of Gog Magog. But Ezekiel presents the exact opposite scenario: FIRST, Israel is attacked by Gog and THEN they return to their homeland. Again, this speaks of Israel, not Judah. Because many think Judah is Israel they assume that the Gog Magog War will be fought in the Middle East — that’s NOT what Ezekiel is saying. Pause here and go back and read these two chapters again and pay close attention to what Ezekiel is saying and follow the sequence of events. If you do you’ll realize that the Gog Magog War cannot occur in the Middle East. It’ll occur in the Appointed Place where the house of Israel is currently located.
Another point to consider: The forces of Gog, which are located north (Ezek. 38:15) of Israel, “ascend” (Ezek. 38:9) If taken literally, if you “ascend” you’re traveling further north, the opposite direction of Israel, which is south of Gog. If Gog is invading Judah they would “descend.” It’s always “up north” and “down south” and Gog is traveling “north.” They’re “ascending.” Again, to add credence to this scenario, Judah is never mentioned in the Gog Magog War.
“Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm…” Ezek. 38:9.
“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; v. 11.
“ And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel…” v. 16.
“And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel”: v. 39.
The Jews use the term “go up” when traveling to the land of Israel. The word they use for someone immigrating to Israel is עלה, Aliyah (Strong’s 5927) which literally means: Ascent. It’s a figure of speech, a Jewish euphemism. Other races, i.e., Gog Magog, however do not use Jewish euphemisms in their speech. When Gog says “go up” it’s literal. When an expatriated American plans to return to the U.S., they never say, “I’m going up to America.” It’s not in our lexicon, we don’t talk that way. Israelis on the other hand use this jargon all the time when returning to Israel.
There are many examples of this in the Bible, both Old and New Testament. Example: “up to Jerusalem” (Acts 15:2, 21:4-12-15) and “down from Judaea” (Acts 12:19, 15:1, 21:10.)
Acts 15:1, And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.
In spite of the fact that Greece is north of Israel, the Bible says, “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast.” Jn. 12:20.
The first time this terminology appears in Scripture is found in Gen. 45:9; “Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not.”
How can the term “mountains of Israel” be explained in these two chapters if it’s not speaking of the land of Canaan? The only scenario I can think of is that they’re called the mountains of Israel, not geographically, but by inheritance.
What I mean is this; the name “Israel” belongs to Ephraim and Manasseh. That name was given to them by Jacob before he died in Egypt (Gen. 48:16.) What ever land they currently possess carries their name. If there are mountains in that land can they be referred to as the “mountains of Israel?” Legally and technically speaking: Yes.
When a nation takes possession of a territory they have a tendency to stamp their name on it: US Virgin Islands, Belgian Congo, French Indochina, French Guiana,
Dutch West Indies, American Samoa, British Columbia, a name chosen by Queen Victoria herself, which explains why the capitol of British Columbia is Victoria, even she wanted her name stamped on it. (Note: The name “Columbia” is the name of a river in that territory.)
Is this principal being used in Ezekiel’s “mountains of Israel” prophecy? Only time will tell. Could this principal be used? Absolutely! Why didn’t Ephraim and Manasseh rename the “Appointed Place” Israel? “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.” (Hos. 2:6.) They don’t know who they are, “and thou shalt be called by a new name.” (Isa. 62:2.) And because they don’t know who they are, the “Appointed Place” has a different name. Israel is blind to who they are nationally and racially but they know who the Messiah is. Judah is blind to who the Messiah is but know who they are nationally/racially. “Blindness” on the part of Israel is a two-edged sword here.
“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.” (Isa. 62:2.) Are the Jews called by a “new name” today? No. They’ve been called Jews from II Kings 16:16 to present day. On the other hand, Israel is not called Israel today. They’ve been given a “new name.” And the land they currently possess carries a “new name” — but they are still Israel.
The world in general doesn’t know who Israel is today — and Israel today doesn’t know who they are: “I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:” Deut. 32:26.
Their “remembrance,” the ability to identify them, has been erased. Judah on the other hand has never lost their identity. Everyone in the world today knows who Judah is. Deut. 32:26 does not, in any way, fit Judah. Has the “remembrance” of Judah/Jews “ceased from among men” today? No. The very fact that there’s a wide variety of opinions as to who and where “lost” Israel is today proves that Deut. 32:26 has come to pass. Many search for the “lost” tribes of Israel. If Judah represents “all Israel” why bother searching?
They can be called the mountains of Israel via the name inherited by Ephraim and Manasseh. Israel is not only the name of a territory in the Middle East it’s also the name carried by two tribes. When Ezekiel speaks of the mountains of Israel in chapters 38 & 39 is he speaking of a geographical location in the Middle East or is he speaking of a tribal inheritance which carries that name? To put it another way, Alaska and Hawaii could not be called “America” until they became US possessions and later states.
By the same token, the “Appointed Place,” (II Sam. 7:10) where Ephraim and Manasseh would be relocated, could not be called “Israel” until they took possession of it — just like the United States took possession of Alaska and Hawaii. Consider the fact that Alaska was once owned by Russia and considered Russia. Now Alaska is an American state and called America. Can the same not be said of the “Appointed Place” for Ephraim and Manasseh? If not, why not? Alaska and Hawaii is “America” today just as the “Appointed Place” is Israel today.
There‘re seven points that appear in these chapters that point away from Judah and the Middle East:
(2) Peace and safety.
(3) No mention of the house of Judah in this conflict, only the house of Israel.
(4) The direction Gog travels.
(5) The word “mountains” are mentioned five times in reference to the Gog war. The word “valley” is mentioned three times in reference to Armageddon, Joel 3: 2, 12, and 14.
(6) The armies involve in Armageddon represent “all nations.” With Gog Magog it’s, “bands.” (crowds of troops, Strong’s #102.)
(7) Jesus personally appears to put a stop to the battle of Armageddon; no personal appearance is mentioned in the Gog Magog conflict.
One other point to consider this: when God intervenes in the Gog Magog conflict the end result is a national awakening – not a spiritual awakening. In other words, they don’t come to the realization that Jesus is the Messiah – Israel already knows this. The revelation is that God intervened because they are the house of Israel. When Jesus intervenes at the battle of Armageddon the Jews realize that Jesus is the Messiah, when God intervenes at the Gog Magog battle Israel realizes that they are Israel. Two totally different revelations. Spiritual for Judah, national for Israel.
“Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.”
Is there a possibility that the Gog Magog War may not take place in the Middle East but in the “Appointed Place” or “Wilderness” that was given to Ephraim and Manasseh? The possibility is very real. This may explain why various descriptions found in Ezekiel 38 & 39 do not fit the current conditions in the Middle East and the House of Judah.
What is the purpose of this article? As a young Christian back in the 1970’s I remember reading the OT and many times saying to myself, “I wonder why God never kept that promise to Israel.” At that time, in my way of thinking, the Jews represented “all Israel” and “all Israel” was represented by the Jews. I know now that’s not the case.
I believe that a proper understanding of the distinction between the two houses and the role they play in eschatology will make the study of the end-times much clearer.
There are three main players in the Bible: The house of Israel, the house of Judah and the Church. And it is very easy to confuse which promises belong to which group. Some Church denominations have stolen so many promises addressed to Israel they’re guilty of grand larceny — all the while thinking those promises rightfully belong to them. Statements made in 1 Peter, Galatians, Romans chapters 9, 10 & 11, and other portions of the NT, compounds this confusion because these books, or chapters, are addressing expatriated Israelites and not the Church.
It’s time to stop limiting the Holy One of Israel through a limited view of God’s plan for His people and who His people are. Many opinions concerning eschatology and the role the Jews play in end time events have become so entrenched, so solidly fixed in Church doctrine that any other point of view is dismissed out-of-hand without consideration. We may be making void the word of God through our fixed traditions and interpretations. If the Jews could make void the word of God through their traditions don’t for a minute think that Christians cannot do likewise. The notion that the Jews of today represent all 12 tribes has become one of the central pillars of most Christian denominations, but this pillar rests on a foundation of error.
In this article I attempt to “connect the dots” and cover areas that are not normally discussed. Any book written that maintains the premise that the Jews of today represent “all Israel” will not only give an incomplete view of end time prophecy but much of what the OT is saying. If you doubt the veracity of this statement, read the birthrights recorded in Gen. 48 & 49 and Deut 33, and tell me where the Jews fulfilled them, all of them. The problem with many books dealing with eschatology written today is that they’re nothing more than a rehash of what has been written before. It’s been reduced to a case of authors quoting authors quoting authors as a source of authority and legitimacy — but not based on an empirical study of Scripture. And their interpretations are considered “orthodox” and to disagree with them is considered near-heretical.
No one will argue the fact that the Jews play an important role in God’s over all plan in eschatology, but to better understand Scripture let’s not lose sight of the fact that for the past 2000 years God has been doing something with the other half of His kingdom. Fulfilling all His promises and prophecies to His people while some Christians claim that they’ve been postponed until the Millennium, transferred to the Church, or fell by the wayside over time.
I believe that God kept His promises to His people, both Judah and Israel. It must be remembered that Jewish scholars, historians and theologians, for the past 2000-plus years, have gone on record stating that the Jews of today only represent two tribes. Christians who agree with them are attacked by other Christians and at the same time never level a word of criticism against Jewish scholars for making these very same claims! I don’t understand the logic in this way of thinking. It’s a double standard to say the least. In other words, Christians who never criticize Jewish scholars for claiming that that the Jews of today represent only two tribes means that they, by their silence, agree with them. And at the same time criticize Christians for agreeing with them! Convoluted logic? Absolutely! To be blunt, it’s dishonest. The Jews are correct because they’re Jews and the Christians are wrong because they’re Christians. Makes sense, right?
If one cannot make an accurate distinction between the house of Israel and the house of Judah in prophecy, things can get a little confusing. Some Christians become spiritual contortionists in their attempts to make the Jews fulfill prophecies that were never addressed to them. If you can’t make an accurate distinction between Israel and Judah in prophecy you really should stay out of the arena of eschatology and leave it to someone who does.
Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, Grant Jeffery, John Hagee, David Reagan, Sean Osborne and a host of other popular prophecy teachers today present their views on eschatology with a “Jews represent all Israel” position. And these prophecy teachers are influencing millions of Christians.
“I can never be too thankful to the Almighty that in my youth he used the late Professor Wilson to show me the difference between the two houses. The very understanding of this difference is the KEY by which almost the entire Bible becomes intelligible, and I cannot state too strongly that the man who has not yet seen that Israel of the Scripture is totally distinct from the Jewish people, is yet in the very infancy, the mere alphabet, of Biblical study, and that to this day the meaning of seven-eighths of the Bible is shut to his understanding.”
Prof. C.A.L. Totten, Yale University (1851-1908)
To contact Jeff at JBINVT912@aol.com