We left the promises in our last post at Yacob. He had twelve sons who of course fathered the twelve tribes of Israel. The promises were always given to the birthright son–the firstborn son who inherited the double portion so he could care for his parents in their old age. So far that birthright has passed from Abraham to Isaac and to Yacob. It should then have passed to Reuben being the oldest son, but was lost to him when Reuben defiled his father’s bed by sleeping with Yacob’s concubine, Bilhah. Instead it was given to Joseph as the oldest son of Yacob’s other wife, Rachel.
Joseph had two half Egyptian sons: Manasseh, the eldest, and Ephraim. But instead of bestowing the birthright on Manasseh, Yacob crossed his hands so his right hand landed upon the head of Ephraim. Despite Joseph’s objections, the prophetic plan of YHWH was that Ephraim would receive the double or larger portion.
The promises made to the brothers were:
- Because they were half Egyptian they were adopted as Yacob’s own and given his name making them equal with the other twelve sons. In future lists of the tribes, Manesseh and Ephraim are among them and Ephraim’s name used interchangeably with Israel, Samaria, Yacob, and other names for Israel.
- They were to grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth (GEN. 48:16).
- Manasseh was to become a great people.
- Ephraim was to be a MULTITUDE OF NATIONS.
- Through them Israel was to be blessed (GEN. 48:19-20).
Now Yacob comes to his deathbed with his sons gathered about. Yudah the lion’s whelp was given:
- the sceptre.
- the praise of his brethren,
- the neck of his enemies, everything royal, including that all the children of Israel should bow down to his kingly line.
Why Yudah? It was a blessing upon him for restraining his brothers from killing Joseph, convincing them instead to sell the boy to the Ishmaelites (GEN. 37:36-3), and later taking responsibility for Benyamin’s safe return, even offering himself as a replacement when Benyamin faced prison in Egypt. YHWH never overlooks even the smallest good deed.
As the birthright holder, Yacob prophesies about Joseph that:
- he is a fruitful bough whose branches run over a wall;
- he has been shot at and hated by archers (his brothers), but YHWH made his bow strong;
- From him comes the Shepherd, the stone of Israel (more about this in later posts);
- he shall be blessed with offspring.
There is a crown mentioned, and a separation from his brethren. Joseph then was to be the father of the promised nations. These abundant blessings were bestowed upon Joseph for submitting graciously to YHWH’s plans for him in Egypt. If he hadn’t, none of Israel would have survived the drought in Canaan.
It was prayed over Ruth at her marriage to Boaz that YHWH would make her like Rachel and Leah which two did build the house of Israel (RUTH 4:11). These sisters comprised two families: Rachel bestowed with the birthright and Leah with the sceptre.
The descendants of both women’s families remained together for a time as one nation: in Goshen; in slavery; in the wilderness; as they crossed the Jordan, drove out the Canaanites, demanded a king; and as subjects under Saul, David, and Shelomoh (Solomon). When then they were divided, a son of the royal sceptre family remained king over one kingdom, and a son of Joseph, an Ephraimite, became king over the other kingdom. Remember a crown was hinted at among the blessings of Joseph (GEN. 49:26). Joseph gained a crown by default because Shelomoh broke YHWH’s covenant by taking strange wives. Just as no good deed is overlooked by YHWH, nor are the bad ones.
Shelomoh’s son, King Rehoboam of the southern kingdom, sends his tax collector north. The only things he collects are rocks in the head when the people of King Yeroboam up there stone him to death. The division of the two families is declared to be of YHWH by the prophet Ahiyah (I KINGS 12:19-24).
The ten-tribed kingdom of the north retains, by YHWH’s appointment, the national name of Israel. The other kingdom became known as the House of Yudah. This is ironic, for although Israel is today yet hidden, it remains Israel. Ex-idolators and former apostates, they generally worship YHWH and accept their Messiah despite not knowing they are Israel (trust me in this for now). But the Jews (Yudah) today, as a race and a nation, knowing their origins, fail to accept their Saviour but call themselves Israel!
The separation and independence of the birthright and sceptre now complete, one is destined to become many nations, the other to bring forth the Messiah. Yaroboam made calves to worship, appointed priests not of Levi, devised unholy feast days, and sacrificed to the calves. He and his kingdom were therefore cursed to be uprooted and scattered (I KINGS 14:15-16).
The Levites showed their displeasure at Yaroboam’s idolatrous deeds by leaving the northern kingdom to go to Yudah and Yerushalem. There they joined their fellow Levites and the two other tribes of Yudah and Benyamin left to Reheboam. NO OTHER NAMES BUT OF THESE THREE TRIBES ARE EVER USED IN PROPHECY OR HISTORY CONCERNING THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM.
From this point Scripture separates Yudah and Israel. Even today they remain separate. Both kingdoms and their people are called by other names with which we should be familiar if we are to understand prophecy. Yerushalem and Yudah are used for the Jews. The people of (the northern kingdom of) Israel are NEVER called Jews in the Bible except by uninformed historians and un-Scriptural commentators of which there are many today, so beware, those interested in religious matters.
The first time Yudah is referred to as ‘Jews’ is in II KINGS 16:6 when King Rezin of Syria drove the Jews out of Elath and besieged the Jews at Yerushalem. Israel was with Rezin–the besieger; the Jews were the besieged. In point of fact, when these original manuscripts were written, the word Jew had not even been coined. They used ‘Yudahites’ or ‘Yudeans’. Jews for today’s Jewish people was first used in the Middle Ages.
Names used for Israel include: Yacob (YER.31:11); Samaria, Israel’s permanent capital (HOS. 8:5-6); Ephraim, as the birthright kingdom (HOS. 7:1); Joseph, as the tribe from which the birthright son sprang (ZECH. 10:6-7); and Rachel, as mother of the birthright son (YER.31:15). HOSHIYAH (HOSEA) 6:4 diffentiates between the two nations: O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Yudah, what shall I do unto thee? As does Hoshiyah in 5:12:15: Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Yudah as rottennness… There is no way this could refer to Ephraim and his uncle Yudah as both had been dead for a thousand years.
When King Rezin and Israel was besieging King Ahaz and the Jews at Yerushalem, Isayah (7:8-9) prophesied to Ahaz about Ephraim’s end: …within threescore and five (65) years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. That was in 659 BC (I use the excellent Bible Chronology of Philip Mauro). Ephraim’s end was in 640 BC. Yerushalem was taken and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 507 BC, 152 years later. The 65 year span was not when Shalmaneser took the Israelites to settle in Assyria long before (II KINGS 18:9-11), but when Esar-haddon later deported and settled Assyrians to Samaria. These deportees later became known as Samaritans.
Israel and the Jews were the sons of different mothers, half-brothers only. The adoption by Yacob of Ephraim and Manesseh, because they were half Egyptian, in order to have the birthright conferred upon them is referred to by Paul in ROMANS 9:4: Who are the Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenant, and the giving of the Law, and the service of YHWH, and the promises; At the time of which he writes, both houses were still together, though the adoption refers only to Joseph’s sons, not the Jews or Yudah. For when was there ever an adoption among them?
So we can see from the above that a ‘Jew’ and ‘the Jews’ are not equivalent to an ‘Israelite’, ‘Israel’, ‘Israelitish’, ‘Hebrew’, or ‘Hebraic’. If we fail to comprehend this, prophetic statements will never make sense to us nor agree, not ISAYAH, YEREMYAH, HOSHIYAH, EZEKIEL, MIKAYEH (MICAH), or the New Testament. The Jews did not nor ever could fulfil the promises about Israel.
For instance, YHWH declared through Mikayeh that Israel was divorced and cast afar off and He would make her a strong nation, but Yudah would become only a remnant. Other prophets wrote that Israel is lost. YEREMYAH says Yudah is few in number and a remnant. Isayah, David, Mikayeh, Yeremyah, and others declared Israel to be the strongest war power on Earth, never to be conquered by the Gentiles. Yet Yeremyah declared Yudah to be ‘without might’. She WILL be conquered by the Gentiles, laments Daniel. Which of course she was, in AD 70 by the Romans. AFTER the prophecy of Amos (9:14-15) which says YHWH’s people shall be planted and no more pulled up. Are any of my readers getting the clues?
Amidst the blessings and curses of DEUTERONOMY 28, verse 37 has: And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword (a taunt), among all nations whither YHWH shall lead thee. The ten northern tribes having become lost with their whereabouts unknown, how could they be taunted? Yet the Jews were taunted and persecuted in all the nations withersoever they tried to settle, and it was for this reason the modern state of Israel was formed. There are many other prohecies like these few.
Long after both Israel and Yudah had been taken away, at the return of the Jews from Babylon, Zecharyah prophesies the return of Beauty–Israel, and Bands–Yudah. He likens them to two broken shepherd’s staffs, referring to their separation. Beauty was cast off first. Then, after YHWH in the form of a man, Yahshua, is sold for thirty pieces of silver, Bands will be cast off (11:7-14). Ezekiel (37:16-17) speaks of these two sticks, not merely being put together again, but rejoined in such a way they become one stick again: Take thee one stick…For YUDAH, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick…For JOSEPH, the stick of EPHRAIM, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick: and they shall become one in thine hand.
Now we return to the Scripture of EZEKIEL 37:21-24 with which I started this set of posts (see One King Shall Be King to them All). It is then, when the two sticks are made one again (for it has not yet come to pass), that the children of Israel will be taken from among the heathen and brought back (Father will GATHER them on every side) into their own land. There they will be one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel with one king…no more two nations…nor two kingdoms…And David His servant shall be king over them. They shall walk in YHWH’s judgments, and observe His statutes, under His covenant of peace, with His sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
Apart from this day, yet in the future, there is not one word in Scripture to say that the Egypto-Ephraimite birthright kingdom has ever returned to her former home in Samaria. This is entirely UNLIKE that of the Jews returning from Babylon which fills the books of EZRA, NEHEMYAH, HAGGAI, and ZECHARYAH, is spoken of in DANIEL and other books, and the Jews being among whom the Gospels are set.
This holy land, their former home, promised to them alone, awaits them. Even the Samaritans deported there were slain by lions until priests were sent for to teach them the ways of YHWH and to fear Him. They still, however, committed the former sins of that land – making other gods and sacrificing their children (II KINGS 17:25-41).
Father has made an unconditional promise to Ephraim, whom He calls His firstborn, that a great company of them shall return thither (YER. 31:8). This is why Rachel is told by Him to cease weeping for her children which she has been doing since 617 BC or so until the present day (YER. 31:15). And where is this thither to which they are to return? To their own border (YER. 31:17). To these thy cities (YER. 31:21). To Samaria. To Ephraim. To Rachel, Yacob, Joseph. To Israel.
In the historical portions of the New Testament, the ten northern tribes are mentioned only once: of Anna who was of the tribe of Asher (LUKE 2:36). He forebears must have fled the idolatrous north for Yerushalem back in the days of Yaroboam (II CHRON. 11-16).
Josephus the historian wrote in AD 95 that the ten tribes were beyond the Euphrates and were an immense multitude. Hoshiyah (1:10) declares the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. He further states that they who lost their status as YHWH’s people for their idolatry will one day have it said of them: Ye are the sons of the living YHWH. This can in no way be said of Yudah for they WERE able to be numbered in order to be taxed by Caesar Augustus (LUKE 2:1).
Israel was to be scattered among the nations (EZE. 6:8). Even the Jews in Yahshua’s day knew this for they asked Him if He would go to these dispersed among the Gentiles (JOHN 7:35). The Pharisees called them this after the prophecies of Ezekiel and Zephanyah had also done so: And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and DISPERSE thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee (EZE. 22:15); From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My suppliants, even the daughter of My DISPERSED, shall bring Mine offering (ZEPH. 3:10).
Of course the Jews of Israel today believe these dispersed peoples have already returned to their homeland with the airlifting of the black Ethiopian Jews, the Russian and Yemeni Jews, and many others to Israel. But these people are all called Jews, insofar as they practise the religion of Judaism. None of them trace their ancestry back to any of the northern tribes. And unlike the lost Israelites, they do know who they are.
There are two further points to be made here. EZEKIEL 37:15-28 telling the full story of these retrieved Israelites and the one stick of Israel and Yudah has in verse 21 that YHWH will GATHER them on every side. This word gather ties this event in with the ‘gathering of the Elect’ during the Great Tribulation (MATT. 24:31). We have seen from previous posts that the Elect are in fact the TWELVE TRIBES or 144,000 of REVELATION 7. Not Jews but twelve tribes of ISRAEL.
The last point is that we have as yet failed to find the one king who shall be king to them all. Don’t worry, he is coming and will be revealed starting in my next post. Meanwhile, I have a little detail for you to think about: Are you aware that a picture of David’s harp, which he played to keep King Saul’s demons quiet, has for 2,500 years been a feature in the royal arms of Ireland? Now why would this be? What does David have to do with Ireland? You can look it up on Google. I’m not the only one telling this story.