Tuesday, 4 June 2013
WHO IS THE REAL ISRAEL?
Many in the Church regard modern Israel as being the fulfillment of many Bible prophecies regarding the return of Israel to its homeland and YET MANY denominations believe that Israel/Judah was REPLACED by the church.
So what is the truth according to scripture? The following article will attempt to answer this question and may even come as quite a surprise to many who believe that the LOST who Jesus particulary spoke about are the Billions of humans living on this planet.
As children, most of us at one time or another played with a stick of wood. Occasionally, maybe, we might have broken such a makeshift toy either accidentally or intentionally and then we would have two sticks that had been only one stick. We may have tried to fit or shove the broken and jagged ends of the two pieces back together so as to have the same ‘form’ as the original unbroken stick.
At times the fitting together process might have worked quite well, but it was still only two lesser or broken sticks being held by friction to serve as a broken, weakened and scarred version of the original. The resulting ‘single’ stick was significantly inferior to the original and probably lasted only a short time before being once again separated into two pieces.
If we tried gluing the two pieces together, we might have had moderate success, but we could not remove the scar, and we did not really have the original. With the glue, we simply had two sticks being held together by an artificial bond, and the bond actually kept the two pieces separated. The two pieces weren't actually even touching each other; they were both touching the glue, and they were not ‘one’ the two could never really be one again. We may have legitimately concluded that only a miracle could rejoin the two pieces into the original ONE STICK. With all the technology of man, no human could return the two pieces of the stick to its original one piece form. That original stick was gone forever.
Abraham (which means father of multitudes) whose name was originally Abram (high father) was a worshiper of the Creator God (I AM, YHWH). Abraham was devoted to our Creator, and our Creator made an unbreakable and binding covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
Genesis 15:18 – In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.
The context of the above passage provides details that make this a covenant which is unbreakable. God WILL provide this entire land to Abraham’s descendents. This covenant is then repeated in the 17th chapter of Genesis.
Genesis 17:1-9 – And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, as for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 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. And I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
Abraham did have a ‘son of promise’ when he and his wife Sarah were quite old. Though Abraham had elected to have a son earlier in life by impregnating Sarah's handmaid, and though Abraham had several sons by his second wife Keturah after Sarah's death, Abraham and Sarah had only one son. Abraham's and Sarah’s son of promise was named Isaac. The covenant between our Creator and Abraham was carried through and also promised to Isaac. Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was the older of the twins, but Esau sold his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup, and through a ruse by his mother Rebecca and his brother Jacob, Esau lost his blessing from his Father Isaac. The blessing instead went to Jacob.
The Covenant to Abraham was passed on through Jacob. Jacob, due to a deception by his father-in-law, married two wives who were sisters. Each of the wives had handmaids. Jacob eventually had sons by both wives and by both of their handmaids. He had a total of twelve sons. Through the course of time our Creator gave Jacob the additional name of ‘Israel’ because he ‘had been a prince with God and had prevailed’ (Genesis 32:28).
During a time of severe drought and famine, Israel (Jacob) and all of his descendants moved to the country of Egypt so as to survive the hard times. Israel died in Egypt and over the decades his twelve sons all grew into great families. These families each became known as tribes and as each tribe consisted of the descendants of a particular son of Israel, each tribe took on the name of one of Israel's sons and over a span of four hundred years from the original promise to Abraham the twelve tribes of Israel became a large population within the nation of Egypt.
These are the families, which were eventually led out of Egypt by Moses. These were the peoples who marched across the dry land at the parting of the Red Sea. These were the peoples to whom God through Moses gave the Ten Commandments. These twelve tribes were the peoples through whom God established the mighty nation of ancient Israel. The twelve tribes were the descendants of and were named for: The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Gad, and Asher. We might note here also, that Jacob before his death claimed the two sons of Joseph as his own and they thus became ‘half tribes’. They are called Ephraim and Manasseh. With Ephraim and Manasseh, there were actually thirteen tribes, but when the tribes were given their territories they were divided into twelve areas. The tribe of Levi was then scattered among all the tribes, since the Levites were the priests for all the tribes.
After a long period of time, the nation of Israel – which originally consisted of all the tribes listed above – split into two nations. These two nations became the Northern Kingdom called Israel and the Southern Kingdom called Judah. Israel was then composed of ten tribes while Judah was composed of the tribe of Judah, Benjamin and the tribe of Levi. Note that most all the Levites eventually moved to Judah since Israel began to move away from the teachings of the Torah and thus had no use for priests. Both nations, Israel and Judah, were eventually taken away into captivity because of their failure to follow God's directives.
Particularly for the nation of Judah, the citizenry spent 70 years in Babylon for their failure to observe the seventh year land Sabbath. The land Sabbath had not been observed for 490 years which amounted to seventy ‘Sabbaths’. God thus required the seventy Sabbaths in captivity in Babylon. The Jews did then, after 70 years, return to the Holy Land.
The ten tribes of Israel, the Northern Kingdom, were taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. The Northern Kingdom has not yet returned to its homeland. In fact, the Northern Kingdom, Israel, the ten tribes, has become lost. The world does not know who or where the lost ten tribes are today.
There are various theories presenting interesting evidences of who and where these people may be, but there is no concrete conclusion which we can draw from the evidence. We can only make ‘educated best guesses’ as to where the ten tribes are – if we are educated in that area.
There is ONE CERTAINTYconcerning these lost tribes....they are definately NOT lost to the Creator God YAHWEH. Our Creator knows the location of each and every Israelite. Our Creator will also see to it that each and every Israelite is returned to Israel at the establishment of his Kingdom on Earth if not before.
As noted above there are various conclusions drawn by various researchers as to the identity and location of the ten tribes. Perhaps the conclusion most often drawn by those leaders of the ‘Churchianity establishment’, is that the ten tribes have merged with the nation of Judah, and that Judah now represents all twelve tribes of Israel.
Because a very few of the Northern Kingdom people did return and join Israel, these Christian leaders conclude that the remainder of Israel is lost forever to God and that God now recognizes Judah as representing all of Israel. These leaders are wrong in their conclusions. They are wrong because of some very plain and straight forward scriptures which we shall cite to prove that God has not yet acted concerning the true nation of Israel or the Northern Kingdom. There will most assuredly be a time yet future when God will bring the Northern Kingdom back to the homeland of ancient Israel. The plain, simple and irrefutable proof follows in this article.
What did Jesus have to say concerning the nation of Israel? (Let’s be sure and remember that the modern nation of Israel which is composed mostly of the descendants of Judah (Jews) is NOT synonymous with what the Holy Scriptures refers to as the nation of Israel. The biblical nation of Israel – the Northern Kingdom – was composed of TEN tribes.
These tribes were made up of the descendants of Jacob (or Israel). When the Holy Bible refers to the nation of Israel, it is always referring to at least ten tribes. Prior to the dividing of the kingdom of Israel into two nations, the original nation of Israel was composed of the entire twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, in biblical usage the term ‘nation of Israel’ may refer to the entire twelve tribes as a nation, or it may refer to the ten tribes which formed the northern kingdom after the original nation was divided, but it is never a reference to the Jews, nor to the modern nation which is today called Israel.) Jesus was a Jew, and most all of his first century followers were Jews, but Jesus did provide specific instructions to his disciples concerning the ‘lost ten tribes’ who were NOT Jews. Jesus even referred to them as lost in the first century.
Matthew 10:5-6 – These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Many teachers today when reading this scripture, attempt to provide it some amorphous meaning which contrasts ‘lost’ to ‘saved’. They essentially teach that Jesus was telling his disciples to ‘save lost souls’, or something similar to that. But that is NOT what Jesus was saying. He specifically refers to the ‘House of Israel’ which in biblical usage always means the nation of Israel. Jesus was referring to the lost tribes of the northern kingdom. Jesus sent his disciples to spread his message to the Israelites wherever they might be. Jesus was aware that there were ten tribes of Israel living apart from the Jews.
Jesus knew – and knows – who these people are and where they are. Later we read of a woman from Canaan asking for mercy from Jesus. Jesus’ first response to her was that he was sent to the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’. Jesus spoke plainly when he made this statement.
Jesus had the purpose of notifying and informing the descendents of Jacob (or the descendents of Israel) of his arrival as Messiah and of his mission. Jesus was not on Earth at that time to ‘save the World of the lost’. Jesus did not save the ‘lost’ or any other group at that time.
For those who want to teach that Jesus did come to save the ‘lost’, we might ask, ‘From what were they saved?’ For those people who today claim salvation for themselves, we might also ask – saved from what? Are they not still here? Do they not still suffer the trials and fortunes of life in a world which has been fallen since the sin of Eve and Adam? Therefore Jesus did not come to ‘save the world’ two millennia ago; although he opened the WAY to Salvation by his shed blood on the cross- Jesus came to redeem mankind from the Sin that Adam had inflicted upon the entire Human race through his act of disobedience to his creator (Romans 5:12). Jesus also came to show his ‘covenant people’ people the Israelites including the House of Judah that he was the promised Messiah they had been waiting for. Being saved is totally dependent on being IN Christ and dying to ourselves and staying faithful till the end. (Romans 8:1)
The Lord Jesus will return to save the world and he will hopefully do so in the not too distant future. So, if when Jesus spoke of the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’, he was not speaking of those who ‘were not saved’, then he must have been speaking of the lost tribes of Israel. This should be a very plain statement, but modern day teachers have perverted the meaning and intention of Jesus’ statement. He was plainly and simply speaking of the lost tribes of Israel. These tribes were lost to the world because they ceased keeping God’s Sabbath. Jesus had a message for them, and he sent his disciples to deliver that message. When scripture says the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel,’ that is exactly what the scripture is referring too – the lost (to the world) ‘House of Israel’.
Matthew 15:24 – But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Part Two will follow