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CHILDREN OF THE PROMISES

Where are the tribes of Israel?

What is their relevance to prophecy?

Just what is the 'restitution of all things'?

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This paper is about 86 pages long

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

PART I PROMISES

What did God promise Abraham?  What blessings did Joseph pass on to his sons Ephraim and Manasseh?  Were those promises received or were they for the last days? Does Queen Elizabeth the Second of Great Britain sit on David's throne?

PART II PROPHECIES

Who was Ezekiel told to warn?  Were the cities of Israel laid waste?  What  was Jeremiah's commission and did he fulfil it?  Are the lost tribes of Israel identifiable today?  Are they still cursed?  Will they suffer captivity again at the end of this age?  Was Israel a shadow of things to come?  Did God remove His presence from them?

PART III RESTORATION

Restoration of Israel. Restitution of all things - children of the promises.

PART IV   CATCHING THE VISION!

The visionary promises given to Abraham revealed the plan of God.  Summation of Conclusions

APPENDICIES

Table 1

Table 2

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

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Introduction 

Background

Many are familiar with the claim that the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel are to be found amongst the people of Britain and America.  The claim also includes countries of the British Commonwealth and many European nations.

          Please note:  solely for reasons of brevity the term “British Israelite” has been used throughout the document to refer to “the people of Britain, some British Commonwealth nations, some European countries and America”.  It is to be read as encompassing all of these peoples at all times.

The authors of this paper subscribed to that belief for many years but after some searching questions had been asked, we decided to examine the teachings more closely for ourselves and this paper is the result of our study. 

The teaching stemmed from the understanding of the promises God made to Abraham that were repeated to Isaac and Jacob.  It is generally understood that the promise of the sceptre was to Judah, but the birthright promise was to Joseph.  After Solomon’s reign the ancient nation of Israel was divided in two.  The southern tribes became known as Judah and the northern ten tribes retained the name Israel.  It is claimed that the blessings, withheld for 2,520 years because of Israel’s disobedience, have been bestowed upon their descendants in modern times. 

Among the ten northern tribes were Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh from whom it is reputed that the people of Britain, some of the British Commonwealth and America have descended, hence their power and wealth today.

It is also maintained that the prophet Ezekiel’s warning of impending national punishment and captivity applies to the modern day descendants of Israel, who, unless they repent, face terrible destruction in the near future.

The British Israelite teachings which some have now rejected were originally adapted from sources outside the Church of God. 

Some examples of those sources are as follows:

        •  “Lectures on Ancient Israel, and the Israelitish Origin of the Modern Nations of Europe” by J. Wilson,      London, 1840,
        •  "England, the Remnant of Judah, and the Israel of Ephraim" F.R.A. Glover,1861,
        •  “Judah’s Sceptre and Joseph’s Birthright” by J H Allan, 1902.

Reader Please Note:

This paper is by no means an exhaustive work on these issues.  It merely tries to point out a number of anomalies in the British Israelite teachings that need further investigation and provides an alternative perspective on events that is worth considering.     

It is probable that questions will be raised with regard to things that are not mentioned in this particular paper.  It has been hard not to include everything that could be considered relevant!  The whole Bible revolves around God’s plan for man and it was a question of being focused.  We decided not to deal with the prophecies of Revelation, for example, in any great detail – not least because we are unsure ourselves of some events.   Things will become clearer in time as God increases the understanding of His people –  the Children of the Promises.

It is a mistake to accept the work of men as valid without checking that what they say is supported by the Bible.  We are exhorted to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15), so we can “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1Thessalonians 5:21). 

Hebrew words often have more than one meaning and there are occasions when examining biblical passages that one meaning applied to a word may support a particular interpretation, but if another meaning of the word is used it can give an entirely different interpretation.  In such cases the correct meaning is often dictated by the context in which the passage appears or by the concept that God is portraying through the writer, or a number of writers in the overall context of His plan and purpose.  We therefore urge the reader to read the whole paper before drawing a final conclusion: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Proverbs 18:13).

We trust that the reader will be led to a more intensive study of the entire Bible to see how the concepts discussed in this paper are portrayed through out.

All Biblical quotations in this paper are from the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible unless shown otherwise.  Our emphasis has been added throughout.

It is our prayer that this paper will be of value to you.

John and Rosemary Morton

 

          PART I PROMISES

Chapter One

Promises 

This chapter provides details of the promises made by God directly to Abraham (then known as Abram) and later confirmed with Isaac and then Jacob.  It also includes the blessings passed on by Jacob to Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, which are relevant to the issues discussed in this paper.

Promises to Abraham (Abram)

“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” and  “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.” (Genesis 12:1-3, 7).

“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:14-16).

“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.” (Genesis 17:5-7), and “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; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Genesis 22:17-18 and 28:14).  

Promises Confirmed with Isaac

The promises given to Abraham were reiterated to his son Isaac,Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries (lands – The New JPS Translation According to the traditional Hebrew Text - hereinafter referred to as Tanakh JPS version), and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries (lands –Tanakh JPS version); and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”(Genesis 26:3-5).

 When Laban and Bethuel blessed Rebekah they said to her, “Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.” (Genesis 24:60).  While this statement could have been a common saying of the time it is also possible that Jacob had talked a lot about the promises God had made to his family.

Promises Confirmed with Jacob

Again the promises were passed on to Jacob with more details of what was to be expected. “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.” (Genesis 27:28-29).

“And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 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.  And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:13-15).  Notice the promise of a land stretching north, south, east and west of where he was located was the same as promised to Abraham.

“And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.  And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;  And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.”  (Genesis 35:10-12).

Promises to Ephraim and Manasseh

“And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, 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. And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.  And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.  And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.  And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.”  (Genesis 48:15-20).

“Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:  The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.” (Genesis 49:22-26).

Conclusion

God promised that He would make Abraham’s name great, that his descendants would form a great nation that would be blessed with abundance.  God said Abraham would be the father of many nations.  He was to be exceedingly fruitful and his descendants were to be as numerous as the dust of the earth, the sand of the seashore, or the stars of the heaven.  He was promised the land to the north, south, east and west of where he stood. Kings would proceed from him and his seed would possess the gate of his enemies.  Abraham was also told that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in his seed.

The blessings passed on to Ephraim and Manasseh promised a significant increase in numbers.  Ephraim was to become a multitude of nations.   They were to overflow the boundaries of their land and receive greater blessings than the other tribes, becoming numerous and strong.

 

Chapter Two

Promises Received?

A crucial question in this study isdid the ancient nation of Israel receive the blessings promised by God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?  In this chapter we will look at each of those promises and determine from the Bible if those promises were fulfilled or not.

Abraham’s Name Great

It was promised that Abraham’s name would be great and there is no doubt that in the eyes of the both the Jews and the followers of Christ, Abraham was highly respected and acknowledged as the father of the nation, “They (the Jews) answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.”(John 8:39).  Paul said, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29).  Also, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” (Romans 4:16).

Great Nation

Ancient Israel became a great nation, especially during the reigns of king David and his son Solomon over 400 years after coming out of Egypt.  Through the prophet Nathan God told David,  “I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth.”  David said, “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?” (I Chronicles 17:8, 21, see also II Samuel 7:9, 23).  Chapters 18 through 20 of I Chronicles detail some of the impressive military feats achieved by David that contributed to Israel’s greatness. 

“And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.  And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.” (II Chronicles 9:22-23).

“And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life,” and “And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.” (I Kings 4:21, 26).  

“and his (Solomon’s) fame was in all nations round about.” (I Kings 4:31).

“And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.” (I Kings 10:1). 

Even Jeremiah in lamenting the fall of Jerusalem said, “she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces,” and “the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?” and “The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.”  (Lamentations 1:1, 2:15 and 4:12).

The above verses regarding greatness and fame of Israel especially during the reigns of David and his son Solomon testify that the promises made by God to Abraham in that respect were fulfilled.

Many Nations

Adherents of the British Israelite theory teach that Israel was to become two separate entities comprising a nation plus a company of nations as indeed the KJV implies,“And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;”(Genesis 35:11).  However, the Moffatt translation reads differently.  It says, “be fruitful and multiply; a nation, a group of nations shall come from you,”  implying that Israel was to be a single nation made up from a company or multitude of peoples - twelve tribal nations.  Moffatt’s translation is confirmed by the Tanakh (New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text), which reads, “A nation, Yea an assembly of nations”, which is exactly what Israel was, a single great nation comprising a company, or group of peoples.  The Living Bible also reads, “a great nation, yes, many nations;”.

When considering the composition of the ancient nation of Israel it cannot be ignored that it was a single great nation comprised of a company of tribal nations just as God had promised.

Multitude of Numbers

It was promised that Abraham’s descendants would be numerous like the dust of the earth, the stars of heaven and the sand on the sea-shore.  The same terminology is used later in the Bible to describe the size of the population that Israel attained.  According to Moses God had multiplied Israel as the stars of the heaven even prior to entering the promised land, “The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.” (Deuteronomy 1:10).  Other passages also indicate they continued to multiply, “For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return:” (Isaiah 10:22).  “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude,” (I Kings 4:20). And, “Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers,” (Nehemiah 9:23). 

Solomon himself said, “And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.”  (I Kings 3:8).

It is obvious from these verses that the population of ancient Israel did reach the proportions God defined in His promise to Abraham. 

Land

The fact that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham by giving his descendants the land that stretched as far as Abraham could see in any direction from where he stood at the time (Bethel), is not in dispute.  God gave the land He promised to Israel, “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:” (Genesis 13:14).   

This is the promised land Moses led them to, “And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.” (Deuteronomy 34:4).  Joshua took them into the promised land after Moses died, “And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:23). 

When confirming the area with Jacob, God said, “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.” (Genesis 28:14).  When the Israelites entered the promised land they crossed the Jordan and proceeded to a central position from which they spread geographically to the north, south, east and west just as God said they would:  from the same point where Abraham had stood.

Spread Abroad

Genesis 28:14 (above) has sometimes been interpreted to confirm that Israel was to become a colonising nation, but this is not what the verse implies as we have just seen.  It simply means they will spread from a particular point, which also happens to be where both Abraham and Jacob had previously stood, throughout the land God gave them. 

There is no Biblical proof that God promised them any land other than what they could see from a particular vantage point where Abraham and Jacob had stood.  These are the lands they conquered and possessed

Gates of Their Enemies

God said that Abraham’s seed would possess the gate of his enemies.  The term, ‘gate of his enemies’ does not mean ‘sea gate’.  The Tanakh JPS version says, “and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes.” (Genesis 22:17).  The gates of the city are where kings sat to judge and rule.  To possess the gate of one’s enemies simply means to rule over them.  For example when God pronounced judgment against Jerusalem, He said that their adversaries would set up their thrones in the gates of Jerusalem, For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.” (Jeremiah 1:15).  This particular prophecy was fulfilled, “And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.” (Jeremiah 39:3). 

Did ancient Israel possess the gates of the cities of her enemies?  Joshua 12 lists more than 30 city-state kingdoms that Israel conquered and possessed as they came out of Egypt into the promised land, “Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:” (Joshua 12:1, and through to verse 24). 

The book of Nehemiah confirms that other nations and kingdoms were conquered by Israel when they came out of Egypt into the promised land and it also confirms a number of other points already made in this paper concerning God’s promises to Abraham, “Moreover thou gavest them kingdoms and nations, and didst divide them into corners: so they possessed the land of Sihon, and the land of the king of Heshbon, and the land of Og king of Bashan.  Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.  So the children went in and possessed the land, and thou subduedst before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gavest them into their hands, with their kings, and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they would.  And they took strong cities, and a fat land, and possessed houses full of all goods, wells digged, vineyards, and oliveyards, and fruit trees in abundance: so they did eat, and were filled, and became fat, and delighted themselves in thy great goodness.” (Nehemiah 9:22-25).

There is no Biblical proof that God promised them any land other than what could be seen from a particular vantage point where Abraham and Jacob had stood.  These were the lands the Israelites had to conquer and possess which they did under Joshua thus fulfilling the prophecy that they would possess the gates of their enemies.  The Old Covenant was an agreement between God and a specific people who were promised a specific area of land if they obeyed Him.  It did not include lands in Europe, America or anywhere else.

Bounty and Abundance

God said that He would give the children of Israel a land flowing withmilk and honey.  In God’s own words Israel was a plentiful country, And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof;” (Jeremiah 2:7).

The materials gathered by King David for the building of the temple in Jerusalem testify to the wealth of Israel, “He (David) gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service: Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.  And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver: Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons he gave gold by weight for every bason; and likewise silver by weight for every bason of silver: And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.” (I Chronicles 28:14-18).

During the reign of Solomon there was also great abundance.  Here are a few examples that portray the wealth and prosperity of that time: “And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.” (II Chronicles 9:22). 

“And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.  And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance.  And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.  And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out horses for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means.” (II Chronicles 1:14-17).

“And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house, That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.  And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it. And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.  As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel, But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day.” (II Chronicles 8:1-8).

God gave His people a land flowing with milk and honey which Moses identified as the land of Canaan, “And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing withmilk and honey;” (Exodus 3:8). 

Israel prospered in that land especially during the reigns of David and Solomon, fulfilling what God had promised in respect of material blessings.

Kings

God told Abraham that kings would come from him.  Many kings were born from the descendants of Abraham in both Israel and Judah, from King Saul through to the last kings of those nations before they went into captivity.  From a spiritual point of view many more kings will be born: the Bible says that those of the faith are spiritual descendants of Abraham, destined to be kings. “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” and “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”and “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Galatians 3:29 and I Peter 2:9, Revelation 5:10).

All Nations Blessed

God said that in Abraham all families of the earth would be blessed.  The example set in Genesis 3:15 shows that the word ‘seed’ in prophetic terms can be used to refer to Christ.  Jesus Christ is the seed of Abraham through whom all nations will be blessed.  This is confirmed in the New Testament, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” and “ Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:8, 16).

Promises to Ephraim and Manasseh

What about the promises made concerning Ephraim and Manasseh?   Jacob had twelve sons, the eldest being Reuben who because of his immoral behaviour lost the birthright to Joseph, Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel:” (I Chronicles 5:1).  Joseph had proved himself more worthy than his brothers to receive the birthright. 

Confirmation of the tradition that a double portion of the inheritance goes to the firstborn can be found in Moses’ time, But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” (Deuteronomy 21:17).  The material inheritance received by the Israelites when they entered the promised land was their portion of that land – there was nothing else at that point to pass on.

Joseph’s descendants were to receive a double portion of land in accordance with the birthright tradition.  That double portion was to be shared by his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.  Jacob also adopted Joseph’s two sons to make up the fullness of his family, “And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.”  (Genesis 48:5).  Because God had ordained that the priestly tribe of Levi was not to receive any land, the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh as Jacob’s sons made up the fullness of numbers (see table 1 below)

Table 1 - Shows how the inheritance was divided among Jacob's sons.

Without Levi, the tribes receiving land only numbered eleven, but Joseph was to receive a double portion, which was to be divided between his two sons.  With Ephraim and Manasseh representing Joseph’s portion the fullness of numbers receiving the inheritance is retained.  Twelve is believed to be a significant number in the Bible symbolising governmental perfection, as in 12 tribes, 12 apostles, 12 foundations in New Jerusalem, and the (12x12) 144,000 first fruits. Thus Joseph’s sons make up the ‘fulness of the nations’.

When Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh he said that Manasseh, “shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.  And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh. And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die: but God shall be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers.  Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.” (Genesis 48:19-22). 

He was saying that because of the double portion given to Joseph and the fact that Ephraim and Manasseh were now his adopted sons, the two of them would become fully-fledged tribes of Israel, but Ephraim was to become greater than Manasseh.  And also he, Ephraim, was to become a “multitude of nations”.

Jacob also said that, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)” (Genesis 49:22-24).  This indicated that their numbers would increase until they overflowed their borders, and that they would become strong.

Were the Promises for the “Last Days”?

In Genesis 49 Jacob foretold what would befall his sons in the future, “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.” (Genesis 49:1).  However, the assumption that ‘last days’ means ‘end time’ is not supported by the numerous versions that translate the words ‘last days’ as ‘days to come’ (JPS, RVS, NIV, Living Bible, MKJV, LIT), or ‘in future times’ (BBE) that indicate a future time but not necessarily the end-time. 

Did Joseph Receive a Double Portion?

When they entered the promised land each tribe received its own portion.  The children of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) when allocated their land said that Mt Ephraim was “too narrow” for them and were given more land (Joshua 17:14-18). In this way they received Joseph’s double portion, “And the children of Joseph spake unto Joshua, saying, Why hast thou given me but one lot and one portion to inherit, seeing I am a great people, forasmuch as the LORD hath blessed me hitherto?  And Joshua answered them, If thou be a great people, then get thee up to the wood country, and cut down for thyself there in the land of the Perizzites and of the giants, if mount Ephraim be too narrow for thee.”  and And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:  But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down:” (Joshua 17:14-15, 17-18).   

Was Ephraim Greater than Manasseh?

Joseph received a double portion that was shared between his two sons and when Jacob blessed them he reversed his hands to indicate that Ephraim was to be greater than his brother, “And he (Manasseh) also shall be great: but truly his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he,” (Genesis 48:19).The tribe of Ephraim not only became the most populous in Israel, it also achieved greatness in the sense that the name Ephraim became synonymous with the name Israel.  In his note against Hosea 5:3 in the Companion Bible, Bullinger says that Ephraim is used as a figure of speech for the whole 10 tribes of Israel.  Similarly the New Bible Commentary 3rd Edition says “Ephraim…Israel, are synonymous” page 709.  This is commonly accepted among scholars. 

Did Ephraim Become a Multitude of Nations?

What did Jacob mean when he said that Ephraim’s “seed shall become a multitude of nations,” (Genesis 48:19).  The word translated ‘multitude’ means fullness and theHebrew word ‘goyim’ means nations.  The margin note in the JPS Jewish Bible Study – Tanakh Translation (2005) says “Both tribes became important, though it is from Ephraim that Moses’ successor Joshua, the prophet Samuel, and Jeroboam 1, the founder of the northern kingdom (Israel) all hailed (Num 13:8; 1 Sam 1:1; 1 Kings 11:26).   In fact ‘Ephraim’ eventually became another name for the northern kingdom itself (e.g. Hos 5:3;Isa 7:1-17).”  Other commentators like Matthew Henry and John Gill agree with this.  John Gill says that according to Numbers 2:18-20 “Ephraim’s standard was placed before Manasseh’s” - “and upon the division of the tribes in Rehoboam’s time, as Jeroboam was of the tribe of Ephraim, that tribe was at the head of the ten tribes, and the seat of the kingdom was in it, and the whole kingdom of Israel often goes by the name of Ephraim”.

In other words Ephraim came to his fullness as the dominant of the ten tribes (families), or nations, which made up a company of nations that became known as Ephraim.  Earlier in this chapter we discussed how God promised that Israel would become a nation comprised of a company of nations (Genesis 35:11).  The same Hebrew word for ‘nations’ is used in Genesis 48:19 and 35:11.

Earlier verses in Chapter 48 indicate that this was to occur in the land God would give them, “and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” (Verse 16).  The word translated as ‘earth’ (Strongs 0776 - erets) means land.  What land? “And (God) said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.” (verse 4).   

Ephraim was to become a fullness of nations in the land God would give them – the land of Israel.  He was to become the dominant tribe (nation/family) of the ten northern tribes, which would bear his name - Ephraim.  It did not mean that Ephraim was to become the British Commonwealth spread around the world.

Did Joseph’s Descendants Become Numerous and Strong?

Joshua acknowledged that the descendants of Joseph were a ‘great’ multitude, “And Joshua spake unto the house of Joseph, even to Ephraim and to Manasseh, saying, Thou art a great people, and hast great power: thou shalt not have one lot only:” (Joshua 17:17).  The Hebrew word ‘rab’ translated ‘great’ also means both ‘many’ (multitude) and ‘strong’.

The Tanakh JPS translation says that Joseph’s sons will become ‘teeming multitudes upon the earth’ (Genesis 48:16). This is similar to what was promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when God used such terms as the sand on the shore, or stars in heaven. And in verse 19 “He (Manasseh) too shall become a people, and he too shall be great.  Yet his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall be plentiful enough for nations”.  It is saying Ephraim would become greater in number than Manasseh.     

Did Joseph’s Branches Run Over the Wall?

This is confirmed in the next chapter of Genesis, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:” (Genesis 49:22).  In a marginal note the KJV shows that the word ‘branches’ refers to daughters, in this particular context.  When taken into consideration with the blessing in verse 25, “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb”.  It is clearly talking about Joseph’s children having an abundance of descendants.  The term ‘multitude of nations’ used in the KJV does not mean that Ephraim will literally become a commonwealth of nations (i.e. the British Commonwealth). It simply means that his descendants will be more plentiful than those of his brothers.  

As discussed already the children of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) when allocated their land said that Mt Ephraim was “too narrow” for them and were given more land (Joshua 17:14-18). They were so numerous they effectively overflowed their borders.  

Promises to Moses

To Moses, God renewed the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, “And I will bring you unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage:” (Exodus 6:8).  These are the same promises He had fulfilled by the time of Solomon.

Were The Promises Fulfilled?

According to the Book of Joshua the promises were fulfilled, There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45).  Just before his death Joshua reminded the Israelites of this, 

“And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.”  (Joshua 23:14).

In his speech of dedication at the opening of the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon said, “Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.” (I Kings 8:56).

Claims that Israel never received all the promises and that they were finally delivered to the descendants of Israel in this day and age are not biblically founded!

The promises to Israel were conditional to obedience and they were  warned that they would be reversed if they did not keep their part of the covenant, “Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.  When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.” (Joshua 23:15-16).   

Consequently the blessings were removed from Israel and later the remnant Judah because of their rejection of God and disobedience of His law culminating in the crucifixion of His son Jesus Christ!

Why Are Some Nations Blessed Today and Not Others?

The British Israelite theory maintains that Britain and America are identifiable as descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh.  However, other nations like Spain, Italy and Germany who are not considered to be “Israelite” have also been greatly blessed with wealth and prosperity.  It is not only Britain and America but European races in general that possess the greater part of the wealth and resources of this planet.   It could perhaps be construed that societies based, however loosely, around the ten commandments, reap the natural blessings (and cursings) of adherence (or otherwise) to God’s laws.  It could also be suggested that those nations that began to promote the Hebrew/Christian Bible were blessed by God because He wanted the Bible spread around the world.  That has been accomplished since the invention of the printing press and through well-intentioned Bible societies like the Gideons and many others.

Conclusion

There is no doubt from the evidence contained in the Bible itself that ancient Israel did indeed receive all of the material blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by God.  As stated by Solomon at the time of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, not one of the promises God made failed (I Kings 8:56).  Abraham’s name was made great and his descendants did reach the numbers God predicted.  They spread abroad in the land God gave them and received the abundance, fame and strength to be a formidable force on the world scene possessing the gates of their enemies. 

Joseph received a double portion and the promises to his sons Ephraim and Manasseh were fulfilled.  Ephraim became a multitude of people in the land of Israel that God gave them.  His tribe became the largest of the twelve and later when Israel and Judah split his name became synonymous with the name of Israel.  He was greater than his brother Manasseh.   

Each and every one of those promises was fulfilled in the days of ancient Israel.  Any claim that the physical blessings were not received by ancient Israel in those days is erroneous.  Having fulfilled those promises in every detail God is under no obligation to bless the supposed descendants of ancient Israel in this day and age.

God also promised salvation for all mankind through Abraham’s seed.  This promise was fulfilled in as far as Jesus Christ through whom all mankind will be saved was born among the remnant of Israel that God retained specifically for that purpose.

 

ChapterThree

Davidic Line

According to the British Israelite teaching, Queen Elizabeth II occupies the throne of David. It is believed that after the fall of Jerusalem, Jeremiah took the daughters of king Zedekiah to Ireland, where one of them married a ruler who was reputed to have been a descendant of Judah among the lost tribes of Israel.  Supporters of the British Israelite theory insist that the so-called breach that occurred at the birth of the twins Pharez and Zareh had to be healed generations later when Zedekiah’s daughter married a King Herremon in Ireland who was reputed to be of the Zarah line.  This scenario is based on speculation and myth, it is not biblically provable.   The more likely explanation for the Pharaz/Zarah birth incident is simply that God had predetermined that Christ would be of the Pharez line and not the Zarah line. They maintain that the throne was overturned three times, from Judah to Ireland, then to Scotland and finally to England fulfilling their interpretation of an Ezekiel prophecy.  Are these claims supported in the Bible?

What Did God Promise?

The statement that, “David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;” (Jeremiah 33:17), is used to confirm that the throne will be occupied continuously until Christ returns to claim it.

God certainly did promise that David’s throne would be established forever, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.  I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” (II Samuel 7:12-16).

Although the throne was established forever and will eventually be occupied by Christ for all eternity, David told Solomon that the continual occupation of the throne, that is, the physical continuance of his line, in the meantime was conditional on obedience, “Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.” (I Kings 2:1-4). 

David made it very clear that it was possible for the throne to exist even though unoccupied. 

Later when the kingdom of Israel split into the nations of Israel and Judah, Jeroboam, Solomon’s servant, set up his own throne to rule over the nation Israel while David’s throne remained with Judah as Jacob had said it would, 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.” (Genesis 49:10). 

What is Meant by ‘Overturn’?

The concept that the throne of David was to be overturned three times stems from the way the following verse has been interpreted, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.  I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” (Ezekiel 21:26-27).  The Hebrew word ‘avvah’ translated ‘overturn,’ is more correctly translated as ‘ruin’.  The Tanakh (New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text) uses the correct word, “Ruin, an utter ruin I will make it.  It shall be no more until he comes to whom it rightfully belongs;” (Ezekiel 21:32 JPS).  This is also confirmed by the RSV translation, which says “ruin, ruin, ruin” and Moffatt who says “in ruins, ruins, ruins.”. 

The word ‘ruin’ clearly indicates that the throne is to be left in a state of ruin, or unoccupied until it is claimed by Jesus Christ the rightful heir.  The point is emphasised by repeating the word ‘ruin’ a number of times.  

Who Is the Rightful King?

It is believed that the statement that David shall “never want for a man to sit upon the throne.” (Jeremiah 33:17) means that the throne must be continually occupied, and that this was accomplished when the throne was transferred through Zedekiah’s daughter to Ireland, then Scotland and finally to England where it has remained until this day.  Does the Bible support this claim?  Did the royal line to the throne continue through Zedekiah?

The Bible records the legal line of heirs to the throne through David’s son Solomon in Matthew 1:1–16.  However, there is no mention of Zedekiah and it can be argued that is because Zedekiah was not a legal heir to the throne.  Although Zedekiah was Jehoiachin’s uncle and a member of the royal family he was not in line for the throne.  On the particular occasion when God used Ezekiel to portray Zedekiah’s fate he referred to Zedekiah as a prince, which he was, rather than king (Ezekiel 12:12-13).   

Zedekiah was a vassal king appointed not by God, but by Nebuchadnezzar.  Jehoiachin was King when Judah’s Babylonian captivity commenced.  As long as King Jehoiachin remained alive and did not abdicate he was the rightful king on David’s throne.  There is no evidence that Jehoiachin abdicated.  He outlived Zedekiah, and his captors eventually afforded him the respect of his royal position (II Kings 25:27-30).  Zedekiah was not the king of Judah in God’s eyes otherwise he would have been included in the genealogy of Matthew 1:1-16.

The royal line continued through Jehoiachin’s sons but they did not sit on the throne and had no kingdom to rule over.  Everything was in ruins, the nation had been destroyed and the remnant was in captivity.

Judah’s Royal Line

No descendant of Jehoiachin sat on the throne because God had decreed, “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” (Jeremiah 22:30).  There is no Biblical evidence that any of Zedekiah’s descendants sat on David’s throne, which confirms that it did indeed lie in a state of ruin. 

Christ was however a blood descendant of David through the genealogy of David’s son Nathan which is listed in Luke 3:23-31.  Through his mother Mary, Christ was eligible to sit on the throne of David. It should be noted that the genealogy in Luke 3:23 says Joseph was the son of Heli. This was not the case.  Heli was Joseph’s father in-law, Mary’s father. Joseph’s real father was Jacob (Mat 1:16) but he became Heli’s son by marriage.  Because Mary had no brothers she was entitled to inherit her father’s rights (Numbers 27:1-7 and 36:6-7 set the precedent).  And Jeremiah prophesied that Christ (the Branch) would eventually be king, “I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper.” (Jeremiah 23:5). 

When Jeremiah said, “David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;” (Jeremiah 33:17), it simply meant that once Christ claims the throne we will never want for any one else.  When the time is right Christ the Branch will occupy the throne for all eternity.  He will rule as a spiritual king when he returns.  And when the time comes there will also be a spiritual priesthood “And made us (the saints) a kingdom, priests to his God and Father;” and “And hast made them (thesaints) a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth." (Revelation 1:6; also 5:10 (RSV)).  God said that He had established the throne of David forever, but because of the sins of Judah it was to remain unoccupied until claimed by Christ.

If the words “David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 33:17), mean that the throne of Israel will be continually occupied from Jeremiah’s time until Christ returns to take up the throne, then, according to the next verse a Levitical priesthood will also be offering sacrifices during that same period, “Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.” (Verse 18).   Why would God go to great lengths to maintain the royal line through Zedekiah’s daughters as some claim and leave the matter of the priests and sacrifices unfulfilled? Both statements refer to Christ who is the king qualified to take over David’s throne.  He is our sacrifice and has already assumed the position of High Priest.

Israel’s Royal Line

What happened to Israel’s royal line?  When the nation of Israel split, the northern kingdom began its own ‘royal line’ through Jereboam, a servant of Solomon.  Jeroboam was not of the royal family.  Over one hundred years prior to the fall of Judah Hosea prophesied that Israel’s royal line would cease, “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:” (Hosea 3:4).

God caused the nation along with its ‘royal line’ to cease.  “And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.” and “For I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” and “for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.”.   He said He will not be their God until, “it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”.  This will happen when Judah and Israel are ‘gathered together” when, “they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” (Hosea 1:4, 6, 9, 10 and 11). 

The day of Jezreel is the day of judgement.  In the Tanakh (The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Scriptures) it says, “and they shall rise from the ground for marvellous shall be the day of Jezreel.”.   Jezreel is symbolic for judgment and this verse is saying that neither Israel nor Judah will be God’s people until they are gathered together in the resurrection on the day of judgment - the Great White Throne Judgment Day of Revelation 20:11-12.  This is when everyone who has never received God’s Spirit will be resurrected.  Ancient Israel and Judah will be resurrected along with the rest of the world.

According to Hosea, Israel along with its ‘royal’ line ceased to exist and will remain that way until the resurrection.  (A remnant from all the tribes survived for a special purpose which is discussed further in this paper.)

Zedekiah’s Daughters

An often quoted passage used to support the story of the flight of Zedekiah’s daughters to Ireland is Ezekiel 17:22-24 “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: 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.  And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.”.

Some see this passage as supporting the concept that Jeremiah took the daughters of Zedekiah to the lost tribes.  However, this is simply not the case.  It is interesting to note that Bullinger (1837-1913) lived through the period when the British Israelite theory was conceived and promoted.  He spoke very strongly against the idea that Ezekiel 17 referred to the transplanting of Zedekiah’s daughters.  “Those who interpret this enigma of Zedekiah’s daughters are hereby warned that they shall not prosper” (notes on verse 22) and in reference to the ‘tender one’ in verse 22 he writes “The Chaldee Tagrum interpret this of the Messiah.  Those who interpret this of Zedekiah’s ‘younger daughter’ are guilty of substituting her for the Messiah Himself; Whose future Kingdom is to be in the mountains of the height of Israel, and not in any other country; or during the present dispensation.”. 

Ezekiel 17: 22-24 is not talking about Zedekiah’s daughters at all.  It is referring to Christ the Branch (the highest Branch), who was to be planted on the mountains of Israel to be the King over Israel, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).  That righteous Branch is Christ.  Even now as the head of the church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23), he is ruling over the spiritual Kingdom of Israel and it is through him that salvation is offered whereby all the nations of the earth are to be blessed.  

The message of Ezekiel 17 is that Jerusalem, the last bastion of the Kingdom of Israel, was destroyed and its people taken into captivity and it is not going to be permanently restored until it is done through Christ.  

Is Queen Elizabeth II a Direct Descendant of King David?

Is the claim that Queen Elizabeth the Second is a direct descendant of the Davidic royal line valid? 

We have already shown that the Davidic line did not descend through Zedekiah and his daughters through Ireland to the British throne.  Similarly any attempt to trace the heritage of Queen Elizabeth the Second back to Ireland runs into problems. 

We don’t have to go very far back in the current royal line of the British throne until we strike problems in establishing the supposed line of descent.  In the early part of chapter 2 of A. N. Wilson’s recent book “The Victorians” he casts serious doubt on the paternity of both Victoria and Albert.  If neither Queen Victoria nor her husband Prince Albert were descended from their respective fathers then the Davidic line has been broken.

This is just one example indicating the problems of tracing the royal line through many generations spanning nearly 2,500 years, from when Zedekiah’s daughters were supposed to have landed in Ireland, to this day.   It is enough to throw doubt on the validity of the concept that the “Davidic line” continued to the present British throne.

Conclusion

When Jehoiachin died in captivity the throne of David was left vacant but the royal line continued down to Christ who is to be king. 

There is no scriptural proof the royal line continued through Zedekiah’s daughters who supposedly took the crown to Ireland.  This theory is based on legend and myth. 

The prophecies concerning Israel’s greatness were fulfilled prior to the time of the destruction of Israel and Judah.  Because of their sin they went into captivity and will only come out of that captivity when they accept Christ as their saviour, repent and receive God’s Spirit.  The prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel refer to spiritual Israel into which all people, Jews and Gentiles will be restored.  It doesn’t matter who or where the descendants of Israel are today: they, like the rest of the world, are in spiritual captivity and will remain so until resurrected.

The promise that the throne of David was be established forever and that David would never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel has clearly been fulfilled.  That throne was established and because most who sat on it failed to obey His commandments God eventually denied those of the royal line access to the throne until Christ.  As head of the Church he sits on that throne ruling Spiritual Israel - His church.  There is no longer any need for a man to sit on the throne.

 

PART II PROPHECIES

Chapter Four

Ezekiel’s Warning

Many believe that the prophet Ezekiel had a message for the modern day descendants of the lost tribes of Israel.  Ezekiel was given a message to deliver to the House of Israel while he was in Babylon among the survivors of Judah and it is maintained that he could not deliver that message at that time.  The Assyrians had taken Israel into captivity over one hundred years before Ezekiel was given the message so they conclude that his message must be for the future descendants of Israel, whom they identify as Britain and America today.  And they claim that it is the role of the church today to deliver that message.   

What does the Bible say about Ezekiel’s message? Was it delivered to the House of Israel in Ezekiel’s time, or not? 

It should be noted that Ezekiel had a number of messages to various nations, but the message we are concerned with is the one addressed to the House of Israel.

To Whom was Ezekiel Told to Go?

Ezekiel was told to go to his people, the House of Israel who were in captivity, “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.” and “And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them,” and “ And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them.”  (Ezekiel 3:1, 4, 11).  For verse 11 the Moffatt translation reads “Go to the exiles, to the members of your race”.  The Tanakh JPS translation says “go to your people, the exile community.”.  Verse 7 implies that his message was to the whole House of Israelboth Israel and Judah, “they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.”.   

What Would Happen if Ezekiel Did Not Go?

God said very plainly that He would require Ezekiel’s blood if he didn’t go and give the warning, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.  Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezekiel 3:17-21).  Remember what happened to Jonah when he tried to run away from what God had told him to do. 

God also said Ezekiel would be struck dumb except when God opened his mouth in prophetic utterances, “And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD;” (Ezekiel 3:26-27). 

Did He Go?

God said that Ezekiel was a sign to Israel and would not speak his own words until after the prophecies God spoke through him were accomplished, Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 24:24).  Fulfillment of this prophecy was to be reported by a witness who was to escapethe calamity, “That he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears? In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 24:26-27).  Either the things he prophesied were accomplished in his time, or he continued to remain silent for the rest of his life.

According to the Bible those prophesies were accomplished in his time, “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten. Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.”  (Ezekiel 33:21-22).   He must have accomplished his mission or God would not have opened his mouth.

To accomplish his mission he had to speak to the House of Israel.  So where did he go?  He went to the leaders (elders) of the exiled community of those taken captive from Judah who were in Babylon, “Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar,” (Ezekiel 3:15).  His main message was to do with the final fall and destruction of Jerusalem, which was the last bastion of the Kingdom of Israel at that time.  In the circumstances he could only have accomplished his mission if the remnant in Babylon contained representatives from the tribes of Israel as well as Judah and they fully represented the leadership of the remnant of Israel at that time!   

To Whom Did He Address His Message?

In Chapter 12, Ezekiel addressed his message concerning Jerusalem to “……the prince (Zedekiah) in Jerusalem, and all the House of Israel that are among them. (Ezekiel 12:10). He prophesied about the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of Zedekiah.

Even though the kingdom had split into two separate nations, Israel and Judah, they were still considered to be collectively the children of Israel, or alternatively the House of Israel, the House of Jacob, the House of Joseph or in the case of Israel they were sometimes referred to as Ephraim (and sometimes Samaria) as previously discussed.  When the northern nation of Israel turned to idolatry, many who remained faithful to God from the various tribes including Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon left Israel and resettled in Judah. 

In comments relating to I Kings 12:17, Bullinger acknowledges that Judah was representative of ‘all Israel’.  The concept of Judah being the remnant that in effect represented the whole House of Israel is further supported by the fact that many people from the northern ten tribes had resettled in the cities of Judah because Jeroboam changed the format of worship in Israel, “And he (Asa) gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him,” (II Chronicles 15:9).  Also in the time of Hezekiah, “And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe” and “And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the LORD, and his people Israel.” (II Chronicles 31:6, 8).   And again from around the time of Judah’s captivity, “And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh;” (I Chronicles 9:3). 

Ezekiel referred to those in Jerusalem as the ‘residue of Israel’ (Ezekiel 9:8). Jeremiah also referred to Jerusalem as Jacob (Lamentations 1:17).

Therefore, at the time of the siege of Jerusalem there were Israelites from the northern tribes dwelling among the exiles of Judah.  It was to this exiled community that Ezekiel was directed and that was where he went.  When speaking to ‘them of the captivity’ (Ezekiel 11:25) he was addressing the ‘elders of Israel’ of the ‘House of Israel’ (Ezekiel (14:1, 5 – see also 8:1 and 20:1) who were present among the captives from Judah in Babylon indicating that there were recognised leaders of Israel among the Babylonian captives.

A Sign for All Israel?

God was executing judgment on the whole of Israel in the sight of the nations. He had already destroyed Israel and most of Judah was in captivity.  The fall of Jerusalem was another stage in the execution of that judgment.  That is why Ezekiel was sent to address the whole of Israel (Ezekiel 3:7).  God said that the siege of Jerusalem was a sign to the House of Israel, “Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.” (Ezekiel 4:3). 

It was a sign because Jerusalem the former capital of the once great kingdom of Israel, was the last part of the House of Israel to fall, “And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.  Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.” (Ezekiel 5:1-5).  

No More Delay

God had extended the hand of mercy to them time and time again, but they refused to obey and because of their continual sin He finally said enough is enough.  He had already told Israel that they were no longer His people, “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” (Hosea 1:9).  After Israel had been destroyed and taken captive He focused His attention on Judah, but they too turned away from Him.

Eventually God removed His presence from the temple, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.  And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.” (Ezekiel 10:18-19). 

He was now going to execute judgment on what was left of the House of Israel, i.e. Jerusalem, without delay, “……the days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.” and “For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD.” and  Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 12:23, 25, 28). 

Cities to be Laid Waste

Through Ezekiel God said, “In all your dwelling places the cities shall be laid waste, and the high places shall be desolate; that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.” and “And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 6:6, 12:20).  According to modern adherents of the British Israelite theory it was not possible for the cities of Israel to be laid waste until the advent of nuclear weapons, therefore they maintain that the prophecy is for modern times.  Was this prophecy fulfilled in ancient times, or is it for today? 

Were the Cities Laid Waste?

According to Jeremiah the cities of the northern kingdom of Israel have already been laid waste: “Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?  The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 2:14-15).

After the fall of Jerusalem Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, in which he said, “How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!  The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof. He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.” and  “The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.” (Lamentations 2:1-3, 5).

The Tanakh JPS translation actually uses the words ‘laid waste’, (the Lord) Has cast down from heaven to earth the majesty of Israel, He did not remember His footstool on His day of wrath. The Lord has laid waste without pity all the habitations of Jacob;” and  “In blazing anger He has cut down all the might of Israel;” and “He has ravaged Jacob like a flaming fire, consuming on all sides,” and “The Lord has acted like a foe, He has laid waste Israel,” (Lamentations 2:1-3, 5).  The different Hebrew words used by both Ezekiel and Jeremiah have similar meanings: ‘charah’ meaning destroyed, desolate, waste, and ‘bela’ meaning swallow, destroy, devour, ended.

Obviously, God accomplished what He set out to do to the House of Jacob at that time.  He ‘laid waste’ to all the dwelling places of the House of Jacob to the extent He intended.  It is not a prophecy for the descendants of Israel today.  These things happened to the House of Israel at that time for all the nations of the world to see.  The judgment on the House of Israel included the destruction of Jerusalem in Ezekiel’s time, just as God had prophesied. 

Was It to Occur Again?

God destroyed the House of Israel because of their abominations as an example to the rest of the world, “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations.  And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.” (Ezekiel 5:8-9).   When He said that He would not ‘do any more the like’ what did God mean?

God was executing judgement upon the whole House of Israel.  The nation of Israel had already gone into captivity followed by Judah and now the capital was to be destroyed.  God made it clear that the execution of His judgement would continue to pursue the remnant in their captivity, “And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” and “And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.  And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.  And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.” (Leviticus 26:33, 36-39).  As long as they continued in those abominations the judgement was to continue.  Centuries later when the remnant of Israel rejected and killed Jesus Christ, Jerusalem was again destroyed as part of that judgement.  The only clearly identifiable remnant of Israel, the Jews, have suffered persecution since that time and more recently at the hands of the Nazis.  Even today Israel is a nation surrounded by enemies.  That judgement will continue to have effect until such time as they accept Christ as their saviour.

At this time the only identifiable remnant of the ancient House of Israel today is the Jews and they are no longer God’s chosen people.  He is now dealing directly with the Church – spiritual Israel. 

When God said, “I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like,”  He was emphasising the magnitude of an unprecedented event that will not happen again.  He is not going to reject the church (spiritual Israel) as he has rejected ancient Israel.  This does not mean that the church will not have its adversaries, or its people suffer persecutions, it simply means that God will not reject spiritual Israel en masse as He did ancient Israel.

Ezekiel’s Message of Hope

Ezekiel not only prophesied doom and gloom for those living in his time, he also brought a message of hope for the future, for all people. 

Using highly symbolic language, Ezekiel described the fate of a number of nations at that time.  In Ezekiel 29, he likened Egypt of old to the great dragon that lies in the midst of its rivers, only to be plucked up and flung in the wilderness and buried among the slain.  Assyria, in Ezekiel 31, is likened to a mighty cedar exceeding the stature of other trees only to be brought down in its greatness to be buried amongst the slain.  Both these mighty nations were eventually brought down.

On the other hand, Israel who by Ezekiel’s time had become so despised that her enemies did not even bother to bury her slain (Jeremiah 8:1-2) was likened to a valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37).  Israel was given a message of hope in their time of punishment and captivity specifically through the allegory of the valley of dry bones.  But it is a message for all people, a message of restoration to the greatness that God has always wanted for His creation. We will read more about the restoration of Israel and its implications in Part III of this paper.

Conclusion

Ezekiel was given a number of messages to deliver to various peoples and nations.  He was a contemporary of Jeremiah.  While Jeremiah was in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was with the captives, who were a mix of the northern tribes and Judah, in the land of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) where he was instructed to go and where he went.  The fall of Jerusalem was part of the execution of judgment on the rebellious House of Israel (Jacob).   

Israel fell in three stages: the major portion was taken captive when the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians then Judah (a mix of all tribes) fell to the Babylonians and finally Jerusalem.  Once Jerusalem fell, the prophecy that the cities of Jacob would be laid waste had been fulfilled as far as God was concerned.    

As instructed Ezekiel delivered his message to the leaders of the House of Israel at that time held captive by the Babylonians.  His message was about the next stage of the execution of God's judgment which was the fall of Jerusalem.  He also said that the execution of judgment would pursue the survivors even in their captivity.  Centuries later when they rejected and killed Jesus Christ Jerusalem was once again destroyed with huge loss of lives.  Since then they have been persecuted and even today have no peace.  They are a nation surrounded by enemies constantly at war.  The judgement will continue until such time as they accept Christ as their saviour.

 

Chapter Five

Jeremiah’s Commission

According to the British Israelite teachings Jeremiah’s commission was to tear down and uproot the throne of David and replant it among the lost tribes of Israel.  They say he accomplished this by taking Zedekiah’s daughters to Ireland where one of them married a king Herremon who was supposed to have descended from the line of Zarah, dwelling with the lost tribes of Israel.  Jeremiah is also supposed to have brought with him the ‘stone of destiny’, reputed to be Jacob’s pillar-stone (Genesis 28:18) on which the kings of Ireland, Scotland and England were crowned.  It is claimed that God commissioned Jeremiah to uproot the throne of David from Judah and plant it in Ireland. 

But what does the Bible say about Jeremiah’s commission?  Did it have anything to do with transplanting the throne to the British Isles, or not?

To Root Out, Pull Down and Destroy

In the 13th year of Josiah’s reign Jeremiah was appointed as a prophet to nations and kingdoms (plural), “Before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”  and “I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:5,10).  His commission was to pronounce God’s judgment on nations and kingdoms.

The execution of judgment upon the nations and kingdoms was symbolized by making the nations drink of the cup of God’s wrath, “For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.  And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.”  (Jeremiah 25:15-16). 

Jeremiah did as he was told, he pronounced God’s judgment on his own nation Judah first, “Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:  To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;” (Jeremiah 25:17-18).

After judgement was executed on his own nation he went to the other nations including: Egypt, Uz, Askelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Dedan, Tema, Buz, Arabia and the mixed peoples of the desert, Zimri, Elam, Media, the nations of the north and finally Sheshack (Jeremiah 25:19-26).  They were Jacob’s adversaries and were to be punished because of what they did to God’s people, “Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.   And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.” (Jeremiah 25:27-28). 

According to Jeremiah 51:41 Sheshack is Babylon. And Babylon, significantly, was to drink of the cup of wrath after the other nations. Many of the nations mentioned were destroyed and absorbed by the Babylonian empire and they never rose to power again.  The fate of Babylon, however, is crucially linked to the future events spoken about in Revelation, as we shall see later in this paper.

Jeremiah in Context

To see Jeremiah’s commission in context we need to review some of the history of the execution of God’s judgment on His people – the House of Jacob.

Right from coming out of Egypt they had provoked God to anger, “Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.” (II Kings 21:15).  But there were times when Israel pleased God and consequently they were greatly blessed.  During the time of King David and the early years of his son Solomon the kingdom reached the peak of its prosperity. God kept His promises to make the nation great, rich and powerful.  But when Solomon, swayed by his many wives, eventually led the people back into idolatry God pronounced judgment on the House of Israel (Jacob). 

Judgment was on the Whole House of Israel (Jacob)

That judgment began to take effect when the kingdom was wrenched from the hands of Solomon’s son Rehoboam.  He was left with the remnant – Judah.  The major portion of the House of Israel, the ten northern tribes, was given to Jeroboam. Jereboam’s nation retained the name Israel, “And he said to Jeroboam………… I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.” and “But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.” (I Kings 11:31-33,35-36). 

Judgment on Israel

Instead of obeying and trusting in God, Jeroboam was more concerned about maintaining control of the people and took the northern tribes further into idolatry by changing the format of worship. He set up his own priesthood, places of worship and feast days, “Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan.  And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.  And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.  And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made.  So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.” (I Kings 12:28-33).  At that time and on several occasions after that many from the tribes of Israel who did not like the changes left to settle in Judah (II Chronicles 15:9, 31:6-8 and I Chronicles 9:3 see Table 2 below).

Because Israel continued in idolatry judgment was pronounced when God said He would destroy them, “After this thing Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places: whosoever would, he consecrated him, and he became one of the priests of the high places.  And this thing became sin unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.”(I Kings 13:33-34).

Through the prophet Ahijah God said He would root up and scatter the people of Israel, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam,” and “For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.” (I Kings 14:7-10, 15-16).  And all these things occurred as God said they would. The Assyrians took Israel into captivity.

Judgment on Judah

More than one hundred years later when Judah followed Israel into idolatry, Jeremiah was called to pronounce God’s judgment on Judah, “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.” (Jeremiah 3:8).  When the Babylonians took Judah into captivity, Jerusalem was spared from destruction.  For a number of years it remained intact under a vassal king (Zedekiah) who was set up by Nebuchadnezzar.  

Many people from the tribes of Israel had come to dwell in the cities of Judah including Jerusalem.  Those to whom Jeremiah uttered his prophetic warnings represented the whole House of Israel also called the House of Jacob.  He was instructed to, “cry in the ears of Jerusalem” (Jeremiah 2:2), and address the whole House of Jacob, “Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families (tribes) of the house of Israel:” (Jeremiah 2:3-4).

 

 

Table 2  Shows how the Kingodom of Israel was divided and how the remnant became to representat all tribes.

 Judah the Remnant

The two separate nations Israel and Judah were collectively referred to as God’s people ‘Israel’.  For example, Jeremiah referred to both the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities as something that happened in a collective sense to Israel, Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones,” (Jeremiah 50:17). 

When Israel was destroyed Judah was, in effect, the remnant of the House of Jacob. 

Jerusalem Restored

God’s purpose in retaining the remnant was to fulfill His promise about the coming Messiah who will sit on the throne of David ruling God’s people, and in whom all nations will be blessed, “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.” (Genesis 49:10). He also said, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”  (Jeremiah 23:5).  He said, “And unto his son (Rehoboam) will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.” (I Kings 11:36).  That one tribe was Judah and of course any who were willing to align themselves with them, for example Levi, Benjamin and members from other tribes like Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who resettled in Judah.

When that remnant (Judah) turned from God and was also taken into captivity and the city of Jerusalem finally fell to the Babylonians, God spared a remnant from them throughout the Babylonian captivity in order to keep His promises, “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.” (II Kings 19:31).

By the grace of God, that remnant was spared until their descendants were able to return in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, to rebuild Jerusalem and establish a community that existed, although under occupation, until the coming of the Messiah, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:5).  All this happened so that Christ the Son of God and heir to the throne of David, could be born of the tribe of Judah.  And it is through Christ that all nations are to be blessed by having access to the true God to receive His grace and His kingdom.  This is how God fulfilled the promise to Abraham: that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Galatians 3:8, 16).    

Although the name Jew may have originally referred to those of the tribe of Judah it has come to be associated with those of the nation of Judah or the land of Judea.    Just as people from Europe or elsewhere who emigrate to the US for example become US residents and are called Americans, those from other tribes of Israel who became residents of Judah became known collectively as Jews.  It had become a common name for what is now the only identifiable remnant of Israel (Jacob). For example Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin and yet is referred to as a Jew, indicating that the term Jew meant more than direct descendants of the patriarch Judah, “I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin,” – “But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus,” (Philippians 3:4-5 and Acts 21:39).  

When the Jews, who represented all that remained of the remnant of Jacob, did not accept Christ they brought further judgment on themselves. .

Once God’s purpose had been fulfilled by Christ opening up the way for all of mankind to have access to God the Father the New Testament church was established, then dispersed from Jerusalem, and the city was once again sacked - this time by the Romans.  In Daniel 9:22-27 the prophet explains Jeremiah’s prophecy about rebuilding Jerusalem.  From the time the order went out to restore the city until after the Messiah is ‘cut off’ was to be 70 weeks.  Using the principle of one day equals one year the time equates to 490 years, which Daniel explains is the fulfilment of Judah’s transgression.  It culminated in the rejection of Christ.  A marginal note in the Oxford KJV against verse 26, indicates that from this time even the remnant of the House of Israel (Jews) were, finally, no longer God’s people.

Having briefly reviewed the history of the execution of judgment on God’s people we can see that Jeremiah’s commission only spanned part of that time - from the days of Josiah, king of Judah until after the fall of Jerusalem. During that time Jeremiah not only pronounced God’s judgment on Judah and Jerusalem, He also pronounced judgment on Jacob’s adversaries. 

Judgment on Jacob’s Adversaries

Jeremiah’s commission was to pronounce judgment on the other nations listed in Jeremiah 25, because of their adversity toward God’s people.  For example, Edom was one of those nations.  The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother and when the children of Israel came out of Egypt, Edom was supposed to give them passage but didn’t (Numbers 20:20-21).  They were hostile toward Israel throughout the nation’s history and their animosity was reinforced when David’s army killed every male in Edom (I Kings 11:14-15) and others like Amaziah (II Kings 14:7) and Jehoram (II Kings 8:20-23 and II Chronicles 21:8-10) subsequently oppressed the Edomites. 

That hatred for Jacob still existed among Esau’s descendants at the time of the fall of Jerusalem, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them;” (Ezekiel 25:12). And, “Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:” and “And thou shalt know that I am the LORD, and that I have heard all thy blasphemies which thou hast spoken against the mountains of Israel, saying, They are laid desolate, they are given us to consume.” and “As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee: thou shalt be desolate, O mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 35:5,12,15).  After the fall of Jerusalem the exiles in Babylon remembered Edom’s enmity, “Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.” (Psalm 137:7).

Obadiah records that an envoy (ambassador) was sent among the nations to pronounce judgment.  He said, “Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.  Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised.”  (Obadiah 1:1-2).  He then recites a similar judgment to the one given by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:7-22).  It is highly likely that this was Jeremiah fulfilling his commission to the nations. 

The judgment pronounced by Jeremiah and repeated by Obadiah was, according to Malachi, fulfilled.  He said that Esau’s descendants were laid waste, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.  Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.  And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The LORD will be magnified from the border of Israel.”(Malachi 1:2-5).  Edom was destroyed because of its animosity toward God’s people both in the past and during the punishment that fell on Jerusalem.

Other nations on which Jeremiah pronounced judgment, such as Moab and Elam for example received a similar fate, “And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.”  and “And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.” (Jeremiah 48:42, 49:36).  They were destroyed by the Babylonians and scattered among all nations.

Judgment on Babylon

Babylon, the last of the nations mentioned by Jeremiah on which the judgment was to be executed, fell to the Medes and Persians.  The city of Babylon survived under captivity until after 312 BC when Seleucus built a new city 50 miles to the north.  

The influence of the Babylonian Empire on the rest of the world was significant.  Its political, religious, economic and social systems were absorbed and provided the pattern for the modern nations of this world.  According to one interpretation of the Book of Revelation, Babylon represents the political, religious, economic and social systems of the end-time world power.  That world power will be an alliance between a powerful religious leader - the false prophet, and a political leader - the “beast”. 

The end-time Babylon representing the nations of this world is Jacob’s adversary.  Jacob represents God’s people – the saints, “I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.  So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:  And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”  (Revelation 17:1-6).

The British Israelite theory maintains that the modern day descendants of the lost tribes of ancient Israel will be the prime target of the beast’s power which will once again take them into captivity.  However, as we shall see, there is no clear evidence in the Bible that the lost tribes can be identified as specific nations in the modern world.  Rather, the prime target will be God’s people who are clearly identified as those of the faith of Christ, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29).

Judgment on the World

God made it plain through Jeremiah that having dealt with His own people (ancient Israel) He would then be dealing with the rest of the world, “For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.  Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.” (Jeremiah 25:29-30).   

In ancient times God’s people were a physical nation and the other nations of the world were their adversaries.  The Babylonian empire being the most dominant power in the world at that time, was Jacob’s chief adversary.  In this day and age God’s people are not a nation, but a body of spirit-begotten people known as the saints. Their chief adversary is Satan (the name Satan means adversary) who is the spirit behind the world power symbolically portrayed in Revelation as Babylon.   He is also referred to as the god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4).

As foretold by Jeremiah and confirmed in Revelation, God will finally execute judgment on Babylon (Sheshach) and Babylon will be made to drink of the cup of God’s wrath, And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” and “And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” (Revelation 14:8, 16:19).  That is the final fulfilment of the destructive part of Jeremiah’s commission.

To Build, and to Plant

On one hand Jeremiah’s commission was to announce the rooting out, pulling down, and destruction of the nations and kingdoms of the ancient world; on the other hand he announced the restoration of Israel which is the building and planting, “I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10). 

We have already seen how the remnant of Jacob in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah   restored Jerusalem to fulfil the promise of the Messiah.  But it is obvious that Jeremiah spoke about a more significant restoration that would occur in the end-time, At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” (Jeremiah 3:17). And “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). And For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” (Jeremiah 24:6-7). And “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33).

Jeremiah’s message was not only one about destruction and captivity; it was also about hope for the future.  The Hebrew words translated ‘build’ and ‘plant’ mean to establish.  And what God was taking about through Jeremiah was establishing His Kingdom on this earth.  The nation of Israel comprising God’s people in ancient times was a physical nation that foreshadowed God’s spiritual Kingdom.  It is obvious that something far greater than a physical kingdom is to be restored.  He was talking about restoring His people to a spiritual kingdom, the Kingdom of God after Christ returns.  We will have more to say about that restoration later in this paper.

Conclusion

Jeremiah’s commission was to announce to Judah and the other nations of the world at that time what God had in store for them. They were to be destroyed in their immediate future with the exception of Babylon. According to one interpretation of the Book of Revelation Babylon represents the political, economic and religious systems of government that have infiltrated the world.  Eventually even Babylon is to drink of the cup of wrath and be destroyed when Christ returns to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth.

The nation of Judah and its capital Jerusalem represented what was left of the House of Jacob. It was to be destroyed, but a remnant survived to provide the way for God’s promises about the Messiah to be fulfilled.

Jeremiah’s commission to plant and build is a message of hope for all people.  It referred to the coming Messiah and eventually the restoration of Israel, as part of the God’s Kingdom after Christ returns as ruler.

There is no evidence to suggest that Jeremiah’s commission was to take the throne of David from Judah and to transplant it in the British Isles.  

It is worth noting here that with the final fall of Jerusalem in 70AD the age of patriarchs and prophets ended.  God now works through Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2).  The era of the Babylonian system was fully ushered in and it continues to be the backbone of the world today. It will be finally destroyed with the return of Christ.

 

Chapter Six

Captivity/Deliverance

Many believe that the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel can be identified as separate nations today.  They also believe that because these nations are descendants of ancient Israel the curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 still apply to them and that they will soon go into a ‘latter-day’ captivity.  Does the Bible support these beliefs? 

“Latter Days”?

As mentioned in an earlier chapter, a great deal of reliance has been placed on the blessing of Jacob’s children to identify nations today as descendants of the tribes of Israel in the end-time, “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.” (Genesis 49:1).  However, the assumption that ‘last days’ means ‘end time’ is not supported by the numerous versions that translate the words ‘last days’ as ‘days to come’ (Tanakh JPS translation, RVS, NIV, Living Bible, MKJV, LIT), or ‘in future times’ (BBE) that indicate a future time but not necessarily the end-time. 

Punishment for Disobedience

The covenant God made with the children of Israel through Moses just before they entered the Promised Land was conditional.  If they obeyed God they would be blessed, And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).   

If they did not obey they would bring disaster upon themselves, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:” (verse 15)

Identity Lost

From the outset God said that if they turned from Him their kingdom would be destroyed, they would be left few in number and scattered among the nations where their identity would be lost, “I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men:” (Deuteronomy 32:26).  Also, “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:  I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.” (Deuteronomy 4:24-28). 

He said, “And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.  And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.  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:  And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.  These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.” (Deuteronomy 28:62- 29:1).

Warnings from the Prophets

Later through Hosea, God said the kingdom of Israel would cease to exist, “I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.”   He said He would no longer extend His mercy toward them, “for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.” (Hosea 1:4, 6).

The same warning was given to the remnant of the House of Jacob in Jeremiah’s time, “Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.” and “And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.” and “They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even loving kindness and mercies. Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:” and “Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.” and “I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity.” (Jeremiah 13:24-25, 15:7, 16:4-6, 13, 18:17).  

Prior to entering the Promised Land God spelt out the conditions of the covenant He made with His people and constantly warned them of the consequences of disobedience through His prophets.  Eventually the kingdom ceased to exist, the people were scattered, becoming absorbed by other nations into their religions and Israel lost its identity - just as God proclaimed.

Spiritual Captivity 

The emphasis on serving other gods during their captivity shows that the captivity was to be spiritual as well as physical.  Hosea made it clear that a spiritual change would be required for their release when he said that they would no longer be God’s people until it could be said to them that they are the sons of the living God, “For ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” (Hosea 1:9-10, see also Romans 10:25-26).  That change will only come through the process of repentance when they will accept Christ as their saviour and receive God’s Holy Spirit so they can become His children.

Those whom God calls His sons and daughters have His Holy Spirit, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). And, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:14-18). It is through the sacrifice of Christ that they become sons and daughters of God, “But as many as received him (Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12).  For most that opportunity to truly repent will not come until the time of the Great White Throne Judgment spoken of in Revelation 20:11-15.   

From the outset God said that He would only bring Israel out of captivity when they turn to Him and obey His command(ment)s, “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, 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; 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 theLORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:  And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.  And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.  And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.  And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:  If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.”  (Deuteronomy 30:1-10).   

These are the conditions of the covenant God made with ancient Israel.  If they had repented and turned to Him with all their heart and obeyed everything He commanded, He would have gathered them, given them their land back and blessed them beyond what their fathers had been blessed with.  The blessings were conditional to obedience. 

If their descendants had repented and obeyed God’s commandments to receive the blessing in modern times as some believe, then clearly we would be able to identify them because they would be keeping the commandments, including the fourth commandment regarding the Sabbath.  When did the nations of the British Commonwealth or America ever keep the Sabbath?   There has been no true repentance.  Not one nation in this world today even knows the true God, let alone obeys Him.  None have turned to God with all their heart and soul except a small handful of individuals whom God has chosen and whom He calls His elect - the saints. 

Sifted among Nations

 Many believe that God preserved the descendants of the lost tribes for over 2,520 years throughout their captivity so they could later be separated and given new lands and blessings. 

Supporters of the British Israelite theory claim that the 2,520 year punishment ended around 1800 when Britain and America started to prosper.  In Leviticus 26:18 God said that if Israel continued to sin He would increase their punishment seven times more.  Although verse 21 indicates that the punishment would increase in intensity, (Strongs 07651 – seven fold), the Hebrew word has been interpreted by the British Israelite supporters to mean duration.  Multiplying the number of days in an average Hebrew year (360) by 7 they obtain the figure 2,520, to which the day for year principle is then applied.  While the day for year principle is used in the Bible, there is no indication that it should be applied to these particular figures to obtain the length of time for Israel’s punishment.  The concept of a 2,520 year period of punishment for Israel is erroneous.  They remain in their current state until they accept Christ as their saviour.

A verse commonly used to support the concept is found in Amos, “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” (Amos 9:9).

According to Strongs the Hebrew word tser-ore, translated ‘grain’ (or stone in some translations), also means a parcel or kernel.  In other words a lump or clump.  A sieve is not only used to separate a coarse material from a finer one, it is also used to spread a substance evenly and consistently with no lumps or clumps forming. For example sifting flour, or icing sugar, into a baking mix so that there are no lumps.  In this case God was saying that He would scatter the Israelites throughout the nations so that they would be thoroughly absorbed into their cultures where they would worship other gods (Jeremiah 23:24-27) and not form ghettos or enclaves that would retain their former identity.  They were to be scattered and lost.   

When studied in context, this verse is merely reiterating what God said at the beginning of chapter nine - that not one of them will escape the punishment God is bringing upon Israel at that time, not even if they try to flee or hide, He will seek them out and make sure they are completely absorbed into the gentile nations where they will lose their identity. 

It has nothing to do with the concept of their descendants being gathered throughout the centuries so that in modern times they are found clumped together in specific nations like Britain and America today.  Their captivity was spiritual as well as physical and they will remain in spiritual captivity until they are resurrected and can, through repentance, be restored not to a physical Israel, but to a spiritual Israel.  At that time all of mankind will have the opportunity to become part of that spiritual nation that is God’s Kingdom.

Restoration not Captivity

Not only do many believe that after 2,520 years God gathered their descendants out of captivity and blessed them with lands and prosperity, they also believe that He is going to send them back into another captivity in the end-time because they have since sinned. 

Certain passages seem to support the concept of a second captivity, “I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah,” (Jeremiah 30:3).  However, this verse and others like it have been mistranslated in the King James Version.  The meaning can better be seen in other translationswhere it is interpreted more correctly e.g. the RSV. “For behold, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD,” and in the Tanakh JPS Translation, “when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah,”.  Similarly in Jeremiah 30:18 and Joel 3:1.  Bullinger describes the phrase ‘I will bring again the captivity’ as an idiom, which actually means that God will restore Israel - bringing them out from their original captivity rather than bringing a new captivity on them.   It is talking about brining them out of their spiritual captivity when Christ returns.

Tribes of Israel - Lost

Because Israel turned to idolatry and lost knowledge of the true God, He said that He would also forget their descendants, “Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.” and “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hosea 4:1, 6).  That is why the lost tribes of Israel are not clearly identifiable today.  They were scattered among the Gentiles and absorbed into other religions until such time as God calls them to repentance.  Their captivity was spiritual as well as physical.  Unless they turned to God and repented they were to be rejected and their descendants forgotten. 

Release from the Captivity

There will come a day when all of Israel will be saved, “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.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”  (Romans 11:25-27). 

In the New Testament Paul reiterated Hosea’s words saying that Israel were no longer God’s people until they are called to repentance, “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (Romans 9:25-26). 

The salvation and restoration of their people is not something that will happen to Jacob alone.  Jeremiah says that the peoples of other nations will also be restored, “But I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the days to come - declares the LORD,” and “But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites - declares the LORD.” and“But in the days to come I will restore the fortunes of Elam - declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 48:47, 49:6 and 39 Tanakh JPS Translation; see also NKJV, RSV and Young’s Literal Translation).  

Ezekiel tells us that the restoration of other nations will occur at the same time Israel is restored,  "I will restore their fortunes – the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters – and your fortunes along with theirs.”  (Ezekiel 16:53 Tanakh JPS Translation).

The restoration of the people of these ancient nations and their descendants will take place during the Great White Throne Judgment period when all those who have not been called to spiritual salvation will be resurrected.  This will include both Jacob (Israel and Judah) and his adversaries. 

Deliverance of the Captives

Jesus Christ came to “Preach deliverance to the captives” – to liberate those who are spiritually blinded to their own captivity, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”  (Luke 4:18-19, also Isaiah 61:1-2).  The Jews in Christ’s day were blind to the fact that they were already in spiritual captivity.  Jesus said to them, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32-36). 

The deliverance Christ brings is release from sin – it was sin that sent Israel and Judah into captivity.  To be released they must be forgiven – this means they must accept Christ as their Lord and King and receive the Holy Spirit so they can become true children of God in His Kingdom.  “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then they, which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7-9).  All nations are to be delivered from that same spiritual captivity that grips the whole world.

The true children of Abraham are those of the faith who are released from the spiritual captivity.  They are given liberty when they turn from sin.  They become part of the spiritual Israel, which will be that Kingdom.  The lost tribes will not become part of that spiritual Israel until they individually accept Christ as their saviour, repent and receive God’s Spirit.  Until that happens they are still in spiritual captivity scattered among the Gentiles (those peoples or nations who don’t know the true God).

Lost Sheep of Israel

Many seem to think that the disciples were told to seek out the scattered descendants of the lost tribes.  But when Jesus told his disciples to go to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, he was telling them to go to the remnant among whom they lived who were spiritually lost. They were the lost sheep of the House of Israel because they no longer knew their God, “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.”  (Matthew 10:5-6). 

Peter addressed his audience in Judea as “Ye men of Israel” (Acts 2:14, 22) because the remnant among whom he lived included people from other tribes beside Judah, Levi and Benjamin. While the Bible indicates that those who rebuilt Jerusalem may have been selected because of their tribal affiliation to Judah, Levi or Benjamin it seems highly likely that these people from other tribes who had been taken to Babylon with the Jews would have returned to Jerusalem during the 490 years until the city fell.  The Apostle Luke mentions one such person from the tribe of Asher, “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;” (Luke 2:36).

There were very strong ties between the captives in Babylonia and those who returned to Judah.  We have already established that many from the northern ten tribes such as Simeon, Ephraim and Manasseh resided in Judah prior to the captivity and would have been taken into exile by the Babylonians.  While Jerusalem was being rebuilt the remaining captives in Babylonia flourished and had regular contact with those in Jerusalem.  In the “Antiquities of the Jews” Josephus said that temple donations were sent from Babylonia to Jerusalem, under the protection of ‘many ten thousands of men’ (Antiquities of the Jews XVIII, ix, 6-9).   

Those who are known as Jews today not only dispersed from Judah when it fell in 70 AD but also from Babylonia.  According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia (under ‘diaspora’), after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, ‘the colony in Babylonia remained a stronghold of orthodox Judaism and produced its famous Talmud’.  Other historic sources indicate that over the next thousand years many whom we now refer to as Jews, dispersed from Babylonia.  They included, as we have already established, people from other tribes besides Judah.

When God destroyed the House of Jacob He did promise that a remnant would survive to rebuild Jerusalem. That was necessary to fulfil the promises regarding Christ and provide the right environment for his ministry.  After he was crucified the city was once again sacked and the temple destroyed - it had served its purpose.

Conclusion

God destroyed the Kingdom of Israel and scattered its people among all nations where they were to be forgotten.  Their modern day identity is not important.  The only identifiable physical remnant of the House of Jacob in this age, (known collectively as Jews and who represent all twelve tribes) along with the rest of the world, does not know the true God.  When God executed judgment on Israel, Judah and finally Jerusalem most of them went into captivity where they are still scattered among the Gentiles worshipping false gods. They have in effect become Gentiles themselves.  A Gentile is one who does not know the true God. 

While certain promises made to Abraham may have been unconditional, his descendants certainly had conditions imposed on them when they received the blessing. The blessings of greatness and prosperity promised to Abraham’s descendants were received and long ago lost.  Because they turned from God they lost their knowledge of God, they also lost their kingdom, their lands and identity.  God said He would only bless them if they turned to Him with all their hearts in sincere repentance andobey all his commandments. There is no evidence of Britain and America, or any other nation ever having done that. 

Although the prophecies about Jacob’s children applied to their future there is no evidence that they applied to the end-time.

The argument that Britain and America must be descendants of ancient Israel because they have prospered does not stack up when the prosperity of other nations is considered. As discussed earlier in this paper, the predominantly European nations including Spain, Germany, Greece and Italy who are not considered to be of Israelite descent, have prospered as well.

This whole world has been in spiritual captivity for the last six thousand years.  God called ancient Israel out of captivity when they left Egypt and returned them back into captivity when they rejected Him. That captivity was both physical and spiritual.

Why do so many expend so much time, energy and resources trying to find what God declared shall be lost and forgotten!     

God said that the Kingdom of Israel will eventually be restored and the people of ancient Israel and their descendants will be freed from captivity.  They, along with every one else, will be resurrected.  The restitution of all things will be discussed in Part III of this paper.

 

Chapter Seven

Apple of God’s Eye

The House of Jacob comprises both Israel and Judah and is often referred to as Israel.   There are many passages in the Bible that talk about the restoration of Israel at a future time, a subject that will be addressed in chapter 8.  However, before discussing the restoration of Israel it is important to understand the significance of what Israel lost. 

Israel was the nation through whom God chose to reveal His plan of salvation to the world.  He had promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed by his seed.

God considered Israel to be His first fruits, they were the apple of His eye, “Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 2:3).  And,“For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.  He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10).

God’s Presence

When He brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt God called them His people and dwelt among them, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” and “And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.” (Exodus 25:8, 29:45-46).  The temple was God’s house, “For the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.  I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.” (I Kings 8:11-13). 

God dwelling among them symbolized a future time when He will put His Spirit within individuals to begin their personal salvation.  In New Testament times God made His Spirit available to those whom He called into the early church.  He regarded those with His Spirit to be His temple, Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”  and “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are,” (I Corinthians 3:16-17).  Eventually the Holy Spirit will be available to all mankind.

God’s Spirit helps us to understand His spiritual concepts and appreciate the things He gives us, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:11-14). 

In Old Testament times it seems that only those who were called for a specific purpose had God’s Spirit.  Because the general populace of ancient Israel did not have God’s Spirit, spiritual concepts were expressed to them in physical terms through the way of life God required of them.  This not only included the way they worshipped, but also the way they were governed.   Their law, the temple and the priesthood were physical reflections of the spiritual things God had in store for mankind.  These things represented God’s Kingdom in physical form.

A Shadow of Things to Come

Both the tabernacle and the temple were constructed according to the pattern of God’s temple in heaven, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” (Exodus 25:8-9) and And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament:”  (Revelation 11:19.   See also Revelation 14:17 and 15:5.) 

The priests were a shadow of things to come, For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Hebrews 8:4-5).  The High Priest foreshadowed the Messiah (Christ) and the temple priests represented his saints who will rule with him when he returns, But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” (Hebrews 9:11) and and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” (Revelation 5:10 RSV). 

Sabbaths

God’s Holy Days portrayed God’s plan of salvation, Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come;”(Colossians 2:16-17).    

The Sabbath represents God’s spiritual rest, Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.” and “ For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”(Hebrews 4:1-5, 8-11).

The Law

God’s law codified what will eventually be written in the hearts of men spiritually, For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” (Hebrews 10:1).  

Governance

Israel was governed as a single nation with twelve tribes. The number twelve is believed to symbolize completeness in structure - twelve tribes, twelve disciples and twelve gates in the city of Jerusalem etc.  The significance of the number points toward the one hundred and forty four thousand mentioned in Revelation 7:4-9, which is a multiple of twelve (12x12) symbolizing Christ’s perfect government of the future.

The Book of Revelation shows quite clearly that the one hundred and forty four thousand are the resurrected saints redeemed from among men,“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads - the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:1-5).   

The resurrected saints will rule with Christ when he returns, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, andjudgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” and “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4, 6).

Ezekiel’s Vision

The long history of Israel’s rebellion and reversion to idolatry and the continued extension of God’s mercy and forgiveness are recorded for us in the Bible.  When God finally said that enough was enough He withdrew from Israel.  This took place in stages.  First the kingdom split in to two nations, then God removed His protection from the nation of Israel, then Judah and finally Jerusalem. The final stage of God’s withdrawal was shown to the prophet Ezekiel in a vision.

Just before the city of Jerusalem finally fell to the Babylonians Ezekiel saw a vision in which he was shown how God’s sanctuary (the temple) had been defiled.  Because they worshipped their idols in the temple, God said that He would remove His presence from them, He said furthermore unto me, Son of man, seest thou what they do? even the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should go far off from my sanctuary? but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations.” (Ezekiel 8:6). 

The people finally provoked God to anger and reaped the consequences, “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD’S house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.  And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD’S house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.” (Ezekiel 8:14-18).

God Removed His Presence

In his vision Ezekiel saw the arrival of a throne, Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne.”  (Ezekiel 10:1).   The throne was to convey the presence of God from the temple.  He went out through the east gate of the city to the Mount of Olives which is east of the city, “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.  And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’S house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.” (Ezekiel 10:18-19). 

The throne along with God’s presence then departed from the Mount of Olives, “Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.  And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city – so the vision that I had seen went up from me.” (Ezekiel 11:22-24). 

The removal of God’s presence from the temple and Jerusalem brought the curtain down on what was left of the remnant of the kingdom of Israel.  Without God’s protection they were at the mercy of their adversaries who quickly destroyed what remained.  In God’s eyes their spiritual adultery was worse than the sexual perversions of Sodom and Gomorrah, And thine elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister, that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations: but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.  As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.” (Ezekiel 16:46-48).

Lamenting the Loss

Looking back Jeremiah lamented the loss of these incredibly precious things that God had removed from His people, “The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof.  He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.”  and “And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.  The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast. The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.  Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.”  and “All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?” (Lamentations 2:2-3, 6-10, 15).   

Conclusion

Israel was the nation God chose to represent His Kingdom on earth and through whom He revealed His plan of salvation to the world.  Through their way of life He portrayed His spiritual concepts in physical terms.   

Sadly, they turned their backs on God and defiled His sanctuary with their abominations.  Consequently He withdrew from them.  Without His protection they lost their kingdom, their land and freedom.  They went into both physical and spiritual captivity. 

However, despite Israel’s rebellion the revelation of God’s plan of salvation has not been thwarted.  God achieved what He set out to do.  Although ancient Israel was destroyed, the history and writings have been preserved in the Bible.  For those who have the eyes to see, God’s Kingdom and His plan of salvation are clearly evident.     

Israel’s sin and the subsequent loss of God’s presence from among them which resulted in their destruction is comparable to a member of God’s Church today losing the Holy Spirit and having to face eternal death.

 

PART III RESTORATION 

Chapter Eight

Jacob’s Future Restoration Prophesied

Nearly all of the Old Testament prophets who foretold the demise of Jacob (Israel and Judah) also spoke of a time far into the future when God said He would restore the House of Jacob.  In the ‘later days’ the people of Israel and Judah are to be reconciled with God under a new covenant. There is to be a time of great prosperity, peace and security.  God says that He will give them His Holy Spirit and His law will be written in their hearts forever. 

Restoration Promised

Amos said that Israel’s prosperity will be permanently restored, “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name," says the LORD who does this.  "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.  I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.  I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land which I have given them.”  says the LORD your God,” (Amos 9:11-15 RSV).

Reconciliation

The prophet Hosea spoke of a time when the children of Israel would be reconciled to God, Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.  Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” and “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.”(Hosea 1:10-11 and 3:5).

Even though the prophets expressed the restoration in physical terms the underlying message is one of spiritual reconciliation to God.  They predicted a time when the children of Israel will finally be brought out of spiritual captivity and reconciled to God.  For example, “……….it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.”  (end of v.10, Hosea 1).  “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.”  (Hosea 3:5).  “I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.”  (Jeremiah 33:8 RSV) and “he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” and “and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” (Micah 4:2, 7). 

Jeremiah spoke of prosperity, security and forgiveness, “For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah which were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and before the sword;” and “Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.  I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.  I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.  And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them; they shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.” (Jeremiah 33:4, 6-9 RSV).

A New and Better Covenant

At the time of restoration they will come under a new and better covenant,Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that Imade with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  

Jesus Christ will be mediator of a new covenant, “But now hath he (Christ) obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6). And “…………I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers………,” and “………I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:” (Hebrews 8:9, 10).

A New King

Zechariah said that Jerusalem in the future will be a safe place under Christ’s governance, And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.  All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.  And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” (Zechariah 14:9-11).  

Micah confirms that as a result of Christ’s rule there will be peace forever, “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.  For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.  In that day, saith the LORD, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” (Micah 4:1-7).

Salvation for Israel

Paul said that all Israel shall be offered salvation, “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. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”(Romans 11:25-27).  

A New Spirit

Through Isaiah, God said that the generations of Jacob would receive His Spirit, something they did not have previously, “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.  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.” (Isaiah 59:20-21). And,"...I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you..." (Ezekiel 11:19, see also 18:31 and 36:26).

A few individuals, like King David and the prophets, did have God’s Spirit in the past but it was not freely available. God’s Spirit was, however, promised to the Israelites at a future time, “And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”(Ezekiel 37:13-14).

After Christ died God’s Spirit was made available to those whom He called into His New Testament (covenant) church.  For all of Jacob’s generations to receive God’s Spirit it is going to require a resurrection to physical life and that will occur after the Millennium, during what is known as the Great White Throne Judgment period. 

Resurrection to Physical Life

Ezekiel described their physical resurrection (Ezekiel 37:1-14) and Hosea confirmed that it will occur during a time of judgment  - “for great shall be that day of Jezreel.” (Hosea 1:11).  Jezreel is symbolic of judgment and that day of judgment is the one described by the Apostle John in Revelation 20:11-12 as the Great White Throne Judgment day.   

In the process of time all the generations of Israel will receive salvation.  God said that Israel would not be His people until such a time when He is able to say to them, “You are the sons of the living God.” (Hosea 1:10).   He will only be able to say that when they have accepted Christ as their Saviour, repented and received His Spirit and for most of them that will not occur until they are resurrected from the dead, For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.  A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”(Ezekiel 36:24-28). 

To the Jews who have rejected Christ for more than 2,000 years it may come as a shock to learn that they must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to receive God’s Spirit, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Spirit).  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:38-39). 

Restoration Has Not Yet Occurred

Some have thought that Israel was restored during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah when many exiles returned to Judah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the temple, but Judah was still under control of a Gentile power. 

Even in Christ’s time many expected Christ to free Israel from Roman occupation and rule as their king.  They asked “Lordwilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” and no doubt they were disappointed when He said, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” (Acts 1:6-7). 

Israel today is only a small nation surrounded by enemies and under constant threat of war.  They have not experienced the things God said would occur in the restoration.  Christ is not their king. They do not provide spiritual guidance to the rest of the world and there is no sign of the peace and prosperity that was described by the prophets.  The restoration of Israel as promised by God has not yet taken place.

All to be Fulfilled

Although Christ did not rule over Israel when he was here in the flesh, assurance was given that all the prophesies would be fulfilled, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” and “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.”  (Acts 3:20-21, 24).

Conclusion

In the last chapter we saw that the kingdom of Israel foreshadowed God’s spiritual Kingdom.  Because of their idolatry they lost their kingdom, lands and freedom, but through the prophets God promised that they would be restored.   

The resurrection described in Ezekiel 37 shows the generations of Israel (Jacob) being restored to physical life. Other prophets tell us that under the governance of Christ, who will mediate a new covenant, all the generations of Israel will be offered salvation.  Through the process of conversion they will eventually become spirit beings.  Although restored physically for a time their ultimate restoration will be to the spiritual Kingdom that was foreshadowed by ancient Israel - the Kingdom of God. 

Past generations of Israel will be resurrected during the Great White Throne Judgment period.  Any of their descendants who are alive at the time Christ returns and survive the end times, will have the opportunity of salvation during the Millennium.  All the things God promise through his prophets will be fulfilled. 

 

Chapter Nine

Restitution of All Things

God promised Abraham both material and spiritual blessings.  There is no doubt that the physical descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob were the heirs of the material blessings.  We have already discussed in this paper how those promises were fulfilled in every detail.

What about the spiritual promise? God promised that in Abraham, all the families of the earth will be blessed, And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis12:2-3).  What is that blessing, who will receive it and when will it be received?  

The Spiritual Blessing

Paul makes it clear that the spiritual blessing comes through Christ who is a direct   descendant of Abraham, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”  (Galatians 3:16).

Paul indicated that the Holy Spirit is the promised blessing, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  (Galatians 3:13-14).  He called it the Holy Spirit of promise, “Ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13).

Fulfilling the Blessing

Peter said that the spiritual promise to Abraham will be fulfilled when Christ returns. He called it the times of the restitution of all things, “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all thingswhich God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.  For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”(Acts 3:20-26).  This is a very informative passage and requires further analysis. 

Turning from Sin

The word ‘restitution’ means restoring to a former state and Peter indicated that the former state is one without sin.  He said that Christ through whom the blessing is to come will turn away everyone from sin,“Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (verse 26).  For mankind, that state of sinlessness is the one that existed prior to the first sin committed by Adam and Eve.  The restitution of all things includes the restoration of mankind to a spiritual state that is acceptable to God.  This can only be achieved through the process of conversion that requires God’s Holy Spirit that has been made available to mankind through Christ.   

Basically our existence as physical human beings is preparation for eternal life as spirit beings in the Kingdom of God.  God created mankind as temporary, physical beings to be tested, proven and perfected, before being transformed into permanent spirit beings as the very children of God in His Kingdom.  When Adam and Eve sinned they severed their relationship with God thus condemning mankind to a sentence of death.

Despite the failure of our first parents, God’s purpose has not changed. He has provided a way for mankind to be redeemed from that penalty of death and for that relationship to be restored on an individual basis along with the opportunity of eternal life in His Kingdom as sons and daughters. Through his sacrifice Christ paid the penalty of sin on behalf of all mankind, restoring the opportunity for humanity to become part of that family in God’s Kingdom.

Restoration for All

The ‘restitution of all things’ that Peter spoke about is the same event referred to by the prophets when they spoke about restoration, “Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” and “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:21, 24).

When the prophets pronounced God’s judgment on the House of Jacob (Israel and Judah) and their adversaries, they also announced the future restoration as a time when God’s Spirit will be made available,“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 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.” (Isaiah 59:20-21).  Also “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezekiel 11:19-20).

The promise of restoration was not for Jacob alone. Jeremiah said, “But I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the days to come – declares the LORD.” and “But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites – declare the LORD.” and “But in the days to come I will restore the fortunes of Elam – declares the LORD.”(Jeremiah 48:47, 49:6, 39 Tanakh JPS Translation.  See also NKJV, RSV and Young’s Literal Translation.)

Ezekiel tells us that the restoration of other nations will occur at the same time as that of Judah,  "I will restore their fortunes - the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and the fortunes of Samaria and her daughters - and your fortunes along with theirs.”  (Ezekiel 16:53 Tanakh JPS Translation.  See also NKJV, RSV and Young’s Literal Translation.)   

Restored to Salvation

Peter said that Christ is returning to bring salvation for all mankind, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22-23).  Those who listen to him and submit to the process of conversion will receive the Holy Spirit, which leads to eternal life.  Those who reject the opportunity of salvation will die in the lake of fire.

Christ is coming to restore mankind to a right relationship with God the Father and to offer them salvation so they can enter God’s Kingdom.

This is the restoration spoken about by both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament Apostles.  The Old Testament prophets announced God’s plan of salvation to people who did not have God’s Spirit.  They spoke of the restoration in physical terms because the people could not grasp the spiritual concept without God’s Spirit, But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (I Corinthians 2:9-12).

Many including His followers thought Christ had come to restore the Kingdom of Israel, When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).   It wasn’t until later when they had the Holy Spirit that they understood what was to be restored.

Once they understood, Christ’s Apostles continued to announce God’s plan of salvation primarily to those who did have God’s Spirit - the church.  The rest of the people, who did not have God’s Spirit, did not understand their message.  They did not realise the prophesies concerning restoration did not refer to re-establishing the physical Kingdom of Israel but were referring to restoration of all things: that is, the restoration of mankind to God and His Kingdom.  That is what God’s plan of salvation is all about!

Children of the Promises

God is not dealing with physical Israel or her descendants at this time. He is dealing with those who have his Spirit.  Paul drew a distinction between the ‘children of the flesh’ and the ‘children of the promise’, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Romans 9:6-8). 

The only ones at this stage who have received that promise are those who have the Holy Spirit.  They are the children of the promise, whom God calls His people.  According to the promise made to Abraham, God’s Spirit will eventually be made available to all mankind. 

Ancient Israel rejected God and were no longer considered to be His people. Later, when Jesus Christ preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God among their remnant in Judea, they rejected Him also.  Their understanding was taken from them and their place given to those who believed Christ, “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded  (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” (Romans 11:7-8).

This does not exclude the people of ancient Israel from receiving God’s Spirit when their turn comes.  Eventually, like everyone else, they will have the opportunity to receive His Spirit and become His children, “and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” (Hosea 1:10).  When they rejected God and later rejected His son Jesus Christ they were relegated back into the world to await their turn, which will occur during the Great White Throne Judgment.  There is an order in which things will occur, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order:” (I Corinthians 15:22-23). 

Things may have been very different for them if they had only obeyed and worshipped God rather than chasing after false gods.

Conclusion

God promised Abraham that His Holy Spirit will be made available to all the families of the earth through Jesus Christ who is a direct descendant of Abraham. 

God’s focus is now on the fulfillment of that promise which Christ will oversee when He returns. 

The restoration spoken of by the Old Testament prophets is the same event as the ‘restitution of all things’ that was mentioned by the New Testament apostle Peter.  It does not refer to restoration of the physical kingdom of Israel, but to the restoration of mankind to God and hence to His Kingdom.

Israel and her descendants will have the same opportunities as everyone else to become children of the promises.  The children of the promises will receive God’s Holy Spirit, which will prepare them for a spiritual existence in God’s Kingdom as His sons and daughters.

The spiritual element of God’s promise to Abraham concerns the salvation of mankind.

PART IV   CATCHING THE VISION! 

Chapter Ten

Catching the Vision

Having begun with the promises to Abraham it is fitting that we should return to them in this final chapter of the paper.   God said, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2). 

Giving the Vision

These promises were incredibly visionary because in them we see the plan of salvation revealed when He said, “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”.  Paul tells us that this refers to Jesus Christ, who according to the genealogy in the first chapter of Matthew is a direct descendant of Abraham.  It is through him that salvation is offered to all mankind, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16).  Including the Gentiles, “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:14).  

Sustaining the Vision

Not only did God reveal His plan of salvation to Abraham, He also established the medium through which He would reveal His plan to the world.  The nation He formed with Abraham’s descendants was that medium.  Representing God’s Kingdom in a physical sense, it foreshadowed future events through its culture and outlined the plan in the Holy Days they celebrated.  By keeping His promises concerning the nation, God demonstrated that He would keep His promise of salvation for all of mankind.  It took four hundred years to establish the nation whose very existence provided the proof to sustain the vision of His plan until it comes to fruition at the end of the present age. 

He promised to bless Abraham’s descendants with land, prosperity and greatness, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:” (Genesis 12:2).   

In Part I of this paper we saw the Biblical evidence that God has faithfully kept His promise to Abraham and subsequently Isaac and Jacob, concerning Israel.  He brought their descendants out of slavery and in to the promised land where they prospered exactly as God said they would. The wealth, prosperity and fame at the time of King David and his son Solomon testified that those promises were faithfully fulfilled. This was designed to give hope to all who believe.

Losing the Vision

Unfortunately Abraham’s descendants, often referred to as Jacob, lost the sight of their role in God’s plan.  By turning their back on Him they lost the vision that should have sustained them, and suffered the consequences,“Where there is no vision, the people perish:” (Proverbs 29:18).  Their actions precluded them from continuing to be God’s people and they were subsequently relegated back into the world.  In losing the vision they also lost God’s protection and all that He had blessed them with.  By ignoring the Biblical record and the fact that God did keep His promises regarding the greatness of Israel, both secular and religious historians have further obscured the vision of what God is accomplishing with His plan.  

Despite their failure God allowed a remnant of Jacob to survive and rebuild both Jerusalem and the temple so they would exist in Christ’s time.  However, by that time their unique culture had become so corrupted with the traditions of men the leadership failed to recognize God’s son and had him crucified.  

The descendants of that remnant, known as the Jews today, are the only identifiable remnant of the House of Jacob. The rest were scattered and their identity lost.  As we have shown in this paper there is no Biblical proof that the lost tribes of Israel are Britain and America, or that they received the blessings that supposedly were not given to ancient Israel.  From the Bible we have seen that the promises to Israel were fulfilled in every detail.   

Neither the Jews, nor any others claiming to be descendants of the tribes of Israel are God’s people today and are not the focus of His attention in these times.

Salvation for All

After Christ was rejected by the remnant (the lost sheep of Israel), God established His church with those who had believed Christ and began preaching through them to the Gentiles, “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” and “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.” and “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. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Romans 11:7-8, 11, & 25-27).

In these verses Paul reminds us that although Jacob had been spiritually blinded, God has promised that they will eventually be saved.   He was confirming what the Old Testament prophets had mentioned concerning restoration.  He says they will be saved by the Deliverer who is Christ.  Not only will the people of Jacob and their descendants be resurrected during the Great White Throne Judgment period to be offered salvation, but everyone else who has ever lived will be resurrected at that time to be offered that same salvation.  This is how all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Focus of Attention

In ancient times Israel and Judah (Jacob), known as God’s people, were the focus of God’s attention; the rest of the world, known as the heathen, were their adversaries. Today God’s focus is on those who have His Spirit, and the rest of the world is under the influence of the social, political and religious systems of this world symbolised by ancient Babylon.  Satan the god of this world who is known as the adversary leads them.  Both Jeremiah the prophet and John writer of Revelation, use Babylon as a symbol for the adversaries of God’s people.     

When Jesus Christ returns God’s people will be rescued and the adversaries will be punished in the Day of the Lord.  After the Day of the Lord when the adversaries have been vanquished, there will be a thousand years of peace under the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.  After the thousand years of peace Satan and his demons will be released for a little while and finally they too will be vanquished forever.  Then comes the Great White Throne Judgement period, a time when all those who have died will be resurrected and given the opportunity of salvation.  Christ will oversee the fulfilment of what God promised Abraham concerning all the families of the earth.

Abraham’s Name to be Great

Everyone who accepts salvation will receive the Holy Spirit. That same Spirit that is in both the Father and Christ is imparted by Him to those being saved.  It can be likened to a spiritual DNA that replaces the corrupt spirit in man to make the recipient a son or daughter of God, it also makes them a descendant of Abraham, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29).  Jesus Christ was a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Luke 3:23-34).  Therefore, anyone who receives the Spirit that is in Christ also becomes a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well. 

This is what the prophets were talking about when they prophesied about the restoration of Jacob.  Everyone who is saved through receiving that Spirit will be part of Jacob’s restoration! 

Because those who do not accept salvation will die the second death there will not remain a single person who isn’t descended from Abraham. That is what God meant when He said He would make Abraham’s name great.  Through Abraham we are all Children of the Promises. 

END

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Summation of Conclusions

Chapter 1

God promised that He would make Abraham’s name great, that his descendants would form a great nation that would be blessed with abundance.  God said Abraham would be the father of many nations.  He was to be exceedingly fruitful and his descendants were to be as numerous as the dust of the earth, the sand of the seashore, or the stars of the heaven.  He was promised the land to the north, south, east and west of where he stood. Kings would proceed from him and his seed would posses the gate of his enemies.  Abraham was also told that all the nations of the earth would be blessed in his seed.

The blessings passed on to Ephraim and Manasseh were a significant increase in numbers.  Ephraim was to become a multitude of nations.   They were to overflow the boundaries of their land and receive greater blessings than other tribes, becoming numerous and strong.

Chapter 2

There is no doubt from the evidence contained in the Bible itself that ancient Israel did indeed receive all of the material blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by God.  As stated by Solomon at the time of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, not one of the promises God made failed (I Kings 8:56).  Abraham’s name was made great and his descendants did reach the numbers God predicted.  They spread abroad in the land God gave them and received the abundance, fame and strength to be a formidable force on the world scene possessing the gates of their enemies.   

Joseph received a double portion and the promises to his sons Ephraim and Manasseh were fulfilled.  Ephraim became a multitude of people in the land of Israel that God gave them.  His tribe became the largest of the twelve and later when Israel and Judah split his name became synonymous with the name of Israel.  He was greater than his brother Manasseh. 

Each and every one of those promises was fulfilled in the days of ancient Israel.  Any claim that the physical blessing were not received by ancient Israel in those days, is erroneous.  Having fulfilled those promises in every detail God is under no obligation to bless the supposed descendants of ancient Israel in this day and age.

God also promised salvation for all mankind through Abraham’s seed.  This promise was fulfilled in as far as Jesus Christ through whom all mankind will be saved was born among the remnant of Israel that God retained specifically for that purpose.

Chapter 3

When Jehoiachin died in captivity the throne of David was left vacant but the royal line continued down to Christ who is to be king. 

There is no scriptural proof the royal line continued through Zedekiah’s daughters who supposedly took the crown to Ireland.  This theory is based on legend and myth. 

The prophecies concerning Israel’s greatness were fulfilled prior to the time of the destruction of Israel and Judah.  Because of their sin they went into captivity and will only come out of that captivity when they accept Christ as their saviour, repent and receive God’s Spirit.  The prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel refer to spiritual Israel into which all people, Jews and Gentiles will be restored.  It doesn’t matter who or where the descendants of Israel are today – they, like the rest of the world, are in spiritual captivity and will remain so until resurrected.

The promise that the throne of David was be established forever and that David would never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel has clearly been fulfilled.  That throne was established and because most who sat on it failed to obey His commandments God eventually denied those of the royal line access to the throne until Christ.  As head of the Church he sits on that throne ruling Spiritual Israel – His church.  There is no longer any need for a man to sit on the throne. 

Chapter 4

Ezekiel was given a number of messages to deliver to various peoples and nations.  He was a contemporary of Jeremiah.  While Jeremiah was in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was with the captives, who were a mix of the northern tribes and Judah, in the land of the Chaldeans (Babylonians) where he was instructed to go and where he went.  The fall of Jerusalem was the last act in executing judgment on the rebellious House of Israel (Jacob).   

Israel fell in three stages: the major portion was taken captive when the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians then Judah (a mix of all tribes) fell to the Babylonians and finally Jerusalem.  Once Jerusalem fell, the prophecy that the cities of Jacob would be laid waste had been fulfilled as far as God was concerned.     Ezekiel’s prophecies concerning the final destruction of Israel were fulfilled at that time.

As instructed Ezekiel delivered his message to te leaders of the House of Israel at that time held captive by the Babylonians.  His message was about the next stage of the execution of God's judgment which was the fall of Jerusalem.  He also said that the execution of judgment would pursue the survivors even in their captiviaty.  Centuries later when they rejected and killed Jesus Christ Jerusalem was once again destroyed with huge loss of lives.  Since then they have been perscuted and hve no peace.  They are a nation surrounded by enemies constantly at war.  The judgment will continue until such time as they accept Christ as their saviour.

Chapter 5

Jeremiah’s commission was to announce to Judah and the other nations of the world at that time what God had in store for them. They were to be destroyed in their immediate future with the exception of Babylon.  According to one interpretation of the Book of Revelation Babylon represents the political, economic and religious systems of government that have infiltrated the world.  Eventually even Babylon is to drink of the cup of wrath and be destroyed when Christ returns to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth.

The nation of Judah and its capital Jerusalem represented what was left of the House of Jacob. It was to be destroyed, but a remnant survived to provide the way for God’s promises about the Messiah to be fulfilled.

Jeremiah’s commission to plant and build is a message of hope for all people.  It referred to the coming Messiah and eventually the restoration of Israel, as part of God’s Kingdom on earth after Christ returns as ruler.

There is no evidence to suggest that Jeremiah’s commission was to take the throne of David from Judah and to transplant it in the British Isles.

It is worth noting here that with the final fall of Jerusalem in 70AD the age of patriarchs and prophets ended.  The era of the Babylonian system was fully ushered in and it continues to be the backbone of the world today. It will be finally destroyed with the return of Christ.

Chapter 6

God destroyed the Kingdom of Israel and scattered its people among all nations where they were to be forgotten.  Their modern day identity is not important.  The only identifiable physical remnant of the House of Jacob in this age, (known collectively as Jews and who represent all twelve tribes) along with the rest of the world, does not know the true God.  When God executed judgment on Israel, Judah and finally Jerusalem most of them went into captivity where they are still scattered among the Gentiles worshipping false gods. They have in effect become Gentiles themselves.  A Gentile is one who does not know the true God. 

While certain promises made to Abraham may have been unconditional, his descendants certainly had conditions imposed on them when they received the blessing. The blessings of greatness and prosperity promised to Abraham’s descendants were received and long ago lost.  Because they turned from God they lost their knowledge of God, they also lost their kingdom, their lands and identity.  God said He would only bless them if they turned to Him with all their hearts in sincere repentance andobey all his commandments. There is no evidence of Britain and America, or any other nation ever having done that. 

Although the prophecies about Jacob’s children applied to their future there is no evidence that they applied to the end-time.

The argument that Britain and America must be descendants of ancient Israel because they have prospered does not stack up when the prosperity of other nations is considered. As discussed earlier in this paper, the predominantly European nations including Spain, Germany, Greece and Italy who are not considered to be of Israelite descent, have prospered as well.

This whole world has been in spiritual captivity for the last six thousand years.  God called ancient Israel out of captivity when they left Egypt and returned them back into captivity when they rejected Him. That captivity was both physical and spiritual.

Why do so many expend so much time, energy and resources trying to find what God declared shall be lost and forgotten!     

God said that the Kingdom of Israel will eventually be restored and the people of ancient Israel and their descendants will be freed from captivity.  They, along with every one else, will be resurrected.  The restitution of all things will be discussed in Part III of this paper.

Chapter 7

Israel was the nation God chose to represent His Kingdom on earth and through whom He revealed His plan of salvation to the world.  Through their way of life He portrayed His spiritual concepts in physical terms.   

Sadly, they turned their backs on God and defiled His sanctuary with their abominations.  Consequently He withdrew from them.  Without His protection they lost their kingdom, their land and freedom.  They went into both physical and spiritual captivity.

However, despite Israel’s rebellion the revelation of God’s plan of salvation has not been thwarted.  God achieved what He set out to do.  Although ancient Israel was destroyed, their history and writings have been preserved in the Bible.  For those who have the eyes to see, God’s Kingdom and His plan of salvation are clearly evident.       

Israel’s sin and the subsequent loss of God’s presence from among them which resulted in their destruction is comparable to a member of God’s Church today losing the Holy Spirit and having to face eternal death.

Chapter 8

In the last chapter we saw that the kingdom of Israel foreshadowed God’s spiritual Kingdom.  Because of their idolatry they lost their kingdom, lands and freedom, but through the prophets God promised that they would be restored. 

The resurrection described in Ezekiel 37 shows the generations of Israel (Jacob) being restored to physical life. Other prophets tell us that under the governance of Christ, who will mediate a new covenant, all the generations of Israel will be offered salvation.  Through the process of conversion they will eventually become spirit beings.  Although restored physically for a time their ultimate restoration will be to the spiritual Kingdom that was foreshadowed by ancient Israel – the Kingdom of God.

Past generations of Israel will be resurrected during the Great White Throne Judgment period.  Any of their descendants who are alive at the time Christ returns and survive the end times, will have the opportunity of salvation during the Millennium.  All the things God promise through his prophets will be fulfilled. 

Chapter 9

God promised Abraham that His Holy Spirit will to be made available to all the families of the earth through Jesus Christ who is a direct descendant of Abraham.  God’s focus is now on the fulfillment of that promise which Christ will oversee when He returns. 

The restoration spoken of by the Old Testament prophets is the same event as the ‘restitution of all things’ that was mentioned by the New Testament apostle Peter.  It does not refer to restoration of the physical kingdom of Israel, but to the restoration of mankind to God and hence to His Kingdom.

Israel and her descendants will have the same opportunities as everyone else to become children of the promises.  The children of the promises will receive God’s Holy Spirit, which will prepare them for a spiritual existence in God’s Kingdom as His sons and daughters.

The spiritual element of God’s promise to Abraham concerns the salvation of mankind.

END


 

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Lost Ten Tribes

Is the identity of the lost ten tribes of Israel relevant?  See our article Children of the Promises 

Do you know

the difference between the law and a covenant?  Or the difference between commandments, statutes and judgments?  If not make sure you read see our Bible Study on God's Law   

Have You Considered

Jesus Christ said that no one has seen or heard his Father.  So who spoke to Abraham, Moses, Isaac and Jacob?  To find out make sure you read our article - Who Spoke.

Do you know who the two witnesses will be?   See our article -  The Two Witnesses.

Will you be part of the bride of Christ? - See our article - Bride of Christ.

Points to Ponder

When we take of the wine and bread in rembrance of Christ's sacrifice are we observing Passover, or the Lord's Supper?  Is there a diference between the two?  If so - what is that diference?

Be sure to read our article on 'The Truth About Passover'

As you are preparing to celebrate the Lord's Supper you may also want to read our new article 'Examine Yourself'