Israel … What If?
(the greatest story never told)
Israel. As we read and search the New Testament writings, we find that as Gentiles, we can be grafted into Israel (Romans 9). We know where modern-day Israel is and its geographic boundaries, but that is where we find the Jews (the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi). So if we are grafted into the “children of Israel”, they have to be a people group. And the children of Israel must be the remaining 10 tribes. Let’s see if we can find them. We’ll start in the New Testament writings to lay sound groundwork:
Acts 10:28 – No man is common or unclean.
• This is Peter talking to the people of Caesarea in Syria, known as Greeks (or Gentiles).
• Peter had overcome the Jewish oral law of the rabbis, which forbids a Jew from speaking to a Gentile.
• Peter understands there is no difference between Jew and Greek.
• We know the gift of salvation is for all.
• Anyone can be grafted into Israel.
• We must follow the Torah and believe in the works of Yahshua.
Acts 10:35-36 – But in every nation, he who fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. He sent the Word to the children of Israel, bringing the good news: peace through Yahshua Messiah. He is Master of all.
So, who were the Gentiles?
And who is Israel that we must be grafted in?
In Romans 9:6 Paul says: For they are not all Israel who are of Israel.
Romans 9:27 says: Though the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant will be saved.
Note: If they are so plentiful, surely they must be seen.
So where do we look for them?
In 1 Peter 1:1 and James 1:1, Israel is referred to as those in “dispersion” (in the Greek, the word is “diaspora”).
In John 11:49-52 Caiaphas the High Priest prophesied that Yahshua came for the sons of Elohim who are scattered.
(Please hang onto this term “scattered” as it’s very important.)
• We know from Exodus 4:22 that Israel is Yahweh’s son, His first-born.
• We know Judah represents the tribe of Judah plus Benjamin and Levi (2 Chronicles 11:12-14).
• We also know that the 10 northern tribes of Israel are known as the “children of Israel” throughout the scripture.
• So those “scattered” must be the 10 tribes of Israel (also called Ephraim, dispersion, Israel, children of Israel, lost sheep, Gentiles, and Greeks).
So what does Yahshua say about this people group?
• Matthew 10:5-6 – Yahshua sent these twelve out, charging them, saying “Do not go into the way of the heathen, and do not go into a Samaritan city, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
• Matthew 15:24 – But He answered and said to them, “Have I not been sent except to the sheep which went astray from the house of Israel?”
If there were none of the 10 northern tribes left living in Samaria, then where are the lost sheep? And who were the Samaritans during the time of Yahshua’s ministry?
- Matthew 18:11 – For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (Lost???)
How is it we are lost?
Did I say “WE”? Could that be?
• John 7:34-35 – Yahshua said: “and where I am going, you are not able to come.” The Jews therefore said to themselves, “Where is He about to go that we shall not find Him? Is He about to go to the dispersion among the Greeks and to teach the Greeks?
• We know that Peter and James knew of the dispersion because their epistles were written to them. Now we find that the Jews, in general, also knew.
Where are they? And how are they to physically and spiritually come home?
• John 10:16 – Yahshua said: “And I also have other sheep, those who were not from this sheepfold… it is necessary for Me to bring them, and they will hear My voice and all the flocks will become one. And there will be One Shepherd.”
Things to consider:
• The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 is about Israel being scattered among the nations and coming back (“being lost, he was found”). However, Judah (the southern tribe) stayed in their land and was always (physically) with the Father.
• Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin (of the southern tribe of Judah). In Romans 9:3-4, Paul is speaking to a group of people in Rome whom he called “my brothers and my relatives according to the flesh, who are the children of Israel”. Paul is speaking about flesh and blood — his kin.
• Read for yourself Romans 9:25-29 and ponder what is said.
• The historian Josephus said that most of the people that were around Asia Minor in Yahshua’s time knew that they were Israel.
• Did you ever wonder why Yahshua, through John in the book of Revelation, is speaking to the seven assemblies north of Israel, not in Israel?
It’s time to look at the Old Testament:
• Deuteronomy 4:24-30 – For Yahweh your Elohim is a consuming fire; He is a jealous El. When you father sons and son’s sons, and you have been long in the land, and have dealt corruptly, and have made a graven image, a likeness of anything, and have done evil in the sight of Yahweh your Elohim, to provoke Him to anger; I call the heavens and the earth to witness against you today that you shall soon utterly perish from off the land to which you go over the Jordan to possess it; you shall not prolong your days on it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And Yahweh shall scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in numbers among the nations to which Yahweh shall lead you away. And there you shall serve other elohim, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which cannot see, or hear, nor eat, nor smell. And if you shall seek Yahweh your Elohim from there, then you shall find Him, if you seek Him with your whole heart and with your whole soul. In your distress, when all these things have found you, in the latter days, then you shall return to Yahweh your Elohim, and shall listen to His voice.
• Deuteronomy 29:28 – Yahweh uprooted them from their land in displeasure and cast them into another land as it is today. (That’s us today!)
• Amos 9:9 – For behold, I will command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations …
• Hosea 8:8 – Israel is swallowed up. They are now among the nations as a vessel in which is no pleasure. (The book of Hosea is about Israel’s sin against Yahweh, their being scattered, and Yahweh bringing them back.)
• Ezekiel 11:16 – So says Adonai Yahweh: Though I have sent them far off among the nations, and scattered them among the lands, yet I was to them as a little sanctuary in the countries there where they had gone.
• This is not speaking of Judah who returned to their land after 70 years of captivity in Babylon.
• I believe this to be us, as we are seeking Him, few in numbers, and having been revealed His truth.
• It says we are scattered, as it is today.
Let’s find out how the northern 10 tribes of Israel
got into such a mess.
In 1 Kings 9:1-7, after Solomon finished Yahweh’s temple and prayed his beautiful dedication prayer, Yahweh promised a blessing to Solomon and the 12 tribes of Israel if they obeyed Him. However, He would cut-off Israel from the face of the land and send them from His presence if they did not guard His commands and laws.
In 1 Kings 11:1-6 we see Solomon took 700 wives and 300 concubines all from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. Yahweh, through Moses, told the Israelites not to multiply wives nor to marry from these people groups. Verse 6 says “this was evil in Yahweh’s eyes”.
In verses 9-13, Yahweh tells Solomon that when His son Rehoboam reigns, Yahweh is going to tear 10 tribes from his kingdom and leave only Judah left for the sake of David and for the sake of Jerusalem.
In verse 31, Jeroboam became king over northern Israel, and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, became king over the southern tribes called Judah (consisting of the tribes Judah, Benjamin, and eventually the Levites). Remember, Paul was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin.
The timeline here is approximately 930 BC.
In 1 Kings 12:23-24 Rehoboam prepares for battle against Jeroboam to take back the northern 10 tribes. But Yahweh speaks to Rehoboam and said, “Do not go up to fight against your brother (remember Paul’s words?) the children of Israel”, and He said, “this matter is of Me.”
Jeroboam feared that His people would travel to Jerusalem at Yahweh’s feasts and not return. So he made two golden calves (a repeat sin that had already occurred at the foot of Mount Sinai). Jeroboam placed the calves in Bethel and Dan to discourage them from going to Jerusalem and commanded the children of Israel to worship on days different from Yahweh’s commanded feast days.
1 Kings 13:33 says Jeroboam made priests of all sorts of people. In other words, they were NOT Levites as Yahweh commanded.
1 Kings 13:34 says this matter became a sin for the house of Jeroboam.
1 Kings 14:15-16 says: and Yahweh shall strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water and shall pluck Israel from this good soil which He gave to their fathers and shall scatter them beyond the river and give up Israel because of the sins of Jeroboam who sinned and made Israel sin.
From 1 Kings 15 to 2 Kings 16, it speaks of 19 kings in the northern tribe who:
• Are all descendants of Jeroboam.
• Did more evil than their father Jeroboam.
• All sinned against Yahweh.
2 Kings 17:6-7 says that in the ninth year of Hoshea (the 19th king of the northern tribes of Israel) that Shalmaneser king of Assyria captured Samaria and exiled Israel to Assyria. And it came to be because the children of Israel had sinned against Yahweh their Elohim. They had:
• Made golden calves.
• Served Baal.
• Made an Asherah.
• Done things secretly against Yahweh.
2 Kings 17:18 – “So Yahweh was very outraged with Israel and removed them from His presence; NONE WERE LEFT BUT THE TRIBE OF JUDAH.”
The timeline was 722 BC.
How far and wide could the children of Israel’s seed be scattered from 722 BC until today (2017)?
That’s 2,739 years or 137 generations.
2 Kings 7:22-24 “And the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did. They did not turn away from them until Yahweh removed Israel from His presence, as He spoke of by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria as it is to this day. And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and made them live in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel.”
• In 2 Kings 17:26-27 we learn that the king of Assyria sent one priest from the children of Israel back to Samaria because lions, sent by Yahweh, were overtaking the Samaritans the new people group in northern Israel.
• We also know this priest was not a Levite because 1 Kings 12:33 says that Jeroboam “made priests of the lowest of people who were not of the sons of Levi” (also see 2 Chronicles 13:9).
• This new people group occupying Samaria did not follow Yahweh only. 2 Kings 17:33 says “they feared Yahweh and served their own elohim, according to the customs of the nations from where they exiled them”. Verse 41 says they feared Yahweh, yet they served their graven images.
In 586 BC the southern tribe of Judah is taken captive by the king of Babylon for 70 years. Babylon is roughly in the same geographic location as was Assyria, around southern Turkey and northern Iraq. But by the time Judah went to Babylon, the children of Israel had already been scattered from Assyria among the nations.
4 Ezra 13:40-46 “These are the ten tribes which were led away from their own land into captivity in the days of King Hoshea, whom Shalmaneser the king of the Assyrians led captive; he took them across the river, and they were taken into another land. But they formed this plan for themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the nations and go to a more distant region, where mankind had never lived, that there they at least might keep their statutes which they had not kept in their own land. And they went in by the narrow passages of the Euphrates River. For at that time the Most High performed signs for them, and stopped the channels of the river until they had passed over. Through that region there was a long way to go, a journey of a year and a half; and that country is called Arzareth. Then they dwelt there until the last times; and now when they are about to come again…”
Although Israel is now lost among the nations, they will come back again.
Jeremiah 16:14-15 – So, behold the days come, says Yahweh, that it shall no more be said, as Yahweh lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt. But rather, as Yahweh lives, Who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands, there where He had banished them to. And I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.
Jeremiah 3:12-14 – Go and cry these words toward the north and say Return, O apostate Israel says Yahweh. I will not cause My face to fall on you, for I am merciful says Yahweh; I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity that you have rebelled against Yahweh your Elohim and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice, says Yahweh. Return O apostate sons, declares Yahweh; for I am Adonai over you. And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
Jeremiah 3:18 – they shall come back from the land of the north to the land of their inheritance.
Jeremiah 23:3 – I shall gather the remnant.
Jeremiah 24:7 – I shall give them a heart to know Me.
Jeremiah 29:13 – And you shall seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. And I shall be found by you declares Yahweh, and I shall turn back your captivity and shall gather you from all the nations and from all the places I have driven you, declares Yahweh. And I shall bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.
Jeremiah 30:3 – I shall bring them back to the land.
Jeremiah 30:10-11 -… saving you from afar and your seed from the land of your captivity. For I am with you, declares Yahweh, to save you, though I make a complete end of all the nations where I have scattered you.
Jeremiah 20:24 – In the latter days you shall understand.
Jeremiah 31: 8-10 – He will gather them from the north and from the ends of the earth … a great company shall return here. I shall be a Father to Israel and Ephriam; He is My first-born. Hear the words of Yahweh, O nations and declare it in the isles afar off and say, He who scattered Israel gathers him and shall guard him as a shepherd his flock.
Ezekiel 34:12,16,30-31 – As a shepherd seeks his flock in the day that he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep and will deliver them from all the places where they were scattered. I will seek the lost, and I will return the banished. And they shall know that I, Yahweh their Elohim, am with them, and they are My people, the house of Israel declares Adonai Yahweh. And you, My sheep, the sheep of My pasture, you are men, and I am your Elohim declares Adonai Yahweh.
Ezekiel 36:24 – For I will take you from the nations and gather you out of all the lands and bring you into your land.
Ezekiel 37: 21-22 – So says Adonai Yahweh: Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations, there where they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and will bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one King shall be for a king to all of them. And they shall not be two nations anymore. And they will not be split into two kingdoms anymore.
And just how far has Israel been scattered?