We spoke earlier about of the Assyrian Dispersion, and how Yahweh sent the Assyrians to take Ephraim away, but the Assyrians were not particular. They also took away some of the people from the southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin). This may be why Ya’akov (James) writes his epistle not just to the ten tribes of the dispersion, but to the twelve.
1 “Ya’akov (James), a servant of Elohim and of the Master Yeshua Messiah, to the twelve tribes who are in the diaspora: Greetings.”
|BGT James 1:1
Ἰάκωβος θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ χαίρειν.
While the term dispersion (διασπορᾷ) normally refers to the ten northern tribes, it is also correct that Ya’akov addresses the twelve tribes. However, what we need to see is that he is not addressing non-Israelite Christians, but the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Apostle Kepha (Peter) also addresses those of the dispersion, calling them “strangers” (παρεπιδήμοις).
|1 Peter 1:1
1 “Kepha, an emissary of Yeshua Messiah to the Chosen: strangers of the Dispersion in Pontos, Galatia, Kappadokia, Asia, and Bithunia;”
|BGT 1 Peter 1:1
Πέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας καὶ Βιθυνίας,
As stated previously in this book, there are two words for gentile in Hebrew. A ger is someone who used to be part of the nation of Israel, but who has drifted away and is now estranged. In contrast, a goy is a gentile who has no relationship with the nation of Israel. While you deal kindly with goyim (plural of goy), you keep them out of your assembly.
The Christian church tells us that Kepha is addressing the goyim, because the church believes Yeshua came to do away with Israel and replace them with the goyim. However, that does not fit the context. It makes more sense that Kepha is writing to gerim (plural of ger), because he calls them “an elect race” and “a set apart nation” (which is something that goyim can never be). He also quotes Hosea, telling them they are the lost ten tribes of Ephraim being called back into the covenant.
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 2:9-10
9 But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a set apart nation, a people for a possession, so that you may openly speak of the virtues of the One who has called you out of darkness, into His marvelous light.
10 You who were then not a people (Lo-Ammi), but now are the “people of Elohim”; the one not pitied then (Lo-Ruhamah), but now pitied (Ruhamah).
This is a clear, direct reference to Hosea 1:8-10, which we saw earlier.
Hoshea (Hosea) 1:8-10
8 Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son.
9 Then Elohim said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your Elohim.
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living Elohim.”
Shaul (Paul) also quotes Hosea to show the gerim that they are actually returning Ephraimites.
Romim (Romans) 9:24-26
24 … even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles [Ephraim]?
25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people [Ammi] who were not My people [Lo Ammi], And her beloved [Ruhamah], who was not beloved [Lo Ruhamah].”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘ You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living Elohim.”
Kepha and Shaul are saying that the ten lost tribes are being called back to rejoin the nation of Israel, so that there will be twelve tribes again.
In complete contrast, the church teaches what is known as replacement theology, which is that the church replaced (or did away with) the Jews. Shaul tells the Ephraimites clearly that Yahweh has not cast away their Jewish brethren.
Romim (Romans) 11:1-2
1 I say then, has Elohim cast away His people [forever]? Elohim forbid; for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2 Elohim has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
Remembering that Yahweh works in patterns, we recognize the same pattern from the time of Jeroboam, when Israel was to become the new lead house (provided they obeyed Yahweh’s Torah). The Jews were to be afflicted (but not forever).
Melachim Aleph (1 Kings) 11:39
39 And I will afflict the descendants of David [the Jews] because of this, but not forever.
Shaul also tried to make it clear that this affliction would not be permanent, but only for a time (and a purpose).
Romim (Romans) 11:11
11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not!
Shaul says Judah will also accept Yeshua, as soon as Ephraim has fulfilled the Great Commission and spread the true Good News to the ends of the earth, and the fullness of the gentiles has come in.
Romim (Romans) 11:25-27
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this secret, lest you should be wise in your own estimation: that blindness in part has happened to Israel [meaning both Houses here] until the fullness of the Gentiles [Ephraim] has come in.
26 And so all Israel [both houses] shall be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away iniquity from Jacob [quoting Isaiah 59:20];
27 “For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins [quoting Isaiah 27:9].”
Sometimes Ephraimites think that they have all of the truth, while Judah has none. This is a mistake. As we will see, both houses were to be partially blinded for a time, and for a purpose. Ephraim would know Yeshua, but reject the Torah. This is so the Christians could take their torahless version of the Good News to the ends of the earth. Judah, conversely, would be blind to Yeshua because his job was to preserve an inheritance for Ephraim to come home to. However, Shaul tells us Judah will ultimately come to know Yeshua, because the Jews’ election as children of the covenant is irrevocable.
Romim (Romans) 11:28-29
28 Concerning the Good News they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
29 for the gifts and the calling of Elohim are irrevocable.
Neither torahless Christianity nor Yeshualess Judaism is sufficient. Ephraim is like a woman who insists she loves her husband, but does not want to do what He asks. Conversely, Judah does much of what Yeshua asks, but she uses her partial obedience as an excuse to lock Him out of her house. Curiously, both of these expect to be taken in marriage. However, until they believe on Him, obey His commandments in His Spirit of love, and continuously submit to His Spirit, their worship of Him is far from complete.
More than a hundred years after the lost ten tribes were taken away in the Assyrian Diaspora, the Jews of the southern kingdom were carried away in an exile of their own. This second Jewish exile, known as the Babylonian Exile, lasted approximately seventy years. At the end of that time, roughly 10 percent of the Jews came back to the land (in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah). The other 90 percent remained out in Babylon where living conditions were easier. Like the Ephraimites, they intermarried and assimilated into the culture. Then, as a result of military conquest, trade, and other factors, Judah’s seed also spread to the four winds in fulfillment of the prophecies given to Avraham and Ya’akov. Because of this, Kepha poetically likens their calling to that of their Ephraimite brothers.
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 5:13
13 She who is in Babylon [the 90% of Judah still out in the Babylonian Exile], chosen together with you [the lost ten tribes still in the diaspora] greets you: also my son [disciple], Mark.
Symbolism and poetry is common in Jewish literature, and Kepha is not alone in using it. John uses Leah and Rachel as symbols of their respective houses (Judah and Joseph/Ephraim). He says that all those (Jews) who have known the truth love their Ephraimite brothers.
Yochanan Bet (2 John) 1:1
1 The elder [brother, meaning the house of Judah], to a chosen lady [Rachel] and her children [meaning the house of Joseph/Ephraim], whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also those who have known the truth.
John was of the house of Judah, and Judah was born to Leah. He tells the Ephraimites that the children (the Jews) of their chosen sister (Leah) greet them.
Yochanan Bet (2 John) 1:13
13 The children [meaning the house of Judah] of your chosen sister [Leah] greet you: Amein.
Yeshua speaks of the return of the Ephraimites in the parable of the prodigal son. The church teaches this parable is nothing more than a beautiful story about a backslidden sinner who repents of his sin. However, remembering that the name Ephraim literally means prodigious, and that Judah is older than Ephraim, let us understand this parable as a prophetic picture of the return of the lost ten tribes.
Luqa (Luke) 15:11-19
11 And Yeshua said, “A certain Man (Yahweh) had two sons.
12 And the younger of them [Ephraim] said to the Father, ‘Father, give me that part of the goods falling to me;’ and He divided the inheritance between them.
13 “And not too many days after, gathering up all things, the younger son [Ephraim] went away to a distant country [in the Assyrian Dispersion]; and there he wasted his goods [the law and the language], living dissolutely [and becoming a “perfect heathen”].
14 “But having lost all his goods, a severe famine [a famine of spiritual food, prophesied in Amos 8:11] came through that country; and he began to be in need.
15 And going, he was joined to one of the citizens of that country [the pope]; and he sent him into his fields, to feed the pigs [idols].
16 And he longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs ate; but no one gave him anything [that would sustain him spiritually].
17 “But coming to himself [in the Protestant Reformation], he said ‘How many of my Father’s servants have plenty of loaves [bread is symbolic of the Torah]; but I am perishing with famine!
18 ‘Rising up, I will go to my Father and I will say to Him, “Father, I have sinned against the Heaven and against you,
19 and am no longer worthy to be called Your son. Make me as one of your hired servants!”
As we mentioned earlier, while the lost ten tribes did disperse in all four directions, the bulk of them migrated north and west with the rise and the fall of empires. Eventually their migrations end in what would later become Protestant Northwestern Europe. After the Catholics had dominated Europe for some 1,260 years, the children of Ephraim would break away from the pope (i.e., the little horn), and they would begin seeking Yahweh’s face more directly. As a result, Yahweh blessed them with more prosperity and technological achievement than had ever before been known.
Luqa (Luke) 15:20-24
20 “And rising up [in the Protestant Reformation] he came to his Father; but he yet being far away [from the original Nazarene faith] his Father saw him, and was moved with pity; and running, He fell on his neck and fervently kissed him [though he was still as yet only a Protestant Christian].
21 “And the son [Ephraim] said to Him, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and before You, and no longer am worthy to be called Your son.’
22 “But the Father said to His slaves, ‘Bring out the best robe and clothe him [literally, Joseph’s coat], and give a ring for his hand [Joseph’s signet], and sandals for his feet!
23 And bring the fattened calf, and slaughter it! And let us eat and be merry;
24 for this son [Ephraim] of Mine was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found!’ And they began to be merry.”
In the parable, when the Father saw Ephraim a long way off, ran to him, fell on his neck, and kissed him, this is symbolic of how Yahweh blessed the Protestant nations beyond all others, simply for seeking His face. This is a source of resentment for Judah, who has kept the Torah for millennia without ever having received the same kinds of blessings of safety and easy prosperity that the Protestant people have enjoyed.
Luqa (Luke) 15:25-28
25 “But his older son [Judah] was in the field; and coming, as he drew near to the house [temple] he heard music and dances.
26 “And having called one of the children to him, [Judah] inquired as to what this might be;
27 and he said to him, ‘Your brother [Ephraim] came, and your Father killed the fattened calf, because he received him back in health.’
28 “But he [Judah] was enraged, and did not desire to go in. Then coming out, his Father begged him.”
Judah is indignant that Ephraim could despise his inheritance (much like Esau despised it), and still be welcomed back home.
Luqa (Luke) 15:29-31
29 “But answering, he [Judah] said to the Father, ‘Behold, how many years have I served you, and never did I transgress a commandment of yours! But you never gave me a young goat, so that I might rejoice with my friends!
30 But when this son of yours came [he does not even call Ephraim his brother], the one having devoured your livelihood with harlots [idols, icons, false religious traditions, false festival dates, false festival sites, etc.] you killed the fattened calf for him!’
31 “But He said to him, ¡Son, you are always with me, and all of My things are yours. But to be merry and to rejoice was right! For this brother of yours was dead, and is alive again! And was lost, and is found.’”
Because the Jews put Yeshua to death, Christians can sometimes have difficulty understanding why Judah would be incredulous. However, Judah has kept a variation of the Torah for thousands of years, even though Ephraim persecuted him for it. Ephraim subjected Judah to repeated persecutions, inquisitions, crusades, and massacres. Judah is upset that Ephraim could walk away from the covenant, worship idols, and try to change the Torah, and yet the Father still orders His servants to clothe Ephraim in the best robe (i.e., Joseph’s coat), give him a signet ring (Joseph’s signet ring), and bring sandals for his feet (as only slaves went barefoot). In Judah’s mind, this is a tremendous injustice.
Scripture tells us that the end is known from the beginning; thus the key to comprehending this turn of events is to understand the allusion to Joseph’s coat. In Genesis, Judah sold Joseph into slavery; and Joseph later went to prison for a crime he never committed. This is symbolic of how Judah drove the Nazarenes out from the temple for believing on Yeshua (which is the farthest thing from a crime). Thus it is right that Yahweh would welcome the prodigal son (i.e., Joseph/Ephraim) back home.
Joseph served Pharaoh honorably, and his Elohim-given abilities brought him great power and prestige. He was eventually able to use his position to save the lives of many people, including his father and brothers. For many years the Christians were thought to be the underlying power in America, and America’s Christians have historically demanded that their leaders support the State of Israel (at least since 1948).
Joseph’s separation from his family is significant as well. Separation (consecration) from one’s own people is highly regarded in Scripture. Although Yahweh created man as a social being (Genesis 2:18), there are some circumstances in which men must be separated from their brothers (and even from normal life) in order to serve Yahweh better. In the language of Scripture, these individuals are thought to be set apart from the world. While this kind of separation leads to trials, it is associated with eternal blessing.
While the twelve tribes are in every country, scholars sometimes associate America with the prophetic tribe of Ephraim/Joseph. Many of the early American settlers came to escape religious persecution in Europe, and to seek freedom to follow Scripture as they saw fit. In a sense, they had to leave their former countries involuntarily, just as Joseph was sent into Egypt involuntarily. Similarly, the blessings Israel gave over Joseph speak of a land that resembles America.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 49:25-26
25 “By the Elohim of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills.
These shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brothers.”
Moshe (Moses) also gives Joseph a special blessing for having been separated from his brothers.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:13-16
13 And of Joseph he said:
“Blessed of Yahweh is his land, with the precious things of heaven, with the dew, and the deep lying beneath,
14 With the precious fruits of the sun, with the precious produce of the months,
15 With the best things of the ancient mountains, with the precious things of the everlasting hills,
16 With the precious things of the earth and its fullness, and the favor of Him who dwelt in the bush. Let this blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brothers.”
Yahweh allowed Joseph to enter Egypt ahead of his brothers, so that life could be preserved by means of a great deliverance. In this, Joseph is a foreshadow of the Messiah.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 45:5, 7
5 “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for Elohim sent me before you to preserve life….
7 And Elohim sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth; and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
Earlier we saw that the apostles understood Ephraim’s role in fulfilling prophecy. It is also clear that the apostles knew the two houses would someday be reunited, which is why they asked Yeshua if He was going to restore the kingdom to the house of Israel at that time.
Ma’asei (Acts) 1:6
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him [Yeshua], saying, “Master, will You at this time restore the kingdom to [the house of] Israel?”
The time to restore the literal kingdom to the house of Israel was not then at hand (nor is it at hand at the time of this writing in 2014). It was only time for Yeshua’s disciples to begin forming an international spiritual kingdom. They would gather Joseph’s lost children, who had been sent ahead of them to the four corners of the earth. The process was interrupted by the pope (who built an alternate spiritual kingdom worldwide), but once Ephraim’s captivity was over, the Spirit began bringing a remnant of Ephraim’s lost and wayward prodigal sons back to the covenant, generation by generation, by the Spirit of Yeshua, the great Deliverer.