THE FIRSTBORN NATION
Our quest in this series is to gain an understanding of the enditme message - the good news of eternal life. In our previous study we covered the establishment of a godly lineage who were to officiate on YHWH's beahlf on the earth as kings and priests. Adam was the first to be given dominion and priesthood over the earth and from him it was handed down, father to son through eventually to Noach who then passed it on to Shem. He ministered in the fullness of that role qualifying to the stature of the High priesthood of the Melchizedek order.
Abram was chosen through Shem's ministry and he qualified to inherit the promises, and from him the mantle was passed onto Isaac and Isaac to Ya'acov and then to the 12 Patriarchs, the heads of the 12 tribes.
We looked at the appointment of Ephraim and Yehudah as being appointed by Ya'acov to carry the Firstborn king/priest between the two of them. To Yehudah was given the Kingship To Ephraim was given the Priesthood
As was prophesied to Abraham in Gensesis 15:18-21; the family of the twelve tribes, went down to Egypt to sojourn there for the four generations allotted to them in the prophetic plan, until the time came that YHWH raised up a deliverer for them in Moshe to bring them back to the land He promised to them as a possession.
During their sojourn in Egypt, many of the children of Israel had fallen away in their faith in YHWH. For them to be part of the Exodus, it was necessary for them to renew their covenant relationship with YHWH by circumcision and to demonstrate their faith in their promised Messiah by the token sacrifice of the representative Passover lamb. YHWH had clearly demonstrated His power to them as greater than the gods of Egypt and many others joined themselves to the Israelites and they all marched out as one redeemed people (Exodus 12:51- “in their divisions”).
THE FIRSTBORN SON
Israel was born as a nation at the Exodus as Yahweh's Firstborn son. In Exodus 4:22-33, YHWH says, “Israel is My son, even My Bachor (Firstborn)”.
The Firstborn always carries the full strength of the father, and therefore, he has the prime inherent qualities of the father's genes. In him is placed the expectation to carry the family forward and bear the responsibility for it both spiritually and naturally. He is the first to come to maturity of the father's offspring and therefore the mantle rests upon him to forge a way ahead as a pioneer or advance guard for those of the family who follow. And so, in saying that Israel is His Firstborn son, he was to receive the special grooming and nurturing for the future role he was to assume. The Father's expectations would be upon him in a special way for the fulfillment of all His plans and purposes through this specially chosen son. He is the one in whom He will invest all His resources, so that he will attain the role and the inheritance which the Father has planned for him.
Israel is said to be the “apple of His eye”. In Hebrew, the word 'apple' means pupil – i.e. the pupil of His eye. So the Father is saying that He looks upon everything else from His focus upon Israel. He is the center of the Father's purposes, the focal point from which He views all else and upon which everything else hinges.
After being birthed at the Exodus, YHWH places His mantle of protection over His son's life, His Spirit as a Cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:20-22). He is baptised in the Sea and delivered from all the power of the enemy. He then carries him on “eagles wings” through the desert, by His power. Then the application of the healing waters of Marah and the promise of keeping him from sickness and disease as long as he is obedient and stays under His protection. His clothes did not wear out,r did he lack any good thing. He gave them Manna from heaven to eat and water supernaturally from the Rock; and He defeated all their enemies.
The Father tended this young babe and met its every need, fed it and changed its diapers – washed and dressed it in a never-ending cycle of His loving fatherly care for His special son. He gave them His code of living as His redeemed people. YHWH spoke His Word to them to inaugurate them as a kingdom of priests unto Himself. He spoke to them "face to face" by ten words (devarim) It was not ten commands', but ten words of expressions from the heart of THE WORD (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:3) to serve as instruction to His people for them to walk in communion with Him. As His special son, He desired intimate communion with him, and so, when they came to Sinai, He presented to them His special covenant for them (Exodus 19:3-5) whereby they would enter into being His special, treasured people which was based upon them 'hearing' and obeying' His Word.
Yeshua said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word (devarim) that proceeds from the mouth of God."(Matt.4:4)
The only time 'words' were spoken from the mouth of Yahweh were at Mount Sinai. At other times He spoke by the prophets. These are the words His people are to live by and fulfil the summary Yeshua gave; to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbour as ourselves.
They failed to walk in that covenant through the idolatry of the Golden Calf and the Levitical priesthood was established instead of the Melchizedek king/priest type of priesthood which they had previously. One tribe now acted in a priestly function for the whole nation instead of each family head functioning in the king/priesthood of the Melchizedek order. Instead of them each hearing and obeying YHWH, their relationship was through the mediation of Moshe and the Levitical priests who taught them and offered sacrifices on their behalf.
The Melchizedek priesthood would again be established through a renewal of the covenant in the sacrifice of Yeshua as the Messiah and bring them back into the fulfillment of YHWH's plans for the nation (Jer.31:31). IN THE WILDERNESS
In the wilderness we see Yahweh attempting to parent His Firstborn son. In their best interests He gives them His instructions for living, and like self-willed children, they rebel and disobey – the terrible two stage of childhood!
When they get into the land they are growing up, but there are times when their heavenly Father has to withdraw their liberties and blessings to teach them a lesson by allowing their enemies to be the means of disciplining them.
Finally Israel seems to come of age and have its Bar Mitzvah when David takes the throne and unites them all as one nation (they had been like a lot of factious siblings prior to that). They take possession of all the land and conquer their enemies. They have a real golden age of prosperity and advancement of the kingdom on earth.
Then after some time as they are developing their independence, they decide to go their own way and eventually Yahweh has to put them out of His House (the land of Israel) and cut the ties until they have had enough of the pig-pens of the world and want to come back to Father's House.
The judgment of rebellion and idolatry was to be put out of the land and if not repented of, for seven 'times' to go over them. Leviticus 26:14-39. There were cycles of judgment and the final punishment would be in being exiled from the land (v.39) and their restoration would be in being returned again to the land (vs. 40-42).
THE KINGDOM DIVIDED
The two headships in Ephraim and Yehudah were united under King David's leadership and the nation prospered. However, a decline came in toward the end of King Solomon's reign through his mistakes that caused the ten northern tribes under Ephraim to be torn from the southern kingdom of Yehudah. 2 Chronicles 10
Jeroboam was given headship over the ten tribes which included; (1 Kings 11:26-39) Issachar, Zebulon, Asher, Naphtali, Gad, Dan, Reuven, Mannasseh and the tribe of Ephraim
Yehudah retained Benyamin in his territory. The Shimeonites were scattered through out Yehudah's territory and the Levites throughout the whole land for the administration of their priesthood. Jerusalem the centre of worship was in Yehudah's territory. So now the jointly-shared headship was divided into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom of Ephraim and the southern kingdom of Yehudah. The northern kingdom of Ephraim, having the ten tribes, became known as the "House of Israel" and the southern kingdom of Yehudah, containing two tribes, became known as the "House of Judah/Yehudah" - i.e. in time the southern kingdom who became the only ones in the land, were called the "Jews"
EPHRAIM = (northern kingdom) HOUSE OF ISRAEL
YEHUDAH = (southern kingdom) HOUSE OF JUDAH/YEHUDAH
To maintain his authority over the ten tribes and keep them from transferring their allegiance to the House of Yehudah, Jeroboam made the cities of Dan and Bethel centres of worship instead of Jerusalem, and instituted golden calves as symbols of worship there. He also changed the divinely appointed feast times. This led the northern tribes into apostasy. (1 Kings 12:25-33) This was an abomination to Yahweh!
Because of their gross sins, Yahweh executed His promised judgment upon them and caused them to be carried away captive by Assyria in 722BC. This was done in three stages. The first to be taken were the tribes of Gad, Reuven and Manassheh on the eastern side of the Jordan river. This was a real wake-up call and many who had heeded the prophets and saw the threat coming fled Israel from the west through the Mediterranean to Israelite colonies in Egypt and up into Europe and to the British Isles. The others were taken captive and placed in Assyria.
In time, the House of Yehudah also came under judgment for her sins (which were not as grievous as the House of Israel) and she too was taken captive by Babylon for a prescribed period of 70 years on account of the neglected Sabbaths, after which she was given liberty to return to the land. These became the inhabitants there in Yeshua's time.
Those taken captive by Assyria never returned and only a small remnant of the House of Yehudah came back from the Babylonian captivity to the land when Persia gave them the liberty to do so. They had become comfortable and affluent in the land of their dispersion. But those who did return of the House of Yehudah to the land under Ezra and Nehemiah, received the visitation of their Messiah. The leadership of the nation rejected Him but thousands upon thousands in the nation came into the new covenant before the nation was judged for their sin of rejecting Him. The judgment for their sin was to be again ejected from the land. They were then dispersed into all the nations of the world. This period of judgment ended on 14th May, 1948 and they were then returned to the land.
The House of Israel incurred the full seven 'times' judgment which was 7 x 360 Biblical years of 360 days. Calculated as 722BC + 2,494.56669 Hebrew years. Converted to the Gregorian calendar, it calculates at 14th May, 1948 Both Houses of Israel received punishments which terminated on 14thMay, 1948, the divinely appointed time for the nation of Israel to be birthed for the revelation of the kingdom of God. "Shall a nation be born in a day?.... (Is.66:8) Yes, it was!!!
The door was open for both the House of Yehudah (the present-day Jews) and the House of Israel to return home, but few have. Those under the present-day identification tag of “Jews” actually contain a mixture of other tribes. All genealogical records were lost in the destruction of the second Temple and so, no one know for sure their tribal origin. Some priests have handed down orally, father to son, their lineage, but otherwise, it is not known.
The House of Israel, the ten tribes are largely unidentified and very few of those who have retained their identity have ventured to return to the land. An awakening of their spiritual identity is impending and a call to go back to the land is awaiting its fulfillment. It is prophesied that all Israel will be united for the Millennium reign of Yeshua. The Jewish people pray three times a day for the return of the lost ten tribes as they understand that they mist return for the nation to be whole and complete for Israel to function as a kingdom of priests in the earth and fulfill its destiny.
“Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. “Ezekiel 37:22-23 Those identified as Jews have returned but the ten tribes as a whole are yet scattered in among the nations of the world