Israel's Advantage: Part 1
Jun 21, 2007
Any discussion of modern Israel must begin with the distinction between Israel and Judah. After the United Kingdom split in 1 Kings 12:16, the northern House of Israel lasted for 210 years from 931-721 B.C. Then they were taken to Assyria, as we read in 2 Kings 17:6.
The Assyrians called them Khumri, or Gimirra, or Kimmeroi, often spelled Scythians. The name was derived, as historians tell us, from the name of Israel's most famous king, Omri. His name was originally written as Ghomri. The Behistun Rock translates this name into other languages as Saka and Sakka, which in Latin is written as Saxons.
Historians are well aware that the Europeans came largely from Assyria after the fall of that nation in 612 B.C. Many of them crossed the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and hence they call these people "Caucasians." Once the Age of Archeology began in the early 1800's, it was easily discovered that the graveyard of the lost tribes of Israel was also the birthplace of Europe.
Furthermore, the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, refers to King Ahab as the ruler of the Beth-Khumri, "House of Omri." So the official name by which Assyria referred to Israel even before their captivity was the very name by which many of them were known when they immigrated into Europe a century later.
It was not hard to make the connection between these Khumri-Caucasians and the Israelites who had been deported to Assyria just south of the Caucasus Mountains.
Meanwhile, the House of Judah embarked on an entirely different course in history. They were never lost. They were spared the Assyrian captivity, but fell a century later to the Babylonians. But after 70 years, they were allowed to return to the old land to rebuild, and 500 years later, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This, however, is the history of Judah, not of Israel.
Hence, when we move into modern history, we find that the dispersed Israelites have been residing as Caucasians in Europe, while the Jews have had an entirely different kind of dispersion. The Israelites were "lost" even as Joseph; but the Jews were not lost, for Joseph was lost, but not Judah.
This is a very brief summary of a very long history. The first question to be asked is this: Has there been any benefit in being descended from those lost tribes of Israel? Paul gives us a clue when he says in Romans 9,
" (3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, (4) who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the templeservice and the promises, (5) whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen."
Paul was using the term "Israel" in a generic sense here, as he often does throughout Romans 9-11. While most people today have been taught that he was talking about Jews alone, most of the Scriptural references that Paul quotes are referring specifically to the northern House of Israel and not to Judah. But Paul contemplates a UNITED ISRAEL, not a divided Kingdom, for the prophecy was that a repairer of the breach would come, and the people would be regathered "under one Head(leader)" (Hosea 1:11), who is Christ Himself.
The Israeli state does not fit this description, which is why many Jews today oppose the Israeli state. They say that it should not exist prior to the coming of the Messiah. They clearly understand--as Judaism did for thousands of years until recently--that Judah was not to fulfill the promise by itself without first being reunited with the tribes of Joseph. In fact, in their synagogues they have always prayed to be reunited with the tribes of Joseph, knowing that this had never taken place.
It is only in the past century that Zionist Jews have lied to the world, trying to make it look like the Jews were Israel. In 1948 they deliberately named their state "Israel" to fool everyone. And the Christians fell for it, because God had blinded their eyes to the truth. For the full account of why God allowed this to happen, see my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.
Getting back to our main point, however, we see from plain history that after the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, the disciples were scattered abroad and preached the Gospel to the whole world. Thomas established the church in Alexandria, Egypt, and then went to India, where the Church still exists today as the result of his work. Thaddeus, one of the Seventy, went to Edessa in Syria to fulfill the promise that Jesus had made to the Toparch (leader) of that city. The letter of Abgar the Toparch, along with Jesus' response, is recorded by Eusebius at the end of Book 1, Ecclesiastical History.
Paul was sent to the Greeks and finally to Rome, Spain, and Britain, as recorded in the 29th chapter of Acts. (This chapter was discovered about the year 1800 as is called the Sonnini Manuscript, named after C.S. Sonnini, the French ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. The Sultan, Abdoul Achmet, gave him this old manuscript as a gift out of the archives in Constantinople, now called Istanbul.)
So the Gospel was indeed preached in many parts of the world, but it really took root in the West, largely through the success of Paul's preaching. Was this just a coincidence? Or did God feel some obligation to bring the Gospel to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? If so, then there was certainly a benefit to being of those tribes, for it gave these people an opportunity not shared by much of the rest of the world.
The fact that these lost sheep needed the Gospel shows, of course, that they could not be saved without it. Their genealogy was insufficient. So let us not think, as some do, that their race made them Christians apart from a knowledge of Jesus Christ. That doctrine is as bad as what is often taught in Dual Covenant Theology groups, who say that the Jews are saved apart from Christ as long as they are good "orthodox" Jews and scrupulous in keeping the terms of the Old Covenant.
The advantage to being a Jew, Paul says in Romans 3:2, is that "they were entrusted with the oracles of God." To have the Word of God is a tremendous advantage, not shared by most of the world. But having the Word of God does not guarantee that they would believe it or that they would be exempt from divine judgment. It only means that they had opportunities that others would not have until centuries later.
But in Romans 9 Paul expands his view to include all Israelites after the flesh. This included the nation of Judea, along with all the lost house of Israel residing north and west of Judea. These lost sheep of Israel had already been cut off over seven centuries earlier. They were not of the Jewish dispersion which began in 70 A.D.
James wrote his letter to them, calling them in the first verse, "the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad."
Peter wrote his first letter to them, saying (literal translation),
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen sojourners of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia."
This was the territory of northern Turkey and Armenia, where many of the Khumri-Israelites had settled while in captivity. The disciples were concerned for these Israelites after the flesh and appealed to them on the basis of their past history and connection with Israel.
We will continue with this next time.
This is the first part of a series titled "Israel's Advantage." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones