Joseph and Judah
Jun 09, 2007
The seeds of division between Judah and Joseph were apparent as early as the book of Genesis. We see it when Jacob gave the Scepter to Judah and the rest of the Birthright to Joseph in Gen. 49, as confirmed in 1 Chron. 5:1,2. But we also see the seeds of conflict earlier when Judah came up with the idea to sell Joseph as a slave (Gen. 37:26, 27).
Though Judah's motive is not stated, it appears that Judah already knew by this time that his father intended to give him the Scepter, but he coveted the Birthright as well. Selling Joseph into Egypt as a slave would have been a logical way to "have it all." Yet even if Judah was not so motivated, we can see that he was establishing prophetic patterns that would play out in the future on a larger scale.
Joseph's brother, Judah, thus was called to play both usurper and betrayer the first time. But the next time this plays out in David's day, Absalom played the role of usurper, while Ahithophel played the role of the betrayer. In Jesus' day, the chief priests played the role of Judah and Absalom, while Judas (Greek form of Judah) played the role of the betrayer (Ahothiphel).
In the 20th century, as the world has replayed this story on the world stage, we find the usurpers of the Scepter now usurping the Birthright of Joseph and stealing the name Israel that Jacob gave to his sons. This occurred in 1948 when the Jewish state was established under the name of Israel. This time the Church, which is actually the true tribe of Judah, ended up betraying Christ in His manifestation as Joseph. But the Church is also playing a dual role, for it has become the Judas of the modern world--the disciple that betrayed Jesus.
Now here is where it gets interesting--and controversial. In the original story of Joseph, we see that Judah repents in the end (Genesis 44:16-34). When he repents, Joseph is no longer able to hide his identity, and he reveals himself to them in the next chapter.
The question is this: Which Judah will repent by the time the curtain falls in our own day? Will it be the true Judah that God recognizes, which is the Church? Or will it be the people that the world recognizes as Judah, i.e., "Jews"?
In my view, the Church-Judah-Judas will repent and thus fulfill the type of the patriarch Judah in the book of Genesis. Christian Zionism, on the other hand, agrees with the world view in recognizing the Jews as the true tribe of Judah. And so, true to form, their entire viewpoint is based upon the assumption that the Jews as a people will repent when they see Jesus coming on His white horse.
For non-Jews, of course, this would be too late, for the rapture will have already occurred (so they say). But in this double standard, which allows preferential treatment, the Jews will be allowed to repent after they see Him coming. This is their interpretation of Zech. 12:10,
"And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born."
The problem with the Christian Zionist interpretation is that they do not make proper distinctions between the Old and the New Jerusalems. This is, in a way, understandable, because the Old Testament never makes that delineation. We have to go to the New Testament to see this, where the book of Revelation quotes Old Testament statements about "Jerusalem" but re-applies the prophecies to the New Jerusalem.
The confusion comes in the fact that there are two Jerusalems, and, in fact, the Old Testament name is plural (Jerusalayim) to indicate this fact. Christian Zionism tends to apply all the Old Testament prophecies of Jerusalem to the old city, whereas I insist that we should apply them in the way the New Testament applies these prophecies.
The prophecy in Zech. 12:10 (above) speaks of the House of David, which I do not take as a group of Jews today, but those of the household of faith--those who follow Jesus Christ, who is the true recipient of the Scepter of Judah and the Heir of David's throne.
It also speaks of "the inhabitants of Jerusalem," which I take as the citizens of the New Jerusalem who are associated with true House of David.
But many are thrown by the statement, "They will look on Me whom they have pierced," thinking surely this is a reference to their crucifixion of the Messiah. Once again, there is more than one way to "pierce" someone. There is the literal piercing, of course, but Paul uses the term in 1 Tim. 6:10 in a little different way, saying,
"For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang."
While the chief priests pierced Christ's hands and feet, Judas pierced Christ's heart by betraying Him. Thus, I have no doubt that there will be much weeping and mourning from two distinct groups of people: those who are called Jews, and the Church itself which has betrayed Him.
The problem with Zechariah is that he blends prophecy so well that his prophecies have to be taken on more than one level. He speaks of Jerusalem but leaves it to us to determine which Jerusalem is being referenced. He does the same with Judah. I find him to be the most confusing of all the prophets. One can only understand Zechariah if one has a thorough understanding of the divine plan.
The bottom line, though, is that both Jews and Church will mourn and repent, though for slightly different reasons. The Jews will repent for usurping the Scepter and the Birthright; the Church will repent for betraying Christ by helping them usurp His rightful place.
Both Ahithophel and Judas hanged themselves, but in the original prophecy Judah himself repented. Somehow, both of these patterns will have to play out in the end. Repentance itself is a type of death to self, so hopefully this is how the prophetic type will be fulfilled. Nonetheless, repentance itself will NOT mean that either group suddenly qualifies to reign with Christ in the Age to come.
I find it strange that Christian Zionists believe that the Jews will repent, and that this sudden repentance will qualify them to rule the world. They do not understand the difference between accepting Christ and becoming an overcomer. They do not understand that the reward of salvation given to a believer who is content to remain in Passover or Pentecost is different from the reward given to an overcomer who, like Caleb and Joshua, have a Tabernacles vision and goal.
Neither do they understand the difference between being a Judahite of Judah and being an Israelite of Joseph. These are things that have been hidden in plain sight in Scripture for a long time. Many knew these distinctions on a superficial level, but did not understand their real significance or how to apply these truths.
But that blindness, too, is part of the divine plan. Blindness characterizes the Laodicean Church toward the end of the time of the seven churches. John says to this Church in Rev. 3:18 and 19, "I advise you to buy . . . eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore and repent."
This advice is not directed toward church members who deny the blood of Christ and who are therefore not even true Christians at all. It is directed toward the Church itself, people who are justified by faith and perhaps even filled with the Spirit--those that Jesus loves.
Dr. Stephen Jones