Christ Comes of Judah and Joseph
Having explained the two works of Christ from the law, we now turn to its prophetic pattern manifested in Judah and Joseph. We know from the genealogical record in the first chapter of Matthew that Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah and specifically of the house of David. He came the first time of this particular lineage in order to be eligible to receive the Sceptre to rule the earth. Virtually all believers know this. What is not generally understood is that Christ must come the second time as Joseph in order to secure His birthright. This is the subject of our present chapter.
In order to understand how the types, shadows, and prophecies are fulfilled in these two sons of Jacob, we must understand what their prophetic identities are. We find this in Genesis 48 and 49 where Jacob blesses his sons and bestows upon them their prophetic roles in the drama we see playing out before us today:
8 Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down to you. 9 Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion, who dares rouse him up? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice vine; He washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.
Judah was to provide the kingly line of rightful rulers of the earth from Adam to Jesus Christ. The dominion had been entrusted to Adam (Genesis 1:26) who passed this authority down to the next generation as a kingly birthright. The birthright was passed to Noah and then to Shem. Shem outlived Abraham in the city of Salem (Jerusalem), which he built and ruled under the title of Melchizedek. After his death 2158 years from Adam, the right of rulership passed to Isaac, who was at that time 110 years old. Thirteen years later, when Isaac was 123 and Jacob and Esau were 63, Isaac passed the birthright blessing to Jacob, thinking he was giving it to Esau (Genesis 27).
Years later, when Jacob-Israel was near death, he blessed his sons. In this blessing, he separated the kingly line from the birthright and gave Judah the right to rule. We saw in the passage quoted earlier that Jacob compared Judah to a lion. A few verses later Jacob blessed Joseph with great fruitfulness in Genesis 49:22-26:
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; its branches run over a wall. 23 The archers bitterly attacked him, and shot at him and harassed him; 24 but his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob. From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, 25 from the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses 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 surpassed the blessings of my ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.
This blessing is similar to that which Isaac had given Jacob many years earlier. In fact, Jacob was giving Joseph the birthright, but we are not left to our own interpretative skills to discover this. This fact is plainly stated in 1 Chronicles 5:1 and 2,
1 Now the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel for he was the first-born, but because he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. 2 Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph.
Joseph was given the birthright, which embodied the kingdom of God itself. But Judah was given the sceptre, which meant that the kingly line culminating with Jesus Christ would come from him. He was called a lion. Jacob prophesied over Judah the death work and rulership to be fulfilled in Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
Jesus came the first time to fulfill the prophecies dealing with the House of Judah. He was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the City of David. The Davidic line was of Judah, the line called to bring forth the Messiah. Jesus came as the Son of David to secure His throne-rights, so that He would be eligible to rule over the House of Israel.
But the lion had to die to receive the rulership. Genesis 49:10-11 pictures Judah as a lion in a crouching position and covered with blood. This is a prophetic picture of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Messiah by birth, who earned His throne through death and resurrection.
Samson's Riddle: The Dead Lion Brings Honey
The theme of the dead lion is further illustrated in the life of Samson. Judges 14:5-17 tells the story of Samson's riddle about the dead lion and the events that followed:
5 Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a kid though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 So he went down and talked to the woman; and she looked good to Samson. 8 When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. 9 So he scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.
10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 And it came about when they saw him that they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 Then Samson said to them, "Let me now propound a riddle to you; if you will indeed tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes." And they said to him, "Propound your riddle, that we may hear it." 14 So he said to them, "Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet." But they could not tell the riddle in three days.
15 Then it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson's wife, "Entice your husband, that he may tell us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?" 16 And Samson's wife wept before him and said, "You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me." And he said to her, "Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?" 17 However she wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And it came about on the seventh day that he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people.
18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, "What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?" And he said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, You would not have found out my riddle." 19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father's house. 20 But Samson's wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.
The seven days referred to in this story are the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and are a reference to Passover, which is the first day of Unleavened Bread. The answer to the riddle is the dead lion that has the honey coming forth from its dead body. It is the riddle of salvation--the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey, which becomes available through the death of the Lion, Jesus Christ. Jesus came, died at Passover, and out of Him comes the honey.
The promise of transfiguration is contained in the riddle as well. If the Philistines could solve the riddle of salvation, they would get new garments. If they failed, they would give garments to Samson. The promise of transformation is established by Jesus (the Lion's) first (death) work, even though it is not fulfilled until the time of the second work. The riddle of the Passover is: "How is a man saved? How does one obtain the change of garments (the garments of salvation, or transfiguration)?"
The Philistines (carnal mind) at Samson's feast obtained the answer to the riddle, but they learned it in an unlawful way. They threatened the woman and her father's house with fire. Thus, they paid a price for their unlawful actions. They got their garments, but Samson took it out of their hides, so to speak. The Philistine mind will receive its salvation, but be saved so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:15). We need to seek the answer to the riddle in a lawful way, by asking God, not by threatening with fire.
Samson's riddle is the secret of justification by faith, which the carnal mind cannot comprehend. The riddle prophesies of the death of the true Lion, Jesus Christ, out of whom comes the honey of justification and salvation in God's Kingdom. It was imperative that He be born of that particular lineage in His first appearance in order to become the lawful King and the Prime Inheritor of the earth as given to Adam. Even so, in His second appearance, He will be manifested as the antitype of Joseph so that He may lawfully lay claim to the Birthright-the Kingdom itself.
Joseph: The Sonship Message
Jacob called Joseph a fruitful bough in Genesis 49:22. The word translated "bough" here is the Hebrew word ben. It means "son." The birthright is essential to obtaining the promise of sonship. The second work of Christ is a Joseph work that brings us into full sonship, sometimes called "the adoption of sons."
Joseph's brothers imputed their sins to him by laying their hands on him. They first threw him into a pit, in order that we might see the prophetic order of events as they unfold. The pit represents Jesus Christ in His first work, wherein he died and was buried. Joseph was later taken up and sold to traders on their way to Egypt.
This represented stage two, or the second work of Christ manifested prophetically. Joseph's brothers hated him and made him the scapegoat for their own sins. This made Joseph a type of the second goat. They dipped his robe - a coat of many colors which identified him as the heir, an honored son - in the blood of a kid of the goats (Genesis 37:31). Joseph's brothers did not know that they were prophesying of future things. The Mosaic law said that the second bird was to be dipped in the blood of the first bird, and that the second goat was to be sent into the wilderness. Joseph's brothers combined these prophetic types by dipping Joseph's robe in the blood of a goat.
Joseph was then taken to Egypt, where he eventually rose to power above all, second only to Pharaoh. In this Joseph was a type of Christ who, after his death and resurrection, ascended to the Father and was given a name far above every name. At the end of this 21-year time of Jacob's trouble, wherein Jacob was separated from Joseph and thought him dead, God sent a famine to bring the age to an end. The brothers came to Egypt to buy grain, and Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers.
Joseph invited the family to move to Egypt, and then went to meet Jacob as he was coming (Genesis 46:29). He came in his chariot, no doubt drawn by white horses, for this would best depict the coming of Christ in Revelation 19, where He is said to come on a white horse, leading the armies of heaven. Joseph was thus able to save many people alive, because his brothers had sold him as a slave into Egypt. What they meant for evil, God meant for good. And none of this would have been possible if Joseph's brothers had not dipped his robe in the blood of a goat and sent him into the wilderness.
Judah, Joseph, and Benjamin
In ancient times there was great debate over the question: from which line would the Messiah be born? There were different schools of thought among rabbis. Some thought it was Judah, on the grounds that He was prophesied to be the Son of David. Others thought He would come through the line of Joseph, because he was the holder of the birthright. Still others were certain He would be born of Levi-specifically of the Aaronic line-because He was to be the high priest. Well, as it turns out, they all were partially correct. The Messiah's role as High Priest is beyond the scope of our present discussion, and so we will simply defer the reader to the book of Hebrews. Instead, we will focus upon the Messiah's fulfillment of the Judah and Joseph types.
In Genesis 32:28 Jacob wrestled with an angel. The angel then changed Jacob's name to Israel. Many years later, as Jacob-Israel approached the end of his life, he gave a blessing to each of his twelve sons. Joseph, however, received a double portion, because he was the birthright holder. So Jacob adopted his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, making them full tribes of Israel. In this adoption and blessing, Jacob gave these sons of Joseph the name of Israel, as we read in Genesis 48:11-16,
11 And Israel said to Joseph, "I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well." 12 Then Joseph took them from his knees, and bowed with his face to the ground. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right, and brought them close to him. 14 But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the first-born. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, 16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and may my name [Israel] live on in them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.
Jacob passed this name, Israel, to the sons of Joseph, rather than to Judah or to his other sons. This was an important legal matter, because now the sons of Joseph were the custodians of the name of Israel. The only way the other tribes could use this name was if they were united with the tribes of Joseph. For this reason the whole nation-all twelve tribes, plus the tribe of Levi-under Saul, David, and Solomon were known as the Kingdom of Israel.
However, after the death of Solomon, the kingdom broke apart. The tribes of Joseph were split from the tribe of Judah. The house was divided. The southern nation, consisting of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and most of Levi were officially known as the House of Judah. The northern ten tribes were officially known as the House of Israel. Since the northern tribes included Ephraim and Manasseh, and these tribes had been given the name of Israel, they retained the right to be known as Israel.
The prophet Ahijah told Solomon that God was going to divide the kingdom. We read of this in 1 Kings 11:
28 Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious, he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph [i.e., Israel]. 29 And it came about at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Now Ahijah had clothed himself with a new cloak; and both of them were alone in the field. 30 Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give you ten tribes 32 but he will have one tribe, for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel,
Notice especially that God took "the kingdom" out of the hand of Solomon and his son. It was NOT that certain tribes rebelled and formed a new kingdom. Rather, God was judging King Solomon by removing the kingdom from his rule. This is repeated in verses 34-36, where we read,
34 Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of My servant David whom I chose, who observed My commandments and My statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom from his son's hand and give it to you, even ten tribes. 36 But to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name.
After the revolt, the southern House of Judah did set up a kingdom in a limited way, but it was not the kingdom of Israel. It was not really what had been promised to Judah and to David. This was a split between the Sceptre and the Birthright. The tribe of Benjamin, Joseph's younger brother, was given to Judah in order to be a lamp to Judah and Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:36). Benjamin was thus linked to both Judah and Joseph and had the unique role as a moderator between the two houses. He was thus uniquely qualified to assist in repairing the breach between the king and his lost kingdom.
Benjamin is therefore of both Israel and Judah, and this is reflected in the two names given to him at birth (Genesis 35:18). His mother called him Ben-oni, "son of my sorrow." His father, Jacob-Israel, called his name Benjamin, "son of my right hand." In Isaiah we find the great prophecy of Jesus' work on the Cross as the Lamb of God. Isaiah 53:3 prophetically calls Jesus "a man of sorrows." However, after that work was accomplished, Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3). Benjamin means "son of my right hand." This prophesies of the second work of Christ.
Jesus Christ is ultimately the Repairer of the Breach between Judah and Israel, the King with His Kingdom, and the Head with His Body. What God is doing on a spiritual level, He manifests in the earthly realm in order that we might understand His plan and purpose in the earth and see the timing of His works. Benjamin's role was to repair the breach between Israel and Judah. In this prophetic story, Jesus Christ is represented as Judah, the Kingdom of God is Joseph, and Christians are Benjamin.
Jesus' disciples were nearly all Benjamites from Galilee. Their ancestors had settled north of Jerusalem after returning from their Babylonian captivity (Nehemiah 11:31-35). Those of the tribe of Judah settled in their ancestral cities from Jerusalem and to the south (Nehemiah 11:25-30). By the time Jesus was born, the territory of the Benjamites was known as Galilee, and the territory of the Judahites was known simply as Judea.
Jesus' disciples formed the nucleus of the New Testament Church. Most of Jesus' followers were also from Galilee. Thus was fulfilled the role of Benjamin in being a light to Jerusalem before the Lord. Indeed, when they were scattered by persecution, they became a light to the whole world in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 49:6,
6 He says, "It is too small a thing [i.e., it is too easy] that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth."
The House of Joseph in Prophecy
Joseph's life set a prophetic pattern that his descendants were to follow in the centuries ahead. He was sold as a slave into Egypt, where eventually he rose to power. Pharaoh gave him a wife, who bore him two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Ephraim means "fruitfulness," and Manasseh means "forgetfulness." Even as Joseph was lost and presumed dead for 21 years, so also the tribes of Israel were lost and presumed dead for thousands of years. The ten tribes of the northern House of Israel, led by Ephraim and Manasseh, were often called the House of Joseph. (For examples, see Amos 5:6, Obadiah 18, and Zechariah 10:6.)
The tribes of Joseph carried the birthright and the name of Israel, passed down to them by Jacob himself. When these tribes were carried into the Assyrian captivity from 745 to 721 B.C., the birthright and the name of Israel itself appeared to be lost. The Messianic line, however, was preserved in the southern nation of Judah. Judah's calling was to produce the King-Messiah, who was to die for the sins of the world as the first dove and the first goat.
The House of Judah was conquered in 604 B.C. and deported to Babylon in a 70-year captivity, and then they returned to their former territory in 534 B.C. But the tribes of Israel did NOT return with their brethren of Judah. This is well known by all historians, for it is well documented in all the ancient records. Josephus, the first-century historian of Judea, wrote in Antiquities of the Jews, XI, v, 2,
". . . But then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country; wherefore, there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers."
In the time of Christ and the apostles, the whereabouts of the ten tribes of Israel was still quite well known. Their population had increased tremendously in the area around the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, where the Assyrians had transported them over 700 years earlier. They had by this time become the primary people of the Parthian Empire, which rivalled the Roman Empire in its power and size, ruling from the Euphrates to India from 64 B.C. to 225 A.D. The Euphrates river was usually the recognized border between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Empire. Hence, Josephus writes that the ten tribes of Israel lived beyond this border in Parthia. In fact, according to Rawlinson in his book, The Sixth Great Oriental Monarchy, page 19, "it was believed that their name meant 'exiles'." Though no one can prove for sure to which exile their name referred, it seems likely that it referred to Israel's exile to that territory.
In 129 B.C. the Seleucid empire controlling Judea was defeated in battle by the Parthians, and King Antiochus was killed, along with his 300,000 troops. This allowed the Maccabees to assert their independence and conquer their neighbors, re-establishing their own monarchy for a time. Judea later came under the dominion of the Roman Empire in 63 B.C. when Pompey captured Jerusalem. But when the Roman general, Crassus, attempted to attack Parthia ten years later, half his army was killed, and another quarter captured. Crassus himself was killed as well. In 40 B.C. the Parthians conquered Syria and Judea and pushed the Romans out of Asia Minor. In this time they put Antigonus on the throne in Judea. He ruled as a Parthian Satrap until 37 B.C. when Herod conquered Jerusalem on behalf of Rome. This Herod was king when Jesus was born.
At the same time, Mark Antony invaded Parthia with 113,000 troops, but lost close to 60,000 men before retreating in defeat. The next crisis occurred when the magi came to crown the new "King of the Judeans" in late 2 B.C. The magi were a powerful class of Parthian nobility and probably were accompanied by many troops to guard their gifts for the new King. Matthew 2:3 tells us that not only King Herod, but "all Jerusalem" was troubled by this visit. History records that the following year (1 B.C.) another Roman invasion of Parthia was narrowly averted by a negotiated summit on a neutral island in the middle of the Euphrates river. This summit resulted in peace between the two superpowers for the next fifty years, allowing the birth of Christianity to proceed unhindered by wars.
While these things are written in history books, few are taught anything about Parthia or its connection with the exiled tribes of Israel. Yet Israel's increased population (as verified by Josephus earlier) fulfilled the prophecy of Joseph in naming his son "Ephraim," which means "fruitfulness." Even so, it was in the plan of God that they should be almost totally lost and presumed "dead," for this was the prophecy of Joseph's other son, Manasseh. Recall that Manasseh means "forgetfulness," so named because God had caused Joseph to forget his father's house (Gen. 41:51). This name prophesied of the time when the house of Israel would forget their father's house, gradually losing their awareness of their roots in Israel.
Yet we are quick to add that these tribes must also be found in the latter days at the end of "the time of Jacob's trouble." The lost birthright must be recovered. Joseph must be found in order for the Kingdom of God to be manifested upon the earth.
The tribes of Israel have never been Jews. The term "Jew" is simply a shortened form of the New Testament Greek word, Ioudeos, Judean, or Judahite. Jews are called Jews by tracing their history back to the nation of Judea (or Judah) in the time of Christ. Judea produced the Messiah-the rightful Ruler of the whole House of Israel-because this was Judah's calling. Contrast this with the tribes of Israel, led by Joseph, who was the birthright holder called to bring forth the Kingdom of God. The Jews have never been considered an immense multitude of people who could fulfill the prophecy in the name of Ephraim, nor have the Jews ever forgotten who they were to fulfill the prophecy in the name of Manasseh. The reason is simple; they are not descended from Joseph or the ten-tribed House of Israel and thus cannot fulfill the prophecies associated with Joseph.
The prophet Hosea casts much light on the prophetic destiny of the House of Israel. God directed Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer to reflect God's less-than-ideal marriage to the House of Israel, who had committed spiritual adultery in worshipping false gods. Hosea named his first son Jezreel, which means "God scatters," because God intended to scatter the House of Israel and put an end to that birthright nation (Hos. 1:4).
The fate of Israel is further amplified in the name of his second child, a daughter named Lo-ruhamah, which means, "no more mercy," and a second son, Lo-ammi, meaning "not my people" (Hosea 1:6-9). In chapter two of Hosea, the prophet speaks of this judgment as a divorce. That is, God was going to divorce the House of Israel for their spiritual adultery. God says in Hosea 2:2, "she is not my wife, and I am not her husband." Two centuries later, Jeremiah spoke of this divorce in Jeremiah 3:8-10,
8 "And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. 9 And it came about because of the lightness of her harlotry, that she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 And yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception," declares the LORD.
A century after Hosea prophesied God's divorce of the House of Israel, God raised up the Assyrians to remove the ten-tribed House of Israel from His house in the land of Canaan. The deportations began in 745 B.C. and continued for 24 years. Finally, Samaria, their capital city, was captured in 721 B.C. God sent her out of His house with a writ of divorce, as prescribed by the law in Deut. 24:1-4. Even so, said Hosea later in 2:14 that God was going to court Israel again while she was in the wilderness and would betroth her once again. Hosea 2 says,
19 "And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, 20 and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.
21 And it will come about in that day that I will respond," declares the LORD. I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, 22 And the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine, and to the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 "And I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, 'Thou art my God!'"
In other words, Hosea says that even though God had divorced the House of Israel and sent her out of His house into the land of Assyria, God would at some time in the future begin to court her again, betroth her, and remarry Israel. Hosea says that God did not cast out the House of Israel forever, but would restore her in the future. Hosea's son, Jezreel, whose name means "God scatters," prophesied the destruction of Israel and her scattering in the land of Assyria; yet Jezreel also means "God sows," as we see in Hosea 2:23 above.
The name has a double meaning, because in order to sow seed, one must scatter it in the field. In this prophecy God reveals His ultimate intention in the scattering of the House of Israel. He did so in order to sow her in the earth. The seed must die in order to bear much fruit. Israel died as a nation in order that she might be hidden in the field ("the world") until the time of the end. Only then would lost Israel be found, even as Joseph was found after being hidden in Egypt.
The meaning of Jezreel reflects the sowing of seed (Israel) in the field (world) for the purpose of bringing forth many sons. The children of Israel were to become as numerous as the sands of the sea and known as the "Sons of the Living God" (Hosea 1:10). Throughout the Church Age we have been sons in training. This training finds its completion in the second work of Christ-the work of Joseph, the "fruitful bough (son)" who brings us the "placement of sons" as described by Paul in the New Testament. When Jesus Christ appears again, pictured in Revelation 19 as coming on a white horse, His robe is dipped in blood. He comes as the Son of Joseph, whose birthright robe was dipped in blood. This fulfills the second bird let loose alive into the open field.
This prophecy is best explained in a short parable that Jesus told in Matthew 13:44, which says,
44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Exodus 19:5 tells us that Israel was to be God's "peculiar treasure." When God scattered Israel like seed being sown in the field, God hid Israel among the nations, much like Joseph was hidden in Egypt. Ezekiel 34:6 says,
6 My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill, and My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth; and there was no one to search or seek for them.
The law in Deuteronomy 22:1-3 mandates that we take care of our brother's lost sheep (and other possessions) until such time as he comes to claim them. Ezekiel 34 is an indictment against the shepherds for refusing to seek out God's lost sheep of Israel and take care of them until He returns. Because the shepherds refused to search for them, God says in verses 11 and 16,
11 For thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. . . . 16 I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.
Jesus came to earth to fulfill this prophecy. He said in Matthew 15:24, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." So Jesus is the man in the parable of Matthew 13:44. He is the one who finds His lost sheep. But He is also the one who hid them again after finding them, according to the parable. He sold all that He had-that is, He set aside His glory in heaven and came to earth as a humble man, and finally gave His very life to save His people from their sins.
Yet the parable does not limit His work to Israel, for He did not come merely to purchase the hidden treasure. No, rather, He purchased the entire field (the world) in order to obtain the treasure buried therein. In ancient times when people did not have banks to deposit their cash, they usually hid their treasure by burying it in their field. If another man happened to find such a treasure, he could not lawfully claim it as his own, because he did not own the field. Only if he purchased the field could he claim all that was in it.
Jesus was not a thief. When He found the hidden treasure, He purchased the whole field in order to be able to lawfully claim the treasure.
This parable explains how Hosea's prophecy of Jezreel was to be fulfilled. God scattered Israel in 721 B.C., sowing them in the field, in order to bring forth a great harvest of people for His Kingdom. Paul puts it this way in Romans 11:11 and 12,
11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles [Greek: ethnos, "nations"], to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles ["nations"], how much more will their fulfillment be!
The second work of Christ, depicted in the law by the second bird and the second goat, is a Joseph work. This is in contrast with His first work, which was a Judah work. The Judah work was to bring forth the Messiah as the suffering Servant, who would die for our sins; the Joseph work was to save the world through the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout all nations.
God's plan was truly marvelous. He foreordained that Israel would stumble in order that the world might be saved in their regathering. This plan was best stated by Joseph himself, who came to understand the sovereignty of God. When Jacob died, Joseph's brethren became fearful for their lives, thinking that Joseph might exact revenge upon them for selling him as a slave into Egypt many years earlier. Joseph, however, plainly saw the bigger picture, for we read in Genesis 50:19 and 20,
19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? 20 And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
This statement of faith encapsulates God's purpose and reason why Joseph had to be sold as a slave into Egypt. It shows us that God Himself was behind these events with a good intent in the long-term plan. What Joseph said about his personal situation was also applicable to the House of Israel in later years. God intended that the scattering of the House of Israel (the tribes of Joseph) should finally result in the salvation of the world; that is, it was to "preserve many people alive."
How Israel Became Lost
When Hosea's prophecies of Israel's destruction were fulfilled (as recorded in 2 Kings 17:6, 18:9), she was not called "Israel" by the other nations. At this time she was known as Beth-Ghomri, Beth-Khumri, or "House of Omri." Omri was one of Israel's greatest kings (1 Kings 16:25) and was the one who first made contact with Assyria. Omri was the father of Israel's king Ahab. This name, Omri (pronounced in ancient Hebrew, Ghomri) appears on many ancient stone records, including the famous black obelisk of Shalmanezer, the Assyrian king who conquered and deported the Israelites to Assyria. 2 Kings 18:9-11 tells us:
9 Now it came about in the fourth year of King Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria and besieged it. 10 And at the end of three years they captured it; in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of Hoshea king of Israel, Samaria was captured. 11 Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and put them in Halah and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
The name Ghomri was a slightly modified version of the name, Gomer, the wife of Hosea. Further, it was during the reign of King Hoshea that Israel went into captivity. So we see that the prophet, Hosea, and his wife, Gomer, were themselves a prophecy that King Hoshea and Israel (Ghomri) were to be taken into captivity. The prophet and his harlot wife were named prophetically, and the prophecy began to be fulfilled two centuries later through King Hoshea and Ghomri-Israel. This was a most remarkable prophecy that has not been properly understood in most prophetic teaching.
God saw to it that Israel would be lost and presumed dead, even as their father Joseph many years earlier. God did so by removing from them the birthright name of Israel. Even as Joseph himself was given a new name, so also was Israel given new names. In Genesis 41:45 we read that Pharaoh called Joseph by the name of Zaphenath-paneah, which means "treasury of the glorious rest." In Strong's Concordance, this name is number 6847. The first part of his name, "Zaphenath," is related to the word Zaphan, or Tsaphan, which means "to hide by covering." Tsaphan is number 6845 in Strong's Concordance. This was Joseph's name while he was hidden in Egypt. The name is prophetic of his descendants in the Assyrian captivity, for they are the treasure hidden in the field to which Jesus referred in His parable.
Israel's main captivity name, according to Hosea, was Gomer, or Ghomri. All historians today are agreed that in later centuries the name Ghomri came to be spelled Khumri, Humria, and Cymri. They are the progenitors of the Celts, who populated much of Europe, Wales, and Ireland. The Welsh people still refer to themselves as Khumri today, preferring to use their ancient name given to them by the Assyrians and prophesied by Hosea.
Many prophecy teachers today know that these people are from "Gomer," but they make the mistake of identifying them with the Gomer in Genesis 10:2. That Gomer is the son of Japheth, rather than the wife of Hosea. For this reason many have taught that the Caucasian people of Europe are from Japheth, rather than from Israel. This is a clear historical error. There is not a shred of evidence that the Ghomri mentioned in Assyrian records are of Japhetic origin. Rather, the monuments all identify Israel by the name, "House of Omri (Ghomri)."
How clever of God to hide the descendants of Joseph-Israel by giving them the name of a son of Japheth! Can anyone doubt that God caused this confusion in order to fulfill the prophecy inherent in the name of Manasseh? And yet this is clearly proven by the prophet Hosea, whose wife carried the same name as the son of Japheth. God saw to it that the Assyrians deported the Israelites to the area south of the Caucasus Mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Since many of them migrated across the Caucasus mountains as they made their way into Europe, historians call them Caucasians.
The Behistun Rock (the tomb of Darius I of Persia) is a mountain on whose face is inscribed in three languages all the ethnic peoples that this king ruled. Among them is the Gimirri (Ghomri). In the parallel inscriptions they are called Scythians (pronounced Sakka). In other words the Behistun Rock is an ancient inscription on the side of a mountain proving to all that the Israelites called Ghomri in one language are called Scythians (Sakka) by other nations. They are, in fact, the same people. In the Greek history books of Herodotus, these people were called Sacae. In the Roman history books they were called Saxons. They were all the same people, but their names varied according to the language of the historians who wrote of them. They were, in fact, Israelites, or more properly, ex-Israelites in dispersion, from whom God had removed the birthright name in order to hide them in the world until the time of the end.
We are now at the time of the end. Joseph is found. He was lost in plain sight for many years. The lost birthright is now being recovered. The sons of God are soon to be manifested. The second work of Christ is upon us, and it will bring the Kingdom of God into full manifestation, no longer hidden as treasure buried in a field.
The Jewish nation of "Israel" is NOT the Israel of the Bible. Judah was not given the name of Israel, nor are they the inheritors of the birthright. In 1948 they usurped the birthright name of Israel in an attempt to fulfill Joseph's calling, but they cannot possibly bring forth the sons of God, for they are not called to that end. The extent of Judah's calling was to bring forth the Messiah King, and they did this perfectly 2,000 years ago. (For a complete study of the role of the Israeli state in Bible prophecy, see our book, The Struggle for the Birthright.)
The Aaronic priests of the tribe of Levi were called to offer Him up as a Sacrifice for sin to fulfill the work of the first dove and the first goat, and they discharged their duties perfectly as well. But neither Judah nor Levi were called to establish the Kingdom of God in the second work of Christ. This was the birthright calling of Joseph. As long as we continue to look to the Jews to fulfill the calling of Joseph, we will be disappointed. But the day is nearly upon us when God will clarify this matter, for He said in Ezekiel 34 that He would search for His lost sheep Himself and find them.
Benoni-Benjamin and Bethlehem-Ephratah
Jacob's wife, Rachel, gave birth to Benjamin in Bethlehem (Genesis 35:16-18). When Benjamin was born to Rachel, who died giving birth, she named him Ben-oni, meaning "son of my sorrow." Jesus was a man (son) of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). The first time He came, He was born in Bethlehem, which is a prophecy that identifies the location of the beginning of His first (death) work. Mary had to endure giving Jesus up and watching Him die, which was a type of Rachel's death experience. However, Jacob called his son Benjamin, which means "son of my right hand" (Genesis 35:16-18). This speaks of the second work, because after Jesus came as a man of sorrows, He ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19).
Micah prophesied that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2). These two names are a marvelous prophecy of the two works of Christ. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Matthew 2:1). That is, His first coming was a Judah work. However, His second work will be a Joseph work, and Ephratah is simply the singular form of the name Ephraim. So Micah's prophecy actually contains within it both comings of Christ-the first in Judea (Judah) and the second in Joseph (Ephraim).
When Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin, she was on a journey to Ephratah. Ephratah is a prophetic reference to His second work, the work of sonship, where Christ becomes fruitful and reproduces Himself in the earth in us, bringing many sons into glory. Joseph was to be a fruitful bough (Genesis 49:22). The promise here is one of sonship, a reference to the second work of Christ, which has as its prerequisite the completion of the first work. One must have their sins covered by the blood of Jesus Christ before Christ comes as the second goat to remove sin.
Caleb and Joshua
The name "Jesus" is the New Testament equivalent to the name "Joshua" in the Old Testament. (See Hebrews 4:8, where Joshua is called Jesus.) Joshua was Moses' successor who led Israel into the Promised Land. He was a type of Christ. But Joshua was not of the tribe of Judah, but of Ephraim, the son of Joseph (Numbers 13:8). Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan, and these are listed by tribe in Numbers 13. Verse 6 tells us that Caleb was of Judah, while verse 8 says that Joshua was of Ephraim.
6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh . . . 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun.
Verse 16 tells us that Hoshea is actually Joshua:
16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land; but Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun, Joshua.
These were the two spies who had faith to enter the Kingdom. The other ten spies gave an evil report. The people believed the evil report, and this disqualified that generation from entering Canaan.
Caleb and Joshua are both types of Christ. Caleb the Judahite is a type of Christ in His first advent, while Joshua the Ephraimite is a type of Christ in His second advent. Both were important, because they were God's two witnesses in the establishment of His Kingdom. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, He was born of Judah, which fulfilled the Caleb witness. He must come again in the capacity of Joshua the Ephraimite before we leave the wilderness of Pentecost and enter the Promised Land of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Many Bible teachers know and understand that Joshua was a type of Christ leading us into the Kingdom of God. The name, Jesus, is simply the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Yashua, or Joshua.. No doubt many have wondered why Joshua was not even of the tribe of Judah, as Jesus was. Studying the two works of Christ as well as the history of Judah and Joseph clarifies the prophetic picture. He must come the second time as Joseph, to whom was given the birthright, in order to manifest the sons of God in the earth. This will be done by means of the Feast of Tabernacles.