Who's Who in Prophecy
Issue No. 159
In this bulletin we will show how God first gave both Israel and Judah the opportunity to carry His glory, the ark of the covenant. God always gives the flesh the first opportunity. We will then show how they both failed, even as the flesh always does. Finally, we will show how God brought forth the real plan, one which will succeed in bringing His glory into all the earth as God vowed to do in Num. 14:21, saying,
21 But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.
God’s Glory in Israel (Ephraim)
When Joshua led the children of Israel into Canaan, he placed the ark of the covenant at a town called Shiloh (Joshua 18:1). This town was in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua’s tribe. A few centuries later we find the priesthood at Shiloh totally corrupted by the sons of Eli, who did little or nothing to correct his sons. This is the story of Samuel found in 1 Sam. 2:22-25.
The day came when God brought judgment to the house of Eli. He and his sons all died the same day (1 Sam. 4). Eli’s sons had carried the ark of the covenant into battle against the Philistines, thinking that this would ensure a military victory over the “enemies of God.” If you recall, Num. 10:35 tells us that whenever the people moved the ark, they were to pray,
35 Rise up, O Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Thee flee before Thee.
And so, when the sons of Eli took the ark into battle against the Philistines, they prayed this prayer, appealing to God to overthrow His enemies. Their prayer was answered. Israel was scattered and fled before God. 1 Sam. 4:10 says, “So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent.”
It seems that in every war the people think God is on their side. Israel thought that because they were “chosen” that this was a license to sin. The leaders thought that being chosen meant that God would certify them no matter what they did. And they expected the people to say, “My country, right or wrong.”
No doubt many of the people themselves knew the corruption of Eli’s sons, but, after all, they were the ones chosen by God, so they were willing to go into battle under their corrupt leadership. That was a poor decision, and it cost 30,000 of them their very lives.
Just because God had chosen Levi (specifically Aaron) to be the priests in Israel did not mean that priests had a license to oppress the people, nor did God expect the people to fight for them. The same is true for the kings of Israel. The same is also true in regard to Israel itself. Though Israel as a nation was “chosen,” this did not mean they had an inherent right to rule as oppressors.
There are some who think that if they are Israelites by birth, they will have an inherent right to rule the earth and to destroy all who get in their way. They think they have the God-given right to oppress anyone who is NOT an Israelite by birth. They are mistaken. Even Jesus said plainly in Matt. 8:11, 12,
11 And I say to you, that many shall come from east and west and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, 12 but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus was commenting upon the faith of the foreign soldier who had come to Him. Jesus said that He had not found such faith in all Israel. No doubt this was a shock to the disciples at that time, for they had not really learned yet that men of other nations were as important to God as the “chosen” of Israel.
At any rate, in the days of Samuel, the people thought that being chosen to rule meant that they were immune to God’s judgment, that God had somehow granted rulers the privilege of oppressing others. This wrong thinking affected their attitudes toward Israel as a nation as well as toward the priesthood—and later, the kings of Israel.
God responded by destroying Shiloh and its priests and by allowing the Philistines to capture the ark. This was how God removed the ark of the covenant from Shiloh and from the tribe of Ephraim in general. We read about this in Psalm 78:59-68,
59 When God heard, He was filled with wrath, and greatly abhorred Israel; 60 so that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, the tent which He had pitched among men, 61 and gave up His strength [the ark] to captivity, and His glory into the hand of the adversary. . . 64 His priests fell by the sword; and His widows could not weep. . . 67 He also rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, 68 but chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. 69 And He built his sanctuary like the heights . . .
This tells us that when God moved the ark of the covenant from Shiloh to Jerusalem, He had “rejected the tent of Joseph.” He chose a new tribe in which to place His name.
God Moves His Glory to Judah
Ephraim was the birthright holder and the one who was given the name of Israel in Gen. 48:16. For this reason the ark first rested at Shiloh, a town in Ephraim. But when its priesthood became corrupted, God’s presence forsook that place and moved to Jerusalem. The psalmist says that He “chose the tribe of Judah” in which to place His name.
With this new location also came a new dynasty of high priests. The last of Eli’s priesthood was Abiathar, who was the priest in the days of King David. Solomon thrust out Abiathar and replaced him with Zadok (1 Kings 2:27-35).
The presence of God rested in the temple at Jerusalem for a few centuries. But then this new dynasty of high priests also became corrupted. So the prophet Jeremiah was sent to tell them that God intended to abandon and forsake Jerusalem even as He had done with Shiloh. Jer. 7:11-15 tells us,
11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? . . . 12 But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things . . . 14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers, all the offspring of Ephraim.
The point of this is to show that the presence of God was first given to Ephraim, the birthright tribe of Israel, but He withdrew His presence because of corruption. God then moved His presence to Judah, but He later withdrew from Judah as well. Ezekiel 10:18, 19 and 11:23 gives the actual prophetic vision of the glory’s departure.
God’s Glory Moves to the New Jerusalem
Jeremiah tells us that God forsook Jerusalem even as He forsook Shiloh. Once God’s glory departs (“Ichabod”), He does not change His mind and return later. Both Shiloh and Jerusalem had centuries in which to repent and fulfill their obligations as “chosen” people. Both utterly failed, except for the remnant of grace within each nation.
The final departure of God’s glory was not seen by the prophet Ezekiel, even though he did see the glory depart from the threshold of the temple and move to the top of the Mount of Olives (Ez. 11:23). The final departure occurred when Jesus ascended from that very location (Acts 1:12).
The glory of God returned ten days later at Pentecost (Acts 2:1). This time it did not return to the nation of Judah, nor did it return to the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. The glory now turned to the New Jerusalem—a “city” or community of believers only. Non-believers are NOT citizens of this “city,” regardless of their genealogy or connection with ancient Israel or Judah.
The only way for ANYONE to become a citizen of the New Jerusalem is by faith in Jesus Christ. All men have access to this city in the same manner—by faith alone. In this, there is no difference.
Faith does not change ones physical appearance or one’s genealogy. God created the different races of people in the earth because He loves variety. So there is no need for faith to alter those characteristics.
Jesus Purchases Israel—and the Whole World
God fully intends to save (justify) all Israelites. The prophets tell us this. Isaiah 45:25 says,
25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be justified and will glory.
The apostle Paul says the same thing when he writes in Rom. 11:26, 27,
26 And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. 27 And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.
God does not intend to save anyone in their sins. He intends to save them by removing their ungodliness from them and taking away their sins. He does this through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not one Israelite will be saved apart from accepting Him and His work on the cross on their behalf.
Jesus Himself explained the manner in which He is doing this. It is found in Matt. 13:44,
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 is God’s treasure. Hosea 1, 2 tells us that God scattered Israel and sowed them in the world. God told the prophet in Ezekiel 34 that His people, Israel, were lost sheep. For many years they were called “the ten lost tribes.” It is not that they ceased to exist as a people, but rather that they lost their name and became known by other names such as Khumree, Sakka, and so on. The Assyrians called them the House of Omri (Beth-Ghomri, or Beth-Gomer). Hosea’s prophecy calls them Gomer, for Hosea’s wife represented Israel.
This is how God hid the treasure in the field. This is how He hid the “lost tribes” in the world. Matt. 13:38 tells us that “the field is the world.” This is the treasure that the man (Jesus) found hidden in the field. But he did not steal the treasure. He purchased the field in order to lawfully own the treasure hidden in it. He gave His very life to get the treasure.
In the process of obtaining the treasure, Jesus bought the entire field—the whole world—for this was the only lawful way that He could own the treasure hidden in it.
Isaiah 56 makes reference to this as well, saying,
3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from His people” . . . 6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and holds fast to My covenant; 7 Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. 8 The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.
Isaiah was referring to Solomon’s inspired prayer in 1 Kings 8:41-43, where he says,
41 Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Thy people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Thy name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Thy great name and Thy mighty hand, and of Thine outstretched arm); when he comes and prays toward this house, 43 hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to Thee, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as do Thy people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Thy name.
Solomon’s temple did not fulfill the full purpose of God for all people. Sin prevented this. In fact, it was not possible for this fleshly temple, though beautiful in its furnishings, to house the glory of God. God intended for it to be only a type and shadow of the true temple that He would inhabit beginning on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Solomon knew that the true temple would be a house of prayer for all the people of the earth, not just Israel. Thus, when we come to understand the true temple as being people, rather than buildings made of wood and stone, we see that the true temple is comprised of all people.
All men everywhere can pray to God in this temple. It is a house of prayer for all people.
God Regathers Israel
I find it fascinating to observe how God can do more than one thing at a time. He can fulfill prophecies on more than one level at the same time. We may have a difficult time understanding this, but it is observable.
On a physical level, God regathered the lost tribes of Israel first into Europe and Britain, and then to other parts of the earth, including North America. While all locations have their own history and unique points of interest, I find it most interesting that America’s origin in 1776 came precisely 2,520 years after the beginning of Israel’s deportations to Assyria in 745 B.C.
We have written about the number 2,520 in past bulletins and in our book, Secrets of Time. It is a period of “seven times” in Bible prophecy, even as 1,260 is defined as “a time, (2) times, and a half a time” (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5-7). In short-term prophecy, 2,520 days is seven years (7 x 360 days). In long-term prophecy, where a day represents a year, it is a period of 2,520 years.
Regardless of where God has regathered Israelites of the dispersion throughout the world, all of these nations have failed to bring forth the glory of God and the righteousness of the Kingdom. I will give them credit for being partially successful, even as ancient Israel was partially successful. We have brought a certain amount of freedom to the nations, but such freedoms have always been accompanied by a certain amount of control and even slavery.
We have brought the world a limited knowledge of the Kingdom of God and of King Jesus, but ultimately, we ourselves have replaced the Kingdom with denominational systems, the divine law with the traditions of men, and the King of Israel with submission to men. In other words, the modern Israelites of the dispersion have committed the same sins as their fathers, for our hearts have always been lawless and rebellious.
It was never in the plan of God that the flesh would be able to bring forth the Kingdom of God. Never by the flesh would the glory of God cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. In fact, those who are descended from those lost tribes of Israel lost the name Israel and can only get it back in the same way that Jacob received it. In our flesh, even as Christians, we are still only Jacobites.
Our hope is to become Israel once again. This cannot be accomplished, as the Zionists have attempted to do, by terrorism and bloodshed. This cannot be accomplished, as many in early America attempted to do, by mistreating the Native American population or by lies and broken treaties. These are carnal methods done by carnal people, and God is not glorified in this.
How to Become an Israelite
Becoming an Israelite requires three steps. First, you must become justified by faith in the blood of the Lamb. This is your Passover experience.
Second, you must be filled with the Spirit, whose ultimate evidence is not the gift of tongues, but of hearing (obeying) His voice. This is your Pentecost experience.
Third, you must receive the fullness of the Spirit by fulfilling the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what Paul calls “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). It is our true inheritance, the true Promised Land. In other words, you must become an overcomer.
How to Become a Manifested Son
Sonship is something that we receive in three stages: birth, “bar-mitzvah,” and adoption. When we are justified by faith, we come into Level One Sonship.
When we are baptized in the Spirit and begin to hear His voice and learn obedience by it, we come to Level Two Sonship. (The Jews have a special ceremony for boys at the age of 13, which they call “bar-mitzvah.” I do not consider this Jewish ceremony as necessary, but one certainly should seek the true experience of Pentecost.)
Level Three Sonship is called “the adoption” in the King James Version of Rom. 8:15, 9:4 and Gal. 4:5. The Greek word is Huiothesia, “the placement of sons.” It refers to an ancient ceremony when the father announced in public which of his sons would receive the birthright. That son was given full legal authority over the father’s estate. This is the highest form of Sonship and is what Paul calls the Huiothesia. Those who experience the Feast of Tabernacles will be the Father’s way of announcing the Sons and introducing them to the world.
This is how Joseph received the coat of many colors as the birthright holder. This is how Joseph’s son, Ephraim, received the name “Israel” in Gen. 48:16. Ephraim was not born with this name, even though he was Jacob-Israel’s grandson. Ephraim received this name because he was called and because he was the son of Joseph.
Joseph is a Fruitful Son
When Jacob-Israel blessed his sons, he gave the priestly function to Levi, the messianic lineage to Judah, and the birthright to Joseph (1 Chron. 5:1, 2).
In Jesus’ first coming He was born of Mary, who was of the house and lineage of David (Luke 2:4). King David had been a Judahite to fulfill the prophecy. Jesus’ death on the cross was part of the calling of the Messiah of Judah.
In Jesus’ second coming, however, He comes through Joseph as the birthright holder. In doing so, He comes as the true possessor of the name Israel. He will rule with and through His sons, who will also be given that name.
Jacob’s prophecy to Joseph was given in Gen. 49:22,
22 Joseph is a fruitful bough [Heb. Ben, “son”], a fruitful bough [son] by a spring; its branches run over a wall.
Even as justification came through Jesus, son of Judah, so also does the glory of sonship come through Jesus, son of Joseph. For this reason we read in Rev. 19:13, “and he is clothed with a robe dipped in blood.” Joseph’s robe was dipped in blood (Gen. 37:31).
To be a citizen of the New Jerusalem, it is enough to be justified by faith. But to receive the full Sonship, one must go all the way into the full promise of God into the Feast of Tabernacles.
This is available for all people. The term “Israel” is thus given to them, not as a racial term (as it was used in later years) but in the manner in which it was originally given. Jacob was not born with this name, but received it as a testimony of God’s character and calling. If Jacob could receive this name, not being a genealogical Israelite from birth, then it sets a pattern for all men who are not born genealogical Israelites.
Ephraim later had to receive the name even though he was already a genealogical Israelite. This shows that it is not enough to be a physical Israelite if one desires to become a full Son of God.