TREASURE IN THE FIELD
By: Angelo B. Traina (Revised by Philip B. Wisman)
This little book is based on a series of articles published in 1938 under the title, "The Election of Grace from the Selection of Race." It is intended primarily for believers who are already somewhat familiar with the Bible. Its significance should be apparent to Bible students in direct proportion to their knowledge of the Scriptures. By its light, one may comprehend hitherto obscure passages and see unsuspected connections and relationships between sacred and secular writings.
It seems to me that the greatest contribution made by Treasure in the Field is in its correlation of the well-established and non-controversial facts of secular history, archeology and ethnology with Bible history and prophecy, producing an end result which helps to clarify all of these fields. This book also dissolves the seeming paradox of race and grace; the great absolute, unconditional promises to Abraham's descendants on the one hand, and the equally unconditional and absolute New Testament promises on the other, without apparent reference to race or descent, i.e., on a strictly "whosoever will" basis. Thus "literal Israel" and "spiritual Israel" are placed in correct historical and doctrinal perspective; and the way is pointed toward doctrinal concepts on which both conscientious Christians and conscientious Jews have good prospects of agreement. Many of the difficulties in understanding the Bible, it becomes clear, result from restricting one's perspective and seeking to interpret the Almighty's promises in too short a period and on too meager a scale. Faithful believers have, therefore, failed to perceive to what extent the very march of world history has been and continues to be the fulfillment of these promises.
By providing another forceful demonstration of the internal harmony of the Bible, Pastor Traina has taken a further step to dispel popular misconceptions and to bring about that doctrinal integrity which impels belief.1
If the ideas conveyed by Treasure in the Field seem new or strange to the reader, this seems to me a reflection on the modern humanistic teaching to which we have all been exposed, rather than any fault of the contents of the book, which are in perfect agreement with Biblical concepts and with the well established facts of history and ethnology. Throughout, the author has shunned the customary substitution of the names of pagan idols for the Names2 of the Creator, (Yahweh) and the Messiah, (Yahshua). The Name by which the Almighty identified Himself to the prophets of the Old Testament and the Name of the Saviour--the only one by which He was known to His followers--are used. If these Hebrew Names seem strange, it is only because we have become so accustomed to the heathen substitutions (Gott, God, Zeus, Di-Zeus, Dios, Hlaf-weard, Pan Bog, etc.). A fairly complete explanation of the Names is given in the Preface of the Sacred Name New Testament.
Because of the huge amount of material available to document the statements of the author, it has been necessary to guard against digression in order to preserve the thread of continuity. Some portions of the text may therefore seem oversimplified because of the author's need to select and condense, but this was thought preferable to exploring the many fascinating side roads at the risk of losing perspective. It is hoped that time and resources will permit the future publication of some of this source material.
Pastor Traina is one of those individuals--rare in this day--whose knowledge in various specialized fields is integrated and whose eye is single. He is to be congratulated on his treatment of a complex subject.
The Scripture Research Association (now defunct) holds that "dogmatic rejection of Scriptural enlightenment leads to spiritual barrenness and rigidity, whereas its acceptance, after proper investigation, brings continued spiritual growth."3 It is our hope that many others will investigate and test the material here presented in Treasure in the Field, for we believe that it is true and that it will stand under scrutiny.
Philip B. Wisman
1 Cf. Sacred Name New Testament: 1950, Scripture Research Association, Irvington, New Jersey, Preface, p. 6.
2 The Name, , pronounced "Yahweh," has been changed by translators to the name of whatever national idol was worshipped; the Name, ucwhy, pronounced "Yahshua" was changed to Iesus, Di-Zeus and Jesus partly as an aid to early missionaries in their efforts to convert the worshippers of Zeus. Traina merely returns to the Names as originally given in the Old and New Testaments.
3 Ibid., p.13.
Modern improvements in transportation and communication which have shrunk our globe and made neighbors of strange peoples have also forced upon everyone a semi-awareness, at least, of racial aspirations and pressures throughout the world, though we may not have thought of them as being racial.
But recall for a moment that well-known slogan of the 1930's, "Asia for the Asiatics" and its variations, "The Orient for Orientals." True, the Japanese were unsuccessful in their primary effort to implement the slogan, but here we are in the late 1950's, having watched the Chinese Communist government acting out with crude violence that which was largely talk in the 30's and 40's. Also, let us not forget another racial manifestation of relatively recent origin, the African Mau Mau terror which is still running its bloody course in spite of everything the white overlords can do to quell it. In our own country we have witnessed a less serious indication of racial ferment, largely in the form of violent words about "integration," "segregation," "white supremacy," "racial dilution," etc., but with actual violence in areas where both negro and white populations are numerically large. And we have heard arguments about "discrimination," and "lack of discrimination" repeated ad nauseum.
Unpleasant as all this is, and much as we might like to close our eyes and forget the racial aspects of this turmoil, we cannot. Some of the milder "liberals" do seem to feel that if we could only act as though there is no such things as race and never mention it, the problem will quietly disappear; others would solve all such problems by force. It happens that racial instincts and aspirations, however, lie much too deep to be ignored or discounted. There is no basis, either in history or in current events, for assuming that such problems will be more than temporarily mitigated in the foreseeable future. It is therefore the part of common sense to know something about the origin, nature and outlook of the three races of man according to the prophecies of the Holy Bible.
It may come as a surprise to some that all of these authorities confirm each other to an astounding degree. Let's begin with the first chronologically, the Bible. To understand man and his performance, the Bible calls upon us to consult the instructions given by his Designer, who knows "what is in man" (John 2:25) and has said, "Ask of Me things concerning My sons and the works of My hand: Command ye Me," (Isaiah 45:11).
Origin and Growth of Races
Witness No. 1: the Bible
It is a fair question to ask, as many have asked, "If Yahweh Elohim created the first man, Adam, and if Adam was the father of all the races, why do we have white, black, and yellow-brown peoples? Why the differences and where did they originate? If one gives the book of Genesis an even break, and approaches it with the attitude that it may very well be correct, if properly understood, it will provide a wonderful insight and we will find it in perfect harmony with all the impersonal facts of the laboratory, and with truly objective scientific analyses of eminent anthropologists and ethnologists. Genesis 2:7 states, "Yahweh Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground" and there we should explain for any readers who may not be aware of it, that in the Bible the name of a person or object is often intended to signify its nature. Thus the word "Adam" literally has the meaning of "red clay" in the Hebrew language, and denotes that Adam was created of red clay. The composition of red clay is such that its color can be made to vary by changes in moisture, heat and sunlight. Red clay, under the sun's rays will change to pink, yellow, or black. Similarly, we have in Adam, the red-clay man, the original from which developed white, yellow-brown, and black races.
Races Developed After the Flood
This development of races, however, did not take place in the antediluvian world. One reason is that in the era before the Flood, civilization was closely knit and occupied a small geographic area in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia. It was the intermarriage of the previously law-abiding sons of Seth with the women of the violent outlaw line of Cain which brought about the great apostasy of those days and ended in the judgment of "the world that then was" (II Peter 3:6) "wherein only eight souls were saved" (I Peter 3:20) namely Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives (Genesis 7:7 and II Peter 2:5). After the flood disaster the survivors made a new start. The Scripture states, "these are the three sons of Noah, and by them was the whole earth overspread," (Genesis 9:19). Some people use the term "races" quite loosely and would have us believe there are innumerable races, but in the basic classification of the Bible, as well as that of science, there are only three. Now let us call some other witnesses from among the top men in their field, whose disinterested statements confirm the reliability of the Biblical account.
Witness No. 2:
The late Dr. Alex Hrdlicka, Curator, Division of Physical Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution, United States National Museum, Washington, DC, says, "There are three primary Stems or Races of Man. They are the White, the Yellow-brown, and the Black; or the Caucasoid, the Mongoloid, and the Negroid." See Chapter VII, page 166, "Human Biology and Racial Welfare," edited by Edmund V. Cowdry, 1930.
In the 1947 World Almanac, page 672, under the caption, "The Races of Mankind," the same Dr. Hrdlicka is given as the authority for the statement that, "three main human races are recognized today, which are: 1, the whites; 2, the yellow-browns; and, 3, the blacks. WHITES: The Mediterraneans, the Alpines and the Nordics. YELLOW-BROWNS: The Mongoloids, the Malays and the American Indian. The last named race is now generally believed to have come originally from Northern Asia, and therefore of ancient Mongolian descent. Some of the natives of Central America and Western South America may have crossed over from the South Seas, it is conjectured. BLACKS: The Negrito, Negrillos and Bushmen, the Melanesian Negroes and Austrialians, and the African Negroes."
Witness No. 3:
"All mankind according to Prof. A. C. Haddon, Cambridge University ethnologist, can be divided into three kinds--wooly hair, wavy hair, straight hair. Most Americans of European origin are wavy haired," (Ibid.)
Thus, when scientific evidence is objectively collected and properly evaluated, we find it leads eventually to the truth which has been there, unchanged, all along in the Holy Bible.
Now, actually, all three witnesses are referring to the same three groups of peoples. Those to whom the Bible refers as the descendants of Shem are the very same group which Dr. Hrdlicka calls the Caucasoid or Whites and Professor Haddon classifies as Wavy-haired. The descendants of Ham are the same as Hrdlicka's Negroid or Blacks and Haddon's Wooly-haired. And the descendants of Japheth are the Mongoloids or Yellow-browns of Hrdlicka, whom Haddon calls the Straight-haired.
During the 1940's, there appeared in this country a series of politically motivated and encouraged books and articles about the races of mankind, apparently designed to curry favor with certain racial and political groups and purporting to be "scientific." But scientific claims which are not based on fact are worse than worthless, serving only to confuse the uninformed and to make the informed indignant. The idea which these writers of "scientific fiction" tried to convey was that heredity is unimportant and racial characteristics are virtually non-existent. However, we need only go as far back as 1930 to find the foremost anthropologists and ethnologists in the world agreeing on the basic and significant heritable differences between the three races and, basing their agreement on the evidence of the laboratory, on countless thousands of tests and measurements and on a wealth of documentation which is not likely to be successfully challenged. Contemporary scientific effort is continuing to discover more details which confirm the position taken by the three reliable witnesses cited above. As recently as June 25, 1956, an Associated Press dispatch from New York announced the discovery by blood scientists that the unique "Diego factor" had been found in the blood of the people of Mongolia. Previously it had been thought to be present only in the blood of American Indians. It is not found in the blood of Caucasians or Negroes. Two Venezuelan scientists, Miguel Layrisse and Tulio Arends have been testing Caribe and Arawaco Indians, Chinese and Japanese. Meanwhile, Mario Lewis, Hiroko Ayukawa and Bruce Chown of Winnipeg, Canada, and Philip Levine of Ortho Research Foundation, Raritan, New Jersey, had much the same idea. Tests have been made in the Netherlands of 200 Dutchmen, in Spain of 150 Spaniards. In addition, 200 Italian blood samples were used, as well as 1000 from White individuals in the USA. In none of these did the Diego factor show up: only in the Yellow-Brown sons of Japheth. The American Indians are thus once more traced to Asia. Scientists plan to test thousands more of each race, but the facts so far are said to be "impressive."
Perhaps it would be well to clarify the oft quoted expression, "All nations are of one blood," since it has frequently been misused and taken out of context. The word "blood" actually does not appear in this passage in the Revised Version nor in the best manuscripts. It is used in the King James Version but it is generally accepted that the word was inserted without authority. Even in the King James Version, however, the context makes it clear that boundaries are set up between the races and that it is not desirable for them to intermarry even though it is possible for them to do so. Within a species there can be many breeds, whether we are speaking of horses, dogs, sheep, or any other. Percherons may be bred with Polo ponies, Black Angus cattle with Brahmas, or Chow dogs with Collies, but the usefulness of each breed would be lost in the process. The fact that it can be done does not establish the need for, nor desirability of, doing so.
"And hath made of one all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth and hath determined their appointed seasons AND THE BOUNDS OF THEIR HABITATION." Acts 17:26
In starting a breed of horses, dogs, cattle, or of men, certain principles of heredity have to be observed. Wherever there is continual inbreeding, the common characteristics tend to become the dominant characteristics. The traits of each of Noah's sons were, of course, the common characteristics of the descendants of each son. The three sons and their families were separated after the flood in the three great Continents of the world, and their traits thus became racial characteristics as the families inbred and multiplied. The character of each of Noah's sons has tremendous significance in terms of the three races of man as they exist in the world today, and we should therefore, note carefully even minor attributes of these sons.
In Genesis 9:20 we read that Noah became a farmer, planted a vineyard and became drunk on the wine. As he lay uncovered in his tent, one of his three sons, Ham, "saw the nakedness of his father," then told his two brothers about it. In this statement there is more than meets the eye. The meaning has been purposely obscured in the English translations of the Bible, but any mature person may see what is involved by referring to Leviticus 18:6-8. This prohibition in Leviticus indicated the prevalence of sex perversion and how great a sin Yahweh considered it to be. When Shem learned what his brother had done, he persuaded Japheth not to follow the evil ways of Ham, but instead to join him in covering his father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and became aware of what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Canaan" (Ham's offspring). "A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." Noah also said, "Blessed be Yahweh Elohim of Shem and Canaan shall be his servant."
Outline of History
This is an amazing prophecy. If we will only investigate it, we will find a key to what has happened and is still happening; the clue to history if we do not shut our eyes to it. The Shemites, or Caucasians (in other words, the White Race), has taken and is taking the constructive leadership; the Hamites, Negroid (or Black Race), has been the most retarded and the subject race of the world; whereas the Japhethites, the Mongoloid, Oriental, Asiatic (that is, the Yellow-brown Race), may be persuaded to follow the ways of the Caucasians or Shemites. If we can but use our eyes to see, we must admit that though heaven and earth may pass away, the Word of Yahweh does not fail. For today, where the Hamites are controlled or dominated, it is only by the White Race or Shemites. Not one inch of Hamitic territory is controlled by the Japhethites or Mongoloids. Time and again the Asiatics have attempted to control Negroid territory. The USSR which now is predominantly Japhetic (Mongoloid) has tried and failed, so far. Japanese diplomats thinking by intermarriage to gain a foothold on African soil, tried to arrange for the son of Haile Selassie to marry a Japanese noblewoman but this strategem did not succeed. The Word of Yahweh stands true. It was prophesied that Shemites should control the Hamites and history testifies to this monumental truth.
The Yellow-Brown Race
Of Japheth (whose descendents were originally known as "Gentiles") Noah prophesied, "Elohim shall enlarge [persuade] Japheth and he shall dwell in the tests of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant" (Genesis 9:27). Notice this language, since it is essential for clearly understanding the exposition and prophecies of both Old and New Testaments. The word translated "enlarge" has the additional meaning of "persuade." The Japhetic or Mongoloid Race is both the largest numerically and is also being "persuaded" by the White Race to follow Western ways. Although the greatest religious missionary effort has been made by Shemites to persuade and convert the sons of Japheth so that they might share the blessings of Shem, they seem to have been persuaded chiefly in respect to our materialism.
Now to summarize: The sons of Ham were to have been subservient, the sons of Shem were to take the leadership and Japheth was to be given a choice of sharing the blessings of Shem or the curse of Ham (see also Isaiah, chapters 60 to 63).
The Open Door: Few Have Entered
It now appears, after 4400 years that very few descendents of Japheth have decided to accept a share in Shem's blessings. Generally speaking, Japheth is still without Yahweh Elohim and without hope, despite the great missionary efforts put forth by the Shemitic witnesses since the first advent of the Messiah. Comparatively few of the Mongoloid Gentiles have taken the advantage offered them in the Gospel of the Messiah, to share in the Atonement that will--when permitted--take away the sins of anyone in the world, be he black, white or yellow-brown. No one is prevented from sharing these blessings. It is rather that the prophets foresaw and foretold that certain things would happen because of the inherent traits of Noah's sons. In Noah's pronouncement was a prophetic delineation of the long-range development of his sons' offspring; culturally, morally, spiritually and physically. Also, their location (each in a separate continent), climatic conditions, and inbreeding contributed to intensify the distinctive characteristics which mark each of these racial groups:
Each has a different and readily identifiable combination of bone structure, color-blend, hair formation, etc.
After the separation at the Tower of Babel and the attending confusion, Japheth went north, Ham went south, and Shem remained between so that eventually he might, according to Yahweh's plan, control the other two. In their respective locations, the families multiplied into nations and peoples whose differing physical and spiritual characteristics to this day defy assimilation.
Let us now turn back to the Bible for a clearer picture of the racial identities of Noah's descendants.
The Sons of Japheth: Orientals
"These are the sons of Jepheth: Gomer, Magog [Asiatic Russia--Ezekiel 38:2], Javan [Java--Japan], Tubal, Meshech [Tobolsk and Moscow--parts of USSSR], Madai [the original inhabitants of Media], Tiras [the original inhabitants of Thrace]. The sons of Gomer: Askenaz and Riphath and Togarmah [Turcoman--modern Turkestan]. The sons of Javan: Elishah [sometimes known as Ellasar and Larsa of ancient history] and Tarshish, Kittim [also known as Chittim, Akita, Kithay, Cathay, Sinim or China] and Dodanim" (Genesis 10:1-4). Note carefully the next verse of the same chapter. It is a qualifying verse: "By these were the Isles [or coasts] of the GENTILES divided" (Genesis 10:5).
As you notice from the above quotations, it was the sons of Japheth who were originally called GENTILES and, as you can see by the identifying names, they belong to the Mongolian (Yellow-brown) Race and are not to be confused with the Caucasian (White) Race, who are descendents of the sons of Shem. When the Bible speaks of the Gentiles as a race, it refers to the descendents of Japheth. When the word Gentiles is used of nations the word is simply used to designate political units. It is written that the descendents of Joseph, for example, were to become a multitude of Goyim (Gentiles), Genesis 48:19. The word "Gentiles" which originally was not used to designate the other races, is later sometimes applied to them ironically because they have identified themselves with the Gentiles by copying their customs and embracing their gods.
The Sons of Ham are Not "Gentiles"
In Genesis 10:6 we read, "And the sons of Ham: Cush [Ethiopia], Misraim [Egypt], Phut [Libya] and Canaan." As we continue down the list of descendants, when we reach the 20th verse, we read, "These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries and in their nations." The word "gentile" is not used to describe the sons of Ham.
The Sons of Shem: European and Western Peoples
In verse 21, we read, "Unto Shem also, the father of ALL the children of Heber, the brother of Japheth, the elder, even to him were children born." Note the expression "the father of ALL the children of Heber." Heber is the root of the word "Hebrew" as you notice in Genesis 10:25 and in Luke 3:35. Eber and Heber are the same word. Hebrew means "from Heber," so then from the sons of Shem the Heber stock was selected to carry on the potentialities of the Semitic blessings. What the 21st verse says, in effect, is that Shem, the progenitor of the Hebrew race, was selected to become the primary candidate for grace. He Who knows the end from the beginning knew that from this seed He would be able to find the faithfulness essential to carry out His eternal purposes by the process of elimination and "survival of the fittest." He chose the "Hebrew" a term which came to have additional meaning of "one who has passed over the Euphrates westward."
Out of this race Yahweh called Abram and promised He would multiply him to populate and dominate the world, and that his seed should control the gates of his enemies, both Japhetic and Hamitic (Genesis 22:17). We know from anthropology and history that the Semitic or Hebrew race (of which the Jews are a small part) is the same race from which the entire western or Caucasian population of the world is descended.
Genesis 10:31 says, "These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues, in their lands, after their nations." Here again we might note that nothing is said about the Semitic race producing any Gentiles. To close the chapter we have this statement, "These are the families of the sons of Noah after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood."
There were only three sons of Noah and these three were marked by the Creator into three separate and distinct races, each in a separate continent, each developing peculiar bone structure, color pigment and hair formation.
The sons of Shem are identified as the White Race or Caucasoid.
The sons of Japheth are identified as the Yellow-brown Race or Mongoloid.
The sons of Ham are identified as the Black Race or Negroid.
If we remember and hold to this classification throughout the Scriptures, we shall be in a far better position to understand past, present and future events in fulfillment of the prophetic program. In the 11th chapter of Genesis we read the genealogy of Abram whom Yahweh selected to demonstrate wisdom, power and grace, and to teach men concerning His love. And when the Saviour returns to earth again to receive to Himself the blood-bought children of Abraham, the world will have to acknowledge that Yahweh did indeed make the best choice, as He says in Romans 9:22-23.
Heber, the great grandson of Shem and the father of the Hebrew race, possessed traits, tendencies and righteous possibilities which were passed on to his descendant Abram, in whom Yahweh saw proper clay for His purpose: to mold a people in whom He could demonstrate His glory.
Abram's Disobedience and His Faith
However, when Yahweh called Abram and directed him to go to Canaan, he was delayed because he tried to take his family along. Abram's father, Terah (whose name has the literal meaning of "Delay" or "Weight") was indeed a burden to his son and was instrumental in delaying the progress of Abram toward his destination. Instead of going to Canaan he settled with his family in Haran where he remained until Terah's death. Then, released from his delaying burden, he remembered Yahweh's promise and call (Genesis 12:1-4).
But, for a second time, we see good-hearted Abram disobeying Yahweh's orders and thereby delaying Yahweh's purpose to bless him. For He had commanded Abram to leave his kindred as well as his father's house. This time it was his nephew, Lot, who became the stumbling block to him and still further delayed the promised blessings.
On the way from Haran to Canaan they passed through Sichem and into the plains of Moreh where the Canaanites had settled.
"And Yahweh appeared unto Abram and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land; and there he builded an altar unto Yahweh, who appeared to him." (Genesis 12:6-7)
As we read on in this chapter, we find Abram moving about from place to place, but always remembering to build an altar to Yahweh, thus testifying to his faith in Yahweh's promise that he and his seed were going to inherit this land, even though the Canaanites were already occupying it.
Abram's Testing and Weakness
A testing of faith came then to Abram as to all believers. There was famine in the land but Abram heard that there was plenty of food in Egypt and he set out to find it. In Egypt his troubles really began, but Yahweh saved him out of it all and even made provision for him through Pharaoh. Leaving Egypt, Abram and his family and also Lot and his family finally arrived at Bethel where they camped, built a place of worship and proceeded to settle down. Only strict obedience is pleasing to Yahweh and Abram's disobedience bore its fruit.
Yahweh had told Abram to leave his kindred; and since he did not, there was continued strife between Lot's herdsmen and Abram's herdsmen so that the unbelieving Canaanites observed the believers quarrelling (Genesis 13:7).
Hoping for a peaceful solution, Abram proposed to divide the land with his nephew and offered Lot first choice. Lot, yearning for material things, saw the well-watered Jordan plain that looked like a garden and chose it, settling near the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, in order that he might keep in touch with the people. Abram, yearning for Yahweh and His righteousness, dwelt in Canaan that he might better commune with Yahweh.
An Unconditional Promise
"And Yahweh said unto Abram after that Lot was separated from him, Lift NOW thine eyes and look from the place where thou art northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." (Genesis 13:14-17)
Surely this is a potent promise. Stop and consider whether a few million Jews can fulfill such a promise? Certainly not. Our Heavenly Father is no liar. Let us, like Abram, have sufficient faith in the integrity of the Most High to believe that His promises meant what they said. Only then may we have our eyes open to see their glorious fulfillment; that we are physically, as well as spiritually the descendants of Abraham. This we shall seek to show later.
The next recorded incident involving Abram was the Battle of the Kings which might never have been recorded and preserved for us, had not Abram's nephew, Lot, been caught in the melee and made a prisoner by Chedorlaomer and his allies. But one of the other prisoners escaped and brought the news to Abram the Hebrew. The result is given in the 14th chapter of Genesis.
Melchizedek: Priest and King
Abram, after spoiling the spoilers, met the Priest and King, Melchizedek, who gave him the communion of Bread and Wine, sacred emblems which foreshadowed the shed blood and broken body of our Saviour, Yahshua the Messiah. This, of course, was long before the establishment of the Levitical Priesthood by whom, for a time, the killing of a lamb and eating it at Passover typified the Lamb of Yahweh Who was to come and take away the sins of the world. After the Saviour came and accomplished the redemption which those emblems typified, He reestablished the Melchizedek Priesthood. Our Saviour, on the night in which He was betrayed, took Bread and Wine, the original emblems of His life, to commemorate His death until He comes again. Thus Yahshua became our "Priest after the order of Melchizedek," (refer to the seventh chapter of Hebrews). Abram paid tithes, had communion and was blest by Melchizedek.
The King of Sodom whom Abram had also rescued, wanted to reward his benefactor with the spoils of war, but Abram declined feeling that he was far richer than any material reward could make him, since he had received the rich promises of Yahweh's blessing.
The Promises Repeated and Clarified
After refusing the rewards of men, Abram had a vision in which Yahweh said, "Fear not, Abram, for I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Abram took advantage of this opportunity to make a request, the nature of which is highly significant.
"And Abram said, Yahweh Elohim, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go childless and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damasus? And Abram said, Behold to me Thou hast given me no seed; and, lo one born in my house shall be mine heir." (Genesis 15:2-3)
Since Abram had no natural heir to inherit his possession, he desired to adopt Eliezer as his legal heir and asked Yahweh's sanction of the adoption. Having no natural heirs, he asked for a spiritual seed to whom he could turn over all the promises as well as the blessings he had already received from Yahweh. But what was Yahweh's answer?
"And behold the word of Yahweh came unto him, saying, this shall NOT be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And He brought him forth abroad and said, Look now toward heaven and count the stars if thou be able to number them; and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be." Genesis 15:4-5)
Natural Seed to Inherit
Honest meditation must lead us to the realization that Yahweh repudiated Abram's attempt to spiritualize His promises. Yahweh meant what He said: He had promised natural blessings. The meaning is obvious, that Abram's own natural descendants were to be the recipients, to inherit the potentialities contained in the promises. As we know, all faithful believers in the Atonement become heirs WITH faithful Abraham, but not to the EXCLUSION of his own seed.
Consider in this connection, the third chapter of Galatians in which we read,
"Even as Abraham believed Yahweh, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same ARE the children of Abraham." (Galatians 3:6-7)
This verse contains a great treasure, for it provides a key to the identification of Abraham's natural seed. For they have the capacity for faith, having inherited it from Abraham their ancestor.
The Heathen Also May Qualify
Others are not excluded, of course, provided they meet the same prerequisites. We read further in the same chapter:
"And the Scripture, foreseeing that Yahweh would justify the heathen through faith, preached beforehand the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall ALL the nations of the earth be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed WITH faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:8-9)
Real, Tangible Promises
Returning to Genesis 15, we read
"And he believed Yahweh, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, and He [Yahweh] said unto him, I am Yahweh that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees to give thee THIS LAND [not pink clouds] to inherit it." (Genesis 15:6-7)
And this land grant was not the small strip we today call Palestine. It was a great deal more than Canaan. It contains over 2,500,000 square miles, as we learn in verse 18:
"In the same day, Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying Unto thy seed [natural, not spiritual] have I given this land from the River of Egypt [the Red Sea] unto the River Euphrates." (Genesis 15:18)
It is suggested that the reader look at his Bible map in order to comprehend the extent of this gift. It embraces all of Arabia, Mesopotamia and Canaan. It is today in the possession of some of the natural seed of Abraham. It took great faith to believe that this would happen and Abram asked for a sign (verse 8). Yahweh answered him with a vision and a promise. Then was Abram thoroughly convinced and entered into a covenant with Yahweh.
We have seen in this chapter how Abram a descendant of Heber and of Shem, was of proper clay but had to be molded and shaped to receive and accept the blessings of Yahweh; that he failed to give prompt and complete obedience and thereby brought upon himself unnecessary tribulation; that Yahweh spoke in a very real sense of Abraham's descendants and that His promises would not be "spiritualized" away but applied to literal descendants; and that Abram's clay (natural children) provide the raw material or "vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23) though not to the exclusion of the converted heathen who are to share the blessings WITH faithful Abraham (Galatians 3:8-9).
May Yahweh give us sufficient faith and vision to understand the literalness of His vast promises; and may we, like our forefather, enter into covenant with Him to share freely all He has provided for us.
After being thus reassured, Abram did not waver in his belief that he would have a natural son to inherit the promises and blessings of Yahweh. No doubt he shared with his wife, Sarai, the visions and promises he had received; surely they rejoiced in the prospect.
Sarai's Anxiety and Intervention
But time cast a shadow on Sarai's faith and she began to doubt that she was to have any part in the promises made to her husband. Sarai was no unbeliever, but when she began to think things out to herself, she concluded that, after all, the promises were made not to her, but to Abram. She believed Yahweh would keep HIS word to her husband, but felt that she herself would have no part in it. She reasoned that she was barren and beyond the possibility of bearing. As a result, she tried to suggest a way out of the impasse in order to help both her husband and Yahweh. Such human aid is, of course, in vain. Sarai tried to work out Yahweh's plan in man's way. Invariably such meddling leads to trouble. Sarai called Abram and said to him,
"Behold now, Yahweh hath restrained me from bearing; I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her." (Genesis 16:2)
Not that Sarai doubted the validity of the promise. She merely doubted her own part in the plan. "Yahweh hath restrained me," she said. And it seemed to her the best thing she could do was to step aside so that another might be the means of fulfilling the promise of an heir.
Now Abram hearkened to his wife's suggestion without ever asking Yahweh's confirmation of the idea. Thus, they set about seeking to help Yahweh keep the promise He had made. Obviously this could lead only to trouble.
Result: Domestic Strife
No sooner had Hagar conceived than she began to feel superior to her mistress and to show that she looked down upon her. This wrought havoc in Abram's household. Sarai would not endure being despised by her own maid and disciplined her. Hagar then fled from their home. But as she stopped by a fountain of water in the wilderness an Angel of Yahweh said to her:
"Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? And whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the Angel of Yahweh said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the Angel of Yahweh said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the Angel of Yahweh said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because Yahweh hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." (Genesis 16:8-12)
It should be observed that the Angel addressed Hagar as "Sarai's maid," in spite of the fact that she was to become the mother of Abram's son. And Yahweh directed her to return to her mistress so that the child might be born in its father's home and receive proper care, for Yahweh had promised that Ishmael would establish a populous nation--a fact which seems to have escaped the observation of our Western intellectuals, but not that of the Hindoos who are rather proud of their Abrahamic descent. Abram was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born.
"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, Yahweh appeared to Abram and said unto him, I am El Shaddai [Almighty El]; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face; and Elohim talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of MANY NATIONS. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generation for an everlasting covenant, to be Elohim unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger: all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their Elohim." (Genesis 17:1-8)
Circumcision Not A Condition
All of these promises were made to Abram unconditionally. There were no strings attached. It is noteworthy that the covenant of circumcision was given to Abraham after the promises and not as a condition for obtaining them.
The Promises Elaborated
Yahweh then explained His promises further and this time included Sarai, for we read,
"And Elohim said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her; yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of NATIONS, KINGS of people shall be of her." (Genesis 17:15-16)
Even though he humbled himself before Yahweh at the tine, Abraham disclosed his doubt:
"Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" (Genesis 17:17)
Abraham could not understand the absolute integrity and literalness of Yahweh's promises. He already had a son, Ishmael who seemed much more real than the hypothetical son by Sarah. So Abraham said to Elohim,
"O that Ishmael might live before Thee! And Elohim said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."
"And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee; Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But MY covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year." (Genesis 17:18-21)
To the great joy of Abraham and Sarah, Yahweh did keep His promise and Isaac was born. And as can well be imagined, when the child of promise was old enough to be weaned, a great feast was prepared in celebration.
Sarah's Jealous Fears
But again, because of inability to await calmly, Yahweh's performance of His promises, more trouble was caused:
"And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had borne unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And Elohim said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed." (Genesis 21:9-13).
Thus directed by Yahweh, Abraham rose early in the morning and sent away Hagar and Ishmael after making provision for their journey.
When Hagar and her son had traveled for a while she became very discouraged and while Ishmael rested she went aside to pray. Yahweh heard her prayer, sending an Angel to comfort her and to reassure her that her son would live to become a great nation (Genesis 21:18). Further, we read that Elohim was with the lad, that he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and that his mother arranged for him to marry an Egyptian wife.
Identity of Ishmael's Descendants
There is a great body of weighty circumstantial evidence linking Ishmael's descendants with the high-caste Hindus of India, known as the Brahmans. These hold themselves aloof from the others and consider themselves superior because they are high born. Social equality has not come to India largely because of the superior attitude of these Hindus who hold themselves above all other races in India. These Brahmans have a large proportion of Caucasian or Semitic blood. But then, we should not forget that Ishmael was of mixed lineage and his wife was also an Egyptian.
The Standard American Encyclopedia describes the Brahmans as "one of the Aryan conquerors of India who discharged religious duties and priestly functions, whose ascendancy over their fellows, however, is intellectual and spiritual, but not political."
The word "Brahman" itself is considered by some to be a transliteration of, or a derivation of "A-Braham."
The Brahmanical or Epic era of Hinduism begins with the invasion of India by the Aryans from the west subsequent to the time of Abraham. Hinduism contains, as might be expected, contrasting elements of primitive heathen worship together with teachings strikingly similar to the faith of Abraham. This mixture of religions is symbolized by the Indian title "RAJAH," which is a compound of the Egyptian RA or chief Sun deity of Hagar's country with YAH, the short for of Yahweh, the Mighty One of Abraham.
> Ishmael's descendants are listed in the 25th chapter of Genesis:
Nebajoth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, MISHMA, DUMAH and MASSA, Hadar, Temah, Jetur, Naphish, Kedemah.
For the casual reader, the names of these twelve princes, their towns and their castles mean little. But there is food for thought if one digs below the surface. Names in ancient times, particularly Hebrew names, signify identifying characteristics. And so, trivial things sometimes become meaningful. Thus, we have from the East a sentimental ornament in the form of three little monkeys. One, "Mishma" (Hebrew, hearing) covers his ears with his hands so as to "hear no evil"; another, "Duman" (Hebrew, Silence) covers his mouth to "speak no evil"; the third, "Massa" (Hebrew, rising smoke--i.e., cloudy) covers his eyes to "see no evil." And the tell-tale monkeys, a trinket form India, bear silent testimony of their origin, for they correspond to the fifth, sixth and seventh sons of Ishmael.
Other Children of Abraham
The Brahmans are not the only sons of Abraham in India, for after them came the Buddhists whose religion has since been corrupted to an even greater extent to make it more acceptable to the lower castes. (For instance, their doctrine of the transmigration of souls is a badly twisted version of Biblical immortality.) After these came the Mohammedans whose faith is also a corruption of Abraham's beliefs. Mohammed, its founder, was one of the Ishmael's descendants in Arabia. The Mohammedans still hold to the Hebrew Old Testament. Their Koran has been added instead of the New Testament. All three religions of India are thus warped versions of the Abrahamic faith inherited from their forefather. Numerically the descendants of Ishmael are a great nation as Yahweh said they would be.
Still other descendants of Abraham may be found in Persia (Iran) and iin Arabia. These are almost certainly the children by Keturah: "Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah" (Genesis 25:2).
As the descendants of Abraham increased, both the children of Ishmael and the children of the concubine Keturah kept moving toward the east infiltrating the land to which Abraham had allocated them.
"And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. But unto the sons of the concubines which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country." (Genesis 25:5-6)
It appears that the children of Keturah received as a possession Arabia and Persia, which lands were part of the original "LAND-GRANT" made by Yahweh to Abraham. Later, the children of Ishmael invaded India en masse about 1000 B.C. and subjugated the Yellow-brown Mongolians who were there and made slaves of them. These coolies are the lower castes in India.
We have seen in this chapter that human intervention in Yahweh's plan can lead to trouble unless He has confirmed or authorized it. As the Psalmist has said, "Except Yahweh build the house, they labour in vain that build it:" (Psal 127). Sarai had to learn this the hard way.
It was also seen that Yahweh's promises to Abraham were both literal and unconditional. Yahweh promised that Abraham and Sarah would have a son and it was so. The Most High rejected any solution except the meticulous fulfillment of His promises. Nor were there any strings attached. The blessings did not depend upon action or performance such as circumcision, which came later.
Although Ishmael with an Egyptian mother, was not the son of promise, he was nevertheless greatly blessed because he was the son of Abraham. Multitudes of Ishmael's descendants today inhabit Iran, Arabia and India where they are known as Brahmans.
Isaac was the promised heir of Sarah and Abraham who gave all that he had to Isaac, but unto the sons of the concubines Abraham gave gifts and sent them away while he yet lived, eastward into the east country.
Addition or Multiplication?
It cannot be stressed too emphatically that Yahweh did not say He would add to Abraham exceedingly. What He actually said was,
"I am the Almighty El, walk before Me and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee and I will multiply thee exceedingly." (Genesis 17:1-2)
Bible students of the past, because they did not have the ethnological and anthropological data available to us today, or because they did not recognize the significance of these facts in the light of the many biblical and historical references to them, have been prone to "spiritualize" the promises away, not understanding the manner of their literal fulfillment. Fortunately, our ignorance does not circumscribe Yahweh's power. In making excuses and spiritualizing scriptures which are obviously literal, we have failed to see that Yahweh has literally performed His promise to multiply Abraham exceedingly. Notice carefully this language:
"As for Me, behold My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name be any more called Abram; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of thee and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be an Elohim unto thee and to thy seed after thee." (Genesis 17:4-7)
If Yahweh did indeed establish His covenant with Abraham "in his generation and with his seed in their generation, for an everlasting covenant," where do many religious people get their idea that Yahweh has forsaken His people, the seed of Abraham, and chosen some other people, the "Gentiles"? Did not Yahweh know that the descendants of Abraham would sin and come short of His glory? Could He not foresee they would fail Him? Why then, did He establish a permanent covenant with so fickle a people, and seal it for time and eternity (for so the word "everlasting" implies) if He were later going to change His mind and reject or annul the agreement?
The Covenant Remains Binding
On the contrary, this covenant seems to be unconditional. Regardless of the actions of Abraham's children, Yahweh having made the agreement unconditional, would be obliged to keep it for His own glory. This point is frequently confirmed in the scriptures.
"For I, Yahweh, change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6)
In order to make the children of Abraham fit to receive the blessings, Yahweh has made use of the process of elimination. He has thus kept faith with Abraham and Abraham's seed which have become many nations. These nations do now possess the potentialities of the Abrahamic blessings. In the same everlasting covenant, Yahweh also said,
"And I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession; I will be their Elohim. And Elohim said unto Abraham, thou shalt keep My covenant therefore, thou and thy seed after thee in their generations." (Genesis 17:8-9)
There is in this covenant no provision for abrogating it. And there are no conditional clauses, only an appeal to loyalty for compliance. In effect, Yahweh says, "Because I am going to do this for you, I shall expect you to keep My covenant." But even if Abraham's children failed to keep it, Yahweh had made provision for them to become the beneficiaries through faith in the Messiah. For in and through His Son, Immanuel, all Yahweh's promises attain fulfillment (see II Corinthians 1:20).
Symbolic Foreshadowing: Abraham's
Substitute Sacrifice Provided by Yahweh.
In the 22nd chapter of Genesis, we read of Abraham's great temptation. Yahweh tested him to see whether he truly loved Him more than his only sob, Isaac. Abraham did not fail, but proved his love by taking Isaac to the mount and binding him as a sacrifice. He had proved his faith in Elohim, believing that even though he sacrificed Isaac, Yahweh would somehow fulfill His promise that his seed would dominate and populate the earth (cf. Hebrews 11:17-19).
Elohim came to the mount and seeing Abraham's faith, caused an angel to stop the knife in Abraham's hand, pointing to the substitute ram that Elohim had provided:
"And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Yahweh-jireh; as it is said to this day, in the Mount of Yahweh it shall be seen. And the angel of Yahweh called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time and said, By Myself have I sworn, saith Yahweh, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed My voice." (Genesis 22:13-18)
Earthly Nations and Earthly Blessings
If we are intellectually and spiritually honest, how can we fail to perceive that this covenant is earthly? It pertains to temporal and natural blessings and seed; its blessings are not contingent upon the works of Abraham or his children but can be attained through faith.
Surely ten to thirteen million Jews do not represent the fulfillment of these promises. At present they are not even a nation, though they shall eventually possess all of Palestine and shall have a nation of their own. (Written in 1938. Today, this has partially taken place.)
As we shall show, the Jews are but a fraction of the literal, earthly descendants of Isaac, being greatly outnumbered by the many millions of his bearded Aryan or "barb"-arian Caucasian descendants who today populate Europe, the Americas and the British dominions, including most of what is rather loosely termed "western civilization." This is a most important point which has been missed probably because Bible students have hitherto paid insufficient attention to ethnology and ethnologists little attention to the Bible.
A Suitable Wife for Isaac
After his own troubles with Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham was aware of the importance of a proper wife for Isaac. Since the promises were to be passed on to future generations, he knew he must not permit Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman and he also knew that Yahweh, Who had proved faithful before, would not fail him now in designating a wife for his son; an appropriate partner for the propagation of an enduring race.
Abraham, informed that his kinsman, Nahor, had been blessed with numerous descendants, called his servant Eliezer of Damascus to him and entrusted him with the responsibility of finding a mate for his son,. Abraham made him swear that he would bring Isaac a wife fro among his own kindred, and that under no condition would he allow Isaac to return to the land that his father had left, but should remain in the land of promise. One should read the account carefully in the 24th chapter of Genesis, especially the prophecy uttered by Laban to his sister Rebecca, the chosen bride, on the eve of her departure, when he said,
"Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them." (Genesis 24:60)
Compare this verse with Genesis 22:17, and remember the rule, "by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." It was Yahweh who put the prophetic words in the mouth of the Syrian Laban, confirming to Rebecca what He had promised to Abraham.
Rebecca, accompanied by Eliezer, left the country of her birth and went to be married to Isaac. They waited twenty years, but the promise of multiplication of seed had not been fulfilled. This was enough to discourage anyone. "Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren; and Yahweh was entreated by him and Rebecca, his wife, conceived" (Genesis 25:21).
And it became apparent that she had been blessed with children for,
"The children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of Yahweh. And Yahweh said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:22-23)
Notice, especially verse 23. Yahweh did not say two children, or two sons, but two nations. As they struggled together in the womb, so throughout recorded history have the descendants of Jacob and Esau, struggled. They are still involved in serious controversy and violent bloodshed at this very moment. The descendants of Esau, the Edomite Arabs of Palestine, today are in conflict with both the Jewish and the non-Jewish or barbarian descendants of Jacob.
In this chapter we studied the promises made to Abraham; that he would be multiplied exceedingly and become many nations; that his descendants would dominate the earth; and that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed. We saw, too, that the Abrahamic blessings did not depend upon performance, but were unconditional, Yahweh Himself undertaking to bring them about in His own time. Yahweh provided for Abraham's earthly descendants to obtain these earthly blessings through their faith in the Messiah. And Yahweh even demonstrated this principle in a symbolic sacrifice to teach Abraham that his seed would be saved from death by a substitute sacrifice to be provided by Him.
In this chapter it was also affirmed that the "many nations" descended from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob are to be found principally among the Caucasian peoples of Europe and the West. Among these western peoples are found the great majority of those who, through faith in the Messiah will assuredly receive in full the promised earthly blessings.
The account of Jacob and Esau and the question of whose was the birthright is one of the most generally misunderstood parts of Genesis. The usual interpretation depicts Jacob as the deceitful villain and Esau as the wronged victim. Such an explanation is a distortion because it omits essential evidence which, while it does not exactly clear Jacob of all blame, certainly places his conduct in a much more favorable light than is generally understood. Here, as elsewhere in Genesis because it is the book of "beginnings," it is highly important that we get the clearest possible representation of what actually happened, for these happenings are the embryos from which both history and current events have developed. The struggle that goes on in Palestine at this very hour began in Rebecca's womb and has continued ever since, with varying intensity. But, as the end of the age approaches, events are being accelerated.
The failure, thus far, of any prominent diplomat either within or without the UN, to propose a satisfactory workable and lasting settlement of the Palestine fighting is the inevitable result of failure to recognize the connection between the Jewish-Arabic quarrel and the embryo from which it grew; and failure properly to evaluate the significant march of current events as it is related to the faithful promises and unchanging will of Yahweh. Because of ignorance and evil in high places it appears that the world must still await an unnecessarily violent and bloody settlement.
In Geneses 25 we read
"And the boys grew; and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents."
The noted historian, Flavius Josephus, in his "Antiquities of the Jews" describes Esau as "one taking upon himself the authority and pretending to have dominion." In other words, Esau was an obnoxious bully. From the biblical record we gather that he was wild and irresponsible, that he occupied his time with hunting and worldly pursuits. We know also that he cared very little for his parents' wishes, that his harem of Negroid wives was a source of great sorrow and distress to Isaac and Rebecca (Genesis 26:34, 27:46, 28:8) and that he scorned spiritual things.
Jacob on the other hand was obedient and remained at his parents' home tending flocks and this apparently gave him time to meditate on eternal values. Although he was a schemer and a sharp dealer, he had enough spiritual insight to realize the value of Yahweh's promises. At this stage of Jacob's development he was still a "natural man" and had not yet experienced a change of heart, or as we would say today: he had not be "converted."
In Genesis 225:29 we find that Esau had been on a hunting trip and came in ravenously hungry, just as Jacob was preparing lentil soup. When Esau asked for some, his brother saw his opportunity. Knowing that he cared little or nothing for spiritual things, Jacob attempted to strike a shrewd bargain. The value of a hot bowl of soup was little, but Esau's valuation of his birthright was even less.
The "birthright" carried with it the spiritual inheritance of Yahweh's promises to Abraham, whereas the "blessing" referred to the material, earthly inheritance of Isaac's property. As far as Esau was concerned, he preferred something which he could see and enjoy then and there; no doubt he considered the birthright a myth or a fantasy of his parents' imagination. In Genesis 25:32, Esau's contempt for Yahweh's promises is contrasted with the high value he places on gratifying his appetite. He says, "I am going to die, and what profit shall this birthright do for me?" Jacob seeing his opportunity and having intuitively sensed the true value of the birthright, pressed his brother for a sworn statement which was in effect a Deed, and Esau took an oath to bind it.
"Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way, thus Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:34)
It appears that Isaac was ignorant of the transaction between his two sons.
"And it came to pass that when Isaac was old and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold here I am. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die." (Genesis 27:1-4)
Having despised the birthright himself, Esau had not enlightened his father on the subject, and now saw a chance to deprive Jacob of that which had become his by right of purchase, sealed by an oath. Some commentators and Bible students have been prone to charge Jacob with stealing the birthright. In doing so they are careless in examining the evidence. If Esau had been honest and had told his father the truth there would have been no occasion for Rebecca to encourage the deception. We hear a great deal about Jacob's deceit but nothing about Esau's downright dishonesty which led his father to believe he was still the rightful heir to the birthright.
By no means does this justify either Jacob's or his mother's conduct. Even though they sought to avoid a miscarriage of justice, the means they chose were wrong and no good could come of it. Once again, we observe the same type of error that Abraham and Sarah made when seeking a son by Hagar. In both cases human intervention in Yahweh's plan without His confirmation or consent, resulted in unnecessary complications and strife. The Bible repeatedly teaches the important principle that a worthy end never justifies an unworthy means of attaining it. No doubt Rebecca remembered the answer to her prayer before her sons were born.
"Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:23)
Rebecca had heard from the lips of Eliezer and from Abraham the promises which Yahweh had made of a marvelous posterity. In her own experience, she had seen the confirmation of the promises to Isaac. She had treasured up in her heart and mind the explanation given for the children's struggle in her womb; that the elder (Esau) should serve the younger (Jacob) and that two nations with distinctive characteristics were to spring from these sons. With this knowledge and revelation constantly in her mind, she saw Esau's infidelity to his parents and to Yahweh; she noted his unregenerate life, misspent in riotous living, his time divided between the Canaanite women and hunting wild game, all of which caused her grief of heart.
As Isaac grew older and more senile, he became oblivious to the acts of Esau who played upon the old man's fondness for venison in order to stay in his good graces. When Rebecca heard the words of Isaac telling Esau to get the venison and receive the birthright, her faith was weakened and she undertook to do something to bring about the fulfillment of the promises of Yahweh, hoping that He would sanction her efforts because of her motives. With this in her mind, she called Jacob and instructed him in what he should do, overriding the scruples of his conscience (Genesis 27:6-13).
Jacob, aided and abetted by his mother, went to the flock and took two kids which his mother cooked in a savory dish to simulate the venison. Isaac having eaten and having drunk the wine which Jacob had brought him, now set about to bless him, and said
"See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which Yahweh hath blessed: therefore Yahweh give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee; be ruler over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be he that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee." (Genesis 27:27-30)
Isaac had finished pronouncing the blessing upon Jacob, and Jacob was scarcely out of his father's presence, when Esau walked in from the hunt, bringing the desired venison. Having prepared it to suit his father's taste, he brought it before him, saying,
"Let my father arise and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me." (Genesis 27:31)
When Isaac heard the voice of his so Esau, he trembled exceedingly and said,
"Who? Where is he that hath taken venison and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? Yea, and he shall be blessed." (Genesis 27:33)
When Esau heard that the birthright and blessing were already disposed of, and that the rightful owner (by right of purchase) had already obtained it, he cried with an exceedingly great cry, and said unto his father,
p style="text-align: center;">"Bless me, even me also, O my father." (Genesis 27:34)
Paul says, speaking of Esau
"For ye know how that afterward, when he [Esau] would have inherited the blessings, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." (Hebrews 12:17)
He found no place of repentance. The margin says, "No way to change his mind." In other words, having made the bargain with Jacob, Yahweh held him to it and He would not let him change it. When Esau realized that not only the birthright but the blessing was involve din the primo-geniture, he said,
"Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" (Genesis 27:36)
For the first time, Esau realized that the birthright and the blessing are inseparable and that in despising the one, he forfeited the other. Now he begged for an additional blessing. But his father answered:
"Behold, I have made him [Jacob] thy ruler, and all his brethren I have given to him for servants, and with corn and wine have I sustained him; and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?"
And Esau said unto his father,
"Hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father?"
And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. And Isaac his father said unto him,
"Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; and by thy sword shalt thou live and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck." (Genesis 27:37-40)
The second clause in this blessing, "And by thy sword shalt thou live and shalt serve thy brother," has been literally fulfilled. The Arab descendants of Esau, the Edomites or Temanites, as they are called in the Scriptures, are the rovers of the desert. Only a small minority of this people are inclined to pastoral or agricultural pursuits. They truly live by the sword. In Genesis 27:41 we read,
"And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob."
The struggle has continued, having started before their birth; the feud lasted all during their lifetime and is still perpetuated in their descendants. Esau's desire to break the yoke of his brother from off his neck is ever present. The desire to possess the land willed to Jacob has become an obsession. Yahweh guaranteed the title to Israel and assigned it for the time being to Judah. The descendants of Esau are therefore bound to lose their fight finally. They can never regain and keep what their forefather despised. This is the background of the present controversy in Palestine. The final issue was decided long ago. (For more on this subject, read the following Scriptures: Obadiah 1; Ezekiel 25:3-4; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Amos 1:11-12; Isaiah 34:5-8; Psalm 137:7; Joel 3:19-20; Amos 9:12).
Esau, thinking that his father, Isaac, could not live much longer, made plans to kill his brother, Jacob, at the time of his father's funeral (Genesis 27:41). But Rebecca was told of Esau's plan and sending immediately for her younger son, said to him:
"Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban, my brother, to Haran; and tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turns away; until thy brother's anger turn away from thee and he forget that which thou has done to him; then will I send and fetch thee from thence. Why should I be deprived also of you both in one day? And Rebecca said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?" (Genesis 27:42-46)
Rebecca saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone; she wished Jacob to avoid the same mistake that her son Esau had made in marrying the daughters of Heth, the native Negroid women of the locality; and at the same time she wanted to remove Jacob from danger. She must have promptly convinced her husband also, for Isaac recognized the wisdom of his wife's plan and
"...called Jacob and blessed him an charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And the Almighty El bless thee and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham to thee, and thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which Elohim gave unto Abraham." (Genesis 28:1-4)
Having been thus doubly instructed, Jacob set upon his journey from Beer-Sheba to Haran.
"And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place and put them for his pillows and laid down in that place to sleep." (Genesis 28:11)
In these days of box springs, airfoam rubber mattresses and down pillows, a good many of us may have been puzzled by the statement that Jacob used stones for his pillows. But this is merely lack of information on our part. In some places in the world today, this practice still prevails. In warm countries where nomadic peoples sleep outdoors, it is not unusual for them to gather small piles of smooth flat stones to place under the head.
As Jacob slept, he had a vivid dream in which a ladder was set up on the earth and the top of it reached to heaven. Angels were ascending and descending. And above it, Yahweh stood and said:
"I am Yahweh, the Elohim of Abraham thy father and the Elohim of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth and thou shalt spread abroad to the West, and to the East, and to the North, and to the South; and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families on the earth be blessed. And behold I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." (Genesis 28:13-15)
Jacob awoke and was frightened, and said,
"Surely Yahweh is in this place and I knew it not--How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the House of Elohim and this is the gate of heaven." (Genesis 28:17)
Here Jacob is given direct confirmation from Yahweh that he is to inherit the promises made to Abraham. The vision of angels ascending and descending the ladder between Yahweh and Jacob indicates a direct channel of communication and blessing. The same language is used by the Messiah in John 1:51. Not only had Jacob experienced a startling vision, but it seems that a very strange thing had occurred: the stones which he had placed for his pillows had become, while he slept, a single stone. Interpreting this as a very important and significant phenomenon, Jacob took the olive oil which he carried as part of his rations (for the same reason we employ butter or "oleo" today) and used it to anoint the rock. And he called the place "Beth-El" (House or Place of El).
The awe-inspiring stone, or rock, holds a very important position in Scripture. It is mentioned time and time again, though the casual reader of the Scriptures is almost certain to miss the deep significance of its symbolism. "Stone" in Hebrew is Eben or Aben. Its first letter, aleph, is pronounced either as "e" or as "m" and here results in a play on words. For Ab in Hebrew is "Father"; Ben is "son" and Aben (stone) is "Father-Son." It is the same word used by the prophet to foretell the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on the Earth. "Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a Stone, a tried Stone..." (Isaiah 28:16).
Old and New Testaments are in perfect harmony in using the symbolism of the Stone or Rock to represent the Creator and His Son, as may be observed, for example, in the second chapter of 1 Peter. Again in the 10th chapter of 1 Corinthians, we read, "...they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed the: and that Rock was the Messiah," (1 Corinthians 10:4).
This was the Rock of which Yahweh spoke symbolically to Moses when He said,
"Speak ye unto the Rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the Rock, so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink." (Numbers 20:8)
But Moses smote the Rock twice and failed to show the proper attitude of reverence. And although water gushed forth, Moses was punished (Numbers 20:12 and 27:14) for failure to sanctify Him. Various other Hebrew words in addition to Aben are used metaphorically to represent Yahweh as a "Mighty Fortress," a "Stone," or a "Rock." For instance
"He is the Rock [Tsur], His work is perfect." (Deuteronomy 32:4)
"Thou are my Rock [Cala] and my Fortress." (Psalm 71:3)
But let us return to Jacob and the words which were still ringing in his ears, "I am Yahweh, the Elohim of Abraham, and the Elohim of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed." Do you wonder why there is strife in Palestine today? Esau's descendants (Arabs) insist upon remaining there, while both the Jewish and non-Jewish descendants of Jacob insist on evicting them in order to repossess this deeded property which Elohim has conveyed to them forever.
Some have contended that the descendants of Jacob have forfeited the land by disobedience. But such a contention overlooks the unconditional nature of the deed given by Yahweh. Elohim did say, however (Leviticus 26), that He would punish Jacob's descendants for their disobedience seven "times" or, by the traditional method of interpretation, 7x360=2520 years, scattering them abroad. This period is now past, having begun with the exile of the Jews in 606 B.C. and ended in 1918 with the arrival of the British General Allenby's army in Jerusalem. This event, coupled with the Balfour Declaration encouraging the return of the Jews to their Homeland, marked the end of their exile. From 606 B.C. to 1918 A.D. was exactly 2520 years. In order to compute this, it is necessary to add 4 years to compensate for the period by which the Gregorian calendar is in err. Thus, 2520--606 (B.C.)=1914+4 or 1918 (A.D.). Since 1918, the movement toward the restoration of the Jews has been greatly accelerated, and while it may appear slow to us, this is because of our limited perspective. Actually, considering that the exile lasted over twenty-five centuries, the progress since 1918 is truly awe-inspiring. Yahweh is not fickle and He cannot lie. The deed to the land is still in force, and soon the Jews will be in full possession, as foretold by the prophet, Obadiah.
Not only did Yahweh promise Jacob this land, but He promised also to multiply his seed to a great multitude, "as the dust of the earth." They were to spread east, west, north and south and through them Elohim would bless all the families of the earth. In recognition of Yahweh's interest in him,, Jacob not only anointed the stone with oil, but promised that on his return from the prosperous journey which he anticipated, the place marked by this stone was to become "Yahweh's House," and to the House Jacob dedicated the tithe of all his income. Paying of the tithe, or "tenth" was an old, established custom. It will be recalled for instance that Jacob's grandfather, many years before, paid his tithe to Melchizedek after the Battle of the Kings (Genesis 14:20).
Having thus recognized his relationship with Yahweh's work, Jacob continued on his journey, heading eastward to the land of his uncle, Laban. As he drew near to a well, he met his cousin, Rachel, who had brought her father's flock for water. Jacob introduced himself and Rachel hurried home to tell her father that he had a visitor. Laban then came to greet and welcome his nephew.
Laban soon found that Jacob was a good worker and suggested that he remain and work for him; and he asked what wages Jacob would require. Jacob replied: "I will serve thee seven years for Rachel, thy younger daughter." Laban considered this an excellent bargain and he said, "It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with me." So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. "And they seemed unto him but a few days for the love he had for her," (Genesis 29;19-20). But when the seven years were ended and Jacob demanded his reward he was forced to learn the meaning of deception. For as he had once deceived his father by pretending to be Esau; so now Jacob was deceived by Laban who substituted his older, less attractive, daughter in place of Rachel whom Jacob loved. Jacob did not discover until after the marriage that it was Leah whom he had wed. To Jacob's remonstrance Laban replied with the excuse, "It must not be so done in our country to give the younger before the first born." Laban then went on to suggest that Jacob could have Rachel also by working another seven years and Jacob did so (Genesis 29:26-28).
During the second seven years, Jacob became the father of eleven sons and one daughter, Dinah. When is contract expired he decided to leave his employer and said,
"Give me my wives and children for whom I have served thee and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee."
But Laban was anxious to extend their working arrangement which had caused his herds and flocks to increase many fold under Jacob's skillful care. And he said, "I have learned by experience that Elohim has blessed me for thy sake," (Genesis 30:27). Jacob's wage demands were simple: He agreed to continue his employment in exchange for the spotted, striped and odd-colored goats from Laban's flocks. This seemed a modest request.
When Jacob had arrived 14 years before, Laban had a small flock which his daughter, Rachel, was able to tend. Now Laban's flocks had increased to huge proportions, requiring the attention of his own sons and numerous servants, besides Jacob and his eleven sons.
But the new agreement worked to the advantage of Jacob who had been cheated and deceived by his uncle on ten occasions (Genesis 31:7 and 41). Jacob was an expert in animal husbandry and may have been well aware of what would happen. In any event, Yahweh, who judges righteously saw the injustice practiced on Jacob and paid him the back wages he deserved, and more besides. It is extremely doubtful that Jacob's use of the striped rods of green poplar, hazel and chestnut had anything to do with making the cattle ring-streaked and spotted. Rather, it was that the cry of those who have toiled without pay reaches the ears of Yahweh Sabaoth (James 5:4).
When Laban's sons observed that Jacob's flock had increased and their father's had decreased, they began to complain. Laban himself showed displeasure at the turn of affairs.
"And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and behold it was not toward him as before." (Genesis 31:2)
Jacob had not agreed to remain for any specific period of time and when the relationship with his in-laws became strained, he began to think about leaving. In answer to Jacob's prayers Yahweh said to him,
"Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee." (Genesis 31:3)
After Jacob consulted his wives, his mind was fully made up They agreed that their father had not dealt fairly with him and they encouraged him to carry out Yahweh's instructions.
Jacob and his family waited until Laban was away on a sheep-shearing trip.
"Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; and he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padan-Aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 31:17-18)
But the news reached Laban and he followed in pursuit of his son-in-law. For seven days he followed before overtaking him at Mt. Gilead. But the night before Laban caught up with Jacob,
"Elohim came to Laban the Syrian in a dream and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad." (Genesis 31:24)
Consequently, Laban's language was milder and more subdued than he originally had intended. They both rehearsed their grievances and Laban proposed an agreement:
"Now therefore come thou, let us make a covenant, I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee." (Genesis 31:44)
And they made a heap of stones and took an oath upon it not to pass over this boundary "for harm." Laban said,
"This heap [Galeed] is a witness between thee and me this day. Therefore, was the name of it called 'Galeed'; and 'Mizpah' [watchtower]; for he said, Yahweh watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another." (Genesis 31:48-49)
These two men were such sly, crafty and deceitful characters that they dared not trust each other and therefore felt the need of calling upon the Almighty to keep watch for them at the "watch-tower" to see that one would not cheat the other. They were virtually saying to one another, "May Yahweh keep your hands out of my pockets when my back is turned." What a hypocritical ending of a contest to get the better of each other!
This is the famous "Mizpah Benediction" used at the close of may church services today. And what a different connotation is now placed upon it!
As Jacob neared the borders of Palestine he must have been reminded of the circumstances which caused him to leave that land twenty years before. Surely he was filled with misgivings. He had just parted from one foe, Laban, and now was to face a more formidable one, Esau. In his dealings with Laban, Jacob could plead justice and point to the selfishness of his former employer; but what could he say to Esau concerning the past? Did Esau still harbor thoughts of revenge for what had happened twenty years before?
Yahweh had instructed Jacob to return to the land of his fathers (Genesis 31:3, 13), and he couldn't very well go back to Haran after his break with Laban. There was nothing left to do but trust Yahweh. Jacob recalled how twenty years before as he passed that way, he had seen a vision of Angels ascending and descending, which seemed to signify direct communication, blessing and protection from Heaven. In that same vision, Yahweh Himself had confirmed to him the birthright and the blessing.
Now, returning, "...Jacob went on his way and the Angels of Elohim met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is Elohim's host; and he called the name of that place Mahanaim," (Genesis 32:1-2). At Bethel, he had seen the Angels in a dream; but he now sees them while awake. This experience reassured him and infused him with new courage and he dared to hope for a reconciliation with his brother.
With this thought in mind, he sent ahead a gift of goats, camels, cattle and asses to Esau. But his messenger returned without a reply. This news must have alarmed Jacob and have shaken his faith. Jacob considered that he had always been able by his own devices to overcome the obstacles and dangers he had encountered, but now he felt absolutely helpless in the face of an enemy who had sworn to kill him.
"Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and the camels into two bands." (Genesis 32:7)
Then he went to pray and called upon Yahweh for the protection He had promised him (refer to Genesis 32:9-12). Jacob confessed his unworthiness, reminded Yahweh of the gracious promises, and pleaded for deliverance from the vengeance of his brother. Jacob begins to realize that he must trust Yahweh and not depend on his own efforts to obtain the promises which Yahweh had covenanted to give him.
During the night he arose and sent his wives and sons and stock across the brook Jabok. Jacob himself remained on the north side of the brook.
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the break of day." (Genesis 22:34)
As Jacob stood alone watching his loved ones and his possession depart, he went through the experience that so many believers have had: in spite of his belief in Yahweh and in the promises made to his forefathers, he had not yet fully integrated his avowed beliefs with his emotions. He did not yet really know Yahweh. For he was still Jacob, the self-helper, the supplanter, who always took things in his own hands. Now he had come to the end of his resources and his own resourcefulness left him in solitude. Until a man realizes his own inadequacy and fully faces the fact of his dependency, he is incapable of living a life of faith. Jacob needed a new birth and a new outlook. He had to learn that the greatest victories are won not by one's own resources but by the power of Yahweh. The man who came to wrestle with Jacob was the Angel of Yahweh.
"And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; And the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with him." (Genesis 32:25)
The longer one strives to maintain the illusion of self-sufficiency the longer he is actually striving against Yahweh or His plan, the longer he keeps himself from having the blessings that He wants to give us.
As Jacob wrestled in a losing struggle with the Angel, he became conscious that his way of life was a futile struggle against Yahweh--and stopped contending. Not only that, but he reversed his attitude and took a firm hold and refused to let go of the Angel who said "Let me go, for the day breaketh." But Jacob said, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me." Jacob's outlook appeared to him so hopeless that he knew he could not continue in his own strength so he asked a blessing that he might prevail.
We should not miss the significance of the Angel's question. A full blessing was not possible until Jacob confessed his own sinful condition. The Angel drew from Jacob this confession when he asked, "What is thy name [character]? And he said, Jacob [the cunning, self-helper, supplanter]. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel [a prince of El]: for as a prince thou hast power with Elohim and with men and hast prevailed," (Genesis 32:26-28). Jacob's new name was characteristic of his new life in which victory came not through cunning or physical power but by prayer. As the dawn burst over the horizon, Jacob was aware of the change that had taken place within him, for this was the greatest victory of his life--victory over self. And he marked the place, naming it "Peniel" ("face of El") for he said, "I have seen Elohim face to face and my life is preserved," (Genesis 32:30).
Jacob had been the believing heir of the promises but all his life he had hindered Yahweh's fulfillment of these promises in that he sought success by his own devices and by his own strength. Seeming to contend with men, he was in reality contending with Elohim until at last it became necessary for Yahweh Himself to disable him so that he could no longer help himself. As soon as he learned to depend upon Elohim he found he no longer feared his encounter with Esau.
Israel met Esau and they fell upon one another's necks and kissed and wept. For Yahweh had neutralized Esau's vengeful intentions.
After the encounter, Israel went on to Succoth, built himself a house and booths for his stock, and bought a parcel of land where he had spread his tents. Instead of going to his kindred where he had been instructed to go, he remained in this place, and it proved to be a new source of trial to him. It was here that his only daughter, Dinah, went to visit the daughters of the land. The historian, Flavius Josephus, tells us that she went to take part in a Shechemite festival, that is, an unholy, idolatrous celebration where she was seduced by Shechem, the son of Hamor. This disgrace was more than her brothers, Simeon and Levi, could endure and they took revenge upon the Shechemites. It was a bloody purge in which the entire male population of Shechem was exterminated. This brutality made their father, Israel, recoil with the reproach,
"Ye have troubled me to make me stink among the inhabitants of the land and among the Canaanites and Perizites: and I being few in number they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me, and I shall be destroyed I and my house." (Genesis 34:30)
However, Yahweh did not abandon Israel to His enemies but caused the occasion to bring about a further blessing. For it was clear after what had happened, that he could no longer stay here.
"And Elohim said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there; and make there an altar unto Elohim that appeared unto thee when thou fledest from the face of Esau thy brother." (Genesis 35:1)
About ten years had elapsed since he had returned from Mesopotamia and yet Jacob had not fulfilled the vows to Yahweh which he had made (Genesis 28:20-22).
In the second verse of the 35th chapter of Genesis we learn the reason for this delay. Jacob's family was steeped in idolatry. Before his experience at Peniel, Jacob had been too weak spiritually to insist on absolute holiness for his household. Now, because of the idolatry in Dinah's own home she had been easily mislead by the idolatrous worship of the people of Shechem. In such a state Jacob found it morally impossible to return to Bethel but fear of his neighbors rising up against him and his own inability to resist attack from their superior force made him realize that deliverance must come from Yahweh. Jacob knew that neither he nor his family was spiritually fit to seek communion with Yahweh. There was but one thing to do and he quickly called a family council:
"Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be cleansed ad change your garments; And let us arise, and go to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto the Elohim, who answered me in the day of my distress and was with me in the way which I went." (Genesis 35:2-3)
What depth of meaning these words contain! Jacob at last has found the clue to full salvation: Repent from the idolatrous and sinful ways in which you are now living and be cleansed (baptized) in the Name of Yahweh Elohim and exchange your garments (your righteousness is as filthy rags, Isaiah 64:6) for the gifts of the Holy Spirit which brings in the righteousness of Yahweh. Then let us arise and go to Beth-El (the House of El) and consecrate our lives unto Yahweh, who answers in the day of distress.
The same conditions are required of us today: to give up our idols and our sins and to take all the superfluities of this world and bury them so deep that we will never wish to dig them up again: to be baptized in His Name and to put on the white linen of righteousness (Revelation 19:8).
As Jacob and his family journeyed toward Luz which he had renamed Bethel (Chapter VI), they felt the sheltering protection of Elohim, for no one pursued them. At Bethel they built an altar which they dedicated to "the Elohim of the House of El" and called it El-Beth-El. Thereupon Elohim appeared to him and blessed him:
"And Elohim said unto him, thy name is Jacob [supplanter]; thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel [Prince of El] shall be thy name: and He called his name Israel. And Elohim said unto him, I am El-Shaddai [Almighty]; be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee and kings shall come out of thy loins, and the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land." (Genesis 35:10-12)
This blessing by the Almighty is particularly significant. In it, He recognized Jacob's conversion and changed his name accordingly. He also confirmed the promises previously made to Abraham and Isaac and referred to three separate and distinct groups: "a company of nations," "a nation" and "kings."
Jacob did not doubt this staggering promise and in accepting it he consecrated again the stone he had set up when Elohim first appeared to him in Bethel (Supra Chapter VI, Genesis 35:14).
From Bethel, Jacob and his family journeyed to Mamre. As they approached Ephrath, Rachel gave birth to Ben-jamin (son of my right hand) and died in childbirth. After burying her at Bethlehem, the family traveled to Isaac's home at Hebron and settled there. Perhaps Israel expected to spend the closing days of his life in peace at Hebron, but he soon found that more trouble was in store for him. It was Yahweh's purpose to separate Israel and his family from the people of the land for He did not want them to mix with the Canaanites, who would involve them in detestable vices.
It was not long until the children of Leah and the two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah, became jealous of Joseph because Israel showed a preference for the son of his beloved Rachel, and they conspired to kill him. Judah however, persuaded his brothers not to murder Joseph but to sell him to a commercial company of Ishmaelites, who traded between Gilead and Egypt. So, they sold him for twenty pieces of silver (Genesis 37:27-28).
The merchants in turn sold Joseph in Egypt. It is not necessary for us to go into detail here concerning the remarkable experiences of Joseph in Egypt. These are recounted in Genesis, chapters 39 through 50. It is enough for our purpose that Joseph became Prime Minister of Egypt and at the proper moment identified himself to his brothers and that word went back to Israel, his aged father, that his beloved Joseph was still alive. Israel rejoiced and his spirit revived within him and he said,
"It is enough; Joseph, my son is yet alive. I will go and see him before I die." (Genesis 45:28)
Joseph then went wagons to move Israel and all his sons and their families and their household effects. So, Israel and his children, "their cattle and their goods" set out for Egypt to join the long-lost Joseph.
Meanwhile, Joseph was successful in obtaining from Pharaoh a small section of Egypt known as Goshen, for the use of his kinsmen during their stay in Egypt. There they settled. Peace had come to Israel; the last 17 years of his life were spent there in quiet retirement. But when he realized that he was about too die, he sent for Joseph and exacted a promise to bury him in the cave of Machpelah along with his father, Isaac, in the land of Canaan. In this he demonstrated his faith in the promises of Elohim that he should possess the land of Canaan, both for himself and for his seed. Having been reassured by Joseph that he would not allow his father's body to remain in Egypt but would return it to Palestine, Israel adopted Joseph's two sons so that Joseph's descendants would receive twice the inheritance of any other son. Israel then summoned his sons and said,
"Gather yourselves together that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel, your father." (Genesis 49:1-2)
The words which he uttered mingled blessings and predictions. In his prophetic vision the curtain of the future seemed to roll back, giving Jacob an outline of the history which his seed would trace down the course of time. In his predictions he indicated not only their future history but also their future characteristics which are to be in full evidence "in the last days." If we understand the words "last days" to mean the closing of the Age, then the last days still lie in the future.
In Israel's deathbed prophecy, he foretold the destiny of the descendants of each of his sons and two grandsons (adopted as sons). These predictions may have mystified the family gathering, but to us some 3500 years later they seem remarkably clear as we see what is happening and as we look back on what has happened. The descendants of each of these sons are today found to possess those characteristics enumerated by Israel. These prophecies will be further considered in a later chapter.
During Joseph's lifetime, the children of Israel enjoyed the special privileges which Joseph's prestige had secured for them. The Book of Genesis closes with Joseph's death in Egypt. Before he died he called his brothers to his bedside:
"And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and Elohim will surely visit you and bring you out of this land unto the land which He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel saying, Elohim will surely visit you and you shall carry up my bones from hence." (Genesis 50:24-25)
With Joseph gone and a new king of Egypt, the situation of the Israelites changed.
"And now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it came to pass that when there falleth out any war, they join also our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore, they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh's treasure cities, Pithom and Ramases." (Exodus 1:8-11)
This enslavement sought to frustrate the plan of Yahweh for blessing His people.
"But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew and they were grieved because of the children of Israel." (Exodus 1:2)
Nevertheless, as their slavery continued, the new generations of Israelites came to be almost as superstitious and pagan as their masters, having taken on many of the idolatrous practices of the Egyptians. And so, at Sinai when Moses returned with the Commandments engraved in stone, the Israelites waiting for him were even then engaged in breaking those same Laws. At times Yahweh felt like destroying the Israelites, but lest He do so, Moses was careful to remind Him that He was committed by unconditional promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For their sake, Yahweh withheld His anger, spared the Children of Israel, and after forty years probation in the wilderness, they were ready to proceed to the land of promise which was occupied by the descendants of Canaan. There again, they failed Yahweh and refused to obey His will, but He was merciful unto them out of all proportion to what they deserved.
After the death of Moses and his successor, Joshua the son of Nun,
"...He gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterward they desired a king: And Yahweh gave unto them Saul the son of Kish a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for a period of forty years. And when He had removed him, He raised up unto them David, to be their king; to whom He also gave the testimony, and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart who shall fulfill all My will." (Acts 13:20-22)
Solomon succeeded David; then the kingdom was divided during the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam, when he insisted upon "taxation without representation" (I Kings 12; II Chronicles 10). Because of this issue, and because Yahweh had foreordained it, the ten northernmost tribes seceded from the union of Israel, leaving only two, Judah and Benjamin, to whom the Bible refers as the "Kingdom of Judah," and whose descendants today are called "Jews."
"And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.
And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying, 'Thy father made our yoke grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.'
And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.
And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?
And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants forever.
But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him. And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?
And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto hen, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade saying, Come again to me on the third day.
And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men, and answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of Yahweh, that Elohim might perform His word, which He spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents. But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. (II Chronicles 10:1-19)
From this point on, the history of the two kingdoms took different courses. The Kingdom of Judah continued as an absolute monarchy with its capital at Jerusalem.
The ten "seceded" tribes took the name, "Kingdom of Israel," with their capital at Samaria. This northern kingdom was a despotic, unstable, monarchy "tempered by assassination." The tribe of Ephraim (Joseph's younger son) was the dominant, policy-making group. One of the Kings of the ten tribes, Ahab, married Jezebel (Jeze-Baal) the daughter of a neighboring king who was devoted to pro-paganation of Baal worship. Ahab and Jezebel actually caused a temple of Baal to be built in Samaria. Jezebel thus became a symbol of subversion of the faith of Israel.
Yahweh as a loving Father had shown, taught, exhorted and plead with all 12 tribes to follow righteousness. Now He was about to use another approach.
"Hear ye the word of Elohim, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof, but when ye entered, ye defiled My land and made Mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, Where is Elohim? and they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith Elohim, and with your children's children will I plead." (Jeremiah 2:4 an 7-9)
The two kingdoms, Judah and Israel, existed side-by-side from the time of their separation in 975 B.C. Meanwhile, the Assyrian Empire to the north was becoming more and more of a threat to Israel's independence. The great Assyrian monarch, Ashur-nasur-pal (883-859 B.C.) inherited a government:
"...weakened by the aggressions of the Arameans and other neighboring tribes, and he left it consolidated, strengthened, and fortified against attack, with the result that his son Shalmanerser II was enabled to extend still further the frontiers of the Assyrian Empire." Annuals of the Kings of Assyria, (1xxiii), published by the Trustees of the British Museum.
Assyria grew and built a ruthless fighting machine under Ashur-nasirpal II, Shalmanerser III (858-824 B.C.) and Tiglath Pileser (744-727 B.C.) who "overran the kingdom of Israel and deported many of the inhabitants as is stated in II Kings 15:29." (Finegan, in Light from the Ancient Past, Princeton 1946, page 173).
"That such a ruthless deportation of peoples in order to prevent their future rebellions was a usual feature of Tiglath Pileser's policy we knew from other of his inscriptions. Elsewhere he says, for example, '30,000 people I carried off from their cities and placed them in the province of the city of...1,223 people I settled in the province of the land of Ulluba.'" (Ibid, page 174)
But it remained for his successors Shalmaneser V (726-72) and Sargon II to complete the destruction of the northern kingdom. Frequent quarrels continued between Judah and Israel, and sporadic fighting broke out from time to time as the southern kingdom (Judah) attempted to preserve the union of Israel and incidentally its own control over the whole twelve tribes. But this was not destined to happen. (For detailed accounts, see II Chronicles 13:1-6; I Kings 14:30; II Kings 16:5; I Kings 15:16-25; and II Chronicles 28).
"In the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah, Hoshea son of Elah began to reign in Samaria over Israel for nine years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him. Against him came Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant and rendered him tribute." (II Kings 17:1-3)
Thus, finally, came the end of the Kingdom of Israel as an independent nation, about 721 B.C. The Kingdom of Israel was allowed to exist temporarily as a puppet state, but was put under heavy taxation by the Assyrians. Two or three years later, Hoshea refused to pay the "reparations" or tribute money and tried to make a deal with Assyria's rival Mizraim (Egypt). The scheme failed, for we read:
"And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and brought no tribute to the king of Assyria as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up through out all of the land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes." (II Kings 17:4-6)
In this 20th century we have a great tendency to think that everything ancient was on a small scale and that wars, for example, were fought by a mere handful of people. We ought to remember that at the time of the Exodus, 700 years before this, the Israelites numbered some 600,000 fighting men, and a total population of about 2,500,000. Further evidence of the scope of military activity and of the size of Israel's population is given in II Chronicles 28:8, which tells of the war between the states of Judah and Israel and of the taking of 200,000 prisoners of war at one time, who were brought to Israel as slave labor. Now, as we have just read, Shalmaneser "...Carried Israel away into Assyria." The Bible is not speaking of a small "token" kidnapping or the taking of a few hostages. In those days, conquering kings moved whole populations about as a means of control. We have had a modern parallel, though on a smaller scale, during World War II when Hitler and Mussolini shifted populations about in their conquered lands. The result of such moves is that people are so busy trying to adjust to their new surroundings and so disorganized that they have no time or opportunity for organized revolt. For the same reasons, Russia at the present time is transplanting hundreds of thousands of skilled workers and design engineers from Czechoslovakia, East Germany and other puppet states to industrial cities beyond the Ural Mountains.
Not only did Shalmaneser take many hundreds of thousands of able-bodied Israelites away into the "cities of the Medes," but to make sure that they would not be able to escape and return to their homes, he brought other strange populations from the middle east into Samaria to replace the and occupy their homes:
"The king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, Cuthah and Ava and from Hamath, and placed them in Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they possessed Samaria and dwelt in the cities thereof." (II Kings 17-24)
The descendants of these same Asiatic strangers were still in Samaria at the first coming of the Messiah and, although they had adopted some of the religious teachings of their Hebrew neighbors, their beliefs were a hodge-podge of truth and mythology. Hence, they were deprecated by the Jews and this made the parable of the "good Samaritan" (Luke 10:30-37) particularly pointed. The "woman of Samaria" (John 4:9) to whom the Savior spoke was, in all likelihood, a descendant of the "men from Babylon, Cuthah and from Ava and from Hamath." For, He said,
"You worship you know not what; We know what we worship, for salvation is from the Jews." (John 4:22)
By the process of transplantation, the Israelites of the northern kingdom literally lost their previous identity as a nation:
"It was in the century after Ashurnasirpal that the position of the Hebrew nation became critical as a result of Assyria expansion. After a series of diplomatic negotiations, Israel was attacked by Shalmaneser V, Samaria, its capital, was besieged for three years, and finally the entire ten tribes were carried away into captivity in Assyria where they completely lost their identity." ("The Fertile Crescent," page 27, published by the Trustees of Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1944. Emphasis added.)
Various historians have noted that it is extremely difficult to disentangle the various Aryan tribes and races of this period, because they went under different names at different times. On this point, see H. G. Wells, The New and Revised Outline of History, p. 302. Nevertheless, several million people did not just disappear without a trace and it wasn't as though no one knew their whereabouts. We are told that Ezra, the Scribe, who lived some 200 years later was the chronicler of II Kings 17:18-23 which states that Israel was still in Assyria in his time:
"So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day...."
Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian about 800 years later, in 80 A.D. wrote concerning the people of the northern kingdom as follows, in Book XI, Chapter V of Antiquities of the Jews,
"...wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude and not to be estimated by numbers."
While it was the intention of the Almighty to destroy the evil political and religious power of Israel, it was not His intention to destroy all of its people, only to reprove and chasten those who could be persuaded. The chaff (Psalm 1:4) would be discarded, but the grain would be saved.
"Behold the eyes of Yahweh Elohim are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Yahweh. For, lo, I will command and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us...." (Amos 9:8-10)
The prophet, Amos, spoke these words some 65 years before Shalmaneser invaded Samaria. Isaiah, also prophesied concerning Assyria and the ten tribes. Twenty years beforehand, he said:
"O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of My wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey and to tread them down like the mire of the streets...." (Isaiah 10:5-6)
But the Almighty has a purpose for everything. He used this strenuous means to bring about a change of heart in His people. Through it they learned to depend upon and do the will of the Holy One of Israel. For He had a tremendous task for them to perform:
"And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more stay upon him that smote them, but he shall stay upon Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, in truth." (Isaiah 10:20-21)
When Yahweh's people depend upon Him, He blesses them and is merciful. Isaiah is speaking specifically of these Israelites in Isaiah 14 where he says,
"For Yahweh will have mercy o Jacob, and will yet choose Israel and set them in their own land."
This is a reaffirmation of II Samuel 7:10:
"Moreover, I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more as beforetime..."
But to continue with Isaiah 14, after Yahweh has had mercy on Israel:"
"...strangers shall be joined with them and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them to their [appointed] place, and the house of Israel [ten tribes] shall possess them in the land of Yahweh for servants and handmaids; and they shall take them captive whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors."
History confirms this prophecy. After the captives from Samaria had rested and adjusted to their new environment, they were to multiply greatly (Isaiah 49:19-21; 54:1-3), throw off the yoke, and take over the government of their captors. We should not therefore be surprised to read:
"Revolts culminating in 612 saw the end of the Assyrian Empire--The Persians a new element in oriental history-- were an Iranian tribe that dominated the Middle East. They rapidly reestablished the vastly enlarged Assyrian empire." (N.Y 1938 Mt. Museum of Art, "A Guide to the Collections, Part I Ancient and Oriental Art," page 23, emphasis added).
This "new element" was, quite naturally, made up of the millions of Israelites who had entrenched themselves and were awaiting the right moment to strike. H. G. Wells says,
"A Semitic people from southeast Mesopotamia, the Chaldeans, combined with Aryan Medes and Persians from the northeast against Nineveh, and in 606 B.C.--[for now we are coming down to exact chronology]--took that city. There was a division of the spoils of Assyria. A Median empire was set up on the north under Cyaxares. It included Nineveh, and its capital was Ecbatana. Eastward it reached to the borders of India." (Pocket History of the World, N.Y. 1941, Ch. XX, p. 85.)
It is worth noting that a daughter of Cyaxares was married to Nebuchadnezzar the Great of Babylon. W. G. DeBurgh, in The Legacy of the Ancient World, Vol. I, p. 28 says:
"...His [Esarhaddon's] death  was followed by the decay of Assyrian power; before the close of the century it succumbed to a coalition between the Medes and the Babylonians, who had regained their independence under Nabopolassar. With the fall of Nineveh , the empire of Assyria vanished from history; her records were soon buried beneath the Mesopotamian sand, till, in the nineteenth century of our era, Botta and Layard unearthed the stones that tell the story of her ferocity and her conquest."
Finegan tells us:
"...in 612 B.C. the Babylonians, Medes and Scythians all combined for the final and successful attack upon the Assyrian capital. The siege lasted from June to August, but eventually Nineveh fell and its last king, Sin-shar-ishkun, died. Yet one more man, a certain Ashur-uballit II [c.612-c.606], reigned for a few years as king of Assyria in the western city of Haran, but this last capital of a great empire was also taken by the Scythians. Nineveh the Great had fallen. The destruction predicted by Zephaniah [2:13-15] had taken place." (OpCit, p. 184)
It seems to have escaped the attention of most historians that the Medes and Persians, a "new" "Aryan" (Shem-Aryan or Samarian) force sprang to life from the very provinces to which the millions of the ten tribes had been deported 150 years before by Tiglath Pileser III, Shalmaneser V and Sargon II. And if we were so blind as not to recognize the Medo-Persian Empire as Israel, Jeremiah has left us little room for doubt, for he prophesied that Israel would destroy Babylon (which, of course, they did under the assumed name of Medes and Persians). Moffatt's Translation of Isaiah 14:1-6 is especially clear in this point:
"The household of Israel shall be conducted to their place by outside nations, and they shall hold them as slaves in the land of the Eternal thus making captives of their former captors, and ruling over their oppressors. Then shall it be that the Eternal grants you relief from your agony and misery and the slavery you have had to suffer; You shall raise this taunt-song against the King of Babylon, crying: How the tyrant is hushed and his mad rage hushed, the club of the godless, the Eternal has crushed, the rod of the oppression, that beat the nations in a passion, blow after blow, that enslaved races in a fury, and never let them go."
The very tenor of the "taunting speech" indicates that those Medes were fully aware of the relationship existing between themselves and those of the Babylonian captivity, in spite of the fact that so far as history has been concerned they were known as Medes and Persians, and by other names adopted in the westward march toward their promised destinations (II Samuel 7:10; I Chronicles 17:9; Isaiah 41:1; Genesis 49; Deuteronomy 33). For further corroboration of this, let us read, in the 13th chapter of Isaiah, a description of the assault on Babylon:
"For I have charged my chosen host to execute my wrath, my heroes have I summoned, my men of martial pride. Hark! a din among the mountains as of a mighty host. Hark! 'tis the uproar of empires nations gathering; for Yahweh of hosts is mustering a battle array." (Moffatt)
Notice especially in these verses "my chosen host" (Israel)--"to execute my wrath...my heroes have I summoned, my men of martial pride." Jeremiah calls Israel Yahweh's "battle ax," Jeremiah 51:19-24; and in the 11th and 28th verses of this same chapter, he actually refers to them by the name they bear in secular history, "Medes." Isaiah 13:17 also refers to these Medes; but these Medes are Israel, His battle axe with which He had promised to destroy Babylon. Jeremiah 51:19-20.
We have seen in the previous chapter how Yahweh dispersed the ten northern tribes of Israel throughout the Assyrian Empire in order to bring them to their senses. And we saw that an immense number of these Israelites were still there 150 years later, when with foreign aid they revolted and took over the government. The prophesies that this would occur were shown by secular history and by archaeology to have been completely accurate and borne out in detail.
While the ten tribes were getting settled and "digging in" at their new location significant events were taking place in Jerusalem with the other branch of Jacob's descendants, the two tribes Judah and Benjamin, whom we know as the Jews. For well over a hundred years (from 721 to 606), they continued to exist as a political entity but like their northern relatives, became saturated, subtly at first then quite openly, with idolatrous ceremonies, festivals and practices of their heathen neighbors. Thus, the Jews also became candidates for similar correction which, as we saw, was forecast in Jeremiah 2:9.
The prophecies of Ezekiel 23 refer to Israel and Judah as two sisters quite properly betrothed to Yahweh, but first Aholah (Israel) and then her "treacherous sister" Aholibah (Judah) became unfaithful:
And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and they were Mine, and they bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah. And Aholah played the harlot when she was Mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbors, which were clothed with blue, captains and rulers, all of them desirable young men, horsemen riding upon horses. Thus she committed her whoredoms with them that were the chosen men of Assyria, and with all on whom she doted: with all their idols she defiled herself. Neither left she her whoredoms brought from Egypt; for in her youth they lay with her, and they bruised the breasts of her virginity, and poured their whoredom upon her. Wherefore, I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted." (Ezekiel 23:4-9)
"And when her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt in her inordinate love than she, and in her whoredoms more than her whoredoms." (Verse 11)
"Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith Yahweh Elohim, Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee...." (Verse 22)
"I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a-whoring after the heathen and because thou art polluted with their idols. Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore, will I give her cup into thine hand. Thus saith Yahweh Elohim; Thou shalt drink of thy sister's cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in derision; it containeth much. Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of ruin and desolation, with the cup of thy sister Samaria." (Verses 30-33)
Now it happened at this time that the Babylonians were even more powerful than the Assyrians:
"And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt." (II Kings 24:7)
The only way the Babylonian land forces could attack Egypt was by marching through the lad of the Jews. But the Jews had a mutual assistance pact with Egypt and were obliged to resist aggression. The political situation of Judea was somewhat like that of Belgium or the Netherlands in two recent world wars. The invaders had no real quarrel with them but they stood in the way of conquest. Nebuchadnezzar, therefore, tried to pave the way for his future plans by taking the King of Judah, his official family, and about ten thousand of the most prominent and wealthy citizens of Jerusalem to Babylon as a kind of guarantee that the Jews would make no trouble for him in his march on Egypt. In place of Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar placed a puppet ruler, Zedekiah.
"And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And all of the men of might, even seven thousand, and all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon. And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah." (II Kings 24:15-17)
Later, Zedekiah developed deviationist tendencies and finally rebelled against the king of Babylon (II Kings 24:20). Chapter 35 tells about the siege of Jerusalem and the punishment of Zedekiah. But Nebuchadnezzar had no grudge against the Jewish people, and after the usual war crimes trials had disposed of the leaders of the resistance, he actually took the Jews into a kind of protective custody and moved them en masse to Babylon to keep them from causing him further difficulties. His attitude is reflected in the treatment accorded to the Jews in Babylon. Within a very short time, for example, Daniel, Ananiah, Azariah, Mishael and other Jews were taken into the innermost governmental circles and became key employees of the career civil service (Daniel 1:3-5; 2:48-49; and 3:30).
We should never lose sight of the purpose for which Yahweh permitted the Jews to be captured. Jeremiah 24 likens the Jews of that period to baskets of figs, some good and some rotten. The good figs are to be preserved, but the bad ones are to be discarded:
"One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very spoiled figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad [verse 2]. Thus saith Yahweh Elohim of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good [verse 5]. And as the spoiled figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely, thus saith Yahweh, so will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: and I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their affliction, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse in all places whither I shall drive them." (Verses 8-9)
This symbol of the Jews as figs and the Jewish nation as a fig tree should be familiar to readers of the New Testament (Matthew 21:19-21; 24:32-35; Mark 11:12-14; 11:20; Luke 13:6-9; 21:29-33). This symbol will be discussed further in the next chapter.
Now, if the story ended right here, with Israel in Medo-Persia and the Jews in Babylon, it would appear that Yahweh's magnificent unconditional promises to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were in vain and just about as far from fulfillment as one could imagine. However, we should not forget the Most High's stated purpose in punishing and chastising His people. If you assume that Yahweh abandoned either Judah or Israel, you are saying, in effect, that you do not believe He meant His promises, or that you do not believe He is able to perform what He promised.
We have only to turn to the known facts of history, archeology and anthropology to get a clear confirmation of what occurred: Having freed themselves and established the Medo-Persian empire under Cyrus, Israel immediately turned against Babylonia to the east and conquered it. The 45th chapter of Isaiah begins,
"Thus saith Yahweh to His anointed, to Cyrus whose right hand I have held...."
The Scofield Reference Bible states in a footnote, that this is the only instance where "anointed" is used in the Bible to refer to a Gentile. This is a very astute observation, since it is now evident that these Medo-Persians were in fact Israel. By way of clarification, it is reiterated that "Gentile" (Hebrew "goy-goyim") is a greatly misunderstood term as used throughout the Scriptures. Most of the time it means simply "nation." In Genesis 17:4, for example, Yahweh tells Abraham he is to become the progenitor of a multitude of "goyim" or "nations." This promise is confirmed to Jacob in Genesis 35:11 when he is told that a company of nations (goyim) should be his descendants. In the New Testament, however, the term is sometimes used to mean "other nations" (that is, other than Jewish) and has therefore become in modern parlance a synonym for non-Jew. It is so used by both Jews and non-Jews today. However, in reading the Bible we should bear in mind that with a very few exceptions "gentile" means simply "nation."
There can be little doubt of the decadence of Babylon, nor of the fact that the Medes and Persians had many allies within Babylon. The "fifth column" idea and "boring from within," it appears, were ancient political techniques used by Israel repeatedly, and with great success. We mentioned earlier that a daughter of Cyaxeres was married to Nebuchadnezzar II. In any event, when Cyrus marched on Babylon, he entered with scarcely any effective opposition.
One of the first official acts of Cyrus after his inauguration was to issue his famous decree setting free the Jewish (two-tribes) people and providing for their return to Jerusalem.
"Now in the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia, in fulfillment of the word of Yahweh, spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus, King of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth hath Yahweh Elohim of heaven given me; and He hath charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? Yahweh his Elohim be with him and let him go up." (II Chronicles 36:22)
The Bible says that Yahweh instructed Cyrus to overthrow Babylon, setting the Jews free. But we also have the contemporary Persian account of it uncovered by archeologists. The famous cuneiform "Cylinder of Cyrus" now in the British Museum gives an almost identical account, but uses the name "Marduk" the Persian name for the Almighty. A translation of the cylinder contains the follows:
"Marduk...sought a righteous prince, after his own heart, whom he took by the hand. Cyrus, king of Anshan, he called by name, to lordship over the whole world he appointed him...To this city Babylon he caused him to go; he made him take the road to Babylon, going as a friend and companion at his side. His numerous troops, in number unknown, like the water of a river, marched armed at his side. Without battle and conflict he permitted him to enter Babylon. He spared his city Babylon a calamity. Nabunaid, the king who did not fear him, he delivered into his hand." (Robert William Rogers, "Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament," 1912, p. 381; as quoted by Jack Finegan in "Light from the Ancient Past," p. 191. Finegan also refers to "A Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities, British Museum 3rd ed. 1922, p. 144)
Perhaps Israel had lived so long among the Assyrians that they used the Assyrian name, or this particular cuneiform cylinder was made primarily for reading to the non-Israelitish inhabitants who had been worshipping Marduk. In any event, the Jews were set free by Cyrus, and as many as desired to do so were encouraged by his government to return to Judea. Eventually by the decree of Artaxerxes they were provided more backing and under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel, they rebuilt the temple and overcame the Arab descendants of Esau who had rushed in while the Jews were in exile. The Jewish people were still in Judea (though never as an independent nation) at the time of the Nativity, and remained there until about 70 A.D. when they were dispersed in the "greater captivity" by the Roman general Titus. From then until 1917 when the full 2520-year sentence of Leviticus 26:18 had been served, the Jewish people were never a national entity. But as we stated earlier, in the very year when the time was up, the British general Allenby took Palestine away from the Turks. Concurrently, the Balfour Declaration provided that Palestine should become a "National Home" for the Jews.
B.C. 606 + 2520 + 4 years for the Gregorian Calendar adjustment = 1918 (see Chapter VI).
From 1918 until now a new fig tree has been growing where the old one was blasted. The buds and leaves are in evidence. "Surely summer is nigh." Read Matthew 24:32-34 in connection with Jeremiah 24. Unfortunately the King James Version translators of Matthew 24:34, Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32 had an "interpreter's choice" as to whether they would use "this" or "that," and chose to use "this," thereby distorting the meaning of the text. Had they paid more attention to the context they might have realized that the Messiah was speaking of a generation when "all these things," described in verses 5 to 31, will have come to pass. In other words, that generation wherein you shall see these things (verse 33) shall not pass until all is fulfilled,. The unfruitful fig tree of Matthew 21:19-20 which was blasted at the tine of Titus (70 A.D.) has now in 1956 been replaced by a new fig tree which has tender branches and is putting forth leaves (Matthew 24:32) and the Jews are almost on the verge of accepting the Messiah, that is, bearing spiritual fruit. (Refer to Leviticus 26:40-46, Zechariah 12:10 and 13:1.) This brings us just about up to date with the two tribes, the "Jews" who have been reestablished as an independent nation and are about to undergo a new spiritual birth by accepting the Messiah they once rejected:
"And I will pour upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look upon Me, whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10)
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." (Zechariah 13:1)
The Jews have many wonderful promises yet to be fulfilled, but what about the ten northern tribes? We left millions of them in possession of the greatest empire which the world had yet seen, stretching from India to Egypt. Where are they now?
History tells us the Medo-Persian Empire gave way before Alexander the Great and its territory became a part of the Greek Empire, which in turn was swallowed up by the Roman Empire of the Caesars. But what happened to these countless millions of Caucasians who were "still beyond the Euphrates" in the time of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian (80 A.D.)? Did these people "as numberless as the sands of the seashore and the stars of heaven" just disappear? Of course they did not. Let us look at what the Bible prophesied about them and then look at secular history to see what happened, and whether it worked out in the way which the prophets foresaw.
Isaiah in Chapter 41 speaks of Israel's rest and renewal of strength (verse 1) and reminds us that it was Yahweh who raised up Cyrus (verse 2) and that Yahweh will again help Israel in the future (verse 13) and declares to them the Messiah (Isaiah, chapters 42 through 53). Isaiah 54 tells the ten tribes (the divorced wife, Aholah--Ezekiel 23) to rejoice because she is more populous than the Jews (Aholibah) and must enlarge the place of her tent, that is seek a larger homeland. The very language of Isaiah 41:1 gives a clue to where the new home was to be. The Hebrew phrase translated, "O islands" can also be translated as "O western coastlands"
"Be quiet before Me, O western coastlands and let the people renew their strength."
Israel's promised new home was not an afterthought, nor a spur-of-the-moment decision. For Moses tells us
"When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance--when he separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries according to the number of the Children of Israel...." (Deuteronomy 32:8)
and in II Samuel we read,
"Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime." (II Samuel 7:10)
Yahweh, knowing in advance, prepared for Israel's future. History tells us that establishment of "Aryan" or "Caucasian" colonies had been going on for many years to the west, particularly around the Mediterranean and even up the Atlantic coast beyond Gibraltar, as far as the British Isles ad Denmark. But this steady trickle of colonization did not displace the bulk of the original Mongoloid inhabitants of central Europe. The great Roman Empire, which extended from the British Isles and the Atlantic coast of Europe as far as India was both infiltrated by these Caucasian Aryans and then attacked by them en masse from the outside, another example of "fifth column" work which we saw Israel use in the destruction of Assyria and Babylon. The ten "barbed" or bearded Aryan tribes who had been gathering their strength in the region of the Caucasus Mountains near the northern boundary of the old Medo-Persian empire, struck the Roman Empire a series of sledgehammer blows under which it collapsed. These barbarian invaders subdued the great empire of the Caesars and eventually pushed the Yellow-Brown savages north and east into approximately their present Asiatic territory, beyond the Ural Mountains. It should be noted that some of the descendants of these same Caucasians followed a similar practice with respect to the Yellow-Brown American Indians: pushed them out and occupied the territory themselves. Surely Jeremiah's prophecy has more meaning to us when we read it in the light of fulfillment:
"Thou are My battle-ax and weapons of war; for with thee will I break in pieces the nations and with thee will I destroy kingdoms." (Jeremiah 51:20)
With the breaking up of the Roman Empire, Europe became an unstable, ever-changing group of states and has so remained to this day. These nations, for hundreds of years tried to bind themselves together in alliances based on intermarriage of their royal families, but this was not successful in establishing any stable, secure and lasting peace.
Descendants of the barbarian invaders are the present day western nations. They are the British, the Teutons, the French, the Latins, the Slavic, the "Benelux--Swiss" and the peoples of North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. They constitute the so-called "Christian nations," or roughly speaking, "Western Civilization."
At last the chastisement and conditioning of Israel in their long trek from Samaria to Assyria, to Babylonia and the borders of India, and back again (as "Indo-Europeans") purged and refined them to the point where they were willing to accept the Messiah and were ready to receive His peaceful teachings. This is the meaning of Hosea's message to Israel. The Scofield Reference Bible says, in a footnote to Hosea 1:10,
"Israel in Hosea means the ten tribes forming the northern kingdom as distinguished from "Judah" [the ten tribes of Judah and Benjamin] forming the southern kingdom which adhered to the Davidic family." (p. 921)
In Hosea, Israel is likened to the cast-off wife (Ahola) who was taken back and "in the place where it was said unto then, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living Elohim" (Hosea 1:10).
The Apostles were fully aware of the role Israel was to play. The Saviour expressly directed then to bring the good news of the kingdom to "the lost sheep of the House of Israel" (Matthew 10:6), for it was they, rather than the Jews, who would then receive it. The various missionary journeys of the Apostles were, in actuality, directed to a great extent to these barbarian "gentile" nations. Certainly Saul ("Paul") in his letter to the Romans left no doubt who these "Gentiles" were that he was addressing. Read Romans 9 in this light. It is particularly evident in the latter portion of the chapter:
"Even us, who He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the nations, of which He spake through Hosea, saying, 'I will call them My people, which were not My people; and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people; there shall they be called the children of the living Elohim.' Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, 'Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will Yahweh make upon the earth.' And as Isaiah said before, 'Except Yahweh Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and made like unto Gomorrah.' What shall we say then? That the Nations [ten tribes] which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel which followed after the law of righteousness [i.e. the Jews] hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at the stumbling stone; as it is written, 'Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence: yet whosoever believeth on Him shall not be disappointed." (Romans 9:24-33; Sacred Name Version)
Perhaps a word of caution should be given at this point. Israel (as the western nations) accepted the "glad tidings of the kingdom" because they had been conditioned to do so. They finally had a heart for it. We should not interpret this fact as some sort of "super race" manifestation, for Yahweh said it was not because of Israel's superiority, but because He Himself had made some unconditional promises to Abraham, that He undertook to lead and chasten these headstrong people.
"For I, Yahweh, change not; therefore ye O sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6)
The events we have described are in keeping with the statements and prophecies of all the prophetic books of the Bible. Daniel, for example, tells succinctly the same message and forecasts the same general sequence of events, as we shall see.
Perhaps it would be well to state here that there are a great many modern or so-called "liberal" clergymen and many otherwise well-informed laymen today who dread the implications they would have to face if they were to admit the Bible to be inspired, as it states itself to be:
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of Yahweh spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (II Peter 1:21)
In order to avoid facing these implications, otherwise sensible people have made silly statements and advanced utterly unsubstantiated theories about the dates when the prophecies were given and about the number of prophets who supposedly composed them. To say that there must have been two or more Isaiahs, for example, based on "internal evidence" is about as valid as to content that there must have been two or more Shakespeares, since the internal evidence in As You Like It differs so radically from that in Macbeth or Hamlet or King Lear. Unfortunately, a good deal of energy of literate people has been wasted in trying to discredit the Old Testament prophets and it would be well to examine the motives of those engaged in so doing. These modern attacks on Daniel simply are not valid and the arguments advanced do not stand up under scrutiny, though they give an impression of plausibility to the uninitiated general reader. Such views, when privately held are regrettable but relatively unimportant. Fed to the gullible, or to trusting college students, this misinformation tends to close their minds to further investigation. (For examples of this antagonism to Daniel, see The Bible and the Common Reader by Mary Ellen Chase, New York, 1952, The Macmillan Company and for the answer to it refer to The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. I by LeRoy Edwin Froom, 1950, Washington, D.C. The Review and Herald Publishing Association.)
Nebuchadnezzar's forgotten dream (Daniel 2:31-45) gives in a nutshell the "history in advance" from that time until today. As Daniel interpreted it, the head of gold represented the brilliant and wealthy Babylonian Empire. The shoulders and arms of silver represented the less splendid, less glorious, but larger Medo-Persian Empire which followed it. Then came the "belly and thighs of brass": the less magnificent but militarily tougher Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. Next in sequence came the two legs of iron, or the Roman Empire with its two capitals, Rome and Constantinople. But the iron gave way to ten toes of clay and iron mixed, just as the Roman Empire gave way to the ten barbarian Caucasian tribes which descended upon it. These toes were a curious mixture of strength and weakness. And in the words of Daniel, they sought to "bind themselves together with the seed of men" or as actually happened in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, the descendants of the barbarians tried time and again to set up alliances and entities reinforced by intermarriage of their royalty. "But it shall not prevail." Then a curious thing happens to the image. In the days of these kings, a Stone (Hebrew, "Aben") cut out without hands, crushes the toes and the statue becomes dust and is blown away. But the Stone becomes a mountain which fills the whole earth. In other words, Western Civilization (the ten toes) is destroyed by the Stone (Hebrew "Ab"=Father; "Ben"=Son) or the Second Advent, thus bringing about a righteous kingdom on the Earth.
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Eloah and of His Messiah; and He shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15, Sacred Name Version)
Daniel's concise and compressed vision of the image gives us a telescopic view of past, present and future history. It is entirely in harmony with the vision of the four "beasts" or four world empires of Daniel 7.
The lion with eagle's wings was a common Babylonian symbol and is still to be seen in walls and statues recently excavated. Following the first beast was a bear with three ribs in his mouth (Media, Persia and Babylon), that is, the Medo-Persian Empire. Next came a leopard with four wings and four heads, representing the swift, ferocious empire of Alexander which was divided into four segments (the Tetrarcy). The fourth beast was different from the others and had ten horns. A horn in Biblical symbolism always represents kingship or a kingdom or tribe. Daniel 7:17-18 summarizes:
"These great beasts which are four kings [or kingdoms] which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and shall possess the kingdom forever and ever."
This latter agrees also with the Messiah's Olivet discourse, Matthew 25:31:
"When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory."
Consider the parable of the Tares and the Wheat, Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43 in connection with Amos 9:9
"For lo I will command and I will sift the House of Israel among all the nations, like as wheat is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall to the earth. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is Satan; the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore, the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this age.
Consider the parable of the Treasure Hid in a Field, Matthew 13:44, in connection with righteous chastised Israel (all 12 tribes). Exodus 19:5:
"Now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for the earth is Mine. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field which when a man hath found, he hideth and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all he hath, and buyeth the field.
And He did indeed redeem the field:
"The Messiah hath redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us: for it is written, 'Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree': that the blessing of Abraham might come on the nations through Yahshua the Messiah; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Galatians 3:13-14)
"For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify Yahweh in your body and your spirit which are Yahweh's." (I Corinthians 6:20)
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." (Job 19:25)
There are, of course, many other references to the eventual purging, refining and conditioning of both Israel and Judah, and their eventual acceptance of the Way of Life which is a prerequisite of the fulfillment of Yahweh's Kingdom on earth. The parable of the Prodigal Son who left home, went astray and through hardships returned and repented (Luke 15:11-32) is an obvious reference to the ten tribes, who have been thought to be lost and dead.
"It was fitting that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is alive again; and was lost and is found."
For Israel (the Western, Indo-European nations) and Judah (the Jews) must reunite. They have been separated since the ten tribes seceded from the union (Chapter VIII). But Yahweh's purpose is to reunite them. This is made abundantly clear over and over again in the Scriptures. In Ezekiel 37:16-20, for instance,
"Moreover thou son of man, take thee one stick and write upon it, For Judah, and the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for ALL the House of Israel his companions. And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith Yahweh Elohim; Behold I will take the stick of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah and will make them one stick and they shall be one in Mind hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
Another reference to this future reunion is in Hosea 1:10-11:
"Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto then, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living Elohim. THEN shall the children of Judah AND the children of Israel be gathered together and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land; for great shall be the day of Jezreel [Armageddon].
What separates Judah and Israel today is the failure of the Jews to accept the Messiah (Zechariah 11:7-14); however, Zechariah 13 looks forward to His acceptance by the Jews. Still another allusion to this same reconfederation of Israel (10 tribes) and Judah (two tribes) occurs in Revelation 13 where the beast with the ten horns (an expanded NATO, perhaps). Revelation 13:1 is fully supported and upheld by the beast with the two horns (Judah and Benjamin, i.e., the State of Israel of today), Revelation 13:11-12. The situation at present is complicated to describe because the Jews are now calling themselves "Israel" on the theory that they are all that are left of the entire twelve tribes.
Saul ("Paul") certainly was fully aware that the other ten tribes were included in the plan. Before Agrippa he said,
"And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by Yahweh unto our fathers. Unto which promise our TWELVE tribes instantly serving Yahweh day and night might hope to come. For which hope's sake, King Arippa, I am accused by the Jews." (Acts 26:6-7)
We have already mentioned in Chapter X the fact that Saul quoted Hosea about the ten tribes whom the King James Version call "gentiles" (i.e., nations) in Romans 9:24-33. In directing the missionary efforts of the disciples, the Savior told them where to go and where not to go:
"These twelve Yahshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. [Samaria was then inhabited by the people form Asia imported by Tiglath Pileser and other kings; II Kings 17:24.] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the bulk of whom were still massed "beyond the Euphrates" according to Josephus, Chapter VIII above]." (Matthew 10:5-6)
Peter echoes this in Acts 2:36:
"Therefore let ALL the House of Israel know assuredly that Yahweh hath made the same Yahshua, whom ye have crucified; both king and Messiah."
And Luke, further quotes the Savior looking forward to the future Kingdom of Heaven on earth, saying,
"That ye may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom and sit on thrones judging the TWELVE tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:30)
James addresses a letter not to the two tribes, the Jews, but as follows:
"James, a servant of Yahweh and of Yahshua the Messiah, To the TWELVE tribes which are scattered abroad, greetings." (James 1:1)
And is it not significant that in Revelation, 144,000 were sealed, from ALL of the tribes of the children of Israel, being twelve thousand from each of the TWELVE tribes, Revelation 7:3-8. As we have indicated before, practically every book of the Bible relates some part of this same message. In Genesis, when Jacob is dying he has a vision of his twelve sons' descendants at the end of the age, or "in the last days." His vision appears to be in complete harmony with what we know of the Western nations today; and it is in keeping with what Moses predicted in Deuteronomy 33 when he foresaw their future characteristics.
If we are correct in the conclusion that the descendants of Jacob (Israel) are today the bulk of the Caucasian or Indo-European peoples of the West, then it will be interesting to see whether we can make identifications from the descriptions of them by Jacob and Moses of the various tribes as they are to be in the last days of the age, according to prophecy:
To identify the tribe of Reuben we would have to look for a Western European nation which is fairly numerous.
"Let Reuben live and not die, and let not his men be few." (Deuteronomy 3:36)
and a nation which is noted for its courtliness and savoir faire and one of the great powers,
"Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power..."
but we must also look for a nation noted for the instability of its national government,
"...unstable as water..."
and one just less than first rank, which does not quite qualify as the leader in international affairs,
"...thou shalt not excel."
What better description could be given of the French nation? Surely the facts of history and the anticipations of prophecy meet here in declaring that the descendants of Reuben are to be identified in the French nation.
Because Jacob adopted Joseph's two sons as his own, Joseph is represented by two closely related nations. To identify the younger, EPHRAIM, we must seek a western people who are really a "family of nations" (Genesis 48:19),
"...and his seed shall become a multitude of nations"
and it must be a nation having far-flung territory--around the globe,
"...unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills." (Genesis 49:26)
also a nation which has colonies throughout the world,
"he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth." (Deuteronomy 33:17)
The British Commonwealth of nations is certainly the outstanding example of a nation which is also a "multitude of nations" (Genesis 48:19). Ephraim was the "covenant man" as we read in Genesis 48:12-22, and perhaps it is just coincidental that in Hebrew "Brith" means "covenant" and "ish" means "man." In any event, it is hardly deniable that the Brythons or Brith-ish have been in fact the leaders of the Western World. We Americans often assume that because we have supplied the resources that it was we who were the leaders. The acid test of a leader, however, is in getting others to do what he wishes. And we will have to admit that in these last days, whether it was to save a "lost cause" in World War I; or in World War II to supply overage destroyers and conduct undeclared war in the North Atlantic, or to make a gift of billions to her under the fiction of Lend-Lease, or to supply American soldiers, 10 Downing Street has had phenomenal success in getting from America whatever she really wanted.
MANASSEH, who was Ephraim's brother was to be a great people.
"he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great..."
The word "Manasseh" means "Creditor" in Hebrew. We should then look for a nation which places emphasis on development of its people and their government ("Of the people, by the people, for the people") and one which is the lender of money among the nations. We hardly need describe Manasseh further, the U.S.A. seems so obvious. But what about the other nationalities who are a part of the American population? Perhaps the answer is that no matter how many others are invited to stay in Manasseh's house, and to share his blessings, this does not change the fact that he is the proprietor.
It has been suggested that the tribe of Naphtali went westward in two major waves, several hundreds of years apart. The first emigration is indicated in II Kings 15:29 when the king of Israel (10 Tribes), Pekah, together with a great many Naphtalites were taken prisoner by the King of Assyria. They were the first to go into captivity of all the ten tribes, about 30 years ahead of the others. This was about 758 B.C. Now, King Pekah was the son of Romaliah (so spelled in the Douay version--King James Version renders Remaliah). Along with Pekah went the families of Ijon, Janoah, Kadesh, Hazor, Gilead, Abel-beth-Maachah, and Galilee. The theory holds that the Naphtalites bought their freedom with the help of the money-lenders of Benjamin (the "wolf" of Genesis 49:27) and proceeded to settle in I-tal-iah (Italia or Italy) which the Jewish Encyclopedia tells us means, "Land of the dew of Yahweh." Secular history gives, as the supposed date of the founding of Rome, the year 753 BC., just five years after the departure of Naphtali from Samaria; it also states that the supposed founders were Romulus and Remus who were said to have been saved from starvation by a wolf which suckled them and that the first King of Italy was Picus (later identified as the Italian god of agriculture). It is also stated that the other Latin settlements of D'Ijon, Genoa, Cadiz, Hazor (Azores), Galicia and Salamanca were founded at a very early date. Galilee merely stands for "province." The name of the city of Naples (Napoli) is said to be derived from the Greek words for "new city," Neo-polis. However, there are numerous examples of names in history which "stuck" because of their dual meanings,. Such may also have been true of Napoli, whose name was so similar to Naphtali. Here are the families listed in II Kings 15:29-31 who disappeared in 758, compared with the cities and personages which subsequently appeared among the so-called "Latin countries."
II Kings 15:29-31
|Romaliah||Romulus (Roma, Rome|
It may at first seem far-fetched to show Abel-beth-maachah as equivalent to Salamanca, until it is recognized that beth means "place, house or hall," the same in Hebrew that "sala" means in Italian or Spanish. We have said that Naphtali apparently invaded Europe in two waves; one around 753 B.C. and the other about 568 A.D. as the Lombards who were a part of the larger barbarian (Caucasian) invasions which destroyed the Roman Empire as it then existed and took it for their own. Jacob in his deathbed vision said,
"Naphtali is a deer let loose; he giveth goodly words." (Genesis 49:21)
Canon Driver in his commentary on Genesis says that Naphtali is "alert, nimble, free-spirited and has poetical and oratorical gifts." Certainly, the Gospel was preached throughout the world by the Italian (Roman) Church. They sent missionaries everywhere, even to England and America. The fact that they have distorted and misinterpreted the "Goodly Words" should not blind us to that fact. And the Latin peoples (Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and South American) have indeed given the world great poets, artists, musicians and orators. But there is an even more definite identification of Naphtali as the Latinos. Moses, in blessing them says:
"O Naphtali, satisfied with favour and full of the blessing of Yahweh: possess thou the West and the South." (Deuteronomy 33:23)
Now, just to make sure that Moses was not speaking of the west and south of Palestine, we should recall that in Palestine Naphtali possessed the most northern territory. But Moses is speaking of another territory outside of Palestine (Chapter X), the territory which Naphtali will occupy" in the last days" of the age: the ultimate location in the west and south of Europe and in Latin America. Could he have said it more plainly short of drawing a map?
A number of Zebulun's characteristics have been given. From these we might look for a group of people who earn their living in the fishing, shipbuilding, shipping, mining or chemical industries; who also have produced great religious revivals whose home is near a harbor of ships, whose territory lies northwest from Palestine, a tribe that has greatly expanded, and one which neighbors upon the tribe of Issachar.
"And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out [i.e., expansion] and Issachar in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the [holy] mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall draw of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand." (Deuteronomy 33:18-19)
"Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon." (Genesis 49:13)
Again, let us be reminded that the territory described is not in Palestine, but in the land Zebulun will inhabit "in the last days." For if we look at a map showing Zebulun's portion of Palestine, we observe that his land did not include the city of Zidon, nor come anywhere near it. However, the word "Zidon" means "fortress." If we recall the words of Isaiah 41:1 concerning Israel, "Conceal them [charash eli] O western coastlands, and let my people renew their strength...," then it will seem quite logical that one of these tribes, Zebulun, should be described as living near a ship harbor. Can this be Copenhagen or Kjoben Haven (literally "ship harbor")? Surely the Scandinavians fit the part about drawing of the abundance of the seas. The greatest religious revival and upheaval of all time was the Reformation which began in another Teutonic country, led by the Teuton, Martin Luther. There is no doubt that the Teutons have greatly "gone out" or expanded. For Old Germany is the motherland of the Northmen, and it once included not only the states of Anhalt, Baden-Bavaria, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse-Lippe, Lubeck, Mecklenberg, Odenburg, Prussia, Sarr-Saxony, Schaumburg, but also Denmark, Norway and Sweden (Standard American Encyclopedia). Today these teutons make up four important states.
The descriptions of Issachar might lead us to look for a "buffer state," that is, one which is situated "between two burdens" and also one having fertile, pleasant farmland. Issachar also appears to be a patient and long-suffering people.
"Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: and he saw that rest was good and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant to tribute." (Genesis 49:14-15)
If we were correct about Zebulun being the Teutonic people, then Issachar their neighbors to the east must be the Slavic people which now include the various "satellite" nations, as well as white (as contrasted with Mongolian) Russia: this would include Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Lativa, Lithuania, Estonia, etc. More and more this block of Slavs is finding itself the buffer between the Oriental Russians, Communist Chinese, etc. and the Caucasian world. Although now a part of the Communist orbit, they will in time, if our assumptions are correct, break completely with the oriental world and join their nine brothers to the West.
The very name of this tribe means "happiness." This is the truly peaceful, peace-loving tribe.
"And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days so shall thy strength be." (Deuteronomy 33:24-25)
"Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties." (Genesis 49:20)
Now we know that the tribe of Asher did indeed, while still in the Holy Land have many male children, and an abundant supply of olive oil, and Asher was known for his efforts to make peace between his brethren. His efforts at reconciliation whenever a family dispute arose is profusely described in the Jewish Encyclopedia. Asher is regarded as a virtuous type which, with single-mindedness strives for the general good of the family of Israel.
If you have been looking at a map of Europe, you see that Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg and Switzerland have not been accounted for. During war these people have consistently sought to maintain neutrality and afterwards have pursued peace plans so that the cities of Geneva and the Hague have come to symbolize efforts at international peace. When, after World War I, the Kaiser fled to Holland, both France and Britain wanted him extradited, but the sovereign of the peaceful tribe protected him from those demanding his life.
"In oil he dips his foot" may refer to the plentiful olive oil of which we spoke a moment ago. But then there is also Royal Dutch Shell.
The Jewish Encyclopedia tells us of another peculiarity of Asher:
"Asher is one of the most elusive of the tribes of Israel. It is difficult to fix the boundaries of this tribe's possession and it is not even certain that it inhabited any extensive continuous territory."
It further suggests that their locations were a distribution of settlements, rather than a compact and well-defined tribal possession. So we ought not to be surprised if this tribe today lacks an integrated territory, being distributed among the "Swiss-Benelux" countries.
DAN, GAD AND SIMEON
These three tribes are grouped together because there is reason to believe they are the three tribes symbolized by the "three horns" uprooted by "another little horn" as described in Daniel 7:8. (The other "little" horn would be the younger grandson of Jacob, whom he adopted as a son: that is Ephraim.)
The King James Version reads,
"Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel." (Genesis 49:16)
Now the translators of that verse might just as easily have given one of the alternate meanings, "plead the cause of" or "contend for" in place of "judge." The Hebrew, "Dan yadin amo kah-ekod shetty Ishruel" might better be rendered, "Dan shall content for his people as one of the tribes of Israel."
If we bear in mind that the ancient name of the Irish people was "Thuatha de Danaan," or literally "Tribe of Dan," the passage comes alive for us. The Irish have contended for independence "as one of the tribes of Israel." It is held by some that the old Irish settlers were a branch of the tribe of Dan who came all the way across Europe in the twelfth century B.C. leaving their name behind them on the landmarks: Danmark, and the Danube, the Danleper (Dnieper) and the Dan (or Don) Rivers to Greece where they were the Danois, and finally back to 1300 B.C. when Deborah sang,
"Gilead abode beyond Jordan; and why did Dan remain in ships?"
According to old Irish chronicles another later group of immigrants arrived in the emerald isle in the 7th Century B.C. when a very wise man, "Ollam Follah," with his scribe Berek and two royal princesses, Scotia and Tia Tephi came by ship bringing the Stone of the Shkona. In 503 A.D. this stone went with Fergus to Scotland, thence finally to England where it now resides in Westminster Abbey and we know it as the "Stone of Scone." The time element seems right for this to have been Jeremiah, his scribe Baruch and Zedekiah's two daughters. When Zedekiah, the puppet king of Judah was about to be dethroned and punished by Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel says
"Thus saith Yahweh Elohim; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of its young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: In the mountain in the height of Israel will I plant it; and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell." (Ezekiel 17:22-23)
At the time Zedekiah was taken away to Babylon, his daughters went in the opposite direction. One of his captains (Johanan, son of Kareah) took Jeremiah, Baruch, and the King's daughters to Tahpanhes in Egypt (Jeremiah 43:5-6). This was much against the will of Jeremiah. The Bible account ends with Jeremiah and his party there, but with the strong implication that they would not willingly remain. Surely it is a remarkable coincidence, at least, that about the same time, a very wise man and his scribe (not Baruch, but "Berek") arrived with two princesses and a very famous stone on the coast of Ireland having come through "the Pillars of Hercules" (Gibralter). Present day royalty in Britain, which traces its ancestry through the Scottish kings to these princesses, must be crowned upon the Stone of Scone in Westminster!
But the Irish have been strong advocates of freedom in many lands. They have pled its cause in Chile, Cuba, Mexico and the United States, where the name of a famous Irishman, Patrick Henry has become a symbol o "liberty or death." In Ireland independence has been one of Dan's deepest urges. The Irish slogan, Sinn Fein means "Ourselves Alone." Recently, Dan's hope have borne fruit, and in these last days he has indeed contended--successfully--for his people as one of the independent tribes of Israel: Eire.
This was a tribe which was to be overcome, but one which is to "overcome at the last." The Scottish (Gadhelic or Gaelic) people were not overcome in the sense of being conquered in battle, but rather through political strategy. The word "Gad" (pronounced with a broad "a") is a heathen word, the name of the "god of luck or fortune." The tribe of Gad descended from one of Jacob's sons by Zilpah, Leah's maid, and was named so ecause of her superstition. This was, of course, before Jacob returned to Bethel and made his wives discard their idols (Chapter VII). In modern times we need to read only that portion of Scottish history from James VI to the joining of the two parliaments in 1707 to realize how exactly this prophecy concerning Gad has been fulfilled. Scotland was forced by circumstances to join England in her march toward empire. Both the British and the Scots have profited from the arrangement.
"And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad...." (Deuteronomy 33:20)
And we note with a wee bit of amusement that more than 3500 years ago Gad's famous canniness was foreknown and foreseen by Jacob in his vision:
"And he provided the first part for himself...." (Deuteronomy 33:21)
As we know, Scotland has produced great leaders of the British government, great lawyers and great businessmen. In their prominent positions they have been able to influence heads of state and to sway them in momentous decisions:
"...because there in the portion of lawgiver was he seated; and he came with the head of the people, he executed the justice of Yahweh and His judgments with Israel." (Deuteronomy 33:21)
The only territorial tribe besides the Jews (Judah and Benjamin) remaining for us to identify is Simeon; and the remaining "horn" of the three uprooted by Ephraim, is Wales, or the Welsh. This fact, coupled with the traditional antagonism of Simeon and Joseph, plus the striking similarity of spoken Hebrew and the spoken Welsh language has led a number of people to conclude that Simeon was the forefather of the Welsh. The Rabbis give two reasons why Simeon was chosen for the hostage (Genesis 42:24): Joseph's desire to punish Simeon for having thrown him into the pit, and the further reason that he wished to separate Levi and Simeon, lest they together might try to destroy Egypt as they had Shechem. Because of the self-righteous violence of these two tribes, we are told that they would not be permitted the freedom of national self determination.
"Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. My soul, come not into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be thou not united; for in their anger they slew a man, and in their self will they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel." (Genesis 49:5-7)
Simeon is not included in the list of tribes later blessed by Moses in Deuteronomy 33. It appears that Simeon was to be merged with some other tribe or tribes, thus preventing the destructiveness of his anger, while utilizing his energy for good. These Simeonites, if left to themselves, were in danger of becoming a nation of self-appointed policemen regulating the morals of the whole world according to their own standards and impulses. We know how, for example, in the 34th Chapter of Genesis, he and Levi because of their indignation, plotted to exterminate a whole family of Canaanites.
The priests and teachers of Israel were to come from Levi. And they have been outstanding men of science and literature, in addition to providing the Levitical priesthood.
"Let thy Thummin and Urim be with thy Holy One Whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with Whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children; for they have observed Thy word and kept Thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law; they shall put incense before Thee and whole burnt sacrifice upon Thine altar. Bless, Yahweh, his substance and accept the work of his hands; smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again." (Deuteronomy 33:8-11)
If we believe that these words were inspired of the Spirit, then we must also believe this is the outline of a program that Levi will be fulfilling in the "last days." This Mosaic blessing should be read in conjunction with the unconditional promise of Yahweh through Jeremiah:
"Thus saith Yahweh, If ye can break My covenant of the day, and My covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also My covenant be broken with David My servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levities the priests My ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me. (Jeremiah 33:20-22)
This promise is still in effect; not in the sense of sacrificing literal bulls and goats on literal altars. But Levi is certainly already represented among those offering the symbolic blood of the great Lamb of Yahweh on His spiritual altar. It is true that the Levites were scattered among Israel--not only among the Jews but among the Western nations. Both the Jewish and the Christian clergy have their share of Levites. Their names vary somewhat, according to their residence: Levi, Levy, Levine, Levis, Lewis, Levit, Lewyt, LeVeen, Le Vine, Levenson, Levinsky, Lewisohn, etc. Another family of the Levites are the Cohens (literally "priests") who are known in different lands as Kohns, Cohans, Cowans, McGowens, Kahanas, Coens, Goheens, etc. These are not "Jews," although many are found among the Jewish people. But the same may be said as truly about the so-called Christian nations. Levi has been "divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel."
However, we should make it clear that the descendants of Levi now have no monopoly of the ministerial or educational fields as they once did in Israel. For since the first advent of the Messiah, Yahshua (who was both the Lamb of Yahweh and a High Priest after the order of Melchizadek), He has opened the door of the priesthood to every true child of Yahweh, as it is written,
"And hast made us unto our Elohim, kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:10)
and as Peter says,
"Ye also as living stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Yahweh by Yahshua the Messiah." (I Peter 2:5)
Instead of having the pessimism of Elijah (I Kings 19:14), let us have the optimism of Yahweh (I Kings 19:18). For He surely has kept unto Himself a remnant of that tribe at work in the ministry to fulfill His promises. As long as night and day continue, so long shall Levi continue before Yahweh. Unlike Simeon, Levi has no territory at all but is scattered among all the nations of the west.
JUDAH AND BENJAMIN
When the ten northern tribes seceded from the union, only two remained which had any territory. Judah and Benjamin, whom we know as "Jews." In fact, the word "Jew" is derived from "Judah," which means "praise."
"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: Thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee. Judah is a lion's whelp. From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion; and as an old lion who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine and His ass's colt unto the choice vine. He washed His garments in wine and His clothes in the blood of grapes; His eyes shall be red with wine and His teeth white with milk." (Genesis 49:8-12)
Some Christians have been so prejudiced against the Jews that they have allowed themselves to be blinded to the prophecies concerning Judah and the Messiah, Whom Judah was instrumental in providing. Again, let us remember that this prophecy is for the "last days." Up to now it appears to have been mainly Judah's enemies who had their hands at Judah's throat. But in the last days the situation is to be reversed. The full power of Judah has never been displayed, but as soon as the Jewish people as a whole recognize and accept their Messiah as described in Zechariah 12, Yahweh will open His eye toward them and become their deliverer, just prior to the second advent.
That part of the above quotation concerning the sceptre not departing from Judah until Shiloh comes to trample the winepress and gather the scattered people, has troubled many sincere believers because they have tried to force it to mean something different from what it says. It has been erroneously taught that this passage refers to the first coming of the Messiah rather than the second. To support this theory it was necessary to advance the fiction that it was after He came that the Jewish nation lost her sceptre and lawgivers. This, of course, is not in accordance with the facts of history. For Judah had neither king or lawgiver after 606 B.C. when Nebucchadnezzar ended their political independence. Zedekiah, the last reigning king of Judah was deposed and carried away to Babylon 600 years before the Nativity.
Several years ago Eliezer Kaplan, Finance Minister of the new State of Israel, is said to have been in Wall Street to see about floating a bond issue. One of the bankers asked to see the last three balance sheets of his nation. Kaplan is reported to have replied that he could easily supply the last two, but that the one before that had been destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar's army took Jerusalem. Nevertheless, Jeremiah 33:17 distinctly says
"There shall never be wanting unto David a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel."
And Judah's right to rule is also mentioned in Zechariah 10, where we are informed that both the true Messiah (the lasting cornerstone) and the false one (the temporary tent-nail of "Anti-Messiah") are to be of Jewish descent.
"Out of him [Judah] shall come the Cornerstone, out of him the tent-nail...."
Now, inasmuch as the Jews lost their king and national autonomy 600 years B.C., if we do not doubt Yahweh's promise, it is fairly obvious that David's descendants must have been and must still be ruling over the house of (ten-tribed) Israel. I would remind you that six years before the government of Judah was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar, the ten tribes had regained their independence under Cyaxares (Chapter VIII). From earliest times the royal families of the Aryan peoples have intermarried. The British royal family is said to trace its ancestry back to King David of the Old Testament (Cf. Cowan, F.M., A Coronation Story, God's Covenant with Judah, London 1911. Robert Banks & Son, Racquet Court, Fleet Street, E.C.). Because of the close intermarriage of royalty all over Europe, this probably means that all these ruling families are of Jewish Davidic extraction. We have no reason to doubt and every reason to believe Yahweh's promise that a descendant of David will sit upon the throne of Israel until the coming of Shiloh, Who will no longer ride the lowly ass's colt, but will tie it up (lay aside His meek role) in order to trample out the vintage of wrath and make His enemies his footstool. Instead of the Lamb before His shearers, Yahshua will come in His Glory to put an end to Armageddon. And unto Him shall the gather of the dispersed tribes (all twelve) of Israel be.
The second coming of the Messiah is to be one of power and glory, to judge and avenge. "Vengeance is Mine" (not man's) "saith Yahweh, I will repay," (Romans 12:19 quoting Deuteronomy 32:35). His garments are therefore dipped in wine (blood) as it is written.
"Wherefore art Thou red in Thy apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winevat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me; for I will tread them in Mine anger, and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments; and I will stain all My raiment. For the day of My redeemed is come." (Isaiah 63:2-4
"And I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. ....And He was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood." (Revelation 19:11 and 13)
Now, in re-reading Genesis 49:11, it is clear that the Messiah is is returning in fierceness and wrath toward His enemies who are also the enemies of Israel. And we have His word for it that he will not return until such time as the Jews are ready to welcome Him.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left to you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of Yahweh." (Matthew 23:37-39)
The Jews have a great mission yet to fulfill, for contrary to popular belief,
"Thus saith Yahweh Sabaoth: In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that Yahweh is with you." (Zechariah 8:23)
"And I will pour upon the House of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced and shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son...." (Zechariah 12:10)
"In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the House of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." (Zechariah 13:1)
These prophecies were spoken by Zechariah almost five hundred years B.C. Surely summer is nigh. (Chapter X).
Two tribes remained after the secession (I Kings 11:36; I Kings 12:21; and II Chronicles 11:1). The two are inseparable. In fact, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah is located in Benjamin's territory.
"Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil." (Genesis 49:27)
In many ways, Benjamin was the spoiled child and the "black sheep" of the family. For an indication of Benjamin's moral turpitude we need read only the last three chapters of the Book of Judges (chapters 19-21). It seems likely that many of the violent, racketeering atrocities and communist activities which have in recent times been attributed to Jews are in reality the deeds of the Benjaminites among them. They are the ruthless go-getters who have a wolf-like ferocity and cunning, combined with a congenital tendency to be headstrong and despite the rights and feelings of others. Shakespeare's Shylock seems to typify the character we should expect from the Benjaminites. But strangely enough, many of those who engage in chicanery and violence in the morning of their lives become philanthropists at night. In their youth they "devour the prey," then retire from active business and engage in charity: "at night they divide the spoil."
In spite of Benjamin's proclivities, the Almighty has undertaken to condition him through the therapeutic experiences of history so that at least he will be vastly changed. The Most High loves sinners and wants to save them.
"And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of Yahweh shall dwell in safety by him; and Yahweh shall cover him all day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders." (Deuteronomy 33:12)
The full restoration of the Jews to their national home is closely tied up with the restoration of the land of Benjamin, for Jerusalem is in Benjamin's land. Consider the significance of Jeremiah 32, where he (Jeremiah) is commanded to buy his uncle's field, not for an investment in real estate, but to symbolize the fact that the land was assured to the tribe of Benjamin. For Anathoth as well as Jerusalem is part of Benjamin's portion.
"Ad I gave the evidence of purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle's son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. And I charged Baruch before them saying, Thus saith Yahweh Sabaoth, the Elohim of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith Yahweh Sabaoth, the Elohim of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land." (Jeremiah 32:12-15)
"Behold I will gather them out of all countries whither I have driven them in Mine anger, and in My fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place and I will cause them to dwell safely." (Jeremiah 32:37)
"For thus saith Yahweh, like as I have brought all this evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. And fields shall be bought in this land, whereof ye say it is desolate without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans. Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, ad in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south; for I will cause their captivity to end, saith Yahweh." (Jeremiah 32:42-44)
"Thus saith Yahweh Sabaoth, Again in this place which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flock to lie down. In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that counteth them, saith Yahweh. Behold the days come saith Yahweh, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the House of Israel and to the House of Judah. In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land." (Jeremiah 33:12-15)
The same Mighty One of Israel who said that he who touches Judah touches the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8) also said of Benjamin, "Yahweh shall cover him all day long," (Deuteronomy 33:12).
We have seen how the three races of mankind which exist in the world today, according to the science of Anthropology, correspond to the three races which the Bible describes as the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth; that the Biblical account and the explanations offered by the world's foremost anthropologists and ethnologists are in agreement. We have also seen that one of these races, the descendants of Shem or, in modern language, the Caucasians, have been and are still being benefited by certain promises made to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not that these descendants deserved it, mind you, but because Yahweh made the promises unconditionally.
"I, Yahweh, change not: therefore ye O sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Because of these promises, Yahweh undertook to deal with Israel in a very special way, leaving them to exercise their free will, but nevertheless placing obstacles to teach then and divert them into His way. To paraphrase Daniel Webster: things past, present and future are all equally present in the mind of the Most High. With Him, there is no succession of time or ideas as we conceive them. Hence the relative terms past, present and future, as used among men, cannot with strict propriety be applied to Him. This was Webster's interpretation of the doctrines of foreknowledge and predestination, which he felt did not impose "any fatality or necessity on men's actions or infringement of free agency" (see Linton, Irwin, H., A Lawyer Examines the Bible, 1943: Boston, W. A. Wilde Company, p. 20). Thus Yahweh both told Israel how to go and what to avoid, but also explained to them what would happen to them if they made the wrong choice (which He foreknew they would do). He also told them they be "a peculiar treasure to Him, above all people" if they would obey Him. And He set about making them desire to do so, dealing with them patiently with admonitions and warnings, then with chastisement to the end that these stubborn, headstrong people should be brought--in spite of themselves--to a point where they would see and perceive clearly the choice between obedience and love on the one hand and destruction on the other. As we have seen, Yahweh permitted Israel to reap the fruits of their own conduct, just as a kindly parent will on occasion permit a habitually heedless child to burn his fingers. This is not cruelty but kindness. This didactic and therapeutic process provides the means of saving him from making a fatal error later on. So has it been with the descendants of Jacob. Because they lacked spiritual brotherhood, the twelve tribes split up. The ten, known by various names at various times, were carried away to Assyria en masse, later revolting under Cyaxeres to form the Medo-Persian Empire. The other two, the Jews, meanwhile also reaped the trouble they had sown and were taken away to Babylon. After they had served their 70-year sentence, they were rescued by their Medo-Persian relatives. Returning to Jerusalem, the two tribes, whom we still know as Jews today, have had a continuity of integrated history such as the ten have not had. Colonizing to the north and west of the Medo-Persian Empire, the ten tribes became the barbarian supporters of Alexander the Great. And later on, when the mighty Roman Empire fell, it was they who again struck as "Yahweh's battle ax and weapons of war" and crushed Rome, settling upon its foundations. We know the descendants of these barbarians today as the peoples who comprise "western civilization"; the Latinos, Teutons, British, French, Slavs, Benelux, Americans, etc.
The general outlines and many of the details of this program were clearly known to Jacob and Moses who foretold the status of each tribe "in the latter days" of the age. The prophets, all of them, foresaw some part of the plan, or as in Daniel and Revelation, for example, saw a view of the overall plan itself. We have seen, too, Yahweh's chastisement of His people and the dispersion of His "peculiar treasure" into the world, "like as grain is sifted in a sieve." But we have His promise that "not one grain" will be lost, and that the prodigal son (the ten tribes) will be restored to their Father's household by accepting His grace. Most of the parables throughout the Bible concern this central plan for conditioning and motivating all of Israel to accept and joyfully live by the laws of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The biological relationship of the races of man has never been seriously questioned. It is their spiritual brotherhood which has yet to be established. Men become spiritual brothers by belief and adoption.
"...to them gave He power to become the children of Yahweh; that is, to them that believe on the Name of Him who was born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of Yahweh. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:12-14, Sacred Name Version)
The "brotherhood of man" is something we often hear spoken about loosely as though it were something which is a natural, biological state. In that sense it merely expresses the relationship of one animal to another and has no moral or spiritual significance. The Spiritual brotherhood of man, however is decidedly not something people are born with, but a state that is often attained only through hardship, and consists first of belief, then of being born again into the Household of Yahweh. But Abraham's descendants are only partially ready to accept the role of obedient children. Both the two and the ten are loath to give up their wishful thinking that they can bring about "a just and lasting peace" through their own efforts.
For the future, we see a final chapter about to unfold: The reconfederation of Israel in their western-coastland homes (i.e., Europe, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). Politically, this would appear to require (1) an expanded NATO or a similar sort of organization which would include the Slavic peoples now behind the iron curtain; (2) the full reestablishment of the Jews in those parts of Palestine now held by Arabs or internationalized as is Jerusalem; and (3) the cooperation of the ten and the two for peace. But these twelve tribes will yet have a great final lesson to learn. They shall seek peace and prosperity through man's methods and will set up a kind of international police force with a "benevolent" chief of police.
"There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death."
"Peace in our time" or a "just and lasting peace" cannot be obtained by police action. Of such is not the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
"For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh..." (I Thessalonians 5:3)
For the sons of Japheth and the sons of Ham (i.e., the Oriental, or Yellow-Brown Communists together with the Negroid peoples of Africa) will unite to destroy western civilization, that is, Israel as we read in Ezekiel 38. Armageddon is no mere figure of speech. It is to be the great final proof of what a hopeless fiasco Israel gets itself into without Yahweh. If you doubt the lineup for this last final "labor pain" of Israel's travail, compare the cast of characters given in the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel with the identification of the sons of Ham and the sons of Japheth given in the 10th chapter of Genesis. Armageddon is described by the Savior in Matthew 24:21 as something much worse than anything which will have occurred up to that time:
"...great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be..."
For a detailed account of the "modern warfare" to be employed in Armageddon, read the 2nd chapter of Joel. If you do not agree that his description of chariots which run like mighty men, climb walls and march "every one in its own ways" (Joel 2:7) does not represent flame-throwing armored tanks, then I ask you to try to describe them yourself in a few words without the use of modern terminology.
"A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea and nothing shall escape them." (Joel 2:3)
"Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk everyone in his path; and when they fall upon the sword they shall not be wounded." (Joel 2:8)
In Revelation 13:12-13, we see that the beast (federation) with the ten horns and the beast with the two horns together can "make fire come down out of heaven in the sight of men." After Los Alamos and Hiroshima and Bikini, this verse should have a good deal more meaning fo r us.
Or turn to Revelation 9:16 and learn the size of the military forces which will be involved. Up to 1956 A.D., the World has not seen a war in which as many as 200,000,000 troops have taken part. But at Armageddon,
"The number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand, and I heard the number of them..."
Only with full mobilization of the Asiatics would such an army be possible. Ezekiel 39:11-16 states that it will take seven months to bury the bulk of the dead and after that "men of continued employment" (verse 14) will be engaged in the cleanup. This would seem to be a very efficient operation what with radioactive remains to dispose of.
At the last, the situation of the western nations will be so desperate that Israel as a whole will have a sudden and painful insight into the cause of her troubles, and will cry out to Yahweh and to Yahshua for deliverance. Then the Stone (Aben) cut out without hands (Daniel 2:34) will strike the ten toes of the image. And the Jews will say (Zechariah 12:10 and Matthew 23:37-39) "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of Yahweh." Then will He come as the deliverer at the head of His army, no longer riding meekly upon a donkey (Genesis 49:11 and Matthew 21:5) but conquering and to conquer, to claim His own, the peculiar treasure hid in the field.
If you would like additional information on anything presented in Elder Traina's book, please feel free to contact us. May you be blessed in your search for truth and eternity.