What a miraculous occasion it will be when the modern peoples of Yisra’ĕl realize who they are! The idea that the “Lost Ten Tribes of Yisra’ĕl” can be found in Western nations is highly unpopular today. Those in the West who have even heard of it put this notion somewhere between uneducated, wild-eyed fanaticism at best – and racism at worst.
This is assuredly not common knowledge today, and clearly, the peoples of Yisra’ĕl do not want to believe the historical fact of their ancestry. As with the rest of Yahweh’s truth that is rejected by carnal man, Yisra’ĕlites believe what they have been conditioned to believe (Ephesians 2:1-3) and what they want to believe.
An individual’s belief in his physical descent from Yisra’ĕl is highly unpopular, at least in part, because when he accepts it, he must also accept the requirements and obligations that come with it. How often do Christian leaders – many of whom are Yisra’ĕlites – make statements such as, “Only the Jews have to keep the law; Christians are under grace”? In these words, they misunderstand the intent of the law as well as the identity of Yahweh’s physical people today. This predisposition, even among the religious, is so set against the reality of where Yahweh’s people are that it will take something extraordinary for the scales to be stripped from their eyes. Atheists and secularists will take even more convincing, because they do not believe in Yahweh or the Scriptures in the first place.
Somehow, though, this knowledge will be restored to Yisra’ĕl, or at least to the remnant. We know from Yisra’ĕl’s history that she does not like being called into account or told things that are inconvenient or that would cause her to have to change. This is why, more often than not, she killed the prophets, the messengers Yahweh sent to warn or to instruct. It usually took something calamitous – like captivity or subjugation – before the Yisra’ĕlites would relent and listen to Yahweh.
Perhaps this is part of the reason Ya’aqob’s Trouble will be so severe, and why Yahushua describes it as a time of “great distress, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time.” Matthew 24:21. Yisra’ĕlites are a tough people to crack, especially as they have become more secular, and it will take a tremendous amount of distress for them to let go of their worldly predispositions and accept Yahweh’s Word.
A CHANGED PEOPLE
However, Yirmeyah 31:7-11, describing the Second Exodus, shows that, one way or another, this will take place. Yisra’ĕl is again ransomed from the hand of someone stronger, just as in the original Exodus. Similarly, Yirmeyah 30:8 foretells that Yahweh will “break his yoke from [Yisra’ĕl’s] neck, and tear off your bonds, and foreigners no more enslave them.”Yeshayah 10:20 adds that “those who have escaped of the house of Yaʽaqob, never again lean upon him who defeated them, but shall lean upon YHWH, the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl, in truth.”
The Yisra’ĕlites return with weeping and with pleas for forgiveness (Yirmeyah 31:9; 50:4). The Tribulation has humbled them, and now they can see both how they have fallen short and what is expected of them. They are broken through destruction, so at last, reconciliation with Yahweh can occur. They finally recognize that they need Yahweh, a concept totally foreign in the nations of Yisra’ĕl today. Yahweh will once again be their Father, rather than being rejected and estranged as He is today. Ephraim will resume his place as Yahweh’s son. (Ephraim was the leading tribe in the north, and thus often represents all of the northern ten tribes.)
Yirmeyah 31:18-21 describes this change of heart:
“I have clearly heard Ephrayim lamenting, ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf. Turn me back, and I shall turn back, for You are YHWH my Elohim. 19 ‘For after my turning back, I repented. And after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh. I was ashamed, even humiliated, for I bore the reproach of my youth.’ 20 “Is Ephrayim a precious son to Me, a child of delights? For though I spoke against him, I still remembered him. That is why My affections were deeply moved for him. I have great compassion for him,” declares YHWH. 21 “Set up signposts, make landmarks; set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back, O maiden of Yisra’ĕl, turn back to these cities of yours!”
Notice how different verses 18-19 sound from anything being spoken by the peoples of Yisra’ĕl today. After Ya’aqob’s Trouble, Yisra’ĕl will actually grieve and moan due to the correction she receives. She will beg to be brought back to Yahweh.
Verse 20 shows the unmistakable compassion and feeling that Yahweh has for His people, and His determination to lift them out of the pitiful physical and spiritual condition they will be in at that point.
Verse 21 tells of Yisra’ĕl reversing the course of her migration millennia ago, “…set your heart toward the highway, the way in which you went. Turn back…” Yisra’ĕl comes to this condition and pleads for Yahweh’s restoration before she makes the Second Exodus, just as Yisra’ĕl cried out in Egypt to the Yahweh of their fathers, and then Yahweh delivered them. If this is correct, the identity of Yisra’ĕl will be recognized sometime during Ya’aqob’s Trouble, but before the Second Exodus takes place.
If the patterns of Yisra’ĕl’s history remain consistent, Yahweh will remind Yisra’ĕl of her obligation to Him, which will include the knowledge of who Yisra’ĕl is. She will not listen – Yisra’ĕl has rarely listened – so Yahweh will cause the nations of Ya’aqob to go through such “distress” as they have never experienced. Though Yahweh does not revel in destruction, He knows best what it will take to turn His people around. In the end, the repentant people who remain will be willingly led back to the Promised Land.
ONE NATION AGAIN
After the Great Tribulation Yahweh brings back repentant Yisra’ĕl, it will be rejoined with the remnant of Yehudah under the resurrected King David:
“And speak to them, ‘Thus said the Master YHWH, “See, I am taking the children of Yisra’ĕl from among the gentiles, wherever they have gone, and shall gather them from all around, and I shall bring them into their land. 22 “And I shall make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Yisra’ĕl. And one sovereign shall be sovereign over them all, and let them no longer be two nations, and let them no longer be divided into two reigns. 23 “And they shall no longer defile themselves with their idols, nor with their disgusting matters, nor with any of their transgressions. And I shall save them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and I shall cleanse them. And they shall be My people, and I be their Elohim, 24 while Dawid My servant is sovereign over them. And they shall all have one shepherd and and walk in My right-rulings and guard My laws, and shall do them. 25 “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Yaʽaqob My servant, where your fathers dwelt. And they shall dwell in it, they and their children and their children’s children, forever, and My servant Dawid be their prince forever. 26 “And I shall make a covenant of peace with them – an everlasting covenant it is with them. And I shall place them and increase them, and shall place My set-apart place in their midst, forever. 27 “And My Dwelling Place shall be over them. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. 28 “And the gentiles shall know that I, YHWH, am setting Yisra’ĕl apart, when My set-apart place is in their midst – forever.” ’ ” Yehezqel 37:21-28 (see also Hoshea 1:11)
The reconstituted nation of Yisra’ĕl, as well as the Promised Land, will undergo a tremendous restoration:
“Look, the days are coming,” declares YHWH, “that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed. And the mountains shall drip new wine, and all the hills melt. 14 “And I shall turn back the captivity of My people Yisra’ĕl. And they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them. And they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them, and shall make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 “And I shall plant them on their own soil, and not uproot them any more from their own soil I have given them,” said YHWH your Elohim!” Amos 9:13-15
The desert will bloom, the people’s hearts will be strengthened, and the sick will be healed (Yeshayah 35:1-7). The land will produce abundantly, the people will multiply, and the old cities will be rebuilt (Yehezqel 36:8-12). Yahweh will deliver them from their uncleannesses, undo the land’s desolation, and bless the fruit of the fields and the trees (Yehezqel 36:25-36). Yisra’ĕl will be comforted, be given hope, and will finally call Yahweh “My Husband” (Hoshea 2:14-16).
Even more importantly, Yisra’ĕl will undergo a spiritual rejuvenation. Yirmeyah 31:31-34 provides an encouraging conclusion to the saga of Yisra’ĕl and Yehudah once they have repented and returned to the land:
“See, the days are coming,” declares YHWH, “when I shall make a new covenant with the house of Yisra’ĕl and with the house of Yehudah, 32 not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Mitsrayim, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,” declares YHWH. 33“For this is the covenant I shall make with the house of Yisra’ĕl after those days, declares YHWH: I shall put My Torah in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. 34 “And no longer shall they teach, each one his neighbour, and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know YHWH,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares YHWH. “For I shall forgive their crookedness, and remember their sin no more.” (See also Yehezqel 37:26; Yirmeyah 50:5,20)
These verses, quoted in Hebrews 8:8-12 and 10:16-17, show that this is the same covenant that the Body of Messiah has already made with Yahweh. Rather than doing away with the Torah of Yahweh, the Renewed Covenant gives the people the means, not to merely obey it, but to accept it and make it a part of their lives. Yahweh will give the people of Yisra’ĕl and Yehudah new hearts, and they will finally be able to follow Yahweh consistently and have real relationships with Him. Yahweh will forgive their sins, and Yisra’ĕl will finally begin to be the witness to the rest of the world that Yahweh intended her to be. (see Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Yeshayah 62:1-2)
Even though Yahweh makes this covenant primarily with Yisra’ĕl and Yehudah (Yirmeyah 31:31), it is not exclusive. Through Yeshayahu, Yahweh shows that Gentiles who submit themselves to Him can and will also make this covenant. Of particular interest is the requirement that the Sabbath be kept by those wishing to do this. (Yeshayahu 56:1-2, 6-8)
Interestingly, despite Yahweh bringing the remnant of Yisra’ĕl out of the countries of their scattering and their being ashamed of their conduct, Yahweh will further sift His people to ensure that any rebels against Him will not be allowed into the land. Apparently, some will return from captivity but be prohibited from entering the land due to their rebellion (Yehezqel 20:33-34, 37-38).
Finally, Yehezqel 11:17, 19-21 foretells of Yisra’ĕl and Yehudah receiving from Yahweh a new heart—a spiritual heart that will enable them to keep His Commandments and Torah:
“Therefore say, ‘Thus said the Master YHWH, “And I shall gather you from the peoples, and I shall assemble you from the lands where you have been scattered, and I shall give you the land of Yisra’ĕl… 19 “And I shall give them one heart, and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 so that they walk in My laws, and guard My right-rulings, and shall do them. And they shall be My people and I shall be their Elohim. 21 “But to those whose hearts walk after the heart of their disgusting matters and their abominations, I shall recompense their deeds on their own heads,” declares the Master YHWH.”
Throughout its history, the essential difficulty in Yisra’ĕl’s relationship with Yahweh was one of the heart. Yahweh exclaims, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them, to fear Me and to guard all My commands always, so that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” Deuteronomy 5:29
In Hebrews 3:10, Yahweh again identifies this problem: “Therefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.”
The heart or spirit of a man is the center of his thought, reason, and motivation. Because of human nature, the natural – unconverted – “The heart is crooked above all, and desperately sick – who shall know it?” Yirmeyah 17:9.
It has an innate, powerful pull toward the self, always making evaluations based on what it perceives as good for the individual regardless of the effect on others. Humanity has had approximately 6,000 years of such self-centered and destructive living, proving that man is simply unable to govern himself for very long. He needs direction and leadership from another – divine – source.
The First Covenant that Yahweh made with Yisra’ĕl was a good agreement as far as it went, because all of Yahweh’s works are good. The problem was not with its terms, but with the people who made it (Hebrews 8:7-8, 10). They lacked the right heart that would have allowed them to follow Yahweh truly and obey His Laws. Yahweh, though, will give a new heart – a new spirit – to repentant Yisra’ĕlites, along with any others who desire to covenant with Him.
This “new spirit” is the Spirit of Yahweh—the Ruach haQodesh (see also Yirmeyah 32:37-42; Yehezqel 36:26-27;37:14; 39:29; Yoel 2:28-29). It is the same spirit that Yahushua told His disciples they would receive, the power that would allow them – through their words and especially through the conduct of their lives – to be witnesses of Yahweh (Acts 1:8; see Luke 24:49). It is a spirit “of power and of love and of self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) – a mind that is balanced because Yahweh’s concerns reside at its core. It is a mind inclined to obey Yahweh and to seek Him as the only Source of true solutions in a world that does not have the means or inclination to live in a way that is good for everybody and good eternally.
A MODEL NATION
As Yisra’ĕl becomes Yahweh’s model nation, due to her new heart and spirit, the rest of the world will see that Yahweh’s way – including His commandments, statutes, and judgments – produce peace and abundance. It is the nature of Yahweh’s laws that, because of their Source, they bring good, prosperity, health, abundance, peace, and contentment (Deuteronomy 4:5-8). Yet, it takes the same spirit – heart – as the Lawgiver for one to understand and keep the laws in their true spiritual intent. Yisra’ĕl’s righteous example will be so striking that the rest of humanity will desire to live the same way and will seek, not only Yahweh’s Torah, but Yahweh Himself:
“Thus said YHWH of hosts, ‘Peoples shall yet come, inhabitants of many cities, 21 and the inhabitants of the one go to another, saying, “Let us earnestly go and pray before YHWH, and seek YHWH of hosts. I myself am going.” 22 ‘And many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek יהוה of hosts in Yerushalayim, and to pray before YHWH.’ 23 “Thus said YHWH of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all languages of the nations take hold, yea, they shall take hold of the edge of the garment of a man, a Yehudite, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that Elohim is with you.” ’ ” Zecharyah 8:20-23
This is also foretold in Yehezqel 37:27-28:
“And My Dwelling Place shall be over them. And I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. 28 “And the gentiles shall know that I, YHWH, am setting Yisra’ĕl apart, when My set-apart place is in their midst – forever.” ’ ”
Yahweh, then, will chastise, humble, restore, and bless Yisra’ĕl with a new heart (spirit) so that she can show the rest of the world how to live. Kepha (Peter) writes, “YHWH is not slow in regard to the promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward us, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
Throughout the many prophecies concerning Yisra’ĕl, the trustworthiness of Yahweh is revealed at every turn. Because of Yahweh’s trustworthiness to His promises, He will act to overshadow the Exodus from Egypt with a Second Exodus. Due to His trustworthiness, the tides of history will again turn, and He will redeem His people from the depths of desperation and raise them to new heights. The nations that oppress Ya’aqob will themselves be plundered and enslaved.
Because Yahweh is trustworthy to His purpose for Yisra’ĕl, she will be humbled and brought to repentance. He will not completely destroy her but will do what is necessary to bring her to the spiritual condition and physical location that He planned from the beginning. Though His promises span thousands of years, Yahweh’s faithful purpose will never fail!