Jacob's Trouble Fulfilled in the Modern Nations
Having established that "the time of Jacob's trouble" refers to two 21-year times in Jacob's life and two 210-year cycles in the national fulfillment, we go now to thelong-term prophetic fulfillment of this time that brings us up to modern history. This long-term cycle extends 12 x 210 years, for a total of 2,520 years.
According to the Assyrian Eponym Calendar, Tiglath-Pileser III (King Pul of 2 Kings 15:19) deported the three tribes east of the Jordan river to Assyria in 745 B.C. This captivity and deportation began 24 years prior to the actual fall of Samaria, Israel's capital city. Nonetheless, their 2,520-year time of trouble began in 745 B.C. We know this by simple observation.
This 24-year overlap is not unusual in dealing with Bible prophecy. It is another example of how God shortens time by starting the second event before the first event is fully concluded. And so Israel's final 210-year cycle overlapped their long-term cycle by 24 years, as is shown by the chart below.
Britain and America: A Historical Parable
The chart above shows that America's revolt against the British monarchy in 1776 A.D. came at the end of 12 periods of 210 years, dating from the beginning of Israel's captivity. This long-term cycle links the captivities of the House of Israel with the events in 1776 in a striking way and shows that our modern history has a direct correlation with that of the ancient House of Israel. In other words, we are in some way fulfilling Bible prophecy that deals with the so-called "lost tribes of the House of Israel."
The manner of fulfillment is revealed in the chart on the next page, showing how the 13th period of 210 years (1776-1986 A.D.) is a virtual repeat of the 210 years from 931-721 B.C. You may recall that in 931 B.C. Solomon died, and the House of Israel revolted against the Davidic monarchy over the issue of high taxes without representation (1 Kings 12). The same thing occurred in 1776, when the American colonies revolted against the British monarchy.
Note also that these cycles both end on Jubilees. Samaria fell on the 14th Jubilee from Israel's Jordan crossing. Likewise, 1986 is the 120th Jubilee from Adam. Both cycles below thus have similar beginnings and endings. And as I will explain shortly, both cycles require an extra ten years to repair the breach between the nations.
The chart above illustrates the historical parable that is taking place and appears to be culminating in 1996. While interpretations may vary, the time cycle is immovable. In Chapter 14, we saw how the story of Hezekiah set the prophetic pattern for the ten years following the fall of Samaria (721-711 B.C.). It was ten years until the birth of Manasseh, who was a type of the Manchild and whose name signified the repair of the breach between Judah and Joseph.
However, we did not complete the story in Chapter 14, but saved the rest for now.
There are two events in the story of Hezekiah that are important to understand. The first is when God destroyed the Assyrian army that had been threatening to besiege Jerusalem. That story is recorded in 2 Kings 19. It established the fact that God was going to declare a Jubilee ten years late. In 2 Kings 20, God shows us how this could legally be done.
In 2 Kings 20:1, we find that "in those days" king Hezekiah became gravely ill. God sent Isaiah to tell him that he was going to die. But then Hezekiah prayed, and so God told Isaiah to turn around and go back and tell him that he would be given another 15 years of life.
4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the Word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 Turn again and tell Hezekiah, the captain of My people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears; behold, I will heal thee; on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake.
Isaiah then gave Hezekiah a choice of signs by which he might know for sure that this was of God and that he would indeed be healed in three days. The choice was (1) let time go ahead ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz; or (2) let time go backward ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. King Ahaz was Hezekiah's father. He was famous for having built a big sundial so that they could tell time more precisely. It was built in the courtyard of the king's house.
So here is the story: Isaiah conveyed God's message of doom to Hezekiah, and then left the king's house. As he was passing through the courtyard, going past the sundial of Ahaz, God told him to "turn again" and tell Hezekiah he had another 15 years to live. The sign he was to give Hezekiah involved the sundial. Should the shadow move ahead or backward?
Hezekiah said it was too easy to move time ahead, since time normally moves ahead anyway. He picked the other choice, simply because it was harder, and if time could be reversed, then he would know that it was truly the Word of God that he would live another 15 years.
11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord; and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.
This remarkable miracle is called a "sign." Because signs have meanings that go beyond ordinary miracles, we know that this has prophetic significance for our day today. When we connect this sign to the Jubilee sign in 2 Kings 19, the meaning becomes clear. But first, let us look at the sundial itself and see its place in the Scriptures.
The Songs of Degrees
The Hebrew word for "degrees" is mahalaw, which means "elevation; lit. a journey to a higher place or condition; a step. " It is also the same word translated "dial" in the above verse. Literally, the shadow was to go backward ten "steps" on the "steps" of Ahaz. While it is not certain what this sundial looked like, we do know that it marked the time of day. This miracle of time that God performed was commemorated in a series of 15 Psalms known as "The Songs of Degrees." They are Psalms 120-134.
According to The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, under the heading "Degrees, Songs of," we read in part,
According to the Mish, Middoth 2:5, Sukkah 51b, there was in the temple a semicircular flight of stairs with 15 steps which led from the court of the men of Israel down to the court of the women. Upon these stairs the Levites played on musical instruments on the evening of the first day of Tabernacles. The most probable view is that the hymns were sung by pilgrim bands on their way to the three great festivals of the Jewish year. The journey to Jerusalem was called a "going up," whether the worshipper came from north or south, east or west.
So we see from this that the Songs of Degrees, associated with the sundial of Ahaz and the great miracle that occurred in Hezekiah's day, later came to be used in connection with the feast days of Israel-particularly the Feast of Tabernacles. There was music at the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles, on the evening of the first day. Moreover, in the same book, under "Dial of Ahaz," we read,
At the head of these same steps in the gateway, lepers who had been cleansed from their disease presented themselves to the priests.
Since leprosy is a Biblical type of the human mortal condition inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12), the cleansing of the leper typifies our final purification and cleansing from mortality and sin that must occur some year at the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Jubilee Savings Time
The miracle of time that God did for Hezekiah is being repeated in our own day on a greater scale. While these ten steps on the sundial represented a mere 20-minute reversal of time to Hezekiah, this has a much greater prophetic meaning when applied to our situation today. For us the ten steps prophesy of ten years.
In 2 Kings 19, we see that the Jubilee promise was to come in the third year (19:29). The Jubilee promise came eight years after the fall of Samaria. God said they would not sow or reap that year or the next year, but the third year the Remnant would come forth. That "third year" was the tenth year after the fall of Samaria. It was also ten years after the 14th Jubilee.
In 2 Kings 20, Isaiah told Hezekiah that he would be healed on the third day. This time runs directly parallel to the third year in the previous chapter. Isaiah told Hezekiah he would "go up unto the house of the Lord" (2 Kings 20:5) on that third day. Prophetically speaking, this is synonymous with the prophecy of the Remnant coming forth in the third year. Both speak of things that are to occur at the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles in a Jubilee year.
The people were to go up to Jerusalem each year on the three main feast days of Israel (Ex. 23:17). The Levitical choir sang the songs of the degrees at the opening ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles. One of those songs is Psalm 122, which begins with, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." This would have had great personal meaning to Hezekiah himself concerning his day of healing, for he was to "go up unto the house of the Lord" on the third day (2 Kings 20:5).
Hezekiah's promise also has great significance to us today as we await our own promise of healing and immortality. We are not looking for mere healing of some fatal disease. We are looking for the reversal of the death process that has worked within all mankind since the time of Adam's sin. It is the spiritual leprosy in all of us. Recall that cleansed lepers stood at the head of those fifteen steps at the Temple when they presented themselves to God. It is likewise the place that we shall stand when we are presented to the Father faultless, incorruptible, and immortal, fully cleansed from the leprosy that has afflicted mankind during his 6,000 years of labor, bondage, and death.
Hezekiah's story tells us that this presentation of lepers for cleansing is timed to occur the third day after the promise is given. The promise of Jubilee was given to Hezekiah eight years after the 14th Jubilee. In our day, 1994 is eight years after the 120th Jubilee. By this way of reckoning, the end of the third year, or the third day, would come to the fall of 1996. In fact, this entire revelation about the story of Hezekiah and the timing that I have here put forth was something God showed me October 2, 1994. I was in Winnipeg, Manitoba at the time, where I had been invited to speak at a conference. In studying short-term cycles in early August of that year, I had come to see October 2nd as a very significant day to watch. I was not disappointed.
The revelation came about 1:00 a.m., and later that day I was led to proclaim to the people that the breach between Judah and Joseph was shortly going to be repaired. I was led to read Ezekiel 37:15-28 as a prayer and as a prophetic proclamation. It is the passage dealing with the two sticks of Judah and Joseph that were to "become one in Mine hand" (37:19). Even as Hezekiah's son, Manasseh, the promised "remnant," was born at the end of the third year (ten years after the fall of Samaria), so also was the foundation of the Temple laid in the fall of 1996. Secondly, even as Hezekiah was healed on the third day so that he could go up to the house of the Lord, so also the third day was the fall of 1996, when the foundation of the new House was laid.
The great modern parable of the time of Jacob's trouble is being repeated in world history today. The final 210-year cycle of Jacob's trouble began in 1776 A.D. with a revolt against the monarchy by the House of Israel (Joseph). The cycle ended in 1986 at the 120th Jubilee. Both the Church and the nations, however, were unprepared and unrepentant at the day of their visitation. Like the House of Israel, their captivity was extended beyond the Jubilee. At that point, God began to work within the hearts of His Overcoming Remnant to bring these things to a close. In 1994, we received the promise and the understanding of Hezekiah's prophecy. It appears that in the Jubilee declaration in 1996 we saw the "birth of Manasseh." It is the Remnant--the Temple--that shall take root downward and bear Fruit upward (2 Kings 19:30).
This Temple work-when it is finished-will see the fullness of the Spirit poured out upon a people who will then be sent out into all the world to preach the Word with boldness and bring all things under His feet. Theirs is the work that will unite the nations under one Head-Jesus Christ. In the forefront of this will be the reunification of Judah and Joseph (Hosea 1:10). We may, of course, speculate on the precise manner of fulfillments of these things, but it is best that this book not deviate too far astray.
What we do know is that the fall of 1996 was the end of 220 years from 1776. We know that it was also ten years past the most climactic Jubilee in history-the 120th Jubilee. We know that the revelation of Hezekiah was given to us in 1994, eight years after the 120th Jubilee from Adam, which runs directly parallel to the revelation that Isaiah gave to Hezekiah eight years after the 14th Jubilee from the Jordan crossing.
How could God establish a Jubilee ten years late? In studying appointed times, there is no such thing as "late." God is never late on His Calendar; though He is often "late" by ours. God is the King of the Ages, the God of Time. He is able to manipulate time to suit His purposes, and yet He can do so without violating a single one of His laws. In Hezekiah's day, it might seem impossible for God to stop the world and turn it backwards, even for a few minutes, because the earth is rotating over 500 mph. Stopping it would slam us all to the ground like a jet hitting the side of a mountain. But God did so without any noticeable effect.
This sign was most important, because it established the "how" of God's appointed time. The only way the Jubilee could be lawfully fulfilled ten years late was if God would turn the clock back ten years to coincide with the lawfully appointed time. The sign that was given to Hezekiah tells us that insofar as legal time is concerned, Manasseh was born on the 14th Jubilee (721 B.C.), even though by men's calendars it was ten years late (711 B.C.).
All of this tells us that in the fall of 1996 God legally turned the clock back ten years to the 120th Jubilee, so that the Temple's foundation could be laid at the lawfully appointed time in 1986. It is what we call "Jubilee Savings Time."
Once we see this, we can recognize the little hints that God gave us throughout 2 Kings 19 and 20. In 19:7, God says that the Assyrians were to "return" to their own land. In 19:33, we are given the strongest hint, "By the way that he came, by the same shall he return."
In chapter 20, Isaiah told Hezekiah the bad news that he was going to die, but as he went out of the house into the middle court, God said, "turn again." This Word came to Isaiah as he passed by the sundial of Ahaz. My guess is that the Word came as he checked the time. All of these things are hints that tell us that God planned to turn the clock back. And so Isaiah gave Hezekiah the choice of either turning the clock forward or backward, but it was a foregone conclusion that he would choose to have God turn the clock backward. It had to be done this way in order to depict turning the clock back ten years to the 14th Jubilee, for only then could these Jubilee promises be fulfilled at the appointed time. Only in this manner could Manasseh be born and the Remnant come forth at the appointed time of the Jubilee.
The fulfillment of this prophetic act is found in both Pentecost and the Jubilee. Pentecost, you will recall, is measured on a 50-day time cycle from the Wave-Sheaf Offering (Lev. 23:15), while the Jubilee is measured on a 50-year cycle. Pentecost is, in effect, a type and shadow of a Jubilee. If the disciples had to tarry ten days from Christ's ascension to the day of Pentecost, then we might perhaps tarry ten years (1996-2006) for the fullness. The only real difference, other than the length of time, is that the disciples' tarrying period ended with Pentecost, while our tarrying period extends ten years past the Jubilee.
The reason is simple. Hezekiah was given the choice of moving the clock ahead or backward ten steps. He chose the latter, because it was too easy to go ahead in time-after all, the clock would normally go ahead anyway. In effect, Hezekiah's choice was to establish either the pattern of Pentecost, or the pattern of the Jubilee. He picked the greater of the two-the Jubilee. Thus, the disciples tarried ten days, culminating at Pentecost, while we today are tarrying ten years past the Jubilee. We must go beyond the Jubilee in order for God to turn the clock back by Jubilee Savings Time.
Why Britain and America?
The question naturally arises, Why did God choose Britain and America to fulfill this great parable of the time of Jacob's trouble? How is it that the American Revolutionary War began in 1776, which is precisely 2,520 years after the House of Israel began to be put into captivity and deported into Assyria (745 B.C.)?
There is a solid historical reason for this. When the House of Israel was deported by the Assyrians, the people were "lost" only because they lost their name "Israel." The people themselves were never really lost. In fact, they began to multiply greatly in their captivity, exactly as the prophets said they would. For instance, after prophesying the captivity and casting out of Israel, Hosea 1:10 says,
10 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 them, Ye are not My people; there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the Sons of the living God.
A study of the first two chapters of Hosea shows us that Israel was to be cast off and divorced from God. They were to be scattered ("Jezreel"); they were to have no mercy ("Lo-ruhamah"); and they were to be no longer God's people ("Lo-ammi"). But at the same time, God promised that they would be regathered under one Head (Jesus Christ) and come out of captivity. In fact, God told them He would "betroth thee unto Me in righteousness" (Hosea 2:19). The prophecy culminates with a Hebrew play on words. The name "Jezreel" means "God scatters," but it also means "God sows." (One must scatter the seed in order to sow it in the field.) Thus, at first the name prophesies that Israel was to be scattered; but ultimately it shows God's Purpose-to sow Israel in the earth in order to multiply her as the sand of the sea. In spite of all, God remains faithful to His promise to Abraham. Hosea 2:23 concludes,
23 And I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art My God.
In other words, even though God did indeed cast off His people Israel, scattering them in the nations by the hand of the Assyrians, God's ultimate Purpose was to sow them in the earth, so that they would multiply and fulfill the promise to Abraham. Furthermore, Hosea prophesied that in the very place (of their captivity) where it is said that they are not God's people (Israel), they would be Christians known as "the Sons of the living God."
The problem is that most Christian writers try to make the Jews fulfill these prophesies, when the Jews, in fact, are fulfilling an entirely different set of prophecies. This is why modern teachers blundered so badly in 1948, thinking that the Jews were going to be converted within seven years, and the time of Jacob's trouble was beginning at that time. Forty years later, another author boldly proclaimed "88 reasons" why Jesus was coming in 1988. One of his most prominent "proofs" was that this was 40 years after 1948, which he said was the "generation" that would not pass until they had seen all these things fulfilled (Matt. 24:34). His premises were based upon incorrect historical assumptions about the Jews and Israel.
If they had known that the Jews were to fulfill the prophecies of Edom and the remnant of Judah, instead of those dealing with the lost House of Israel, they would not have made such serious mistakes. The Jews were certainly "cast off" in 70-73 A.D., even as Israel was cast off during 745-721 B.C.-but the difference is that the prophets uniformly prophesy good things for lost Israel even during the time of their captivity; while severe judgments are pronounced upon Jerusalem and the remnant of Judah.
Compare, for instance, the prophecy in Jeremiah 18:1-10 about the potter. God says that the House of Israel was marred in the potter's hand, so God was going to beat down the wet clay and remake it into a vessel fit for His use. Then beginning in verse 11, God begins to prophesy about Jerusalem and Judah. First comes an indictment for their sins, and then in chapter 19 we see the end of that prophecy. Jeremiah was to take an old earthen vessel (as opposed to wet clay that was pliable), he was to go to the city dump (valley of the son of Hinnom, i.e., gehenna), and smash the earthen vessel there, saying, in Jeremiah 19:11-12,
11 .Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again, and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury. 12 Thus will I do unto this place, saith the Lord, and to the inhabitants thereof, and even make this city as Tophet.
The contrast is striking. An old clay vessel, once broken, cannot be remade into another vessel. Only wet, pliable clay can be used to remake a vessel. The House of Israel is like the pliable clay; the remnant of Judah-Edom will be smashed in gehenna and never again be built into a vessel of honor. God said He would forsake Jerusalem as He did Shiloh (Jer. 7:14). Shiloh was the place where the Ark of the Covenant rested until the time of Eli, when it was captured by the Philistines. The Ark never returned to Shiloh. Eventually, David took it to Jerusalem. But in Jeremiah's day, because the people of Jerusalem had made that Temple a den of thieves, God forsook that place. Ezekiel saw the glory depart (Ezek. 10:4-19). It never returned to the Temple. Even when Zerubbabel rebuilt the Temple in 515 B.C., the glory did not return to it when they dedicated it to God. The work was good and was directed by God, but the site itself was cursed.
This is consistent with the New Testament prophecies regarding the cursed fig tree (Matt. 21:21), the parable of the vineyard (Matt. 21:43-44), and the parable of the citizens who hated Him and would not allow Him to reign over them (Luke 19:27).
The point is, someone must be around to fulfill these distinct prophecies for Israel and for the cursed fig tree. The lost House of Israel must exist to be remade into another vessel; the remnant of Judah must exist to be smashed in gehenna. The problem comes when people think that the smashed vessel is going to be rebuilt into a vessel fit for God's use, and when those same people think that the original House of Israel is lost forever. Such erroneous assumptions make for huge blunders like we saw in 1948 and 1988.
The "Lost Sheep" Found
The House of Israel was really never lost at all. When the Assyrians took them captive, they became known by other names in the historical records of the Assyrians. In Merrill Unger's book, Archeology and the Old Testament, page 243, we read,
.The initial contact between Israel and Assyria evidently occurred during Omri's day, for from that time on Israel appears in cuneiform records as Bit-Humri ('House of Omri'). This official appelation was applied to Samaria, the capital city. Moreover, the designation of an Israelite King became Mar Humri ('son,' i.e., 'royal successor of Omri'). Tiglath Pileser III's reference to the land of Israel over a century later by its official name Bit Humria evidences the significance of Omri as a ruler in the history of Israel.
Unger's statement is consistent with the view of virtually all historians of ancient history. The ancient House of Israel was known in Assyrian records as Bit-Humri. The word "Bit" means "house" in the Assyrian language. In Hebrew, it is "Beth," as in Beth-lehem, "house of bread." Thus, we see that the House of Israel was known in ancient times by a name other than "Israel." It was named after king Omri, whose reign is recorded in 1 Kings 16:23-28. He appears to have been the one who first set up some sort of diplomatic relations with the Assyrian king, and thus, the nation came to be named after Omri.
Of course, the name "Omri" itself is how we spell it and pronounce it in modern English. In Hebrew, it was originally pronounced "Ghomri" and later "Khumri." Actually, it was pronounced with a guttural "gh" sound that is still found in the German language, but not in English. About this, we can quote a recognized British authority on Assyrio-Babylonian literature and customs, Theophilus G. Pinches. In his book, The Old Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia, 3rd ed., 1908, we read,
It is noteworthy that the Assyrian form of the name Yaua ("Jehu") shows that the unpronounced aleph at the end was at that time sounded, so that the Hebrews must have called him Yahua ("Hehua"). Omri was likewise pronounced in accordance with the older system, before the ghain became ayin. Humri shows that they said at that time Ghomri.
Pinches was commenting on the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer, on which we find recorded the tribute that Jehu king of Israel paid to Assyria. The inscription pictures Jehu bowing before the Assyrian king and paying him tribute, along with the words, "This is Yaua (Jehu), the son of Khumri" (Omri). In A Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum, printed in 1922 by the Trustees, pages 46-47, we read the following about the Black Obelisk of Shalmanezer,
Payment of tribute by "Iaua (Jehu), the son of Khumri (Omri)," who brought silver, gold, lead, and bowls, dishes, cups, and other vessels of gold. The description 'son of Omri' is thought merely to show that Jehu was an Israelite, because Israelitish territory was called "Bit Khumri."
These historical facts are perhaps too technical for most, but they are useful in showing that Israel was originally called the House of Ghomri, or Bit Khumri. The most common form of this name became Gimirri and Gamera, who inhabited the territory where the Israelites had been taken as captives. In later years, as the languages evolved, the "gh" became softened to a "kh" sound. (Thus, the Welch people today still go by their ancient name, Khumri.) 2 Kings 17:6 gives the location of the land of the Gimirri, which is consistent with the findings of historians,
6 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.
This is also where Ezekiel found them when he had traveled to them to prophesy to them about their future. Ezekiel 1:1 says he was "among the captives by the river of Chebar." This river is now known by the name Khabour. Bullinger tells us in his notes on Ezekiel 1:1 (in The Companion Bible) that this river empties into the Euphrates about 45 miles north of Babylon. Ezekiel was a missionary prophet to the Israelite tribes in Assyria. Obviously, they had not been lost in his day, even though he prophesied about 150 years after their captivity.
One of the reasons modern Bible teachers have lost the House of Israel is because they insist that the name Gimirri comes from Gomer, rather than from Ghomri. This Gomer, they say, is one of the descendants of Japheth (Gen. 10:2). This view was propagated years ago, prior to the great archeological discoveries of the nineteenth century. It was total speculation and had no historical foundation whatsoever. No historical record exists that would connect the Gimirri with the Gomer of Genesis 10:2. But with the excavation of the great library at Nineveh in the early twentieth century, all speculation vanished. All historians now recognize that the name comes from Ghomri, who was king Omri of the northern House of Israel.
From a Biblical and prophetic perspective, however, we do find it very interesting that Hosea was commanded by God to marry a harlot named Gomer in order to portray God's marriage with the House of Israel. In the prophetic type, Hosea was a type of Christ, while Gomer represented Israel, the Bride. It is incredible that in the prophecy of Hosea, God saw fit to use the official Assyrian name for Israel. Later, when God divorced the House of Israel, we find that Israel was known among the nations as Ghomri, or Bit-Khumri. Furthermore, the king of Israel who was ruling Israel at the time of Samaria's fall was king Hoshea. (See 2 Kings 17:6, quoted earlier.) This is but a slight variation of the name Hosea. Thus, we see that Hosea and Gomer were prophetic types of Hoshea and Ghomri. There is no question about it. The Ghomri-Gimirri were Israelites in their Assyrian captivity, NOT the people of Gomer, the son of Japheth.
The Gimirri Israelites are well known in history. Virtually all historians tell us that these people dominated the region for centuries just south of the Caucasus mountains between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Instead of being absorbed by the nations, they increased greatly, even as God had promised. As their population grew, many of them began to move north and west through Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and into Europe. Others went into Europe through the northern route across the Caucasus into the Crimean peninsula. Hence, they were given the name, "Caucasians." Their tombstones in the Crimea show that they did not soon forget their Israelitish origins. In the book, Academia Scientiarum Imperialis, Memoires, by A.E. Harkavy, 1863, Vol. 24, No. 1, p. 9, we read of this epitaph on one of those tombstones,
I, Jehuda ben Mose ha Nagolon, of the East country, ben Jehuda ha-Gibbor of the tribe of Naphtali, of the generation Schillem, who went into exile with the exiles who were driven away with Hosea, the king of Israel, together with the tribes of Simeon and Dan and some of the generations of the other tribes of Israel, which (all) were led into exile by the enemy Shalmanezer from Schomron and their cities to Chalach, that is, Baclack and to Chabar, that is, Chabul and to Hara, that is, Herat, and to Gosan, that is, Gozna, the cities of the exiled tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh, which Pilneser drove into exile and settled there (and from there they scattered themselves over the whole land of the East as far as Sinim)-when I returned from wandering in the land of their exile and from journeyings in the dwelling places of the descendants of their generations in their resting places of the Land of Krim. [i.e., the Crimea].
On page 130 of Frederick Haberman's book, Tracing Our Ancestors, he quotes another inscription in an ancient Israelitish cemetery in the Crimea that had been deciphered by Prof. Chwolsen of Petrograd. It reads as follows,
This is the tombstone of Buki, the son of Itchak the priest; may his rest be in Eden, at the time of the salvation of Israel. In the year 702 of the years of our exile.
This epitaph makes it clear that some had kept precise records of their exile and that they considered themselves Israelites of the Dispersion. These people were not of the Jewish Dispersion that began in 70 A.D. These were Israelites who had been dispersed eight centuries earlier, many of whom were living just north of the Black Sea in the Crimea, as many of their fellow Israelites were migrating north and west into Europe proper.
Besides tombstones, there is a small amount of literature from these Israelite captives. For instance, in the Apocrypha there is a book called Tobit. It is the story of a man of the tribe of Naphtali in the Assyrian captivity. (See Tobit 1:1-2.) We read that Tobit died in Ecbatana of Media at the age of 117 (Tobit 14:14). These Israelites of the so-called "lost tribes" were descended from those which the apocryphal book of Esdras mentions. 2 Esdras 13:40-45 reads,
40 Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Shalmanezer the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. 41 But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the nations, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, 42 That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land. 43 And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river. 44 For the Most High then showed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. 45 For through that country there was a great way to go, namely of a year and a half; and the same region is called Arsareth.
This passage comes from the book of Esdras (the Greek form of the name Ezra). It is considered "apocryphal" because it is doubtful that Ezra himself wrote it. Many believe that it was written by a later writer under the pen name of Esdras. Such tactics were common in ancient times. Nonetheless, no matter who wrote it, it could not have been written prior to the original Ezra, who was sent to Jerusalem in 458 B.C., under the Edict of Artaxerxes of Persia. Even if the book had been written by the original Ezra, it shows that the "lost" Israelites could still be positively located at least three centuries after their deportation. After all, by the time Ezra went to Jerusalem in 458 B.C., the city of Samaria had been in ruins for 263 years.
Josephus records a letter written by the Greek king of Sparta to Onias, the High Priest of Judah, in the second century B.C., in which he claims to be kindred to Abraham. It is recorded in Antiquities of the Jews, XII, iv, 10,
Areus, King of the Lacedaemonians, to Onias,Sendeth Greetings
We have met with certain writing, whereby we have discovered that both the Jews and the Lacedaemonians are of one stock; and are derived from the kindred of Abraham. It is but just, therefore, that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concerns as you please. We will also do the same; and esteem your concerns as our own; and will look upon our concerns as in common with yours. Demoteles, who brings this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is four square; and the seal is an eagle with a dragon in his claws.
Onias did not have time to reply before he died. The reply came from Jonathan, the High Priest, and is recorded in Antiquities of the Jews, XIII, v, 8, as follows,
Jonathan, High Priest of the Jewish Nation,and the Senate, and Body of the People of the Jews,to the Ephori and Senate, and People of the Lacedaemonians,
If you be well, and both your public and private affairs be agreeable to your mind, it is according to our wishes. We are well also. When in former times an epistle was brought to Onias, who was then our high priest, from Areus, who at that time was your king, by Demoteles, concerning the kindred that was between us and you, a copy of which is here subjoined; we both joyfully received the epistle and were well pleased with Demoteles and Areus. Although we did not need such a demonstration; because we were satisfied about it from the sacred writings; yet did not we think fit first to begin the claim of this relation to you; lest we should seem too early in taking to ourselves the glory which is now given us by you. It is a long time since this relation of ours to you hath been renewed; and when we, upon holy and festival days, offer sacrifices to God, we pray to him for your preservation and victory. As to ourselves, although we have had many wars that have compassed us round, by reason of the covetousness of our neighbors, yet did not we determine to be troublesome either to you, or to others that were related to us. But since we have now overcome our enemies, and have occasion to send Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Antipater, the son of Jason, who are both honourable men belonging to our senate, to the Romans, we give them this epistle to you also; that they might renew that friendship which is between us. You will therefore do well to write to us and send an account of what you stand in need of from us; since we are in all things disposed to act according to your desires.
It is clear from this letter that the leadership of Judah in the second century before Christ were already aware that this Greek tribe of Lacedaemonians, or Spartans, were of the seed of Abraham. They did not attempt to contact them or lay claim to the relationship, but they did pray for them on the feast days. This is perhaps a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles, in which they offered 70 bullocks on behalf of the 70 nations of the world (Num. 29:12-32). Yet it is very likely that they would continue to offer sacrifices and to pray for their brethren of the dispersed House of Israel.
We are not told which sacred writings the Judean senate had read which told them that the Spartans were of kindred stock. However, we are given a very revealing clue in the official seal on the letter from Areus. It was the sign of the tribe of Dan. Genesis 49:17 says that "Dan shall be a serpent by the way," and thus, their standard (banner) in the wilderness was an eagle with a serpent ("dragon") in its claws. This is made apparent also in Ezekiel's vision, when he saw the throne of God surrounded by four faces, which were reflected in the four main tribes of Israel when they surrounded the throne of God (Tabernacles) in the wilderness. Ezekiel 1:10 says these four were as follows:
(1) To the south, Reuben, pictured as the face of a man,
(2) To the east, Judah, pictured as the face of a lion,
(3) To the west, Joseph, pictured as the face of an ox,
(4) To the north, Dan,pictured as the face of an eagle.
These tribal standards of Israel's encampment in the wilderness under Moses were meant to picture the four beasts around the throne in Revelation 4:7 as well. While this is a fascinating study in itself, our purpose here is only to show that the standard or seal of the tribe of Dan was the "flying eagle" (Rev. 4:7) carrying away the "serpent by the way" (Gen. 49:17). Thus, the seal on the letter of Areus identified those people as Danites. They had quite likely moved to the Greek peninsula quite early in their history, for we find that the territory allotted to the tribe of Dan in the days of Joshua was in the middle of Philistine territory. This area was not conquered fully until the time of David. Judges 18:1 tells us that the Danites had to go north of Canaan to find places where they might settle. As they increased in population, it is likely they would have colonized other parts of the world. In the time of the Trojan war, the dominant tribes and heroes of that epic were the "Danai" and the "Danaans." The Trojan war took place a few centuries after Joshua led Israel into Canaan. Thus, the tribe of Dan had plenty of time to colonize various areas of Greece and Asia Minor.
The main bulk of the "lost" tribes of Israel were known to exist even after the time of the apostles in the New Testament. Josephus wrote about the tribes of Israel in his day. In Antiquities of the Jews, XI, v, 2, he writes,
Wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans; while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now; and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.
Not only does Josephus affirm Israel's continued existence in the first century A.D., but he also tells us that God had multiplied them exceedingly, even as Hosea had prophesied (Hos. 1:10). This does not sound like Israel had been lost in their time of captivity, nor does he tell us that they had been absorbed by other nations. He tells us that those Israelites had become "an immense multitude" and were very much identifiable in the first century A.D. It may be easy to lose a few people among the nations, but it is not possible to lose "an immense multitude." They were obviously by this time the dominant people in the region beyond the Euphrates between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and had already spread throughout Asia Minor.
If Josephus knew where those Israelites were located, then it is highly improbable that the writers of the New Testament would be ignorant of their location. When we study the writings of Peter and James, we quickly see that they felt a special call to evangelize the Israelites of the Dispersion. James wrote his epistle "unto the twelve tribes that are in the Dispersion" (James 1:1, Rotherham's The Emphasized Bible). We find the same terminology in 1 Peter 1:1, and again we quote from The Emphasized Bible,
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, unto the chosen pilgrims of the Dispersion throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, (chosen) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
Thus, when Peter refers to these people as "a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9-12), he was not using spiritualized terminology. He was quite literally referring to the Israelites of the Dispersion and reminding them of their original calling at the foot of Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:5-6). He was, in effect, appealing to them on the basis of their known heritage, telling them the good news that Jesus Christ had redeemed them from the sins which brought about their Dispersion 800 years earlier. These people who, for 800 years had been "not My people" (Hosea 1:9) and had been shown "no mercy" (Hosea 1:6), were now to be reinstated as the people of God and obtain mercy (Hosea 2:23; 1 Peter 2:10).
All this, Peter says, was made possible by Jesus' work on the Cross. In His first appearing, Jesus came of the line of Judah to secure His throne rights to rule over the House of Israel. His second appearance secures His birthright, which had been given to Joseph, the ruling tribe of the dispersed and "lost" House of Israel. The work of reuniting the birthright with Jesus the King began in the days of the apostles, as they spread the gospel to those lost sheep. In doing this, of course, the gospel also went to the whole world; but Peter and James make it clear that they were concerned for their brethren of the Dispersion, who held the birthright.
While historians throughout history, and even the apostles in the New Testament, have continued to write about the Israelites, it is amazing that modern Bible teachers seem to ignore the facts completely. Their zeal to give the birthright to the Jews today blinds them to the entire flow of prophecy in its outworking among the modern nations. The only fact that makes any sense of this is that God intended that Israel be lost and thought dead, even as Jacob thought his birthright son, Joseph, was lost forever in the original prophetic pattern. But the day is coming when Joseph will be found in plain sight at the head of the nations (Gen. 45:26).
Tracing those Israelites is no longer a historical problem. The archeologists of the past century have unearthed all the evidence needed to link the lost Israelites with the Caucasian nations of the world. As we have already shown, the ancient monuments refer to them as Beth-Khumri, or House of Omri. These Khumri, or Gimirri, were called by other names by various ancient historians.
The Behistun Rock (the burial place of Darius I, king of Persia) is one of the most important of those inscriptions. It lists 23 nations or tribes that he ruled in his kingdom. The inscription is written in three languages on the face of a 1700-foot rock cliff. This enables us to see what the Israelites were called in three languages: Persian, Susian, and Babylonian. Using the translation of L.W. King and R.C. Thompson in The Inscriptions of Darius the Great at Behistun, we see that in the Persian language, Darius ruled over "Scythia." In the Babylonian language it is called "Matu Gimiri," or the land of the Gimirri (Cimmerians).
If we look at the Greek historian, Herodotus, who was contemporary with Darius, we find that he calls them by the Greek term "Sacae." Thus, in a footnote to Book IV of Herodotus, Essay 1, footnote 1, we read,
The ethnic name of Gimiri first occurs in the cuneiform records at the time of Darius Hystaspes, as the Semitic equivalent of the Arian name Saka (Sacae). . .
Thus, we find that the Gimiri, or Gimirri, are the same people as the Saka. Historians also use the Greek name Kimmeroi, or "Cimmerian" as the equivalent to Gimirri. These are the Celts.
By the same token, if we read the histories of the Roman historians, who wrote in Latin, we will find the Latinized spelling. In Latin, the Saka, or Sacae, are called Saxons. But no matter how the names are spelled or pronounced in the various ancient languages, historians have been able to identify these people as coming from the same Israelites who were taken captive into Assyria. Those Israelites migrated into Europe under many different names and multiplied greatly, that they might fulfill the promise to Abraham, according to the word of Hosea and the other prophets.
These Israelites broke up into many tribal groups as they migrated by different routes through the centuries. However, because they were all originally the same people, historians came to settle upon the term "Caucasian," because many of them migrated north through the Caucasus mountains that are located between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea as they settled in the nations of Europe. From there, many spread into the "New World" and lands around the world. The fact that these people are descended from the tribes of the House of Israel explains why Christianity took root in the West, rather than in other lands. It was in the overall Plan of God that the Gospel should go to them first, even as Hosea 1:10 had prophesied. God intended that the House of Israel should be the primary source of the world missionary movements that would carry the Gospel to the rest of the world. This is precisely what has occurred.
This, then, is why God picked America and Britain to reenact the time of Jacob's trouble from 1776 to 1986/96. God was fulfilling His Word on a physical level, so that we might know what He is doing on the spiritual level to bring forth the Manchild. In the great parable of the nations, we see the European nations representing the sons of Jacob. Britain stands at the head of those nations, geographically pictured as Jacob himself. In fact, their flag is called the "Union Jack." Jack is a shortened form for Jacob. America was populated largely by religious persecution in Europe among Jacob's sons. Joseph was "sold" into the wilderness and was "separate from his brethren" (Gen. 49:26) for 210 years. The land of Joseph itself in this parable became two nations, Canada and the United States, even as Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. During this time of Joseph's separation, we came into prominence among the nations, even as Joseph was elevated to rulership during his time of being "lost" and separated.
In fact, Joseph spent 12 years under Potiphar and in the dungeon before being elevated to power at the age of 30. Even so, on the national scale, we find that America and Canada began to come to a position of world power after 12 x 10 years (1776-1896), at the age of about 300. (The first British settlement in America came in the late 1500's. And 300 years later brings us to the late 1800's.)
At the International Peace Arch on the U.S.-Canadian border at Vancouver, British Columbia, there are two inscriptions on the archway as one goes from one country to the other. One side reads, "Children of a common mother;" the other reads, "Brethren dwelling together in unity." Does this not speak of Joseph's two sons, both born of Asenath (Gen. 41:45)?
America started out with 13 states and has grown now to 50. We started out with the same number of tribes as the original House of Israel. (Jacob had 12 sons, but Joseph's sons became two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh; this made a total of 13 tribes in all. Yet there were only 12 land-owning tribes, because Levi was not given a land inheritance.) We have now grown to 50 states, the number of the Jubilee. All of the nations of Israel around the world bear the marks of Israel in their national symbols. In that way, America is not unique. Some nations seem to bear the marks of specific tribes in Israel. Other writers have done studies on this, but such material is beyond the scope of this book.
Judaism or Christianity?
There is a book published in Hebron in the Israeli state written by Yair Davidy, entitled, The Tribes, which relates "the Israelite Origins of Western Peoples." Its Jewish author even has a Letter of Commendation from Rabbi Abraham Feld of the prestigious Maccabee Institute in Jerusalem, who writes,
Mr. Davidy is a first class historian and has produced an astonishing book. He is working in the spirit of the students of the Gaon Elyahu of Vilna, who sent emissaries looking for the lost tribes. Indeed, the Jerusalem Talmud declares in the days to come the ten tribes will be righteous converts (Sanhedrin 10). Thus, Mr. Davidy's masterly documented and profoundly thoughtful work is helping bring the world forward in the dynamic process of Redemption. We of Mosad Maccabee have only the highest praise and respect for this valuable contribution to understanding our roots and heritage.
This book is valuable, in that we now find recognized Jewish scholars admitting that Europe was peopled largely by the "lost" tribes of Israel. While many Jews have known this for a long time and have even written articles on it, it has generally been more profitable for them not to divulge this to the evangelical movement. Davidy's book starts out by telling us,
This book shows how most of the ancient Israelites were exiled and lost their identity and that today their descendants are to be found mainly amongst the "Gentile" peoples of North America, Northwest Europe, Australasia and South Africa. The present-day Jews in the Diaspora and Israel [i.e., the Israeli state] are mainly descended from only two of the original twelve tribes whereas the offspring of the remaining majority are in the above areas.. (p. 1)
These claims are not far-fetched. They are supported by Biblical, Historical, and other evidence much of which is, in effect, even recognized by the academic world, which simply has not sufficiently co-related the information in its possession and has not drawn the necessary conclusions from the proof it already acknowledges. (p. 2)
The Israelites were transported en-masse first mainly to areas in northern Mesopotamia and to Hara and from those regions they later moved northward into "Scythia" (roughly the area encompassed in the past by the U.S.S.R.) whence they migrated in several waves to the extreme north and west of Europe from which their descendants settled North America, Australasia, and South Africa. The peoples in these said nations today are thus in the Biblical and historical sense brothers of the Jews who came from the remaining southern kingdom of Judah and comprised the second half of the Hebrew nation with the Lost Ten Tribes comprising the remainder. The Jews and the Lost Ten Tribes together form the Israelite HEBREW nation. (p. 7)
For the most part, Davidy simply enlarges upon the brief material that I have presented in this chapter. Like other books that have been written on this subject in the past century or more, the evidence is solid. The historical proof has multiplied with each new archeological dig. However, from our Christian perspective, Davidy's Jewish viewpoint does present some drawbacks. It is plain that he feels Christians ought to reunite with the Jews under the banner of Judaism, or at most a Judaism with Jesus added to it. He believes that the Biblical reunification of Judah and Joseph is a call for Christians, in effect, to return to Judaism as Messianic Jews and support the very Zionist movement that he knows is not the real fulfillment of the prophecy.
As we have already seen in previous chapters, the remnant of Judah that rejected Jesus is fulfilling the prophecies of the cursed fig tree and the Zionist aspirations of Esau-Edom. Those prophecies tell us that that branch of people will no longer bear any Fruit, and that the Edomites will ultimately come to a violent end sometime after their "return" to the old land.
Likewise, in dealing with the Judah remnant in His day, Jesus said specifically that the Kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the Fruits of the Kingdom (Matt. 21:43). If that is so, then how can a Christian reunite with that Fruitless nation in hopes of receiving the Kingdom? The promises of God are not to be found in association with those Jewish aspirations.
The modern Jews and the Israeli state are the "citizens" who hated Jesus, saying, "We will not have this Man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14). Jesus said they were to be brought back to that land for destruction (Luke 19:27). For the past 2,000 years, the remnant of Judah known as Jews have operated without the King, for they rejected His rule over them (Luke 19:27), slew Him in order to seize the inheritance for themselves (Matt. 21:38), and turned the Temple into a den of thieves (Matt. 21:13). This does not sound like a call for Israel to unite with the remnant of Judah that rejected Jesus' rule. Thus, for anyone to convert to Judaism would be to take on the curse that has been laid upon that nation. The solution is not for Israelites to unite with Jews or convert to Judaism, but for Jews to acknowledge their national sin and proclaim Jesus King.
Christians today need to understand this clearly. In the mad rush to convert the Jews, many Christians have instead confirmed the Jews in their Judaism by allowing more than one door into the Kingdom. Some say Jews can be saved by the law; while "gentiles" are saved by grace. Some have gone so far as to say that the Jews can be saved without accepting Jesus. They speak of the modern Jewish rabbis with reverence, as if they are somehow godly men apart from Jesus Christ. Their attempt to accommodate the Jews and not hurt their feelings has only worked to cement them into their Jewishness, giving them the impression that they can be saved by remaining in their Judaism.
Certainly, we should be tactful and manifest the love of Christ to all; but we must also keep in mind that, at times, Jesus did not seem to be tactful. His statements will always seem insulting to a Jew that does not know Him. But we should not be ashamed of Jesus' statements. If we really believe that Jesus is the Messiah without sin, we should agree with His words, even if it makes certain Jews angry. I, for one, do not find it fitting to apologize for Jesus' statements or to downplay His words in hopes of befriending and converting those who reject Him.
True Jews and True Israelites
The Scriptures are clear that there is only one way the breach can be repaired. The sticks of Judah and Joseph must be reunited in the hand of "David My servant" (Ezek. 37:24). This is a reference not to David but to Jesus, who was the "son of David" (Matt. 1:1). Jesus is the Repairer of the Breach. He came the first time of the lineage of Judah-specifically of David's line-to secure for Himself His throne rights. The second time He comes to do a Joseph work, to secure His birthright (the Kingdom). In that He comes through both Judah and Joseph, He is the Repairer of the Breach, for He earns the rights of both lines through His work.
This is why Jesus' adoptive father was named Joseph. Though he was a Judahite, he was nonetheless named Joseph to prophesy His second work or ministry in the tribe of Joseph.
This is why Micah 5:2 says He was to be born in Bethlehem Ephrata. He was born in Bethlehem first; and He comes through Ephraim (plural of Ephrata) the second time.
This is why Benjamin had two names: Benoni and Benjamin (Gen. 35:18). Benoni means "son of my sorrow," and thus, Jesus was first manifested as a "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). His second manifestation is as Benjamin, the "son of my right hand."
In that He is manifested through both Judah and Joseph, He becomes the inheritor of both Judah's right to rule and Joseph's birthright.
In the Old Testament, each tribe and each family held a specific birthright. There was, of course, the highest tribal birthright, which had been passed from the original son of Jacob. The holders of each tribe's birthright were the 12 princes of the tribes (Num. 7:11). Although there came to be many individuals within each tribe, the prince, or head of the tribe, was where the tribeship itself resided. Throughout Israel's history, there were many individuals who left the tribal unit and colonized other parts of the world. These were men who were, say, Judahites, or Reubenites, or Danites-but they never constituted the tribe itself. The tribe, in a legal sense, resided with the birthright holder.
When the northern House of Israel was deported to Assyria, there were many individual Israelites who somehow escaped deportation and who remained in the land. But these did not constitute the tribal units themselves. Hence, 2 Kings 17:18 says that "there was none left but the tribe of Judah only."
By the same token, when Assyrians laid siege to Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah, we find that they had already "come up against all the fenced cities of Judah and took them" (2 Kings 18:13). Sennacherib's famous inscription describing this tells us that they "captured forty-six of his strong cities and fortresses and innumerable small cities." Thus, by this we see that a great many people of Judah-perhaps even the majority of the Judahites-were taken captive by the Assyrian army, along with their fellow Israelites. But these captive Judahites did not constitute the tribe itself. The tribe of Judah remained in Palestine, simply because king Hezekiah remained in Jerusalem. Hezekiah was the birthright holder, for God had given that honor to the seed of David. Where Hezekiah was, Judah was.
The point is that the tribeship of Judah in a legal sense was where the line of David resided, particularly the birthright holders that led to Jesus Himself. Many Jews remained in Babylon, but Judah itself-the tribe-was in Palestine, because Mary's ancestors had returned there after the Babylonian captivity.
Then Jesus was born "King of the Jews" (i.e., "Judeans," Matt. 2:1-2, 27:37). He was the birthright holder of the tribe itself. He had the legal right as the son of David to rule Judah and all Israel. Where He was, the tribe was. In fact, no one really would have a right to call himself a true Judahite except as he was associated with Him. Most of the people eventually rejected Jesus as Messiah. In effect, they revolted, saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." In rejecting Him, they separated themselves from the birthright holder of the Tribe of Judah. In rejecting Him, they forfeited their legal right before God to call themselves Judahites, or "Jews." Hence, the remnant of "Judah" that rejected Jesus as the Messiah are not true Jews at all-at least, not in the sight of God. It matters not what men called themselves. Only what God says matters.
Thus, Paul tells us in Romans 2:28-29,
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
A true Jew (Judahite) is one who has a heart circumcision. As Christians, we believe that this is only possible through the acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. As far as God is concerned, all Jews who reject Jesus as King are outside of the legal entity that God calls "Judah." Even if they were full-blooded Judahites, they would not be "true Jews" apart from the King whose right it is to rule.
One might also ask about the true Israelites. Just because one can claim to be a full-blooded descendant of Israel does not necessarily make him a true Israelite in the sight of God. "Israel" was the name the angel gave to Jacob after he had come to recognize the Sovereignty of God. Before that night, he was just a Jacobite, a supplanter, a usurper, a "heel-catcher." But after the crisis in his life where he wrestled with the angel, he was named "Israel." Likewise it is with all of us. Though we be full-blooded descendants of Jacob-Israel, we are not "true Israelites" until we have inherited the birthright of Joseph in the second work of Christ.
Of course, the Apostle Paul does treat the subject from a slightly different angle. In Romans 9:6-8 we read,
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Here Paul says that not all Israelites are really Israelites in the sight of God. This affirms our statement. The only difference is that Paul implies that there are true Israelites today, even before the second work of Christ has been fully manifested. This is true in the sense that many are candidates for transfiguration. Though they may die, they will certainly be in the first Resurrection to receive their reward with those Overcomers who are alive when the Feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled.
These, then, are considered "true Israelites" even before they are fully restored to the Image of Christ. This seeming discrepancy is easily reconciled by the doctrine of Imputation, by which God calls what is not as though it were (Rom. 4:17). We are called righteous, though we are not yet righteous, even as God attributed many children to Abraham before he had any at all. Thus, when Paul implies that there are "true Israelites" even in the present age, he is imputing many sons to Abraham even before they are born.
Yet the point Paul makes in Romans 9:6 tells us the essential fact that just because one may be an Israelite in the flesh does not automatically ensure that he is a true Israelite who will identify with Jesus in His second work by inheriting the first Resurrection at the beginning of the Tabernacles Age. Not all Israelites are Israelites in the sight of God.
Jesus' second work is a Joseph work. He comes to receive the birthright of Joseph, which is a work of Sonship. That work has yet to be done. Joseph is still "lost." The Jacobites yet believe him dead. But there is coming a day when the world will recognize what God has been doing on both a political and a spiritual level. On the world scene, God has taken the descendants of Joseph, along with the rest of the House of Israel and has brought them through a series of "times of Jacob's trouble." The year 1986 was the end of 13 periods of 210 years. Now it is time for the physical descendants of Joseph to be made known to their brethren.
What God is doing in the world on the carnal level, He is also doing spiritually within the hearts of the Jacobites (Christians). He is leading us and training us, bringing us to the point where we will at last recognize that Jesus Christ is Sovereign, that "God rules," so that we too might have our Peniel experience and see His face. This is a transfiguration experience, for when we see His face, we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2). We shall be even as Moses when he came down from the Mount with his face glowing with the presence of God (Ex. 34:29). The only difference is that we are now coming to the Tabernacles Age, when the glory that will be ours will never fade.
It is not enough to be a physical Israelite or a physical Judahite. While it is true that God continues to work through them on a physical level on the world scene, there is a much higher goal to attain. Physical Israelites who know not Jesus Christ as their sovereign King are not "true Israelites" in the legal sense. Such unbelievers have struck out on their own for other shores and have forsaken their birthright holder, Jesus Christ in His second appearance. The same is true with true physical Judahites, or Jews. Those who reject Jesus Christ in his first work have no legal right to call themselves by the tribal name of Judah.
Thus, in the legal sense, anyone who calls himself a Jew or a Judahite but who rejects Judah's tribal head, Jesus Christ, is not a "true Jew" at all, no matter what his ancestry is. By the same token, there are no true Israelites as of this writing, for a true Israelite is one who has a new immortal body (Tabernacle) that manifests Christ in the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.
On the other hand, there are many others who are not natural Israelites or Judahites, but are strangers who have joined themselves to Jesus. Isaiah says that they will have a name that is better than that of sons and daughters (Is. 56:5). Justification by Faith does not change anyone's physical heritage or race; but it does identify them in Jesus' first work on the Cross and makes them "true Judahites" in the sense that Paul speaks. And when a person enters into the Tabernacles experience (the glorification of the body, or the receiving of the Tabernacle which is from heaven), he identifies with Jesus Christ in His second work of Sonship-the Joseph work. In this he becomes a "true Israelite," having received the birthright.
In no case is it required that Israelites become Jews, or that Jews become Israelites. In no case is it required, nor is it possible, that a non-Israelite become a racial Israelite. Racially, we are what we are. All must become believers in Jesus and confess Him to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, no matter what their heritage. All Creation must eventually come under His rulership. He is the Unifier of all peoples, the Repairer of the Breach, and the Restorer of all Creation. The day comes when He will be "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).
With the Overcomers' declaration of the Jubilee in the autumn of 1996, the breach began to be repaired. In time, the nations will begin to be transformed into truly Christian nations, with Jesus as our only King and His law our only law and constitution. The Word of the Kingdom will ultimately go forth as a witness into all nations, which will (after a time) bring all things under His feet. Because God turned the clock back ten years in 1996, the time of Jacob's trouble may be extended until 2006, but even so, the final 210-220 year patterns of Biblical history have nearly run their course.
All the people of the earth have grown tired of the oppression of man's unjust laws and oppression, both in the religious and the secular realms. This is about to end with the rebirth of Manasseh. It is about to end with the birth of the Manchild that will change the course of history forever.