|Maggid ben Yoseif / Jerusalem Torah Voice in Exile|
|ON-LINE NEWSLETTER: Fall 5760 |
The Return of the
House of JosephDoes Rachels comfort await aliyah to the Shomron by Torah observant non-Jews?
Hundreds of thousands of non-Jews are gravitating toward the Torah roots of their faith. Tens of thousands are studying about the Jewish Sabbath and festivals. Many of these are starting to observe these special times. Some are even adapting their diets to the laws of kashrut and a few are plunging still further into the purifying waters of mikvaot (to observe the Torah laws of family purity). Everywhere Bible studies are focusing on the study of Hebrew and Torah, many according to the reading schedule listed on Jewish calendars. Interest by non-Jews in the land and people of Israel and Torah has never been more noticeable.
This unexplainable Israel thing may have an explanation, however. A biblical one. Hashem (G-d) may be preparing vast numbers of long-assimilated descendants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to return to their ancient homeland. These stirrings, motivated by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit or Spirit of Holiness) of Hashem, point to the future reunion of the Jewish descendants of Judah with the non-Jewish Joes, (descendants of Joseph), if not a remnant from all of the Northern Kingdom.
The reunion also provides the modern Jewish state its alternative to the proposed Palestinian state as Hashem prepares non-Jewish Zionists to leave behind family, riches and property for the sake of the restored Kingdom of Israel. There is no greater signal that messiah is coming/returning soon than the reconciliation of this 3,000-year-old enmity and vexation between the descendants of Joseph and Judah. King David was, after all, the harbinger of messianic rule. Through his alliance with Jonathan the son of Saul, David was the only king from Judah able to hold at bay the historic enmity and unite both houses.
The Divided Kingdom
King Solomon succeeded David with harsh taxation policies that resulted in a split of the already fractioned monarchy into the northern House of Israel and the southern House of Judah. These separate kingdoms co-existed for quite some time but were constantly in friction with one another. Once there was even a civil war. The Bible refers to this as the enmity and vexation between the tribe of the becor or birthright (Ephraim), and the tribe of the shevet or sceptre (Judah). Ephraim was the youngest son of Joseph from whom the first northern kings descended. According to Genesis 48:19, his descendants are destined to become the melo hagoyim or fullness of the Gentiles. Romans 11:25-26 states that at the time of this fullness, that all of Israel sothesetai, will be rescued or returned.
In Jeremiah 31:15-18, sandwiched between two references to Ephraim, the matriarch Rachel is found weeping. Remember that her children her only children were Joseph and Benjamin. Benjamin, later became a servant to the House of Joseph when Josephs cup was found in his (Benjamins) sack of grain and the other children of Jacob decreed a death sentence on whomever would own the sack in which the cup was found. (Genesis 44:9-10). The matriarch Leah not Rachel gave birth to Judah, although the Jewish world adopts Rachel as its mother. As Rachel weeps, that her children (contextually Ephraim) are no more, she is comforted by Hashem who promises that her own children shall return to their own borders! As the map above shows, the inheritance of the House of Joseph encompasses the upper two-thirds of the disputed territories formerly known as the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which have yet to be annexed by the modern State of Israel. The lower third, which also has not been annexed, belongs to Judah. In the north, the entirety of the Golan Heights is the inheritance of Manasseh, also a child of Rachel and part of the House of Joseph, although this region has been annexed by the modern Jewish state.
The dozens of other biblical references to Josephs return, include the prophecy of Obadiah 18ff, which states that the House of Jacob will be a fire, the House of Joseph a flame, and the House of Esau (best represented today by the Palestinian nationalists living in Joseph and Judahs inheritances), will be stubble for consumption. This would indicate that a resolution to the Palestinian uprising must await the Return of the House of Joseph. Otherwise, the Jewish state lacks two-thirds of the human and perhaps spiritual resources needed to deal with the problem. The annihilation of the Palestinian population who remain in Judea-Samaria (the West Bank), is a biblical certainty, but Hashem does offer those who dwell in Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron (the modern Gaza strip), a limited autonomy as part of the Jewish state once their pride is broken. This pride of the P'lishtim mentioned in Zechariah 9, could be many things in days to come but today it best describes Palestinian Nationalism seeking territories deeded to the Houses of Joseph and Judah. And P'lishtim is the plural of the modern Arabic word for the Palestinian people used by Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Hussein (Yasser Arafat) himself.
It is important to keep in mind that as with every other prophetic development related to the re-emergence of the State of Israel, it is Hashems doing at His pleasure and in His timing. Ezekiel 37:11ff describes Hashem opening the graves of dry bones from the whole house of Israel, which certainly includes if it is not limited in this context to the Northern Kingdom. Hashem enlivens the bones with His Spirit and Hashem brings them to Eretz Yisrael and places them in their own land. These bones were utterly dry, without hope and totally cut off from their parts. As the analogy suggests, the spiritual understanding that might accompany this awakening may startle many people.
A New Vision Of Zion
It now becomes fundamental for all who are loyal to the G-d of Creation, Who is the G-d of Israel, to revise and/or correct their understanding of the Israel of G-d and G-ds vision of Zion. Orthodox rabbinim and true Jewish Zionists, (whose vision of Zion includes the reunion of the population to Hashem, Torah and Eretz Yisrael), are now beginning to concede to Hashems Own view of Zion. The Holy One envisions a Zion that encompasses more than a purely Jewish state. His Zion also accommodates the return of the House of Joseph if not a remnant of all of the Northern Kingdom. Similarly, the non-Jewish world must begin to consider the return of the myriads of Ephraim (Deuteronomy 33:17) as the doubly fruitful assimilated son of Joseph, who has been sown into the Gentile nations to satisfy Israels need to SHARE of her gifts of the Torah and Eretz Yisrael with the nations. (SEE The Return of the House of Joseph as a Remedy for the Bread of Shame)
True to the Spirit enlivening this move, the answers are found in Torah within the seeds of the enmity and vexation Hashem so urgently desires to reconcile between the descendant sons of Jacob; and in the Prophets, which describe in detail, His plan to first scatter part of Israel and in the last days, regather the predestined descendants of those scattered.
True to the prophecy of Hoseas marriage with Gomer and their three children, the House of Israel in exile: 1) was renamed Yizrael or Jezreel (a play on the name, Israel, which means G-d will sow or scatter like seeds), Lo-ruhamah (without mercy or covenant); and Lo-Ammi (not My people). Strewn all over the world, the descendants of these exiles have since assimilated into Gentile cultures. True to Hashems promise to Abraham to nivrecu or graft part of his seed into every family of the earth (Genesis 12:3b), the tribe of Ephraim in its assimilation, may soon if it does not already, comprise part of every race, ethnic group and culture or the fullness of the Gentiles.
In our day, the fullness may be occurring. As one jerks a Yo-Yo string when it has fully extended, Hashem may be starting to regather those scattered. The mission of regathering scattered Zion includes de-assimilation. Many of these descendant children have Christian roots, but are strangely non-evangelical and staunchly Zionist. Some suggest that the real purpose of their New Testament was to initiate the regathering of descendants from the departed Northern Kingdom, and the gospel therefore had little bearing on faithful Judah, except to take some from Judah as shaliachim (apostles or sent ones) to go into the world to begin regathering the assimilation. To do this, they needed born-again spirits to overcome the enmity they formerly held against their brothers, who historically were their enemies! Only then could they become true ministers of reconciliation.
At any rate, de-assimilation in our day is calling these precious children out of any church or religious institution that does not recognize their Israelite affinity or stands in its way. True to Acts 1:6-8, this restoration of the kingdom to Israel is a shaking and setting apart by the Ruach Hakodesh (Spirit of Holiness) that parallels the Azuza Street, 1948 and 1967 revivals, which began removing structural and denominational barriers within the church and which coincides with the rebirth of Zionism, the declaration of the Jewish state and the reclaiming of Jerusalem.
As HaShem now pours out revelation about the Torah (which the rabbis say is brought by the spirit of Eliyahu), Hashem is turning the hearts of sons of Joseph to their father, Joseph; and hearts of sons of Judah to their father, Judah. Joseph and Judah reconciled their differences in Egypt. Possessing the hearts of the fathers, the sons also can reconcile. And this reconciliation must take place lest the land, Eretz Yisrael, endure the curse of a Palestinian state.
Lest we forget, Malachi 4:4-6, which foretells this turning of the hearts, begins, Remember the Torah of My servant, Moses, (which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel), with the statutes and judgments. The Torah WITH statutes and judgments, implies ALL of the Torah, not just the Ten Commandments.
Josephs children restored to covenant and wooed by the G-d of Israel and His Land, also MAY have the same responsibility to observe Torah as their Jewish brothers. This is because the Torah is binding on all of Israel as an everlasting covenant. So long as the Assimilation viewed itself as Gentile, perhaps there was no demand related to the observance of Torah. But with the gravitation toward Hebrew roots and a spiritual re-identification, YIZRAEL (the scattered of Hashem) is reassuming its identity and heritage as YISRAEL, (the prince of Hashem). The House of Joseph, the soul of Israel, because of its promised birthright and its manifold blessings cannot, however, live in its designated inheritance within Eretz Yisrael and enjoy those blessings unless and until it knows and obeys Torah. Otherwise Joes would defile the land.
Joes also cannot enjoy table fellowship with Jews without Torah. Hashem will not begin to remove the obstacles to the return of the House of Joseph until the House of Joseph returns to Him. The very way of that return is the Torah written on the heart, (Jeremiah 31:33), which may be another way of saying, the Torah observed out of love for and loyalty to Hashem. And observed in that spirit, as we see from the example of King David, (Psalm 119), there is no legalism involved.
(NOTE: We are aware of the many references in the New Testament that would indicate Torah to be contrary to the path of Grace. To which we would submit the following for further study and investigation: 1) The dispensation of Grace applies to the Gentiles who do not identify with Israel and NOT to the Assimilation, once that Assimilation awakens to its identify as the House of Israel. 2) The writings of Paul that contrast Torah and Grace, are really based on misunderstandings of the Colossian and Galatian heresies. (Request our tape series on Shabbat: How We Deserted Her which quotes the authoritative writings of the Church fathers re: these heresies and their misapplication to Pauls writings.)
The prophet Hosea also wrote that the counting of the Torah as a strange thing led to the perishing of the Northern Kingdom for they lacked knowledge of the great things in Hashems Torah. (Hosea 4:6; 5:14-15; 8:1-2,10-12; 14:1-10). It stands that when the descendants of the Northern Kingdom return to Torah, (including the observance of Shabbat and the festivals, some form of kashrut, mikvaot,etc.) and turn away from idolatry, that Hashem will be stirred to quicken His return of them to their inheritance. And in this return, which then invites the messiahs coming to rule his Reunited Israel, may lay the hope for the blessings of the Land to come forth and the people of the Covenant.
Standing in the way of this Return is the ultra-Nationalist fervor fueling the call for a Palestinian state. But the rabbis have very deep-rooted traditions concerning an ultimate and final conflict between Jacobs descendants and Esaus descendants, which are quoted in dozens of references to the Talmud and other Jewish writings. Most notable are:
Talmud Bava Batra 123b: Jacob saw that Esaus seed could only be delivered up by Josephs seed.
Tanchuma Vayeshev, 1: When Jacob saw Esau and his chiefs, he became afraid. He asked, Who could defend me against these? G-d answered, Your spark will consume them, and that is Joseph . It therefore says, Jacob dwelled These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph (Genesis 37:1-2).
Bereshit Rabbah, 99:2: Joseph counters Edom In whose hands shall Edom fall? Those of the anointed of war, who comes from Joseph.
Bereshit Rabbah 73:7: With Josephs birth, Esaus adversary was born There is a tradition that Esau shall fall only to Rachels descendants.
Also, the writings of Rabbenu Saadya Gaon in Emunot VeDeot, Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 19, Sanhedrin 97a, Sotah 49b, Ramban to Exodus 17:9, and the writings of R. Hillel of Shklov quoting the Gaon R. Eliyahu of Vilna, Pesikta Rabbati 8, 36-37, Targum Yonatan of Genesis 30:25, Midrash Shocher Tov 60, Talmud Succah 52a reflect the theme of Joseph is alive through his descendants.
The same conflict is recorded as late as the First Century of the Common Era in the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The so-called War Scroll describes a battle between the sons of Light, (descendants of Jacob) and the sons of darkness specifically identified as the children of Edom. We may also find references to this eschatological (end-times) battle in the parables of Yshua, particularly the parable of the wheat and the tares, which grow together until the Last Days, and in the spiritual battles Yshua waged in the context of the Torah understanding of this conflict. Essentially this portrays Satan as the ruling spirit of Esau-Edom.
A similar parable is related from an ancient Midrash as recorded by Chizkuni in Torah Sheleimah where the parable is quoted in the context of the prophecy in Obadiah, Esau being the chaff and Jacob-Joseph the wheat.
Consider also that although 11 of the 12 tribes are born in Portion Vayeitzei, the Haftorah Vayeitzei (Hosea 11:7 14:10) focused on Hashems remembrance of Joseph-Ephraim once he separates himself from his idols.
It seems clear that the weekly Torah portions encompassing Genesis 23-36 (from the birth to the death of Joseph) in consideration with their Haftorahs, depict a struggle between Jacob and Esau, the birth of one son Joseph - singled out among 11 who will give Jacob the upper hand in this struggle in the last days. Just as Joshua, a descendant of Ephraim, earlier faced down Amalek, descended from Esau, the House of Joseph will be called upon to vanquish the House of Esau.
Maggid ben Yosef