Separate Entities in Prophecy. The Name Israel and its Application (9 September, 2014, 14 Elul, 5774).
The Ten Tribes will not reunite with the Jews (Judah) until the End Times (Ezekiel ch.37). The term Israel in the Book of Ezekiel is usually applied to JUDAH! The Ten Tribes are also addressed in some passages as Israel but only when their presence is explicitly emphasized.
Duration: 22.49 minutes
The Brit-Am Book of Ezekiel. Contents of the Book of Ezekiel with Brit-Am Commentary
The northern Ten Tribes from the Kingdom of Israel were exiled by the Assyrians in stages.
The southern Tribes from the Kingdom of Judah were also later exiled by in stages by the Babylonians.
They became distinctly separate peoples with different entities as had been prophesied.
The Prophets in general speak of both Judah and Israel as separate entities.
Which of the two bodies being referred to is usually quite clear from the context and the nomenclature.
Not so with Ezekiel.
Ezekiel in chapter 4 speaks of the House of Judah and the House of Israel with the latter meaning the Ten Tribes.
Usually however Ezekiel speaks ONLY to Judah and calls them Israel or House of Israel.
In Ezekiel 16 he seems to avoid calling the Ten Tribes Israel but rather prefers the term Samaria.
In the world view of Ezekiel the expression Israel does not mean the Ten Tribes UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED.
In Ezekiel 37 it is predicted that Judah and Israel, meaning the Ten Tribes will reunite.
Up unto that time JUDAH AND ISRAEL WILL HAVE BEEN SEPARATED!
All this can cause confusion.
In the Book of Ezekiel we need to examine the whole context of the prophecies in order to discern which section of Israelties is being spoken of.
We therefore will glance briefly at the use of the expression "Israel" in Ezekiel. We shall note where the Ten Tribes are explicitly referred to.
[At present we are concerned only with the superficial simple literal meaning. A deeper analysis may show messages directed to both the Jews and to the Ten Tribes. We however will leave the deeper meanings alone for the time being.]
A quick skim through the Book of Ezekiel should illustrate the above points.
Incidentally this will give us another glimpse into the Prophecies of Ezekiel regarding both Judah and Israel.
The Book of Ezekiel is deep, complicated, and worth learning.
This article may help get us started.
It could be considered a beginning.
Chs. 1 to 5
Ezekiel describes a Vison of the Holy Chariot ("Mercabah") representing the Divine Presence that was departing from Jerusalem when the Temple was being destroyed.
Ezekiel is commanded to speak to the Rebellious "Children of Israel" (2:3). Ezekiel receives the obligation of Prophecy. Jerusalem shall be punished for 40 days (Ezekiel ch.4), the House of Israel for 390 days. Famine is predicted.
Here by the name Children of Israel in the first instance either ALL the Israelites are intended or just Judah.
later when the House of Israel is juxtaposed to Judah, the Ten Tribes are clearly intended.
Two Thirds of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and later two-thirds of all Israelites (?) will perish. There is an obligation to keep the Law.
Chs. 6 to 10
Chapter 6: THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL is condemned for continuing to practise idolatry and Caaanite worship in its lands of Exile.
In chapter 6 by Israel the Ten Tribes, in our opinion, are intended. The Prophecy however, in light of what follows, could also be understood as applying primarily to Judah.
Disaster shall come upon them but in the end they shall repent.
Chapter 7: The evil we do brings punishment upon us and in a way it itself is punishment.
Ch 7 speaks of the Land of Israel but not of Israel the people.
Chapter 8: The Elders of Judah and of Israel along with their womenfolk worshipped foreign gods in secret.
In ch. 8 "SEVENTY MEN OF THE ANCIENTS OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL" are spoken of. These 70 however are clearly ALL from Jerusalem and pertain to Judah. They are the Elders of Judah.
Like the Ten Tribes, the Jews of Judah were also exiled in Stages, but to Babylon. Ezekiel belonged to the earliest stage of Exile (of Jehoyacin) and in this chapter he speaks of those Jews who were still in Jerusalem but were to be exiled a little later. Chapters 9 and 10 continue in the same vein.
The Prophetic method is to take contemporary events, or those about to happen shortly, and through them to depict the future.
Chapter 9: A command is given to slay every one in the city who do not have the mark on their forehead. Israel and Judah have sinned exceedingly and failed to recognize the involvement of the Almighty in the affairs of men.
Chapter 10: God makes HIS Presence felt through HIS Divine Chariot one interpretation of being that it synbolizes the Twelve Tribes of Israel in our world.
Chapters 11 to 15
Chapter 11: They who commit idolatry in Jerusalem will be punished. Exile will come about for refusing to recognize the rights of other Israelites. God will bring them back from Exile in order that they should remove idolatry from the land. This could be referring to the Ten Tribes.
The inhabitants of Jerusalem are referred to as HOUSE OF ISRAEL (11:5). and as THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL (11:13).
[Ezekiel 11:13] AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN I PROPHESIED, THAT PELATIAH THE SON OF BENAIAH DIED. THEN FELL I DOWN UPON MY FACE, AND CRIED WITH A LOUD VOICE, AND SAID, AH LORD GOD! WILT THOU MAKE A FULL END OF THE REMNANT OF ISRAEL.
Here the Remnant of Israel spoken of are the inhabitants of Jerusalem. All the rest of the Israelites had been exiled. The Ten Tribes had been taken to Assyria. Most of Judah had been exiled to Babylon.
In continuation Ezekiel speaks of the rest of Israel as distinct from the Remnant of Israel in Jerusalem.
Here are excerpts from our commentary:
[Ezekiel 11:15] SON OF MAN, THY BRETHREN, EVEN THY BRETHREN, THE MEN OF THY KINDRED, AND ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL WHOLLY, ARE THEY UNTO WHOM THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM HAVE SAID, GET YOU FAR FROM THE LORD: UNTO US IS THIS LAND GIVEN IN POSSESSION.
Here the inhabitants of Jerusalem are distinguished from the House of Israel.
According to the simple meaning the House of Israel spoken of here may mean Jews who had been exiled and were no longer doweling in Jerusalem. By extension however it could also apply to the Ten tribes and some of the Commentators mentioned this possibility.
Eisemann quotes Commentators as saying that the three groups mentioned (THY BRETHREN, EVEN THY BRETHREN, THE MEN OF THY KINDRED) refer to the three previous exiles, i.e. The Tribes east of the Jordan (Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh), the tribes west of the Jordan, and the exiles from Judah who had been taken to Babylon in the time of Jehoiakin before the destruction of the Temple. Ezekiel is speaking as if these exiles were being dispossessed by the people of Jerusalem. Rashi holds this view and so does the Radak. These are foremost Rabbinical Commentators. Other savants understand this passage in other ways but Ezekiel was speaking on several levels and the different interpretations do not necessarily contradict each other.
Ezekiel (37:15-28) saw the return of the Ten Tribes as an indispensable requirement for the deliverance of Israel and Judah.
ARE THEY UNTO WHOM THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM HAVE SAID, GET YOU FAR FROM THE LORD: UNTO US IS THIS LAND GIVEN IN POSSESSION: Malbim understands this to mean, Not that the inhabitants of Jerusalem rejected the other exiles and said that they could not inherit with them but RATHER the people of Jerusalem thought that was the reality. They considered the other exiles to be irretrievably lost and not about to return.
Malbim: "ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL WHOLLY. These were the rest of the tribes who were exiled at first by [the Assyrians represented by] Sancherib for from they too will emerge a remnant [to be saved]. Even though these were not redeemed in the redemption of the Second Temple [led by Ezra] they will return in the Last Days." In Rabbinical Literature Sancherib represents all the Kings of Assyria and the Exile of Sancherib means the Exile of the Lost Ten Tribes.
Chapter 12: The various stages of Exile of both Israel and Judah are depicted along with the destruction and desolation of the Land that will follow.
[Ezekiel 12:10] SAY THOU UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; THIS BURDEN CONCERNETH THE PRINCE IN JERUSALEM, AND ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL THAT ARE AMONG THEM.
THE PRINCE is referring to King Zedekiah.
It is referring to Judah BUT amongst Judah were Israelites from other Tribes.
AND ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL THAT ARE AMONG THEM: Apart from the Tribe of Judah the inhabitants of Jerusalem also included people from the other tribes especially Simeon, Ephraim, Manassah, and Levi.
At all events by House of Israel here the reference is to members of the Kingdom of Judah.
[Ezekiel 13:16] TO WIT, THE PROPHETS OF ISRAEL WHICH PROPHESY CONCERNING JERUSALEM, AND WHICH SEE VISIONS OF PEACE FOR HER, AND THERE IS NO PEACE, SAITH THE LORD GOD.
Here the Prophets of Israel are seen to have been speaking of Jerusalem.
Chapter 13: Placators and Soothsayers are condemned.
Chapter 14: Everything has a reason. The wicked of Israel will be punished. Jerusalem will be re-settled by Judah and Israel.
[Ezekiel 14:1] THEN CAME CERTAIN OF THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL UNTO ME, AND SAT BEFORE ME.
Here the Elders of Israel are those of the Exiled with Ezekiel from the Kingdom of Judah.
Chapter 15: We must all improve our ways. If we do not meet our tasks we will be discarded by God.
Chapters 16 to 20.
Chapter 16: Judah needs Samaria to return and to teach Samaria.
Ezekiel 16:1-45 may be understood as speaking of both Judah and Israel with the emphasis on Judah.
Ezekiel 16:46 speaks of Israel (of the Ten Tribes) using the term Samaria.
[Ezekiel 16:46] AND THINE ELDER SISTER IS SAMARIA, SHE AND HER DAUGHTERS THAT DWELL AT THY LEFT HAND: AND THY YOUNGER SISTER, THAT DWELLETH AT THY RIGHT HAND, IS SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS.
In Ezekiel 16:51 he says that the sins of Judah were worse than those of Samaria i.e. the Ten Tribes!
[Ezekiel 16:51] NEITHER HATH SAMARIA COMMITTED HALF OF THY SINS; BUT THOU HAST MULTIPLIED THINE ABOMINATIONS MORE THAN THEY, AND HAST JUSTIFIED THY SISTERS IN ALL THINE ABOMINATIONS WHICH THOU HAST DONE.
The Lost Ten Tribes had been taken away and only Judah remained. Ezekiel is saying that the sins of Judah were worse than those of the Ten Tribes!
[Ezekiel 16:52] THOU ALSO, WHICH HAST JUDGED THY SISTERS, BEAR THINE OWN SHAME FOR THY SINS THAT THOU HAST COMMITTED MORE ABOMINABLE THAN THEY: THEY ARE MORE RIGHTEOUS THAN THOU: YEA, BE THOU CONFOUNDED ALSO, AND BEAR THY SHAME, IN THAT THOU HAST JUSTIFIED THY SISTERS.
[Ezekiel 16:53] WHEN I SHALL BRING AGAIN THEIR CAPTIVITY, THE CAPTIVITY OF SODOM AND HER DAUGHTERS, AND THE CAPTIVITY OF SAMARIA AND HER DAUGHTERS, THEN WILL I BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF THY CAPTIVES IN THE MIDST.
Malbim says here that at the return "Samaria" and "Sodom" will be the most important section of the Israelite nation whereas Judah will be pulled after them and returned through them.
He repeats this message in 16:55.
The Lost Ten Tribes will return. Manasseh will return. The exiles of Judah who remained in exile will return together with the Lost Ten Tribes.
Abarbanel (1435-1509): "The Ten Tribes will return to Samaria and its daughter-regions and so will the scattered dispersion of Judah be gathered in from the four corners of the earth".
[Ezekiel 16:61] THEN THOU SHALT REMEMBER THY WAYS, AND BE ASHAMED, WHEN THOU SHALT RECEIVE THY SISTERS, THINE ELDER AND THY YOUNGER: AND I WILL GIVE THEM UNTO THEE FOR DAUGHTERS, BUT NOT BY THY COVENANT.
Judah must seek to bring the Lost Ten Tribes back. God makes the participation of Judah in the process of returning the Lost Ten Tribes a prior condition for the rehabilitation of Judah herself!
I WILL GIVE THEM UNTO THEE FOR DAUGHTERS: Judah will have some degree of directional task to play in helping the Ten Tribes return and showing them the way in which they should go. Judah however is also obligated to get his own act together or else (God forbid) be punished.
BUT NOT BY THY COVENANT: The Lost Ten Tribes will not necessarily have to convert to Judaism in our sense of the word though they will renew the covenant between Israel and the Almighty and Judah is obligated to assist them.
[Ezekiel 16:62] AND I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT WITH THEE; AND THOU SHALT KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD:
God will once again accept Judah and all Israel.
What exactly all this means we cannot say.
It does however seem QUITE CLEAR from the above that Judah and Samaria (Israel from the Ten Tribes) will be separate until the End Times.
Chapter 17 is a parable addressed to THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL meaning both Judah and the Ten Tribes. The simile seems to concern the ruling House of David.
Jehoiacin was the dry tree who was made to flourish. Through him would the House of David be greatly increased.
Chapter 18 is again addressed to Israel. They are called upon to mend their ways.
We have to free ourselves from the negative influences imposed upon us by our own society. God wants our good for our sakes.
Chapter 19 is directed to the Prince of Judah.
"Israel" was once exceedingly well-off but because of her sins she is punished.
19:19 speaks of the King being brought in chains to Babylon. This applied to Judah.
Chapter 20: Settling in the Land, as an Israelite, requires the keeping of the law of Moses.
Chs.17-20 speak to both Judah and Israel. Chs. 17-19 may be understood as especially directed to Judah and ch.20 to Joseph i.e. Israel.
Ezekiel 21 to 25
Chapter 21: The Coming Destruction (that occurred in the time of the Prophet) of Jerusalem is Described but there are hints that future capitals of the Israelite Nations in Exile may be intended.
21:12 "ALL THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL": According to the simple meaning this is referring to the Princes of Judah who is also termed "Israel".
Chs. 21 and 22 may be understood at the simple level as referring to the Nation of Judah in the time of the Prophet BUT by extrapolation the Prophet may be extending his meaning to both Judah and the Ten Tribes in the Distant Future.
Israel and Judah will be punished for their sins. We are our own worst enemies. The heathen despise us because we are not true to ourselves. Evil-doers amongst us bring disaster upon all of us.
Chapter 23:4 SAMARIA IS AHOLAH, AND JERUSALEM AHOLIBAH. Judah and "Israel" were separate entities almost from the very beginning. Both sinned grievously and will be punished. Judah is responsible for the Return of the Ten Tribes amongst whom already exists a representative portion descended from Judah.
Chapter 24: The Destruction of the Temple is spoken of. This should have concerned northern "Israel" as much as Judah.
Chapter 25: The enemies of Judah including Ammon, Edom, and the Palesitinians etc will be punished.
In all these chapters the emphasis is on Judah. The Ten Tribes of Samaria recalled in chapter 23 are mentioned almost incidentally and also in condemnation of Judah for not learning to correct their ways after seeing the disaster that overcame Samaria.
Ezekiel chs. 26 to 30.
Chapter 26, 27, 28 speak of Tyre and Hiram King of Tyre.
Beyond its historical source, Tyre may represent an aspect of Edom the arch-enemy of Israel in the end time
and Hiram their future leader. The end of ch.28 speaks of Israel and here the intention may be tot he Ten Tribes or at least include them.
[Ezekiel 28:25] THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; WHEN I SHALL HAVE GATHERED THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL FROM THE PEOPLE AMONG WHOM THEY ARE SCATTERED, AND SHALL BE SANCTIFIED IN THEM IN THE SIGHT OF THE HEATHEN, THEN SHALL THEY DWELL IN THEIR LAND THAT I HAVE GIVEN TO MY SERVANT JACOB.
This is referring to the End Times and a return to the Land of Israel. Even so, Scripture can deliver several pertinent messages at one and the same time. It may be that the Prophet was saying that now the captured Israelites will be freed and they will move away from areas under foreign domination to place that they will be able to call their own that God has given them, e.g. to the British Isles"
[Ezekiel 28:26] AND THEY SHALL DWELL SAFELY THEREIN, AND SHALL BUILD HOUSES, AND PLANT VINEYARDS; YEA, THEY SHALL DWELL WITH CONFIDENCE, WHEN I HAVE EXECUTED JUDGMENTS UPON ALL THOSE THAT DESPISE THEM ROUND ABOUT THEM; AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THEIR GOD.
Ezekiel chs. 29 and 30 speak of Egypt and Nebuchadnessar ruler of Babylon.
Ezekiel 31 to 35
Chapter 31: Assyria and Egypt and their present-day equivalents will be punished.
Chapter 32: The Destruction and Residence in Hell of wicked nations such as Assyria, Elam, Edom, Tyre, Meshech, Tubal, and Egypt is described.
These were wars in which according to our understanding the Israelite-Scythians were involved.
Ezekiel describes the effects of the wars and appears to extrapolate from them to future End-Time Conflicts.
Chapter 33: The Wicked are called upon to repent. They who are righteous are warned not to count on their own merit and not to give in to temptation. They who can do something to rectify evil are bound to do so and to warn others.
The Israelites and the People of Jerusalem (Judah) are called upon to repent.
Chapter 34: The Leaders of Israel will be judged for bad leadership; The Exiles of Israel will return. David will rule over them. The Land of Greater Israel will be healed and restored. A change of climate will take place and there will be rains in their season. The Shame of Judah in the eyes of the heathen will be removed. The Lost Ten Tribes will be Restored.
Chapter 35: The Land of Edom and Seir will be desolated because of the wickedness in their treatment of Judah.
Ezekiel 36 to 40
Chapter 36: The Enemies of Israel and Judah will be punished. This especially applies to Edom who persecuted Judah. The Land of Israel will again be fertile when Judah and Israel return to it. The Israelites will receive a new heart and repent when they return to their Land.
For Ezekiel matters of religion are the most important. The emphasis always seems to be on Judah. Most verses are applicable to Judah.
Chapter 37: The dry bones will be brought to life. The Staff of Judah and the Staff of Joseph will join together and they shall be one nation. With unity comes Purification. The Temple will be rebuilt.
Up unto that time JUDAH AND ISRAEL WILL HAVE BEEN SEPARATED!
Chapter 38: Gog and Magog and all their hosts, Messheck, Tubal, Gomer, etc, come to attack the Israelites who have returned to their land Brief discussion of possible present-day identifications; Russia, Germany, Mongolian Peoples, etc. All the Hosts of the North and elsewhere shall gather together to attack the ingathered Tribes of Israel. The Almighty will cause them to fight against each other when they reach the Land of Israel and to destroy each other.
Chapter 39: The Israelites will take booty from the forces of Gog and Magog. They who oppressed, robbed, and shamed the Holy People will have the same done to them. The exact sequence of events is not clear.
Chapter 40: Ezekiel in a Vision is shown the dimensions of the Future Temple in Jerusalem.
Chapter 41: The future building of the Temple is described.
Chapter 42: A Description of the future Temple is continued.
The Return of Israel is connected with the future rebuilding of the Temple, the repentance of the Israelites and their forgiveness and reconciliation with the Almighty.
Chapter 43: We have to free ourselves from the negative influences imposed upon us by our own society. God wants our good for our sakes.
Chapter 44: Future Temple arrangements concerning the Priests (Cohens) and Levites are discussed.
Chapter 45: The Land of Israel will be divided into 13 sections. The Seventh or Middle Section will in turn be divided between the Prince, the Temple, the Levites, and the City area in general.