The Reunification of Israel & the Return of the Messiah.

Ezekiel 37:14–28, The vision of the two sticks (trees). The second vision Ezekiel records in chapter 37 involves YHVH commanding him to take two sticks (or trees) and writing upon one stick “for Judah and for the children of Israel and his companions [i.e., those who have knit themselves together with or joined to the tribe of Judah],” and upon the other stick, write “for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel and his companions.” Ezekiel was to then join the two sticks together so that they would become one stick (or tree) in his hand (verses 15–17).

One Stick in His Hand

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How were these two nations, which separated from each other some three thousand years ago, to be rejoined into one nation? That has been the subject of much debate between both Jewish and Christian commentators for years. Some modern historical revisionists view this prophecy as having been fulfilled when the Jews returned to the land of Israel in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah after their Babylonian captivity ended. But this interpretation leaves some unanswered questions. The book of Ezra, which chronicles the return of a remnant of Jews from Babylon to the land of Israel, lists the numbers and tribes of those who returned. All the tribes listed were originally from Jerusalem and Judah and were from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Ezra 2:1; 4:1; 10:9), and there is no mention made that any of the ten northern Israelite tribes joined the Jews in resettling the land of Israel. So far as the returning Jews were concerned, it is likely that they considered their northern brothers lost and assimilated among their Assyrian captors and that only they were left of all the twelve tribes to resettle the Promised Land. If this were so, this may explain why they considered themselves to be “all Israel” (Ezra 2:70; 6:17), since they considered themselves to be the representative remnant of all the twelve tribes, even though their numbers did not consist of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Furthermore, how do those who teach that the prophecy of the two sticks has already been fulfilled explain how anytime in Israel’s past history the two sticks became one nation, and how the once scattered twelve tribes of Israel were regathered from the nations of the world, and how all were resettled in their own land (Ezek 37:21)? Whenever in the past did all the twelve tribes of Israel completely disassociate themselves from the pollution and defilement of paganism and start serving Elohim in perfect righteousness (Ezek 37:23)? Moreover, has David ever been resurrected from the grave to rule over the regathered and reunited Israel as this prophecy declares will happen (Ezek 37:24–25)? After all, the Scriptures tells us that David is dead and buried to this day (Acts 2:29), and awaits the resurrection of the saints at the second coming of Yeshua. 

Ezekiel 37:23 also clearly states that, once reunited, the Israelites—the twelve tribes of Israel, will be obeying YHVH’s Torah commandments—something that the majority of Jews, with the exception, perhaps, a few of the Orthodox—have failed to do to this day. Even then, if all the Jews (who the Jewish sages believe to be descendants of the southern kingdom of Judah) were assiduously following the Torah, this does not address who the other tribes are, nor how they are fulfilling this prophecy regarding Torah obedience.

Finally, if this prophecy were already fulfilled, then we also have to explain how YHVH has formulated his everlasting covenant of peace with the regathered and reunited Israel and how he has set his sanctuary or tabernacle in the midst of them forevermore (Ezek 37:26–28).

Has this prophecy already been fulfilled? The biblical evidence above would indicate not. Christian commentator, Adam Clarke commenting on this prophecy agrees. He writes that though some out of the northern ten tribes did rejoin themselves to Judah, yet no whole tribe ever returned to that kingdom, and that united they never had a king over them from that day till now. Keil and Delitzsch view this prophecy as not having been fulfilled at some time in ancient Israel’s past, but as one spanning the whole future of the people of Elohim—even to eternity culminating with the New Jerusalem. These Christian commentators view these prophecies of Ezekiel to be parallel to those of Moses (Deut 32:36–43), Obadiah (verse 17), Joel (3:5), Micah (4:1; 10:21), Isaiah (4:3; 10:21; 11:9), Jeremiah (30:3), and in many other places, all of which prophesy a literal return of the people of Israel to the literal land of Israel in line with the promises of YHVH. And the fulfillment of these prophecies corresponds with the rule of Yeshua the Messiah not only over his people Israel, but over the whole earth. Christian scholars are not alone in seeing the two-stick prophecy of Ezekiel as having a future fulfillment.

The Orthodox rabbinic commentators similarly believe that the uniting of the divided kingdoms of Israel is a future Messianic era (millennial) event. We must admit that the ancient Jewish sages were in disagreement as to whether all the twelve tribes would actually return to take their rightful place along side the Jews of the tribe of Judah, or whether, over the years, enough members of the twelve tribes had assimilated into and joined with Judah to constitute a quorum representing all the twelve tribes. Some Jewish sages took the position that Judah represented all Israel, and that the ten northern tribes would not return, while other Jewish sages viewed in a literal sense the biblical prophecies concerning the regathering and reunification of Israel. This debate continued for some time and is recorded in the Jewish writings of the Mishnah, the Tosefta and into the Talmud where it was settled in favor of a literal return of all twelve tribes from the nations to where they had been scattered.

What do the Jewish sages say about this prophecy? Do the Jewish sages of the common era believe that they are the only ones to fulfill the Ezekiel 37, two-sticks prophecy? What do they teach about this subject?

According Ibn Ezra,

Many nations will descend from him [Abraham] (i.e., the word מלא [melo], fullness, connotes abundance, the phrase meaning: And his seed will become the abundance of the nation [Neter; Karnei Or].) (The ArtScrollBereishis/Genesis Commentary p. 2121 on Gen 48:19). (The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary p. 2121 on Gen 48:19).

R. Avraham b. HaRambam somewhat similarly states,

The expression denotes abundant profligacy to a point that they will have to inhabit lands of other nations it is an allusion to Ephraim’s expansive territory. (Ibid.)

On the same passage in Genesis 48, the Radak declares,

This refers to the Exile when the lands of others will be filled with his scattered descendants … See also Hos. 7:8: “Ephraim shall be mingled among the nations.” (Ibid.)

The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary continues,

“What kind of blessing was this prediction that one day [Jacob’s] descendants—the Ten Tribes—would be scattered among the nations? R. Munk explains: while it is true that the dispersion was caused by the unfaithfulness and sinfulness of Ephraim’s descendants (Hos. 7:8ff), Jacob’s blessing was not in vain for “they will return to God” and will have their share in the world to come ([Talmud] Sanhedrin 110b). And R. Eliezer adds: ‘Even the darkness in which the Ten Tribes were lost will one day become as radiant as the day’ (according to the version of Avos d’Rabbi Nosson 36). And in the perspective of history, did not these exiled children of the Patriarchs enlighten the nations among whom they were scattered? They did so by teaching their conquerors the fundamental ideas of the knowledge and love of God, ideals they had never forsaken. Hence they too have a messianic vocation and their Messiah the … Messiah son of Joseph (Succah 52a), also called Messiah son of Ephraim (Targum Yonasan on Exodus 40:11), will play an essential role in humanity’s redemption, for he will be the precursor of the … Messiah Son of David … (pp. 2121-2122).

In the Encyclopedia Judaica, in an article entitled “Tribes, Lost Ten” we read the following (written by: Executive Committee of the Editorial Board, Joseph Jacobs),

According to the Bible, Tiglath-pileser (II Kgs. xv. 29) or Shalmaneser (ib. xvii. 6, xviii. 11), after the defeat of Israel, transported the majority of the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and Habor, on the stream of Gozan, and in the towns of Media. In their stead a mixed multitude was transported to the plains and mountains of Israel. As a large number of prophecies relate to the return of “Israel” to the Holy Land, Believers in the literal inspiration of the Scriptures have always labored under a difficulty in regard to the continued existence of the tribes of Israel, with the exception of those of Judah and Levi (or Benjamin), which returned with Ezra and Nehemiah. If the Ten Tribes have disappeared, the literal fulfillment of the prophecies would be impossible; if they have not disappeared, obviously they must exist under a different name. The numerous attempts at identification that have been made constitute some of the most remarkable curiosities of literature.

In the Apocrypha it is presumed that the ten tribes still exist as tribes. Thus Tobit is stated to be of the tribe of Naphtali, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs assume their continuous existence. In the Fourth Book of Ezra (xiii 39-45) it is declared that the Ten Tribes were carried by Hosea, king in the time of Shalmaneser, to the Euphrates, at the narrow passages of the river, whence they went on for a journey of a year and a half to a place called Arzareth. Schiller-Szinessy pointed out that “Arzareth” is merely a contraction of “ere aretz,” the “other land” into which YHVH says He “will cast them [the people] as this day”; see Deut xxix. 27, which verse is referred by R. Akiba to the Lost Ten Tribes (Sanh. x. 4; comp. “Journal of Philology,” iii. 114).

The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash in regards to Deuteronomy 32:26 which says, “I said, I would scatter them into the corners …” (KJV) comments,

This refers to the exile of the Ten Tribes, who were scattered to an unknown place where they have never been heard from again (p. 1105).

On the phrase of the same verse, “I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men …” the same Chumash states, “This is a reference to the exile of Judah and Benjamin, the Davidic kingdom from which today’s known Jews are descended.” It goes on to say that though nations would seek to destroy Israel entirely YHVH would never allow Israel to become extinct or disappear. Israel’s perpetual existence is constant reminder of YHVH’s plan and eventually Israel will thrive and fulfill YHVH’s intention for it” (pp. 1105-1106).

S.R. Hirsch in his commentary on the Pentateuch on the same verse translates the phrase, “I would scatter them into the corners …” as, “I would relegate them into a corner … ” and then says that the Hebrew here refers to the “extreme end of a surface, the side or corner …” He, too, relates this fate to the ten tribes who would be scattered “to some distant corner of the world, where, left entirely to themselves, they could mature towards serious reflection and ultimate return to Me, …” (The Pentateuch/Deuteronomy, p. 650).

In conclusion, it is hopefully clear from this study that the two-sticks prophecy of Ezekiel 37 is yet to be fulfilled. This is obvious from the passage itself, since many of the events it predicts are yet to occur, and this has been the interpretation of the leading Jewish sages over the millennia.

Whoever the house of Ephraim and his companions may be (and the Scriptures says that YHVH knows who they are) they will be regathered to the land of their inheritance in the last days, and reunited with their brother, Judah. As a single national entity, they will then be ruled by an obviously resurrected King David (Ezek 37:24–25), and YHVH will make a new covenant with them and YHVH’s tabernacle or dwelling place will be with them (37:26–28). It should be obvious that these events have yet to occur.

Furthermore, we know from the Book of Revelation that eventually the heavenly New Jerusalem will descend to this earth and will become the habitation of the resurrected and glorified saints of YHVH-Yeshua. It is clear that the twelve tribes of Israel and all their grafted-in companions will be regathered at this time, for the only way into that city will be through twelve gates named after the twelve tribes of Israel. There is no “Gentile Gate” (Rev 21:12). So to which tribe of Israel do you belong?


6 thoughts on “The Reunification of Israel & the Return of the Messiah.

  1. Messiah is the one tree of life. Positionally the one stick prophecy was fulfilled at the resurrection of Messiah and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to both Jew and Bentile.

    • Your statement is only partially correct. The one stick prophecy began to be fulfilled at Messiah’s first coming and the process will be completed at this second coming. This is what a thorough review of biblical prophecy reveals. What’s more, the rabbinic Jewish sages for the past 2000 years have been speaking of an event occurring at the coming of the Messiah at the end of the age (hasn’t occurred yet) called the “Final Redemption” when ALL the tribes of Israel will be regathered in addition to the Jews who are predominantly from the tribe of Judah by their own admission.

  2. I ran across your web page to prove a point from another web site.

    What you state has been my belief for a long time – even to the point of being ostracized in every Bible study, church and synagogue I’ve ever attended. It is true that “Satan has deceived THE WHOLE WORLD”.

    P.S. To prove the point of our position being unpopular, I noticed your Posting Date as being, 06/02/2012. Since then, only one other Reply (other than mine) has been made since then. I’ll be back for further reading. But for now, I must return to the web page that is talking about the anti-Muslim bigotry that has permeated the Western World and my criticism of such thought currently being espoused by atheist Richard Dawkins, who is the subject of an article on Al Jazeera. God loves all people. He just hates the wicked.

    • The idea of Elohim hating the wicked is foreign if not repugnant to many Bible believers. In fact, many people seem to think that Elohim doesn’t hate anything. Sadly, such folks don’t know their Bibles very well. Too many or subsisting spiritually on biblical food that has been strained through pop-psychologicl, feel-good ear-ticklering pastors and Bible teachers, instead of studying the Word of Elohim themselves to prove if what they’re hearing from so-called Bible teachers is really true.

      Many people piously, yet mindlessly parrot the mantra that Elohim hates the sin, but loves the sinner. Yes, in a general sense, he loves the whole world, yet (sorry to pop the theological bubble of many well-meaning, but misguided folks) he hates those who have willfully given themselves over to rebellion and sin. For starters, read Psalm 5:5 where we read that Elohim “hates all workers of iniquity.” Next go to Prov 6:16–19 where we find listed additional categories of sinners that YHVH hates. Many more examples could be given.

      When are we going to start hating the things YHVH hates and loving the things he loves?

  3. When Israel and Judah become one nation, the old testament shows only Christ (Holy Spirit) will unite them. The time they are United Christ as says in revelation and old testament will call all Jews to the promise land. Where is Babylon? Babylon is the world that follows money and political system. Satan is the antichrist spirit. That spirit will deceive many by denying Christ in flesh when he rules. He will not raise the dead in the grave, but he will raise the dead or the lost in Christ, also known as the lost sheep. Many of what Christ spoke before he was killed in flesh was prophecy to the future when he comes back. He will open the eyes of the dead and make the drunk sober. He will be a theif in the night for many will call him the antichrist, for Satan will tell many people in the hearts to not follow him. Christ will make all in flesh confess and bow down on one knee and destroy Babylon, by ruling the world. Remember he said my sheep knows my voice, he does not have to come back in the same look as before. He looked different to Mary, and the deciples. Those that look for a sign like a rapture are misleading themselves because the rapture means to gather together or to be taken by the holy spirit. To be taken is to be born again, thus Christ has taken you to himself and you are saved in spirit. Instead of looking for a sign we should be watchers and have our oil and lamps ready for his coming for the second exodus is to bring his people out of Babylon (countries) and bring them to the promise land. But the meek shall inherit the earth from the wicked, when he comes back his anger will be with him as will his protection to those that give up everything and follows him. He brings a sword and devides families, mother against daughter, husband, ect. which is a prophecy yet to come.

  4. I was looking for a link to post here: that demonstrates that Israel is presently missing 10 tribes (TEN TRIBES SHORT) in the land of Israel to link in this paragraph:

    “If you believe that a land that calls itself Israel but does not fear Yehovah, doesn’t know His name or His Son’s name (Proverbs 30:4)—totally rejects His Son, ignores His Commandments, mourns and worships at the remains of the Roman Fortress Antonio that adjoined the Temple, (every last stone of the Temple was torn down: Mark 13:2), forfeited Temple ground to Muslims, gave away parts of the land of Israel to the neighbors, shares their government with neighbors, is TEN TRIBES SHORT of fulfilling major prophecies, and is totally oblivious to Yeshua’s Olive Tree Generation that began on Pentecost of 1948! (Keyword: “Pentecost”, not on the Hillel 2 calendar)—if you believe that Israel is fulfilling major Biblical prophecies now, then maybe you are part of the vast majority of Christians who seldom read the Bible! That ‘Israel’ is not remotely the Israel detailed in hundreds of verses of Bible prophecy. Unfortunately, it will be essentially driven into the sea and replaced by a much larger Israel!”

    Yours works just fine.

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