This author believes that the earthly ministry of Yeshua had prophetic implications pertaining to end time events. In other words, I will now attempt to show the reader that behind, if you will, the literal events surrounding Yeshua’s earthly ministry including his miracles and teachings, there was an entire prophetic or allegorical subtext or message. Yeshua’s life was literally a walking prophetic shadow-picture. Understanding these divinely engineered, yet hidden clues from a Hebraic context will yield a literal treasure trove of understanding into end time events as prophetically prefigured in the fall festivals of YHVH.
For the record, let it be known that such a study in no way denies the historicity of the literal events surrounding Yeshua’s life. Both Jewish and Christian scholars have been interpreting literal biblical events in an allegorical light for thousands of years. This is not a new exercise. (For a discussion of this, please refer to our brief study of the Jewish rules of biblical interpretation at the end of this book.) Not only have the biblical exegetes derived understanding from the biblical record through this means of interpretation, but numerous examples can be cited from the apostolic writers themselves interpreting various scriptural passages from the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament) in this manner as well.
What is different about the following study is that it will allegorically examine the entire life of Yeshua—his ministry activities, the meaning of the geographical names of the places where he ministered and his parables for the purpose of deriving insights into end time events such as the great tribulation and wrath of Elohim periods, the resurrection, the second coming, the regathering and reunification of the exiled Israelites, the marriage of the Yeshua to his bride and the establishment of his kingdom on earth. It is hoped that the insights gained may clarify some of the difficult passages in the writings of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the prophecies found in the Testimony of Yeshua including the Book of Revelation.
John the Baptist Coming in the Spirit of Elijah Prepared the Way for Yeshua
Matthew 3:2, John preached the message of, “Repent for the kingdom of Elohim is at hand.”
Matthew 3:7–12, John confronted the hypocritical religionists of his day and castigated them for their spiritual smugness, selfishness and pride. He then proclaimed that judgment was coming upon them for their lack of repentance and spiritual fruitlessness.
Matthew 3:11, 13–17, John’s mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah.
As John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah the prophet (Matt 11:14) to prepare the way for Yeshua’s first coming, so the prophet Malachi declared that YHVH would send the prophet Elijah (figuratively speaking) to this earth before the great and dreadful day of YHVH’s wrath, and that he would turn the hearts of the children back to the fathers (Mal 4:5–6). In partial fulfilment of this prophecy, the heavenly messenger proclaimed to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, that his son would be that Elijah (figuratively speaking) to which Malachi referred (Luke 1:17). Yeshua confirmed this angelic prediction (Matt 11:14; 17:12). However John didn’t fulfil the every aspect of Malachi’s prophecy. Malachi’s prophecy was dual in nature, for it also contained elements that referred to Yeshua’s second coming.
What would be the mission of that future “Elijah,” or the one who would come in the spirit of Elijah in the end times? Malachi prophesied that “Elijah” would bring the law or Torah of Moses back to the remembrance of the people of Israel, who had in one way or the other forgotten it. Most Israelites of the Northern Kingdom had forgotten the law when they split off from the Southern Kingdom in the time of King Rehoboam. Others had forgotten it later on when they went into captivity and assimilated with Gentile cultures. Still later on, many Jews and later early Christians from the second century onward had forgotten YHVH’s Torah-law when they began adding layer upon layer of man’s religious traditions over the top of YHVH’s simple instructions in righteousness, so that these laws eventually became voided or were functionally made of none effect (Matt 15:6; Mark 7:6–9). Still other religionists developed cunning and humanistic rationales and, disguising them behind philosophical theologies, the mind of man was in essence exalted over the clear and direct revelation of YHVH thus obscuring the Creator’s Torah-Truth. Eventually Christian theologians came along and cloaked their complex and clever anti-Torah theologies in terms that the unlearned and common man could understand and then brainwashed their unwitting and naive Christian disciples into regurgitating such phrases as “nailed to the cross,” “done away with,” “fulfilled in Christ,” “not under the law,” “for the Jews only,” “Judaizing” and “legalistic” such that these terms become the lingo of the laity to explain away the Torah of Elohim.
The effect was still the same: religious men forgot the Torah of Elohim, which is why YHVH, through the prophet Malachi, told his people to “remember the Torah of Moses my servant…” because they had obviously forgotten it (Mal 4:4, emphasis added). This is also why the sovereign Creator insured that the Book of Malachi would be the last book in the Christian Bible’s Old Testament (by comparison, 2 Chronicles is the last book in the Jewish Bible). You see, the last verses in this book as well as the entire the Old Testament (or Tanakh) speak prophetically to the Christian church, which has forgotten the Torah YHVH gave to Moses. This prophecy is both a plea and a warning for Christians to return to the Torah. This prophecy of Malachi also dogmatically states that in the last days before the great and terrible day of Elohim’s wrath just prior to the second coming of the Messiah, there will be those Christians who will remember the Torah and will turn back to the Hebrew roots of their faith (Mal 4:4–6 cp. Rev 12;14; 14:7).
Amazingly, according to Malachi, all of this would begin to occur before the great and terrible day of Elohim’s wrath. Eventually, all those so-called Bible believers who refuse to accept YHVH’s Torah-law will be burned up like stubble and become ashes under the feet of the righteous. This will occur during the time period when King Yeshua will have been ruling over the earth as the Sun of Righteousness with healing (or salvation) in his wings (Mal 4:1–3). Since this prophecy was not totally fulfilled with John the Baptist at Yeshua’s first advent, there obviously is a future aspect to it that is yet to be fulfilled that pertains to the second coming of Yeshua.
While there very well could be a literal Elijah or John the Baptist-type individual who will arise on the earth in the last days (perhaps the two witnesses of Rev 11) to “cry aloud and spare not” and who will be a “voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way” for the Messiah and urging the saints to make their spiritual paths straight (Matt 3:3), as John did for Yeshua, there will doubtless be a company of individuals who will come in the spirit of Elijah and John, who will fulfil this mission as prophesied by Malachi.
The Book of Revelation reveals some distinctive characteristics about the end time saints—those who will be on the earth just prior to the second coming of the Messiah, and who will likely help to fulfil that Elijah and John the Baptist mission. Of these future saints, the Word of Elohim reveals that they will have not forsaken the commandments or Torah of YHVH and, at the same time, they will have the faith or testimony of Yeshua (Rev 12:17; 14:12).
We believe that these end time Torah-keeping and Yeshua-loving saints will be those who will come in the spirit of Elijah and will help to prepare the way for the return of the Messiah by turning the hearts of the children (Christians) back to the fathers of their faith (i.e., their Jewish apostolic fathers, who established the Messianic faith as modelled in the Book of Acts; cp. Mal 4:4–6). These spiritual forerunners will help YHVH’s people to restore the ancient paths of Torah-based obedience and worship.
Additionally, they will continue the mission of the apostles to preach the message of repentance (Acts 2:38; from sinning, i.e., breaking YHVH’s Torah-commandments, see 1 John 3:4), and the restoration of the kingdom of Elohim or heaven (Matt 10:7), which involves the regathering of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, which Yeshua came to do, and commanded his disciples to do as well (Matt 15:24; 10:6).
The message of the kingdom of Elohim (an aspect of the gospel message that the Christian church has largely ignored) was on the forefront of the disciples’ minds, based on their final question to Yeshua in Acts 1:6 before his ascension. As we shall see later, the disciples’ question in Acts chapter one about the “restoration of the kingdom of Israel” (an aspect of the kingdom of Elohim) is a reference to the return of the lost Israelites to the land of Israel, who until then had been lost among the Gentiles. The term Gentilescan sometimes be a reference in the Scriptures to the lost or exiled Israelites. The restoration of the kingdom also involves Israel’s return to the Torah and to a covenantal relationship with YHVH (see Eph 2:11–12), which they had forsaken and from which they had become alienated. This resulted in their being dispersed and exiled among the nations of the world (i.e., becoming part of physical and spiritual Babylon). That is why YHVH in the Book of Revelation admonishes his people to “come out” of the spiritual Babylonian religious systems where they have been held as spiritual captives (Rev 18:4, 13).
The preaching of the message of repentance, coming out of Babylon, and the restoration of the kingdom of Israel is a precursor to Yeshua’s return to rule as Messiah Son of David over the nation of Israel—a nation comprised of both the houses of Judah and of Ephraim (Ezek 37:15–28). Luke refers to this as the restitution (or restoration) of all things that must occur before Yeshua can return to the earth from heaven (Acts 3:19–21). In the last days, those who come in the spirit of Elijah the prophet are those who understand these things, and who are helping to fulfil these prophecies.
What You Can Do
Has YHVH called you to be a modern-day John the Baptist or Elijah to help prepare the way for Yeshua the Messiah before that great and terrible day of YHVH’s wrath that will burn like a fire? Through Bible study, prayer and fasting, YHVH will divinely reveal to his saints how they can be part of this great spiritual company and what they can do to support each other in this divine end times mission.
The Young Yeshua Speaks With the Jewish Leaders in the Temple
Luke 2:41–49, “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Yeshua tarried behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the [Torah] teachers, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed and his mother said unto him, ‘Son, why have you thus dealt with us? Behold, your father and I have sought you sorrowing.’ And he said unto them, ‘How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?’”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 46— after three days
- verse 46— in the temple
- verse 49— my Father’s business
- verse 51— Nazareth
In biblical allegorical language and in Jewish thought, one day can prophetically represent a thousand years (Ps 90:4; 2 Pet 3:8). Therefore, the phrase “after three days” could allegorically signify that for 3000 years Yeshua was in the temple of heaven (his Father’s house) “about his Father’s business”.
What is the “Father’s house?” The Gospels show us that the term Father’s house can be a reference to heaven (John 14:2) or to the physical temple in Jerusalem (John 2:16). Or maybe it is a reference to both since there was a temple on earth that was patterned after the one in heaven (Heb 9:11), and the Scriptures show us that Yeshua had “business” or “affairs”to conduct in both (Luke 2:49).
After visiting Jerusalem for the Passover, Yeshua returned with his parents to Nazareth (related to Notzret). Here we see an allegory of the two-pronged purpose of Yeshua’s ministry on earth. First, he came to this earth after 3000 years, or just prior to the fourth millennia from creation. He came to his Father’s house, to the nation of Israel, as epitomized by the temple in Jerusalem, to rescue the religious system of his day from the hands of hypocritical religionists, who had made the Word of Elohim of none effect by their man-made traditions (Matt 15:6–9 and Mark 7:6–13). He came to restore it to its original foundation of Torah-truth.
Secondly, he came to restore to the commonwealth of Israel the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24). After debating with the religious leaders in the temple, Yeshua returned to the region of his upbringing, which was Nazareth, and was located in northern Israel, which was the historic territory of the Northern Kingdom, or the house of Israel. The Hebrew word Nazareth is related etymologically to Notzer or Notzerim (plural, or in English: Nazarene or Nazarenes), which was one of the names of the early first-century Torah-keeping Messianic believers (Acts 24:5).
What We Can Do
Those in the last days who realize that they are part of the Elijah-John the Baptist generation who are helping to prepare the way for Yeshua’s return realize that they must help to fulfill the Malachi 4 prophecy. This involves returning to the ancient Hebraic roots of the Christian faith and to the Torah—YHVH’s instructions in righteousness.
At the same time, YHVH’s end times saints must be willing to confront the church and its leaders of our day, who have turned away from the Torah, and who have substituted the clear teachings of the Word of Elohim for men’s traditions and religious philosophies.
So, wherever YHVH has placed you in your life, be planting spiritual seeds. In love, challenge your fellow Christians and their leaders with the Truth of Scripture. Pray and ask YHVH how he would use you to be his voice crying in the spiritual wilderness of modern churchianity as you reach out to his people—the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Christians)—calling them to repentance. At the same time, you can also be supporting those ministries that are doing this.
Yeshua Starts His Ministry by Going to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel
Matthew 4:13–17, “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphthali: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah [Isa 42:7] the prophet, saying, ‘The land of Zebulon, and the land of Naphthalim, by the way of the sea,beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles [literally “nations,” a term used in the Scriptures in reference to the house of Israel dispersed among the nations as prophesied in the Tanakh]; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.’ From that time Yeshua began to preach, and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 13— Capernaum
- verse 13— sea coast
- verse 13 and 15— the borders/land of Zebulon and Naphtali
- verse 15— beyond the Jordan
- verse 15— Galilee of the Gentiles
- verse 16— sat in darkness saw great light
- verse 16— which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up
- verse 17— the kingdom of heaven is at hand
Isaiah 42:7, which Matthew quotes here, is a prophecy about bringing the good news of the kingdom of YHVH to the Gentiles (the lost sheep of the house of Israel; see also Matt 10:6; 15:4). This same chapter in Isaiah is also a prophecy about Messiah, the Suffering Servant, who, during his ministry, would neither break a bruised reed nor quench a smoking flax (verse 3). Matthew, the Gospel writer, applied the fulfillment of this prophecy to Yeshua (Matt 12:20). In his prophecy, Isaiah also predicted the bringing of the light of YHVH’s Torah-truth to the people of the nations, the opening of the eyes that are spiritually blind, and the setting free of the spiritual captives (also Isa 61:1 cp. Luke 4:18). This passage in Matthew is the outline of Yeshua’s entire earthly ministry, its purpose, target group and the message that he was to proclaim.
The ancient Jewish sages teach, based on Bible prophecy, that at the return of Messiah, just prior to the Messianic Age (Millennium), a historic event will occur called the “final redemption,” which includes the beginning of the return of exiled (lost) Israel (i.e., “the restoration of all things” [Acts 3:21], and the restoration of the tabernacle of David [Acts 15:16]). During the Messianic Age, who will be teaching YHVH’s truths to all these returning Israelites and accompanying Gentiles? Who else would be qualified for this responsibility besides the Torah-observant saints of the Most High who, by this time, will be serving him as kings and priests in his kingdom?According to the Tanakh, an Israelite king is required to rule over the nation using the Torah as his guidebook or law book, while the Levites and priests teach Torah to the nation’s inhabitants, who were the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The same applies to the glorified saints who will be kings and priests under Yeshua the Messiah, the King of kings, in his millennial kingdom.
During his earthly ministry, Yeshua proclaimed the message, “Repent for the kingdom of Elohim is at hand.” As disciples of Yeshua, if we are to heed his command, then of what are we to repent? Sin, of course, which is, by definition, the violation of Torah as 1 John 3:4 states. In addition, we are to prepare ourselves to be inhabitants of and rulers in YHVH’s kingdom on earth. This kingdom is comprised of all those who are grafted into the olive tree of the nation of Israel (Rom 11:11–31), as well as all those who will become Israelites regardless of their ethnic origin through their spiritual relationship with Yeshua the Messiah. The Scriptures call these grafted in Israelites the “one new man” in Yeshua (Eph 2:11–19) and sons of Abraham (Gal 3:29).In this passage, Matthew is stating that Yeshua, in fulfilling biblical prophecy, is telling the lost tribes of Israel to repent of violating Torah and to prepare for the coming kingdom of heaven. This was Yeshua’s purpose and mission during his first coming. This message of Yeshua has not changed to this day, and applies to all of Yeshua’s followers everywhere now as much as it did then.
Also in Matthew’s passage above, we see Yeshua leaving Nazareth (in the historic region of the Northern Kingdom of the house of Israel) to reside in Capernaum (literally, “Village of Comfort”), while bringing the good news or gospel of reconciliation or comfort to those who were by the sea coast in the historic land of the ten northern tribes of which two are mentioned in this passage.
In the Tanakh, it is prophesied that the remnant of Israel would be regathered from “the coasts of the earth”(literally “sides or borders”) and with them the blind and the lame would come (Ezek 31:8). This describes perfectly Yeshua’s ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The phrase “by the sea” is prophetic as well. We shall see later that the phrase “the sea” is often scriptural metaphor or Hebraism to represent the masses of humanity and, sometimes specifically, the house of Israel, who, the Scriptures reveal, will become like “fish in the sea”. So here we see Yeshua, in the historic land of the house of Israel, on the coastlands and “beyond the Jordan,” speaking a comforting message of healing, repentance and regathering leading to the establishment of YHVH’s kingdom. The phrase “beyond the Jordan”points us directly to the lands of Assyria and Babylonia,which are further to the east, and which is where both houses of Israel were taken captive to be dispersed among the nations (figuratively, “the seas”) of the earth like sands along the beaches or seacoasts.
What We Can Do
If the end time saints are to follow the example of Yeshua, their Lord and Master, then what can we learn from this passage? Simply, we are to be taking the gospel message of hope and comfort, which involves repentance from Torahlessness and teaching about the approaching kingdom of Elohim, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, who have been scattered far and wide across the earth—even to the far coastlands.
How are you spreading the good news to your Christian friends (the lost sheep of the house of Israel) about their spiritual heritage?
Yeshua Calls Fishermen to Fish for Men
Matthew 4:18–22 (and Mark 1:16–17), “And Yeshua, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from there, he saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship [a fishing boat] and their father, and followed him.”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 18— by the sea of Galilee
- verse 18— the sea
- verse 18— fishermen
- verse 19— fishers of men
Yeshua walked by the Sea of Galilee (in the former region of the Northern Kingdom or the house of Israel) where he saw two fishermen (Peter and Andrew) casting nets into the sea. What are the spiritual and end-time prophetic implications of this action of Yeshua?
The word sea can be a biblical metaphor referring to “multitudes of peoples” or “people in the sea of humanity”(e.g., Gen 48:16; Rev 13:1). In Genesis 48:16, the phrase “multitudes in the midsts of the earth” (KJV) pertains to the descendants of Joseph. This phrasecan alternately be rendered from the Hebrew as “abundantly like fish within the land,”or as the Targum Onkelos (the Aramaic translation of the Torah)translates it: “and like the fish of the sea may they multiply among the children of men on earth.”89
Yeshua called Peter, Andrew, James and John to become fishers of men instead of fishers of fish. Fishing for whom? Yeshua was recruiting them for the mission of finding the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:5–6; 15:24) who were likened to a multitude of fish90 among the nations of the world (Gen 48:16).
From the Babylonian Talmud (Soncino Edition),we find the following quote showing that the Jewish sages recognized that the seed or descendants of Joseph would multiply like fish in the sea of humanity:
“… Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well … and let them multiply abundantly like fish in the midst of the earth: just as fish in the seas are covered by water and the eye has no power over them …”
We see then that the Israelites, especially the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would be scattered among the nations like fish in the sea. Furthermore, they would need spiritual fishermen to gather them. This would be done through the proclaiming of the gospel message, which involves repenting of sin (or Torahlessness) and hearing and responding to the message of the kingdom of heaven. To emphasize this prophetic fact, Yeshua amazingly chose actual fishermen from the region of the ancient homeland of the ten tribes of Israel to become his spiritual fishermen to help to regather the scattered tribes of Israel.
What You Can Do
Yeshua likewise calls his end-times servants to be spiritual fishermen. A fisherman never knows for sure where the fish may be, so he has to cast his line or spread his nets in many places in hopes of catching some fish. Likewise, we must pray for the desire, boldness and wisdom to share the good news to whomever YHVH brings across our path. The person we witness to may be one of Yeshua’s lost sheep!
Yeshua Calls Phillip and Nathanael to Be His Disciples
John 1:43–51, “The day following Yeshua went forth into Galilee, and found Philip, and said unto him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said unto him, ‘We have found him, of whom Moses in the Torah, and the prophets, did write, Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said unto him, ‘Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said unto him, ‘Come and see.’ Yeshua saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, ‘Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!’ Nathanael said unto him, ‘How do you know me?’ Yeshua answered and said unto him, ‘Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.’ Nathanael answered and said unto him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of Elohim; you are the King of Israel.’ Yeshua answered and said unto him, ‘Because I said unto you, I saw you under the fig tree, you believe? You shall see greater things than these.’ And he said unto him, ‘Truly, truly, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of Elohim ascending and descending upon the Son of man.’”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 43— went forth into Galilee
- verse 44— Bethsaida
- verse 45— Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph
- verse 48— under the fig tree
- verse 51— you shall see heaven open up
There are several points of interest in this passage pertaining to Yeshua calling his disciples to the ministry of restoring the exiled and scattered Israelites back to the commonwealth of Israel.
First, Yeshua is still calling disciples from the Galilee region of Israel, which was the traditional home of the Northern Kingdom (house of Israel or Ephraim).
Next, Bethsaida was a small village several miles west of Lake Gennesaret (another name for the Sea of Galilee). Interestingly enough, Bethsaida in Hebrew means “house of fish,” and, as we have already learned, the Scriptures prophetically liken the ten tribes (or house of Israel) to fish in the seas of humanity (Gen 48:16), and further reveal that their regathering would take place prior to, at, and would even continue after Yeshua’s (the Messiah Son of David’s) return. Again, the Jewish sages tell us, based on their understanding of the Scriptures, that this event is part of “the final redemption”. So the name of the town in which Philip and Nathanael lived was prophetic of the mission to which Yeshua was calling them, namely, to seek after the lost sheep of the house of Israel as stated in Matthew 10:6 and 15:24.
Philip and Nathanael recognized Yeshua as “the son of Joseph”. This is a Hebrew word-play with a double entendre or meaning. Indeed, Yeshua was the adopted son of Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Yeshua. But beyond that, the Jews of Yeshua’s days recognized that the Scriptures contained prophecies about two Messiahs: the Suffering Servant and the Conquering King. Ancient Jewish literature referred to the first as “the Messiah Son of Joseph” whose life and ministry was seen prophetically to be similar to that of the biblical Joseph who endured suffering to save his people. Conversely, the second Messiah was called “the Messiah Son of David” because he descended from King David and would be a warrior who would fight for his people.
In studying the Scriptures, the Jewish sages could also see that a second Messiah was coming who would rule over the earth and a (re)united Israelite kingdom similar to the monarchy of David, but on an expanded level. These sages were not sure whether these Messianic figures would be two different people, or the same individual. They were also unsure as to when he/they would come and how much time would separate his/their two advents. Note the following rabbinical commentary on this subject. The Talmud, which contains the rabbinic Jewish oral law (also known as biblically as “the traditions of the elders”; see Mark 7:3, 5, 9, 13 cp. Matt 15:3, 6) states:
“Our [Sages] taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), ‘Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee’, as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance. But when he will see that the Messiah the son of Joseph is slain, he will say to Him, ‘Lord of the Universe, I ask of Thee only the gift of life’. ‘As to life’, He would answer him, ‘Your father David has already prophesied this concerning you’, as it is said, ‘He asked life of thee, thou gavest it him, [even length of days for ever and ever]’”
Finally, Nathanael was “an Israelite under a fig tree,” or metaphorically an Israelite who was studying and living out Torah, since Hebraically, a fig tree is a metaphor for Torah and the study of it. Nathanael was indicative of the type of disciple that Yeshua was seeking (one without guile and who was Torah-obedient), who he would then raise up and commission to help bring the lost sheep of the house of Israel back into the commonwealth of Israel. Nathanael was a student of the Written Torah and was soon to become a follower of Yeshua, the Living Torah-Word of Elohim made flesh (John 1:1, 14).
In like manner, in prophesying about the end time saints, John the Revelator said that they would be those who would keep YHVH’s Torah-commandments and be followers of Yeshua, the Living Torah (Rev 12:17 and 14:12). YHVH will use this same type of end time believer to help regather and reunite the two houses of Israel prior to and after the return of Yeshua the Conquering King Messiah.
Finally, Yeshua promised Nathanael that he would see heaven open up “and the angels of Elohim ascending and descending upon the Son of Man,” (John 1:51). This is a sod or hidden and mystical level statement the meaning of which has been hidden from most people who read this passage. What did Yeshua mean by this arcane and cryptic statement? This is an obvious reference to Jacob’s famous dream of the ladder extending from earth to the gate heaven upon which he saw “angels” or divine messengers ascending and descending (Gen 28:12). The Hebrew word for messenger can also refer to divinely sent human messengers. Moreover, the ladder resembles a giant Torah scroll which leads to the very gates of heaven—the residence of YHVH Elohim. What Yeshua is revealing to Nathanael in the most terse terms is that he, Yeshua, is the Living Torah-Word of Elohim that leads to the very presence of his Father in heaven, and that he is the way and the door that leads to eternity. It is YHVH’s Torah that leads us to repentance of sin, faith in Yeshua the Messiah, and which then keeps us on the path of righteousness leading us eventually to heavenly rewards (Matt 5:19) and eternal life in the presence of our Father in heaven (Rev 22:12–14). This biblical truth which has been hidden in plain sight for 2,000 years in the pages of the Bible is another truth that the mainstream church has missed and failed to teach, and which is now being revealed to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and who love Yeshua by keeping his commandments (John 14:15, 21; 1 John 2:3–6).
What You Can Do
Are you an Israelite, like Nathanael, who is without guile, a student of and obedient to the Torah and a disciple of Yeshua? To be a disciple of Yeshua, we must not only be a follower of Yeshua who is the Word of Elohim made flesh (John 1:1, 14) and the Living Torah (Rom 10:5–10), but be one who studies and lives out the Torah. Paul declared that the washing of the water of YHVH’s Word makes us clean (Eph 5:26). When we are spiritually clean (or free of sin, that is, Torahlessness, then we will be ready to help gather in the lost sheep of Israel.
Yeshua’ Calls and Commissions His Twelve Disciples
Matthew 10:5–8, “These twelve Yeshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, ‘Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans do not enter, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils. Freely you have received, freely give.’”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 5— go not into the way of the Gentiles
- verse 6— go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel
- verse 7— preach saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand
- verse 8— heal the sick
In Matthew 15:24 (the corollary passage to the one above), Yeshua states, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” As clearly stated, the lost sheep of the house of Israel was the main target group of Yeshua’s mission.
But who is the “house of Israel’? By consulting the glossary at the end of this work, we learn that the biblical phrase “the house of Israel” can (a) refer to the Northern Kingdom of Israel of which Ephraim was the chief tribe and often that kingdom’s namesake, and (b) on occasion, it can refer to both houses of Israel (that is, Ephraim and Judah).Similarly, the phrase “lost sheep”, by its usage in Ezekiel 34 (cp. Isa 53:6), can denote all Israel, not just the Northern Kingdom. Additionally from the scriptural record, we see that before and after the fall of the Northern Kingdom many members of the northern ten tribes sought refuge in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, or due to military ventures on the part of the Southern Kingdom, were assimilated into Judah.Therefore, the Scriptures reveal that the term “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” may in a primary sense be referring to the Northern Kingdom (Ephraim as the leader of the ten northern tribes of Israel). But in a secondary sense, “the house of Israel” can also refer to the Southern Kingdom, which contained assimilated Ephraimites as well as those originally descended from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and portions of Levi. In the broader sense, all of YHVH’s spiritual sheep were spiritually “lost” in that they needed Yeshua’s gift of salvation leading to eternal life.
We see, therefore, Yeshua reaching out not only to those Israelites of the Northern Kingdom, but also to the Gentiles (i.e., the people of the nations among whom the ten tribes or the Northern Kingdom had been scattered due to their Torahlessness), as well as to the Jews, (i.e., the descendants of the tribe of Judah and/or those descended from the inhabitants of the former Southern Kingdom). Though the original disciples and believers of Yeshua’s day were Jews, or perhaps long since assimilated tribal members of the Northern Kingdom (who can really know for sure?), Yeshua’s main goal was to take the good news of salvation to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (both in its specific and broader meaning).
In the bulleted portions of the passage above, we note that Yeshua made a distinction between the Gentiles and the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Again, as noted in the glossary at the end of this work, the terms “the lost sheep” and “the house of Israel”primarily refer to the lost ten tribes of Israel, who were taken captive by Assyria circa 725 b.c. and deported eastward to that regional empire. Evidence in the Jewish rabbinic writings supports this primary definition of the phrase “the lost ten tribes of Israel” as we use the term in this work. (We will look at this evidence later.) These Jewish writers use the terms “the lost ten tribes” or simply the word “lost” in reference to Ephraim or the Northern Kingdom, but never in reference to the Jews since they do not consider themselves to have ever been “lost”, for they know who they are; they are the Jewish people!
Meanwhile, in Matthew 10:5–8, Yeshua instructed his disciples to continue the work he had started in going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (verse 6), and to preach to them the good news of “repent for the kingdom of Elohim is at hand”. Included in that message would be the coming of Messiah Son of David, the Conquering King under whose rulership the lost and scattered sheep of the house of Israel would be regathered and reunited with those of the house of Judah into a united kingdom as per the ancient prophecy found in Ezekiel 37:15–28 (along with others). Building the kingdom of Elohim by restoring the kingdom of Israel was perhaps the central theme of Yeshua’s ministry as evidenced by the last question the disciples posed to Yeshua before his ascension (Acts 1:7). “Will you at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?” they asked. He answered,
It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power. But you shall receive power, after that the Set-Apart Spirit is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (Acts 1:7–9)
These were Yeshua’s last words while on earth. Think about it! He told his disciples to wait and be filled with the miraculous power of YHVH’s Set-Apart Spirit so that they could do what? Impress others with their gift of tongues, or the multitude of their prophetic pronouncements (as often occurs in many modern so-called “Spirit-filled” churches)? No! YHVH spiritually empowered his disciples to be able to advance, by the miraculous power of his Spirit, the kingdom of heaven by reaching out to those lost sheep of Israel, who had been scattered among the nations. They were to use their heaven-sent power to help bring back these lost and found Israelites to the spiritual commonwealth of Israel as Paul specifically mentions in Ephesians 2:11–13. Yeshua’s return was contingent, among other things, upon this task being carried out by his servants down through the ages (Acts 3:21).
At this point in the discussion, it is important to note one thing. True, Yeshua commanded his disciples not to go the Gentiles, but to the lost sheep of house Israel, who were scattered among the Gentile or heathen nations.
The point I want to stress is that the disciples’ first priority was to take the gospel to the lost and scattered Israelites, and then and after that to the nations of the world. This is clear by his final instructions to his disciples in Acts 1:7–9. They were to preach the gospel first to the Jews of Judea and then go outward from there and eventually to all people everywhere.
What was the gospel message? Yeshua instructed his disciples to preach the message of repentance to these lost sheep of Israel and then to all the nations of the world. Repentance from what? Obviously from sin, which I must keep emphasizing that the Scriptures define as “the violation of YHVH’s Torah” (see 1 John 3:4)—a point that the mainstream church system conveniently overlooks and fails to mention. Sadly, YHVH’s sheep had become lost and scattered among the nations, and had fallen into sin (lawlessness or Torahlessness) and the resulting ravages of spiritual and physical sickness. This was thanks in part to their pastors and spiritual leaders who have failed to live up to YHVH’s high standards of righteousness (see Ezek 34). It was now up to Yeshua’s disciples (and to his end time saints as well) to follow their Master’s example to call these lost sheep out of their state of sinful degradation and sickness, to preach the message of redemption through the shed blood of Yeshua, and to restore them into the kingdom or olive tree of Israel (Rom 11:13–24; Eph 2:11–19).
What You Can Do
In some of Yeshua’s final instructions to his disciples before leaving earth, he commissioned them to
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Set-Apart Spirit,“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…”
As his end-times disciples, these instructions are for us as well. He commissioned his disciples to preach the good news to the lost sheep of Israel. The command to do so no less applies to us than it did to the original disciples. As you’re reading this book, you’re becoming informed as to who the lost sheep of Israel are, and what your duty as a disciple of Yeshua is to reach them.