Who are the lost and scattered sheep of Israel?

But [Yeshua] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt 15:24)

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt 10:6)

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)

Deuteronomy 32:21, I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people. I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. The term not a people is the Hebrew phrase lo-am. Curiously this same phrase occurs in several other references in the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) in reference to the Northern Kingdom or House of Israel (Ephraim) and is repeated by several apostolic writers in reference to the “Gentiles” or “peoples of the nations” (which is the meaning of the Greek word ethnos translated as gentiles). (See Isa 7:8; Hos 1:9; 1 Pet 1:1; 2:9–10.) In Romans 9:25, Paul equates the “Gentiles” with the same people-group to which Hosea makes reference in Hosea 2:23. To whom is Hosea referring in his prophecy? (Read Hos 1:4,6; 4:15–17, chapter 5; 6:10–11; 7:1–11; chapter 8; etc.). Remember that the nation of Israel split into two groups at the time of Jeroboam and Rehoboam: the Northern Kingdom comprised of the ten northern tribes of Israel and referred to in Scripture as Ephraim, House of Israel and Samaria while the Southern Kingdom was known as Judah, the House of Judah and Jerusalem. 

Where are these Ephraimites today? The answer can be found in Genesis 48:14 and 16 where the patriarch Jacob is prophesying over the two sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh. Can you find any clues in these two verses that may point to a religious people-group in existence today on earth? What sign does Jacob make with his arms when placing them on the heads of his two grandsons? Is it coincidental that it is the sign of the cross? Then in verse 16, Jacob recounts his experiences with the Angel or literally Heavenly Messenger who “redeemed me from evil.” This is a reference to Genesis 31:1–11 where, while fleeing from Laban, Jacob’s adversary, he had a dream where the Messenger of Elohim calls himself the El of Bethel (or the El/God of the House of El/God). Who is the Messenger of Elohim who is also a Redeemer? (See Rom 3:24; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb 9:12.)

Finally, Jacob prophesies that his grandsons’ descendants would grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. The word grow is the Hebrew word dagah/VDS from which the Hebrew word dag/DS or fish derives. This is why the ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach translates this phrase as “may they proliferate abundantly like fish within the land.”

The question is then begged, what religious people-group on earth today can be associated with a cross, a Redeemer and a fish? Knowing this will give us a clue as to whom Paul and the other writers in the Testimony of Yeshua (NT) were referring when they equated the “Gentiles” with “a foolish nation” and “not a/my people.”

Deuteronomy 32:26, I will scatter them into the corners. How was this prophecy fulfilled to Israel? Who in Israel was scattered and forgotten? Certainly not the Jews. They were scattered, but not forgotten.

Verses 28–29 say of these people that they are void of counsel and Continue reading

 

Apostasy, Exile, Repentance and Regathering of the Twelve Tribes

A Last Days Prophecy

Deuteronomy 4:25–32, Apostasy, exile, enslavement, repentance and regathering of lost and scattered Israel to the Promised Land in the last days.  This passage deals with the exile and return of the Israelites. Because of syncretism with the idolatrous practices of the nations around them, YHVH prophesied that the Israelites would be scattered among the nations of the world. Conversely, YHVH prophesies that “in the end of days” (verse 30)—a metaphor for “the last days” or “the end of the age”—he would hear their pleas for help, have mercy on his people, and remember his covenant with them. According to some noted Jewish sages, “the end of days” refers to the period just before the coming of Messiah, and this repentance is the same as that which Moses mentions later in 30:1–2 (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 965). Here are some additional quotes from some noted Jewish scholars on the subject of Israel returning to YHVH from its exile among the nations:

The future King Messiah (Messiah Son of David) will not only redeem the Jews from exile, but will restore the observance of the Torah-commandments to its complete state, which will only be possible when the Israelites are living in the Land of Israel. At this same time, “there will be an ingathering of the dispersed remnant of Israel. This will make it possible for the Davidic dynasty to be reinstated and for the observance of the Torah and its mitzvot [commandments] to be restored in its totality” (I Await His Coming Every Day, p. 35, [see also p. 38 quoting Rambam] by Menachem Schneerson, emphasis added). According to the Rambam (also known as Maimonides) in his Thirteen Principles of the Jewish Faith the resurrection of the dead will occur just after the coming of the Messiah and that the resurrection of the dead is a key element of the Final Redemption (ibid., p. 59).

The Jewish sages recognize that the ingathering of the exiles, including the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, will also return, be reunited with Judah and that the whole house of Israel will serve YHVH together (Ezek 20:32–37, 40–42) (Mashiach—the Principles of Mashiach and the Messianic Era In Jewish Law and Tradition, pp. 20-22, by Jacob Immanual Schochet quoting from Sanhedrin 110b; Bamidbar Rabba 16:25).

The ArtScroll Bereishis/Genesis Commentary, vol. 1(b) states in its commentary on Genesis 48:19 regarding Ephraim: “R. Munk explains: ‘while it is true that the dispersion [of the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh] 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 Maschiach ben Yosef, Messiah son of Joseph (Talmud 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 Maschiach ben David, Messiah Son of David. It is therefore not surprising to find that the prophet Jeremiah (3:12) speaks affectionately of Ephraim. In this light, Jacob’s words, ‘his offspring will fill the nations,’ assume the significance of blessing” (pp. 2121–2122).

The regathering of not only the Jewish people (largely from the tribe of Judah), but Israelites from the other eleven tribes is predicted by Yeshua and the apostolic writers as well (see Acts 3:21; Matt 10:6; 15:24). 

Now note how the following phrases or concepts are used in Scripture, who they relate to, and how this relates to the statements of the Jewish sages and to our text under consideration as pertaining to Israel (including both the houses of Israel (i.e. Ephraim/Samaria or the Northern Kingdom and Judah or the Southern Kingdom) being scattered among the nations for their disobedience to YHVH, and then their being regathered and restored as a united kingdom and obedient people under the rule of King Messiah:

  • Dispersed: The house of Judah was dispersed out of the Land of Judah into Babylon because of her spiritual adultery (Isa 11:12; 56:3, 6–8; Ezek 37:21; John 7:35).
  • Far and Near: Solomon prophesied the Israelite/Ephraimic exile, that Judah would be exiled to a near country (Babylon) and Ephraim would be exiled to a far country (Assyria) (1 Kings 8:46; see also Dan 9:7). Paul makes reference to the purpose of his ministry being to preach peace to those who were afar off and them that are near that through Yeshua both may have access through the Spirit unto the Father (Eph 2:16–17).
  • Gather/Regather(ing): Ezek 34:13; 36:24; Isa 56:8
  • Israel, Assimilated Into the Nations: Isa 7:8: Hos 1:10; 4:1,6; 5:3; 2:23; Deut 28:64; 
  • Lost (assimilated, but not lost): Hos 8:8; Amos 9:9; Deut 28:64; Hos 5:3 
  • Mixed With the Nation: Ephraim mixes himself with the nations: Hos 7:8; 8:8
  • Outcasts: The House of Israel are outcasts (YHVH cast them out of the Land of Israel for their spiritual adultery, Isa 11:12; 56:8)
  • Return: In the last days, the sons/children of Israel (both Ephraim and Judah) shall return to YHVH and his Torah (Hos 3:5).
  • Scattered/Sown (Jezreel): YHVH would sow or scatter the descendants of the House of Israel (Ephraim) (throughout the nations, Hos 1:4).
  • Scattered Sheep of Lost Israel to Return By YHVH’s Hand: Ezek 34:11,16
  • Scattered: Ephraim scattered over the face of the whole earth, Ezek 34:6,12; 36:19; 37:21; John 11:52. In regards to Deuteronomy 32:26 which says, “I said, I would scatter them into the corner …” The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach Chumash 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. 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). Samson Raphael 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 …” (p. 650).
  • Swallowed Up Among the Nations (Gentiles): Hos 8:8
 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy (Pt 2)

To read part one of this post, go to https://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2017/12/12/genesis-42-46/

Judah Approaches Joseph (Gen 44:18)

Judah came near to Joseph was willing to lay down his life for his younger brother (Gen 44:18–34). This is another prophetic picture of the future Messiah who would come to this earth in willingness to give his life as a ransom to save his brothers. The Scriptures call Yeshua the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev 5:5) who initiated the process in seeking to save his brothers who were spiritually lost (Rom 5:8; Luke 19:10; Matt 18:11; ), and who Yeshua referred to as the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24).

Joseph Had to Reveal Himself (Gen 45)

The brothers didn’t recognize Joseph because he resembled an Egyptian; he had to reveal himself to them. Today, Christians (the descendants of Joseph according to Gen 48:16, 18 and Rom 9:24–27 and the descendants of Abraham according Eph 2:11–19; Gal 3:7, 14, 28, 29), are revealing themselves to their brother Judah through several ways:

  • Through donating money to Jewish relief agencies.
  • Through Christian tourism of Israel.
  • Through Christian interfaith organizations (Bridges for Peace, Christians United for Israel, Christian Friends of Israel, etc.).
  • Through the Messianic Jewish Movement
  • Through the Messianic Israel Movement.
  • Through America’s (and Britain’s) military, political and economic support of the nation of Israel.

Two Messiahs in One Story

Judah and his brothers didn’t recognize Joseph; he had to reveal himself to them (Gen 45:1–4). They were “blinded” to Joseph’s identity. Most of Judah has spiritual blindness to this day (Rom 11:25). They are largely blind to Yeshua the Messiah, son of Joseph, and to the fact that Christians (many of whom are the descendants of Abraham through Joseph) are their long lost brothers. So in our story, Judah plays a dual role: that of spiritually blind Judah and that of the Messiah, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His former role is prophetically emblematic of the Jewish nation including the modern Jews who have been largely blind to their Messiah (the Son of Joseph), and in the latter role as Yeshua the Messiah who was willing to lay down his life to save his brothers.

Even as Judah was a prophetic antetype of the Jewish people and the Jewish Messiah, likewise Joseph also fulfilled an antetypical role of the Messiah. He too was the spiritual father of his people—Ephraim and Manasseh—the dominate tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel who went into apostasy and become as “lost sheep” among the nations of the world (Hos 7:8; 8:8; Ezek 34:16 and numerous other scriptures). Therefore, Joseph prophetically represents the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” and the Messiah who would come and seek out those sheep.

The Jewish sages have seen a prophetic picture of the coming Messiah Son of Joseph (Mashiach ben Yosef), the Suffering Servant in the story of Joseph. They have written about the Suffering Servant Messiah figure, who they felt would be a descendant of Ephraim and who would come to redeem the lost sheep or exiles of the house of Israel in preparation for a second Messiah to come. They refer to him as the Conquering King or the Messiah the Son of David (Mashiach ben David). Although I have found no instances where they also identify Judah with the coming Messiah, it is not hard to see some allusions to this in the interplay between Joseph and Judah. Let’s note what the sages write about Joseph as well as the descendants of his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Notice the striking similarities between modern Christians and those the Jewish sages viewed would be the followers of Messiah Son of Joseph?

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…. (emphasis added, note bolded part).

The Family of Israel Is Finally Reunited/Regathered (Gen 46:1–7)

These verses recount the move of Jacob and his family to Egypt where they were reunited with Joseph and his family. This event prophetically foreshadows a time in the future that the Jewish sages call the final redemption, which is to occur at the coming of Messiah Son of David as he comes to establish the Messianic Era (Millennium). The sages teach that an aspect of that final redemption includes the reunification of the two houses of Israel into one kingdom under Messiah Son of David, which is prophesied in Ezekiel 37:15–28. Interestingly, from antiquity, the Jewish sages have chosen Ezekiel’s prophecy as the corresponding scripture passage from the biblical prophets (called the Haftorah) which, in their understanding, best correlates to the Torah portion (parashah) that includes Genesis 46. These sages understood that the events recorded here in the lives of the patriarchs are indications of future events that would occur in the lives of their descendants.

The final redemption or regathering and then the reuniting of Judah and Ephraim at Messiah’s return is mentioned numerous times in the Scriptures (e.g., Hos 5:15–6:4; 1:11; Acts 3:21; Ezek 37:25). This will be a supernatural work of the Spirit of Elohim (Ezek 36:19–32).

Life in the Land of Goshen (Gen 46:34)

After the reunification of the divided family, the Israelites settled in Goshen, which was in the Nile River delta area and was, and to this day is, the prime farm land of Egypt. It was a veritable promised land compared to the arid regions of Canaan.

Prophetically, could Israel’s settling in Goshen after being reconciled and reunited be a spiritual shadow picture of the Millennium? I believe so.

The Jewish sages have long taught that history for the people of Israel is continually repeating itself in cyclical patterns as YHVH accomplishes his purposes among his people over and over again. He is continually endeavoring to reveal his plan of redemption and reconciliation to those who have eyes to see. He is continually reaching out the loving hand of redemption to the next generations of Israelites. This cycle, like a wheel that keeps turning around and around, will turn one more time in the last days in what the sages refer to as the final regathering of the exiles or the final redemption of Israel. This will involve not only the resurrection of the dead, but the reuniting of the divided kingdom of Israel, the regathering of the Israelite scattered exiles back to the land of Israel, and the coming of the Messiah who will set up his reign over this earth called the Messianic Era. This is even better known in Christians circles as the Millennium. The Jewish sages have taught this for thousands of years—and still teach it—because they had read and believed what the biblical prophets have written in this regard.

Conclusion

I believe that the story of the reuniting of Joseph with his brothers a prophetic antetype speaking to the future reunification and redemption of the two houses of Israel with the Messiah as the initiator and focal point of this redemptive process. This process began to occur at the first coming of Yeshua and will culminate at his second coming and it involves the regathering of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This process will climax at the end of the age where the children of Israel will be regathered and reunited to worship YHVH in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) under the rulership of King Yeshua the Messiah, Son of Joseph/David (Ezek 37:15–28) during the one-thousand-year-long Millennium.

 

Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin in End Times Prophecy

Here are a few of my thoughts on who Joseph, Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin represent in end times Bible prophecy.

In studying the Jewish sages of old, I am amazed at how prescient they were about end time events. They gained this understanding often as they studied the lives of notable biblical characters.The sages had the strong sense that history would repeat itself— often again and again for the people of Elohim. This they observed in the cyclical patterns of Israel’s own history where YHVH gave them the truth, they remained faithful to it for a while, and turned from it, were punished and then returned to Elohim only to have the cycle repeat itself again and again.

As I have studied their method of predicting the future based on past events in Israel’s history, this has led me to some of my own speculations, which I present to you below.

Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh Antetypical of Christianity

Joseph’s wife was the daughter of an Egyptian priest. Jospeh married into the religious system of Egypt. He is a picture of Christian church, which has married itself to Babylon by syncretizing itself with certain pagan traditions and belief systems. Joseph is a picture of the end time lukewarm church. Ephraim and Manasseh were products of the union of Joseph (an Israelite) and Potifera (an Egyptian). Though they were Israelite, they were genetically a mixture of both Israelite and Egyptian blood. In fact, they resembled Egypt so much that Jacob, when blessing them, didn’t even recognize who they were. They were strangers to him. Though they were spiritual mulattos, their spiritual destiny was to identify wholly with their Israelite heritage, which would necessitate their renunciation of their Egyptian ties. In the end times, YHVH is calling Christians to renounce the pagan ties they have through their association with the harlot church system and to come completely out of spiritual system of Babylon, which is a mixture of biblical truth with pagan traditions and traditions of men the make of non-effect the word of Elohim.

Benjamin Is Antetypical of the End-Time Bride of Yeshua

Benjamin was the “son of my [Jacob’s] right hand.” He was Jacob’s youngest and most beloved son (after Joseph’s departure). Judah was willing to lay down his life for his youngest brother. Because of the love Judah had for Benjamin, the descendants of both tribes never separated, and the tribe of Benjamin stayed permanently identified with the tribe of Judah. Even Paul, the Jew and an apostle to the Gentiles, was from the tribe of Benjamin.

In the end times, Christians are like Joseph and his two sons. Most Christians take after Manasseh, which means “forgetful” in that they have forgotten the Torah. Those Christians who love Yeshua and keep his (Torah) commandments take after Ephraim, which means “doubly fruitful” in that they have both Yeshua and the Torah. Judah is both a picture of the Jews and of Messiah Yeshua, while Benjamin could also be a picture of the remnant of Torah-keeping believers who have permanently attached themselves to their Hebrew roots, to the Torah, to Yeshua and who have no involvement with the spiritual Babylon.

Joseph Is a Type of the American Government

Joseph became ruler of Egypt. In the end times, America, which is the largest Christian nation and hence contains the largest number of Joseph’s descendants (through Ephraim), is the leader of spiritual Babylon. In Egypt there were seven years of plenty, then seven years of famine. Egypt was the greatest nation of the world at the time. When the world (and Egypt) fell on hard times economically due to famine, Joseph turned Egypt into a socialistic state. This he accomplished through the Egyptian government’s purchase of all the means of production, the land and by indebting the world to it and by turning its own people into serfs working for the government. Is this same scenario happening in America? We have had our years of prosperity, and now we are entering into seven lean years where the government’s answer to these problems is to socialize this nation at a rapidly expanding rate including the nationalizing, in part, of more and more of the private business sector.

 

Who are the modern descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh?

One clue to answer the question: It’s not the Jews!

Genesis 46:14 and 16, Jacob’s Prophecy Over Ephraim and Manasseh

While prophesying over Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, Jacob crossed his hands over their heads making the symbol of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav  (like the letter t or x in the alphabet), which resembles a cross and in that ancient Hebraic script and according to some Hebrew scholars pictographically means “sign of the covenant.” Jacob then spoke of the Heavenly Messenger (the Hebrew word malak mistranslated as “angel” in most Bibles) of YHVH (i.e. the preincarnate Yeshua) who had redeemed him from all evil (see Gen 31:11–13). Jacob then prophesied that the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh would become like “fish in the midst of the land” (literal translation of Gen 48:14–16; see The ArtScroll Stone Edition Tanach).

In light of this prophetic symbolism, which present day religious group would qualify as having fulfilled Jacob’s prophecy as to who the descendents of Ephraim and Manasseh would be? Which religion on earth uses the fish as their symbol, speaks of a Messenger from YHVH as their Redeemer, and has the sign of the Paleo-Hebrew letter tav, which looks like a cross? The Buddhists? The Moslems? The Hindus? Even the Jews? No! Only Christianity fits this enigmatic criteria. Many Christians are without a doubt the literal descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh. Those who are not, according to the Paul the apostle, once they come to saving faith in Yeshua in some unique sense become the descendants of Abraham (e.g. Gal 3:7, 29). Many of these unsaved descendants of Abraham will recognize Yeshua their Messiah on the day that he returns to Jerusalem (e.g. Zech 12:10).

Which nation on earth is without a doubt still the greatest Christian nation? It is the United States of America. Having an understanding of how Jacob’s prophecy to Ephraim and Manasseh was fulfilled is the first piece of the puzzle in identifying America in Bible prophecy.

 

More Prophetic Pictures in the Story of Judah, Joseph and Benjamin

Genesis 44:32–34, Became surety for the lad. Christian commentator Matthew Henry on this passage states, “Judah’s faithful cleaving to Benjamin, now, in his distress, was recompensed long afterwards by the tribe of Benjamin keeping with the tribe of Judah, when the other tribes deserted it” (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 56).

It is amazing that some 800 years later this fraternal love between the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin continued to work in the collective psyches of these tribes such that the heart of the younger was still knit in loyalty with that of older brother. What does this say about generational blessings (and curses) or attitudes that are passed on down to one’s descendants? If curses can be passed on down to the third or fourth generation (Exod 20:5), how about blessings? The Book of Proverbs states that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit,” (Prov 18:21) and that, “ A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit,” (Prov 15:4).  ­

Generations of our descendants can be affected positively or negatively by the inclination of our hearts and the words of our mouth. It had been Judah’s idea to sell Joseph to slave traders. In the meantime, Judah’s heart had changed so that he was willing to lay down his life for his brother, Benjamin, Joseph’s only full brother. This change of heart on Judah’s part and the resulting outpouring of love for his youngest brother had lasting positive results. What are the prophetic implications of this relationship between Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) and Judah?

Did Judah recognize Joseph, or did Joseph have to reveal himself? (Read Gen 45:1–4.) Was Judah “blinded” to whom Joseph was? Why? What is this a prophetic picture of? (See Rom 11:25.) As we have seen in the previous studies, Joseph was a type of the Messiah as well as the father of Ephraim and Manasseh, the dominate tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who went apostate and become “lost sheep” among the nations of the world (Hos 7:8; 8:8; Ezek 34:16 and numerous other Scriptures). Therefore, who does Joseph prophetically represent? This is a prophetic picture of the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” and the Messiah who would come to seek out those lost sheep (Matt 15:24; 10:6). And whom does Judah represent? Is Judah a prophetic shadow of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who would later come as the Messiah to redeem his “brother” who would be lost in spiritual Egypt? Or does he represent the Southern Kingdom of the house of Judah who is “blind” to his Messiah? Perhaps he is a prophetic picture of both. These are potentially difficult questions to answer. One could easily force these scriptures in Genesis to fit into a false prophetic scenario.

This has been a head scratcher for the Jewish sages as well. They have seen in the story of Joseph, the Suffering Servant, a Messiah Son of Joseph figure who they felt would be a descendant of Ephraim and who would come to redeem the lost sheep or exiles of the house of Israel in preparation for a second Messiah to come whom they refer to as the Conquering King or Messiah the Son of David, (Mesorah Publications ArtScroll Bereishis, vol. 1(b), pp. 2121–2122). They see these Messiahs as two separate individuals. Yet in our story of Joseph and Judah can we see the antetypes of these two Messiahs acting out their roles at the same time? Could Judah and Joseph point to both comings of Messiah Yeshua? At his first coming, did not Yeshua, the Suffering Servant, come to redeem a remnant of lost Judah in addition to a much larger portion of “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”? Yet at his second coming, will this same Messiah Son of Joseph come back as the Lion of Judah to be revealed to his Jewish brothers who had previously rejected him?

 

The Story of Joseph Is a Prophetic Antitype of End Time Events

Joseph and Judah (the Two Houses of Israel)

In what follows, we will see types and shadows that point to the end-time reunification of the two houses of Israel (Joseph/Ephraim and Judah/the Jews), and to Yeshua the Messiah whose role it would be to regather and reunite the two houses of Israel by laying his life down as a ransom or substitute for his brothers. In this study, we will discuss the following themes:

  • reuniting lost family members
  • reconciliation and healing of wounds and offenses between families
  • forgiveness of past wrongs, offenses and misunderstandings
  • prophetic shadows of Yeshua the Messiah

Let’s now analyze the events in the life of Joseph (and to a lesser degree, Judah) as they occurred chronologically to see how they pointed forward to events that would occur in the future including the end times.

Joseph Taken as Captive to a Gentile Nation (Gen 37)

Joseph was sold into slavery and taken as a captive to Egypt. Similarly and prophetically, Joseph’s descendants (Ephraim and Manasseh), along with their fellow tribesmen of the northern kingdom of Israel (or house of Israel), were taken as captives into Assyria (ca. 723 B.C.). From there they were scattered around the world (into spiritual “Egypt,” ) where the biblical prophets predicted they would remain until the final regathering at the end of the age (just prior to and at the coming of Messiah). We will understand this more as we proceed.

Joseph: From Slave to Ruler (Gen 37, 41)

At first, Joseph was a slave and a prisoner in Egypt, but then he prospered and was elevated to a position of leadership there. Likewise, in the future, Joseph’s descendants (Ephraim, Manasseh, and the rest of the house of Israel) would start out as slaves and captives in Assyria (in the eighth century b.c.), but would later become leaders and rulers Continue reading

 

Genesis 42–46 Two Brothers and the Two Houses of Israel in End-Time Prophecy

Biblical Types and Antetypes

A major key to understanding biblical prophecy is to recognize the relationship between antetypes and types in the Scriptures. This means that an event or a series of events occurred once, was recorded in the Scriptures, and then at a later time a similitude of the event repeats itself, but with different characters and scene.

An antetype is a type or pattern of something that occurs before the actual event occurs (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an antitype, which means opposite rather than before). In other words, the first event predicts or points prophetically to the future event. This is a way for the Creator to give clues and hints about future events that will come to pass. Those who are ardent students of his Word and those “who have (spiritual) ears to hear” will pick up on these clues and be able to have a sense of what the Creator is going to do at some future date. In this way, those who diligently seek him are rewarded with understanding or “inside information” about what he is planning to do in the future. At the same time, his divine plans and purposes will be obscured from those who don’t have a diligent heart to seek him and his truth, and who could possibly misuse the truth, if they were to discover it, for selfish purposes if they were to learn it.

Similarly, the Gospels record that Yeshua explained deep spiritual truths via parables not to make the meaning clear to the general public, but rather to obscure it. His teachings were Continue reading