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

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
  • 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 in their captive nations and would actually have their own nations just as Jacob prophesied would occur to Ephraim and Manasseh (that they would become a multitude of nations, Gen 48:19). We believe that these nations have become the primary Christian nations (of which America is the leader). As we shall see below, the ancient Jewish sages, based on their understanding of the Scriptures, foresaw that the nations of the ten tribes would spread the truth of Messiah Son of Joseph, the Suffering Servant (Yeshua the Messiah at his first coming) around the world. This would help to prepare the way for the Messiah Son of David (Yeshua the Messiah at his second coming). 

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Who are the lost sheep of Israel and 12 reasons why it’s important to know…

Matthew 10:6, Lost sheep of the house of Israel.The phrase the house of Israel is used 146 times in the Scriptures, and has several possible meanings depending on the context of the surrounding verses in which it is found. To help us to define this term, let’s discover its historical roots or how it originated. 

Prior to the division of the united kingdom of Israel after the death of Solomon, this phrase referred to all twelve tribes of Israel. Afterward the death of Solomon, the nation of Israel split into two nations—the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The latter was comprised primarily of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi, while former kingdom was comprised of the remaining tribes of Israel. During this time, the phrase the house of Israel as a reference to the Northern Kingdom of Israel was often used in contradistinction to the phrase “house of Judah” in reference to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, the Messiah makes reference to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 10:6; 15:54). To which tribes was he referring? All of them or only some of them? Elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua this term refers to all twelve tribes of Israel (Acts 2:36; 7:42; Heb 8:10), and in some references it refers just to the Northern Kingdom (Heb 8:8). The point here is that the context of the passage of scripture surrounding this phrase determines its meaning. 

Although this phrase can include all the tribes of Israel and not just the Jews who were largely from the tribe of Judah, in Matthew 10:6, Yeshua seems to equate the lost sheep of the house of Israel with the Jews who were living in the land of Israel in his day, and not to the rest of the Israelite tribes who were at that time scattered among the Gentile nations. It was Yeshua’s priority to take the gospel message first to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, and then to the rest of the world, and he expected his disciples to follow this same pattern (Acts 1:8). 

In the larger sense, the Scriptures reveal that all of YHVH’s people have been like sheep that have gone astray spiritually, every man to his own way, because of sin (Isa 53:6). So in the broadest sense, this phrase refers to all the tribes of Israel including Gentiles with which they have mixed themselves through intermarriage. 

Eventually, the gospel message is for everyone universally. Yeshua demonstrated this when, on several occasions, he ministered to non-Jewish Gentiles including preaching the gospel message to the Samaritan woman in John chapter four, the Syro-Phoenician woman in Mark chapter seven, and the Roman centurion in Matthew chapter eight.

Twelve Benefits of Understanding Who
the Two Houses of Israel Are
 

Is the commonly called “two house” or “two-stick” message” of the Bible something we should study? Are there any spiritual and prophetic benefits to understanding who the two houses of Israel are? The answer is yes. I would prefer to call it the “One House Message,” since this biblical truth involves the regathering and reunification of the Jews (the house of Judah) and the Christians (the house of Israel or Ephraim) into one nation through Yeshua the Messiah. This is the one new man message Paul proclaimed in Ephesians chapter two. This is the great and largely overlooked truth behind the message of the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah. This is why it’s important to understand.

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Where did they go and are you one of them?

Yes! We’re speaking to YOU!

Deuteronomy 29:28–30:1–20, A time is coming when Israel, including the ten northern tribe will be redeemed and regathered back to the land of Israel after having been exiled into captivity from their land. What is the captivity from which Israel will be returning? 

What Is This Captivity? 

The biblical term captivity is often a reference to Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom or house of Israel, being brought out of captivity by YHVH (Ezek 16:53). Also compare Isaiah 61:1 with Luke 4:18–21 where, while preaching in the region of Galilee and Nazareth (the historic homeland of the Northern Kingdom or House of Israel), Yeshua quotes the Isaiah 61 passage relating it to his ministry to the ten tribes of the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:6). Yeshua states that it was his mission “to preach the gospel to the poor … to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bound, to preach the acceptable year of YHVH.” 

To what“captivity” is Yeshua referring? Is it a physical or spiritual captivity? Compare this with Revelation 18:4 where YHVH states that his people (the saints) are enslaved to the last days’ Babylon the Great religious-economic-political system and must come out of it. What is this religious part of this system that he is now calling his people to leave?

Deuteronomy 29:28, Cast them into another land. “This verse also alludes to the fate of [those Israelites] who had become so assimilated among other peoples that their [i.e. the Israelite’s] origins had become forgotten. When the final redemption comes, these hidden ones known only to [Elohim] will be reunited with the rest of the nation and be restored to the status of their forefathers” (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1090). To whom is the author referring here? Who became assimilated among the peoples and forgot their origins? Who is it that Elohim will bring out of hiding from among the nations where he, in judgment, scattered them and reunite with the Jews (the tribe of Judah) in the end times during what the Jews refer to as “the final redemption”? In Jewish thought, what is the “final redemption”? (For the answer, read Ezek 34:13; 36:24; Isa 56:8; Matt 24:29–44; Acts 1:6; 1 Cor 15:51–53; Rev 11:15–18.)

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Questions and Answers About Who the Descendants of Joseph and Judah Became

Genesis 44:18, And Judah came near. What is the spiritual prophetic significance of Judah initiating the approaching of Joseph? Remember who the descendants of Judah became? The Jews became the Southern Kingdom of Israel, and Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh became the Northern Kingdom or house of Israel and eventually the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Prophetically-speaking, who is the most notable descendant of the tribe of Judah? (See Rev 5:5.). Did Yeshua, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, seek you or did you seek him when you were lost? (See Rom 5:8; Luke 19:10; Matt 18:11.)

Why is Judah coming near to Joseph (who he does not yet recognize as Joseph)? What were Judah’s heart motives in coming near? (See Gen 44:18–34). Was Yeshua motivated to come near to us out of love for his Father as well? (See John 8:28; chapter 17.)

Did Judah offer to lay down his life as a ransom for his youngest brother? (See Gen 44:33.) Who does this point to prophetically? Who else freely gave his life as a substitute for his brothers? (See Mark 10:45; Matt 20:28; 1 Tim 2:5; John 10:11, 15, 17–18; 1 John 3:16.)

  • Please note that Judah is an antetype (prophetic forerunner) of Yeshua the Messiah.
  • Both sought to please their fathers.
  • Both acted out of unconditional love for their younger brother.
  • Both stood to gain nothing personally, but rather stood to lose much, if their plan did not work. Judah, a prince, would become a slave in Egypt; Yeshua would become a slave to death and hell, if he sinned.

It is interesting to note that classic Christian commentator Matthew Henry draws a similar analogy between Judah’s actions here and Messiah Yeshua, as well (A Commentary On the Whole Bible, vol. 1, p. 243, by Matthew Henry).

Judah’s love for his father and Benjamin and his willingness to lay down his life as a ransom to become a slave in Egypt to Joseph is analogous to Messiah Yeshua’s love for the lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom he came to reach out and to ransom in order to bring them back into the fold of Israel (John 10:15–16; Matt 10:6; 15:24).

What was the burden on the Apostle Paul’s heart in this regard? (Read Romans 9:1–5.) Who does Paul later go on to talk about and extend his heart burden to in Romans 9:23–24? Remember that the term Gentile simply means “ethnic or people groups, or the people of the nations.” Who is Paul specifically referring to here? Paul had the same intense love for his Jewish brethren as he did for those “people groups of the nations” whom he equates with the lost, adulterous and apostate house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel). Compare Romans 9:25 with Hosea 2:23 (the former being a direct quote from the latter) in context with the whole book of Hosea, which is addressed particularly to the apostate house of Israel and who had become “lost” among the nations, of which Joseph in Egypt is a prophetic antetype.


 

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?


 

Who are the lost sheep of the house of Israel? Maybe you’re one of them…?!

Lone Sheep

Matthew 10:6, Lost sheep of the house of Israel. The phrase the house of Israel has several possible meanings depending on the context of the surrounding verses in which it is found.

The phrase the house of Israel is used 146 times in the Scriptures. Prior to the division of the united kingdom after the death of Solomon, this phrase referred to all twelve tribes of Israel. Afterwards (during the time of the prophets), it was used in contradistinction to the phrase “house of Judah” in reference to the Northern Kingdom.

In the Testimony of Yeshua, Yeshua makes reference to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt 10:6; 15:54). Elsewhere in the Testimony of Yeshua this term refers to all twelve tribes of Israel (Acts 2:36; 7:42; Heb 8:10), and in some references it refers to just the Northern Kingdom (Heb 8:8). The context of the passage of scripture surrounding this phrase determines its meaning.

Although this phrase can include all the tribes of Israel and not just the Jews who were largely from the tribe of Judah, in Matthew 10:6, Yeshua seems to equate the lost sheep of the house of Israel with the Jews who were living in the land of Israel in his day, and not to the rest of the Israelite tribes who were at that time scattered among the Gentile nations. It was Yeshua’s priority to take the gospel message first to the Jews in Jerusalem and Judea, and then to the rest of the world, and he expected his disciples to follow this same pattern (Acts 1:8).

In the larger sense, the Scriptures reveal that all of YHVH’s people have been like sheep that have gone astray spiritually, every man to his own way, because of sin (Isa 53:6). So in the broadest sense, this phrase refers to all the tribes of Israel including Gentiles with which they have mixed themselves through intermarriage.

Eventually, the gospel message is for everyone universally. Yeshua demonstrated this when, on several occasions, he ministered to non-Jewish Gentiles including preaching the gospel message to the Samaritan woman in John chapter four. 


 

Scattered and Regathered—YOU are a fulfillment of this prophecy!

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 understanding and lacked wisdom. These are all terms relating to the Torah. Who today has forgotten the Torah and says it is “done away with”? Who says that it brings death not life (in contradistinction to verse 47)? Who has inherited (theological) lies from their spiritual fathers (Jer 16:19, read verses 14–21 for context) who say that “the law has been done away”? Will there be a spirit of Elijah move of the Spirit of Elohim in the last days to turn the scattered and backslid children’s heart back to their spiritual fathers and does this involve returning to the Torah of Moses (Mal 4:4–6)? It is interesting to note that The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash states that this verse “refers to the exile of the Ten Tribes who were scattered to an unknown place where they were never heard from again” (p. 1105).

It is important to note that the ten northern tribes of Israel or Ephraim, as Scripture often shortened their name to, were scattered over the face of the whole earth after they were taken into captivity by the Assyrians (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 corners …” The Orthodox Jewish 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 a constant reminder of YHVH’s plan and eventually Israel will thrive and fulfill YHVH’s intention for it (pp. 1105–1106). 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).