“And it came to pass, as [Yeshua] went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Yeshua, Master, have mercy on us.’ And when he saw them, he said unto them, ‘Go show yourselves unto the priests.’ And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified Elohim, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. And Yeshua answering said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?’ There are not found that returned to give glory to Elohim, except this stranger [lit. sprung from another tribe, foreigner or alien]. And he said unto him, ‘Arise, go your way, your faith has made you whole.'”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 11— the midst of Samaria and Galilee
- verse 12— ten men that were lepers
- verse 12— that stood afar off
- verses 14–15— they were cleansed … healed
- verse 16— he was a Samaritan
- verse 18— stranger
Samaria and Galilee were Roman provinces comprising of the ancient territories of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the home of the ten northern tribes. As noted earlier, Yeshua spent much of his time ministering in that region and in much of what he taught, as well as the venues where he ministered, in the meanings of the geographical names, and in the terminologies used in describing his ministry activities, we can find a deeper or allegorical prophetic meaning relating to his ministry to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This account of the ten lepers is no exception.
These ten lepers lived in the historic region of the Northern Kingdom, house of Israel or Samaria. The number ten corresponds to the number of tribes that historically had lived in that area. These tribes were: Ephraim, Manasseh, Reuben, part of Levi, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Dan, Zebulin and Issachar. (Judah, part of Levi and Benjamin comprised the Southern Kingdom, or house of Judah; Simeon is omitted, for it is thought that they were assimilated into Judah in accordance with the Genesis 49:5–7 prophecy, and that their land inheritance was surrounded by that of Judah.) But when the ten northern tribes were exiled from the land of Israel they became strangers or aliens in the countries of their captivity. These terms are used throughout the Scriptures in reference to the scattered tribes of Israel. These lepers, because of their disease, were likewise aliens from their fellow Israelites in the land of Judea where they currently were living.
The term “leprosy” scripturally, was a generic term for any infectious skin condition and does not necessarily relate to the modern term leprosy that is a disease involving the slow rotting away of the flesh. Samson Raphael Hirsch, the nineteenth century Jewish Torah scholar, shows that the biblical skin condition of tzaraas is unrelated to leprosy and therefore is an erroneous translation in our English Bibles.Here is a brief study on the skin disease the Torah calls tzaraas and some of the spiritual implications of this ailment. It is quoted from the author’s own Torah commentary.
Leviticus 13 discusses various skin disorders known as tzaraas. The KJV uses the word “leprosy,” but this is a mistranslation. The [Jewish sages] teach (and so does Christian biblical commentator Matthew Henry in his commentary) that these skin disorders “[were] a plague often inflicted immediately by the hand of [Elohim].”
Tzaraas is a result of sins of the mouth such as slander, gossip, murder with the mouth, false oaths and pride as well as sexual immorality, robbery, and selfishness. For proof of this the [Jewish sages] cite the similarity between the Hebrew word for “skin disorder” (m’tzora) and the word “one who spreads slander”(motzeyra). They say that these skin disorders are “divine retribution for the offender’s failure to feel the needs and share the hurt of others. YHVH rebukes this antisocial behavior by isolating him from society, so that he can experience the pain he has imposed on others—and heal himself through repentance.”They then cite the examples of Miriam’s skin turning white when she slandered Moses. We must not forget what occurred to Gehazi and to king Uzziah, as well (2 Kgs 5:27; 2 Chr 26:19, 21).
It would be well for us to pause at this moment and to consider our own behavior with respect to our tongue. Thankfully, we’re under the grace of Elohim. But in the book of Acts, Ananias and Sapphira found out what happens when one sins with one’s mouth and Elohim pulls back his hand of grace. They were instantly struck dead. As we get closer to the end of the age and the return of Messiah it is likely that Elohim will begin to require greater spiritual accountability of his people, especially of leaders, in the areas we are discussing. He wants to instill within his people the true fear of YHVH-Elohim and a repentant and contrite heart, and to turn people away from lukewarmness. It is likely that such rapid judgments as happened to Miriam, Korah et al, Gehazi, Uzziah, Ananias and Sapphira and others in the Scriptures will begin to occur soon, in our day, and may already be occurring.
The time for playing fast and loose with our mouths and other members of our bodies is over. We are all being called to account by Elohim. Be hot or cold, not in-between! Yeshua is not coming back for a Babylonian (half world and half Word-orientated lifestyle), sin-spotted bride, but one who is without spot and wrinkle.
The skin disease, tzaraas, was like a red flag which if a person had it was regarded as a judgment from Elohim for the sin of slander, gossip, murder with the mouth, false oaths and pride as well as sexual immorality, robbery, and selfishness. That person was considered to be physically and spiritually contagious and so was put outside the camp of Israel until the disease was gone. According to Samson Raphael Hirsch, quarantine was a means of shocking the victim into recognizing his moral shortcomings and driving him to repentance.
It is the skin disease of tzaraas that the ten men of Luke 17 most likely had making them ritually impure and causing them to be legally banned from social contact with the rest of Jewish society. It was these social outcasts of the region of the historic homeland of the lost sheep of the house of Israel to which Yeshua was reaching out. These men knew they were spiritually and physically unclean and they cried out to the only one who could heal and save them—Yeshua the Messiah, whose very name means “salvation.”
Similarly, in the end times, the house of Israel (or the Christian church) will begin to recognize that many of its Torahless religious traditions have been inherited lies handed down from previous generations (Jer 16:19), that she has failed to remember her Torah-based marriage covenants with YHVH (Mal 4:4–6), and that the foreign lovers to which she turned spiritually did not satisfy her like YHVH her husband once had (Hos 2:7). The house of Israel (and the house of Judah) will eventually return to YHVH (Hos 2:6–7) in covenantal relationship (Jer 31:31, 33). They will no longer be a rejected people (Hos 1:6, 9). YHVH will begin to call his people to come out of the filth of Torahlessness and spiritual Babylon (Rev 18:4) and urge them to stop forgetting his Torah (Hos 4:6; 8:1, 12). YHVH pleads with both Judah and her sister Israel (Ephraim) to return to him from their backslidden spiritual condition (Jer 3:6–14). Hosea prophesied that both the houses of Ephraim and Judah will acknowledge their sin against YHVH (the sin of breaking their covenants with him and syncretizing themselves spiritually with the customs of the heathen nations around them, Hos 5:3), and begin to seek YHVH eagerly (Hos 5:15). Hosea then prophesies that Messiah will return after three days (or in the third millennium) to “revive,” resurrect or resuscitate them spiritually and give to Israel new life (Hos 6:1–2), after which she will live in Messiah’s sight during the Messianic Age (or Millennium, verse 3).
Yeshua’s encounter with the ten lepers is an allegorical picture of this. After the Messiah healed the lepers, he instructed them to present themselves to the priests whose duty it was, according to the Torah, to declare that they were physically healed and ritually clean. This pronouncement on the part of the priests cleared the way for the former lepers to legally integrate themselves back into Jewish society without fear of retribution or ostracism.
It is interesting to note that one of the ten “lepers” was a Samaritan. These people were highly shunned and disdained by many in the Jewish culture of the first century. This mixed race people lived in the historic lands of the house of Israel. They were most likely comprised of Northern Kingdom Israelites and heathen Gentiles that the Assyrians had transplanted into northern Israel when they conquered that nation. Here Yeshua is reaching out to this people whom the Jews despised and rejected. Hosea prophesied that the house of Israel would mix herself with the nations of the world (Hos 7:8; 8:8), yet Yeshua reached out to these same type of people when he ministered to the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4), and when he commanded his disciples to take the gospel to Samaria (Acts 1:8).
This account of Yeshua’s ministry to the ten “lepers” teaches us that even though some lost and scattered Israelites may be in a state of extreme spiritual contamination and pollution brought on by sin, YHVH’s grace is open to all—even those whom society shuns and considers to be at the lowest echelon.
Ezekiel 34 paints a clear picture of YHVH’s sheep who have been lost and scattered, but who YHVH, the True Shepherd, will regather. His sheep are starving spiritually, have been pillaged by evil and covetous shepherds and ravished by spiritual diseases and predators. Yeshua is that true Shepherd whose arms of love are still open wide (as they were while he was hanging on the cross). He takes upon himself the burdens of all lost Israelites who are returning to him and promises to heal and to feed them, and to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
What You Can Do
We must follow the example of Yeshua and reach out to anyone regardless of their race or religious affiliation and offer them the good news of spiritual healing and salvation through Yeshua the Messiah. The disease of sin has made all humans impure and separated us all from a loving relationship with YHVH Elohim through Yeshua. Only as we as come into contact with Yeshua the Savior , place our trust in him, and receive his mercy can we be made whole.
Romans 4:16, Abraham … the father of us all.
A spiritual relationship with Elohim based on trusting faith after the pattern of Abraham’s relationship with him is available to all men including those who are born and raised within a framework of Torah (e.g. the Jews), and non-Jews who were born and raised outside of a Torah framework. After all, it must be remembered that when Abraham came to faith in YHVH it is quite possible that he had no little or no background in or understanding of Torah. The same could be said of the Israelite slaves in Egypt when YHVH redeemed them because they had faith in the lambs’ blood on their door posts.
Romans 3:30 says that Israel received righteousness by the Torah (which, through the sacrificial system, pointed to Yeshua, the Redeemer and Living Torah), and the Gentiles receive righteousness through their faith in Yeshua (the Living Torah, which leads one to the righteousness of the Written Torah). In either case, both routes lead to the same conclusion—namely, a people who keep the Torah-commandments of YHVH and have faith in Yeshua, the Messiah. John lists these two criteria in Revelation 12:17 and 14:12 as the notable determiners of who the end-time saints will be. They are those who both keep the commandments of Elohim and who have the faith or testimony of Yeshua. This is an important fact that cannot be quickly passed over. Whether the end-time saints are Jews who came to faith in Yeshua through an understanding of and obedience to the Torah, or Christians who came into Torah-obedience through faith in Yeshua, the two groups end up in the same place arm-in-arm worshiping the same Elohim, trusting in Yeshua the Redeemer, and following his instructions in righteousness (the Torah).
The promises to Abraham were based on trusting faithfulness, and not just a legalistic obedience to the Torah-law, so that all his seed (both Jews and Gentile who would be grafted into Israel, see notes on Rom 11) might be included in his promises which would eventually not only encompass the geographical area of Israel, but the entire world as noted in verse 13. This in no way implies that Torah-obedience is incumbent only upon the Israelites and not upon Gentiles. Paul again and again makes it clear that the gospel message he is preaching in no way annuls Torah.
Father of us all. Paul says in a number of places that those who come to Yeshua are no longer Gentiles but are the children or seed (literally “sperm,” which is the meaning of the Greek word) of Abraham (Eph 2:11–19; Rom 4:16; 9:8–11; Gal 3:7, 9, 14, 28–29). The word gentiles as used in Scripture simply means “ethnic groups or nations.” There are many places in Scripture where Jews and Israelites are referred to as “Gentiles.” There is no class of people called “gentiles” in the spiritual body of Yeshua. As proof of this, Scripture uses the following terms for the redeemed of YHVH: the saints, the called out ones, or the one new man or the Israel of Elohim (Gal 6:16), which is another way of saying redeemed Israel or spiritual Israel. Any attempt by anyone to keep the Jew—Gentile division alive within the body of Yeshua is in effect keeping up the middle wall of partition that the Paul spent his life attempting to tear down (see Eph 2:11–19). This mission eventually cost him his physical life.
Furthermore, we must also keep in mind that there are only twelve gates through which one may enter the New Jerusalem, and these gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 21:12). There is no Gentile gate! The only way that one will be able to enter the New Jerusalem will be through spiritually identifying with the tribes of Israel. So which tribe are you?
Finally, YHVH, the God of the Bible, never made any covenants with non-Israelite nations—only with nation of Israel. To be in covenantal relationship with YHVH one has to accept the Jewish Messiah, and be grafted into the Israelite olive tree through the Messiah and become an Israelite—PERIOD! For example, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews clearly states that the New Covenant is made with the two houses of Israel—not the Gentile nations (see Heb 8:8 and Jer 31:31, 33). This may come as a shock to some people reading this, but this is the truth of Scripture.
Scripture reveals that there are only two classifications of people in Scripture: Israelites and non-Israelites or Gentiles (i.e. people of the nations). The former has eternal life because of their relationship with the Elohim of Israel through the Messiah of Israel. The latter group, unless they repent of their sin (i.e. lawlessness or Torahlessness, see 1 John 3:4), will burn in the Lake of Fire.
Whenever Paul uses the term gentile, he is either referring to ethnicity, and not using the term as a spiritual designation, or he is using the term gentile to mean “worldly.” In this case, it is a moniker referring to those who are carnal in that they act like gentiles (heathens) who are “without God and without hope” (Eph 2:12). The term gentile is not a spiritual designation for a redeemed believer, for they have been called out of the world and have become a member of a special group called “the called out ones” or “church” (the Greek word ecclesia meaning “church, assembly of people”). Scripture also calls redeemed believers “saints” (A Greek word meaning “set-apart”), who are set apart from the gentile world that is without Elohim and without hope. Scripture teaches that those who are redeemed or who are “in Messiah” are no longer Gentiles, for they have been grafted into and become part of the nation of Israel (Rom 11:13–24 and Eph 2:11–19). They have become the one new man about which Paul speaks in Ephesians 2:15.
Now that we know that we are really part of a people group called “Redeemed Israel” or “the Israel of Elohim” (Gal 6:16), what does one do with this information? That is up to you. Pray and ask your Father in heaven to help you to live out your new identity as an Israelite.
Many people upon finding out that Scripture actually defines them as Israelites and not Gentiles, begin to sense a need to begin acting more like Israelites in their lifestyle and beliefs. They become interested in the feasts and Sabbaths of Israel and their life takes on a more Hebraic or Jewish flavor as they see themselves more in light of the book of Acts believers instead of the paradigm of typical Christianity. This is a path that you will need to begin to explore. As you go down this spiritual straight and narrow path, please keep in mind the words of Yeshua in Matthew 5:17–19; John 15:15 and the words of the apostles in 1 Corinthians 11:1 and 1 John 2:3–6 along with Romans 7:12, 14 and 3:31.
Here are some more Scriptures that confirm that the saints are Israelites and NOT Gentiles.
- In Romans 4:16, Speaking to both Jewish and non-Jewish believers in the church of Rome, Paul states that Abraham is “the father of us all.”
- Paul in Galatians 3:7–9 speaking to the believers in Greece says that those who have faith in YHVH are the children of Abraham, and this includes the heathen to whom the gospel is preached in all nations (see verse 8).
- Paul says in Galatians 3:14 that as children of Abraham, the believing Gentiles are entitled to all the blessings YHVH promised to Abraham’s descendants.
- In Galatians 3:28–29, Paul states that in YHVH’s view with regard to his plan of salvation, there is neither Jew nor Greek, but all are one in Yeshua the Messiah. If one is a redeemed believer in Yeshua, then one is the seed (or literally, sperm) or offspring of Abraham and heirs to all of the promises YHVH made to him and his descendants.
- Paul clearly states in Ephesians 2:11–19 that the saints were in the past a part of the people-group the Bible calls the peoples of the nations (or Gentiles) and as such were at that time without Elohim (God) and (spiritual) hope. As such, they were not a part of the nation of Israel, and were outside of the covenants of promises YHVH had made to Israel, but now, thanks to the redemptive work of Yeshua the Messiah, these people of the nations are no longer considered to be Gentiles, but are actual Israelites through their faith in Yeshua, and have become one people along with spiritually redeemed Jews. This people group is now called “the one new man.”
Believers in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah, are the seed of Abraham, or what we might call “redeemed Israel” regardless of their specific ethnic origin. Period. Our understanding of Paul’s passages in this light is confirmed by what John writes concerning the New Jerusalem. Again, it is a fact that in the New Jerusalem there are only twelve gates named after—you guessed it—the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev 22:12)! It may come as a shock to some, but there is no “Gentile Gate”! Gentiles are not permitted into the New Jerusalem—only Israelites. So if you call yourself a redeemed believer in Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah of Israel, again we ask you the following question: Through which gate will enter the New Jerusalem, or stated another way, to which tribe of Israel do you belong?
Ezekiel 37:14–28, The vision of the two sticks (trees). The second vision Ezekiel records in chapter 37 involves YHVH commanding him to take two sticks (or trees) and writing upon one stick “for Judah and for the children of Israel and his companions [i.e., those who have knit themselves together with or joined to the tribe of Judah],” and upon the other stick, write “for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel and his companions [i.e., those who have knit themselves together with or joined to the tribe of Ephraim].” Ezekiel was to told to then join the two sticks together, so that they would become one stick (or tree) in his hand (verses 15–17).
How were these two nations, which separated from each other some three thousand years ago, to be rejoined into one nation? That has been the subject of much debate between both Jewish and Christian commentators for years. Some modern historical revisionists view this prophecy as having been fulfilled when the Jews returned to the land of Israel in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah after their Babylonian captivity ended. But this interpretation leaves some unanswered questions. The book of Ezra, which chronicles the return of a Continue reading
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