The start of the nation Israel
"These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;
Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;
Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.
The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them."
At one time, there was another king in Egypt, which didn't knew Joseph. That king let the Israelites to work as slaves.
"so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labour in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labour the Egyptians used them ruthlessly."
As a result of that slavery and mistreatment began the people to call to God. And God heard the whine of the Israelites and called Moses to lead them from Egypt to the land of Canaan.
"And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."
We all know the story from the exodus from Egypt. The nation was led through the Red Sea and God led them through the desert to the promised land. This trip was done in a relatively short period of time, probably less than three years. When the people arrived in the land of Canaan, Moses sent twelve scout into the country. These returned after forty days. All, except two, were very negative about the country that God had promised them. God is so angry, He would eradicate all people of Israel.
" The LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they."
Moses begs God for forgiveness for the people. And God forgive them.
"The LORD replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked."
But all those who have seen God's glory in the desert, will die in the desert. They have to wander around forty years in the desert. For each day that the country scouted: one year.
"For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land--you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.' I, the LORD, have spoken."
After those forty years Joshua leads them into the promised land.
"After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant:
"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites.
I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country-- to the Great Sea on the west.
No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them."
From that time the people became a nation with its own country. Years they lived in the country and were regularly conducted by Judges. For years, the twelve tribes lived as one people. And all this time the promises, which had to do with the birthright and with the scepter, were within one nation. The birthright through Ephraim and Manasseh, and the scepter through Judah. We will first follow the first birthright line.
The Line of the First Birthright
We have seen how the two promises that God gave to Abraham were passed on to Isaac and Jacob. Jacob passed the promises to several children.
We will now look to these promise lines, at a glance, on a schedule again.-->
ABRAHAM had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Later Abraham had more sons after the death of Sara, but he sent those away (Genesis 25: l-5). Although Ishmael was the firstborn, God put Isaac above Ishmael.
Genesis 17:16-21 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button -->)
God says, that through Sara, ie through Isaac, peoples and Kings of nations will come forth (verse 16).
Additionally, God's promise to Abraham: "..I will establish my covenant with him (Isaac) as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.' (verse 19).
Ishmael will be blessed too: (verse 20) "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. BUT my covenant I will establish with Isaac..."
By God's intervention Isaac was put above Ishmael. Isaac got the first birthright with his blessings.
ISAAC begot two sons: Esau and Jacob. And again God intervened in the first birthright. Jacob got, despite the fact that he was second, first birthright. God had already said that the oldest (Esau) the youngest (Jacob) would serve, but Jacob did not have the patience to wait for God to fulfill that promise. Jacob wanted to help God a little through buying his birthright of Esau.
Genesis 25:19-34 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
When Jacob had bought his birthright of Esau he still had not enough. He begot the blessing that Isaac wanted to give the firstborn by devious means.
Genesis 27:1-29 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
In that way Esau lost his first birthright and the accompaning blessing. Esau despised his birthright. He found that red soup more important than his birthright. He was therefore nicknamed: Edom. (literally: red soup). When the Bible talks about Edom, then it refers to Esau. Edomites are descendants of Esau. (According to history mostly Turkish).
JACOB means suppressor, heel grabber, trickster, deceiver. These names have typified the character of Jacob. And if you do so, you should not be surprised, when another treats you equally. When Jacob came to Laban to merry his daughter Rachel, he was betrayed after seven years labor, and got Leah as wife. He had to work again seven years for Rachel. Later Jacob did some tricky things with the cattle of Laban to acquired a large herd.
But before all this happened Jacob got the blessing of his father Isaac. We have read this already in Genesis 27.
The blessing that Isaac gave to Jacob, was of a purely physical nature. There was nothing what had to do with salvation or life after death.
"May God give you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness--an abundance of grain and new wine.
May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed. "
Esau got a 'blessing', which looks more like a curse (at least as we read in the NIV translation).
"Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above.
You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck."
But in translation of the King James, we read something else: "Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;"
It is remarkable that there are such contradictions in the various translations, and this is not the only one. Therefore it is good to use several Bible translations during Bible study. We will not talk about the blessing to Esau because it is not important to our subject.
We saw then, that Jacob was blessed with a materialistic blessing, but as we saw last time, God gave him direct the spiritual blessing.
"...All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring."
After years of testing, after a night of wrestling with God, God gave his blessing to Jacob and gave him a new name: Israel, which means "ruler" or "overcomer with God"
Genesis 32:22-32 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
Later God appears again to Jacob, and then He says:
"Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel."
In Genesis 48 we read the story of the blessing of the sons of Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh. We have already talked about. In summary, there was again another intervention in the first birthright. Rueben was the firstborn of Israel (Jacob) (Gen.49: 3). But Israel set Joseph and his sons Manasseh and Ephraim above Rueben because Rueben had sinned.
l Chronicles 5:l
"...Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father's marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph..."
So God has intervened in the first birthright by:
- Ishmael and Isaac
- Esau and Jacob
- Rueben and Joseph (and through him his sons). But God intervened again in the first birthright, namely by:
- Manasseh and Ephraim.
Although Manasseh was the oldest, God had the right hand of Israel (Jacob) laid on Ephraim, and set Ephraim over Manasseh that way. Those two boys would become the name carriers of Israel.
Up to and including the blessing to Jacob, the promises were passed to one man. From Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. Three generations it was a one-man nation. But Jacob had twelve sons. And these are become the beginning of the nations, the beginning of the peoples.
From Jacob, the promises: The birthright and sceptre (with associated spiritual blessing) were separated. Joseph, and in him Ephraim and Manasseh -thus Israel- got the first birthright. Judah received the sceptre.
Jacob calls his twelve sons and makes them known what will happen to them in days to come (the King James speaks of: the Last days - the last days or the end of times). We follow only JUDAH and JOSEPH.
"Then Jacob called for his sons and said: "Gather round so that I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.
"Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel."
"Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you. You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness-- who dares to rouse him? The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his."
"Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed supple, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
's blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills. Let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the prince among his brothers."
Joseph (and through him Manasseh and Ephraim) is a young fruit tree (picture of the promised fertility), a young fruit tree to a source, whose branches grow over the wall. (Run over the wall KJV) i.e. its branches (children) will go outside their area, they are a people that will settle outside their area (the land of Canaan).
For the moment we leave the first birth line. We will now follow the scepter line.
The Line with the Scepter
GOD AS KING REJECTED
For years, from about 1400 BC. to 1043 BC., lived the twelve tribes as a people. For years, the birthright and the sceptre were within one nation. The birthright through Ephraim and Manasseh, and the sceptre through Judah. All these years God ruled them. He used Judges and prophets to inform the people about His will.
God was their King ... till the people wanted a man as King. (1 Samuel 8:7-9)
They rejected in that way God as their King. Saul became their first human king. That was in 1043 BC . Saul disobeyed God and was ultimately rejected. His son Isboset reigned only two years and not even over Judah. 2 Samuel 2:10
David succeeded Saul. He is the first king who ruled as God wanted. He was also on the throne that really belonged to God, but at least he listened to God. 1 Chronicles 29 shows that the throne of David and later of Solomon was actually the throne of God.
1 Chronicles 29:23
"So Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD (Jahweh) as king in place of his father David."
As we have seen in an earlier Bible study that the Lord -Jahweh- is The Word, Who came in the world as Jesus.
"I Jesus... I am the Root and the Offspring of David."
Jesus is the "Root" as the "Offspring" of David. Because He is the Root, the throne was His before David was born. And because He is the "Branch" -the offspring of David, He will also inherit the throne.
David, King from the Tribe of Judah
Let us again go back to the text where Jacob blesses his son Judah.
"The scepter (sign of royal dignity and dominion) will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his."
("until he comes" He is the Messiah. The people are still not obey Him, so the moment we have here is the second coming of Christ on earth. Compare also Jeremiah 23:5-8 and Daniel 7:13,14,27. So we read in this text that Judah, or the descendants of Judah will be reigning Kings until Jesus comes for the second time on earth.
David, who is of the tribe of Judah, gets to hear of God in 2 Samuel:2 Samuel 7:12-1
"When your days are over...I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever..... Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.'"
It is clear that God has promised to Judah and later to David that there will always be a descendant of them on the throne who will rule over Israel. It seems something is not right. Do you see that Israel is ruled by a descendant of David?
Do you have to see this spiritual? Is this promise of God maybe fulfilled in Jesus? There is somewhere written that Jesus sits on the throne, isn't it?
Let's read this piece of 2 Samuel 7:12-16 once through.
- David's throne was confirmed, and therefore, with Solomon, David's son. (verse 12)
- The throne -Davids throne (verse 16)- was confirmed for ever in Solomon.
- What happens when Solomon or his descendants disobey? (verse 14,15) then "I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you."
Please note that the throne despite any injustice will not be removed like Saul.
Conclusion: If God confirms the throne with David and Solomon, and He promises to confirm that throne forever, than He will never break this covenant, not even for one generation.
But where is the throne today? The Bible tells us who's been king of David to Zedekiah, but we read nothing about a king who ruled over Israel after Zedekiah.
I hear you thinking what I first also thought, that throne is still continued in Jesus? Jesus is a descendant of David, but ... who ruled than in the period from Zedekiah to Jesus? Zedekiah's reign ended in 586 BC. Moreover, we must ask ourselves if Jesus sits indeed on the throne of David?
These texts show that Jesus sits not on the throne of David. Jesus is on the right hand of his Father, so next to God, on God's throne. Jesus will not sit on the throne of David before his second coming to earth, still in the future (cf. Luke 19:12.)
But who ruled then in almost 600 years between Zedekiah and Jesus? If no one has been, we must conclude that God has broken his word or that the Bible is wrong.
You may say: you must see this spiritually. The promise that God gives to David is about His "Son" Jesus, the Messiah. When He comes, at the end of times, this promise will be fulfilled. Indeed this whole story is a wonderful spiritual image. It is a shadow of reality. God says to David that his offspring, his own son, Jesus was a son, a Branch of David, will rule until eternity. We know that Jesus will do so. Then God says: "He is the one who will build a house for my Name" That too is a prophecy that Jesus is fulfilling. He built the church, the house of God. (Ephesians 2:21,22)
Also verse 14a of 2 Samuel 7 is literally -in Jesus-fulfilled. God is His Father, Jesus is His Son. He has taken our injustice on Himself and God has punished Him, through men, with rods and floggings. Yet this prophecy in Samuel is not only a spiritual prophecy. It is also literally fulfilled in Solomon.
That 2 Samuel 7:12-16 also a spiritual side, doesn't take away that there is also a natural side. We can see the literal fulfillment of this covenant without difficulty until Zedekiah. There are also some Bible verses that show this is in the first place a natural promise with a natural effect. Solomon did built the Lord a house.
And when God speaks in verse 14 about the discipline with the rod of men and floggings inflicted by men, then it is clear that He speaks about penalties on men who come after injustice. God points out, that He will only punish in this way and that He will never punish as He did to Saul, whose reign he was declined.
This is clearly about an earthly king.
Also 2 Chronicles 13:4-5 clearly shows whose throne would be confirmed. The kingdom is always given to David ... and to his sons. Are you convinced that this is about the natural sons of David? And this promise will be literally (i.e. on earthly level) fulfilled? If you are not completely convinced it is good to read two more Bible parts.
God says that He made a covenant with David, he has sworn: 'I will establish your line for ever and make your throne firm through all generations.' All generations speaks clearly about the direct descendants of David. All generations can't be spiritualized. This is about the direct, natural offspring of David. Read also verses 29-38.
The second Bible part is in Jeremiah 33.
"For this is what the LORD says: 'David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel."
Never is for me never, and I believe God at His word. It is nevertheless difficult, on purely biblical basis to give a direct answer to the questions raised, I admit that immediately. In a later stage of this Bible study I will get back on this topic.
The children of Israel becomes two nations
Till Solomon, the son of David -the scepter keeper from the tribe of Judah-, were the children of Israel one nation. So the Scepter and birthright were within one nation.
Solomon was king over the twelve tribes, which together formed one nation.
1 Kings 11: 1-13 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
But then Solomon didn't follow the Lord completely and he turned his heart away from the Lord. God was angry with Solomon and told him that his kingdom would be torn off. Not the whole kingdom would be torn off him, there would remain one tribe to govern.
God put opponents to Solomon because of his sins.
Read 1 Kings 11:14, 26-36 and (end of verse )38 and 39.
One of Solomon's adversaries was Jerobeam, a man from the tribe of Ephraim. Jerobeam was told by a prophet that God would give him ten tribes to have to govern. After the death of Solomon his son Rechabeam would take over the kingship over Israel, but he did not include God.
1 Kings 12:1-24 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
This section explains how God's word proved to be correct and the ten tribes were torn off of the house of David. Since then there were two kingdoms. The kingdom of Israel - the ten tribes and the kingdom of Judah - the two tribes.
Israel - the ten tribes- is indicated in biblical prophecies as:
"house of Israel" or "Jacob"
Jakob's name was changed to Israel, but often the name of Jacob is still used. His grandsons would bear his name. So when talking about Jacob than it refers the name bearers of Jacob: Ephraim and Manasseh.
"Hous of Jacob" or "Ephraim".
If the name Ephraim is used, there is no doubt that these are the people of Israel led by Ephraim.
"Samaria" to the capital of their 10-tribes nation.
The Jews are always indicated by:
"Juda" "House of Juda" But also with "Israel"or "House of Israel".Then it is clear from the context that it is Judah.
To understand what I mean I need to explain what the difference is between a Jew and an Israeli. In principle, it is true that all the descendants of Jacob (Israel) are Israelis. Jacob had twelve sons, each in itself became an ancestor. Thus, e.g. the descendants of Levi are called Levites. And the descendants of Judah are Jews. It is necessary to understand this well. We can see that all Jews are Israelites, but not all Israelites are Jews.
Let's take the USA as an example. There are 52 states. It is obvious that all Texans are Americans, but that doesn't mean that all Americans are Texans.
If God thus speaks in the prophecies about "Israel" then He almost always speaks about the nation Israel, the ten tribes. If God in the prophecies talks about Judah than only the two tribes nation Judah is meant. Sometimes the prophecies speak on "Israel" or "House of Israel" and than are still mentioned the Jews, but this will always appear from the context.
The Deportation of the People of Israel
The people Israel, the ten tribes, has rejected God's commandments and institutions. (2 Kings 17:16-18)
Therefore God has them removed from His presence. And Israel was kept in exile from its country to Assur (verse 23). This was between 721-718 BC. They never returned from the Assyrians.
Till Israel was removed in exile it was governed by a set of Kings. The eighteenth king, who is also the last was Hosea. This king did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, like his people.
2 Kings 17:16-23
"18 So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left,... and they are still there".
About Israel we read nothing anymore in the history part of the Bible. But from many prophecies it is clear that God the 10 tribes -Israel- has not depreciated. The exile of Israel is not the only exile the Bible speaks about. Approximately 130 years later, the Jews deported to Babylon in exile by Nebukadnessar.
The Exile of Judah
The eighteenth king of Judah after Solomon was Jojakim.
2 Kings 24:1-4 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
After him came his son Jojakim.
2 Kings 24:8-16 ->
Under his reign was the first ravishment of Judah into exile to Babylon. The king of Babylon made Jojakins uncle king of Judah. A kind of manager so.
2 Kings 24: 17-20 ->
Zedekiah was in revolt against the king of Babylon: Nebukadnessar.
Nebukadnessar besieged Jerusalem and took everyone prisoner.
2 Kings 25:1-7 ; 11-12 ; 21. ->
In this second ravishment in exile, there were still a few left in Judah.
One of those who were not deported to Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 39:1-14 ->
Jeremiah had written a letter to the exiles in Babylon after the first ravishment in exile, under King Jojakim. In that letter he prophesies that the exile would last 70 years.
Jeremiah 29:4,10 That prophecy has been well received in Babel witness the words of Daniel, which is one of the exiles. Daniel knew about that 70 years.
"1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom--2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years."
In Ezra, we read that the people return to Judah-Jerusalem. Please note that we read only (in verse 5) the tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to Jerusalem. In other words, the nation Judah returns. The nation Israel was not in Babylon, and so could not benefit from the return of the Jews.
The Jews therefore returns back in their country. But there are no more Kings sitting on the throne of David. Could God, if no more kings reign over Judah, broke His promises to David?
If we can be sure about something, it is that God does not lie and He always does what He says.
Conclusion: God has not broken his covenant with David. There must be somewhere in the world a descendant of David sitting on the throne of David as a reigning monarch.
For those who want to know if there is still evidence in the Bible in that direction, it is good to study the rest of this Bible study.
A riddle and a parable
HOW AVOID GOD BREAKING OF HIS WORD?
As already said Zedekiah was the last king who reigned over Judah. He did this while under the authority of Nebukadnessar, but at least he was on the throne of David.
But as we mentioned earlier God had an indissoluble covenant with David, that David will never lack a man on the throne (see: David, king of the tribe of Judah.) God does not lie! If Zedekiah appears to be the last king from the royal family of David, then we have to find out if God has something more to say about the king or his offspring. We must search for clues that will make it clear if God has broken his word, and if so, why? If God has not broken his word, we must find out how He fulfills His promise to David.
Ezekiel is a prophet who lived during the latter reign. He has said and written several things about this matter.
Ezekiel 17 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
In the first part God presents to the people of Israel a riddle and a parable. It is both to Israel and Judah. If only read the riddle and the parable it is not easy to understand what the Lord intended, but luckily He has also given the explanation. The fact alone that God tells this riddle and parable as told by Ezekiel is significant especially followed by an explanation. God apparently wants to make clear that when we see this picture somewhere again in one form or another, we then may link this story, or at least the imagery to understand what God is talking about.
The verses 1-6 are explained in 11-14. The great eagle with powerful wings is the king of Babylon: Nebukadnessar (Verse 3). He tore the top off of the cedar. The top of the young twigs, and he led them to a trading country.
Nebukadnessar took the king (Jojakim) and the princes and carried them away to Babylon.
verse 5, 6
Then took the great eagle some of the seed of the land, planted that like a willow, where much water was, in that way it became a low, spreading vine. It's branches turned towards him but its roots remains under it. So it became a vine and produced branches and put out leafy boughs.
Then Nebukadnessar took a member of the royal family (Zedekiah) and made a treaty with him and made him swear an oath: he also took away the powerful men of the country. Thus, Judah became a minor kingdom, unable to rise again, surviving only by keeping his treaty.
But there was another large eagle. This was the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Zedekiah sent messengers to Egypt so that he would get horses and a large army.
Because Zedekiah broke the covenant that he had made with Nebukadnessar, a covenant that was signed in the name of God, God gives Zedekiah over to Nebukadnessar.
Here stops the similarity and interpretation, but.... God goes on speaking in the next three verses.
"'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it."
The Lord just explained that the top of the high cedar is the monarchy of Judah.
"....I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots...."
Tender sprig from its topmost shoots , children of the king. A tender sprig: a princess?!
"...(And I will) plant it (that sprig) on a high and lofty mountain...."
Which mountain? What is that mountain? It can not really be a mountain, because the Lord speaks here in parable language."
..On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar."
God will plant that king-child (daughter?), which will bear branches. Branches are princes (see verse 4:12).
The sprig will produce fruit. That king-child will see offspring. The royal line will be ensured. The sprig will not remain a sprig. It will not fall, after a certain period, on earth, but it will be a mighty cedar. A powerful monarchy.
"All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. "'I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'"
The high tree that is brought down is the monarchy of Judah, as the Lord explained earlier in this chapter. That high, lush tree-the monarchy of Judah from which David reigned over all of Jerusalem, the city of God, that tree was brought down by God and He has dried up the tall tree (Judah).
But a sprig, a descendant of the once so mighty monarchy would be used by God to be a powerful new cedar.
Where did God say that twig would be planted? Where would it evolve into a powerful monarchy?
verse23."...On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it..."Does God speaks here about Judah or on the other Israel? The kingship was removed from the nation Judah. The sprig should then be planted in Israel of the 10-tribes. But the 10-tribes, as time this prophecy is written, has been more than 130 years gone, and never returned to Canaan.
Would it have been God's intention that there is always someone on the throne of David?
In addition to the previously cited texts Jeremiah also speaks on this topic.
Jeremiah 33:17, 20, 21
"For this is what the LORD says: 'David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel...'If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant with David my servant--and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me--can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne."
These are pretty strong comments.
There are a few things to these texts:
- God says: David will never fail to have a man who is seated on the throne.
- God does not say that it will a the throne in Jerusalem, so over Judah after Solomon. God says that it is a throne from the house of Israel.
- This covenant is truly indissoluble.
Just coming back to point 2. In compare with Jeremiah 33:14 it is clear that the Lord very clearly refers to the throne over the 10-tribes. Remember that Jeremiah expressed this some 130 years after the disappearance of the 10-tribes. With these texts gives God again a piece of the puzzle. With each piece the picture is getting clearer.
Jeremiah lived during the Babylonian exile and knew King Zedekiah even personal. He knew from the end of this kingdom, yet he gets a prophecy from God to speak about the throne of David. That this prophecy, declared after the end of King Zedekiah, emphatically is not talking about breaking of God's promises to David, is of course not coincidental. It is as if God wants to make clear that this promise is still undetermined. How would that promise than developed after Zedekiah? How is this prophecy of Ezekiel, which we have just discussed (the sprig of the cedar), how is this prophecy elaborated?
God has used people through all the ages to fulfill his plans. Who will plant that "sprig"? Ezekiel spoke that prophecy on the cedar and the sprig. Jeremiah lived in the same period. Has he anything to do with that?
Jeremiah is a very special man. This is evidenced by the fact that he is one of the three men in the whole Bible, that was sanctified and called before their birth. Of these three Jeremiah was the first. The other two were John the Baptist and ... Jesus Christ.Jeremiah 1:5-10
See specific verse 10 "...I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
Jeremiah was a Jew. He was a prophet sent to Judah, but not Judah alone. Over nations and kingdoms! He was appointed over these kingdoms to:
- "uproot" or "tear down", to "destroy" or "overthrow",
- to "build" and "to plant".
God gives Jeremiah a very large assignment. What nations and kingdoms, God speaks here? There were in those days two peoples in particular where God had to intervene.
- the people of Judah (the two tribes)
- the people of Israel (the 10-tribes)
Again for clarity. Judah was led by Nebukadnessar in exile to Babylon, and Israel was about 130 years earlier led in exile to Assyria.
Jeremiah prophesied already before the Jews were removed in exile, on this Faithless Judah.
Jeremiah 3:6-13 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
We can also see from this section clearly that Jeremiah is aware of the "two nations". Also he knows where "Faithless, Israel" is ... "in the North." (verse 12.)
Later in this book Jeremiah have to prophesy about Zedekiah and the royal family of David.
Jeremiah 21:3-10 ; 22:1-9 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->).
Zedekiah will be given in the power of Nebukadnessar.
Jeremiah 22:6, 7
Again: "For this is what the LORD says about the palace of the king of Judah: "Though you are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon, I will surely make you like a desert, like towns not inhabited."
This metaphor we have previously seen in Ezekiel 17. There is in this context also spoken about plants. "I myself" God says, "will take a shoot (sprig)... and plant it ... on the mountains height of Israel."
We asked ourselves whom will plant in the name of the Lord?
Where did we read more about plant?
God had Jeremiah appointed over peoples to .... "plant". But who had Jeremiah to plant? Which of the royal family of David had to be planted on the "high mountain Israel"? Let's follow a bit of the life of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah's imprisonment and release
Jeremiah had to tell one disaster message after another to the people of Judah and his Kings, in the name of the Lord.
Jeremiah 20: 7-11(read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
He has a very difficult time to do this. The people want to kill him. There was another prophet: Uria, by preaching the same things he was killed, but Jeremiah is protected.
Jeremiah 26:20-24 ->
Later, he was still imprisoned.
Jeremiah 37:11-21 and 38:1-13,28 ->
As Jeremiah prophesied Jerusalem had been occupied by Nebukadnessar. How that happened and what happened with Jeremiah we read in Chapter 39:1-14 ->
After he was released, the commander of the bodyguard of Nebukadnessar speaks to Jeremiah and gave him a gift. This is to say the least, a strange thing.
Jeremiah 40:1-6 ->
This commander took care of Jeremiah, set him at liberty and give him a gift.
This high officer of the enemy is very concerned about the prophet. That shows that he sees that the victory on Jerusalem was not because he was such a skilled commander, but because he saw that Jeremiah had an important task in it. Although Jeremiah spoke only the words of God fulfilled what He said, Jeremiah was at that moment the personification of the God of Israel. Jeremiah spoke, and it happened. So he uprooted, or teared down the kingdom of Judah, according to his mission. (Jeremiah1:10)
Gedaljah and Ishmael
"So Jeremiah went to Gedaliah ... and stayed with him among the people who were left behind in the land."
In Chapter 40 from verse 7 we read the story of Gedalja who was appointed by Nebukadnessar as governor. He, however, is murdered by Ishmael. Ishmael murdered not only Gedalja but many more.
Jeremiah 41:9 - 42:3. (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
This Ishmael, carried away the entire rest of the people included ..... the daughters of the king. And not only they, but according to 42:2 also Jeremiah. This is a moment to stand still. It was as if we strayed off of God's plan for the throne of David to be continued, but now we see at once that the stories are intertwined. God had spoken on a sprig from the top of the cedar which is in itself would be a cedar (Ez.17)
This sprig, which is a royal child, would be planted on the high mountain Israel. Jeremiah had been given by God that task (Jeremiah 1:10). And now suddenly all this comes together.
Zedekiah had sons, but they are killed by Nebukadnessar.
If there are no sons, than daughters are the successors of the family line. This is a rule that is set by God himself.
" 'If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance over to his daughter."
Zedekiah had sons, but they were all dead, and that is in the law of inheritance the same as having no sons.
Jeremiah moved with the daughters of the king to Egypt. God had warned the people, by Jeremiah, not to go, but they rejected God's advice.
Again the Bible confirms that Jeremiah and the daughters of the king were together.
In Egypt God says to the people that they will be slain.
All will die .... except a few fugitives.
Among those refugees were Jeremiah and Baruch, his writer, because God had promised them that they do not have to fear for their lives.
To Jeremiah: "I am with you and will rescue you." (1:19)
To Baruch: "wherever you go I will let you escape with your life." (Jeremiah 45:5)
But there was another reason that they kept their lives. Jeremiah had a mission from God. Part of this task was finished (the "uproot and tear down, the destroy and overthrow" of the monarchy of Judah), but the second part, which was much more positive, he had not yet been implemented, (building and planting).
The daughters of the king had to flee from Egypt too because they were the only "sprigs" that were left from the mighty "cedar", the royal family of David. These daughters, or at least one of them, had to be planted on the "high mountain Israel." And this is what Jeremiah was commissioned: to plant and build.
We do not know how Jeremiah is taken to this task, but we can be certain, that what God wants to be done, is done.
We will look to some other Bible sections in more detail to clarify what God's plans are for the succession to the throne on the throne of David. Jeremiah 22:1-5)
Jeremiah prophesies here to Zedekiah. If Zedekiah is doing what God represents to him, everything will be fine, but if he is not listening to the word of the Lord, then this house -the royal family of Judah / David (see 21:11)- will become a ruin.
Ezekiel prophesies about the same things as we will see.
Exalt the Lowly; bring Low the Exalted
Ezekiel 21:18-27 (read this in your own Bible or open a separate window by clicking that button ->)
Ezekiel prophesies here about Zedekiah, whose crown would be removed at the time of the Babylonian exile. "Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low." (verse 26)
The crown is removed. Zedekiah died in the dungeons of Babylon. His sons were killed. "It will not be as it was." Caution! There is not: This will not continue (that kingship). But it says: "it will not be as it was." The throne will not stop but continue.
The KJV says: "exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high." Judah will no longer have a king. Judah will be "abased".
The throne of David was in Jerusalem. The Kings (after Solomon) ruled over Judah. Now the prophecy says: It will not be as it was. The crown, that kingship will not have the same essence, (verse 26 KJV.)
Ezekiel 21:27 KJV.
" I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it (the throne)"
God will do something with that kingdom which is completely different than what is the line of expectations. He will overturn the throne three times.
"and it shall be no more, until..."
That throne will change again. The throne of Judah was changed to the "high mountain Israel" (Ez.17). Judah is humiliated and Israel (a nation in exile), exalted by getting the kingship on the throne of David. How that goes with that kingdom "on the high mountain Israel" can not be found in the Bible, as far as I can see. However, Ezekiel 21:27 shows that the throne will not remain so. Because when He comes who has the right to it, then the kingship will be overturned again.
Who is that: He to whom it rightfully belongs?
"The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his."
""The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness."
It will happen, that Jesus will sit on the throne of his father David.Luke 1:32-33
"...and you are to give him the name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; his kingdom will never end. "
If we realize what we just read, the conclusion is obvious, that somewhere in this world is a monarchy, which are descendants of Judah. Because "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." (Gen.49:10 KJV)
THE TALL TREE BROUGHT DOWN
THE LOW TREE GROW TALL
Ezekiel 21:18-27 to read, click on the putton in the right column ->
The words "a ruin, a ruin, a ruin" are better translated in the King James as: "Overturn, overturn, overturn." This means turn around, abolish. God will the throne three times overturn until what was low will be high.
The throne must be transplanted and re-built. The riddle and the parable of Ezekiel 17 are talking about that.
The riddle covers the first part of Jeremiah's mission. The second part says that a princess, a daughter of Zedekiah, the sprig from the top of the cedar, will be planted on the high (increased) mountain Israels. Jeremiah should perform that (Jeremiah 1: 10). He has done this undoubtedly to God's instructions. God has showed him where this people Israel was. But God gives us too hints where the people of Israel are, especially in the end times, that is the time just before Jesus' returns. Next we go deeper into that.
Jeremiah was therefore ordered to plant a kingdom and build it. (Jeremiah 1: 10). And God gave him that order, so that was made true what was already promised to Judah, and later was confirmed to David. David would never lack a man on the throne. If this is true, and it is so, because God does not lie, then the monarchy of Judah Kings had to bring forth new Judah Kings. The only people who were still alive and free of the royal family of Judah, were the daughters of Zedekiah. And Jeremiah was last seen (biblical history) with the daughters of Zedekiah.(Jeremiah 41:10 and Jeremiah 43:5-7
That it is about the daughters of the king, it is abundantly clear from Ezekiel 17, the chapter about Jojakim and Zedekiah, but that goes on with the verses 22-24, the story of a sprig that becomes a cedar.
As we mentioned earlier, this sprig from the top of the cedar -a princess of the ruling royalhouse- will be broke off (taken out off that royal house) and planted on the high mountain of Israel. There it will be a monarchy again, and reign over Israel.
Israel was already more than 130 years away from the land of Canaan, and even decades away from Assyria.
God said that David never -never means not even for a generation- will lack a man on the throne of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL. That is permanent. Furthermore, we know that God will plant a daughter of the king in Israel, and that Jeremiah has been mandated. God will lower what is high and exalt what is low. Judah is lowered, there is no longer a king, and Israel has been exalted and now has both the first-birthright with its material promises, and the Scepter, the royal dignity, the throne of David.
Israel was the time of his exile in Assyria without a king, but from the time the sprig will be planted it will have a monarch who rules this nation.
Although in the biblical history, I believe, nothing can be found about a continuation of the throne, it must have been, given the prophecies and the fact that God does not lie or break his word. That nothing more can be found in the biblical history, i.e. in the written history, is because God had put them away from His face. (2 Kings 17:18)
Yet He ensured that these people do not totally disappear, but according the history of the Bible they will play a role at the time of Jesus' return.
Where is Israel?
Jeremiah had to call the (prophetic) words to the North.
"The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.
Go, proclaim this message towards the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry for ever."
"In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance."
When Jesus comes back, the house of Judah will go to the house of Israel and they will come together from the NORTH.
Sons of Ephraim (Israel), will than come from the WEST.
Hosea 11:8, 10
8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?... 10 They will follow the LORD; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west."
In the last days the Israelites will be taken by the Lord from the NORTH and He will gather them from the ends of the earth.
"In days to come you will understand this"
The KJV: "in the latter days ye shall consider it."
1 "At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people."
" 7 This is what the LORD says: "Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the foremost of the nations. Make your praises heard, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.'
8 See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labour; a great throng will return.
9 They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son.
"Hear the word of the LORD, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'"
Isaiah 49 starts with: "Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations"
Israel will be at the end of time in countries, which are North and West of Jerusalem.
The throne of David, which is planted by Jeremiah, will be taken care of by God until Jesus returns.
That throne will be continued in one or more coastal countries and island(s) North and/or West of Jerusalem.
Countries with coastlines should be aware of the words of God on Israel. Because they sometimes can take an important place in the prophecies.
We must also remember, that Ephraim was promised that he would be a fullness, or community of nations. And Manasseh too would be a great nation, which would come forth from Ephraim.
In the next section we will very briefly talk about how the two tribes of Judah was kept in exile and returns after 70 years.
Moreover we are going to talk extensively on:
The relationship: Israel - Church.
1 Samuel 8:7-9
7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.
9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
2 Samuel 2:10
10 Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.
"5 "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. 7 "So then, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when people will no longer say, 'As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,' 'As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' Then they will live in their own land."
13"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'
"The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."
"12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool,"
12 He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
2 Chronicles 13:4-5
4 Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, "Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! 5 Don't you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants for ever by a covenant of salt?
2 Kings 17:16-18
16 They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshipped Baal. 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practised divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 18 So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left.
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
6 They also led away all the men, women and children and the king's daughters whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah. 7 So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the LORD and went as far as Tahpanhes.
14 None of the remnant of Judah who have gone to live in Egypt will escape or survive to return to the land of Judah, to which they long to return and live; none will return except a few fugitives."
1 This is what the LORD says: "Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: 2 'Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, you who sit on David's throne--you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. 3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the LORD, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.'"
Ishmael made captives of all the rest of the people who were in Mizpah--the king's daughters...
Instead, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army officers led away all the remnant of Judah who had come back to live in the land of Judah from all the nations where they had been scattered. 6 They also led away all the men, women and children and the king's daughters whom Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard had left with Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch son of Neriah.
2 Kings 17:18
So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left