Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rachel's Children Restored

Two weeks ago I sent out a letter called “Northerners and Southerners,” which had to do with YHVH’s ‘two state solution’ to the Middle East conflict.  This week I would like to continue on the same theme, especially as we look forward to the B'ney Yosef National Congress.  

Reading Jeremiah 31, I was arrested by the following verses and have been contemplating some of the points stated there: “Thus says YHVH: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.’ Thus says YHVH: ‘Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded,’ says YHVH, ‘and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.  There is hope in your future,’ says YHVH, ‘your children shall come back to their own border’” (Jeremiah 31:15-17 emphasis added). When read in its context, it is obvious that the partial quote in Matthew 2:18 and its then-application was far from being the complete fulfillment of this prophecy.   

What stood out to me in this excerpt were the words, “and they shall come back/return.” Notice the first time it says where they will return from, and the second where they will return to (indicated in bold).  But who are these ones whom Scripture calls the “children of Rachel”?  I’m sure it is not referring to the babies that Herod murdered.  Let us ask ourselves again, who are Rachel’s children? Most would answer “Yosef and Binyamin,” but shouldn’t we also take into consideration the other two who were born on her knees through Bilhah her handmaid (see Genesis 30:3)? Thus, all in all the children that Rachel is ‘weeping for’ would be Yosef (i.e. Ephraim and Menashe), Binyamin, Dan and Naphtali (although in the wider context there is no doubt that the reference is to all of Ya’acov’s lost children).  Hence Rachel is weeping because those children “are no more,” just as YHVH foretold through Hosea, who pronounced that they would become “not my people (am).” And further, that they would be “sown,” and from the above Jeremiah scripture we learn that this sowing is in the land of their enemy. Who is the enemy in this regard? The answer is simple and straightforward, all the nations that are gathered together “to do away” with Israel as a people and nation (see Psalm 83).  There is more here (in Ps. 83) than doing away with the name; the intent is to destroy the people and to possess the land of their heritage - “Zion” – the dwelling place of YHVH (see also Ezekiel 36).

Above we read that “Rachel’s children” (those lost ones) would be returning to their “borders.”  Hence we must also ask, where are those borders?  For the answer let us turn to Ezekiel chapters 47 and 48.   First from chapter 47: “Thus says YHVH Elohim: ‘These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions.  You shall inherit it equally with one another; for I raised My hand in an oath to give it to your fathers, and this land shall fall to you as your inheritance’” (Ezekiel 47:13-14).  Interestingly, the land is divided equally among the tribes.  In comparing several renditions of the Ezekiel map, I was struck by the placement of the tribes.  All the (literal) children of Rachel were in the northern territories, except for Binyamin.  Instead, Asher, Leah’s concubine’s son, was in the north placed between Dan and Naphtali, as if there had been some tradeoff with Binyamin. 

This territorial shift from the old order is also confirmed by the prophecies of Zechariah and Micah, on the recovery and return of the lost tribes of the House of Yosef in the last days:  "I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside…  I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them… and they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, and they shall return… I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, until no more room is found for them” (for full context see Zechariah 10:6-10 emphasis added).  “Shepherd Your people with Your staff, the flock of Your heritage, who dwell solitarily in a woodland, in the midst of Carmel; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in days of old” (Micah 7:14 emphasis added).  As of yet these prophesies have not been fulfilled.  According to the maps, the border between Northerners and Southerners is around the southern end of the Carmel range, which means that the Galilee area will be part of Ephraim.

The above map shows the approximate boundaries during the time of the future transition, until all that is promised to the forefathers, including “all the land of the Hittites” (Joshua 1:4) and the land up to the Euphrates River, will be inherited.  How many years will it take? Only YHVH knows.  It could be similar to the number of years of Judah’s restoration (which isn’t finished yet).  YHVH had to maneuver nations and peoples then, in order to set the stage for our brothers to return.   As history reminds us, only a remnant of Jews took heed to the prophets.  We know what happened to those who remained in the land(s) of their enemies, thinking that they were safe. However, saying that, let us not overlook the fact that quite a few (many of whom perished beforehand) had the foresight to believe that they would return and so started to make practical preparations while still in the nations.  We, of the House of Yoseph, need to take note of where YHVH has us at this time.  These are some tentative subjects to be presented at the B'ney Yosef National/Zionist Congress. Please let us know if you are interested, even if you can’t come you can pray, which would be greatly appreciated.  

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