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Many More Are Coming Home
by Wayne Blank
Israel's enemies protest and oppose the Jewish people's determination to defend themselves and to live in the land that God gave to them, and the rest of their family, long ago - in God's eyes, the matter has been settled. Israel's enemies are eventually going to accept that reality, one way or the other, because according to God's Sacred Word, many more people of Israel, not just of the tribe of Judah, known to the world as Jews, who are the first to return, but of all of the tribes, are coming home, under God's protection. On that day, when the Messiah rules with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9, Revelation 19:11-16) from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16-19), the world will know the True God, and His Son (Who, ironically, many of the people of Judah today still refuse to recognize, even though He was one of them - see Hate Jews?), and the world will then, at long last, be a place of peace and justice for all nations. No more war, no more tears, no more hate, for anyone. All of Abraham's children, physical (see Isaac and Ishmael) and spiritual (Galatians 3:6-9), all nations, including the "Palestinian" people, will live in peace and security in their own homelands (Micah 4:3-4).
"Israel" and "Judah"
One of the most misunderstood subjects of Bible study involves the total political division of "Israel" and "Judah" that occurred at the time of King Rehoboam. Before then, all twelve tribes of Israelites were a united kingdom through the reigns of David and Solomon, but after Solomon's death they split into two completely separate and independent kingdoms - the southern kingdom of "Judah," consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes (1 Kings 12:23) with their capital at Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom of "Israel," consisting of the other ten tribes (Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh), with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes), with their capital up in Samaria.
Israel and Judah were never united again (see Kings of Israel and Judah). Surprisingly, they even fought wars against each other from time to time (see Jews At War With Israel). A very important fact that many do not realize is that Judah, that is, the Jewish people of today, are only one of the tribes of Israel - while all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews.
Because of their forsaking of Him, God permitted the two kingdoms to be destroyed. First, the northern kingdom of Israel was gradually conquered by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), and by 721 B.C. they had practically all been taken into exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-23). The vast majority of them never returned, and have become known as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel."
Then, about 135 years later, by 586 B.C., the southern kingdom of Judah was completely conquered by the Babylonians (see Why Babylon?), and the people of Judah were taken into captivity to Babylon. The original Temple of God in Jerusalem was destroyed at that time (see Temples). The people of the southern kingdom of Judah however did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia), and their descendants have become the Jewish people of today - but that return in the time of Nehemiah, or the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, were not the fulfillment of the many prophecies dealing with the future (as the context of the prophecies clearly show) gathering of all of Israel, Israel and Judah, to the land of Israel.
The Coming Gathering of Israel and Judah
There are many Scriptures which describe, in great detail, the future gathering of Israel and Judah. Examples:
"In those days and in that time, says The Lord, the people of Israel and the people of Judah shall come together, weeping as they come; and they shall seek The Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with faces turned toward it, saying, 'Come, let us join ourselves to The Lord in an everlasting covenant which will never be forgotten.' "My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains; from mountain to hill they have gone, they have forgotten their fold. All who found them have devoured them, and their enemies have said, 'We are not guilty, for they have sinned against The Lord, their true habitation, The Lord, the hope of their fathers.'" (Jeremiah 50:4-7 RSV)
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares"
"It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of The Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of The Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us His ways and we may walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of The Lord from Jerusalem."
Fact Finder: Does the prophecy of Daniel's Statue refer to a great "mountain" that will fill (i.e. govern) the whole earth?