Not long ago I was doing some Google keyword research and came upon an article claiming that the Palestinians are the best modern representation of the ancient Northern Kingdom-House of Joseph, otherwise known as the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. Perplexed at the author's ignorance of the historical account and the prophecies regarding the 10-Tribe return, I emailed him asking a couple quick questions which later became a much more lengthy dialog. Some may find it interesting. I realize the author has not and likely will not truly consider my critique of his evidence, but hopefully others may. Not wanting my time spent to be completely wasted, our correspondence is laid out below for others to read from start to finish (I've removed my and his email addresses for privacy reasons). It is a bit lengthy and not for the faint of heart.
From: Hanok [mailto:...@jewsandjoes.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 5:51 PM
Subject: Israel and the Palestinians in Prophecy?
Just read your article here: http://www.angelfire.com/journal/bibleissues/israel/israel_palestinian.htm
I’m curious how you reconcile the prophecies that the House of Joseph (Israel) would become a multitude of nations? The Palestinians have certainly not become such. Also, prophecies record the House of Joseph would be brought back from the four corners of the earth. Have the Palestinians recently been re-gathered to the Land of Israel?
"And I shall strengthen the House of Jew-dah, and I shall save the House of Joe-seph. And I shall bring them back, because I have compassion on them." - Zechariah 10:6a
From: Jerry Chin [mailto:...@lycos.com]
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 2:22 PM
Subject: [RE]Israel and the Palestinians in Prophecy?
The prophecy of Ephraim becoming a company of nations is contingent on obedience (Genesis 48:15-20 RSV).
Jacob's blessing clearly states he and his fathers "walked" before God (v15). The Hebrew text concerning the angel reads, "may he bless." What would happen if Joseph's children didn't walk as Jacob? In verse 16, Jacob says, "let my name be perpetuated", and "let them grow into a multitude." If the blessing was guaranteed, Jacob would have said "my name will be perpetuated," and "they will grow into a multitude."
The actual blessing takes priority over verse 19, where Jacob says Ephraim will become a company of nations. Verse 19 was Jacob's explanation to Joseph why he placed his right hand on Ephraim. It probably reflected his true desire for Joseph's children, but it was not part of the blessing.
Note how Zechariah 10 makes no mention of Joseph's children being a company of nations. Nor does it say the house of Joseph would be great. It only states they will be numerous. This supports the idea that the blessing was contingent on obedience.
(If you have a concordance, just look up Ephraim. You'll find many unflattering prophecies concerning Ephraim: Isaiah 9:9,21 11:13 28:1,3 Jeremiah 31:20 Hosea 4:47 7:8,11 9:3,11. If the blessing in Genesis 48:15-20 was guaranteed, it would not fit any of these verses. The Bible would not make any sense.)
This is not to say Jacob's entire blessing came to nothing. In Genesis 49:26, we see that some aspects of what he said would come true.
The Palestinians currently have their own diaspora just like the Jews. Most of them are in the Middle East. Half of the kingdom of Jordan is Palestinian. (Palestine and Jordan used to be Transjordan.) There are sizeable communities/refugee camps in Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq. Zechariah 10:10 mentions these areas specifically. This prophecy only mentions the house of Joseph being numerous.
The prophecy in Zechariah is definite. Whether Ephraim and Manasseh are obedient or not does not change this prophecy. God will bring them back. This prophecy is still in the process of being fulfilled.
From: Hanok [mailto:...@jewsandjoes.com]
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 5:41 PM
To: 'Jerry Chin'
Subject: RE: [RE]Israel and the Palestinians in Prophecy?
Yes indeed. The Prophets were unflattering to the House of Joseph… and deservedly so, but almost always, it is followed up with statements of compassion. The scroll of Hosea is one of the best examples of this. In the very first chapter, it clearly says they would be punished and scattered, but then in their exile they would become as numerous as the “sand of the sea”. Have you not read verses such as this? Where were the conditions there Sir Jerry?
The promise of multitudes was first given to Abraham, was it not? And was it conditional? And if it wasn’t conditional, then who are his promised multitudes? And what multitude could be his who walked perfectly in his way of righteousness? There isn’t any Jerry. House of Joseph has suffered miserably because of their evil, but yet they have multiplied not on their own account but on the account of Abraham’s righteousness.
Genesis 48:15-16 references the righteousness of Abraham and Isaac, thus the unconditional future promises to them that their seed would become a great multitude. You’re doing a lot of theological gymnastics to come upon your “conditional” conclusion. The promises to Abraham (Gen.35:11) and Isaac (Gen.22:17) were NOT contingent upon their seed being righteous. Ephraim simply inherited their unconditional promises. If Ephraim didn’t, then who did… since Abraham and Isaac had no conditions attached to their respective promises? Besides, why would Flavius Josephus reference the ten tribes of Israel in the 1st Century CE as being an immense multitude east of the Euphrates if they weren’t so?
Mildly sizable Palestinian populations in Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq do not fit with the ingathering prophecies … where they are regarded as being at the four corners of the earth (besides, why are you referencing so-called large populations in the Middle East when you already said the Ephraimite promise was “conditional”?).
I do not at all doubt the Palestinian people have Joseph, Judah, Ishmael, Canaan and who knows what else mixed in their gene pool. But to diminish the promise given to Ephraim is to unwittingly call YHVH, the Creator of the Universe, a liar. You would do well to reconsider that suggestion.
From: R J Chin [mailto:...@accessv.com]
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2008 9:41 AM
Subject: re: Palestinians as Israel
Sorry for the long time taken to reply. I seem to have email problems.
Did Ephraim really inherit Jacob's blessing? You can't assume he did just because it was Jacob's wish. Abraham was perfectly happy to have two sons until Sarah insisted on Isaac. God later confirmed her decision. Isaac was going to bless Esau (not Jacob), but Rebekah intervened. It was only much later that an angel confirmed Isaac's reluctant blessing of Jacob. Just as it was not up to Abraham or Isaac, so it was not up to Jacob. It was up to God's sovereign will. And in this case there is no evidence God confirmed Jacob's blessing of Ephraim.
You mention Josephus stating that Israel was numerous north east of the Euphrates. You're not the first. Others have proposed the theory of Israel moving north and on into Europe. Of course the Europeans colonized and gave birth to many nations throughout the world. Thus it was claimed that either Britain or the USA was Ephraim. The current peoples of Europe all came out of the Siberian plateau. This is the land of Gog and Magog. I don't think it wise to label anyone from this region as any part of Israel. Besides, Hosea 5:13, 7:11, 9:3, 11:5 and 11:11 all associate Ephraim with Assyria and Egypt in the Middle East. How do you explain these verses?
God did not promise Abraham that each generation of his descendants would be more numerous than the last. He promised an uncountable number of descendants as a whole. Abraham's family line was never going to end, and thus his descendants would be uncountable. God's promise did not guarantee that any of these generations would be extraordinarily numerous. Descendants numbering like the "sand of the sea" may not be as numerous as you think. Israel in King Solomon's time was already said to be like the "sand" of the sea (1 Kings 4:20, 29). At that time, Israel probably numbered no more than 10 million.
Deuteronomy 4:27, and Isaiah 10:22 clearly state there will not be a massive return of exiles. Revelation 7:4 raises the possibility only 144000 from all the tribes will be accepted by God at the end. How do you reconcile your ideas with this?
You claim God's promises to Abraham were unconditional. Isn't circumcision a condition (Genesis 7:10)? What do you think the word "covenant" means? How do you explain the entire book of Deuteronomy? Deuteronomy 28:62 and Isaiah 48:17 clearly give the "conditions" necessary for God to make Abraham's descendants like the "sand of the sea."
I'm afraid you're the one really out on a limb, stretching Abraham's righteousness like a magic charm to support a blessing to Ephraim that never took place. (Abraham's belief that God would do as He said, was "reckoned as righteous." This is very different from saying Abraham himself was righteous.) Good luck trying to reconcile your ideas to the verses above, and to all parts of the Bible.
From: Hanok [mailto:...@jewsandjoes.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 1:04 AM
To: 'R J Chin'
Subject: RE: Palestinians as Israel
Fundamentally, we aren't going to see eye to eye because you are arguing from the premise that the Palestinians are Israelites, while I'm arguing from the premise that Israel became the "fullness of the nations"(Genesis 48:19). I believe history, prophecy, and genetics all confirm my premise. If you like to see how genetics is confirming it, check it out here: Israelite and Noahic Haplogroup Hypotheses
Even so, I'd like to make an attempt to respond to your last email, particularly where you wish me "luck" in reconciling my ideas with all parts of the Bible:
1. The Almighty confirmed Ephraim inherited Jacob's promise of "multitudes" through the Prophet Hosea, Isaiah, and others.
Isaiah 54:3: "For you shall break forth to the right and to the left, and your seed inherit the nations, and make the deserted cities inhabited."
Hosea 1:10: "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which is not measured nor counted. And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' they shall be called, 'You are the sons of the living El.'"
2. You refer to Flavius Josephus as if he was some trivial historical source... which is interesting since most scholars who study the 1st century have high regards for what he recorded, being one of the most prominent sources of information from that period. He said Israel became a vast multitude in the same regions Assyria deported them to, yet you turn a blind-arrogant eye to what he said... even though it confirms what the Prophets said would come of Israel.
3. You assume the Europeans came out of the Siberian plateau based upon who knows what. Yet, genetics has confirmed they came to Europe via the Middle East and the Caucasus/Caspian (the region of the Medes to which the Assyrians deported Israel). Many of the Hebrew Prophets indicate Jacob would return from the north country (Zechariah 2:6) and from all the places YHVH scattered them (Isaiah 43:6; Jeremiah 31:8). Gog and Magog are also in the north country. This shouldn't be alarming since Genesis confirms Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem (Genesis 9:27). Hosea being commanded to marry a woman named "Gomer" is also a picture of Israelites and Japhetic peoples mixing in some fashion.
4. You're right, the Most High "did not promise Abraham that each generation of his descendants would be more numerous than the last." At least not in those words. But He did promise to Abraham that he would be a "father of many nations" (Genesis 17:5)... albeit... the promise was given in the Hebrew language and the English translation is remarkably true to the original text. Yet, you can and likely will interpret that to fit your Palestinian premise. But I'm going to interpret it as this: Abraham is going to be a "father of many nations". I've documented a long list of the scriptural multitude promises here: The Birthright Promise of Multitudes in Scripture.
5. 10 million Israelites in King Solomon's day? I'm not sure where you're getting that number from, but let us assume you're approximately correct. What can Exponential Population Growth do with 10 million Israelites after 3,000 years? I can tell you one thing: the meager Palestinian population doesn't represent it!!!!! See my article here: Exponential Human Population Growth from Noah. You are either blind to the power of exponents or willfully ignorant of them. Also, your referencing 1Kings 4:20 (sands of the sea shore) doesn't diminish the Prophecy of Hosea... but instead, it actually lends even greater credibility to what Israel has become over the last 3000 years sense.
6. I have not said there will be massive return of the House of Joseph to the Land. I've only verified that they themselves have become a multitude just as the Torah and Prophets said they would. There is no doubt in my mind that only a remnant will return to the Land of Israel, namely because that is what the Prophets indicate (i.e. Jeremiah 31:7). And I suspect even that remnant is going to shock the socks off of all the "theological gymnasts" like yourself... because even a remnant of the House of Joseph is going to cause them to cry out for more room when they return to the Land of Israel.
Isaiah 49:20 "The children of whom you were bereaved will yet say in your ears, 'The place is too cramped for me; Make room for me that I may live here."
Note: The Palestinians don't need more room in Israel. They just want the Jews to be gone. They only crowd in to under-capacity cities in the Gaza. There is plenty of room yet in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon where the bulk of their populations dwell.
7. Assyria's capital was east of the Euphrates and east of the Euphrates is the location of most of the deportations. Yet, most of the Palestinians have no historical evidence of returning from Assyria. Maybe you're getting confused with modern nation of Syria which is west of the Euphrates.
8. Now lets look at your Hosea references:
Hosea 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
Ephraim was deported to Assyria. No one is arguing about that. But this reference is to their call for alliance and help. Not deportation yet.
Hosea 7:11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
The Northern Kingdom called for the help of their old ally Egypt (Egypt and Phoenicia were allied with King David) when the King of Israel reneged on his promised financial tributes to the Assyrian king. As punishment, Assyria swiftly invaded and deported the first lot to "Assyria", hence Hosea says "they go to Assyria". It doesn't say they went to Egypt in deportation... ONLY that they called for their help to fight against Assyria. Egypt didn't nor could help at that stage.
Hosea 9:3 They shall not dwell in the LORD'S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
The word "Egypt" here is translated from the Hebrew "Mitrayim" meaning "tribulation"... which is what Israel experienced in Egypt on the first go round. The prophets indicate the next Exodus will be so great it will cause us to forget the first Exodus out of Egypt, meaning it will be much larger than your ridiculous Israelite attribution to the Palestinian people (Jeremiah 23:7-8).
Hosea 11:5 He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.
Hosea 11:11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.
Verse 5 actually says Israel WON'T return to Egypt but instead to Assyria... which is the historical reality. Then verse 11 apparently contradicts verse 5 by saying Israel will come out of Egypt. This apparent contradiction is unraveled when considered with what I said earlier about "Mitrayim" connected to "Tribulation"... which makes even more sense when you consider verse eleven speaks of "trembling as a bird" out of Egypt... which is referencing "Jacob's Trouble" (Jeremiah 30:1-11) during the period Christians call "the Tribulation".
9. And regarding your tirade regarding the "promise of multitudes" being contingent or conditioned on Israel needing to keep the Torah covenant. When you consider the verses surrounding the promises of multitudes, you don't find any conditions connected to the promise. And the fact that Hosea (mainly chapter 1), first showing the Northern Kingdom being punished and exiled because of their breaking of the covenant, and yet then still receiving the binding and unconditional promise of: "Will be like the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered"
Theological gymnastics of the most bizarre.