- Category: Prophecy
- Published on Saturday, 15 August 2009 12:07
A story of a Father and two brothers: Ephraim and Jew-dah
There are many mysteries surrounding the patriarch Jacob, his beginning, and his descendants’ promised and profound destiny in the Last Days. Mysteries aside... there are some things we know with near historic certainty. After King Solomon’s death, the single United Kingdom of Israel split into two Kingdoms or rather, two bickering brothers who largely continued their hostilities toward one another for the remainder of their existence as neighbors. They actually went to war with each other where hundreds of thousands died.
If you’re familiar with the Christian New Testament, it is easy to capture a glimpse of this brotherhood in Yeshua’s story of the Prodigal Son mentioned only in the Gospel of Luke 15:11-32.
By the time Yeshua told this amazing story, the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom (the House of Joseph/Ephraim) had been in exile for more than 700 years, while the Southern Kingdom (the House of Jew-dah/Judah) had remained comparatively faithful and in the Promised Land, minus the 70 years spent in Babylonian Captivity.
We know 10-Israel never returned from Assyria with any large representation because the historian Josephus indicated they were still east of the Euphrates River during his lifetime (Antiquities of the Jews - Book XI, Ch 5). Furthermore, prominent Jewish rabbis during the same time period (shortly after Yeshua's resurrection) were still debating whether the exiles of 10-Israel would ever return (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 110b).
Even so, Yeshua’s parable and many other prophecies indicate the proverbial Prodigal Son would eventually "come to himself" (Luke 15:17; Hosea 1:9-10 and 2:23) and begin his journey home (Luke 15:20)... home to the Land and House of his Father, יהוה.
Luke 15 - A Prophetic Macro-Timeline of the Last Days
Below, I go verse-by-verse explaining some of the history and many prophetic implications of what Yeshua described to His disciples. Being Jews of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, they very likely knew what He was describing. Yet, because Christianity is largely ignorant of the ancient Two-House reality, it is difficult for the casual Christian reader to connect the deep, meaningful, and literal intent of this parable.
Bold used for emphasis; Text in blue is mine.
Luke 15:11-32 (KJV):
(11) And he said, A certain man had two sons:
In the Tanakh (the so-called "Old Testament"), these two proverbial sons (sometimes described as "daughters" or "sisters" like in Jeremiah 3) are listed nearly two hundred times as "Israel" and "Judah". Less frequently, the names "Ephraim" and "Judah" or "Joseph" and "Judah" are used. Using e-Sword or BibleWorks or some other Bible software, you can confirm this yourself easily by searching these names together.
(12) And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
Ephraim, being the son of Joseph, was most certainly the younger of Judah.
(13) And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
There are numerous historical passages and prophecies that depict Ephraim and/or 10-Israel being deported and/or scattered to far off countries and eventually returning home from those far off places.
(14) And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
There is an allusion here to Joseph. While he was still hidden in Egypt, there was a devastating famine which spread throughout the known world. It was so harsh it forced Joseph's brothers to seek food in Egypt. Eventually Jacob moved his entire family there.
In later generations, they would eventually sell themselves into slavery due to lack of food even after moving to Egypt. Comparing prophetic famine parallels in the book of Revelation (famine which impact Ephraim's many nations) also adds more depth to this verse.
(15) And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
Genesis 9:27 prophesied that Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem. Ephraim of course was a descendant of Shem... and Ephraim was scattered into lands formerly inhabited by Japheth in lands stretching from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. There they joined and mixed together and became a great multitude of peoples which spread throughout Eurasia.
(16) And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Hosea 9:3 indicates Ephraim would return to the land of distress/tribulation (Egypt) and eat unclean food. Amazing parallel, yes?
(17) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Verse 17 is key to understanding a major prophetic ramification. The Prodigal Son does NOT fully awake to himself until after he starts to go through Trouble (think "Jacob's Trouble"). In other words, Ephraim is predominantly LOST to himself until threatened with great tribulation and starvation on a global level. It will closely parallel the previous experience in Egypt of starvation, enslavement, and then redemption.
(18) I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Verse 18 confirms the belief that Ephraim will be repentant and/or in the process of repenting BEFORE he is able to return to the House of his Father in Israel.
Compare Jeremiah 31:17-18 for an amazing parallel to this point.
Intriguingly, there is currently a phenomenon known as the "Hebraic Roots" movement that is spreading like wild fire around the world, where Christians are returning to the Way of יהוה, the Way of Torah.
(19) And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Compare Jeremiah 31:19-20 for an amazing continuation of this parallel passage. How can anyone deny that Yeshua was referring to Ephraim and his companion Israelite tribes when He told this parable?
Many Christians who find themselves embracing this deep and unexplainable desire to support the Jewish state of Israel are actually Ephraimites who are largely unaware of their identity. Many of them desire to simply "serve" the Jews in many different capacities. I've had some tell me they would be willing to suit up and fight along with the IDF against the Islamic extremists. This has been a growing movement that has been especially manifest by the John Hagee types in America and Europe. Those who have actually fought with Jew-dah in their various wars are often called "Righteous Gentiles" or "Righteous Goyim". Remember, Genesis 48:19 indicates in Hebrew that Ephraim would become the fullness of the "goyim".
(20) And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Ephraim will yet be in a far off country when he comes to himself and repents. Jew-dah will not be the one to go to Ephraim. The Father is the One who has compassion and goes out to 10-Israel to bring them home.
(21) And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
In some of the Messianic Jewish community, there is this "Jew and Gentile, One in Messiah" theme that reverberates a desire to unite and be equal. But even so, there is this pervasive nuance that Christians are second-class citizens. The Jews are not the primary culprit for this. The goyim of Ephraim simply have this complex of inferiority which is likely more rooted in self-guilt and the lies of the Adversary than anything else.
(22) But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
When one sees this reference regarding the "best robe", think Joseph's "Coat of Many Colors" (Genesis 37:3). But also consider Genesis 41:42: "Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.
(23) And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
The return of Ephraim/10-Israel has been awaited for with much expectancy for many centuries. Many generations have sought the Lost tribes of Israel, but have been unable to truly identify them with compelling evidence until the last one hundred years. Even Jewish expectations of King Messiah are intimately connected to the return of the lost tribes.The book of Revelation certainly depicts a celebratory feast, actually a marriage feast (Revelation 19:7).
(24) For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Note: Ezekiel 37:1-14 "the valley of dry bones" where the Israelites come back to life. The context is actually more 10-Israel than it is Judah. It appears to be more proverbial and figurative, but may ultimately be a literal/physical event as well.
(25) Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.
(26) And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.
(27) And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.
(28) And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
Jew-dah has grown accustomed (in my opinion) to being in the lime light of global attention. Not always with affection, but certainly held in strange, disproportional, and peculiar focus by the nations. BUT... when the Remnant of Ephraim returns to the Land, the attention will dramatically shift. All of a sudden, a myriad of Ephraim's goyim will fill up the Land... so much so that modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt will not even be able to contain them. It is true that prophetically only a remnant of Ephraim will survive the famine and tribulations that are to come, but even a Remnant will be an ocean of people... and this will likely make some of Jew-dah jealous and angry.
(29) And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:
Jew-dah is certainly being a bit disingenuous here by claiming perfection. His time in Babylonian Captivity is certainly evidence he wasn't perfect in keeping the commandments of his Father. Yet in comparison to Ephraim's overt perversion, Jew-dah certainly "appears" pure as new snow. Yet, Jeremiah 3 certainly indicates that hasn't always been the most consistent case.
(30) But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
Various religious systems that Ephraim established while in exile, especially that which can be depicted in Catholicism, is certainly a glaringly obvious picture of spiritual/religious adultery/harlotry. The sheer number of baptized paganisms contained within various Christian systems is stunning. The celebration of Christmas and Easter doesn't even scratch the surface.
(31) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
(32) It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
The 10 Tribes of Israel are internationally known as "the LOST Ten Tribes of Israel". Interestingly, many of these internationals are the very representation of what they think is Lost. The House of Joseph looks like a proverbial Egyptian. He is currently hidden, even to himself.
The Prophet Hosea also illustrates and confirms this macro-timeline of Ephraim in the Last Days. He depicts them first as "a people", then as "not a people" (lost), then finally as "a people" found (Hosea 1:9-10, 2:23). The Prophet Ezekiel portrays a similar theme from chapters 34-39.