Sunday, February 15, 2015

THE DIVIDED KINGDOM--A Quick History of Israel

by Molly Noble Bull

In my opinion, certain Bible facts are not clearly explained in Christian religious services today. Yet a lack of knowledge of these scriptures prevents Christians from fully understanding the Bible. One of these topics is known as the Divided Kingdom.  
The Book of Genesis explains in chapters 22 to 50 that Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Of the two, God loved Jacob best.
Jacob fell in love with a lovely young woman named Rachel, and her father promised to give her to Jacob in marriage, if Jacob worked for him for seven years. Jacob agreed to these terms, but at the end of the seven years, Jacob was given Leah, Rachel’s older sister, instead. He had to work another seven years to get Rachel. 
So Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah, and he also had some concubines. But he loved Rachel best. Therefore, it is not surprising that he loved Joseph more than his other sons because Joseph’s mother was Rachel, and he gave Joseph a coat of many colors. Later, Jacob and Rachel had a second son, Benjamin, but Rachel died in childbirth having Benjamin. His wives and concubines gave Jacob twelve sons plus Levi. The tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe and was not to be counted with the other twelve tribes. The Bible states that there are twelve tribes of Israel and with the tribe of Levi, there would be thirteen. However, the tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe and was not to be counted as part of the twelve.
And God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. (See Genesis 32: 28.) 
Jacob had twelve sons and each son headed a tribe. After God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, his sons were called the twelve tribes of Israel.

You might also want to read the Jacob/Israel’s prophecy concerning his sons found in Genesis, chapter 49, and Deuteronomy, chapter 33. If you also read the prophecy of the twelve tribes in the Book of Revelation, chapter seven, you will notice that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned. In his place is Joseph's oldest son, Manasseh.

Jacob’s descendants were called the children of Israel—later called the Nation of Israel. 
The Nation of Israel’s first king was Saul. But King David soon replaced Saul as King of Israel. When King David died, his son, Solomon, became King. After King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam reigned as king.

During Rehoboam’s reign, the twelve tribes were divided—the result of a sort of civil war. (1 King 12: 1-43 and 1 Kings 13: 1-10) The southern tribes were made up of Judah, Benjamin and the Levites. Since Judah was the main tribe in this group of two plus the Levites, the southern tribes were called Judah, and their capitol was Jerusalem. The name, Judah, was shorted to Jew or the Jews.

The tribe of Joseph was the main tribe of the ten northern tribes, and Jeroboam reigned as their king. In the Bible, the northern tribes are called Joseph, but they are also called Ephraim and Israel. Ephraim was the younger of Joseph's two sons. Along with Joseph, his father. Ephraim headed the northern tribes, and Manasseh, his older brother, replaced Dan in the Book of the Revelation, chapter seven, as one of the twelve tribes. Some from the northern tribes turned away from God and worshiped at Bethel instead of at the Temple at Jerusalem. (1 Kings 12: 16-33) 

Both the tribes of Judah and the tribes of Israel were eventually captured by their enemies and led away into slavery. Israel was taken to Assyria, and Judah was taken to Babylon— modern day Iraq. The tribes of Judah (the Jews) were eventually released and allowed to return to Jerusalem to build the second Temple. But the ten northern tribes were never seen again—until fairly recently when some (but not all) were found. The recent discovery of some of the lost tribes is another reason we know that Jesus is coming soon. However, most of the ten tribes are still lost. Only God knows where the descendants of the northern tribes are located today.
Knowing the facts about the tribes of Judah and Joseph/Ephraim/Israel makes it easier to understand Ezekiel chapter 37, Hosea chapter 1, and other scripture verses.

Ezekiel 37: 15-17 says,
And the word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write on it For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write on it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for the House of Israel his companions. 
And join them together into one stick, and they shall become one in thine hand.

Ezekiel 37: 20-22 says,
And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 
And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
Also read John 10:16:

Hosea 1: 10-11
The people of Israel will become like the sand of the sea, more than can be counted or measured. Now God says to them, “You are not my people,” but the day is coming when he will say to them, “You are the children of the living God!” The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited. They will choose for themselves a single leader, and once again they will grow and prosper in their land. Yes, the day of Jezreel will be a great day!

We know that one day the two sticks will become one nation under one king. As Christians, we also know that the king’s name is Jesus. Many think that the Tribes of Joseph/Ephraim/Israel are the gentile nations, and that sounds logical. Who else could they be?
But is it possible that today the ten lost tribe are made up of Christians?


Molly Noble Bull is a published Christian novelist, and her newest novel, Gatehaven, is a Gothic historical with a strong Christian message. Gatehaven won the grand prize in the Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript and was published in trade paperback and as an e-book in March 2014. Molly’s next book will be a western set on a ranch in South Texas and titled When the Cowboy Rides Away. The western will be published in 2015. Stay tuned for updates.