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Joseph's Birthright #6

The Broken Brotherhood


JUDAH'S SCEPTRE AND JOSEPH'S BIRTHRIGHT #6

by Allen (1917)

CHAPTER VI.


THE BROKEN BROTHERHOOD


     In the last chapter we gave much testimony from the
Scripture showing that the ten-tribed kingdom is dealt with, both
in history and prophecy-much of which is yet unfulfilled-as the
house of Israel, and other titles, some of which you will find
quite prominent in this chapter; while the three-tribed kingdom,
which is composed of the Jewish people, is dealt with as the
house of Judah and the Jews. If any of our readers are not yet
satisfied on this point we promise that they shall still have
abundant opportunity to become thoroughly convinced. Prof. C. A.
L. Totten, of Yale University, says: "I can never be too thankful
to the Almighty that in my youth he used the late Professor
Wilson to show me the difference between the two houses. The very
understanding of this difference is the KEY by which almost the
entire Bible becomes intelligible, and I cannot state too
strongly that the man who has not yet seen that Israel of the
Scripture is totally distinct from the Jewish people, is yet in
the very infancy, the mere alphabet, of Biblical study, and that
to this day the meaning of seven-eighths of the Bible is shut to
his understanding." This will become more and more apparent as we
proceed with a few brief outlines of the histories of these two
kingdoms.
     Israel displeased the Lord by her idolatry, quite evident
that, for some time after the division, but it is Judah that
pleased him by her faithfulness; and it is also evident that, for
a short period, fraternal relations existed between the two
kingdoms. These evidences are found in the history of the war
which occurred between Israel and Moab in the days of Jehoram,
the son of Ahab, king of Israel, and of Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah.
     During the reign of Ahab he had conquered Moab, and the king
of Moab paid him a revenue of one hundred thousand lambs and one
hundred thousand rams, with the wool. But upon the ascension of
Ahab's son to the throne of Israel the king of Moab rebelled
against him; and so it is recorded that "King Jehoram went out of
Samaria at that same time, and numbered all Israel" 2 Kings 3:6.
Here the expression "all Israel" has reference to all the region
of country which was occupied by the ten tribes of which the
kingdom of Israel was composed. Samaria was their capital city
and the dwelling place of the king; but when the king of Moab
rebelled against him it was but natural, and also good
generalship, that he should want to know the fighting strength of
the kingdom. So he made a tour throughout the realm that he might
know just how many fighting men he had. But it seems that he
returned fully satisfied that he did not have an army of
sufficient strength to insure victory, for he sent a message to
the king of Judah, saying "The king of Moab hath rebelled against
me.  Wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle?" To this the
king of Judah replied in the affirmative, saying:

"I will go up: I am as thou art, and my people as thy people."
As a matter of course he could say, "My people are as thy
people," for the people were brethren and subjects of brother
nations, all being seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the
Children of the Promise. These two kings further decided, while
holding a council of war, to go up by the way of the wilderness
of Edom, and to ask the king of Edom to join with them against
the Moabites. For the Edomites were also kinfolks of these two
nations, they being the descendants of Esau, the brother of
Jacob, whose name was changed to Edom after he sold his
birthright.
     The king of Edom consented to go with them, and thus the
Children of the Flesh and the Children of the Promise made common
cause, and went up together against the king of Moab. But when
they had made a seven-days' journey they got into trouble, for
there was no water for that great army of men and the beasts of
burden which they were compelled to have with them.
     At the beginning of the chapter which contains the history
of this war concerning the king of Israel, we have the following:
"Now Jehoram, the son of Ahab, began to reign over Israel in
Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and
he reigned twelve years. And wrought evil in the sight of the
Lord, but not like his father and his mother; for he put away the
image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he cleaved
unto the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which made Israel to
sin; he departed not therefrom."

     But as soon as they were in trouble and the idolatrous king
of Israel found there was no water, then in startled fear he
cried out, saying: "The Lord hath brought us three kings out here
to destroy us."
     How quickly, when tortured with guilty fear, the idolater
knew there was a Loin who had power to destroy them, or at least
to destroy him, for he knew that he deserved it, and only said
"us three" because of a spirit of guilty cowardice which hoped to
shift the responsibility, or, if failing in that, to insist that
others were fully as much to blame as he - which is so often seen
in frightened but impenitent men. But it was not so with
Jehoshaphat, the God-fearing king of Judah, for he at once asked:
"Is there not here a prophet of the Lord that we may inquire of
the Lord by him?"
     No doubt, the thought of Jehoshaphat in asking this question
was that by making inquiry of the Lord they would receive such
Divine instruction as would enable them to escape the threatened
danger; for when one of the servants of the king of Israel, upon
hearing this inquiry, stepped forward and informed them that
Elisha the prophet was with the company the king of Judah
rejoiced and said: "The word of the Lord is with him."
     When Elisha was found and these three kings were ushered
into his presence he addressed himself to the king of Israel,
saying: "What have I to do with thee? Get thee to the prophets of
thy father and to the prophets of thy mother." But to this the
king, still fearful, vouchsafed only the reply, "Nay: for the
Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into
the hand of Moab."
     Then Elisha said: "As the Lord of Hosts liveth, before whom
I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of
Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor
see thee."
     There are reasons given, and they are weighty ones, why the
prophet of God should regard the king of Judah and emphasize the
fact of his presence, in contrast to the king of Israel; for,
through the prophet Hosea the Lord declares: "Ephraim compasseth
me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit but Judah
yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints."
     Ah, yes; Judah is not only faithful among the saints, but
she yet has power and ruling influence with God. Here are
reasons, abundant, for that honorable distinction which was
conferred upon Judah and her God-honoring king. It was because of
them that the Lord sent water to that famishing army and gave
them victory over the Moabites. But Israel and her king, although
serving Jeroboam's calves, yet, in a time of trouble, when moved
by guilty fear, admitted the power of the God of their fathers.
Hence "lies and deceit" were in Ephraim-Israel, but faithfulness
- as yet - among the Jewish people.
     But there came a time when Judah was not among the faithful,
and when she lost her power with God; and there also came a time
when the fraternal relations were broken between these brother
nations.
     There are many instances of the severance of brotherly
harmony between these nations, but the following instance, which
occurred in the days of Amaziah, king of Judah, and Joash, king
of Israel, not only reveals the broken ties but justifies the
term Ephraim-Israel.
     "Moreover, Amaziah gathered Judah together and made them
captains over thousands and over hundreds, according to the
houses of their fathers through all Judah and Benjamin (the
Levites were priests, not warriors), and he numbered them from
twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand
choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and
shield. He hired an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of
Israel, for a hundred talents of silver. But there came a man of
God to him, saying, 'O king, let not the army of Israel go with
thee, for the Lord is not with Israel, to wit, all the children
of Ephraim. But if thou wilt go and do it, to be strong for the
battle, God shall make thee fall before the enemy; for God hath
power to help and to cast down.' And Amaziah said unto the man of
God, But what shall we do with the hundred talents which I have
given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The
Lord is able to give thee much more than this. Then Amaziah
separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of
Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly
kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger. And
*    *    *    the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back,
that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities
of Judah, from Samaria even to Beth-horon, and smote three
thousand of them, and took much spoil."

     Thus we see that the terms Israel and Ephraim are used
interchangeably, for at one time we read "the army out of
Israel," and at another, but concerning the same transaction,
"the army that is come out of Ephraim." Also the man of God told
the king of the Jews that, if he went into battle with the
hundred thousand men that he had hired out of Israel, the Lord
would defeat him, for God was not with Israel, to wit, Ephraim.  
And further, when the king of Judah sent the soldiers back home
he sent them from the nation which the sacred history calls "the
Jews" to that which is called "Israel."
     There is one other point which must not be overlooked at
this juncture; that is, that Ephraim is the representative of the
house of Joseph; that Joseph represents the Birthright blessing,
which carries with it the promise of a multitude of children,
which was originally given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that
it sometimes occurs that the name of Joseph, the father, instead
of Ephraim, the son, is used when recording facts of history or
prophecy concerning the ten-tribed kingdom. This does not often
occur, but the following is an instance:

"And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the
house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I
have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast
them off: for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. And
Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice
as through wine." Zech.10:6,8.

     This text clearly shows that the names of Ephraim and Joseph
are titles of the ten-tribed kingdom, in contradistinction from
Judah and the Jews as titles of the three-tribed kingdom. And,
since it is true that Judah and Joseph are the inheritors of the
two special promises which pertain to the two covenants, we need
not be surprised at this, but should rather expect that these two
names would stand thus contrasted.
     But all the more should we expect this, when we see the fact
so clearly revealed in the history of the posterity of these two
men that the Birthright name and people are representatives of
one nation, and that Judah's sceptre is swaying over the other.
But these facts are still more clearly brought out in one of
Ezekiel's prophecies, as follows: "Moreover, thou son of man,
take thee one stick and write upon it, for Judah, and for the
children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and
write upon it for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and. for all the
house of Israel, his companions. And join them one to another
into one stick, and they shall become one in thine hand. And when
the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt
thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? say unto them, Thus
saith the Lord God: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph,
which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his
fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah
and make them one in my hand. And the sticks wherein thou writest
shall be in thy hand before their eyes. And 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. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with
their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of
their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their
dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them:
so shall they be my people, and I will be their God." - Ezekiel,
37:15-23.

     Many things will need to be explained before we can show the
relative place in the history of these people of all the facts
herein mentioned. But this much is clear:

(i) That there are two sticks, two nations, or kingdoms.
(2) That Judah, who inherited the sceptre and crown, has one of
those sticks, kingdoms, or nations; while Joseph-Ephraim has the
other.
(3) That Judah has with him as companions some of "the children
of Israel," and that Ephraim has some of "the tribes of Israel,"
who are his fellows; and his companions.
(4) That when this prophecy was written they were divided; and
that all the people belonging to the race had gathered, either to
Judah or Joseph, or in other words, either to the Sceptre or to
the Birthright.
(5) That at some future time they are again to be united, become
one kingdom, and then remain so forever.
(6) That when they are thus united, one king shall be king over
them all, and when this takes place the people will have been so
lifted up by Divine power and so enriched by grace that they will
no more defile themselves, commit no transgressions, or in any
way displease the Lord, but shall be his accepted people, and he
shall be their God.
     Evidently one of these sticks is the Sceptre and the other
the Birthright; for these and the promises connected with each
are of general interest to all the children of promise, but they
are the exclusive property of the two men, Judah and Joseph, who
are the special subjects of the prophecy, while the entire
posterity of Jacob is the general subject. But this figure of the
two sticks, or staffs, is used in another prophecy, which
pertains to the two houses and which should be of profound
interest to all.
     Beginning in the midst of the seventh verse of the eleventh
chapter of Zachariah, we have the following: "I took unto me two
staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands. *
* * And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I
might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And
it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that
waited upon me knew that it was the Word of the Lord.  And I said
unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not,
forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
And the Lord said unto me, Cast it to the potter: a goodly price
that I was priced at of them. And I took thirty pieces of silver
and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Then I cut
asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the
brotherhood between Israel and Judah."  Zech.11:7-14.

     So Israel and Judah are the two sticks or staves which the
Lord took unto himself. He first cut asunder one stick or staff
called Beauty, i. e., ten-tribed Israel. Then, after a certain
transaction in which their Lord was sold for thirty pieces of
silver, he cut asunder his other staff, called Bands (i. e.,
Judah, the Jews), that he might break the brotherhood between
Judah and Israel!
     Just what a great and marvelously fulfilled truth is herein
declared we are not yet prepared to explain. At this juncture we
can only call your attention to the fact that Ezekiel's prophecy
concerning the putting together of the two sticks could not have
been fulfilled until after the transaction which concerns the
thirty pieces of silver; and that when it does take place it must
be in harmony not only with those blessed results, which we have
already mentioned, but also with that which is contained in the
rest of that prophecy, a part of which is as follows:

"And they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob my
servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell
therein, even they, and their children, and their children's
children forever: and my servant David shall be their prince
forever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it
shall be an everlasting covenant with them and I will place them
and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them
for evermore."

The brotherhood is still broken, but it shall be mended.
..........

To be continued


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