Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Israel or Judah

The prophet Jeremiah promised the restoration of both Judah and Israel. Here are a few examples.

In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance (3:18).
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety (Jer 23:6).
The days are coming, when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their ancestors to possess (Jer 30:3).
The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah (Jer 31:31).
I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before (Jer 33:7).
The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah (Jer 33:14).
"In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God" (Jer 50:4).
In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "search will be made for Israel's guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare (Jer 50:20).
Israel refers to all the descendants of Jacob (twelve tribes) or the ten northern tribes that broke away under Jeroboam. They were sometimes called Samaria. After Jeroboam and Ahab led them into sin, they exiled to Assyria where they were scattered and lost their identity after they mingled with the local people.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes (2 Kings 17:6).
The southern kingdom based in Jerusalem lasted much longer. It included the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (small) and the Levites living amongst them. They were exiled to Babylon, but returned to their land seventy years later under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra records that those who returned consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and some priests and Levites (Ezra 1:5). These two tribes were referred to as the Jews in Jesus' time. They were exiled and scattered amongst the nations by the Romans in AD 70, as he had prophesied. They managed to keep their identity in exile.

The current state of Israel is actually the nation of Judea comprising Judah Benjamin and some Levites. More correctly, it should be called the state of the Jews. And they can only claim land in the south that God gave to them, ie Judea.

This means that the current state of Israel is not a fulfilment of the promises of Jeremiah cited above. For these words to be fulfilled, the twelve tribes of Israel will need to be restored to blessing and restored to their land, as Paul promised in Romans 9-11.

All Israel will be saved (Rom 11:26).

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