Sunday, December 7, 2014

THE SEARCH FOR THE TEN LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL (FINAL)


(Please scroll down to read parts 1-8)
 
AVOIDING THE PITFALLS

When we allow our predetermined view of theology, which may be based only upon a small part of the Scriptures, to change the intent of other writings in the Scriptures, it affects even the way we view what is happening in our contemporary world.
  We run the great danger of making the same mistakes as did Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel in the 17th century (post #6).  He believed so strongly that the ten missing tribes would be found that he allowed himself to be unduly persuaded by contemporary events and assertions that were of questionable credibility.

One does not need to be unlearned to be misguided.  Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel was one of the most highly regarded scholars of his day, greatly respected in both the Jewish and the Christian communities.  And, I dare say, Oliver Cromwell was also a man not easily deluded (Please also see post #6).

It may be true enough that, mistaken or not, the results of the decisions of these two men were positive, for the Jews were allowed to return to England.  However, one must wonder about the thinking that led up to that decision.  Linking the name for England with a Biblical meaning in order to advance one’s own political purpose might cause some to be suspicious of the motivations behind such a teaching.  Are we advancing the cause of Scripture, or are we using Scripture to advance a cause that is our own? 

In Our Present Day

We have a situation in our own day that is, in some ways, of the same kind that was presented to Cromwell.  Since the year of 1948, we have seen the Jewish nation once again present in the original Promised Land.
  The rebirth of the Jewish homeland has been viewed by many to be a modern-day miracle. What is more, considering the fact that many of their neighboring countries are so hostile to the nation of Israel’s existence that they have vowed to wipe them off the face of the map, one might say the fact that Israel has endured as a nation is also a miracle.  Regarding the reality of this present-day phenomenon, we wonder to what extent this fits into the prophetic Word of God.

Some have hailed this situation as evidence that God is bringing His people back to the Holy Land and that He will soon bring history to its conclusion. The Jews are returning to the Promised Land.

Many people have seen the birth of the nation of Israel in its homeland as a harbinger to the return of Jesus Christ. I understand the perspective where some say, “The Jewish people are back in the Promised Land.  It may be true that they are now largely a secular nation, but God will bring them to understand and come to believe that Jesus Christ was their long-awaited Messiah.”

However, before we become too carried away by speculation, would it not be wise to consider also all of the New Testament writings concerning the spiritual aspect of Israel, rather than only the physical?  By focusing only on the Old Testament promises, we are likely to draw inconclusive or erroneous conclusions.  We would not be the first to do so. 

God’s Remnant People

We return then to our simplistic answer.  God has preserved His remnant. The plain fact is that we do not know how God has done this nor the ethnic identity of this people. Even if one believes that they must only be the blood descendants of the original twelve tribes of Israel, all is not so clear.

With the probable scattering of the Ten Lost Tribes to the many corners of our world, I have sometimes asked the question of individuals what percentage of heritage was required classify someone as being “Jewish?” With all of the unknown movements of people and settlers throughout history, along with conquering societies who regularly made brides of those whom they have conquered in distant lands, a little of the original Jewish blood may flow in the veins of societies that we would never suspect.

The question I have asked is this; “To be a direct descendant of the tribes of Israel, is it a requirement to have 100% original Jewish heritage?” If so, that would mean if even one ancestor married outside of the Jewish race, all of their descendants would not be Jewish.

If not 100%, then what is the percentage necessary? 99%? 90%? 50%? You can see that the whole subject begins to become very murky. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all of our uncertainties, we can be certain that all the deeds and plans of God proceed according to the way that God has designed.

The questions surrounding God’s specific fulfillment of His promises are great indeed, and the answers are shrouded in much that we cannot see and cannot know.  In spite of the fact that our inquiry must remain largely inconclusive, our study and investigation is not fruitless, for it exposes some pitfalls of premature, impetuous and reckless conclusions.  We have seen that these conclusions are commonly governed more by personal views than by Scripture.

Words of Scripture that are meant to give us only a partial revealing of the complete picture of the ways of God and what He is doing should never cause us to speculate beyond what has been written. The danger comes when we assume more.

It is wise not to be dogmatic on matters about which we know little. We sometimes rather take the little that we know and bend and mold it to support some personal or political agenda. These are pitfalls we would do well to avoid.

We do better to remain faithful to God in our personal lives, and to be watchful. We only marvel as we see God’s plan begin to unfold.

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