from the LORD who makes the storm clouds,
who gives men showers of rain,
to every one the vegetation in the field.
The Lord compares their spiritual condition to the rainy and dry seasons. The nation of Israel has no great mountains to keep the snow pack of winter, in order to fill great rivers for irrigating the fields in the planting season. They are completely dependent on the LORD sending the rains in their seasons. If the rains come too early or too late the crops can easily be ruined. Drought is a constant concern. This attests that their drought is spiritual, because they ask the teraphim and false teachers; seeking guidance from that which is false. They not only do not get the physical rain, but the spiritual rain is not falling either.
and the diviners see lies;
the dreamers tell false dreams,
and give empty consolation.
Therefore the people wander like sheep;
they are afflicted for want of a shepherd.
FYI: Rachel sat on her teraphim when leaving her fathers household with Jacob (Gen 31:30-35).
The teraphim were household idols, meaning that they represented dead ancestors. They were made of stone, clay, or wood. There is something about ancestor worship that makes it a world wide phenomena. Even in our supposed enlightened age, you will see people in cemeteries talking to headstones. They are trying to regain the lost the connection to the deceased. At funerals or memorials of an elderly person, we all take comfort in that the person is no longer suffering. But, still deep down in our souls there is an unmistakable realization that death is unnatural. We weep with the knowledge that something is just not right. This becomes even more perceptible when we face the death of the young. With the death of the young, it is manifestly apparent that this simply cannot have been the plan. We know that this is not the way it is suppose to be. We were not created to die.
No amount of science or evolutionary teaching can explain this deep shared realization. We all know that even though death is normal, it is not right. We know deep inside that somewhere those that have gone are not gone completely. That is the lure of ancestor worship. Being able to connect with those we have lost. Many cultures make figures or pictures that represent the deceased. No matter how much love there was between friends and family the teraphim are dumb and silent.
3 “My anger is hot against the shepherds,
and I will punish the leaders;
for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah,
and will make them like his proud steed in battle.
Having exhausted the teraphim or ancestors, hope then turned to the spiritual leaders. But, the shepherds are false. No one wants to hear the truth. It is much easier to get people to listen to fantastic fables. It is much easier to get money out of them with ear tickling sensational morality tales. They come in two kinds, the grandiose and the terrifying. Both are designed to get the believer to give money or respect to the shepherd. If one will only follow his teachings, one will get the grandiose reward, and if not you will get the terrifying judgement.
As the days of the Messiah grew closer, the false shepherds were teaching how grandiose the days of Messiah would be, and how terrifing the judgement on Rome would be.
The priest and the Levites, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, were not preparing the people for the truth concerning the coming Messiah. They invented great expectations of what it would be like when he came. Every Jew would have 10 gentile slaves, no 20, no 50. It all got grander and grander. Jews would rule the world, not the Romans. They presented Messiah as a great warrior. Never seeing that His battle was spiritual, never teaching the suffering servant, never understanding the very first prophecy.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Gen. 3:15
They mislead the people. Much as the preachers of today are misleading the people about the rapture, the seven yeartribulation, and a political antichrist. None of these are taught in the Scriptures. They are the fictions of men. Just like what the Jewish leaders taught of “The Days of the Messiah”.
4 Out of him shall come the cornerstone,
out of him the peg,
out of him the battle bow,
out of him every ruler.
5 Together they shall be like mighty men in battle,
trampling the foe in the mud of the streets;
they shall fight because the LORD is with them,
and they shall confound the riders on horses.
The Messiah came as the cornerstone, and the shepherds tripped over Him. And with a “peg” or “nail” they sought to destroy Him. He was a threat to their power. Where they had taught and believed that He would come to increase their power, they quickly realized what this man taught would destroy their power.
God does not share His glory with others. From His triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the Passover, he gave a series of teachings [Matt 21-23] that the kingdom would be taken from the Jews and given to others.
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” Matt. 21:43.
This must have really shocked them. Instead of bestowing on the Jews all the political power they were expecting, He said that He was giving the power to others. Within 450 years the Roman Empire were on their knees because of the church. The early believers confounded this greatest of empires. They preached and they suffered, they loved and were scorned and ridiculed. At every turn the empire did its best to destroy this faith that did not believe that Rome was eternal. And in the end Rome was not eternal; their pagan worship was over.
Now there is a short assurance of God’s faithfulness to His promises. That is in spite of all this, He will bring back both Judah and the so called Ten Lost Tribes.
6 “I will strengthen the house of Judah,
and I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,
and they shall be as though I had not rejected them;
for I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.
7 Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior,
and their hearts shall be glad as with wine.
Their children shall see it and rejoice,
their hearts shall exult in the LORD.
Zech. 10:8 “I will signal for them and gather them in,
for I have redeemed them,
and they shall be as many as of old.
9 Though I scattered them among the nations,
yet in far countries they shall remember me,
and with their children they shall live and return.
10 I will bring them home from the land of Egypt,
and gather them from Assyria;
and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon,
till there is no room for them.
11 They shall pass through the sea of Egypt,
and the waves of the sea shall be smitten,
and all the depths of the Nile dried up.
The pride of Assyria shall be laid low,
and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.
12 I will make them strong in the LORD
and they shall glory in his name,” says the LORD.
The drying up of these nations does not mean that the rivers will run dry. It means that their political power to prevent this will be gone. After 1900 years of absences, the Jews have returned to the ancient land of Israel. In 1948 they established a nation in a day [Neh. 4:2 ]. Now it remains for the Ten Northern or Lost Tribes to return.
Some people teach that they became British or American Indian or African. Although a few may have traveled that far, the bulk of them remain right were they have always been. The Bible indicates that the Ten Lost Tribes are still inside Egypt and Assyria, they have never left but rather have acculturated into these now Muslim countries. Egypt is still Egypt, but the Assyrian Empire’s territory covered the modern countries of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It will take a lions roar to separate them back out and send them back to their cities and towns.
Only twice in the New Testament are these tribes mentioned.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanu-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, Luke 2:36.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: James 1:1
Josephus twice tells us that they are beyond the Euphrates.
And when they were there, God signified to the prophet that the king of Babylon was about making an expedition against the Egyptians, and commanded him to foretell to the people that Egypt should be taken, and the king of Babylon should slay some of them and, should take others captive, and bring them to Babylon; which things came to pass accordingly; for on the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the twenty-third of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, he made an expedition against Celesyria; and when he had possessed himself of it, he made war against the Ammonites and Moabites; and when he had brought all these nations under subjection, he fell upon Egypt, in order to overthrow it; and he slew the king that then reigned and set up another; and he took those Jews that were there captives, and led them away to Babylon. And such was the end of the nation of the Hebrews, as it hath been delivered down to us, it having twice gone beyond Euphrates; for the people of the ten tribes were carried out of Samaria by the Assyrians, in the days of king Hoshea; after which the people of the two tribes that remained after Jerusalem was taken [were carried away] by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon and Chaldea. Now as to Shalmanezer, he removed the Israelites out of their country, and placed therein the nation of the Cutheans, who had formerly belonged to the inner parts of Persia and Media, but were then called Samaritans, by taking the name of the country to which they were removed; but the king of Babylon, who brought out the two tribes, placed no other nation in their country, by which means all Judea and Jerusalem, and the temple, continued to be a desert for seventy years; but the entire interval of time which passed from the captivity of the Israelites, to the carrying away of the two tribes, proved to be a hundred and thirty years, six months, and ten days. Antiquities of the Jews – Book 10, chapter 9, section 7.
In a speech that Agrippa gave which was intended to prevent the Jews going to war with the Romans.
Where then are those people whom you are to have for your auxiliaries? Must they come from the parts of the world that are uninhabited? for all that are in the habitable earth are [under the] Romans. Unless any of you extend his hopes as far as beyond the Euphrates, and suppose that those of your own nation that dwell in Adiabene will come to your assistance; but certainly these will not embarrass themselves with an unjustifiable war, nor, if they should follow such ill advice, will the Parthians permit them so to do; for it is their concern to maintain the truce that is between them and the Romans, and they will be supposed to break the covenants between them, if any under their government march against the Romans. The Wars Of The Jews, Book 2, CHAPTER 16, section 4.
Jerome (c.347 – 420AD), who spent twenty years with the Jews of Palestine, says in his Commentary On Hosea:
“Unto this day the Ten Tribes are subject unto the king of the Persians, nor has their captivity ever been loosed.” Jerome’s Commentary on Hos. 6
Jerome’s comment was the last historical record of them. It is however hard to conceive that there has been any great migration without some notice in some history books. There is some evidence that a few moved out along the silk road to trade. But no sign of any great migration. So they must still be to a large extent in Iran, formerly called Persia.
It seems that when Messiah returns (in no particular order):
- He will punish all apostate believers, The rest of us get a light beating [Luke 12:42-48].
- The Church of Rome will cease to be [Rev. 18:2].
- At some point in all of this the Ten Lost Tribes will be brought back in [Hos. 2:1].
Iran seems to be destined for a Great Awakening or a roaring Lion.
They shall go after the LORD, he will roar like a lion; yea, he will roar, and his sons shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the LORD. Hos 11:10-11
The faith of the people was not secure. It was during this time that many Hellenizers accepted the pagan Greek gods; even allowing the Temple to be desecrated with a pig sacrifice to Zeus. Only a few would fight back, we remember them every year at Chanukah.
Yet one great empire after another had been scheduled to overrun and control the nation and the people. They have been controlled by Babylon (head of gold) and Persia (arms and chest of silver), now with the Greeks (thighs of brass) on the horizon, they must not resist. They did not resist. When Alexander arrived he was welcomed. As would Pompeii and the Romans (legs of iron).