Ephraim, An Important Type Of Blessing To Non-Hebrews…Gentiles!
Now, armed with the knowledge that much of Ephraim had been scattered and assimilated into the gene pool of gentiles, while Judah had remained a separate and identifiable Hebrew culture and race, let’s go back to Gen.48 and look at V17-19 again.
But Joseph was upset when he saw that his father placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So Joseph lifted it to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. “No, my father,” he said. “This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.”
But his father refused. “I know, my son; I know,” he replied. “Manasseh will also become a great people, but his younger brother will become even greater. And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”
Genesis 48:17-19 (NLT)
It says at the end of V19 that Ephraim is going to become “a multitude of nations”. Some Bibles say Ephraim will grow “into many nations”; still others say he will become a group of nations. Here’s where looking at the original Hebrew words comes in handy.
By the time Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, God had starkly divided the world into two divisions of people:
- Israelites and
- Everybody else.
The “everybody else” is what the Bible calls gentiles. Gentile is the English translation of the Hebrew word “goy”. To this day, the physical world remains, in God’s eyes, two groups:
- Israelites and
The common terminology we use today is Jews and gentiles. For the purpose of conversation, Jew, Hebrew, and Israelite are all the same things. But, technically, and for those who want to better understand the Scriptures, those 3 terms all mean something different, and I hope you’re beginning to grasp that difference.
Now, before we examine those Hebrew words of Genesis 48, let me emphasize something: when mistakes are made trying to interpret, to understand the meaning, of Biblical prophesy, it is usually because the words of those prophesies are not taken literally enough.
So, lets take a look at the Hebrew words that make up the last few critical words of the prophetic blessing Jacob pronounced upon Ephraim, at the end of V19. Where our Bibles say group of nations, or some such, the original Hebrew is: melo ha goyim. And, those words, in their most literal sense, mean…a fullness of gentiles. When it was written to the exact context of the era, a fullness of gentile nations.
So, Ephraim is going to become the fullness of the gentile nations.
Of course, the $64000 question is, so what exactly does that mean?
Well, though the clouds are lifting, the window is still fogged somewhat. What we now can see is that Ephraim is identified with the gentile peoples of the world.
But, we also know that large populations of the various 10 tribes that formed Ephraim have been rediscovered. And, they are saying, “We are Israel, but we are not Jews”. And, right they are. They are from the Kingdom of Ephraim, not from the Kingdom of Judah.
Some believe that the result of Ephraim being absorbed into the gentile world is that through the miraculous ways of God; every gentile believer in Christ has literal physical genealogical ties to Ephraim.
Some will say that they can even tell you WHICH tribe of Israel they are descended from. There is a group called the Brit-Am Association, which takes it a step further and says that Britain and America ARE two of the 10 lost tribes of Israel.
Others say that Ephraim is purely symbolic…symbolic of gentile believers. Still others say that spiritually, but NOT physically, gentile believers are Ephraim, Spiritual Ephraim.
Nonetheless, the bottom line is, Ephraim was prophesied by Jacob to “become a fullness of the gentiles”…that is, Ephraim was going to be some special and important type of blessing to non-Hebrews…gentiles. And 1200 years after the prophetic Cross Handed Blessing by Jacob upon Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh, Ephraim was indeed scattered and large segments of the population absorbed by the gentiles of the world.
So, at least some of the prophecy is clear, and it has happened. Other parts of the prophecy, such as those parts of Ephraim, which were exiled but maintained tribal affiliation as well as a memory of their Hebrew Roots, are also starting to play another, and different, prophetic role. And, it is happening right before our eyes.
Let’s go back to Ezekiel, and look at Ezekiel 37.
Now, to understand the context, the book of Ezekiel was written by a man, Ezekiel, who was living in Babylon at the time he wrote this down. He was among the exiles of Judah. That is, he was a Jew… who had been hauled off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. Ephraim-Israel had ceased to exist for well more than a century before this time.
READ Ezekiel 37
For our purposes, the key verses are 15-19.
Again a message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, take a piece of wood and carve on it these words: ‘This represents Judah and its allied tribes.’ Then take another piece and carve these words on it: ‘This represents Ephraim and the northern tribes of Israel.’ Now hold them together in your hand as if they were one piece of wood. When your people ask you what your actions mean, say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take Ephraim and the northern tribes and join them to Judah. I will make them one piece of wood in my hand.’
And, what is happening is that Judah and Ephraim, after being brought to life again, are brought back to the re-established land of Israel, and are being rejoined into one unified people. This is an end-times prophecy. This has never happened. And, it happens only after Israel is re-born as a nation.
The thing is, we know who Judah is…it’s the Jews.
But, what of Ephraim?
How can Ephraim rejoin Judah, if Ephraim is the lost and scattered 10 lost tribes, almost all of whom have become gentiles and have no idea who they are?
What is inescapable, is that there is going to be a joining of the Jewish people with whoever it is that somehow finds out they are Ephraim. And, we know from Jacob’s prophecy concerning Ephraim, and from all the other prophecies we’ve studied, that at least part of Ephraim is most definitely connected with the gentiles.
But, we also now know with a certainty, that the identifiable Israelite tribes that formed Ephraim, 2700 years ago, are alive and well. In fact, they have stepped forward, asserted their Israelite heritage, and have petitioned the State of Israel to migrate to Israel.
Even more, in March of 2005, the government of Israel and the religious hierarch of Israel agreed that these Ephraimite tribes have been found, that indeed they are Israel, and so a law was passed allowing these Ephraimites to return home and be reunited with their Israelite brothers, the Jews.
And, here we gentiles sit, gathered together today…we Christian gentiles…with this growing love and concern for Israel in our hearts.
And, by the way, we see this same phenomena happening all over the world…. this is by no means an American movement. And, we don’t know where it came from, this love.
But, we know, in our Spirits that we do have some sort of connection with the Jewish people. And, without a doubt in my mind, that connection has its source in Ephraim. I think it is much more of a spiritually based connection, but indeed some physical element may well also be involved.
So, you that are real Bible students, if you are fortunate enough to have a computer based Bible search program, or even a good concordance, sit down some evening, and go to all the places where Ephraim is mentioned. It will put a chill down your spine when you see where it leads you.
But… let me also show you a place where Ephraim is NOT mentioned, when one might expect that it should be, and that should also indicate something important to us.
READ Revelation 7:1-8
To Be Continued…