This history of "Israel" begins and ends with Melchizedek. It begins with Melchizedek bringing God's covenant to Abraham.
Said he to Abraham: ‘Look now to the heavens and number
the stars if you are able; so numerous will your seed be.’ And
then Melchizedek told Abraham the story of the future occupation
First note that Melchizedek knows the future with certainty and tells it directly to Abraham. We will see that Melchizedek knows a lot more than just this tidbit of "Israel’s" future history. Also note that while the Bible views the covenant to be between God and Israel; the Urantia Book views the covenant to be between God and all humanity. As we will see, there is no contradiction because "Israel" grows from a few tribes to include Christians and Jews and finally all of humanity over time. God creates through an organic evolutionary process we call history in retrospect. Now for some very important family relationships.
Abraham and Sarah bring forth Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah bring forth Esau and Jacob. Jacob is chosen by Isaac to be the birthright son who inherits the largest share of material wealth and receives the special blessings of God. Jacob and Rachel then bring forth Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph is the chosen birthright son. Jacob has six other sons by his other wife, Leah; two sons by Rachel’s maid, and two sons by Leah’s maid. Jacob's grand total of sons, then, is twelve. Jacob is later called Israel, because he is the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel. Next, Joseph, Jacob’s son, has a dream wherein the sun, moon and eleven stars bow down to him (Genesis). This prefigures Joseph’s later status as the "chosen" birthright son of Jacob, wearing the "crown" of the "elect." Joseph’s brothers become resentful and jealous of him and conspire to throw him into a pit. They then sell him to traveling Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. Joseph is very capable and intelligent. He also has a gift of interpreting dreams, as does Daniel later on. Therefore, Joseph is very successful in Egypt and becomes the chief administrator for all Egypt in his service to the king of Egypt. Joseph predicts, by the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream, an upcoming drought and famine and he stores up grain for several years in preparation. When this drought affects Canaan as well as Egypt, Jacob, who is still living in Canaan, sends a few sons to buy grain from Egypt. Joseph recognizes his siblings when they arrive and he sends word to Jacob to come to Egypt with the rest of the extended family. Thus, there is an emotional.reunion between Jacob and his favorite son, Joseph. In this manner, Jacob’s growing family (children, grandchildren, etc.) spends several hundred years in Egypt, first in the service of friendly kings and then later enslaved to progressively more hostile Egyptian leadership. When Jacob is on his deathbed, he calls Joseph and Joseph’s two sons Ephraim and Manasseh to his side for his farewell blessing and instruction, as established by previous tradition..
And Jacob said to Joseph,
This is, more or less, a repeat of the Abrahamic covenant. Could El Shaddai have been the semi-material Melchizedek? Jacob then places his right hand on Ephraim’s head (indicating his most favored status) and his left hand on Manasseh’s head (even though he is the older of the two and would normally have been the most favored son) and says,
Bless the lads; in them may my name be recalled and may
they be teeming multitudes on the earth.
Subsequently, as per tradition, "Jacob called all his sons
together, that Jacob may tell them what is to befall them in the days to come."
Jacob, after having blessed Joseph’s children, who are his grandchildren, then goes through each of his other twelve sons and their respective tribes, outlining their future destinies and blessings. Focusing here on Joseph, the eleventh son, Jacob says:
Joseph is a
Here, in Deuteronomy 33, we have foretold the material blessings and military might of the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh. The "bounteous yield of the sun and the bounty of the earth" means plenteous yield from the best crop lands. The "bull in his majesty," who "gores the peoples," is symbolic of military might. The "myriads of Ephraim" is a very large number and the "thousands of Manasseh" is a less large number.
And so we reflect on who these descendants might be if they were among us today. What peoples or nations of today have been blessed with the greatest material blessings and military might? Is this prophecy fulfilled, yet to be fulfilled, or a failure? Also note the association of the elect (chosen) status with the crown; with reproductive and material fruitfulness; with the bow of the triumphant archer; and with military prowess ("he gores the peoples to the end of the earth"). These associations will be referred to in other parts of this study. Before returning to The Foretold History of Israel, lets briefly consider some confusing terminology that we will meet as we study the Biblical prophets.
After studying diagram #1 in the appendix, we can begin to understand some of the references made in the Bible regarding the various tribes of Israel. First, the word Israel is a very confusingdesignation. It is usually used to refer to the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel who lose their identity and become the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This lost remnant, is according to prophecy, re-gathered and re-united with Judah at the end of the age and the story ends where it begins, completing the age. Ephraim is also used to designate the Northern Tribes because Ephraim comprises a majority of the population of Israel. Remember, Ephraim inherits the elect status, as indicated by a crown, from his Father Joseph. Great fruitfulness is bestowed on the elect. Therefore, over successive generations, the tribe of Ephraim increases geometrically and becomes a larger and larger proportion of the total population of the Northern Tribes and also of the whole House of Israel as well (see diagram #2). "Jacob" is also used sometimes to designate the whole House of Israel; Judah plus Israel. It can also be used to refer to just the Northern Tribes as well because most of Jacob is made up of Northern Israel which in turn is made up of Ephraim. Judah, not being as bountiful remains a small and shrinking percentage of the total population, as does all the other tribes except Ephraim and, to a lesser extent, Manasseh who also inherits some of the bounty bestowed by his Father Joseph. Again the context of the particular designation is our guide as the names Israel and Jacob themselves can confuse. Now lets return to the Foretold History of Israel.
The growing families from Joseph’s two sons and Jacob’s eleven sons remain in Egypt for several hundred years until they become progressively enslaved by the Egyptian kings. They suffer deprivation and debasement until Moses arises and is called by the Lord to be His servant. Moses, with a supposed series of miracles, leads Jacob (all the Israelites) out of Egypt in a 40-year trek back to Canaan, the land promised to Abraham by Melchizedek. Once established in the Holy Land, the House of Israel unifies for a period and then divides into northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) factions. The Northern Tribes (Israel/Ephraim) turn away from God first and become progressively depraved, sinful, and foolish, even sacrificing their own children to pagan gods. Those in high positions, the power elite, become the most depraved of all, absolute power corrupting absolutely. Having turned their backs on God, the Northern Tribes drift farther and farther away from God and truth. Foolishly, the leaders of Israel try to silence the prophets sent by God and succeed in leading the people into destruction and captivity at the hands of the Assyrians. The surviving remnant of Israel (the Northern Ten Tribes) first go into exile in Assyria and then later migrate northward, never to return, losing their identify and becoming the "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel. Meanwhile, Judah is undergoing the same corrupting process, also ignores her prophets, and is also destroyed except for a remnant. The remnant of Judah is taken into captivity to (one city) Babylon for the next seventy years. Cyrus of Persia-Media then conquers Babylon and frees the Judah (Jews) remnant to return to Canaan and build the second temple. Then the whole process starts over again. The people (Judah remnant) turn away from God again; the elite leadership of "vipers" (as John the Baptist called them) grow more and more arrogant and less and less wise. They conspire to bring about Jesus’ death and fail to recognize their spiritual savior as portrayed by their prophets. Then the leaders plunge their nationonce again headlong into war and inevitable destruction, this time at the hands of the Roman army in 70 A.D. Most die, but a remnant of Judah is scattered among many nations for the next two thousand years while the Christians have their turn to carry the torch of God during the presently ending "Age of the Gentiles". This is Israel’s history to the present time.
The Biblical Prophets, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and 1Enoch all predict a final end of the age when the "Messiah" comes to put an end to war and to reunite the Judah and Lost Israel remnants into one nation again and forevermore. The Messiah also judges the nations, the peoples, and establishes justice. He enters right after the onset of the messianic war where "all the nations" come against Israel.
As it stands now, the remnant of Judah (the Jews) has been and is being re-gathered into modern Israel, with nationhood declared in 1948. The Lost Israel (northern tribes) remnant is still unidentified and un-gathered, seemingly lost to history. Also, for the first time in the history of Israel, the world situation is entering a scenario that could, for the first time, conceivably see "all the nations", (the United Nations), as prophesied, come against modern Israel (remnant of Judah) through the newly formed "global police force," NATO. If and when this "police force" comes against modern Israel the Messiah is prophesied to intervene. Our upcoming study of prophecy will fill in many details of what is about to occur. Nevertheless, every individual is free to choose their own part in what is about to unfold.