Friday, May 24, 2024

Confused About Israel? Part 2: the Gathering?

First in this series: Confused About the Jews? Part One: Conflation1

Part TWO:
A friend was struggling with the non-fulfillment of a desired promise when these words came into her mind: “The things of eternity cannot be rushed.” When she reported the experience, it reminded me of an article published some years ago in “Gleanings in Genesis,”2 explaining three principles in discerning the will of God for making changes in our lives or circumstances. And how interesting that Jacob / Israel should be our model for those three principles.
“... It has been suggested by Dr. Griffith-Thomas that this incident [Jacob leaving Padan-Aram] supplies us with valuable principles for regulating the believer in his daily life when in doubt concerning the will of God. How often one is puzzled to know whether God would have us take a certain course or not. How may I be sure of God’s will concerning some issue which confronts me? An important question; one that is frequently met with, and one which must find answer in the Word alone. Surely God has not left us without something definite for our guidance. Not that we must always look for a passage of Scripture whose terms are absolutely identical with our own situation, but rather must we search for some passage which sets forth some clearly defined principles which are suited to meet our case. Such indeed we find here in Genesis 31.

“Jacob was in a strange land. He had been there for twenty years, yet he knew he was not to spend the remainder of his days there. God had assured him he should return to Canaan. How much longer then was he to tarry at Padan-Aram? When was he to start out for his old home? How could he be sure when God’s time for him to move had arrived? Pressing questions these. Note how the answer to them is found here in three things: first, a definite desire sprang up in Jacob’s heart to return home — this is evident from Genesis 30:25. But this in itself was not sufficient to warrant a move, so Jacob must wait a while longer. Second, circumstances became such that a move seemed the wise thing; the jealousy of Laban and his sons made his continued stay there intolerable. (Genesis 31:1, 2.) This was ordered of God who makes all things “work together” for the good of His own people. But still something more was needed ere Jacob was justified in leaving. So, in the third place there was a clear word from God
— “The Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers.” (Genesis 31:3.)
“It is not always that God gives us a manifestation of these three principles, but whenever they do combine and are evident we may be sure of His will in any given circumstance”3 (bold emphasis added).
Now, I present a third case about timing when seeking to discern the will of God. It comes from Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews as he tells of Moses leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt and deciding to take a longer route in order to avoid contact with the Philistines. Ginzberg inserts this explanation for the detour:
“... there was the fear that the sight of the land of the Philistines would awaken sad recollections in the Israelites and drive them back into Egypt speedily, for once upon a time it [the land of the Philistines] had been the scene of a bitter disappointment to them [the Israelites]. They had spent one hundred and eighty years in Egypt, in peace and prosperity, not in the least molested by the people. Suddenly Ganon came, a descendant of Joseph, of the tribe of Ephraim, and he spake, "The Lord hat appeared unto me, and He bade me lead you forth out of Egypt." The Ephraimites were the only ones to heed his words. Proud of their royal lineage as direct descendants of Joseph, and confident of their valor in war, for they were great heroes, they left the land and betook themselves to Palestine. They carried only weapons and gold and silver. They had taken no provisions, because they expected to buy food and drink on the way or capture them by force if the owners would not part with them for money.

“After a day's march they found themselves in the neighborhood of Gath, at the place where the shepherds employed by the residents of the city gathered with the flocks. The Ephraimites asked them to sell them some sheep, which they expected to slaughter in order to satisfy their hunger with them, but the shepherds refused to have business dealings with them, saying, "Are the sheep ours, or does the cattle belong to us, that we could part with them for money?" Seeing that they could not gain their point by kindness, the Ephraimites used force. The outcries of the shepherds brought the people of Gath to their aid. A violent encounter, lasting a whole day, took place between the Israelites and the Philistines. The people of Gath realized that alone they would not be able to offer successful resistance to the Ephraimites, and they summoned the people of the other Philistine cities to join them. The following day an army of forty thousand stood ready to oppose the Ephraimites. Reduced in strength, as they were, by their three days' fast, they were exterminated root and branch. Only ten of them escaped with their bare life, and returned to Egypt, to bring Ephraim word of the disaster that had overtaken his posterity, and he mourned many days.”4
The above three examples bring me to these questions:
▪ If the three Jacob-principles are a potential guide in the things of God’s will and timing, should they have been satisfied in the founding of the state called Israel?
▪ Was the “gathering” in God’s will and timing or man’s?
▪ Are we to take the passion and rhetoric of Theodor Herzl,5 “the father and founder of political Zionism,” et al. as the governing desire of the Jews?
▪ Can we acknowledge that there were many Jews who opposed the creation of a nation state, like Moshe Menuhin who wrote of his and others’ distress in "Not by Might, Nor by Power": The Zionist Betrayal of Judaism6; or of Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro who wrote: The Empty Wagon: Zionism's Journey from Identity Crisis to Identity Theft7; or of many others of Tribe Judah with the same concerns who can be found by searching?8
▪ Was 1948 (date of the founding of a nation calling itself Israel) the initiation of the promised, prophesied gathering?
▪ Is Tribe Judah to gather first in lands originally divided amongst Twelve?
▪ Could Herzl or perhaps even Walter Rothschild9 (a major Zionism advocate and financier) be Ganon-types who desired and imagined something so avidly that there was no thought about God's timing; perhaps an obsession and self-appointment to impose a sectarian vision?
▪ In this world of power obsession and lying wonders have we been deceived?
▪ Has Tribe Judah’s identity been stolen as Rabbi Shapiro claims?10
▪ If the Twelve Tribes of Israel had a commission from God to witness of His Plan of Redemption and Salvation11 is that what the nation calling itself Israel has been seeking to do?
God has great promises of gathering for Tribe Judah AND for the other eleven Tribes, as well as for all Gentiles who come unto Him as Nephi writes:
1 ... for I, Nephi, would not suffer that ye [the people of Nephi] should suppose that ye are more righteous than the Gentiles shall be. For behold, except ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall all likewise perish; and because of the words which have been spoken ye need not suppose that the Gentiles are utterly destroyed.
2 For behold, I say unto you that as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord; and as many of the Jews as will not repent shall be cast off; for the Lord covenanteth with none save it be with them that repent and believe in his Son, who is the Holy One of Israel (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 30:1–2).

1 AND now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel—
2 That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.
3 Behold, my beloved brethren, I speak unto you these things that ye may rejoice, and lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children .(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:1–3, bold emphasis added).
What do we make of “until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance ...”?

Yes, there may be other interpretation of wording and placement, but what also of these words:
11 Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 6:11).

7 But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they [the Jews] shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 10:7).

7 And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ shall also become a delightsome people (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 30:7).12
Mostly I have questions because the history of man, including the Children of Israel, has been one déjà vu after another where:
16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall (Doctrine and Covenants | Section 1:16).
Do we really think that the GODS* of the nation called Israel are any more or less than the GODS* of every other nation from the Americas through Europe, to the entire Middle East and beyond — being *Guns, Oil, Drugs, Sex? being also the DOGS of war13! I repeat the laments of God and Moses that have echoed for nigh 4000 years:
16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 31:16).

27 For I [Moses] know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? ...
29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 31:27, 29).
So few of God’s children (whether of Tribes Israel or Gentile) have seemed to learn wisdom. The pride cycle14 spins on and we take sides instead of crying repentance to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, beginning with ourself! 

Yet, there is hope (with a warming):
16 ¶ Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it (Old Testament | Isaiah 1:16-20).
2. Written by Arthur Pink
3.  | pp. 323-324
Additional Summary:
First, a definite conviction in our hearts that God desires us to take a certain course or do a certain thing.
Second, the path He would have us take being indicated by outward circumstances, which make it (humanly) possible or expedient we should do it. Then, third, after definitely waiting on God for it, some special word from the Scriptures which is suited to our case and which by the Spirit bringing it manifestly to our notice (while waiting for guidance) is plainly a message from God to our individual heart. Thus may we be assured of God’s will for us. The most important thing is to wait on God. Tell Him your perplexity, ask Him to prevent you from making any mistake, cry earnestly to Him to make “plain His way before your face” (Psalm 5:8), and then “wait patiently” till He does so. Remember that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 4:23.) If you are sincere and patient, and pray in faith, then, in His own good time and way, He will most certainly answer, either by removing the conviction or desire from your heart, and arranging your circumstances in such a manner that your way is blocked — and then you will know His time for you to move has not arrived — or, by deepening your conviction, so ordering your circumstances as that the way is opened up without your doing anything yourself, and by speaking definitely through His written Word. “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5.) The meek will He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way.” (Psalm 25:9.) “He that believeth shall not make haste.” May writer and reader be permitted by Divine grace to enjoy that blessed peace that comes from knowing we are in the will that “good and perfect and acceptable will” — of God.
4. Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews — Volume 3 . (Locations 115-134) Kindle Edition. Print Edition: pp. 7-9)
Additional comment from Ginzberg:
“This abortive attempt of the Ephraimites to leave Egypt was the first occasion for oppressing Israel. Thereafter the Egyptians exercised force and vigilance to keep them in their land. As for the disaster of the Ephraimites, it was well-merited punishment, because they had paid no heed to the wish of the father Joseph, who had adjured his descendants solemnly on his deathbed not to think of quitting the land until the redeemer should appear.” (Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews — Volume 3,. p. 9.)
See also:
Old Testament | Exodus 13:17
   17 ¶ And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
6. Menuhin, Moshe. "Not by Might, Nor by Power": The Zionist Betrayal of Judaism (Forbidden Bookshelf). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.
7. The Empty Wagon: Zionism's Journey from Identity Crisis to Identity Theft
8. For example: Meet The ‘Wrong Jew’ The Media Doesn’t Want You To Know Exists
(Double Down News | Apr 28, 2024 | Time 4:00 min.) at
9. • Walter Rothschild and the Balfour Declaration,_2nd_Baron_Rothschild
• Lord Rothschild presentation 8 Nov 2018 Sothebys NYC
(Waddesdon Manor | Dec 18, 2018 | Time 16:49 min.) at
• The Full Balfour Centenary Lecture with Simon Schama
(The Jewish Leadership Council | Nov 8, 2017 | Time 1:13:57 min.) at
• The True Story Behind the Balfour Declaration
(Israel's Foreign Affairs Min. | Nov 2, 2017 | Time 5:03 min.) at
10. See footnote 7 and consider also:
New Testament | Revelation 2:9
   9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
New Testament | Revelation 3:9
   9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
11New Testament | Acts 13:47
   47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
New Testament | Philippians 2:15
   15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
 Old Testament | Isaiah 42:6-7
   I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
   To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
• “Here is a people whom God had chosen and redeemed from agony and slavery, a people to whom He gave His Torah, a land, prosperity, and prophets. And this people whose destiny was to be a witness to the living God and a light to the nations, ...” | Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Prophets (p. 369). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
12. Other potentially relevant verses:
Old Testament | Hosea 1:10-11
   10 ¶ Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
   11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
Old Testament | Micah 2:12
   2 ¶ I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 10:14
   14 And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive-tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 19:15-16
   15 Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers.
   16 Yea, then will he remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people who are of the house of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to the words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.
Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 22:11-12
   11 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel.
   12 Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 77:14
   14 Q. What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th chapter of Revelation?
   A. We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who, as it is written, must come and restore all things.
Doctrine and Covenants | Section 77:9-11
   9 Q. What are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east, Revelation 7th chapter and 2nd verse?
   A. We are to understand that the angel ascending from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the twelve tribes of Israel; wherefore, he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting gospel, saying: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And, if you will receive it, this is Elias which was to come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things.
   10 Q. What time are the things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?
   A. They are to be accomplished in the sixth thousand years, or the opening of the sixth seal.
   11 Q. What are we to understand by sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel—twelve thousand out of every tribe?
   A. We are to understand that those who are sealed are high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.
Old Testament | Isaiah 11:11-12
   11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
   12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Old Testament | Ezekiel 37:21-22
   21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
   22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: