THE RESTORATION OF THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
Father put His rebellious son out of His House to discipline him through the experience of what life was like out in the world. He had lusted after the gods of the world and their ways. Only by being out under them, dependant upon them, would he learn their true nature and reap the consequence of serving them.
Good parents often have to put their rebellious children out of their house for the world to teach them what they won't learn by loving parental instruction and admonition.
This is what YHWH had warned them He would do if they went into complete rebellion. "And it shall be that, just as Yahweh rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so YHWH will rejoice over you to bring you to destroy you and to bring you to nothing; and you will be plucked from off the land which you go to possess. Then YHWH will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods ......." (Deut 28:63-64
"I will scatter them in corners. I will make the remembrance of them to cease from among men." Deut. 32:26
"Israel is swallowed up; now are they among the Gentiles ..." Hosea 8:8
But as the Father sent him away, yet His heart yearned after him, for His purpose in judgement is for correction and not for condemnation. And so he says, "Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, how I earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearns for him, I will surely have mercy upon him, says YHWH" Jeremiah 31:20
"My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; They have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; They have forgotten their resting place." Jeremiah 50:6
Yahweh takes up the reproach against the shepherds who have not brought back His sheep. Ezekiel who is a prophet to the House of Israel almost exclusively, gives this prophetic word at a time when they are in captivity without hope of returning.
"And the word of YHWH came to me saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, Thus says YHWH God to the shepherds: ...... "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves ...... V.4 "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back that which was DRIVEN AWAY, not sought that which was LOST; ...... V.5 "So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for the beast of the field because when they were scattered." v.6 "My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; (nations and kingdoms of the world) Yes, My flock was scattered over the face of the whole earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them." Ezekiel 34:1-6
(This is addressed to the shepherds of Israel who were responsible for their own House, the shepherds of Yehudah did go searching for them afterward and also later again as they were commissioned to do so with the Gospel message)
"For thus says YHWH God, Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day" "And I will bring them back from the nations .... Ezekiel 34:11.13
So, in the fullness of time, the Father sends His His Beloved Son to shepherd His sheep and to go and to seek that which was lost and which was driven away.
He came saying, "I am the Good Shepherd, the Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep .." "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold (of the House of Judah) them also I must bring (House of Israel), and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one Shepherd" John 10:14-16
"Surely, I will take the stick (branch) of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim, and all the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with the stick (branch) of Yehudah, and make them one stick, and THEY WILL BECOME ONE in My hand." Ezekiel 37:19 "Therefore, I will save My flock and I will set up one Shepherd over them, ..... even My servant David ... (yet to be fulfilled) Ezekiel 34:22, 23
The promise to Ya'acov in Genesis 28:13-15 was; “And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth and you shall break forth abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north and to the south.: And in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed” And we see the fulfilment of that in the manner in which all the tribes of Israel have been dispersed throughout all the earth Yahweh put them out in judgment – but His judgment was intended to be corrective, in order to teach them what it was like to be out in the world, under the other nations, to reap the fruit of their own ways without His protective covering and outside of covenant relationship with Him. It was not a complete rejection that had no hope of restoration. But their restoration depended on their repentance. Like some parents, Yahweh had to put them out of His House to teach them and discipline them until they came to their senses.
As Paul said in Romans 11:2, Yahweh had not cast away His people that He knew beforehand. “For if the temporal setting aside of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them back be but life from the dead.” Romans 11:15
“For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance” Romans 11:29 Just as Yahweh purposes to fulfil His plan through Adam's fall, so He purposes to fulfil it also through the dispersion and exile of the House of Israel and the House of Yehudah. He remembers that we are but dust, and He can shape and form us into His image and breathe His life into us in order to restore us. Notwithstanding that there are conditions which apply on our part to enter into His plan. As the Master Potter, He often has to remould the clay pot until He has the vessel that is suitable for His intended purpose.
“Israel is swallowed up among the nations: now shall they be among all the nations as a vessel in which there is no pleasure” Hosea 8:8
And so, the House of Israel, as a spiritual entity, was swallowed up among the nations and ceased to exist in its own identity. The House of Israel had become as a dead man whose only remains were dead, lifeless bones, and as Ezekiel prophesies, “Can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:1) - Can these virtually lifeless remains of the House of Israel come back to life and be restored as His House – His Tabernacle on the earth again? Yes, it was prophesied that they would!
Once the marred vessel had to be reduced to formless clay once again because of their sin, and the judgment which He had pronounced upon them had been fulfilled in Deut.28:63-64 and in Leviticus 26, He could fulfill His promises to the patriarchs. Through the sacrifice of Yeshua as the Messiah, their sin was atoned for and mercy could be extended through the gospel. The gospel message was to bring back into the kingdom the lost sheep of the House of Israel that had been swallowed up among the nations.
THE RESTORATION OF THE HOUSE Yeshua's commission as the Good Shepherd, to the apostles was: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles (nations) nor into as city of the Samaritans, but go to the LOST SHEEP of the House of Israel" Matthew 10:5-6
"For assuredly I say unto you, you shall not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes" Matthew 10:23 All the cities in which the Jews (House of Yehudah) live in at that time in the land of Judea would have easily have been covered in a short space of time - has an endtime application.
The gospel was primarily for Israel. "Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to ISRAEL and forgiveness of sins." Acts 5:31
The they, as a holy nation and a kingdom of priests were to take it to the world. This is yet to be properly fulfilled in the kingdom age. Israel has to be restored to its calling first and raised up in the power of His Spirit.
There was no expectation among the Jewish scholars of the scriptures that the "Gentiles" could receive eternal life apart from conversion to Judaism. As Yeshua Himself said, "for salvation is of the Jews" John 4:22
When the Syrophenician woman came to Him, He said, "I am not sent but to the LOST SHEEP of the House of Israel" Matthew 15:24 This could not be concerning the House of Yehudah - the Jews, for they were never "lost". It was well known where those who had not returned with the remnant that came back with Ezra and Nehemiah, were at that time. They were never "lost" in a spiritual sense either. And, easily passed over by those who do not recognise the difference in terminology, but He said specifically, "the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL". It was virtually only the House of Yehudah in the land at that time.
The Messianic expectation was for the salvation of Israel - for its restoration as a complete and united kingdom according to prophecy, out from under the servitude of foreign rulers.
The hope of Israel was to fulfil their divine mission as a holy nation under the kingship of their Messiah, and their expectation for Yeshua to fulfil these promises at that time as had been prophesied of Him.
"Blessed be YHWH God of Israel. For He has visited and redeemed His people. And raised up for us a horn of salvation in the House of David, His Servant as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets .... that we should be saved from our enemies .... to perform the mercy promised to our fathers ... and to remember His holy covenant. ..... that we ...... might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives ..." Luke 1:68-77
"For My eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepare before the face of all people, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the GLORY of the people Israel." Luke 2:29-32
Israel's glory could only be fulfilled in and by the restoration of the two houses in reconciliation back in the land. The prophecy was given in fulfilment of Simeon's expectation for the "consolation" of Israel. "This man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel" - i.e. its restoration and redemption! v.25 of Luke 2
"He shall redeem Israel (all 10 tribes) from all their iniquity" Psalm 130:8
It was what Caiaphas the High Priest prophesied regarding the death of Yeshua: "It is expedient for one man to die for the gospel, and not that the whole nation should perish (i.e the nation of Judah) and NOT FOR THAT NATION ONLY, but that He would gather in one the children of God who are SCATTERED ABROAD" John 11:50. 52 i.e. the lost sheep of the House of Israel - the other nations which were Israelites
This was the one question which concerned the disciples, "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel" Acts 1:6 And His answer was, "It is not for you to know the times and the season .." Acts 1"7
There was to be a specific time and season for the restoration of Israel. The subject f their discussion had been the kingdom of God - Acts 1:3 The commission was for them to preach the "Gospel of the Kingdom", which was salvation, healing, deliverance and the final restoration of the nation of Israel.
The restoration is held over until the fulfilment of the prophetic word. Yeshua returns the second time to take the kingdom after the fulfilment of prophecy!
"Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of ALL His holy prophets SINCE the world began" Acts 3:19-21
"To you Yehudah) FIRST, God having raised up His Servant Yeshua, sent Him to bless you, in turning every one of you from your iniquities” Acts 3:26 Relates to Psalm 130:8
The promises outlined in verse 25, include the restoration of the land promised to Abraham and the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.
Yeshua's return is AFTER the restoration of ALL things. It is after the restoration of the two Houses back together and into the land, united as one people. The saints have to take the kingdom (Daniel 7:27)
The House of Yehudah has returned in part to the land.
The House of Israel is yet to return to the land.
The House of Israel is the Prodigal Son! Luke 15:22-24
The prodigal son took the Father's inheritance and squandered it in an immoral, torah-less lifestyle. When he became spiritually destitute in unholy and unclean living, he realised his state and made changes in the company he kept, but it still meant living in bondage among the pig-pens of the world and feeding upon refuse that which was of no value spiritually until he came to his senses, repented and remembered his Father's House.
A change of heart was necessary first and then a return, a journey back along the route he had travelled from his Father's House.. Repentance then Restoration!
"I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: You have chastised me and I was chastised, like an untrained bull. (Ephraim's emblem) Restore me, and I will return, You are YHWH my God. Surely after my turning, I repented: After I was instructed (Torah), I struck myself on the thigh (Jacob's breaking of his own will) I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth." Jeremiah 31:18-19 "Set your heart toward the highway (the way back) Turn back, O virgin of Israel ..." (restoration means going back) Jeremiah 31:21
" ... and they shall come back from the land of the enemy “... Jeremiah 31:16
What does the Father do when he returns?
He clothes him in a special robe - a garment of salvation/ a robe of righteousness - firstborn status! Exodus 31:12-13, 17
And he places a ring upon his finger, the seal of his covenant relationship - the identifying sign is Shabbat He also places sandals upon his feet - no longer a slave, but a son restored to His divine commission to preach the gospel Note that the vestments for spiritual warfare are those of the Melchizedek priesthood in Eph.6:10-17.
See the typology in Genesis 41:41-42 of Joseph/Ephraim's instatement in authority over the world. Joseph is a type of the endtime role of his descendants where in His separation from his father's house, he is given the highest place of authority in the kingdom, next to Pharaoh. He is clothed with special garments of distinction and given the signet ring of Pharaoh, his actual seal of authority in the land.
The call is to go back to Father's House Leave the world and serving in its pig-pens and return for the Feast - the Marriage Supper