One of the most quoted and song verses in Scripture is the following: "And the ransomed of YHVH shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10). However, few realize that in order to return, one would have had to be there in the past. So who really are the ones returning to Zion?
Modern day Zionism came into being during the nineteenth century, inspired, at least in part, by contemporary nationalistic movements, which were prevalent in
of that day. But perhaps still greater was the contribution made by a few
Spirit-filled Christian (Gentile) visionaries, who began to realize the importance
of the Torah, the prophets, and the Jewish people's return to the ancient land
of their ancestors. Relationships between these Gentile Christians (Zionists)
and the Jewish community in Europe started
developing already in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (ref. The Vision
Was There by Franz Kobler, 1956). The Zionist movement, however, was not really
acknowledged by nineteenth century historians as a viable or a definable
phenomenon. Jewish identity was still
very much attached to religion, which preserved the uniqueness of the Jews as a
people while in the "Galut" (diaspora, or exile). But the religious
traditions left them with only a very slight hope of realizing any national
aspirations. Saying "next year in Jerusalem,"
every Passover was not enough to extricate them from their host countries.
Their identity was defined more by default than by anything positive. It wasn't
until the time of Rabbi Alkalai and Kalishcher (two Jewish "prophets"
of the 1800's) that seeds of national identity began to be sown. They were followed by Moses Hess,
Ben-Yehudah, Pinsker, Herzl, Nordau, Ahad-Ha-am, Bialik and others, whose names
and writings have lost their prophetic significance today, and have become (in
the eyes of most Israelis) mere signs posted on street corners in the cities of
The transformation, from religion to nationalism, began to grow in the hearts and minds of a remnant, ultimately resulting in the birth of the State of Israel, albeit not without tribulation (pogroms, persecutions and the Holocaust). The return of Judah (the Jews), as a nation, to the
is a direct
fulfillment of the End Time prophetic scriptures. It testifies to the fact that
the God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:4), but "watches
over His word to perform it" (Jer.1:12). Land
However, this is only half of the story. Zionism, as a national movement was not only evident among a remnant of Judah, but also began to surface in Ephraim, who is the other "witness" of the God of Israel's unending mercies and covenant keeping faithfulness. It was at about this time (i.e. the nineteenth century), that a few born-again, spirit-filled believers in Europe, especially in the UK, received prophetic insight into the history of the Two Houses, the two witnesses, the two olive branches, the two sticks, the two families, the two kingdoms and the two nations, spoken of in the Bible. Many believed that the nations that made up Europe were primarily of the lost tribes of
Intense studies of languages, culture, religion etc. began to emerge. In 1887, a work by M.M. Eshelman, called The Two
Sticks, was published. Later, another,
by J.H. Allen called Judah's
Sceptre and Joseph's Birthright, 1917.
These works were evidence that the Spirit of the Lord was (and still is)
working to turn the hearts of the children to our forefathers, and to restore
the national identity of both houses of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).
In the covenant that God made with Abraham, He promised him a land and a nation (Goy) which was to come out of his own loins, (Gen 12:1-3). God would never forget the covenant, although He would scatter this nation into all the nations, and thus it is written that Ephraim is "well mixed into all nations" (Hos. 7:8), and that he would become their "fullness" (Gen 48:19). Yet, in Ezekiel 37:22 we read: "I will make them one nation in the land," (as well as in Jer 3:18). God's redemptive plan for this earth was, and still is, a united, redeemed, single nation of "
living in the land that YHVH promised to the patriarchs.
Religious identity has kept the Two Houses divided. However, with the restoration of our national identity we can begin to tear down the age-old divisions of enmity and jealousy and build, under the guiding hand of the Messiah, the commonwealth that will be a light to the rest of the nations, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. Both houses need to return to true Zionism, to the Zionism of the Torah. This Zionism is a very simple concept; it involves a land, a nation ("goy"), and a kingdom government. (to be continued)