Israel Lost; Israel Found

The Parable of the Good Shepherd,
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price,
The Allegory of the Prodigal Son.

Dedicated to Vera Shultz

Listen Now via Streaming Media 

 

The Lost Tribes of Israel Found in the Parables of Yahshua

 

INDEX:

The Parables of the Good Shepherd and The Pearl of Great Price & The Allegory of the Prodigal Son

On the Jericho Road: The Allegory of the Good Samaritan

Out of the Napkin, Into the World: The Allegory of the Ten Pounds and the Lost Tribes of Israel

Resurrection - Riddle and Reward: The Sadducees' Riddle , The Allegory of the Wise Steward

Everlasting Skins: The Allegory of the Unrighteous Steward, The Widow’s Two Mites

Myths and Meaning: The Rich Man and Lazarus: Dives in Hell

Naming Ten Virgins or The Five Dumb Virgins (A Message from the NT Apocrypha)

Other Lost Tribes Messages:

The Woman at the Well and the Lost Tribes of Israel: "I'll Never Be Thirsty Again!"

 

Messianic friends, please note: This message is written for Christians just learning Hebraic Roots, including Divine Name language.  However, this does not mean that it is an elementary message, but full of deeper truth.


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THE TRIBES: The Israelite Origins of the Western Peoples

 

The Good Shepherd  (The First Reading)

   Luke 15:4.  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  5.  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.   6.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’   7.  Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” 

 

The Lost Coin  (see note on this one)
   8.  “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  10.  I tell you, there is joy before the angels of Yahweh over one sinner who repents.”

 

The Prodigal Son  (The Second Reading)

   11.  “There was a man who had two sons;  12.  and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them.  13.  Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living.  14.  And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want.  15.  So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine.  16.  And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.  17.  But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger!  18.  I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you;  19.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 

    20.  And he arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  21.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  22.  But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet;  23.  and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry;  24.  for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.  

   25.  “Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.  26.  And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant.  27.  And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’  28.  But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him,  29.  but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.  30.  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’  31.  And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.  32.  It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”  (Read an alternate ending to the allegory.)

 

The Pearl of Great Price  (Read later in the text of the message)

   Matthew 13:45,46.  “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” 

 

Prodigal

   We call the first story in our text “The Good Shepherd” and the second story “The Prodigal Son.”  “Prodigal” is an old fashioned word that has two meanings: a) “wastefully extravagant” and b) “given lavishly.”  The younger son fulfills the first meaning of “prodigal”:  he demands his inheritance, then wastes it extravagantly, throwing it away on godless entertainments of every kind, ending up in the filthy hog barn, eating dinner with his ungracious hosts.  He’s in such a fix that he has crawl back to father in repentance.  “I’ve made the wrong choices; now I’m turning back.”  That’s what repentance is all about – “turning back to the good, to the godly, to the perfect.” 

   Some call this story “The Prodigal Father” because the father fulfills the second meaning of the word “prodigal”; that is, “given lavishly.”  The boy doesn’t expect his father’s extravagant welcome, no – he expects to work as a farm hand.  But to his surprise, father comes out to meet him, puts the robe upon his back, the shoes upon his feet, the royal ring upon his finger; kills the sacrificial calf and throws a welcome-home barbeque.  This prodigal son is elevated back to his place by his prodigal father because sonny boy genuinely repents of leaving, and father is a pushover.

    The older brother, who never left, is mad about his father’s grace.  We might even call the elder boy a prodigal – he wastes his time complaining when he should be rejoicing.  He’s green with envy that the calf should be sacrificed for the youth and not for him!  Why, he hasn’t even had a goat barbeque in his honor!

 

Repentance and Restoration

   Yahshua reveals the moral of this story even before he tells the second: “There’s joy among the heavenly host for the sake of one sinner who repents!”  It doesn’t take much analysis to understand the story, for we also rejoice when one lost lamb comes home, or the lost sheep returns to the assembly, or the black sheep to the family.  We rejoice greatly when the one who’s gone astray, seeking her own way, returns to the fold in repentance, Amein?  Don’t we prepare a welcome-home dinner?

   O, that repentance and return would happen more frequently!  No wonder angels rejoice.  However, it’s rare – too much pride – too much desire for independence – too much rebellion.  And some lost lambs get bemired in the slough on the way back home.  And it seems almost impossible to be freed from the slough without the divine intervention of All Prayer; yet we're not told that father even prayed for his return!

   Who has a lost loved one?  Who knows of someone in the miry clay?  Don’t we hope and pray for those prodigal loved ones to return to the fold?  Indeed, we do.  We lift them up to the throne room continually.  Perhaps our Heavenly Father will arrange circumstances so that they’ll see the evil and turn back to him, then turn back to us! 

 

The Deeper Meaning

   Beneath the surface of these stories lies deeper meaning, for they’re parables – meant to convey a literal truth, but for those with discernment, a deeper truth.  Some wise men say that every parable has seven levels of truth, like a layer cake.  Since a cake awaits us after the meeting, we’ll now indulge in only two layers. 

   First, let’s examine the simplest parable and separate the layers.  Look to

Matthew 13:45,46.  “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” 

The literal truth is available to all who hear it; the merchant was a pearl-monger – he acquired fine pearls.  So when he finally found that salt water pearl, so perfectly round, so pure white or pure black in color, the one he’d sought for a lifetime, he traded everything else he had, including his entire pearl collection, to acquire just the one. 

   What do you not have that you value highly?  Think!  What’ll you give for that pearl of great price?  For that diamond tiara?  That yacht?  That Lexus Sedan?  That Alpaca?  That impossible dream?  Is there anything for which you’d give everything?  Maybe there’s even a person you’d buy back if possible!

   The deeper meaning of the pearl parable, which again Yahshua gives away from the very start, is that the pearl of great price is the sky kingdom: those who see the kingdom as being of greatest value, more precious than anything else– they’ll give all that they have, even their very lives, to become a part, to acquire kingdom status. 

   Because there’re so many cheap imitations, a genuine, perfectly round salt water pearl is still of great value today.  One might reach deep into the pocketbook to buy it.  But what’s the value of a little stone in comparison to an everlasting purpose in the unseen kingdom?  What’s that worth to you?  People must first decide how materialistic they are, then consider how kingdom-oriented they want to become. 

   That’s the beautiful thing about the deeper meaning of parables.  You put yourself into the parable, pray for discernment, then Yahweh will give you a distinctive truth – a unique meaning all your own.

 

An Allegory

   Yet “The Prodigal Son,” unlike the stories of the “Pearl of Great Price” and “The Good Shepherd,” is more than a simple parable.  The Prodigal Son is an allegory – a longer, extended story with characters and events that represent other things not evident to the casual hearer.  One of the most famous allegories of all time is The Pilgrim’s Progress, written by the preacher John Bunyan while in prison.  In the story, Pilgrim leaves the city of destruction and makes his way to the Celestial City enduring every calamity imaginable.  (You may have a tape of The Pilgrim’s Progress for the asking.)  If you’ve read or listened to The Pilgrim’s Progress, then you’ll understand allegory – every character and place that’s mentioned stands for a deeper spiritual truth.  Pilgrim’s Progress is every Believer’s story. 

   The same goes for The Prodigal Son.  So let me share the deeper meaning with you, because it has to do with us, with prophecy of the future, even with our time.

 

The Father and His Two Sons

   In the last days of King Solomon, the northern tribes of Israel rebelled.  Solomon taxed the people hard for temple-building funds and for his own prodigal lifestyle – his luxuries, his palaces, his women.  When Solomon died, the people hoped for tax cuts when his son Rehoboam took the throne.  But Rehoboam taxed them even more heavily.  So the northern ten tribes of Israel chose another king, Jeroboam, and in 930 BC, Israel split in two.  The older kingdom was Judea, made up of the tribe of Judah (along with Benjamin) – Judahites became known as Jews.  The new, northern kingdom kept the name Israel, and there dwelt the other ten tribes.

   To keep the Israelites out of Judea for the Feasts in Jerusalem, King Jeroboam of Israel started a new religion.  He had two calves smelted of gold and built a temple for each, one temple on the southern-most side of the country and the other on the northern-most – all for the sake of convenience.  Jeroboam forced the Israelites to keep his new religion: but they didn’t mind, because it was more comfortable, less strict, more fun - and far sexier.  The people could worship their own way instead of Yah’s way.  In the meantime, the Jews in Judea continued worshiping Yahweh in accordance with the Bible and the Temple.

 

Israel is the Prodigal

   Many prophets came and went, all decrying the great sin of Israel, the idolatrous religion of Jeroboam.  Yahweh sounded the trumpets of warning to all the kings that succeeded Jeroboam, but to little avail.  Israel went after the golden calves, then the gods of many nations.  They squandered their blessings in the hog lot of loose living and spiritual fornication.

   The prodigal son is Israel.  The older son is Judea.  Of course, the Father in the story is Yahweh, who loved Israel enough to allow him to take his inheritance and go into slavery so that he might have the opportunity to repent of his great sin (institutionalized by Jeroboam). 

   Yahweh eventually sent the mighty Assyria against Israel.  Assyria took the Israelites out of their land and disbursed them throughout Asia.  Through the centuries, Israel sojourned in all the world’s nations and became so thoroughly disbursed that the ten tribes of prodigal Israel came to be know as “the lost tribes.”

 

Pigsty

   The meaning of the pigsty is “the pigsty of the nations” to where “the lost tribes” of Israel were vanquished.  I don't know if you've ever been in a hog lot - I have; but it's the most horrendously filthy and malodorous place on earth.  Life in the sty, eating the pig food, is a symbolic way of saying that Israel desired to leave the sheepfold of Yahweh and become like other nations – and Israel became like them – was absorbed by them – took on their customs – took on their godless religions and feasts– lost their identity in Yahweh – and abandoned their connection to their ancestors.  Even now, the lost tribes of Israel are still lost here and there, everywhere, living as amnesiacs – wasted away by the cultures of the world – so much so that they don’t even know who they are anymore.  They can’t count their ancestry back any farther than their grandparents; nor can they recount the deeds of their ancestors, and they no longer even tell their children the little bit they still remember of their old-world origins.

   Israel’s been in the pigsty for centuries, and we're in it right now.  This clean, decent land we live in is nothing more than a spiritual hog lot.  Meanwhile Judea, the older brother, has remained faithful to the Father and land, despite vain customs, persecutions, pogroms and exterminations.  That Jews still exist today is proof positive that Yahweh exists and the Bible is built upon the truth.  But Israel has yet to return home – for he is still bedding down with the pigs of the nations, eating the cobs of their customs with few knowing any better.

 

You Shall Live

   Why then does the parable say that the Prodigal Son Israel reconsidered and came home?  Here’s why.  Because Yahweh promised to find Israel among the nations and bring him home.  Though Israel may’ve abandoned the name of Yahweh, Yahweh never abandoned Israel; Yahweh loves this lost son too much for that. 

   The prophecy of Ezekiel 37 is in regards to the Father’s desire to seek Israel and see him home.  Yahweh says,

Ezekiel 37:11 “Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.’  These bones are the whole house of Israel. 12.  Thus says Yahweh: I will open your graves, and raise you, O my people; and I will bring you home 14.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, in your own land; then you shall know that I, Yahweh, have spoken, and I have done it.”  ...   23.  “They shall no longer defile themselves any more with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their elohim.  24.  They shall all have one shepherd and follow my ordinances and observe my statutes.” 

 

Bring Them In!

   Do you know how Yahweh can identify lost Israel and what pigsties contain Israel today?  Yahweh knows the whereabouts of his beloved son because he’s observed his migrations down through the centuries.  He’s not lost track of even one little lamb!  And now he promises to endow lost Israel with his Spirit and give lost Israel new life and cleanse him of the abominations of idolatries.  And can you see how Yahweh will forgive Israel – like a father who loves unconditionally – and take him back into his place?  And did you notice that when this comes to pass, lost Israel is found, and will again heed Yahweh’s ordinances and statutes?  Finally, did you hear how Yahweh promises that he’ll place his good shepherd over found Israel, to protect his scattered sons and daughters and bring them in?

   So, who are they?  And who’ll lead the prodigal flock home?  If we can answer the second question – “Who is the great shepherd?” – then we can also find the prodigal sons and daughters of Israel.

 

Who Is the Good Shepherd?

   You’ve probably already identified the shepherd.  It’s Yahshua, the Mighty One of Israel – a no-brainer!  And can you believe what he said in Matthew 15:24, that: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  He says, “only” to the lost sheep.  That excludes anyone else in the world, including the Jews.  Only to the prodigal son is the Son sent to save.  Furthermore, Yahshua identifies himself in John 10:14-16:

“I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.” 

Here he says he knows his own sheep and his sheep know him.  Firstly, he’s talking to Jews – those of Judea – the southern kingdom – the older son – both then and now.  Yahshua is the shepherd of the Jews – whether they know it or not – whether they hail him or not – whether they like it or not.  Jews constantly complain to the Father about his younger son.  They would do anything they possibly could to put a stumbling-block before Israel.  But Yahshua will see that faithful Jews get their inheritance, for they’ve been with him all along.  He tells all Jews, “I have sheep not of this fold that I must bring in.”   

   The other sheep constitute Israel, scattered all over and lost, to whom the Good Shepherd is sent, and he will gather Israel in.  It is to Israel yet today that he speaks through his inspired Word: “You will heed my voice and I will bring you home.”

 

Who Is Israel?

   So finally we get down to the question that couldn’t be answered until now – who is this prodigal son – who is Israel today?  We may identify him immediately by what Yahshua says about the lost sheep.

   (1) He says, “They’ll know me.”  Just who knows Yahshua?  Who knows he lives?  Who’s convinced of his realness?  Who follows his commandments?  Who knows his name?  Who’s abiding in his love and care?   And who’s expecting to be brought home to his Father’s house, where there are many mansions?  Who?  Who?  {Say it, “Me!”}

   (2) He also says, “I know them.”  I wonder who he knows?  Who’s he known well enough to fill with his Spirit?  Who’s he delivered and healed?  Who’s he saved and set free – even to the uttermost?  To whom has he bestowed hope and power?  To whom has he delivered visions, revelations and authority over evil?  For whom was his blood shed?  And who believed his report and preserved it in a holy book?  Who?  I ask you: WHO?  {Say it, “Me!”}

   (3) He also says, “They’re not of this fold.”  This other fold isn’t composed of Jews or Muslims or Universalists or Quakers or Buddhists or Baptists – hardly.  What fold of sheep even now gather in his name?  What fold remains in obedience to his commands?  What fold accepts him as shepherd and master and recognizes his voice?  What fold is it?  I say: WHAT FOLD? 

{Say it, “This fold!”}

 

You and Me

   If we’re still uncertain who the Prodigal is, we may look to the opening verses of The Revelation, which tell us directly.  Those who were lost but now are found are:

(1) those who are obedient to the commandments of Yahweh, and who also

(2) bear witness to Yahshua the Messiah.

   We who’ve received the Word of the Father and the testimony of the Son, WE ARE the lost tribes of Israel, no matter what we consider to be our national heritage, cultural tradition or religious background.  It only makes sense.  We are Israel.  We are the repentant, homebound Prodigal.  It’s the calling of his Only Begotten that we’ve heard, and our response to his call is proof positive that, though once lost, we’re found.  We’re rescued!  And we shall be saved! 

   We make a glorious discovery in the deeper meaning of these allegories: that we not only have been found and called back to the sheepfold of the Almighty; but that, as repentant sons and daughters of Israel, our Father and Shepherd has placed the ring of royalty upon our fingers, wrapped us in the robe of his covenant love and killed the fatted calf for our redemption.  Yes – for us – for you and me.  It’s a privilege and a revelation beyond compare.  The lost tribes of Israel have been found, and they are us!  Hallelujah!  What has henceforth been lost is discovered.  Let us rejoice and be glad!

   For the greatest promise of all is that the One who lives forever has prepared a gracious and spacious place that we tribes may call our own – we who were once lost – we who once ate the swill of pigs – now seated in the heavenly places in HIM, at the head of His table, ever blessing and ever blessed.  Amen.

 

An optional, imaginary ending to the parable of the Prodigal Son:

   Not long after the younger son returned, the elder son became very bitter.  Finally he went to his father and said, “Sir, I have been thinking about what you told me, and now I want my share of the property – I’m leaving this place and will buy a hog farm in Perea.  Give me what is mine!”  He distressed his father much that the man soon passed on into the bosom of Abraham.  This made both sons angry with their dead father, for he was the only person who really knew how to run the farm.

   After this, the sons split up what was left of the money and chattel, and both left the farm property, allowing their two sisters to stay on the farm in their absence.  These brothers were gone for several years, the older son buying his own property and the younger keeping his brother’s pigs.  In the meantime, the sisters received a loan from their uncle – just enough to seed a small crop.  The ladies worked and sweat over the land for several seasons, and they didn’t fail, for they never gave up.

   Within a decade, the farm was prospering, the sisters had both married and had children, and a portrait of their father was hung proudly over the mantle of the fireplace.  At the time of Unleavened Bread, after the men of the family had killed the fatted calf and were making ready for the Feast, the eldest daughter proclaimed, “It is fitting that we celebrate, for this land was dead but now it is alive; it was lost but now it’s found.”  Amen.

 

Note on the Lost Coin:  This text is included only to show the number that is stacked between the parable and the allegory.  Ten is the number of “lost tribes.”

 

SERMON CHECK-OFF

[    ] Luke 15:4. “What man of you, having a hundred sheep ...”

[    ] Luke 15:11. “There was a man who had two sons ...”

[    ] Luke 15:10. “I tell you, there is joy before the angels ...”

[    ] Matthew 13:45 “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant ...”

[    ] The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (get the tape).

[    ] Solomon’s son – Rehoboam, King of Judea.

[    ] Ten tribes choose another king, Jeroboam.

[    ] In 930 BC, Israel split in two – Judea and Israel.

[    ] The pigsty is “the pigsty of the nations.”

[    ] Ezekiel 37:11 “These bones are the whole house of Israel...”

[    ] Matthew 15:24 “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

[    ] John 10:14-16: “I am the good shepherd...”

[    ] Revelation 1:2 “the word of Yahweh and the testimony of Yahshua Messiah.”

 

Jackson Snyder, March 19, 2004