smlogo.jpg (9246 bytes)

Lost and Found?

by Chris Josephson.

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1 – the Hebrew says, “as one”).

(Sat. A.M. – Introduction)

We’re together again praising the Lord and we’re going to have a good session this morning. I don’t know what’s going to come out of this, but the Holy Spirit does. We want everybody to feel comfortable and to just take your liberty.  I don’t even have to tell this group that we’re going to respect each other and not argue about things. The love of God flows all around here and so this will keep us going.

About the theme of the conference, Who are The Lost Tribes?, I want to say a few words before John and Ben and whoever else wants to join in. I have resisted thinking that Christians have part physically with the lost tribes, because to me it’s been replacement theology all the way through. So I really didn’t consider it worthy of further study.

 But something began to work in me about six or eight months ago. It started with an e-mail article we received from Jerusalem during the Balkans war.[1] The author was writing about the ten tribes going up through the Balkans into Europe. They scattered throughout the world and lost their identity.  He went on to say that in the Dark Ages when the Word of God was hidden from the masses – particularly in Europe, - there was something within some people that made them willing to lay down their lives for the Word of God.

This brought to my mind the Macedonian call of Paul when he saw in a vision a man from Macedonia (in the Balkans). “Come on over and help us” (Acts 16). Because Paul was obedient to that heavenly vision, the Gospel spread in Europe. 

Promised Seeds

Then I began to review the promises God made to Abraham which go beyond the Jews as we know them today, the most powerful of them all is “IN THEE shalt all the nations [all the families] of the earth be blessed.” And over and over again, God says, “unto thee and to thy seed. In the 16th verse of the 13th chapter of Genesis: “And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.”  We can number the Jews that are in the world today, but we can’t number all the seed of Abraham.

The Scripture says that “Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness”. Notice, it doesn’t say that he believed IN God; there were other people living at Abraham’s time who believed IN God, such as Pharaoh and Abimelech. They believed in “the Most High God”. So what was the different about Abraham’s faith from the faith of his peers at that time? It was this: Abraham was believing God for a righteous seed, a righteous seed that would propagate the truth throughout the world.

Abram [name changed by God to Abraham] was contending with God about this in Genesis 15:2, “And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me seeing I go childless?”. This was the main thing with Abraham. He didn’t have a seed. He is asking God, “What you going to do about this? The apparent heir now is Eliezer, my steward. Is that the way it’s going to be?” God tells Abraham that Eliezer is not the promised seed, but  he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.  And he brought him forth and said, Look now toward heaven and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”

I‘ve just begun to trace the word seed through the Bible. I’m not even half through, but it has opened up such understanding  that it is almost overwhelming.  Isaac’s birth was miraculous. He was the son of promise: God said, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called”. And this promise continued on through Jacob and the twelve tribes. The northern tribes were assimilated and lost. But Jesus came to seek and to save the lost sheep of Israel! How could they be reached except by the Gospel? They were completely lost, they were assimilated, they had lost the covenant seal of circumcision, but there was something within that responded to the Gospel.

You may be objecting, “But it is  not physical, it’s spiritual.”  IT IS BOTH! There’s both spiritual and physical blessing promised in the Abrahamic Covenant. To be very plain: the covenant seal was circumcision, showing that God was talking about the physical reproduction organ. What God has promised, he will not fail to do.  We may be “so heavenly minded we’re not any earthly good” – but He isn’t! “It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). And with the “man”, He gave the manual with the instructions for LIFE! TAKE ONLY AS DIRECTED!

Skip it if we Don’t Like it?

I read again the promises God made and this time, I didn’t skip over the part about “MULTITUDES will come from you, Abraham, and NATIONS will come from you”. I had hurried over these before, not even allowing that I might be wrong, BECAUSE : false teachers had stressed this point. Now, in reading  about  Jacob blessing Ephraim, this time I didn’t pass over “his seed shall become a multitude of nations”.[2] 

When this truth began unfolding, one Scripture came on top another, and I began to understand that this is SO MUCH GREATER than we realize, because ‘the earth will be full, of and be covered with, the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea’ (Isa. 11:9 & Hab. 2:14). It’s everywhere! Abraham’s seed and the promises of God are for universal redemption.

Women’s Important Role!

Just briefly as a woman, I want to speak of how God used the women!

[This brought a hearty laugh from the men! Read Ben Cohen’s “Supreme Conflict”, page    , to know why.]

First there were Sarah and Hagar. God spoke to Abraham about Sarah: “I will bless her and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. . . Sarah, why wife shall bear thee a son indeed and thou shall call his name Isaac [laughter]  and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his seed after him” (Gen. 17:16,19).   But the father heart of Abraham called out for Ishmael, “O that Ishmael might live before thee.” God replied: “As for Ishmael I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation . . . BECAUSE HE IS THY SEED” (Gen. 17:20 & 21:13). Then He continued, “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac which SARAH shall bear unto thee . . . “ At that point God quit talking to Abraham, so much as to say, “And that’s that, Abraham.” (v.22)

Let’s go back to chapter 16, and see how God blessed and kept his hand on Hagar. “And the angel of the LORD [a manifestation of Messiah!] found her in the wilderness . . and he said, Hagar, Sarah’s maid . . . return to thy mistress and submit thyself under her hands, and . . .I will multiply thy seed exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude” (Vs. 7-10).

When Sarah told Abraham to send Hagar and her son away, can you imagine how hard this was on Abraham?  God said, “Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12). But God did not forget Hagar; the angel of God again “called to Hagar out of heaven, and said . . . fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad . . .I will make him a great nation . . And God was with the child and he grew. . . .” (Gen. 21:17-20). Certainly the Lord has kept His promises regarding Ishmael.

This study of the women is too extensive to cover now.  Briefly: Leah and Rachel  birthed the sons who became the fathers of the 12 tribes. The study of Rachel is especially important to the subject of this conference, because she bore Joseph the father of Ephraim whom God calls “first born” – and she died giving birth to
Benjamin, the only sabra of the twelve!. And then there’s Keturah whom Abraham married after the death of Sarah. Her name literally means “incense” – what a study that it is. As far as I know, her sons mingled with Ishmael and Esau and help make up the Arab peoples today.

But let’s look briefly to a very important factor regarding Rebekah when Abraham’s servant [probably Eliezer] went to get a wife for Isaac. Notice the parting blessing Rebekah’s  family gave her:  “And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions.” Now, how many is that?! “And let thy seed possess the gates of those that hate them” (Genesis 24:60).  So another promise is added on here. A promise of deliverance from enemies.

So Now – What?

This is only beginning to open to me. I’ve known a long time that God’s plan was Israel, but it seemed most of the Gentiles were left out until the very end when somehow God would bring “the restorations of all things”. Now, the revelation of God’s plan through Israel is getting greater and clearer. We don’t know it all by a long shot, but the Lord continues to lead into truth. We cry with the Psalmist, “O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacle” (Psalm 43:3). God’s two agents by which He does everything in the world is His Spirit and His Word. Some go off too far on one way or the other, but the two together gives the balance.

So that’s the way the Lord has been leading me. I don’t know what all it means yet, but when you receive truth - when you receive light - you have to WALK in that light and DO something about it.

I believe that if Elmer (Josephson) were here, he’d be walking in it too, because he often said, “Wisdom is knowing how God is moving in the world and going with Him.” I believe that Elmer was a forerunner[3] that saw “through the glass darkly” but certainly rubbed smudges off the glass so now more and more light is coming through. Other men, also, like Brother Sowder (of the Kansas City Gospel Tabernacle group) and Brother Casmir Lanowick of the International Bible Students, and many other peers of Elmar.[4] It seems the Lord raised them up to break the fallow ground and plant a foundation. Now we must build on this foundation and go on.

[1] See page   for this article.

[2] And as Polly Grimes brought out later in discussions, the Hebrew actually says, “his seed shall become the FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES.”

[3] In July 1964, Rabbi Isser Yehuda Unterman, Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, came to Kansas City to meet former President Harry Truman who was the first world ruler to recognize the State of Israel in 1948. The rabbis and Jewish business men of Kansas City, gave a dinner for the occasion at the Muehlebach Hotel. Because of his practical pro-Israel activities, Elmer was the only non-Jew there besides Harry Truman. After Elmer talked with the Rabbi Unterman, the Rabbi was heard to remark, “I wish we could trace and see if Rev. Josephson is from the lost tribes.”

[4] His name in Hebrew is Elmar [God speaks] Ben-Yosef [son of Joseph].