The Bible tells us in Genesis 48: 16 that the name of “Israel” was bequeathed to the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. It was the ceremony where Jacob Israel placed Joseph’s sons above his two firstborn, Reuben and Simeon, and made Joseph the leading tribe of all Israel.
Jacob had placed his right hand upon the head of Ephraim and his left on the head of Manasseh and said, “…bless the lads, and let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” With this, he bestowed upon Joseph, through his sons, the Birthright inherited from his father Isaac, who, in turn, inherited it from his father Abraham, who, in turn, had it bestowed upon him by the Lord God Almighty. It was during this same ceremony that Joseph was told that Manasseh would form a great nation and Ephraim a multitude of nations (Genesis 48: 19).
Subsequently, we learn from Isaiah 62: 2, Isaiah 65: 1-15 and Hosea 2: 17 that Israel was to have a new name. And while this took place, history has shown that the name of Israel never totally died out amongst Israelites and Part 3 shows some examples of this.
Armed with the exciting revelation of the Israel Truth, this Association and many its sister organizations around the world were acting as vehicles spreading the truth and being God’s instruments in opening the eyes of tens of thousands of His people. Then it happened, 1948! By one vote, the modern Israeli State chose the name “Israel” over “Zion” for their new country. No one took notice of it before the actual event, of course, but this was just another plank of the Lord’s plan. In Isaiah 44: 5, we learn that hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, God foretold of a time that people other than Israel would surname themselves by the name of Israel. This happened right on cue.
This one act slowed the growth of the Israel Truth Movement in a dramatic way. After all, if their country was named Israel, then most people just assumed they were the original Israelites. No notice was taken that the Jewish people did not refer to themselves as Israelites, that they adopted “Israeli” as their name. Nevertheless, as the early adherents of the Israel Truth aged and passed on, the organizations became smaller and smaller. It didn’t help that blinded teachers, pastors and shepherds looked upon 1948 as a fulfillment of prophecy (it was, but not in the way promoted by modern Christendom). Certainly, their preaching, coupled with a media owned by non-Christians, resulted in the Israel Truth Movement being looked upon as kind of a radical, fringe group of men and women. Consequently, as this latter message took hold, it became uncomfortable for true Israelites to even consider the truth. Our theologians seemed to find a way to shut their eyes to the marks of identification in the Bible. In fact, as years passed, they have more feverishly preached the message that the Jews are Israel. The most influential are even confidently stating that the Jews can be saved without Christ.
Anyway, sad as it was, it was God behind the scenes, it wasn’t time for the great revealing. One by one, smaller Israel truth organizations began to close as financial impediments and shrinking membership took its toll. Today, the pendulum is beginning to swing back because there were many true Israelites truly dedicated to God’s Truth that held firm.
I often wondered about the reason behind God slowing down the growth of the Israel organizations. I think Part 6 – “The Sowing Years” answers this to a great extent.