Month 4:5, Week 1:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year:Day 5936:094 AM|
7 Sabbaths + Omer Count Day #27
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 24 June 2012
Today's Cities of Israel
The Witnesses Still Go Forth
Today's passage has caused considerable confusion amongst Bible commentators. At face value it looks as though Yah'shua (Jesus) is telling the then-alive talmidim (disciples) that they will not have gone through all the cities of Israel with the message of the Besorah (Gospel) before He returns as the resurrected Messiah at the second coming.
"When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes" (Matt.10:23, NKJV).
There are two things that need to be said about this faulty conclusion. Firstly, at the time Yah'shua (Jesus) made this statement, Israelite cities did not just consist of those inhabited by the two surviving twelve tribes, namely Judah and Benjamin, in the Holy Land. Centuries before the northern Ten Tribes had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians and had eventually migrated north and (mostly) westward into Europe. Though forgetting both their religion and their Israelite origins over the centuries, these paganised Israelite tribesmen, who intermingled with other peoples, would raise cities not only in Europe but throughout the planet in fulfilment of the patriarchal blessings given by Jacob to his sons. Speaking of Joseph in particular, we are told:
Israelite cities are plentiful throughout Europe, the Americas, Australasia, South Africa, Ethiopia, and elsewhere and the peoples who inhabit them are still being witnessed to by modern talmidim (disciples).
"Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a well; his branches run over the wall" (Gen.49:22, NKJV).
There is a further dimension to this passage, however, that is to be found in the Aramaic texts such as the Peshitta and Old Syriac which records this passage slightly differently to the Greek and Hebrew versions:
Both versions carry the same sense, though, of the Besorah (Gospel) still being witnessed to the House of Israel and its cities, wherever the people of Israel may be, when Yah'shua (Jesus) returns.
"Truly, I say to you, you will not have finished the House of Yisrael (Israel), until the Son of Man has come" (Matt.10:23, HRV).
Believers have been driven out of one Israelite city after another in the wake of persecution, it's still continuing, and it will yet continue. Israel can no longer be as neatly defined as it was anciently when nearly all the children of Jacob dwelt within fixed borders in the Middle East "between Dan and Beersheba". Multiple scatterings have ensured that even the Israelites themselves no longer know who they are, with those who think they are Israelites frequently not being Israelites at all.
In a way it is good that Israelites don't know who they are so that we give no undue favour on any one kind of people in our witnessing for the pure and simple reason that whether you are Israelite by descent or not is immaterial to your worth or status before Elohim (God). For even if you are not of the blood of Jacob you become an Israelite by adoption as soon as you have surrendered to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the Divine King of Israel, and submit to His Law, the Torah.
So this prophecy of Yah'shua (Jesus) is still being fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled when He returns. The important thing for now is to witness.