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By Rev. Tom Tuura
Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church

Our newsletter will be a little different this month.  We hear daily reports about the war in Israel.  But we grow a bit fuzzy on what or who Israel is.  Even now, people are asking are we talking about Jews, the land, Israel as a country politically right now, or Jews as an ethnic people everywhere?  The answer is ‘yes’.  

If we pull out our Bibles, we read about the Jews from beginning to end.  In the Old Testament, we read about a “stiffnecked” people who travailed literally and figuratively throughout the middle bronze age 1200-1500BC, in the middle east where they finally settled, as the pages of Scripture report.  

But who are they?  Let’s review.  Grab a cup of coffee, and let’s spend a few minutes going over the sons of Israel from a little different perspective, the family from which they came, their father Jacob and their mothers Leah and Rachel.  Leah, Rachel and their maid servants together bore twelve sons to father Jacob as indicated below.  There’s a lot of information below.

12 Sons of Jacob Genesis 35:23-26 Jacob is the deceiver.  He is the twin brother with Esau, son of Isaac and Rebekah.  Moved to uncle Laban and married his daughters.  He loved Rachel and worked seven years for her, but was given Leah, the elder sister by surprise.  He then worked another seven years for Rachel.   Because Leah wasn’t loved, God closed Rachel’s womb and opened hers.  Rachel was then allowed to bear sons.  See also Genesis 49:1-28 and Deut. 33.


Red Southern Kingdom  of Judah; +Southern Kingdom (Christ descended from this tribe) Location is region surrounding city of Jerusalem, the temple, and Bethlehem.  

Blue – Northern Kingdom of Israel; Ruled by mostly wicked kings, destroyed 722BC;  Also known as “Ephraim”  tribe of Joshua;  10 “lost” tribes of Israel


1) Reuben* Inheritance east of Jordan

2) Simeon*

3) Levi* priest’s; no inheritance of land, given cities and land around for their animals instead

4) Judah* Caleb, tribe of David, line of Christ!

5) Issachar*



7) Joseph*  coat of many colors, sold into slavery in Egypt

8) Benjamin* (Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin) -tribe of King Saul

(Bilhah, Rachel’s maidservant)

9) Dan

10) Naphtali*

(Zilpah, Leah’s maidservent)

11) Gad* Inheritance east of Jordan

12) Asher*


Manasseh,* (grandson of Israel, firstborn of Joseph in Egypt)  Inheritance east of Jordan ½ tribe

Ephraim (grandson of Israel, second born of Joseph in Egypt) Joshua’s tribe

* Listed in Revelation 7:5-8


I’m sure you have many questions.  I’m still researching some, for example how are Ephraim and Menassah considered tribes, when they are grandsons? Which tribes did they replace?  Many have asked why the listing in the book or Revelation differs from the listing in Genesis.

Israel has had a painful history.  And many have asked why.  I don’t presume to have the answer, but I wonder, if it has something to do with the seriousness of being used by God and then departing from that God.  Clearly as you look at their beginnings, they should be a great people.  There should be obvious evidence of their kingdom, princes, society, their wealth.  We read of ancient Egypt, and the other great civilizations, but there is almost nothing about the ancient Hebrews.  In fact even their own archaeologists deny the literal existence of their own fathers.  Some of their own scholars say Moses was a myth.  They say David was a myth too until just over a decade ago when archaeology proved it.  Why?  Because even evidence of the reign of King David, was almost erased.  Stuff was just that hard to find!  There is an obvious void in the last two and a half millennia of this nation.  Why?  

But this is what God said would happen if they forsook Him.  And nobody denies that.  What do scholars find in their land?  They find ashes and rubble.  It is mute testimony of the judgment of God on His own people because they strayed away from Him.  Yes under Joshua, they were used by God as God’s hand of judgment on multiple groups God had already clearly stated were destined for wrath.  And they were warned over and over again against adopting those people’s practices and religions.  But they did.  There are many warnings throughout the Old Testament,  Moses warned, “...if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.”  (Deut. 8:19)   God revealed the fact of their future failure to Moses before his death, “Behold you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break my covenant which I have made with them.  Then my anger will be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and they shall be devoured.  And many evils and troubles shall befall them”  (Deut. 31:16-18)

And in 1 Kings at the dedication of Solomon’s beautiful temple, the height of Israel’s power and influence, God is not impressed, and says, “But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me...and this house which I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight.” (1 Kings 9:6,7)  And they did, and He did exactly that.  It is no where to be found.  

Yes, many evils have befalled them.  That is certainly true.  But God’s sovereign love prevails, so that now we see two amazing things.  We have been in what the Apostle Paul says is the times of the Gentiles,  (Romans 11:23-25).

And second, we see Israel back in the land, their land after over 2000 years absence.  And though most are still rejecting God’s Messiah, there is promise that they will.  “...blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  and so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;  For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

May it be now!  Watch for that Deliverer.

That’s my view from the Blackberry Patch Pulpit

Pastor Tom

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