|Redeemer of Israel ....||Bob Moore|
When the Hebrews were firmly planted in their promised land, they forsook God and began worshiping idols. The northern kingdom was the worst. Through Jeremiah the Lord condemned them, adding, "Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night" (Jer 16:13). In 721 BC the Assyrians conquered the northern nation, Israel, and transplanted its people into the eastern portion of their empire. There they were left to worship false gods.
Despite this divine judgment, God promised to restore the descendants of Israel. He said, "If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with the trespass which they trespassed against me, then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember" (Lev 26:40,42). Not only will God restore the lost tribes, but He will remake them into fit citizens for His kingdom. Through Ezekiel He said, "I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God" (Ez 11:19-20).
God gave the task of redeeming the sons of Jacob to His only begotten Son, Jesus. Isaiah prophesied, "And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet will I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord" (Is 49:5). According to the prophesy, Jesus would appear to redeem the descendants of Jacob before the dispersed of Israel were gathered. Unwittingly, while conspiring his death, Caiaphas predicted the purpose of the Savior when he said, "It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" (Jn 11:50). Jesus died to take away the sins of the Hebrews.
Isaiah revealed that the responsibility for restoring the dispersed of Israel was too small for the Savior. To make the task large enough for his ability, God sent His son to also enlighten the Gentiles. He said, "It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth" (Is 49:6).
Jesus not only took away the sins of the house of Israel when the Jews crucified him, but he took away the sins of the entire world. John said, "He was manifest to take away our sins" (1 J 3:5). His death atoned for the sins of all believers. Now, every person can be saved. Those receiving him, obtain power to become the sons of God (Jn 1:12). Born of God, they receive the Spirit of God, so that while their natural man is crucified, Christ lives in them. In this way, they become new creatures in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
After being commissioned by the Savior himself, the apostles spread this gospel message throughout the earth. Only a few Jews embraced it, but a multitude of Gentiles both believed and obeyed. Eventually, the entire Roman Empire received Christ.
While the Roman world, particularly the western part, was populated by Gentiles, descendants of the northern nation of Israel lived on its borders. After being transported to the eastern edge of the Assyrian Empire and developing into the Scythian nations, these sons of Jacob were pushed north and west by nomadic bands migrating from China. The Scythian migration was piecemeal, with clans forming their own identities. They became the Alans, Vandals, Goths, and Franks, as well as some of the other nations the Romans called "barbarians." After the fall of the Roman Empire these invaders were assimilated into the European population. As a result, descendants of Israel came to live among the Gentiles so that they were indistinguishable from them. Zechariah had prophesied this, saying, "I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries" (Zech 10:9). Micah had predicted, "The remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people" (Mic 5:8).
As the gospel of Jesus Christ won converts throughout Europe, it converted the descendants of Israel who were settled among them. When they repented, they confessed their transgressions and forsook the idols their forefathers had preferred. In return, God regenerated them, baptizing each with the Holy Ghost. Their stony heart was removed and a new spirit placed in them. They turned from idolatry and served their Lord.
The redemption wrought by Jesus turned the Gentiles from their perverse and idolatrous ways. It also returned some descendants of the nation of Israel to the true worship of God. Because not all of the lost tribes were necessarily scattered to Northwestern Europe, the task of restoring them is not complete. Eventually, a vast host will return in such a miraculous way that it will dwarf the memory of the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt under the hand of Moses (Jer 23:7-8). With the gospel already in the hands of some descendants of Israel, especially among a remnant of Ephraim, the means of rejuvenating the rest of the lost tribes is at their disposal. In time the gospel will be preached throughout the world in preparation for the return of the Savior. By then, all Israel, except the Jews, will believe. Through the power of the gospel they, along with all believers, will be remade into sons and daughters of God, fit citizens for His kingdom. Their restoration, as well as the salvation of all the faithful, was made possible by the intercession and passion of the Redeemer of Israel, Jesus Christ.