Honor and Dishonor
My friend, there is a certain beloved parable in the Bible that was spoken by Jesus. Every Christian knows and loves this parable. But few understand the magnitude of this parable (because it was actually a small part of a much larger story) and even fewer understand that this story, in all probability, never was a parable to begin with: it was, quite likely, an actual historical event that took place two or three weeks before Jesus died and continued for perhaps a week-and-a-half. It frightened every Sadducee to an unspeakable degree (and all Pharisees to a lesser degree) for the entire week-and-a-half in which the event took place. This historical event culminated in the Sadducees finally deciding that "Jesus must die, and He must die now!" Indeed, Jesus died exactly 6 days after the Sadducees made their fateful decision. Please do understand that it was no accident that Jesus was crucified on the Passover Day: quite clearly, Jesus assured that it would happen, by way of the story, and events, described below.
This incredible parable/event is part of a larger story that was "the straw that broke the camel's back" regarding the Sadducees, who were the chief leaders of the Jewish faith, in the days of Jesus. The larger story here is that about three weeks before Jesus died, he spoke a great many parables that were purposely directed at the Sadducees and Pharisees: meaning the religious leaders of that day. (While the description, which follows, is not entirely accurate, a good general understanding of the Sadducees and Pharisees is that the Sadducees comprised the elite ruling class of the government and also the leadership (and priestly duties) of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The Pharisees were more like supervisors and business managers of the local synagogues found throughout the nation.) This flurry of parables by Jesus begins in Luke, chapter 14 and ends in Luke, chapter 16. Three full chapters of Christ/God insulting the religious leaders, face-to-face: regarding their failures according to the Will of God upon this Earth. However, there was one particularly insulting parable to the Sadducees that, about 4 days later, apparently proved to be a true historical event. It was an actual historical event that stuck a proverbial knife into the heart of every Sadducee. Indeed, this story haunted them, the moment they witnessed it come true. Then they were forced to live with this truth day-after-day, while continually being haunted by Jesus' Truth standing in their very presence: daily! Well, enough teasing. Let's get to the story!
The incredible story of God here requires just a bit of setup and then a short explanation: because Christians must change some of their thoughts regarding this parable and the actual events that took place elsewhere in their Bible.
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luke 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus . . .
What? Who? Lazarus? Where did this guy come from?
Of all the parables Jesus spoke during His life here, this story in Luke is the only parable where a proper name (not including ancient Biblical figures) was used: Lazarus. Indeed, this parable is made even more special, by way of a second proper name also being used: Abraham. It is generally agreed that Jesus spoke/taught 46 parables. This particular parable stands alone, and far apart, from all other parables of Jesus!
Please do take a moment to consider just why Jesus might use a proper name in this story. He could have easily used the words, "And there was a beggar which was laid at a rich man's gate . . . Jesus did not have to use Lazarus' name here. Typical for the parables of Jesus, were phrases such as: "A sower went out to sow," or "A landlord planted a vineyard," or "A landowner went out.” But here, Jesus wants us to know that we are definitely talking about a "certain" (or one particular) beggar named Lazarus. Jesus also wants us to know that we are talking about a "certain" (or one particular) rich man.
Now, please read Luke's entire story regarding Lazarus below. It is a short story:
The incredible story of Lazarus
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luke 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luke 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luke 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luke 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luke 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luke 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luke 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house:
Luke 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luke 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luke 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luke 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Though one rose from the dead.
Well, every Christian is thinking about Jesus right now and how even after Jesus rose from the dead that many in Israel failed to be persuaded by Jesus' words and works. Christians could be a bit premature here regarding what Jesus was teaching in this story.
For you see, this is only half of the story: the lesser half of the story. God is not finished teaching us about the beggar, Lazarus. (Meaning after Lazarus left Abraham's bosom in Luke 16:22.)
God, if He had so chosen, could very well have sent Lazarus back to that rich man's brothers so as to prove certain Truths of God to this world, today! As far as this author can tell, the particular Truths (or lessons) placed in this story, are found nowhere else in God's Scriptures, other than through this one story of Lazarus. And remember, God always made sure that His stories/conversations were applicable (meaningful) for those who were present to hear them. Clearly, the details of this story are not yet complete. So!
Decide, for yourself, certain Truths of God here.
But first, learn all of the details!
A FEW HISTORICAL FACTS
The Greek name Lazarus, from the Gospels, is derived from the old Hebrew name of Eleazar, which means "God has helped.” (Remember this because God, Himself, has now placed this name in Scriptures: and this is quite significant.) It was a popular name with the ancient Hebrews, going all the way back to Moses' day. It remained popular through the time of Jesus on this Earth. However, throughout all Scriptures, there are only two people ever identified by the name of Lazarus. And historically, they are mentioned (by God, through Scripture!) within about two weeks of each other.
WHILE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HISTORY:
Luke wrote his Gospel during the times of Paul, shortly after the death of Jesus. John wrote his Gospel nearly 60 years later, after returning from Heaven, where he learned, and wrote, the Book of Revelation. (This has been proved, beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt on another webpage, here at this website: using the knowledge placed, by John, in the first 14 verses of his Gospel and a few other places. There is much more proof found in the Gospel of John, but that proof is beyond the scope of this letter.) Please do understand that Paul (and Luke) were long, long since dead when the Gospel of John was written. Therefore, Luke's story of Lazarus is only half of the story: indeed, it is only an introduction to the "rest of the story" regarding Lazarus.
All that this means . . . is that a great story is about to become greater!
While John certainly wrote about the life and times of Jesus, the details and insights of John's Gospel were not available in the days when folks first started to learn of Luke's Gospel (and when Paul was teaching this world). Almost three generations passed before John wrote his very informative Gospel (which gives great insights as to many facts, hitherto known only in Heaven: for example, the first 14 verses of John's Gospel, John 8:56, John 8:58, and a great many others).
Because of the details that John's Gospel added to Luke's story of Lazarus, nearly all of the earliest churches (shortly after John died) considered the Lazarus of Jesus' parable to be a historical figure. Read that again: the first Christian churches, after John died, fully believed that the parable of Lazarus was an historical account, taught by Jesus, regarding an actual event that took place in Heaven. Even before John wrote his Gospel, many churches considered the story to be an historical event because of the common name used and the little village (or place) of Lazarus being well-known and, indeed, fabled in the area. (And still is today, actually!) But the Gospel of John, when it was finally written, cemented their beliefs, COUNTLESS-TIMES OVER! More on this later, regarding the Pharisees and Sadducees of that day.
This next story is quite long and is found in the Gospel of John. Normally, this author always states that the entire "who, where, and especially why" of God's conversations to mankind are so important for us and that every verse should always be considered in this manner (for a complete understanding of God's teachings to mankind). However, here in this letter, we are only seeking historical events. For the purposes of this letter (only), there are no lessons from God in the verses below, because there is no conversation from God in the verses below. Again, only the details of Lazarus are important for this story, so some verses shall be left out here.
John 11:1 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
Note by jpw: Bethany is less than two miles east of Jerusalem in what is now called the West Bank. On a map, it can be found using its Arabic name of El-Azariyeh (or just Lazariyeh): meaning "the place of Lazarus.” Bethany is where Jesus spent the last days of his life: with his closest friends. Indeed, this story took place during the last days of Jesus' life; there on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. (Jerusalem is near the western slope.) Bethany is also the place (Luke 24:50) where Jesus made his ascension to Heaven.
John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
John 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
John 11:34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
(Note by jpw: pay attention here; to the words in bold. Jesus knew the past, present, and future intent for every word He ever spoke!)
John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
John 11:44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
John 11:46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
: Bible scholars, today, are in disagreement as to whether Mary, the sister of Martha (and the sister of Lazarus) was actually Mary Magdalene: the prostitute which Jesus healed by sending away the demons that were found within her. In all probability, these two women named Mary are the same person. The problem with "some" Bible scholars today, like the Sadducees of long ago, is that they just cannot comprehend any God, who made this world, associating with a prostitute: demons, or not! And yes, this would include His associating with beggars, publicans, and all sorts of sinners found in Luke, chapters 14 through 16. If you would like to learn about the Marys yourself, please click "here" and decide for yourself. Know that there is no right or wrong answer but do give it some consideration.
Note by jpw
So, is the poor and sick Lazarus who died at the rich man's gate (in Luke 16) the same Lazarus that Christ raised from the dead, shortly thereafter, in John 11?
Historically, the story of Luke 16 was spoken by Jesus only a matter of days before the events of John 11 occurred. (Perhaps, four days prior? Is this the only miracle that Jesus ever delayed?) The name Lazarus is found nowhere else in Scriptures, other than these two individuals. But here they are, in our Bible, less than two weeks apart from each other. Might God just be telling us something here? Perhaps? Some current day scholars teach: that it was Jewish custom (indeed, law!) in that day, that no person was considered to be deceased until three full days of laying in their tomb. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Still others teach that it was a Roman tradition (or law): AGAIN, THIS IS NOT TRUE. (Not one historical document has been produced to support the current myths put forth by so many websites of today: each website merely copying what other websites teach. Indeed, the ancient historian Josephus teaches quite the contrary to what these various websites claim, today.)
In real life, could a prostitute possibly (or probably) be expected to have a poor and destitute beggar as a brother who died while begging at a rich man's gate? Also, might a prostitute in the city of Magdala (up north, near Galilee), once cleansed by Christ of evil spirts, then desire to move away from this area, and back to her family roots, so as to start her life over? Would she have remained in the city where she sinned?
Could it be possible that God actually granted that dead rich man's request and then send poor Lazarus back to warn his brothers of their similar sins and impending punishment? The words, spoken by Abraham, in Luke 16:31 certainly leaves this door open as a possibility. (Abraham! Yet another rare use of a proper name in a parable of Jesus.)
Oh, surely, it must be that further study is required in order to discover the truths of this case. Clearly, only Bible Scholars will be able to ascertain these truths.
WELL . . . PERHAPS NOT!
God is not yet finished telling the story of Lazarus.
There is much, much more: please read on:
In the story of the beggar named Lazarus (Luke 16), that rich man had five brothers who, apparently, were guilty of his same sins of not giving some of his own excess (or even of his scraps that were thrown away as trash!) to the poor beggars where he lived. Now, back in Jesus' day, the Sadducees comprised the bulk of the wealthy ruling class of Jerusalem. The high priest (in Jerusalem) and his chief priests were typically Sadducees. The Pharisees were more representative, more educational, and more loved by the common folks throughout the land. But the Pharisees had their share of wealth also, thanks to their being the "money-changers" at the Synagogues throughout Israel. Jesus had a great many more "disagreeable meetings" with the Pharisees, than He did with the Sadducees.
The point of all of these historical facts, is that, quite likely, the rich man (of Luke 16) and his brothers were Sadducees. The rich man (of Luke 16) was carefully described, by Jesus himself, as one who was clothed in purple and fine linen. Biblically, one of the required colors of all Sadducees was purple and their clothing was to be of the finest quality of linen available in that day.
Exodus 28:4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
Exodus 28:5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
Exodus 28:6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
So, ask yourself now . . . just why did God, Himself, place the words of Luke 16:19 in His Scriptures that were sent down to this world? This question truly deserves consideration.
Now that you understand quite a bit about the rich man at who's gate Lazarus laid, now let us examine, just a bit more, about that other Lazarus' life: just days after Jesus had raised him from the dead. (Because the five rich brothers of that dead man are about to show their ugly faces in mankind's history.)
PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION HERE!
John 12:1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
Note by jpw: Jesus worked his works for three-and-a-half years. The Passover of this chapter 12 is THAT PASSOVER where Jesus died. John 12:1 explains where Jesus was exactly six days before he died. Only the Mount of Olives stands between Bethany and Jerusalem: a distance of less than two miles.
John 12:2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them who sat at the table with him.
John 12:9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
John 12:10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;
Did you notice the word, "also?" With the first verse of John 12, we are six days prior to the death of Jesus and the chief priests are finalizing, and indeed, adding to their existing plans regarding the death of Jesus.
So now, in this very long letter, we find the Truth of God (from Luke 16 and John 11) come together.
In the story of Luke 16, God (by way of Abraham) explained to that rich man that his five rich brothers would never listen to Lazarus: even if Lazarus were sent back from the dead (Luke 16:31). Just prior to this, Luke 15 clearly teaches us that the Pharisees and scribes were present when Jesus began teaching his many parables: culminating in this story of the rich man, poor Lazarus, and Abraham in Heaven. Luke 15:2 shows that the Pharisees were not happy at all.
My friend, please understand that Jesus, just days before his death, spoke many parables beginning in Luke 14 and ending in Luke 16. If you notice, you will see that every one of these parables was designed to irritate the Pharisees and especially, the more wealthy Sadducees. Also, do note that every one of these parables was about wealth; and Jesus intentionally taught these unflattering parables to poorer folks: publicans and poorer sinners. (Read them carefully and try to imagine yourself as one of the wealthy Jewish leaders, hearing these stories.) These numerous, and irritating, parables were taught right there in Jerusalem (the seat of power for the wealthy Sadducees). How do we know this? Well, Jesus explains this timeline (and location) just prior to the events of Luke 14, while also giving clues as to his impending death.
Luke 13:31 The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
Now, in the story of John 11 above, God (by way of Jesus) did indeed bring a man named Lazarus back from the dead and also assured that Lazarus' story would reach the chief priests (noted in John 11:46). The chief priests, scribes, and Sadducees fully understood exactly why Jesus brought that Lazarus fellow back to life because they had only recently heard Jesus, in Jerusalem, tell the story of the rich man in Luke 16. Oh, they knew! And they were greatly insulted by this fellow named Jesus. Hugely insulted! Words cannot fully describe this insult by God.
The incredible part of God's Truth here is that the chief priests (in John 12) wanted to kill (meaning to "re-kill") the same Lazarus that Christ/God just brought back from the dead! Read those words again: the chief priests (meaning Sadducees) actually wanted Lazarus to die again! Poor, innocent Lazarus, who did nothing to anyone. Actually, this is not so incredible, but is rather predictable.
You see, the Sadducees strictly believed in no life after death, no resurrection (ever!), and no Judgement Day (ever!) because none of this was specifically detailed by Moses in the Torah.
So, for Lazarus (a dead man) to actually speak to the rich man (who was also dead, and most likely a Sadducees); and then for (the long-since dead) Abraham to speak as well (to both of these recently "dead men"); and then for this poor beggar to actually come back to life (after death) and then speak for their (otherwise dead) brother, to the "privileged" Sadducees! STOP THE SENTENCE HERE!!! This cannot be! It is not possible for any Sadducees to comprehend even a speck of these Truths of God! The Sadducees were actually facing a four-pronged threat to the entire foundation of their beliefs: and these threats were standing in their presence, because of just one person! Jesus. If just one of the many above truths were found to be true, it would mean that the entire existence of the Sadducees sect of the Jewish faith, from their foundation: was wrong, meaningless, and indeed, despised by God. Honestly, who could face such a truth?
NOTE BY JPW: Could it be, that just after Jesus spoke his rapid string of parables beginning in Luke 14, culminating in the very insulting story of Lazarus in Luke 16, that Jesus realized just how close to the end that he now was? Could it be, that just days later, when he raised Lazarus from the dead, that he knew that he was putting his own final nail in his own earthly coffin (of life)?
So, I ask you to consider . . . is this one of the reasons that Jesus wept on that day?
So . . . Jesus had destroyed the Sadducees' faith to its very core, and Jesus had proved HIS ENTIRE EXISTENCE (to the stubborn religious leaders) by way of Lazarus coming back to tell his story from Heaven! This author firmly believes that this was one of the greatest stories that Jesus ever taught.
But the incredible part of this entire story (to this author) is that the Sadducees (religious leaders) wanted to kill Lazarus even after understanding that it was their own God of Abraham who made all of this happen!
Exactly as Abraham predicted in Luke 16:31
My dearest friend, the facts of this story are finally complete. So . . . . is the Lazarus of Luke 16 the same Lazarus from John 11? Hopefully, when you came to the story (above) regarding Mary, the sister of Martha, you clicked on the link provided. (The information there, is a critical part of the lessons placed in this letter. It is also an excellent explanation about the Marys found in God's Gospels. And this author must agree with the other writer's verdict by using his same words below; for his descriptors seem "ideal" to this author.)
So, regarding the question of the two Lazarus stories being about the same man, this author feels that the answer lies somewhere between the descriptors of "Perhaps" and "Probably so.” This author, though, is leaning heavily toward the "Probably so."
Does any of this really matter? Well, yes and no, but mostly no. The lesson of Jesus' teachings here are really about Honor and Dishonor. So yes, if you want a full understanding of God's Honor that He is trying to show this world, then it helps if you have enough faith in Him so as to believe the stories He teaches us. But no, if you choose to not believe that the stories above are connected, this will not cause you to fail in this world; nor will this cause you to fail in life; nor will this in any way, cause you to fail in finding a place for God in your life. You see, God knows what is in your heart. No matter your regard for any Scripture upon this earth, God knows what is in your heart and as long as your heart stays true (to a good life), He will wait a very, very long time for you to think about things (such as Him). And He will wait much longer than any person is able to comprehend, because this is easy for Him. You see, God fully understands that a heart that stays true to living a good life, being kind to others, will eventually lead that person to God: every time! Every single time!
This author cannot promise many things in this life, but this author can promise one thing: God will never abandon a person who has a heart that is true. For no one understands patience better than God. And from patience, comes honor. Also, God has truly placed thousands of other stories in the Bible regarding His Honor, so this little story of Lazarus is in no way necessary for one to learn about the Honor, Power, and Glory of God here in this little world of ours.
So please, now, consider the honor of God and the dishonor of mankind. Yes, you have seen these words elsewhere on this website, but the story of Lazarus breathes "life" into these words.
There exists . . . the nature of God and the nature of mankind, period. All truths end here.
Any effort to "change" these natures must fail: we are what we are.
Ah, but it is the duty of every person to someday
assimilate the nature of God, thereby
departing from the nature
of mankind, so that
each of us may
God is much
more than love;
God is much more than
worship; God is much more
than our mere believing. So! As
any immigrant coming to a new land, it is
expected that they assimilate, so as to properly belong.
(But it is not required that immigrants change "who" they are.)
Mankind is required to assimilate into the honor of God, thereby departing from
the dishonor of mankind. Only then, shall we properly belong in God's Kingdom of Heaven.
One can believe a great many things about God; and they would be right. One can give a great many wonderful tributes (and attributes) to God; and they would be right. One can use many examples of Grace, Power, and Forgiveness to describe God; and they would be right.
But to this author! The parable/story of Lazarus is all about honor. Oh, we have always had this, or that, religion trying to teach us certain things about God: through their own religious light and enlightenment. But these religions always put a caveat (or condition) to their teachings: believe us . . . or go to hell. This author says no!
To this author, God has always spoken to the common man, working his fields, tending to his family, going to work each day, and coming home to be a good person. Women too! Yes, children too! It does not matter if you live in America, Europe, Mexico, Russia, India, China, Cuba, or poor little Haiti (America's little Lazarus!) Not one single lesson that God has ever taught this world has ever required another person to explain it to us: via their own personal vanities or their own religious beliefs. God knows us! God made us who we are!
This story of Lazarus is about that honor which God desires us to keep in our lives: even if it is something that we must someday grow into (or immigrate to) and then assimilate. Notice that all through the story above, God did not cancel a single promise that He ever made to mankind. Most of these promises were made to Abraham and many were made to Moses. God has continued to love the Jews, even though the Jews completely failed Him. Indeed, the Jews finally killed Him! But God kept His promises to Abraham, Jacob/Israel, and Moses. The Jews were never blessed because they earned anything by way of the lives they lived! The Jews were blessed, by God, because He honored His promises to Abraham, Jacob/Israel, and Moses. It was Abraham, Israel, and Moses who lived the good lives! Oh, God could have changed His mind at any time throughout history, but He did not.
As a side note, every American can see how God has greatly blessed America (and Great Britain) in the last few hundred years. Contrary to certain national beliefs in both countries, God never blessed either of these nations because they were good people. God blessed them, and made them great, because of His promises to Jacob/Israel in the Book of Genesis.
As a side-note, Britain is the tribe of Ephraim and America is the tribe of Manassas. Everyone knows of these two tribes from the lost ten tribes of Israel who are described in Revelation: that book of events which have not yet occurred. France is the tribe of Reuben; Denmark is Dan; and the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin comprise the current nation of Israel today: all of this is so easy to understand if one just reads Genesis carefully. However, this particular story is well beyond the scope of this letter. But imagine that! Seven tribes of Israel today: described, detailed, and located in a little tiny side-note of someone who has fully read (and partially understands) the Book of Genesis as God requests that we all do. Why are these PAST tribes of Israel important? Could it be? Could it possibly be that these same twelve tribes exist in our FUTURE? Could it be important that God mentions them "all through the Book of Revelation?"
God greatly blessed America and England, originally, because of His promises to Jacob, who later became known as Israel. God did so in the Book of Genesis: His Words are there for any person to see! True to His Word (and His Honor), God "continued" their blessings, by way of their goodness, until they started to depart from God's Ways. And when did these two nations begin to fall away from God's Ways? This is difficult to pinpoint, but it is related to (or more accurately, caused by) each of these nations slowly LEGALIZING SIN. Yes, it is that simple. Every person reading this letter knows what it means to sin against God: this author need not detail the specifics.
As you read your Old Testament, learn how the ancient Hebrews continually failed to maintain their end of God's various covenants. A covenant is basically a promise made by one (in a higher position) to one (in a lower position). In this case, we are talking about God and man. God said that if we can do "this," then He will offer us "that." God did not have to do this, but He did. Being a covenant, mankind never had to "sign on the dotted line." It was just a gift (but a dependent gift) that God was offering to mankind, back in the old days. The ancient Hebrews (meaning, here, the northern ten tribes who had separated from the south) miserably failed to maintain their end of "God's Offer," so God allowed them to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians. The remaining Jews (meaning the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin), in that land, did not do much better, so God later allowed Babylon to carry them away into captivity.
So, how did the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin get back to the land of Palestine? And how do the lost ten tribes of Israel finally receive their blessings detailed in Revelation 7 (in mankind's latter days)? Well, you have to go back to those few folks, long ago, who did have honor (and to who did keep their end of the covenants that God offered mankind). Abraham kept his end of God's covenant. Jacob (Israel) kept his end of God's covenant. To be technical, Abraham kept his end of God's covenant, Isaac continued to keep his end his father's covenant, and Jacob (Israel) continued to keep his end of his grandfather's (Abraham's) covenant. And while we are being technical, and honest, here: we, here today, fail to keep even one jot, or tittle, of God's original covenant given to our great forefather, Abraham.
The parable/story above is all about honor. The rich man had none. His brothers had none. The Pharisees had none. The Sadducees had none. Lazarus had much. Lazarus loved God (Christ). The sisters of Lazarus loved God (Christ). It is easy to think that this story might just be about love, but it is not! It is about standing with righteousness in the face of evil. The Sadducees desired that Lazarus die with Christ! But Lazarus did not allow his love to fade.
The point of this story is that through all of the evil people we find described in this story, God continued to keep His promises made two-thousand years prior, to Abraham. Indeed, there are more evil people in this story than there are good folks. But God is able to weave in and out of all of this evil so as to keep His promises made to Abraham, Jacob (Israel), and Moses. Now, this truly is HONOR. And as every person reads the true story of Lazarus above, they should be humbled at the power and graciousness of God as He continues to keep His Goodness in the presence of all of mankind's evils.
THIS IS THAT
HONOR WE ARE EXPECTED
ONE DAY AT A TIME. A LITTLE HERE, A LITTLE THERE.
OCCASIONAL MISTAKES ALLOWED TO EVERY PERSON, IF THEY GET
BACK UP AND CONTINUE THAT "ONE DAY AT A TIME.” THIS IS "ASSIMILATE."
THE TRUE HONOR OF GOD IS TO KEEP YOUR PROMISES EVEN AFTER MANKIND KILLS YOU.
You see, every person drawing a breath today, is "living proof" of this Honor of God. For otherwise, He would have destroyed us all, forever, after we killed Him on that cross! And we should all feel this honor of God, in our lives, every day we find our sinning-selves alive, in the morning. Once a day, in the morning time, is a perfect way of beginning our assimilation into understanding and "owning" the Honor of God, found here on this little world.
Oh, God has given us just "so many days" to find this honor. Not one of us is able to add even a single day to our portion. Indeed, Christ's parable about the "eleventh hour" explains this to perfection! You see, God has given us all, enough time here to pass through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and finally adulthood. God shall "wrong" no person in this world: believers nor unbelievers. For those who die early, due to the nature of life here in this world, God has a second chance arranged for us. Just why do you think Christ shall rule this world for a thousand years? Why else would Christ require this thousand-year period? To show us all of His glory? No! It is to allow a second chance for those who did not have enough time due to the nature of this world (meaning natural disasters, illness, and accidents) and due to the various failures of other people's actions: such as aborted babies, abused and murdered children, invading armies, occupying governments, where they were born, otherwise evil leaders, etc., etc., etc..