THE LOST TRIBE OF EPHRAIM

In my last post I wrote how the Antichrist, when he appears on the world stage, will be recognized.  You may want to go back by date and into archives and read that blog as well. 


I touched briefly on the tribe of Dan. Dan is one of two tribes not mentioned in the book of Revelation; specifically Rev. 7: 6-8. It is believed that the false prophet will be descended from the tribe of Dan.  For this reason Dan has lost a place of high honor among this remnant of faithful Jews who will enter the tribulation as special prophets; each one supernaturally empowered by the Holy Spirit to be God's hands and feet; powerful warriors in the face of evil.

And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (Rev. 7: 4).

There is another tribe conspicuously absent from this Revelation list. This is the tribe of Ephraim. Ephraim was the younger son of Joseph, adopted by Jacob (Israel). Jacob's right hand rested on Ephraim, denoting the important role his descendants would play in Old Testament history and particularly, during the divided kingdom.

The Prophet Hosea tells us why this, at first illustrious tribe of people, faded from existence. As we read these words (Hosea 13: 1-8) we need to keep in mind that this is another very specific prophecy and warning regarding end times. These words were not just directed to those who lived during the time of Hosea. As is often the case with prophetic history, there is a past, current, and future application with a basic principal which is a universal truth of God.

In the past when the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the people shook with fear because the other Israelite tribes looked up to them. But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal and thus sealed their destruction (Hosea 13: 1).


The destruction mentioned is complete in that Ephraim has lost its identity, its earthly and eternal inheritance and no longer exist. Ephraim has gone the way of pagan nations that rose and then fell.  The sin that sealed Ephraim's destruction was the single practice of turning to false god's and particularly the pagan religion most prominent within the culture of the times.

Ephraim is described as a leader among the tribes. They held a political and religious authority which they utterly betrayed. As leaders they brought other Jews into the fold of apostasy.  This is the single most significant reason why invasion and then destruction of Judah and Israel occurred during the time that Hosea and Isaiah were sent as prophets to the people of Israel and Judah. The passage continues...

Now they keep on sinning by making silver idols to worship - images shaped skillfully with human hands. "Sacrifice to these," they cry, "and kiss the calf idols!" Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist, like dew in the morning sun, like chaff blown by the wind, like smoke from a chimney (Hosea 13: 2, 3).


What is significant about this prophecy is that Ephraim, the people that comprised and identified as descendants of Jacob's son, heard these very words. They had an opportunity to respond. A last chance to turn away from idols and the worship of false gods; to repent and be reconciled to Jehovah God. We know from reading Revelation chapter seven, and noting that the tribe of Ephraim is missing from this list, that these words of Hosea came true. There is not a remnant from the tribe of Ephraim who go forward during the seven year tribulation, sealed and ordained, empowered and set apart as prophets of the Almighty God. Not only has this honor been lost, but they as individuals and in the larger context, a people group, have been equally lost... like dew in the morning sun; like chaff blown by the wind. Powerful imagery indeed.

Through the prophet Hosea, God explains the context of His judgment. God wants us to see this clearly for we too, our culture, some denominations, our political structures are in danger of falling victim to this same tragedy.

I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from your slavery in Egypt. You have no God but me, for there is no other savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot me. So now I will attack you like a lion, or like a leopard that lurks along the road. I will rip you to pieces like a bear whose cubs have been taken away. I will tear you apart and devour you like a hungry lion (Hosea 12: 4-8).


When we make room in our lives for the false gods of our present culture we are an affront to Jesus Christ. We can and should expect personal and contextual consequences. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged (1st Corinthians 11: 31).

If we want the full riches of life in faith we'll guard ourselves for Christ. We'll know what we believe by actually reading and studying the Scriptures for ourselves so that we are far less likely to fall victim to false teaching. We'll make certain that, in thought and deed, we'll not share in the sin of Ephraim.

It saddens me to think of how many who claim Christ, including preachers, will support and personally vote for politicians that support abortion. The sacrifice of innocent life at the shrine of abortion is every bit as abhorrent to our Savior as the sacrifice of children to foreign (pagan) gods during Old Testament times. Any who doubt that there is not a correlation, that it is not the same sin, might purchase a chronological Bible and read the prophets along side 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles.

Another sign that we are in the last days prior to the start of Revelation is that the voice of culture, amidst societal trends, will seek to smother the voice of God.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2nd Timothy 4: 3, 4).

In closing, Ephraim's absence from the list of the twelve tribes in Revelation, Ephraim's sin and apostasy, is another sign and evidence of the demise of a culture and a people. A direct correlation can be drawn by Christians who are looking for Christ's return; another sign among many that the Church Age is drawing to a close. He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly," Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22: 20).

Psalm 106 which was written around the time of the Assyrian invasion; the culmination of years of worshiping false gods (demons) in adultery to Jehovah, God the Father. Psalm 106: 34-39. And also ...and they were finally destroyed by their sin (v43b).
Comment and share your thoughts.
Read: Spyware gone Amok / November 5, 2009 and...
How Would You Recognize the Antichrist / March 28, 2010

Wood's End and the sequel: Year Between the Wood.
Also: Discerning Spirits: Visionary Gifts in Practice

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