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Steven M. Collins
WHY THE JEWS ARE "JUDAH"
Because this report will be read by individuals with different viewpoints, some introductory comments are needed. After writing a book entitled The "Lost" Ten Tribes of Israel...Found! , this author has received many letters, tracts, pamphlets, etc. presenting so many different theories about the identity of the Jews that they are too numerous to mention.
These divergent views on Jewish origins/identity has made it apparent to this author that a report on this subject is needed (in fact, some who have discussed this subject with me have urged the printing of a research report on Jewish origins and their modern identity). This report is being presented not as an exhaustive treatise on the subject, but rather as an effort to introduce essential information into this discussion.
Some readers will look at the title of this report and say: "Why write this material, everyone knows the Jews are Judah." It is equally true that others will have the following reaction: "No, the Jews are not Judah, they are actually Khazar-Edomites." This article is written from the viewpoint that God's Word, the Bible, is the arbiter of truth on all matters, and human opinions and theories must yield to the ultimate truth of the Word of God.
The author believes that modern Jews are the biblical, prophetic "House of Judah." The following material will demonstrate that the opposite view is not so much based on inaccurate, but rather incomplete, information. The pages that follow will present a faithful presentation of the Bible's information and prophecies on this subject. Presented below are several reasons why I believe that modern Jews are, indeed, the biblical and prophetic "house of Judah."
1: ZEPHANIAH'S PROPHECY:
JUDAH INHERITS THE COAST
GATHER YOURSELVES TOGETHER, YEA, GATHER TOGETHER, O NATION NOT DESIRED; [Zephaniah 2:1]
BEFORE THE DECREE BRING FORTH, BEFORE THE DAY PASS AS THE CHAFF, BEFORE THE FIERCE ANGER OF THE LORD COME UPON YOU, BEFORE THE DAY OF THE LORD'S ANGER COME UPON YOU. [Zephaniah 2:2]
SEEK YE THE LORD, ALL YE MEEK OF THE EARTH, WHICH HAVE WROUGHT HIS JUDGMENT; SEEK RIGHTEOUSNESS, SEEK MEEKNESS: IT MAY BE YE SHALL BE HID IN THE DAY OF THE LORD'S ANGER. [Zephaniah 2:3]
FOR GAZA SHALL BE FORSAKEN, AND ASHKELON DESOLATION: THEY SHALL DRIVE OUT ASHDOD AT THE NOON DAY, AND EKRON SHALL BE ROOTED UP. [Zephaniah 2:4]
WOE UNTO THE INHABITANTS OF THE SEA COAST, THE NATION OF THE CHERETHITES! THE WORD OF THE LORD IS AGAINST YOU; O CANAAN, THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES, I WILL EVEN DESTROY THEE, THAT THERE SHALL BE NO INHABITANT. [Zephaniah 2:5]
AND THE SEA COAST SHALL BE DWELLINGS AND COTTAGES FOR SHEPHERDS, AND FOLDS FOR FLOCKS. [Zephaniah 2:6]
AND THE COAST SHALL BE FOR THE REMNANT OF THE HOUSE OF JUDAH; THEY SHALL FEED THEREUPON: IN THE HOUSES OF ASHKELON SHALL THEY LIE DOWN IN THE EVENING: FOR THE LORD THEIR GOD SHALL VISIT THEM, AND TURN AWAY THEIR CAPTIVITY. [Zephaniah 2:7]
Zephaniah chapter two begins with statements clearly indicating it is a "latter day" prophecy.
Verse two sets the time-frame of this chapter as being just "before the day of the Lord's anger," and verse three reiterates that this prophecy applies to the time just prior to "the day of the Lord." Verses 4 - 5 pronounce "woe" upon the cities and inhabitants "of the seacoast," and it clear that the "seacoast" of Palestine is being discussed due to the mention of the cities of Gaza, Ashdod, and Ekron. Verse seven describes the "woe" that will befall these people (also called "Cherethites" and "Philistines" in verse 5) in the following prophecy of God:
"THE COAST SHALL BE FOR THE REMNANT OF JUDAH; THEY SHALL FEED THEREUPON; IN THE HOUSES OF
ASHKELON SHALL THEY LIE DOWN IN THE EVENING; FOR THE LORD THEIR GOD SHALL
VISIT THEM, AND TURN AWAY THEIR CAPTIVITY."
This prophecy clearly states that:
God will give the historic land of the Philistines (Palestine) to "Judah" just prior to the "day of the Lord."
It furthermore indicates that God was not going to "turn away [Judah's] captivity" until just prior to the day of the Lord. The phrase "turn away their captivity" is a bit clumsy; it simply means "end their captivity." In 1948, the Jewish nation called Israel was born in the "seacoast" region of old Palestine, fulfilling this prophecy. Indeed, the 1988 Edition of the Encyclopedia Americana notes this about Israel's population: "About 70% of it is concentrated in the Mediterranean coastal strip..." This is exactly what Zephaniah 2 prophesied would occur to Judah in the latter days.
Because the Jews had been a stateless people scattered among the nations for centuries (even millennia), the prophecy's language that their captivity would be "turned away" (i.e. "ended") is very descriptive of the fate of the Jews, a people who had not had their own nation for a very long time.
Furthermore, we must accept the fact that God, in his perfect knowledge, has always known where "the house of Judah" was! The historic fact is that God chose to use modern Jews to fulfill this prophecy about "the house of Judah." This is powerful evidence that modern Jews are the modern house of Judah. Zephaniah 2:6 also prophesies that agricultural pursuits were to prosper when the "house of Judah" reestablished a nation in Palestine, and much has been written documenting that the Israelis have "made the desert bloom" with their innovative, high-tech agricultural efforts.
2: THE PROPHECY OF ZECHARIAH
AND ITS FULFILLMENT:
JUDAH IN JERUSALEM
A prophecy in Zechariah 14 supports the above analysis of Zephaniah 2. Zechariah 14:1 begins with "Behold the day of the Lord cometh..." This is the same time frame as Zephaniah 2 (just prior to The Day of the Lord). Zechariah 14:2-3 prophesies that "all nations" will be gathered to battle in the region of Jerusalem, and that the Lord will come to fight against the nations attacking Jerusalem when "his feet shall stand on the mount of olives." Verse five adds that the Lord will bring "all the saints" with him (an obvious reference to the resurrection of the dead). The rest of the chapter gives more information about this climactic battle and the establishment of the Lord's rule on earth. Verse 14 states: "Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem." None of the other tribes of Israel is specifically mentioned in this prophecy, but "Judah" is there in sufficiently large numbers to warrant God's mentioning them by name. This is consistent with Zephaniah's prophecy that Judah will build a nation in Palestine in the latter days. Zechariah's prophecy indicates that Judah will be fighting to defend Jerusalem in a great war which climaxes with the return of the Conquering Messiah! What people now live in and have sovereignty over the city of Jerusalem? The Jews! Again, Bible prophecies for the latter days indicate that modern Jews are the house (or tribe) of Judah.
To conclude this point, it is acknowledged that placing the name "Israel" on the modern Jewish nation is a misnomer which causes much confusion to many students of the Bible. The Jewish state was named after the historic land of Israel, even though the people establishing the nation were from the house of Judah, not the house of Israel (the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel). A prophecy in Ezekiel 37:15-28 confirms that "Judah" and "Israel" will remain separate entities on the earth until they are reunited under a resurrected King David.
Zechariah 12 is a prophecy devoted to the reaction of the house of Judah (and Levi, a large percentage of whom remained with Judah) when the Messiah returns and saves them from imminent destruction. Many times the phrase "in that day" is repeated in this chapter, a phrase indicating the general time of the latter days and/or the day of the Lord. Verse two prophesies that God "will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege against Judah and Jerusalem." This parallels Zechariah 14 which speaks of a time when "all nations are gathered against Jerusalem." Notice that many nations are besieging "Judah and Jerusalem." The Bible presents "Judah and Jerusalem" as so closely linked with each other in the latter days that they are mentioned together. This has happened as the Israelis have made Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state, and Jerusalem has become a "cup of trembling" (a major flashpoint) in world politics. Verse six prophesies that God will make:
"...THE GOVERNORS OF JUDAH LIKE A HEARTH OF FIRE AMONG THE WOOD...AND THEY SHALL DEVOUR ALL THE PEOPLE ROUND ABOUT, ON THE RIGHT HAND AND ON THE LEFT: AND JERUSALEM SHALL BE INHABITED AGAIN IN HER OWN PLACE, EVEN IN JERUSALEM."
God prophesies that "Judah" would be a militarily victorious nation in the Mideast (the geographic setting of this entire chapter is the region around Jerusalem) during the latter days. This prophecy also indicates that Judah will "devour" the people who border them ("devour" indicates not just conquering people but an absorbing of their territory as well). This has been dramatically fulfilled by the Israelis in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973; the Israelis conquered ("devoured") territory all around them, taking control of the Egyptian Sinai, Syria's Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and Jordan's West Bank. Some of this territory has been bartered away as part of the "Mideast Peace Process," but the prophecy was fulfilled nonetheless.
This prophecy also indicates a time will come when God will intervene personally to "save Judah" and "defend Jerusalem" (verses seven and eight). Zechariah 14 prophesies that Judah and Jerusalem will be invaded just prior to the Lord's return, and the phrase "mount of olives" in Zechariah 14:4 confirms the setting is the geographical city of Jerusalem in the modern Jewish nation.
Zechariah 12:9 prophesies the Messiah will "destroy" the nations that come against Jerusalem.
3: FULFILLMENT OF GENESIS 49:
JUDAH A YOUNG NATION
AND AN OLD LION
Genesis 49 contains prophecies about the identities and roles of each of the tribes of Israel in the latter days. The prophecies about the tribes of the house of Israel (the northern ten tribes) are extensively discussed in chapter 11 of my book (The "Lost" Ten Tribes of Israel...Found!), but little was said about Judah as "Judah" was not the subject of that book. If this was an oversight, it will now be remedied. Genesis 49:8-12 states (emphasis added throughout):
"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion; and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk."
Judah will be a Young and Old Lion at One and the Same Time!
This prophecy reveals much information about modern Judah. To begin with, there is a seeming paradox in this prophecy: Judah is referred to as both a "lion's whelp" and "as an old lion." However, this actually fits the modern Jews/Israelis very well. The term "lion's whelp" (a young cub) predicts Judah will be a young (or recently-born) nation in the latter days: a fitting description of the young Israeli nation which was founded in 1948. This prophecy is very consistent with Zephaniah 2, which prophesied Judah would found a nation in Palestine just prior to "the day of the Lord." Yet, the Jews are also a people with a continuous history traceable for over three millennia, and they also had a nation in Palestine in ancient times (i.e. "as an old lion"). The Jews/Israelis fulfill this prophecy as they are a very young nation which was founded by a people with an ancient tradition and heritage.
Judah will be a Fighting Country!
Genesis 49:8-9 states Judah's "hand shall be in the neck of thy enemies," and refers to Judah "as a lion going up from the prey." This prophecy foretells that Judah will be an aggressive nation and victorious in warfare during the latter days, conquering its enemies like a lion brings down its prey. This has been amply fulfilled by Israeli victories in its wars, and this prophecy meshes perfectly with Zechariah 12:6's prophecy which states Judah would "devour" her enemies in the latter days. Not only have the Israelis been successful in warfare, they have leaped out at their enemies even as a lion leaps and stretches out toward its intended prey. The Israelis do not "run and hide" like a prey animal; they attack like a predator. They leaped out to attack their enemies in the 1976 raid on Entebbe, Uganda, and in their destruction of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 via a bold air strike.
4. JUDAH WILL BE A SUCCESFUL FARMING NATION!
Surprisingly, after predicting military prowess for Judah, Genesis 49 next prophesies agricultural success for latter-day Judah. Notice the agricultural words printed in bold type in the above prophecy. Verses 11-12 predict Judah's agricultural success in the latter days, and the Israelis have truly "made the desert bloom" by applying advanced Western technology in an inherently dry climate. Confirming this fact, the Encyclopedia Americana [Vol. 15, p. 524] notes that "of the goods exported [by Israel] in the mid-1980's about one-third were agricultural”. Genesis 49:11-12 parallels Zephaniah 2:6's prophecy, further illustrating the consistency of the Bible's prophecies about Judah in the latter days.
Judah will be Revered!
Genesis 49:1 also prophesies: "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise." This has been fulfilled in the fact that modern Christendom widely regards the Jews as "the chosen people." Ironically, many of the Christians who regard the Jews as "the chosen people" are themselves Israelites (members of the ten tribes of Israel). Indeed, Christians have labelled the Jews as "the chosen people" even though the Jews have clearly inherited none of the birthright blessings promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! It is the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh (the British and Americans) who inherited the birthright promises of population growth, national wealth, empires, and control of strategic geographical "gates." Why have the other tribes acknowledged Judah's Israelite heritage even though they have lost sight of their own? Because the Jews have preserved identifiably Biblical customs such as the Sabbath, the holydays of Leviticus 23, and a diet avoiding "unclean" meats such as pork and shellfish. If the descendants of the ten tribes had also retained these biblical customs throughout history, their Israelite heritage would never have become obscured.
The Kings of Israelite Nations will come from Judah!
It is further prophesied in Genesis 49:8 that: "thy father's children [the other tribes of Israel] shall bow down to thee." This is explained in verse 10, which states:
"The scepter [a symbol of kings] shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come: and unto him shall the gathering [hope, expectation] of the people be."
Beginning with the dynasty founded by Kings David and Solomon, there have always been Israelites of the various tribes ruled by monarchs descended from David and Solomon. The hereditary ruling houses of Europe can be traced to Davidic kings who once ruled over Scythian kingdoms and the widespread Parthian Empire of the ten tribes [in Asia] fulfills the prophecy of Genesis 49:3 and 10. The ancestry of the kings of England can be continuously traced to the ancient kings of Judah via the royal houses of Ireland and Scotland, and the seed of David was spread throughout the royal houses of Europe by frequent intermarriages among Europe's royalty.
Genesis 49:10 also prophesies that Judah will have kings ruling over the other tribes of Israel "until Shiloh come." This is a Messianic prophecy which predicts that David's bloodline will be present in the royal houses of the Israelite nations until the coming of the Messiah. Even though Europe's remaining royalty now have largely ceremonial roles, the prophecy has still been fulfilled. And, finally, it is the coming of the Messiah toward which the "hope" or "expectation" of both Christians and Jews is directed.
We see that the modern Jews and Israelis have fulfilled Genesis 49's prophecy about Judah in the latter days (in fact, no other people on earth do so). All prophecies about Judah in the latter days point to and are fulfilled by modern Jews/Israelis. Secular evidence supporting this identification will be given in another article.
Editor’s Comment: Some people may think it ridiculous that the question as to whether or not the Jews are
Judah has to be even considered.
Nevertheless the question does come up even from the least expected quarters and it helps to have true and ready answers.
These answers are derived from the Bible which is the most important sources we have.
Stephen Collins has written on this issue in the above article whereas we, in BRIT-AM, have added points of our own
in a separate essay.
Our article on this subject should be considered alongside the present one.
Some of our points are summarized in the list below.
THE JEWS ARE JUDAH
THE BRIT-AM LIST:
Points Made by Stephen Collins and Brit-Am in Summary
Stephen Collins explained:
1. Zephaniah chapter two predicted the Judah would inherit the coastal regions of “Palestine” including Ashdod, Ekron, Ashkelon, and all the coastland when they return from their captivity.
2. Zechariah chapter 14 supplements Zephaniah and explains how the Jews of Judah will dwell in Jerusalem and fight in defence of Jerusalem during this same period. "Judah" would be a militarily victorious nation in the Middle East.
3. Genesis 49 also predicted that Judah in the Last Days will be like an old lion (an old nation) and a young lion (a reborn entity) fighting nation in the End Times that casts terror on those around her.
4. Genesis 49 also shows how the reborn State of Israel set up by Judah will be agriculturally prosperous.
The Jews in the present State of Israel have fulfilled all of the above conditions.
Brit-Am has shown how:
5. The Jews were persecuted by the Gentiles as it had been prophesied Judah would be:
Zechariah 1:15, Zechariah 8;13, Isaiah ch.53, Isaiah 42; 10, Psalm 44; 22
6. The Jews kept the Law as it had been prophesied that Judah would: Psalms 60; 9, 108; 90
Genesis 49; 10, Zechariah 8; 23
7. The Jews keep the four fasts of mourning over the Destruction of the Second Temple as prophesied by Zechariah 8:19
THE FAST OF THE FOURTH MONTH, -17th Tammuz
THE FAST OF THE FIFTH, - 9th of Av
AND THE FAST OF THE SEVENTH, - 3rd of Tishrei (Gedaliah)
AND THE FAST OF THE TENTH, - 10th Tebeth (Tevet).
8. The Jewish State was to be named "Israel" (Isaiah 48:1).
9. The Return of Judah to the Land was to precede that of the other Tribes (Micah 4:6 Hosea 6:11).
10. The Jews would be identified as "Judah" (Genesis 49:10).
11. The Jews Meet all the Criteria of Judah.
12. The Jews would have suffered for being Jewish whereas the other ytribes would not therefore the Jews at first would be loathe to recognize the Israelite Origins of the other tribes (Isaiah 49:21).
See our article "The Jews Are Judah!