Israel in Exile as Neither One Thing nor the Other (17 December, 2014, 25 Kislev, 5775)
The Milky Way is a mass of constellations in the Universe as seen from earth. Milk in popular understanding has come to stand for something worthwhile in itself but weaker and not as potent as it should be, a half-and-half measure. We have therefore chosen the title Milky Way to describe the prophesied luke-warm half-hearted faith in what is neither paganism nor Hebraic belief. This is what it was prophesied would prevail amongst the Ten Tribes towards the End of their Exile.
Hosea describes the Ten Tribes in Exile:
[Hosea 3:4] For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.
The Rabbinical Commentators [Rashi, Radak, Metsudat David] explained this verse to mean [in paraphrased form]: Many days the Israelites will abide without acknowledging the Almighty as King and without worshipping an idol [Hebrew: "sar" literally "prince" or "person of authority" but understood here to represent an idol]; without legitimate sacrifice and without idolatrous worship; without the Holy Ephod [Priestly garment bearing the Breastplate with the Urim] and without pagan divinations [teraphim].
In other words the situation would be similar to what it is today. The Israelite Nations in the West cannot be described as practicing idolatry but neither are they doing the right thing as described by Scripture. There are those who claim they do not believe in a Deity and call themselves atheists. Others are agnostic meaning they are not sure. In numerous cases however there are those who believe vaguely but are not certain exactly in what or what it is they should do about it. The false doctrines of Evolution, Biblical Criticism, and academic skepticism have eroded the strength of faith even in those who otherwise would be considered firm believers. Even if they wanted to do the "right thing", and many actually do, they cannot at present. They do not know how or what they should do. [ At present there may not be anyone who can actually tell them! ] This is part of a Divine Decree.
All Christian groups seem to believe that Jesus was God Incarnate, or part of God. Usually this belief takes the form of a trinity in which is depicted God the father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Ghost. Variations may exist.
Amongst the rank and file one may find many who consider Jesus to have been no more than a kind of Prophet or otherwise inspired religious reformer.
It is forbidden for a Jew to accept Christianity in any form. This prohibition does not apply to non-Jews.
Why Christianity (though positive in itself) is forbidden to Jews
The Ten Tribes have the Status of Non-Jews
The Ten Tribes at the present time have the religious status of non-Jews. They were exiled because of their sins (Jeremiah 3:6-7 cf. 2-Kings chapters 17 and 18). The exiled tribes had been divorced by God (Jeremiah 3:8). Legislatively, their membership in Israel as a collectively obliged body was suspended.
Temporarily they are no longer legally obligated by the Mosaic Code (cf. Hosea 1:9, Yebamot 17). This will change in the future.
Israelite Identity to Remain Unknown
The Identity of the Ten Tribes was to Remain Unknown to Themselves and Judah Until the End Times. This means that they are not obligated by all the technical requirements of the Law though in the future they may be. As descendants of Israel who were exiled for a reason and had a task of their own to fulfill they have rights and national duties beyond those applying to ordinary Gentiles. The Lost Ten Tribes will return. The Jews of Judah will meet the return of the Lost Ten Tribes with mixed reactions:
21 Then you will say in your heart,
Who has borne me these?
I was bereaved and barren,
exiled and put away
so who has reared these?
I was left all alone
where then have these come from?
In other words, the Jews will ask where were all those now identified as Israel when the Jews needed help and were alone? According to the Midrash (Pesikta Rabati 32;10) this reaction of the Jews will take place WHEN THEY SEE THE THREE EXILES OF THE LOST TEN TRIBES RETURNING!
Unknown to Judah
The Ten Tribes Shall Return
[Hosea 3:5] Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.
The Midrash relates these verses to the Lost Ten Tribes who turned their backs on God, the Temple in Jerusalem, and the ruling House of David. When Israel returns to search out and want these things that they formerly rejected then will Redemption come.
There is a Midrash that says that when Israel returns to seek God, the Temple, and the kingdom of David then the redemption will come. In 1-Kings chapter 12 it is related how the Northern Ten Tribes sent to King Rehoboam the son of Solomon the son of David the son of Jesse a delegation. They requested an alleviation of taxes. Rehoboam refused and the people reacted:
[1-Kings 12:16] Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying:
'What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!'
The Ten Tribes set up their own kingdom and made Jeroboam the son of Nebat from the Tribe of Ephraim their king. They were rejecting the House of David son of Jesse represented by Rehoboam. They broke away from Jerusalem and the Temple Service and instituted their own religion. Later these Tribes were exiled and became known as the Lost Ten Tribes.
Concerning this event the Midrash (Midrash Shmuel 13, Yalkut Shomeoni-2, remez 106, Rashi on Hosea 3;5) tells us:
# Against three things were the Children of Israel destined to show contempt: Against the Rule of Heaven, against the Kingdom of David, and against the Holy Temple. This occurred in the Reign of King Jeroboam. They said, WHAT PORTION HAVE WE IN DAVID? In effect this meant rebellion against the Kingdom of Heaven [by whom David had been appointed]. They also said, "NEITHER HAVE WE INHERITANCE IN THE SON OF JESSE": This meant a rejection of the House of David [son of Jesse] in general. They said too, "TO YOUR TENTS, O ISRAEL: NOW SEE TO THINE OWN HOUSE, DAVID": This meant turning their back on the Holy Temple.
[The expression TO YOUR TENTS, O ISRAEL in some opinions was a play on words. The real intention of the expression or the original expression had been "TO YOUR GODS O ISRAEL" (Rashi, Radak, Minchat Shi). The Hebrew for YOUR TENTS and YOUR GODS uses the same letters with only a slight change of order, Elohecha ("Your gods") versus Ohelecha ("Your tents"). The motivation for breaking away from the Kingdom of David had been at least in part a desire to commit idolatry. Jeroboam almost immediately set up two golden bull-calves and all the Northern Kingdom began worshipping them].
The Midrash continues: # Rabbi Shimeon the son of Menasiah said: Israel will not see a blessing until they return and seek out the three things they rejected. As it says in Hosea:"AFTERWARD SHALL THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL RETURN, AND SEEK THE LORD THEIR GOD, AND DAVID THEIR KING; AND SHALL FEAR THE LORD AND HIS GOODNESS IN THE LATTER DAYS" (HOSEA 3:5). This means:
[Hosea 3:5] AFTERWARD SHALL THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL RETURN, AND SEEK THE LORD THEIR GOD, - this is the Kingdom of Heaven.
AND DAVID THEIR KING; - This is the Kingdom of the House of David.
AND SHALL FEAR THE LORD AND HIS GOODNESS IN THE LATTER DAYS: This is the building of the Third Temple. ###
Another Midrash says:
# About the Ten Tribes it is written: "WOE TO THEM THAT DEVISE INIQUITY, AND WORK EVIL UPON THEIR BEDS! (Micah 2:1) which is at night. Also even during the day [they do the same] "WHEN THE MORNING IS LIGHT, THEY PRACTISE IT" (Micah 2:1). In the Generation of the Deluge none survived. Why should these [from the Ten Tribes] have survived? They will have survived by virtue of the righteous men and women who were destined to emerge from them. ##
The Prophet Hosea was told to take a woman and love her as his soul-mate. The woman however will betray him just as the Israelites betrayed God Almighty by committing idolatry. In their time of Exile a long stage will transpire when the Israelites will no longer be actual practitioners of idolatry yet neither will they be able to worship the Almighty God of Israel as required. This is more or less the situation in our day. After that, in the End Times they will return and seek the God of Israel, and Messiah Son of David, and the Temple Service in Jerusalem.