Daily MannaWeekly ParashahDonationsTrinity DoctrineAudio

Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYechi 12-3

And (he) lived

Genesis 48:17-22

And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

Gen. 48:19 KJV

What does "the fullness of the gentiles" mean?

Ephraim received a superior blessing than Menashe. Yehoshua, Moshe's successor was a descendant of Ephraim. The tribe of Ephraim was set up as the main one of the house of Israel, the nation of the north, and when the prophets talk about Ephraim the ten tribes of the north are included.

Due to their idolatry, the house of Israel, containing the ten tribes, was rejected by the Eternal as His people, as it is written in Hosea 1:6 and 9: “And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him:  Call her name Lo-Ruhamah (no mercy), For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, But I will utterly take them away... Then God said: “Call his name Lo-Ammi (not my people), For you are not My people, And I will not be your God." (NKJV) This rejection was not for the house of Yehuda (Hos. 1:7) the nation of the south. The house of Yehuda is the Jewish people today, and it was never rejected by the Eternal as His people.

However, the rejection of Ephraim and his tribes was part of the Eternal's plan to save the world. In the prophecy given to the sons of Yosef by Yaakov, it was said that Ephraim would be the "fullness of the gentiles". The Hebrew expression translated as “multitude of nations" is melo ha-goyim – מלא הגוים – and can be understood in several ways. The word ha-goyim הגוים  ­– is plural definite of goy ­– גוי ­– whose main meaning is nation. This word is used both for the nation of Israel and for other nations. In its plural form it normally refers to gentile nations in the non-Israelite sense. In this way, this term in its singular form started meaning a "gentile" in the sense of a non-Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish.

The simplest way to understand the text we are analyzing is that Ephraim would become many people. Nonetheless, this specific Hebrew term choice implies that here it is not only about Ephraim becoming many people but about something prophetically deeper. The word melo – מלא  does not refer to multitudes, bunches or amounts, but plenitude, fullness. It comes from the root male – מלא – which means to fill. The expression used by our father Yaakov is translated literally as "his offspring will be fullness of the (gentile) nations" which could indicate that they would spread among the peoples, and that is not a blessing. That's why Rashi interprets this expression as Yehoshua's fame will fill the gentile nations when he stopped the sun and the moon in the valley of Ayalon (Jos. 10:12).

However, the expression melo ha-goyim  מלא הגוים – goes way beyond Yehoshua's fame, because the Hebrew text says that Ephraim's seed would be fullness of the nations, or plenitude of the gentiles. This means, in the first place, that because of the Eternal's rejection of the ten tribes of the north, the gentiles would be filled with their descendants in a way that they could not be counted because of their great number (Hos. 1:10). The ten tribes, Ephraim being their head, are nowadays mixed among the nations of the earth and they are gentiles.

Now, for this to be a blessing, a divine plan for the restoration of the seed of these ten tribes that has been sown among the gentiles has to be in store. When there is sowing, the grains die in order to later on give abundant fruit. That is the salvation plan that the Eternal has for the gentiles. Ephraim was sown among all the nations with the purpose of bringing fruit for the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, gentiles coming to the kingdom represent a bit of Ephraim's return home. Or, in other words, when a gentile is born again and receives salvation, he or she is grafted into Israel and in that way the prophecies that talk about Ephraim's return home to be called a new people are partly fulfilled (Hos. 1:10; 2:1, 23; Rom. 9:24-26). Shaśl uses exactly the same expression melo ha-goyim in Romans 11:25 as our father Yaakov in Genesis 48:19.

However, the prophets talk about something even greater, when the Messiah restores the twelve tribes of Israel (Isa 49:6). Therefore, among all gentiles there are descendants of Ephraim who will be totally restored in the covenant of circumcision and all its implications to be gathered to the Jewish people as only one stick (Ez. 37:15-28).

We should not mix the entry of the gentiles with the restoration of the ten tribes of the north. Gentiles who receive salvation are not Ephraim's restoration or Ephraim in his total restoration. Ephraim's restoration will imply a complete return to the covenant with Avraham and the covenant in Sinai together with the renovation of the covenant by the blood of the Messiah Yeshua (Jer. 31:31, 33). In other words, in order for a total restoration to take place, the restored Ephraimites from among the nations will have to become Jewish, in the legal sense of the word, thus accepting the Jewish authorities and becoming obedient to Jewish halachah. This is not for all the gentiles.

In the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:19 the Hebrew text can be understood as HaShem giving Yehuda's stick the function of being over Ephraim's stick and this way both sticks will become one. This teaches us that the Ephraimite movement that comes from heaven cannot rise apart from the Jewish people without submission to the Jewish leaders' authority. The task of the Messiah is to gather both peoples so a movement that intends to segregate them cannot come from him. And, as we've said before, it is the gentile who will have to adapt to the Jewish lifestyle - not the other way around.

May the Eternal fulfill His salvation plan with all the nations and may we be able to see the restoration of the twelve tribes of Israel soon and in our days, Amen!



P.s. If you want to help us to continue to spread these teachings for free by supporting this ministry economically, please go to www.messianskaforeningen.se/en/ge_gava_eng.htm

Flash Player Needed