The Prodigal Son
AND the MYSTERY of the KINGDOM
By Christine Egbert
Most everyone in the western world has heard the parable of the prodigal son, even those who have never opened a Bible. The first time I read this amazing parable I understood its larger theme: Sin leads to degradation, but our Father will eagerly restore those who return to Him with repentance.
It wasn’t until I studied the Hebrew Scriptures and learned that the whole House of Israel had been torn in two—the House of Israel and the House of Judah—that I understood the prophesy contained in Yeshua’s parable of the prodigal son. For at that time, only the House of Israel remained scattered into the nations, like the prodigal son. That’s why Yeshua instructed His disciples, in Matthew 10:6, to “go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and why in Matthew 15:24, He said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Bearing in mind that Scripture must interpret Scripture, I will from time to time insert bracketed passages from various books of the Bible.
(Luke 15: 12-31)
“There was a man (Father YHVH) who had two sons (Israel, known as Ephraim & Judah). The younger one (Ephraim) said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son gathered all he had and set off for a distant country where he squandered his wealth in wild living. After he (Ephraim) had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country. He began to be in need. So he hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. (Hosea 8: 8-10; Israel is swallowed up. They’re now among the nations as a vessel in which is no pleasure…they’ve hired themselves among the nations). He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, (Hosea 9:3; Ephraim shall return to Egypt and shall eat unclean things), but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you (Hosea 5:15; in their distress they will seek Me diligently). I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ (Deut 4:29 “If you shall seek YHVH your God from there, then you shall find Him, if you seek Him with your whole heart and soul in your distress when all these things have found you.)
So he got up and went to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
(Due 4:31 For YHVH your God is a merciful God. He will not forsake you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.)
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
(Acts 5:31 God has exalted a Ruler and Savior to His right hand to give to Israel repentance and remission of sins.)
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
(Hosea 14:4 I will heal their backsliding. I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him.)
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again…
(Jer 31:33 This is the covenant I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days…I will place My Laws into their mind, and I will write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people) He was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son (Judah) was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he is back safe and sound.’
“The older brother (Judah) became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.
(Hosea 11:12 Ephraim circles Me with lies and the house of Israel with deceit, but Judah still rules with God, and is faithful with the saints)
Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours (EPHRAIM) who has squandered your property with prostitutes (idolatry) comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
(Rom 11:11 Have they (the Jewish people) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid! Through their fall salvation has come unto the Gentiles (scattered Israel) to provoke them (Judah/ those not scattered) to jealousy.
“My son,” the father said, “you are always with me (Judah has certainly sinned, but Judah never renounced the Sabbath or TORAH. The fact that Rabbinic Judaism has thus far rejected the Messiah is a problem, bit it is not the focus of this particular parable), and everything I have is yours. But we have to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’”
WAIT! Romans 11:11 Is About Gentiles!
Some of you might want to claim that the Prodigal Son refers to all sinners (and it certainly can), and that Romans 11:11 is about Gentiles making Israel jealous, not Israel making Judah jealous. But is it? Let’s read John 11: 50-52 and find out.
“Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man (Yeshua) should die for the people, and that the whole nation (Israel) not perish. This he spoke not of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Yeshua should die for that nation (Israel), and not for that nation only, but that he also should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. [At the time this was written only the House of Israel, known as the northern tribes, were scattered abroad.]
CHILDREN OF GOD SCATTERED ABOAD
If you read Hosea Chapter 1, verses 4 through 9, you will discover that because of Israel’s (Ephraim’s) spiritual harlotry, 1. Yahweh scattered Ephraim into the nations. 2. YHVH would no longer show Israel mercy. AND 3., Israel would no longer be called YHVH’s People.
Then, in the very next verse an amazing prophesy is given.
“Yet the number of the sons of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which is not measured or numbered, and it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them (Israel), “YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,” there it shall be said to them (Israel), “You ARE SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”
In Romans chapter 9, verses 24 through 26, Paul writes to Roman believers (former Gentiles) and he connects the dots concerning this mystery laid out in Hosea. Let’s read it:
Rom 9:24-26 “…whom He also called, not only us, of Jews, but also out of the nations, as He also says in Hosea, ‘I will call those Not My people (the northern tribes known as the House of Israel), My people! And those not beloved, Beloved!
(Hosea 2:23) ‘And it shall be in the place where it was said to them (scattered Israel), You are not My people, there they (scattered Israel) will be called, “Sons of the Living God.”
Hosea Chapter 2 verses 9 through 23 make this even more clear.
“So I will return and take My grain in its time, and My wine in its season. And I will take back My wool and My flax that she uses to cover her nakedness, and now I will reveal her shamefulness to the eyes of her lovers, and no man shall deliver her out of My hand.
ISRAEL FORFEITED the FEAST DAYS
I will also cause all her joy to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees of which she said, They are my rewards, my lovers have given to me…And I will visit on her the days of the Ba’als in which she burned incense to them…
YHVH WILL AGAIN HAVE MERCY ON ISRAEL
…Therefore, behold, I will lure her and bring her to the wilderness, and speak to her heart. From there I will give her her vineyards and the valley of Achor for a door of hope. And she shall answer there as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And at that day, says YHVH, you (Israel) shall call Me, My husband, and shall no more call Me, My Ba’al. For I will take away the names of the Ba’als out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
THE NEW (RENEWED) COVENANT
And in that day I will cut a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and the creepers of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword, and the battle out of the earth, and I will make them to lie down safely. (Eze 34:25) And I will betroth you to Me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in mercy, and compassions. I will even betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know YHVH, and it shall be in that day, I will answer, says YHVH. I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, and the earth shall hear the grain and the wine, and the oil, and they shall hear Jezreel (scattered Israel), and I will sow her to Me in the earth. And I will have mercy on ‘No Mercy.‘ And I will say to ‘Not My People,‘ You are My people! And they shall say, My God!”
MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM
In closing let’s read what Yeshua told His disciples in Mark 4: 11; “He said to them, To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to those outside, all things are given in parables.”