On Ezekiel 20:32 we discuss:
First: The Attitude of Brit-Am Regarding: Gentiles Identifying as Israelites,
Keeping the Law, Moving to Israel, Evolutionary Processes of Identification.
Second: Nachmanides: The Connection Between The Law and the Land
[Ezekiel 20:1] AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THE SEVENTH
YEAR, IN THE FIFTH MONTH, THE TENTH DAY OF THE MONTH, THAT CERTAIN OF THE
ELDERS OF ISRAEL CAME TO ENQUIRE OF THE LORD, AND SAT BEFORE ME.
[Ezekiel 20:2] THEN CAME THE WORD OF THE LORD UNTO ME, SAYING,
[Ezekiel 20:3] SON OF MAN, SPEAK UNTO THE ELDERS OF ISRAEL, AND SAY
UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; ARE YE COME TO ENQUIRE OF ME? AS I LIVE,
SAITH THE LORD GOD, I WILL NOT BE ENQUIRED OF BY YOU.
[Ezekiel 20:4] WILT THOU JUDGE THEM, SON OF MAN, WILT THOU JUDGE THEM? CAUSE THEM TO KNOW THE ABOMINATIONS OF THEIR FATHERS:
[Ezekiel 20:5] AND SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; IN THE DAY
WHEN I CHOSE ISRAEL, AND LIFTED UP MINE HAND UNTO THE SEED OF THE HOUSE OF
JACOB, AND MADE MYSELF KNOWN UNTO THEM IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, WHEN I LIFTED
UP MINE HAND UNTO THEM, SAYING, I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD;
[Ezekiel 20:6] IN THE DAY THAT I LIFTED UP MINE HAND
UNTO THEM, TO BRING THEM FORTH OF THE LAND OF EGYPT INTO A LAND THAT I HAD
ESPIED FOR THEM, FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY, WHICH IS THE GLORY OF ALL LANDS:
>>THE GLORY OF ALL LANDS<< : The Land of Israel has spiritual
and even physical features that elevate it over all other regions.
[Ezekiel 20:7] THEN SAID I UNTO THEM, CAST YE AWAY
EVERY MAN THE ABOMINATIONS OF HIS EYES, AND DEFILE NOT YOURSELVES WITH THE
IDOLS OF EGYPT: I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.
Here, Ezekiel is speaking about all the Children of Egypt while they
were still in Egypt before the Exodus led by Moses. Even so, archaeological
remains show that the Lost Ten Tribes before their exile by the ASSYRIANS
were heavily influenced by Egyptian culture. Decorations and statuettes,
etc, frequently depict scenes from Egyptian mythology.
[Ezekiel 20:8] BUT THEY REBELLED AGAINST ME,
AND WOULD NOT HEARKEN UNTO ME: THEY DID NOT EVERY MAN CAST AWAY THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THEIR EYES, NEITHER DID THEY FORSAKE THE IDOLS OF EGYPT: THEN I SAID,
I WILL POUR OUT MY FURY UPON THEM, TO ACCOMPLISH MY ANGER AGAINST THEM IN
THE MIDST OF THE LAND OF EGYPT.
[Ezekiel 20:9] BUT I WROUGHT FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, THAT IT SHOULD NOT
BE POLLUTED BEFORE THE HEATHEN, AMONG WHOM THEY WERE, IN WHOSE SIGHT I MADE
MYSELF KNOWN UNTO THEM, IN BRINGING THEM FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT.
In Egypt most of the Israelites worshipped idols. They followed the
Egyptian pagan customs and also those of the Land of Canaan, or they adapted
aspects of both systems to their own needs. Nevertheless God saved them.
The Name of God is the God of Israel. The honor of Israel is ultimately HIS
honor. For HIS own sake He brought them out of Egypt, made them HIS unique
nation and gave them HIS laws to distinguish them from all other peoples.
[Ezekiel 20:10] WHEREFORE I CAUSED THEM TO GO FORTH OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND BROUGHT THEM INTO THE WILDERNESS.
[Ezekiel 20:11] AND I GAVE THEM MY STATUTES, AND SHEWED THEM MY JUDGMENTS, WHICH IF A MAN DO, HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM.
[Ezekiel 20:12] MOREOVER ALSO I GAVE THEM MY SABBATHS, TO BE A SIGN
BETWEEN ME AND THEM, THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THAT SANCTIFY
Keeping the Sabbath is one of the symbols of Israel.
[Ezekiel 20:13] BUT THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL REBELLED AGAINST
ME IN THE WILDERNESS: THEY WALKED NOT IN MY STATUTES, AND THEY DESPISED MY
JUDGMENTS, WHICH IF A MAN DO, HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM; AND MY SABBATHS
THEY GREATLY POLLUTED: THEN I SAID, I WOULD POUR OUT MY FURY UPON THEM IN
THE WILDERNESS, TO CONSUME THEM.
<<HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM>>: The Laws and Keeping the
Law give a practical benefit in their own right. They enhance life, giving
physical and mental health and spiritual fulfillment.
[Ezekiel 20:14] BUT I WROUGHT FOR MY NAME'S SAKE,
THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE POLLUTED BEFORE THE HEATHEN, IN WHOSE SIGHT I BROUGHT
[Ezekiel 20:15] YET ALSO I LIFTED UP MY HAND UNTO
THEM IN THE WILDERNESS, THAT I WOULD NOT BRING THEM INTO THE LAND WHICH I
HAD GIVEN THEM, FLOWING WITH MILK AND HONEY, WHICH IS THE GLORY OF ALL LANDS;
[Ezekiel 20:16] BECAUSE THEY DESPISED MY JUDGMENTS, AND WALKED NOT
IN MY STATUTES, BUT POLLUTED MY SABBATHS: FOR THEIR HEART WENT AFTER THEIR
[Ezekiel 20:17] NEVERTHELESS MINE EYE SPARED THEM FROM DESTROYING THEM, NEITHER DID I MAKE AN END OF THEM IN THE WILDERNESS.
[Ezekiel 20:18] BUT I SAID UNTO THEIR CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS, WALK
YE NOT IN THE STATUTES OF YOUR FATHERS, NEITHER OBSERVE THEIR JUDGMENTS,
NOR DEFILE YOURSELVES WITH THEIR IDOLS:
[Ezekiel 20:19] I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD; WALK IN MY STATUTES, AND KEEP MY JUDGMENTS, AND DO THEM;
[Ezekiel 20:20] AND HALLOW MY SABBATHS; AND THEY SHALL BE A SIGN BETWEEN
ME AND YOU, THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD.
[Ezekiel 20:21] NOTWITHSTANDING THE CHILDREN REBELLED AGAINST ME: THEY
WALKED NOT IN MY STATUTES, NEITHER KEPT MY JUDGMENTS TO DO THEM, WHICH IF
A MAN DO, HE SHALL EVEN LIVE IN THEM; THEY POLLUTED MY SABBATHS: THEN I SAID,
I WOULD POUR OUT MY FURY UPON THEM, TO ACCOMPLISH MY ANGER AGAINST THEM IN
[Ezekiel 20:22] NEVERTHELESS I WITHDREW MINE HAND, AND WROUGHT FOR
MY NAME'S SAKE, THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE POLLUTED IN THE SIGHT OF THE HEATHEN,
IN WHOSE SIGHT I BROUGHT THEM FORTH.
[Ezekiel 20:23] I LIFTED UP MINE HAND UNTO THEM ALSO
IN THE WILDERNESS, THAT I WOULD SCATTER THEM AMONG THE HEATHEN, AND DISPERSE
THEM THROUGH THE COUNTRIES;
[Ezekiel 20:24] BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT EXECUTED MY JUDGMENTS, BUT HAD
DESPISED MY STATUTES, AND HAD POLLUTED MY SABBATHS, AND THEIR EYES WERE AFTER
THEIR FATHERS' IDOLS.
[Ezekiel 20:25] WHEREFORE I GAVE THEM ALSO STATUTES THAT WERE NOT GOOD, AND JUDGMENTS WHEREBY THEY SHOULD NOT LIVE;
[Ezekiel 20:26] AND I POLLUTED THEM IN THEIR
OWN GIFTS, IN THAT THEY CAUSED TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE ALL THAT OPENETH
THE WOMB, THAT I MIGHT MAKE THEM DESOLATE, TO THE END THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW
THAT I AM THE LORD.
[Ezekiel 20:27] THEREFORE, SON OF MAN, SPEAK UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL,
AND SAY UNTO THEM, THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; YET IN THIS YOUR FATHERS HAVE
BLASPHEMED ME, IN THAT THEY HAVE COMMITTED A TRESPASS AGAINST ME.
[Ezekiel 20:28] FOR WHEN I HAD BROUGHT THEM INTO THE LAND, FOR THE
WHICH I LIFTED UP MINE HAND TO GIVE IT TO THEM, THEN THEY SAW EVERY HIGH
HILL, AND ALL THE THICK TREES, AND THEY OFFERED THERE THEIR SACRIFICES, AND
THERE THEY PRESENTED THE PROVOCATION OF THEIR OFFERING: THERE ALSO THEY MADE
THEIR SWEET SAVOUR, AND POURED OUT THERE THEIR DRINK OFFERINGS.
[Ezekiel 20:29] THEN I SAID UNTO THEM, WHAT IS THE HIGH PLACE WHEREUNTO
YE GO? AND THE NAME WHEREOF IS CALLED BAMAH UNTO THIS DAY.
[Ezekiel 20:30] WHEREFORE SAY UNTO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL,
THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD; ARE YE POLLUTED AFTER THE MANNER OF YOUR FATHERS?
AND COMMIT YE WHOREDOM AFTER THEIR ABOMINATIONS?
[Ezekiel 20:31] FOR WHEN YE OFFER YOUR GIFTS, WHEN YE MAKE YOUR SONS
TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE, YE POLLUTE YOURSELVES WITH ALL YOUR IDOLS, EVEN
UNTO THIS DAY: AND SHALL I BE ENQUIRED OF BY YOU, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? AS I
LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, I WILL NOT BE ENQUIRED OF BY YOU.
[Ezekiel 20:32] AND THAT WHICH COMETH INTO YOUR MIND SHALL NOT BE AT
ALL, THAT YE SAY, WE WILL BE AS THE HEATHEN, AS THE FAMILIES OF THE COUNTRIES,
TO SERVE WOOD AND STONE.
<<AS THE FAMILIES OF THE COUNTRIES, TO SERVE WOOD AND STONE>>:
This does not necessarily mean open idolatry. It is also understood as indicating
subservience to foreign cultures that are based on pagan concepts. The sages
relate that after the Babylonian exile there were some Jewish leaders who
said that since the Torah is designed for life in the Land of Israel then
outside of Israel it does not need to be practiced. God is saying, No! The
Jews are still obligated to keep the Law.This brings us to elucidate several
important concepts: These points may be obvious to some people and you may
have already heard them expressed in different ways previously. Nevertheless,
the following points still need to
<< “AND THE LAND IS
DEFILED: THEREFORE I DO VISIT THE INIQUITY THEREOF UPON IT, AND THE LAND
ITSELF VOMITETH OUT HER INHABITANTS” [Leviticus 18:25].
be emphasized since not everybody is aware of them and we often receive queries concerning them.
1. The Attitude of Brit-Am Regarding: Identifying as Israelite, Keeping
the Law, Moving to Israel, Evolutionary Processes of Identification.
Brit-Am says that many people in the West are descended from the Lost
Ten Tribes and from “Captive Jews”. People in these regions who identify
with us can safely assume that they are of Israelite descent. Even if they
are not, the fact that they dwell amongst Lost Israelites and identify with
them will make them part of Israel in the Last Days (Ezekiel 47:23). Eventually
the Lost Ten Tribes will return and be accepted anew into the Covenant of
Moses (Malachi 3:22; Yerushalmi, Sanhedrin 10; Zohar, “VaYechi”). At present
they have other goals and duties to fulfill. Technically they are Gentiles
and not obligated by the Law (Jeremiah 3:8, Yebamot 17). Their obligations
under the Law have been suspended temporarily (Hosea 1:9).
In the future, the Lost Ten tribes will return to re-settle in the
land and they will accept the Law. Some sources indicate that they will return
to the land before they once again accept the Covenant of Moses.
Nevertheless, in principle: Settling in the Land, as an Israelite,
requires the keeping of the law of Moses. This means, in effect, of being
a member of the Jewish religion. Today, it may be that only about 20% of
the Jews in Israel are formally religious BUT many of the others are in some
process of returning and most are faithful to the basic concepts.
Our message is that if, at this point, a Gentile member of the Lost
Ten Tribes wishes to return to the Land of Israel they cannot do so by claiming
that they are Israelites since they do not keep the law nor are they obliged
to do so. They can (if they so wish) come to Israel, as many do, as non-Jews
who are interested in being here.
The message of Brit-Am to Gentile members of the Lost Ten Tribes is
that they should become conscious of their identity and spread this consciousness
to others. They have a duty to their own tribe and to their ancestors to
become aware of who they are, on the individual and communal level. They
also have an international obligation and a duty towards Judah. Judah also
has a duty towards them. The expectations are to be fulfilled in revolutionary
stages. Some people will naturally feel a need to move at a faster rate than
others. We deal with the situation in general. The initial stages of awareness
should be initiated with as many people as possible.
The progress of the individual should be within his community and, as far
as possible, together with it. This is what Brit-Am is attempting to do and
what it is committed to, at the moment.
Incidentally, some ignorant people have claimed that Brit-Am is liable to
mislead people and give them the wrong impression. It has been stated by
ignorant types that we are liable to cause Christian Gentiles to think that,
since they are descended from the Lost Ten Tribes, they are the same as Jews
and should be able to settle in Israel under the Law of Return. We have never
said anything like that. On the contrary, we have always gone out of our
way to describe things as they are, even at our own expense. We know of no
case of anybody having misled themselves or been misled by others, because
of us. Certain people HAVE received wrong ideas of the said nature from other
sources and then come to us and we have endeavored to set them straight.
2. Nachmanides: The Connection Between The Law and the Land:The connection
between the Law and the Land is best summed up by Nachmanides (1194-1270).
Not everybody would necessarily agree with Nachmanides on every point but
what he says does appear to fit all relevant Biblical passages. The extact
below is a free translation:
Scripture is especially strict concerning sexual offences that if transgressed
cause the Land to be polluted and vomit the offenders out of it. Are not
sexual offences pertinent to the physical body rather than to the land? The
secret of the matter, however, is contained in the verse,
“WHEN THE MOST HIGH DIVIDED TO THE NATIONS THEIR INHERITANCE, WHEN HE SEPARATED
THE SONS OF ADAM, HE SET THE BOUNDS OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE NUMBER
OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL”; “FOR THE LORD'S PORTION IS HIS PEOPLE” [Deuteronomy
The Almighty God created everything and made the power of [physical] things below dependent on [spiritual] things above….He distributed to every people and country its own angel, as it says,
“BUT THE PRINCE OF THE KINGDOM OF PERSIA WITHSTOOD ME” [Daniel 10:13] and
“LO, THE PRINCE OF GRECIA SHALL COME” [Daniel 10:20]. [Nachmanides here understands
the reference to “princes” to mean guardian angels of the nation]…The Land
of Israel, however, is the inheritance of God and unique to Him. God did
not appoint over it any angel or other spiritual ruling power. God gave the
land of Israel to His special people, the seed of His beloved ones, as it
says, “YE SHALL BE A PECULIAR TREASURE UNTO ME ABOVE ALL PEOPLE: FOR ALL
THE EARTH IS MINE” [Exodus 19:5], and it says, “SO SHALL YE BE MY PEOPLE,
AND I WILL BE YOUR GOD” [Jeremiah 11:4]. You shall not have any other higher
spiritual beings [apart from God] over you, whatsoever. God sanctified the
people who dwell in His land with the sanctity of sexual prohibitions and
numerous commandments to be dedicated to His Name. It therefore says,
“YE SHALL THEREFORE KEEP ALL MY STATUTES, AND ALL MY
JUDGMENTS, AND DO THEM: THAT THE LAND, WHITHER I BRING YOU TO DWELL THEREIN,
SPUE YOU NOT OUT” [Leviticus 20:22]. And it says, “YE SHALL INHERIT THEIR
LAND, AND I WILL GIVE IT UNTO YOU TO POSSESS IT, A LAND THAT FLOWETH WITH
MILK AND HONEY: I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHICH HAVE SEPARATED YOU FROM OTHER
PEOPLE” [Leviticus 20:24].
God separated us from all other peoples who have guardian angels over them.
God separated us by giving us His land and He being the only spiritual entity
in charge of us [without any intermediary]. The Land of Israel, which is
the inheritance of Almighty God, will vomit out those who pollute it. The
Land will not tolerate the worshippers of idols, or the committers of sexual
offences….[Nachmanides goes on bringing verses to prove that God has a special
relationship with the Land of Israel and there it is especially important
to worship ONLY HIM and keep His commandments].
Numerous other verses confirm and expsand on the points raised by Nachmanides, e.g.
“SO THAT I COME AGAIN TO MY FATHER'S HOUSE IN PEACE; THEN SHALL THE LORD BE MY GOD” [Genesis 28:21]
Brit-Am explanation: The Lost Ten Tribes were destined to be exiled and forget the correct worship of God. In the future they will return, acknowledge the Almighty, and re-settle the Land. Jacob
represents his descendants. When He returns to his spiritual and physical
inheritance (“MY FATHER'S HOUSE IN PEACE”) then He will once again return
to the God of Israel.
[Ezekiel 20:33] AS I LIVE, SAITH THE LORD GOD, SURELY
WITH A MIGHTY HAND, AND WITH A STRETCHED OUT ARM, AND WITH FURY POURED OUT,
WILL I RULE OVER YOU:
God rules over us and the Law will have to be kept.
[Ezekiel 20:34] AND I WILL BRING YOU OUT FROM THE
PEOPLE, AND WILL GATHER YOU OUT OF THE COUNTRIES WHEREIN YE ARE SCATTERED,
WITH A MIGHTY HAND, AND WITH A STRETCHED OUT ARM, AND WITH FURY POURED OUT.
[Ezekiel 20:35] AND I WILL BRING YOU INTO THE WILDERNESS OF THE PEOPLE, AND THERE WILL I PLEAD WITH YOU FACE TO FACE.
“WILDERNESS OF THE PEOPLE”: I once heard the opinion (by Jim Jensen)
that this refers to North America. Others say that it refers to the historical
places of exile and dispersion in general. Still others believe it refers
to the Wilderness of Sinai or Arabia or some such place. It may be understood
that at least part of the Israelites will pass through such an area before
their final return. In that place, they will begin the process of returning
to the God of Israel.
Cf. <THEREFORE, BEHOLD, I WILL ALLURE HER, AND BRING HER INTO THE WILDERNESS,
AND SPEAK COMFORTABLY UNTO HER> [Hosea 2:14].
Some say “Wilderness” refers to North America. The early Pilgrim Pioneers
themselves had a kind of notion like this. They envisioned themselves as
“Israelite” Pilgrims in the Wilderness creating a “New Zion”.
<AND I WILL GIVE HER HER VINEYARDS FROM THENCE, AND THE VALLEY OF
ACHOR FOR A DOOR OF HOPE: AND SHE SHALL SING THERE, AS IN THE DAYS OF HER
YOUTH, AND AS IN THE DAY WHEN SHE CAME UP OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT> [Hosea
[Ezekiel 20:36] LIKE AS I PLEADED WITH YOUR FATHERS
IN THE WILDERNESS OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, SO WILL I PLEAD WITH YOU, SAITH THE
[Ezekiel 20:37] AND I WILL CAUSE YOU TO PASS UNDER THE ROD, AND I WILL BRING YOU INTO THE BOND OF THE COVENANT:
[Ezekiel 20:38] AND I WILL PURGE OUT FROM AMONG YOU
THE REBELS, AND THEM THAT TRANSGRESS AGAINST ME: I WILL BRING THEM FORTH
OUT OF THE COUNTRY WHERE THEY SOJOURN, AND THEY SHALL NOT ENTER INTO THE
LAND OF ISRAEL: AND
YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD.
They shall once more be brought into the “wilderness” as an intermediate stage before once again accepting the Law.
[Ezekiel 20:39] AS FOR YOU, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL, THUS
SAITH THE LORD GOD; GO YE, SERVE YE EVERY ONE HIS IDOLS, AND HEREAFTER ALSO,
IF YE WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO ME: BUT POLLUTE YE MY HOLY NAME NO MORE WITH
YOUR GIFTS, AND WITH YOUR IDOLS.
[Ezekiel 20:40] FOR IN MINE HOLY MOUNTAIN, IN THE MOUNTAIN OF THE HEIGHT
OF ISRAEL, SAITH THE LORD GOD, THERE SHALL ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, ALL OF
THEM IN THE LAND, SERVE ME: THERE WILL I ACCEPT THEM, AND THERE WILL I REQUIRE
YOUR OFFERINGS, AND THE FIRSTFRUITS OF YOUR OBLATIONS, WITH ALL YOUR HOLY
<<MINE HOLY MOUNTAIN>>: This is the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
[Ezekiel 20:41] I WILL ACCEPT YOU WITH YOUR SWEET
SAVOUR, WHEN I BRING YOU OUT FROM THE PEOPLE, AND GATHER YOU OUT OF THE COUNTRIES
WHEREIN YE HAVE BEEN SCATTERED; AND I WILL BE SANCTIFIED IN YOU BEFORE THE
[Ezekiel 20:42] AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD, WHEN I SHALL
BRING YOU INTO THE LAND OF ISRAEL, INTO THE COUNTRY FOR THE WHICH I LIFTED
UP MINE HAND TO GIVE IT TO YOUR FATHERS.
We may say that in the “Wilderness” there will be a new awareness and
acceptance of the truth. Only after entering the Land, however, re-acceptance
of the truth take place.
[Ezekiel 20:43] AND THERE SHALL YE REMEMBER YOUR WAYS,
AND ALL YOUR DOINGS, WHEREIN YE HAVE BEEN DEFILED; AND YE SHALL LOTHE YOURSELVES
IN YOUR OWN SIGHT FOR ALL YOUR EVILS THAT YE HAVE COMMITTED.
<<YE SHALL LOTHE YOURSELVES IN YOUR OWN SIGHT FOR ALL YOUR EVILS>>: We shall all repent for the bad we have done or caused others to do or for the good we could have done and did not.
[Ezekiel 20:44] AND YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD
WHEN I HAVE WROUGHT WITH YOU FOR MY NAME'S SAKE, NOT ACCORDING TO YOUR WICKED
WAYS, NOR ACCORDING TO YOUR CORRUPT DOINGS, O YE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, SAITH THE
Ezekiel chapter 21