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In response to Charlotte's e-mail, this creates a question no one has been able to answer for me. Israel is for the literal descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob, and I totally agree. However, the borders Ezekiel plots include Lebanon, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and not only Gaza, but some of the Sinai Penisnsula, too. It was very sad that Israel gave it all back, when the borders of Gad are to extend to the River of Egypt. Some consider this a Wadi river that existed east of what is now Gaza by some miles. Others say it insinuates the Suez Canal. I don't think Israel should keep cutting pieces of itself off. Logically, the process would go on indefinitely, since Palestinians have a higher birth rate than Israelis.
Ezekiel 47:22-23 (NIV)
22 You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 23 In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance," declares the Sovereign L-RD.
But who are these aliens who settle in Israel Ezekiel speaks of? They are to be considered native-born based on where they settle, even though they are not blood Israelites. Is it the Bedouin and Druze but not the so-called Palestinians. The odd thing about many of the Palestinians is that they are actually Jordanian immigrants the Jews gave jobs to. I've been to Israel; some want genuine peace, others absolutely hate the Jews who gave them jobs, pay for their hospitals and schools, and so forth.
Ezekiel obviously has a stipulation, albeit unwritten. The Law of Moses must be upheld, even enforced on the resident aliens. The law is strict, and many Palestinians, if they stayed, would undoubtedly have to be executed. So would many secular Jews who despise the Law of Moses as outdated. It would almost be better to leave if the Law cannot be respected. Is Ezekiel positing a B'nei Noach movement for the non-Jews who live in Israel.
Two families are also indespensible! The House of David and the House of Zadok. Jerusalem's borders are expanded into much of the West Bank, and the new Temple according to every map I've seen plots on or around Shiloh, not the Temple Mount.
Another thing that has baffled me is Ezra 10:1-5.
1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites?men, women and children?gathered around nd him. They too wept bitterly. 2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, "We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. 3 Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. 4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it." 5 So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath.
What happened to these mixed Israelites? Did they mix in with the Arab populations, and are they mamzers? Of course, if we did genealogy, probably everyone of us has more than one ancestor not of legitimate birth.
But the priests, who are Levites and descendants of Zadok and who faithfully carried out the duties of my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign LORD.
This will be for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who were faithful in serving me and did not go astray as the Levites did when the Israelites went astray.
Ezekiel puts heavy stress on the importance of Zadok, almost like the other Aaronites are irrelevant and are groups with the Levites who went astray. Obviously the house of Zadok is pivotol, but the house of Aaron can't be irrelevent, because 24 courses of priests from different houses are required.
So in short;
1. Who are the resident aliens?
2. Who are the descendants of the mixed Israelites today which Ezra sends away?
3. How will Israel acquire all the land Ezekiel stipulates? The border includes Lebanon, Damascus, the West Bank, Gaza, and part of the Sinai.
4. Why is there little emphasis on the vital families descending from David and Zadok? I know there are living descendants of David and a movement to unite them. Also, is Zadok's family in the Katz (Kohen Tzadik)family, and are the Zadokites meant to be the first course of priests when the Shiloh Temple is built?
5. Why does Ezekiel move the Temple back to Shiloh and out of Jerusalem? Am I interpreting the border plotting wrong?
a. Borders of Israel
"The River of Egypt" as the southwest border of the Land of Israel according to most commentators means the Nile River.
Saadia Gaon and Iben Ezra are reported to say it means El Arish which is described as,
"a big wadi called the Wadi el Arish, which receives flash flood water from much of north and central Sinai."
See Map Wadi el Arish called "Brook of Egypt"
On the other hand it has been claimed that by El Arish, Saadia Gaon and Iben Ezra intended an eastern confluent of the Nile and not what is known today as El Arish.
At all events the Nile River border is the explanation that we consider to be correct.
Our borders are also much much larger than the ones you describe.
Land of Our Forefathers and Future: A Map
(b) B'nei Noach
You also asked:
Is Ezekiel positing a B'nei Noach movement for the non-Jews who live in Israel?
We are not sure about this whole B'nei Noach business.
It exists. It is "Kosher". It is based on valid sources. It could be an answer for many people but so far it has not taken off
as it should have.
We doubt that it is an answer for "Ephraimites".
In the time of Messiah no-one really knows how things will turn out.
We have only the Prophets to go on and they are not always clear on this matter and neither are the Sages.
Our impression is that in the End Days ONLY Israelites will dwell in the Land of Israel.
The Strangers that dwell amongst us and receive land in the Tribe they dwell amongst will be considered as Israelites (Ezekiel 47:22).
All the world will worship the God of Israel. Jerusalem will be the center of religious instruction for all the world and the Temple will be the major place of Worship.
All other peoples will practice some aspects of the Mosaic Law.
see Zechariah chapter 14
Exactly what aspects of the Mosaic Law non-Israelites will receive or how they will receive it we do not know.
In answer to your other specific questions:
(1) "Resident aliens" referred to by Ezekiel 47:22 according to our understanding are people of non-Israelite descent who identify with Israel, i.e. the equivalent of converts. They are descendants of non-Israelites who in effect become Israelites.
They are not "Bedouin and Druze" and "not the so-called Palestinians".
It may be that some of these will also receive the status of resident strangers.
The Druze seem to be a mixed bunch and the others are questionable but there may be some good figs amongst them.
Even so scripture indicates that Judah and Ephraim will co-operate in transferring the Palestinians to somewhere in the west by Air.
See the Brit-Am Commentary to Isaiah 11:14
(2) Concerning who are "the descendants of the mixed Israelites today which Ezra sends away"?
We do not know.
(3) We do not know how Israel will acquire the Lands indicated by Ezekiel but conquest is a legitimate means of acquisition especially when the conquered have embarked on wars of extermination against those conquering them.
(4) Concerning the families of David and Zadok we cannot answer you.
As you have noted yourself however there are quite a few families with claims to be descended from them.
At least some of these claims appear to be genuine. Other researchers are occupied with these questions and their results should be considered. You could probably inform us on this issue.
(5). Does Ezekiel move the Temple? there are those who say he does.
Until now I have only heard that he moves it southward. You evidently have a different take on the matter and assume it is to the north. We have never taken an interest in this question.