Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
Solomon’s Kingdom Divided
August 25, 2010
In the last issue, two questions were asked: What happened to ancient Israel? Where is Israel
today? W e cannot answer the second question until we have answered the first one, and, to do this, we
have to start with Jacob and the name Israel , which is what the last issue is about.
As stated previously, when many Christians hear the name Israel , it can be said without much doubt
that they think of the modern Jewish state of Israel as a nation made up predominantly of a purebred
race of people called Jews or Israelites . In other words, the word Israel has become synonymous with
the word Jew or Judah . Scripturally speaking, it is as if many are saying that the house of Israel and
the house of Judah have been brought back together as a united kingdom in the modern nation
called Israel . I doubt that many would state it this way, but this is really what is meant when Israel and
Jew are used as synonymous terms.
However, what does Scripture reveal about such thinking? Is it correct to use the terms Israel and Jew
synonymously? No; it is not! History and the ancient prophets prove it.
So, let us begin with some history, starting with Solomon doing evil in the sight of the Lord.
(6) Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD
fully, as David his father had done. … (8) Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who
burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. (9) Now the LORD was angry with Solomon
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared
to him twice, (10) and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go
after other gods; but he did not observe what the LORD had commanded. (11) So the
LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant
and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you,
and will give it to your servant. (12) Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake
of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. (13) However, I will not
tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant
David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Kings 11:6, 8-13 NASB)
The kingdom under the rule of David and Solomon could be called the United Kingdom of Israel ,
for all twelve tribes were united as one people in Jerusalem and Judea. It could be said that both Judah
and Joseph dwelt in the same tent, so to speak. As we have seen in previous issues, the scepter and
kingship identified with the name Judah , and the kingdom and sonship identified with Joseph and
his father’s spiritual name, Israel . As long as the two brothers dwelt in the same tent, the name Israel
was associated with a united kingdom. In fact, after Jacob was called Israel , his sons were called the
sons of Israel (Genesis 32:32). Thus, it was established that the name Israel is associated with all
twelve tribes. In fact, starting with Saul and David, they were known as the kingdom of Israel (1
Samuel 15:28; 24:20).
However, Solomon was not like his father David, and he turned from the Lord by not keeping His
covenant and statutes. As a result of his evil, Solomon was told by the Lord that, when he died, his
kingdom would be torn apart. Only one tribe would remain in Jerusalem for the sake of David.
Prophetically, this was necessary, for there had to be a Judahite nation (a remnant of Judah) in
Jerusalem when the Son of God came to earth to take the scepter of Judah, claiming His right as the
King of Judah. One from the tribe of Judah had to sit upon David’s throne (Luke 1:32-33), as promised
to King David (2 Samuel 7:16).
More detail about this split of the kingdom came through Ahijah as he spoke to Jeroboam, an
Ephraimite (i.e., from the tribe of Ephraim, Joseph’s son).
(30) Then Ahijah took hold of the new cloak which was on him and tore it into twelve
pieces. (31) He said to Jeroboam, “Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the LORD,
the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give
you ten tribes (32) (but he will have one tribe, for the sake of My servant David and for
the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel)….’” (1
Kings 11:30-32 NASB)
In other words, the kingdom of twelve tribes would be torn apart with ten of them coming under the
rule of Jeroboam and one tribe, namely Judah , remaining in Jerusalem for the sake of David and the
line of kings that would lead to the rightful heir of the tribe of Judah, namely Jesus .
So, the split came about after Solomon’s death when his son Rehoboam became king over the kingdom.
A revolt led by Jeroboam took place when Rehoboam refused to reduce the heavy yoke (taxes) that had
been placed on the people by Solomon; instead, based on the unwise counsel of his young friends, he
was determined to increase the taxes. Thus, a tax revolt took place and the cry went forth to divide.
When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king,
saying, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse;
To your tents, O Israel! Now look after your own house, David!” So Israel departed to
their tents. (1 Kings 12:16 NASB)
As an Ephraimite, Jeroboam carried the name Israel as given to Joseph’s sons. In this verse, we see the
division of the kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms, with the ten tribes taking the name Israel . Thus,
this reinforced the fact that the name Israel resided with the house of Joseph (i.e., his sons), and
wherever they resided and whoever resided with them was called Israel .
(19) So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day. (20) It came
about when all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, that they sent and called him to
the assembly and made him king over all Israel. None but the tribe of Judah followed the
house of David. (21) Now when Rehoboam had come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the
house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen men who were warriors, to
fight against the house of Israel to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon.
(1 Kings 12:19-21 NASB)
The Lord told them not to fight with their brothers, so they listened to the word of the Lord and
returned and went their way according to the word of the Lord (1 Kings 12:24). Thus, the
United Kingdom of Israel was torn apart into the house or nation of Judah and the house or nation of
Israel, and, spiritually speaking, it remains so to this day.
Benjamin remained with Judah as a prophetic sign that the breach would be repaired one day.
Benjamin is made up of two words: ben , which means “son,” and jamin , which means “right hand or
side.” In other words, Benjamin signifies sonship that will come to Judah as well, but only when Judah
and Israel are reunited. The Levites also remained because the temple remained in Jerusalem.
Contrary to the way Christians might view Israel today, the fact of the matter is that, after the breach,
the ancient prophets uniformly referred to the two houses or nations as separate entities with different
histories and prophecies. Judah went into captivity and returned to Jerusalem; Israel went into
captivity and never returned. Keep these straight as you read the prophets and it will keep you from the
error that states modern Israel is the fulfillment of ancient prophecy regarding the house of Israel.
Again, it is vital to our understanding of prophecy to know that this breach has not been repaired and it
has continued to our day. Spiritually speaking, the twelve tribes have not been reunited. They can only
be reunited when the King of Judah comes to establish His Kingdom on earth and among the nations.
This breach will be repaired when the voices of heaven declare: “The kingdoms of the world did
become those of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign to the ages of the ages!”
(Revelation 11:15 YLT). May this declaration come soon!
The Upward Call: #04-10103
by: Stuart H. Pouliot