We said before that David lacked the ability to pass on the Melchizedek anointing. While it clearly remained over his lineage (for Jesus certainly had it on him), it surfaces and disappears again for generations. It pops into view on David’s descendants like Daniel, Zerubbabel, and Malachi, but for the most part it lays dormant in David’s bloodline, awaiting the Messiah.
So where did this Melchizedek anointing reside during the centuries between David and the Christ?
We said before that there were only three kings who ever ruled over the entire nation of Israel: Saul, David, and Solomon. During Solomon’s reign, he began taking wives from all kinds of nations around the world. Since many of these nations did not worship the God of Abraham, they brought with them all of the idols they worshiped and began setting them up in the temple in Jerusalem.
Because of this, God split the nation of Israel into two houses after the reign of Solomon. The southern kingdom, consisting of the tribes of Judah, Benjamen and Levi, would be called the kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom consisting of the remaining tribes.
One day Jeroboam was walking down the road out of Jerusalem. Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh, wearing a brand-new cloak, met him. The two of them were alone on that remote stretch of road. Ahijah took off the new cloak that he was wearing and ripped it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten of these pieces for yourself; this is by order of the God of Israel: See what I’m doing – I’m ripping the kingdom out of Solomon’s hands and giving you ten of the tribes. In honor of my servant David and out of respect for Jerusalem, the city I especially chose, he will get one tribe. And here’s the reason: He faithlessly abandoned me and went off worshiping Ashtoreth goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh god of the Moabites, and Molech god of the Ammonites. He hasn’t lived the way I have shown him, hasn’t done what I have wanted, and hasn’t followed directions or obeyed orders as his father David did. Still, I won’t take the whole kingdom away from him. I’ll stick with him through his lifetime because of my servant David whom I chose and who did follow my directions and obey my orders. But after that I’ll remove the kingdom from his son’s control and give you ten tribes. I’ll leave one tribe to his son, to maintain a witness to my servant David in Jerusalem, the city I chose as a memorial to my Name. But I have taken you in hand. Rule to your heart’s content! You are to be the king of Israel. If you listen to what I tell you and live the way I show you and do what pleases me, following directions and obeying orders as my servant David did, I’ll stick with you no matter what. I’ll build you a kingdom as solid as the one I built for David. Israel will be yours!”
I Kings 11:29-38
Notice here that Ahijah is a prophet of Shiloh—a descendant of Ephraim in the tradition of Samuel the prophet. Jeroboam is also of the house of Ephraim, descendant of the tribe with the firstborn, Melchizedek anointing.
Although this anointing has been injected into the house of David to work with the Levitical priesthood, it is finding it’s rightful home again among the house of Ephraim. The northern kingdom with its 10 tribes becomes the kingdom of Ephraim. Jeroboam sets up rule in the city of Samaria and immediately begins to set up idol worship.
In fact, all of the kings of Ephraim are idol worshipers. God grows tired of their wickedness and removes the entire house of Ephraim from the face of the planet. The Assyrians come and wipe Ephraim clean.
There is no captivity with a remnant like Judah went through with Babylon where God restores them. All 10 tribes are gone. Nearly every Jew that you read about after the fall of Ephraim is from either Judah, Benjamen, or Levi. There is no other remnant left.
The interesting thing is that Ezra, in I Chronicles 5:2, tells us to pay attention to the house of Ephraim even though this was written hundreds of years after Ephraim was wiped off the face of the earth. How are we to follow this lineage if the Ephraimites are all gone?
For that, we need to do a little more research. After Assyria had killed off the entire kingdom of Ephraim, there was all this vacant land. He decided to fill it up.
The king of Assyria brought in people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and relocated them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the exiled Israelites. They moved in as if they owned the place and made themselves at home. When the Assyrians first moved in, God was just another god to them; they neither honored nor worshiped him. Then God sent lions among them and people were mauled and killed.
II Kings 17:24-25
Eventually, these Gentiles who lived in the area of the Northern Kingdom came to realize that something was up with all of this. They began to ask around. They found a few stragglers of priests who knew about the God of Abraham and who taught them how to worship him.
The Gentiles that lived in the Northern Kingdom also set up rule in the city of Samaria, the old capital of the Northern Kingdom. As such, they became known as Samaritans. This group was among the most hated by the Jews and for one reason: They worshiped God outside of their established order.
So that we do not miss this, Jesus told us a story.
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?” Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill – I’ll pay you on my way back.’ “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
Many call this story “The Good Samaritan.” I call it, “The Bad Levites,” to highlight what’s going on behind the scenes.
What we miss that would be obvious to Jesus’ Jewish listeners is the phrase “leaving him half-dead”. This would have triggered a memory in his listeners of the Jewish law.
Each and every one of Aaron’s descendants who has an infectious skin disease or a discharge may not eat any of the holy offerings until he is clean. Also, if he touches anything defiled by a corpse, or has an emission of semen—a person who touches any such thing will be ritually unclean until evening and may not eat any of the holy offerings unless he has washed well with water.
If the Levite or the priest (also a Levite) were to have touched the man and he died, they would have been ritually unclean. As such, they would’ve been prevented from performing their temple work. “We have important work to do for the Lord,” they would’ve said. “Someone else will come along to help him.”
They were so caught up in “doing the Lord’s work” that they missed their opportunity to actually do the Lord’s work. This is the perfect picture of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the time of Christ. By contrast, the Samaritan, whom the Jews would’ve considered unclean, was the one who stopped and actually did the work of the Lord, and, interestingly enough, would’ve made the wounded man unclean in the eyes of the religious leaders.
On another occasion, Jesus took a trip to Samaria and met a woman there at Jacob’s well (a symbol that the Melchizedek anointing from Jacob was still in this place). This was in the village of Sycar.
[The Samaritan woman said,] “Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?” “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming – it has, in fact, come – when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. 24 God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
The village of Sycar was at the foot of Mt. Ephraim. “This mountain” the woman referred to would’ve been Mt. Ephraim. Evidently, the Samaritans had kept up worship in the exact place where it had been originally established in Ephraim all those centuries ago.
And so, from the time of David, there were two worship centers: one in Judah and one in Ephraim.
The Two Witnesses
One of the most discussed points in all of the Bible is the identity of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.
Meanwhile, I’ll provide my two Witnesses. Dressed in sackcloth, they’ll prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days. These are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands, standing at attention before God on earth.
To understand this, one simply has to go back to the only other time two witnesses are mentioned in the scriptures.
God spoke to Moses: 2 “Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe.” 3 So Moses sent them off from the Wilderness of Paran at the command of God. All of them were leaders in Israel, one from each tribe.
After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home. They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told the story of their trip: The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.”
Numbers 13:1-3, 25-29
Ten of the witnesses swore to the report of fear that came from Canaan. Only two of the witnesses brought back a good report. The names of these two witnesses were Joshua and Caleb. Caleb was from Judah and Joshua from Ephraim.
And so we see the two priesthoods from the time of Moses onward: The Melchizedek priesthood represented by the tribe of Ephraim, living on through the Samaritans, and the Levitical priesthood, represented by the tribe of Judah. Both priesthoods existed until the time of Christ. But God had a different plan.
God’s Message came to me: “You, son of man: Take a stick and write on it, ‘For Judah, with his Israelite companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph – Ephraim’s stick, together with all his Israelite companions.’ Then tie the two sticks together so that you’re holding one stick.
“When your people ask you, ‘Are you going to tell us what you’re doing?’ tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, Watch me! I’ll take the Joseph stick that is in Ephraim’s hand, with the tribes of Israel connected with him, and lay the Judah stick on it. I’ll make them into one stick. I’m holding one stick.’
“Then take the sticks you’ve inscribed and hold them up so the people can see them. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, Watch me! I’m taking the Israelites out of the nations in which they’ve been exiled. I’ll gather them in from all directions and bring them back home. I’ll make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and give them one king – one king over all of them. Never again will they be divided into two nations, two kingdoms. Never again will they pollute their lives with their no-god idols and all those vile obscenities and rebellions. I’ll save them out of all their old sinful haunts. I’ll clean them up. They’ll be my people! I’ll be their God! My servant David will be king over them. They’ll all be under one shepherd. They’ll live in the same land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their grandchildren will live there forever, and my servant David will be their prince forever. I’ll make a covenant of peace with them that will hold everything together, an everlasting covenant. I’ll make them secure and place my holy place of worship at the center of their lives forever. I’ll live right there with them. I’ll be their God! They’ll be my people!
“’The nations will realize that I, God, make Israel holy when my holy place of worship is established at the center of their lives forever.’”