Dr. Koji Soma (1951)

His background, publications and the Kobe Peace Research Institute

Thanks to our son Sebastiaan van Dijk in Japan (Okinawa), whose family we visited this summer, we were able to meet with dr. Kojo Soma in Kobe, learn from his research, enjoy his hospitality and luckily also received his English publications. This blog is an introduction to his background and to those publications.

His parents were Jodo-Shu Buddhists[1] and he himself is an active participant in Shrine festivals. His parents gave him the opportunity to attend Sunday School of a Norwegian Lutheran Church and to meet an American missionary couple and eventually he became a christian himself.

Dr. Koji Soma is chairman of the SunBuilder Corporation in Kobe. He is owner and manager of 10 group companies and chairman of NPO Kobe Peace Research Institute. He completed a master’s degree at the Religious University of Moldova. Ph.D. in Philosophy from Moldovan Theological University. He is Emeritus Professor at the National Pedagogical University of Moldova. He is former National Director of the Japan International Gideon Society and Japan’s former president of the CBMC (Christian Business Association).

During the second World War Most Japanese at best could only pity the suffering of the Jews. During the Oil crisis: Koji Soma confessed that he was more interested in countries such as Kuwait, Iran or Egypt. Until there was some new info that the Shinrun tribe living in the border areas of India and Burma belonged to the lost tribes”; a movement led by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail and his son David (leaders of the Amishav[2]). The story of lost tribes was no longer fictional to him nor the Assyrian captivity of Israel as a mere story in the OT, but as an actual historical incident!

The Tribes of Israel – by Avichail

Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail is auteur van The Tribes of Israel: The Lost and The Dispersed. This book is a follow-up to “The Lost Tribes of Assyria,” which chronicles the activities of Amishav emissaries since inception and describes the various tribes and their relationship to the Jewish people. This section contains additional factual material as well as a discussion of the scholastic and philosophical aspects of the subject. Amishav, the organization on behalf of the scattered of Israel, was founded in 1975 with the encouragement of Rabbi Zevi Yehuda Kook, of blessed memory, the head of the “Merkaz Harav” Yeshiva in Jerusalem and the spiritual leader of religious Zionist Judaism. Rabbi Kook supported Amishav and encouraged his various activities until his last days.

Lost Identity by Ken Joseph, jr.

Koji Soma also mentions: 1) Ken Joseph’s book “Lost Identity”: can there be a ‘hidden Japanese history”?
2) The so-called Japanese-Jewish Common Ancestry Theory : the Scottish former herring farmer turned missionary, Norman McLeod, was the first who claimed that the Japanese aristocracy and priestly caste were descendants of the Lost Tribes and that the legend of Emperor Jinmu (the first emperor according to legend) was an adaptation of the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt in his publication, Epitome of the old history of Japan in 1879.
3) The Monthly journal “Remant” by Arimasa Kubo which features similarities between Japanese language and Hebrew.

During the Hanshin Awaji earthquake (17 januari 1995 in Kobe), many Western christian volunteers got so impressed with Japanese local people’s attitudes such as waiting in line orderly and willing to pay for food even under such conditions.

Dr. Koji Soma writes that he was touched by a remark and quote from Prof. Ben Ami Shillony [in the book of Avigdor Shachan], Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in his book “The Jews & The Japanese: The successful outsider“: “It is hard to imagine two more dissimilar, almost diametrically opposite, societies than the Jews and the Japanese. A people spread over the four corners of the world versus a people with an almost uninterrupted history of sovereignty in its own land; geographical heterogeneity verses linguistic and cultural homogeneity; a cosmopolitan experience verses an island mentality; strict religious and moral commandments verses group-based and aesthetically bound values. Yet,  there are also surprising analogies between these two peoples. (p.9). Different as their religions are in their basic spirituality, both of them are more concerned with this world than the hereafter.

In 2002 Koji Soma attended a Korean National Prayer meeting Breakfast for the first time.

In 2003 he studied Japanese ancient history and discovered an ancient maritime route map at Hong Kong museum.

He also said: “It all started with a question form then president of a Korean Travel Agency at an Asian Christian Business Men’s Committee in Singapore October 2004, about the lot of generous and heartfelt hospitality from local Japanese people: were they christian? Or is this influence of Buddhism or Confucius? The answer: “No, both countries have been “brother countries”

Building on the research of dr. Avigdan Schachan, Koji Soma wanted to find more evidence for Traces of Jews  in Ancient Japan focusing on marks of the Menorah, the Star of David and the Name of God in all the major civilizations.

His first publication resulted in June 2012 a kind of an in A4-format illustrated catalog:
Ancient gods of Japan that spring from the God of Israel (an updated version of “Japanese culture springs from the Bible”, July2010)

After the first publication Koji Soma lectured at Int. Reseach Center for Japanese Studies on  October 9, 2010

On Nov. 6, 2011 people gathered at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe for the “Memorial Music Festival of Prayers for the victims of Great East Japan Earthquake and for the world Peace”. This was a month before the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack on dec. 7 2011

On that day he also inaugurated the Kobe Peace Research Institute, an organization to seek for peaceful coexistence and striving to remove religious conflict. Focusing on our similarities and respecting each other united in our common history and by our belief in our Loving Creator. During that inaugural many prominent guests were attending,

In March 2012 dr. Koji Soma published his second full color A4-format catalog: The Four main ancient civilizations spring from the God of the Bible (updated on 25 June 2019), that starts with the phrase: “The world history textbooks available to-date were written solely on the stories passed on by Europeans during the age of exploration (with no input from the Asians).”

Nowhere in this book, did I find definite answer to my question, which four civilizations he is thinking of. On the cover he printed the text of Isaiah 19:24-25 In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”[3]

Does dr. Koji Some imply that Japan is the fourth? Which history goes back to the Jomon Period. Or does he think of Egypt, India, China and Japan because of the name for God of Taichi or Daichi connecting these civilizations.

In his address at Hebrew Univ. he said after quoting Isaiah 19:25: “The history of Abraham and his descendants is clearly documented. However, I would like to explain to you another aspect of history that is not as commonly understood, but is, nevertheless just as evident. This is the history that starts with the oldest religion in Egypt [before Abraham], crosses into Assyria, Persia, India, China and on to Japan. This is a history with traces and glimpses of the God of Israel… We see this influence not only in Zoroastrianism, but also in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and other beliefs, that he believes come from the Faith of Abraham. We have found connections back to Ethiopia, the Nubian Empire and Old Egypt.

On his YouTube channel My Jewish Japan, I made acquaintance with Professor Emeritus of Tohoku University, Ph.D. Hidemichi Tanaka[4]: 4th video (with English subtitles)!

He is among others author of “The History of Japan Really, What is so Great about it?”

There Tanaka mentions these four civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and China. He sees with Herodotus the Greek culture as a copy of Egypt, while they were mercenaries for the king of Egypt: “on the Continent, around 5,500 years ago, the Mesopotamian civilization emerged along the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley and 5,000 years ago, the Egyptian civilization was born along the Nile River. At about the same time, 4,500 years ago, in India, the Indus civilization came into being along the Indus Valley, where agriculture was introduced using land that was made fertile by occasional flooding. Also, about 6,000 years ago (the date may vary according to different theories), agriculture started along the Yellow River in China. This is the Yellow River civilization. Many of us must have learned in the past that these are the Four Great Civilizations of the world.” –  Hidemichi Tanaka

The Traces of Jews in Ancient Israel by Koji Soma

After his PH.D, evidence based research dr. Koji Soma published In Nov. 2013 his first booklet: Traces of Jews in ancient Japan –  evidence that Japanese cultural roots indeed come from the Bible; updated in July 2018). This booklet is basically a supplemental verification of the English version of Dr. Sachan’s book “In the Footsteps  of the Lost Tribes”, translated from Hebrew 2007.[5] And also the books by professor Ben Ami Shilony.

In his research dr. Koji Soma focused on three typical subjects: the Menorah Tree of Life), the Star of David (the hexagram) and the ‘Name of God’ (Dai-chi).

On October 6, 2021 he published his latest book: Two Zions Two Jerusalem’s. (A5-format)

Two Zions Two Jerusalems by Koji Soma
  • Part 1 Mideast ‘Land of Israel’ Far East ‘Land of the Rising Sun’.
  • Part 2 World Culture springs from the Bible – We are one Family.
  • New findings, since former book “Traces of Jews in Ancient Japan”
  • Lecture at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Nov. 6, 2017 at the World Forum Collaboration Forum.
  • Koji Soma’s address to National Parliamentary meeting in Tokyo on March 11, 2022 in which he mentioned how ancient civilizations influences can be discovered in Japan’s history; like the traditional Kagura dance that is representative of the Blessings of Peace from God and the Peace of the Nation of the People and stems from the story of Biblical King David’s “Odori” Dance. This Biblical dance seeks the help of the God of gods, so that people will love each other and build calm and stable society in Japan. “Achimarikumu that appears at the end of kagura, has unknown meaning in Japanese. In Hebrew it means “God please rule over us”.

Koji Soma concludes that:

  • Jerusalem of Japan is Heian-kyo in Kyoto (In English ‘City of Peace’). And as Jerusalem is located south of the lake Galilee, do is Kyoto located south of the lake of Biwa.
  • Japan is the Eastern Zion – the country where the sun rises – as written in the Israel national anthem.
  • The nation of Japan, of the tribe of Ephraim – those of us dwelling in this Eastern Zion, has the mission to help clarify any mistranslated phrases of the Bible and misunderstandings of Japanese cultural beliefs, and relay this information to the world.
  • In so doing, God will be exalted by the Japanese, as prophesied in Isaiah 2:5, “The Land of the Rising Sun.” The nation to give glory to God.

Again he quotes Isaiah 19:24, that Israel is third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”

And he concludes again that the World culture springs from the Bible, that we are one family and should strive toward the goal of World Peace; as is also the title of his lecture in November 6, 2017 at the Hebrew University.

Dr. Koji Soma starts this book with a question that he raises reading the Israeli National Anthem Hatikvah, that starts with these lines:
As long as deep in the heart, the soul of a Jew yearns, and forward to the East to Zion, an eye looks Our hope will not be lost The Hope of thousand years, to be a free nation in our land… ending in a his research for: “Our homeland, the east of Zion and Jerusalem”
Implicitly he raises this thought: does the Mideast ‘Land of Israel’ extend to the Far East ‘Land of the Rising Sun’? Especially when he continues to quote all kind of Bible Verses that distinguish the house of Israel from the house of Judah or the listing of Judah next to Ephraim, each having their own Zion.

How this differs from the narrative we are more familiar with. Like in Ezekiel 37:2-23 Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. 22And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.

I can image that when you are from Japan, you will read Bible verses about the land of the East or From the rising of the sun with other horizon of understanding. But when we read Psalm 65:5-8  do we really have to think of Japan? O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas.]… so that those who dwell at the [furthest ] ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. [From the East to West].

Based on some alternative [ethnocentric] reading of the Scriptures by ‘findings’ of mr. Michio Fujimori who studied Greek and English Bibles, – that are hard to follow – Koji Soma concludes, quoting Isaiah 61:3-4 that it is up to Japanese to restore scriptures that were mistaken in ancient times. That Japan is the only country where the mistranslations of the Bible can point out as this is difficult to point out in Israel and in Western countries.
3b that they [Japanese] may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

Conclusions of some researchers

Now the interesting thing is that both dr. Avigdor Sachan, Arimaso Kobe and dr. Koji Soma believe and make a solid substantiation that traces of the Lost Tribes can indeed be found in Japan, even ethnically speaking about Ephraim and also the tribe of Gad.

Dr. Avigdor Shachan believes that Jinmu is none other than Susa-No-O, the brave and violent brother of Amaterasu, from the tribe of Manasseh. A descendant of the rambunctious and hot-headed Gadi ben Susi (Num. 13:11). [6] He also says: “Most of those who reached Japan, erroneously assuming they were in Africa, were descended from the Tribes of Ephraim, and Manasseh. Of the royal House of Joseph in Egypt. Upon their arrival they established the imperial dynasty of Japan which exists in majesty to this day. During their long stay in Central Asia they intermarried with local tribes, which is why they largely resemble their Mongol neighbors, but the blood of the Ten Tribes flows in their veins and the vestiges of their ancient Mosaic faith can be found in the Shinto religion.”
When the Gileadite leader Jephthah took the seat of the Judge, there was a shameful bone and meat domestic fight between the Manasseh and the Ephraim in Gilead, and 42,000 Ephraim’s trying to flee to the west coast was killed on the eastern bank of the Jordan. (Jg 12:6)

Mr. Arimasa Kubo points out that the descendants of the Reuben, the Gad, and the Manasseh, who came via the Korean Peninsula, may have been involved in the establishment of Izumo Taisha. If so, the Myth of Izumo Kuniyuzuri (transfer of the Izumo land) may reflect the resentment and grudge of the conflict between the Manasseh and the Ephraim tribes.
Blessing from Moses of Gad: Deut. 33:21 He chose the best of the land for himself, for there a commander’s portion was reserved; and he came with the heads of the people, with Israel he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments for Israel.” Dr. Koji Soma: “A bountiful island surrounded by sea, abundance of fresh water, four seasons, Isn’t this Japan? BC1200”
By the time these Tribes settled in Japan, they got secluded from other parts of their fellow (Jewish) brethren, that they for a centuries were lost to the rest of the world, as Japan limited trade foreigners.

Rabbi Eliahu Avihail, representative of Amishav asserted: “Ephraim is the people who keeps the law in a disciplined manner and yet have the heart of charity. Seeing Japanese in Kyoto, who keep the traffic rules properly, the Jews do not keep the traffic rules properly, but the Japanese keep them. You (Japanese) are descendants of Ephraim.

The problem with Ephraim – his calling and his fate. The characteristic prophetic features of king Jerobeam (of Israel), applied to Japan.

To understand the role and prophecy and God’s masterplan with both the House of Judah and Ephraim, it is of paramount importance to first understand why Jacob blessed Joseph’s son Ephraim above Manasseh; what the blessing itself means as a prophecy; how it developed; how it got compromised, endangered and almost failed; yet remains true and will be fulfilled never the less. But how? That is the Mystery, that I believe Paul is referring to in Romans 11:25-26.
And from my point of view, does dr. Koji Soma have the same understanding, including other Japanese Christians, Jews and Shinto’s?

To understand why father Jacob blessed not only Ephraim above Manasseh, but also embraced and appointed him as his Firstborn, we need to come to grips with the fact that Joseph did not know, that his brothers had told his father that he was found dead.
In other words, he must have wondered why he never heard from his father again; why he did not send an envoy or messenger so that he knew his father was searching him.
By the time he gets his first son, from his entrusted Egyptian wife, he calls him Manasseh, meaning: “now I can forget my past, since I have a future now with my ‘firstborn’ son.”
By choosing Ephraim above Manasseh, Elohim – through Jacob – expressed that He had not forgotten about Joseph at all; that He has not forgotten on the Promise to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham, that he would become a father of many nations. This we can know from the prophecy about Ephraim and the meaning of his name: “ After the protest of Joseph, Jacob said: “But his younger brother [Ephraim] will become mightier than he, and from him will come many nations.” Gen. 48:19
So that is his prophecy and also the meaning of Ephraim: “that he will become a multitude of nations” [a fullness or harvest of gentile people groups joining the covenant with Abraham]!

Interestingly Jacob continues with a blessing that up to this day can be heard every Friday evening during erev Shabbat in homes of millions of Jews: So he blessed them that day, saying, “Your name will be mentioned in the blessings of the Israelites. They will -say, “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” So he placed Ephraim before Manasseh.” Gen. 48:19-20

The proper question to ask now is: “Okay, nice prophecy, but how has it run its course? How has it come to fulfillment or is still this being fulfilled or yet to be fulfilled?”
To answer the question we first have to trace the history of this tribe and its descendants in the Bible. In the TeNaCh, there are a few key players, starting with the two spies Joshua and Kaleb who distinguished themselves from the other ten tribes with their trust in God when it comes to the believe they can enter and capture the Promised Land. Few people know however to which tribes they belong, and if they do, who represents which one. It is always a nice quiz question. But the surprising answer is, that Kaleb represents Judah (and conquers Hebron, where the patriarchs and their wives are buried, and up till today is still contested) and that Joshua represents Ephraim (and conquers Sichem [now called Nablus = Neapolis], the place where up till today the bones of his father are kept in a tomb that is also often contested). It was under the leadership of this First Born son of Joseph, that the namesake of Yeshua assembled the Twelve Tribes and made a New Covenant (with blessings and curses) at an altar near Sichem. This altar has been discovered again at the Mount Ebal site in 1980 by archeologist Adam Zertal. Recently, (Febr. 2022) an ancient hebrew writing on tablet was discovered at Joshua’s altar.[7]

Altar of Joshua in Samaria

Within this area of the Tribe of Ephraim (that borders on the south with Benjamin, the brother of Joseph), they also set up the Tabernacle at the place now called Ancient Shiloh. It stood there for 369 years until the Philistines burned it and conquered the Ark of the Tabernacle.

With the birthright, Ephraim becomes the new head of the family. The tribe plays that leadership role, among other things, when the Israelites enter the Promised Land, led by Joshua, from the tribe of Ephraim. Yet Ephraim fails to retain control of the tribes of Israel. The new leader will be one of the tribe of Judah, as Jacob foretold (Genesis 49:8-10, 1 Chronicles 5:2). So according to Jacob, Judah would be given the leadership role and not Joseph and Ephraim after him, even though God had appointed them the firstborn.
This is explicitly reflected and said at the end of Israel’s history Psalm 78:67-72 He rejected the tent of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, 68 but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loves. 69 He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever. 70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; 71 from following the nursing ewes [ooien] he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. 72 With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.

A transition period under a king (they preferred, like the other nations) called Saul of the Tribe of Benjamin and anointed by the priest Samuel. It was under his rival David of the Tribe of Judah that they reconquered this Ark, that eventually got its resting place at a the site (a threshing floor) of Arunah in the City David conquered from the Jebusites, that was to become Jerusalem, where during the reign of his son Solomon, the First Temple was built under heavy labor.
It was during the reign of his son Rehabeam, that the united Kingdom (under King David) was spilt into two: The House of Judah (Rehabeam) and the House of Ephraim under the leadership of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, the first King of (Northern) Israel, who had returned from hiding after King Solomon had died. Notice how Elohim intervened by the word of prophet Shemaiah when a civil war was about to break out: “When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. But the word of God came to  Shemaiah the man of God: “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against your relatives the people of Israel. Every man return to his home, for this thing is from me.’” So they listened to the word of the Lord and went home again, according to the word of the Lord.” 1 Kings 12:21-24

The big question here is of course what Elohim meant with: “for this thing is from me”? For what happened next? All the descendants of the king of Jerobeam are judged with the phrase “that they continued or did not break with the ‘sin of Jeroboam’, meaning that they kept holding to their own two places of worship (Bethel and Dan), instead of Zion; their own appointed priests and religious calendar. In short: their own alternative version of Yahwism.

This lasted until the prophet Hosea was called to demonstrate God’s verdict and judgment by first marrying a temple prostitute and next by the name giving’s of his children: Lo Ruchama (= no more compassion); Lo Ammi (=no longer my people); Jisraeel (= to be spread out).

It is here where we have to ask the most critical question: “Is this really the end of the House of Israel, represented by Ephraim?” when they indeed went into exile after the conquest of Samaria by the Assyrians? And the related question: “what then remained or came of the prophecy of Jacob about Ephraim that he would become a multitude of nations?

For 200 years their kings presented the people of Israel from ascending to Jerusalem, forcing them instead to worship at Beth El and Dan in the north. During this time the nature of the festivals changed. Yet despite these changes, the festivals celebrated in Israel still bear a remarkable similarity to those celebrated by the Shinto in Japan. Furthermore, many Shinto holidays coincide with those of the Jewish calendar, because the Japanese festivals also underwent a change due to the effect of Buddhism on the Shinto religion.[8]

The same prophet Hosea – Thank God – also had another prophecy: “That they  – the ten northern tribes will be called sons of God”. Again, the next logical question will then be: “When has or will this become a reality?”
It are the prophets who during the exile of Judah about 150 years later that give us the assurance that Elohim has not forgotten them, when Jeremiah said: “How can I forget you, Ephraim, my firstborn” 30:3

(Third) Isaiah writes and asks how a mother can forget her children? And envisions a time when “The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off;

Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.” 11:11-16

And the prophet Ezekiel gets this most wonderful assignment to take two sticks on which he has to wrote the names of both Houses (including those who belong to them) and hold them in one hand, when Elohim says: “In My hand they will become ONE” again. 37:..

It is only in Zacharia 11:7-14, where in this prophecy three shephards are being destroyed and the Flock is doomed to slaughter; when He broke both His staff Favor and his staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

Remember however, that Yeshua the Messiah mentioned, that He had other flock to attend to.
One of his best known parables talks about the Tale of the Two Sons: the one who went away and squandered his inheritance and the one who stayed, but was not happy with the return of the former younger one.

This was also part of Paul’s mission in what he calls the Mystery of the Gospel and the Mystery of Israel, that was revealed to him firsthand by Yeshua himself, when he in his letter to the Romans writes a midrash on the prophet Hosea: “9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26 “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

Also in his letters to the Ephesians he elaborates on this theme, when he writes: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (2:20).

We can read about the other tribes in the diaspora as well in the letters of the apostle Peter and Yeshua’ s brother and beloved disciple James. And finally even at the Book of Revelation, where the names of the twelve tribes are written on the gates of the New Jerusalem (21:12).

We can still know from Flavius Josephus about the whereabouts of the tribes. He locates them in The Antiquities of the Jews, 11.133 beyond the river Euphrates: “but then the entire body of the people of Israel remained in that country [Babylon]; wherefore there are but two tribes in Asia and Europe subject to the Iomans, while the ten tribes are beyond Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.

Even more specifically is 4 Ezra 13: 40 these are the ten tribes which were led away from their own land into captivity in the days of King Hoshea, whom Shalmaneser the king of the Assyrians led captive; he took them across the river, and they were taken into another land. 41 But they formed this plan for themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the nations and go to a more distant region, where mankind had never lived, 42 that there at least they might keep their statutes which they had not kept in their own land. 43 And they went in by the narrow passages of the Euphrates river. 44 For at that time the Most High performed signs for them, and stopped the channels of the river until they had passed over. 45 Through that region there was a long way to go, a journey of a year and a half; and that country is called Arzareth. 46 “Then they dwelt there until the last times; and now, when they are about to come again, 47 the Most High will stop the channels of the river again, so that they may be able to pass over. Therefore you saw the multitude gathered together in peace. 48 But those who are left of your people, who are found within my holy borders, shall be saved.

In his zeal to find all kinds of similarities, dr. Koji Soma goes so far to even make references to the Bull and the Dragon Snake; to El, Marduk and Dragon in Daniel 14. This may appear cumbersome, yet is this not exactly part and parcel of the Yahwism of the Northern Tribes and why they were exiled, just because  of this idolatry?

On the other hand: What does it mean or imply that in Deut. 33:17 Joseph is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of wild ox. With them he will push the peoples to the ends of the earth.
In short, we cannot ignore that there is a justified case for comparing Japan with Ephraimites, who after they crossed over from Korea, were indeed ‘loss of site” and developed independently from the other Tribes.

What does this mean or imply?

Does dr. Koji Soma do justice to the (extra) Biblical witness? Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to consider Kyoto as another Jerusalem and Zion? As another Bethel or Dan? As if the sin of Jerobeam is still perpetuated. And is Shintoism really free from idolatry and Buddhism?

On the one hand we may get the impression that Koji Soma associating too freely when he sees all kind of arbitrary crosses and menorah’s in different parts and religions in the world.
Has Elohim indeed revealed Himself in Egypt and Mesopotamia before and apart from Abraham? As can be inferred from Isaiah 19:25 where Egypt is called My people, and Assyria the work of My hands! As noticed and witnessed by the Kanji  mark … for the name of God in both Egypt, India, China and Japan?

On the other hand, it is also very clear that dr. Koji Some does embrace Zion in Jerusalem and even invited to lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A lecture with the title: “We are One Big Family – Striving toward the goal of World Peace” with Isaiah 19:25 as the first quote!, followed by the great command to “Love the Lord your God, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Deut. 6:5, Lev. 19:18)

From the point of prophecy

I wonder what Elohim had it mind when He prevented a civil war between the House of Judah and the House of Israel, and intervened by the prophet Shemaiah, saying: “for this thing is from me.” How can that be: a division within the Family of Jacob? A rift that already appeared in the life of the young Joseph, with the many colored coat, who saw his brothers and parents bowing for him.
Only later it turned out that Elohim had meant this for their good, for their salvation (from hunger). Like there where two spies of the tribes Judah and Ephraim, there were two kingdoms; two Messiahs (Joseph and David); priests and kings. In short, two focal points. Each serving the other, mutually!

What is true for Ephraim and all the house associated with him (who lost their identity and became like the Gentiles) is also true Gentiles in general (who are not descendants of any of the Tribes). For both of them the message of Paul is the same: When you read this (how the mystery was made known to me by revelation), you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph. 3:3-6).

What a comforting message in Jeremiah 31:18-19, where Elohim says: “I have heard Ephraim grieving, ‘You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf [young ox]; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the Lord my God. 19 For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

In the Dutch translation (HSV)  verse 19 reads as: For after I was converted, I repented [I got remorse]. After I was made known with myself, I slapped myself on the hip. I’m ashamed, yes, too put to shame, because I carry the reproach of my youth.

This is partly due to the fact that Ephraim must be made known with himself. This means that after conversion, Ephraim becomes aware of who he is and then things start to happen. I believe that Ephraim is still being instructed, as some other translations say, and thereby discovers who he is.
No one can tell for sure, that he is a descendant of Ephraim, unless Elohim Himself reveals this to him or her: making him known with his self, his identity (role).
Note, that once he is made known with himself, that it is no reason for boasting. On the contrary: he is filled with shame and remorse. Absolutely not proud of himself.

Elohim answers (verse 20): “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him.”
Compare also Hosea 11:8-11 How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim?[9] My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. They shall go after the Lord; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; 11they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.

So how then can we recognize somebody who belongs to Ephraim and those associated with his house? Not so much in terms of identity, but in what he does or by his focus!
The answer – which sounds as a motto – is given in Jeremiah 31:6 For there shall be a day when watchmen [Notzrim][10] will call in the hill country of Ephraim: ‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.’

To go up to Zion, implies going to Jerusalem [on a Aliyah], to the very city that King Jeroboam did not want his tribes to go (for political and religious reasons). So, when Ephraim does arise to go up to Zion, this is a clear indication of his conversion.
In his letter to the believers in Rome, when he writes about the metaphor of the grafting in noble olive tree [symbol of messianic Israel], he is talking about the same fruit of conversion: the desire to be rooted, and get access again to its nourishing Hebrew juices (and walk in the ancient paths, where the good way is. Jer. 6:16).

Isn’t it an irony that these notrzim are being called christians in today’s Ivrit? For isn’t this the title give to those who would/will be called children of God, starting in Antioch (at the very outskirts of the land of Israel, according to Acts 13): gentile believers from the nations? Yet when logically thought about these ‘christians’ [=anointed ones] may also be considered as part of the Commonwealth of Israelites when they are identify with the cause of “Israel” to be a holy people and a priestly kingdom. Remember the prophetic moment when father Jacob had wrestled with the angel of God, when he was to about to re-enter the Promised Land at this juncture at the river, but first had to come to grips with his twin brother Esau, whom he feared.

The new name “Israel” reflects exactly his new identity and the calling for all those who want to identify themselves as such: he who wrestles with Elohim and overcomes, yet no longer walking in his or her own strength: The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh (Gen. 32: 31-32)

From the point of missiology

For Dianna Matsumoto (with a Ph. D.) it is clear: the destiny of Japan is to participate in the life and purposes of God and His design for this great nation. In her book The Soul of a Nation: Japan’s Destiny[11] she presents God’s claim on the nation of Japan, whose accounts has its beginnings in Japan’s earliest history, that sends a compelling message to other people as well in that it shows that the Creator has shown Himself to be the God of the Japanese people.
Part 4 of her book talks about Evidence of God’s claim on Japan:
Japan’s writing system – revealing truths of life’s beginnings.
Through its history Japan has not been without a witness; from travelers through the Silk Road, to the Hata Clan, Catholicism and Protestantism in the 19th and 20th century.
God’s Presence [Fingerprints] seen in Japan.

Dianna Matsumoto has a special chapter on the characteristics of the Soul of Japan: its legends and beliefs, its values reflected by the social system and its laws, its standards, philosophy and ideals promoted in education, but also on areas of vulnerability and weaknesses.
In Appendix 3 she ends by writing about ‘Healing of the Nation through Japan’s redemptive gift”: about strongholds that need to be broken; locating catalytic institutions and finding the birthright. She refers to John Loren Sandford, writer of Healing of the Nations who was told in a conference in Hawaii, that Japanese people struggle with “performance orientation, a condition of striving to perform well enough to deserve the love of God and others.” Though they may hear about God’s grace, they still experience a “dread of failure and fear of rejection if they do not everything rightly.”

From the viewpoint of missiologist Don Richardson, it is a matter of finding the ‘redemptive analogies’ to bring all men to Himself, as he explained in his book ‘Eternity in their hearts’.[12]
It tells us how God has been revealing himself and reaching out to peoples and cultures and how our missionaries get surprised and amazed when they get to distant places on earth and realize that God has already been there without our “missiological” function and role. It is important to keep cultures and habits when we spread the Gospel – the good news of Jesus without “westernizing” people on behalf of God by making them be like us and embrace our customs and traditions.

I found it special that Dianna Matsumoto in her book also refers to the Two-part video titled God’s Fingerprints in Japan by a team of researchers, writers, interpreters, producers, narrators and others working with Aloha Ke Akua Ministries (David Kikawa), based on their findings about the history and customs of Japan. Through their extensive research, they found incredible relics and testimonials (going back even to the Jomon and Yayoi periods) which say that the God of the universe and of all creation has provided solid evidence that He is the authentic God of Japan!

I mostly wondered about the use and function of all these Shinto shrines in Japan, modelled after the concept of the Tabernacle, with its torii gate at the entrance, the purification rite and no images of any god, plus related festivals where the men carry an ark on poles, just as in the time of David they even dance before it. What would happen when the Japanese people were able to make this connection? The missing link or key here however is that within the Ark was stored the Testimony in the form of Two Tablets that contained the Ten Words of the Covenant with JHVH. There are fortunately Shinto-priest who do make this connection and even started to learn Hebrew.
There are even visiting and curious Jews from Israel who want to be a witness of theses Shrines and Festivals. Dr. Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal, Associate Professor of the Department of Hebrew Language[13],  give a special testimony how it served as a mirror to him:

Isn’t it a miracle when Israeli and Japanese acknowledge and join each other in honoring the same eternal God and recognize each other as part of the same body? Isn’t this a rehearsal or repetition of the reconciliation of Judah and Joseph?

And isn’t this – in another way – the same message of late Jonathan Sacks, he coined with the title of one his successful books: The Home We Built Together: Recreating Society!

On  Nov. 11, 2022 Koji Soma convenes another Breakfast prayer to Pray for Peace at a meeting in Kobe (near Kyoto) with all kinds of ambassadors. To get an impression, you can watch a compilation of last year. With Representatives from every denomination. And as guest speaker the ambassador of Israel in Japan:

See https://www.kobepeace.org/en/event221111en.html

[1] The Jodo Shu (浄土 宗?, “School of the Pure Land”) is a school of Japanese Buddhism, the Japanese branch of the Pure Land, according to the teachings of the monk Tendai Honen. Founded in 1175, Jōdo shū is, along with Jōdo Shinshū, the most widely practiced Buddhist denomination in Japan. Influenced by the writings of Shandao, Hōnen devoted himself exclusively to Amida Buddha as expressed through nembutsu.

[2] Amishav is an organisation distinct from Shavei Israel, which it predates and to whose creation it contributed. It was founded in 1975 by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail and follows goals similar to those of Shavei Israel.[5][6] Several years after founding Amishav, Avichail stepped aside as leader of the organisation in favour of Michael Freund, who went on to found Shavei Israel in 2002.

[3] The progenitor of the Assyrians was a man named Asshur, who is referred to in Genesis 10:22 as a descendant of Noah’s son Shem. Thus, they are a “semitic” people, and are thus “relatives” of the Hebrews (Israelites or Jews). In fact, the patriarch of the Israelites, Abraham, was born in Ur in the land that later became Assyria.

[4] For Author profile see: https://www.sdh-fact.com/auther/tanaka-hidemichi/

[5] in november 2014 Koji supervised the translation of Sachan’s book in Japanese

[6] Vgl. Ramban’s commentaar op Num. 13:11. Deze stam was bovendien gespecialiseerd in het fokken en trainen van paarden voor de strijd. ‘Sus’ is het Hebreeuwse woord voor paard.

[7] https://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-altar-of-joshua.htm

[8] In the Footsteps of the Lost Tribes, Quote from p. 367-8

[9] Admah” and “Zeboim” were cities in the same plain with Sodom and Gomorrah, and each had their petty king Genesis 14:2. In the history of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, they are not named, but are included in the general title “those cities and all the plain” (Genesis 19:25). The more then would Hosea’s hearers think of that place in Moses where he does mention them, and where he threatens them with the like end; “when the stranger shall see, that the whole land thereof is brimstone and salt and burning, that it is not sown, nor bearish, nor any grass growth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath” Deuteronomy 29:22-23. Such was the end, at which all their sins aimed; such the end, which God had held out to them; but His “strong compassions were kindled.”

[10] In Ivrit, the word for Christians is this word ‘notzrim’, translated here as ‘watchmen’.

[11] Master Press – New York 2009. On his website Victor Schlatter says: an undeniable God-moment in July 2010, we met Dianna, who had just completed her research in identifying hitherto un-heralded Hebraic genetics flung across the Far East, literally picking up from where I leave off in the last few lines of the last chapter in Nineveh: A Parody of the Present. My next book Genetically Modified Prophecies – Whatever Happened to all the Sand and Stars God Promised to Abraham might well follow this one!

[12] http://nikhilrajgupta.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-book-review-eternity-in-their-hearts.html

[13] https://judaismshintoism.wordpress.com/members/

Eén reactie

  1. Hallo Bob!!!
    Weet jij wie de Vader is van Jezus van Nazareth?
    Wie is de Vader van JHWH/Christus ?
    Is Hij de gast die aan de knoppen draaide om de stoffen aan elkaar te breien om zo de ideale situatie te creeeren opdat wij homo sapiens s. kon ontstaan ( naast muizen, apen , vissen , vogels,roodstaart papegaai etc enz?
    Als je eeuwig leven wilt hebben via Jezus, moet je nog 5 miljard door, want dan dooft onze Zon!!
    Einde oefening.

    Joost/ theoloog/ filosoof/graficus / agoog en kritisch onderzoeker

Geef een reactie

Vul je gegevens in of klik op een icoon om in te loggen.

WordPress.com logo

Je reageert onder je WordPress.com account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Facebook foto

Je reageert onder je Facebook account. Log uit /  Bijwerken )

Verbinden met %s

Deze site gebruikt Akismet om spam te bestrijden. Ontdek hoe de data van je reactie verwerkt wordt.