Friday, May 16, 2008


Almost a decade had gone by, when in an early morning time of reading scriptures, (in the year 1994 to be precise), I became intrigued, like never before, by Acts 28. Paul was under house arrest in Rome for the "hope of Israel". He had called together the Jewish leaders and explained to them why he was there. These leaders had heard about this sec of Judaism that was "spoken against everywhere".

After listening to Paul, they set a day to have him clarify what this sect was all about. When the day arrived, Paul “solemnly testified of the kingdom of God [Elohim], persuading them concerning Jesus [Yeshua] from both the Law [Torah] of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:23). Upon reading this something leaped inside of me with a big, “WHAT? Paul was teaching the Kingdom of Elohim from the Torah and the Prophets?"

I had never once, in all my years, heard the Gospel of the Kingdom being presented from the Torah and the Prophets! “Where in the Torah is God/Elohim's Kingdom?” I prayed. I turned to my Heavenly Father and asked Him to show me. I left for work that morning in a state of absolute bewilderment. How was it possible that after 20 years of being a Believer and singing that song, “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God,” I could still be so totally ignorant of something so important? I had read many times the parables of Jesus/Yeshua about the Kingdom of God/Elohim, but did not really understand what Yeshua and His apostles were actually teaching about the Kingdom from the Torah and the Prophets! Truly, I fit the shoes of those who have ears but do not hear and eyes but do not see!

In the following weeks, I started studying Scripture making special note of anything that spoke of, or referred to, Elohim's Kingdom. One morning I awoke with one of those Holy Spirit promptings to read the first chapter of Acts again. The setting was 40 days after Yeshua’s resurrection and He was on the Mount of Olives with His disciples. Scripture records that He had just spent all those days speaking to them about the Kingdom of Elohim. Then, just before He left this earth, the disciples asked Him a very candid question: “When are you going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” In their hearts, they assumed that this was what He was going to do all along, but became terribly disappointed when the Romans crucified Him! All of their hopes died with Him.

However, to their amazement, He arose from the dead three days after He was put into the grave and rekindled His followers' hopes. That was the reason for the question: “When are you going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?”

What struck me about the disciples' query, regarding the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel, was the usage of the term “restore”. The very employment of that verb meant that the Kingdom had been in Israel sometime in the past, but where and when? How was it perceived? What did it look like? Why Israel?

The question about the "restoration" really stirred me, as in the past I had always assumed that the Kingdom would only be set up when Yeshua returned. The more I studied Yeshua’s answer to His disciples, the more my original thoughts on the matter changed. “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power, after that the Spirit of Holiness is come upon you: and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1: 7-8). What appeared to loom large about Yeshua's answer was his statement regarding witnesses. “Witness to what?” I asked. Was it to the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel? If that were the case, then I had a lot more questions to ask and to take more seriously Yeshua's exhortation to “seek first the kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Secondly, I needed to gain an understanding about the correlation of YHVH's Kingdom to the present restoration of the Nation of Israel.

Generally, most people are given to seeking first food, drink, clothes and shelter, which can all be summarized by one phrase, "the quest for provisions". And I am no different. However, Yeshua declares that this is something we are not to worry about, as our Heavenly Father already knows that we have these needs. Yeshua adds that we are not even to “take thought for tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). In fact, He placed so much importance on seeking first the Kingdom of His Father, that He wanted His disciples' attention to be wholly focused on it. After all, this was one of the main reasons for His coming as a Prince and Redeemer. Luke 1:31-33: "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Yeshua. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHVH Elohim will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (emphasis added).

Back on the Mount of Olives, Yeshua (answering His followers' question) tells them that they will receive power. Where will that power come from and for what purpose? The power would come with the Holy Spirit(ref. Acts 1:8). So what is Yeshua really implying here about the Kingdom? In the Epistle to the Romans (14:17), Paul the apostle, under the guidance of the same Spirit, says: “For the Kingdom of Elohim is not meat and drink; (repeating Yeshua's words) but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Spirit of Holiness” (emphasis added). Thus it appears that the Kingdom of Elohim comes with the Spirit of Holiness. Yeshua's wounds and His blood, shed for the forgiveness of sin, opened the way for the Spirit of Elohim to regain access to the heart of man.

So how is it that a person full of the Spirit of YHVH is to be a witness to the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel? By that time, had not most of the Israelites been scattered throughout the world for many a century and lost their identity, becoming what the prophet Hosea calls, “Not My People” (ref. Hosea 1:9)?

The only known Israelites in that day were the Judeans, made up of mostly Judah, Levi and Benjamin with a remnant of the other tribes, and their land was part of the Roman Empire. Could it be that when Yeshua had commissioned His disciples to go to "all the nations", He was sending them to the "lost sheep of the House of Israel"? Were they not the ones destined, through the New Covenant to receive the Spirit and thus testify to the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel (ref. Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 37:27)?

February 20, 2008

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