Tuesday, August 28, 2012
"As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For
Judah and for the children of , his
companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of
Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel , his companions'” (Ez. 37:16). Israel
In this famous Ezekiel 37 passage, YHVH tells Ezekiel to pick up a stick, or “a tree”, “etz”, and to write Judah’s name on it. After he completes the task YHVH tells him to take another “stick” and write Joseph’s and Ephraim’s names on it (Eze.37:16). YHVH is clearly focusing here on
two houses (see also Is. 8:14). He even challenges the people of the two nations, by telling the prophet to hold
the two sticks up in front of their eyes. Upon seeing them, they will inquire
of him: “Will you not show us what
you mean by these?” (Ez. 37:18).
YHVH tells them what these two “etzim” are, although He doesn’t do it directly. Instead, He foretells their destiny. In the context of this prophecy He answers their question, saying that these are two nations divided into two kingdoms (ref. v.22). The first of the two nations that YHVH exiled out of the land was the northern
. We can
read about their prophetic destiny in Hosea chapter 1 (and in many other
biblical references). Later, the nation
of Joseph/Ephraim Judah
was also cast off their land for the same reason - iniquity and sin. Both these peoples were expelled from the
land and scattered into all the nations.
Thus both lost their national identity.
However, according to His word, YHVH intends to restore both “etzim”
When the time finally came for the restoration of the two nations,
Judah’s stick/nation appeared
before Joseph’s. This order has been
true in the family of Jacob all along, as Judah was born before Joseph and
had taken the leadership in the family from Reuben (who had lost his firstborn
privileges). Even the apostle Paul
recognized this order in the family of Jacob, when he wrote: “to the Jew first”
(Rom 1:16; 2:9-10). Yeshua also came
first to the people of Judah,
as did the outpouring of the Spirit of Holiness.
In the last hundred years, YHVH has been restoring by His Spirit the national identity of the House of Judah. Once this first “etz” was brought back to the land, the Spirit began to unveil the “hidden ones” of the House of Joseph/Ephraim. Why would He do this? Obviously to fulfill His word that He spoke through His prophets of old. Because YHVH is faithful, He will gather the second of the two “etzim” trees/nations and restore it as well, just as He did the first one. But in order to have two trees become “one in His hand”, He must first have two separate and distinct “etzim”.
How did He bring about the restoration of the first “etz”? When the time came He stirred the hearts of a handful of Jews, and they responded to the call. So it will be with the second nation. There are a number of us who have been stirred for years over this move of the Holy One of Israel. So far we have only seen the Spirit bring back to remembrance our ancestral identity as Ephraimites, but is that all there is to the story? No! We, also, like our brothers from the first “etz”, must become a nationally recognized people (the second stick/tree). We obviously cannot be of this first nation of
Judah; we must be of the
second tree/stick, and have our own government and national identity, just as
the prophet was told to write: “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for
all the house of ,
his companions.” Israel
It should be apparent that our government is a theocracy ruled by a King.
This King must be of the House of David and anointed by YHVH to rule over His nation (Jacob/Israel). Every subject must pledge allegiance to the King and His government - the Spirit of Holiness (ref. Rom 14:17). We all should know by now who this King is, and be mature in our responsibilities to serve Him. The angel Gabriel, sent by YHVH, announced before His birth who He would be: "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Yeshua/Jesus (which means salvation). "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHVH 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" (Luke 1:31-33). Paul and Barnabas, after returning to Antioch, preached the gospel in a synagogue, confirming that the gospel is about Yeshua the Messiah Son of David (Acts 13:32-44).
At this point in time the Greek-originated form of government, that is, democracy, governs
Judah. This is why it becomes paramount that Yeshua
Son of David governs us, who form the second tree/nation. Yeshua returned to His Father in the heavens
in order to take up residence in the hearts of His called out ones, and govern
them through the Spirit of Holiness. The
establishment of an Ephraimite nation here on this earth will not work without each
of the subjects having this kingdom dominion in his heart. Both Judah
and the Palestinians declared their national identity before they had a piece
of land to call their own. Thus, we must
not be ashamed of our national roots either, especially since we have a
government not of this world order. Peter, writing to the aliens, that is the
“people living along side, or in, the heathen nations”, tells them that they
are a Holy nation (ref. Pet.1:1; 2:9). He tells them that to be a nation and to
have a national identity is perfectly acceptable, even while living amongst the
other nations. This is what Judah did 50
years before the other nations recognized their national identity (although
there are some that still do not acknowledge its existence). We too must raise the level of our consciousness
at this time, to be compatible with the prophetic word concerning us. Ephraimites, we are the second stick or
nation. But because we have a righteous King, after the order of Melchizedec,
ruling us, and a holy government in our hearts, we remain at this point a
separate and distinct “etz” (nation) from Judah! We have to become accustomed to being
obedient bondservants and subjects of our King.
May we all “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith for do we not know this about ourselves that Yeshua the Messiah [son of David] is in us” (2Cor. 13:5)!
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Letter 190 (restoration) 01/08/03
We hear a lot these days about renewal, restoration, and revival. The move of YHVH’s Spirit is making itself known in many corners of the globe. However, are these showers of refreshing only an indication of the ‘much more’ which is to come? The following scripture would indicate that this indeed is the case: “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of YHVH; and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the periods of time of restoration of all things about which YHVH spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times” (Acts: 3:19-21). ). It is very interesting to note that the Hebrew word for “restore” is the same as for “repent” - “shoov.” This term also has other shades of meanings such as: to turn back to a starting point, to come back home, recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, requite, rescue, retrieve, reverse, reward.
As we journey back to the “ancient times”, we find the prophets quite consistent about a “restoration”, especially of the house of Jacob. One of the first assignments given to the Messiah, for example, was: “to bring Jacob back in order that Israel might be gathered to Him...to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel” (Is. 49:5). “The [two] sticks on which you have written shall be in your hand before their eyes; and say to them, ‘thus says YHVH; ‘Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all, and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all’” (Ez. 37:20-22).
The restoration of the “falling booth [succah] of David” (united
), in Acts
15:16, is another example of Jacob’s restoration as a national
entity. The angel speaking to Miriam
about Yeshua said that, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the
Highest; and YHVH 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"
(Luke 1:32-33). Israel
The last verse written by the last of the prophets from the “ancient times”, Malachi, also has to do with this latter day restoration: “He will restore [or turn] the hearts of the children to the fathers” (Mal. 4:6). Who are the children? Who are the fathers? In the Tanach, the word “fathers” almost always refers to the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the word “children” to their progeny, or seed.
Throughout the scriptures we see YHVH working or doing things secretly, things that are hidden from the eyes of our understanding; For example when YHVH multiplied the seed of Abraham, He did it without the Patriarchs’ knowledge, as we see in the following passages: “You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not recognize us, yet You are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name” (Is. 63:16). “Therefore thus says YHVH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; But when He sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name’” (Jer.29:22-24).
In YHVH’s prophetic time He will reveal, lift the veils and bring to light that which He Himself has hidden. Are we in that great hour of revelation-restoration, when the sons of
arise and shine with the light that
comes from the glory of YHVH (ref. Is. 60)? Are these the times of the
restoration of the two sticks, the two nations, or the two families? Are the
children yearning for their true identity? Are they looking for their roots,
and desiring to return home sometimes without even understanding why? Is this the time in which YHVH Himself is
acting upon the hearts in answer to the prayer of our forefathers: “Restore
us to Yourself YHVH, that we may be restored; renew our days
as of old” (Lam.5:21)? Zion
“I have surely heard Ephraim grieving ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for You are YHVH my Elohim’” (Jer. 31:18). Is this the time when God’s blazing judgments upon the house of Joseph end, and His loving kindness and compassion begin? Ephraim (the whole house of Joseph) was called a gentile, not my people, an outcast, the banished ones and an orphan. But now, in the Messiah, the Ephraimites are called vessels of mercy, watchmen, priest of the most High God and sons of the living God. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness. I will gather you from the remotest parts of the earth, with weeping you shall come, with supplication I will lead you; a great company you shall return here [to the land] for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn” (Jer.31:3, 8-9).
The above statement to the Ephraimites is of paramount importance to their restoration and healing, especially from the wounds of rejection and torment. Ephraim has been an orphan for over 2,500 years, and therefore does not know the Father’s love. These returning sons need to receive into their heart this word from a loving heavenly Father: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness”. Because of their losses orphans many times are filled with bitterness. There is one sure way of getting rid of these tormenting spirits, and that is to embrace the Father’s love through His Son and our Messiah Yeshua.
“Therefore behold days are coming, ‘declares YHVH, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As YHVH lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but ‘As YHVH lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them, for I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers’” (Jer.16:14-15).
“In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel [Ephraim], and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave their fathers as an inheritance” (Jer. 3:18).
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
In last week’s letter we noted that the apostles John and Paul had both pointed out the immaturity (re: “babes and children”) in the body of Messiah, furnishing some of the reasons for this arrested growth. Strife, envy, divisions etc. were named, but these were only the tip of the iceberg. Let us investigate further into what might be behind this problem.
While I was contemplating this topic, several scripture passages came to my mind: “Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge” (Is. ). What is the knowledge referred to here? “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves...having a form of godliness, but denying the power ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Tim. 3:1, 5, 7). “Never coming to the knowledge of truth”; could this be the answer to the above question? The Word tells us that in these “last days” knowledge will increase (ref. Dan 12:4), however, even though man becomes more knowledgeable, he still remains blinded to the knowledge of the truth, resulting in perilous times. What makes those days hazardous, death- defying and dangerous? Here the apostle unveils the rest of the iceberg: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves [fleshly], covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:2-4).
Where is it that all of these characteristics come from in the first place? This may sound like a trite questions, but never the less, let us see what Yeshua has to say. Yeshua gives us a little glimpse when he says: “That which comes out of the man that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things [thoughts] come from within, and defile the man” (Mark -23).
How did mankind end up with such a heart condition? All of you are familiar with the scriptures that tell the story, and so just to reiterate briefly, when man ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he took into himself a seed that very quickly germinated in the depth of his being (his heart). The nature of that seed came from a spiritual father who abode in that tree. Yeshua tells us who became our father in that one act of disobedience: “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it, and because I tell you the truth, you believe me not” (John -45). Interestingly, the Tree of Knowledge is devoid of truth. John must have been a good student of Yeshua, as later he would write: “He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning… In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever does not [do] righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother” (1 John 3:8,10). Paul also identifies Satan’s offspring: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:2-3).
Paul very clearly identifies this very problem in himself, making the following confession: “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not, for the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. -20). Paul recognized that he still had in his being another nature called the “flesh”, or “carnal man”. This is the residue of the Adamic life, which man was impregnated with by a spiritual father - the devil - and is manifested as the “flesh”. However, Paul does not identify himself any longer with that father or nature, but at the same time does not deny the existence of the “body of sin” in his being, adding, “It is no more I that do this [committing what is abhorrent to me and against my own will] but sin that dwells in my members” (v.20). He then identifies himself (by faith) with the One who can deliver him from this aspect of his being, that he describes as “wretched”. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Yeshua the Messiah our Lord” (Rom ).
Who then is Paul’s spiritual father? Is it God, or is it Satan? Just like John, Paul is saying to us: Both, depending on which nature we allow ourselves to walk in. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Messiah Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom.8:1). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. -16). “And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6). “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures” (James ). Please note that when we are born of His Spirit, truth incarnates in us and thus bears fruit. What kind of fruit? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Messiah's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. -25).
The amazing thing about you and I is that, as believers, we have a choice as to which spiritual father we wish to identify with. Depending on that decision, we will either be channels and servants for the establishing of one of two kingdoms on earth. If we walk in the Spirit, we establish God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy. If we walk after the lusts of the flesh, we will be establishing Satan’s kingdom. Our forefathers were given a very similar choice: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve YHVH, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve YHVH” (Joshua 24:15). Ephraim
July 25, 2003
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
In his first letter the apostle John gives us an idea of the maturing process in the new creation man. He addresses children, young men and fathers. To children he writes, “that they sin not” (2:1) and that in order to know him, they must keep his commandments (2:3). He writes to these little children, as they are to know that their sins are forgiven them for His name's sake and that they know the Father (2:12-13). They are also to be able to discern the last times and overcome the many antichrists that come because they know that “greater is He that is in them than He that is in the world” (2:18) (4:4). The little children are also to abide in Him, and to have confidence and not to be ashamed at His coming (2:28); the Greek word for coming is “parousia” and one of its meanings is “presence” thus it could read, “not to be ashamed of His presence within them”. There are a few Greek words that are translated many times as “coming”, such as “parousia” which is His hidden presence in the life of a believer, but is also used for His future coming. “To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before Elohim, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah with all His saints” (1 Thes. 3:13).
“Erchomai” means to come from one place to another, to appear, to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself. For example “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26).
Apokalupsis - holds the meaning of being revealed, or unveiled, manifested, or appearing. “So that you do not lack in any gift; waiting for the coming of our Messiah Yeshua” (1 Cor. 1:7). This word could be used to mean, the unveiling of His “Parousia” “ hidden presence”. We must keep in mind that Messiah has a past coming, present coming and a future coming. So many times we get our eyes on the hope of a future coming that we miss His present comings “apokalupsis” in our lives. Paul the apostle prayed that we may be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation (apokalupsis) in the knowledge of Him (Eph 1:17); this prayer was meant for each believer to know Him in their daily lives.
Why is this so important to the little children? Because in order for the children to know who they are and to grow to maturity, they must know who He is, as He is the life and nature of the new creation being. This is what it means when the scriptures use the wording of “for His name sake”. Little children your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake and that you have known the Father (2:12-13). If you know the Son, you know that your sins are forgive; if you know the Son, you know the Father. Yeshua told His disciple “Have I been so long time with you, and yet you do not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; then how can you say: ‘shew us the Father?’. Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwells in me, He does the works” (John 14:8-10). Someone else asked Yeshua to shew them the Father, Yeshua’s answer is quite revealing: “You neither know me, nor my Father; if you had known me, you should have known my Father also” (John 8:19). This knowledge of the Father’s life in the Son is very important for the growth of the new creation child.
John goes on to tell the little children, not to let any man deceive them as “he that does righteousness is born of YHVH and is righteous, even as He is righteous. But he that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. These little children are to know the purpose that the Son of God was manifested, that is that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 2:28; 3:7-8).
John sums up his description of a child of YHVH’s by describing them by their behavior and comparing them to the children of the devil. “Whosoever does not do righteousness is not of God, and neither is the one that does not love his brother.” (3:10) The children of YHVH are not just to love in word or with the tongue but they are to love one another in deed and in truth. Then he tops it off by telling them to keep themselves from idols.
The apostle Paul also describes babes in Messiah, by their behavior toward one another. He talks about feeding them with milk and not with meat as they are not ready yet for something so strong. He tells them that their behavior is carnal, because there is envy and strife and division and that they are walking like unredeemed men (1 Cor 3:1-3).
From the above analysis of a born again believer, it would seem that most of us are still in the childhood stages of maturation. How many of us can claim to be free of sinning by overcoming the power of sin that still works in our members through abiding in Yeshua? “in Him there is no sin, but whosoever abides in Him sins not.” (3:5-6). John tells us that the young men have over come the evil one. How? By simply abiding! To “abide” (meno) means to remain, dwell, continue, not to depart, endure. . In other words Yeshua in them has destroyed the works of the devil through the abiding faith of the believer. Once the believer begins to mature to this degree, he may enter into the fatherhood stage and begin to nurture the children of YHVH in the same way that he himself has overcome.
Where are we today in the body of Messiah? Do we hold a form of godliness but deny the power? (2 Tim 3:5). Have we matured beyond being babes, can we even claim to be children, let alone young men. I don’t think we can even mention fathers yet. Because of the strife, envy, and division in His people, YHVH speaking through His prophet Isaiah, prophesied what would happen, “I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them; and the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable” (Is. 3:4-5).
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God… Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear (phaneroo: to make known that which is hidden or invisible), we shall be like him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure” 1 John 3: 1-3).
Ephraim July 18, 2003