Monday, December 19, 2011

Importance of a Firstborn

The name, First Born, points to the one whom YHVH declares to be His own possession, according to Torah. "Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am YHVH" (Num 3:12-13). "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine…"you shall set apart to YHVH all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be YHVH'S… But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem (Ex 13:2, 12-13). “The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me” (Ex 22:28). "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, `Thus says YHVH: "Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn"'" (Ex 4:22-23).

How is it that YHVH declared Israel to be His firstborn among all the other nations of the earth?

“For you are a holy people to YHVH your God; YHVH your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. YHVH did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because YHVH loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, YHVH has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that YHVH your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Deut 7:6-9).

YHVH set up His Kingdom with the first family when He gave Adam (they) dominion-rule over creation. They were Elohim’s servants-kings, acting as conduits of His life and light to all living things. They were also priests to YHVH, as they walked in a relationship with Him, worshiping in spirit and in truth. This was the beginning of the Melchizedec order of YHVH’s Kingdom on earth. YHVH had already legislated His divine order for this natural family, to be later documented in the Torah, containing the statutes and ordinances that pertain to the family of man and the relationship with Him.

One of those laws, as mentioned above, is, “All firstborn belong to Me”. Thus, ever since YHVH established the family of man, He always had someone in the firstborn position. However, following the story line in the book of Genesis we see that not all firstborn qualified for the position. Some of them lost it because they were not faithful to the will of God, or to their natural fathers.

From the genealogy of Avraham we learn that he was the 20th elder from Adam, and the 10th from Noah (Gen. 5:4-29; 11:10-26). All those specified in the genealogy lists constitute the linage of the firstborn and therefore belonged to YHVH. This is why He calls them “My servants”. Noah, along with all the other firstborn, or patriarchs, were still alive in the days of Avraham. But it was during the days of Avraham that YHVH extended the Birthright from an individual firstborn to an entire nation of firstborn, because of the rise of many nations on earth, with a kingdom government after the order that was established by Nimrod (see Gen 10:8-10; Gen. 11:1-4). Nimrod, whose name means “we will rebel”, set up a counterfeit kingdom to YHVH’s, and had his own king-priests. In contrast to God’s Kingdom he gathered the people unto himself, and ruled over them for the purpose of making a name for man and not for God. YHVH’s Kingdom, on the other hand was (and is) one of ‘multiplying’ and ‘filling’, whose firstborn are His servants for His namesake, and are to bring glory and honor to Him.

For the purpose of setting up His special nation, YHVH made a covenant with Avraham. "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (Gen 12:1-2). Because Avraham was a firstborn from the genealogy of firstborn, the nation that would come out of his loins would likewise be a firstborn (nation). The promised son, who was to father the chosen nation, was birthed through divine intervention. Sarah, Avraham’s legitimate wife, who had been barren, as well as by that time infertile (with a womb that was as good as dead because of her age), was chosen by YHVH to demonstrate a redemptive principle; life being brought forth from the dead. YHVH also revealed this principle in the case of two of the other mothers of Israel - Rebecca and Rachel. The Creator was simply showing that this chosen nation was of His will, and not the result of any man’s plan or intention.

With the birth of Esav and Yaacov we witness once more Elohim’s sovereign intervention. YHVH had said to the mother of the twins that she was carrying two nations, and that the older would serve the younger (Gen 25:22-23), thus giving rise to a problem, as Esav was the firstborn. God, however, declared that the nation would be a chosen one, and so arranged that Esav would come out first (had it been otherwise, Yaacov would have been the natural firstborn and not necessarily chosen for that purpose. The fact that the older would serve the younger, according to the word given to their mother, was another disclosure as to whom the birthright would ultimately be given. However, the leadership, or princely portion, still belonged to Esav. So YHVH arranged a day on which Esav believed that he was going to die of hunger. It just happened that Yaacov was stirring up a pot of lentils at the time, and was of course ready to oblige his sibling providing Esav would pay for his meal with the desired birthright. (This was nothing short of a divine appointment). Esav, who consented, thought to himself, ‘what good is a birthright to a dead man, and anyway should I survive I will get the father’s right hand blessing and the double portion eventually’. Rebecca, understanding that if a firstborn does not receive the double portion he cannot qualify to be the family redeemer, as one must have both of those blessings and much more, immediately devised a plan. (from 18/10/2002)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ninth of Av

Letter 157 (ninth of Av) 17/07/02

The Ninth of Av is very important to note, as it was on this day that both the First and Second Temples were destroyed. Although almost 500 years apart, the judgments fell on the very same date. The loss of the Temples in 586 BC and 70 AD caused heart- wrenching grief to the Jewish community. So much so, that even today this loss is a source of sorrow to many of the religious Jews. Notwithstanding, there is still the promise of a third Temple.

However, what is really sad about this day is that very little attention is paid to the reasons why YHVH caused these two magnificent edifices to be removed. As I was working on the Prayer Psalms this week, I noticed that the theme of some of them was repentance. David understood the relationship between YHVH’s judgments and the conduct of His people. May our weeping and sorrow be more than just over the loss, but rather let the remembrance cause a true heart-felt conviction and confession for our own sin and the sins of our forefathers!

The prophet Daniel also recognized the importance of acknowledgment, conviction, brokenness, and confession in the restoration of YHVH’s plans for both houses of Israel. Thus, the following prayer is not from the Psalms, but is formed from the prayer of Daniel, as it is quite appropriate for this day. If we are ever going to witness the ”restoration of all things”, repentance must be at the forefront of our responsibilities as a redeemed remnant.

Before we turn to Daniel’s prayer, let us look at what was said by Jeremiah, who put his finger on the problem when he pointed out the reason for YHVH’s judgments: "Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocent (abortion). They have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind” (Jer 19:4-5). “ Many nations will pass by this city; and everyone will say to his neighbor, `why has YHVH done so to this great city?' Then they will answer, `because they have forsaken the covenant of YHVH- Elohey Israel, and worshiped other gods and served them'" (Jer. 22:8-9). "Therefore thus says YHVH - Elohey Tzva’ot (God of the Armies): `Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered'" (Jer. 35:17).

We can learn much from our forefathers’ waywardness, and YHVH’s response to it as the scriptures provide us with many such examples. But, as a result let us also learn the way to recovery and restoration. Daniel’s prayer may provide a starting point.

“O YHVH – Elohey Israel, I set my face toward You, with prayers, supplications, fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. I confess, Abba, Elohi (my God) and acknowledge that You, YHVH, are a great and awesome Elohim. You are faithful to keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You, and with those who keep Your commandments.

But we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.

O YHVH - Elohey Tzedek (God of Righteousness), righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day--to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven us, because of the unfaithfulness which we have committed against You.

O Elohey Chesed (God of Mercy), to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. But to You, Avinu (our Father), belong mercy and forgiveness, even though we have rebelled against You, and have not obeyed Your voice Elohey Emet (God of Truth), nor walked in Your Torah, which You set before us by Your servants the prophets. Yes, all Israel, both houses, Judah and Ephraim, have transgressed Your Torah, and have departed so as not to obey Your voice. Therefore the curse and the oath written in the Torah of Moses, Your servant, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against You, El Shofet (Judge).

You have been a testimony of Your words, which You spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem and to Your Houses. As it is written in the Torah of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not brought our prayers before You, Yeshua’teynu (our Salvation), that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.

Therefore, You have brought this disaster upon us, and kept us mindful of it. For You are righteous in all the works which You have done, though we have not obeyed Your voice.

And now, YHVH – Moshi’ey’nu (our Savior/Deliverer), who brought us, Your people, out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day--we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O El Ne’eman (Faithful God), according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain.

Now therefore, El Ro’eh (God Who Sees and Provides), hear the prayer of Your servant, and my supplications, and for Your sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O Elohey’nu (our God), Ro’eynu (our Shepherd), incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.

O YHVH - Elohey Chesed (God of Mercy), hear! O El HaKavod (God of Glory), forgive! O El Olam (Eternal God), listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, Elohey Tziyon (God of Zion), for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.


Sunday, December 04, 2011


Letter 153 (More Mysteries) 21/06/02

This week I would like to develop the theme I touched upon last week. In the past, as well as more recently, I have come across believers (Christians) who tend to make statements such as: “I am a Gentile, I do not feel in any way that I’m of the natural seed of Israel, but in Jesus I have all the promises that belong to Israel”. It is nice to claim positive promises, but would these assertors be so quick to make them had they considered the responsibilities that go along with being a chosen First Born nation? Yes, formally you were goy’im, that is, those identified with the nations, but now you are brought into the commonwealth (national identity) of Israel (ref. Eph. 2:12). Was not the “fullness of the Goy’im” promised to Ephraim? How about identifying with that promise? Does the mystery of the blindness of Israel have something to do with ignorance of one’s natural heritage? You may also ask, is Menashe’s name (“forgetfulness”) not prophetic of the destiny of the people connected to the promised blessings (Gen. 48:19)?

As we know, the writers of the New Testament had no other Scriptures but the Tanach (Old Testament) upon which to base their revelation and teaching of the mystery of the Gospel (Eph. 6:19). Most of their audience had no understanding whatsoever of the Hebrew Scriptures, or the Septuagint (the first translation of the O.T. into a foreign - Greek – language), let alone personally own a scroll. Guttenberg press did not exist at the time, nor did the Gideons or the Bible Society to distribute copies of YHVH’s Word. This is probably the reason why Paul writes, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in the Messiah. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able” (1 Cor. 3:1-2). Before stating the above Paul says: “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor.2:6-7). He then tops it off by stating that the apostles should be regarded as servants of the Messiah, and stewards of the mysteries of Elohim (ref. 1 Cor. 4:1).

Let me emphasize again: the apostles’ understanding of the fifteen or so mysteries that they wrote about were based on the Tanach. Yeshua also spoke of these mysteries, although in parable form. One of those mysteries is found in Paul’s address to the “former Gentiles” or “wild olive branches” who used to be “far off, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants” (ref. Rom 11:25 Eph 2:12). Who are those who are described as being “far off”?

“Thus says YHVH - Elohim: ‘Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles (or Nations - (Goy’im), and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone"' (Eze. 11:16). Who was YHVH addressing through the prophet Ezekiel?

"O Adon, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day--to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You”(Dan. 9:7). Who is the Prophet Daniel addressing, defining their location as being “far off”

"Therefore say, `Thus says YHVH -Elohim: "I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.' And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Eze 11:17-20). This sounds like a promise to a people who is “not His people”, and whose God “He is not”. Strangely enough, these very prophecies, regarding the destiny of Israel, are found in Hosea. YHVH said to Israel (and not to Judah): "Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, `You are not My people,' There it shall be said to them, `You are sons of the living God'” (Hos. 9-10; Rom 8:19).

YHVH opens up His dissertation, in Ezekiel 11:15 by addressing the ones who are “far off”. "Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your countrymen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, `Get far off from YHVH; this land has been given to us as a possession.’”
Doesn’t that sound familiar, as even today some from Judah (mostly Messianic) are still saying to the repentant and restored returnees of Ephraim those very words?
Are we dealing here with a mystery of blindness on both sides of the family?
Is it possible that Ephraim’s prophetic destiny is more than just fruitfulness (in the quantitative sense of the word)? Is it possible that the blessing of becoming the “m’lo ha-goy’im” – “fullness of the gentiles” (or nations, in Gen.48:19), may also mean the “fullness of heathenism”? Israel (Ephraim) always followed idols, and was declared by YHVH a harlot, an adulteress and an idolater; one who loved the ways of the nations. Thus YHVH gave Israel over to becoming the ‘fullness’ of that very desire, but not forever… only until their iniquity would become mature and full. Are we touching here upon another mystery - the mystery of iniquity (2 Thes. 2:7, Eph. 2:1-3)? But, then, as a testimony of YHVH’s faithfulness, mercies and love, He literally raises up iniquitous Israel from her grave of sin and death, right in the midst of those heathen nations, and calls her/them “sons of the living God”, implementing His prophetic word to them exactly as promised (Hos. 1:10-11, being another mystery). It is hard to imagine YHVH calling this harlot wife of His a “virgin” (Jer. 31:21), but nevertheless He does. This too may constitute a mystery – a double one: the “mystery of our change” (1 Cor.15:51-53), and the “mystery of the faith” (1 Tim 3:9). The prophet Hosea concludes his writing with the following note: “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of YHVH are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumbles in them” (Hos. 14:9).

"The secret things belong to YHVH - Elohim, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Torah” (Deut. 29:29). “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your Torah
(Psa 119:18)!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Letter 152 (Mystery of His Will) 14/06/02

While on our trip last week, we had the opportunity to read some articles written by fellow Two-House teachers. In each case I found that some of the conclusions reached watered down the significance of YHVH’s faithfulness to His covenant with our forefathers. I discussed this with Rimona, and only found myself getting more upset. Many thoughts and scriptures were racing through my head, like a stampede of African ‘be-wilder-ment’ beasts. In the course of this past week I talked about it at length with a friend, and with his help I settled back down to grazing in the pastures of YHVH’s rest. It is from this position that I hope to share a couple of thoughts on the subject of the Elohim of Israel’s faithfulness to His own will and covenant.

As I was pondering the content of this week’s Prayer Psalm (number 44), a little portion toward the end seemed to define the reason for my aggravation. “Help us, El Yeshu’atenu (God of our Salvation), not to forget Your name, nor to deal falsely with Your covenant. Protect our heart so that it will not turn back, and our steps so that they will not depart from Your ways.”

“… Nor to deal falsely with Your covenant”. That was where I located the problem in these articles. I felt YHVH’s will and word, in relationship to the covenant that He made with our forefathers, was somehow being compromised and that we were not being faithful witnesses. In Ephesians 1:11 we read, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will…” Yeshua taught his disciples to pray: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Again in verse 9 of Ephesians 1, He says that “He has made known to us THE MYSTERY OF HIS WILL, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”, and that it had to do with an administration, or a governmental order for the fullness of time, which He was summing up in the Messiah.

What is this mystery that YHVH is “summing up in the Messiah” that has to do with His will, and with an administration suitable for these times?

I’m sure the question has a hundred possible answers. One that I would draw our attention to, has to do with the mystery of the “I will” of the Almighty, who not only stated what He wills to do, but has also sealed His statements by swearing by His own name. In the covenant that He made with Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob lies this mystery of the “will of Elohim”.

The following are some of the “I will” statements of the God of Israel with in the context of the covenant.
“I will give you a land…
I will make you a great nation…
I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing…
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen 12:2-3).

“I will give to you and your descendents all the land which you see, forever…
I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered” (Gen: 13:14-16).

This is followed by YHVH’s “I will”, confirmed to Abraham and to the future seed of promise that Sarah would give birth to:
"I will make My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly…
I will make you exceedingly fruitful…
I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you…
I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you…
I will give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession;
I will be their God."
(Gen. 17:2, 6-8).

“I will bless Sarah your wife, she will bear a son and will become the mother of nations (goyim)…
I will establish my covenant with him (Isaac) as an everlasting covenant…
I will bless him…
I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers…
I will make him a great nation…
I will establish My covenant with Isaac” (Gen.17:16, 19-21).

After Abraham’s test of giving to YHVH his only begotten son, YHVH again reiterates His will.

"By Myself I have sworn, says YHVH, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice" (Gen. 22:16-18).

After Isaac returned from Egypt to the land, YHVH again confirmed the covenant by His “I will” statements.

“I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands…
I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father…
I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven…
I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”(Gen 26:3-5)

Then Jacob (the chosen nation) was brought into the covenant of the “I will” of the Elohim of his fathers in a dream.

“I will give to you and to your seed the land on which you lie. Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and I will keep you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you" Gen 28:13-15.

The question is, how will we ever know that YHVH was faithful to His covenant with these natural men, unless at some point in history He identifies each and every descendent of the seed of these forefathers, and gives to them all the land that was promised? Actually, one of the job descriptions of the true Messiah of Israel had to do with this very task. He was not to sow the seed, but rather to gather the fruit, so that in the time of the harvest He, the Messiah, would bring forth a true testimony to a covenant that was made four thousands years ago. He will prove “the greatness of the day of Jezreel” (God’s sowing, Hos. 1:11). When a seed is sown in a field it cannot be seen; it lies in a hidden state. Thus a mystery refers to something that has been hidden. Is it in this generation that the mystery of YHVH’s will is being unveiled? Will we be a faithful testimony to that reality?“Help us, El Yeshu’atenu (God of our Salvation), not to forget Your name, nor to deal falsely with Your covenant. Protect our heart so that it will not turn back, and our steps so that they will not depart from Your ways.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


(Holocaust) 15/04/2010

This past week the nation of Israel's sirens sounded in memory of the millions that lost their lives in the Holocaust. Each year, in the course of the preceding day and on the day itself testimonies, movies and documentaries are broadcast over the TV and Radio. Our daughter has always loved the story of Ann Frank; so much so that when she was in grade school she did a special study and report on Ann's life. When she was in high school she visited some of the concentration camps in Poland. Yesterday we watched the movie, The Diary of Ann Frank, with another couple who are visiting with us from the States. While watching the episodes of the Nazis hunting the Jews from their hiding places, with the cooperation of some of the local population, I was reminded of several letters that I had sent out in the form of warnings. If you recall, I mentioned that the Islamic hunters were spreading their nets into the nations (letter 434 and "The Forward"), but what crossed my mind was that the next holocaust will not be Nazis hunting for the Jews (house of Judah), but other hunters who will be looking for the House of Israel/Ephraim.

During the First World War many of the top German officers served in Turkey, as the two countries formed an alliance. These officers observed and learned how the Islamic powers systematically annihilated about one million Armenians, while the world stood by, because of fear or indifference. Hitler, seeing that a nation could literally get away with ethnic cleansing with the world turning a blind eye, felt assured that he could do the same to the Jews, expecting a similar non-response. Years later, in the wake of the growing persecutions in Nazi occupied Europe many from the house of Judah were seeking asylum in Ephraimite nations (and other locations), but the doors were firmly closed. Suddenly a question popped into my mind: If and when the hunters begin to come after the House of Ephraim, will the house of Judah open their doors and let them into Israel?


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Day of fasting

This week, in a conversation with friends visiting from the U.S., the subject of New Orleans came up and evolved into an interesting discussion. It was mentioned that some people believe that the destruction was a direct result of America’s policies toward Israel. The Muslims, for their part, are claiming that the devastation, affecting millions in the southern United States, occurred because of the American invasion of Iraq. Then there are those who believe that YHVH is judging iniquity and sin as He did Sodom and Gomorra. And according to the more pragmatic ones, global warming has brought about the problems, while yet others are attributing the situation to the random activities of “Mother Nature” (coupled with human negligence and mismanagement).

But be the reasons what they may, the fact is that hundreds of thousands have been bereft of loved ones, left without homes, jobs and communities to return to. Likewise in Israel, the Disengagement left many without jobs, homes and a future. Overnight several thousand people went from security to uncertainty, confidence to despair. And so, regardless of the reasons that brought about these distressing situations, what should our response be?

As we all know, the Day of Kippur is ahead of us, a day for fasting and afflicting our souls. Let us take a moment to consider our true motivation for the fast. As I was doing some of my own stock taking, I was reminded of our ancient ancestors in Jerusalem who were quite assured of their righteousness. Seeking YHVH daily they seemed to search out His ways, they did not forsake His ordinances and were rigorous in performing His word. As a nation they did what they thought was acceptable in His eyes. Yet, on the day of the fast, although they afflicted their souls, they also complained that YHVH did not see nor take notice of them (ref Isaiah 58:2-3). YHVH’s response to their piousness and complaint was short and sweet. Being aware of the true condition of their hearts, He describes their fast and the motivation behind it: “Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness… to make your voice [be] heard on high” (Isaiah 58:4), so that He would look down at their sackcloth and ashes.

YHVH then goes on to explain to them how He sees this day of fasting: "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke…the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7). These religionists no doubt were very offended by these words. YHVH, however, went on to point to the right kind of fast, telling them that if they would do what He instructed the rewards would be everything that they had ever desired and more.

“If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. Your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of YHVH shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and YHVH will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am’. YHVH will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In” (Isaiah 58:10-12).

Going back to our subject of Sodom and Gomorra, my friend asked me what was the sin that caused YHVH to judge them. I gave him the standard answer: sodomy, homosexuality etc. In response he pointed out an observation made by the prophet Ezekiel millennia after the devastation of these two cities: "Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).

It was no other than the virtuous Jerusalem which was being addressed here and compared to Sodom, in addition YHVH also decries the following: "Your elder sister is Samaria, who dwells with her daughters to the north of you…” (ve. 46).

As the Day of Atonement draws near, oh children of the sons of Jerusalem and Samaria, let us pray that YHVH’s words will fill our heart and that we will gain an understanding of the kind of fast required of us, so that we may truly be pleasing to our Elohim.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


This past week, in prayer and sharing with others, the Spirit was pointing out that in order for the two houses of Israel to come together into the oneness of YHVH's life, each will have to be cleansed of everything that is not of Him. The House of Judah has tried to keep the Torah, while the House of Israel made a "go" at the righteousness of Faith. But each has fallen short of the goal that has been set before them; Judah has rejected the Messiah of Israel, and Ephraim the Torah of Moses. The solution seems quite obvious: both must come to the recognition of the whole counsel of YHVH, and dispense with that which isn't of Him (His Word).

Reading the book of Hebrews, I came across the following passage: "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Torah of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of Elohim, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:26-29).

What stood out to me was the statement: "if anyone sets aside the Torah of Moses [he] dies without mercy"!! This is what Ephraim had done and has been reaping the consequences ever since. In addition, aside from rejecting Torah (which is the Word) he has also trampled underfoot the Son of Elohim by not living out His holiness.

Yeshua scolded the devoutly religious for observing the easy and less weighty Torah laws and neglecting the more substantial ones, around which they worked their way out somehow, thus rendering themselves hypocrites. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others" (Matthew 23:23).

Now, many in Christendom would maintain that they, on the other hand, are fulfilling the weightier matters, but in so doing often fail to take responsibility and attend to the other Torah requirements. Could it be this kind of attitude that the writer of Hebrews was addressing in the above scripture? We really cannot pick and choose when it comes to YHVH's Word, otherwise we could find ourselves "halting between two opinions" or, put another way, being "doubly minded". YHVH's Word made flesh - His Son - never made light of any of the commandments.

Another area of the Word that seems to be neglected, is the Word of Elohim spoken by the mouths of His holy prophets from of old. Daniel, in his repentance prayers emphasized this fact:

"We have sinned and committed iniquity; we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land" (Daniel 9:5-6).

If we reject or lay aside any aspect of YHVH's Word, we are committing a sin of which we need to repent not in thought and intent only, but also by deeds/actions. When we live by the power of the Spirit of Holiness, we will be living in the Spirit of the Word and thus we will know the Son of the Most High. The "Word" will become life in us and we will find ourselves fulfilling (that is doing) the Torah and the prophets.


Monday, June 06, 2011


In last week's letter I quoted from Dr Tabor's book the following assessment of the role of the Son of David: “When a descendent of David appears in the world, re-gathers the Tribes of Israel, disarms the nations of the world, restores the Temple with the Presence of YHVH, and sets up a world-wide government in which the TORAH is taught to all nations… then we will know who he is.” I then stressed that the above was and is in the process of being fulfilled through the "oneness in Spirit" of the Father and Son, but not without the absolutely essential foundations of redemption that He laid as the suffering Messiah (ref Isaiah 53).

In previous letters I had also made mention of the fact that the role of a kinsman redeemer is to give up his life for the sake of the brethren. Because Yeshua gave Himself to that task, YHVH raised Him up to a position of glory, so that He (YHVH) through His glorified Son could accomplish what He has spoken through the mouths of His prophets of old, especially regarding the restoration of the Kingdom.

In looking at the scriptural parameters for the Son of David, we discover that this righteous individual sits, with righteousness, justice, mercy and truth, upon the throne of David as He sets up a Kingdom that has no end (ref. Isaiah 9:7; 16:5). It is by an everlasting covenant, according to the “sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3), by which His throne is established and guaranteed.

It was only when Yeshua was in position of absolute power and authority (see Rev. 5:12-14) that He was able to bestow upon His subjects the “new creation” life, characterized by His own nature with such traits as: Servitude to righteousness and holiness, reconciliation, son-ship, heir-ship and much more. Following Him, they are in a triumphal procession, while also being transformed into His image from glory to glory. However, this all could not have taken place, had not only Yeshua been the sacrificial lamb and suffering servant, but also His subjects needed to be in that position. Thus, His death is theirs, having to carry it in their bodies and be in all ways identified with His suffering. Without this foundation, they would not have been in a place to be supernaturally transformed, so that the Kingdom of the greater Son of David could inhabit them, rule their hearts and prepare them for that which will become evident in days to come.

Philippians 2:6-11 summarizes very concisely the metamorphic-transition, if you will, of Messiah, from the “suffering servant” to His role as King and Messiah Son of David, including the required prerequisites: …Who, being in the form of Elohim did not consider it robbery to be equal with Elohim, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore Elohim also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Messiah Yeshua is lord, to the glory of Elohim the Father (refer also Revelation 5:12-13; 11:15, 17).

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy says: "Remember that Yeshua the Messiah, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel" (2 Timothy 2:8). Here we see that Paul recognized Yeshua's Messiahship as being intrinsically linked to David's seed, and by implication to the inherent role of the prophesied descendant of that dynasty. Yeshua was declared king at His birth, and at His death. And while He is in a progressive process of future fulfillments of His role as Son of David, the parts that have already been fulfilled serve to reinforce the fact that that is who He is and was. What is more, as mentioned above, it is only because of the extent of His authority and power that He is able to "share" His throne with His own, now and into the future (ref. Revelation 5:10), when the latter will be seen “sitting on the throne of David” (ref. Jeremiah 17:25, 22:4).

As we honor this season of Pesach and Unleavened bread, let us also remember that we must pick up our stake and follow the Lamb (Matthew 16:24), keeping the commandments and the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah (ref. Revelation 12:17).

Ephraim and Rimona

Friday, May 20, 2011


In Dr. James D. Tabor's book, "Restoring Abrahamic Faith", the author poses the question: "Was Jesus the Nazarene the Messiah?" Within the context of this section, he restates the question as follows: "Did Jesus fulfill what all the Prophets declare the Davidic King will accomplish? The answer to that question is clearly 'no'"; end of quote. He then sites the prophecies that the "Davidic" King should fulfill, concluding, "When a descendent of David appears in the world, re-gathers the Tribes of Israel, disarms the nations of the world, restores the Temple with the Presence of YHVH, and sets up a world-wide government in which the TORAH is taught to all nations—surely all can agree that such a one is the long awaited Messiah ben [son of] David"; end of quote.

This observation is not any different from that of the disciples (before they were filled with the Spirit), who also believed that that was the reason for Yeshua's coming. Hence they were extremely disappointed when He died and the prophecies pertaining to the Davidic Kingdom were not fulfilled. Therefore, after His resurrection, while standing on the Mount of Olives, they asked Yeshua again: "Is it at this time that you are going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6) Up until that point the words of the prophets, as well as the angel Gabriel's words to Yeshua's mother on that issue, remained unfulfilled.

Notwithstanding, after Yeshua's last Passover Seder, He said something to His disciples which disclosed the secret of how the Father intended to accomplish and fulfill all that has been spoken through the mouths of His prophets of old, especially those relating to Messiah ben David.

John the disciple wrote down Yeshua's words, which are recorded in chapters 14 through 17 of his gospel. Yeshua explained to the disciples, in no uncertain terms, that He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father's house, and that He would then return and bring them to Himself, so that they would also be where He would be (ref verses 2-3). Yeshua then added: "And where I go you know, and the way you know." (John 14:4). Following these words Thomas raised the question: "Master, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" (John 14:5). It may be stated that Yeshua's answer to this question has become Christianity's theme scripture, but if taken out of context one will miss the reason as to why He responded the way He did: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me; if you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him" (John 14:6-7). This answer also stirred Philip to ask a question. It seems that Yeshua made comments that caused His listeners to wonder what He was actually talking about. Yeshua knew His disciples well and what they were thinking, as they still had in mind that they were following an earthly king who had come to set up what they understood to be the Davidic Kingdom.

Yeshua's answer to Philip's question will set the stage for understanding the coming of YHVH's Spirit and His/Yeshua's "Davidic" reign: "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works'" (John 14:9-10). The raising of Lazarus, for example, was "the work" of Yeshua, but was the work of His Father in response to Yeshua's prayer (ref. John 11:41).

If there was one thing that Yeshua was trying to get across to His followers, it was that His Father was in Him and He was in the Father (ref. John 10:38, 20; 17:21,23). The Father's life and His Spirit were in His Son, thus in essence they were one (ref. John 10:30). John, who seemed to have been the closest to Yeshua's heart, understood this relationship between YHVH and His Son. Yeshua making this fact even clearer in His prayer after the Seder: "that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one" (John 17:21-23).

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Paul the apostle in writing to us today, says that "our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). Then he adds that YHVH has already disarmed them through the crucifixion/sacrifice of His Son: "Having disarmed principalities and powers, He [Elohim] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" [Yeshua's death]" (Colossians 2:15). For had those rulers of this age known that they would be stripped of their powers, they would not have crucified the Master of glory (see 1 Corinthians 2:8). But on the other hand, the scriptures tell us that: "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). John then adds that the: "purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8). What are those works, strongholds, fortresses and high places that we are to tare down and where are they?

The apostles commentaries tell us that once we were sons of disobedience as were the rest and that we lived under the power and influence of the nature of another kingdom (ref. Ephesians 2:1-3). During that time our soul, especially our mind, memories, and emotions had taken on the characteristics and expressions of that realm. Those traits were seen in what Paul describes as the "works of the flesh". John described them as "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). Peter writes "lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking" (1 Peter 2:1)…and 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance" (1 Peter 1:14).

Our spiritual task masters e.i. the demonic forces, through the means of thought, word and deed, built in us fortresses, and strongholds of the nature of Sin. Paul describes some of those as: "unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of Elohim, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful" (Romans 1:29-31)… "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of Elohim" (Galatians 5:19-21). Yeshua also mentions some of the above when describing the heart of man (ref. Mark 7:21-22). However, not only Yeshua came to eradicate these but He has made it possible for us to also tare down and obliterate them from within our own lives. For Elohim is now in us, by the Spirit to will and to do for His good pleasure (ref. Philippians 2:13), which is to destroy the works of Satan and to tare down his kingdom.

"Therefore put to death your members [the embodiment of sin] which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of Elohim is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (Colossians 3:5-10).
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them, for it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light" (Ephesians 5:11-13).

"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah, His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:7-10).

YHVH's feast of Pesach is right around the corner. It is wonderful to celebrate the traditions of this feast day i.e. the Exodus of thousands of years ago, which was a mere shadow of that which YHVH brought into the light through Yeshua. I hope we will keep in mind what our great Deliverer accomplished for us through His Son. Spiritually speaking He put to death the "Sinner Man", and judicially dealt a death blow to Satan's rights to humanity. However, the reality of these facts are still being worked out through a remnant of His first fruit, first born company. I pray that the beginning of this new year which leads us to the Feast of Pesach will be filled with the light of revelation knowledge and understanding of this great deliverance and exodus out of the realm of "sin and death".

"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15).

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philipians 2:12). Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of Elohim" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Friday, May 06, 2011

SHA'KED (almond)

February 12, 2010
Again, we are in the season of the blossoming of the almond tree. Because we have had an exceptionally warm winter, we noticed, already in mid January that some of the almond trees in Jerusalem were in bloom. Thus, although a little earlier than normal this year, the blooming of the almond tree does start, as a rule, in Jerusalem and from there spreads to Samaria and to the rest of the country. We are all familiar with the prophetic usage of this tree, and the meaning of its name.

The word for almond in Hebrew is “sha’ked”, the root verb of which is “to watch diligently”. This is well illustrated in Jeremiah 1:11-12, which reads: “Moreover the word of YHVH came to me, saying, 'Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a branch of an almond tree’. Then YHVH said to me, ‘you have seen well, for I am watching [persistently and with diligence] over My word to perform it.'"We have written in the past about the relationship between the olive tree, which represents "the house of Jacob", and the almond trees, that are especially prolific here in Samaria (and also in Judean hills), strewn among the many olive groves. The almond trees' pink and white spotlights-splashes burst forth and glow, highlighting and testifying to the olive trees that YHVH is diligently watching over His Word to perform it. What a wonderful ray of hope YHVH gives to us annually, which also heralds the beginning of the year just ahead and His feast days! What comes to mind is the clarion call: "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YHVH, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of YHVH from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3)! How appropriate that the almond blossoms are first seen in Jerusalem and then spread to Judea and Samaria, reminding us of Yeshua's answer to His disciples, when they asked Him about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel: "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Now, after two thousands years the good news of the hope of Israel has been, and still is being witnessed to in all nations. As evidence of this fact, we are seeing the hearts of the children of the forefathers turning back to their true identity, as they remember the Torah of Moses and the prophets. They are being witnesses, like the "sha'ked", to the faithfulness of the covenant keeping Elohim of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Our hearts are grieved over the many things that are taking place in the land of our inheritance, but yet YHVH will remain faithful to watch (almond = sha’ked - to be diligent) over His Word and promises to Israel, the olive tree. We find that our hearts are aching, as did Yeshua's when He wept over Jerusalem, or like Paul's, whose pain he expressed with the following: “I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Messiah for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh… who are Israelites” (Romans 9:2-4).

With the situation again brewing on the Lebanese border, and with Iran making its claims of nuclear capabilities, and now almost daily attempts by radical Palestinian groups or individuals to attack Israeli citizens and soldiers, we as YHVH's watchmen must be alert to what He is doing in the midst of these intensifying conditions. Primarily, He is looking to make sure that the spiritual enemy is defeated and overcome in our own lives and relationships. Yeshua came to destroy the works of the enemy, so may we be about His business and bring down every high tower (thought) that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim (ref. 2Corithians 10:3-4). As we clear the spiritual atmosphere around us, we will be able to peer with greater clarity into the earthly realm, as well as into YHVH's intents and purposes while He establishes His kingdom on earth, as it is in Heaven.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


February 05, 2010

Those of you who have been following these letters, have most likely noticed a key biblical pattern of first fruit and firstborn belonging to Elohim (ref. Numbers 3:13; Exodus 34:19), which I have been referring to quite often. From the very beginning, starting with Cain and Abel, this principle was to be kept by offering up the first fruit as a whole burnt offering (ref. Genesis 4: 2-4). Israel was also to keep this statute at all times, as a reminder that they were "YHVH's firstborn" who did not belong to themselves.

Offering up these sacrifices, was not for the purpose of appeasing an angry god. It was simply to demonstrate that YHVH claimed that which belonged to Him through fire, that is, a burnt offering. However, Elohim never commanded the firstborn of man to be given to Him in this way, but did require, never-the-less, the parent to redeem the child with a specific animal or grain offering that was to be consumed by fire. The only one who was faced with having to offer up his firstborn in fire, as it were, was Abraham, whom YHVH addressed with the following: "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love… offer him there as a burnt offering"(Genesis 22:2). As a firstborn himself, Abraham knew only too well that his son did not belong to him. We know the outcome of the story, as it foreshadowed the greatest offering this world will ever know.

When instructing YHVH's people, Moses warned them that YHVH "your Elohim is a consuming fire, a jealous Elohim" (Deuteronomy 4:24). Thus, the first time that YHVH revealed Himself in fire was when He stood between man and the Tree of Life, at the entrance to the Garden of Eden as the flaming sword (ref. Genesis 3:24). He was again seen in a vision, when He cut the covenant with Abram, after the latter cut the animals in half: "And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces" (Genesis 15:17). Moses saw and heard Him in the fire that did not consume the bush (ref. Exodus 3:2). In the wilderness the People of Israel saw fire every night over the also tabernacle (Exodus 40:38). Above all, they witnessed the mountain burning with fire, when YHVH's voice spoke out (ref. Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 5:23-24). Nadav and Abihu, Aharon's sons, had a personal encounter with YHVH as fire, which consumed them, for offering up strange fire (ref. Leviticus 10:1-2). Elijah and the prophets of Baal experienced YHVH's presence, when He came down as fire and consumed the offering, the altar and everything around it (ref. 1 Kings 18:38). There are many more examples of YHVH revealing Himself as fire, but the main purpose for offering the firstborn as a proverbial burnt offering, was to show YHVH's "method" when He appropriates to Himself that which belongs to Him. The affect that fire has upon the object that it burns, in this case the sacrifice, is, if you will, a total fusion with the object while it is being consumed. In other words, it becomes one with the fire.

When John the Immerser came on the scene of history, and was baptizing in water, he said of Yeshua that He would immerse His people in the Spirit of Holiness and fire (ref. Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16). As evidence of this pronouncement, on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost) fire was seen over the heads of the disciples, as they were being filled with the Spirit.
The presence of the Spirit, in those who received it, has many meanings and functions, but the one that we are looking at is that of "fire" and its relationship to the burnt offering. We, who have had our identity as YHVH's firstborn nation Israel, restored to us by the Spirit, can expect to be placed in the fires as His burnt offering. YHVH is taking us back to Himself by placing us on the altars of situations and circumstances. "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah, (1 Peter 1: 6-7 emphasis added). This is why Yeshua came, as our kinsman redeemer and baptizer in the Holy Spirit and Fire, so that we, as a nation, will become that which was foretold about us: "The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau, for YHVH has spoken" (Obadiah 1:18).


Friday, February 11, 2011


Jan 29, 2010
In last week's letter, I mentioned Paul’s willingness to give up his life in Messiah for the sake of his brethren. It is hard to believe that anyone, after coming to faith and having revelation-knowledge of the “new creation” being, that we are in Yeshua, would be willing to lay it down for the sake of others. However, in the course of this week it dawned on me that Paul was willing to do that which was/is the kinsman redeemer's obligation, so that life could issue out of death.

The concept of “life out of death” is central to the redemption idea. Thus Paul became a witness, in his very being, to the traits which characterize the “new creation” person, brought forth in the image and likeness of his Redeemer, when he was willing to be cut off, or accursed, from Messiah “for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3). In essence, when Yeshua’s life through the Holy Spirit, invaded Paul, it came with the Redeemer’s willingness to give up his life, so that others may be its recipients. Paul made this principle also an essential part of his teaching: “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Yeshua, that the life of Yeshua also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Yeshua's sake, that the life of Yeshua also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:10-12).

Moses, too, acted as a redeemer par excellence, on behalf of the Children of Israel, when he addressed YHVH after the Golden Calf episode, begging Him to “forgive their sin -- but if not, I pray, blot me out [in their place] of Your book which You have written" (Exodus 32:32).

Our father Abraham laid down his life for the sake of his nephew Lot. This is seen after the battle, in which the four kings defeated the five kings. One of those was the king of Sodom, and since Lot was residing in Sodom, he was taken captive with all his belongings. Abraham, not only rescued his dead brother’s son, but also retrieved all that was lost by the five kings (see Genesis 14).

"No greater love has any man than he lay down his life for his brother" (1John 3:16). The one who is willing to do so is indeed acting as a kinsman redeemer, in the true sense of the word. Yeshua came as a first-born prince, and a potential kinsman redeemer in the family of Jacob/Israel. Why "potential"? Because He had to qualify through obedience; Yeshua had to show himself worthy in all matters pertaining to righteousness, by obedience to the will of His Heavenly Father, even to the giving up of His life. And so He said, “I come to do Your will” (Hebrews 10:7), and "I lay down my life for the sheep" (John 10:15).

These are characteristics of those who have been called into the redemption process. We, who claim to be the "body of Messiah," through the indwelling of His Spirit, have received this very nature and therefore should be willing to lay down our lives so that others might have life. However, what does that "laying down of life" translate itself into, in our daily experience? We have to walk in the Spirit by putting away the works of the flesh, which are seen as the deadly fruit (see Galatians 5: 19-21) of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The "execution stake's" lesson ought to guide us, causing us to identify with Yeshua when He said: "Forgive them they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Paul also says "that we are no longer to look at man after the flesh" (2 Corinthians 5: 16). This is not an easy transition, as sin is still working in us (ref. Romans 7:20), insisting that we identify ourselves with it so as to continue to be a vessel of its nature. At the same time, we really have no excuse for not gaining victory, as the power of another kingdom, which has come to destroy all the works of the devil, resides in us. The Spirit of the Redeemer reveals to us our death, when by faith we are identified to Yeshua's death, so that the life of Yeshua may manifest in our mortal bodies, thus bringing resurrection-eternal life to the rest of the family of Man. Daily we are challenged by the Word of Elohim to resist to the point of shedding blood (life is in the blood) in our striving against sin (ref. Hebrews 12:4), and to overcome by the blood (life) of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony, when we do not love our lives even to the point of death (ref. Revelation 12:11).

The messenger (the First and the Last, Who was dead, and is alive), reminds the congregation of Smyrna to be faithful even unto death, and that He will give to them the crown of life (ref. Revelation 2:8,10). Paul wept for those who did not press into death, in order to have the crown of life. He said of them that they were actually enemies of Messiah's stake. May we not be counted as the ones that he grieved over, but as those who join him in that pursuit of "life out of death". RIP



Between the dispersion of Israel (in 722BC) and deportation of Judah (in 586BC), YHVH raised up the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel through whom He explained in full to both houses the reasons for their predicament (in spite of the fact that the northern kingdom had already been sacked by then). At the same time, these prophets also laid-out, and elaborated on, Israel's future restoration and redemption.

In speaking to the elders of Israel, now beyond the Great River, Ezekiel reminded them of their history of disobedience and rebellion, but also how their Elohim had responded to their insurrection each and every time. YHVH had "acted for [His] name's sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom [Israel] lived, in whose sight [He] had made [Himself] known to [Israel]" (Ezekiel 20: 9). Before the Israelites came into the land of Canaan YHVH declared that He was not taking them there for their sake, nor because of their righteousness, but for His namesake, as they were a rebellious and stiff-necked people (ref. Deuteronomy 9: 5-7). However, He was still intending for them to be His witnesses to the nations, just as king David pointed out, that [YHVH] saved [us] for His name sake, so that His might and power would be known, along with His mercy and truth, for why should the nations say: "where is [Israel's] Elohim?" (ref. Psalms 106:8; 115:1).

Now, even though both houses of Israel were cast off, YHVH was continuing to watch over them, for He has not given up His covenants and promises to their ancestors. What's more, although His people had proven to be unable to uphold the Torah, YHVH obviously was not going to do away with His statutes, laws and ordinances, which govern His kingdom, His relationship with His people, nor their destiny. Because He was bound to His own nature and word, nothing was going to come in the way of His progressive plan, not even Israel's utterly fallen nature.

As we have seen all along, Israel was called and chosen as YHVH's firstborn nation, whose forefathers were of the firstborn linage (see chapter XI). They were His inheritance. YHVH even sealed His relationship with them with a very radical declaration: "Thus says YHVH, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (YHVH of hosts is His name): ‘If those ordinances depart from before Me, says YHVH, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.’ Thus says YHVH: ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says YHVH’" (Jeremiah 31: 35-37). But having said all this, YHVH had to embark on an undertaking that would transform the errant hearts which thus far have been in opposition to His plans and purposes.

Here is where a New Covenant comes into play. This covenant was not going to be like the one made in Sinai, which was contingent upon certain conditions and therefore dependent on Israel's ability to choose YHVH's righteousness, via a law written on tablets of stone. This new declared agreement was founded totally on YHVH's mercy and ability to remove the rebellious nature of sin from human hearts, and to grant forgiveness once and for all. The prophet Jeremiah records the terms of this new arrangement: "Behold, the days are coming, says YHVH, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah --"not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says YHVH. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHVH: I will put My Torah in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people…For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34). What a radical promise! Thus the Torah, its laws and statutes, will no longer present an insurmountable challenge. It is the Torah which is at the very heart of the new covenant, as the recipients' new hearts will be Torah-compatible by nature and disposition.

Yet, most amazingly this New Covenant declaration came at a time when Israel was already in exile and Judah was also facing deportation. The peculiar and deliberate timing of announcing this covenant attested to its veracity, and guaranteed that YHVH Himself would carry it out. He promised through Moses that He would raise-up another prophet like him (ref. Deuteronomy 18:15; 18). As we have seen, Moses was YHVH's servant-deliverer from the slavery in Egypt. But now He needed a deliverer, a savior, to bring them out of their slavery and bondage to sin, and to their naturally evil inclination. He needed to bring in a firstborn, a kinsman redeemer who would qualify for this office. This one would have to be both a prince and priest, after the order of Melchitzedec.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


October 23, 2009

Around and around and around we go, where its stops no body knows...or do we? You may remember this little rhyme from your childhood. The reason that this came to my mind is because of living here, in Israel. No, I'm not referring to the peace process, although it too could fit the "bill".

What am I referring to? As we know, only Jews can legally come to Israel as new immigrants (immigration to Israel is called Aliya). Descendants of Jews (those whose mothers aren't Jewish, or those who have at least one Jewish grandparent) are also eligible, if they can prove it. In such cases, even though they will not be defined as "Jews", their right to immigrate will still be granted. However, all Jews or descendants of Jews must produce proof, by way of synagogue attendance documents, and/or Bar Mitzva, Jewish marriage or burial certificates, which are then subject to an Orthodox rabbi's approval and the relevant authorities in Israel. If your Jewish parents converted to Christianity, you are, as mentioned, still qualified to make Aliyah, though as a descendant of a Jew only. If you are a Jew who converted to Christianity, you could face a very serious problem in that the Aliya organizations would not only label you a non-Jew, but one who has chosen to forsake their "Jewishness" and is therefore a pariah to the Jewish People.

In Israel today many claim to know who is NOT a Jew, more so than who is a Jew, and thus the merry-go-round keeps turning. The Orthodox, along with the government, do not regard Messianic Jews as such. The Messianic Jews, for their part, say that the Jews, or Ephraimites who lost their identity, and who are claiming to have found it when they came to the Messiah of Israel, are not Jews. The Ephraimites, of course, do not view themselves as Jews, while many Jews believe that all Israelites, "lost" or found, still have to become Jews. Some Messianic Jews, who find their identity in Messiah, decry the Orthodox for not being "real" Jews, or the secular, as all of these do not follow the biblical Torah. Some Sephardic Jews believe that the Ashkenazi Jews originate from the ancient people called Khazars, and so are supposedly converts and not authentic Jews. And so it keeps going around… Now to make things even more interesting, some researchers are actually finding that the Afghani tribes, from which hails the Taliban, as well as many of the Palestinians could be descendants of Jews and of the lost tribes. Would you agree that there is a lot of confusion? Does YHVH have a solution for this mess?

Scripture says that "a house divided against itself cannot stand" (ref. Matt 12:25). Could this be another reason, why slowly but surely the nation of Israel may in a few short years become a Muslim country? Aside from the latter's incredible birth rate, there is one more factor on hand. In case you have not heard, the Hanif Religion of Abraham is embarking on an effort to unite Christianity, Judaism and Islam, under the one true god – "Allah", who "has no partners". Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are the prophets of this religion with Mohammed being the last, although every generation has its messengers. I received an invitation to join them this past Sunday morning, probably as a result of sending (by mistake) last Friday's letter to someone in Jordan. If anyone is interested in the letter that was sent to me, I will forward it. It may be worth a read to see if this is the fishing net, that I pointed out in last Friday's letter, in reference to the first chapter of Habakkuk.

In writing to the Believers in Rome, the apostle Paul makes a statement that we too should take to heart: "I tell the truth in Messiah, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Messiah for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites [not only the Jews], to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Torah, the service of Elohim, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Messiah came, who is over all, the eternally blessed Elohim. Amen". (Romans 9: 1-5 emphases added).

How many of us carry this kind of burden for the children of Abraham "after the flesh, who are Israelites"? Paul then continues to define for us who he is actually talking about, please note that he uses "Israelites". "But it is not that the word of Elohim has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'In Isaac your seed shall be called.' That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of Elohim; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed" (Romans 9:6-8 emphasis added). Let me clarify, the children of Abraham after the flesh are not the children of Elohim. There is a difference between those born of the flesh, and those born after the Spirit. Then who are the children of Abraham after the flesh? They all are. However, the Word of Elohim has not failed, so Paul clarifies and differentiates between the flesh and the Spirit.

Who are the children of Promise? Paul explains his burden in a very clear cut statement: "For this is the word of promise: 'At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.' And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of Elohim according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, 'the older shall serve the younger.' As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.'" (Romans 9:9-13).

YHVH calls His children after those who are born from the womb of Sarah, and then chooses or elects Jacob from the womb of Rebecca. Paul was willing to give up his life in Messiah for the sake of those who were already named, "the children of Elohim". Does that mean only the "Jews", or also the whole house of Israel which is identified as the progeny of Jacob, including the multitudes that are still in the nations, knowing or not knowing who they are…?

As mentioned in last week's letter, under the caption "Warning", we are in the days in which the Spirit is turning the hearts of the children of the promise to their forefathers. I pray that all of us will have the same burden that Paul had for his brethren. Remember, YHVH said that He would send a strong delusion. Did He have our day in mind? That delusion comes from the "good" of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The unity of the three religions may sound like a good idea, for peace on earth good will towards men. But is it? Take a look at what is happening in Nigeria at the moment, to sight only one example. Will another nation fall into the hunters' net - the sword of Islam - or will they get caught in their "fishing net" and join that religion?



October 16, 2009

An extraordinary experience that a friend of mine went through during Succot is the subject of this letter. Some of you might know or know of Hanoch Young. Hanoch is an orthodox Jew, with a Yah-given passion for this present move of the Spirit of restoring the "lost tribes of Israel" to their identity. Recently, shortly after making Aliya (immigration to Israel), Hanoch participated in a Succot tour of the Shomron (Samaria). If the experience that he had written about would have been relayed by someone from a different background, I may have brushed it off. But coming as it does, so uncharacteristically, from an orthodox Jew I do feel that it is credible and worthy of consideration.

Hanoch had this "experience" on Mt. Gerizim, about which he wrote: "Har Bracha, the Mountain of Blessing, [is] about 2,800 feet (850 meters) up, overlooking Shechem, [the place] where the blessings… of the Torah were heard..... I walked towards the edge of the mountain (not TOO Close), and stood there, praying for Ephraim, for what I thought was 30-45 seconds, or so......until my daughter Kyra came to gently inform me that I had been swaying back and forth with my arms wide, for over 10 minutes, and people were 'worried' about me! What I experienced, was the very first, and only, 'vision' I have had in my entire life. I had looked out from Har Bracha, and saw the empty hilltops and the Holy city of Shechem....but what I "saw" was a city of Ephramites and Jews...there were the distinctive red tiled roofs. I "saw" Ephramite housing, farms, industry and roads, connecting all of those areas. I saw the sides of the mountains, 'terraced' for farms, and I saw Ephramites bringing the Land back to HaShem......No, I didn't 'imagine' it in my minds, 'eye' - I actually SAW it, as bizarre as that sounds.....seeing cars move, hearing the sounds of construction, seeing school buildings.....I was beyond 'freaked out' and really didn't speak much for the rest of the afternoon, evening - I was so overwhelmed at what I had been privileged to glimpse - the future.....I CANNOT express the feelings of joy and elation I felt, although, I also can't express the 'heavy' and overwhelming feelings that it was ME, who had to somehow, someway help make this happen. Not in the long term, but NOW.......not that I was going to do it, but I had to someway 'get the ball rolling." (end of quote).

I spoke to Hanoch about the vision and he filled me in on a few more details. I could almost envision it myself. We have been in those areas many times, and the feeling that one gets there is of "something awesome in the making". Back in the early eighties, we used to drive into those areas and read Ezekiel 36 to the mountains, hills, ravines and valleys. I truly believe that we could be on the threshold of the fulfillment of those scriptures. But first YHVH must bring the beginning verses of that chapter (Ezekiel 36) to pass. That means that YHVH is going to have to deal with our brother Esau (Ezekiel 35) and friends (Psalm 83).

All this calls to mind words penned by the prophet Habakkuk: "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:3).


October 9, 2009

When a sudden revelation dawns on us, we are often inclined to view it as a "free burst" of the Spirit, having nothing to do with any prior influences. A small episode that occurred last Monday compelled me to reexamine that idea. When going through some old letters and papers that I had saved back in the seventies and early eighties, I came across a letter from a friend in which we were discussing a certain text from a daily reader called, "Daily Overcoming" by Ray Prinzing. The author may be termed an old-school Pentecostal holiness preacher, although I'm not sure if that is how he would have defined himself. Back in the beginning of my "walk", in 1973, his writings were a great encouragement to me, long before the days of understanding the two houses of Israel.

In order to find the above-mentioned text, I had to dig out an old worn out copy with half of its pages missing. But “alas”, the pages that I had made reference to, in that letter, were not in the book. I did, however, remember that at some point I had saved the loose leaves in a binder, and so I eventually found what I was looking for. Here is what I read from the March 2nd page, titled "Election of Race"…

"Walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, as for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations." (Genesis 17:1-4 KJV). This is solely done by God, He chose the man to become the father of a race – a race that He had purposed to use to bless all mankind. What a Testimony of this man who was so tested and tried, found worthy of his calling, to become the father of many nations, and through his seed all nations to be blessed. But as a nation, Israel was called while yet in the loins of Abraham, and not because of their own greatness, even as we read, "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers…" (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). How sovereignly God chose this people to become His own elect [ref. 1Peter 2:9].

“Having been so chosen, bringing this people out of Egypt and into a land of promise, God worked many processes of testing proving what was in their heart, but as a nation Israel failed to fully qualify. They turned to serve other gods of the heathen about them. So He had to severely punish and discipline them, scattering them among all nations. "For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth" (Amos 9:9). But this is not the end, for God has fully used all the scattering, and has planned a time of gathering again, "what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" (Romans 11:15). Even now at present time He is drawing to Himself out of natural Israel those who become His Spiritual first fruits." End of quote.

Quite often we remain oblivious when a seed of the Word is sown into our hearts, where it may lay dormant until the mist of the Spirit causes it to germinate. I know now that even in the Lutheran Sunday School class, at the age of 6, when I was taught the Torah stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well as about a young lad in a multi-colored coat, the impression that the Spirit made upon my soul at that tender age was already like the "deep calling to deep". May those scriptural seeds that have fallen into the ground of our hearts, and had begun to grow there, bear the fruit that Abba had intended for them. May we, like our father Abraham, be found faithful as we “daily overcome" in all our circumstances, giving glory to our heavenly Father through Messiah Yeshua.



October 1999

For me the call to repentance on Yom Teruah, and beyond, was accompanied by a strong reminder about one of Israel's most infamous kings, who was notorious for his sins and iniquitous practices, namely "Ahab". Generally, it is Ahab's wife Jezebel who gets most of the attention, but more than anything she was a help mate and a compatible reward to a rebellious Ahab. What's more, it must be remembered that she was a Sidonian, a daughter of an idol worshipping king who, in all likelihood, served also as a high priest of his idol (Baal). Here is the very unambiguous portrayal of Israel's ruling pair of the day.

"Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of YHVH, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke YHVH the Elohim of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him"
(1 Kings 16:30-34).

It was in the day of this evil king, whose nation had also participated in the very same sins, that YHVH sent the prophet Elijah. It was while Israel was in bondage in idolatrous Egypt that Moses came on the scene. Yeshua, too, showed up during the height of Rome's decadence and evil practices of idolatry. Likewise, the contemporary conditions of the world, with its worship of humanism and the works of its hands, should give rise to the appearing, in some form, of an Elijah or a Moses in order to confront and deliver YHVH's people. Let me reiterate: Are we living in the times of the "two witnesses" (Moses and Elijah, see Revelation 11:3), and if they show up would we recognize them?

The Mount of Transfiguration scene could provide us with some clues as to what we are to look for. In this episode, Moses and Elijah are seen standing on each side of Yeshua while a voice speaks out of the cloud, declaring about Yeshua "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him" (Matthew 17:5). Why hear Yeshua, and not Moses and Elijah? Was YHVH pointing out that the words, as spoken by Moses and Elijah, were epitomized by "Yeshua the Word"? Was the Father implying that in the last days (the time of the “two witnesses”) Yeshua will be showing up again, only this time in a body of people that will represent Him as Moses the "Torah" and Elijah the "Prophets"? The religious leaders of Yeshua's day missed His first appearing, because they had it all figured out (or so they thought). How can we be sure that we are not missing his second appearing by misinterpreting or misunderstanding?

In Malachi chapter 4 we again see all three figures, this time as they appear at the end of the age. The reference to "the Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings", in verse 2, recalls the Transfiguration scene where Yeshua's face shone like the sun (ref Matthew 17: 2). In verse 4 Israel is exhorted to "remember the Torah of Moses and the statutes and ordnances…for all Israel" before Elijah shows up (verse 5), who "will restore the hearts of the fathers to the sons and the hearts of the sons to their fathers" (verse 6).

Before we are tempted, like Peter, to enshrine Moses in one succah and Elijah in another, let us ponder peacefully what this last Feast is really all about - not the "shadow" but the essence (ref. Colossians 2: 16-17). Yeshua, Moses, and Elijah could be standing in our very midst, through the Spirit of Holiness that is “tabernacling” in us, while we are sitting in our succah in a park somewhere or in our own backyard. Just something to think about.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Sept. 18, 2009

Our first stop in the United States this past summer was in Oregon, where we were invited to a conference called "Love for Israel", with the main theme being "The Watchman". As we were examining the scriptures to use for our breakout session, YHVH led us to Habakkuk 2:1-2: "I will stand on my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to [literally "in"] me, and what I will answer when I am reproved. Then YHVH answered me and said: 'Write the vision and make it plain on tablets that he who reads it may run".

The watchman comes up with this statement against the backdrop of Chapter One, where we find him observing what is taking place in his own backyard, with hostility, iniquity, wickedness, strife, contention, lawlessness, and perverted justice being commonplace (see vs 1-4). But instead of attending to his task, the bewildered watchman lodges his complaint before YHVH, who apparently is not being moved by this evil. However, YHVH is about to address His messenger's grievance, but will do so in an unexpected manner. Thus He proceeds to declare: "Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days-- You would not believe if you were told" (1:5).

YHVH then goes on to describe in detail the astonishing phenomenon to which He had just alluded, that is, the "Chaldeans" whom He had been raising up. In today's geopolitical terms the land of the Chaldeans is the heartland of Islam. Here is how YHVH depicts this people group: "… fierce and impetuous people who march throughout the earth to seize dwelling places which are not theirs. They are dreaded and feared. Their justice and authority originate with themselves. All of them come for violence ("hamas"). They collect captives like sand. They mock at kings, and rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress… (1:6-10). Responding to this prediction, the prophet/watchmen intones: "You, O YHVH, have appointed them to judge; and You, O Rock, have established them to correct…" (v. 12b). The watchman is now gaining understanding how the Judge of Israel will be dealing with His people who have strayed from His ways.

These "Chaldeans" are portrayed as hunters who are laying nets in order to capture their pray: "They take up all of them with a hook, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their dragnet…Will they therefore empty their net and continually slay nations without sparing?" (1:15-17 emphasis mine). The Hebrew word for "net" here is "cherem", being the very word that is used in Malachi 4:6: "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children [Heb. – "sons"], and the hearts of the children [Heb. – "sons"] to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a "cherem" [generally translated "curse"].

Interestingly, the watchman, as he is described in Chapter Two verses 1-2 is watching to hear what YHVH would speak ("into him", as mentioned above). How does one watch to hear? Obviously YHVH is putting his messenger through a season of training. To be well prepared for his task he needs to become one with the vision. In fact, he is also being reproved, so that he would become the very "proof" of this vision (similarly, "proof" is also embedded within the Hebrew noun used here for "reproof"). Therefore when time comes for passing on the message, there will be an impartation, or infusion, of the vision. The vision will be so clear, that there will be no guessing as to what is being seen and heard. What's more, in the injunction of making the message "plain on tablets" (2:2) is a hidden reference to the Torah, as if YHVH is responding to the prophet's earlier complaint, "the Torah is ignored" (1:4). "Making plain" is "ba'er", which is used only in Deuteronomy 1:5 and 27:8, in both cases in relationship to Moses expounding on the Torah. The verb b.e.r. shares its root with the noun "be'er", which is a "well". Thus, the elucidated words of the Torah are likened to deep and thirst-quenching water. Additionally, the watchman is told to inscribe these Torah-based words on "lu'chot", tablets, the very same word used for the tablets that Moses brought down from the Mountain, as well as for the "tablets of the heart" (ref. Is. 30:8; Jer.17:1). Could these references to Torah also have something to do with the above-mentioned Malachi 4:4, where YHVH charges His people to remember the Torah of Moses and its commands and warns of the consequences of turning away from them?

Once the watchman is fully prepared to pass on the vision, "the one who reads it may run" (2:2b) with a good cause, because he is to issue a warning to YHVH's people, to turn from their evil and wicked ways. Hence they are described as "… the proud one, his soul is not right within him…Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man, so that he does not stay at home. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and he is like death, never satisfied. He also gathers to himself all nations and collects to himself all peoples. Will not all of these take up a taunt-song against him, even mockery and insinuations against him, and say, 'Woe to him who increases what is not his-- For how long-- and makes himself rich with loans?' Will not your creditors rise up suddenly, and those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them. Because you have looted many nations, all the remainder of the peoples will loot you-- Because of human bloodshed and violence done to the land, to the town and all its inhabitants. Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house to put his nest on high to be delivered from the hand of calamity! You have devised a shameful thing for your house by cutting off many peoples; so you are sinning against yourself" (Hab. 2:5-10). This text is quite descriptive of what have been standard practices within the Judeo-Christian nations. The prophet Jeremiah warns that YHVH will first send the fishers, and then the hunters (ref. Jeremiah 16:16), which is once again a reference to Islam, as both Ishmael and Esau were hunters.

Will Ephraim, who has been dubbed "a watchman with my Elohim, a prophet;" (Hosea 9:8), pick up the mantle and follow through? Or will he be "a snare of a fowler in all his ways, [with] hatred in the house of his Elohim" (cont. Hos. 8)? Will he be the watchman/guard on Mount Ephraim who calls out, "let us go to Zion to YHVH our Elohim" (Jer. 31:6)? Or will he be likened to the "blind watchmen" and the "dumb dogs" who are "greedy" and "not satisfied" (Is. 56:10,11), much like those who were described above in Habbakuk 2:6,8,9 and 10?

At the Portland conference Ezekiel 33:7 was used as a launching pad: "Son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me". These words are couched in the following solemn context: "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet [shofar] and warns the people, then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet [shofar] and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet [shofar], but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet [shofar] , and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand" (Ezekiel 33:2-6).

On this Yom Teruah may the watchmen attend to their task and stand on the ramparts with the silver trumpets and shofars and blow a clear and distinct call to repentance (Daniel 9: 4-19; Nehemiah 1: 5-11; Nehemiah 9: 5-38)!