Thursday, December 20, 2012

YHVH's counsel

Letter 199  (YHVH”s counsel)   10/10/03

“The counsel of YHVH stands for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose Elohim is YHVH; and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance (Ps. 34:11-12). “For YHVH'S portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance” (Deu. 32:9). “For I am YHVH, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal.3:6). What encouraging words for those of us who have seen and experienced personally the fulfillment of Malachi 4:6 “And He will turn the hearts of the fathers  [Patriarchs] to the children [their  progeny/seed], and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse"! We now have no doubt about the faithfulness of YHVH, His loving-kindness and His tender mercies.  We also have the advantage of understanding the “counsel” of YHVH as it refers to this generation of His nation (“inheritance”).  Even the head of the first church in Jerusalem, James, addresses his letter to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad, and speaks to them about a Father of light who has no variation or shadow of turning (see James 1:1, 17).  James then continues with these words: “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:18).  Is this “exercise of His will” going to be contrary to the promises that He made to our forefathers?  Is He now going to establish a lie, by choosing another inheritance?

YHVH said that “Ephraim is My first born [first fruit] (Jer. 31:9), andIsrael is My son, My first–born” (Ex.4:22). YHVH has remained true and consistent to His word.  Knowing this fact is vital to our faith, because had He not stayed faithful to Israel His covenant-bride, and had gone out after another nation, we would have an adulterer for a husband.  Likewise, if we preach another bride and another inheritance, we become a false witness; “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaks lies shall not escape” (Pro. 19:5). Even the commandments tell us not to bear false witness, especially against God.  We, of the redeemed remnant of the lost sheep of the House of Israel, are to sing a new song; “Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with aloud noise. For the word of YHVH is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Ps. 33:3-4).

 What works?

“Therefore thus says YHVH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed;, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he sees his children, the work of Mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the Elohim of Israel. They also which erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine” (Is. 29:22-24).

Do we fully understand the responsibility that comes with knowing who we are, and what our purpose here on earth should be?  We are the first-fruit of the new creation order, called to be the servant administrators of YHVH’s kingdom here “on earth as it is in heaven”.  His order in humanity has never changed. It was decreed that Japheth will dwell in the tent of Shem, not visa versa. However, within the “tent of Shem” there is also the order of the first-born. The Patriarchs were the ones to inherit this “tent”, which houses YHVH’s presence. Therefore for humanity to come into the “presence”, the tent has to be fully restored. 

As we celebrate the Feast of Succot this year let us remember who we are, as the first-born is a type of “Succah” (temporary dwelling place of the Most High). As such, we are exhorted to purge and cleanse ourselves that we might be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master’s use and prepared unto every good work.  We are to flee youthful lusts and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace and call on YHVH with a pure heart (ref.  2nd Tim 2:21-22). Before Joshua brought our forefathers across the Jordan into the land, he asked the people to sanctify themselves:  “Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow YHVH will do wonders among you” (Josh 3:5).  I sometimes wonder if the reason why YHVH is not doing wonders among us is because these vessels are not yet fit for the Master’s use.  
In the days of Nehemiah the Torah was read during the entire Feast of Succot, and was celebrated with much joy and feasting. But on the last and eighth day (Hoshana Rabbah), they sanctified themselves with fasting, sackcloth and earth upon their faces.  They read from the Torah one fourth of the day, and the rest was spent in repentance and worship (ref. Neh. 8-9).

“On the last day, the eighth day [Hoshanan Rabbah], that great day of the feast [of Succot], Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’" (John 7:37-38). 

The Holy One of Israel is working today in the area of sanctification, and those who are responding in obedience are receiving healing and deliverance in ways that are almost unprecedented.  YHVH is preparing us today to be, as mentioned above, the administrators of the new creation life, which will flow out of our innermost being.  He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the indwelling Spirit of Holiness (ref. 2nd peter 1:3), therefore we can walk in newness of life and in the more excellent way.

I am reminded of an old song we used to sing in ‘days of old’ at fellowship meetings. Here are some of its verses:
There’s a river of life flowing out of me,
Makes the lame to walk and the blind to see,
Opens prison doors sets the captives free,
There’s a river of life flowing out of me. 
Spring up O well within my soul…
Spring up O well and make me whole…


Saturday, December 01, 2012

An Article from Deut. 29 and 30

Letter 197 (Nitzavim)                                                                   19/09/03

In the Torah reading of NITZAVIM  (Deut. 29:10 – 30:20) we find the chosen people standing before YHVH.  They have just received another covenant (Deut 29: 1) and awesome commands which enumerated the consequences of obedience and disobedience (the blessings and the curses).  But were they ready for the final oath that would catapult them into something so fearful, yet so promising as this covenant with the Elohim of their fathers?  The conditions were clear, and so was their inherent weakness (which would make meeting the requirements almost impossible).

How could YHVH subject these men, women and children to such laws, when He already knew that they were born of the “sin nature”, and would thus miss the mark of Torah and suffer the consequences?  Moshe said to them:  “Yet to this day YHVH has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4). How unfair it all seemed, or was YHVH concealing His plan in the darkness of the “mystery of iniquity” (2nd Thes.2:7, also Eph.2:1-2)? 


“YHVH has not yet given you...” In this short phrase we see that YHVH holds Himself responsible for the future success, or failure, of His plan.  Even after the flood YHVH declared that, “man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21).  Because of this inherent condition, Moses, under the anointing of the Holy One, begins to prophecy the destiny of the Hebrew people:  “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations, where YHVH your God has driven you…” (Deut. 30:1). Before the Children of Israel had a chance to prove themselves, or even to make any kind of free will choice, YHVH already knew what would happen to them, because of the condition of their heart.

As mentioned, YHVH had made Himself accountable regarding the covenant that He made with the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a covenant replete with blessings of land and fruitfulness that would multiply and spread to all nations.  But this covenant (‘of Moav’), issued before entering the land was conditional.  Standing before YHVH, they are looking toward the land that they are about to enter, the land of milk and honey promised to their forefathers.  However, the conditions for remaining in the land are now hanging over their heads like a seething prophetic refining pot. "But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess” (Deut. 30:17-18).  It was as if YHVH was using this conditional covenant as a tool to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, and preparing the way for an even greater promise.


History reveals that YHVH was true to His word, even though the potential consequences of the Moav Covenant may be interpreted as negative and even disastrous (abounding in curses and not blessings).  Some may even venture to condemn the generations of our forefathers for failing to live up to the righteousness of Torah.  YHVH, aware of these weaknesses, built into the Sinai Covenant the sacrificial system for atonement and forgiveness of sin to be in effect year after year throughout the cycles of the feasts.  But did the Sinai Covenant take care of the condition of the heart?  Obviously we would have to answer: “no, it did not”. In fact, it did the very opposite, revealing the corruptness of the heart.  Yeshua pointed out this condition, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (7:21-23).  This is why Yeshua describes the religious man as a white washed tomb. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Mat. 23:27-28).

How was YHVH going to have a People that would become a holy nation (Ex. 19:6), and be His witness (Isa. 43:10,12)? As Moses continues to prophesy we are given one of the first glimpses into the mystery of the will of YHVH (ref. Eph. 1:9-10), and into a covenant that would once and for all deal with the condition of the heart:  “YHVH your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live” (Deut. 30:6).  A door of hope was left open; the destiny of the people was sealed by the prophetic word. The irrevocable calling upon them as YHVH’s people could not fail.  YHVH said: “I WILL”, thus leaving no doubt that it was not going to be by the will of man, nor by might, nor by power but by the Spirit of the infallible Word/Torah of YHVH.


The seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was called out for YHVH’s namesake, called and chosen to be His firstborn (Ex. 4:22, Jer. 31:9), and, yes, to become YHVH’s possession and inheritance (Deut. 32:9). YHVH was not obligated to take care of them because of who they were. Their seed would become His witness and light to the nations because of His name, and the love that He had for their forefathers (Acts 1:8).

The prophet Ezekiel reiterated these same promising words many years later: “Therefore say to the house of Israel, this is what YHVH Elohim says:  ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.  I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord’, declares YHVH Elohim, ‘when I show myself holy in you before their eyes.  For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my Torah.  You will live in the land I gave your forefathers, you will be my people, and I will be your God’” (Eze 36:22-28).

Through His covenant-relationship with Israel, YHVH was literally putting His head, His “Godship”, His name (nature) on the “chopping block” of humanity.  If He would not have been faithful to carry out His word, His covenant promises, to His people, especially to Abraham, then our faith and trust in Him would be to no avail, and the bible would simply be a book of bad jokes.

Step by step and line upon line God was setting the stage for the final covenant that would accomplish His purpose for the ages. It would be a blood covenant of grace and mercy, a covenant that would embody, fulfill and absorb all the previous covenants. This covenant would include a divine act of circumcising the heart, changing our very nature, in order for us to be able to love YHVH our Elohim with all our heart and with all our soul, and keep the commandments and live.  This future covenant guaranteed life, because of the unconditional, unchanging, unfailing love and faithfulness of the God of Israel.


Standing before YHVH is often seen as a time of consecration and sanctification, therefore just as our forefathers stood before YHVH, let us stand before this portion of His word, examining its prophetic past and its reality and fulfillment for today.  May we conclude and say ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ to a Father who is sovereign, just, faithful and true` who keeps covenant and shows mercy; who gives grace and truth through His Redeemer – Messiah Yeshua - who gave His life not only for us but TO us.

Surely, we who have received the grace of the New Covenant, having a circumcised heart that we may understand, eyes to see the reality of the Kingdom of YHVH and ears to hear His Word, can agree with the statement from this week’s portion: “Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.  It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?’  No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it” (Deut. 30:11-14).


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The second nation

Letter 196  (The second nation)                                                                       12/09/03

In letter 191 (the second stick/tree), I pointed out that after having gathered the first stick/tree or nation of Judah, YHVH is now in the process of gathering the tree/nation “of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim and all Israel”.   I suggested that the government of this second nation is not like that of Judah (at this point in time), but is based on the rule and reign of the Son of David/Son of God, Yeshua Ha-Mamashiach

It is taking a special work of YHVH, through the Messiah, for the nation of Joseph, in the hand of Ephraim and all Israel, to be gathered again. This nation was declared to be “not My people”, and the ones that YHVH had “no mercy” on (Hos. 1:6,9).   Paul calls this etz/tree the “wild olive branch” reminding its ‘members’ not to boast, as they only stand by faith: “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear” (Rom. 11:17-20). Neither Abraham nor Sarah could boast in their flesh at the birth of their son Isaac, as his emergence into life was a miracle just as it is written: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence(1 Cor. 1:27-29). 

The northern house of Joseph/Ephraim (or the ten lost tribes) became the lump of clay that was made into vessels of dishonor. They were the “foolish, weak, despised and which are not”, as mentioned above.  However, “Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump [Jacob] to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” (Rom 9:21). By identifying the subject of the preceding statement with the same people whom Hosea (1:10) was addressing, the apostle reveals a mystery that we are not to be ignorant of (see Rom. 11:25). “As He says also in Hosea, ‘I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved; and it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, “You are not My people,” there they shall be called sons of the living God" (Rom. 9:25-26). YHVH gave Ephraim/Israel over to wrath (that is, sin and death), just as He did to the rest of the sons of disobedience, or the heathens. “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:2-3).

Paul also describes Israel’s plight in Romans chapter one: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened; professing to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:18; 21-22).   Even though these words may pertain to all humanity, the expression “those who knew God” is a reference to those who “knew” the truth (Torah) but suppressed it in unrighteousness.  Who were the ones “who knew God”?  These scriptures are very similar to others, such as in Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 78 and 106 etc. that speak of Israel 

Peter, addressing his letter to “not My people”, describes them as foreigners or aliens in the nations. The Greek words that are used here are very revealing“Peter, an apostle of Yeshua the Messiah, to the strangers [or aliens - parepidemos] scattered [diaspora] throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect [eklektos] according to the foreknowledge [prognosis] of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:1-2).

In last week’s letter I pointed out that the apostles had no reference for the new covenant revelation, other than the Tanach.  Keeping this in mind, let us examine the Greek words and see if there is a connection between the Tanach and the terminology used in Peter’s introductory statement.  “Parepidemos (Strongs 3927) is one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there alongside the natives, or sojourning in a strange place.  Who were the ones living outside of their own territory, who were actually aliens alongside the heathens?   Where did they come from?  The next word indicates that they were a dispersed (diaspora #1290) people.  In chapter 2, Peter, quoting from the Prophet Hosea, calls them “not my people”. Who were scattered or dispersed among the nations?  Peter, like Paul, uses another Greek word to describe them, “eklektos” (#1588), which is an elect or chosen nation. They were the ones that the word “prognosis” (#4268) was applies to. That is, YHVH had foreknowledge of them, or had pre-arranged their sowing into the nations and then put His life and light in them that they might be a blessing and a light to the rest of humanity.  Again, I must ask, where did the apostles get such notions, other than from knowing about those to whom the promises were given in the first place?   

Let me reiterate, the second/nation is not like Judah’s.  Peter, quoting from the Torah, calls this people, “a holy nation and a royal priesthood” (Ex 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:9). He then follows it up with a quote from Hosea 1:10; 2:23, reaffirming their ancestral identity. In other words, he is describing a nation set apart for holiness; a body of people that have the life and nature of their Elohim in them.  Paul also refers to them in his letter to the Corinthians, as the “temple of the living God”, and then quotes from Leviticus 26:12 “I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (2 Cor. 6:16). They are to manifest His righteousness through faith in the finished work of the crucified Messiah.  This will also be the future destiny of the House of Judah, but YHVH must first fulfill the prophesies that have to do with Judah’s present circumstances: “For YHVH will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle… they shall be like mighty men, who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. They shall fight because YHVH is with them, and the riders on horses shall be put to shame.  I will strengthen the house of Judah”, and I will save the House of Joseph (Zech. 10:3,5-6).


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Shabbat Shalom (continued)

Letter 195 (Shabbat Shalom)     05/09/03

Following last week’s letter of “Shabbat Shalom”, I would like to share a few more thoughts on this very theme. Last week I mentioned that in his letter to the Colossians Paul had asserted that the weekly Shabbat was a shadow of “things yet to come”. Pondering on the subject, it had occurred to me that in this context Paul might be referring to the seventh epoch of creation.  In our day and age it has been suggested by some Bible scholars that we are in the waning hours of the sixth day of humanity.  If this is true, then we need to perk up our ears and take note of the instructions that our forefathers were given (in the wilderness), namely to gather on the sixth day a double portion (of the manna), as on the seventh there would be none.

Yeshua told the parable of the ten virgins, five wise and five foolish. The wise ones trimmed their wicks and went out while it was still day to buy oil for their lamps, just in case the bridegroom would come during the night hours (see Matt. 25:1-13). In Biblical terms the day starts in the evening, and so if the coming of the seventh day is going into the night we must make sure that we have plenty of oil for our lamps, or if we use the manna imagery, we must make certain that we have enough for the approaching ‘day’.  Secondly, are the ten virgins in this story a reference to the ten lost tribes, those that have been redeemed through the new covenant and are now looked upon as a chaste virgin?  “Again I will build you and you will be built, O virgin of Israel: you will again be adorned with your tabrets, and go forth in the dances of them that make merry.  You will yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters will plant, and shall eat them as common things” (Jer. 31:4-5).

Now to this week’s thoughts regarding the writings of the apostles in the light of the only scriptures that they had, that is the Tanach (Old Testament).  In order to explain their revelation, as they received it from the Holy One, there is no doubt that Yeshua’s apostles used words and terms that they were familiar with from the Hebrew Script.   Let us bear in mind that the New Testament was compiled almost 400 years after the apostles had composed their letters, and that by that time the (gentile) Church was persecuting the Jewish Messianic communities and moving away from its Hebraic roots.  So we, who are reading and studying the word from the New Covenant writings, must keep in mind their true origin. We therefore have to rely on the Holy One to teach us and to interpret for us the letters of the apostles from the viewpoint of the Tanach.  With all that said, I want to look at a couple of scriptures from the letters to the Romans and to the Ephesians, pointing out a few words as examples for further research and study.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30).

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will(Eph 1:4-5).

Who are the subjects of these letters, that is, the “them” and the “us”, who have been called, chosen and predestined to be justified/sanctified and glorified? Who are the “called, chosen and predestined” in the writings of the Torah and Prophets?  I would propose that Abraham and Isaac were the “called”, Jacob the “chosen”, and the latter’s progeny were the “predestined” to be redeemed through the new covenant, as well as to be sanctified, justified and glorified. 

If we were to read the writings of the apostles from what we have learned about the will and purpose of the God of Israel for His firstborn nation, His elect people, His inheritance, the people for His name sake, we would find an amazing revelation of His faithfulness to His word and to the covenant promises that He made to our forefathers.  We would be dumb-founded at the love that He has for them and us, their seed, even in the state of sin and iniquity.  His mercy truly endures forever and His justice to all generations.  I hope that you will study these words in depth in the Tanach, and then go back and read the letters of the apostles and see if what they are saying does not line up with the whole counsel of YHVH.  It is rather sad that too often we rely on ‘Constantinian’ churchmen to define for us what the New Covenant writings are all about, instead of lining them up with that body of writing (that is the Tanach) which was the very soil from which their revelation sprouted and grew.

There is much deception and counterfeiting going on in Babylon’s various religious systems.  This is why our perspective of YHVH’s plan of redemption and restoration must be rooted in the Torah and the Prophets.  YHVH is intent on reconciling two sides of the same family, house and nation.  I am quite sure that He is not bringing two or more religious systems together, calling it the “One New Man”. If such a bogus creature should ever come into being, it could perhaps be termed “One New Religious Man”!

YHVH is in the process of restoring us back to the Garden of His delight (Eden) and that has to do with a pure, holy and glorified relationship with Him, through the death, burial and resurrection of our Messiah. 

“Thus says YHVH: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am sanctified in them in the sight of the nations, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob” (Ez. 28:25).  This conditional statement upon returning to the land obviously does not pertain to the House of Judah/Israel, but to the second stick/nation that is being gathered, that is, the tree/nation of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim and all Israel (ref. Ez. 37:16).


Monday, October 29, 2012

Shabbat Shalom

 “Shabbat Shalom”!   This is a greeting and salutation that one hears echoing all over Israel every Friday and Saturday.  Is there a prophetic proclamation herein?  This greeting obviously announces the coming day of rest, the Shabbat rest that YHVH established after He completed His work.  “And on the seventh day YHVH ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And YHVH blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it He had rested from all His work which He created and made,” (Gen 2:2-3).  Inherent in the seventh day is a blessing.  Thus, upon entering this seventh day rest we are blessed, and might I add, sanctified too. Halleluyah!

When our forefathers “passed over”(of the root “avor”, which also serves the word “Hebrew”) and came out of the Land of Egypt and into the wilderness (Ex. 16:22-28), YHVH established this ordinance of a seventh day rest.  Why? “And you shall remember all the way which YHVH your Elohim led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in you heart, whether you would keep His commandments, or not,” (Deut. 8:2).

The seventh day rest was one of the first commandments that YHVH asked the nation of Israel to obey.  Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, said it was a shadow of that which has yet to be revealed.  The weekly Shabbat is therefore prophetic, but as mentioned above, is also a blessing. The author to the Hebrews shed light upon the “shadow”, when he explained why our forefathers in the wilderness never entered the rest.  They hardened their hearts through disobedience, “wherefore (as the Holy Spirit says), ‘Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness. When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years…’  And to whom did he swear that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief,” (Heb 3:7-9; 18-19). 

YHVH told Moses to say to the nation of Jacob: “Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel… But if you shall indeed obey My voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to you enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries,” (Ex. 19:5-6; 23:22).

As His redeemed nation in this generation, have these conditions changed for us?  Does YHVH still require us to obey/listen, or does He just turn His back on our unbelief and says: “Well done rebellious and unfaithful servant”?  

Our forefathers, who were an example to us, had to learn to listen from their first test of obedience.  The word in Hebrew is “sh’ma”, which has a double meaning. It means both to listen and to obey. When they wandered in the desert, they had to trust YHVH for their daily provision - one day at a time.  If they tried to store manna for a second day, it spoiled.  However, on the sixth day they were to take a double portion, enough for the seventh day too. Amazingly it did not spoil.  However, if anyone went in search of manna on the seventh day, none was to be found. Here again we see that the Shabbat contains a double portion of blessing, but it is also YHVH’s  first test of obedience in our walk with Him toward the  promised place of rest and of total provision. Please note, obedience to the voice, or word of YHVH is not legalism, it is all part of the relationship. “If you love me you will keep my commands” (1 John 5:3).
You shall bring them in and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, in the place, O YHVH, which You have made for Yourself to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O YHVH, which your hands have established,” (Ex. 15:17). The Hebrews were on their way from slavery to a place of rest, but they had to cross, or pass through, the wilderness which was a place of no natural provision. YHVH promised He would bring them out of Egypt and plant them in the mountain of His inheritance, the place which is made for His dwelling, the sanctuary which His hands have established as His resting place. 

Where and what is Elohim’s mountain dwelling, or sanctuary? “For YHVH has chosen Zion; He has desired it for his habitation. This is My resting place forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it,“ (Ps 132:13-14). Coming into the place of God’s dwelling is coming into rest - into His rest and His peace.  A place of  “Shabbat Shalom”, a place of total trust in “He who is my life” (Col. 3:4).

We, as the body of the redeemed Ephraimite nation, the second stick or tree of YHVH, are to call out: “Arise, let us go up to Zion to YHVH our Elohim!” (Jer. 31:6). On our way up we can proclaim “Shabbat Shalom”. To come into His presence on Mount Zion is to enter into His rest, which is an eternal blessing. How do we get there? “Those who love His name [that is, who He is] will dwell in it,” (Ps. 69:36b).  Here we see that when Moses and Yeshua laid down the first of all the commandments, “to love YHVH our Elohim with all our heart and with all soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength,” they were in essence saying, “come abide in the dwelling place, in the true Shabbat Shalom”.  This eternal rest can be seen in the second of the two commandments, “love your neighbor as yourself”.  Loving our neighbor-brother as our own self makes us doubly blessed, as we enter into a peaceful relationship with our Elohim and with one another.

Come out of the desert; Let us arise,
Come gather at the river where the Lamb is the Life.
Come to the river that flows from His throne,
To His Mountain of Blessing - to His Shabbat Shalom.

The next time we say “Shabbat Shalom” may we be prophetically declaring: “Come let us love Him and let us go up together to worship YHVH our Elohim in His holy mountain of rest.” Shabbat Shalom!

Ephraim                                                                                                          29/08/03

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yeshua's return part II


Continuing to follow the scene described in the last post (in 2 Sam.19), we are now at the point where the “two houses” meet at the fords of the Jordan.  Will love and mutual cooperation unite the two brothers?  Will they bring the king back together to Jerusalem?   Will having David as their king suffice?  Or, will the old - old sibling rivalry of resentment and jealousies interfere in the occasion?

A remnant from the northern tribes, as we mentioned previously, had gone down to Gilgal in humiliation to invite the king back.  From this we may infer that they did not humble themselves but rather, that they had “egg on their faces” and were embarrassed by the defeat of Absalom, their chosen leader. Their only alternative was to possibly select another king, or invite David back. The defeat was extremely degrading, not because David's army was more powerful and clever, but because the forests of Ephraim claimed more lives than did the fighting. This may have caused them to deduce that God's hand was in the matter, and therefore they had no alternative but to reinstate David. What's more, Absalom, their leader, was also “overcome” by a large oak tree, as he hung by his head and long hair in its branches (2 Sam.18:9). In scripture trees are sometimes connected to God's righteousness: "That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified" (Isa. 61:3). In our day and age these proverbial oaks also pose a threat to would-be spiritual leaders, especially to those, who like Absalom, flaunt an elaborate self-glorifying “coiffure”.

After their defeat, the tribes of Israel all fled to their own tents [local congregations], and spent the time disputing, arguing and quarreling amongst themselves (2nd  Sam.19:9-10). What were they fighting over? They had remembered how David delivered them from their enemies and saved them, time and time again from the hand of the Philistines; but they could not understand why he would flee, leaving them to be ruled by his rebellious son. Did they have a choice in the matter? Could they have stood up and opposed this would-be leader? Instead, they had chosen to serve Absalom whole-heartedly, and were even willing to fight against some of David's faithful servants. [Does this sound familiar, invoking memories of latter episodes in the history of the Ephraimite people, such as when they became entangled in their various denominations?]  However, after the defeat, a remnant of them decided to go and ask the king to return. But lo and behold, the king ignored their request (2nd Sam. 19:10-11)! These perplexed Israelites were further embarrassed when David sent for Judah to come down to Gilgal.  When the Judeens arrived and saw that their Israelite brethren were already there, they were quite upset, to say the least.

Please take note of the following small, but yet moving, episode right in the midst of this sibling rivalry (v.16-20). When the time came for David to cross over, a repentant man by the name of Shimei (root of "to listen") of “Benjamin, from the house of Joseph,” (even though most of the tribe of Benjamin were in Judah), along with other of Saul's servants, joined Judah. This group of Benjamites was made up of those who had mocked, cursed and thrown stones at David when he left Jerusalem, (2nd Sam. 16:5-8).  However, now they were truly repentant, and "rushed down to the Jordan and brought across all the king's household, and did what was right in the eyes of the king". This small company of Benjamites, that is those ("listeners" from the "son of the right hand") of the house of Joseph (v 20), were not only the first to see the king of Israel, but were also the ones to experience his heart of compassion, mercy and forgiveness. I wonder if there just might be a few around today, who have the heart to repent and to do what is right in the eyes of the king…

Meanwhile, more and more of the Israelites (or Ephraimites) were coming down to watch the procession crossing the Jordan. Their internal quarreling had stopped, but now they were incensed with Judah. When the latter escorted the king across the river, the jealousy of Ephraim (Israel) finally broiled to the surface. "Then all Israel came to the king and said, 'why has our brothers from Judah stolen you away, and brought the king and his household and all David's men with him over the Jordan?'" (2nd Sam 19:41).  Ephraim did not want to be left out or, rather, pushed out or even bullied out, by His older brother. He therefore lodged his complaint: "That’s not fair! It was my idea in the first place to bring the king back!" (v. 43 paraphrased).  This would seem a mere logical conclusion, right? Unfortunately, Ephraim’s sense of inferiority demanded a touch of favoritism, and measure of recognition. Having failed in his attempt to get his way, he flared up in anger.

What was Judah’s reply to this emotional assault? "… The king is a close relative of ours. Why then are you angry over this matter? Have we ever eaten at the king's expense? Or has he given us any gift?" (2nd Sam 19:42). Does this response have anything to do with Ephraim's complaint? Poor Ephraim, always outwitted by his Jewish brother! Indeed, there did not seem to be any favoritism on the king’s part toward Judah, yet Ephraim's hurt feelings of pride, jealousy and anger surfaced, and not altogether without reason. To add insult to injury, Judah was not willing to walk with that remnant of Israel to escort David across the Jordan.   In fact, Ephraim's very presence, as already pointed out, gave rise to Judah's contempt. Still confused over Judah’s remarks, Ephraim made his next mistake by a business-like approach: “And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, 'we have ten shares in the king; therefore we also have more right to David than you. Why then do you despise us?’" (2nd Sam 19:43). We have ten shares in the king, they boasted. “Big deal!” So what's that to Judah? He can take his two shares and make them into one hundred well before Ephraim even begins to think about investments. “Yet the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel"(2nd Sam 19:43). The argument must have been quite intense, but the lion's roar won the conflict and left Israel even more frustrated and devastated. Thus, their only recourse was to disassociate themselves from Judah.  With these words they were going to teach Judah a lesson: "We have no share in David, nor do we have inheritance in the son of Jesse; Every man to his tents, O Israel.” Bear in mind that this all took place in front of the returning king.

Following this, the Ephraimites found themselves another leader, a worthless man, a Benjamite. This was just like Ephraim, who, when rejecting Judah's legitimate position of leadership in the family, always ends up with leaders who will be happy to take him up every mountain, as long as it is not Mount Zion (see Eze 34)!

Today, as back then, a remnant of the lost sheep of the House of Israel has been longing for the return of the Messiah, waiting at the fords of the Jordan for Him, but lo, here comes the Judeans, the natural branch; kinsmen of the Messiah.  They have gotten their act together and they are coming down as "one man" to Gilgal.
What will happen this time? Will the New Covenant love, the Torah written on the heart, win out?  Will Ephraim call out: “Let us return to Zion,” or will he call out "we have no share in David, nor do we have an inheritance in the son of Jesse, every man to his tents, O Israel"?  Will Judah continue to persist in their rejection, despising Ephraim's presence and newly-found identity?  Will they again say in this generation: “We don't need your help in bringing the King back, nor do we need you to return to the land! THIS LAND HAS BEEN GIVE US AS A POSSESSION!" (see Ezk. 11:15).

Will the two brothers love one another and accept each other’s role in this chosen generation in the family of Jacob, in the family that has been called to become a royal priesthood and a holy nation; the one new man, the first fruit of the new creation, a light to the nations? Or will their testimony to the nations continue to be enmity, strife, jealousy, resentment, hatred and divisiveness? 

Redeemed of the Lord, from Ephraim and Judah, if we do not accept God's prophetic plan, which has been summed up in the New Covenant, and repent of these ancient attitudes our eventual togetherness and unity will come forth only as a result of the following: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent”(Rev.3:19).

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Yeshua's Return (part 1)

Yeshua’s Return                                                             15/08/03

"'What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!' So Israel departed to their tents" (1 Kings 12:16).

These words were said by the people of the House of Israel to the people of the House of Judah, on the day that YHVH decided to divide the United Kingdom of Israel after King Solomon's reign. However, this was not the first time that Israel had addressed the House of David in this way. As we know, before all Israel accepted the leadership of David's rule, David had reigned for 7 years, from Hebron, over the House of Judah. Interestingly, it was only after he had conquered the Jebusite city of Jerusalem, that Israel joined Judah and the House of David's regime. But David's rule was interrupted, and he stepped down allowing his rebellious son Absalom to take the scepter in Jerusalem (2 Sam 15:14). At this juncture, David fled and stayed beyond the Jordan, in the city of Mahanaim, which means "encampment" (this may have been the place where Israel camped before entering the Land). David waited there, and did not go out with his army against his son. But even after the war and his son's death, he still did not go up to reclaim his rightful place in Jerusalem. Why?

Absalom's army was made up mostly of the Israelites of the North, who after their defeat fled each to his own tent. We are also told that all the tribes were quarreling amongst themselves (2 Sam.19:9). They had anointed Absalom king, but now he was dead, so what were they to do? They had committed mutiny "big time." They had rejected God's anointed one and anointed their own king. How then could they face David?

Unfortunately, this scene reflects the state of the Body of Messiah today, as many have appointed or hired for themselves men as "overlords", while Yeshua, has to flee and wait, until this war with religious flesh is over. What's more, this condition is usually conducive to quarreling. In spite of this, Yeshua, by His loving faithfulness, occasionally knocks at the door of the rebellious heart and beckons it to turn around and repent (Rev.3:20). 

According to the account in 2 Sam.19, a remnant of the House of Joseph went down in humiliation and invited David to return. However, he still had not come up. His reasons for not doing so may reveal, by inference, why the Messiah King of Israel, Son of David, also tarries at the gate of the "encampment," in the wilderness beyond the Jordan, and will not come back to reign in Jerusalem. In David's case, it was only a remnant of the House of Joseph who had invited him to return. Praise God for the remnant!
David then sent his two priests, Zadok and Abiathar, to speak to the leaders of Judah. Listen to what these two had to say to David's kin: "Why are you the last to bring the king back to his house, you are my brothers, are you not my bone and my flesh?"(2 Sam. 19:11-12) Amazingly, these words turned the hearts of all the men of Judah.  I pray that this would be true of the House of Judah in our generation; may they likewise acknowledge the greater Son of David and invite Him back to Jerusalem.

At this point the elders of Judah dispatched word for the king to return, but David only came up as far as the Jordan.  He waited for Judah to come down to Gilgal, which they did as "one man," in order to meet the king. Gilgal was the place of the second circumcision, and the rolling back of the reproach of Egypt. (Josh. 5:2,9). Could it be a pattern for today, as the Messiah will wait for the House of Judah to first realize that they are "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh"? (Rom 1:3, 2 Tim 2:8).   In other words, Judah, you are the natural branch, (Rom 11:21) for the Messiah was from the shoot that sprang from the root of Jesse in the house of Judah (Isa.11:1).  

Judah's recognition of their ancestral ties to the king caused them to act as "one man," to repent and come down to "Gilgal". However, natural lineage was not the only reason for David's return to his house in JudahJudah's kingly position, scepter and leadership in the family also had to be respected and honored ("the Jew first"). As mentioned above, David first ruled in Judah. David also knew that if only one house recognized his God-given anointing, the kingdom divided would not stand. Could it be that until the Messiah has a United Kingdom - when Judah and Ephraim are willing to walk together under His Kingship, His rule and His divine order in the family - He will have to stay "put", just as it written about Him, "whom heaven must retain until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets from of old”? (Acts 3:21). This also applies to Ezekiel 37, and also to other many unfulfilled prophecies.

Is it possible that Messiah's return is contingent upon the Two Houses humbling themselves, repenting and forgiving each other for the years of jealousy, enmity, strife and murder? Is He waiting for them to come down to Gilgal? Is he waiting for Ephraim to repent of his anti-Semitism towards Judah, his very own Semitic brother, the brother about whom Ephraim declared not to have any part of?  Is He waiting for Judah to repent of their arrogant pride and self-righteousness, thinking like their forefathers did, when Ephraim (the House of Joseph with its ten portions) was banished and rejected?  For Judah boisterously said to this idolatrous house that they should go far from YHVH, "THIS LAND HAS BEEN GIVE US AS A POSSESSION" (Eze.11:15). Have these traits of possessiveness and pride been carried over to this very day?  Has Ephraim become, in the eyes of a remnant of Jews, but a ghost of the past, an enigma to be erased from memory because they were an embarrassment to the family?  The prophet Amos, speaking to those who were at ease in Zion (Amos 1:1), warned them that judgment was near because they were sitting idly listening to the sound of stringed instruments, inventing for themselves musical instruments like David, drinking wine from bowls, and anointing themselves with the best ointments, but were not grieved over the affliction of Joseph (see v. 4-6).

 Maybe Ephraim's brother wanted to forget, but YHVH said that he had not forgotten Ephraim (Jer. 31:20). And just as a little reminder to Judah, this is what YHVH had spoken to you about the House of Ephraim: "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary to them in the countries where they have gone"' (Eze. 11:16). Has not Messiah Yeshua, the rock of Israel, been their sanctuary for these past two thousand years? Or have they stumbled over the stone along with Judah, as recorded in Isaiah 8:14? "He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel." In light of this, it may be a good idea to pay attention to what YHVH said to the House of Joseph in the following prophecy, a word that came right on the heels of the Jewish leadership staking claim to the entire land.

     "Therefore say, `thus says YHVH Elohim: I will gather you [House of Joseph or Ephraim] from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel."' In the following verses the prophet turns directly to Judah and gives a prophecy to them about what will happen to Ephraim. "And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there". Can you imagine Ephraim doing that? "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" (Ez. 11:17-20).  Later, these very same words were spoken to both the Houses of Israel (Eze 37 and Jer.31). To be continued.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

sticks or nations

"As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions'” (Ez. 37:16).

In this famous Ezekiel 37 passage, YHVH tells Ezekiel to pick up a stick, or “a tree”, “etz”, and to write Judah’s name on it. After he completes the task YHVH tells him to take another “stick” and write Joseph’s and Ephraim’s names on it (Eze.37:16). YHVH is clearly focusing here on Israel’s two houses (see also Is. 8:14).  He even challenges the people of the two nations, by telling the prophet to hold the two sticks up in front of their eyes. Upon seeing them, they will inquire of him:Will you not show us what you mean by these?” (Ez. 37:18).

YHVH tells them what these two “etzim” are, although He doesn’t do it directly. Instead, He foretells their destiny. In the context of this prophecy He answers their question, saying that these are two nations divided into two kingdoms (ref. v.22).  The first of the two nations that YHVH exiled out of the land was the northern kingdom of Joseph/Ephraim. We can read about their prophetic destiny in Hosea chapter 1 (and in many other biblical references).  Later, the nation of Judah was also cast off their land for the same reason - iniquity and sin.   Both these peoples were expelled from the land and scattered into all the nations.  Thus both lost their national identity.  However, according to His word, YHVH intends to restore both “etzim” (trees/nations).      

When the time finally came for the restoration of the two nations, Judah’s stick/nation appeared before Joseph’s.  This order has been true in the family of Jacob all along, as Judah was born before Joseph and had taken the leadership in the family from Reuben (who had lost his firstborn privileges).  Even the apostle Paul recognized this order in the family of Jacob, when he wrote: “to the Jew first” (Rom 1:16; 2:9-10).  Yeshua also came first to the people of Judah, as did the outpouring of the Spirit of Holiness. 

In the last hundred years, YHVH has been restoring by His Spirit the national identity of the House of Judah.  Once this first “etz” was brought back to the land, the Spirit began to unveil the “hidden ones” of the House of Joseph/Ephraim.  Why would He do this?  Obviously to fulfill His word that He spoke through His prophets of old.  Because YHVH is faithful, He will gather the second of the two “etzim” trees/nations and restore it as well, just as He did the first one.  But in order to have two trees become “one in His hand”, He must first have two separate and distinct “etzim”.

How did He bring about the restoration of the first “etz”?  When the time came He stirred the hearts of a handful of Jews, and they responded to the call.  So it will be with the second nation.  There are a number of us who have been stirred for years over this move of the Holy One of Israel.  So far we have only seen the Spirit bring back to remembrance our ancestral identity as Ephraimites, but is that all there is to the story?  No!  We, also, like our brothers from the first “etz”, must become a nationally recognized people (the second stick/tree).  We obviously cannot be of this first nation of Judah; we must be of the second tree/stick, and have our own government and national identity, just as the prophet was told to write: “For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.”

It should be apparent that our government is a theocracy ruled by a King.
This King must be of the House of David and anointed by YHVH to rule over His nation (Jacob/Israel).  Every subject must pledge allegiance to the King and His government - the Spirit of Holiness (ref. Rom 14:17). We all should know by now who this King is, and be mature in our responsibilities to serve Him.  The angel Gabriel, sent by YHVH, announced before His birth who He would be:  "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Yeshua/Jesus (which means salvation). "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHVH will give Him the throne of His father David. "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:31-33).  Paul and Barnabas, after returning to Antioch, preached the gospel in a synagogue, confirming that the gospel is about Yeshua the Messiah Son of David (Acts 13:32-44).

At this point in time the Greek-originated form of government, that is, democracy, governs Judah.  This is why it becomes paramount that Yeshua Son of David governs us, who form the second tree/nation.  Yeshua returned to His Father in the heavens in order to take up residence in the hearts of His called out ones, and govern them through the Spirit of Holiness.  The establishment of an Ephraimite nation here on this earth will not work without each of the subjects having this kingdom dominion in his heartBoth Judah and the Palestinians declared their national identity before they had a piece of land to call their own.  Thus, we must not be ashamed of our national roots either, especially since we have a government not of this world order.   Peter, writing to the aliens, that is the “people living along side, or in, the heathen nations”, tells them that they are a Holy nation (ref. Pet.1:1; 2:9). He tells them that to be a nation and to have a national identity is perfectly acceptable, even while living amongst the other nations.  This is what Judah did 50 years before the other nations recognized their national identity (although there are some that still do not acknowledge its existence).  We too must raise the level of our consciousness at this time, to be compatible with the prophetic word concerning us.  Ephraimites, we are the second stick or nation. But because we have a righteous King, after the order of Melchizedec, ruling us, and a holy government in our hearts, we remain at this point a separate and distinct “etz” (nation) from Judah!  We have to become accustomed to being obedient bondservants and subjects of our King.  

May we all “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith for do we not know this about ourselves that Yeshua the Messiah [son of David] is in us” (2Cor. 13:5)!

Ephraim                     08/08/03

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Letter 190 (restoration)                                                        01/08/03 

We hear a lot these days about renewal, restoration, and revival. The move of YHVH’s Spirit is making itself known in many corners of the globe.  However, are these showers of refreshing only an indication of the ‘much more’ which is to come?   The following scripture would indicate that this indeed is the case: “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of YHVH; and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the periods of time of restoration of all things about which YHVH spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times”  (Acts: 3:19-21). ).  It is very interesting to note that the Hebrew word for “restore” is the same as for “repent” - “shoov.”  This term also has other shades of meanings such as: to turn back to a starting point, to come back home, recall, recompense, recover, refresh, relieve, requite, rescue, retrieve, reverse, reward.

As we journey back to the “ancient times”, we find the prophets quite consistent about a “restoration”, especially of the house of Jacob. One of the first assignments given to the Messiah, for example, was: “to bring Jacob back in order that Israel might be gathered to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel” (Is. 49:5). “The [two] sticks on which you have written shall be in your hand before their eyes; and say to them, ‘thus says YHVH; ‘Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.  And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all, and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all’” (Ez. 37:20-22).

The restoration of the “falling booth [succah] of David” (united Israel), in Acts 15:16, is another example of Jacob’s restoration as a national entity.  The angel speaking to Miriam about Yeshua said that, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHVH will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).

The last verse written by the last of the prophets from the “ancient times”, Malachi, also has to do with this latter day restoration: “He will restore [or turn]  the hearts of the children to the fathers  (Mal. 4:6).  Who are the children? Who are the fathers?  In the Tanach, the word “fathers” almost always refers to the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the word “children” to their progeny, or seed.  

Throughout the scriptures we see YHVH working or doing things secretly, things that are hidden from the eyes of our understanding; For example when YHVH multiplied the seed of Abraham, He did it without the Patriarchs’ knowledge, as we see in the following passages: “You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not recognize us, yet You are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name” (Is. 63:16). “Therefore thus says YHVH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; But when He sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name’” (Jer.29:22-24).   

In YHVH’s prophetic time He will reveal, lift the veils and bring to light that which He Himself has hidden.  Are we in that great hour of revelation-restoration, when the sons of Zion arise and shine with the light that comes from the glory of YHVH (ref. Is. 60)? Are these the times of the restoration of the two sticks, the two nations, or the two families? Are the children yearning for their true identity? Are they looking for their roots, and desiring to return home sometimes without even understanding why?  Is this the time in which YHVH Himself is acting upon the hearts in answer to the prayer of our forefathers: “Restore us to Yourself YHVH, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old” (Lam.5:21)?

“I have surely heard Ephraim grieving ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for You are YHVH my Elohim’” (Jer. 31:18). Is this the time when God’s blazing judgments upon the house of Joseph end, and His loving kindness and compassion begin? Ephraim (the whole house of Joseph) was called a gentile, not my people, an outcast, the banished ones and an orphan.  But now, in the Messiah, the Ephraimites are called vessels of mercy, watchmen, priest of the most High God and sons of the living God.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness.  I will gather you from the remotest parts of the earth, with weeping you shall come, with supplication I will lead you; a great company you shall return here [to the land] for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn” (Jer.31:3, 8-9).

The above statement to the Ephraimites is of paramount importance to their restoration and healing, especially from the wounds of rejection and torment.  Ephraim has been an orphan for over 2,500 years, and therefore does not know the Father’s love.   These returning sons need to receive into their heart this word from a loving heavenly Father: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness”.   Because of their losses orphans many times are filled with bitterness.  There is one sure way of getting rid of these tormenting spirits, and that is to embrace the Father’s love through His Son and our Messiah Yeshua.

“Therefore behold days are coming, ‘declares YHVH, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As YHVH lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but ‘As YHVH lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them, for I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers’” (Jer.16:14-15).
“In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel [Ephraim], and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave their fathers as an inheritance” (Jer. 3:18).