Thursday, February 23, 2012

Parable - Treasure

Just a quick reminder of a scripture that I may have overused somewhat in the past… It contains what I call ‘the Father’s objectives for His son’. YHVH sent a messenger to Miriam, to inform her of His intention to fulfill and accomplish His purposes for His people Israel, saying to her, "Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with YHVH, and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Yeshua. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHVH 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 1:30-33).

After Yeshua was anointed with the Spirit, He began to teach about the kingdom that He was to restore to Israel. One of the ways in which He presented the kingdom of heaven/of God from the Torah and the Prophets was in parables. Yeshua was not making up something new, but was expounding on the Word of His Father. He taught that, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Math. 13:44-46).

As we know from previous teachings, YHVH’s kingdom order has been in the family of Adam and Noah from the beginning, but because of sin it has not been fully realized. Thus, when Yeshua taught His disciples to pray, the first thing He declared was that His Father’s kingdom would come and that His will would be done on earth, as it is in heaven. It is apparent that there is no problem in the heavens, but the problem, if you will, exists here on earth.

The everlasting kingdom that Yeshua was to restore to the house of Ya’acov, on this earth, was the very same kingdom that He described in the parables.

If we look again at the parable of the hidden treasure, and reflect back on the Tanach, in search of a source for Yeshua’s symbolism, we will notice that YHVH calls His people Israel “His treasure”. “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine” (Ex. 19:5). "For you are a holy people to YHVH your Elohim, YHVH your Elohim has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth” (Deut. 7:6). “For YHVH has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure” (Ps. 135:4).

Just as the sown seed is buried in the field until it germinates and the new growth appears out of the earth, so must YHVH’s people be hidden for a season, as is also the case with the anointing of His kingdom-order, which is hidden within them. This anointing has been imparted to the seed by YHVH’s Word, which He spoke to the forefathers. Thus Israel is YHVH’s special treasure that He Himself hid in the field of His earth. Yeshua knew that the Father had sent Him to be the payment for reinstating His treasure in His home, Mount Zion. Following on the heels of the Parable of the Treasure, is the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price.

In the book of Revelation the gates of the New Jerusalem are named after the tribes of Israel, (see Rev. 21:12), and are described as made of one pearl each. “The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl” (Rev. 21:21). In this parable (of the pearl of great price), Yeshua is pointing directly at Israel as the Father’s special jewel. YHVH says about Ya’acov that he is His “bavat-a’yeen”, which is translated as the “apple of His eye”, but in actuality means the opening of the eye or the pupil, which has several ramifications. It can mean that they (Israel) are always the focus of YHVH’s vision (He does not see them from the periphery, but rather is looking at them directly). It can also mean endearment, or fondness, such as new parents would have toward their firstborn baby, hence the expression, “apple of His eye”. “For YHVH’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye” (Deut. 32:9-10). "Up, Zion! Escape, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon; for thus says YHVH – Elohey Tzva’ot [God of the Armies]: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye’” (Zech 2:7-8). Yeshua is also pointing at Himself in this parable as the one whom the Father has invested (that is, used as payment), in order to buy back this incredible jewel.

There are many reasons why it is so important to know who we are as Israelites (in the natural), but none so wonderful as the way in which our heavenly Father views us. We have been so abused, degraded and put down that our countenance has fallen to an all time low. We no longer see ourselves as special and unique, or unconditionally lovable. So many of us have our heads bowed down and the lies, that is, those unscriptural thoughts of unworthiness and worthlessness, are rolling around in our ‘hard drive’. But if we would hop up on YHVH’s scale, we would find Yeshua balancing us out as the weight on the other side. We must stop bearing false witness, and start believing what YHVH says about us. Through the pupil of His eye He sees us as precious as the treasure and the pearl of great price, not because of any of our own doings, but because of the rock that we have been hewn from: ”Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek YHVH: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him." (Isa. 51:1-2). This ‘rock’ was blessed with multiplicity and became like the sand of the sea. As we know, when one little grain of sand happens to be in the right conditions, it will ultimately become a pearl of great price.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Parable -- Seed


Our nation is in full swing at this time preparing for the unknown. America and Great Britain are determined to bring down the government of Iraq and disarm that nation (at least of its weapons of mass destruction). This present situation has been analyzed from every imaginable angle. YHVH’s Spirit of Holiness, however, continues to prompt this one little question from Peter: “What kind of people aught we to be?” (ref. 2 Peter 3:11). By this time we should not be surprised by wars and rumors of wars, nor should our hearts be troubled. YHVH has not changed His plan for His people Israel and Judah. As a matter of fact, I just read an article on Bush and Sharon, who are said to be bosom buddies since 9/11, and with the Israeli Ilan Ramon on board the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia, their two nations have been brought together as never before. Are we experiencing the jealousy of Ephraim departing, and are we about to see the enemies of Judah being cut off (ref. Isa. 11:13)? When we understand biblical prophecy and view it from revelation- knowledge (in this case, the ‘two house plan’), our prayer can become a statement of fact and faith, and not just a hopeful plea.

These past few weeks, upon being confronted about the validity of the two houses or two sticks “theory” (as some put it), the Father prompted me to respond to the challenge of the danger of apostasy and divisiveness, which it supposedly presents, with various parables of the “sower”.
“And He said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.’ Then He said, ‘to what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.’ And with many such parables He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples” (Mark 4:26-34).

When YHVH made the covenant with Abraham, He spoke the anointing of His Word into the life of that forefather, and then swore by His own name to remain faithful to him and to that Word. In the parable, just preceding the one quoted above, Yeshua explains that the seed that is sown is the Word. In the case of the covenant with our forefathers, YHVH’s Word/seed fell upon human seed , that is, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. YHVH promises to multiply and to sow that anointed (mashiach) seed into the earth, and sometime in the future also to harvest it. Remember the seed principle? No matter how many seeds one has, if it is of the same parent plant it will always be a singular “seed”. If a farmer, for example, sows wheat in his field, when the harvest comes he will (hopefully) reap a hundred fold of that same seed (singular).

Another parable tells about an enemy who sowed his seeds in a field, along the seed sown by the husbandman (ref. Matt. 13:24). These two different seeds grew together, but it was not until the harvest that the farmer could do anything about the plant that grew from the other seed. YHVH knows what seed He planted in the fields of this earth; it is the same one that has the life that came from the ‘father plant’, that is, “Abraham”.

Paul phrases this idea in simple words, “Abraham is the father of all those who have the faith (ref. Rom. 4:16). Then again, in his Letter to the Galatians he says that all those who are in Messiah are of the seed of Abraham (ref. Gal. 3:29). Paul wants us to know that it is those who are of the faith who are sons of Abraham (Gal. 3:7), for there is no way to be in Messiah except through that faith. Perhaps this is why in the Letter to the Hebrews, the writer states that YHVH only gives help to the seed of Abraham (ref. Heb. 2:16). Yeshua points directly, in almost all of His parables, to the order of His Father’s kingdom on earth. He knows who the pearl of great price is, or the treasure that is hidden in the field.

What is always amazing to me, is that we somehow try to use scriptures to back up our particular doctrines or beliefs, rather than allowing the scriptures to interpret themselves. We know that YHVH is fulfilling His Word to those that He had originally spoken it to, and that He is doing it in the way He had originally planned. Speaking to the whole House of Israel, in Ezekiel 37 for example, He tells the dry bones to come up out of their graves and to stand on their feet. He then infuses them with His breath, so that they may live. Is this not what has happened to us, who have received the “breath” or “Spirit of Holiness”? Did we not come alive with this breath? Were we not in our graves of “sin and death”? So how is it that we do not understand that those scriptures are pointing directly at us, as the “whole house of Israel”? We must stop twisting the Word of God to support our religious convictions, and let the Word speak for itself. We see through a glass darkly, yes, but when we shall see Him, Yeshua the Word, we will be known as we are known, for He is the kinsman redeemer of Israel. 14/02/2003

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Last Days

This is a follow up on last week’s letter of the Two Houses in the Last Days. The prophets of old mark these days with wars and great turmoil. Likewise Yeshua’s words about these days, also reiterate the same thoughts: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, `I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many, and you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:4-6). Most us don’t have any problem relating today’s world situations to what Yeshua or the prophets said on the topic. YHVH has given us the scriptures and this wonderful world of communication as a tool to reveal to us the truths of His Word.

So why are the kingdoms of this world being shaken? Is it because YHVH so hates the world that He is bent on destroying it? I do not believe that that is His motivation. YHVH’s true motive is always based on His nature, which is of course unconditional love. Why then all these ‘heavy-duty’ judgments? Could He be acting now in the same manner that He did in the days that His people, our forefathers, were in Egypt? But at that time too, YHVH wasn’t just being vindictive when He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, looking for a pretext for doing all that damage to the land and people of Egypt. He wasn’t trying to convince them that they were to repent from their ways and turn to Him (at least not directly). He was motivated by faithfulness to His word, and compassion towards His people. He wanted to establish them and His kingdom according to His pre-ordained plan, so that Egypt and the rest of the nations would know that He is the Elohim of His people Israel. He never once called Himself the God of Egypt, or the God of Amalek, but He did say repeatedly that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

YHVH says about Himself that He changes not. He is the God of Israel (both houses) and we still belong to Him, just as did our forefathers. We, who have come into the revelation understanding of our true identity, must face up to our history as His covenant people and to our relationship with Him, especially now that He has raised us from the dead spiritually, and restored our lost national identity (natural) through the new covenant. One scripture that we have quoted over the years, along with other Two House teachers, is Acts 3:19-21:

"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Yeshua the Messiah, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which Elohim has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

Our writing has been mainly focused on the restoration of our natural identity, as well as on what it means to be an Israelite and a firstborn in humanity. We have also touched upon the restoration of His kingdom to Israel. However, there is another ‘ingredient’ that we really haven’t discussed much, although it is very important to the redeemed Israelites. This ingredient is perhaps the major theme of the writings of the New Covenant books. It may be defined as, ‘who we are as the first fruit of a new creation order’. James wrote: “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures (James 1:18). Paul also says that “if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (Col. 5:17). Presumably, if that is the case, who needs the ‘old’ and natural Israelite, since now we are all new Israelites? Well, let’s not jump too quickly to conclusions. The Greek mindset would definitely analyze it from that perspective. However, the Hebraic point of view is able to integrate these concepts (otherwise there would be no male or female either, and things could become quite embarrassing in certain public conveniences).

The Hebrew word for firstborn, in Exodus 13:12, is “peh’ter”, meaning to separate, or first to open. Breaking forth and opening up the way was the responsibility and calling of a firstborn. Thus Yeshua was the first, of the first fruit nation Israel (in the ‘natural’), to break forth into the new creation life and existence (spiritually speaking). His birthing into this new life was a surety that the rest of His brethren would soon follow until “all of Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). And thus, once the Father brings forth His first fruit company of the ‘Adamic’ family, the rest of their brethren in the family of man will follow.

However, the question remains: having our restored identity now, what kind of people aught we to be in these days?
To be continued…
Ephraim 24/01/03

Thursday, February 02, 2012

two houses in the latter days

Before getting into the subject matter of this week’s letter, we must understand that there are two separate and distinct scriptural entities, namely the house of Israel and the house of Judah, and that each of them has its own specific prophetic destiny. But even though two, they are still bound to the calling which they have inherited from their forefather Jacob, that is to be one chosen nation of kings and priests. However, in the course of their history YHVH divided the nation into two kingdoms, for His purposes and plans that are directly related to the covenant that He swore to Abraham. It is also important to understand the first-born concept and its centrality in YHVH’s plan of redemption, and its connection to the two houses of Israel. Grasping the firstborn principle is paramount to the understanding of the latter day events, according to the Tanach (refer to letters 161, 162 on that subject).

Isaiah 8:14 presents the ‘two house’ truth: “He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to BOTH the houses of Israel”. As long as these two continue to stumble and take offense over the One who is their Rock, they will remain two distinct entities.

Many like to define the two groups as ‘Christians’ (Israel/Ephraim), and ‘Jews’ (Judah), as if they are made up of two religious groups, but we must realize that all tribes are represented in both houses, and that together they constitute multitudes of peoples which make up many ethnic groups. But for the purpose of this article, let us view them as nations. We have, then, the nation of Judah/Israel today, being made up mostly of Jews from Judah, and on the other hand, because YHVH is true to His word, there is also the other house (Joseph/Ephraim), which is made up of many nations (“the fullness of the nations” Gen. 48:19), even though most of them are unaware of their identity. These nations have been blessed by multiplicity, military power, and economic wealth (see Gen. 49:22-26). In the blessing to Joseph, through his son Menasseh, Jacob pronounced that he was to be a great people. However, as a great people the descendants of Manasseh would not be able to connect their greatness to the fulfillment of the prophecies about the people of Israel, as God had blinded them and caused them to forget (being the meaning of the name “Menasseh”) their identity.

In the midst of these two ‘houses’, there is yet one more that must be recognized, in order to understand these latter day happenings. The House of David plays perhaps the most important role in YHVH’s plans of restoration, as it is the seat of government for the other two houses. The House of David cannot be separated from the House of Judah, as the root of Jesse is an offshoot of that forefather. Yeshua the Messiah of Israel came to set up His Father’s kingdom in a restored house of Jacob (Luke 1:31-33). After atoning for sin, He began to call out from the multitudes of His people (both houses) a first fruit remnant, in order to “restore the fallen succah of David” (Amos 9:11; Acts, 15:16). There is, therefore, now a remnant that is filled with the Spirit of Holiness, His new creation life, and kingdom government (ref. Rom. 14:17) which constitutes the House of David. The expression of Yeshua’s life in the believer (now part of David’s succah) is not a religious expression, but the evidence or witness of His life and dominion.

We must not expect the multitudes of our brothers (from both houses), who have yet to experience salvation, to be like the remnant that had that experience, although they are still fulfilling (unawares) the prophecies that have been written concerning them. This is taking place not because they set out to do so, but because they are under the anointing of the Holy One of Israel, as He brings to pass His word regarding the latter day prophetic scenario.

One of the keys to understanding the end time scriptures is to watch for Judah’s lead. The Jews have never lost their identity, but have been preserved by the Almighty: “Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, I will save them by YHVH their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword or battle, by horses or horsemen" (Hos. 1:7). And: “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts [or rejected ones] of Israel [Joseph/Ephraim], and gather together the dispersed [or preserved] of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Is. 11:12).

In Ezekiel 37 we see that Judah’s stick (nation) is gathered first and is ‘written upon’ (v. 16). Then, during the latter rains, Judah is called upon as a nation to be “a mighty war horse in battle” (Zech. 10:1,3). During those days Jerusalem is restored to Judah, and is called to prepare for war against her surrounding nations (Joel 3:1-2,11). In these self-same days the Joseph/Ephraim stick is also to be gathered and is being ‘written upon’ (Ez. 37:16). And then the two are to join together in the war with the surrounding nations (Is. 11:13-15, Zech 9:13). These are a few of the scriptural descriptions and references that are to be fulfilled in what are called the ‘latter days’.

As we see, the nation of Judah today is back in her land; Jerusalem is again under Judah’s control, and the nations around her are hostile towards her. This hostility extends not only toward Judah, but also toward some of the Ephraimite nations of the West. Additionally, we see these nations, like the United States of America, in economic and military partnerships with Judah. These nations at this point in time are preparing for war with Judah’s surrounding nations. With impending war and other potentially catastrophic world events, it is necessary to gain an understanding of the prophetic perspective. When we know that all of this has already been predicted, and that in YHVH’s strategy it is as good as having already taken place, we can rejoice, for our full redemption is drawing closer.