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.