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).