Wednesday, July 25, 2007


May 14, 1999

Continuing the scene from the letter two weeks ago (2 Sam.19), we have arrived at the point where the Two Houses meet at the fords of the Jordan. Did love and mutual cooperation unite the two brothers, and did they bring the king back together to Jerusalem? Oh no! Having David as their king was not enough! The old old story of resentment and jealousy immediately irrupted. A remnant from the northern tribes, as we mentioned previously, went down 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 possibly to select another king. 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 actual fighting. This may have caused them to deduce that Elohim's hand was in the matter, 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 Elohim's righteousness: "That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of YHVH, that He may be glorified" (Isa. 61:3). In our day and age, many leaders in the Church system are also finding these oak trees dangerous, especially the longer the "hair" of self-exaltation, or self-glorification is.

After their defeat, the tribes of Israel all fled to their own tents (congregations), and spent the time disputing, arguing and quarreling amongst themselves (2 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 and leave them alone, under the rule of a 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. (Is this reminiscent of Church history?) 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. (2 Sam. 19:10-11)! These perplexed Israelites were further embarrassed when David sent for Judah to come down to Gilgal. Judah, than, quite typically, resented that fact that the Israelites were there.

Please take note of the following small, but yet moving, episode (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,” along with other of Saul's servants, went with Judah. This group of Benjamites was made up of those who were mocking, cursing and throwing stones at David when he left Jerusalem, (2 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, ("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 first hand.

Meanwhile, more and more of the Israelites 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?'" (2 Sam 19:41). Ephraim did not want to be left out, or should I say, pushed out, or be bullied out by His older brother. So, he lodged his complaint: "that’s not fair! It was my idea in the first place to bring the king back!" (v. 43); 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 attack? "… 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?" (2 Sam 19:42). Does this response have anything to do with Ephraim's complain? 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. 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?’" (2 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 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"(2 Sam 19:43). The argument must have been quite intense, but the lion's roar won over 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, they 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, and despise Ephraim's presence and newly-found identity? 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 warning: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent”(Rev.3:19).


Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together (shevet achim) in unity…in this God commands the blessing life eternal" (Ps. 133)

Sunday, July 15, 2007


May 7, 1999

"'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.

The elders of Judah then sent 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 Judah. Judah'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 humb ling 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.


Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity…for in this God commands the blessing life eternal (Ps. 133).