Friday, June 14, 2013

Restoration of YHVH's Inheritance

According to Scripture, the “Two Houses of Israel” are two separate and distinct entities. 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 nation/kingdoms for His purposes and plans that are directly related to the covenant that He swore to Abraham. 

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 (emphasis added). 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 sects. In spite of that we must realize that all tribes are represented in both houses, and that together they constitute multitudes of peoples, which make up many ethnic and religious groups.  But for our purpose here, let us relate to them as nations. We have, then, the nation of Judah/Israel today, being made up mostly of Jews from Judah. On the other hand, because YHVH is true to His word, there is also the other house (Joseph/Ephraim), which YHVH has sown or mixed into many peoples in literally all nations: "Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples” (Hos. 2:8), being the “fullness of the nations” (Genesis 48:19), even though most of them are unaware of their identity. The influence of the multitudes of Ephraim, on some of these nations, brought about blessings of multiplicity, military prowess and economic wealth (see Genesis 49:22-26).  In the blessing to Joseph, through his son Menasseh, Jacob pronounced that they would become a great people. However, as a great people the descendants of the northern kingdom would not be able to connect their greatness to the fulfillment of the prophecies, as YHVH was going to blind them and cause them to forget their identity (which is indicated by the meaning of the very name “Menasseh”). 

Judah never lost its identity

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 Elohim, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword or battle, by horses or horsemen" (Hosea 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 [but preserved and recognizable] of Judah from the four corners of the earth(Isaiah 11:12).    

In Ezekiel 37 we see that Judah’s stick (nation) is gathered first (and indeed it was restored in 1948) and is also being ‘written upon’ (v. 16).  Then, during the times of the “latter rain”, Judah is called as a nation to be “a mighty war horse in battle (Zechariah 10:1,3). In the course of those days Jerusalem is restored to Judah (which was fulfilled in 1967), who is called to prepare for war against its surrounding nations (see Joel 3:1-2,11).  In these self-same days the stick of Joseph/Ephraim is also to be gathered and to be ‘written upon’ (Ezekiel 37:16). Sometime later the two are to join together in the war with the surrounding nations (ref. Isaiah 11:13-15, Zechariah 9:13).  These are but a few of the scriptural descriptions and references that have been and are yet to be fulfilled, in what are called the ‘latter days’. 

Our day and age

The nations surrounding Judah and Jerusalem are hostile and belligerent at present. Their hostility extends not only toward Judah/Israel also toward some of the Ephraimite peoples who are supportive of the Jews, and who are aligned with them economically and militarily (such as the United States).  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 been predicted beforehand, and that in YHVH’s strategy it is as good as having taken place already, we can rejoice, for our full redemption is drawing closer.

According to the prophets of old these days are marked with wars and great turmoil. 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’” (Matthew 24:4-6). Most us don’t have any problems relating today’s world situations to what Yeshua or the prophets said on the topic.  YHVH has given us the scriptures, His Spirit 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?  That is far from being His motivation.  YHVH’s true motive is always based on His nature, which is, of course, unconditional love, righteousness/justice and faithfulness.  All that YHVH does revolves around possessing His inheritance, and establishing His kingdom here on earth. “YHVH’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (Deut. 32:9).  YHVH sent His Son (Yeshua) to restore the House of Jacob (both houses) and set up His everlasting kingdom in and through them (Luke 1:31-33).

What then are these ‘heavy-duty’ judgments all about?   Could He be acting now in the same manner that He did in the days when His people, our forefathers, dwelt in Egypt? At that time too YHVH wasn’t just being vindictive, when He hardened Pharaoh’s heart. He was not looking for a pretext in order to harm the land and people of Egypt. Neither was He trying to convince them that they had to repent from their ways and turn to Him (at least not directly).  He was motivated by faithfulness to His word and compassion toward 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 was 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 was 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, His inheritance and to our relationship with Him, especially now that He has raised us from the dead spiritually and restored our lost national (natural) identity 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.”

Ephraim                                                                                              16/04/04

Friday, June 7, 2013

From Shadows into the Light

 “In Your light we see light” (Ps. 36:9). 

One of the most troubling scriptures for Christians who are having their Hebraic roots exposed by the Spirit, is Paul’s admonition to the Colossians:  “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the body of Messiah” (Col 2:16-17).  There are many who perceive these words to mean a renunciation of the Feasts and Sabbaths. A more careful reading, however, reveals that Paul is simply stating that these are shadows of things yet to come; in other words, these special days have a prophetic significance.   But, now, as believers, we are actually stepping out of the shadows and are moving into the reality of the true meaning of these special days.  “For it is YHVH who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yeshua the Messiah” (2 Cor. 4:6). This is why Paul says that no one can be our judge in regards to these “shadows”, but the body of Messiah, for we have His light (Spirit) which shines into these Torah scriptures eliminating the shifting shadows.  Paul was not telling us to break the Father’s commandments, but rather to keep them in the light of their true meaning. 

Those of us who are believers and are honoring this Feast, should ask the Spirit to unveil to us the truth of the apostle John’s words: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).  Please note, it does not say from “some sin”, but from “all sin”!   Sin is the leaven that leavened our lump of life, but after the sacrifice of the Lamb and the shedding of His blood, celebrating the Feast of Unleavened Bread (e.g.) is quite clear and natural.  In order to be freed from the contamination of the power of sin that can still work in our members, we must, by faith (which means to walk in the light), be identified to that sacrifice.  Paul plainly states that, “if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:14-16).  "I have been crucified with Messiah; it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”  (Gal 2:20). “For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God” (Col 3:3).  That is why the day after the Lord’s Passover (the 15th of Nissan or Aviv) is a “Shabbaton”, that is, a Shabbat-like day, a celebration, because of the removal of the body of sin on the previous day.

Paul’s passion was to present us blameless (without leaven) before our heavenly Father through the preaching of Messiah Yeshua, and Him crucified.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Yeshua the Messiah, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Messiah reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  Now then, we are ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Messiah's behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:17-20). 

The above words reveal Paul’s understanding of the revelation that was given to him on the road to Damascus.  Later he put that faith into action, when he wrote:  
“For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom 7:15-17).  Paul was able to separate himself from sin because he knew the truth of the Passover and of the Feast of Unleavened bread.  It was no longer a shadow, but a living reality in his very being.  

If the body of Messiah is to judge these matters (Col 2:16-17), then we should no longer be in the shadows when celebrating these feast days and Shabbats, but truly be in the light as He is in the light, which means to walk in the Spirit for we “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9).  “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)” (Eph 5:8-9).  “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness” (1 Thes 5:5).

“For with You [YHVH] is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light (Ps. 36:9).