Sunday, July 13, 2008


A few days ago we went to Jerusalem to listen to a well-known Christian speak on Ephraim and Judah. He started off by quoting Ephesians 2:11-13: "Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh----who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands----at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah."

He then proceeded to tell those Gentiles that they were grafted into Judah, and that they should therefore identify with Judah much as Ruth did with Naomi. With that he explained that as the old House of Ephraim has been cut off, they, the "other nation", is now grafted in its place, making up the new Ephraim (in the Spirit). Using Hosea chapter one, he told his listeners that Ephraim became "not my people," although, granted, some of them may come back with the Gentiles. The Ephramite or the Ten Lost Tribes’ identity, however, is not really important as they are grafted into Judah and become a part of the commonwealth of Israel - the one new man - like all the other Gentiles. Incidentally, it is these same Gentiles that are looked upon as the strangers working in the fields and tending the flocks (Isa. 61:5), and not as co-heirs having the same rights.

Although the speaker's exhortations, to be identified with Judah and to become rooted in the Land of Israel were strong and passionate, his replacement doctrine, which substitutes Joseph with the Gentile Church, was grievous, to say the least. I believe if one would ask the house of Judah, if it was okay for the church to come and live along side of the Jews here in the land out numbering them 100 to one, I have a feeling that they would have a war on their hands. I agree that scriptures are very clear that the Messiah would restore both Houses, and that they would live on the land given to their forefathers. But sure He did not mean the gentile church but a repentant Ephraimite. Yes, there may be foreigners living amongst them, but the majority would be the natural descendents. These foreigners join Israel because they see that YHVH is with them.

The House of Joseph was to bear witness to the faithfulness and mercies of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joseph's prophetic "stick" in the hand of Ephraim was to become a multitude in the midst of the earth, "the fullness of the nations" (Gen.. 48:19). However, as a single people (Menashe) they were to be blessed in their forgetfulness and thus relegated to a heap of scattered bones in the Valley of Jehosaphat ("God's judgements"). But in spite of this time of living under the "rod of God's judgement", or the blessing and the curse, as prophesied by Moses before they even went into the Land of Israel the first time (see Deut. 29 and 30), YHVH declares (in these same prophetic scriptures) that He will not forget the covenant, and will establish it for "His own name sake".

In Zechariah 10, we see the prophet announcing the destiny of the Two Houses in the latter days. Judah was to return to the land and become a mighty war-horse. They were also to stretch the tent pegs (of the land). This certainly has been fulfilled, at least in part, as Judah-Israel has become one of the most powerful military states in the world. They have also been forced to stretch their boundaries over the years. And now, the peace process, whereby land is to be traded in for "peace," will actually lead to the fulfillment of the scriptures that speak of an all-out war with the surrounding nations. (ref. Joel 3, Isa. 11, Ez.36 to mention just a few). The reason for Judah "making room" is so that Joseph can come back to Lebanon and Syria. "I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am YHVH their Elohim, and I will hear them. Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in Yahoveh. I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; they shall increase as they once increased. I will sow them among the peoples, and they shall remember Me in far countries; they shall live, together with their children, and they shall return. I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, until no more room is found for them" (Zech. 10:6-10).

Please note that while YHVH is strengthening Judah, He also goes out to the nations to save Joseph. Judah has no problem today flexing her muscles, but Joseph certainly is having a hard time accepting the fact that he is the one being saved out there and being a recipient of the Spirit just as prophesied. However, Joseph has shepherds who are leading him up all kinds of religious mountains. "For the idols speak delusion; the diviners envision lies, and tell false dreams; they comfort in vain. Therefore the people went their way like sheep; they are in trouble because there is no shepherd. My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the goatherds" (Zech 10:2-3; see also Ez. 34). But thanks be to YHVH! He has poured out the spirit of Elijah to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and to raise watchmen on the hills of Ephraim to prepare the way of YHVH, by calling out: "LET US RETURN AND GO UP TO ZION THE MOUNTAIN OF YHVH".

The last thing that Joseph did, which is also the last fact recorded in the book of Genesis, was to request that the sons of Israel take His bones back to the Land of Israel, at such a time when they would be brought out of Egypt. It is this act of faith for which the writer to the Hebrews recognizes Joseph. (Heb.11:22). However, once they did bring his bones back, why wasn't Joseph laid to rest in Hebron with his fathers? Why did they bury him between the two Mountains of Blessing and Curse? Was it because his bones were to bear witness to the God of Israel's righteous judgements (the blessings and the curses)? Were those bones to be one of the final prophetic statements of the Elohim of the Genesis? Isn't it YHVH Elohim who keeps covenant? Is He not going to gather those bones from all the places where they have been scattered, breath life into them and make them stand-up to be His mighty army in the earth?

In the waning hours of this age, the Messiah son of David is standing as the captain of this army, ready to take charge of his faithful remnant from both Houses of Israel. "I will bend Judah My bow, fitting the bow with Ephraim the arrow, and raise up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and I will make you like the sword of a mighty man. Then YHVH will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightning. YHVH will blow the shofar, and go with whirlwinds from the south" (Zech. 9:13-14).

Friday, July 4, 2008


September 24, 1999

It is interesting that in these very days, during which the Palestinians are making their largely unchallenged claims in the United Nations regarding Jerusalem, the first reading for Succot from Zechariah 14 says that "all the nations [will be gathered] against Jerusalem" (ver. 2). It appears that this tidal wave, which is about to sweep our shores, cannot be stopped. Even a circular, which we received a few days ago from the Judea, Samaria and Gaza ("Yesha") Settlers' Council, concedes that protests, something they are trying to organize, "do not always produce immediate fruit…." This, being especially so in a society which, according to the wording of the leaflet, "is no longer as widely opposed, as in the past, to handing over territories to Arafat, and to the establishment of a Palestinian state." It almost sounds as though even the Yesha Council (representing many of the settlers) is cognizant of the inevitable… But let them read on in Zecharia 14, all the way to verse 11, where security is promised for Jerusalem, and on to verses 20-21, where everything culminates in being "HOLY TO YHVH."

Biblical prophecy never seems far and distant in our everyday reality here in Israel. The words of the prophets are as relevant, and more, than those in the printed and electronic media. But as we all know, the God of Israel is not the God of this region only. In the past several weeks we have witnessed His greatness outside of Israel.

At this point may we say "shalom" to all of you, after a break of almost two months? During the latter part of August our family was in Ireland, both in the republic and Ulster. Abba led us step by step daily, as we didn't have a tightly structured plan. The beauty of the place and the "provision" of weather conditions to match (in a place where the climate tends to be temperamental), revealed once again His greatness and His beauty. We had several divine appointments, in one of which we found ourselves in the home (since we stayed in different "bed and breakfast" homes every night) of Believers who are intercessors for Israel, and are planning to come to the land next month! We had a wonderful time with them, and found out more about the spiritual conditions in overwhelmingly Catholic Eire. The overall sensing was that that country is ready for a spiritual awakening (while the EC is buying it off, and bringing about a radical change in its character). It appears that Yahoveh is doing some spiritual uncovering on various "archeological" levels (which is a whole topic unto itself).

When our time in Ireland was over, and after 3 days in the south of England, Rimona and the children went home, while Ephraim continued on to Florida, to attend the Ami conference.

The latter turned out to be a real family reunion after 2,900 years of separation. Together we celebrated the restoration of the fallen booth of David, as seen in the joining of the two sticks of Ezekiel 37. The Parasha and Haftarah readings for that weekend were also quite revealing for the occasion. It was a great blessing to see and hear from Messianic Jewish rabbis, as well as from teachers from the House of Ephraim (Joseph). They were all in unison as they sounded the trumpet in the spirit of Elijah, preparing the way of the Lord through the restoration of the house of Jacob. The following is a little commentary on the holy days' readings surrounding the conference.

Blowing and Remembering

The current feasts, which we have just celebrated, have been accompanied by various readings from the Torah and the Neviim (Prophets), according to the Jewish custom. There are special readings for the first and second day of the month of Tishrei - the first day of which is Yom Zichron Teruah - the Feast of the Blowing for Remembrance. This day and the day following it are customarily referred to as Rosh Hashanah - the head, or beginning, of the year. Following these days is the Shabbat, which precedes Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement. This Shabbat is called Shabbat Shuva - referring to repentance, or to "turning." Then, of course, comes Yom Kippur itself, with its own readings.

All of the reading portions are interesting and appear appropriate. Examining several of them may shed some light on their interconnection, on the respective feasts, and on our relatedness to them.

The reading on the first day, 1st Samuel 1 - 2: 10, deals with the calling of a son of an Ephramite family, Samuel, who was to become a judge, a seer and a priest unto the Most High. Even though the priesthood was mandated to the Levites, as God Himself said to Eli in chapter 2:28: "Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests?" Yet Samuel the Ephramite was chosen to serve in that capacity, during the reigns of both Saul and David. He, thus, was favored by YHVH, who says, according to verse 35: "I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul."

The next reading, on the second day of the Feast, is taken from Jeremiah 31:2-20. This portion, once again, deals very emphatically with the destiny of the Ephramites, describing in detail their transformation and repentance at a latter date, God's relationship with them, their destiny, their call and their blessings. Several times in this section they are mentioned by name, as is also their ancestral home - "Ephraim", while reference is even made to their mother Rachel.

On Shabbat Shuva, we find ourselves reading Hosea 14:2-10 (among other portions, which are: Micha 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27; II Samuel 22). These verses of Hosea address, as does almost the entire book, the House of Israel, the Ephramites, relating specifically to Assyria (which was the super power responsible for their exile). Yet, here too, Ephraim is destined to repent and eventually to be blessed.

Thus, the readings for the first two days of the month of Tishrei announce the unforgotten existence and destiny of Ephraim. Although celebrated as the beginning of the year, biblically Tishrei is the seventh month, and the feast celebrated as Rosh Hashanah is not, in fact, to be found in God's Holy Script. As we know, Leviticus 23 lists among God's appointed times the feast of the first day of the seventh month, that is, the "Feast of Blowing for Remembrance" (Zichron Teruah ).

What is the "teruah" - the blowing - and its significance? According to Psalm 81:3, the new moon is to be announced by the blowing of the shofar. Interesting that the new, unseen moon, which in its state of disappearance is like Joseph, is to be announced. In Numbers 10:1-10 another type of blowing instrument is presented: the silver trumpet, or rather, two of them.; again for the purpose of announcements and declarations such as: the moving of the camp, the gathering of the elders, the gathering of the congregation, an impending war, celebrations and appointed times, and for a memorial.

Thus, the readings on Yom Zichron Teruah (in spite of being called Rosh Hashanah), and around it constitute a bold declaration intended to remind us that God's plan, to recover the "lost" house and to rejoin the two sticks, is to be trumpeted (even if it takes a man-made "new-year" feast to do it!).

And so, God's word to one Ephramite man may still hold true today for many of his kinsmen: "I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always."

How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity