Monday, December 19, 2011

New Covenant Israel

Looking back at recent history, some of us may remember the move of the Spirit that took place in the late sixties and early seventies. YHVH's grace raced through the denominational churches and caught thousands of people up in His Holy Spirit. This move of Elohim created a hunger in a lot of hearts for the whole counsel of YHVH, which included the Torah and the books of the prophets. Many of these Bible believers began to identify to the present Jewish nation and Zionism. In doing so some also started to search out their own Jewish roots. Ultimately this evolved to the understanding of the prophetic destiny of the House of Jacob and its division into two houses, two families. But it was not only Christians that were visited by the Spirit; Jews also began to accept the New Covenant blood of their Messiah Yeshua, which then progressed into the Messianic Jewish movement.

In the course of time the Messianic body split into many fragmented groups, with a variety of definitions as to who is a true believer in the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah and how such a believer should conduct himself. The title "Christian" was frowned upon by many, and so like the Muslims we called ourselves "believers." However, taking up that 'title' did not define what it was that we actually believed. With that query in mind, may I offer a Scripture-based synopsis of the New Covenant person?

Obviously such a one would have to identify with the text of Jeremiah 31:31 which introduces the New Covenant: "Behold, the days are coming, says YHVH, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." But it doesn't stop there. YHVH further elaborates on the nature of this covenant and its recipients: "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says YHVH: 'I will put My law/Torah in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know YHVH,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says YHVH. 'For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more'" (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

From these scriptures we can draw several conclusions:
1) These "new covenant" people know that they are Israelites or Jewish. 2) Torah is in their minds and hearts. 3) The Spirit residing in them leads, guides, and instructs in righteousness. 4) They all know YHVH the Elohim of their forefathers. 5) They also know that YHVH has forgiven their iniquities and will not remember their sins.
Although these parameters are quite basic, they are sufficient to form a sound foundation.

In a recent letter I had received from a friend, he told me of a question that is often hurled at him: "So just what kind of Christian are you anyway?" He then goes on to say, quite revealingly: "I no longer tell them that I'm a 'born again, Spirit filled, evangelical, HYPOcharisMANIAC, judeo-christian-zionst, non-Jewish Jacob, sons of Joseph Messianic, Jesus Freak (maahn!)…"

The simplest answer to the above-posed question is given by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (2:12), where he tells the believers that they now belong to the commonwealth of Israel; making them redeemed "Israelites." Why must we narrow our identity down to this one word? Because YHVH says, as we saw above, that the New Covenant pertains to the "house of Israel and the house of Judah," and what's more, that days are coming when these two houses will be joined together as one nation in the land.

"Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again" (Ezekiel 37: 21-22).

In scriptural chronology, the restoration of the whole nation of Israel seems to be YHVH's grand finale in His redemption plan of the creation, during the course of which He also demonstrates His faithfulness to His chosen people. There is only one nation on this earth that has been called to become YHVH's expression of righteousness, a light to the rest of the nations. There are 'Christian ministries' that presume that their 'anointing' will bring about some great national revival that would restore a nation like the United States, for example, to some previous spiritual glory (that it never had in the first place) and catapult this nation to an even greater splendor. Scriptures indicate, on the other hand, that all the nations at present are dangling over the valley of Yah's judgments.

When Israel was in bondage in Egypt they could only be released to return to the land of promise when the iniquity of the Amorites became full, or complete. Could we be seeing something very similar today, as we are fast approaching the fullness of iniquity of this world? Watch and pray that the day of your return will not come upon you/us as a thief. (from letter 459) (02/07/2010)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The end is not yet

Letter 458 (the end is not yet) 18/06/2010

This letter is a little out of character for me, but I feel compelled to share some thoughts that have been stirring in my inner being for the past few days. As you know, the cyber world has been and is increasingly buzzing with various ideas and interpretations based on Yeshua's end-time descriptions and on scriptures from Revelation.

I have been living in Israel for almost 30 years and I don't think one year has passed without the end-time mills grinding their endless rumors. Nevertheless, having said that, I must admit that recently nothing has captivated my attention as much as the 'oil geyser' in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a presentation called "The Waters Cleaved,"* made sometime ago by creation scientist Dr. Grady McMurtry, he explains what happened to the earth during Noah's Flood. McMurtry shows the topography of the bottom of the oceans, and how one continent split up into seven in approximately nine months. This presentation illustrates how the waters that were under the earth surface were being heated to the point of becoming liquid steam, termed "supper hot water." When the built-up pressure (like that of a pressure cooker) had no other outlet, it blew open the crust of the earth. This crack can be seen on any map of the ocean floor.

The point of this letter is not to examine what happen to the earth at the time of the Flood, but to consider what could happen to the earth in our day and age, whether we are now 'officially' in the end times or not. As you are aware, there are vast amounts of oil under, or in, the earth's crust. Some of that oil is being heated just like the waters were, giving off gases and building up the level of pressure. In the context of what is taking place in the Gulf of Mexico, it is hard to ignore Peter's words about the elements melting and the earth burning (ref. 2 Peter 3:10). Interestingly, large gas deposits are continually being discovered off the shores of Israel. Will this prove to be a blessing to our little State?

Two weeks ago we wrote about the opening of the seals. When the sixth seal was opened, "there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood" (Revelation 6:12). Like the great earthquake at the time of Noah, so too there could be another tremor of a similar magnitude that would fracture areas of the earth's crust. In such an event, the super hot oil and gases would be released, along with the lava which together would ignite into a gigantic inferno sending up black poisonous smoke. No doubt these eruptions would block out the sunlight ("blackening" the sun) and cause the moon to appear blood-red, not to mention what would happen to life in those areas (although it is not unlikely that all or some of these conditions would be localized and not spread over the entire earth).

At present we can be thankful that the oil disaster is taking place in a water environment. If it were happening on land, the fire would not be extinguishable. Because of the level of pressure that is behind this volcanic upsurge of oil, the experts say that it is impossible to cap it. As we have seen over the past several years, earthquakes are increasing and intensifying thus as terrible as the oil spill is, it is one more in a series that makes up present-day events. In the midst of Peter's descriptions of the age of tribulation, he asks the following question: "What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?" (2 Peter 3:11b).

According to the Word, these large scale disasters are to affect the heavenly bodies (the sun and the moon), which were created, among other reasons, in order to be for "signs and seasons." These "seasons" by in large have been ignored by most of those who were not necessarily strangers to the text (the Scriptures) where these heavenly bodies and their purpose are mentioned. Hence YHVH could remove from view these signs that mark His (greatly neglected) special seasons.

"But if they [the whole house of Israel] confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt -- then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land (and the earth)" (Leviticus 26:40-42).

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Duty-Bound 11/06/2010

As the world builds its case against the Jewish State of Israel, and after the attempted lynching this week of five Israeli businessmen in Spain, one of Spain's politicians, a journalist, an activist and a member of the far left, Pilar Rahola, spoke out: "I am not Jewish. Ideologically I am left and by profession a journalist. Why am I not anti Israeli like my colleagues? Because as a non-Jew I have the historical responsibility to fight against Jewish hatred and currently against the hatred for their historic homeland, Israel. To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews, it is the duty of the non-Jews. As a journalist it is my duty to search for the truth beyond prejudice, lies and manipulations. The truth about Israel is not told. As a person from the left who loves progress, I am obligated to defend liberty, culture, civic education for children, coexistence and the laws that the Tablets of the Covenant made into universal principles. Principles that Islamic fundamentalism systematically destroys. That is to say that as a non-Jew, journalist and lefty I have a triple moral duty with Israel, because if Israel is destroyed, liberty, modernity and culture will be destroyed too. The struggle of Israel, even if the world doesn't want to accept it, is the struggle of the world." End quote.

One would think that some of the statements made above were penned by a 'spiritually-led' person, perhaps a Christian Zionist, or even someone from the Ephraimite camp.

Islam has dubbed Israel "little Satan," and has been attempting to prove their point by demonizing the Jewish people at every opportunity they get (and those are not few these days). The western liberal press becomes, of course, one of the frogs that croak their endless condemnations of the State and its Jewish populace during the 'night season'. Having said this, my question to the redeemed community of Ephraim is, now that you know who you are, as one of the lost-and-found sheep of the House of Israel, do you also know that you are a designated firstborn in the family? "For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn" (Jeremiah 31:9b). Do you know what it means to be a firstborn? Do you know what our Redeemer expects of us? Do you know what our responsibilities are?

As we have noted in the past, most of the firstborns who lost their rights to this office did so because they were not about their Father's (and fathers') business. They were not concerned for the welfare of their family; they were selfish, self-righteous, greedy, and prideful. They were like Nimrod and company, who were out to make a name for themselves building their own religious and political kingdoms.

The Spanish journalist, obviously a secular humanist, made a comment that really hit home, "To fight against anti-Semitism is not the duty of the Jews; it is the duty of the non-Jews." How much more is it the duty of Judah's brother, especially if he is called to be a "firstborn," his "brother's keeper"? In this week's Parasha, Korah, along with three men from Reuben and 250 other leaders, "representatives of the congregation, men of renown" (most likely elders/firstborn) express their jealousy of Moses and Aaron's YHVH-endowed positions (ref. Numbers 16:2). This attitude led to the same old accusations against the Almighty's chosen, for bringing Israel out of Egypt to "kill them in the wilderness." As one man, they rushed to the flag of bitterness, discontent, and insurrection. We can also see the extent of influence that these firstborn/leaders, even after they were consumed by YHVH's fire, wielded on the rest of the congregation. The following day "all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, "You have killed the people of YHVH." (Numbers 16:41). Almost immediately a plague broke out in the course of which 14,700 Israelites perished. The powerful sway that these elders and firstborn held over the people should be something to bear in mind, if we are part of the "firstborn" company. This inherent authority may be directed one way… or another.

As we have seen with so many other firstborns in the Tanach, there was no guarantee that they would inherit the birthrights. This lesson is made very clear in the messages to the congregations of the redeemed in Revelation. The three-word conditional statement, "he who overcomes" (inferring only the over-comers) stands out in each letter as a warning to the believers (ref. chapters 2&3), so that they (the redeemed) can be given their rightful place. What is the 'rightful' place and posture of Ephraim at this time, when the world is gushing and foaming at the mouth with venom against Judah?

Will Ephraim's jealousy of his older brother's princely office in the family depart, or will he join the rest of the firstborn like Ishmael, Esau, Amon, Moav etc. in finding an excuse for condemning their actions, even if it is only by default, through passivity. There are some from the returning prodigal-company who desire to come home to Israel, but are prevented because of the present leadership in the House of Judah. We must keep in mind what Moses said to Korah: "That one whom He [YHVH] chooses He will cause to come near to Him" (Numbers 16:5b).

Thus, it was not the early Zionists who created the conditions for the stick of Judah to become a nation; this was a sovereign act of the Almighty. And it will be the same regarding the return to the land of the House of Israel/Ephraim. But in the meantime we need to seek the Father as to how to express our role and duty in relationship to our Jewish brethren. On top of that pray that when the Shepherd does whistle that we will have our ears attuned and our hearts prepared.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Opening the Seals

Opening the Seals

Growing up in a Christian environment, then later becoming a “spirit filled” believer I learned that Yeshua is always before the father interceding on our behalf. Every time I went to repent and take communion, I had in my mind the picture of Yeshua on hands and knees pleading with the Father to forgive me. However, having returned to the whole counsel of YHVH, reading and studying the Torah, I now have a different image of our High Priest as He stands before Elohim. Let us take a look at two of His ‘vestments’ which will put into perspective how we are represented before YHVH.

The description of the high priest’s regalia in Exodus 28:11-12; 36 and 39:30 features an item which is rendered like (the “like” being added by the translators) engravings of a signet. The reference here is to the two onyx stones that were placed on his shoulders, with the names of the tribes etched on them as “memorial stones for the sons of Israel” (verse 12). In this way, the high priest would approach YHVH on behalf of His people. The second item that is rendered in an identical manner has to do with the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, which was inscribed with “Holiness to YHVH,” also like “an engraving of a signet.” Here too it says, “it shall always be on his forehead, that they [Israel] may be accepted before YHVH.”

“Like an engraving of a signet” is rendered “pituchey chotam” in Hebrew - the engravings of a seal. Digging a little deeper, we discover that whereas “chotam” is a seal, “pituchey” (engravings of…) originates from the root (peh, tav, chet) meaning “to open” or “opening.” So, how is it that a “seal” and an “opening” signify the onyx stones as well as the engraving upon the high priest’s crown? Do these two seemingly opposing terms allude to something beyond that which meets the eye? Do they make their ‘joint appearance’ elsewhere in Scripture?

In Job, for example, there are descriptions of YHVH meting out justice to the earth’s inhabitants on the one hand, and controlling the order of the universe on the other. It says that He shakes the ends of the earth (as one would shake a tablecloth), turning it over like one would a clay seal. This is the “shaking” of the wicked off the earth (ref. 38:13-14). In verse 31 He declares that He is the One who “loosens the belt of Orion.” The literal Hebrew word there for loosening is “opening.”

Not coincidentally, the bride in Solomon’s Song is likened to a sealed fountain (4:12), while she herself implores her beloved to set her as a seal upon [His] heart” and “a seal upon [His] arm” (8:6). He, on the other hand, “knocks, saying, ‘Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one…’” (5:2).

Interestingly, the two forefathers of the first fruit remnant, Judah and Joseph, were also ‘marked,’ respectively, by “pituchey-chotam” – opening and seal. “When the famine was over all the face of the earth … Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians” (Genesis 41:56). However, he would not have been able to do all that had he not been “freed by the ruler of the people” (ref. Psalms 105:20). “Freed” or “let go” there is literally “and it was opened up for him.” When Tamar, in her act of righteousness, masqueraded as a whore, she demanded that Judah leave with her several pledges. One of those was a “seal” (ref. Genesis 38:18), without which she could not have proven her innocence.

Thus we see that whether Israel is depicted as a bride with her beloved Bridegroom, or in the ‘form’ of the ‘two houses,’ Yeshua’s seals and their ‘openings’ are being featured in relationship to His people.

The next encounter with opening and seals is found in Revelation Chapter 5, where only Yeshua is seen worthy of opening the seals of the “book.” What was it that enabled Yeshua to carry out this most important task, which no one else could execute? “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to Elohim by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our Elohim; and we shall reign on the earth" (5:9-10). That which qualified Him to open the seals was what He had accomplished by having given up His life, redeeming for His Father those who are to be kings and priests and who would reign on earth.

As we know, there were seven seals altogether. Upon opening the first four, dire calamities and disasters were unleashed upon the earth, as did the opening of the sixth one. Before the opening of the seventh seal, we encounter “seals” once again. Remember Job’s “four corners of the earth”? In Revelation 7:1-4 we read about the “… four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth…Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living Elohim. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our Elohim on their foreheads.’ And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed…” (emphasis added). “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” (7:9).

In the “opening of the seals,” Elohim is starting to give free rein so that disasters could plague our planet, for the sake of those who are represented by the two ‘opened-seal’ onyx stones, while at the same time opening a process of sealing these ones whose stones His High Priest Son is bearing before Him.

A few years ago, a warning went out that Turkey was going to become a major player in the “axis of evil.” Yes, we need to watch for wars and the rumors of wars as Yeshua said, but we also must know that our High Priest is standing before the Father with the onyx stones, on His shoulders and the golden band with “Holiness unto YHVH” on His forehead. Yeshua is in charge of opening the seals, and for the timing thereof while having us, His beloved Israel right at the focus of these events.

Let us of the redeemed remnant who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, who are privileged to be incorporated into this age-old ongoing process, sing this Shabbat along with the twenty-four elders: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing... be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" (Revelation 5:12-13). Let the Joshua and Caleb companies stay steadfast and immovable always abounding in the work of YHVH, with our King of kings and High Priest marching ahead during these troublesome times!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

First Fruit

In Parasha of “Mishpatim”, we find the ordinance of first fruit: "The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of YHWH your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk” (Shemot – Exodus - 23:19). In today’s world, there is very little significance to first fruit or to firstborn; in some circles separating milk from meat seems to be more the order of the day (if indeed that’s what it means). In the eyes of YHWH and in His plan of redemption, the principle of firstborn, or first fruit, is of paramount importance. In his epistle, Ya’acov (James), after addressing the 12 tribes, writes: “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruit of His creatures” (James 1:18). Also Rav Shaul writes: “For if we are in the Messiah we are a first fruit of a new creation order”, (ref. 2Cor. 5:17; Rom 8:23). Ya’acov’s mention of the twelve tribes is no mere coincidence, for they are the ones who had been designated as first fruit, even before Messiah’s redemptive work had been executed. The concept of first fruit already had its beginning in the days of Cain and Abel, and later in the covenant that YHWH made with the line of those chosen for the position of firstborn in humanity: Noah, Shem, Ever, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Ya’acov.

When Moshe was told by YHWH to bring His people out of Egypt, he was sent to Pharaoh with the message that, “Israel is My son, my firstborn” (Shemot 4:22). Later, after killing all the firstborn of Egypt, YHWH announced to Israel: "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn; whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine" (Shemot 13:2). "You shall set apart to YHWH all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be YHWH’s” (Shemot 13:12).

The Hebrew word for firstborn, in Shemot 13:12 is “peh’ter”, meaning to separate, or first open. Other meanings for the same root are: remove, set free, depart, split, and break through. The injunction to “set apart” or to “dedicate”, in this verse, is from the same root as the noun “Hebrew”. (Note: generally, the root for to set apart or to consecrate is, and for firstborn it is This unusual choice of words, here in Shemot 13:12, seems to highlight the idea of breaking through and passing over, while being given, or recognized as belonging to, YHWH. This makes the Hebrews, whose name is derived from their forefather, Ever, a firstborn nation dedicated and set apart unto YHWH their God.

But what does it actually mean to be a firstborn or a first fruit?

According to the Torah statute it means to belong to YHWH. Those who are His, are identified as His property by being stamped (literally, or figuratively), or marked out through circumcision. This principle of possession is articulated in the oft-occurring expression: “for My namesake”. The notion of ownership and possession, commonplace in the world, applies no less to YHWH’s relationship with His people. "But YHWH has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.” (Devarim 4:20); ”for YHWH'S portion is His people; Ya’acov is the place of His inheritance.” (Devarim 32:9).

We were visiting some friends who have two little boys, 3 and 5, this past week, and were told the following story: When the boys’ grandmother had visited them she said to the 3 year old: “Because I love you, you are the apple of my eye”. The older brother became indignant, and in defense of his younger sibling said to the grandmother: “If you love someone you don’t call him fruit!” YHWH, like that grandmother, calls Israel, as a sign of endearment “the apple of My eye”. But whereas in the case of the little boy it was very clear why a dotting grandmother would so call her grandson, it is less clear in the case of Israel, in fact it begs the question: What is so lovable about a stubborn, rebellious, idolatrous, adulterous people, who are actually more like a speck in the eye? Is it for their namesake that YHWH persists in His love, or is it because they are His beloved first born? (See Ez. 36:22-32)

Moshe seemed to understand this Torah ordinance. For when YHWH was about to judge Israel, he reminded Him concerning His own inheritance: "O Adoni YHWH, do not destroy Your people and Your inheritance whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand…. Yet they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out by Your mighty power and by Your outstretched arm” (Devarim – Deut.9:26,29). Later Daniel and Ezra interceded for YHWH’s people in the same way (see Daniel 9 and Ezra 9). True intercessors for Israel always understood this principle of the firstborn or first fruit. It was the most effective prayer in addressing the Almighty.

It is not only the ‘possession’ who is marked for the sake of identity, but the ‘possessor’ too is stamped for the sake of His beloved. In Isaiah, YHWH points out that Zion is engraved on the palm of His hand: “See, I have inscribed, engraved, etched you on the palms of My hands” (Is. 49:16). Is there a more direct illustration of this than Yeshua’s “burrowed through” hands, described so graphically by King David in Tehilim – Ps. 22:15-16? YHWH’s unalterable love for His possession is seen in the death of the Messiah. May we respond to Him as beautifully as the Shulamite does in the Song of Songs: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised. (Song of Songs – Shir Hashirim - 8:6-7).

The Messiah is seen standing on His feet of burnished bronze, as though they had passed through a furnace of fire, and with a winnowing fork in His hand. He has gone out to the nations for the harvest, to bring in and process the first of the first fruit company, which will ultimately be placed in a basket and taken on the 8th day to the place that is called by YHWH’s name (Devarim 26:2; Shemot 22:29-30).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Myth

The other day we took a little trip to Jerusalem’s Western Wall. No, it wasn’t for praying purposes, but in order to ‘journey’ underground, along the 488 meters (approx. 550 yards) of the Western Wall, which is almost the entire length of the western side of the Temple Mount compound built by Herod. Our guide was a religious young woman, and very knowledgeable about the area. However, while questioning her about the First Temple, she said that there was no physical evidence that it had ever existed. I couldn’t believe my ears! I then proceeded to tell her about our visits to Joshua’s altar on the Mount of Curse (Eval). Again, she was refuting the authenticity of that site too. In my shock, I told her that her fellow orthodox Zionist settlers, who live in the area of Shechem, stake their claim for being there on such archeological evidence. She sat down for a moment on the mother rock of Mount Moriah, and confessed that she too believed that the altar was truly dated to Joshua’s time, but…. After returning home and pondering for a while why this government employee would try so hard to explain away her own biblical history, I was struck by a word - “myth”. A myth, as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, is a traditional story presenting supernatural beings, ancestors or heroes that serve a primordial types in a primitive view of the world; a fictitious or imaginary story, person, or thing; a false belief.

The enemy of the Word of God has basically one weapon that he uses for blinding and binding the people; deceiving his victims into believing lies. This is why Yeshua called him “the father of lies”. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

If the so-called peace process, or land for peace, is going to succeed, an atmosphere of deception, against some basic truths must be created. One such deception in particular, which is very subtle, has to do with the most important issues of legal and legitimate claims to Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem; in other words, the entire land of Israel. The world, using its most educated experts in the professions of archeology and history, has come to the conclusion that there is no physical evidence of an ancient people called the Hebrews; no Exodus from Egypt; no First Temple in Jerusalem; no Joshua’s altar, etc. rendering any historical claim to the land null and void. If they manage to convince enough people in this generation to believe their lie, our children and grandchildren may just learn that the stories of the Torah are nothing more than mythology, and the God of Avraham, Yitzchak and Ya’acov will simply join the ranks of the rest of the gods of the Greek beast.

The Islamic religious authorities of the Temple Mount (the Wakf) dumped 900 truckloads of debris, which were hauled from the Temple Mount area, into the valley below. Our government (and the powerful Antiquities Department) purposely turned their back on this, and as a matter of fact arrested a student of archeology, for taking (“stealing”) from the dump precious artifacts of the Second and possibly First Temple Periods. Why is there such a blatant attempt to get rid of any, if not all, of these facts and evidence?

The land of Israel, our inheritance, is being contested like never before. Why? For the same reason that our identity is being warred against. This piece of real estate here in the Middle East is just as important to God’s plan of redemption as are the people. We cannot separate one from the other. Whether we find one archeological object or not, we still have the Word of Truth as written down by Moses and the prophets. This will stand as the one eternal testimony that God is who He says He is. Our heavenly Father wants us to be His witness on this earth, and has given us His Spirit for this purpose, to lead and guide us into all truth; a truth which will prove to be more than mere ‘head knowledge’, but rather will become a revelation of Him, through a people living in His land.

We, who have found our true spiritual identity in the Messiah and now also in ‘the natural’, as the seed of Israel, are also being challenged by the enemy; he wants us to continue to live as if we are not who God says we are. YHVH says that this nation, Israel, is to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation in the land, one that will show forth His righteousness and justice, as light to the other nations. Yeshua has come to set up His Father’s kingdom in us, the restored House of Jacob. Thus, to know who we are and to be sure of our calling, are vital matters. This truth of our identity as a redeemed first fruit people puts us back into a position that was lost in the Garden. We now stand, individually and corporately, through faith in what is true, as a beacon of light and as a sword in the hand of our God to destroy all the strongholds in the heavenly places. The lies and deceptions that have covered our souls like filthy rags are being removed in and through the death and resurrected life of our Messiah, who is replacing the lie with truth.

“Beware lest anyone deceive you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the myths of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to the anointing of Messiah (Colossians 2:8), Who is “the living way, truth and life”.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


To start with, let us look again at a portion of last week’s letter; Shemot - Names. In the Bible one’s name was often connected to one’s identity. YHVH chose to answer Moses’ request, regarding His identity, by revealing to him His name, “I Will Be Whom I Will Be”, or “I AM” (Ex. 3:14). Moses was drawn out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter, and was therefore named by her “Drawn Out Of” (Moshe). Later, when he was asked to deliver the people of Israel out of Egypt, the first thing that YHVH told him to do was to enlighten the ruler of the land as to their true identity. “Tell Pharaoh, thus says YHVH ‘Israel is My son, My first-born’” (Ex. 4:22). To let my people go …. er…. know, who they were, was the order of the day then, as it is now. This is also the overriding theme of Batya Wootten’s book, “Who Is Israel and Why You Need to Know”.

Why is it so imperative that we know who we are?

Most of the great Greek philosophers’ quest for knowledge revolved around this question, "who am I"? This issue was, and still is at the forefront of man's concerns, as we see in the modern day disciplines of psychiatry and philosophy. However, these latter, in much of their probing processes are like those blind characters that Yeshua referred to, who were trying to lead others as equally visually impaired. In recent years, a book called “Man’s Search For Meaning” became quite popular in educational circles (and in general). This remarkable little book was written by a Holocaust survivor; world-renowned psychiatrist, Vitor E. Frankl. On the cover of the book there is a quote from the Los Angeles Times: “…the most important contribution to psychiatry since the writings of Freud.”

Frankl describes his harrowing years in the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz. Everything that he and others had known themselves to be was stripped from them, especially their identity as human beings. With a number replacing their name, they found themselves in a situation where maintaining their identity became crucial for survival. During the three years of his incarceration Frankl was not aware that he had lost almost his entire family to the fires of this hell. However, through this experience he gained some simple, but profound insights into mankind’s grope for a higher meaning in life. Amidst his comrades, who in some cases struggled to survive and in other cases gave themselves up to death, he was able to detect in the depth of man’s being a duality which he describes thus: “In the concentration camps, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself” (p.213). When there was nothing tangible to cling to, for purpose or meaning, there were still those who had the resolve to live.

In the face of death, the driving force for their survival was, according to Frankl, based on three things: Doing a deed; experiencing a value, and suffering. As he watched men live and die in the most appalling conditions imaginable, he defined “man’s search for meaning” (or in my words, man’s search for his true identity), in these words: “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By the spiritual act of love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, that which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true” (p. 176-177).

The scriptures tell us that “YHVH IS LOVE”. Interestingly, they do so in exactly the same three ways discovered by Dr. Frankl. Our God brought us out of Egypt with a strong and mighty hand - doing a deed. He showed us His love, kindness, goodness, mercy, patience, justice - demonstrating His values. And then, He himself came and suffered, identifying with our sufferings, as He still does today.

Victor Frankl ends his book with these lines: “Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who has invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who has entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the ‘Sh’ma Yisrael’ on his lips” (p. 214). Yes, our Father who inhabits the heavens is Holy and has called us His sons; His firstborn sons. He tells us to listen - “sh’ma Yisrael”. The main reason that we do not act or behave like sons is because we do not really know who we are. “We have died and our life is hidden in Him, but when He, who is our life is revealed then we will be like Him in glory” (Col. 3:3-4). How are we to become as He is? By believing what He reveals to us about Himself. For the truth is, in Spirit we are as He is.

Our “son of man” part has been deceived into believing lies about our true identity. An enemy has sowed these untruths into our mind. When these seeds begin to grow they become an integral part of our thoughts and behavior. Yeshua has come to reveal these lies and to speak a liberating truth, setting us free from the grip of fear and pain. If Satan worked so hard to keep us oblivious to our true identity in the “natural”(damaging our souls), how much more so now, that we have a new identity also in the spirit, as sons of the living God!

While here, in His earthen vessel, Yeshua was called “Son of Man,” yet He came as the “Son of God”. Like Yeshua, we too have a dual identity, it therefore behooves us to discover the truth in regards to each one, as together they have an ongoing destiny to fulfill, while we are here on this earth. To know who we are, as the seed of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya'acov and also to know who we are in the Messiah, brings into focus the full intentions of the redemptive plan of YHVH.

As Son of Man, Yeshua humbled Himself and became obedient even unto death on the cross. He made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a bondservant, and although as the Son of God, being in the form of Elohim, He did not consider it robbery to be equal with His heavenly Father. So let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah Yeshua” (ref. Phil.2:5-8).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).


Monday, June 6, 2011


The book of Bereshit (Genesis) ends the story of the patriarchs, or does it?

Moses continues the story of our Hebrew ancestors after three and a half centuries of a break in their recorded history. During this period we have no knowledge of any religious or political practices that held them together as an identifiable people, except that YHVH was watching over them, along with their Egyptian overlords. YHVH promised Ya’acov (Jacob) that in Egypt He would multiply his seed and that it would become a nation. In order to accomplish this purpose YHVH gave them, through Yosef, the best of all the land of Egypt.

Many generations had come and gone when the narrative of their history picks up again. In spite of the long time passage, YHVH was still identifying the multitudes as the “twelve sons of Israel”, “the b’ney (sons of) Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them” (Ex 1:7). This one statement affords us an immediate glimpse into the God of Israel’s faithfulness, not only to the promise that He made with Ya’acov, but also to the covenant that he made with Ya’acov’s forefather. “For when God made a promise to Avraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ That by these two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, and encouragement who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that had been set before, these we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6: 13-14,18-19a). Having our faith anchored in this covenant of YHVH’s faithfulness through blessing and multiplicity, we are shown the pathway that extends “beyond the veil”, opening the eyes of our understanding that we might behold His kingdom where Yeshua reigns.

The title of this second book of the Bible is “Shemot” – “Names. In these opening lines of “Shemot” we are having our minds trained to understand the Hebraic thought pattern in the form of the “seed principle”. In other words, the life of the father is in his progeny. Thus, no matter how many are in the multitudes, the Elohim still sees the one whom He called by name, and on whom He bestowed the blessing of fathering the many. Yitzhak was called to father a chosen nation -“Ya’acov”. This nation was destined to become a kingdom of kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek. Yeshua the Messiah of Ya’acov was the forerunner who entered in, through the sacrificing of Himself in order to bring many of the sons of God into the glory of His kingdom, which would then be made manifest in and through them as a nation on the earth.

Last week, in one of the teaching sessions, a visitor popped in to debate the Two House teaching. We happened to be studying Genesis 48, where Ya’acov, with his hands on Ephraim and Menashe’s heads, was blessing Yosef. She thought that Menashe’s blessings were exclusively for him, and that Ephraim’s was solely his. She could not put the two together, as her mind was accustomed to Greek-style categorizations. Comprehending the integration of the two blessings as one in the life of the father, and their (prophetic) extension to the entire House of Yoseph, was beyond her scope. It was amazing to watch, but it provided an opportunity that demonstrated how much in need we are of the renewal of the mind.

In the Scriptures, a word of prophecy is living and active, and even though unseen, it does not fade away just because we think it had seen its full realization in a specific historical even. A fulfillment of a prophetic word, therefore, in a certain episode does not exhaust YHVH’s ultimate purpose for that word. We many times limit the prophetic range of His Word by subjecting it to our rational Hellenistic thinking. Asking ourselves the Who, What, When, Where and How is a very effective way to study the Scriptures, but we must always inquire of the Holy Spirit to give us His understanding as well, for although the Word relates to time it is not bound by it, for it is interminable. There is some wise counsel in the book of proverbs that says: “Trust in YHVH with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him” (Prov. 3:5-6a). This is especially true while reading and studying His Word.

What’s in a name, could very well express why the sages gave this title, “Shemot”, to the book, which we incorrectly call “Exodus”. We have noted in previous letters that names are very significant, as can be seen in the burning bush scene, where YHVH is introducing Himself to Moshe. “Then YHVH said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the Elohim of your fathers--the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitzhak, and the Elohim of Ya’acov.’ And Moshe hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon Elohim” (Shemot 3:5-6). YHVH was identifying Himself by the names of Moshe’s forefathers, (notice there is no concept of grandfathers or great grandfathers, just as there is none with seeds coming out of one father; it too is singular). The Creator, for the first time was introducing Himself by name to a man. Here is the scriptural rendering of this episode: “Then Moshe said to the Elohim ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, `the Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, `what is His name?' what shall I say to them?’. And the Elohim said to Moshe, ‘I will be whom I will be’” (commonly translated “I AM”), which is an all inclusive, but a somewhat evasive and obscure title. Seeing that the Elohim is the “all in all” of life, He could be known by many names. In other words, Elohim is saying to Moshe, ‘everything that you are experiencing in this present moment of your conscious life is Me’. Then He continued, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'" What a way to dispel the darkness, by believing that God is all in all, that He is my life and the first cause of my experiences! Paul said it another way, as he addressed the seekers of knowledge in the Areopagus in Athens, to whom he explained who their “unknown God” was: “The One who made the world and everything in it, and Who is Lord of heaven and earth, and does not dwell in temples made with hands, nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needs nothing, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things…for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:24-25,28). In other words “He is all and in all” (Col. 3:11).

YHVH knew that the sons of Israel could not identify, nor understand that name alone, so He combined the “I AM” with the names of the Patriarchs, which is the name He chose to be His witness, His memorial, His inheritance, His name sake. “Moreover He said to Moses, ‘thus you shall say to the children of Israel: `YHVH the Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Avraham, the Elohim of Yitzhak, and the Elohim of Ya’acov, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.'” (Shemot 3:15-16). Is His name to be remembered as “I Am”, or is His name to be known as “Elohey Avraham, Elohey Yitzhak,and Elohey Yisrael?

Moses went back to Egypt with very explicit instructions: “Tell Pharaoh (the prince and ruler of all Egypt) that Israel is My son, My first born, then go in My name to deliver My son (singular) so that they (Israel the many-membered son) may serve Me”. (Ex. 4:22-23). Moses received his name by being “drawn out” of the water. We too have been drawn out of the waters of darkness and have been called, like Moses, to carry a message to the Pharaoh of this world, the prince and power of the air. “Israel is My son, My first born, the first fruit of the new creation life. I am calling them to return to Zion and fulfill their destiny as a “royal priesthood and a holy nation, a people for My name sake to serve Me in the Land.” Go, in the name that is above every name, for I AM, YHVH!


“Then the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel shall be gathered together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of all the nations from which they have gone, and return to the land of their fathers. For great is the day of Jezreel!” (paraphrased from Hos. 1:11)

Friday, May 20, 2011


As the first day of January 2000 rolled around many people felt used and abused. They planed, and prepared for the worst etc. Others breathed a sigh of relief and released their pent up anxiety by an extra exuberant burst of joyous celebration. Many spent hours glued to the television to see if anything would happen in countries that came first into the 21st century. As each hour ticked off, a grateful groan was sounded, especially in the western world. The ones that really made out were those who had the foresight to make money off the ignorance and fear of people caught in the “matrix”. If you haven’t seen the movie after this title, it may be worth seeing. Although the movie’s imagery is highly exaggerated, one cannot help but sense that our lives indeed are subjected to an imprisoning system.

Being born in this matri, “womb” of a world of sin and death, we have fallen asleep and our dream world has become our reality. Periodically we are stirred from this state of slumber, but are so drowsy that we fall back into unreality. Howbeit, the prophets of old, because of their giftings, were able to get glimpses into the unseen realms. Elisha, for example, was praying to YHWH to open the eyes of his servant who was in that moment stressed out by an Aramean army surrounding his village. Apparently the young servant had gone out early in the morning and lo and behold, much to his dismay, here was this enemy poised to greet him. “Alas, my Master!” he exclaimed: “What shall we do?” “Do? What shall we do?” The first recommendation that this old seer gave him was: “you want to do something? Then DO NOT FEAR!” Elisha’s answer was not based on an imaginary faith but on an unquestionable actuality, “those who are with us are more than with them.” I can just hear the thoughts of the helper: ‘Yea, sure! I count two of us and a multitude of them. Where in the world did you go to school Elisha? Look, get your laptop out and come up with some practical ideas on how we deal with this predicament, like trading in some land for peace maybe?’ The prophet’s reality was hidden from the young man. So Elisha prayed to the One who could open blind eyes, and said, "’YHWH, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then YHWH opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

Although the two of them were standing in the same place, each was experiencing a different reality. Many years later, Paul an apostle, in writing to the believers exhorted them to “set their mind on things above, not on the things that are on the earth…and not to look at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (Col.3:22; 2 Cor. 4:18). To be in this world but not of it, presents to us a unique but strange challenge. How do we do that, when our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin are all dictating to our soul what is real? We all have had many experiences in this earthly journey, which have been a part of creating our “matrix”. However, along this journey we have come into the reality of another world, the world of faith. Faith as defined by the Word is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith we understand that the ages were prepared by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:1-3).

The Word of God was not seen, yet it was revealed to those who believed. “For since the creation of the world His invisible nature is clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Faith in His Word transfers the believer into another “matrix”. Even though standing in the same place as a non-believer, our reality will be different. For example, some may read Ezekiel 37 and the prophecies pertaining to Israel and Judah’s restoration, but be totally blind to their reality. God is fulfilling His Word right before our very eyes, but if His Grace has not opened the “eyes of our understanding”, we will not see His invisible Word as it comes to pass in and through a people. The scriptures ask us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith; for do we not know this about ourselves, that Yeshua the Messiah is in us? (ref. 2 Cor. 13:5).

This lack of awareness may also pertain to other areas of our life. For instance, having been nurtured in this world under the power of the evil one who is a liar and the father of lies, we most likely have taken in these lies as truth (with very few exceptions). We, therefore, may have been interpreting our life and circumstances through this grid of lies. To use a borrowed example: Anyone who is regularly degraded and told how stupid and incompetent he is, will gradually embrace this thought, believing it to be true. Once that is done, this person’s interpretation of life will reinforce this belief with is own affirmations. Others’ reactions and behavior toward that person will seem to be connected to this self-perceived stupidity. Over a period of time such a person will have build defenses that only God is be able to penetrate and tear down.

Perhaps this is why the scriptures exhort us to “speak the truth in love.” That is if we know the truth! Let us pray the prayers of Elisha and Paul, that the Lord will open our blind eyes that we may see what is truly real and eternal, right here in the reality of our God-given experiences. We may hear of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, pestilence, and computer breakdowns that could cause a domino affect on the world economy, but what is God’s answer to all of these seeming realities or potential scenarios? “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”. (Isaiah 41:10). “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for YHWH your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). We may also enquire, as did king David: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Yes, the realities of His hidden presence within us, the revelation of His invisible prophetic word coming to pass in our lives personally and corporately as a united house of Israel, can only be seen through the eyes of “the faith”.


Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity. (Psa. 133)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


"Now Hezekiah went to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Menashe, that they should come to the house of YHVH at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to Adoni Elohey Israel. So they established a decree to circulate a proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the Passover to Adoni Elohey Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed. And the couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king saying, 'o sons of Israel, return to Adoni Elohey Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria, and do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Elohim of their fathers, so that He made them a horror, as you see. Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield toYHVH and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve Adoni your Elohim, that His burning anger may turn away from you. For if you return to YHVH, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive, and will return to this land. For Adoni your Elohim is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him'. So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Menashe, and as far as Zebulun…" (2 Chron. 30:1,5-10a).

The call to join Judah (a remnant thereof) in its process of consecration before entering the sanctuary and in its preparation to celebrate the Feast (Passover - the feast of "salvation") is being issued forth… "But they [those hearing the call] laughed at them [at the couriers] to scorn, and mocked them. Nevertheless some men of Asher, Menashe, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord" (Chro. 30:10b-12).

"The hand of the Lord was also on Judah to give them one heart to do … the word of the Lord". In our day and age something similar is happening among a remnant of Judah here in the land. Some of this remnant are expecting and anticipating to be joined by their long-lost Ephraimite brothers. They are looking for evidence that Yosef's shoulder ("shechem") is being joined to theirs, in these perilous but potentially glorious times.

This is not the first time such an appeal is going out. Will there be those who will "humbled themselves and go to Jerusalem?" It is not enough to merely recite, "next year in Jerusalem" at the end of each Passover meal. Lip service is cheap and easily paid without any real cost, effort or sacrifice. True giving of one's substance, time and energy, while displaying evidence that the gentile garments are being shed off, are all harder to come by, and rare. Who wants to stay in the camp of those who laughed and mocked? Having mocked and scorned did not suddenly render them non-Israelites; neither will paying lip service and remaining passive. However, such approaches will move one to the camp here described, where "mocker" is replaced by another adjective: "hypocrite".

Judah is waiting, and moreover Judah's God is waiting, nay, beckoning you. Will you respond? Or should Judah wait for you until after the "holidays", until the millenium celebrations die down, or until you've finished trading in your Christmas gifts at the department stores' January sales? Will you be the proverbial "Sunday Ephraimite"? (Actually, Saturday is better, this way the most is made of both worlds.)

Another interesting point, worthy of notice is the charge that was presented before the remnant of the two houses remaining in the land. "For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive, and will return [emphasis ours] to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him'." In other words, the remnant was to be their brothers' keeper. However, the deported tribes did not return to the land, as the remnant, which stayed in the land, did not return to the Lord! Hezekiah's attempt to gather all Israel and to unite the two sticks, by calling them to Jerusalem and to the feast of Passover, sadly failed because a remnant did not respond to the word of the Lord and His grace in that given opportunity in Israel's history. Nevertheless, ultimately God's plan will not falter.

His program is not dependent on any one of us. However, where will we be while it is being unfolded, is the question. Will we be found among those who are returning to the Lord (and to the land), and are thus also being used as "instruments of return" for the rest of the brethren? Or will we be numbered among the mockers-cum-hypocrites, who are not only responsible for their own demise, but are possibly putting a stumbling block in front of others, whose eyes have not yet been opened? Will we be counted with Judah, as we stand together, while prophecy is being fulfilled, consecrating ourselves before Him, provoking one another to jealousy in the course of preparation for the celebration of the great Passover? Choose ye this day…

We have looked at a historical episode, paralleling it to the present, focusing on the spiritual implications. Thus, in a very important way, "as it was then, so it is now", even though perhaps still in an incipient state, yet enough to warrant our attention.

In times past there were others who also made this statement: "as it was then, so it is now," meaning, "all continues just as it was…" This they said regarding the "promise of His coming." In 2Peter 3:3 they are referred to as "mockers"; affiliated, if you will, with the party of the scoffers mentioned above. Yes, as things were then, so they are now, in order to teach, edify, warn and prepare us for that which is soon to come.
Look-up for your redemption draws near.

Friday, May 6, 2011


At this point in history (1999)the whole world’s attention is drawn to the end of the Millennium, according to the calendar developed by Julius Cesar in 45 BC, honoring the sun god, Apollo, or Helios. Fifteen hundred years later Pope Gregory VIII revised this calendar for his religious purposes. These undertakings were used to help bring unity to the realms overseen by these two individuals; a king (Roman Cesar) and a priest (Roman Pope), hailing out of Nimrod’s kingdom, changed the times and the seasons, as foretold by the prophets of old. However, this was not the first time that such changes had taken place. The Jews, during their stay in Babylon (6th century BC), failed to protect the sanctity of time and altered the Hebrew months, adopting the names of Babylonian gods, using the patterns of the Chaldean zodiac. But looking even further back in history; the first culprit to purposely set out to change the times and seasons, was an Ephraimite king called Jeroboam (10th century BC). Later on the scattered seed of Israel’s northern kingdom spread the sin of Jeroboam into all the nations where they had gone (Jer. 3:13). That testimony can be seen as the nations of this earth celebrate the end of a year, a century and a millennium, according to their non-biblical calendar. Unfortunately, these changes have been incorporated into, and are purported to center around, the birth of the “Messiah”. But was He really born at that time, and was his birth intended to change the biblical calendar?

In today’s world, with the rise of a restored ancient Greek political system called democracy, along with the efforts to reconcile the main monotheistic religions, man has devised a method of uniting the world around a single theme, “humanism”. Humanism brings together a type of a kingly and priestly order within one’s own being. It could very well be that in the near future a temple will be built in Jerusalem, where the man of lawlessness will sit and rule over an anti-Christ system. But what we must also consider, since God calls man a temple, is that the man of lawlessness may be the person living inside his own body (or temple); man being lord of his own destiny, worshiping through pride the works of his hands, doing what is right in his own eyes, and deciding what is holy and profane. Humanism in its political and religious form is a direct counterfeit of God’s kingdom in the earth. The Greeks established democracy in order to give the individual freedom, which would enable him to express the lusts of his own heart. The same is true today; the nations that have adopted this form of government have the highest rate of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, etc. They look for every opportunity to satisfy their lusts; setting times and seasons (feast days, birthdays), to indulge in food and drink resulting in gluttony, drunkenness and sexual promiscuity.

This freedom is symbolized by a statue, which stands in the harbor of New York City, called the Statue of Liberty. To those who are familiar with ancient Greek history, this modern day pictogram is very familiar. Around 290 BC, another such icon was erected, called the Colossus of Rhodes. Approximately three hundred tons of copper and iron were used to construct this “wonder of the ancient world.” It was built as a tribute to their savior “Helios”, who protected the islanders from being captured by an invading army. The sun god Helios, was an Egyptian god who according to legend took up residence on the island; later Helios became known as Apollo.

In a recent newspaper article, journalist John Rigos reports that the municipality of the city of Rhodes, aided by the European Union, is planning to rebuild this monument as a symbol of growing European unification and international peace and cooperation. In order to implement this theme of “new world in a new millennium”, as it was coined, the monument may be made out of melted-down coins from “all the members of the European Union and from prospective candidates abandoning their individual currencies in favor of one euro”.

Not surprisingly, the Europeans have also altered the arrangement of the weekly calendar, with “Sun-day” appearing as the last day, or seventh day of the week. The sun gods of the ancient empires were believed to give light and life. The Messiah came to do the same thing, thus it was not difficult to blend the two concepts. The purpose of the Gospel was also to bring peace, harmony and unity to humanity living in a world of wars, conflicts and strife between governments and religious factions. Political and spiritual leaders were always looking for the right combinations of governmental and religious ideals to advance their control and power over the populace. Constantine, in the 4th century, was one such leader who combined the “nativity of the Greek sun god”, with an alleged birth date of the Messiah. This was an intentional ploy on Satan’s part to deceive humanity and to lead it further away from the truth of God’s divine times and seasons. Thus, the celebration of the ancient festival of the sun god on the 25th of December was in reality honoring a more ancient Egyptian god, who during the Constantinian era was worshiped by thousands of followers of Mithraism.

The Torah gives us divine instructions on how to observe the calendar of YHWH. The enemies of Torah know the importance of a calendar as a tool, which keeps order in society. Without a calendar, humanity would be in a state of chaos. The current potential computer problem, termed Y2K, is a case in point. However, whether this situation will result in world pandemonium is yet to be seen. There are a few organizations and leaders who are saying that the new world order must be birthed out of chaos. However, although we may not see these changes overnight, they will definitely occur in the near future.

We, as God’s redeemed, have been exhorted to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, being holy (separate) as He is holy. “Since we have been set apart to be the witness of His kingdom of righteousness peace and joy, what kind of people ought we to be in holy conduct and godliness? (2 Pet. 3:11). To be in the world but not of it, certainly would mean that we do not participate in pagan practices, nor mix them into the Torah that is being written on our hearts. The times and the season are in YHWH’s hands. “So let us be sober, knowing the time that it is already the hour for us to awaken from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on Messiah Yeshua, and make no provision for the flesh in regards to its lusts” (Rom 13:11-14).

Come out of her my people, and be ye separate, and do not partake of her harlotries! (Isa. 52:11).

Friday, April 1, 2011


When we think of or consider any of the “powers” that are at work in nature, we find that each of them is harnessed and kept under control by laws. If this is true in YHVH's creation, then it would also hold true regarding His "power” (“the power of Elohim”). “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Elohim” (1 Corinthians 1:18). What is the “message of the cross” and why is it defined as “the power of Elohim”? In order to understand what took place two thousand years ago, when Yeshua was on the execution stake, we must have a judicial or legal perspective.

As mentioned above, all power (including Elohim’s) is governed by laws, so as we examine the laws that are relevant to Yeshua’s death, we will begin to gain a clearer understanding of spiritual dynamics. This will also enable us to comprehend what our Heavenly Father accomplished in and through His Son’s death and how it relates to us in our daily conflicts with another “power” - “the power of Satan” (ref. Acts 26:18). It says about the latter that he is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Obviously we are in daily contact with the “air” and thus, even as believers, we are susceptible to the influence of this spiritual power of disobedience that can cause us to participate with the nature of darkness and its laws of “sin and death.” However, this need not be our constant inevitable reality, and experience. We can overcome and have victory, that is if we are aware of the laws that are governing our redemption and justification through the death of our Kinsman Redeemer, as in actuality YHVH “having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it [Yeshua’s death]” (Colossians 2:15).

Satan was determined to tempt Yeshua, and tried to do so in many ways, but was defeated each and every time. Threatened by Yeshua’s righteousness, he thought that the next best thing would be to come up with a plan, which would result in the death of the Son of Elohim. However, this was like the proverbial carrot that the Father placed in front of Satan and all the wicked principalities, in order to round up and herd them into the great spiritual courtroom over Jerusalem. What took place in that unseen court of law at Pesach two thousand years ago is extremely important for us to apprehend. When we become aware of these “laws”, it enables us to gain freedom from the “sin that dwells in me” (ref. Romans 7:20), and also from the external sources, which originate with the “prince of the power of the air” and infiltrate our thought life. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah” (2nd Corinthians 10:4-5).

As mentioned above, these spiritual powers were disarmed and defeated when Yeshua died. Satan walked out of that court room empty handed. Judicially he had no more rights over Man. In what way did the Father, through Yeshua’s death, separate Man from the dominion of “darkness”? This is how Paul explains it: “For the love of Messiah compels us, because we judge thus: 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” (2nd Corinthians 5:14-16 emphases added). The Apostle uses here a judicial term (“judge”) in order to define a “spiritual law” that became operative when Yeshua died. Yeshua’s death stripped Satan of his power and made of non effect the laws of “sin and death” over humanity. Mankind was now rendered dead, and thus useless in perpetuating the kingdom of darkness.

All too often we think in religious terms of “doctrines,” but fail to view certain parts of Scripture as being judicial and statutory realities. Satan, and the principalities under his dominion, would not have crucified the Lord of glory had they known the wisdom of Elohim (ref. 1st Cor. 2: 7-8). But now they do know and understand those laws of YHVH and the “message of the cross.”

Thus, if we are to have daily victories and live as over-comers, we too must know what Satan knows about the “power of Elohim.” The question is how do we put into practice this knowledge that is now available to us, in order to mature into the full stature of the “Son of Elohim” (ref. Ephesians 4:13)?

“I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of Elohim abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14). To be continued.


Friday, March 25, 2011


Recently we have been reading the book of Esther, where toward the end, when the story comes to its satisfactory conclusion, it says: "And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor" (Esther 9:20-22 emphasis added).

Aside from the physical-geographical connotation, the terms "near" and "far" have, of course, spiritual, generational, and genetic implications. In Scripture there are significant inclusions of the ones who are far off with those who are near. When Moses sums up the historic landmarks of the wilderness journey, he says the following regarding the covenant that YHVH made with His people: "Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do. All of you stand today before YHVH your Elohim: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel, your little ones and your wives…that you may enter into covenant with YHVH your Elohim, and into His oath, which YHVH your Elohim makes with you today, that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and that He may be Elohim to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before YHVH our Elohim, as well as with him who is not here with us today" (Deuteronomy 29:9-15 emphasis added).

When Daniel "understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of YHVH through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. Then [he] set [his] face toward YHVH Elohim to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes," and repented for his people saying, among other things: "O YHVH, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day -- to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You" (Daniel 9:2-3, 7 emphasis added).

"Far" or "far off" in the above contexts seem to denote those who are not necessarily cut off, or have been removed. Rather, although further away in space, time, or ideology, they are still links of the one chain. However, receiving and accepting these ones who have been far off, is at times contrary to natural human inclinations. And so we hear what the inhabitants of Jerusalem had to say to the rest of their estranged countrymen: "Get far away from YHVH; this land has been given to us as a possession" (Ezekiel 11:16 emphasis added). This attitude is echoed in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, whose elder brother refuses to accept the one who has for a long time been far off.

YHVH, knowing and recognizing our weaknesses has made an all- encompassing provision to bring about a radical change. Hence it is written: "And you He made alive, who were dead [that is, we who were as far as far can be] in trespasses and sins... But Elohim, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua" (Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-6).

And so, addressing the ones who have been brought "near," so much so that one couldn't get any nearer or closer, he goes on to say: "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 -- that 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 Elohim in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation" (2:11-14 emphases added).

Only by virtue of being brought near, by the blood of Yeshua, to the Elohim of our forefathers have we now been received back to the "commonwealth of Israel," spiritually and physically!

This week we read in Parashat Sh'mini (Leviticus 9-11) about the tragic and baffling episode of Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, who perished right inside the tabernacle: "…fire went out from YHVH and devoured them, and they died before YHVH," because "each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane [or better "strange"] fire before YHVH" (Leviticus 10:1-2). The verse that precedes this description gives an altogether different description: "And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of YHVH appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before YHVH and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces" (Leviticus 9:23-24). It would appear that Nadab and Abihu witnessed YHVH's fire and His glory and the impression that this made on the people, and thought it expedient to take advantage of the moment and continue the momentum. However, going back to Ephesians 2, where we noted that by grace we have been saved, we also read: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Elohim, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10 emphasis added).

Nadab and Abihu dared exercise their own works, not those prepared and ordered by YHVH, works "which He had not commanded them" (Leviticus 10:1), and the consequences were very grave, with the only explanation given for their calamity being: "By those who are near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified" (Leviticus 10:3 emphasis added). The responsibility of those who are near YHVH is to "sanctify" (literal translation) Him, so that "all the people," including those who are far away, may glorify Him. "Hear, you who are afar off, what I have done; And you who are near, acknowledge My might" (Isaiah 33:13). It seems that this verse should be read in a different order: "You who are near, acknowledge My might," so that those "who are afar off" will be able to hear "what I have done." It may not surprise you that the word for sacrifice – "korban" – shares its root with "karov" – "near." The sacrifice has been offered so that now we may "come near" and receive our inheritance. By "regarding YHVH as holy" and "acknowledging His might," we are participating in the process of bringing in the ones who are far off, so that they too may draw near to YHVH that He may be glorified. In Zechariah, shortly after declaring: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of YHVH" (Zechariah 6:12), a clear promise is made: “Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of YHVH” (Zechariah 6:15 emphasis added).


Sunday, February 6, 2011


Dec 1999
This week’s letter and the next, will deal with portions of the last parasha of the book of Genesis “Vayechi” (Gen.47:28-50-26). For some of you who are not yet familiar with what a parasha is, it is the weekly portion of the Torah being read in the synagogues.

“Vayechi” (“and he lived”) is one of the most prophetically loaded parashot (plural of parasha) in the entire Tanach, and quite appropriately ends the book of Bereshit (Genesis). The title itself describes God’s sovereign intentions regarding the fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus, not only did they live, but also became fruitful and multiplied: “and they (Israel) had possessions there (in Egypt) and were fruitful (from the same root as the name “Ephraim”) and multiplied exceedingly” (Gen. 47:27). Many years later Moses, observing the multitude, exclaimed: “YHWH your God has multiplied you, and here you are today as the stars of heaven in multitude. May YHWH God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you!” (Deut. 1:10-11). One of the interesting things to note about the fruitfulness of God’s chosen nation was that it always took place outside the land of Israel. Jacob propagated his family (Goy-nation) (all except for Benjamin) while in Haran. In Egypt he became as numerous as the “stars of heaven”, and of course later, being dispersed into all the nations and lands on the face of the earth, became “as the sand of the sea” or the “fullness of the nations”. A simple mathematical equation would be as follows: Israel came out of Egypt somewhere between 1.5 million and 3 million souls, multiplied by a thousand yields the figure 1.5 to 3 billion souls. Who knows how many out of 6 billion people living on the earth today are a fulfillment of that prophecy?! As we know, “with God everything is possible”, especially when it comes to keeping the covenant that He swore to the patriarchs.

God’s plan of fruitfulness or multiplicity is laid out prophetically in this parasha. Right from its beginning verses we see a Torah, or life, principle in action. Laying on his deathbed Jacob calls for Joseph. The meaning of the root of the name Joseph is “to add to,” in accordance with his mother’s prayer at his birth (to have another son). Joseph’s presences alongside of his dying father is a foreshadowing of the promise “to add to”, or to multiply the life of the one dying (Jacob-Israel). Thus, even under these natural conditions it may be said: "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (Hos. 13:14).
Our Messiah also said: “Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain (John 12:24). Wheat was one of the biblical symbols that described the House of Joseph.

The years of Jacob’s troubles and sorrows were over. Only the memory of a blood stained garment of his beloved son would linger, as a prophetic picture of what price it would cost the Heavenly Father to redeem these sons of promise (Israel). In those few fleeting moments of Jacob’s life he approached Joseph with reverence and honor as the government of the entire world of Egypt was upon Joseph’s shoulders (“shechem) but yet he was not the king.

Joseph was known as a dreamer and an interpreter of dreams. But far surpassing these attributes was Joseph’s understanding of the faithfulness of the God of his fathers through the very situations of his life. The Torah was being written on Joseph’s heart through his tribulations. The testing of his faith produced wisdom, humility and compassion which then qualifying him to hold the position that he was now in. His life exemplified the prophetic destiny of his entire household. For as a people they were to pass under the rod of God’s judgments, which afterwards would prepare them for their irrevocable call to become a part of a nation of kings and priests.

When Jacob knew he was drawing nigh to death, his first line of business was to strike up his final deal by making Joseph swear to bury him with his fathers. The transaction was for Joseph to put his hand under his (Jacob’s) thigh, just like Eliezer did to Abraham when sealing the oath. This meant that the strength and power of life represented by the thigh, will find expression through the hand of another, who swore or promised to be faithful to the oath. Israel then bowed at the head of his bed, signifying, as it were, having completed the work that God had sent him to do. However, there was still one more thing left for this chosen servant of God, and that was to pass on, by the laying on of his right hand, the most coveted of all blessings that are recorded in the Scripture. This blessing was reserved for a son, a son who has shown himself faithful and trustworthy in the eyes of his father. The son who would now step into the role of his father, and take upon his shoulders (shechem) the right to be the redeemer in the family. In order to have the means to redeem, this son would receive a double portion of the inheritance. However, that was not all that was to be passed on in that solemn moment in history. Jacob, holding the positions of a prophet and a king-priest after the order of Melchizedek in God’s kingdom on the earth, was now obligated to pass on this highest of all positions to his beloved; the right to govern, with the dual role, or the authority of a king-priest. But is that what happened?

Jacob, as he lay upon the bed of his departure from this life heard the announcement: “Behold, your son Joseph has come to you” (Gen. 48:2). There probably was not a more comforting, nor a sweeter word that Jacob could have heard than those spoken by that faithful servant attending him on that final day. With those words, heralding the arrival of his beloved son, he gathered up whatever strength he had left, for he knew he had one last task to perform. But just before doing that, he recalled to Joseph the covenant promise that he had received from God Almighty in Luz (Bet El). “Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession” (Gen. 48:3-4). Jacob was not just telling Joseph this for the purpose of reminiscing. He wanted his son to know that the birthright included the land of Canaan and the covenant of fruitfulness. But please keep in mind that Jacob left out one little part of this covenant reminder, “and kings shall come out of your loins” (Gen. 35:11). Everything that was happening in those moments was under the guiding hand of YHWH. Jacob’s prophetic anointing was working with keen clarity. It was not because of old age that he forgot this portion of the verse. He knew and understood the statutes and ordinances of God’s kingdom government, suggesting that to him the term “kings” was not referring to the kingdoms of men, but to the kings after the order of Melchizedek.

Leaving out that portion of the blessing, he now concentrates on the prophetic destiny and significance of Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Menashe. Because Israel’s eyes were so dim from age, he apparently was not aware that they were present with Joseph; although, he did speak to Joseph very directly about them saying: "And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuven and Simeon, they shall be mine” (Gen. 48:5). Notice Joseph did not argue this point with his father, as he knew the old patriarch had the right to adopt his sons.. “May they be like Reuven and Simeon”, Jacob declared. It was no coincidence that Jacob put Ephraim’s name before Menashe’s, even though Menashe was the firstborn. Thus in the positioning of the lads, he compared Ephraim to Reuven Leah’s firstborn and not Menashe. Joseph was totally unaware of what was happening, as later he questioned the way Jacob placed his hands upon their heads.

Why was Jacob so interested in Ephraim and Menashe? Let us go back to parashat (=”parasha of” ) “Miketz”, where their names are given. “And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manashe: 'for God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.' And the name of the second he called Ephraim: 'for God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction'” (Gen. 41:51-52).
Hidden in these two names is God’s prophetic plan to bless and multiply while in a state of forgetfulness. God intended to bless all the families of the earth through the Abrahamic covenant. Thus YHWH, being faithful to His word, laid the foundations for the fulfillment of this part of the plan of redemption, in (and through) the House of Joseph.

Jacob now gets down to his prophetic ‘business’, and so does the God of Abraham. “And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said: 'Who are these?'” (Gen. 48: 8). Now why would Israel be asking Joseph that question when he had just proclaimed them to be his own, unless he was testing Joseph? Well, if he was, Joseph failed the test by still declaring that those two little ones belonged to him. There is another interesting point in the above scripture. Looking closely we find a very interesting switch. It does not say “Jacob beheld”, but “Israel”. From now on, throughout these next couple of chapters, when Jacob blesses, he does so in his God-given name of Israel.

The above question seems to be eternally on the heart of Jacob, as even later the prophet Isaiah says of him (Israel) that he doesn’t recognize his own children (see Isa. 63:16). Again in another scripture: “Therefore thus says YHWH, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now grow pale; but when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will hallow My name, and hallow the Holy One of Jacob, and fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, and those who complained will learn doctrine’" (Isa. 29:22-24).
If we gain an understanding of what is going on here, in the tent of Jacob, so many years ago, we will not err nor complain about God’s order or instructions. Maybe we should hear again the voice of our father when he says: "Assemble yourselves, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days. Gather together and hear (from the root “sh’ma”), you sons of Jacob, and listen (also from the root “sh’ma”) to Israel your father” (Gen. 49:1-2)!!!

1. "Assemble yourselves, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days. 2. Gather together and hear (from the root “sh’ma”), you sons of Jacob, and listen (also from the root “sh’ma”) to Israel your father” (Gen. 49:1-2)!!!

Before continuing, please note the prophetic tone of the above exhortation.
In verse 1, “assemble”(the root letters a.s.f , ref. last week’s letter), means to “gather together” as at harvest time. The same word is used twice at the end of chapter 49, when Jacob “gathers up his legs”, and “is gathered to his people”. In verse 2, the word translated “gather” is from the Hebrew root k.v.z., like “kibbutz” - a modern day collective and is used more for gathering up people.

Continuing from where we left off last week, Israel takes the two lads in his arms, hugs and kisses them. Then, with tears streaming down his face, he looks into Joseph’s eyes and says, "I never thought I would see your face again, but now God has also shown me your seed!" (Gen. 48:11). Joseph then bows with his face to the ground, yielding to divine authority and order. Next, he places his second born, Ephraim, on his right side and Menashe, the firstborn, on his left, thinking that in this way the lads will be standing in their proper places, ready for Israel’s impartation of the blessing. With all the cast in place, prepared for the scene to be played out according to a given script, the protagonist suddenly changes the rules. Much to his son’s bewilderment, Israel crosses his hands, placing his right upon Ephraim’s head, and the left on Menashe’s. Here is how the Bible depicts this scene: “So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth. And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him. Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh's head, for Manasseh was the firstborn” (vs. 12-14). Israel’s action was no accident, nor did he ‘slip’ because he could not see. He had already set the order when he adopted them earlier on, announcing that Ephraim was to be like Reuven (who was the first born) and Menashe like Simeon (ref. v.5). The meaning of the boys’ names also provided a ‘prophetic clue’ as to what that order ought to be; that is to say that “doubly fruitful” was to be blessed over “forgetfulness”. It just so happened that later on in history, when they were apportioned their lots in the land, Menashe’s territory included Mount Eval (curse), and Ephraim’s included Mount Gerizim (blessing), with the city of Shechem between the two.

But even though Israel’s hands rested on the lads’ heads, he was actually blessing Joseph. “And he blessed Joseph, (emphases mine) and said: ‘the God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the sent one [angel] who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; let my name [Israel] be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Gen. 48:15-16). The first aspect of the blessing was an acknowledgment of the One who will carry out the blessing. The God of his fathers, his shepherd, his redeemer would bless and be that same faithful, loving provider that he had come to know. Through the anointing that was upon this chosen one, God himself was continuing to order and establish His Kingdom in the earth. Jacob holding the offices of king-priest, was simply carrying out his divine duty as a bond servant of the God of his Fathers. Because of years of faulty replacement doctrines there is a vast ignorance of these statutes and ordinances of the Kingdom of God. This is like is like a curse on Israel. May the lesson of Balaam and Balak be learned, by those thus engaged (ref. Num. 22-24, especially the inferences to the blessings of Judah and Joseph in 24:8-9)!

In this portion of the blessing we notice that Jacob is being referred to as Israel, “and Israel laid his hands...” (v. 16), thus passing on the name “Israel” to Joseph and his sons. “May my name live on in them and in their seed”. Could this be the reason that the House of Joseph (Ephraim) came to be known mostly as the House of Israel?

“Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. And Joseph said to his father: ‘Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head’" (vs.17-18). Here is another instance where the firstborn does not receive the blessing of the inheritance.

“But his father refused and said, ‘I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed [descendants] shall become the fullness of the nations’"(v. 19). In this one verse we have a beautiful and powerful prophetic picture of the destiny of the House of Joseph (Israel); as Menashe, they would be a great people (“am”), singular, like in “am Israel”, but forgetfulness (Menashe) would cause them to be oblivious to that fact. This is the mystery of the blindness of Israel. In 722 BC God cut them off (Mount Eval) from the olive tree of Israel by scattering and banishing them. He sowed them into all the nations, but not without first labeling them prophetically: “Jezreel” (God will sow), “Lo Ruchama” (no mercy), and “Lo Ami” (not my people), (Hos.1). Returning to the blessing… Israel continues by turning his attention to Ephraim, upon whom he pronounces fruitfulness, to the degree of becoming the “fullness of the nations”. Here the covenant blessing of multiplicity is being unveiled; God intended on multiplying the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This would not be fulfilled by the House of Judah, but through the house that was called Jezreel. The testimony of how great that sowing was going to be would have to wait for the harvest time. Once the harvest is gathered (a.s.f. or k.v.z), to the place chosen by God, we will know and understand “how great the day of Jezreel” had been. "Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said of them, `you are not My people,' there it shall be said to them, `you are sons of the living God.' Then the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel shall be gathered (k.v.z.) together, and appoint for themselves one head; and they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel” (Hos. 1:10-11)! Because the people (Am Israel) are “forgetful” regarding their identity, their hearts would have to be turned to their fathers (the patriarchs) by the same prophetic anointing that was on Elijah. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the YHWH. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse"(Mal. 4:5-6).

“So he blessed them that day, saying: ‘by you Israel will bless, saying, `May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!' And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh” (v. 20). Here Jacob seals the relationship between these two aspects of their prophetic future (that is, “fruitfulness” and “forgetfulness”). This blessing is recited over the children on Friday evening, during the welcoming-of-the-Sabbath meal - “kabalat Shabbat”.

“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133).