For the times they are a changin’ – UNITED 2 RESTORE
There is no doubt that God works in big, dramatic ways. The problem for most of us is that we are so inclined to expect Him to do so that we miss the miracles happening right in front of us. For example, consider this prophecy we read about in Jeremiah:
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.” (Jeremiah 16:14-15 NKJV)
This is the Second Exodus. It is so important that YHVH had Jeremiah record it twice (see Jeremiah 23:7-8). In fact, this restoration of the entire nation of Israel is the largest single prophetic topic in all of Scripture. Yeshua’s disciples asked Him about it just before He left them (Acts 1:6). The reason they asked was that He had accomplished so many other Messianic prophecies, but since He had not restored the Kingdom to Israel, and so they wanted to know when He would do so.
By the way, that is also a question our Jewish brethren have – if Yeshua of Nazareth really is Messiah, why is Israel not completely regathered from the nations with a son of David ruling over them from Zion? It’s a valid question. Those of us from the Christian side of the house are satisfied with the answer that Messiah comes twice: first as the Suffering Servant (Messiah son of Joseph), and then as the Conquering King (Messiah son of David). Our Jewish brethren are not satisfied with that answer, which is why the greatest test before us all in this day is whether we can still get along on terms of mutual acceptance and respect in the expectation that God Himself will reveal the full answer to all of us in His timing.
As for the Second Exodus, we are prone to expect that it will unfold in ways similar to the First Exodus. You know: the prophet and his brother confront the mighty dictator, supernatural judgments rain down from heaven, the seas split, and the people are delivered. That sort of thing.
But what if the Second Exodus happens differently? What if it’s not so dramatic? Would we still recognize it as a miracle? Would we praise God because He had done something even greater than the Exodus from Egypt?
Maybe this is not a rhetorical set of questions. Maybe the Second Exodus has been happening for a long, long time and we are only now beginning to wake up to it.
Consider this: in the year 1882, Jews from Eastern Europe and Yemen began arriving in the Promised Land in what is called the First Aliyah. By the time the First Aliyah concluded in 1903, some 35,000 Jews had made the journey. Compare that to the initial return from the Babylonian Captivity in which about 50,000 people returned to the Land (Ezra 2:64-65). By 1948, when Israel became a state, some 650,000 Jews lived there – more than the number of adult males in all Twelve Tribes at the First Exodus (Numbers 2:32). Today Israel is home to 6.3 million Jews, about half the world’s Jewish population, and the numbers continue to grow each year.
Is it still a miracle if something happens over a long period of time rather than instantaneously?
Knowing what I have learned about the survival of my Jewish brethren as a people and their restoration as a sovereign nation, I am inclined to say that this is an unending series of miracles. In fact, I am persuaded that this is the Second Exodus: a process that began in 1882 and will continue until all the Tribes are in the Land.
This is where it gets interesting for us who are awakening to our Hebrew identity. The Jewish part of our nation has existed continuously for millennia, but what about the other Tribes? Judah and his companions are coming home, but what about Joseph/Ephraim and his companions? Should we expect massive, dramatic interventions of the Divine Hand, or perhaps something smaller, but diffused throughout the earth on a far grander scale than anyone can imagine? Something as simple as multitudes of Christians awakening to the Hebrew Roots of their faith, the Torah their Messiah taught and followed, and their identity as Israelites?
Apparently that quiet, simple answer is the way the Almighty is working. We should not be surprised; if He has done it that way with our brethren of Judah, then why should He do differently with Ephraim? It may take longer, but the effects will be far more substantial and lasting that a series of grand gestures. Ultimately it will be far more satisfying as our Creator, in His mercy, gives us time to get to know one another, work through those painful divisive issues, and grow together as brethren.
That is one of the underlying themes of Hanoch Young’s latest article on United2Restore. Read his Jewish perspective of what is happening as Israelis begin to see Ephraimites coming to the Land as Ephraimites. Then visit his website at Kol Yehuda to see how his work as a tour guide is part of this miracle – and maybe even think about joining Hanoch on a tour so you can experience the miracle yourself!
Published in United2Restore on December 14, 2016
We are truly living in amazing times. As I understand Scripture, what we are seeing is nothing less then the beginning of the time described by the Prophet Yermiyahu (Jeremiah), “….in those days the House of Yehuda (Judah) will walk with the House of Yisrael (Israel)” Yermiyahu 3:18. Does that sound like a very bold assertion? Yes, for sure… but let me tell you what has been going on in Israel over the last number of years that causes me to think this way.
It has only been approximately 30 +/- years that Ephraim (Lost Israel among the nations), has begun to awaken to their identity. Across the world, they have come to realize that they too are part of Israel – alongside their Jewish brothers and sisters. Dispersed Israel, in the earliest stages of awakening to their identity; prior to their promised regathering and reunion as declared in the Prophets.
Among the people involved, there is much excitement about this. However, these people have generally been unknown to both Christians and Jews, worldwide. Well, at least until recently. You see, in the last few years we have witnessed a surge in understanding of who these people are – not in the United States, but in Israel. This awareness has come to Israel… but not from hearing about it from teachers within the movement or from reading about it, nor has it come from watching any DVD’s or YouTube videos. It has come, rather, from seeing and speaking to Ephraimites – in the streets, towns and cities of Israel.
Those in this movement who foolishly thought they could issue proclamations to the Government of Israel and make demands, thankfully appear to be only a small minority. This was never going to be something that happened through secular politics, this is something HaShem would do as He promised He would through the Prophets. No, the understanding that is happening in Yisrael comes from Ephraimites actually being in Israel, participating in the Chagim (festivals), volunteering and being involved in society. This is what the native Israelis are seeing and hearing and what is ultimately making the difference. It has created an awareness of the very fact that Ephraim exists, and that Ephraim desires to come home and be reunited with their Jewish brothers and sisters. But, it has come from a position of love and mutual respect for the Reconciliation and Restoration of ALL of Yisrael. I can’t stress that enough. Being Jewish and actually seeing the effect that Ephraim has had on other Jewish people because of their involvement in our society is opening eyes and hearts. Now, I don’t want to overplay this… we are seeing an increased understanding in Yisrael, but certainly nothing close (yet) to mainstream acceptance.
On a personal level, one very moving event for me has come from watching other Jewish people observe Ephraimites march in Jerusalem’s Parade of All Nations. Held yearly during Sukkot, the parade has always featured a huge presence of Christian Zionists from around the world. They are sponsored by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, an organization of Christians who love Israel. However, beginning in 2014 (for the first time ever!), and every year since, marching behind the banners of United 2 Restore have been Ephraimites from around the world! Coming from countries as diverse as Fiji, Canada, Sri Lanka, Holland, Papua, Germany, Singapore, Peru, South Africa and the United States, they have marched together; as Ephraim/Yosef (Joseph) returning. The banners they carried were of Judah & Ephraim coming together, and an illustration of the prophecy of Zechariah of the 10 men of the nations holding on to the Tzitzit of the Jewish man; with the caption from Sefer Bereshit (Book of Genesis), “It is my brothers that I am seeking…” said by Yosef in chapter 37 verse 16.
How touching to see the reaction on the face of the Jewish families watching the parade. Some asking me who these people were, while others understood and wept. These people like those who marched in the parade…. who love the land and the people of the land… they believe it is important for them to see Israel. They don’t realize how important it is for Israel to see them!
This understanding has also come from ‘chance’ encounters with Israelis while standing in line at the grocery store, ordering a cup of coffee or any other element of daily interaction. But most importantly, the heart of wanting to be in Israel is what is most apparent. I keep hearing stories of seemingly, ‘divine appointments’ happening, again and again. And no, not just during Sukkot, Simchat Torah or Shabbat – but in every location, at all times. It has happened to me, numerous times – and many times with people who are personally unaware of the number of people involved in this movement. They are just there in Israel, because they feel they need to be. And when I share with them my experiences with Ephraimites from around the world, they are stunned by the scope of this amazing movement. They often think they are among the first people who have been brought to this understanding. The movement of the return of Ephraim and the Restoration of ALL of Israel can only be the work of HaShem as too many without personal contact, from different parts of the world, and who have come to this understanding by various means, have all still come to the same understanding.
Today more and more Ephraimites are coming on volunteer programs; their college age children are applying to study for a semester or a year in Israeli universities. They are studying Hebrew in their communities around the world. They are reading legitimate Israeli news websites on a regular basis, and raising funds to support social welfare organizations in Israel. They are starting to feel and most importantly, to act, as part of the nation of Israel. They and their communities, congregations and fellowships are wrestling with what exactly what it means to be part of the Restoration of our Nation – the Nation of Israel. Not just part of a new denomination but rather focusing on the national aspects, which their ancestors hadn’t even considered for more then 2,700 years. I have, personally, been to many of these congregations and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to see non-Jewish people gather, face the direction of Jerusalem, and together sing the Shema. The sounds of the shofar (I usually get a years worth of blasts in just one evening) and the reading of the Torah parsha… this just isn’t ‘normal.’
We are on the verge of a whole new culture, an entirely new reality. One where people are laser focused on what unites us, rather than what could potentially divide us. Like Yehezkel (Ezekiel) drawing the 2 sticks near to one another before God makes them one, we are witnessing a people who are driven by the concepts of mutual respect for the Reconciliation and Restoration of ALL of Israel. One where we are truly United 2 Restore…. Yeah, as those song lyrics said, so long ago – “For the times, they are a changin’…”
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